As we know the types of people who become narcissistic enablers, let us delve into the information of how to deal with narcissistic enablers, especially to deal with parents who are narcissistic enablers.
The narcissistic enablers are the one who enhances the malicious traits in the narcissist by the means of overvaluation, attention-giving, and other narcissistic supply, worsening the abuse even more. The enablers of narcissists can have a pleasing, convincing, gossiping, empathizing, flying monkey, or even narcissistic personality that enables the narcissistic traits in others. Throughout your life, you may encounter a narcissistic enabler parent, sibling, friend, lover, or coworker who needs to be dealt with.
Enablers of narcissists are either persuaded by the narcissists or are aware of their characteristics and choose to support them. Either way, it is best to avoid the narcissistic enablers as equal to the narcissists as they can bring harm to your lifestyle. So, let’s delve in to see how narcissistic enablers are directed to hurt the victim and the ways to deal with them.
How do Narcissistic Enablers hurt you?
Not only the narcissists, but the narcissistic enablers can also hurt the victim by hoovering, manipulating, aiding smear campaigns, spreading gossip, and devaluing them in order to keep them in the relationship. Whether the behavior is deliberate or not, the victim is always harmed by the narcissist enablers.
For example, if a father is a narcissist and his wife is a narcissistic enabler who is unaware of her husband’s narcissistic personality, she will support, validate, and allow him to abuse their children. Furthermore, the narcissistic father can easily persuade the enabler mother to not support their children.
She might say,
“Your father beats you to raise you right”
“Parents always do things for their children”
“Never raise your voice against your father like that”
“It’s a shame that you were our kid”
“You will never be like your father”
In fact, the narcissistic enabler mother would prioritize the narcissist more than for her kids. In this way, the kids are pulled into a childhood trauma by their own parents.
Related: How do Parents originate narcissism in Kids?
A narcissist’s enabler is someone who is lonely and yearns for love and relationships. As a result, even the smallest amount of attention from a narcissist astounds them and causes them to surrender to the narcissist. Enablers for narcissists are a great source of supply as well as a primary tool for abusing the victim.
How to deal with the Narcissistic Enablers?
“A narcissistic enabler can be as dangerous and abusive as the narcissists”, say psychologists. A narcissist may use enablers as a flying monkey to hoover or Triangulate in order to gain control or to conduct smear campaigns and physical abuse on the victim. As with narcissists, one must exercise greater caution around narcissistic enablers too. Dealing with them as if they were the narcissist is the best way to protect yourself.
- Understand that the enablers are maneuvered
- Do not quarrel
- Answer in an uninterested way
- Disengage with them
- Invite trustable people into your life
- Build Boundaries
- Go no contact with both the narcissist and the enabler
are some of the crucial ways to deal with a narcissistic enabler.
Understand that the enablers are maneuvered
In the name of love, trust, or acting like a victim, narcissists manipulate narcissistic enablers in order to gain control over them and abuse the victim. Understanding this helps us to avoid the consequences or be prepared to deal with them.
Do not Quarrel
Picking a fight with a narcissist or a narcissistic enabler is a risky move that can quickly backfire. They can easily turn the situation around by gaslighting you or domineering you by abusing you more than usual. So, always try to stay calm and analyze the situation thoroughly.
Know about: How to support Children raised by narcissists?
Answer in an uninterested way
The enablers of narcissists speak to you in a way that causes you to overreact and respond abruptly. They do this on purpose to find a reason to fight you or destabilize your mental health. So, even if it hurts you, don’t give them what they want; instead, act uninterested and respond in simple words.
Disengage with them
Disengaging physically and mentally from a narcissist or narcissist enabler allows you to focus on your life and maintain social connections. Relationships with narcissistic enablers can feel addictive, so try to rehab your mind and prepare yourself to abandon the relationship. Limit your meetings, chats, and friendships with the narcissistic enabler. Keep yourself busy so that you can limit your access to narcissistic abuse and successfully disengage them.
Note: If you are trapped between a narcissist and enablers, We encourage you to use our Comment section to Vent out your emotions.
Have you ever experienced narcissistic abuse or currently experiencing one? Are you struggling to vent about that to anyone? Remember that venting to somebody who listens to you is the first step to healing. So, register here and vent to a listener who understands you.
