NPD Parents and Cut Off

Let’s talk about narcissistic parents and cut-off.

So I hear quite a bit of confusion around this. What happens is someone identifies that they have a narcissistic parent and then they read some about cut off or perhaps they’re reading a lot of forums or something like that where people are like “I don’t talk to them at all, I completely cut them off” and they’re not really comfortable with that and at the same time they know that this parent is not a great parent to them so they get a little confused about what they feel like they “should” do.

Whenever a ‘should’ comes up, it’s a flag.

It’s a flag for “Hey, let me just look at the feelings instead.”

It’s a flag to look at your feelings.

It’s a flag to change the language around it. There’s no should here. You get to decide what kind of relationship you have with your parent and how much contact you have with your parent. You’re the only one who gets to decide that. No one does that for you and when you change, that “should” to “I went to” or “I would like”, it puts a little bit of responsibility on you to make that choice.

So there are different levels of contact with parents. Period. Whether they’re narcissistic or not but we’re talking about narcissistic parents here that tend to be really toxic and awful to their children most of the time. So think of this as like just a scale that happens. So on one side, it’s like you talk to them every single day (which you may not even want to do but it happens), and then on the other side, it’s like you have no contact with them at all.

Scheduled Contact.

The in-between here is that perhaps you set some limits around calls. So we’re moving this way up the scale. Perhaps you set some limits around calls. I mean okay I’m going to talk to you once a week on Sunday evenings or Monday mornings and only for about 10 minutes. (Perhaps you’re on the way to somewhere whenever you call them).

Okay, that’s setting a limit. I will or won’t answer texts. You get to decide that because often they’ll like start to try to reel you in through text if you won’t take a call of theirs but I recommend communicating this to them like “Hey mom, I really want to make sure I’m able to talk to you. (You frame it positively) I feel like I always miss your calls because I’m either working or doing something. (Perhaps you’re really avoiding their calls but they don’t need to know that) I’m always missing your calls so how about I’m gonna try to call you every Monday at 7 A.M when I’m driving to work that way I know I get to talk to you.

They may like flail about and say “No no no!” and they may still try to call you at all kinds of times but once you begin to establish that pattern and keep to it, eventually most of them will fall in line with that. Even to the point where let’s say you miss a week, they’re like “Where’s my call?” (Okay yeah because it’s about them right? It’s not about maybe something was going on with my child that they couldn’t call me, who knows?)

Periodic Contact.

So then you have this sort of in-between contact on perhaps birthdays or holidays, significant holidays. For me, my narcissistic mother and I used to send her flowers on Mother’s Day and her birthday and a Christmas card or present. We did not have a set call but that’s sort of an in-between that I was happy with like “All right, I feel like I can be a good person here, do some of my duties as a daughter to honor her but I don’t have to have constant contact with her which was not really good for me. So that’s an in-between, like “Okay I’m willing to do this stuff”

Travel or when you see them is another in-between. I’m willing to see them once every three years, once a year, not on the holidays, once a year around the holidays. You get to decide how much is comfortable for you. That may take a little bit of time to figure that out. So give yourself that.

Complete Cut Off.

Then we move up the scale here and you do have complete cut-off. Which works for some people. It really is the best thing for them particularly when you get into really awful or Psychopathic behaviors, which sometimes happen with a narcissistic parent if they’re trying to destroy your relationships, your marriage, if they’re stealing money from you, if they’re spreading lies about you or something like that then it is a consideration of “do I want any kind of contact with this person in my life?”

All right I hope that clarifies things for some people. Remember I have more information over here website and a whole video series on YouTube around narcissistic mothers so look up that playlist.

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Dr. Liz