If your PARENT is a narcissist...
Are you wondering if the adult children of narcissists can ever find a sense of belonging?
Is every interaction with your narcissistic parent a struggle?
Do you feel trapped in a never-ending battle with your family that you can never win?
Are you a daughter or son feeling tired of the behavior of your narcissistic mother or narcissistic father?
Have you noticed that the devastation you feel in relationship to your narcissistic parent spills over into other aspects of your life?
Do you experience long periods of painful loneliness and isolation?
You might tend to experience life as emotionally painful. Your interactions with other people – family, friends, and co-workers – often leave you feeling hurt. It can become quite disheartening when the possibility for joyful relationships feels out of reach.
Many survivors of narcissistic parents have an unexplained empty feeling inside. Despite being highly competent and having achieved a lot in life, these adults often yearn for a sense of fulfillment that they can never achieve.
It is also possible that you take on responsibility for making sure everyone around you feels okay, even though no one expects that from you. You do it because it is how you know how to relate. But in the end, you feel resentful because you cannot seem to get your own emotional needs met.
Ultimately, the emotional pain of day-to-day life has become untenable. You want your life to be different. You yearn for the possibility of hope, joy, happiness, and freedom.
Survivors often report that dealing with a narcissistic parent made them wonder if they were crazy.
Daughters and sons have a primal connection to their mothers as the source of life. There is a hardwired belief that mothers are a source of love, nurturing and protection. When a mother does not behave this way, daughters and sons will subconsciously make up all kinds of excuses to try and explain what is happening. Children of narcissists simply can’t believe that their mother is a source of pain. Similarly, we expect protection, nurturing, and care from our fathers. Fathers who cannot see beyond their own needs inflict similar emotional and psychological wounds on their children.
Children need attunement from their parents in order to develop emotional and psychological well-being. When a parent is properly attuned they can offer their child the right amount of nurturing and challenge. This is a basic and fundamental human need. A narcissistic parent is incapable of providing this type of care and support to his or her children. If you have a parent who is a narcissist, you experienced some level of emotional abuse or emotional neglect as a child that impacted your emotional development and the way you experience the world today.
Narcissism is a real thing. It is a personality disorder recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Narcissistic parenting is real. It has been studied, researched, and written about. You are not alone in your experience, and you are not crazy.
Sessions can help adult children of narcissists recover from narcissistic abuse.
Narcissistic parenting is emotional abuse that has serious consequences for children. The adult children of narcissists will continue to feel those impacts until they chose to undergo recovery. I have been through the recovery process personally and I have supported many others on their own unique journey to becoming a thriving survivor. I understand the emotional and psychological pain of having narcissistic parents, and I also know that recovering from narcissistic parents is 100% possible. You’ll be supported in your own process of recovery by someone who understands the difficulties as well as the rewards.
In our sessions we will work with current challenges, obstacles, or difficulties in your life. You will have the opportunity to self-reflect in a supportive and encouraging environment. We will look at deeply ingrained beliefs that shape how you perceive the world, respond to others, and behave in certain situations. We will explore other possibilities and design experiments where you can try new ways of being in the world. You will have the opportunity to grow beyond what you believe are your current limits.
Many children of narcissists are out of touch with their feelings, needs, and wants. This is because as a young daughter or son, you learned to repress these parts of yourself in order to meet the needs of your mother or father. For this reason, another key aspect of our sessions will include supporting you in finding yourself again. We can work with feelings of numbness and emptiness so that over time you can learn how to identify, trust, and communicate your feelings, needs, and wants from a place of authenticity and confidence.
Part of what makes recovery so challenging is that we must feel the painful feelings associated with not getting our needs met in childhood. There is no skipping over this part. My clients who are willing to lean into this discomfort are the ones who progress through recovery the most quickly. You get to set the pace of your sessions and I will never push you to go faster than you want to go. Our sessions will explore this process delicately so you feel supported as you arrive at acceptance on your own terms.
Even if you are feeling hopeless right now, you can turn things around in your life. I know this is possible because I have done it in my own life and I have supported others to do the same. Clients who are open to change, willing to try something different, and ready to receive regular support from a dedicated professional, regularly report discovering a new life that is better than they ever could have imagined.
Recovering from narcissistic abuse is possible. Experiencing life in a new way is possible.
The day I realized this for myself was an amazing day.
I had been experiencing so much of my life through the lens of my experience as the daughter of narcissists. I chose men who were emotionally unavailable because it was familiar. In my career I chose to do great things from behind the scenes, because it was in my comfort zone to be invisible. I exhausted myself trying to take care of everyone else’s emotional needs (even though I was not asked to do that) and then felt resentful about it.
Finding out that life did not have to feel this way was like getting a chance to begin again. That is what I did. It is what others have done. You can do it too. I have since learned how to meet my own emotional needs, to set healthy boundaries, and to live with the understanding that I am not responsible for the emotional well-being of others. You cannot change who your parents are, or the experience you had as a child. But you absolutely can heal the emotional wounds that result from this type of childhood trauma and learn to experience life differently.
You might be terrified of letting yourself feel the pain of your childhood.
The pain of narcissistic parenting is too much to bear in childhood. You may have developed several coping mechanisms as a child to protect yourself from that pain. Later in life those coping mechanisms often become more harmful than helpful. As an adult you do have the ability to withstand the emotional pain of your childhood, even though you are convinced you do not. A key reason people need support and assistance in the beginning of their recovery from narcissistic abuse is because the fear of the emotional pain is so great. With me by your side you will have more courage to feel this pain and let it go. Resisting painful emotions is a key reason you are suffering today. Feeling them is essential to genuinely liberating yourself from the experience once and for all.
Maybe you have already spent a lot of time and money in therapy sessions that seem pointless.
If you have been exploring your relationship with your parents in a general sense, and not in the context of narcissism, you have been missing a key piece of the puzzle. Having information about narcissism, what it looks like, and how it impacts a person in childhood and then later in adulthood, will profoundly impact your ability to disrupt the patterns that are currently playing out in your life.
If your therapy had more of a focus on discussion and analysis (mind-based), as opposed to a somatic (body-based) focus, it’s possible that you were only able to scratch the surface of your experience. With my support you will learn how to identify and connect with your emotions through your body. Emotions are energy that sit in the physical body. By focusing on both mind and body you can heal more deeply than by focusing only on the mind. This is one of the key reasons it is so important to work with a professional who specializes in narcissistic abuse recovery.
Some adult children of narcissists fear being told to go “no contact” with their narcissistic parent.
Ending the relationship is not the only way forward. Every parent-child relationship is unique, and you will know in your heart what is right for you. I will respect your wish to either stay in relationship or go no contact. I will support you in either decision.
For some adults ending the relationship brings about a deep sense of relief and is a necessary step for moving forward in life. For others it feels right to maintain the relationship and to focus on learning how to establish boundaries, how to respond rather than react, and how to practice acceptance of the relationship as it is.
There are also a lot of ways forward that combine these two options. You might choose to take a break from your relationship and then re-evaluate what to do after some time has passed. Alternatively, some adults decide to experiment with new ways of being in relationship with their parent and see how it goes before deciding to maintain the relationship or go no contact.
From the blog...
You can become a thriving survivor of narcissistic parents.
You can learn from your experience, rediscover yourself, and break the cycle of abuse. You don't have to figure this out on your own. I am located in Denver, Colorado and I see clients in person and via video conference. Use the link below to schedule a phone call where we can discuss your needs and how we might work together, or to schedule an appointment.