Narcissistic Daughter Withholding Grandchildren – What to Do?

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When dealing with someone who is a narcissist, the advice is usually to just to ignore them and cut them out of your life completely. 

Grandmother, Mother and Grandaughter

If it’s your daughter, or even daughter-in-law, that is the narcissist though and is withholding your grandchildren from spending time with you it’s not just as as simple as cutting them out of your life.

You want to maintain your relationship with your child and your grandchildren so this situation is going to be difficult to navigate and it’s really important to go forward carefully when dealing with a narcissist in the family. 

If you upset your daughter too much, she could manipulate your grandchildren or even other family members to create distance between the family members. 

It’s not realistic to remove your daughter completely from the family, so dealing with her is going to have to be something you put efforts towards in order to start seeing your grandchildren again and have a relationship with them. 

Why Coping Is Really the Only Options for Dealing With Your Narcissistic Daughter

People with narcissistic tendencies are really good at manipulating people to get them to do exactly what they want. 

Anything you say towards them that isn’t exactly what they want to hear will be received as criticism and will probably be held against you – either now or in the future.

Narcissists are particularly good at triangulation. What is this? In short, it is when one person uses two other people and pits them against each other so they can remain in control of the situation. 

Most of the time there will be little or no communication between the two people being put against each other, except for through the narcissist. 

This is typically a tool used to drive a wedge between two people and will play them against each other. 

In a case with your daughter, she could be using you and your grandchild(ren) against each other so that it will seem like each side believes the other doesn’t want to see or spend time with them, 

grandma and baby

If you try to go head to head with your daughter, it’s likely to not end well. Narcissists are fantastic at manipulating people, and they are often incredibly smart. Trying to battle it out with her could completely end any relationship you have with your grandchildren or other family members. 

Knowing this, often times the only option really is to cope with her as best you can and do not spend time alone with her so that people around you can be a witness to what’s going on. 

Focus On the Long-Term Goals

When you’re in the middle of things with your daughter and she’s withholding your grandchildren, it can seem like a really good idea to just go all in and fight it out with her.

This is not the right thing to do, right now. It’s important to keep in mind that you have some long-term goals that are bigger than this conversation and this moment right now. 

Overall, the long-term goals when your daughter is a narcissist are likely along the lines of 

  • Keeping a relationship with your grandchildren
  • Keeping a relationship with your other children and family members (often a narcissist will turn other family members against you too)
  • Keeping the peace 

It’s important to remember you are doing all of this to keep a relationship with your grandchildren and not to please or give into what the narcissist wants from you. 

Your daughter may think that she’s winning because you’re giving in, but there is a bigger picture for you that she may not realize. 

Strategies for Coping With a Narcissistic Daughter

When your daughter is withholding a relationship with your grandchildren it can be really difficult to cope with it, and continue on with your life as normal. 

Here are some strategies for coping with narcissism and how to maintain a relationship with your grandchildren, despite your daughter. 

grandmother, mother, and son

Don’t Take Anyone’s Side

If you have other children, they may come to you to complain about your daughter and how she’s behaving. It’s important to avoid taking anyone’s side in the situation, and just simply listen to what it is they have to say. 

If you make a comment or take a side, and your other child decides to tell the daughter in question about what you said then it can open a whole new argument you don’t want to have. 

Remember: as long as a narcissist does not see you as a threat they will not do anything to purposely remove you from their life. Additionally, if they think they can use you for something to their advantage they may even want to keep you around and closer so they can get what they want. 

 Do Not Give Your Narcissistic Daughter Any Advice

Even if it’s during a time when you’re on good terms and she comes to you for advice, do not under any circumstances give her advice. 

If you do it will likely be taken as criticism or they will blame you if things don’t work out after they took your advice. 

If they insist, try to give general answers that don’t direct them to do anything or can be taken critically. 

Don’t Be Too Friendly With Her

You may be thinking that the best thing to do is to try harder to be her friend and she will like you more if you are. 

If you are suddenly overly friendly, or friendlier than you ever used to be, she will probably catch onto this. Remember – narcissists are incredibly smart people and they will catch a change in behaviors. 

Keep a cool distance from her, but don’t completely shut your daughter out. 

Don’t Visit Unannounced

People with narcissistic tendencies tend to really like to be in control, and always know what’s going on around them.

If you stop by for a visit with your grandchildren unannounced, this can really set her off. If you stop by without a plan, they may see it as a way for you to catch them off guard and it could be threatening to them. 

Try to make scheduled plans so they know what is happening and when. 

 Make Everything Her Idea

If you want to spend time with your grandchildren to build your bond with them, try to make it seem like it’s your daughter’s idea to do this. 

While it may be really difficult to do, you want to make her feel like she’s completely in control. 

The long-term goal is being involved in your grandchildren’s lives so it may be hard to make it feel like she is in control. However, if you can do this then it could go a long way to building a relationship with your grandchildren – which is the ultimate goal. 

grandma and baby

Be Polite at All Times

No matter how rude or manipulative she becomes, try to be polite and respectful at all times. 

By being polite and avoiding confrontation, the narcissist will still believe they are in control and will not feel threatened by you. 

Follow Your Daughter’s Rules

This is going to be hard to do sometimes, but whatever rules or boundaries she has set out try your best to respect and follow them.

If she only wants you to see your grandchildren on Wednesday nights at her house then maybe that’s the rule you have to follow for a while. 

Try to go with these rules and you may see her start to ease up a little bit when she doesn’t feel threatened. 

Have Your Boundaries

If she starts to talk negatively about other family members or people you know, refrain from joining in – even if you feel the same way. 

If you say anything negative about other people it can really be used against you later on and used to pit you against this other person or manipulate you into doing things you don’t want to. 

Show Some Appreciation When She Does Nice Things

Did she bring a nice dish for a family dinner or give a thoughtful gift to someone? Showing appreciation for things she does will feed her ego a bit, and narcissists love this.

Don’t suck up to her or be overly appreciative, but simply recognizing that she did do something nice can help lower her guard against you. 

Accept Your Reality

The reality is that she is your daughter, and the link between you and your grandchildren. 

She is going to be in your life, and has been in your life for a long time. Trying to keep the peace will go a long way to her letting her guard down when she doesn’t see you as a threat anymore. 

Go With the Flow

When it comes to dealing with someone who is a narcissist you never really know what you’re going to get. From unrealistic expectations to randomly showing up and expecting you to babysit the grandkids at any time – just go with the flow. 

Try to let go of any nasty remarks she makes towards you or about you to other people and let it all roll off your back. 

Do your best to just go with it and know that coping with her is helping you work towards your bigger goal of spending time with your grandchildren and building a bond with them.