Facebook Live – Q&A Coffee Chat with Dr Karyl

3rd Saturdays September 2023 through March 2024

We had fun chatting with our readers for several months in a live Facebook coffee chat. Here is some of the Q&A to share with you if you missed our event. Scroll down or click a date to jump to a specific section.

Dr. Karyl McBride is a licensed marriage and family therapist, author, speaker, therapist, consultant. Dr. McBride's books are titled: Will The Drama Ever End? Untangling and Healing from the Harmful Effects of Parental Narcissism, Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers and Will I Ever Be Free of You? How to Navigate a High-Conflict Divorce from a Narcissist and Heal Your Family.

Saturday, September 16, 2023, at 9am - 10am MT

Reader Question: I struggle with the Christian life view towards my mother and the distancing and yet care required as she’s aging (86) alone and several hours from me. I’m an only child with no local support for her. Things like being kind when she’s so mean…. loving your enemy that really is against you even though she’s your mother…. Kindness when she’s verbally putting down the kindness.

Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - This is a common question I get from those caring for elderly narcissistic parents. It is loaded with emotions and decisions to make. In general, it is a very personal decision that no one can tell you what to do about. I believe you make a decision that is right for you and your values, set boundaries, take good care of yourself in the process, stop any abuse that comes your way, and the more trauma work you have done, the more you will be able to handle the situation without constantly getting triggered. Our own recovery, the inside job, is the key. There are always exceptions, however, sometimes a situation is just too toxic, and people have to stay away for their own sanity and mental health.

Dr. Karyl McBride Question: Anyone struggle with co-dependency? That means I will take care of you to the exclusion of taking care of myself. I think we got a good boot camp for this in the narcissistic family.

Answer: Reader - Yes, I think I was trained from birth to be codependent.
Answer: Reader - Dr. Karyl McBride: Right? It's a tough one to get out of, but so important.

Dr. Karyl McBride Question: Anyone struggle with siblings in a narcissistic family? By narcissistic family, I mean one led by a narcissistic parent.

Answer: Reader - My relationship with my brother and sister has been very sad. I always try. My sister is triggered and thinks I’m my mom. I used to be the golden child. Now I’m the scapegoat. My brother is triggered and thinks I’m abusive to my mom (he takes care of her and vice versa).
Answer: Reader - Yes, since we were children, she has been abusive, jealous, and competitive. She hasn't spoken to me for 25 years except to scream abuse at me at my mother's bidding. My mother has now changed her will (originally agreed by my father who died) to leave everything to my golden child sister. I feel bad about the situation, and she has got everything in monetary terms, but she is still trapped in the narcissistic cycle, and I am free (although much poorer).
Answer: Reader - Yes. My N sis was my primary abuser. We have not spoken for 17 years. She destroyed the family dynamic. I have not spoken to my N dad in 3 or more years.

Dr. Karyl McBride Question: I heard from a reporter this week that there is a trend going on TikTok about family estrangement and a large number of young people talking about going no contact with family members. This is related to the above question. But I do have some concerns about this. In my five-step recovery model, I emphasize the importance of not making a decision of contact until step four and until you have worked the first three steps which means processing trauma. Many people make a decision after recovery to do what I call “civil connect” but don’t make the decision to cut people off entirely. I worry that these young people may not be addressing recovery first. Again, there are certainly toxic situations that do demand no contact, and I always support not putting up with any kind of abuse. But this must be done with caution and recovery. What do you think? Has anyone seen this trend?

Answer: Reader - I think some of that comes from pure selfishness, people who don't want to do the work and are only focused on themselves. I am NOT referring to people who have legitimate "no contact" reasons.
Answer: Reader - I wonder if it has anything to do with the Woke generation, and the divide in value systems between the older generation and theirs. I have seen young folks make a departure from their parents who refuse to change or even acknowledge racist tendencies, white privilege, and other deeply embedded toxic belief systems.
Answer: Reader - I have noticed this trend, too. There is a race toward immediately cutting people out of your life who are toxic, whether it be friends or parents, with no regard for the long-term implications or suggestions for working toward healing first. My husband experienced this with his sister, who cut off the entire family, leaving her niece and nephew without their only aunt through no fault of their own.
Answer: Reader - I think it's a common knee-jerk reaction without considering all the consequences and has been happening for decades. We hear more about it now because of the internet. Back in the '80's it was 'write-off', now it's 'no contact'. I agree with you, Dr. McBride, that addressing recovery first is best.

Reader Question: Hi Dr McBride, I have not read your latest book, but I have a question that I’ve had for some time. My mother was the narcissist in our family and my father chose to disengage with my brother and me. I hated him for so long because he wouldn’t stand up for me, and now that they’ve both passed away, I wish I had the opportunity to talk to my father as an adult and explain why it was so distant to him. The guilt gets to me.

Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - Don't blame yourself for something you did not know. If you are spiritual, you can still talk to him and journal to him. I believe he will understand now. But that's clearly my own spiritual belief.
Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - Thank you! I will talk to him and explain, but I’m thinking he always understood because I believe he stayed with my mother simply because he didn’t believe in divorce. The love was long gone. My heart breaks for him, but as the cliche goes, he’s in a better place.

