In the first article in this series (see link below) we looked at the first two tips for dealing with a parent with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). Today we continue with further aids for dealing with these damaging and difficult people.
3. Examine carefully all the achievements you have made in your life in spite of your background.
Your achievements, your victories, your assets: you have attained all of them without the usual parental encouragement and assistance. In fact, you may well have been berated for your achievements or even hijacked temporarily by your parent in your journey to success. Hold onto these achievements as belonging to you and you alone. These successes separate you from your narcissistic parent. For as much as your parent doesn’t see you as a separate entity, so you often may falter over your own sense of independence. As you have likely spent a lifetime trying to get love from your parent or else consumed with rage at the absence of love, it is hard to see yourself for the valuable person you really are. Make an effort to see that you are not who your parent says you are, you are what you believe yourself to be.
4. If you are in a caretaking role with your aging parent, try to be very clear about how to approach nurturing your parent versus how you may nurture another family member or friend who doesn’t suffer from NPD. Your parent will expect but not value all that you do for them. Your aging friend, by contrast, may not expect but will value all that you do for them. Your expectations must be changed to suit the situation. Expect nothing in terms of thanks. Be very clear about what you will do and will not do for your parent. Be prepared for arguments and child-like tantrums. Do try your best to stick to your rules. Possibly the best way to achieve this is to pre-empt the situation and write a list of what you will do and will tolerate.
5. Prepare a simple statement of one sentence that you repeat over and over to your parent when they make unrealistic demands or even realistic ones that you cannot meet on any given day because of prior commitments. Accept that you will be abused. The best way to accept abuse is to accept that your parent, is sick, which in fact they are. Changing your mindset to accept sick behavior as compared to bad behavior can be the key to overcoming the rage and anger that you feel at the hands of this parent.
More tips in coming articles.
Contact Beth McHugh for further assistance regarding this issue.