Invite trustable people into your life
Distancing yourself from narcissistic enablers also allows you to form new social bonds. Take advantage of this opportunity to meet trustworthy people and have them close by to support you. Prioritizing such people makes the narcissistic enablers feel less valuable, which may leave you feeling at ease.
Boundaries are more important than ever in order to maintain healthy relationships. It’s not just for narcissists; it’s for everyone with a toxic personality. As a result, create boundaries that no one will be able to breach to harm you. If they cross your boundaries, develop the courage to say ‘No.’ Prefer your mental health over anything else, and you’ll be less likely to be exploited by narcissistic enablers.
Go No Contact
Should I go no contact with the narcissistic enabler too? Anything for your mental health, Going No Contact with a narcissistic enabler is just as beneficial as going No Contact with the narcissist. You can get away from narcissistic enablers’ blame-shifting, hoovering, flying monkey tactics, and smear campaigns.
Related: Does going No Contact is better than getting Discarded?
How to deal with the Narcissistic Enabler Parents?
When narcissistic abuse happens within the family, there must be a narcissistic enabler who validates the narcissist and continues the cruelty within the family. It is difficult to go no contact with the narcissist or narcissistic enabler if he/she is a family member. In a family, abandoning a narcissist might outrage the whole members and the narcissistic enablers, causing a big scene associated with abuse.
How can a parent be an enabler of a narcissist? A parent can become an enabler of another narcissistic parent or sibling by constantly validating or paying attention to the narcissist in order to keep him or her happy at all times. They are bound to the narcissist out of love or concern, but they choose to abandon the victim the narcissist despises.
The narcissist or narcissist enabler may also prevent you from bonding with your siblings. They create a competitive environment within the family, which leads to constant fights and jealousy among the siblings. To deal with the narcissistic enabler parent,
- Stay Calm
- Never expose the narcissist to the enabler
- Plan your Response
- Set Boundaries
- Avoid spending time with family
Avoid getting triggered and fighting with the narcissistic enabler. They want to spread the narcissist’s perception of you throughout the family. As a result, picking a fight with them makes their job easier and gives them the upper hand. So, if at all possible, try to remain calm and ignore the situation.
Never expose the narcissist to the enabler
The narcissist enabler may curse you with words or beat you for talking ill about the narcissist. To them, the narcissist is the victim or the kindest person alive. So, going against their belief will put you in danger.
For example, if your mother-in-law is a narcissist, and your husband is a narcissistic enabler, exposing the narcissist to your husband will lead him to freak out and beat you mercilessly.
Plan your Response
While responding to a narcissistic enabler, they can escalate anything you say and create problems. So, try to respond simply and end the conversation quicker. This saves a lot of time and energy to focus on other things.
It’s difficult to set boundaries within a family, especially when there’s a narcissist and a narcissist enabler present. They will constantly try to push you past your limits to gain control of you. If you don’t give in, they’ll throw tantrums and blame you for their actions. Building boundaries around a family’s narcissistic enabler takes sheer willpower. If you manage to set and gently express your denial, the enablers and narcissists will probably let you away.
Avoid Spending Time with Family
Spending more time with narcissistic enablers raises the risk of narcissistic abuse by a proportional amount. So, avoiding the situations where you’d have to spend time with them is a better way to break the narcissistic bond. You can either ignore them or rationalize with them by demonstrating your busyness, going abroad for education, or anything else.
Disengaging from narcissistic enablers allows you to mentally disconnect from the narcissistic bond and focus on your life. Only when you are truly disengaged from the narcissist and narcissistic enablers will you begin to heal.
Anyone can be subjected to narcissistic abuse and may be made worse by a narcissistic enabler. It’s best to treat both the narcissistic enabler and the narcissist equally and put yourself in the most secure position possible. Even if the narcissistic enabler is a family member, try to go No Contact if possible because it is one of the most effective ways to eliminate toxic people from your life.
20 thoughts on “How to deal with hurtful narcissistic enablers and enabler parents?”
