Opinion: Narcissistic Parents Can Seek Revenge on Adult Children

Walter Rhein

Image by Walter Rhein

I know from personal experience that you need to create separation from the toxic people in your life.

Although narcissism has been recognized for a long time, the term narcissistic personality disorder is relatively new.

In 1980, narcissistic personality disorder was officially recognized in the third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder and criteria were established for its diagnosis—Narcissistic Personality Disorder Symptoms and History

Through my writing, I’ve discovered that many people who grew up in the 70s and 80s recognize this kind of abusive behavior.

I’ve found that establishing boundaries with an abuser is an effective way to achieve a satisfying life. Relationships are difficult under the best of circumstances. Relationships become almost impossible when you have somebody in your life who sabotages your efforts.

It has been my experience that, at first, narcissists are content to sit back and watch from a distance. When my father left my mother, he made sure to swing by every couple of months. The purpose of his visits was to undermine my mother’s authority.

Now, decades later, he has become even more aggressive in his behavior.

An irresponsible person can always undermine the efforts of a responsible parent. Children are easy to manipulate. They are much more inclined to appreciate the parent that gives them ice cream over the one that prepares a nutritious meal. As children grow into adulthood, the influence of the narcissistic parent can become even more toxic. Narcissists are unable to take responsibility for their behavior.

You are at risk even if you cut a narcissistic parent out of your life. The narcissist is likely to blame you for their unhappy life and try to get revenge.

It is important to take steps to protect your family from a narcissistic parent. A narcissistic parent may attempt to influence your teenage children.

Parenting can be a bumpy road. If you are a responsible parent, you have to hold your children to a standard of conduct. As children enter adulthood, they can become vulnerable to the influence of a narcissistic grandparent.

It’s tempting to not talk about abusive relationships from the past. However, it’s important to prepare your children against such abuse. A narcissistic parent isn’t necessarily done with you just because you are done with them.

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Walter Rhein is an author with Perseid Press. He also does a weekly column for The Writing Cooperative on Medium.

Chippewa Falls, WI

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