Narcissists aspire to perfection. In their sphere of influence they pursue perfection at every moment in every circumstance. Because of this transcendent need to keep up the illusion of perfection, the children of narcissists are taught early on to hide the family's skeletons. The sermon is oft preached that there will be no exposure of the internal workings of the family to those outside the walls of the house. This imperative is enforced ruthlessly using behavior modification techniques which can include derision and mockery right up to physical abuse. There are grave penalties for talking to "outsiders" for the narcissist-ruled family.
This is one way that a narcissist's family resembles a cult. Family members are cut off from the outside. Outsiders can, and usually do, include extended family. Children are taught that it is a mortal sin to violate the "no talk" rule. These rules are even more stringent when there is physical and sexual abuse in the home. In this way, the family becomes an appendage to the narcissist's illusion of perfection. They are forced to share and support his delusions. A House of Insanity which presents as the House of Perfection to those on the outside looking in.
The narcissist runs his home like a small dictatorship. Like any dictator he issues rules of speech. "Political" correctness rules the day and the home. If there is a truth that reflects poorly on the narcissist then speaking of that truth becomes a punishable offense. The more safe a narcissist is from exposure, the more egregious his crimes become. Like any despot he rules with an iron fist. You may even have to deal with that fist being planted in your face.
The more oppressive the nature of the regime of the narcissist is the more likely his little fiefdom will collapse from within. Humans are equipped with a built-in desire for freedom. Rebellion will often rise up in the heart of at least one of his subjects. The moment one of the members of his family lets go of the shared delusion -- mutiny is born.
Secretiveness and false reality built his kingdom. The converse will destroy it. Talking to each other, or a sympathetic outsider, and a rejection of the lies and falsity of the narcissist spell doom for his fascist rule. He will have a very hard time reconstructing his false reality if a defector lives outside his control. The mirror will be broken or, at least, very cracked. The psychosis is no longer shared therefore the narcissist has a much harder time maintaining his false reality in his own head.
You want to shake up the world of the narcissist? Live outside his control; live outside his false reality. It is like the burr under the saddle. It will chafe and rub him all the days of his miserable life while you go on to barely even think of him. To quote from yesterday's mentioned movie, Ever After,
"I want you to know that I will forget you after this moment, and never think of you again. But you, I am quite certain, will think about me every single day for the rest of your life."
That is the sweet revenge which will forever disturb the peace of the narcissist while concurrently insuring you have peace in your own life. It is a healthy revenge which will not rot your own soul.
The absolutely most devastating behavior (to the narcissist) to develop in his subjects is if they start comparing notes. Narcissists instinctively use "divide and conquer" to gain the upper hand in their fiefdom whether that is the home or the work place or the non-profit organization. He uses lies and gossip to develop animosity and jealousy between people. Individuals will often end up cutting themselves off from those around them thinking they did it themselves not realizing how the narcissist set them up to do this from the beginning. The social configuration narcissists are always striving for resembles a bicycle wheel. The narcissist at the center from which all the spokes are attached. None of the spokes are directly attached to another spoke. This is the social configuration that guarantees the security of the narcissist.
Disorganizing the bicycle wheel is the only way to break the power of a narcissist in whatever sphere they have set up their dictatorship. For children of narcissists this can be rendered very difficult to do. They have been taught from their earliest moments that it is actually sinful to talk with someone else about the narcissist or what happens in the home. It feels wrong to do it. Adult children of narcissists often struggle with how wrong it feels to confront the evil in their family. How wrong it feels to talk to an "outsider" about the dysfunction and abuse they've experienced. This feeling was reinforced by the time or two it was tried and a outsider dismissed what they were hearing as being gross exaggerations and question the sanity of the person revealing these insanities rather than believe that a parent can be so evil.
If you, as an adult child of a narcissist, are going to break free from the tyrannical rule of your parent(s) you are first going to have to talk. You are going to have to go against how it feels in order to actually do the right thing. Your feelings say "wrong", but the reality is that wrong is right. Your world was inverted by the narcissist. You've likely been taught many things that are wrong. You grew up believing wrong was right in many areas; your own moral compass has been warped by association with the narcissist. You need some re-work of your own soul. You are going to have to start thinking your way through life rather than emoting. You're going to have to re-analyze what you have assumed to be true and examining each tenet of your core of beliefs to see if they hold up to scrutiny in the light of day. You're going to have to face some uncomfortable truths about yourself. It is not easy to escape the Dictator. You may even escape physically and still be ruled by the Dictator from afar through your own misdirected conscience.
I have come on this theme before. That of knowing yourself. It really is an imperative if you are to find freedom from the narcissist. There are tentacles wrapped around your brain which must be extricated one by one if you are to ultimately own your mind and your life. This is a project for the brave of heart. If you aren't willing to face some of the uglies of the past, including your own mistakes and misdeeds, then you will never be free. If you are morally and intellectually weak you will remain a slave to your master or mistress. If you are afraid of the truth of who the narcissist is, and of who you are, then you are going to remain a servant to evil. A servant of evil is himself the same as what he serves. Know that.
George Bernard Shaw must have understood the narcissist ruled family when he penned these words of insight:
"A family is a tyranny ruled over by its weakest member."