I have so many family caregivers that provide care for a narcissist. Some are more challenged than others. Over the years I have learned there are adult children that were born into a family of narcissists. Then, there are some individuals, that due to illness or a medical condition; develop narcissistic tendencies.
It doesn’t matter when the emotional abuse started, the scars are real. Some have survivors actually develop PTSD, So, I thought it was important to address steps on to heal from narcissistic parents, after the caregiving journey is over.
Some caregivers will stop providing care and distance themselves for the aging narcissistic parent. Others will remain until their parent dies. The fact is, your mental and emotional well being have been adversely affects.
Starting the Healing Process after Narcissism Constant Negativity
Now, to start the healing process, you have to take time and identify the types of abuse you endured,
This is not as easy as it sounds. Narcissists are master manipulators and controlling They have little tolerance or patience for others. So they become emotionally and verbally . For many of you that have cared for a narcissist, you feel as if you are always walking on eggs in when in the narcissists presence. They have gaslighted you to make you unsure and question yourself. They are always putting you down. You were never able to meets their standards or expectations.
And when you try to defend yourself, they are very good at pulling you back in after they have successfully destroyed your self esteem and confidence.
While the narcissist works to preserve their fragile ego, it important to note that these attempts to protect are not always a conscious effort on their part. Some just respond subconsciously, as it is so ingrained in tier personality.
Some have you listening have already ended their relationship and have started to create distance. To heal from narcissistic parents, be prepared to be very clear on your reasons on why you are ending the relationship or distancing yourself. You must be prepared your aging narcissistic parent is going to be defensive.
Create Clear Talking Points Ready for Your Exit Plan
I discussed in a previous lesson on the importance of have a list of clear talking points on why you are leaving. Remember, to approach this with a calm and confident manner.
If you need help to create this list, consider a therapist or others in a support group that have been successful at creating that distance. Both online and in person support groups are so beneficial to support you.
I often recommend to my caregivers to journal. If you have been journaling or have kept a diary during your life, these writings may help you identify the various forms of abuse.
Healing From A Narcissists Abuse Means Learning to Trust Yourself
When healing from narcissistic parents your first challenge and goal is to learn to trust yourself. Trust your gut feelings again. Years of gas lighting have made you question everything you do. Even the tiniest things.
You will go through stages of healing. And you will feel challenged. There will be feelings of guilt for many of you. These are your loved ones. No matter how angry you are, or how torn you are, there will always be a part of you that wants and needs approval and love form them.
You have feelings of love for your narcissist family member. That’s is motivated by emotions.The logic part of your mind says,"Hey, they have abused you, They have demeaned, demoralized and attacked your self esteem at every opportunity. You need to run and get as far aways as possible. Do not look back."
I am going to give you a tip that I give to all my family caregivers, decisions based on emotions, are poor decisions. Making decisions require a logical approach, weighing what is best for you. You have to consider all options.
If you struggle with guilt, and other emotions, take a logical approach and do a decision analysis to make an logical choice, and not an emotional one.
I like to ask my caregivers, if they are just passively waiting for something to change, so they won't have to take this step.
There are steps that you can implement to speed up your healing and put an end this emotionally toxic relationship.
As I said earlier, the first step is to start to trust your gut, I'll add that to start to try logic versus emotions.
If you are creating a distance, start to set boundaries. You are human and have limits. Define those limits, write them down. Become firm and don’t back down . You deserve to live your best possible life.
If you have detached and want to end the relationship, I suggest you unfollow or block them on social media, and to be willing to block their phone calls, texts or emails.
Start to Rely on Your Support System
This is a time when you need to surround yourself with you’re your other family members and friends. It is also a time to focus on your own mental health and wellness by focusing on "Me time". Enjoy hobbies. Walks in nature. Do what makes you feel good.
I want to address trusting your gut, again. We all have intuition. Some of us listen to those gut feelings, more than others. It's vital that you listen to what you are feeling.
As a woman, I have had feelings that something didn’t feel right. There are time when I have had things occur that reinforced that feeling. And I still ignored what I was feeling. Later , I realized that I was right.
I have been in situations where the message given to me was.. 'What's wrong with YOU? Are You crazy,'"
I have learned over the years to make a mental note when I find myself doubting my instincts. Because those old tapes of hearing those messages still haunt me. I'm getting better, But there are times I still struggle.
Story of a Malignant Narcissistic Mother and Her Adult Child
In my first lesson, I shared the story of Star with her narcissistic mother Edith. Star struggled with all of these issues. She desperately wanted to be loved by her mother. She was a very intuitive person, on other areas of her life. But, when it came to anything she relationship with her mother, Stars emotions were always a struggle. It took Star five years and and a serious health scare before she was able to detach. And, as I shared before, Star finally took the steps to put her mom in an assisted living. She was just beginning to get her life back when she went into the hospital for tests and never came back out. I implore my clients not to wait until it’s too late.
