Yellow: What Is The Color Of Narcissism?


I don’t think the color of narcissism is yellow.

It’s just that every time I thought about writing this post, the song Yellow by Coldplay would start up in my head. I am not a huge Coldplay fan and I don’t know their songs very well…so all I get is: And it was all yellow. I’m not sure if those are even the right words. I also have no idea WHY this song keeps circling around. My brain doesn’t always inform me of why it thinks what it thinks.

The comments and emails I’ve read from my other narcissism posts have been familiar and touching and in a way, comforting. I would love the opportunity to sit and talk with every person who has identified with these posts. We are truly sisters and brothers.

One I read, however, created a visceral reaction. I tried to tell Randy what it said and what it meant to me without crying and I failed miserably.

The comment was from a woman named Shelley and her comment talked about how she never formed her own opinions. She said that she only expressed the opinions and feelings of ย her narc father. She said that as an adult she is average and beige and would like to learn more about her own likes or dislikes but finds the task so overwhelming that she shuts down.

The more I think about this, the more I realize what I have gone through and how much I’ve struggled with just learning how to be. I’ve struggled so many years with feeling nearly invisible. I felt that I had little substance.

Life is painful when you’ve been denied the opportunity to find your very own sense of self. It feels like the little match girl. You know there are lives out there but you are forever outside looking in. We never had the opportunity to learn to be.

From the perspective of a child raised by a narcissist, I would say the color of narcissism is beige.

My house is bright and bold. I have deep red walls and bright yellow walls and some blue ceilings. I LOVE bold colors. I wonder now if my attraction to bold colors are so they can reflect back to me and fill in all the beige places.

I am happy to say that over the years I have managed to scrape together my very own identity. It’s quirky and difficult sometimes but it is all mine. I learn every day to appreciate the person I am and to stop mourning the unknown person that I might have been. That’s not to say that I don’t let the color beige occupy space in me. ย I’m finding ways to brighten that shit up all the time.

We all need color in our lives and our hearts. We need to feel passionate about what we find beautiful, what we find sad and what we find wrong. Our opinions, our likes and dislikes determine just about everything we do. It decides what books to buy, ย what jobs to work and how to paint our walls.

Please don’t give up on who you are.

You are valid.

Find a way to bring color into your sense of self. Maybe just a little at time so you can get used to it. Then learn to love and embrace each step without it overwhelming you. I can’t tell you HOW to do that, I’m still learning myself. I know that I have to talk myself into trusting my thoughts and my decisions every day. I am trusting them more easily and quickly all the time.

This post is for Shelley. I’m right here with you, sister.

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  • I always thought of it as an uncolored hole, which would be black. That is very cliche now that I think about it. I find myself trying to fill my black with darker colors still. It’s a work-in-progress still.

    • I understand that as well. My defense mechanism has traditionally been to be sarcastic and caustic. It has become a part of me and I suspect it always will be. I’m working at brightening myself up a bit.

      Not so much to scare people, though. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • You are so not beige to me. And what I find interesting is all the ways we appear to others, in order to hide our beige-ness. For me it’s not a color, it’s just “blank.”

    And like you, over the years I have moved away from neutral colors in my home and now have deep red walls, blue walls, yellow walls, and orange walls! And yet? I mostly wear black and white and blue denim. But I gravitate towards rich, quality fabrics. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thats funny! we have the same walls! And like you…I wear a lot of denim, blacks and browns.

      Hubs says I look good in bold colors, but I tend to shy away from wearing them. That’s interesting.

      And thank you..your comments always make me smile!

  • I find that personally, beige was a step up from blank. Like, at least it’s a direction. I’m still, still working on both moving beyond beige myself, and letting my children express their own colorful selves.

    And I think I’ve said before, finding passions is ongoing and somewhat tedious. Sometimes all I’m passionate about is sitting on the couch!

    I hope Shelley gets to see this one ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I hope she does too!

      And being passionate about sitting on the couch is AWESOME! I am passionate about laying in bed and watching TV with my big man.

  • Wow. I really identified with this post. I have never felt special or pretty. Always just felt like a “plain Jane” – I keep trying to figure out who I am, but I too, get overwhelmed. I can’t think of much I am passionate about. Which makes me sad. I feel like everything I’ve done was to try and gain favor with my narc step-mom. Which of course has failed miserably. (In her words I’m a disappointment & embarrassment to the family.) I think beige is the exact color I would use to describe myself. Thank you so much for writing these posts. You are helping me more than you know.

    • I’m so glad.

      We’ll figure this out because we survived this shit, so that makes us bad asses who can do ANYTHING.

      and fuck your step-mom…

      Are you still in contact with her?

      • I am not in contact with her. I stood up to her in 2009. Now I’m the devil. I’d spent a few years as the golden child. Both have been equally difficult. She won’t allow my father to have contact with me either. That’s one of the hardest parts to deal with.

        • I’m glad you have no contact with her. I’m sorry about your dad, though. That has to be painful.

          My son had a stepmother very much a narcissist and his dad pretty much broke off all contact with him when he was very young.

