How to Manage a Relationship with a Narcissistic Parent image cover

How to Manage a Relationship with a Narcissistic Parent

Parenting and Family Therapy Services in Ottawa

Dealing with a narcissistic parent can be an incredibly difficult experience, and it can take a significant toll on your emotional well-being. 

Narcissistic parents tend to be self-absorbed and often place their own needs and desires above those of their children. Narcissistic parents may have a deep-seated sense of entitlement and superiority and believe they are special and deserve special treatment. They may be preoccupied with their own success, appearance, or status, and they may seek constant admiration and attention from others, including their children. 

Narcissistic parents are often emotionally abusive, manipulative, or controlling, and they may use their child as a tool to meet their own needs or to bolster their sense of self-importance.

If you are dealing with a narcissistic parent, there are several strategies that you can use to protect your mental health and find peace.

Set Boundaries

The first step in dealing with a narcissistic parent is to establish clear boundaries. Narcissistic parents often have a difficult time understanding the needs and feelings of others, so it is important to be direct and assertive when setting boundaries. This may include setting limits on how often you see or talk to your parent, refusing to engage in arguments or conversations that are hurtful or unproductive, and prioritizing your own needs and desires.

Setting boundaries can be difficult, but it is an important step in taking control of your own life and reducing the impact of your parent’s behavior on your mental health.

Practice Self-Care

Dealing with a narcissistic parent can be emotionally draining, so it is important to prioritize self-care. This may include engaging in activities that bring you joy and relaxation, such as exercise, meditation, or creative hobbies. It may also involve taking care of your physical health, such as getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and avoiding unhealthy coping mechanisms such as alcohol or drugs.

Self-care can help you maintain your emotional resilience and avoid becoming overwhelmed by the challenges of dealing with a narcissistic parent.

Focus on Your Own Growth

It can be challenging to maintain a positive relationship with a narcissistic parent, but focusing on your own personal growth can help you maintain a sense of purpose and meaning in your life. This may include pursuing education or career goals, developing new hobbies or interests, or engaging in volunteer work or community service.

By focusing on your own growth, you can develop a sense of independence and self-worth that is not dependent on the approval or validation of your parent.Seek professional help

Talking to someone who understands what you are going through can help you process your feelings, gain perspective on the situation, and develop strategies for coping with difficult situations.

Seek Therapy

If you are struggling to cope with the behavior of a narcissistic parent, it may be helpful to seek professional help. A therapist can provide guidance and support in navigating difficult family dynamics and may be able to provide specific strategies for dealing with a narcissistic parent.

A therapist can also help you work on some of the negative consequences of being raised by a parent who wasn’t able to meet your emotional needs. 

Practice Empathy

While it may be difficult to empathize with a narcissistic parent, it is important to remember that their behavior is often rooted in their own emotional pain and insecurity. By practicing empathy and trying to understand the underlying motivations behind their behavior, you may be able to reduce your own feelings of anger or frustration and develop a more compassionate perspective.

It is important to remember, however, that empathy does not mean accepting or condoning abusive behavior. It is still important to set boundaries and prioritize your own well-being.

Remember That You Are Not Alone

Dealing with a narcissistic parent can be an isolating experience, but it is important to remember that you are not alone. Many people have dealt with similar challenges, and there are resources available to help you navigate these difficult situations. Online support groups, therapy, and self-help books can all provide valuable guidance and support.

Dealing with a narcissistic parent can be a challenging experience, but it is possible to maintain your emotional well-being by using the strategies above and remember that it is okay to prioritize your own well-being and to seek help and support when you need it.

Below are some resources you may find helpful:

“Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers” by Karyl McBride (2010). This book is a guide for women who have grown up with narcissistic mothers and provides practical advice on how to heal from the emotional abuse inflicted by them.

“Children of the Self-Absorbed: A Grown-Up’s Guide to Getting Over Narcissistic Parents” by Nina W. Brown (2013). This book offers insights into the effects of narcissistic parents on adult children, and practical strategies for healing and moving forward.

“Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents” by Lindsay C. Gibson (2015). This book explores how emotionally immature parents often struggle to provide emotional support, validation, and guidance to their children, leading to lasting emotional wounds that can affect their adult lives. 

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