What happens when a grownup realizes that they were the product of a narcissistic parent? First, there might be a sense of denial – “That can’t be me!” or “I don’t act like them!” Then, they might try to justify the way that they act.
Though sometimes, give them a little time, and they might see themselves in a different perspective, and question this narcissistic personality for what it is – “I don’t like that part of me” or “What can I do to change it?”
The good news is, overcoming the narcissism that was nurtured through your parents is possible. As long as you reprogram the negative words and competitive actions, and motivate yourself to do better, you’ll achieve a newer level of mental health.
Here are 6 effective approaches, along with their boundaries defined:
Don’t Be Interrogated
Narcissistic individuals are often plagued with heightened anxiety to where they start overwhelming others into this state of panic and not thinking straight. The problem with this is, narcissistic parents groom their children to feel this way through intense interrogation at a young age. That’s how narcissists get their power and take control.
First, slow your breathing, and then answer the question you wished that the narcissist had asked – not the one that was asked. Then, distract them with a compliment.
Boundary = I am to be treated like a peer.
Don’t Give Justifications Or Explanations
Narcissists will use fear and ridicule to make other people second-guess themselves. Therefore, there’s no need to justify, explain, or defend yourself if you feel that it’s not necessary. In other words, share what you must without giving away too much. Remember: the less that you share with them, the less the narcissist can use against you.
Always conclude with something like “I respect your opinion” and “I am confident with my choice.” If they try to get more out of you, just say “That’s personal.”
Boundary = We agree to disagree.
Leave Unhealthy Situations
When you feel that a situation is getting out of hand, you don’t have to stay in it. “In other words, you know what’s best for you; and, if things get ugly, then you have the right to leave that situation right away. You don’t have to look for an excuse to leave – just leave”, says Kristin Loise, a psychology writer at Liahelp.
If desired, use props. For example, you can use your cellphone to “take a call,” and then leave. Don’t explain yourself – just leave.
Or, you can directly confront narcissism by saying “I’m going to excuse myself. We can come back to this later whenever you’re ready for a constructive conversation.”
Boundary = I don’t want any part of this conversation (or situation).
Don’t Be A Victim
Many times, narcissist parents will play the victim card, to get you to feel sorry for them. The “woe is me” routine is an easy trap to fall into; so, learn to spot it quickly. Think of it as that of a young child throwing a temper tantrum.
Just ignore the narcissist’s conduct entirely. Just like a young child, when their tantrum goes ignored, then they’ll stop, and move on.
Boundary = I’m not falling for your manipulation.
Don’t Underestimate Narcissism
Narcissists will devalue others, since they have distorted views of themselves, others, and the world. While some people aren’t swayed by narcissistic tactics, there are others that will, unfortunately, succumb to the manipulation.
So, have compassion for yourself. Think of what to do differently the next time you run into a negative situation, and then move on. And keep setting boundaries.
Boundary = I know that narcissism is a recurring visitor; so, I’ll be ready for any and every visit.
Call Out Narcissism
Narcissists will seek attention and approval to build themselves up. As such, they’ll bully others into submission to get that attention and approval.
Take the bully by the horns, and say things in a matter-of-fact way. Don’t think about what they’ll say – call out their behavior, and leave it at that.
Boundary = Are you trying to make me feel bad?
Once you’ve fully understood the things that trigger narcissism, and learn to prevent such behavior, you’ll be a better person. And although these boundaries will grow distances between you and the affected parties, these serve as a way for you to stay safe and healthy from toxicity.
WRITTEN BYElizabeth Hines