In this counseling answer:
“You can try setting gentle boundaries in such a way that they don’t necessarily see that you are the ones taking control. You can do this by recognizing patterns in their behavior. Perhaps there are certain triggers to their narcissistic behavior, for example. When you feel that they are about to hit the line where you feel like responding in ways that may be deemed disrespectful, then quietly leave the conversation.”
Wa Alaikum salaam wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh,
Yes, you are correct; it is very important that we respect and obey our parents except in situations where they tell you to do something against Islam. The difficulty that you face, however, is that you feel that their narcissistic traits lead you to become disrespectful towards them.
You can try setting gentle boundaries in such a way that they don’t necessarily see that you are the ones taking control. You can do this by recognizing patterns in their behavior. Perhaps there are certain triggers to their narcissistic behavior, for example. When you feel that they are about to hit the line where you feel like responding in ways that may be deemed disrespectful, then quietly leave the conversation.
This sets a boundary with them that you do not want to discuss a certain topic any further, but in such a way that you don’t resort to disrespectful behavior also. This way you are protecting yourself but at the same time setting a boundary with them. Acting in this way allows you to be the one to take control of the situation rather than them being the ones to control you.
This is something that you and your siblings can unite on. So, it’s not that your parents come to find a way to single out the weakest person who is more likely to engage with them and succumb to their narcissistic traits and will lead to that particular child becoming the most easily targeted.
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You might say behaving like this with them is a way to ‘repel that which is evil with that which is better’ as Allah advises us to do too. So, it is very much in line with an Islamic way of managing your situation. Perhaps they will also learn from your positive attitude towards them and feel more humbled by your ways of not disrespecting them. This might lead them to potentially feel more inclined to behave kindly and respectfully towards you in return.
Importantly, don’t let their behavior effect your own. It has commonly be found that narcissistic parents can lead their children to become narcissistic, or otherwise psychologically disturbed in some way or another. Setting gentle boundaries as discussed above can be one way to protect yourself from such.
Furthermore, take care of yourselves and make sure to also spend time with others also. Do not fall into the trap of feeling less than worthy as a result of their narcissistic behavior towards you. Do things that you enjoy and make you feel good about yourself too. Again, this way your own psychological wellbeing will be boosted and you will be in a better position to face any negative comments you might face from them more successfully and will feel more confident in yourselves.
May Allah guide your parents on the straight path and make them the coolness of your eyes and you of theirs.
Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.