Let’s Discuss here about your experience with the narcissistic enablers and narcissists in your life
I suffered severly from my narcissistic father and my enabler mother. They made me stop going to school way back in 2016 (i was Grade 6) for a promise to put me in homeschool, i agreed so that i can spend more time with them, after a year (2017) i volunteered to make the cooking, ironing the clothes, washing the clothes, cleaning the house and going out to the market to buy food everyday so that i can help them, because i thought they are tired but after 1 month of doing that i started to tell them that i’m being seen by my classmates in the market, and i’m being ashamed for it i called talked to my mom and after telling her i’m ashamed she looked at me and told me it’s your fault, you agreed to stop going to school. Then she just looked at me as if i was nothing all of that happened i was only 12 years old when i started cooking and our family isn’t even poor, we are eating 4 meals a day and we have 4 floor house and my school wasn’t even 100 meters from our house and you will not cross any road, our neighborhood isn’t bad my grandmother are friends of all people in our street… My enabler mother always shouts at me that it’s my obliigation to do all the things of what i’m doing and i shouldn’t be thanked for that. Interestingly i never shouted or fight my narc father and my enabler mother even when they are abusing me at that time, it still last until today my father isn’t allowing my mother to cook food he wants me and my sister to cook food for them and my mother isn’t even working since 2011 she is a house wife that refuses to do her obligations. Not to mention my narc father distanced us from our relatives and made us stop going to their houses for no reason at all, he is saying that we will be punished if we tried to go to my relatives, our relatives are just across the street maybe about 30 meters from our house, you know i’m so tired of this i never experienced highschool because i am 18 already and didn’t know anything. I’m so regretful that i agreed to stop going to school i’m always in the top back then i was Top 10 in grade 1, Top 1 in grade 2, Top 1 in Grade 3, Top 1 in Grade 4 and top 10 in grade 5 and my grade 5 was section 1… i wanna die.. even now i can’t leave our home because i know nothing on how to live… i’m suffering abuse from them everyday until this day
It’s always saddening to know that people were manipulated and abused at such young age by a narcissist. It is absurd that you have to leave your studies without any reason which was ignored and encouraged by your enabler mom. I wish people like you do not lose hope and find a way to get out of this abuse. You should know that this world accepts people who are talented with no educational background. There are plenty of certification courses available online which might help you get skilled in what you are passionate about. However, the first thing that you need to do is to get out of this narcissistic abuse and find freedom.
It’s not that you don’t know how to survive, but the fear of being separated from the narcissistic bond and being codependent on your parents pulls you behind. Once you get the freedom and the passion to thrive higher, you will start experiencing good things and feel the difference. So, do not have fear in your life and face it.
Find a way to get away from them and that will be the first successful move that you take in your life. It is a hard thing to do but, think about how long are you planned to suffer. Wish you the best!
I am an adult child with siblings.
My father was an alcoholic, who physically and verbally abused our mother. And at times, was verbally and physically abusive to my 3 brothers.
He was verbally abusive to me at times, never physically.
After 28 yrs with him, she finally left and took my youngest brother, he was 4 at the time.
Myself and my oldest brother already had started families, had jobs etc.
My 2nd youngest brother advised my mother to leave the situation she was in, and take our youngest brother with her. The 2nd youngest stayed because he was still in school, and he helped my father keep our house, and he worked also. When he graduated he left the house,and left our father.
Oldest brother cut most of the family ties with our mother & father when he started his family. He’s always kept his distance, but not from me. We have busy lives, but we talk frequently, text etc and we get to see each other when we have time.
Same for 2 youngest brother. He lives in KY I live in WY so we don’t see much of each other, but we talk, email, text etc.
My mother remarried after she left our father.
Great guy, he really loved her, provided for her and our youngest brother. He was great to all of us. But, he felt like it was not his place to instruct or advise our mother on raising our brother.
So, our mother once again became the “enabler”
to our brother instead of our father. He could do no wrong, was so spoiled, coddled and protected.
I guess because our mom felt guilty? I don’t know.
Forgot something here, this might help you.
I am the oldest, and there is 20 yrs between me and youngest brother.
Our brother is an addict, marijuana, alcohol, cigarettes you name it. But he is only sober when he is sleeping. High all day, every day.
Every time he has tried to work or live on his own, he fails and our mother bails him out.
He has been in and out jail for domestic abuse, mostly verbal, but out of control physically and mentally to the point of harming himself or others. Over and over again…
He was diagnosed once by a professional as having bi-polar schizophrenic tendencies, and of course drug abuse only makes this worse.