Challenge Your Beliefs
The next step towards healing is to challenge your Beliefs about your relationship, think about what is interfering with you detaching or distancing to move on?
I am going to share with you the responses from Lisa, who was caring for her narcissistic parents.
Here is Lisa’s list:
1. It was my fault I was always a challenging child and was a constant disappointment
2. As I was growing up, I got in the way of my parents growing their business like they wanted
3. I can always do better and need to keep working on improving myself to make my mom proud
4. It hard to love me, because I’m not smart enough, pretty enough.
5. They need me now and I owe them to take care of them, since they took care of me `as I grew up.
I want to point out here, these are all emotional reasons for not detaching.
Clearly, Lisa, does not want to face the pain and acknowledge her present situation. The reality is, she will never feel loved, accepted and supported by her narcissistic parents. Lisa is trying to persuade her logical self that her parents there is still hope she will make her parents happy and they will love her. Her continuing to provide care is the hope for love and then blaming her self for the failure of this relationship.
Next Step to Healing From a Narcissistic Parent
The next step to healing is the identify Who,you believe in your childhood allow or even encouraged you to take all the blame?
I see many caring for an aging narcissist who tend to take more than their share of the blame for everything that ever went wrong. I have had clients tell me that they were blamed for things that were out of their control, like the bad weather, or the narcissist not getting a job.
As an adult child of narcissistic parents a parent blamed them inappropriately. It can help to realize that part of what is keeping you from seeing the current caregiving relationship situation realistically, is this a repeat of a recurring childhood situation. Ask yourself: Who in my childhood always blamed me when something went wrong?
For example. Star was clearly raised by a narcissistic mother who continually blamed her for virtually everything.
If food in the refrigerator went bad, Star was told:She must have left it out.
When Edith got angry and yelled at Star at her place of employment, Edith would tell her, " It’s your fault that I lost my temper! If you hadn’t been selfish , I wouldn’t have had to yell at you in public. Or come to your place of work."
Are You Protecting Your Narcissistic Parent?
The next step I am going to ask you to do is to write down what do you get out of protecting your aging narcissistic parent and blaming yourself instead?
Adult children of narcissists not only blame themselves out of habit, they do it because of their history, but also because it serves some subconscious psychological purpose.
In order to move on and heal for the abuse, it helps to recognize what you are getting out of putting all the blame on yourself. This is a hard question for to answer. I know that is the question Star struggled with answering.
Star finally said,"If it was my fault, I can make it better. That is hard for me to let go of. If I accept that my mother is a narcissist then there is nothing I do can solve her problems."
I the first part of this lesson, We addressed your beliefs about this relationship. I asked you to write them down. I noted that these were emotional responses and not logical ones. You wrote about the way you feel your aging narcissistic parent makes you feel.
Write down a logical statement next to each belief in Part 1. Make sure it is what your mind tells you is true (even though your emotions does not want to believe it).
Here is Lisa’s new list:
1 It is not my fault that my parents felt that I was a constant disappointment . They had such unrealistic goals for me at a very young age.
2 Im not responsible for their business failures. Nothing I did would have impacted the outcome.I was a young child.
3 I am loveable, have friends and have been told I am pretty and smart. I was a b student in school.
4 I Am smart, I work on improving my self and don’t need my parent approval .
5 While my parents may need or require care, I do not have to be the one to provide care. With our history, others may be more suitable. I don’t owe my parents anything.
Now,whenever you find yourself blaming yourself, reread Part 4 over again.
The bottom line is It can be very hard to heal from narcissistic abuse. Some survivors focus on the good parts. They tell themselves that we could have done something differently and we imagine we will get the love we crave. For many adult children it takes repeated reality checks to counter those fantasies.
Other adult children have so much pent up anger and rage, they seek relief from disappointment in alcohol, drugs or lots of daily drama, arguing and being disagreeable about everything.
Adult Children of a Narcissist are Co Dependant
The next step to recovery is to consider joining a recovery group. such as a 12 step program. Narcissists commonly create a co dependency on them. It creates a sense of codependency in your outside relationships as well.
Remember it's all about putting yourself together again so you can focus on your priorities and goals, not someone else’s. Many find it hard to admit to themselves that they’ve let someone manipulate them.
We all meet those masters of manipulation, they have the power of persuasion.It's nothing to be ashamed or guilty about.Seek help and learn how to effectively set boundaries and honor your own needs.I also suggest that you look in practicing meditation or other mindful disciplines. This can help you to retreat from the toxicity you are experiencing , and keep you grounded and centered on your own mental and physical well being.
Refuse to engage when they try to provoke. Practice passive resistance if your independence is limited. Find some time for yourself. Avoid the burnout that comes along with providing care, especially when caring for psychologically abusive parents.
The key to keeping your sanity is maintaining some sort of social life and seek out activities that bring you pleasure and joy as often as you can.
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