You have spent years providing narcissistic supply to the narcissist. Surrendering your own thoughts and feelings to ensure the narcissist doesn’t rage at you or go into the ultimate sulk. But you can’t do that forever. Sometimes you might be ill or away. The narcissist still needs their supply so who do they turn to? The children.
This video looks at this concept in more detail. Do have a watch to learn more about narcissistic supply.
Protecting Your Child
The temptation is often for parents who are trying to co-parent with a narcissist, to remove the narcissist from the child’s life completely or to wrap them up in cotton wool. But this doesn’t teach them how to deal with the narcissist for themselves. The narcissist IS their parent and so they will have a lifetime of having a relationship with them. Therefore the best thing you can do for them is to teach boost their self-esteem and confidence so that they have the skills to manage the narcissists attempts to use them as supply.
Do give children choices
The narcissist will control everything the child does and so by giving your child choices (pre-selected options if necessary) can really empower them to trust in themselves. This will protect them when the narcissist tries to overpower them.
Encourage their independence
As you discovered, narcissists hate you to have any independence. They want you to be at their beck and call every minute of the day. So by giving your child Independence you are not only helping them to develop socially, emotionally and behaviourally but you are also providing a stark contrast to the narcissists behaviour. Once you have tasted freedom and independence, you are less likely to be controlled.
Celebrate their mistakes
In order to learn we have to make mistakes. Narcissists think mistakes are a symptom of inadequacy so can’t cope with them and will lash out. By helping your child to celebrate their mistakes and encouraging them to find the lesson in the experience, you are showing them how to deal with disappointment and have a more positive outlook.
Research has shown that lots of praise and love can nurture growth in the pre-frontal cortex, which is the area of the brain most damaged in a narcissist. It also makes them feel valued and loved. Something the narcissist is completely unable to do in a sincere way.
Give them responsibilities
Narcissists think they are superior to everyone else and will put others down to make themselves feel better. By giving your child responsibilities you are showing them you trust them which fosters trust in themselves.
Enjoy spending time with your child
This sounds obvious but in the busy, pre-occupied world we live in, we can sometimes neglect spending any quality time with the kids. We don’t mean to but life takes over. That is why it is so important that we prioritise spending time with them and NOT seeing it as a chore. Showing them you enjoy being with them makes them feel incredibly loved, wanted and appreciated. The narcissist only wants to spend time with them when they can meet their needs so by providing them with quality time together in which you are actively enjoyed and having fun, will show them how important they really are.
My rule of thumb with narcissistic parents is think about how the narcissist will parent and so the EXACT opposite. Focus on the qualities you want them to have when they are adults and help them to develop them. Children do not deserve to become narcissistic supply. No-one does. I hope these points help you to put things in place to protect your child(ren).
If you would like to discuss this further please do get in touch.