When our mom can’t handle it anymore she lets us know sometimes, but not always. Now none of us live nearby, so she is alone with him.
My husband and I have tried to support and love her, but not enable her or him.
But they both seem to like attention, and if any of us question his behavior, we are the “bad guys” so to speak.
He has no job, he’s 43, mother is 83, and he lives with her. She makes excuses for all of this, and so does he. No effort to do better.
Not sure if she is afraid, or feels trapped, guilty who the hell knows…
He flips out every couple of years and so does she, then we try to help and get them to stay away from each other, and she always takes him back, because he has nowhere to go.
None of the rest of our family wants to be in their home or around him, but we love our mom.
What do I do to recover from this?
Thank you, this was very helpful and informative. My mother is an extreme narcissist and my father is her enabler. I chose to go no contact with my mother 4.5 years ago. My father hasn’t seen me or spoken to me since then, by his own choosing. He will text message me. He contacted me recently and said “they” miss me and want to see me. It’s like they’re a package deal – my father doesn’t see me if I don’t see my mother. I found it offensive that he said he missed me because it has been his own choice to not see me. I was going to confront him about this – but after reading your article, I will try your appeoach, thank you.
I’m sorry you have gone through this. The “we miss u” that comes with the condition is how they want to hoover back and control you. The very first condition (I won’t see you if you don’t see your mother) is itself to break the boundary with the narcissist. I’m glad that my article helped you. I wish you to move forward in your life and prosper.
Thank you, I appreciate your kind words. And the points you made in your reply are very helpful, thank you. Many people don’t really understand this kind of situation unless they’ve lived through it, so it’s hard to received good advice and support. Most people can’t understand how you wouldn’t want to see a parent. A lot of people have no idea what narcissistic abuse is so it’s difficult for them to empathise and often downplay it like it’s not that bad and surely you can still have a relationship with this person. It helps when someone really gets it, thank you.
Of course, in an environment where narcissists live, we are surrounded by those who cannot understand what abusive means. So, it is better to search for a place where people respect our boundaries and help us grow. We may or may not encounter another narcissist in the future, but believe me, the good people will join you and will always stay by your side. Until then, sites like us and other communities are here for you, spreading love and hope for you to heal.
After years of suffering all kinds of weird, confusing abuse from my in-laws, and having my husband repeatedly side with them and put enormous amounts of pressure on me to spend time with them, say nice things about them, and basically support the false narrative that they were somehow these “loving people,” I have finally come to the realization that my husband is an enabler. I’ve since cut contact with his family, and while he and I have an otherwise loving relationship that I really don’t want to give up, every time his family comes up in conversation, he slides back into enabling behavior, even though he is now aware of what it is and wants to stop doing it because of how it hurts me. He seems so disconnected from himself and has a weirdly hard time separating the truth about his hurtful family from the make-believe lie he tells himself about how great they all are. It’s painful and kind of infuriating, and I’m not sure I’m ready to accept the idea that the best way forward is to just cut contact with him. I’d much rather help him find a way to not be an enabler. He clearly doesn’t want to be one, but just doesn’t seem to know how to stop, how to catch himself, etc. In this kind of situation, what else can be done? What do you recommend?
Reading your comment brings back memories of my mom who suffered the same. This is how things get controlled, but not solved completely since the narcissist always finds a way to stir things up (especially in families)……..Since you wanted to stay in a loving relationship with your husband(who is a narc enabler), I believe he must be a nice person who got stuck in a stereotype thought “Parents are like gods, so he should listen whatever the means”. He must be a person who is more loving with you in private but not around his parents. If that’s the case, here is what I suggest…………
1. Try to stay calm in every situation (narcissists love to see your reactions)
2. Don’t go tit for tat with your in-laws, it will trigger the enabler
3. Try to shift your living place away from your in-laws(this will buy time and space for your husband to see things through)
4. Show more love, and intimacy, spend more time with him
5. Enablers always expect a minimum validation for what they did, from whom they love (your in-laws in this case), You give him more validation from now onwards.
6. Don’t react much and respond with no interest when he brings up his family in the conversation.
7. Do things if he requested (like if he wants you to meet his parents), just try not to fight the narc in any situation.
