Helpful Tips and Reminders for Highly Sensitive Survivors of a Narcissistic Parent
By Roxanne E. Smith--Originally posted 2011--Updated 2018
Here are 5 helpful tips and reminders for survivors of an N parent:
1. Compassion for yourself is always rule #1. You did a great job surviving a very difficult childhood. Instead of getting loving support you were often ridiculed and undermined. You DESERVED compassion but you did not get it. You must learn to give it to yourself--to be the ideal mother or father to yourself that you never had. As survivors, we all are always too hard on ourselves. If you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed, stop everything and be nice to yourself about it. You have every right to feel stressed and overwhelmed. Imagine the most loving mother comforting you through it. What would she say to you? "Everything is going to be all right. You have worked so hard and you deserve to rest. Put your feet up and I'll get you a warm blanket. How about some green tea and a warm cup of soup." :) Put your worries out of your mind--does that task really have to be done today? No, it does not. It is very important to know that until you have unconditional compassion and love for your self you will not have the energy to give compassion and love freely to others! Healthy, loving relationships are reciprocal--you must have compassion to give to others if you want to attract people into your life who are truly "giving" in return.
2. Forgive yourself. When you have an N parent you were never taught that it's okay to make mistakes. When you make a mistake, a loving parent would say to you, "It's okay, that is how we learn and you learned a lot from this--maybe it is even good that it happened." If you had this message growing up, imagine where you'd be today! You could glide from one mistake to the next without beating yourself up about it, instead you would say to yourself, "that's okay, I am only human, we all make mistakes and that is how we learn." Also forgive yourself for trusting the wrong people. Because you had an N parent that you trusted for a long time, you may be confused about what a healthy relationship looks and feels like. It takes time to learn to love yourself and start attracting people who also love themselves and have real love to give. Forgive yourself about trusting the wrong people along the way, this happening is often a necessary stepping stone on our journey to finding our true selves and honoring all of our feelings.
3. Allow yourself to have some inner confusion at times. We all have inner confusion at times. Even Deepok Chopra, Eckhart Tolle, and the wisest psychotherapists on earth have inner confusion at times and this is how we continue to grow and learn. This is part of the human experience on this planet. We cannot and must not feel that we have to be on top and have it all figured out all the time! Your N parent may have made you feel this way probably because you were so very bright and right so much of the time, they felt compelled to knock you down and never gave you credit for your brilliant ideas. So when you weren't on top and were naturally feeling confused about some unexplained event in your lives, they may have often taken this opportunity to point out to you, "See you aren't so great, this happened to you and this is proof! This was very confusing and painful to you which just further made you harder on yourself. You may have said to yourselves, "I must never let people see that I don't have it all figured out. I must be even more perfect!" If you can see how unfair this was to you as a child and how you deserved to feel okay about having inner confusion, you will feel much relief and realize you deserve to be... human. It is so unhealthy trying to be perfect. We must grieve for the time we spent feeling unworthy of acceptance and that we are not good enough as we are in each given moment. Sometimes we have inner confusion--it is okay...let it be. In time, the lesson you were to learn from it will be learned and you will progress again towards expressing your true voice.
4. Guilt, shame, and doubt are thoughts and feelings from elsewhere to be ignored. Ignoring your "inner critic" is hard to do because it feels like it's your "self" telling you these negative messages so you think it must be true. But these messages and feelings are not from your true self--they are incorrect beliefs from surviving your N parent which you have internalized! You can learn to recognize them and identify them as your "inner critic" which you must ignore. It is not the truth! Your inner critic is WRONG about you. Most often the exact opposite is true. When you become conscious of your "inner critic" you can over-ride your thoughts with positive affirmations such as "I love and approve of myself". Getting in the habit of catching yourself when you are unconsciously beating yourself up will change your life! When you can stop your negative thoughts and know and believe that they aren't true, your true purpose and compassionate self will begin to emerge. This is not easy and this leads into my next tip. Sometimes you must get help from a safe person you can trust fully to grieve and let out the pain from your abused inner child before you can begin to change these negative beliefs about yourself.
