How Adult Children of Narcissists Can Begin to Heal

How Adult Children of Narcissists Can Begin to Heal

Once you realize that, you might even start to tell yourself that your opinion is, in fact, always consistent with the narcissists. It causes so much less trouble, and you’re treated to the illusion of approval if you comply.

But the fact we must remember is that narcissists can’t feel empathy–so they aren’t really capable of changing their opinions. They believe they can’t be wrong.

Read 6 Damaging Lies We Learn From Narcissistic Parents

You get to write your own story

“…all narcissistic parents fail to treat their children as authentic individuals who have their own unique characteristics and needs,” says

“Narcissists treat their children as mere blank screens for projecting their own internal ‘movies’ onto.”

You see, by always acting like my thoughts, feelings and opinions had no value (like she was “better” than me), my narcissist inadvertently made me feel worthless, not good enough, not important.

Even today, anything I say to my narcissist that is contrary to her opinion is met with an eye roll and a wave of dismissal.

But this is nothing new, and in some ways, it’s not this person’s fault. Growing up, every idea I had was, according to what I saw and heard, eye-roll-worthy, and very little of what I said or did was treated as valuable. Still, today, she doesn’t respect me or my opinions, but now, I understand that she doesn’t need to–I don’t need to have her approval to be good enough.

Read How Adults Can Get the Distance They Need from Toxic Families

This is a fairly textbook kind of narcissistic manipulation, according to my research over the years.

“Adult children of narcissists typically describe their parents as mean, phony, self-absorbed, judgmental, dishonest, immature and manipulative,” says

Evolution is inevitable

The healing process for an adult child of a narcissistic parent is a long and sometimes difficult one–but it’s worth the effort. Whether you walk away completely or you choose to limit your relationship to only necessary interactions, you would be wise to give yourself space you’ll need to evolve and grow into the individual you’re meant to be.

As the adult child of a narcissist, you’re bound to have picked up a few (or more) thoughts, feelings and beliefs that aren’t really your own. So, once you get your space, start there: figure out exactly what you believe, and what you don’t. You might be surprised to find out which beliefs or thoughts you’ve been carrying around for all these years for no reason.

The next step is to begin to embrace the fact that you’re an individual who has value. Your thoughts, feelings, and experiences are legitimate and worth hearing about–and you are just as good as anyone else.

Therapy can help you heal

Sometimes, our wounds are too deep to heal on our own. While some of them might kill ourselves trying to live up to that impossible standard our narcissistic parents set and others choose to go the opposite direction, all of us can benefit from learning to do better for ourselves.

Read 30 Ways In Which Narcissistic Parenting Affects A Child

McBride points out that effective therapy for adult children of narcissists has three primary steps.

  1. Understand the background, history, and diagnosis
  2. Deal with the feelings related to the history
  3. Begin to re-frame and view life through a different lens.

“The Wild West philosophy of ‘get over it already’ does not work with this recovery program, nor do simple affirmations or initial cognitive-behavioral work,” McBride says. “This specialized recovery involves cleaning up trauma first and accepting that your parent is not going to change. The change will be within you.”

Click to read my book on narcissism on Kindle right nowYour Love is My Drug: How to Shut Down a Narcissist, Detoxify Your Relationships & Live the Awesome Life You Really Deserve, Starting Right Now [Kindle Edition]

Written by Angie Atkinson
Originally appeared on

“You do not owe anything to abusers.” – Diana Macey

Being raised by a narcissistic parent can feel like an unending nightmare. When you experience narcissistic abuse from childhood, you become vulnerable to trauma repetition as an adult. This can severely affect your relationships with yourself, your romantic partner and everyone else. Hence, it is crucial that you start the healing process as soon as you can regardless of your age, even if you are still a teen living with your parents. You need to set boundaries and create a better life for yourself.

Understand that it is possible to get out of this cycle and heal yourself even when you have experienced a lifetime of abuse. Once you realize that your narcissistic parent is suffering from a mental disorder, it gives you the validation that nothing is wrong with you and it was never your fault, to begin with. However, healing from narcissistic abuse of parents requires you to work on yourself, focus on strengthening your inner being, building your self-esteem and going through therapy, when needed.

You have the strength inside to overcome this. All you need to do is look inside.

How Adult Children of Narcissists Can Begin to Heal
How Adult Children of Narcissists Can Begin to Heal pin
How Adult Children of Narcissists Can Begin to Heal
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Angie Atkinson

Certified Life Coach, Author, Survivor. Discover, Understand and Overcome Narcissistic Abuse with Certified Life Coach, author and survivor Angie Atkinson, a recognized expert in narcissism in relationships and narcissistic personality disorder. As creator of the DUO Method of Healing, it's her mission to to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation and move forward into their genuine desires - into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves. As you can see when you visit the freebies page at, Atkinson's online daily magazine, she's all about paying it forward.View Author posts