Advice for people with narcissistic parents or bystanders of children with narcissistic parents. Answers to five commonly asked questions about narcissism in relationships between narcissistic fathers and mothers and their sons and daughters.
How to help a child whose narcissistic parent is jealous of the child’s relationship with the other parent?
The best you can do for a child of a narcissistic parent is to help them understand their parents’ condition. As friends, family, teachers, or mentors of children with narcissistic family, there is nothing that we can do to prevent narcissistic manipulation and abuse on the part of the parents.
Narcissistic parents will always be jealous of the attention their children give to other people and the attention other people give to their children instead of them. No amount of external persuasion will prevent these feelings. So, there are two ways to deal with their jealousy —
- Flood the narcissist with love and attention, so they don’t feel left out
- Accept the jealousy and be prepared for their retaliatory abuse
Abuse is best countered by first learning to spot it when it is happening. While it may seem obvious to anyone looking in from the outside, victims of narcissists, especially children, are usually clueless at the time. Narcissists are amazing at convincing their victims that they are at fault.
For more details that you can share with the child, see — “How to Deal with a Narcissistic Parent | Healing When There Is No Love”
What happens to a daughter when a narcissistic mother and a narcissistic husband both try controlling their relationship?
Children of narcissists are more likely to have intimate relationships with other narcissists. And narcissists in their lives more easily control them.
It is fairly common for the daughter of a narcissist, who is lucky enough to avoid developing narcissism themselves, to marry a narcissistic husband or significant other. Marriages with both a narcissistic husband and mother in law are likely to lead to clashes between the two.
The exact result depends on the relationship between the mother and daughter, but some things that could happen include —
- The mother in law breaks up the marriage
- The narcissistic husband cuts off contact between mother and daughter
- Both parties constantly bad mouth the other but are unable to gain the upper hand
- Both relationships fall apart
Handling this situation is the same as dealing with either a narcissistic husband or mother, but more complex because the abuse is coming from multiple angles. Learn details for each situation below:
- “What to Do with a Narcissistic Christian Husband | Love Overcomes Evil”
- “Help! My Mother is a Narcissist | Surviving a Narcissistic Caregiver”
How do you get away from a narcissistic parent for a weekend?
The best way to get time away from a narcissistic parent is to make it seem like their idea. Try to find an event or pretext for a weekend outing that follows their vision for your future.
Listen to what they say very carefully, and try to fit in our weekend getaway as the logical result of something they say regularly. When you tell them about it, frame it as if you are following their orders and that you thought they wanted you to do this.
For instance, if they are proud of your smarts, plan a trip to a museum, library, etc., in a different city. If they are proud of your physique, plan a sports weekend or hunting trip to make you better physically.
What to do about adult children that have been triangulated by their narcissistic father
Victims of narcissistic triangulation must be shown the truth, but gently and without accusations toward the narcissist in their life. Children of narcissists are exceptionally sensitive to disparaging information about their parents, because they were taught to be the narcissist to protect their reputation at any cost.
So long as children of narcissists are unaware of their father’s psychological condition, they cannot be removed from the narcissist’s control program. Even adult children can be manipulated quite easily by a narcissist who raised them.
How do you break a narcissistic child out of their father’s spell?
Start by showing them little strange facts or inconsistencies in their father’s stories. Work little by little to get them questioning their image of their father.
Over time, try to open a dialog with them where they are comfortable bringing things they notice about their father to you. Ideally, the children will do most of the talking, leading themselves out of the spell of manipulation towards truth.
Encourage this growth by always accepting what they say with an open mind, never outright rejecting their opinion on the situation no matter how obviously wrong. Lead them gently by asking open-ended questions that get the adult child thinking and working through their own memories.
Do narcissistic parents like to tell close family and friends all the bad stuff you have done?
Many narcissistic parents like to tell people just how bad their children are. In many cases, this depends on the particular child and the narcissist’s relationship with them.
In most narcissistic families with multiple children, one or more children will be given the status of “golden child,” while one or more or labeled the “scapegoat.” Scapegoats will have all their faults aired in public by their parents, while the golden children will be defended in any way possible.
In other families, the narcissistic parent will feel jealous of their children. So, these parents will tell bad stories about their children as a way to knock them down a peg. And to keep their children ashamed and under their control.
See “Triangulation in Narcissistic Families” for more info.