Reader Question: Have you ever seen a family go through to a third generation of targeting the same family member. Sister to her children and then their children?? Even though she is no longer alive?? Seem not to be able to get rid of her even though canceled the family out decades ago. Keeps coming back to haunt through other family members.

Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - Yes, unfortunately. Oftentimes, the scapegoat remains throughout the generations. My heart is with you. This feels awful to anyone.

Reader Question: So grateful to have discovered you and to learn I am not alone. The recent death of my mom led me to your book, and it has been so helpful. Surprisingly her death has been extremely hard as she confirmed what I always knew, she didn't love me........classic case, everything in your book encompassed so many of my experiences....when she left me out of her will (She had extreme wealth and my husband can't make it payday ever) it still wasn't about the money for me but the confirmation that she really hated me. Of course, the youngest and only girl we bent over backwards for her. Any tips for moving on would be so helpful. You already helped me to accept there was nothing I could have done because as you know I tried and tried.

Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - I am so sorry to hear this. So hard to understand. Just make sure you do your own recovery. It's an inside job. Have you worked the 5-step recovery? It is detailed in my latest book.
Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - Just chiming in with support to lyk you are not alone. My narc mother passed last year and while going through her things I discovered that she never really wanted children. I am an only child and this explained so much. It was so painful, but it’s been a year now, and it does get better.

Reader Question: I have been no contact with my mother for a year. You gave me the strength to finally (at 46) set a steadfast boundary after my narcissistic mother did something particularly cruel. I’m keeping the no contact, but have guilt that is tough to work through. How do I manage the feeling that I’ve done something wrong?

Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - Hello and welcome! Make sure you have worked on the trauma before making a decision that is cast in cement. But...We can't allow someone to treat us poorly just because we love them!

Reader Question: Why do Narcissistic parents reject their adult children and replace them with people outside the family who give them supply?

Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - There's always the risk that the narcissistic parent will only want to be around those who adore them.

Reader Question: Dr. Karyl McBride thank you for doing this. I have two questions please: 1. When I read and learn more about narcissistic parents, I feel like they are villainous. My parents have been through a lot of traumas, and I feel they are really good people who just can’t help it because of their tough circumstances and huge losses in life. They are self-preserving as well. I am a trigger for them. I’m having a hard time understanding why I feel so sad at the idea of villainizing them for their trauma and things they couldn’t help? Why wouldn’t I want to help them rather than keep these strong boundaries I’m practicing against them in their older more vulnerable age? I feel like I could regret keeping my distance from them. 2. What is the single most important thing my partner needs to know about my challenges and pains with my parents? He has a very secure attachment with emotionally available parents. He feels shocked when I share tidbits of things my parents say and do. I don’t know how else he’s processing it all and what is most important for him to know or not know.

Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - Your partner should read the books, so they understand the trauma you have experienced. People who don't experience this, really don't have a way to understand. On your first question, this whole thing is really sad. The more recovery you do, the better you will feel. We can't allow someone to treat us poorly just because we love them.
Question: Reader- Is there something shorter I can give him rather than a whole book to read? Like an article you recommend? Something shorter you’ve published. How do I show my parents grace and lessen how sad these boundaries make me feel? I’m struggling with these boundaries of just high-level texts to protect myself and not answering my mother’s phone calls.
Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - You could go to my Psychology Today Blog where there are about 104 articles on this topic and choose some you think he would relate to? The blog is called The Legacy of Distorted Love. PsychologyToday.com. You can always tell them you love them. But, still have boundaries to take care of yourself.

Reader Question: I've ignored them until now but is there a better way to deal with smear campaigns against one? my mother and family and my ex-husband. They have joined forces to collude against me.

Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - Oh argh. Preserve your integrity at all times. We can't control what others say or do just how we react and feel. Work on that just for you.

Reader Question: I am on the recovery journey from maternal narcissism. What is the advice you would give to one in order to sustain the journey?

Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - Make sure you do your own recovery.

Reader Question: In 'Will the Drama Ever End?', you wrote: "Acceptance means understanding our parent's limitations so that we can begin our healing." Since narcissists are extremely inconsistent in their behaviors, what is the best way to move forward and heal when the memories of their cruel behavior surfaces? In other words, how do you reconcile the feelings of compassion with the painful feelings of anger and hurt?

Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - You have to work through the trauma first to be able to do this. It's a journey worth taking. Check out the 5 steps to recovery.

Reader Question: My dad just recently reached out after months of being absent. He said some very hurtful things before he became absent (as usual he was triggered by me and associated me with my mother whom he’s divorced from), he disappeared as usual and is back. I’m different now after reading your book This summer. I keep things surface level in talking with him-quick yes or no responses without much detail. I don’t expect an apology because I know he can’t empathize with me. He just opened the door to seeing each other. I’m afraid with his heart condition that if I don’t see him, I might regret it. What are some things I can keep in mind if I do see him, things I can say, to not fall back into old habits of pleasing him and also enjoy a visit with him? I also really don’t want to be around his wife who will probably be around and am not sure how to bring that up.

Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - I would say keep it superficial but friendly. Don't necessarily share personal emotions or make yourself too vulnerable. Asking about them, usually works well. You are right not to have expectations if there are things you know they can't do. If something is said that is hurtful, try not to be reactive but rather just use a hmmmmm, or "interesting." It is fine for you to ask to meet alone with him. Just tell him you need that since it has been so long. I hope this helps a little. Dr. K.

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Saturday, October 21, 2023, at 9am - 10am MT

Reader Question: At 58, I have finally realized what my Mom did is abuse. And the deep anger over her most recent actions has taken me by surprise. How do I address this new deep anger? It seems to be seeping into other areas of my life - which I do not want!

Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - Anger is your trauma and is a normal PTSD reaction. The goal is to process your trauma. I recommend following my 5-step recovery model for this work. Sending our best!

Reader Question: My mom wants everyone in my family to dislike me too. Is that a part of all of this? If my aunts talk to me she gets real angry and they decided to just stop talking to me so she wouldn't be mad at them. I don't understand why mean people are so powerful.

Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - It's a sad dynamic in the narcissistic family. It's like you can only like the narcissist. If they are mad at you, they like to turn people against you. It is mean and unfair. You become the scapegoat.

Dr. Karyl McBride Question: Anyone interested in discussing siblings in the narcissistic family?

Answer: Reader - Dr. Karyl McBride dealing with 7 sibs all trying to get in favor for the will. Even sibs who know will not stand up because they will be cut out.
Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - Tough one. Be yourself and the best person you can be. We can't control the will or what other people do. Don't fight with siblings about this. Let it be.
Answer: Reader - Yes! My sister and I haven’t spoken in years. She got angry with my for finally setting a boundary with my mother, and not helping her. So, that left my sister to do everything herself (and my mother is very needy). I have tried reaching out but she ignores me. Years ago, I told her that someday she would likely understand why I made my decisions, but I guess she still hasn’t.
Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - Oh yes, so hard. If siblings don't do the recovery work or get this, they will not be able to respond appropriately and understand. Just remember we can only control us. So, we have to manage our own feelings.

Reader Question: Anyone interested in discussing the enabling parent to the narcissistic parent? With the enabling parent, one may be able to discuss and work out the relationship. It depends on how much the enabler is orbiting the narcissist. Sometimes it is worth a try though.

Answer: Reader - Yes! My father enables my narc mother and it has been so painful. She gets her way because he can’t handle the manipulation tactics she uses otherwise. But this frequently has meant I am under attack by her (for no apparent reason) and he sides with her/abandons me in the process of coddling her. I’m 56 years old and they are in their late 80’s - this dynamic continues. Where do I go with the anger I feel toward him, and the lack of trust I have for anyone because of this parenting dynamic?
Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - Yes, this is all the trauma from growing up in the narcissistic family. It requires recovery. Please look at the 5-step recovery model. We have a workshop on the website, and it is also detailed in my new book: Will the Drama Ever End?

Reader Question: I was curious about dysfunctional family roles and how this contributes to codependency in children. Can codependency develop from a narcissistic parent?

Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - Great question. Co-dependency, meaning...I will take care of you to the exclusion of taking care of myself. We are in boot camp for this in the narcissistic family. We learn it is our role to take care of the parents rather than the other way around like it should be. So, we grow up with this co-dependency and have to work it out in recovery.

Reader Question: What's the best way for me to support my son in dealing with his narcissistic father? He often gets emotionally hurt by him, and his father tries to control and undermine him. We are divorced.

Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - This is so hard. You have to be the double parent and parent with empathy at all times. Depending on the age of the child, when they are older, you can explain things, but when young, you just respond with empathy and how to manage the feelings and be assertive with the N parent. In our next chat in November, we are also discussing this more. Stay tuned! But, ask away now too!
Question: Reader - How is best for him to manage his feelings as a teen during this?
Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - Help him identify the feelings and talk about them to you or to a therapist. Then teach working through and managing feelings. Teach about not being able to change others only how we manage our own feelings.

Reader Question: How often do you see children seeking counselling, I have and don’t understand why my three siblings avoid it. 1 sister stuck with me but she imitates my mother at times, I struggle with now a sibling raised by narcissist. I am going thru a horrible divorce and need space from her for now. She was close to my ex and she is more betrayed than I am. She reminds me almost every week of this fact. I'm exhausted and almost too tired to live.

Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - Seeking counseling or reading and becoming educated is the answer. Although, many times, one sibling does it and the others don't. It is threatening to the family system dynamics. Keep your boundaries in this situation.
Answer: Reader - I'm a proud dedicated nurse x 29 years, and that keeps me going...Plus my two beautiful kids 25 and 23 years old.
Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - Great! We support you! Keep at it girl!

