The relief when a narcissistic parent dies

In this blog, we will; try to answer the question ‘Do you feel relief when a narcissistic parent dies?’. The blog further also looks at what happens when a narcissistic parent dies, sings of a narcissistic parent, and how to deal with the death of a narcissistic parent. 

Do you feel relief when a narcissistic parent dies? 

Many people feel a strange mix of relief and loss when a parent dies.  The relief comes from the release of a source of stress.  This happens even in good relationships.  You don’t have to make that trip or do that work or watch the suffering anymore.  With a narcissistic parent, the battle is finally over.  The relief is normal and not bad.

To be very honest, it depends on the individual. Living with a narcissistic parent is not easy. One can grow to have resentment towards them in the latter days. Nevertheless, the thought that they were your parent hits you and you may feel sad. 

To someone with no knowledge of narcissism, it would seem that the person who caused you so much pain throughout your life is now dead and so everything is going to be easier for you. After all, they are gone. 

The one benefit of the death of a narcissistic parent, however, is that although nothing can be fully resolved while the parent was still alive, there is no ongoing abuse coming into the life of the adult child. This at least gives some breathing room within which to work on past issues, as it is the latter that is causing the intense pain in the lives of children of narcissistic parents.

It is also seen that more than relief there is a sense of peculiar grief. Your grief is not so much for the loss of a parent, but for the loss of what could have been.  You could have had a good relationship.  You should have received encouragement and praise and guidance.  You could have grown up feeling good about yourself and knowing that you had loving support.  It could have been the way that relationship should have been.  But it didn’t happen.  Your loss is something most people don’t understand.  You didn’t lose a mom or a dad; you lost the opportunity for things to be right.

What happens after the narcissistic parent dies? 

Apart from the grief, you come to the realization that something about your parent was broken.  It may have happened way back in childhood, but it had nothing to do with you.  The problem was there before you came along.  It affected you, took some things from you, left you with conflicted feelings about yourself and life—but it wasn’t your problem. 

You might also hear that voice in your ear from time to time.  You will struggle against the criticisms and condemnation.  You will wonder if you are still being manipulated.  You will wonder whether you have the same characteristics or if you have passed them down to your kids.  And you won’t forget.

But you need to remember that all of this is natural and normal.  Nothing is wrong with you.  You can’t just forget a parent and you can’t just wash away years of life.  You had to learn to deal with a person who was very difficult and the habitual responses will take time to unlearn. 

Find a good counselor to talk with.  Find a good friend who will listen and affirm you.  Build your own life again.  Don’t focus on the negative of what was, focus on the positive of what will be.

How to deal with the death of a narcissistic parent

Having a narcissistic parent in your life is no easy. But when the narcissistic mother is dying, things become even more complicated. You are stuck between your feelings of anger and resentment and your duty to be there for them. 

Here are a few things you can do that can make the death of a narcissistic parent easy. 

Ignore the pressure from everyone.  

You do what you believe. Do not think of what others will say.  They haven’t been in your situation, so they don’t understand it.  However, they will not stop judging you. So, ignore them. You’ll never please people anyway.  Even if you become your parent’s full-time caregiver, people would still criticize you, especially the ones who aren’t involved with helping.  

Don’t hesitate to block people’s phone numbers, emails, or social media. 

It hurts cutting your own family or friends out of your life, but, you have to protect yourself.  Blocking them will hurt less than allowing them to fill your phone or inbox with hurtful, manipulative messages. This may add to your burden. So try to avoid interacting with the people who are trying to manipulate you and asking you to do something that you do not believe. 

Cling onto what you know is right, no matter what.  

I know, it is awful when your parent is dying & you know beyond a shadow of a doubt you can’t say goodbye.  It’s painful for you & makes you feel like a terrible person.  You aren’t though!  

Don’t let people tell you how to feel.  

Even well-meaning people may do this with comments like, “You shouldn’t be mad at the flying monkeys for coming after you right now- you have more important things to worry about.”  You feel what you feel, acknowledge those feelings, & deal with them however you feel is appropriate.

Have realistic expectations. 

