How to Cope With a Narcissistic Parent

A mental health expert making notes
Written by Nancy

Children rely on their parents for unconditional love, encouragement, and support. Our childhoods dictate what kind of adults we grow up to be, making it important for children to feel like they’re heard and seen by the people they love as they’re growing up. It’s extremely painful for children whose parents deny them the security they need in their formative years.

This is the unfortunate reality for children who have narcissistic parents. They’re unable to give appropriate attention and validation that children need to feel loved, impacting their self-esteem, beliefs, and behavior.

Here’s how you can try to cope:

Realize the reality of the situation

Narcissists love having control, and you need to accept that you can’t win against them. If you don’t bend to their will, you get punished. Their inherent selfishness dictates that it’s more important to get their needs met than to establish a functional family structure. You need to recognize the abnormality of their behavior without trying to change them.

Resist their gaslighting attempts

Narcissistic parents frequently attempt to make their children feel like they’re delusional or crazy for feeling the way they feel or thinking badly of what they’re doing. They can try to make you believe that everything you feel is wrong and attempt to gain full control over your thought process. Ignore their attempts and build up your self-esteem to the point where you are confident in your reality.

Be compassionate to them and yourself

Deep down, narcissistic parents usually do care about their children. They’re deeply wounded and sensitive people who need compassion and empathy. However, you need to practice self-compassion as well, since you probably won’t receive it from your parent. Learn self-soothing techniques and love yourself hard enough to make up for all the love your parent couldn’t give you.

Walk away

Society may pressure you to maintain these harmful relationships because of the blood bond you share with your parents. However, it might be doing you more harm than good, and it’s best to choose yourself and walk away temporarily or permanently.

A depressed woman holding her head

Talk to a mental health expert in NJ

Stem Wellness has highly experienced mental health therapists who can help you develop healthy coping mechanisms and deal with any mental health issues or trauma from living with a narcissistic parent. Dr. Stempel uses various techniques such as emotionally focused therapy (EFT) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and is a certified clinical supervisor in the state of New Jersey.

Their services include psychotherapy counseling, marriage or relationship counseling, individual therapy, and family therapy in New Jersey.

Contact them to book an appointment today.




Disclaimer: Please note that this content has been proofread manually and through grammar checkers to eliminate all spacing errors. Any spacing errors you may come across are due to compatibility issues in Microsoft Word.

About the author


I’m Nancy and no, I didn’t always look like I do in that picture on the right. My foray into health and fitness began as a brace-faced, 16 year-old who was too afraid to wear a two-piece at the beach because I felt my body paled in comparison to my much more toned friends.

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