Reader Question: Is it common for adult daughters of NPD mothers to seek out jobs or careers that are beneath their potential? It seems like this gives a sense of safety to the detriment of ever striving toward a higher calling.

Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - We see both this and the Mary Marvel achievers. The achievers are saying I AM Good ENOUGH, watch me. Others may be buying into the not good enough feeling.
Answer: Reader - Thank you. What is the most effective way to overcome this fear for the daughters who tend toward feeling not good enough?
Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - Recovery! It is working through the trauma and then individuating and building your own sense of self. It's all good and so worth it!

Reader Question: Is it common (for narcissism) to run in families and can coverts go unnoticed forever?

Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - Narcissism can be generational, but it is not genetic as far as we know now. I believe it is because of lack of awareness and recovery. We need to stop the legacy of distorted love by doing our own work! Coverts can be hard to spot but they have the same problems with empathy and tuning in emotionally to other people.

Reader Question: Any suggestions for how to grow past victim-mentality/identity?

Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - One has to let themselves be a victim first while working recovery. Then you work out of it and become your individuated authentic self.

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Saturday, November 18, 2023, at 9am - 10am MT – With Stephen Vertucci

Note: Stephen Vertucci has been practicing in the family law area for over 20 years. His office is in Fort Collins, Colorado and his law firm has a team of three experienced attorneys, a team of paralegals, and staff. They exclusively focus on family law cases. Their website is www.nocodivorcelaw.com and the phone number is 970-900-1800. The firm's focus is on Larimer and Weld County cases, but they can refer someone to a trusted referral source if their case is outside of the Larimer/Weld County area.

Question: How can I protect my child while divorcing a narcissist?

Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - It is important when going through a divorce, if you have children, to have the children in therapy with someone well versed in the dynamics of narcissism and child therapy. It helps that the therapist also understands the legal process to some extent. A problem with narcissists and divorces is that the narcissist never forgets and can often move into revenge which then causes these high conflict contentious divorces. The narcissist just wants to win.
Answer: Stephen Vertucci - Excellent question and something I am asked quite often. Some quick thoughts: 1) Research finding a therapist that is available that focuses on providing therapy for children in your child's age group. Therapists that are accepting new clients are difficult to find these days so you will want to do your research ahead of time to identify who you think is a good fit. Therapy will be a good resource for your child as they will be going through many changes during the divorce process. 2) Understand the legal process you are about to embark upon, so you understand what options you must protect your child. This includes either meeting with an attorney for a consultation or consulting with the Self-Help Resource Center of your local District Court, which have great resources to educate you on what steps the Court process has to offer to protect your child; Finally, I would also suggest, that, if possible, create a paper trail of communications with your spouse. Meaning, organize your text messages, emails, voicemails regarding your communications with your spouse about your child as those could be helpful later in your case. When communicating with your spouse, be aware that Courts, attorneys, or other professionals could later review what you say, so choose your words carefully, remain calm and child focused. If your spouse chooses to engage in vulgar language, insults, or threats, do not volley back, but keep those hurtful messages for later use.

Question: How do you win in divorce court against a narcissist?

Answer: Stephen Vertucci - In any divorce, it is important to establish priorities. If your divorce involves children, a "win" would be whatever is best for your children regarding establishing a stable and loving co-parenting environment for the children in a post-divorce setting. If no children are involved, it is important to set realistic expectations as to what a "win" would look like. My suggestion would be to identify what your goals are in the divorce, identify what you would like your post-divorce future to look like in a year, 2 years, 3 years and so on. Then, after you have those goals in mind, sit down with a family law attorney for a consultation or meet with the Self-Help Clerk at your local Courthouse to understand the Court process and consider how you can try to achieve those goals.

Question: How do you expose a narcissist?

Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - I am not sure what this means but the common cornerstone factors to look for in a narcissist is lack of empathy and the inability to tune into other's feelings. The other factors that are troublesome are exploitation of others to meet their own needs, a sense of entitlement, and bizarre jealousy. I don't care so much about being arrogant or boastful or all about them. Those factors don't hurt people as much.
Answer: Stephen Vertucci - Good question. We could spend a lot of time on this, but my first thought is: develop a team of support to surround yourself with. First, consider engaging a therapist who can help you get through the steps of separating yourself from a narcissist. A therapist can help you through the toughest phases of this process. Second, rely on trusted friends or family who can support you and be that sounding board and source of emotional support when you need it during the tough days. Third, you will have to, at some point, if you are married to this narcissist, decide whether it is best for you to formally disentangle yourself from this person, whether that requires a divorce or legally separate yourself from this person through the Court system. If this is necessary, it might be helpful to meet with a family law attorney to understand the divorce process, understand what your options are and to develop a plan of how to move forward. If you are not formally married to this person but need to formally disentangle yourself from them, there are other legal options you have, usually referred to as a "partition" case in our civil courts, but you should consult with an attorney about what best fits your situation.

