Being A Child of Narcissists – Breaking the Silence

___Halls_of_Blind_____by_HaliestraHalls of Blind by Haliestra

“My mother trained me to tell her everything she does was right. And when I did not agree with her, I was a bad son who betrayed her and then used guilt to keep me. A thought of my own was forbidden. The word “WE” was used a lot as in “We like that person” or “We like that color” there was no “I”. My mother took credit for all my accomplishments. And then manipulated me to do what she always wanted to do with her life so she could live her dreams through me. I confronted my mother and told her to stop using me and she told me I had been abusing her ever since I was a child and my abuse of her is now “Stopped!” I life has never been better.” – the words of the child of a Narcissist in a comment on one of my posts about my own Narcissistic parents. This comment means a lot to me, I hope they don’t mind my using it this way (will delete it if they do).

I am the only child of two Narcissists. I didn’t always know they were Narcissists. I didn’t always know there was anything wrong with the way they behaved. I didn’t always know that they were not like everyone else. However something felt off kilter, but I didn’t know what it was.

Children take everything personally. They are deeply connected to the world around them. The boundaries between self and other have yet to be formed. It is during the early years that those boundaries are formed. The structure of those boundaries depends on the experiences of the formative years. So, if their parents fight, they think it is somehow their fault. If someone they know gets hurt, they believe it might be because of them. Magical thinking has many uses and many forms it takes.

And so I concluded that my feeling of something being wrong was because of me, that I was defective. My parents agreed. Because they were Narcissists, nothing is ever their fault. They are faultless.

There are many similarities between being the child of a Narcissist and being a Narcissist. A child of a Narcissist does not necessarily become a Narcissist. If both parents are Narcissists, the likelihood of the child becoming a Narcissist decreases significantly. The child is caught between conflicting ambitions which the parents have for it, to succeed and to fail simultaneously, and they are programmed to self-destruct should they ever threaten the power and control, the self image, of the Narcissistic parents. SInce Narcissists feel permanently under threat, the child lives in a constant state of tension. The child’s primal instinct urges it to survive at all costs, but their parental programming tells them to sacrifice their life to save the parents.

A child of a Narcissist may not become a Narcissist themselves, but they do absorb the behaviours of their parent, because that is what children do. They are giant sponges dedicated to learning, their brains are super processors, taking in all the information in their immediate environment, and they do it with a speed that most adult brains don’t have.

In a healthy parent/child relationship the child mimicking the parent is viewed as a wonderful thing, and occasionally an annoying one. The parent feels a certain joyful pride in themselves and in the child when a valued trait is passed on, when a bad habit gets passed on, the parent feels a twinge of inner conflict. They’re pleased and slightly displeased. In a moment of frustration the parent swears, the child repeats it… oops.

One of the traits most children of Narcissists share is a sense of being completely alone. This is due to the isolation which Narcissistic parents create for the child, and it is also due to absorbing the fundamental loneliness of a Narcissist.

All families have family secrets. In the family of a Narcissist the secrecy becomes a prison of silence.

Most children who are abused keep quiet about the abuse. The child of Narcissists does this to protect their parents, to protect themselves by protecting their main caretakers, but also because there are usually no bruises or broken bones or any other tangible signs of abuse.

Narcissistic parents tend to look very good on the outside, they project the perfected image of the perfect parent who happens to have an imperfect child. They cover their asses efficiently, using their charm, their power to control how others perceive them and those whom the Narcissist considers an enemy (which is how a Narcissist views their child – the child knows too much) and their ability to hypnotise those who come into contact with them, in such a way that there is no escape for the child.

So if the child of a Narcissist speaks up and out against their parents, they will not be believed, and they will most likely be scolded by society for doing it. Their feeling that they are the bad one, defective, is reinforced. They retreat into silence. They are alone in a world full of people who are against them.

If you meet the child of a Narcissist, you will not pick up on any of this unless you are very sensitive and perceptive, and even then you won’t know what it is or why it is. You will probably conclude that there is something wrong with them, perhaps you’ll even brand them a Narcissist. It’s a trending accusation.

The child of a Narcissist will probably accept the accusation. They are used to be accused of things they are not, they know the simplest thing to do is accept it. A real Narcissist will not accept any accusations at all. They’re not the Narcissist, you are! Everything that they are which is bad is what you are, and they’ll use you to prove it! Everything about you which is good is what they are, not you, you’re all bad!

Want to be completely messed up in the mind? Have a relationship with a Narcissist.

Want to feel like a Narcissist, sure of yourself, perfect, beautiful, powerful, with no regrets, and omnipotent? Have a relationship with a child of Narcissists. They know how to bring out the best in people, it sometimes backfires and turns into the worst. If I had monetary compensation for every time I thought – Oh dear, I’ve created a monster…

People are starved of encouragement. Give them too much of it when they’ve had too little… and you can turn pretty much anyone into a Narcissist even if it is temporary insanity. They’ll get over it once you get out of their life. Or maybe they were an inverted Narcissist who needed a nudge.

Hard to tell sometimes, we live in a Narcissistic age. Society’s obsession with Vampires is society’s obsession with Narcissism in archetype form. What about Zombies… perhaps an archetype for the inverted Narcissist. With more Narcissists in this world, it means there are more children of Narcissists… but they always get forgotten.

