One of the most difficult personality disorders to deal with is Narcissistic Personality Disorder. It becomes even more difficult when the person who has this disorder is your own parent. I know. Both of my parents had this disorder.
The narcissistic parent is selfish to the max. He or she must be the center of attention, even if that means hurting others (including his or her own child) or making him or herself look foolish. If this person is not the center of attention, he or she can get anxious or irritable.
He or she says the cruelest things imaginable to his or her own children. Hurting others builds up narcissists’ self esteem, which is why they hurt others so frequently and cruelly. They feel no guilt for this.
They also completely lack empathy. The pain and suffering of others means nothing to a narcissist, even that of their own child.
Narcissists often act as though they think they are much more important than they really are. Overt narcissists come across as extremely arrogant although the fact is that many are very insecure inside. This sense of grandiosity makes narcissists very concerned with appearances. While they may act foolish, so long as they drive the right car, live in the right neighborhood, wear the right clothes, or people think what the narcissist wants them to think about him or her, all is fine in a narcissist’s little world.
Covert narcissists come across much quieter and more humble, but do not be fooled – they are just as concerned as their overt brothers and sisters as appearances. They prefer to go about it in a different way though, by appearing humble, giving and meek. More differences in their behavior can be found here.
Narcissists are also very manipulative. They seem to believe people are here only to meet their needs.
Possibly the worst feature of this personality disorder is their lack of ability to see that she has a problem. The narcissist believes everyone else has a problem, only the narcissist is fine. This lack of seeing a problem means the narcissist will not get the psychological help he she needs, or even simply change the awful behavior. Or, if the narcissist does see a counselor, chances are excellent he or she can manipulate that person, because counselors receive very little training about Narcissistic Personality Disorder and other Cluster B personality disorders.
Narcissistic mothers come in two varieties – engulfing or ignoring. Engulfing narcissistic mothers hover over their child. They control their child’s every move, and everything the child does needs to be known by the mother. Ignoring narcissistic mothers are the opposite – they could not care less about their child. What the child does, who his or her friends are, grades…. none of this means anything to the ignoring narcissistic mother. Many narcissistic mothers go back and forth between engulfing and ignoring.
I believe narcissistic fathers can be the same way, engulfing or ignoring.
Unfortunately, dealing with a narcissistic parent is very difficult. Since it is unlikely your narcissistic parent will change, your first step in dealing with your parent is accepting that fact. If you understand this, then you will stop expecting your parent to change, to be loving, to be supportive or to be a “normal” parent. Few things are more painful than thinking, “This time, he or she has to know that I need him or her, and he or she will be different!” Then instead, your parent proves this time is just like every other time, and your parent crushes your spirit with a total lack of empathy or cruel words.
This type of event does not need to crush you any longer! If you understand that this is how your mother or father functions, then you will release your expectations that your parent will be normal. Releasing the expectations frees you. You accept your parent as is, and when he or she is cruel to you, it no longer devastates you. It is rather hard to be devastated by what you know is going to happen.
To protect your mental health, limit your contact with your narcissistic parent. Why should you put yourself in a position to be frustrated or hurt constantly? Yes, we are talking about your parent, but there is no need to speak with him or her daily if you cannot handle this. You must protect your mental health.
For more information about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, see this link: Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Refuse to acknowledge the games. If your parent is pouting, let him or her pout. If he or she is using guilt in an attempt to force you to do something, do not give in. Read the page on The Controlling/Manipulative Parent for more tips.
Learn and enforce healthyboundaries.
You may end up needing to sever contact with your parent. I did. In spite of learning many ways to deal with my parents, our relationship was still too toxic. I cannot recommend you do this with your parent, but you need to be aware that it may be your best option as it was with me. For further information, click on this link Should I Go No Contact?
There is more information at this link: The Narcissist’s Arsenal. Here, I describe many of the weapons narcissists use to hurt their victims, and some ways to cope.
Be strong. God does not give us any more than we can handle, even though it feels that way sometimes. You can learn either ways to deal with your narcissistic parent or you can gather the strength to go no contact. God will help you if you let Him!
When you are trying to heal from a narcissistic parent’s abuse, you are going to have some very bad days sometimes, especially if the abused caused you to have C-PTSD. Those bad days, as awful as they are, are very normal. Please read this link for more information: Bad Days
On the road to healing, I personally found my relationship with God to be my greatest help. He helped me more than I can say. Prayer and meditating on His word, the Bible, helped so much. Learning who the Bible says I am as a child of God is not only inspiring and comforting, but helpful in the healing process. If you do not have a personal relationship with God, please read the page Salvation Through Jesus Christ for more information.