Question: Do you have any accountability tips for extra curriculars? Context: We 50/50 co-parent a 13-year-old & have figured out that if his dad finds 'the best' coach or instructor we have a better track record with their follow through on taking him to practices. If it is too hard or they don't feel like taking him to practice, then my son feels a ton of anxiety and said he feels like an outsider from the team. Any advice legally?

Follow up Question: Stephen Vertucci - for extracurricular activities, do you already have Court Orders in place regarding what each parent's obligations are regarding the child's extracurricular activities, or is this a situation where no Court Orders exist yet regarding this issue?
Reader Response: We have joint decision making. It just highlights pay - if the other parent doesn’t want to participate in those, the solo parent pays. That's never an issue. We technically agree in theory. He wants him to be on the best team. Practice is 3 days a week. But then he will tell my son that he's selfish for needing to go to practice so much. So, he'll take him for 1 day.
Answer: Stephen Vertucci - Thank you for that clarification. If Father has agreed to the activity, then becomes inconsistent and either won't take him to practices/games when he is supposed to, or, if Father is manipulating the child emotionally by discouraging him to participate, you may want to consider filing a Motion with the Court about this to obtain more specific Court Orders that spell out each parent must fully support activities they agree for the child to participate in, Orders that say a parent cannot speak negatively or discourage the activities for the child they have agreed to, and that the parent MUST timely transport the child to activities/games for the child they have agreed to, or if they are not available to transport, they MUST permit the other parent to transport the child to/from those activities. I have seen Courts be willing to enter these types of specific Orders if you have the evidence to show how discouraging/manipulative the other parent is being. Another thought is having the child talk with a therapist or school counselor about the feelings Father's actions are causing. One last thought – and only if you are comfortable with it, you could ask that the child be interviewed about the topic and how it affects him.
Reader Reply: That's helpful. He always has good religious excuses. I assume it would come down to a war of values. I hesitate to go back to court because we will all pay for it - knowing my son will take the grunt of it. If we went down this path you suggested, what happens when he doesn't follow through with the court orders. He has a long history of not following through with court orders too.
Answer: Stephen Vertucci - The value in obtaining Court Orders with these types of specifics is that if Father violates those Orders, and we can prove he is violating those Orders, it opens the door regarding options of filing a Motion with the Court asking that Father be held accountable for violating those Court Orders. This can come in the form of what is called a "Motion for Contempt" or a "Motion for Parenting Time Disputes". Either of those options can potentially lead to Orders imposing consequences on Father for his violations, including awards of attorneys fees, compelling his compliance with what he was supposed to do in the first place, the Court could issue fines to Father, impose additional Orders, possible Orders for therapy (if appropriate), and any additional Orders the Court may deem necessary to ensure Father's future compliance.
Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - Unfortunately, often the narcissistic parent only wants to take the child to activities that the parent likes or is interested in. This "finding the best" is an interesting dynamic with narcissists. + The narcissist will be inconsistent only doing what benefits them on a given day. Parental needs always take precedence over the child's needs with a narcissistic parent. Very sad. I usually recommend, if children, for the parties to pursue a custody evaluation with a seasoned professional. Do you agree with that @Stephen Vertucci?
Answer: Stephen Vertucci - Absolutely. Pursuing a custody evaluation with a seasoned professional is an ideal way, but not the only way, to have the most amount of information considered regarding concerns a parent has about what is best for the children. There are other options available, but a custody evaluation is the most comprehensive way to have the most amount of information considered. A custody evaluator is NOT limited in the way the Court is, regarding what information it can consider when making recommendations about what is best for the children. There are other options such as asking the Court to interview the child, asking for an attorney to be appointed to represent the child, among other options, but a custody evaluation remains the most comprehensive.

Question: When I went through my divorce, my Narcissist ex first separated me from my kids through false accusations of fearing for their safety, which was completely fabricated to justify her actions. I took the high road throughout my divorce, and, years after. I never talked down about my ex to my kids, and she did much the opposite. By not standing up to her, I missed years of my kids’ lives. Selfishly, I regret not standing up for myself more. My son and I have since grown close, but the damage to my relationship with my daughter has never been the same. How can you put the kids first when combating a Narcissist and not come out the bad guy?

Answer: Stephen Vertucci - First, I am so sorry to hear about what you have been through. That is a lot to respond to, but I will do my best. First, I would try to engage in therapy with your children to see what, if any, healing can begin to repair the damage that was caused previously. Getting into therapy with the children may depend on what your Court Orders require. However, identify qualified therapists that have dealt with your issues before and find someone that is available and see if the other parent will agree to begin that therapy for you and the children. If the other parent won't agree, you may want to consider asking the Court to permit the therapy to occur. However, much of this will depend on what your Court Orders state. Overall, therapy is likely the best path forward.

Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - This is very difficult for anyone dealing with divorcing a narcissist. I still would say don't disparage the other parent, but you can provide empathy to them with what they are hearing and feeling. Continue to work on the relationships with the children always.

Question: Anyone struggling with being in a love relationship with a narcissist? Always look for empathy and reciprocity. Do they bring out the best in you, can they celebrate with you, and how do you feel in the presence of this person?

