Do you allow yourself to be angry at your narcissistic parent? Can you allow yourself to feel that seething rage burning deep within you fueled by the neglect and abuse you’ve weathered all your life?
Don’t feel bad if you can’t. I’m positive a lot of us survivors cannot.
Even if you are numb to the rage, it’s there, buried like a murdered informant in your subconscious. But anger is energy and energy will not allow itself to remain pent up.
So how does your anger get released?
Who’s the Target of Your Anger at Your Narcissistic Parent?
When we don’t allow ourselves to feel the anger at our parents boiling within us, our pent up anger escapes and attacks other people. Not sure what I’m talking about? Then think about the following scenarios.
Dan grew up with a narcissistic father who made fun of him for not being athletic. From the age of nine on, he suppressed that anger so that now he is unaware of it. Today, Dan is a supervisor for a major corporation. One morning he receives an email from his dad ordering him to come over Sunday and watch the football game. Dan shakes he head over his father’s inability to recognize he doesn’t like football.
Thirty minutes later he takes a walk through the cubicles. He finds Rita reading a gossip website. Dan starts publicly berating Rita for violating the company’s internet policy. The other employees duck their heads. They know that once Dan starts yelling, he’ll keep yelling as he points out the under-performance of other employees.
Cheryl is sitting by the window and watching it snow. She thinks back to when she was a little girl. Her job was to ensure the walkway and driveway were snow free for her mother, no matter how cold it was. Cheryl’s mother would only buy one pair of mittens for the entire winter. If Cheryl lost one, she had to go without or use a sock.
Sighing she gets up and goes and checks on her eight year old twin daughters. They turned the living room into a debris field of toys. “God damn it!” she shouts. “I’m sick of picking up after you.” The twins start crying, but begin picking up. They’ve experienced mother’s rage attacks before.
Someone Will Feel Your Anger at Your Narcissistic Parent
No matter how hard you try to remain calm, someone will provoke you into an angry outburst. Ninety-nine percent of the time they’re not trying to make you mad. That you respond angrily will surprise them.
It may be someone who darts their car into the small space between your car and the vehicle in front of you, making you slam on the breaks. You start screaming, laying on the horn, and driving on their tail. Middle fingers are exchanged. Meanwhile, your kids are screaming “Stop!” from the back.
Or perhaps it will be the store clerk who makes a mistake and rings up the pants you are buying twice. You lay into her, oblivious that everyone in the checkout area is staring at you.
Possibly you’re out taking a run. Convinced you always have the right of way, you don’t pause at intersections. You’re crossing one intersection and a car zips around the corner and passes two feet in front of you. Cursing at the top of your lungs, you throw the thick wad of keys in your hand as hard as you can against the side of the car in hopes of scratching the paint.
The point is, you carry deep, hot pools of rage within you. And until you deal with it, the rage is going to hurt you and whoever you take it out on.
My Pattern for Expressing Rage at My Narcissistic Parents
You are most at danger of going berserk before and after contact with your narcissistic parent. Your anger may be triggered by past wrongs or because you have to see or talk with them. It may be due to things they say while you are visiting with them. It’s possible that you may be angry due to all three things.
My pattern used to be that I’d start getting agitated three days before I saw my mom or dad (I won the jackpot—two narcissistic parents). I’d start snapping at my wife and kids over small irritations that I made into my mountains of agony.
Two days before seeing a parent and my shouting started. My poor wife experienced most of my anger. I blamed her for everything I was unhappy about in my life. I’ll never be able to make up for those times.
The day before I saw my parents, the yelling intensified. I could find nothing right with the world and the fault of that lay with my wife.
Then the next day we’d go to dinner at my mom’s. I would play my family role as the clown. No anger would be expressed on my part.
Then the next day would begin another three days of yelling and agitation, just in reverse with the first day being my angriest.
My wife asks me when I’m being an ass why I can express such anger at her, yet show none towards the people who hurt me. I only have one answer.
I was conditioned so thoroughly from an early age not to show a bit of anger towards my parents and that conditioning still makes me suppress my anger around my parents. Fricken remarkable, isn’t it?
What if You Showed Anger at Your Narcissistic Parent?
As much as I hate to say this, it probably wouldn’t matter.
Many of us possess fantasies of confronting our narcissistic parents with how they abused us as children and the wrongs we do today. Part of this fantasy is that they’ll show remorse. We imagine tearful apologies. Then we believe they’ll completely change and become the parents we always wanted.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Your narcissistic parent has constructed a false image of themselves. This image believes it can do no wrong.
Not only does your narcissistic parent feel they can do no wrong, they’ll take every negative thing you say about them and project it back on you. This means they’ll see you as manipulative, uncaring, etc. And they’ll tell you right then and there that you have all the traits you’re pointing out in them.
Think how hurt and angry you’ll feel after that.
What to Do with Your Anger at Your Narcissistic Parent?
An extremely important part of healing from the pain inflicted by your narcissistic parent is feeling your anger at her. Dealing with that anger will allow you to stop taking it out on your family and other people.
Make sure you don’t deny your anger or convince yourself it is wrong to be angry at your parent. You have every right to be angry at what has been done to you by someone who was supposed to love, nurture, and protect you but abused, ignored, and belittled you instead.
When you have some time alone, thing back over the events of your childhood. Don’t make excuses for your parent. Let yourself get angry.
The intensity of your anger may frighten you. It’s OK. The anger cannot hurt you. Do not suppress your rage. When we suppress anger we turn it inward against ourselves. This can lead you to become clinically depressed, which will halt your recovery.
Now you are angry and need to deal with that anger.
The first thing is to feel it. Recognize who you’re angry about and why. Now it’s time to practice releasing your anger.
One way of releasing the anger is to journal about it. Write about what event from your past is making you so angry. Record why it made you angry. What emotions did you feel in the moment the event happened? How did your parent act? What should have happened instead? Were you angry back then? Can you remember suppressing that rage?
Then if you have the time and ability, get some aerobic exercise in. Or if yoga soothes you, do that. Exercise is good for burning off negative emotions. It leaves you with a cleansed feeling inside.
Another option is if you have an activity that you get lost in and soothes you like painting, crafts, or woodworking you can engage in for a while. This allows the anger not to have a hold on you as you generate positive energies by doing what you enjoy.
And if it helps for you to curl up on the bed and cry for an hour, do that. Whatever will help diminish your anger—besides drugs and alcohol—should help you deal with your rage.
Every few days repeat the process with another memory. Articulate as best you can what connections between the past and what triggered your current episode of anger. The point is to feel the anger at your parent and deal with it. The anger will probably never go away completely. But letting it out should stop you from raging at others.
If you can’t deal with the anger seek the help of a mental health professional. A MSW or psychologist will be able to help you process you anger.
Remember, don’t be angry with yourself, you did nothing wrong. Be angry at what was done to you and the person who did those things. And remember that you survived and that makes you amazing. You deserved, and do deserve, to be treated with kindness and respect. Accept nothing less from this point forward.
Who do you take you anger out on? Tell us in the comments below.