Guilt After A Narcissistic Parent Dies

Losing someone you love is incredibly painful & difficult, but when that person is your narcissistic parent, it’s also incredibly complex.  Part of the complexity involves a lot of guilt.  If you have lost a narcissistic parent, I’m sure you experienced it too.  If you haven’t yet, you need to be prepared & know that it may happen with you, too.

The last time I spoke to my mother was May 5, 2016 when we had a huge argument.  We hadn’t spoken in almost exactly 3 years when she passed away.  Since she died, I’ve learned that her final years weren’t good.  Apparently my mother’s health declined quickly.  I noticed her handwriting became very shaky after our argument.  I realized through her car’s maintenance records that she must have stopped driving in 2017 not long before my father died & found a fairly big dent in her car.  Probably that was why she stopped driving – she realized she wasn’t as capable behind the wheel any longer.  Clearly she also was very depressed.  One friend of hers told me that my mother said that her cat was the only reason she wanted to live.  Also when she died & I first started to care for the estate matters, her house was in a bad state because she was unable to clean it like she once had.

All of these things have led to me feeling a tremendous amount of guilt.  Since I’m positive my situation isn’t terribly unique, I thought I would share ways I have learned to help ease that guilt.

I am truly blessed with having the most amazing best friend ever.  She reminds me constantly that there is a natural order of things & people reap what they sow.  My parents were abusive, which is why I went no contact.  I wasn’t trying to be a jerk, contrary to what my family believes, I was only trying to protect myself.  That is why every functional goes no contact, & that isn’t a bad thing.  If you too went no contact with your abusive parent prior to their death, you did nothing wrong just like me.  It was simply the natural order of things!  If they wouldn’t have been abusive, you wouldn’t have been forced into going no contact.

What happens after no contact isn’t your responsibility, & you need to remind yourself of that constantly as do I.  It’s so hard not to feel guilty in these situations when you learn your narcissistic parent suffered after you were no longer in his or her life.  I feel like I should’ve been there for them & taken care of them.  If only I could’ve stuck it out for another couple of years, I’ve said to myself.  Guessing you feel much the same way.  If so, remember, you severed those ties for very valid reasons.  Probably many very valid reasons in fact.  You did nothing wrong!  Whatever happened after you went no contact is NOT your fault or responsibility.  Besides, maybe there was a reason God wanted things to happen as they did.  Me not being in my father’s life is why he turned to God at the very end of his life!  How incredible is that?!  Maybe that is what happened with my mother too, I’m not sure.  All I know is she is in Heaven & that is a huge comfort!  Anyway, ask God what the purpose was in you being no contact with your parent at the time of his or her death.  He will answer that question.

Sometimes people may say cruel things about you not being there for your parent, making you feel worse.  Remember that those people don’t know everything about the situation, which means they aren’t fit to judge it.

I know guilt after a narcissistic parent is very hard to handle.  If & when you experience it, I hope you’ll remember this post.  You have nothing to feel guilty about.  You did the best you could in an impossible situation.


Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism

11 responses to “Guilt After A Narcissistic Parent Dies

  1. Thank you for this, Cynthia. It’s a very sad thing to go through. But it’s awesome how you are learning and growing through this painful experience, and also reaching out to help others in the same situation. 💘💘

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much! ❤ It's a terrible thing to go through. I wouldn't wish it on anyone. There isn't much information at all out there about the death of a narcissistic parent, so I feel obligated to write about it. I'm learning a lot, so why not share that with others, yanno? Best to share it so others won't be so blindsided like I was.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. candace567

    If your mother was like my mother is, there’s a possibility the decline in her health was her own fault. My mother will make herself sick to 1. “prove” (to herself, to me, or to any witnesses) she’s a victim and only did whatever bad thing she did because of an illness, 2. force me to go from being rightfully upset about something she’s done to having to take care of her, or 3. make herself a martyr/spite me. She makes herself sick by eating things she knows will make her sick (foods that give her a headache or upset her stomach), by refusing to take supplements she needs (like iodine or certain vitamins), by refusing to go to the doctor for a minor problem until it’s turned into a major problem, and by taking such bad care of herself that she develops a problem (for example, talking about how she feels weak and nearly passes out when she’s at the grocery store…then later it comes out she’s only eating a candy bar in the morning and nothing the rest of the day on days she goes to the store…and she keeps doing that and giving herself weak spells and carrying on about them even when she knows it’s her fault). And she’ll carry things to a shockingly self-destructive extreme…kind of like a kid threatening to hold her breath to get what she wants–only when most kids would give up and start breathing again, she keeps going out of pure stubbornness and vengeance…

    Anyway, thought I would mention that just in case it might’ve been a possibility. If I go no contact at some point, I can totally imagine my mother making herself an invalid for spite or sympathy or to manipulate me into doing what she wants. So tough to know what’s real and what’s not when someone is a chronic manipulator with a warped conscience. Just more of the guilt game.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your mother sounds so rough to deal with! I give you credit for hanging in there with her instead of going no contact. That would drive me crazy! My late mother in-law was sort of like that, but to a much lesser degree. I know of once when she deliberately made herself sick, but that’s all.

      I appreciate you pointing this out. It’s a valid concern with narcissists. My mother was different than most narcissists in this area though. She tried to take care of her physical health. I don’t think her rapid decline was due to neglecting herself at all. Not sure what triggered it exactly.


  3. The part that bothers me is that scripture tells us to honor our parents, and not to regard them with contempt. With regard to a wife, there are other scriptures that apply. There are no scriptures I’ve found that deal with how to respond to abuse by these people. That fact always leaves me in a kind of limbo. I know God is about truth and justice just as much as He is about love. In the back of my mind, though, there will always be a doubt that my indignation is righteous, and that distancing myself is not displeasing to God. I waffle on that less now than I used to… but I still do.


  4. Lifelessonswithlynny

    I’ve been no contact for many years because I have always been my mother’s scapegoat and I just had enough of the emotional torture. I don’t know but I feel her death will be a relief, like feeling emoitionally free. No one else can understand that unless they lived it.


  5. First, I’m sorry to hear your story! ((((hugs))))

    Second, what you feel is totally normal, so please keep that in mind. There is nothing wrong with you for how you feel. That being said though, that doesn’t mean the guilt is right. Really!! Who wouldn’t have wished the same in your situation? I think most of us do, just many refuse to admit it.

    Immediately after is definitely the hardest, but you’re right- you WILL be fine. It just is going to take some time to get there. I wish you the best ❤


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