Having a narcissistic upbringing quite literally re-wires our brain. It affects our limbic system mostly, which is the part of the brain responsible for (among other things) our emotional life, and our memories.

The two parts of the limbic system most often mentioned are the amygdala and then hippocampus.

And the constant stress  — low-grade or otherwise depending on your specific situation — that you lived under, impairs both of these parts of the brain. This can literally be measured in the case of the hippocampus: one study found it was up to 7% smaller in the case of survivors of childhood abuse.

The effects of this stress-induced injury include:

  • Over-sensitivity to emotional triggers i.e. getting upset too easily (see below for more on that)
  • Not having enough resilience to stress,
  • Tendency to depression,
  • Tendency to addictions and
  • Difficulty creating long term memories.

Any of this sound familiar?

The irony is that our narcissistic mothers accuse us of being over-sensitive, and of over-reacting. And that may well be true to an extent. But to the extent that it is true, it’s true because of how she has messed up our brain by her excuse. Your narcissistic mother kicks you and then blames you for limping. (And I don’t believe for one minute you are as over-sensitive and over-reacting as they say.)

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