Oct 14, 2023

Strategies for Surviving Beyond Narcissistic Parenting: Nurturing Emotional Sensitivity

by Lisa A. Romano

emotionally senstive narcissistic parent narcissistic parenting strategies for surviving narcissistic parenting

As a child, I had no clue that my parents could be wrong. Anything they ever said or did I innocently and organically believed was correct and within their right to say, feel, and do. So when I felt unloved, my little heart, brain, and mind believed they must have been correct in their assumption of my unworthiness. 

This is how it is for all children, regardless of creed, skin color, or religion.  How we are treated and perceived by the ones we love shapes our inner eye.  And magically, at the neurological level, bundles of nerve pathways are built that resonate with the perceptions others hold of us we believe are valid. 

Looking back at photos of myself at three years old, I can see the timidness in my eyes. My mother was on her third child, yet she was just 22. As a toddler, I had no critical awareness of her age, immaturity, or justifiable overwhelm; all I knew was I felt unworthy of this sacred being's love. 

This is how it is for all of us who have grown up in less-than-perfect homes.  We incarnate aching for love, warmth, and protection, yet when we do not receive it, we presume it is our fault what we crave never comes. Our brains wire for protection and survival, and our emotional self becomes hypervigilant and scans the environment for the next potential rejection or abandonment. 

Our trauma has strapped us to a wheel of cause and effect. And without an elevation of consciousness, we remain on this wheel for lifetimes. 

As adult children of narcissistic parents, understanding why we might be emotionally sensitive can help us stop looking to the outside for fear of the next attack, validation, and approval. With enough patience, learning, and practice to develop the life skills we need to redirect our lives, we can break through the chains created in the past. 

However, Dear One, changing neurological pathways, bonded together by the chemicals of fear and dread, does not happen overnight. For this reason, as we awaken, we must commit ourselves completely to the healing path ahead. If we do, our lives must change. This is the divine law of life. As we change how we perceive the self, everything in our outer world changes. 

Let's break it down a bit. 

Growing up with a narcissistic parent can profoundly impact a child's emotional sensitivity and self-esteem. In this blog post, we will explore the effects of being raised by a narcissistic parent and offer guidance on navigating the journey of healing and self-discovery.

1. Effects of Narcissistic Parenting:
Children of narcissistic parents often experience emotional neglect, invalidation, and manipulation. These experiences can lead to heightened emotional sensitivity, impacting their self-esteem and relationships. Understanding the effects of narcissistic parenting is crucial for healing and personal growth.

2. Emotional Sensitivity and Narcissistic Parents:
Emotional sensitivity is a common trait among those raised by narcissistic parents. It develops as a coping mechanism to navigate the volatile mood swings and constant need for validation from their parent. Recognizing this connection is essential for understanding and addressing your emotional sensitivity.

3. Nurturing Self-Compassion:
Developing self-compassion is vital in healing from the wounds inflicted by narcissistic parenting. Acknowledge that your emotional sensitivity is a natural response to your upbringing, and treat yourself with kindness. Remember, practicing self-compassion is not self-pity but a way to validate your experiences and foster healing and growth.

4. Establishing Healthy Boundaries:
Growing up with a narcissistic parent often leads to blurred boundaries and a constant need to please others. Learning to set healthy boundaries is crucial for your emotional well-being. Prioritize your needs and learn to say no when necessary. Surround yourself with supportive individuals who respect your boundaries and encourage personal growth.

5. Healing Through Therapy, Coaching and Self-Reflection:
Seeking therapy and or coaching can be immensely helpful in processing the emotional wounds caused by narcissistic parenting. A qualified professional can guide you in unraveling complex emotions, validating your experiences, and supporting your healing journey. Engaging in self-reflection through journaling, meditation, or creative outlets can also aid in gaining a deeper understanding of your emotions and fostering self-awareness.

6. Building a Supportive Network:
Connecting with others who have experienced similar challenges can be invaluable. Join support groups or online communities that provide a safe space to share your thoughts, learn from others, and receive validation and encouragement. Surround yourself with supportive friends and loved ones who understand and appreciate your emotional sensitivity, fostering a sense of belonging and acceptance.

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Growing up with a narcissistic parent can deeply impact your emotional sensitivity, but it does not define you. By recognizing the effects of narcissistic parenting, nurturing self-compassion, establishing healthy boundaries, seeking help, and building a supportive network, you can embark on a journey of healing and self-discovery. Remember, you are resilient, and your emotional sensitivity can be a powerful force for positive change in your life and the lives of others.

Dear One, you are enough; you were born enough and shall forever be enough. 

Lisa A. Romano


Lisa A. Romano is a globally recognized Life Coach specializing in assisting wounded adult children to overcome the childhood emotional trauma that keeps them stuck, repeating negative, self-sabotaging patterns in their lives.   She is best known for her remarkable work in the area of adult children of alcoholic issues, codependency, and narcissistic abuse recovery. She is also one of the most listened-to meditation teachers on Insight Timer, and her YouTube Channel has over 640K subscribers. Her podcast Breakdown to Breakthrough ranks in the top 100 podcasts on mental wellness. She was voted the #1 Most Influential Person of 2020 and was recently nominated as a global leader representing the United States in mental wellness coaching by Unified Brainz Unlimited. Her flagship program, The 12 Week Breakthrough, is endorsed by psychologist Robin Bryman as a must for anyone struggling with a loss of self-hood due to narcissistic abuse. You can learn more about her online courses and her seven bestselling books by visiting www.lisaaromano.com