5 Steps To Heal (And Move On) From Your Narcissist Parent

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5 Steps To Heal And Move On From Narcissist Parents

"Mirror, mirror on the wall — I am my parent after all." 

Is this you?

You look in the mirror and see a competent achiever and leader, someone in charge of every event, always receiving kudos and in the limelight. When you are at home and out of the spotlight, you feel empty and fill that emptiness by demanding attention and compliance with your needs.

If this is you, you may be the child of a narcissist parent.

On the other hand, you look in the mirror and see someone who spends their life trying to please others. Over and over again, you find yourself in relationships that leave you emotionally drained. You constantly seek ways to make others happy but receive nothing in return. 

You, too, may be the child of a narcissistic parent.

If you see either of these reflections, you may be the child of a parent who lacked the capacity, the empathy, the ability to nurture you. A parent who demanded that everything, all the time, was about them — their desires, their wishes, their needs, their survival.

A parent who literally sucked the vibrancy of youth out of you, leaving you as an adult seeking fulfillment and esteem outside of yourself. Either the applause of public adulation or the acknowledgment of those to whom you give all are what you believe you need to survive, to be "good enough".

RELATED: 4 Awful, Unbelievable Memories Of Growing Up With A Narcissistic Mother

All is not lost. You can heal this unhealthy cycle. As a son or daughter and a young boy or girl, you did the best you could, but you didn’t have the resources to do anything more than what you did.

But, that child yearning for love, approval, and support is still there within you. You can, if you choose to do the work, give them the unconditional nurturing support to heal the old wound, and in doing so, heal yourself as an adult child of a narcissistic parent.

These 5 steps can help you heal (and move on) from your narcissist parent and bring you to a healthier relationship with yourself and your world:

1. Accept the truth.

Your parent consistently put their needs and desires first, leaving you in a vacuum where nurturing attention was needed. It can be very painful to feel that you were unloved as a child, particularly by your parent. Hiding from this personal truth will not heal it or make it go away.

That young child in you had experiences that inform your every action and reaction as an adult and will continue to do so until their stories are heard and their truths recognized. You may tell yourself that your parent did the best they could, but this is only part of the truth. They did the best they could but did not have the capacity to meet your needs.

Accepting this truth can free you from guilt and help release the negative feelings toward your parent that block your fulfillment and happiness

What you can do: Revisit and make a list of times you remember giving them the "benefit of the doubt", crediting them with doing their best and add, "They were not able to meet my needs and I did the best I could at my age." Write out, as articulately as you can, what you needed at that time of your life that parent did not give you.

2. Release old experiences.

Even if we do not realize it, these experiences are stored in our bodies. These stored memories, unbeknownst to us, triggers our actions and reactions. There are many ways to symbolize the release of these memories. 

What you can do: Write down an experience that comes up in as much detail as possible, particularly about how you felt when your parent did not recognize your needs. Ball the piece of paper up. Stand up, holding your arm out straight in front of you clutching the paper in your fist so hard it almost hurts.

Feel how holding onto this paper, causing you discomfort is not helping you, is not nurturing you, is not bringing any satisfaction. Will your hand to open and allow the balled up paper to fall to the ground as you say in your heart, "I release the (fill in here: the feelings brought up by the situation)."

Repeat until you really feel the release throughout your body.

3. Connect with courage.

As a child growing up, you did the best you could in the circumstances in which you found yourself. Being raised by a narcissistic parent put many challenges in front of you — challenges you met with bravery and resilience whether you knew it or not.

What you can do: List the times when you did the best you could in daunting circumstances. Acknowledge your courage in the face of fear, see your cleverness in problem-solving, know your resilience. Gently fold this paper resting it lightly, as would a butterfly, in your open palm.

Feel it almost weightless in your hand, know it is you — it has always been you. Slowly rotate your wrist allowing the paper to flutter to the ground with the sure knowledge that the young child with this courage, resilience, cleverness, and more is you.

RELATED: I Was Raised By A Narcissist Who Abducted Me When I Was 10

4. Continue with compassion.

From this moment on, you can begin to heal yourself by giving the young girl in you the compassion, care, nurturance, praise, and more, that you missed as a child.

What you can do: Bring gentle compassion to that young, neglected, and, in some cases, abused child. When they come to you, listen with gentle, compassion, without judgment. Do not counter with "Yes, buts..." 

Instead look with new eyes and admiration at the courage and resilience of your young self.

5. Maintain mindfulness.

This all about awareness of your reactions in your present life. You may still find yourself with those familiar feelings that cause you to act in a way that reminds you of the worst in your parent.

If you do, pause, consider the beliefs you are still holding about how you will survive in this world and take a few moments of mindfulness to find a better way.

What you can do: Pause. Find a quiet place if you can. Accept and welcome what comes. Bring gentle compassion to the part of you that is feeling afraid, believing that they are not measuring up.

Offer to your younger self that this belief is not true, that you can live in your healthy adult self without the untoward influence of your parent’s narcissism.Tap into your new awareness of your courage, resilience, cleverness and more. 

RELATED: 8 SCARY, Long-Lasting Effects Of Having Narcissistic Parents

Margaret Herrick is a spiritual coach, focusing trainer, and truth seeker.