Q: I have a sister that is married to a narcissist. My sister has a child that has witnessed the effects of what the Narcissistic Dad does to my sister. How do I help my nephew with this fragile situation?
A: You didn’t say whether or not your sister is in agreement with you or how old the child is. There are few things you can do unless your sister wants your help. The best thing you could do for your sister and your nephew is to let them know you love and care for them. You can support them and model healthy relationships by treating each of them with respect, even if their opinions differ from yours- especially around the issue of narcissism and abuse. Sadly, your sister may be more tolerant of his abuse than you are and may not realize the effect it has on her son. If you can, have a quiet, private conversation with your sister and tell her what you think in a non-judgmental manner and how the situation makes you feel. Ask if you can help. If you are able, take your nephew out of the home to visit you as often as possible; if you are in a relationship, show him how healthy relationships should look. Do not belittle his “dad” or you will be demonstrating the same sort of behavior as the narcissist. If he is a young adult, you may want to give him some beginning reading material on NPD but only if your sister is in agreement with you doing so; this could easily step over boundaries and become “interfering”. If your sister is accepting of your opinion on her husband’s narcissism, have her read the article on this website titled, “Are My Children Safe with a Narcissist?“.
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