If they are still with your daughter or son, it’s tough being on the outside looking in and not being able to help your son/daughter out.
This is one of those relationships where you can not really do no contact. You can not do grey rock with the narcissist as this will mean losing touch with your son or daughter altogether and your grandchildren if you have them.
You need to focus on the long term goals, which are.
- Keeping the peace.
- Staying in touch with your child.
- Staying in touch with your grandchildren.
Narcissists are excellent at Gaslighting and manipulating people. Anything you say will be taken as criticism and held against you, as will any action you try to take to help your children.
They are also excellent at Triangulation, so try to avoid situations where you are alone with them. Your son or daughter who they are manipulating will find it hard to believe the narcissist’s realities when the narcissist is trying to claim you said or did something to get your son or daughter on the narcissists’ side and cut your child off from supportive family and friends.
It’s hard when you want to protect your son or daughter and your grandchildren, and you want to speak up, help out, make them see. Unfortunately, doing that can only alienate you further from your family. You can not make no contact as that will most likely end up with you not seeing your family.
What can you do?
You have to remember the long term goal, that you are doing whatever necessary to stay in your children’s lives, not to please the narcissist.
- Take a step back. You may disagree, you might be able to see how toxic it is, do not get involved as incredibly hard as it is. This can most likely lead to driving a bigger wedge between you and your child. And your child leaning more on the narcissist for support.
- Ask how the grandchildren are. If you don’t get a response, leave it, for a few weeks, then ask again.
- Always ask if you can see them on birthdays and Christmas. (If you’ve already been alienated.) if it’s a no, still post that card or gift. It’s about the children, not how you feel about the parents or the parents about you.
- If you’ve already been alienated from your own child, still ask now and again how they are, post cards and gifts on special occasions. What they do with them is up to them. At least they know you care.
- Try to make amends with your own children, listen to what they have to say. Do not criticise their choices or their partner.
- Build any bridges by swallowing hard and apologising to the narcissist, ( yes it is the narcissist’s games you’re apologising for, and this feels hideous to do.) But you have to let the narcissist think they are winning, even though that means going against things. You have to remember this route means you, your son/ daughter and grandchildren are still able to see each other.
- When your son or daughter or even grandchildren come explaining things to you, listen and only listen, ” say that’s hard. I’m here whatever you want, I can not advise what you need to do.” ( Younger grandchildren and older if it’s safeguarding issues call nsccp or other organisations for more advice. )This is because if you take your child’s side (naturally.), then they makeup with the narcissist or tell the narcissist what you said. Your son/daughters will feel ashamed around you. They will most often blame themselves. The narcissist will go all out to divide and conquer as they fear you will get your son/daughter to see the light. All you can do is be there.
- Do not tell them how to parent the grandchildren, even if they ask for advice, and this never ends well as they take it as criticism, also do not advise them even if they ask they will also take this as criticism, thinks like. “You know your children best.” Is the answer needed?
- Do not stop by unannounced.
- Don’t try too hard to be nice or over-friendly. Keep your distance, yet don’t be rude.
- Do not criticise your daughter in law or son in law to your son or daughter.
- Do not remark on how they live their lives, and the narcissist will take this as criticism.
- If you fear for their safety, call women’s aid or men’s aid and ask for advice, don’t go running in trying to save your son or daughter, unless they are ready to leave, this will not end well, you’ll be further alienated, the narcissist will be able to treat them worse as they’ll have no one to talk to. If your son or daughter asks for help in leaving, help them leave, then just be there for them, it takes an average of seven attempts for people to get out and stay out, so as much as it’ll hurt if they go back, stand by their choice and let them know you are there for them whatever they choose, as hard as it is when you want to step in and fix it, people do have to learn for themselves, so just support them, so they know you’ll be there whenever they need.
- If your son daughter leaves and wants your help, do so without judgments, or I told you so, or pressure, then you’ll not be cut off if they go back to them. Let them know you stand by them no matter what. This will make it easier for them to leave.
- If you’d like to see the grandchildren, you have to make it the narcissist idea.
- You have to make the narcissist believe they are in control, which is hard to do and makes you feel awful. Stays focused on the long team goal of being a part of your son/daughters lives and any grandchildren.
Stay strong and stay focused. Anyone with any advice for those going through the same, please add in comments.
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Elizabeth Shaw is not a Doctor or a therapist. She is a mother of five, a blogger, a survivor of narcissistic abuse, and a life coach, She always recommends you get the support you feel comfortable and happy with. Finding the right support for you. Elizabeth has partnered with BetterHelp (Sponsored.) where you will be matched with a licensed councillor, who specialises in recovery from this kind of abuse.
Why not argue with a narcissist.