Sobriety Navigator: The challenges of having a narcissistic parent. Part 2
People are only deluding themselves if they think the pathologically narcissistic parent will ever change. They don’t want to change. In their mind there is no reason to change anything about themselves. Their inflated ego sees them as just fine the way they are. In their mind, it is everyone else who needs work, and they are very generous with their criticism and unsolicited advice.
It is clearly apparent that they do not want to have a relationship with their adult children based on mutual respect and equality. The concept of equality is completely out of the question. It is seen as an affront to their false sense of entitlement. They are superior and should be treated as such. Their egotism is so strong it distorts their sense of self-importance in all situations. This distorted view of themselves overrides any sense of compassion or consideration for others, especially their children. If confronted with their selfish and cruel behavior towards others, they may appear amused or act confused or surprised, since it would be very rare for them to consider how their behaviors affects others. Quite often they will flatly state that they, “never thought about it,” as if this lack of thoughtfulness can exonerate them from the effects of their cruel and insensitive behavior.
Narcissists love drama, dissention, turmoil and crisis. It’s entertainment to them. There is nothing the narcissist enjoys more than putting their children, both young and grown, on the defense. It reinforces their sense of having “power over”. Power over others is like a drug to them and getting reactions will only reinforce and feed the craving for more.
It can be both disconcerting and liberating when a person faces the realization that the narcissistic parent, who has treated them so poorly over the years, really doesn’t like them. The true narcissist doesn’t like anyone. Because of this realization, the adult child can develop and maintain strong personal boundaries when interacting with this parent. The child can stay fully aware of the fact that she must maintain a constant vigil of protecting her cherished serenity and self-esteem. If not, the parent will masterfully draw her into her self-absorbed, self-centered agenda.
Understanding the value of personal healthy boundaries, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual, can immeasurably enhance the quality of your life. The positive effect of self-esteem and self-image will, in turn, overflow into personal relationships.
Most likely you have developed your own addictions in an attempt to tolerate the intolerable. Try to avoid placing judgment on yourself for self-medicating. Take some time to understand the motivation behind the substance abuse and how a lack of healthy coping skills accelerated the problem.