Growing up with a narcissistic parent means that your boundaries were not respected and you were taught to put others in front of your self. Even though these messages may not have been verbalised, they were planted into your subconscious from a very young age. As an adult it can be difficult to spot these behaviours, and then identify where they came from, but is is necessary. Always putting the needs of others in front of your own is a definite way to lead yourself to a life full of resentment and eventually burn out.
Don’t be afraid of losing people, be afraid of losing yourself by trying to please everyone around you.Unknown
Becoming an adult and distancing yourself from your parents as you establish your own life is the natural order of things but this can be distorted within the narcissistic family. This can be for a variety of reasons, below I have listed a few:
- Your needs were not met as a child so you do not feel independent or have the autonomy to separate from your family.
- You do not see that there is a problem with the enmeshment and believe that your family is just close.
- Your parent relies on you heavy and makes you feel guilty for separating from them.
- You seek the validation from your parent that you did not receive as a child.
- You believe that it is your job to look after your parent and ensure that things run smoothly in the family.
If keeping close contact with your narcissistic family is not causing you any undue stress or problems then this does not apply to you. But in the cases where people find it extremely stressful and draining to communicate with their family or meet up with them regularly, I find that they are often acting out of obligation or fear. For example if you are the adult child of a narcissistic mother and you find that you are constantly trying to help your mother and be pleasing by fulfilling every request that she makes of you and yet she is never happy, then you may need to review your situation.
By taking some time to sit with yourself and really think about what is working for you and what is not, you will be able to see where boundaries need to be placed. You are the most important person in your life and that does not change just because your mother is making a request of you. If you are exhausted after a busy day and you just want to go home and relax but then your mother phones and asks you to do something, it is fine for you to say that you will not be able to do it today and either leave it at that, or suggest another time.
If your mother is a narcissist then you know that you need to prepare yourself for the fact that she may then give you the silent treatment, she may shout, or simply not take no for an answer and continue to bombard you with different reasons why you should do as you are told. When this happens it is vital for you to stick to what feels right to you, do not change what you have said just because someone is being pushy or refusing to take no for an answer. You are only responsible for speaking your truth and saying what resonates with you, you are not responsible for someones reaction to your truth.
This can apply to any narcissistic or domineering person in your life. Take a deep breath and drop inside of yourself before giving any answers. If you know within your heart that you want to say no to something but you do not want to say it right away, you can tell the person that you will get back to them shortly and then reply once you have prepared yourself mentally. The main thing to remember is that you need to have strong boundaries in place, and remain firm when it involves protecting your time and energy.