We don’t get to choose our parents, and unfortunately, we aren’t all blessed with a loving and healthy parent-child dynamic. For those raised by a narcissist, one of the hardest things to do is find healing from the damage caused by the narcissistic parent.
A narcissistic personality disorder is a Cluster-B personality disorder that falls into the same category of personality disruption as sociopathy. The disorder is characterized by selfishness, a lack of empathy, and a dysfunctional manner in interpersonal relationships.
If you were raised by a narcissist, you know all too well how abusive, callous and self-serving they can be. Children who are raised by narcissists often feel the weight of the toxic dynamic in a myriad of ways.
Signs of a Narcissistic Parent
1. Your parent disrespects your boundaries.
2. Your parent frequently put their own needs before yours when you were growing up.
3. Your personal development and sense of self were thwarted by your parent.
4. You were made to feel as though nothing you could ever do would ever be enough to satisfy them.
5. You were a victim of emotional, psychological, and physical @buse.
If that sounds like your childhood or even your present circumstances, you were likely raised by a narcissist. The good news is, that you aren’t stuck in the position you are in now. Once you “leave the nest,” your journey is just beginning.
Here are some expert tips on how to heal from a narcissistic parent:
1. Educate yourself about narcissism.
Understanding what narcissism is, and the symptoms and prognosis of the disorder can give you great insight not only into your parent but also what they put you through. Nothing will ever take back the fact that they have harmed you, but if you understand what has caused this to happen, it will help you immensely.
2. Understand the limitations of the disorder.
There are several limitations to the disorder. First, narcissism is not curable or treatable. People who are diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder are oftentimes resistant to admit they even have a problem, making them far less likely to be open to therapy. Other than therapy to help the self-aware unicorn narcissist, there is no cure. This means you will have to accept that your parent isn’t going to change.
3. Don’t enable your parent.
It’s one thing to love and accept your parent, which is understandable, but make sure you are now enabling them to continue to cause you harm. To do this, you must break free from all control they have over you, and make it clear that you will not tolerate abuse.
4. Set firm boundaries, and stand by them.
Boundaries are so very important and unfortunately, children raised by narcissists are not often exposed to them or taught how to assert them. Boundaries are imaginary lines that prevent people from disturbing your peace and well-being. A good example of a boundary would be if your mother is constantly getting in the middle of your relationship with your partner and causing trouble. In response to this, you say “You are not allowed to come in between me and my partner. If you continue to do so, I am going to ______.” If they continue to run over you, follow through on the consequences.
5. Seek counseling or peer support.
One of the most important tools for someone healing from narcissistic parenting is therapy. Not only can a therapist help you work through and understand what has happened, but they can also give you the tools and insights your narcissistic parent was unable or unwilling to teach you.
6. Educate yourself on what healthy love is.
If you’ve been raised in a toxic dynamic, it will be hard to understand what healthy love is. Learn to question the things you’ve been taught, and read some books on healthy relationships, and healthy communication and boundaries in relationships. It will help immensely. Even better, it will give you a point of comparison.
7. Grieve what has happened to you.
The fact that you were raised by a toxic parent can be traumatic. You likely missed out on several things and were exposed to things you never should have been. Sit down and spend some time alone to think back and take inventory over what has happened, and allow the feelings to come through, so you can process them.
8. Revisit developmental milestones you may have missed out on.
Children raised by narcissists don’t get the same chance to be a child or teen as others. Because their parent won’t allow them to have their sense of self, there are several milestones they miss out on. As part of your healing, do those things you missed out on, and enjoy discovering who you are, outside of that relationship.
9. Connect with others in functional relationships.
Reach out and meet new people. Find friends, or build deeper connections with the friends and family you have that are healthy and conducive to your healing process. While you may not be able to ever have a healthy relationship with your parent, you can establish new and better relationships with others.