To Confront Or Not To Confront Narcissistic Parents?

I was recently watching a TV show where one of the main characters developed PTSD after being carjacked & tortured.   Someone suggested he visit his attacker in jail & confront him.  He did.  The attacker didn’t even remember who he was at first, then told him he let him live- the victim should be grateful.  He also blamed the victim for scaring him at one point during the attack.  The victim finally left.  He later was talking to his father about it & said nothing changed.  Confronting that man did nothing to help him.


I thought about this in the context of those of us with narcissistic parents.  Sometimes people tell adult children of narcissists that we should confront our parents.  It’ll do us good to get it all out.  It doesn’t matter how they respond or if they deny what they did because we know the truth.


Sometimes, that isn’t true however.


If you’re in the position of considering confronting your narcissistic parent, I strongly urge you to pray & think before doing so.  Think about what you hope to accomplish.  Do you want to just get things out or are you hoping for validation?  If you’re hoping for your parent to validate your pain & admit to the things they’ve done, then you may be in for a very rude awakening.  Narcissists seldom admit to making mistakes, & when they do, often it is turned around so the victim is to blame.  “If you wouldn’t have done that, I wouldn’t have said that.”


Do you think confronting them will change their behavior?  Again, you may be in for a rude awakening.  Narcissists rarely change their behavior, & when they do, it’s usually for the worse.  If a narcissist knows that something they do hurts you, they will do it again & again & again.  Hurting you makes them feel powerful, so yes, they will continue to do it repeatedly to get that “high.”


However, if you want to confront your narcissistic parent to clear your mind or get things off your chest, & you genuinely don’t care about what they say or do, then you are in a position where confronting your parent may benefit you.  It may help you to feel some peace or feel lighter by getting things out of you.  Even so, before you do, pray.. ask God to strengthen you against whatever nastiness they sling your way so you won’t be hurt when they deny their actions or act bored when you begin to cry.  Narcissists are excessively cruel when confronted, & even the strongest people need extra strength to deal with them.


If you are wondering, I’ve decided not to confront my narcissistic parents.  At the time of writing this, it’s been almost 1 year since my mother & I have spoken, over a month for my father & I (very rare for him- he used to call constantly.  He must be very mad at me).  I thought about it recently.. I wonder if either of them will want to talk things out.  If they do, I won’t go along with it.  I have nothing to say & don’t want to hear anything they have to say.  I’m at peace with that decision.  I know nothing I can say will change their behavior or make them see the errors of their ways.  I also don’t need to get things off my chest to them.  Doing so would only hurt me more when they ignore me.  I’ll pray or write in my journal instead.


Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Narcissism

29 responses to “To Confront Or Not To Confront Narcissistic Parents?

  1. Great blog. I tried to confront my narc mum when I realised she was a narcissist or even has NPD, it all came out very angrily and in the heat of an argument and it was a bad move on my part. All that happened was she made me look like a liar. She completely invalidated me and gaslighted everything … she made me feel I had gone crazy. Even worse, she got other family members on her side and sat there crying being the victim and so it caused a huge family row and rift that’s not been repaired since. I wish I hadn’t wasted my breath. X

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Any confrontation will be a waste of time, but that isn’t the worst of it. The abusive parent will see the confrontation as an attack, and will almost certainly retaliate. Anyone know a narcissist who doesn’t retaliate?

    It might not even happen while you’re there with them. They may manipulate you and shame you… they have already demonstrated that they are good at that, haven’t they? But beyond that is the way they can smear you and say that you aren’t honoring them, or that you ignore them and don’t love them. And that’s just the starting point.

    In order for anything to change at all, they would actually have to value you. They’d have to love you and care about your pain. My parents are waiting for me to do something that they value so I can earn their favor, but that is different from loving and valuing me.

    I confronted my mom and got a non-apology apology and manipulation. She knows I’m sensitive and wanted the focus on her pain. A free pass for her offenses, and guilt/shame on me. Not a new situation. Should’ve known better.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Should’ve mentioned, I ended up marrying an emotionally abusive wife. Over 25 years of manipulation, gaslighting, withholding, etc.. I still haven’t managed to get free of her. I am completely isolated and a mess with PTSD.

      If you go to confront any narcissist, you need support. If you are undermined by a spouse, or are dealing with any other abuser, this might not be the time to confront narcissistic abusers.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. ibikenyc

    As I read this all I could think about was what I describe to myself as “Flinging Tissues” and the indescribable / indescribabLY impotent rage it creates in me.

    You know, like when he has once again told you all about your (nasty / phony / skanky / everybody-sees-how-you-REALLY-are) self and you’re sobbing so hard you’re literally on the floor choking, and you’re praying in your head if not out loud for your life to be taken right NOW, and he smirks down at you clutching yourself in agony and sneers, “It’s SHOWtime, Folks!”

    I am grateful to have gotten to a point where I (mostly) bear in mind that he sees ANY emotion he thinks he’s engendered in me as a prize. I have a very competitive side to me, and I’ve learned to rely on it to KEEP MY MOUTH SHUT.

    I’m not gonna keep arming you against me, dickwad: You go find your own weapons.


    • That is incredibly evil! I’m so sorry you’ve gone through something so horrible!!

      Are you still with him?

      Liked by 2 people

      • ibikenyc

        Well, I still LIVE here, but I haven’t been “with” him for YEARS.

        Only just within probably the past year has it sunk in that NOBODY ELSE CARES and that I will have to get on with my life all on my own.

        My growth has been exponential, though, and sometime over the past month or so it’s hit me that it really IS all up to me, so I have begun making very specific plans, as though I already HAVE the money I need to go.