The children of Narcissists are used to being invisible. Being invisible does not mean that you can’t see what is both visible and invisible.

The child of a Narcissist has absorbed all the ‘skills’ of a Narcissist, plus a few more which are the gifts the child of a Narcissist must develop to survive being the child of a Narcissist. They can pretend to be who they are not and do it very convincingly. They do this to deceive, but not in the way a Narcissist does. They are not deceiving to get anything from the deception or the one deceived by it… other than to be left alone.

They do not trust anyone. They are alone. They have learned that the world is hostile to them. They deceive because the world wants to be deceived and does not want to know the truth. They learned this when they tried to speak up, ask for help, and were rejected as liars and worse than that.

You do not care, you just pretend to care, you have an ulterior motive for caring and it is all about you, getting me to care for you. I am alone in a world made of you.

The children of Narcissists tend to attract Narcissists more than anyone else. Why?

Not because they were trained to be highly empathic, to meet others’ needs and sacrifice their own needs for the needs of others. This is a skill which attracts, but not just Narcissists. Everyone in the world hurts, and children of Narcissists are tuned into this pain. They feel it and understand it, they also understand that that pain needs to be acknowledged and that the person in pain wants to be protected from what is hurting them. They offer a safe haven.

Tell me your pain, I will give you balm. I will protect you from seeing what you do not want to see, how you are the one causing your own pain. I will help you deny what you want to deny, and offer you an ear to talk into. I will listen to your pain talking and never react to it even when you hurt me. I will remain detached. I will empty myself so that you can fill me with your projections, your worst and your ideals. You need to express yourself, your pain. I do not.

What Narcissists find most attractive is the ability to bury a secret in a silence so profound no one will ever know it is there.

Tell me a secret and even you won’t know I know it. Unless I remind you, and I won’t do that. Your secret is in a safe so safe no one will ever find it.

Children of Narcissists live in silence. Alone. Sometimes lost. Sometimes they are the least lost person on the planet, but that is not a consolation. They are still alone in a world full of lost people. People who are lost are seeking to be found. Those seeking to be found don’t always like being found. Hide and seek… do you win if you are found or lose?

I know how to find you because I have been lost and know the nature of being lost. But you don’t seem happy about being found. I’ll pretend that I haven’t found you so you can find another hiding place…

When you abandon me because I know too much, see too much, feel too much, I will accept it. I don’t blame you, the fault is mine.

I am the child of Narcissists. It’s not their fault they had me, it’s mine. It’s not your fault I can see you, it’s mine…

I’ll close my eyes… Shhhh… one, two, three, four… one hundred and two… ready or not… I’ll wait a bit more to give you more time…

Please note: Don’t ever feel sorry for or pity the children of Narcissists… Just Don’t! Being alone makes us very self-reliant. We don’t need your pity, we see what lies behind it. It also reminds us of things we’d rather forget… our memories are better than elephants.

If you want to give us something, give us space to break our silence. Stop judging us. Give us love, we long for that, but not the kind which constricts, censors and burdens, the kind which acknowledges we exist, which frees us to express ourselves, and which encourages us to reveal what we keep hidden, what keeps us in our prison of silence.

Thank you.

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For more on being the Child of Narcissists:

 

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Being a Child of Narcissists – what we need to give to ourselves – a related post on my blog written by MM, offering a powerful and inspiring perspective on being the child of narcissists.

The story of a relationship with a Narcissist: I Am Not Special by Hope – A guest post on my blog by Hope, which offers an insightful perspective on how our childhood experience with our parents affects the path we take as adults and our adult relationships. It gives an inspiring way to view a relationship with a Narcissist.

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Raised By Narcissists – a forum on reddit for children of narcissists.

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The Child Victim of a Narcissistic Personality Disordered parent – an insightful and concise perspective on being the child of a parent with NPD. It covers the effect this has on the child, explains why this kind of abuse goes unseen by those outside of the family, and how difficult it is to speak out about it or confront it.

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Narcissism – Living Without Feelings – A very long and detailed analysis of NPD, which explains how someone develops the disorder, what goes on behind the facade, how the disorder affects the individual who has it, and its effects on others, on children of narcissists, and so much more. If you want to understand NPD, this is an excellent article. Comprehensive and insightful.

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Surviving the Narcissistic Parent: ACoNs (Adult Children of Narcissists)  – a superb account of what it is like to be the child of a narcissistic mother, also applies to a narcissistic father.

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The Narcissistic Family Portrait – this link takes you to a selection of articles on Psychology Today about the dynamics of growing up in a narcissistic family.

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Narcissistic Single Mother and Only Child –  a good overview of the dynamic of being the only child of a Narcissist.

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Narcissistic Mother – a detailed insight into the narcissistic mother as well as a superb list of the different types of narcissistic mothers and their behaviour and intentions.

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Selfishness and Narcissism in Family Relationships & The Drama Triangle by Dr. Lynne Namka – different ways to view and understand the effects of growing up with a narcissist, being in a narcissistic (abusive/unhealthy) family or in a relationship with a narcissist.

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Energy Theft: Toxic Forms of Shame and Guilt – Very insightful insight into the dynamic of being a child of a Narcissist, and how it can cause depression, shame and guilt which sucks the life out of you.

