3. Recognize Your Enabling Parent
If you have a narcissist parent, chances are you also have an enabling one. What does that really mean? By going along with and/or excusing the narcissist’s abusive behavior, enablers essentially “normalize” and sustain it. Sometimes enablers also act as “flying monkeys” by assisting the narcissist in her dirty work, condoning and perpetuating her abuse. By not naming the abuse and not protecting their kids from it, enablers become complicit, even if they are also victimized by it.
Sometimes forgiving the enabling parent can be as hard or harder than forgiving the narcissist parent. People with NPD have a personality disorder formed in early childhood by a devastating deprivation. Although the narcissist may behave monstrously, you may find yourself feeling worse about the more functional enabling parent. You may wonder why that parent excused the narcissist and didn’t protect you from abuse, and you may feel terribly betrayed by his/her complicity.
4. Recognize the Roles in Your Family
Were you a scapegoat or the golden child? Have you acted at times as a flying monkey? Roles are often fluid in the narcissistic family, depending on the narcissist’s agenda. Perhaps you have been the golden child and also scapegoated. Because the narcissist maintains control by creating divisions (divide and conquer) among family members, you may feel alienated from your other parent and siblings. Perhaps you feel betrayed by them. It is important to remember that all of you have been part of a warped systemorchestrated by the dominant narcissist in the family singularly to serve his needs at the expense of others. On some level you have all been fighting to survive with the roles you have been cast in.
The most powerful defense against the narcissist is a unified front against her. If you can find mutual understanding and unity with your other family members, that can be an empowering way to shut down the narcissist’s abuse, as well as a profound source of validation for what you have been through. However, if your other parent or siblings are not trustworthy or open to talking about the narcissism in your family, you need above all to protect yourself and limit contact with them.