Five Ways To Deal With a Narcissistic Parent
Are you trying to figure out how to navigate and deal with a narcissistic parent or family member? Then today’s Best Day Blog article for you. I’m going to be showing you five ways to deal with a narcissistic parent.
Tip #1 Acceptance
What keeps us from being able to deal with a narcissistic parent is that we keep trying to fix or figure out what’s going on. To accept that it can’t be figured out due to the narcissistic tendencies being created in their own childhoods, and therefore being out of your control, a few things have to be accepted about the parent:
- They will never listen
- They will never admit that they’re the problem (classic narcissistic trait)
- They will never compromise
- They will never care about you or care about the family truthfully in the way you hope.
- They will only care about power.
Narcissists only care about the world revolving around them and creating power for themselves. As sad as it may be, accepting that they will not love, adore and connect with you in the way that you deserve helps you move forward. To allow this to be accepted is devastating and very difficult to make peace with. Working through these emotions is important because you will not get the parenting you deserve. To read and understand this first point will be difficult, it can feel very final, and this will likely hit some tender points within yourself. It’s important to honor these feelings that are roused by understanding this. A small condolence in this realization is to remember that the cause of this is trauma that hasn’t been dealt with in the parent’s own life, which cannot be changed by you.
Tip #2 Turn everything around
This is a really powerful step that can help to create a separation between you feeling responsible for your parent’s pain and the truth that you are not – turn everything around. The negativity, insults, blame, manipulation, belittling, and anger are all a projection of their own self-loathing and pain. It is not yours. It has never been yours, and it is not your burden to carry. A great way to move through this is to write down all the ways they have blamed, shamed, guilted, and criticized you. Then flip it and write it in the first person from their point of view. This turns what is being said that’s hurtful from ‘You are to blame for my misery’ to ’I am to blame for my misery’ (which is, in fact, accurate). So, turn every ‘You’ statement that has tried to make you the problem into an ‘I’ statement.
This can provide a very visceral understanding of how your parent feels about themselves. While we may empathize, it is critical that we don’t excuse or minimize or condone their choice not to seek help and heal their pain. Again, it is their pain to carry, and it is their job to heal it, not ours.
Tip #3 Don’t stand in front of the abuse any longer
You’ve likely been trying, for years, to work it out with your parent. This has to end for your own benefit. Creating a boundary that says you will not stand in front of this abuse any longer is powerful. To do this, the moment it feels as though negative comments are going to come up, a simple statement such as ‘This conversation is no longer working for me, I’m going to leave’ will create a wall of pleasantness and a boundary that protects yourself. No longer try to engage or reason with them, as this won’t work. Leave, get out and commit to no longer standing in front of the abuse.
Tip #4 Set boundaries with them
As you would a child, you must set boundaries with narcissists. The emotional capabilities of a narcissist are somewhat regressed from that of a non-narcissistic adult because they become stuck in the usually healthy stage of narcissistic development that happens around age 3-6. While most children grow out of this, those that become narcissists in adult life become get stuck here. Therefore, you must be firm with the boundaries you set and enact consequences immediately. It may feel a lot like you’re disciplining a child, and in effect, this is because you are. You must put your foot down and take responsibility for the boundaries you’re setting.
A key to this is instead of making your boundary about them (i.e., ‘You’re making me feel this way, so I need to leave’), it must be about yourself (‘This behavior doesn’t work for me, and I won’t tolerate it’), so that it’s really clear. You can let them know that if they do decide to stop using offensive or abusive language, you are open to talking to them, but until then, your boundary will stop you from interacting with them – and then stick to your boundary and leave. To learn more about boundaries, take advantage of my free download, How To Keep Our Boundaries In 3 Simple Steps.
Tip #5 Start prioritizing yourself
Get into recovery. This requires working with trauma and codependency recovery specialists to get the healing your parents have never pursued. This work will allow you to reparent yourself because you weren’t parented as you deserved. You are allowing somebody to teach you how to heal and parent yourself will greatly benefit you on this journey. Develop self-love. Accomplish this by learning how to say no and releasing guilt around loving yourself. I have a whole section on self-love on my website here: https://kennyweiss.net/category/self-love/ Here, you will find helpful material that can teach you how to prioritize yourself, as well as free exercises.
These five tips will help you on your way to dealing with a narcissistic parent. Take advantage of the free downloads and exercises I have provided for you here – https://kennyweiss.net/resources/
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