Many of my clients struggle with the wreckage caused by a parent who has a Personality Disorder. Having a parent who has Narcissistic or Borderline traits is confusing growing up.
Their erratic behavior may leave you feeling as though there is something profoundly wrong with you.
Their inability to empathize with you or offer consistency in the parental relationship may feel traumatic. When a client realizes that their parent has a personality disorder, it is sometimes a relief -- they finally understand the parts of their childhood that felt so confusing before. However, there is often work to be done as a result. Therapy can help.
Most clients who have a parent with Narcissistic or Borderline traits experience a great deal of grief.
They continue to reach out to their parent for the kind of care their parent isn't capable of giving and, as a result, they are consistently disappointed. It's painful. Setting healthy boundaries is critical. It's not about punishing your parent -- it's about protecting yourself. You can't change them, but you can change the way you engage with them. You can adjust your expectations and interact accordingly.
Another piece of fallout as a result of having a parent who has Narcissistic or Borderline Personality traits is that you may struggle with having healthy relationships of your own.
You may unconsciously attract and/or be attracted to people with personality disorders because you're good at managing them and it feels like home to you. Sadly it was.
Your comfort level around personality disorders makes it easy for you to fall into an emotionally disconnected relationship with someone with a personality disorder even when that's not what you want. You may crave emotional connection and at the same time feel incredibly uncomfortable with it. The good news is that we can change the way our brains fire and function which means we can change the way we do relationships.
Having a parent with Borderline or Narcissistic traits is not easy and may leave you more vulnerable to disconnected relationships. It may require some work and even some discomfort to get there, but I am inspired my clients who take it on and create the healthy relationships they want for themselves.