Inheriting Dysfunction

I’ve noticed that more people seem to be searching and researching what it means to be a child of narcissists. Particularly whether the condition of being a narcissist is something you can inherit from your parents like other traits, behaviours and heirlooms.


inheriting dysfunction


Some writers on the subject have approached it from the nature versus nurture angle…

but, imo, nature and nurture go together, aren’t mutually exclusive, can’t really be separated neatly (in the way that we humans like to separate things through judgment, comparison, and other black or white thinking), nor can blame be allocated to one or the other if you decide that you don’t like who you are or how who you are has affected you, your life and others.

From the day that we are born (and sometimes from before we are born) we are being influenced by many factors over which we have no control (control is something of which we become aware later on, such as when we enter that phase known as potty-training where we learn that other people want us to control our bodily functions, thus they exert control on us to make us control ourselves).

Whatever your nature… it is immediately influenced by nurture.

So even if your nature is innocent, it soon won’t be, it will soon have things of which to be guilty piled on top of it and etched into it, and eventually it will start its journey on a road to further complications (where one day it too will pile guilt onto an innocent nature – passing on what was passed onto it – while perhaps still claiming to be an innocent).


who started it?

excerpt via – How to End the Fight You Can’t Remember Why You Started by Steven Stosny, Ph.D.


The excerpt above is from an interesting three-part series focusing on intimate relationships:

Demand-withdrawal (same link as under excerpt)



Relationships, even the superficial ones, are complicated.

They’re not unlike a game of Jenga,

and are built in a similar manner (including our relationship with ourselves).

Try to get rid of something about yourself which you don’t like… and the things you do like may come tumbling down (this can also happen when you mess with who other people are – try to get them to get rid of what you don’t like about them and you won’t necessarily be the proud manipulative recipient of only what you like about them).

It’s intriguing how many of those traits which we admire, respect, in others… which we want others to have and which we want to have for ourselves… have their origins in traits, behaviours, and life experiences which we don’t admire, respect, or want for ourselves (and if we’re empathic, really wholly empathic and not just empathic when it suits us, with those who are easy for us to empathise with rather than those who test us and our empathy comfort zones, we don’t want others to have them either).

Sometimes the best of us comes from the worst of us, what is wrong with us is part of what is right with us…

We don’t like what we deem to be negative… we only want what we consider to be positive, but the two are interconnected and may inspire each other. So negative can breed positive… and vice versa.


respond intelligently

when you perceive someone else as being an A-hole, remember that sometimes you’re perceived by someone else’s as an A-hole, and this may occur simultaneously.


The other day I was offered either a cup of coffee or tea by a neighbour.

It was a blisteringly hot day and a warm drink was something which I didn’t want.

They made the offer after saying that they were getting themselves a cup of coffee and therefore it was easy to make extra coffee or tea instead.

Our meeting was in a place of local business and I was there basically for a matter related to business rather than the pleasure of meeting another neighbour (where I live all the shops are owned and managed by neighbours so business and social are mixed, kind of like nature and nurture).

I politely refused the offer.

Twenty minutes later… in a conversation about business, my neighbour said something along the lines of – you should have accepted my offer for coffee or tea. They did it with humour, as a bit of a friendly dig… but words said in jest can sometimes tell you more than those said seriously.

I’d made a social faux-pas in the eyes of this person… I had rejected their offer and thus had sort of rejected them and their offer of friendship.

That was not what I done, I had simply answered their offer honestly – I did not want a hot drink on a hot day, maybe if they’d offered me iced coffee or tea I’d have accepted…

and through my eyes what they were doing, poking me about what I had done by not doing something… well, that was a social faux-pas on their part with me.



you’re not the only one with a list of things which people do wrong when it comes to dealing with you, those people have one too. We’re all keeping score. Lets’ just hope that we’re all keeping track of what people do right with regards to us too, to balance (six is supposedly a number of balance… it’s missing in the pic) things out.


Even though my refusal to have coffee or tea in that instance was mainly due to the weather, there’s also an underlying layer to it. When people offer me things, especially when I don’t need them and even when I do, my instant reflex is to refuse the offer.

Is this my nature or is it due to nurture?

Is it because I’m naturally a loner, weird, prefer to make my own tea or coffee, and would have gone to a tea or coffee shop if I wanted some but as it was I was looking for a door and drinking a hot beverage isn’t, in my mind, the way to find a door (but maybe that was the way and I effed up… which seems to be a natural tendency, if making mistakes was valued, I’d be priceless).

Is this because (according to me) my parents were narcissists… and the sort of nurturing you get as a child of narcissists makes you a dysfunctional mess because they’re a dysfunctional mess – who think their dysfunction is how things should work. Their way is the highway to something great… only it isn’t.

And narcissists are always making you offers which in theory you can’t refuse (often because they’re too good to be true, we do love that kind of offer and never seem to learn that things which are too good to be true usually aren’t true or good, but… you never know, what if this one is!!! Carpe this amazing FREE, generous and limited time offer now because it’ll be gone before you can say the word diem, and you’ll be sorry in more ways than you can count if you don’t), and in practice you may live to regret either refusing or accepting.

If a narcissist offers you a cup of coffee or tea… it’s never as simple as that. You’re signing a relationship contract no matter what you do, and your answer will be wrong whatever it is, because for them to be always right everyone else has to always be wrong.


narc social rules

this is a succinct overview of narcissists and the narcissistic attitude… milder forms of this exist in most relationships, because we all tend to favour ourselves over others, and may apply double-standards without realising we’re doing it.