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Parent-Free By Choice – A blog sharing the stories of those who have decided to emancipate themselves from their parents. Link shared with me by Exploreredrose.

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How Do You Forgive Yourself – an article giving an overview of guilt, the different types and uses of guilt, and offering ways to work through it.

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Out of the Fog – Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) – an excellent resource for information on NPD. There is also a forum.

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The Narcissistic Continuum. – a fantastic blog giving in-depth insight,  support and lots of information and so much more. There is also a forum, for those seeking support, advice and information.

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Scoop.it – Victims of Narcissistic Abuse – A great resource for articles and posts on the internet collected in one place.

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Henriette Lazaridis Power: The Narcissist and the Difficult Mother – Beautifully poignant article and personal tale for the Huffington Post, which I found via Scoop.it.

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This Boy – This post expresses beautifully, evocatively and succinctly what it is like to be a child of a Narcissist.

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How To Be An Adult Child Of A Narcissist – A humorous and poignant story of living with the legacy of being a child of a narcissist, and looking for a way to heal.

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Narcissism and the Fruit of Suffering– the blog of my favourite author, whose book Going Mad to Stay Sane helped me to figure out and explain many aspects of my own experience with narcissistic parents, especially my tendency to be self destructive.

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If you want to add a link… use the comments.

And finally, thank you to the other children of Narcissists who have connected with me by commenting on my posts. You know how you have inspired me because you have seen how your inspiration has been absorbed into what I am doing, breaking my silence and understanding it, in my posts. I am grateful, and you know… what that means.

324 comments

  1. My ex-husband is a Narcissist and the son of a Narcissist mother. I’ve told my ex-husband he is a narcissist, called him a sociopath, and told him he was abusive with me and every time it was as if he just accepted it because he never denied it, argued, or projected it back to me. He also knows all my secrets and not once used them to hurt me. He’s never wanted me to know anything about his mother, to the point of telling people not to talk to me about her. My question is this…is it possible to be a Narcissist and still behave like a child of a Narcissist, according to the description above, at the same time? It seems unusual to me to be able to be both because it’s a contradiction in my eyes.

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    • Contradiction is a fairly common feature of narcissism and of human beings in general. All people have many layers of personality to them, many sides to who they are and sometimes the different sides contradict each other. One does not necessarily negate the other, and one is not necessarily true while the other is false.

      If his mother is a narcissist then he will have the behaviour often found in children of narcissists. If he also has NPD then he will have that behaviour too. Some children of narcissists can become narcissists too, particularly if they were their parent’s ‘golden child’. The ‘scapegoat child’ is less likely to develop NPD, but it can happen too. Much depends on extenuating circumstances, such as other people, influences, in their early life, or what happens when they escape the family nucleus and enter the social fray beyond the confines of their family, and if they manage to get away from their narcissist parent or if the parent continues to haunt their adult life.

      Children of narcissists sometimes appear to be narcissists themselves because they have absorbed the behaviour of their narcissistic parent (as all children do with their parents whether they want to or not), however that behaviour is not necessarily a sign that they have NPD, it just seems that way, particularly to those who have never experienced someone with NPD before. There are similarities between someone who is being narcissistic and someone with NPD, however there are some significant differences.

      From what you’ve said, it sounds to me as though he isn’t a narcissist. It sounds more like he is a child of a narcissist who has not worked through the legacy which his narcissist mother passed onto him. When children of narcissists don’t work through their story they tend to act out and may behave very narcissistically without actually having NPD. The effect of their behaviour on those who are in a relationship with them will be similar, however they are more likely to realise what they have been doing and want to change – someone with NPD rarely sees the problem as being themselves and is always certain that the fault belongs to everyone else, which is why many narcissists accuse others of being narcissists and never question if perhaps they may be one.

      The scenario which you describe makes me think that your ex may have been the ‘scapegoat child’ of his narcissist mother, therefore he is used to being told what is wrong with him, the awful truth about himself, how everything is his fault, that he is evil, etc, which is the daily bread of the child of a narcissist. Since they are born they are subjected to character assassination year after year, 24/7, with short breaks when the narcissist parent is in ‘wonderful’ mode or ignoring the child. Your confrontation would have triggered his experience with his mother and his survival coping mechanism kicked in. His acceptance of your truth about him is a common coping mechanism of children who have dealt from an early age with a narcissist’s rants, raging tantrums and vitriol. Most scapegoat children learn to just stand there silently taking the abuse waiting for the narcissist parent to run out of steam, if you react in any way things will get worse, although sometimes not reacting makes it worse. Living with contradictions is normal for a child of a narcissist.

      The fact that he didn’t retaliate in any way is unusual for someone with NPD. Although NPD varies from person to person certain behaviours are fairly consistent, and most narcissists can’t resist retaliating, deflecting, projecting, especially when someone is confronting them the way that you did. They always defend themselves when they feel attacked, and they usually know exactly where to hit you because they know your secrets and vulnerabilities. They get a rush out of doing it, feed off the drama. However a child of a narcissist would be more likely to accept the accusations and absorb the pain without lashing out against the accuser. They don’t tend to defend themselves by attacking, they do so by retreating into themselves. There really is no point in arguing with someone who has decided who you are and sees you as a monster. What exactly was he supposed to say to being told by you that he is a sociopath who abused you? What else is there to do but accept things as they are.

