A narcissistic person is self obsessed and egoistic, and having such an individual as a parent is the most difficult situation for his child. If you are having such a father or mother, you need to be extremely stable to keep your mental status intact. Narcissism is a personality disorder. For a child, it becomes extremely difficult to deal with them. This is because a child is not left with many options to handle his/her parent properly. Some of the top ways to deal with these types of parents are discussed below.
How to deal with a narcissistic father
Here are some ways to deal with a narcissistic father.
Try not to find reasons
This should be the first thing you should master, to deal with a narcissist father. Leave all the bookish preaching about a father being selfless and concerned about his kids. Yours will never do and you will have to live with it till something makes him realize that he is not being how he should be. Rather than giving his attention to you, he can be solely involved in his hobbies and would demand your presence and concern everywhere. Try to react in the way he demands or leave the place when you cannot. This will make him feel bad and tend to some heated quarrels but will be lesser than the ones which can happen due to your physical presence and mental absence. What he is looking for is all the eyes upon him. If you can manage, try to, if you cannot, do not react negatively! You do not have an ideal father. Faster you realize, easier it will be.
Let him live in his world
Your father’s attitude is not going to change. He probably was born with it and that is how he has shaped himself. Do not interrupt when he is bragging about himself. Let him be self occupied. He will try to claim all your success and achievements and can panic if you lose somewhere as if your loss is affecting him more than it is affecting you. Do not interrupt! This will not pacify him or make him realize anything. It will cause an instant repercussion which can spoil your family’s peace and stability. If he is very critical about certain right and wrong, it shouldn’t bother you to give a temporary nod to his ways. He will be nice to you until you go against his point of view. Just don’t make this hypocrisy your nature. You are doing this in order to create a peaceful family environment.
Do not allow him to rule you
This is where all the children of narcissistic parents go wrong. Throughout their life they keep on suppressing their anger against their parents and at the end, they start behaving in the same selfish way with their own kids. You are a little unlucky to have such a father but that doesn’t mean that you sabotage your entire life. If your father’s nature saddens you, let it go. You can try to make him realize how he is hampering your life; but not now, wait for the right time to come. Till then, practice the mantra of ignorance as much as possible because that is how your future won’t get affected a lot. The pain will always be there but at least it won’t bother people whom you love. Your father is important but he is not the only individual in your life.
Talk to people close to you
God has been unworthy by giving you a father who is egoist and least concerned about you and your family. But how long can you keep on cursing the almighty and live with it. You need people and places where you can vent out your anger. Speak to your close friends about how miserable your father makes you feel. It is going to relieve you and may be the vacuum created in your life can get filled by some of your caring friends and family members. They will help you maintain your sanity and confidence. This doesn’t mean that in search of someone who can be your sharing buddy, you start trusting anyone. You have to be very sure before talking about your hurts with anyone around.
Stop being too emotional
Your father might sometimes pose you with his emotional tantrums and blackmails. You have to stay unmoved by all these. A narcissist father can be very well behaved and loving till the children are respectful and go according to his wishes. Once he realizes that his rules are being twisted, he can lose control and make you feel responsible for his bad moods. He can use his experience as a weapon to prove that whatever he does is correct. So, when he criticizes you, it can be because he knows life better and wants you to realize how to lead it. Do not get upset and lose your cool because of his changing behavior. Try to stay quiet and not let his reactions shatter your emotional self.
How to deal with a narcissistic mother
When the narcissist is your mother, dealing with the problem becomes more difficult, as she is usually the closest to you than all the other people in the world. So when she is affected by narcissism, the normal way of dealing with the problem does not remain the appropriate one for her. A different approach is required. Following are some of the ways you can adopt to deal with her.
Leave hope of having a normal mother-child relationship
The rule of narcissism remains the same. A narcissist is selfish, vain, egoist and, in some cases, sadist. It is nearly exactly the opposite of a normal mother. So, it is better to realize that the normal mother-son or mother-daughter relationship will not work here. Your mother will be too much involved in her own self to give you any time for thought and emotions. On the contrary, she will try to use you up for her own good. So, it is better not to expect love or any favors from her, unless these favors are beneficial to her, as well. Develop yourself as a patient listener, so that you can keep up with her long monologues without much difficulty. Try to see her actions from the funnier side and enjoy the mirth and amusement of it. Most importantly, avoid following her advice before consulting any other matured family member, such as your father. Also, try not to play games with her, as a narcissist does not like being on the losing side.
