5 Things Narcissistic Parents Say
Growing up with a narcissistic parent can shape your personality and behavior for life. There is no warm, caring relationship with a narcissistic parent. Negligence, marginalization, and emotional manipulation from your narcissistic parent can have long-lasting consequences on your mental health, life choices, and relationships.
How to Recognize a Narcissistic Parent
Narcissistic parents are self-centered and incapable of forming healthy, meaningful relationships. They have unrealistic expectations and make unrealistic demands, criticizing everything their children say or do.
Narcissistic parents tend to be controlling and manipulative. They often compete with their kids, seeing their independence as a threat to their dominance and control.
Also, toxic parents tend to put their needs first, having an inflated sense of own worth and importance. They are often verbally abusive, gaslighting you into a belief that their behavior is your fault. Narcissistic parents never accept responsibility for their words and actions, blaming others for their mistakes.
Manipulation and Control
If you decide to stand for yourself, your narcissistic parent will twist the situation, play a victim, and accuse you of being cruel. She may also say you are too sensitive or dramatic without ever showing genuine empathy.
To others, your toxic parent may present parent as a caring parent who takes care of everyone, while she actually only cares about herself.
Narcissistic parents are usually possessive and jealous of their kids’ friends, partners, social and professional success. Nothing their kids do is good enough for toxic parents. They often use triangulation to stay in control of family dynamics. For example, she may pull you into a conflict with the other parent or sibling to remain in control over everyone else. They create unhealthy attachment, using codependency to manipulate other family members.
A narcissistic parent will use her kids as a narcissistic supply to feed her ego and get the validation and admiration she craves.
Toxic parents don’t respect boundaries. Your narcissistic parent will always break your boundaries, accusing you of being insensitive when trying to stick to them.
Narcissists tend to see the world around them as black and white. This polarized thinking pattern doesn’t allow them to understand that people are made of qualities and imperfections. They will use gaslighting phrases in different life situations to devalue you, erode your self-esteem, and make you doubt yourself.
Here are the five common things narcissistic parents say and what they really mean.
1. You are Too Sensitive.
A narcissistic parent will use this gaslighting phrase to discredit and demean your feelings when she hurts you. With this phrase, she actually sends a message that she will not be held accountable for her hurtful words and actions, suggesting that there is something wrong with you instead.
2. Stop Being So Dramatic.
Narcissists often use this phrase to avoid accountability for what they say or do, minimizing or denying abuse.
Your narcissistic parent will intentionally create drama, confusion, and insecurity, blaming you for overreacting. Narcissistic parents say things like this to guilt-trip their children or to minimize their emotions.
For example, if you are upset or start crying about something they’ve said or done, your toxic parent will address that as unwarranted. She will tell you that you are dramatic, suggesting that your feelings are not relevant.
3. I Never Said That.
Narcissists never take responsibility for their words and behavior. They will do something and then bluntly deny doing it, saying that you have a faulty memory.
By saying: “I never said that,” your parent is telling you that you should not hold her responsible for the hurt she caused. The stamp of gaslighting is making a victim doubt own memories. So, every time they hurt you, narcissists will simply deny doing it, often twisting the truth and gaslighting you into believing that your memory is faulty in general and that everything is your fault.
4. I’m Just Trying to Help You.
Toxic parents will use this phrase to justify criticizing you for no reason. Remember that narcissists believe they always know best, so your parent will be offended and blame you for not following her advice. If you make a mistake, this will permit her to act on her hostility.
5. You are So Ungrateful.
When they cause hurt, narcissistic parents will play a victim, accusing you of being ungrateful. Or they may silence you with guilt by withdrawing and not saying anything, leaving you wondering what you did wrong. They will deny feeling angry but will send the opposite messages nonverbally.
Your parent may cause you to feel guilty by implying how you will be sorry when she is gone. She will play on this card to avoid responsibility for her actions, at the same time leaving you squirming in guilt and regret.
Why Do Narcissistic Parents Say These Kinds of Things?
The main goals of these and similar gaslighting phrases are to trivialize your feelings and communicate that you are wrong. By creating confusion, a narcissist causes you to doubt yourself, which gives them power over you.
Narcissistic parents use these phrases to invalidate, dismiss and reject their kids, so they can manipulate and control them.
Your toxic parent sends the message that your perspective, beliefs, and feelings don’t matter through gaslighting phrases. So, she will simply undermine your emotional reactions whenever she hurts you, discarding them as irrelevant.
By discarding your feelings, your narcissistic parent sends the message that she is the only one important in your relationship. Narcissists have an exaggerated sense of their importance, and this belief influences all their relationships, including those with children.
A narcissistic parent will use gaslighting to twist reality and project the hurt back on you, rejecting you, so she doesn’t have to take responsibility for her behavior.
How to Deal with Narcissistic Parent
The first thing you have to do is to set firm boundaries. They may include:
- limiting the number of calls and texts you exchange
- not allowing your parent to interfere with your professional life
- not allowing her to intrude on your friendships and romantic relationships
- limiting the amount of time, you spend with your parent
- not letting her be verbally abusive
- not permitting your parent to triangulate you
- identifying gaslighting phrases, she uses and not allowing your parent to use them on you
Your parent will use drama to intrude on your boundaries, control, and manipulate you. So, don’t allow her to trick you into her drama by sticking to the facts and your boundaries.
If you need support in dealing with a the false beliefs and limiting mindset as a result of a narcissistic parent, seek a coach or therapist.