Having a narcissistic parent can be very traumatizing and damaging to a person’s well-being and mental health. Being raised by a narcissist can weigh on a person far into adulthood. And, unfortunately, there is no rule book for how to handle another person’s narcissism. Keep reading to learn more about narcissism and get tips for dealing with a parent who is narcissistic.
What Is Narcissism?
Since the term ‘narcissist’ is often used inaccurately, it is sometimes hard to determine the real meaning of the word. The term can get thrown around to describe someone who is confident, but the actual definition of narcissism is much deeper and more complex than that.
Narcissists have an exaggerated sense of importance, an inability to feel empathy for others, and a deep need for admiration or affirmation. Since it has the ability to greatly alter someone’s mindset and behavior, narcissism is considered a personality disorder. NPD, or Narcissistic Personality Disorder, is a complicated disease that can be caused by a variety of factors.
Causes of Narcissism
Narcissism comes from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. In most cases, this disease stems from negative treatment or experiences during childhood. Those who dealt with overprotective or overly strict parenting are very likely to develop narcissism. On the other hand, people who received excessive praise or poor limit-seeing as children may also be at risk for narcissism. Additionally, people who grew up with narcissism in the home are more likely to experience it themselves later in life.
Signs That Your Parent Might Be A Narcissist
Do you think that you might have dealt with narcissism in your family during your childhood? Here are some signs that one of your parents might have been a narcissist:
- Lack of support for your achievements
- Not expressing empathy or emotion
- Monopolizing conversation
- Making what you do more about them then you
- Showing no interest in the lives of others
- Doing things because they want the attention
- Making decisions because they always need the final say
- Emotionally manipulating and coercing
- Getting anxious or angry when they feel rejected
- Being unable able to handle negative feedback
- Making it clear that you “owe them” for something
- Being overly concerned about how they look
- Feeding off attention in ways that feel uncomfortable
- Telling others they are “overworked” and “underappreciated”
- Always blaming other people for their problems
- Making you or family members take sides in arguments
Of course, these are not all of the possible signs that one of your parents might be a narcissist. If you have struggled or are currently struggling with the impact of their behavior, it may be time to start a conversation with them.
How To Handle Having Narcissistic Parents
If you decide to confront your narcissistic parent, it’s important to be prepared for the worst. Try to stay calm, not get defensive, and do your best to remember that they don’t see the world in the same way that you do. Don’t expect an apology, because they might not be ready to give one to you yet. If your parent is still not understanding after your conversation, it may be a good idea to set boundaries to protect your own mental and physical health. In fact, having a narcissistic parent can be a direct cause of mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression. If necessary, it might even be time to temporarily discontinue contact with them.
Coping & Caring For Yourself
People with narcissistic parents have many resources they can explore to help ease the stress and emotion. There are plenty of support groups available for people with similar experiences to express and discuss their issues. It could also be helpful to go to therapy and discuss the history of narcissism in your family. And the most important thing to do when it comes to coping with narcissistic parents is to let go of the pressure to be perfect. You have overcome a lot in your life, and it is okay to not be okay.