      Not using your secrets against you is more the sort of thing a child of a narcissist would do. Someone with NPD rarely misses an opportunity to use yourself against you. This would have been done to the child of a narcissist over and over again, and they know how painful and devastating it can be. They do not tend to do to others what was done to them if they can help it, they do not want to inflict on others what was inflicted onto them, they don’t want to be like their narcissist parent. If they do lash out, they will be mortified about it and may punish themselves for it. Children of narcissists have an understanding of pain and the human condition which runs very deep, they usually try to use this in a respectful manner, however sometimes no matter how hard you try to not hurt and cause harm, you end up hurting and causing harm. This is often the case when a child of a narcissist has not dealt with the abuse which they suffered, and the wound they are hiding within leaks out and causes more wounds.

      His not wanting you to know about his mother, is more about his not wanting that part of his life to be a part of his life and relationships. The narcissist parent, even when the child is an adult, tends to take over everything and everyone even when they are not physically present, they are like an infectious blob devouring the life of their child, and the lives of all those with whom the child has a relationship.

      Hope this helps. For more on this matter:

      http://www.rubbershoesinhell.com/how-to-be-an-adult-child-of-a-narcissist/

      http://www.narcissisticmother.com/

      http://outofthefog.net/Disorders/NPD.html

      https://afternarcissisticabuse.wordpress.com/2014/06/08/how-the-trauma-of-narcissistic-abuse-changes-our-world-views/

      Take care of yourself.

      Thank you for sharing 🙂

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      • Thank you for your response. It was very helpful. I’m absolutely sure my ex has NPD but I also believe he was the scapegoat in his family. He is the only family member that has left, he is the only that has attempted to make a better life for himself but he is the outcast, his brother seems to be the golden child although he is a sociopath that physically abuses women and children…I could go on and on because this family is one of the most dysfunctional families I’ve ever seen but what really bothers me is that after telling me he is messed up in the head, which his life was in total chaos at the time, and when I explained to him why he is the way he is he wanted me to call his momma and tell her everything. I thought that was the oddest thing. Idk if he wanted me to do it so I’d look like a crazy b**** or it’s because he isn’t able to do it himself. I honestly believe he hates himself, the ramblings of a drunk man are usually an indicator of what goes on in a person’s mind, but has no idea how to change. He thinks he’s doomed, that I do know. He is the most complex person, everything and nothing makes sense at the same time.

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        • There are a lot of dysfunctional families in this human world, I’m beginning to think that’s the ‘norm’ and that non-dysfunctional families are the exception.

          If your ex was a ‘scapegoat’ and also has NPD… there isn’t anything you can do or could have done about it. It is up to the individual (to him) to sort themselves (himself) out, especially once they are an adult. Many people sort themselves out through ways which are less than healthy for others, and probably not healthy for the individual who is self-sorting and perhaps also self-medicating – Alcohol is often a self-medicating coping mechanism which ends up wreaking more havoc than it heals.

          Try to detach yourself from the what-ifs and variations of that theme or else you’ll end up confused and lost in the confusion. Stick with what makes sense to you and focus on what you need to heal yourself. You are not responsible for anyone else but yourself (and your children if you have children, until they are adults). You are not responsible for him. He is not responsible for you either – you’re an adult, that’s your job. Draw a line, a boundary and focus on taking good care of yourself. How you treat yourself influences how others treat you – and is crucial when dealing with narcissists.

          If you ‘look like a crazy b****’… so be it. Sometimes that is necessary (and healthy, healing) whether it is true or not.

          If he thinks he is doomed, then he is creating his own reality (even if that reality was created for him by his narcissist parent) – that sense of doom is quite common amongst children of narcissists, we all tend to have it but we all deal with it differently. Feeling doomed is part of being a human living in a human world – you see that view in the news all the time – and isn’t just a thing which children of narcissists have, however children of narcissists tend to live it as a reality more than those who grew up in different family environments. It’s kind of difficult to be an optimist about life and yourself when your starting point is being doomed.

          Everything and nothing making sense is typical of a non-narcissistic reality clashing with a narcissistic reality, and of the narcissistic reality itself. Those with NPD are unstable so they swing regularly from one extreme to another, from one truth to another which all end up being lies.

          Focus on yourself, and detach from the narcissistic view of you, of relationship, of life, of reality, as best as you can… remind yourself of your own view of those things, of yourself as best as you can. All humans are solipsistic as well as narcissistic – this is both a good thing and a bad thing depending on how we use it, and how it affects others when we use it.

