Impaired Trust in the Narcissistic Family

What does it mean to trust someone?

My client Brian, 32, tells me, “Growing up, I never felt I could depend on my parents for what you’d call emotional support. That feeling that other people have- that their mom or dad is there for them no matter what? I didn’t get that. I didn’t feel it. It wasn’t there. And there’s no way I could have trusted them to hear how I really felt about anything. Now, as an adult, I still can’t really open up with people closest to me. Even with friends and my girlfriend, I don’t feel comfortable being vulnerable with them, so that gets in the way of real intimacy and causes loneliness.”

Brian’s inability to trust in his adult relationships, and therefore to experience emotional intimacy and allow himself to be vulnerable, can be traced back to his family of origin. Growing up in a narcissistic family, the child learns early on that they cannot lean on, depend on, or have expectations of consistency from their narcissistic parent. This causes impaired trust.

Keep Reading on Psychology Today...

Join The Newsletter

Sign up to receive regular updates, announcements, free resources and more.

End The Legacy of Distorted Love!

Join this groundbreaking virtual workshop designed to heal the effects of maternal narcissism.

Dr. Karyl McBride designed a five-step recovery model to help daughters. This is now available in a virtual workshop that includes concise; custom- designed video instruction along with journaling and homework exercises to walk you through each step of recovery.

Join The Newsletter

Sign up to receive updates, events, announcements, free resources, and more!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Share This