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

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

Healing strength ViDI Studio | Shutterstock, Aleshyn Andrei, jamievanbuskirk | Canva 

Do you look in the mirror and see a competent achiever? Someone in charge of every event who always receives kudos and is in the limelight. When you are at home and out of the spotlight, you feel empty and fill the emptiness by demanding attention and compliance with your needs. If this is you, you may be the child of a narcissistic parent.

Or, do you look in the mirror and see someone who spends their life trying to please others? Over and over again, you are left emotionally drained while constantly making others happy but receive nothing in return. You, too, may be the child of a narcissistic parent. You may be the child of a parent who lacked the capacity, empathy, and ability to nurture you. A parent who demanded everything was about them.


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Here are 5 steps to finally heal (and move on) from your narcissistic parent:

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 painful to feel 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 could not 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 list the 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 your parents did not give you.

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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 while holding your arm in front of you and clutch the paper in your fist so hard it almost hurts.

Feel how holding this paper causes discomfort and doesn't help, nurture, or bring any satisfaction. Will your hand 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 feel the release throughout your body.

golden hour peaceful moment

Photo: Evgeny Atamanenko via Shutterstock


3. Connect with courage.

As a child growing up, you did the best you could in the situations 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 situations. Acknowledge your courage in the face of fear, see your cleverness in problem-solving, and know your resilience. Gently fold this paper and rest it lightly, as a butterfly, in your open palm.

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



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4. Continue with compassion.

From this moment, you can heal yourself by giving the young you your compassion, care, nurturance, praise, and all 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 is 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 and remind 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 feeling afraid, believing they are not measuring up.


A parent who 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 is what you believe you need to survive, to be "good enough". All is not lost. You can heal this unhealthy cycle. As a child, you did the best you could but didn’t have the resources to do anything more.

The 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 heal yourself as an adult child of a narcissistic parent.

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 Long-Lasting Effects Of Having Narcissistic Parents, According To A Harvard Psychologist

Margaret Herrick is a spiritual coach, focusing trainer, and truth seeker. Margaret explores ways to develop the skills and accumulate experiences to fulfill the longing for relevance and a sense of contribution and connectedness in the world.