          Best wishes, take good care of yourself 🙂

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  2. For 35 years I have anguished over the reason why my mother hated me so much and my father stood by her. After reading this , my question has been answered. It’s as if you wrote this about my life and in one way it is enlightening and in another very painful. My parents are 70 years old and my mother goes out of her way to continue the abuse and my father enables her. My siblings moved away at a young age. I was left alone in this hell. I have attempted to talk to them in the past but of course I am lying and making it up. I was told from the age of 12 that I was a “bad” kid. I never understood why they believed this because I never did anything bad. Never got in trouble etc. 25 years later i am still told this among many other things. My problem is I am a single mother, went back to school for my RN and had no choice (so I thought) but to move back in with them. It is as bad as its ever been. I need someone to help me. I know I need to get out if the environment and have 6 weeks left until 8 graduate. Until then, how do I survive? How do I handle this situation? I want so badly to confront my mother. I want her to see that I am not a bad person. Honestly, all I really want is her to be nice to me. Please help

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    • Hi Elizabeth,
      i have lived a similar life to yours.it’s important you trust yourself and hang in there to accomplish your goal, it’s a short time compared to your entire life.
      You have to mourn this rooted and legitimate wish to be loved by them, as it will never happen.but thanks to heaven, you are not like them. bear in mind your studies are the key to a new life, confront your mother when it can’t backfire less powerfully.You are a good person but her psychological glasses don’t aloow to see you. Pluck up courage, you’ll succeed at having a new life. take care, seashell.

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    • Thank you for sharing 🙂

      This is a difficult situation. It has many separate components coming together in one place, some of which are clashing causing a surfeit of stress.

      Focus can be the problem and the solution. If you focus on why you are there and what you are aiming for – “I am a single mother, went back to school for my RN” – then you can mitigate some of what is occurring by reminding yourself that you’re there for a short period of time (even if it feels likes ages) to eventually get yourself out of there and do it in a way which supports your independence, freedom and future for you and for your child.

      However your focus on that may be subverted by other aspects which want your attention.

      If your mother is a narcissist, which it sounds like she might be, then she will want all of your attention focused on her (to your detriment and the detriment of your independence – a big fear narcissists have in their relationships with others which makes them behave even worse). From what you’ve said she is stuck in the cycle of getting negative attention by being negative – negative attention is often more powerful than positive attention – this can be addictive to the person doing it, they get a lot from doing it and so they keep doing it, and breaking the pattern may be too hard to do, and they may not want to do it which means they won’t do it.

      Behaviours are as addictive as substances, sometimes more so, sometimes the two things go hand-in-hand.

      To answer your question – How do I handle this? – would require knowing which ‘you’ wants to handle it. As in – You who is staying with your parents as a stepping stone to something else – in which case you handle it by ignoring it and focusing on what you are doing, doing it, finishing it, and then getting out of there once it is done. Or – You who is still a child trying to resolve an old problem – in which case you might need to have a confrontation and get whatever it is which a confrontation will give you. However you need to weigh the pros and cons of one thing versus another – if you confront how will this affect your goals? Which ‘you’ is more important to you?

      If your mother is a narcissist, the confrontation will be even more frustrating than the frustration which led up to it. If she is not a narcissist, then this confrontation would probably not be something you’d be considering, as she would have mellowed by now – narcissistic parents usually get worse with age whereas most parents mellow once their children are adults, and are more open to dealing with errors they may have made when they were stressed out about being responsible for their children and worried about all the errors they were making (like passing on the stuff their parents passed onto them or trying not to do that).

      Perhaps you can find an ‘in between’ – confront your mother indirectly, as in the part of her judgment of you which you have absorbed. Are you a ‘bad’ child? No. You know this, you have ample proof of it. So why is changing her opinion important to you? What is more important now in your life is your opinion of yourself – and how much you give value to her opinion of you. Don’t carry her opinion of you with you, let it go – confront her in yourself.

      What are you really seeking from this confrontation? For her to be nice to you? The chances of ever getting that are slim if she hasn’t done that voluntarily on her own without you confronting her about it. She may like being mean. Her reasons for it may go back for generations in her own family history. Such things are very hard to change. We can’t change other people to make them who we want them to be. Your mother tried to change you by telling you how bad you were… that did not work, you did not become bad and live up to her image of you. If anything it probably spurred you to be more good than you actually need to be. So getting her to be nice may make her even more mean.

      It might, miraculously, cause a complete change of heart and behaviour… but if she is a narcissist, or just very set in her ways, this will only make things worse.

      When someone has decided to see you a certain way, it has less to do with how you really are and more to do with who they need you to be for them to see themselves a certain way. Your mother sees you the way she sees you for her own reason and purpose – you could try to find out what that is, but that may go someplace very dark – how much do you know about your mother’s childhood and her relationship with her parents, with her mother? People tend to repeat the patterns they experienced.

      If all you want is for her to be nice to you… sacrifice that want. If she is a narcissist, reverse psychology works quite well with them. The more a narcissist knows you want something, the more they withhold it to keep you. Sometimes when you don’t want it, they give it just because you don’t want it. This is very hit and miss.

      Is your mother nice to anyone? Or is she mean to everyone? If she is nice to anyone, study the person whom she is nice to and mimic their tactic. It won’t necessarily get your mother to be genuinely nice (especially if she is not ever genuinely nice) but it could switch the dynamic pattern between you to something new and different.

      The best tactics I’ve found to use on narcissistic parents like mine is to detach myself from their rhetoric. It has nothing to do with me as a person, an individual (they never see you as that), and everything to do with them and who they are. This requires a bit of self-discipline as narcissists, especially narcissistic parents, like to push your buttons to get an upset reaction out of you – on which they feed. They will push and push and push until they upset you, then they feel better because you feel awful. If you can refrain from reacting, it frustrates them instead of you. But this tactic takes practice and time – narcissists are rather stubborn, and if there isn’t another victim for their games around they will keep trying to get you to be that for them. Avoiding them may be an option, but it can provoke them too.