5. Consider reaching out and getting help. If you are projecting bouts of anger and despair onto your loved ones and are confused about why this is happening, it helps to understand the roots of this confusing pattern. In inner child grief work, this is called "transference" and is a very important and necessary part of the healing process. It is as if you must pull the other person into the drama of the original feelings from childhood so that you can process these feelings and heal them in the present day. Post traumatic stress (PTSD) is the eruption of past unresolved childhood pain into your relationships in the present. If you don't understand what is happening it can wreak havoc on your present relationships. But if you work this out with a skilled licensed counselor that you fully trust, you can learn to understand your feelings as they come up and you will not need to act on them. You can learn how if you are able to display the out-of-control feelings with this safe person who is able to stay impartial and unaffected and still be compassionate even to angry or blaming projections. Depending on the severity of the abuse and the transference symptoms, look for an experienced counselor or coach with knowledge of inner child healing and are humanistic in their approach. As a coach I can only help clients with mild symptoms of post traumatic stress. --I have experience with this as I not only worked through most of my own transference and projections with a therapist but also because my husband and I worked through most of our projections and transference from our childhoods onto each other to the point of overcoming most of our co-dependence issues. We were able to do this because of our deep trust in each other and because of my training, my own self-growth which had to happen first, and my knowledge about healthy communication skills, grieving our losses, and what constitutes healthy boundaries.
As a highly sensitive person who survived an N parent, you can learn techniques to love yourself and heal your childhood wounds so that you can have the peace of mind and confidence in yourself that you DESERVE. I hope that my tips have been comforting to you. You are a special highly sensitive soul and your healing is necessary so your God-given gifts and true self can be actualized and all your dreams can come true. You survived a N parent--be kind to yourself! Now is your time for healing.
With Love and Light,
If you like this article please know that I am now available and offering Telephone Coaching sessions again. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in one-on-one coaching and emotional support.
This article was originally written as a post on my blog--to read more informative posts of this nature please click here to go to my blog=>HopeHealingHaven.com or click on the word "BLOG" on the task bar above.)
Here are the Facebook Comments copied and pasted from the old website design from 2015-March of 2018). I wish that I could have kept them in their original format on this new website: (Please add new comments at the bottom :D)
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Mary Allen · Repacker at Ryder-Pepsi
This is what I have been working on fir the past month as being a survivor of a narcissistic family. I'm getting stronger and stronger with each passing day! Thank you Jesus!
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Mayra Lerma · Merchandiser at Chloe+Isabel by Mayra Lerma
great tips! definitely going to save them for future reference....
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Jennifer Eileen Stillings
I have a fb group called: Children of Narcissist Mothers everyone's welcome to join for support as well. I think the url should be www.facebook.com/childrenofnarcissistmothers(ACON) It's a closed group so you might have to do a search and then ask to join.
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Kacie Smith · Design, Printing and Framing at Time Capsule Framing
How can I get added to this group? It doesn't show up on my facebook. Thanks!
Like · Reply · 1 · 1y
Clifford Cox · Millikin University/University of Illinois
I am 77 and have spent a lifetime struggling against N parents. A loving wife, daughter and clinical psychologists have helped greatly. Above all is my faith in God. I especially agree with you on the importance of unconditional compassion and love for oneself (I'm still working on that!). Also very important is the concept of transference for understanding the original conflicts (oh but it's so painful! but necessary)
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Maria Magdalena · Massage therapist at Self-Employed
I just learned about my narc mom & had wondered for almost 55 yrs why she treated me like a scapegoat... leaving me homeless while she helped my sister aquire 5 homes... Now I don't feel bad about not going to see her for Thanksgiving as she is 90 & senile as ever... Told my sister she would rather die then help the homeless. I'm getting over it, yet wonder why my sister is still going to go to that house my brother raped me in when I was 7 my mother just said go take a bath you'll be alright... right... I had to live with that guy for 11 more yrs acting like it never happened. Then when her brother tried to molest me @ 14 she said it was my fault... Hello I was still playing with dolls. Praying I get over all this grief soon.
Unlike · Reply · 1 · 2y
Thank you <3
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Viv Lewis · The University of Adelaide
Thank you, this is so helpful, supportive and practical. I'm off to make myself a green tea right now ☺
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Lisa Jane Moretti
Thank you for all of this. Just the information I was seeking. I can see how HSP's may need more time to process their intense emotional abuse that continued well into their adulthood.
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Julia Middleton · RMIT University
hello..... is this in a book form that I can purchase please ?
Like · Reply · 1y
Lisa Firestone · Nashville, Tennessee
Thank you so much.
Like · Reply · 32w
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