In general, someone could do their best to not stand out, to not need much and to be there for others. This can mean that they will often monitor themselves to make sure that they are behaving in the right way.

Due to being this way, it is likely to mean that they won’t receive a great deal of attention, will overlook a number of their needs and will be caught up in the lives of others. But, even if this is the case, it doesn’t mean that they will have a strong need to change how they behave.

A Half-Life

Based on how they behave, they are not going to have a very fulfilling life and it will be as if they are merely here to make up the numbers. As a result of this, they could often feel very low and exhausted.

Yet, as a big part of them will have a strong need to behave in this way, the part of them that is not happy with what is going on will typically be dominated and denied. Therefore, the part of them that wants to freely express themselves and truly live won’t have much of an impact on their life.

Going Against the Grain

When they change their behaviour, as rare as this will be, this is likely to be a time when they will end up feeling deeply uncomfortable. For example, if they were to stand out and express a need that they usually deny, they could feel anxious and fearful and guilty and ashamed.

They could expect to be criticised and then rejected and abandoned. This could also be what they expect to take place if they were to no longer focus on another person’s needs.

A Non-Entity

With this in mind, it will be as though it is only possible for them to be accepted and survive if they blend into the background and act like an extension of others. If, on the other hand, they dare to act like an individual, who has their own needs and feelings, they won’t be accepted and their life will come to an end.

To say that they will merely be existing and going through the motions is likely to be an understatement. Having to make sure that they don’t act like an individual and are selfless is going to take a lot out of them.

A Strange Scenario

The truth is that they deserve to be here, to act like an individual and have their own life. For them to live a life that is worth living, though, they will need to have a healthy sense of narcissism.

In other words, they will need to know that they are worthy of receiving attention, that their needs are not bad, and that they don’t need to solely focus on the needs of others. Additionally, they have the right to say no and feel good about themselves.

Inner Model

As things stand, they are likely to believe that they only have two options: either they deny their needs and stay in the background, or they act in a way that is very destructive. Without realising it, then, they will believe that there is only something called unhealthy narcissism.

So, if they don’t act like a non-entity, they will act as if they are the centre of the universe, have an overdeveloped sense of entitlement and importance, ignore the needs of others and walk over them, and expect too much from others. Thus, the guilt and shame that would arise if they were to change their behaviour and what they fear will happen if they do will be what is causing them to abandon themselves.

What going on?

If this is just what is normal and they have more or less always been this way, it is likely to be due to what took place during their formative years. This is likely to have been a time when they had at least one parent who had an unhealthy sense of narcissism.

Consequently, they are likely to have just about always needed to be the centre of attention, had an overdeveloped sense of entitlement and importance, walked over others and disregarded their needs in the process, and expected too much. Furthermore, they would have lacked empathy and the ability to attune to others.

The Outcome

How they ended up would then have partly been a response to what this parent was like and partly a consequence of the fact that they would have missed out on the love that they needed to grow and develop in the right way. Of course, as this parent was unable to truly see them and give them what they needed, they would have been deeply wounded.

Still, while it would be easy to say that they just happened to go to the other end of the spectrum, there is likely to be far more to it. There is a chance that they were, and are, at least somewhat sensitive and had, and have, a well-developed ability to empathise.

A New Relationship

The truth is that there is nothing inherently wrong with their needs and they have the right to not only have a sense of self but to have their own life. What they can keep in mind, when it comes to their fear of being like their narcissistic parent, is that they have the ability to reflect on their behaviour.

So, if they do go to the other extreme, they are likely to soon realise this and correct their behaviour. Most likely, their narcissistic parent didn’t have this ability, which is why they were so destructive and didn’t change their behaviour.


If someone can relate to this and they are ready to change their life, they may need to reach out for external support. This is something that can be provided with the assistance of a therapist or healer.

Author's Bio: 

Author, transformational writer, teacher and consultant, Oliver JR Cooper, hails from England. His insightful commentary and analysis covers all aspects of human transformation, including love, partnership, self-love, self-worth, enmeshment, inner child, true self and inner awareness. With over three thousand, two hundred in-depth articles highlighting human psychology and behaviour, Oliver offers hope along with his sound advice.

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