As per my last article, narcissistic parents cause considerable damage to their children. Being raised by narcissists, is not normal and there are many wounds created, that affect the survivor – right through to their adulthood.
The following 12 steps, can be very helpful for the adult survivor. They may aid healing and greatly improve quality of life. They can aid moving towards creating a healthy life and a life of thriving and building genuine healthy relationships.
1. Dealing With The Full Extent Of The Abuse & Neglect Is Necessary
It is necessary to deal with the extent of the abuse, and this is not being disloyal or unfair to the narcissistic parent. A survivor of childhood narcissistic abuse needs to confront the truth, reality and issues in full, in order to be able to heal the complex wounds.
It may feel very uncomfortable and very painful to deal with the reality of parental narcissistic abuse. Survivors can feel they are in some way being unfair to the parent, which is usually due to the brainwashing throughout childhood.
It is needed, to understand whilst the narcissistic parent may have wounds from their own childhood, or life, this is not an excuse to abuse their children. Narcissists often also know the abuse is wrong. And this is shown by the narcissists’ capacity to act differently around people they are not abusing. Often they behave very differently at home, than they do elsewhere. Plus, they often lie about the abuse, which again shows they do know it’s wrong. The hallmark trait of narcissists, is a lack of empathy, remorse or conscience. So whilst they do know the abuse they choose to inflict is wrong, they have no desire to do differently, as they have no empathy for those they abuse.
2. Understand It Takes Time To Process The Extent Of The Abuse & Grieve
This period of time needed to process all of the damage caused, is different for everyone. I personally did not start to deal with the truth about my toxic parents, until I was 40. And it has taken a few years to process the full extent of the damage caused. For others they will begin to start dealing with the childhood abuse, in their 20’s and some it may be in their 60’s. That’s okay. And it is never too late to start to heal the wounds. We are only read to deal with it, when we are ready.
For some adult survivors, dealing with too much too soon, can be emotionally overwhelming, and it may require a gradual process. That is okay too. Each person is different and there are no hard and fast rules to healing, and no set timespan as to how long this healing journey takes.
A childhood full of toxicity and narcissistic abuse, needs to be grieved. This can take time. Grieving abusive parents, grieving a horrible childhood, grieving all the abuse endured, grieving all the child should have had, but didn’t, is hard. Like love, safety, protection, being cherished, being encouraged. It can be an emotionally painful grieving process. But, as with any loss – grieving is necessary and it allows the survivor to feel all the normal emotions they were never allowed.
3. Read Up On Different Types Of Abuse Caused by Narcissistic Parents
Narcissists often treat each of their children differently. They often assign roles to each child, and those roles are entirely for the benefit of the parent. One child may be assigned the role of scapegoat. And another child may be assigned the role of ‘Golden Child’. Both of these are very different, and may have different consequences, to the child and the adult they become. Narcissists often triangulate, and pit their children against each other and they rarely encourage healthy relationships between siblings.
Narcissists also have their preferred manipulation tactics. Some love to use the silent treatment. Others love to shout, scream and call their children names. Some love to make their child responsible for caring for other siblings.
It’s good to read up on the different types of abuse, as this helps us learn all the abuse was in fact entirely due to the parent’s own issues, and not due to anything the child did wrong.
I have a selection of resources from mental health professionals and best selling books, on my Website @ https://www.healingfromcomplextraumaandptsd.com/
4. Learn About Boundaries
Narcissists don’t have healthy boundaries, and this affects the growing child. Often the adult survivor will need to learn what healthy boundaries are, how to implement them and how to maintain them.
This can be a huge area of healing, and it can take time and a lot of willingness to look honestly at any deficit of healthy boundaries, and make the changes needed.
Some of the issues created by unhealthy/poor boundaries…. not being able to protect self from further toxic abuse, being a people pleaser and having a belief system that life is about meeting other people’s needs.
For resources about healthy boundaries – see https://www.healingfromcomplextraumaandptsd.com/developing-boundaries-
5. Learn About Self Care
When raised by narcissistic parents, the child’s needs, are not a consideration. Continue reading