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  • Learning How to Deal with a Narcissistic Adult Child

    Narcissistic Adult ChildTraits of a Narcissistic Adult Child

    Dealing with a grown child with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is incredibly hard and sad. The full cause of NPD is unknown, but many experts speculate it’s a combination of genetics, childhood development, and environmental factors. Parents struggle to set boundaries with narcissistic adult children, causing them to endure ongoing emotional abuse.

    Adult narcissistic children lack respect and consideration for their parents and are uninterested in maintaining a relationship unless for financial or materialistic gains. They do not prioritize a relationship between their own children and their parents and in some cases will go no contact with a parent with unjust cause. A narcissistic adult child will exploit or manipulate their parent(s)and can become angry or explosive when boundaries are set. For more information on the diagnostic criteria for NPD, visit Narcissistic Abuse Support.

    The Impact a Narcissistic Adult Child Has on a Parent

    Parents of adult children with narcissism have a very difficult time advocating for themselves due to guilt and love. Below are common symptoms experienced by parents o narcissistic adult children:

    • Excessive guilt and self-blame
    • Low self-worth
    • High anxiety and fear of losing or angering the adult child
    • Walking on eggshells around the adult child
    • Obsessive and intrusive thoughts about the relationship with the adult child
    • Depression or extreme sadness
    • Difficulty setting boundaries/advocating for self
    • Confusion

    How to Deal with a Narcissistic Adult Child

    Allow yourself to grieve: The loss of the relationship with your adult child is one of the hardest things to overcome. By allowing yourself to grieve this loss, you can begin to heal and move forward.

    Accept and let go: It is important to accept that your child has a personality disorder that is very unlikely to change. Acceptance allows you to stop trying to “fix” your relationship while acknowledging this process is painful.  

    Set boundaries: Setting boundaries is necessary to protect yourself from mistreatment. You can still love and have empathy for your adult child, but you do not need to endure their abuse.

    Stop enabling: You may find yourself enabling your adult narcissistic child out of guilt. Enabling is not helpful for your adult child as it exacerbates narcissistic traits and sends a message that they are justified in their actions.

    Therapy for Narcissistic Abuse by an Adult Child

    I specialize in therapy for narcissistic abuse. Through therapy you can learn how to stope enabling your adult child and set appropriate boundaries. Ultimately you can find peace and acceptance within the relationship. Contact me to get started with therapy for Narcissistic Abuse.

    Get Started with Therapy!