In my last post I discussed why, as adults, we still fear our narcissistic parents. I wrote about how one way to get through this fear is to get angry at your parent.
But what if you can’t get angry? Or what if the anger doesn’t burn away all your fear?
Then it becomes time to face your fear and work through it. Only by allowing ourselves to confront our fears can we truly be free of them.
Here is how you work through your fear.
Ask, What Am I Afraid Of?
The fear we feel when we’re afraid of something tends to be a generalized fear. For instance we may feel fear when we think of having contact with our narcissistic parent. That fear fills us and our mind stays locked in fear mode.
What you need to do is gain awareness of what exactly you fear about the visit. Are you afraid of,
- Your parent’s criticism?
- Your parent raging at you?
- Your parent making you feel guilty?
- Your parent insulting you?
- Your parent comparing you to others?
By identifying what specifically you are afraid of, your fear becomes smaller. It no longer is this horrible, massive monster consuming you from the inside out.
By developing awareness of why I always accepted my mother’s invitation to get together I reduced my fear. I realized that I always said yes to her requests to see me out of fear of disappointing her if I said no. My mother conditioned me my whole life to not disappoint her. Realizing this, I decided to deepen my healing by saying no to her requests. I realized that if she’s disappointed, that’s her problem.
The fear still comes up. But it’s less intense now. Give this a try in your own life.
Find a Way to Take Action
Fear causes us pain. Once we experience pain we generally try to avoid it in the future.
This is how your narcissistic parent holds you hostage with fear. She makes you fear the repercussions of challenging, ignoring, or disappointing her. So you behave as she desires, getting angry with yourself each time you do.
The key to working through this fear is to face it and push through it.
Let’s say in analyzing your fear, you find you are afraid of your parent’s criticism. For example, your mother launches into a criticism rant after hearing you can’t meet her demands because you promised to take your kids to the movies.
Because of your fear of her criticism, you have missed some of your children’s games, plays, and even a birthday party. And you missed time to take care of yourself, which led to fatigue, stress, and anger.
The way through this fear of saying “No” to your mother is to take action. You take action by telling your mother “No” next time she demands you put her before your kids.
And you have a choice towards what happens next. You can listen to the criticism in a detached manner, analyzing if it is true. Or you can say, “I’m not going to listen to this.” Then hang up the phone or show your mother the door.
By taking action you’ll learn that you can endure the pain. The pain is not disabling nor does it last forever.
More valuable though is the knowledge that you don’t have to be held hostage to fear of your mother. You can break free any time you want.
All you have to do is act.
The Key is Believing in Yourself
To act against your fear, you must believe in yourself. If you doubt your ability to overcome your fear you may falter. That’s because your doubt will gnaw at you and let the fear continue to control you.
The key to believing in yourself is to recognize that no one has the right to exert their will over you. You must claim your right to be a free individual in charge of your own life.
This is key because once you do exert your independence, the narcissist will react. She will use every manipulative trick she knows to reassert her control over you. You will be required to face your fear again and again.
As scary as this seems, it is the true path to freedom.
You are capable of doing this. You are strong enough. All you need to do is call up this strength from deep within you. Also, lean on the shoulder of someone you trust for support. If you have no one else, contact me through the contact page. I’ll be glad to send encouragement.
So next time your narcissistic parent evokes fear in you, first become aware of what exactly you’re afraid of. Then figure out the action you have to take to confront that fear.
And enjoy the freedom from fear that comes with claiming your right to be free from it.
May peace cradle you as you set yourself free of fear and guilt.
What do you fear about your narcissistic parent? Tell us in the comments.