I don’t know if you have tried all these steps if you did…just be calm and wait for the moment when your in-laws and husband fight each other. At those times, kindly be supportive of your husband instead of pinpointing his faults for supporting his parents all the time.
“The changes cannot be forced, you can always buy some time for him to see things” It is in your husband who should change himself, you cannot change him. In the worse case, do what you need to do. I pray for your best ma’am. God bless you.
My mother is a narcissist and my father is the enabler. when I see him suffer and be helpless in rage with mom, I really wanna tell him that mom is a narcissist. but he does not know anything about narcissism. I don’t know if I should tell or not. but I feel guilty when I see him sad and helpless. its like seeing someone die in front of my eyes and not doing anything. it hurts like hell. there is no proper therapist who can deal with it in our place. I am from India. I can easily handle my mom since I learned about narcissism and she fits in perfectly. I can handle her well and I am in grey rock with both of them. but I cant handle my father when he is so pitiful. I feel so bad and guilty. my mom controls everything of him even finances. he cant do anything without her knowing about it. She also separated him from his family friend sand all supporters of him. and his situation will be worse if I also leave for college. pls if u can give any suggestions it will be great on what to do with my dad.
A Narcissist from an Indian culture controls the enabler as well as the victim with the culture of being united forever and prestige in the society. I can feel the situation you are facing as a girl in a narcissistic Indian family. The good thing is, You’re now mature enough to know about narcissism and even deal with them. But on the other side, there are not many therapists in India who are experts in Narcissism.
Since you want to help your father, who is a narcissistic enabler as well as a victim, I’d advise you to pursue your graduation and have a career. Then, try to separate your dad from your narc mother. If you want to help him in the present, just give him the emotional support he needs and validate him often. So he wouldn’t fall so depressed. Ask him to visit your college solely often and validate him being a good dad. (Please remember that, You can only help him, but not change him, He’ll change if he wants to)
Show him that You like him more than your mom. Then, create a boundary with your dad and let him stop bringing mom into a conversation. Your father seems like a nice and humble person, So, he will understand your hate on mom in time. Let’s hope he will understand too.
All above that, I can assure you that the time will pass on soon, and you will have the economic stability and power to divide your dad from your mom one day. Until then, my prayers are for you, Miss.
Thank you so much for replying. My dad hurt me too, since i dont show much care to him as i showed before knowing about narcissism. I hate him for not validating me and deceiving me in past. On the other hand, its like he did not do it intentionally. So that makes me guilty for hating him. If i try to speak well with him, he starts manipulating me into doing things in his way. And telling me i am the wrong one always and i have to obey since its fate that my mom is like that( means not giving permission to do things etc.) I was nice with him in past. He was my best friend i used to share everything with him. He defended me sometimes but only when i did things the way he wanted. I dont think he did it cuz he cared for me. I cant tell clearly since i dont remember much of my past. U speak to him nicely only bcas i have nk other way, if i dont speak nicely, he will not support me atleast a bit in difficult situations. If i act angry he will sude with mkm fully. Just untill i can cone out stable i have to be nice with him and also mom. I am just disgusted even to speak more or sit with him. Everything he tells or speaks is lies, manipulations, acting, speakjng things to make peace and not really caribg about my life. Even tho, he do it helpless and not knowing how it damaging, i still cant get close wuth him. He is so emotionally weak person. And it makes it more pitiful.
Anyways, again thank you for replying 🙂
There is nothing to feel guilty about it, miss. The enablers choose to be like this way in order to survive the narcissist. It may be disappointing, but that is the way they live.
I wish I could change these people sometimes. But, it never worked for me, nor others too. So, as a brother, I request you to strive harder in your life, protecting yourself from the narcissist and narc enabler.
I may sound like advising, but I have to say this “The one related by blood alone doesn’t need to be a family”. So, don’t get stuck with the narcissist/enabler trying to change them.
While you work for your life, You will meet new people who will become a family to you, supporting you in all aspects you deserve. Until then, keep moving forward.
Thank you so much for replying. I was just stuck in a downward spiral. Thank you for giving me clarity. I will focus on my life and move ahead. Thank you so much.💫
And sorry for asking more questions.😅
Hi, Thanks for this article. And thank you for inviting comments. I need some clarity on an issue which I cannot discuss with anyone since no one will believe me.
