Children of Narcissistic Parents
Children who have narcissistic parents are essentially living in a permanent state of anxiety and warfare when dealing with that particular parent. They know deep down that there is a feeling within them that would like to express to that particular parent but the fear of doing so or rather the fear of the rage of that parent prevents them from speaking their own truth. They learn very quickly that it is best to operate within the parameters that their narcissistic parent wants them to work within and to just keep the peace. This act can have a detrimental effect on children and especially on how they develop into adults and manage other adult relationships.
In order to help our children feel safe in a narcissistic environment, I often recommend empowering our children to understand what is going on with the narcissistic parent so that they are able to identify that it has nothing to do with them and that the narcissistic parent is the one that is struggling rather than the child. This gives them a sense of control and power over what is happening. I have some stock phrases that I often use to help clients who have children with narcissistic ex partners to discuss with their children, here are some of them below. These are of course drafted in a generic way and may not be age appropriate but you can modify them according to the age of the child.
1.Sometimes Daddy/Mummy blames other people for things they haven't done or tells you things that didn't actually happen. It he does this to you, it's because Daddy/Mummy's brain confuses what's true and what's not. You can trust your own brain because it knows what the truth is even if Daddy/Mummy's brain doesn't.
2. If Daddy/Mummy tells you something or sometimes gives you a look, and this makes you feel bad about yourself, remember that it is not about you. Daddy/Mummy's brain makes him think silly little things you do or you say are worse than they really are. If Daddy/Mummy does do this to you, remember that it's Daddy/Mummy's brain that is makes people's mistakes seem a lot worse than they really are and ignores the good things that people do.
3. Sometimes, Daddy/Mummy gets very angry all of a sudden and says mean things to you or gives you the silent treatment. He might do this even if you haven't done anything wrong. If Daddy/Mummy does do this, it's because Daddy/Mummy's brain has made him feel ashamed of himself for no reason. Daddy/Mummy getting angry is not your fault.