how to deal with a narcissistic parent

How to Deal with a Narcissistic Parent [GUIDE]

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Dealing with a narcissistic parent can be mentally and emotionally draining. The incessant need for admiration, lack of empathy, and grandiosity create a turbulent emotional environment. This article provides an extensive guide on how to deal with a narcissistic parent, offering practical steps, advice, resources, and coping mechanisms to help navigate this challenging relationship.

Recognizing Narcissistic Traits:

Understanding narcissistic traits is the first step in learning how to deal with a narcissistic parent. The clearer the traits, the better you can cope.

how to deal with a narcissistic parent

Here are some traits to look for in your parents:

  • Grandiosity: An inflated sense of self-worth and importance is a defining trait.
  • Need for Admiration: A constant craving for attention and validation is prevalent.
  • Lack of Empathy: A disregard for the feelings and needs of others is common.
  • Emotional Neglect: Ignores or dismisses the child’s emotions and needs.
  • Manipulation: Uses guilt, shame, or other tactics to control the child’s behavior.
  • Excessive Criticism: Constantly criticizes and belittles the child.
  • Control Issues: Demands excessive control over the child’s life, decisions, and behaviors.
  • Exploitative: Uses the child to fulfill their own needs and desires.
  • Unreliable: Shows inconsistency and unpredictability in behavior.
  • Boundary Violation: Disregards the child’s personal space, privacy, and individuality.
  • Jealousy: Feels threatened by or envious of the child’s achievements or relationships.
  • Entitlement: Expects unquestioning compliance with their desires.
  • Conditional Love: Offers love, praise, or approval as long as the child meets their expectations.
  • Projection: Attributes their own unacceptable feelings and behaviors to the child.
  • Triangulation: Creates tension and competition among siblings or other family members.
  • Gaslighting: Makes the child doubt their perceptions, feelings, and memories.

Related: How To Deal With a Narcissistic Mother [10-step Strategy]

The Impact and How To Deal With a Narcissistic Parent:

Living with a narcissistic parent can lead to long-lasting emotional scars. Children might struggle with self-esteem issues, anxiety, and depression, and often find difficulties in establishing healthy relationships.

Establish and Enforce Boundaries:

  • Be Firm and Clear: When setting boundaries, be assertive, and communicate your needs transparently.
  • Be Consistent: Regularly enforce your boundaries to avoid manipulation and control.

Develop a Support Network:

  • Find a Therapist or Counselor: A professional can offer support and coping strategies.
  • Join a Support Group: Connecting with others who have experienced similar situations can be incredibly validating.
how to deal with a narcissistic parent

Educate Yourself on Narcissism:

  • Read Books on Narcissism: “Will I Ever Be Good Enough?” by Dr. Karyl McBride offers insights into living with a narcissistic mother.
  • Watch Informative Movies: “Mommie Dearest” is a cinematic exploration of life with a narcissistic parent.

Create Self-Care Routines:

  • Prioritize Physical Health: Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and adequate sleep are crucial.
  • Focus on Mental Health: Meditation, mindfulness, and relaxation techniques can help maintain emotional balance.

Learn to Detach Emotionally:

  • Practice Mindfulness: Being present and staying grounded can help in detaching emotionally from a narcissistic parent’s antics.
  • Develop Healthy Coping Mechanisms: Learn to manage stress and anxiety through healthy outlets like hobbies or spending time in nature.

How to Deal with a Narcissistic Parent – Mother:

Understanding the Dynamics:

A narcissistic mother often creates a complex, strained family dynamic. Recognizing the nuanced aspects of this relationship is crucial to coping effectively.

  • Acknowledge the Manipulation: Mothers, often seen as nurturing figures, may use manipulative tactics subtly. It’s essential to identify and be vigilant against such manipulation.
  • Recognize Emotional Blackmail: Narcissistic mothers can leverage guilt and obligation to control. It’s pivotal to discern and resist these emotional blackmail attempts.

Develop Emotional Independence:

  • Cultivate Self-Love: Develop a robust sense of self-love and self-worth independent of your mother’s views and opinions.
  • Find Your Voice: Learn to express your needs, desires, and feelings assertively, without falling into the trap of guilt or obligation.

Set Specific Boundaries:

  • Limit Contact: Restricting interaction can be beneficial in managing the emotional turmoil arising from the relationship.
  • Define Limits: Clearly outline acceptable and unacceptable behaviors and enforce consequences if boundaries are violated.

Seek Healing:

  • Explore Therapy Options: Consider seeking therapy specifically focused on maternal narcissism to navigate the emotional labyrinth.
  • Embrace Self-Help Resources: Explore self-help books and online resources tailored to deal with narcissistic mothers effectively.
how to deal with a narcissistic parent

How to Deal with a Narcissistic Parent – Father:

Recognizing the Influence:

Understanding the pervasive influence of a narcissistic father is critical in mitigating its impact.

  • Identify Control Tactics: Narcissistic fathers often exert control through authority and dominance; recognizing these tactics is the first step in neutralizing their effect.
  • Acknowledge Intimidation: It’s crucial to acknowledge instances where a father might use intimidation and to develop strategies to stand your ground.

Empower Yourself:

  • Build Self-Esteem: Develop a strong sense of self-worth and confidence that is not reliant on your father’s approval or validation.
  • Foster Independence: Establishing financial, emotional, and physical independence can significantly reduce the control a narcissistic father has.

Establish Firm Boundaries:

  • Maintain Distance: Keep a safe emotional and physical distance to protect yourself from negativity and manipulation.
  • Enforce Consequences: Consistently enforce boundaries and implement consequences when those boundaries are breached.

Focus on Personal Growth and Recovery:

  • Engage in Therapeutic Interventions: Seek therapy to deal with the unique challenges posed by a narcissistic father and to heal from the associated trauma.
  • Utilize Supportive Resources: Explore support groups, books, and online resources specifically designed to aid those dealing with narcissistic fathers.

Addressing the unique challenges posed by narcissistic mothers and fathers requires a tailored approach, focused on self-empowerment, boundary-setting, and healing. Whether it’s a mother using emotional manipulation or a father exerting control, developing the tools and strategies to protect oneself and seeking professional guidance can pave the way to recovery and emotional well-being.

FAQs on How To Deal With a Narcissistic Parent:

  • Q: How to protect oneself from a narcissistic parent’s manipulation?
  • A: Developing a strong sense of self, establishing firm boundaries, and seeking professional advice can help in protecting oneself from manipulation.
  • Q: Can a relationship with a narcissistic parent ever be healthy?
  • A: It’s challenging but maintaining strong boundaries and having realistic expectations can sometimes create a semblance of a healthy relationship.

Seek Professional Guidance:

If the relationship with your narcissistic parent becomes too overwhelming, seeking advice and therapy from mental health professionals is crucial. They can provide coping mechanisms, therapeutic interventions, and support in dealing with trauma.


Knowing how to deal with a narcissistic parent is pivotal for anyone striving to maintain mental and emotional health in such complex relationships. By understanding narcissistic traits, establishing boundaries, building a support network, educating oneself, focusing on self-care, and learning to detach emotionally, one can navigate the stormy seas of a relationship with a narcissistic parent more effectively. Always remember, prioritizing your well-being is not selfish; it’s essential.

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