The lost child really is quite insightful to the emotionally dangerous family dynamics in a narcissistic family setting – and they pick up on the dysfunction at a very young age. Unlike the golden child and the scapegoat – the lost child of a narcissist quickly comes to the conclusion that this family is terribly dysfunctional. This child realises very early on in the picture that absolutely no amount of reasoning, or debate with their care – givers will help them, or their siblings.
After enduring some very harsh punishments for having a voice; or public shaming (in front of friends or family) for needing support, the lost child will realise that asking for their needs to be met simply doesn’t pay. Normal requests validated in functional families are invalidated in the lost child’s family, and always end in severe punishment.
This child immediately realises that they can not fix this family situation; and must not try to divert the attention away from the narcissistic parent, just in case all hell breaks loose. Becoming involved in the family conflict, messing with the narcissist, and supporting other family members means that this child could be dragged out to sea; to only become caught in the rift.
To be noticed in this dysfunctional family does more harm than good. To be invisible means to be seperate from the pain, suffering, and abuse spewed out all over the other siblings.
‘So, into their safe place, the lost child goes.’
Once the lost child comes to a conclusion about the family dynamics, they initiate a very well thought out plan; most likely developed subconsciously. They decide to go grey rock, and make limited demands from their family, in the hope of not being a burden, and drawing attention to themselves.
What are the consequences of hiding away?
As a result, the lost child is often excluded, forgotten about to a degree, and not involved in family matters. Overall, these consequences do keep the child safe. However, the child may feel terribly lonely, rejected and isolated.
Its a catch twenty two. The lost child gets what they want and need; but they also become rejected, and left feeling terribly unloved because they have no real close relationships with anybody in the family unit. These children often feel happier when with pets, or a favourite toy that can take them into an imaginative world of their own making.
How does a lost child stay out of the limelight?
The lost child is the child without a voice. They don’t make waves, and pretend to not have a problem with anyone in their family – or the dysfunction in the family. They spend an incredible amount of time out of sight, and away from the drama.
Lost children spend their time:
Out of sight, out of mind
Lost children are labelled by the dysfunctional family as the shy child, are often encouraged to participate more in classroom activities; and most often appear disengaged, or disconnected from others.
Which direction does the child take?
1. I must not bother anybody:
As an adult, the lost child may become too independent, knowing that asking for support will cause absolute chaos, and a rift with the narcissistic parent – who, of course, must have all the attention.
2. Social anxiety, and a lack of close relationships:
Lost children have been isolating themselves since child – hood as a safety mechanism. However, the chronic isolation may cause them to feel socially incapable later in adult life, and to experience severe social anxiety around people. If people become interested in the lost adult – child, the adult may panic, and go back inside of themselves.
Lost children run the risk of becoming extreme introverts.
Healthy relationships and lost children
These children never learned to trust people, because trusting people in childhood meant they could become physically, and emotionally harmed.
Lost children are often too scared to forge relationships with healthy people, through fear that other people will reject them like their parents did. They’ve been hurt too much. The idea of becoming close to other people, and getting hurt again makes them feel sick, and terribly anxious. They usually steer clear of close interpersonal relationships.
However, it is not unusual for lost children to have one ultra close friend.
The issue with isolation
Too much isolation isn’t good for one’s confidence or self-esteem. It can also cause chronic loneliness, agoraphobia type symptoms, paranoia, suicidal thoughts, and feelings of intense rejection.
The narcissistic family system is an unsupportive, self-serving family system where a survival of…
Cognitive dissonance is an abuse tactic utilised by the narcissistic abuser to confuse the…