Writings from Christine

Empower your kids when they go off to visit the narcissistic parent

by on May 15, 2019

Are your kids required to spend time alone with their narcissistic parent? Here are some tips in my interview with Tracy Malone:

Posted under: Narcissism Writings from Christine

2 comment on Empower your kids when they go off to visit the narcissistic parent


    My daughter is 15 and is starting to have a harder time dealing with her narcissistic father (my ex). She is starting to speak up more about things he does, and says to her that hurt her feelings. He will always make himself the priority and often not take her activities like soccer practice on his weekends, even though she will be punished or lose playing time for skipping. He will often tell her he will come watch her games, and then not show up. She is now old enough to catch him in lies and see through excuses on her own. And I can see that it hurts her.

    I feel like her self esteem is suffering. She recently started talking negatively about herself, her abilities, and her looks. I know this comes with being a teenager, but it seems more than normal. Sometimes she really doesn’t want to go to his house but I have always honored his visitation time in the past. At what age should I start letting her make this decision on her own, if I can tell she is unhappy there?

    I have never talked badly about him to her and don’t plan to. But as she gets older I am worried about this relationship really harming her self esteem. Learning about and understanding his narcissism and the neglect he suffered as a child has really helped me learn how to set boundaries with him and limit how much he can hurt me and frustrate me. I don’t take his behavior personally anymore because I understand it. And I actually have sympathy for him. It has allowed me to forgive him and let go of a lot of the hurt and anger I held onto for a long time after we split up.

    I am wondering if explaining his narcissism to my daughter in a kind way will help her cope with him, and not feel so hurt by his actions and broken promises. If she understands he is not trying to be mean, or at least that it has nothing to do with her, it’s just how his brain works – maybe she will be able to cope better with his actions and protect her own self worth. If I talk to her I wouldn’t say anything mean or nasty about him. I am thinking about just explaining how his parents treated him when he was growing up, and how that affected his own emotional development. That is why it is hard for him to always think about other peoples feelings, or feel other peoples pain, etc…

    Should I talk to her about this? Or is it a bad idea?

    Thank you!!


      That depends, talking to her now might increase the conflict. I would reach out to a therapist. You can call our office for a free 15 min consult.

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