Sep 20, 2018
Christine reviews the tips and techniques for coping with an
adult narcissist child.
- Live in the present. One of the biggest
temptations is to look backwards and wonder, “what if,” or “if
only”. Second to that is to look too far ahead and try to predict
the action of the ANC. Neither of these is productive. Narcissism
is part biology, environment, and choice, so as circumstances
change, so can the shape of the narcissist. Living in the present
requires a bit of disciple but it is worth it. Even when the ANC
has chosen the silent treatment, that is likely to be modified when
they find they need a different response.
• Avoid over or under complimenting. As
a general rule, parents like to praise their children. Normally
narcissists love to admired but when the ANC receives compliments
from their parent, it seems belittling to them. Rather, extend
applause for only the things which the ANC brings to light. For
instance, if shown a letter of recommendation, praise them for
that. Just be careful not to take any credit for their
• Love or respect. A wise counselor once
told me that when it comes to narcissists, the choice is to have
either their love or respect, but not both. However, knowing which
is more significant, is an individual decision. To earn their love
means the parent watches their ANC’s mistakes and does not
highlight them. Winning their respect means the parent achieves
something the narcissist values.
• Patience is a virtue. Nagging the ANC
does not work. It only frustrates them and causes unnecessary
friction. In time, most ANC’s return to the nest especially when
life has failed to glorify them and they need the unconditional
support of their parent. Waiting them out with open arms is
difficult and likely one of the toughest tasks of parenting yet.
There is no guarantee reward at the end, but it is worth the
• Don’t expect remorse. Part of the
definition of narcissistic personality disorder is the inability to
demonstrate any real form of remorse, sorrow, or forgiveness. This
is especially true when it comes to the relationship between the
parent and the ANC. The ANC will not admit to wrongdoing, flawed
thinking, an error in judgement, or poor decision. To expect such
awareness is to not recognize the limitations of the disorder.
• Be careful of significant others. When
the ANC finds a mate, it is essential that the parent show
happiness for them regardless of the quality of the decision. Any
indication of disapproval will be met with swift isolation that
could last for years. At all costs, this should be avoided.