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Surviving a Narcissistic Parent

By Shawn Evans

You really must have lived through it to fully understand. As an adult, you aren’t even certain as to whether or not you should even stay in touch with your narcissistic parent for he or she is never going to change. Your parent will always remain a narcissist. The only thing you can do is to decide whether or not to continue a relationship with him or her. The true question is whether or not it is really healthy for you.


Research will tell you that results are split at about 50/50. Half of adult children of narcissistic parents stay in touch while the other half completely cut the parent out of their lives entirely. Only you can really decide what is best for you but in order to do so, it’s good to know the right information.


The first option is to remain in contact. Should you choose to remain in contact, you will need to ensure you are armed with the correct knowledge and resources in order to protect yourself.


Contact with a narcissistic parent will require you to have done some healing work for yourself. You more than likely endured a great deal of emotional abuse from the narcissistic parent as a child. You were made to feel guilty and to take blame over things that were no fault of your own. You were more than likely reminded that you were not a good child and as a result, were at fault for your parent’s failures. You were made to feel that you were never good enough. You may know that deep down none of these things were true however they are hard to overcome without the proper healing work. Even then, you must realize that the choice to stay in contact will result in the need for you to keep your emotional distance from your narcissistic parent. You will need to remain in control of your power at all times without letting your guard down.


Similar to sociopaths, narcissists generally lack empathy. Depending on the degree of narcissism, they can feel certain degrees of empathy however if it comes down to the narcissist choosing between your feelings or their own, they will inevitably choose their own each and every time. Their general lack of empathy also allows them to be abusive and cruel without feeling any remorse or taking any blame for their actions.


You must realize that you will never meet your narcissistic parent’s expectations but that it really is okay. Chances are high that those expectations were beyond what anyone could’ve reached and even when you thought you had actually met one of them, the bar was always raised. As a result, you never could’ve met the ever-changing expectations no matter how hard you tried.


You are likely to continue to hear lies. The narcissist thrives on lies to control and manipulate people.


They do not accept responsibility and will likely continue to blame you. They do not care if something they say or do hurts your feelings. To them, it is your fault. Not the narcissist’s.

The narcissist will talk about you behind your back. If you have a sibling, your sibling is likely to hear nasty things about you behind your back and vice versa. One of the primary reasons this is done is to pit you and your sibling against each other, leaving the narcissist as the one who “saves the day” so to speak. He or she must be the center of attention and will often stop at nothing to gain this position of power.


The second option is to cut the narcissist out of your life. For some adult children, it is just too painful and damaging to continue to allow the narcissist to remain in their lives. The deceit, backstabbing, and lies are just too much to handle. It doesn’t mean you are weak or in the wrong for cutting the narcissist from your life. In fact for some, it is the healthiest decision one can make.


Is there a cure for narcissism? Yes, in a sense. The narcissist can change if the desire is strong enough however the key to change in everyone in every circumstance is whether or not that person wants to change. Most narcissists are oblivious to the fact they are narcissists. As a result, most never do change.