If you do decide to say goodbye to your dying narcissistic parent, don’t expect a happy ending.  It is very rare for any narcissist to have an epiphany & apologizing for their behavior, even on their death bed.  In fact, quite the opposite.  In fact, there are stories of how cruel they can be to their children until their dying breath.  If you are willing to see your parent so that parent can die in peace, or because it will help you somehow to say goodbye, then do it but remember to stay strong even when the abuse continues.  And, if at all possible, go when no one else is there.  Avoid the ones who harassed & shamed you.

Lastly, don’t expect anything normal about grieving your parent’s death.  

The death of a narcissist adds a lot of complexity to the already difficult grief process.  Not only are you losing a parent, but you’re also losing the last shred of hope that things might be better one day.  You’re losing the chance of ever having closure.  You’ll grieve that your relationship was so toxic.  You also are going to feel relief because the abuse is finished, & guilt because you feel relieved.  You can’t fully prepare for all the things you’re going to feel, & it’s going to hit you hard.  Try not to judge how you feel.  Just accept that you feel as you do, & you’re OK.  Speak only with supportive & understanding friends or relatives only about your feelings.  Others will judge you harshly & not understand.  Journal about your feelings.  Read others’ stories about how they got through it.  Don’t rush the grief- take whatever time you need to get through it all.  

Signs of a narcissistic parent 

Their standards are unrealistically high

Those with narcissistic personality disorder often have high standards for others. That could potentially extend to their children and could mean thinking their child is the best and deserves recognition or seeing the child as an extension of him or herself. Narcissism can also manifest as thinking their child needs to be a superstar in their career or very good looking—beyond a reasonable standard. It really becomes a problem when it affects others, like a parent contacting a child’s coach or professors, which creates more issues for the child, who might be viewed more negatively.

They don’t seem to care about what’s happening in your life

Does your parent frequently tell you everything going on in their lives without ever asking you what’s going on in yours? Or, do they tell you just to put on a happy face, despite what you’re really feeling? If you find yourself sweeping your feelings under a carpet, this could be a red flag that you have a narcissistic parent. The parent is too preoccupied with their own needs to tend to yours. We often think of the ideal parent as one who puts children’s needs first but someone who lacks empathy and perspective is likely going to have a much harder time, as they may struggle to recognize children’s needs and when those needs should be addressed.

Sometimes, you feel like you’re the parent

If you’ve been acting more like a caretaker than a child since you were young, this is just one way your parent could be taking advantage of you. Other ways could include borrowing money from you without repaying. Sometimes, a parent will also do something nice for their child, like praising, complementing, or helping with chores, but they expect their children to return this favor with a lot of praise. 

They expect you to worship them

A parent who is domineering or authoritarian often needs a lot of attention and praise. An example is a parent expecting whatever they say or do to be followed or respected without question from others. They might lash out at children or other family members if they don’t receive what they deem to be enough praise or attention. 

They truly believe you are perfect

Every parent believes that about their kids, but narcissists take it to an extreme. Another common trait of narcissistic parents is projecting their own narcissism on their children by seeing them as perfect or special—beyond reproach. A narcissistic parent might interpret any negative feedback or setback that their child has as others being jealous of their child or being ‘out to get them’ because they’re jealous


In this blog, we will; try to answer the question ‘Do you feel relief when a narcissistic parent dies?’. The blog further also looks at what happens when a narcissistic parent dies, sings of a narcissistic parent, and how to deal with the death of a narcissistic parent. 

FAQs: The relief when a narcissistic parent dies

How to get rid of a narcissistic parent? 

If you are dealing with a narcissistic parent, here are a few thighs you can do to deal with them 

Educate Yourself About Narcissism. 
Accept That Your Narcissist Parent Won’t Change. 
Recognize Your Enabling Parent. 
Recognize the Roles in Your Family. 
Assert Boundaries. 
Attune with Your Feelings. 
Don’t Blame Yourself.

How does a narcissist act when someone dies?

A narcissistic may feel helpless, ashamed, or humiliated, and they may feel anger or blame themselves for the loss. In some cases, time helps heal people’s narcissistic injuries over a loss. In others, it does not. People may become permanently aggrieved


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