How Narcissistic Parents Gaslight Their Children: The Fake Photo On The Mirror Trick


Narcissists do not see their children as separate people who have the right to experience life from their angle. There is no choice in their heads in which children are responsible for their own lives “unassisted” by the narcissist. – Diana Massey, Narcissistic Mothers and Covert Emotional Abuse: For the Adult Children of Narcissistic Fathers

You have been inadvertently manipulated into believing that you are a broken person and not good enough to believe that you are real. But it is nothing more than the result of illuminating narcissistic parents.

SLDs/Codependents in their relationship with adults will present the luminous version of their identity. I call it a self-illuminated novel.

Instead of having a healthy narrative based on people who love, respect, and care about you, this narrative about yourself and your self-esteem, is based on what the narcissist needs you to be.

As a child of gas-savvy parents, you had to figure out a way to be loved by your narcissistic parents. So, you have adopted their version of what they want you to be. You had to find a way to be a “memorial” kid.

Since the child’s mind is flexible and weak, you have replaced your version with the one that your parents needed. For example, maybe you wanted to be an athlete, but your narcissistic father wanted you to be a musician.

You’ve given up your after-school sports programs for music lessons, to be what your dad wants you to be. You’ve taped a fake over the real version of yourself (what the mirror will show) to get the “conditional” love you want.


The Difference Between A Narcissistic Parent And Normal Parent

If you had what I would call “natural parents”, parents who make mistakes, who don’t always know the right thing to do, but who love you unconditionally, they would have embraced your dreams, tried to provide some reality, but they didn’t erase them.

By contrast, your narcissistic father asked you to get rid of your dreams, narratives, and perceptions of what you want, and somehow take their beliefs to receive their conditional love.

Why Most Codependents Had Parents Who Gaslit Them

SLDs/Codependents were children who were subject to brainwashing by their narcissistic parents.

All children need unconditional love, respect, and care to become healthy adults. The absence of it freezes their healthy development and becomes the basis for future psychological problems, especially dependence on others.

Children who have experienced this, grow up to be adults dependent on a lit version of their personality. Who they are, who they want to be, the emotions they have, and what they like are not theirs. It’s as if someone planted a copy of it and they approved it and got along with it.

How The Fake Photo Trick Works for Gaslit Adults

I came up with a metaphor and called it “Fake Image Recording on a Mirror Trick”.

It’s a great metaphor to explain how dependent people, especially in recovery, understand who they are, what makes them happy and feel loved, and what they like and don’t like.

They realize that they have spent most of their lives believing in self-concept and likes and dislikes, which were not their own. Through this treatment process and this explanation, I help them understand that he was transplanted.

It was through a form of gaslighting, which is the systematic indoctrination of another person’s beliefs or desires for what they need you to believe, to satisfy their narcissistic needs.


A mirror always, for the most part, reflects the exact image you encounter. Someone put a distorted picture of you in the mirror and then said that’s you. You will look in the mirror and see this distorted version of yourself. You would say, well, the mirror doesn’t lie, that’s the way I look. You will accept it as your “reality” because you trust the mirror.

This is where this metaphor can help. I often use this metaphor to help the dependent person understand what they are and what they are not. The fake image mirror trick is a simplified way to understand gaslighting.

Someone you love and trust, taped a “photo” of yourself, on a mirror, and convinced you that it was you. You never question a mirror because you think it’s a mirror. Weak and unable to tell the difference. Your narcissistic parent cheated on you.

You identified yourself with that fake photo taped and taped to the mirror.

It is difficult for people raised by pathological narcissists to identify likes and dislikes and notions of who they are and what they are not. If you were lit by the gas fire, you wouldn’t know the answer to these questions. Only you will know what you have been told and what you believe in from the narcissist.

To get around this distorted belief, you have to realize that maybe some of the bad things that you think you are, aren’t you. And maybe after years and years of secret indoctrination, you’ve adopted false narratives about yourself.

It’s time to take the image out of the mirror and be brave enough to look at it. Realizing that the unloved person you see in the mirror is not real. It has been manipulated to reflect the story of the narcissistic parent.

The Fake Photo on the Mirror Trick

The narcissist’s perception of you has always been skewed by his desire or, worse yet, by his need. If they recognize your beauty and verbally affirm it, they will claim it as one of their well-deserved accolades. Your “so-called” beauty has become their precious possession that induces flattery and which, at best, will make them temporarily happy with themselves.

It’s time for you to realize the basic tricks of trading. This was used to pit you against yourself, keeping you under their thumb the entire time. They knew that if you saw your true inner beauty, the resulting self-love would thwart their plans to control you. They replaced your psychological mirror with one with a “fake picture”.