Toxic Parents Want Free Rent in Your Head Forever: Healing for Adult Children of Narcissists & ACOAs
Does this sound like you? Are you the adult child of a narcissist? If so, you’re not alone. Join our free support group for adult children of narcissistic parents.
What is a narcissist?
A narcissist, in general, is someone who holds an inflated opinion of him/herself. In narcissistic abuse situations, this refers to a toxic, verbally (and sometimes physically) abusive person who may have narcissistic personality disorder. Toxic parents are sometimes narcissists as well.
Are all toxic parents narcissists?
No, not all toxic parents are narcissists. But often, they display narcissistic tendencies and cause similar issues. Certain issues can cause a parent to behave in narcissistic ways, even when they wouldn’t otherwise be that way. For example, active addiction or alcoholism will often present almost identically to toxic narcissism.
Dealing with gaslighting and enmeshment is difficult for any victim of a narcissist, but when you’re the adult child of a narcissist (ACON) – even if you first identified as an ACOA, it’s a lifelong issue that never seems to lose its grip on you – especially if you don’t know about toxic relationships and narcissistic personality disorder.
How do you know if you are the adult child of a narcissist in a toxic family relationship?
This article will fill you in completely, but basically, if you feel like you’re being emotionally, physically, spiritually or otherwise abused, manipulated or mistreated by any family member on a regular basis, there is an element of toxicity.
These family members can include your spouse and other nuclear family members, but also extended family such as parents and in-laws, siblings, aunts and uncles, grandparents and other relations.
Your toxic family member may over-criticize you or openly judge you for your personal choices, or they may be a little sneakier about it by gossiping or telling lies about you (or your choices) behind your back.
Some family members may take it to a whole other level and actually attempt to wreak havoc in your life or even to control, destroy or alter your nuclear family, domestic situation or other outside relationships.
How do you heal from having a toxic parent?
The healing process for an adult child of a narcissistic parent is a long and sometimes difficult one–but it’s worth the effort. Whether you walk away completely or you choose to limit your relationship to only necessary interactions, you would be wise to give yourself space you’ll need to evolve and grow into the individual you’re meant to be. Read more: Identifying Toxic Family Relationships
As the adult child of a narcissist, you’re bound to have picked up a few (or more) thoughts, feelings and beliefs that aren’t really your own. So, once you get your space, start there: figure out exactly what you believe, and what you don’t. You might be surprised to find out which beliefs or thoughts you’ve been carrying around for all these years for no reason.
The next step is to begin to embrace the fact that you’re an individual who has value. Your thoughts, feelings and experiences are legitimate and worth hearing about–and you are just as good as anyone else. Read more: 10 Things You Need to Know If You’re In a Toxic Relationship
Need help? You’re not alone. Join our free online support group for adult children of narcissists and toxic parents, right here.
Angela Atkinson is a Certified Life Coach and the author of more than 20 books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse recovery and related topics. A recognized expert on narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder who has studied and written extensively on narcissistic relationships since 2006, Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own.
Atkinson offers trauma-informed coaching and has certifications in life coaching, level 2 therapeutic model, CBT coaching, integrative wellness coaching, and NLP. She is a certified trauma support coach and certified family trauma professional. She also has a professional PTSD counseling certification. Her mission is to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation and move forward into their genuine desires – into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves.
Along with her solution-focused life coaching experience, Atkinson’s previous career in journalism and research helps her to offer both accurate and understandable information for survivors of abuse in a simple-to-understand way that helps to increase awareness in the narcissistic abuse recovery community. Atkinson founded QueenBeeing.com Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy. In her life coaching practice, Atkinson’s clients enjoy her personalized approach that allows and encourages them to become the best possible versions of themselves and to succeed in doing what they love most. She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online and NarcissismSupportCoach.com.