This article from the New York Times offers practical ways of dealing with difficult or toxic family members during the holidays. Harry Guinness lists some solutions:
“How family members are doing, sports, pop culture and travel are all subjects where you can find commonalities with pretty much any relative. For example, even if you and your nephew fall on opposite sides of the political spectrum, you are both likely to be pretty big fans of his parents. Instead of arguing over divisive issues, talk about what his parents were like when you were all growing up. Or just bond over a shared love of 1980s Tom Cruise movies….”
Read “How to Deal With Difficult Relatives Over the Holidays” here
In a post featured on Psychology Today, Sherry Gaba LCSW explains how growing up with a narcissistic parent impacts relationships later in life. Gaba writes:
“Punishment, emotional isolation, and even threats of leaving the child are all common. At the same time, the narcissist is quick to spot any signs of independence or individuality…which is seen as a threat or a negative reflection on the narcissist.”
Read “Why Codependents Attract Narcissists” here
In an article on NBC News, Nicole Spector explains how diagnosable narcissism is much more than self-absorption or vanity. Spector explains common, toxic traits of narcissism and how to identify them.
“…If you’re worried that you might be a narcissist, you probably are not one. Narcissists generally lack the kind of empathetic self-reflection that might make them wonder if they have a personality disorder. This is partly why narcissism is so seldom treated…”
Read “How to identify a narcissist — and cope with their potentially toxic behavior” here
Scott Mautz’s article on INC. covers a helpful way to handle difficult conversations. Mautz cites Dr. Albert Bernstein who implores actively listening to the other person instead of planning your words in advance. He writes:
Bernstein says it’s far more important to listen, reflect, and observe. The more you listen, the more likely it is that they will.
And you get more of an opportunity to listen by asking fair questions rather than thinking of the next statement you’re going to make. I applied this immediately to a tough conversation I had to have. I set aside all the statements and points I wanted to make, and focused on listening and asking questions in response. I found the other party was much more willing to listen right back. I’m 100 percent certain it led to a better outcome.
Read “Want to Make Difficult Conversations Easy? Try This 1 Counterintuitive Trick, According to Psychology” here
A parent’s job is to act as a mirror for their child through visual, tactile, auditory, and sensory feedback. However, the narcissistic parent looks into their child’s eyes seeking self-validation.
This lack of authentic attention is a kind of abandonment. Pretending that an n parent is emotionally available is not uncommon. It becomes a means of holding out hope that the parent will become present.
Adapted from When Your Parent Is a Narcissist
L. Carol Ritchie’s article featured on NPR offers some ways to quell negative self-talk and inner criticism such as labeling the negative voice and focusing on breathing.
“You have a voice inside your head. It runs constantly, providing live commentary about your life to the audience of your brain.
But it’s not an objective reporter. It likes to act as critic, judge and jury — especially when it comes to social situations…
Those negative thoughts can hold you back from making new friends, connecting with colleagues or sharing your brilliant ideas in meetings. Especially for shy or introverted people, it can be a real handicap and even lead to loneliness or isolation.”
Read “Feeling Insecure? 6 Tips To Quiet Your Inner Critic” here
“Narcissistic parents experience the child as an extension of themselves. Children of narcissistic parents will experience themselves as extensions of their parents, and, like their parents, will not understand the dynamic in play. If you are an extension of another person, is it possible to fully experience self-will?”
From When Your Parent Is a Narcissist
In an article on NBC News, Danielle Page explores harmful relationship patterns such as ghosting and gaslighting. Page writes that naming and identifying the behaviors are the first steps to moving on. Page quotes Dr. Christine Selby, Ph.D. who says:
“‘…knowing there is a name for the behavior means that there were many others who also engaged in the bad behavior. In fact, there were so many others the behavior was named. Those on the receiving end of the bad behavior often feel better when they learn they were not the only ones who were victims. This can further help victims feel like they are not alone and aren’t ‘crazy.'”
Read “Ghosting, gaslighting, orbiting: How putting a name to a bad behavior can help you heal” here
Learning to listen to myself makes me better able to see that there are good, strong, valuable things about me that the narcissist claimed for himself or herself. Only a wounded person—the narcissist—would be able to claim what was mine without caring how it would hurt me.
My deeper self is is always accessible to me. This is one of the truest gifts of my recovery.
Adapted from Surviving the Narcissist: 30 Days of Recovery