I’ve inherited a lot of dysfunction…

some of which if I embraced it and went with it would actually serve me well, especially in the social part of society, business, relationships, blogging, etc…

(this is something you learn by observing how well narcissist parents manage to get everyone to think of them as the perfect parents, and how often society supports them… against you even when you’re a child – and society claims to always support children because ‘the children are our future’… interesting future society is creating!)

narcissistic tendencies make you good at schmoozing… telling people what they want to hear, doing what people want you to do, appearing to be who people want you to be… all for the sake of pleasing people superficially so you can get from them what you want (like ‘Likes’ and ‘Follows’ online).

That schmoozy talent which narcissists have… helps you to hate yourself in the long run, but in the short term it makes you feel good about yourself, boosts your self-esteem (and other ego-related products), and when you feel good about yourself you’re more likely to give a narcissist what they want.

And when a narcissist gets what they want… they’re more likely to give you what you want – the fantasy version of reality where rainbows are everywhere with overflowing pots of gold just for you and unicorns roam freely for you to ride upon when the mood hits.

When a narcissist doesn’t get what they want – the fantasy version of reality takes a dark turn.


having problems with a guy


The problem with me is that my ‘natural’ tendency is to reject the schmoozing side of the dysfunction which I’ve inherited because I don’t like all the other aspects which branch off from it.

How do I know I don’t like them? How do you reckon I know… I made those mistakes, pulled out the Jenga pieces…

You can lose yourself to win others over… in so many ways that ‘your’ way is everyone else’s way.

Want to be ‘Liked’, ‘Followed’, or loved… just do, say and be what others need you to do, say and be. They get what they want and therefore are more inclined to give you what you want…


yeah, that…

about that…

let’s not discuss it

don’t mention it

forget about it if you want to stay sane while getting what you want from others by giving to them what they want from you.

Vague it out.


the other day... a friend of mine

both of those are actually things I do… is it because I’m an INTP, have Mercury in Aquarius (in the 5th house of creativity which = creative thinking), is it due to nature or nurture, or growing up with narcissists where time and relationships are whatever you think they are… or… or… or… oar… row, row, row your boat.


You can whittle yourself, others, your narcissist(s), down to some formula

  • I’m a child of narcissists ergo I inherited [fill in the dysfunction] and it’s not my fault, it’s theirs – my narcissist parents did this to me without asking me if I wanted it done to me

and working with that formula simplify what is complicated

  • are your parents really narcissists or do they just fit criteria which someone somewhere invented and now we think it’s a thing, a fact, a reality… (let’s ignore this, it’s too complicated).

Your questions can be answered in suitable sound bites… which can be found for free or bought (depending on who is behind the bite of sound), and you can buy someone else’s version of what can be found for free, or find for free what someone else bought and then made available for all (have you noticed how often those who ‘borrow’ heavily from others seem to clamp ‘their’ material down with stringent copyright rules and regulations – one rule and reg for them and another for others? Or have they simply learned from what they have done to others and don’t want anyone doing that to them? *Other options apply).

You can always find an excuse, explanation, interpretation, reason…

someone to blame,

something to point a finger at and say that’s it!

It’s your Sun sign, your MBTI, your enneagram, your number, your blood type, your DNA, your nature, nurture, disorder, anxiety, PTSD, depression, dyslexia, culture, society… your parents!

And these sometimes can feel as though they cover the bases, make sense…

but there is always another question which rises up no matter how many answers fill the void.

Who are you?

Who are you really?

Who is your mindful, authentic self (to use popular buzzwords of the now)?



  1. Not to miss the point about the hot tea or coffee on a hot day (and I’m like you in that I prefer cold tea or coffee to hot on a hot day) but a lot of Middle Eastern people (and, I inagine, Far Eastern people too) drink hot drinks in the hot weather because, as a Middle Eastern friend told me, after the initial rise in temperature it causes you, it tends to cool you off. Whether this is due simply to making you sweat or there’s more to it than that, I’m not sure. Also, people from certain cultures do get offended when you decline something they offer you.


    • That’s an excellent observation! Funnily enough as I was writing about ‘a hot drink on a hot day’ a similar factoid of hot drinks on a hot day actually being cooling popped into my mind.

      One of my fav songs when I was a teenager was this one:

      Each culture has its rituals and it’s worth learning them if you don’t want to rub people the wrong way. Problems often occur with culture clashes. Breaking bread (or having tea or coffee) with someone under their roof is sometimes a valuable thing to do to seal a connection, but it can also be a contract made which is not one you are ready to make.

      In this particular instance the offer did not appear to be a social requirement. He wanted to have a coffee and was being polite by offering to make me a cup so as not to have one himself and then have me wonder why he didn’t offer me some. I would hazard a guess that he rather enjoyed the fact that I refused as then they could make a humorous dig about it later. He didn’t seem that bothered by my refusal… but you never know. I’m sure we’ll have other opportunities to test each other in the future. I tend to make friends with people with whom I tussle with initially πŸ˜‰


  2. Ah! Of course I had no idea if it was a cultural issue or not but just thought I’d throw it in, just in case.


  3. Yeah, I can related. I’m a total social facktard. Being honest doesn’t always apply as I believed no matter how well the intention. The perceived notion of rejection can bring out the narcissist in just about anyone. I used to care much more about what others thought, but now I’m starting to believe I’m a good person and not take on people’s own shite so much.

    Thank you for sharing.


    • It’s great, isn’t it, when you give less fucks about what others think about you. Although it is useful to know what they think about you because it gives you an insight into what they think about themselves and that can make you a rather insightful social fucktard πŸ™‚

      Almost everyone hates the feeling of being rejected and some reject you to preempt you rejecting them. If you let people know they’re accepted it can really change interactions, but you do have to use acceptance with care as it may make you a bit too attractive to narcissists since this is something they lust after.


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