          My ex and his wife split around 8 years ago and then she got sick and died horribly. My son (26) and his dad have been rebuilding their relationship. Neither of us grieved at all when she died.

  • Thank you so much. It is funny that you choose the color yellow in the title. I actually have had lots of internal contemplation about yellow. Up until last year (when I discovered my anxiety problems were rooted in my father’s narcissism), I would have told you my favorite color was yellow. But I actually realized that I prefer greens and blues and own virtually nothing yellow. I have a vivid memory of being around 4 years old and my dad carrying me through a furniture store. He showed me a canopy bed and dressers that were yellow (it was the 70’s). Then he took me over to my mom and told her that was the one I picked out. I actually did not like it. I wanted the white one like my sister. But I got yellow. And even though I wanted the blue flowered bedspread, I got the yellow one. And the yellow dress, and toothbrush, and lunchbox and bike… and so it was implied and I accepted that yellow was “my favorite color”. It all clicked for me one day a few weeks ago when my son, pointing to a yellow shirt said, “That looks like Grandpa’s shirt.” My dad wears yellow all the time. He lives in a yellow house. He has a yellow bedroom. His favorite color is yellow.
    My husband is very understanding, but this is one of the revelations that I just keep to myself. To someone who doesn’t know the experience of growing up trying to constantly please someone who will never give you their approval, an analysis of a favorite color would seem so frivolous. I don’t want to sound spoiled and ungrateful for all the things I was provided as a child, no matter the color. I know there are childhood tragedies and abuse that are far more severe than riding an ugly yellow bike. I’m thankful that I have found a group that can relate.
    So to try to un-beige and un-yellow myself, I recently painted my office teal. And I like it. My dad hasn’t seen it.

    • We do this to ourselves all the time. We minimize what happened to us…it was just a color.

      No! It negated you. You weren’t allowed to have your own opinion and you were not allowed to develop emotionally the way a human needs to. This is not a small’s something that caused you pain for most of your life and affects you in so many ways. This is valid.

      I do the same thing. Well…it’s so much worse for (fill in the blank) and that may be true..BUT that doesn’t take away what we deal with. It doesn’t mean we should minimize it. I think you discovering that you really don’t like the color yellow is amazing and something that helps you understand who you are and what you’ve come from.

      I’m so glad I picked yellow. Weird..this is odd. I still don’t know why that song kept going through my head. Maybe I have yellow issues as well…

      We just painted our officer recently as well. Lafawnda Teal was the color. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I love happy little universe accident/coincidences like that. Also, teal is rad.

      Shelley- It’s not just a favorite color revelation-it’s an identity revelation. That’s important. It’s you. I understand, and keep things like that to myself sometimes, too. I’m not trying to say you should or shouldn’t. I just wanted to say, uncovering YOU is important. Especially after how much “covering” up your dad did to you.

  • I just found you and I am so glad I followed a link about a funny fake bear head only to trip over the title of your blog post. I grew up with a Narc and a sociopath, and as of July I have come to realize I have spent the last 7 years married to one….I had no idea. None. Every red flag was there, every marker and sign post and I was struck love blind. Now, I must try and untangle my life from his. To be more accurate I must clear the thicket of thorny brush that was all of him and find the small, thin, translucent shoots that make up me. My thoughts, my wants…it is overwhelming. All this rambling to say, thank you…I feel like an alien in a world of people who have no idea of the whys of my fears and somehow…ashamed to be here…in this place again. A small forgotten child with no voice surrounded by adults wagging fingers.

    • You are not alone!

      I had no idea that one little post about narcissism a while ago would introduce me to so many people who actually understood what I’ve felt for most of my life…I don’t want anyone to suffer through this..but I’m also glad to not be alone.

      I’m glad you found my blog as well..there’s some amazing people hanging around here. And good luck, sister..I can’t imagine what you have in front of you will be easy.

      Do you have access to counseling?

      • Thank you. Yes I do. Ugh, I cannot believe it! I was just congratulating myself for healing from a childhood filled with sexual abuse and neglect and finding my own voice when BAM…the loving man I married turned into my worse nightmare. He loved me broken and small and pliable…. I am thankful for the harsh truth…I can live in that better than a well crafted lie. I am learning so much and I realize I have so far to go and that is okay…that is the point, to just keep going and learning and oh yes clearly counseling will be involved!

        • I so wish this were different for you…and my thoughts are with you.

          I hope you come out on the other side filled with strength and self-acceptance.

  • Hi,

    THANK YOU! Thank you! Thank you for your blog and eloquent thoughts on growing up as the child of a narcissist. So much of what you’ve written mirrors the shitty experiences that I had as a child in that same situation. The indifference and hostility and lack of love…anyways I remember someone asking me my favorite color in 4th grade. I said pastels, ALL PASTELS! (WTH?!) That seemed most agreeable to me at the time. Our narc parent had decided the children’s favorite colors and favorite ice cream flavors. I think he was just too tired and uninterested to enforce it by the time I came around as the last kid.

    • I am so glad you are here! You are definitely not alone. I am so sad that you were raised that way, I know how painful it is and how much it stays with you. Here’s to you! XOXOXXO

By Michelle


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