How to Deal with Narcissistic Behavior in Orthodox Families?

How to Deal with Narcissistic Behavior in Orthodox Families?

Healthy self- love, self-worth, self-esteem, self-value, and self-image contribute to a healthy human being. But when these things augment and start impacting the people around you in a negative way, that’s when you will see narcissistic behavior taking over. 

Irrespective of where you’re from,  narcissistic behavior is similar across the globe. While the signs of a narcissistic family member may be similar in general, there are some cultural impacts as well. In this post, I wanted to highlight some of the issues faced by orthodox families where a traditionalist approach to a cultural value system takes over the basic emotional needs of family members. 

What can feel like a general family behavior is sometimes a very narcissistic one. How do you identify narcissistic behavior in your family and how do you protect your sanity when you can’t escape the environment? Read on to find out.

pexels-photo-2449543 How to Deal with Narcissistic Behavior in Orthodox Families?


Signs of narcissistic behavior in orthodox families 


Gender discrimination is common

A very common approach of glorifying one’s self is by favoring one gender over another. Where this is prevalent, we usually see boys being favored over girls. Females are generally dainty and docile as compared to their male counterparts. While this may have benefited ancient societies where survival needed strong masculinity, things have changed over time. We live in a world where anything previously done physically is now done via mechanical and electrical systems.

Anything that can now put you in a better position is your intellect and creativity. Luckily, intellect and creativity is something both male and females can possess. Discriminating on the basis of gender makes no sense anymore. 


It’s considered okay to sabotage your rights 

It’s felt right to not let you go out, put a restriction on your friendships, put a restriction on you earning for yourself, and humiliating you in front of family members or even friends. If you experience all of this, you are most probably the scapegoat of the family. 

Families where narcissistic behavior is common, the narcissist usually needs someone to blame, compare, belittle, or intimidate for their false ego’s satisfaction. It’s common your rights might be eaten up in that process.


There is always a lack of love and respect 

You always feel like nothing you do can ever make you worthy of their love and respect when it’s only a basic human right. In a narcissistic family, love is conditional. You need to meet certain criteria to deserve their love and respect. In case you don’t meet the exact criteria, you are often reminded of your worthlessness and incapabilities.

Worse still, if there is any other family member who is fulfilling the criteria, you are constantly compared and embarrassed. In such families, the idea of cooperation in place of comparison doesn’t really exist.


You experience a lack of appreciation 

We all need appreciation. Man will go to crazy limits just to fulfill that urge to have attention. Appreciation comes from the same family of emotions. You need appreciation for the good you do just like you are always insulted for your mistakes, which by the way, is not always right.

Narcissistic families don’t allow vulnerability. It’s never okay to accept your flaws, weaknesses, or shortcomings. You either need to get rid of them or you will constantly be reminded of the shame you bring to the narcissists.

You are hardly ever appreciated for your contributions to the family. No matter how small or how big of a contribution you make, you need and deserve appreciation for that.


You are given an extra burden of responsibilities 

 You are given an extra set of responsibilities that is not yours. If you fail to fulfill, you are accused of being irresponsible. Sometimes it could be of a sibling who your parents favor and at other times it can be from a physically/emotionally absent mother or father.

There is no regard for your opinion 

There is little to no regard for your opinion. That too when most of the time you are not even considered valuable enough to give one. 

Sadly, in a narcissistic environment if anyone’s opinion matters it’s the narcissist himself. Your opinion is either never received or even when it is, it’s disregarded. On top of that, you are required to be submissive even when it is cruel, ignorant, and destructive. 

Living in narcissistic environments is not easy. The signs are usually loud and clear. Your mind constantly tells you something is not quite right. What to do if you deal with narcissistic behavior inside an orthodox family? When your problem is not just the person but also the society that is promoting such narcissistic behavior as well? 


How to deal with narcissistic behavior in Orthodox families?

Here is a list of things you can work on:


1. Keep your facts right

When you are seeing a narcissistic behavior ever since the world started making sense to you, you might expect it to be a norm. It is not. It is not normal to treat anyone in any rude way, let alone your family. The family should be synonymous with love and respect. Your home is supposed to be a safe haven. Your siblings and parents are the protectors of your rights. Home is where people understand you. 

