The backtracking I described in my previous post, “The Onion“, led me a book that described my situation like no other: The Narcissistic Family: Diagnosis and Treatment by Stephanie Donaldson-Pressman and Robert M. Pressman, published by Jossey-Bass Publishers in San Francisco.

Before I get into what I learned, I want to emphasize that I do not believe that either of my parents are textbook, diagnosable narcissists – not that I’m anything but an armchair psychologist, but the totality of their behavior does not support this. I believe them to be honest, well-meaning, and often (sometimes too often) selfless people. (I do know that one of my parents’ siblings was diagnosed as having NPD in recent years, so perhaps that parent was negatively influenced by this person, particularly in childhood.)

The general dynamics of our family smacked heavily of narcissistic patterns and influence, which is what the book describes…

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