      Focus on your child, on what you as a single parent need to do for them, and for yourself for them. You need to get that degree and get out of there. Get your independence and go and create a narc-free life for yourself. This time is a stepping stone, a slippery and dangerous crossing, to get to a better place. You’re not ‘bad’ you know that, trust that, trust what you know about yourself and build upon that, build a solid and safe foundation for a better future.

      Keep going, and building upon it in a way which supports you.

      Take care of yourself, best wishes!

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  3. My father is a Cerebral Narcissist as opposed to a Somatic Narcissist. I just realized this a couple of months ago. Once I married, I realized how I was brought up was not normal but couldn’t put my finger on it. I always thought it was the macho thing but it wasn’t because other men/fathers I was now being exposed to were nothing like my father. Just last year as I reached 45, I started searching as to why some people talk so much about themselves non stop. No matter what the conversation my father always interrupted and turned the conversation about him. It was always about his achievements, how he was better than his brothers or his parenting style was the best. He was always overly judgmental of others. My father used religion to hold over our heads. He would say “Thou shalt honor thy mother and father. When you come to my house you need to listen to me and I talk!! While my poor mother just wait on him hand and foot and scurry about to fulfill his every barking order. To this day, when he is talking endlessly over and over about the same things that we have heard a million times over we have to look at him. One look away and he stops talking. If someone takes a drink of water while he is talking or grabs their purse to set on their lap he stops talking and asks the victim if they are finished then proceeds to start up again once they say yes. He gets upset for the littlest things. He is now aging and disabled. He can do for himself but needs a walker. My mom gives him his medication on time every day and if she’s late he says she wants to kill him. He has alienated just about everyone in his life. I go on Sundays for the primary purpose to visit my mom and spend maybe 30 min of my visit with him. At least this will give my mom a break. At 73 she is going crazy. She is in perfect condition with the exception of having anxiety and stress. She says she feels like running out of the house screaming and tells me its not so easy to leave him. Since I have started researching NPD I stopped pressing her to leave him. For the past several months she comes to my house every Friday for 5 hours to help clean. We pay her so she can have some of her own money in her pocket. We really don’t need the help but do this to give her mind some rest from my father. Since my research on spouses/caregivers of NPD I have decided to have her come 2/3 starting next month. I am making one of the spare rooms a sanctuary for her on the days she has nothing to do when she arrives. My mom always finds something to do but I am going to paint the room with calming colors and have therapeutic aromas in the room. I will put some of her favorite books in there to. It never fails but my mom cant even read a book at her own home!! Once my dad finds out she is doing something she wants to do for herself he continually calls for her to get him this get him that or just call her name to interrupt her reading. He is a mean man. He has stated that he thinks its funny to push her buttons because SHE likes it??!! I told him no, she doesn’t like it and he got mad at me. I threw his words in his face that he would tell me and my sister when we were young and would bicker. He said that it was a sin to purposely pick on people. He looked at me like I had just stabbed him and quickly changed the subject. I am going to take her to the store to pick the colors of paint, some bedding, books and other items so that the room feels it is all hers. Since she wont leave this tyrant of a father I have I can at least have her THINK she is coming to my house to help clean but really there isn’t much to do since we keep our house pretty neat in the first place. My plan is to have her at my house 10-15 hours a week and on one of my days off take her shopping or to run errands with me for at least 3-4 hours. This should give her the much needed “me” time her minds desperately needs. I have been hinting about placing my dad in a nursing home due to my dad getting meaner and more demanding as he nears 70ys old. He will never go into a nursing home. My heart breaks for my mother. But now that I found that he has NPD I am a little more prepared. Any ideas from anyone on how to help my mom would be greatly appreciated.

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    • Love your mother and most definitely give her a “space” to stay at….It will be her safety zone to find sanctuary now and then. and you can offer this. And encourage her to go out with you and other family members, and friends. She will love it. 73 is is still sort of young in this day and age, and she needs freedom. While you “employ” her, it sort of makes no “ties bound” which is again, a sense of freedom. Congrats on learning the truth of the family situation….She cannot leave him because she is tied to him, but that’s okay…as you can give her an escape route so she can re-energize and still find joy between the things going on. Support her, and be her ally…That is all she needs to take care of everyone, as that who mom’s are….the one who took care of kids, husband, etc. If you need to seriously consider placing him in assisted living or a home, realize this will not be easy for your mom, as she has lived with him for many years, and he may now be a stranger to her, with dementia? If he wasn’t mean long ago, it could be what was mentioned…but right now, just be with your mom, and LISTEN…as you may learn how your father may or may not have been this way always….Ask her….And be her ally…

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    • Thank you for sharing 🙂

      You are in an extremely complex situation, one which you seem to be handling very graciously and admirably, especially considering that you have your own issues concerning your family environment and father which you have put aside to focus upon your mother’s well-being. It seems that you are helping your mother as best as you can in a way which is considerate of and compassionate for all the complicated elements which are a part of it.