Answer: Reader - Dr. McBride, yes for sure!

Question: I could use some advice on my NPD ex whose alienated my 24-year-old daughter from me after divorce. It’s been 5 years. He wanted and filed for divorce after affair with woman he met on words with friend’s scrabble game. Married to her now. Crazy... daughter cut off all my family. Very sad. Spiraled down. Dropped out of college and treated for depression.

Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - This is so sad, and I have seen it a lot. Don't give up. Keep trying and keep the door open always. She is young, it may come around. I would keep contacting her in nonobtrusive ways, such as cards or messages letting her know that you will always love her. If therapy is an option, try that for sure.

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Saturday, December 16, 2023, at 9am - 10am MT – Theme Holidays and N Family

Question: I would love to get some tips from you and the community about how they cope with the holiday season coming up, the dread of having to visit the NP, the desire not to, and the guilt that this inevitably brings.

Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - This is a very personal decision for all. It may depend on where you are in the recovery 5-steps. The further along you are in recovery, the easier it becomes. It's ok to take care of self at the holidays and guilt doesn't serve any purpose but makes you feel bad. Try to enjoy the season!

Question: I have been recovering for over 4 years now. I went no contact with my narc mother. I do still get triggered though - how do I deal with that please?

Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - Keep working on the trauma. Be aware of what triggers you. Write it down and process it carefully. Own the feelings. Know that it is normal.

Question: I am currently working on being a better parent, and I finally present my question for you: can I fix some of the mistakes I have made with my daughter's upbringing? Can I mend something? Can I complete my task even though she is now 23? Can I still try to help be a better human being? Can some voids be filled now? Or is my parent’s narcissism reaching a second generation?

Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - Yes, you can always work on healing the relationship and any damage you think was caused. Be sure to own feelings and your child has to do the same. We can always continue in our healing journey! Work the 5-steps! They guide you carefully.
Answer: Reader - This is a great question and I worry about this with my own daughter (34 y.o.).

Question: Can you be your authentic self with family at the holidays? Why or why not? What about Toxic Positivity during the holidays? Ho! Ho! Ho!

Answer: Reader - The holidays are so much about family and traditions. My memories are a mix of happy and sad. Sad, due to the memories of the toxic moments and events that occurred. Toppled with an alcoholic parent who drank hard liquor (which made him more violent) during that festive time of the year. Since society promotes being happy because it’s the “most wonderful time of the year”, it’s stressful to always put on a happy face when I don’t always feel it.
Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - Sometimes holidays are a reminder of grief and loss. If this is you, please focus on yourself and good self-care!

Question: What is a favorite boundary you set during the holidays with family?

Answer: Reader - Learning to say no (+ listen to myself and my body) has been the best gift.
Answer: Reader - Dr. Karyl McBride I stay in a hotel for a visit. If I’m under her roof, she goes back to the controller of my youth. I can maintain my boundaries better this way.
Answer: Reader - Dr. Karyl McBride Not addressing past mistakes, revisiting past grievances or arguments.
Answer: Reader - This Christmas is going to be a test for me. I am on Recovery Step 4 and have chosen to go back home and see my parents. My Mom (the NP) has a recent terminal diagnosis and there is still a lot of narcissism at play, if not more. I just want to do my best and honor her as this may be her last Christmas…but without backtracking on my progress.
Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - Good for you in doing what you feel is the best thing to do. You can do it! Watch the triggers and be aware. Take time to think before you react. Keep a journal for the trip so you can process the feelings. Watch for the positive memories to be able to hold onto to.
Answer: Reader - Dr. Karyl McBride thank you! Holiday blessings to you for this important work you’ve done to help so many and for the training of professionals to continue your work. I found a wonderful therapist that has been instrumental for the last year that went through your training. Godsend!

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Saturday, January 20, 2024, at 9am - 10am MT

Question: Just talked to my mother after 3 months of no contact. She was nice to me. I will be low contact and see how it goes.

Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - Make sure you are working on your own internal recovery. Our work is totally an inside job. The further along with that the easier this will be for you. But, in the end like this it really is a personal decision. We send our best to you.
Answer: Reader - Thank you! I have my fingers crossed that I won’t regret talking to her. I felt I needed to try one more time. She has stage 4 cancer and we don’t know how much longer she has.

Question: My mother was early-stage dementia when she passed. We were LC and I did not go and see her prior to her passing. I am all over the place emotionally, from No more abuse to I miss my mom. In reality, it's no more abuse! How do I get through the missing my mom days?

Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - I always say grief is really complicated grief because you have the double whammy of the loss of your mother and then the grief of the mother you didn't have and never will now. It will take a while. Be patient with yourself and allow the feelings to surface as they do.
Answer: Reader - I am doing my best to allow the grief to pass thru and just try to remember that she wasn't the mother that I deserved. Thanks so much for all that you do!

Question: I'm reading it again, for the third time. I find each time I reread a section and the entire book, I process it on a deeper level.

Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - Thank you and I am pleased to hear it is helpful to you. Are you journaling? Doing the 5-steps? It's worth it, even though a process. Good luck with it and always reach out when needing help with the steps!
Answer: Reader - I'm starting the steps this week. Working the 5-steps is one of my goals for this year. I've tried journaling several times over the years and have a hard time being consistent. If I miss a day, I always think I'll do it tomorrow. More days become missed, turned into months, and before I know it a year has passed. Any tips on being consistent?
Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - I would schedule a time 3 times a week for 20 minutes and just focus on the recovery. Or whatever time frame works. But schedule it in so you are giving this gift to yourself in a consistent way.
Answer: Reader - Thank you. When I think of journaling, I think of it as being a part of a hard process. Maybe that's why I'm so inconsistent. Looking at it as a gift to myself will help.

Question: Good morning, Dr. McBride! Your book (Will I ever be good enuf?) helped me so much! I started buying several to keep on hand, because surprisingly I met other women who also had a troubled relationship with their mother. All stemming from a lack of unconditional love. Thank you enuf for giving this subject a voice and giving many of us a voice!

Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - Yes! WE need to speak up and be our authentic selves. No longer invisible. Every child matters! Every child deserves to have at least one personal who is irrationally crazy about them!!!

Question: As a mother of tweens now, I feel like I parent in a cloud of fear that I will make them feel like my mom made me feel. It feels like every step I take I’m on trial (from myself and from my children in the future). I have flashbacks to my mom treating me a certain way and then I question whether I was just being dramatic as a kid (seeing my tweens being emotional and thinking either I’m doing the same thing to them, OR I was too dramatic as a child and my mom just loved me like I love my girls). Any tips on how to remove that cloud?

Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - You're really not in a cloud. You are aware and conscious about your parenting and that is awesome! Trust yourself. Believe in yourself. Work your recovery.
Answer: Reader - Dr. Karyl McBride thank you. I do realize so much of my struggle is trusting myself. I was trained to never trust myself and only trust her. It’s taking so long to untangle that it feels like I get lost in it sometimes. Hopefully one day!
Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - We grow up with this crippling self-doubt. I get it. Be sure to check out the steps and work them in sequence. It's all in Will the Drama Ever End. Trusting self is so crucial.
Answer: Reader - Hi Dr. McBride, from a clinical and regular person point of view, how are personality disorders and narcissism related? I’ve always experienced the personality disorder as feeling like off and on narcissism. I guess I’m still struggling with both my parents, who would have moments of being more loving, then back to being mean, and uncaring.
Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - Narcissism is a personality disorder. It is also possible to have two narcissistic parents.

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Saturday, February 17, 2024, at 9am - 10am MT

Question: Do you have any book recommendations or advice on talking to your kids about Narcissist grandparents? My oldest is 5 and my mother has already tried to give her a cell phone so she can talk to her without me knowing about it. My mother is not a healthy influence and I want to make sure my daughter can tell the difference between a healthy conversation and an unhealthy one.

Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - I'm not sure a 5-year old should have a cell phone anyway, right? But, certainly, grandparents should not have the right to make that decision. Parents can explain to the 5-year old that it is they that make decisions for the child, not the grandparents. The child would ask Mommy and Daddy about those things.

Question: If a narcissist has limited capacity of feeling, if she only mimics them, how can my mom get very high blood pressure when she says that she is upset/sad? How does this work with her?

Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - Having feelings and dealing with them, are two different things. If someone's blood pressure is going up because they are upset, it is important for them to deal with the feelings. Make sense?

Question: I am just learning about NPD and have ascertained that mother (who passed in December) was the abuser, I was her scapegoat and MY daughter, her granddaughter, was her golden child. My daughter was basically unaware that her grandmother was so ugly to everyone else in the world except her. Even from the grave, Mother has destroyed my relationship with my daughter, her golden child. Have you worked with this dynamic before?

Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - I am sorry to hear this. How old is the daughter? See what you can do about education and repair now. It's never too late.

Question: Is narcissism a mental illness that affects capacity and insight?

Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - Yes, limited capacity for empathy, and self-reflection, and accountability. Insight is limited and based on the narcissist’s ego strength.

Question: I would like to ask you to address how to handle the death of a narcissist mother?

Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - The death of the narcissistic parent can be surprising. It is usually a double whammy. Grieving the loss of the parent you did have and also the loss of the parent you wished you had. It is more complicated grief than perhaps expected. Make sure you give it the time it needs for recovery.

Question: Good morning! Do narcissists know/are aware of how much emotional/mental pain/trauma they inflict upon their loved ones? Or are they that oblivious to it?

Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - The answer is mixed. When narcissists are projecting, they don't always realize what they are doing, but many times they are aware of their bad behavior and don't care if it serves them.

Question: Good morning. The thing I will never understand is how a mother can sleep at night and not feel guilty about driving away half of her six children. How do some people believe her when she says that all of the children, she has driven away are just bad/horrible children? It makes no sense.

Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - I hear you, are they all scapegoats? Maybe whoever does not worship her is a target? Of course, narcissists are not accountable. The ego is too fragile.
Answer: Reader - Yes, I agree. The three that are left do worship her and the other three of us do not. It’s hard to understand how they can hurt their children so badly and not feel accountable. Thank you, Dr. McBride!
Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - Yes, remember no one else in your family has the credentials to define who you are. You get to do that. We can't take counsel from the wounded.
Answer: Reader - Thank you; it really helps to think of it that way.

Question: Do you find that it seems harder for sons of narcissistic mothers to break the cycle of narcissistic abuse (by that I mean go no contact) and if so do you know why?

Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - It may depend on the culture, but usually it is the golden child that has a harder time individuating.

Question: What's the most difficult thing about recovery for you?

Answer: Reader - It can make a person feel like an orphan.
Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - We are here for you!
Answer: Reader - It definitely makes a person feel unwanted!
Answer: Reader - I think it would have to be the feeling that I have always been unimportant or unworthy.

Question: I seem to find narcissists in all areas of my life. Are there lots of narcissists or am I just attracting them all!? Even though I’ve done a lot of work and even gone no contact with my family, how is best to manage co-workers, neighbors, or other narcissists? Many thanks.

Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - The more internal work we do the better we get at becoming aware of red flags to watch for and boundaries to set. A lot of people have narcissistic traits, not everyone is a narcissist.

Question: A common theme we see is sibling conflict later in life. Anyone here struggling with that? I will talk a lot about this in the new book.

Answer: Reader - Yes, the golden sons in the family won't talk to me or even look at me.
Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - Yes, I see this a lot. It is very sad really. If you are the one to call out the problems though, you are usually scapegoated. We can't mess up that "perfect image" of the narcissistic family!

Question: Is it common for daughters of narcissistic mothers to fear motherhood? For myself, I fear that I would not be a good mom, because of how I was raised, but I do know that I would never want a child to feel the things that I have and still do feel.

Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - Yes, this is very common. I have seen many women decide not to have children because of this fear. Others come to therapy after the first child is born, and many work really hard to establish being a great parent!

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Saturday, March 16, 2024, at 9am - 10am MT

Question: How do I stop being paranoid/not trusting/being triggered by women who remind me of my mom, e g. Unpredictable behaviors? Thank you.

Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - Great question. You are talking about PTSD triggers. Anything physically or psychologically that reminds you of the trauma can cause a reaction. And trust is an issue of course. The answer is doing recovery and trauma work. It makes all the difference in the world. Remember our work is an inside job. My new book has the 5-step recovery program you can do at home or work through with your therapist.

Question: I’m wondering about two things. 1) How long does recovery time usually take for your clients? 2) What does it look like for clients after the temporary separation?

Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - We usually stay in step one and two for almost a year. This is because there is a lot of trauma work to do, and separation/individuation is a big process psychologically. Once people get through those steps, everything else is much easier. People can be more objective and less reactive. Great question!

Question: First, thank you for your work and dedication to this topic! Your first book, suggested by a therapist, literally changed my life (finally everything made sense.) I currently have a civil-connect relationship with my aging mother. I find it difficult to balance the worldly view that daughters are to take care of the aging parent and trying to adhere to boundaries. If you could give one Piece of advice, what would it be?

Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - Follow your heart and what your body is telling you. Every situation is personal and unique. Keep the boundaries by sticking to them.

Question: Dr. Karyl McBride - Has anyone read Will the Drama Ever End? I know it's new, but just curious about responses to my research about the narcissistic family. Meaning, led by parental narcissism.

Answer: Reader - My copy is on order.
Answer: Reader - I am in the midst of reading it. I wish it had more guts on dealing with aging parents. I have found lots of good information.
Answer: Reader - I am listening to it through audible, I’m on chapter 8 and it has been reassuring, healing, and a company when dealing with all the mess that it is to come from such environment. Thank you!

Question: First of all, thank you so much, your books helped me open my eyes and made me feel less alone and more understood. My question: I find it hard to live at peace with the damage caused by my mother that bleeds into the younger generations of the family. It is hard but I can probably at this point accept that my younger (golden child) sister does not want a relationship with me. But seeing my children grow up without aunts and cousins is so devastating. I am willing to do anything for that not to happen, but it hurts so much. I cannot force that to happen. And I see my kids paying the price. So much unfairness towards me and my family. I’m in therapy and have been in the past. But it is still so hard. New children are born who do not know of me, and mine do not know what it is like to have an aunt from my family. Any word of advice on this and dealing with the pain of what could have been or still be? Thank you.

Answer: Dr. Karyl McBride - This is exactly why I wrote this third book. All my clients are dealing with all the losses with the extended family. There is so much loss and I so get it. There are no easy answers either except our own recovery work and taking good care of ourselves and our own families. There may be some family members like nieces and nephews or cousins you can try to connect with. But it is weird how being the scapegoat seems to stick with these dysfunctional families and it feels so unfair. Do they even know you? Probably not. Stick with you and don't ever lose your own integrity and inner strength and courage. My heart is with you.

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