I would like to make one small disclaimer on this post. I am writing it from the perspective of those in a position like mine, the adult child who severed ties with their parent for valid reasons. This doesn’t mean I always side with the adult children in these situations & assume all parents to be guilty until proven innocent. I absolutely do NOT believe in blindly siding with any specific person or even group.
Many times when an adult child severs ties with their parent, that parent claims to have no idea why their child did this. They say this happened without warning, totally out of the blue. My parents did this. I severed ties with them after a huge argument in May, 2016. During the fight, I felt all knowledge I have of narcissism went out the window because I was so hurt. I cried, I used bad language & I told my parents exactly why I was so upset with them rather than remain calm & set boundaries as I usually did. Oddly, they acted like I did this every day, & weren’t affected in the slightest by my behavior. It was the last time I spoke with my mother before her death, & one of the last times I spoke to my father before his. He tried to apologize a few months after the argument, but it was obvious from what he said, he had no idea why I was so upset. When cleaning out their home after my mother’s passing, I read some things she wrote & she was clearly just as oblivious.
This is very typical of abusive parents. My story is only one of many similar ones. This makes it so hard for the adult child in this situation, because you feel like your parent didn’t even care enough to listen to anything you said, let alone try to make things better. It’s so painful thinking they’re so unaware & uncaring. If you’re in this position, you know that hurt all too well.
I’ve come to realize something though. Whether or not they know, it truly has nothing to do with you & everything to do with them.
Normal human beings recognize when they have said or done something bad. They apologize & try to make amends. As anyone who has even a fleeting knowledge of people with narcissistic personality disorder knows, that isn’t how narcissists work. Apologizing & making amends are beneath them, so that won’t happen.
Also to apologize, they need to recognize they did something wrong. Narcissists lack the basic human empathy to see anything from another’s perspective, even when that problem is glaringly obvious to about anyone else in the world.
In many cases like this, however, the narcissists do know that they were wrong. They won’t admit it, but they know. You’re probably thinking I am wrong on this, but I really don’t think I am. If you pay attention to what a narcissistic parent in this situation says, there are hints that show they know they messed up.
They may talk only about their child going no contact with them or how angry that child has been with them. They talk about how this affects them. But they leave out things that led up to their child being so angry or making this decision. They may say things like their child says they are a terrible person or says cruel things to them, but where are the details? Those are left out. Sure, this could be a narcissist’s way to keep all focus on them & off their adult child, but I believe in many cases, it’s a way to make them look like the innocent victim & hide their awful behavior. The listener is supposed to be so distracted by what was done to the narcissist that it never occurs to them to ask what else happened.
If your narcissistic parent has told people they have no idea why you severed ties with them, I know you’ll feel hurt, maybe even unimportant because your own parent doesn’t care about why you opted for no contact. That is a natural way to feel but that doesn’t mean it is right! Whether or not your parent truly knows, their behavior is all about them, & is no reflection on you. Please remember that!