      One thing which struck me in the way that you described what you are doing for your mother is the feeling that she is completely passive in all of this. It could just be the way you described it, perhaps trying to maintain her privacy. It just seems as though she is allowing you to do all of this for her, but she is not really participating in it, she’s letting it happen because it is what you want for her, to do for her. Almost as though she is accepting your help in the same way that she accepts your father’s treatment of her. Which makes me wonder, is she participating in this in an active manner? Does she actually want the help which you are giving to her? Has she openly asked for it and admitted that she wants it and needs it?

      This is an important detail as we can only help those who want our help and have asked for it directly. It is a requisite in healing. Someone who does not ask us directly for our help, even if we know they need it, may not be open to it even if we give it freely, even if they accept it, and even if it is something they need and want… but until they admit that they do actually need and want it, they will be closed off to it and may accept it passively with an undercurrent of unacceptance that is stronger and more aggressively resistant than their surface appearance seems.

      Since your mother has lived for a long time dealing with your father the way that he is, she may be very adept at appearing to accept what is being given to her without her actually accepting it at all. Have you spoken with her about her story, her life, her relationship with your father and why she has put up with him for so long? Do you know who she is beyond being the mother whom you know? Who she was before she met your father, before she had children, who she was as a child, how she experienced her own parents? And so much more… telling our story, of who we are, our journey through life, etc… is how we heal from within.

      Since you’re buying books for her, perhaps – When Women Were Birds by Terry Tempest Williams – might be something she would enjoy reading. Or one of the author’s other works which speaks of things that are sometimes felt, maybe even thought, yet sometimes go unsaid.

      “When one woman doesn’t speak, other women get hurt.” ― Terry Tempest Williams

      How do you feel about your mother’s part in how you and your sister were treated by your father. Did your mother ever come to your defense to protect you from your father? If she didn’t, did you understand why then as you perhaps do now? And by helping your mother are you somehow helping yourself and your sister too to heal from the way he treated and still treats all of you?

      Don’t forget yourself in all of this, you are very giving… you too need ‘me’ time.

      Best wishes.

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      • Thanks to the both of you. We (husband and boys) just got back from taking her out to lunch. She does share about her life before my dad. She was abandon by her mother and brought up by her dad and aunt. Neither was like my dad. My dad has all his mind. He is smart and quick. Their neighbor from a house down and has known him for 43 ys told me the other day that my dad has always been that way but has noticed that he is getting worse.
        No one really likes to be around my dad for to long because he doesn’t give anyone a chance to talk. He starts giving people advice, sharing about his accomplishments and talking about his ungrateful kids and grand kids. Just the other day my cousin stopped by my home to drop something off for my mom and wanted me to take it to my parents home sometime later that day or during the week. He said he didn’t want to go because the last two time he could only stay for 30min and relayed this to my dad. Of course my dad talked to him for an extra hour and my cousin was late for an appointment. HE does this to everyone. He doesn’t care about anyone’s time but his.

        My oldest sister lives in FL and has an bank account set up for my mom that my dad doesn’t know about and calls my mom twice a week. OF course my mom cant have a conversation with any of her family in peace because he will put the tv on mute so he can hear what she is saying in the other room. Her and I get along great. My middle sister is another story. Her and my dad do not get along. She has no respect for him and when they both get together it usually turns into a shouting match. She does not have NPD but am inclined to say that she is probably bipolar. She also gets mad at my mom very easy. By reading your replies though, I think my sister gets irritated with my mom for putting up with my dads treatment of her. I would always pressure my mom to leave him until I started reading in this matter. Now I don’t. I have always been a tolerant person and I refuse to be in a shouting match with anyone. I think my sister was always a bit impatient with me and my mom because we don’t argue back with my dad but I just agree then get up and leave when he starts up. It pisses him off that I don’t lose control. If he starts his normal judging of people I calmly say, don’t judge and it stops him but its like he is in shock when I say it.

        The other day my youngest son (19) went over to help with digging a hole for a small fruit tree. He didn’t show up at the time my dad wanted him to because it was hot (PHX) and my son went at sunset. He said my dad laid into him on how ungrateful he was and how he honored his mother and fathers request. (Im finding out this is not true and that none of my grandfathers sons-4- would go and visit because he was a mean man too) He then told my son to have a seat and proceeded to lecture my son for the next two hours. My started up with how HE was the one who raised my kids. (my husband and I have been married 25ys) Yes, my parents picked them up after school and I would pick them up at 5 to take them home. I don’t recall anyone ever going with me to the schools to speak with teachers on study plans, and I don’t recall anyone going with me to speak with HS counselors to help pick the following years classes or to answer our families questions concerning the college entrance exams which I did not know about. My husband and I were HS boosters and involved in leadership programs for other kids at the HS. My dad didn’t sit with my kids and career path with them. As my boys got older they would tell me how in HS he would demand that they finish with their degrees by a certain year. When I found out he had said that I remember at my next visit that he was not to put pressure on my kids on when to graduate from college. If it takes them 4-8 years than so be it. He started putting me and my sisters down with rude comments. Going back to the other day, my son told me he doesn’t mind going over but that his grandpa is just too much. He said now that is 19 he is starting to notice a lot of things with my dad that aren’t right. My dad is leaving everything in his will to my son (19). He rubs this in everyone’s face when he gets a chance. I don’t care. Thanks goodness my son is VERY patient. It takes A LOT to make him mad. His face is stoic and doesn’t let anything bother him. He has always been that way. My twins are similar but lately have called my dad out on some of the Bull S@#$ that comes out of his mouth and my dad gets mad. My kids don’t yell, argue or say it disrespectful but my dad does not liked to be called out. With the internet at our fingertips someone almost always calls him out. lol He demands we put them down when he starts speaking. lol

        You got me thinking when i read your reply on if she wants our help instead of just giving it. So instead of sitting my mom down to tell her what we are going to make the extra bedroom a sanctuary, I am going to ask if she would like this to be done and that its no problem for us.

