It can be a difficult task to figure out how to deal with a narcissistic parent. This is because when they keep getting on your nerves or frustrating you, you cannot do so much. After all, you do not want to disrespect them.
Who is a narcissistic parent?
A narcissistic parent is a parent who always wants all the attention to be on them.
They show less care or empathy for their child.
A narcissistic parent has a mindset of control, competition and selfishness. This type of parent wants to have total control over the lives of their children and their choices.
When a narcissistic person notices that the attention is now focused on the children they may start to compete with the children. This is why a narcissistic parent sees their child’s independence as a threat.
A child may not have much trouble living with a narcissistic parent but it becomes challenging when a child starts developing to become an adult where he or she has to make her own choice.
This is where the issue will stem from, because of a narcissistic parent’s desire to always subdue and command their children.
A narcissistic parent always wants their order to be obeyed or carried out without any hesitation or excuse. Such a person sees disobedience as a form of disloyalty and will make sure that such a child is punished for any form of disobedience.
If you have a narcissistic parent, you may be tired of always having to argue with them or wondering why it is difficult for such a parent to understand you.
I already know how you feel, This article is here to help you learn everything you need to understand and how to deal with a narcissistic parent. However, before we look into how to deal with a narcissistic parent, let’s learn about some of the traits of a narcissistic parent.
Traits of a Narcissistic Parent
A narcissistic parent will never agree or admit when they are wrong about something and they will never apologize for their wrongs towards you.
They always seek attention, and they feel hurt when anything detracts from their image.
He or she lacks empathy. This is why no matter how you try to express how you feel to this kind of parent, they will consider their interests over yours.
It is not about how others feel that matters to them but about how they feel. They always put themselves before other people.
They have a very harsh and aggressive anger when they get angry. They manipulate their children with punishment or reward. They promise to reward you if you obey his or her instruction while you may be threatened if you do otherwise.
They do not give room for discussion, where you can air your opinion, This type of parents don’t discuss with they only tell you what to do. They feel entitled to your loyalty. They feel like since they are your parent they should be obeyed without any hesitation or resistance. They feel in charge of your life.
- He or she acts in an immature way.
- A narcissistic parent constantly criticize his child or children to feel good about himself or herself
- They find it hard to handle rejection
- They are very boastful proud and arrogant.
The mentioned points are some of the traits of a narcissistic parent. Judging by some of the traits which are attributed to narcissistic parents, one can see that hard dealing with this kind of parent. Let us look at some of the ways we can deal with such parents.
How to Deal With a Narcissistic Parent
1. Gray rocking technique
Gray rocking according to a clinical psychologist, Dr. Ove Heradstveit, Gray Rock Method is when you purposely make yourself uninteresting and unresponsive.’
Gray rocking is a way of being unresponsive or acting in an uninteresting way to avoid giving them attention. It is one of the ways to deal with a narcissistic parent. This technique involves withholding your reaction towards a narcissistic parent no matter how frustrating their behavior may be towards you.
This means that you should not pay attention to them to avoid having issues with them. When a narcissistic parent says something you do not like or that may get you upset you can give short answer responses like ‘ok’ or simply nodding your head.
What it means is you have a lot of work to do, it involves you to hide your displeasure and take time to reflect on the right response to give before responding.
Do not forget that a narcissistic parent is a gaslighter and a manipulative person. This is why you need to be mindful of what you say to them as they may end up having a very hot and serious argument with you or trying to guilt trip you. Say something to you.
This method protects you from being manipulated by a narcissistic parent because they are not getting the reaction they want from you.
2. Be careful about your feedback to them
Understanding a narcissistic parent will help you know how to respond to them. When you are giving feedback be careful of what you say or how you communicate your thoughts to them.
If they have done anything wrong and you think they are at fault be careful of how you relay the message to them. Don’t forget that narcissistic parent don’t always want to admit to their wrongs and or apologize.
Even though they often criticize other people they find it hard to take criticism.
Be mindful of the kind of feedback you give to them to avoid putting yourself into any unnecessary drama.
3. Avoid conversations that may lead to an argument
If you have a narcissistic parent try to avoid arguments. Conversations that you think might end up in an argument are better avoided.
I know sometimes you may want to let them know that they are wrong and you’re right but having to do this may be putting you under so much stress. They will never agree to reasons to make them see that they are wrong anyway so why try?
4. Privately rejoice over your accomplishments
One of the hardest things about having a narcissistic parent is that they can not appreciate your effort or celebrate your accomplishments because they feel that you are trying to get the attention that they should have for yourself.
If you’re not careful their criticism may make you lose confidence in yourself and start feeling inferior.
Since you know that you are dealing with a narcissistic parent you should protect your mental health and protect your mind from any form of negativity. It is not necessary to share your accomplishments with them if they always make you feel like you are not doing enough or criticize you.
5. You have to be very patient during your interaction with them
Patience is one important thing you need to have when you have a narcissistic parent.
This is because they will constantly frustrate you, if you are not patient with them you behave irrationally and act rudely to them.
At the end of the day, you might misbehave and say things you are not supposed to say. I know you don’t ever want to be disrespectful towards your parent and this is why you need to be very patient with them while relating with them.
6. Accept them for who they are by tolerating them
If you have a narcissistic parent you have to understand that there is nothing much you can do to change them. You need to accept them for who they are and tolerate them. When they behave or speak in certain ways you don’t like just know that they are not doing that to you intentionally. Just know it’s their behavior and there is nothing you can do about it.
7. Build a strong social network
A narcissistic parent may not be present to give you the emotional support that you need. They lack empathy and there is a saying that you can not give what you do not have.
Someone who lacks empathy towards other people can not empathize with you or give you the emotional support you need.
This is why you have to build a strong social network where you have people who can provide you with strong emotional support when you need it. People who can genuinely care for you and give you the advice and encouragement you may not be able to get from a narcissistic parent.
8. Do not be emotional about their behavior or attitude towards you
Sometimes, the behavior of a narcissistic parent may hurt you so much that you may start wondering if such a person is truly your parent. I understand that their words may break you sometimes because you are human and you have blood and water running through your veins but you should learn to forgive them easily and not take this thing personally.
9. Practice journaling
In dealing with a narcissistic parent I understand that there are a lot of times you will have to hold back your words. Trying to do this may make you have a build-up of emotion. Having a journal where you constantly let out your emotions or the way you feel will be helpful as it gives you a sense of relief when you can let out the way you feel.
10. Identify triggers
The moment you realise that your parents are narcissistic try to look for things that easily upset them and try to avoid them. Discovering things that trigger them will help you know how to relate with them better even though it can sometimes be hard to predict their reaction.
11. Do not expect too much from them
You can not depend totally on a narcissistic parent. Expecting too much from them might break your heart and make you feel very disappointed when they are unable to give you the support that you expect to get from them as your parents. You have to understand that a narcissistic parent will only offer support if it is beneficial to him or her. You can not rely on this kind of parent totally to avoid feeling disappointed.
Your mental health is very important, you should try to protect it from things that can affect them. If you think you can not put up with the behavior of a narcissistic parent, you may try to avoid contact with them or disassociate yourself from them for a while to protect your mental health.
Also, you mustn’t allow them to kill your self-esteem, and believe in yourself and your abilities. You can also seek help and get professional advice on how to deal with living with a narcissistic parent.