It’s not until the adult children of a narcissist get (a lot of) psychotherapy or have a life-changing experience that pulls them away them from the disturbed parent that these adult children can truly begin to heal – and then create better, more normal relationships that offer the give-and-take reciprocation most of us have and value in our relationships.
What’s interesting to note is the narcissistic parent’s reaction to witnessing healthy psychological change in their child. Once the child or adult child of the narcissist starts to get psychologically healthier and begins to distance himself a bit from the parent, the narcissistic parent experiences a sort of existential panic. Often, it’s a psychotherapist, colleague or friend who plants the seeds of change, declaring to the child that the parent is toxic and emotionally abusive. Thrust into fight mode, the narcissistic parent feels furious and works to ostracize the individual suspected of inducing the change and pulling the child away from the parent’s tight grip. Though it can initially be confusing to the adult child why the narcissistic parent verbally tears apart his closest confidants, the parent’s reaction ultimately shows the adult child what matters most to the narcissistic parent: his or her own emotional needs – not those of the adult child.