Adult Children of Narcissistic Parents: The Echoes by Beth McLarnan


Although the process of healing is difficult, it is possible for the Echo to find their voice and live a healthy life. If their therapist or counselor is familiar with the narcissistic family system, it is not difficult to spot an Echo client who displays ACOA symptoms, but whose childhood seemed “fine”.

What prevents someone who was raised in a narcissistic family from becoming one? It is the presence of an adult in their life: a teacher, parent, aunt or neighbor, who,knowingly or unknowingly, loved, and accepted them. If there was one person who did not get mad if they made a mistake, or did not expect anything in return if they did the child a favor, then through this healthy “mirror”, they could see themselves reflected as valuable, unique and loveable. They could experience being “good enough”,  just as they are. It is this same positive parent-child model that will help heal the adult child of a narcissist. Not tough love, not behavior

modification or psychoanalysis, but a healthy, truthful mirror of the client‟s inherent beauty
that is not based on what they do, but who they are. The beauty is flawed, imperfect, and prone to all sorts of mistakes, and miss-steps; but these are to be accepted, and learned from, not feared. That is the truth that will finally set the Echo child free…[READ MORE]

6 thoughts on “Adult Children of Narcissistic Parents: The Echoes by Beth McLarnan

  1. I read “Children of the Self Absorbed” several years back and it changed my life. Until then I thought that it was on me to fix my relationship with my mother. I thought for sure that if I found the right words, I could heal our disfunction. After reading that book, I realized I had been groomed and trained to do just that, with everything. See how it was my fault, always. It’s hard to balance familial obligations and disfunction.

    • I thank you for sharing that. I will definitely take a look at it. This whole experience was an education and in a way I am thankful because it led me to understanding certain things. I have worked hard towards acceptance of certain misgivings but more importantly have learned boundaries. It is always a touchy subject with mother/child relations and I feel very strongly that it is a personal decision in terms of what one elects to do in a search for inner peace, closure and serenity. What has served me well however was becoming enlightened that oftentimes what I would assume responsibility for isn’t always ‘my ‘ish’…I can also see why certain bad choices were made in my own personal life and while people preach ‘accountability’ one cannot be accountable for those things which they are unaware of. You used the word ‘groomed’…that about says it all. Thank you so much for your insight and for the book suggestion. A pleasure connecting with you and I really enjoyed your blog…in fact, just today was saying: “That’s what I’m gonna do! 10 things out the door every day!” I have Fibro and CFS and maintaining my home is a bit of a challenge. It’s not dirty but cluttered and I want empty and easy. Be blessed…

  2. I hope I am that adult for my stepchildren- who have a narcissistic biological mother- that provides them with a good model and mirror. I sometimes feel so overwhelmed by the mother’s never-ending chaos (and of course, delusional sense of control) that I worry for myself and the children. Thanks for hope. 🙂

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