You might not be able to fight the narcissistic behavior in your family but you can keep your sanity by realizing that all this is not right. If you become an advocate of the same behavior then chances are you will repeat the same cycle with your family as well. 

Grab a pen and journal everything that you think is not right about your family. Remind yourself that this is not going to be you. None of this is worthy of taking along in life. 


2. Acknowledge wrong is wrong 

Every time you go through an episode, you need to acknowledge whatever happened wasn’t right. You might be tempted to think since I can’t do anything about it right now, why bother to remind myself it is all wrong?

Well, acknowledging it is wrong is also doing something about it. You need to keep mental clarity. Believe me, this is for your own good.


3. Build your safe environment 

Fear is a prevalent emotion in people suffering from narcissistic behaviors from others around them. On top of that, you are not given time or space to feel your feelings. In that scenario, it is crucial you build your own safe environment within that narcissistic one. 

How is that even possible? Remember, you have to do the best possible in your circumstances. You can not wait for a prince charming or a fairy-Godmother to come and solve things for you. It’s your life, your story and you are the heroes. 

Involve yourself in some activities like reading, writing, blogging, photography, yoga, meditation, prayer, and journaling. Anything that soothes your mind and relaxes you. Set time for yourself. Practice self-care. Never allow yourself to tell you that you can’t love or care for yourself in these circumstances. 

Human beings are very creative. They can come up with unique ideas once they set their minds to it. Look at young children. Ever find them building their own tiny space in their wardrobe or getting obsessed with that one swing on the rooftop? It’s their safe place, where they feel no fear. Allow yourself to be a child.


4. Work on emotional and Financial Independence 

Check yourself for over-dependence where you are overly dependent on someone else besides you, or co-dependence where you are a bit too dependent on your partner who generally needs to be dependent on you as well. Learn to differentiate between co-dependence, empathy (eq), apathy, and narcissism.

Release your emotions, let yourself feel, and allow yourself to accept your vulnerabilities. Start giving yourself all the love, acceptance, and appreciation that you’ve always needed. 

You are beautiful, you are worthy and you are enough. You don’t need anyone else to come in your life to validate who you are. As a matter of fact, you can’t achieve 100% emotional independence, but you can channelize it. 

On the other hand, work on becoming financially independent. It’s enough to take mental abuse from your family, relying on them for all of your financial needs as well is going to be challenging. 

Work smart and work hard. In this era of opportunities you shouldn’t feel short of ideas to make an earning. Remember money is energy, you start attracting it when you mentally start accepting that you deserve it. 

If they don’t allow you to go out, bring your job home. Work online, there are a plethora of legit ideas all around the internet. Open a street school, give tuitions at home, use any of your skills to make some money on the side. The money you can use to give yourself the luxury of doing something for yourself. Remember, it doesn’t have to be huge to make you happy. 


5. Seek Help 

If you think things have gone too far and you need someone to help you fix it, get help from a therapist. Your therapist needs to understand your cultural and traditional values to better help you. Keep in mind they are there to help you. Be honest and vulnerable. 

If you can’t go out and get live sessions, try to take some online or while you are at college, at a friend’s place, or via emails. Anything that works for you.


6. Heal Together 

We all think we are the only ones going through this crap in our lives. Uh-no! There are more people in the same situation as you than you can imagine. Many of them, like yourself, are looking for a way out. They know it’s wrong, they know it’s unhealthy, they want to get out. They wish to improve. 

Build a Network of people who are suffering from the same. Join a network of people who want to heal. Heal together. Uplift others in the same situation. Spread the seeds of hope, you never know the good that might come back to you. Remember, the universe never keeps a favor. You do good, you get good. That’s how it works. 

In the end, keep working on yourself. Never give up. No situation can take you down. You are not a bird trapped in a cage, you are just going to fly differently. Fly whenever you can. For that, keep your wings strong. Experience the good around you. It’s there for you. 

Happy healing!

Read More:

How to be the hero you need?

How to rewrite your story in 4 simple steps?

4 simple ways to overcome parental rejection

10 signs of abusive behaviors in narcissistic parents

9 Warning Signs of Emotional Abuse

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