How To Deal With A Narcissistic Parent?
Learn the signs your parent is narcissistic.
Narcissistic parents are usually highly egocentric, lacking in empathy, and constantly need to be validated by others. They often manipulate others for their own gain and the need to control others.
A narcissistic parent may exhibit these behaviors:
- Constantly seeking attention, validation, or praise from others (even if they don’t deserve it).
- Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance.
- Being easily hurt since they have a fragile ego that can’t handle criticism; this makes them defensive if confronted with any criticism (whether it’s warranted or not).
- Inability to consider the needs of other people before their own needs (egocentrism). For example: “You’re boring me right now! I’m going to go talk with someone who is more interesting.”
Stop trying to please them.
The first step to dealing with a narcissistic parent is to stop trying to please them. You don’t need to be their friend, and you don’t need them to love you. You just need them not to hurt you or others who are close to you, nor to cross your boundaries.
Stop trying to change them. No one can change someone else, especially someone who refuses help or advice and does not even see anything wrong with themselves! Don’t waste your time thinking that there is some way for your narcissistic parent (or anyone) will “see the light” and change their behavior just because it would benefit everyone involved if they did so—it ain’t gonna happen!
Stop trying to always be perfect, always win, and always look good in front of other people (especially people who do not matter). This can only lead down a road of constant anxiety about being judged by those around us—and trust me when I tell you: we all judge each other on some level at some point during our lifetime; but that doesn’t mean we’re bad people because we judge others sometimes without meaning any harm; it just means that sometimes we need a reminder that no one is perfect… so why should any of us expect perfection from ourselves either?
Understand that you can’t save or change them.
The first thing to understand is that there is no way to change or save your narcissistic parent. Narcissists don’t want to be changed, and they think that they’re not responsible for their actions. They are adults, and you can’t force them to do anything they don’t want to do. You should focus on taking care of yourself and understanding the situation so that you can move forward with your life in a flourishing way.
Know how you’re contributing to the relationship.
One of the most important things you can do is take a look at yourself and your own role in the relationship. Your narcissistic parent may be engaging in some manipulative behavior towards yourself and it’s extremely important to know when and how to shut down that manipulation and establish some strong boundaries.
The first step is to distance yourself from the relationship as much as possible by not spending time with this parent unless necessary. If they’re demanding attention or affection from you, try to avoid talking with them altogether until they cool off—it’s unlikely things will improve if they know they have access to your ear whenever they want it. You might also consider spending less time around other family members who encourage this toxic dynamic; sometimes just limiting exposure can help break old patterns of relating and reduce conflict between family members.
Seek therapy if the experience is affecting you negatively.
Many people don’t seek therapy because they think it’s a sign of weakness or a waste of time. In fact, it’s a sign of strength. Therapy can help you understand what is happening, and why, in your relationship with your narcissistic parent. For example, you might learn about the impact that their childhood experiences have had on them as an adult. Or you may learn how to set boundaries with your parent so that they stop manipulating you.
You can find therapists who specialize in working with clients whose parents are narcissistic by searching online directories, or calling mental health hotlines in your area (e.g., “Mental Health America” has phone numbers nationwide). A therapist will meet with you one-on-one to hear about the situation, so there’s no need for anyone else from your family group to attend sessions unless they want to join those discussions voluntarily when appropriate.”
The most important thing you can do is learn to say “no.”
The most important thing you can do is learn to say “no.” When a narcissist asks for something, they are not expecting an answer that says no. They are expecting an answer that says yes. If you say no, and then explain why, this will throw off a narcissist’s expectations and make them feel upset or confused.
You can even practice saying ‘no’ in front of the mirror until it feels comfortable! It helps if we think of what we’re doing as just setting boundaries instead of telling someone they can’t have something they want. Please remember, you don’t have to do or say anything that you don’t want to (regardless of them being your parents or whoever this narcissistic person may be).