I know you hear this all the time — a lot of times from those who don’t understand, who haven’t been there, who can’t comprehend the depth of toxicity and wrongness of having the other parent of your child personality disordered. Like it’s just a phase you will all grow through, your child, the other parent.
Only it’s not a phase. It’s a dynamic — a toxic, poisonous, spirit crushing dynamic.
Even without meeting the criteria of clinical narcissism, someone who is “just abusive” or “just a jerk” can wreck so much damage on a child. And now you have this.
Not some kind of generational gap or personality clash or the usual conflicts between adolescents and parents or differences in child rearing styles or just someone who has poor parenting techniques. This isn’t something a course on parenting can help or insights from others that can clarify better dynamics or choices.
In those cases, things do get better as the parent, in good faith, attempts to do a better job, when real efforts at communication are made, when realistic expectations and consequences are laid out that speak of respect and love. Or simply, in the case of older kids, things can get better when time and experience tempers the relationship between parent and child.
When a parent is narcissistic, those things don’t happen like that. Because narcissism is agenda driven and doesn’t respond to outside input except in defense and isn’t interested in learning or changing, because it’s already perfect, because any suggestions for growth is seen as an assault.
But things can change and can get better on the child’s end. And you are a crucial factor in how much this possibility becomes a probability becomes a reality.
There’s no guarantee. Even with your best efforts, you may not be able to undo the damage a narcissistic parent can inflict or your child’s genetic make up, which while I don’t believe entirely defines a person, certainly does influence for good or ill.
Your efforts “merely” provide the possibility, the opportunity. But when it comes to narcissism it can be all the difference. Still, when push comes to shove, it’s the child who will ultimately decide their course.
But they are worth it. And so are you.
Don’t give up. Hold on to the thought, It does get better. You have to believe for the both of you.