How to help a young teen emotionally abused by narcissist parents

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    I’m the grandparent with no legal powers. The teens ae 14 and 16. 16 is pretty shut down and isolating.  14 is articulate and aware. She wants help. The abuse is awful, including blaming her lack of appreciation as the cause of a parent’s sexual affair.

    She’s counting the time till she’s 18 and can leave home for college. But parents have now said they can’t afford to send her to a private school. She’ll have to go to college locally and live at home.

    I live 10 minutes away but am not permitted to drive the girls. It’s difficult to get a long visit because parents disrupt all schedules.

    When 14 is here she is happy, confides in me and we have enjoyable times. I’d let her live here if we could get permission.

    I’m planning from my end what I can do to support this child.  I’m looking for suggestions and help in what she can do to care for herself while she is in this seemingly inescapable trap.

    Thank you for any suggestions you may have.





    Dear Jopop:

    Your granddaughter, although unfortunate for being trapped in her parents’ home, is fortunate to have you and to be able to spend time with you, in your home.

    These are my suggestions: (1) She spends time in your home- this means that either her parents are okay with it, or they don’t know about it. In which ever case, better not alienate them so that they will not object to her (and her sibling) spending time with you. So, in her parents’ presence, do not argue with them, do not show any kind of aggression against them, make them feel comfortable in your presence. Also, there is a very little chance that any one of her parents or someone they know will be seeing the photo you submitted here, but better remove it, so to avoid unnecessary detection and possible unfavorable reaction.

    (2) When your granddaughter (and/ or her sibling) spends time with you, allow her (as I am sure you do) to freely express whatever thought and feeling comes up for her regarding her parents: good bad or indifferent. There is a strong social message that if a child (of any age) talks badly about his/ her parents, he/ she is a bad person. See to it that your home is free from such a message.

    (3) If you can, help your granddaughter investigate current financial options, such as scholarships, that make it possible for young people to attend the kind of college she is interested in attending. The scholarships/ programs may not be the same in a few years, but investigating them now may make it (it, being her wishful plan to attend a far away college and live there, away from her parents) feel real for her, give her hope, and motivate her to study harder and get better grade in school, particularly in high school.

    If you would like to share more, I will reply further.


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