I’ve heard over & over that narcissists never change. Yet, I’ve seen my narcissistic parents change a great deal in my lifetime.
When I was a small child, my mother controlled everything about me, & my father idealized me. In adolescence, my mother continued to control me & added scathing criticisms & later screaming at me to her repertoire. My father still idealized me but when I complained about my mother to him, he told me how hard it was for him, & he was helpless to do anything for me. Once I moved out, my parents both complained to me about the other one even more often than they had when I was growing up (which was a lot when I was a kid). My mother no longer screamed at me or could control me as much as she did, but she was also still critical. My father said how hard it was for him when I was growing up, knowing she was hurting me & wanted my comfort. Once my parents hit their 70’s, they changed again. My covertly narcissistic father gets more overt by the day, & my mother’s scathing criticisms have become quietly spoken & more hurtful than ever.
Many narcissistic parents follow a similar path in the manners in which they abuse their children. They adapt their behaviors to the child’s & their stages in life. But why? I mean, we can all understand why a physically abusive parent stops hitting their child once the child is physically able to protect herself of course. The abuser doesn’t want to get beaten as she beats her child. But why do narcissists change their behaviors so much?
Personally, I believe the reason is they are attempting to beat their adult children down so they stay childish. Eroding their child’s self-esteem will leave that child feeling incapable, rather than like the capable adult she truly is, & will make her feel she must depend on her parents. After all, the parents want her to believe, she isn’t smart enough to choose the right friends, work the right career, like the right things, etc. Her parents know best, so she should depend on them.
If a narcissistic parent can keep their adult child in a perpetual state of childhood, this can provides an incredible amount of narcissistic supply. The adult child will depend on the parents, which means they can give the appearance of being good parents. This adult child also will cater to their every whim, which we all know provides tons of narcissistic supply.
If the adult child doesn’t submit, however, she can count on problems with her parents. Narcissistic parents can’t deal with a child who doesn’t submit to her parents, even as an adult. They expect blind obedience from their child, no matter her age, & if they don’t get it, they will do their level best to hurt that child. They will treat her worse than ever once they realize she is resisting submitting to them. Or, they simply discard her like a piece of trash, refusing to have any relationship with her, & often creating a vicious smear campaign against her.
As the adult child, you have no obligation to submit to abusive parents. There is no love or honor in abuse. You have every right to protect yourself from your narcissistic parents! It will not be an easy road, but it is worth it. And, it is much easier than living in that perpetual childhood in an attempt to please them.