Coping with Narcissistic Parental Alienation
Narcissistic Parental Alienation syndrome refers to the process of psychological manipulation of a child by a parent to show fear, disrespect, or hostility towards the other parent. Very often, the child can’t provide logical reasoning for the difference in their behaviour towards both parents.
Parental alienation may happen even when narcissism is not a factor. Sometimes, in anger, one parent may discredit the other in front of the child. It may start with a mild accusation and then increase in severity over time. Such behaviour may often distort one parent’s image in the child’s eyes, causing them to distance themselves from the said parent.
Narcissistic Parental Alienation is not gender-specific. Either parent can influence the child to turn against the other ‘innocent’ parent.
Related Article: What is Parental Alienation?
Signs of parental alienation
A child with signs of parental alienation may display the following behaviour:
- The child is full of hatred towards the targeted parent and may deny any positive experiences in the past.
- The child does not have factual or logical reasoning for their hostility towards the targeted parent.
- The child perceives one parent, generally the narcissistic one, as perfect, while the other parent is perceived as flawed.
- A child who has been alienated may not display any guilt for their rude or hostile behaviour towards one parent.
- In cases of parental conflict, an alienated child is more likely to side with the alienating parent without feeling the need to understand the other parent’s point of view.
How to deal with Narcissistic Parental Alienation?
If you are the targeted parent, here are a few tips on dealing with a narcissistic parent:
You may need to confront
A person with narcissism generally believes that they have done no wrong. They resist change and do not want to participate in anything that could lead to better relations. It is all the more challenging to co-parent a child with a person who is hostile towards you. You have to try extra hard to stop yourself from spilling your feelings to your child.
As much as you hate conflicts, when the other parent is a narcissist, you must confront. You have to figure out how to be a parent to your children despite their behaviour towards you. You must overcome feelings of hurt and hatred and be present for your children.
It can be heartbreaking when your children distance themselves from you and resist any attempts to reconnect. You can feel devastated when your children view you as a bad parent. You must try and get all the help that you need.
We recommend talking to your friends and family or reaching out to a good counsellor. A good counsellor may help you explore the best possible ways to reconnect with your children. They may even recommend family counselling.
You may also consider joining a support group and consulting a legal expert. With the help of your legal expert and counsellor, you may be able to address the allegations made against you. The legal expert may even help you track down proof to prove that the allegations are false.
Take care of yourself
When dealing with a hostile co-parent, it is crucial that you take care of your physical and mental well-being. Surround yourself with supportive people because you need all the support you can get at this time.
Remember all the tricks that your narcissistic partner used to manipulate you in the past. You must ensure that you do not allow the same tactics to work on you this time.
Accept your weaknesses. Your partner is most likely to use your weaknesses against you. Consult a good counsellor so that you can work on a plan to overcome these weaknesses. As you look at your weaknesses, don’t forget your strengths. Continue working on your strengths as well.
Child custody and visitation rights are essential parts of a divorce proceeding. A good divorce lawyer would be able to help you negotiate the best possible outcome, keeping both your and your child’s best interest in mind.