If you are considering going ‘no-contact’ with a narcissistic step-parent you are not alone. Many people just like you are wrestling with this same question. When we think of a narcissistic step-parent, Cinderella is the first story that comes to mind.
We often picture Cinderella at the end of her story. The magical pumpkin that turned into a carriage, Cinderella’s shimmering dress, and getting to live happily-ever-after with her prince. We forget the pain and suffering she endured with her self-centered step-mother.
You may not have thought of this label before, but Cinderella was raised by a narcissistic step-mother. She was subjected to emotional abuse and treated like a servant in her own home. Cinderella desperately wanted to be loved and to share a close relationship with her step-mother. She tried pleasing her step-mother by doing everything she was asked but it still wasn’t good enough. We all root for Cinderella when we know she gets to escape her tragic past and live the rest of her life in the beautiful palace with someone who loves and adores her.
But what happens next? What happens to the relationship with Cinderella’s step mother after life seems to be going well for her? Does her mother get invited to family dinners in the castle? Did Cinderella figure out a way to manage a healthier relationship? Or did she cut off contact with her narcissistic step-mother?
If you have a narcissistic or self-centered step-parent you may be wondering this same thing. Deciding how involved you want your self-centered parent to be in your life is a difficult decision. You may desire love and connection with them but are realizing that may not be possible.
Should you go ‘no-contact?’
Recognize there is no correct answer and this tends to be a very personal answer for many. Here are three questions you can ask to help decide if you should go ‘no-contact:’
- Are you experiencing harm? If this relationship consistently creating emotional distress?
- Are other members of your family being harmed or impacted in an unhealthy way? Spouse, partner, children?
- Is this relationship negatively impacting other areas of your life? Such as your health, work, relationships with friends, romantic relationships, or overall being able to enjoy life?
One more thing to consider: What are your intentions behind going ‘no-contact?’ Are you hoping cutting off communication will change their behavior or cause them to interact with you in a healthier way? If so, cutting off contact is not going to work. If you identify with this, please continue to learn more about narcissistic parents and healthy boundaries before making this decision.
While there is no cut and dry answer when it comes to how much contact you should have with a narcissistic or self-centered parent, answering these three questions can begin to guide you in finding what the right decision is for you. Whether you decide to go ‘no-contact’ or try to manage a healthier relationship, there are strategies that can be used so you can find balance in your life and a positive well-being.