- Lynn Catalano
What’s it like when your parent is a narcissist?
Determining if your mother or father is a narcissist – Does your parent:
Constantly need the conversation to be about them
Brag about your achievements to others, but rarely acknowledge you or support you emotionally
Needs to be well-liked and important to others, but controlling and harsh when no one is looking (mask)
Make you feel bad for not doing what they want immediately
Make you feel guilty by boasting about how much they have done for you
Frequently miss your important life events
Fail to provide any warmth and emotional support in the relationship
There are many other factors including outright jealousy of you that I’ve experienced. It’s shocking and disturbing how they put their own wants and needs ahead of you and throw you under the bus as needed.
How it affects your mental health
Discovering your parent is a narcissist and realizing they’ll never be the parent you need is incredibly difficult and depressing. More people than you realize are affected by this and grow up with low self-esteem, filled with shame and guilt.
I wrote about this in my book “Wrecking Ball Relationships: How to Identify, Live with Or Leave the Narcissist in Your Life.”
“Growing up with a narcissistic father, Patricia felt being obedient was love, according to both her and her siblings, they thought it was what you must do. They didn’t love their dad unconditionally because he didn’t love unconditionally, they were only being obedient. One day, it reached a point where her dad met with her brothers and other people to discuss Patricia and her role in the family business. He told the brothers he didn’t know if he could trust her, so he decided to take away her title of corporate secretary. He also didn’t think she was doing the job well or correctly, so he was also taking away her title of vice-president administration. There was no nepotism in her family. Patricia worked extremely hard for these titles and was dedicated to her job. Her younger brother knew how everything affected her mentally and physically. He told their dad, “This will break her.”
Her father replied, “Let her break.””
Ways to navigate this relationship
In order to protect yourself, you’ll need to do some things for yourself:
1. Find your support network. Don’t let yourself become isolated from friends and family. You are not alone.
2. Take care of yourself. Practice self-care: eat healthy, exercise, sleep and even pray or meditate.
3. Talk to someone. Find a coach or a therapist who specializes in narcissistic abuse. I’m a narcissistic abuse coach and I help people on their healing journey.
Forgive yourself and forgive this person. Once you allow yourself to release your anger, resentment, and rage, you’re finally and happily free. I was guilty of hanging on to my upset for years. I allowed my hurt and anger to continue. Once I made a conscious decision to accept the fact that he’s ill and would never change, I realized I was making myself sick from stress. Once I was able to forgive and let go, I finally achieved my own freedom.
You can find my book “Wrecking Ball Relationships” on Amazon and BarnesandNoble.com.