Three years ago on the 23rd of this month, my father died. Naturally the date gets me thinking of that terrible time. I thought I would share some thoughts that might help others who have been or will be in a similar situation.
When a narcissistic parent dies, it’s highly likely that you are NOT going to be prepared for what you feel. I certainly wasn’t. When my father died in October, 2017, I was sad, but I felt that I’d grieved him enough while he was alive that there wasn’t much left. Yet, when my mother died just shy of eighteen months later, I was utterly devastated. I have spoken with other adult children of narcissistic parents who felt nothing when their parents died or only felt relief. I also have met others whose reactions lay somewhere in the middle of devastated & numb. All reactions are normal in such an abnormal situation.
What makes this difficult time even more difficult is other people. The death or even pending death of a narcissistic parent seems to make most people think they need to share their opinions on your situation with you, whether or not you want to hear it.
As narcissistic parents age, their adult children often hear things like, “Your parent is getting old.. you shouldn’t be so hard on him or her.” or, “You haven’t spoken to your parent in how long?! How do you think you’re going to feel when your parent dies?” Yet, no one ever asks narcissistic parents anything like this. They should ask these people not to be so hard on their children or how they think they will feel if they die without trying to make amends with their children. This never happens though.
This baffles me. Why do abusive parents get a free pass? Why is it supposedly the job of their victims, their own children, to make them feel that it’s ok they were abusive jerks? Everything is supposed to be the responsibility of their children all their lives, including at the time of the parents’ death. Why is that anyway? In fact, when my father was dying, one of my cousins told me I needed to say good bye to him so he could die in peace. Such unadulterated gall isn’t it? Not only because she barely knew me (& him too for that matter), but to try to put such a big burden on me that wasn’t even my burden to bear!
Such thoughtless & rude comments make the time surrounding a narcissistic parent’s death even more difficult than it already is. When you’re in a difficult place, your emotions are more sensitive & even raw than usual. Dealing with comments like these can be rough at this particular time, even if you could ignore them any other time.
When in such a situation, you need to remember that you are in a bad situation. It’s normal to feel upset by stupid, insensitive & cruel comments but it’s especially normal to feel overly upset considering the circumstances you’re in at the time. Remind yourself of that. You’re ok! Really!
Also remind yourself that what these people say isn’t necessarily true or accurate at all. Everyone has their own opinions & see things through the lens of their own experiences. They see things differently than you, so their opinions may not be valuable to you. There are also people in the world who are evil, & are more than happy to hurt others. Many of those people are flying monkeys who blindly support even the most malignant narcissists. Whichever the case, don’t blindly accept what other’s say! Consider what they say before accepting their words as true or false.
Lastly, cling to God. You are going to need Him more than ever during this time. He is the only reason I’ve gotten through the deaths of my parents with any sanity in tact, let alone thrived. What He did for me, He will do for you as well. xoxo