When dealing with a narcissistic parent, often there are no right answers, only “less wrong” ones. This is because narcissists are masters of creating a situation where you can’t win no matter what you do, but they will win. One example in my life that comes to mind is if I don’t answer the phone when my parents call, they will either call back repeatedly until I do answer, attempt to make me feel guilty for not answering the next time we speak or manipulatively demand to know where I was that I couldn’t answer the phone. I am left with some poor choices here: answer the phone & deal with whatever games they are playing at the time, or don’t answer the phone & later deal with guilt trips (which don’t work, but really tick me off!) or their anger & especially nasty treatment because I didn’t bend to their wishes by not answering when they called the first time. Not nice choices! So, often times I answer the phone, even when I don’t want to, because it’s the lesser of the evils. While the phone is ringing though, I am weighing my choices & deciding what I can & can’t handle before I pick it up.
It’s frustrating, but this is often the position you are forced into. And, equally frustrating is others who don’t understand the situation, tell you what you’re doing is wrong & firmly believe you need to hear their opinions on the matter. I don’t think most people are aware of how incredibly frustrating it is to be forced into these no win situations with a narcissistic parent. They just see that you are doing something wrong, & that you should do something else, without realizing that their solution would have even more disastrous results than yours does. They don’t grasp that you are doing what you are doing because it is going to create slightly less disastrous results than what they think you should do. Or, if they know about narcissism, they may say you’re giving the narcissist that narcissistic supply they crave so desperately, which is why what you’re doing is wrong. They aren’t seeing that while yes, sometimes you do give that supply, it’s better to give only a small amount of it than a ton of it. The times when I do take my parents’ calls? It seems to give them less supply than when they treat me poorly for not answering the phone right away. Those times after they’ve given me sufficient grief, they seem happier & lighter by the time they hang up the phone. I feel like I have chosen the lesser of the two evils when I take their calls immediately.
However you choose to handle situations with your narcissistic parents, choose wisely. Sometimes your best answer isn’t going to be good or even right, but only less wrong. Unfortunately that is normal. Don’t listen blindly to the advice of others- listen to what they say & see if it would make sense in your situation. Hopefully others will give you a new & helpful solution, but sometimes they don’t, which is why you must consider carefully what they said. After all, no one knows your specific situation better than you do. Just make sure you pray about what to do & weigh your options. Do what you feel is right (well, less wrong) in your heart, & you will be doing the best thing you can do in your particular situation. And, don’t forget to take care of yourself too. If you end up frustrated, hurt or angry, vent your feelings in a healthy way. Be good to yourself, too- dealing with a narcissist, especially a narcissistic parent, is very trying. You need plenty of self-compassion & self-care after having dealt with a narcissistic parent.