Good Can Happen After The Death Of A Narcissistic Parent

April 19, 2019 was a strange night for me.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  It was the night the police came to my home to tell me that not only had my mother passed away, but being her only child, dealing with the situation was my responsibility.  As soon as they told me she was gone, I immediately knew that my life as I knew it was over.  At that moment, it felt incredibly daunting & terrible, but as time passed, I realized it wasn’t a bad thing. 

I want to share some my story for those of you who are in the position of having recently lost a narcissistic parent or are losing a dying narcissistic parent.

In the time since my mother died, I have run through the entire gamut of emotions.  Her death made me angry, sad, hurt, happy, relieved, guilty & more.  I also had to deal with things far out of my comfort zone, such as making her burial arrangements, dealing with a huge error the cemetery made when burying my father 18 months prior, & dealing with my mother’s estate.  My parents had told me that not only would I never get any inheritance, but they had chosen a neighbor to be the personal representative of their estate.  You can imagine my surprise finding out those were all lies.

Anyway, there was good that came from all of this, & that is the point of this post. 

Without my parents, so much healing has happened!  The crippling agoraphobia I lived with since 1996 has all but vanished.  I still get anxious in stores sometimes & try to avoid crowded times, but compared to what it once was, this is fantastic! I can go out alone now!

My self esteem has improved greatly too.  I can’t say 100% healthy but I can say a lot closer to that than it once was.  As a result, I am setting healthier boundaries now & have even less tolerance of abusive behavior.

There is also a sense of freedom I have never felt in my life.  For the first time, I know I can leave home & not run the risk of running into my parents around town.  I know when my phone rings, it won’t be either of them dumping all of their complaints about their marriage on me with no respect to how uncomfortable & painful that was for me. 

Best of all, yet also the most mysterious of all, is how the level of shame I once felt has decreased drastically.  I truly don’t understand the connection but when my mother died, it was as if the toxic shame I once felt vanished.  Naturally I’m still not proud of things I have done in my life, but I no longer feel intense shame about them or the person I am.  It’s wonderful!

I am telling you this to encourage you.  If your narcissistic parent is dying or has died, it is going to be a very hard time for you.  You may feel relieved they are gone & then guilt for feeling that relief.  You may grieve the parent you never had.  You may feel all the years of anger rear their ugly head at once.  You may feel numb.  You may feel something entirely different.  It’s impossible to say what you will feel.  There seems to be no way to predict what you will feel other than guilty since that seems to be a constant among others who have lost a narcissistic parent.  If you are losing your second narcissistic parent, it may be entirely different for you than when your first one passed. When my father died, I was shocked I felt so numb. I barely shed any tears after his death, probably because I had grieved him so long while he was alive.  When my mother died almost exactly 18 months later, I felt devastated.  Losing a narcissistic parent is a strange thing to put it mildly.  That being said though, it also can open doors to some very good things.  When you feel able, look for the good.  The good things really can carry you through all of the bad.  You will be shocked at just how much good came from it! 

Also, I’m not saying only look at the good & ignore the bad.  That is unhealthy.  Feel the bad feelings.  Sit with them.  Acknowledge them.  Accept that they are there & do so without judgment.  Pray about them.  Write about them in your journal.  Talk about them with a safe friend, therapist or pastor.  Have balance & be gentle with yourself during this very trying time.

10 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

10 responses to “Good Can Happen After The Death Of A Narcissistic Parent

  1. Amen. I can relate to this all. The guilt part is hard because like you said, you feel relief then guilt for the relief. But yes, I finally feel free. Although I had no contact for years prior to get death, there was always that looming fear of having to see her again. Having to face her. Having to deal with her.
    The joy that comes with knowing I won’t see her again can come with guilty feelings. But I remember what my therapist told me, this was a person who hurt you over and over who wasn’t supposed to hurt you. You get to be happy that it’s over. Validation of those feelings just seems to help.
    Your blog helps me so much! God bless you today

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tammie O'Dell Greenwell

    Yes I’m hoping the shame I feel for not being worthy of my own mothers love will vanish. Yes I’m hoping the pain I feel that my dad has never said or did one nice thing for me will vanish. I’m hoping to stop feeling guilty when people do me wrong because its so ingrained in me from a neglectful childhood. I’ve mourned my whole life, yes I’m hoping for relief and hoping I wont feel quilt and shame about it. I’m 60 now so here’s to hoping it is soon. And yes I feel guilty just saying that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I understand totally. How can you not want those things?! Yet it sounds terrible to admit them.. at least to those who haven’t experienced narcissistic parents. Those of us who have understand completely. I went through some times that I couldn’t wait for my parents to die. Sounds awful, doesn’t it? The pain of dealing with them was just too much. I thought at least their death would bring me some freedom so I wanted it, then felt guilty for it. Pretty sure thoughts like ours are par for the course when it comes to narcissistic parents unfortunately.

      Sending hugs your way! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Cynthia… YOU are a godsend. Your honesty, insight and intelligence is such a blessing. My abusive narcissistic father died unexpectedly in 1988 at the age of 53. My abusive narcissistic mother is 86 and still alive. All the feelings you talked about in this post and in these comments, I have had them all.

    A few days ago, when I went to bookmark your blog on my tablet so that I can check your posts on a regular basis, I saw your birth date on your other blog’s About page. So now I know that right now, in the time zone where you live, today is your birthday!

    Happy birthday to you
    Happy birthday to you
    Happy birthday, dear Cynthia…….
    And many more, too!!!!!!!! ❤❤❤❤❤

    Like

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