When many people are involved with a narcissist, the answer is simply — get away from them. When it’s your daughter, however, that’s not an option, so what can you do?
When someone suffers from narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), they have difficulty with self-regulation, problems with fragile self-esteem, and they are easily wounded. Additionally, they are externally validated and must look to others for approval and admiration.
It’s painful to watch someone you love go through this kind of problem, and it’s also painful to experience the effects of their disorder. Narcissists are famous for flying off the handle at the drop of a hat. That’s because they perceive the slightest criticism as a direct threat to their fragile self-esteem.
They often engage in various manipulative techniques to attempt to control their loved ones. They will gaslight you, lie, and blame you for their own bad behavior. This can create a very difficult living environment.
What Can You Do?
If you don’t want to or can’t go no contact with your narcissistic daughter, there are some things you can do to try and make your interactions more pleasant. Here are five of the best ways to deal with your narcissistic daughter.
1. Be Empathetic
It’s helpful if you can be empathetic about her feelings whenever you can. She will definitely engage in hurtful manipulative techniques when she feels as though she’s being criticized or feeling insecure.
If you can muster some empathy for how she’s feeling and resist the urge you might feel to criticize her or offer her any advice, you will minimize the potential for her to fly into a narcissistic rage.
Showing you empathy will also model that trait for her, although you should not expect to receive her empathy in return. Most narcissists are simply not capable of showing empathy.
2. Establish Strong Boundaries
The most important thing you’ll have to do if you’re going to stay in any relationship with a narcissist is establish and maintain strong boundaries. If you don’t do this, you will be subjected to various manipulation techniques and aggressive behavior.
When you decide upon what important boundaries are for you, you should discuss those with your daughter. Be sure to include the consequences she will face for violating those boundaries.
Your narcissistic daughter will not want you to go no contact. She needs your validation and love, but she will attempt to get away with as much as she can. For that reason, you should enforce any consequences for boundary violations immediately and consistently.
By doing what you say you will do, you will let your daughter know that you will not allow her to manipulate you. This will help the two of you have the best relationship possible.
3. Look for Positives
When the narcissist in your life is your own daughter, it’s certain she is likely desperate for your validation and approval. It’s important to remember that her self-esteem is unstable, and that makes external validation imperative.
When you can point out the things she does that are admirable and good, you’ll help her to feel more confident when she’s around you. That will help her to relax, and you’ll experience more pleasant interactions.
If she enjoys being in your company, you’ll have far less-stressful conversations and you’ll have the opportunity to understand her more. You might even be able to help her heal from her narcissism though you shouldn’t expect that.
4. Don’t Try to Put Her in Her Place
Because narcissists often act so arrogantly, people feel like they want to put them in their place. The problem is that trying to do just triggers their defensive mechanisms. As a result, they will devalue the person whom they see as criticizing them.
That just makes the situation worse for everyone involved. It doesn’t make her realize she has a problem, and it doesn’t change her behaviors. While she may be acting arrogantly, the sad truth is she feels very insecure inside.
That’s why it’s better to compliment her on things you believe to be true. By propping up her fragile self-esteem, you can help to ease her narcissistic tendencies. She will become more comfortable in your presence, and she will be less likely to act out around you.
5. Pay Attention to Timing
It’s important to think carefully about timing when attempting to interact with a narcissist. If she is in the middle of a rageful fit, for example, she is unlikely to be receptive to your advice or feedback.
She also won’t be able to gain any self-awareness about her own role in the interaction. What’s more, you can cause her to feel as though she can’t interact with you comfortably, and that will cause her to engage in more negative behavior around you.
If she is acting out, it can be helpful to remind her about what you know are her good qualities. This can help to calm her, and once she is feeling more calm and content, you might then approach her gently to help her become more self-aware.
You might even be able to broach the subject of seeking therapy with a gentle prod such as, “I have had some problems in my own life, and I found it helpful to talk to this great therapist I found. That might be something that could help you.”
In this scenario, you’re not telling her that she is wrong, and you’re not shaming her for her behavior. Instead, you’re showing her empathy and complimenting her on her good qualities. If she responds by changing the topic or feeling insulted, you can drop the topic and bring it up at another time.
It’s not easy to have a narcissistic family member, particularly a child. You don’t want to cut them out of your life, but you also have to take care of yourself. If you can remember that their self-esteem is actually very fragile, it can allow you to understand them and maybe even help them.
They view the world as being against them, and they see everyone and everything as being out to get them, to make them feel bad about themselves. Your empathy can make a huge difference here, but you still have to establish and maintain your own boundaries to ensure that you protect yourself.
To understand more about your daughter’s narcissism, check out the article, “7 Characteristics of a Narcissistic Person.”
If you want more tips for dealing with narcissists, setting boundaries, and managing emotional triggers, make sure you subscribe to my youtube channel