Sunday, July 06, 2008

The Aging Narcissistic Parent

If you have been carrying the cross of dealing with a narcissistic(Narcissistic Personality Disorder - NPD) parent, here is an excellent set of articles. I found this "Aging" article particularly helpful, as persons who continue to exhibit these behaviors(coping mechanisms) throughout their lives often become worse with age. One paragraph struck me as very insightful, and as being part of the painful letting go process:

"The first step in extricating yourself from the tentacles of an overly demanding narcissistic parent is admitting that your parent suffers from NPD. This is not as easy as it may sound, as many a child of a narcissist will tell you. It is extremely difficult for an adult child to come to grips with the fact that their parent never did, and never will, love them in the way that they needed and wanted to be loved. Of course, this feeling is not exclusive to children of narcissists. It is a process that comes as a by-product of many situations that may be present in childhood."

Read more here.

Check here for a thorough listing of personality traits associated with NPD. If you find most of these traits to be relevant to your situation with your parent, you will find validation. Personality traits like this are not normal, even if they seem normalized by dint of having been raised to experience no different from a parent. They must be extreme in nature and consistent in most or all situations across the person's lifetime. These are not just annoying behaviors, they are abusive in nature, and they affect everyone who comes in contact with the person.

In Christ there is healing for all: "I have been crucified with Christ; yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me. —Galatians 2:19b-20a

Our Lord said, "I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No man comes to the Father except through Me." -- Gospel of St John 14:6.

Christ and our Holy Mother in Heaven are always there to love us and step in as our parents. Never lose heart; bask in their love for you. You are first and foremost a well loved child of God, and for that we should be joyful and content.

From our Scripture readings today, St. Paul gives us the answer for proper focus and direction: Our Lord said, "Come unto Me, all you who labor and are heavy burdened, and I will give you rest. Take up My yoke[teachings] upon you and learn from Me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden light." -- Gospel of St Matthew 11:28-29.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this post. After so many years of searching (and denial) it is all falling into place for me--

I have known for some time now, in my heart, that this is true of BOTH my parents (and a sibling, sigh.) However, it is only now, due to their age related health issues, that I am finally forced to define and refine (and distance) my relationship with them, and what I can and CANNOT do for them in their elder years.

I know what the Bible says about honoring the Mother and Father, but if in being around them leads me to darkness or more devoted years of pain, or ultimately evil, I cannot be fully involved. The responsibility for this choice I alone must accept.

This is where I am today, and your final words of comfort in our Lord, Jesus Christ, is just what I needed. Blessings to you and your family, and your work here.