How To Live With Narcissistic Parents
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What if you are trapped at home with your highly toxic, extremely annoying narcissistic parents? In that situation, you might wonder if your narcissistic parent is even capable of loving you!
Dealing with narcissistic parents when you aren’t under the same rough is difficult enough. Being confined in the same physical space can worsen your mental state or stir up old feelings of resentment and powerlessness.
Whether you are a teenager still at the mercy of your parents, an adult who has returned to the parents’ home for financial or personal reasons, or to act as a caretaker for elderly parents, dealing with narcissists is always a challenge. Whatever the circumstance, you have to be on guard about your own feelings and needs. You must establish boundaries and stand your ground.
Living with narcissistic parents presents a unique set of trials and tribulations, particularly if you’re a teenager. Let’s examine how you can make the best of your situation.
What to Do When You’re Stuck with Narcissists
You may not always have a choice in your living situation, unfortunately. Being surrounded by toxic energy can be psychologically damaging and physically exhausting. The best thing you can do in that scenario is to engage in self-care and to seek out coping skills.
In order to confront the chaos of the household, you must be strong and resilient. This requires adequate sleep and healthy habits, such as eating well and exercising regularly. These self-care activities also help to alleviate stress and to keep you calmer and focused.
You might also check into meditation or other mindful disciplines. This can help you to retreat from the toxicity displayed by narcissistic parents, keeping you grounded and centered on your own mental health. Refuse to engage with their provocations, using passive resistance if your independence is limited.
We all need love to survive and thrive, and the love of our parents is paramount to our healthy development. Coping with narcissist parents, whose love is unpredictable and often inauthentic, robs us of our sense of self-worth and self-confidence. Recognizing that you are not the problem—it’s their disorder that fuels the dysfunction—can help you maintain a strong sense of self.
Returning Home and Handling Chaos
Moving back in with narcissistic parents can be hard, even devastating, especially if you’ve worked diligently to distance yourself from the toxic environment in which you were raised. However, sometimes the circumstances are unavoidable (such as sheltering in place during a pandemic), and you must make the best of the worst available option.
Being crowded together in your childhood home can be a nightmare. Insist on scheduling some “alone time” for yourself; set those boundaries and keep them. If one or the other of your parents tries to intrude, simply move to another area or take a walk. The point is not to win an imaginary battle but rather to carve out some time to yourself.
When the narcissists provoke drama (which they will inevitably try to do), just ignore it. Refusing to react is more powerful than being drawn into their chaos. If you must, simply repeat your non-affirming answer until they lose the energy. Treating your parents like the tantrum-throwing toddlers that they are can sap them of their control.
You can also try to impose some house rules, as it were. Establishing boundaries and enforcing civilized behavior can be extraordinarily challenging with narcissists, but if you are firm in your attempts, you can make some progress. When you model decent behavior in the face of your narcissistic parents’ unreasonable demands and emotional chaos, then you set the standard.
If You Become the Caretaker
There are other scenarios that might compel you to return to living with your parents, such as caring for them as they age or if they develop a critical illness. Trying to care for someone who is still actively behaving in damaging, narcissistic ways is truly an enormous challenge.
It will likely feel like a thankless job, as the narcissist criticizes everything that you do and fails to acknowledge your sacrifices. If you’ve been out of the house for many years or had limited contact with your narcissistic parents in the intervening years, then being back around them will stir up a lot of disturbing emotions and memories. But you can help yourself through this challenging time.
Work diligently to find some time for yourself. Avoiding the burnout that comes along with caretaking, especially for psychologically compromised parents, is key to keeping your sanity. Maintain some sort of social life and seek out activities that bring you pleasure and joy as often as you can.
Consult with professionals, as well, who can provide both emotional support and, in certain cases, an actual break from your duties. Remember how resilient you are and get some professional assistance in honing those coping skills. You can combat the emotional turmoil and manipulative manner of your narcissistic parents with a firm resolve and a helping hand.
Know Your Limitations and Heal Thyself
However, it may ultimately be impossible to handle living with your narcissistic parents. You are not obligated to suffer at the hands of their verbal or irrational abuse. If you have any other options, take advantage of them and leave your current situation. Seek out professional services to assist you, if necessary.
It’s important to note that you cannot control a narcissist—you cannot control the behavior of others in general—but that you can control yourself. Seeing yourself in a position of power can help you confront the more difficult aspects of handling narcissistic parents. Don’t lose yourself in the struggle to elicit better behavior from them.
Living with narcissistic parents presents numerous challenges, from the smothering of your independence to the toxic sabotage of your emotional state. If you are stuck with them, then it’s absolutely crucial that you develop the coping skills to confront their bad behavior.
Engaging in self-care and employing some techniques in deflecting their drama can keep you on the right track. Remind yourself that this situation is temporary, regardless of the reasons why you are there. Understand that you have limitations and set boundaries firmly. After all, you have every right not just to live but to thrive, as well.
One helpful technique for dealing with narcissistic parents is to detach yourself from them emotionally, and this article will give you some tips for doing just that.
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