So, you have just discovered that you have a narcissistic parent. If you are unsure, you can read Daughter of a Narcissistic Mom to clarify. Here, we will discuss the effects, but also offer some further insight to help you heal and take control of your life. The greatest defense against a narcissist, is education and awareness. Understand who you are dealing with and the effects will diminish.
Narcissism is listed in the DSM 5 as a spectrum disorder, which means it exists on a continuum ranging from a few narcissistic traits to the full-blown personality disorder. This is far more prevalent in men, but the American Psychiatric Association estimates that there are approximately 1.5 million American women with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. It should be noted that moms will have a greater effect on their daughters and dads will effect their sons.
9 Traits of Narcissistic Personality Disorder
In layman’s terms this means:
- Nothing will ever be the fault of an NP (narcissistic parent)
- The NP will never be there for you. Ever. No matter what.
- An NP will always be the victim.
- Everything will be twisted to be about the NP.
- The NP will never admit to being wrong or take responsibility for his/her actions.
- Silent treatment or neglect can go on for extended periods of time, especially if you have pointed out their flaws.
- When you withdraw your support, he or she will make you out to be the bad guy and invent stories about you.
- There is a lack of empathy or regard for others.
- The narcissistic parent will present a public face, but privately will be very different.
- An NP will set children against each other – triangulation is manipulation.
- Guilt is a common tool.
How to help yourself through the effects of a narcissistic parent
1. Educate yourself
Learn all you can about the narcissistic spectrum, the traits and the effects. You only have to enter narcissism in your search browser to find an array of helpful information.
2. Understand that you will not change your parent
You have no control over them, you can only control YOU. Because of the elevated sense of self with a narcissistic parent, he or she will rarely seek help or work to change. There is a cycle of abuse which includes a honeymoon period or calm state and this should not be misinterpreted for a willingness to change.
4. Recognise the enabling parent
If your parent is in a relationship, chances are really good that the other parent is enabling the behaviours. What does that really mean? By going along with and/or excusing the narcissist’s abusive behavior, enablers essentially “normalize” and sustain it. Sometimes enablers also assist the narcissist in her dirty work, condoning and perpetuating her abuse. By not naming the abuse and not protecting their kids from it, enablers become complicit, even if they are also victimized by it.
4. Assess the roles within your family
A dysfunctional family requires its members to adapt to specific roles in order to maintain the very distorted level of “normal”.
5. Create some healthy boundaries for yourself
A narcissistic parent is not capable of boundaries and as a result, has not taught you to have safe, healthy boundaries.
- Self-care – take some time to care for yourself: connect with nature, hang out with friends, journal or exercise, just to offer some simple examples.
- Speak – as a child of a narcissist, you have been taught to hold the family secrets. Talk to people about your life at home. The more awareness you create, the less power your parent will have over you.
- Support – seek professional support, someone who is well versed in NPD.
- Say NO – learn to say NO. You have been conditioned to agree to any and all demands made by your parent. Give yourself permission to say NO.
Your NP has programmed you to accept the standards they have laid out for you. Begin to create your own standards for how you deserve to be treated, how you should behave, what hobbies you enjoy and future careers you may enjoy. I will link a post about Core Values at a later date which will be very helpful in determining who you are.
7. Stop accepting the consequences for their actions
As stated above, an narcissistic parent is unable to accept blame or responsibility for their actions. He or she needs you to accept the consequences for them. Stop. Narcissists are experts at projecting blame and responsibility but you need to understand that none of this is your fault!!
8. Connect with your siblings
One of the key abuse tactics used by an NP is triangulation. They will shame one sibling in front of another or they will blame one child’s loss of privilege on another. One sibling will appear to always receive special treatment, thus pitting the others against him or her. The NP looses power when siblings begin to respond as a team. As you are researching the effects of an NP, share this information with the scapegoat, lost child or the mascot first. Once allegiance has been formed here, you can start to work on the hero and the placater.
9. Be aware of your own self-destructive behaviours
You are more likely to engage in self-destructive behaviour patterns such as substance abuse, addiction, self-harm or thrill-seeking adventures. The root cause of all of these is an extremely low level of self-esteem and sense of self. Because you have been raised to believe that nothing you do will ever be good enough, you succumb to self-sabotaging activities. Be kind enough to yourself to understand that this is a very natural response to the trauma you have endured. Once again, this is not your fault. However; it is your responsibility. Seek support from a trauma specialist to help you reduce your destructive behaviours and adapt healthy ways of coping.
10. Be aware of your own personal relationships.
Because you were raised by a narcissist, you are more likely to attract a narcissist as a partner. If at all possible, take some time to heal before you start a relationship. Otherwise, develop a narcissist radar by educating yourself and creating awareness around the red flags.
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You are a beautiful, kind soul and deserve only the very best this world has to offer. You did not deserve the abuse that you suffered at the hands of the one person whose only job was to keep you safe. As you begin to learn more about this, remember,
Let your past make you better not bitter.~unknown
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