top of page

The Cult System of the Narcissistic Family

The narcissistic family system can best be described as a cult system. There is generally a narcissist who assumes the leadership position. This person sets the rules and expectations for everyone else in the household. Each person in the family is given a role and they are expected to stick to their role. Failing to perform your role, or challenging the leader, will result in the rest of the family disowning or speaking ill of you to others.

Here is a breakdown of the family dynamics.

The Narcissist:

There are several types of narcissists, but the general characteristics of a narcissist are:

  1. A belief that they are special and more capable than others.

  2. They have a preoccupation with fantasies.

  3. They need to be admired and told that they are special.

  4. They believe that others are envious of them, or they envy others.

  5. They need to have the best things to prove they are special.

  6. Lack of empathy.

There can be more than one narcissist in a narcissistic family. However, one is usually seen as the leader.

The Golden Child:

In the eyes of the narcissist, the golden child can do no wrong. They are the favorite child. Everyone in the family is expected to do everything for the golden child and to make sure the golden child is happy. The golden child is expected to follow the narcissist and live up to their expectations.

The pressure that is put on the golden child can become overwhelming to handle. Like most family members in the narcissistic family cult, the golden child can lose their sense of self because they are trying to please the narcissist. Being in such a position can also cause them to believe they are more important than others, causing an inflated sense of worth.

The Scapegoat Child:

The scapegoat child is the child who the narcissist sees as the problem. This child is usually picked on by all members of the narcissistic cult family. Abuse can range from emotional to physical.

The scapegoat child is often the child who sees that the family dynamics are unhealthy, or unfair. The scapegoat will often times challenge the narcissist, or other family members. Often, the scapegoat will escape the family dynamic to become the black sheep of the family.

Flying Monkeys:

Flying monkey refers to the family members who do the “dirty work” for the narcissist. They will go after anyone who is challenging the narcissist. This can include abusing the challenging family member or speaking bad of them to other family members.

The Enabler:

Often times the enabler is the other spouse. They allow, and even help the narcissist control everything within the family. They do not speak up or challenge the narcissist. The narcissist family often lives as its own unit, away from extended family. To see the narcissistic family from the outside, it would appear that they are a loving, caring family. The family members know how to carry on the charade, to make sure no one outside of the family knows what is going on.


If you are looking for books on narcissistic abuse and healing, here are some that have helped me. Note that I may receive compensation for any books that are purchased using the included links.



Hi, thanks for stopping by!

Thank you for stopping by my blog. Please sign up to receive notifications of new posts. Let me know if I can help you on your journey. 

Let the posts
come to you.

Thanks for submitting!

  • Medium
  • TikTok
  • Youtube
  • Instagram
  • Facebook
bottom of page