I have been told many times by 2 of my therapists (my previous one retired) that I am under no obligation to ‘look after’ my parents when they are old and sick. If they had been loving & healthy parents, then I would have wanted to do everything I can to support them and be there for them in their old age, without any complicated emotions. In my case however, my parents are both narcissistic and have constantly harmed me with their pathological behaviour. I was always overly responsible for their emotions & needs that I was never able to fully develop into a healthy & confident adult. Their selfishness masked my childhood and I didn’t know any better. As an adult, it can take a while to realise that you don’t need to continue being their ’emotional slave’ and constantly cater to their problems & the chaos they create around themselves.
Constant drama, lack of empathy, lack of comfort, selfishness, sense of entitlement, impulsivity, gaslighting, compulsive lying, projecting, parentifying, immaturity, lack of reasoning, lack of understanding and so much more, are only a few of the characteristics of parents that you do ‘not have to look after’ anymore.
It is hard to fathom the reality of narcissism/psychopathy in the family, as we love our parents and it is the ultimate rejection to have grown up in such a traumatic environment (where you realise that your parents were never able to love you unconditionally). At some point in life though, it is time to say ‘Enough is enough’ and put your own self-care first.
As any Acon (adult child of a narcissist) I still struggle with feelings of guilt and shame, for not supporting my parents anymore. It is new to me and the bonding I have with them is so toxic, that it is even harder to keep being strong. However, I am exhausted emotionally and need to look after myself and my husband. My new family is my biggest priority now.
If you have also been affected by parents who are narcissistic and struggle with fluctuating feelings, please know you are not alone. If you would like to leave a comment, then I would be happy to reply.
Take care & thanks for reading