        It’s been quite a while since he’s had me on the floor like that.

        Probably, oh, a year and a half ago, I HAD to tell him something I just KNEW was gonna rattle his cage, so I braced myself and said, “I gotta tell you something you’re not gonna like, but I don’t care what you do. You wanna hit me, fine. You wanna scream at me, fine. You wanna break this computer, too, fine. IT DOESN’T MATTER TO ME ANYMORE WHAT YOU DO,” and as I was saying it, I realized it was literally true.

        Liked by 2 people

        • When you come to the point of knowing that you no longer care what your abuser says or thinks you are truly free.

          Liked by 3 people

          • ibikenyc

            I never thought of it that way because I am often still afraid of him. Like I’m saying all that stuff and standing up in his face when he tries to stand too close and OVER me, but my heart is pounding and I am so adrenalized I’m almost breathing hard sometimes.

            Even so, though, it is different; you’re right: I’m afraid because I’m braced for impact, not because of what I’m saying or doing.

            Liked by 1 person

        • I’m sorry you’re still with him for now. That is so hard.

          Realizing you don’t care is so good! You’re healing even with him there! You’re very strong! ❤

          Liked by 2 people

          • ibikenyc

            Thank you for your sympathy and encouragement.

            I sure don’t FEEL strong all the time, even though I know I must be. Frequently when I’m in touch with the strength I am angry, because I wonder what CREATIVE, LOVELY, POSITIVE things I could be doing instead with all the energy it takes to sit here with a perfectly-neutral look on my face and air about me just so Mister-Effing-Happy doesn’t have to face the truth about himself AWWWWWWW poor little N!


  4. Teri Springer

    What if that narcissistic parent is stealing money from your children that work very hard for every penny!? Do I just let it go or say something?


    • Pray before you do anything. Ask God if you should & if so, how to confront your parent. If you do confront, remember to keep your calm as best you can & don’t let her deflect off the topic. Best of luck to you!!


  5. My experience is to work through the issues with someone who will validate your pain. I dont consider my Mum a high level narcissist but every time I have tried to point out the issue of my emotional abandonment there is some kind of slip out clause. After the last attempt I developed a full blown flu. Try to deal with it in therapy and write them a letter you dont send but can share with somone safe. You need to get it off your chest some way.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Warning…. this is going to be long…. thank you for your blog. It helps me understand the craziness that happened to me months ago.

    I really didn’t think my mother was a narcissist (I even feel guilt for thinking it!), but my childhood was definitely not normal. I couldn’t put my finger on what was wrong, and for many years, I truly thought I was the problem.

    At school, I never got in trouble. But, at home, my parents behaved like I was the most difficult kid ever. They never spanked me, but told me often I was a spoiled brat often because I was never spanked. It was their go-to when I didn’t “behave.” My brother (who got in trouble at school often/but never at home) would call me a B and various other nasty things, and when I would complain to my mom, she would tell me I was oversensitive. “They’re just teasing you…. you’re overreacting.” I will tell you as an adult I will NEVER tolerate being called the B word again.

    My mother always criticized the way I dressed, the friends I brought home (“You only friend people with problems….”), and my fav, “I’ve waited my whole life for a daughter. And, you are nothing I expected.” She made it pretty clear that I was a disappointment to her in almost way it seemed.

    She put me in dancing when I was kid, and I was awkward and ungraceful back then. I remember when I told her I wanted to quit… she told me I was stupid (at 10 years old) and ungrateful. She forced me to quit other activities that I enjoyed (like sports). If I wasn’t going to dance, I wasn’t going to do anything. The family gave me crap over the years for being a “quitter” (even though she kind of made me quit). According to her, she never did it. “When you wanted to quit, I just said okay if that’s what you want” (It’s so the opposite of what I remember). It makes me feel INSANE that I remember it this way.

    On a few occasions, she would confide me in that she regretted having a family and wished she would have had a career. She did this to me one day in 7th grade on the way to school. I was 12, so it upset me to hear her say that. When I got in the car to go home, I told her she really upset me with what she said. “Oh, you’re still on that? I’ve had my whole day. You just never let anything go” (she has used the “you never let anything go” SO MANY TIMES).

    I’ve struggled with with low self esteem in my adult life. I brought up all these things one day, and she simply denied it ever happened.

    The next time I went to my parents house, my father got in my face and called me a stupid B. “How dare you blame your mother for all your problems?” (I never said she was the cause of my problems). He told me to get the F out of his house and never come back. They’ve tried to invite me back a few times after that, and I went once (for about 2 hours). I never really liked going there but did it out of obligation. I haven’t called her or talked to her since (this happened a few months ago).

    It’s almost mother’s day, and I must admit that I’m a nervous wreck about it. I don’t know if I’m supposed to call her or see her or what. I know no one can tell me what I’m supposed to do…. but I feel so much guilt that I don’t even want to see my mom on mother’s day or any day for that matter :(.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The point of this story: I wish I never would have said anything. It caused me a lot of grief.


    • Thank you for saying my blog helps you! I’m so glad!

      I’m so sorry for what you’ve been through & are still going through because of your parents!

      What do you feel in your heart you should do for mother’s day? You don’t have to see your mom if you don’t want to yanno. One thing you could do is send a very basic card. I did that with my mother for years. A card that just says “I hope you have a nice mother’s day” or something like that. Those cards can be kinda hard to find, but I’ve had good luck at The Dollar Tree. Hopefully you have one nearby. Or, get a pretty card that’s blank inside & write your own message. You don’t have to do even that if you don’t feel you should, though. It’ll make her mad, but really…does a narcissistic mother deserve recognition on mother’s day when she’s done nothing but cause her child pain?


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