Reduce your meetings with her
If you are an adult who can support himself/herself financially, you can consider the option of reduced visits to your mother. This will help you keep mentally de-stressed and increase your stamina of spending time with her. For this, however, you should be emotionally strong. Narcissistic mothers are also masters of manipulation. They will try ways to make you feel guilty if you don’t accept. So you should train yourself to be in self-control while dealing with her manipulative ways. To reduce your meetings, you should be ready with reasons, such as work, distance, meeting and lack of time. You should be convincing enough.
Avoid developing emotional relationship with her
Developing an emotional relationship with a narcissist is one of the worst mistakes you can commit. Narcissists feed and gloat on others’ despair and pine at others’ happiness. So, you should avoid developing any kind of emotional relationship with your mother, as she will try to use these emotions against you. Play down your emotions around her, and try not to let them take over before her. Maintain a diary, and keep it away from your mother’s reach. Take her comments in a lighter vein, and do not let yourself embroiled in them. Moreover, you can develop emotional relationship with your siblings, spouse or father.
Maintain a distance with no contacts with your mother
This is the harshest step, but you should not neglect it, as well. There are cases when a narcissist mother becomes too difficult to deal with. There is no chance of curing narcissism, and so there is no point keeping up with her narcissistic ways. Instead, you can go for complete embargo with her. You can change your contact details without making her aware of it. You can shift to a city which will be difficult for her to come to. Also, try to make sure that there are no friends of your mother near your place of stay. This will be difficult, as it will challenge the protocol of the society and will leave you with a guilty feeling. But maintaining a contact barrier with her will save the emotional trauma you may otherwise undergo with her.
Seek guidance of a psychiatrist
This is an option you should preferably take. A psychiatrist is an experienced person, and he/she will help you deal with the problem more effectively than any other person around. So, once you come to know that your mother is a narcissist, go for a psychiatrist. Pay regular visits and share all your experiences with him/her. You can also make your mother meet her in order to help her get over narcissism, though the chances are slim. A good psychiatrist will try to use his/her own experience in order to help you out, thus helping you get better guidance at dealing with your mother.
Make sure that you have only one psychiatrist to deal with the matter. Too many psychiatrists will only complicate matters, as each one takes a different route to deal with the problem.
What else you can do?
Having a narcissist father or mother is not a pleasant experience. Apart from taking separate strategies to deal with your narcissist father and mother, you can also consider the following to tackle the problem as a whole.
If at all the above mentioned method cannot be followed, then conservative interaction must be practiced. This is just a way to stay safe and protected from the violence of the parent which may shower upon anytime. The child has to have the courage to interrupt his/her parent when the boundaries are crossed. This situation arises when the child receives very little for what he/she gives. Too much interaction will lead to an ultimate condition of egoism and self-centeredness. The parent will try to show his/her authority and control over the child.
Jot down your thoughts and convey to others
Yet another simple way to stay away from such kinds of parents is to stay in isolation. The child can pen down all his/her experiences and get involved in reading good materialistic books. This will help him/her get distracted by the thought of his/her narcissistic parent. This is the only way a child can provide self help to himself/herself. The next way is to seek assistance from an elderly person who understands this entire situation. It is not very easy for a child to let others know about his/her narcissistic parent. But the courage should be shown on conveying this realistic fact to an intellectual person, who is capable of sorting out things. Patience plays a major role under such circumstances.
Do not play the parent’s game
Another simple way to tackle a narcissistic parent is to avoid his/her talks. The child should not move on the tunes of such a parent. This is because if you do so, it will give the parent enough courage to continue with the bullying and dictation. Such a parent tends to remain frustrated most of the time and may be brutal in extreme conditions. The child should avoid any unnecessary argument with the parent and move out of the scene when situations seem bad. It is an offense on the part of a child to bear such violence from his/her parent. Hence, any sort of narcissism should not be entertained.
Seek professional help
We have talked of consulting a psychiatrist to deal with your narcissist mother. The same is applicable for a narcissist father as well. A narcissistic parent must be dealt properly because the extent of damage he/she can cause may increase over time. Immediate action has to be taken for the betterment of both the parent and the child. The affected parent must be taken for a psychotherapy which will help him/her to have control on his/her anger and frustrations. Counseling is very much required at an early stage. The parent will not accept the real fact of being affected by this personality disorder. He/she has to be treated with utmost care. The main objective is to make the parent aware that he/she is a victim to this disorder and needs to mend his/her ways. It is not as easy as it sounds, but this is an ultimate solution.