I am struggling with a decision. My father is a narcissist. He is known to be a very helpful and kind man outside home and people practically worship him. I am stuck in another country due to covid related travel complications and have not been able to visit for three years. Planning to travel home soon for my own financial affairs. In these three years he has managed to turn my siblings against me. My brother is following my father’s footsteps and surpasses him at times. My sister is not a narcissist or enabler for sure but she isn’t a person with high integrity and does anything that serves her even if it means someone else pays the cost. If I were to have my way I would just cut these people out from my life. But my mother is single handedly fighting for me. She is too old to give up on her marriage now, financially dependent on my father and my brother and is torn between the love she has for her husband of 45 years, and standing up for me. She endures physical and mental abuse because she refuses to tell lies about me and calls their bluff every time they make up stories about me. I cannot bear to not visit her when i travel back to my home country but I am just not able to bear the thought of seeing my father either who has not only messed up my head but has tried hard to cause trouble in my spouse’s family too, basically tried to break my marriage. He hasn’t spared my young child too. All this is beyond law. He is too intelligent to get caught in some legal trouble. I do not know how to handle this man, he is too self absorbed, completely unaware that other people may have a truth of their own, lives of their own, and that he cannot be the center of the universe all the time and for everyone. What do I do? Do I visit them? If I don’t it will be a burden I will carry for life since I will hurt my mother. If I visit, I will be subject to some more abuse for sure. And the way cultural norms go, if I go I will have to bring my child along which I completely dread doing…
Sorry for the late reply Mina, I can see the situation your mom is in. Since she always backed you up and supported you, your wish to meet her is reasonable. Assuming that your mom can’t shift to your place, the only option for you is to see your mom in her home. However, bringing your child along with you in front of your narcissistic parents is a situation you should think of. My suggestion for you is to put your child’s safety as a priority and choose to meet your mom alone if possible. Else, you might feel more regret for bringing your child than not meeting your mom.
Try to contact your mom in secret and try to meet her in private. Give a video call to your children. Try to avoid bringing your child at all costs. We have to save future generations from these narcissists atleast.
My siblings and I have been the victims of narcissistic abuse from my step-father for almost 30 years. My mom has continued to allow it and tolerate it and is the narcissists enabler. My sisters and I have confronted her although now realizing we should not have. She denies “allowing” the abuse, because she says she’s gone “up to bat” for us. Her inaction in holding him accountable proves otherwise. I cannot accept the fact that she continues to allow his abuse. I have been no contact with him for 3.5 years, and am now coming to terms that I may need to go no contact with her. I am struggling with this decision, but ultimately think I know what I need to do to further my healing journey. Any thoughts or comments would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for this interesting article.
As per my experience, it is safe to stay away from a narc enabler as much as staying away from a narcissist. Enablers are the chain that holds us and narcissists together intentionally or not. They’re not gonna learn the lesson either, at least for a long span of time. I think, your decision is pretty clear and you know that there is peace when you get out of this. So, go easy on yourself and be more clear on why you are doing this (don’t forget the abuse you went through). So, you won’t go back or get hoovered by the enabler. Thank You for commenting. Have a great day!
Thank you very much for writing this article. I grew up in a narcissistic family unit but was never seriously abused by the npds in my family as a child (for one of them I was the golden child and I was pretty much ignored by the others). A lot of my family members died before I turned 18 years old. As an adult I did cut ties with the only remaining family member who I believe is an NPD. Overall I do not have problems with npd people, typically I can see them for who they are and they tend to be afraid of me. That being sad, the enablers have been a very serious and a painfull issue in my life. You see, I always really wanted to save them from the npds. When nobody truly appreciated them I wanted to be the only person thay does. I really am drawn to this type of people. This attitude is rooted in a childhood trauma, of course. I am aware of this issue and I have prosessed some of the relevant traumas. But you just won’t believe how important it is for someone like me to see somebody taking the issue seriously. The “narcissism community” on the internet is full of former enablers, you seem them discuss the narcissists all the time yet the issue with enablers is never truly discussed. Yet the enablers themselves can often be just as dangerous and its important to discuss the issue seriously. You cannot save them either. Being a narcissist enabler is their own choice.