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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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What is the best way to get over growing up with

Resolved Question:

What is the best way to get over growing up with narcissistic parents?
How can you deal with their guilt trips about health etc as they get older? How can you get more confidence and actually work out who you are and what you want? How can you know who to trust?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 6 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.

To start with, you have taken a big step by realizing that you were raised by narcissistic parents. It is very difficult for most people to recognize when they are dealing with someone who is narcissistic, to the point of sometimes taking years to understand what they have been through.

The best way to cope with someone who is narcissistic is to decide ahead of time what your limits will be in dealing with their behavior. First, you need to realize that you are under no obligation to deal with your parents at all. Parents who are narcissistic are self centered, which means that at least part of the time you were probably neglected as a child. Adult children of abusive parents often feel that because they are related to their abuser, they are obligated to deal with them. Nothing could be further from the truth. Keep this in mind when you think about your choices.

When you deal with your parents, set limits. If they try to make you feel guilty, for instance, decide how you will handle it. Talking to them is usually not effective, so doing something such as leaving the situation and telling them you will be back when they can respect you is one solution. Refusing to allow yourself to be hurt by them helps you gain control and gives you a chance to increase your self esteem.

By setting limits with your parents or deciding not to deal with them at all is also going to increase your self esteem. Also, listing your good points and parts of your personality that others tell you they like helps as well. Keep the list nearby where you see it a lot during the day. Remind yourself that your parents act out because of who they are, not of because who you are. There are also other resources that can help. Here are some to help you:

Disarming the Narcissist: Surviving & Thriving With the Self-Absorbed by Wendy T. Behary

Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life by ***** *****ez-Lewi

Children of the Self-Absorbed: A Grown-up's Guide to Getting over Narcissistic Parents by Nina W. Brown

Self-Esteem: A Proven Program of Cognitive Techniques for Assessing, Improving, and Maintaining Your Self-Esteem by Matthew, Ph.D. McKay and Patrick Fanning

You can find these books on or your local library may have them for you.

If you feel that you cannot work with your counselor, consider seeking out another therapist to see. Talk with your doctor about a referral, or if you attend church, talk with your pastor. You can also search on line at

I hope this helps you,

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