Have you ever had a parent who is so wrapped up in themselves that they don't really see you as their child? If this sounds like your home life, you may be dealing with a narcissistic parent and these 8 best tips will help you deal with them as a teenager.
Narcissistic parents often put their own needs above those of their children, and as a result, the lives of teenagers who have narcissistic parents be pretty difficult and rough.
If you're a teenager who's struggling to cope with a narcissistic parent, here are 8 best tips that might help deal with a narcissistic parent as a teenager.
Understand what a narcissistic parent is?
The first step in dealing with a narcissistic parent is to understand what narcissism is and how it manifests itself.
Narcissism is a personality disorder that is often misunderstood, it is not simply characterized by having an inflated sense of self-importance, an excessive need for admiration, and a lack of empathy for others.
True narcissism goes much deeper than that and can have a profound effect on the lives of those around them, especially their children.
Narcissistic parents often have high expectations of their children and can be very critical. They may also belittle their children or try to control them.
While it's normal for parents to want the best for their children, narcissistic parents take it to an extreme and often put their own needs above those of their children. As a result, teenagers who have narcissistic parents often feel neglected and unsupported.
If you're a teenager with a narcissistic parent, you may feel devalued, unimportant, or invisible. You may feel like you can't do anything right or that your opinion doesn't matter and like you're Walking on Eggshells all the time.
These are all common experiences for children of narcissists but there are things you can do to help yourself cope.
8 Best Tips To Deal With A Narcissistic Parent As A Teenager
Here are 8 best tips to help you deal with a narcissistic parent as a teenager:
1. Don't take their behavior personally.
As teenagers, we desperately want our parents' approval and love. Unfortunately, narcissistic parents are often incapable of giving us this validation which is why it's so difficult not to take their behavior personally.
What's more, they will often use our need for approval against us by making us feel guilty or manipulating us into doing what they want.
For example, they might say things like: "If you loved me, you would do this for me" or "I can't believe you would treat me this way after all I've done for you."
Narcissistic people tend to have an inflated sense of self-importance, a deep need for admiration, lack empathy and often take advantage of others all to make themselves feel better. As a result, they often end up being hurtful and very abusive to their children.
Remember that their behavior is not about you, it is about them; it's a reflection of their deep-seated insecurities and emotional struggles. If you can keep this in mind, it will be easier to deal with your parent's narcissism without internalizing their negativity.
2. Set boundaries and stick to them, even if it means losing contact with them altogether.
Besides not taking their behavior personally, one of the most important things you can do as a teenager dealing with a narcissistic parent is to set boundaries.
Narcissistic people often lack empathy and have difficulty respecting boundaries. As a result, it's a must to set clear boundaries with them, so that your parent knows what's acceptable and what's not, to protect yourself both emotionally and physically from their manipulation and criticisms.
For example, if your parent is constantly putting you down or criticizing you, make it clear that this is not acceptable and that you will not tolerate it. Or you might need to establish boundaries around topics that are off-limits for discussions, such as your weight, appearance, or love life.
It is also a must to set boundaries around your time and energy. Remember that you are not obligated to spend time with them or do things for them if you don't want to. You might need to limit or even cut off contact with them altogether if they refuse to respect your boundaries and their behavior is particularly hurtful or abusive.
The most important thing is that you stick to your boundaries which can be difficult, especially if your parent threatens or attempts to guilt you into breaking them. However, it is key to remember that you have a right to live your life free from their toxic behavior and abuse and you deserve to be treated with respect.
3. Disengage from any conflict — don't give them the satisfaction of seeing that they've upset you.
Narcissistic people often seek out conflict because they enjoy feeling superior to others and they get a "high" from the drama and chaos that conflict creates. Which is why dealing with a narcissistic parent can be a difficult and emotionally draining experience.
Instead, if your parent says or does something hurtful or upsetting, disengage from the situation and avoid reacting in a way that will give them the satisfaction of knowing they've upset or angered you. This will only serve to frustrate them more because they won't be getting the reaction that they want.
Remain peaceful, calm, and collected — which is not easy — but it is a crucial step in managing your relationship with a narcissistic parent.
4. Educate yourself on narcissistic personality disorder so that you can better understand your situation.
If you're dealing with a narcissistic parent, one of the best things you can do is educate yourself on narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).
Narcissistic personality disorder can be tricky to deal with because the symptoms can be mistaken for confidence or simply having a strong personality.
It's important to educate yourself on the signs and symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder so that you can better understand why your parent behaves the way they do and provide you with some valuable tips on how to deal with them.
If you suspect that your parent may be suffering from this disorder, reach out to a mental health professional for help; you are not alone in this situation and there is help available.
There are also several excellent books on the subject, such as "Why Is It Always About You? The Seven Deadly Sins of Narcissism" by Sandy Hotchkiss, "Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers" by Karyl McBride and "Rethinking Narcissism" by Craig Malkin. And, a wealth of information available online from reputable sources like the National Institute of Mental Health.
5. Focus on taking care of yourself.
When you're dealing with a narcissistic parent, it's easy to get so caught up in drama and chaos. So, due to the intense emotional stress that dealing with a narcissistic parent can cause, it's crucial to make your well-being a priority.
Which includes your physical, mental, and emotional health. Make sure to nurture these areas of your life so that you can be strong and healthy despite the stress of having a narcissistic parent.
Schedule time for activities that make you happy and help you relax, such as reading, spending time outdoors, going to the gym, or listening to music. Eating a healthy diet and getting enough sleep will also help to boost your mood and energy levels.
6. Seek out support from friends, family members, or a therapist who can offer impartial advice and guidance.
Dealing with a narcissistic parent can be an isolating experience because they often create chaos and conflict within families. As a result, it's important to seek out support from other family members or friends because they can provide a shoulder to cry on when needed.
Plus, talking to others who understand what you're going through can be incredibly helpful in managing the stress of dealing with a narcissistic parent and it can also help you to realize that you're not alone.
With that being said, although your friends and family members can be a great source of support, it's also necessary to seek out professional help from a therapist if you're struggling to cope. A therapist can offer impartial guidance and support and can help you develop healthy coping mechanisms for dealing with a narcissistic parent.
If you're not sure where to turn, there are also several helplines available, such as the National Domestic Violence Hotline or the National Parent Helpline, which can offer support and resources. Remember, you are not alone in this situation and there is help available if you are struggling to cope.
7. Don't try to change or fix your parent — they will only change if they want to change themselves.
When dealing with a narcissistic parent, remember that you cannot change or fix them, it can be tempting but it's important to realize that this is not your responsibility.
Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental illness that can only be treated by a mental health professional, so the best thing you can do is focus on taking care of yourself and managing your own emotions.
8. Accept that you have different opinions and values from your parent.
You are not responsible for your parent's emotions and behavior, you have the right to have different opinions and values from them.
You are entitled to your own thoughts, feelings, and beliefs and you don't have to agree with everything your parent says or does. Just because they're your parent doesn't mean that you have to agree with them all the time.
In fact, it's perfectly normal to have different opinions and values from your parent, and it's okay to respectfully disagree with them.
What's important is that you nurture a healthy relationship based on mutual respect if it's possible. If not, then it's a must — like said previously — to set boundaries so that you can protect yourself from their toxic behavior.
Dealing with a narcissistic parent can be an incredibly difficult and stressful experience, but remember that you're not alone.
With the above tips in mind, you can start to take steps to protect yourself from their toxic behavior and start to focus on your own wellbeing.