Dealing with a toxic grandparent
It can often be tricky to deal with narcissistic grandfathers or grandmothers, especially if your child is attached to them. Here are a few coping strategies you can use to deal with toxic grandparents-
1. Identify their toxic patterns.
Once you have learned to recognize the signs of a narcissistic grandmother or grandfather, you need to spot their abusive and manipulative patterns. Either you or your partner will be aware of their tricks and need to take steps to protect your child from them.
2. Establish strong boundaries.
Irrespective of how much they try to intrude, set & maintain healthy and clear boundaries as a parent. Let them know that when it comes to your children, your rules must take precedent. Even if they fail to follow your rules, you need to stand your ground and maintain your boundaries.
3. Do not allow them to affect you.
Narcissists know exactly how to get under your skin and trigger a reaction from you. This gives them the power to manipulate and control you. If you react the way they want you to, then they will have you trapped in their toxic cycle.
Hence, it is crucial that you learn to overcome the triggers, control your reactions, and don’t let them upset you or your loved ones.
4. Communicate openly.
Talking to the toxic grandparent honestly and openly can also help at times. Inform them how their behavior and actions are affecting you and your children. Openly talking to them will help them realize the consequences of their narcissism and may prevent them from being excessively manipulative.
5. Listen to them.
Actively listen to your parents or in-laws and try to understand their perspective and concerns. Try to understand their point of view and help them understand the importance and meaning of your decisions. It is also important to appreciate and be grateful for their love and affection toward your children.
6. Deal with it as a family.
Talk to your partner and your children about how the narcissistic behavior of a particular grandparent is affecting your family. Do not pretend that things are “okay” and help your children understand narcissism. Develop a strategy as a family to deal with the situation.
7. Go no-contact.
If all else fails, then going no contact may be the final and most effective option to deal with a toxic grandparent. However, when it comes to family, cutting your parents or in-laws out of your life can be extremely difficult.
This is why it is often best to restrict communication for some time. Limiting communication and exposure to your kids can help you to restore and reintroduce order and rules in your family. You may also opt for supervised communication as well.
Build a stronger family
Regardless of how narcissistic a grandparent may be or what course of action you decide to take to deal with them, you need to remember that they are still part of your family. As long as you are aware of their toxic patterns, set healthy parenting boundaries, don’t let them affect you, and keep your children safe from their manipulation, you can allow them to be a part of your children’s life.
It is only by openly communicating your concerns with your parents or in-laws and informing your kids about narcissism, you can build a healthier, stronger family for both the grandchildren and the grandparents.