        She told me she stayed due to finances and wasn’t sure if she could provide for me and my sisters on her own. My dad has also told her “How would it look if our kids had divorced parents? How about our grandkids? We would put our kids through embarrassment.” So he throws this in our face on what they have done for us.

        ONe more thing, the other day when we arrived for a visit. As soon as we walked in he started saying how he was on his last days. He always says this then proceeds with his lectures and stories of how great of a man he was at the church and everyone always wanted to hear him speak and ask his opinions on family values etc. This time one of my twins said, Grandpa you have been saying youre dying really soon since I was in the second grade!! We all just laughed. My dad didn’t. He knows he is exposed and HATES it.

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        • You have a very clear perspective on the dynamics and stories within the story of your family… that in and of itself is very precious because it is often hard to see and understand because everything is so intertwined.

          Trust your insight, vision and perspective. Keep doing what you are doing… be sure to make time for yourself as you help others, remember that to help others is also a part of helping yourself, and what you do for them, you do for yourself too, it flows both ways… and what they do for you is done for them too.

          Your mother needs to want to do this for herself too, she needs to participate and not just accept things, because that is where personal power is gained. What the situation was in the past, is what it was and decisions were made then to suit what was then, as things were perceived at the time and were at the time… now is now.

          You all seem to have a healthy grasp of your father – your son’s attitude shows that clearly and is inspiring. In spite of your father’s NPD and how it manifests and affects all of you, you’ve all learned to cope with it and not let it infect you, but instead it inspires you individually to do things your way. You accommodate his dysfunction, as in accept it and deal with it accordingly, but not in a way which hampers your self expression and your own position. That is rare and difficult to do, so appreciate the fact that you’ve managed, as a team of individuals, to do it. Your father is lucky… he knows it but will never admit it. he is attached to the way that he is, and loves his lectures – cerebral narcissists tend to quite like being found out and confronted (they like the challenge, it keeps them going), but they will never admit it openly, however they will indirectly give you kudos for it – but you may not be privy to the kudos given until much later.

          Since most narcissists tend to enjoy pitting their family against each other… give yourselves credit for being as united as your are. Your family has many things, insights and wisdom, which they could impart to others dealing with a similar scenario.

          Thank you very much for sharing 🙂

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        • This is a bit late but thank you for sharing your story with all of us, thanks to you and obviously Ursula as well, I now know that my father was a Cerebral Narcissist which literally identifies him and my brother down to the core. My father frequently would use various sayings which I had always passed off as being part of his personality but I now realize it is from Cerebral narcissism. Some of the stuff which I guess would be nothing special to you and others is stuff like ‘There’s only 1 captain of the ship’ and ‘The ship can’t survive without it’s captain’ among many others. We as a family had also always wondered about his choice on personal hygiene and apparently Cerebral narcissism explains that to the core as well. Cerebral narcissism is hard to deal with as from what I gather now, you not only feel inferior from being with a Narcissist but you also feel stupid from being with a Cerebral narcissist. They also are very critical of anyone without any documented experience in a field such as a degree.

          I’m not sure this is needed as it may be better to try not to ‘show off’ to your father but I found a way personally for my father to truly respect criticism I give him, whenever I tell him something, I reference not only the internet page that backs up what I say but also specifically the references the internet articles use. Example being my father who was a history buff would lecture us about some history things that I was semi sure he was wrong about, I would proceed to check online, find proof he was wrong and also find the original reference point for undeniable proof. Those were the few times in my life that he would actually say stuff to my mother in front of me like ‘Josef, you’re very resourceful and I didn’t know that(the history) before. It feels very warming as he’s potentially forced to be genuine or maybe it’s because he’s not directly giving you credit as it’s a reference.

          Not to hijack this reply but I just have a quick question to Ursula, I am as I have always been single relationship wise regardless of times that I felt in retrospect that I had been pushing people away passively. My question isn’t for having a relationship but more so that due to the way that children of narcissists feel both with empathy and obviously understanding what both had gone through in life, do you think if I do have a meaningful relationship, that it would be better to seek it out specifically among someone who may of have gone through the same ‘trial by fire’ as people on this site and I guess support groups would as opposed to potentially having a relationship with someone who may not truly understand what I went through and may or may not have a strain on the relationship?

          Thanks in advance so I don’t have to reply and Hijack Irene’s post anymore :p

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  4. Oh my, I finally found the site that shares the answers. Am nearing 60 now, and had a lifetime of a “mother” who could turn every event into a nightmare if she wasn’t the center of attention….I only discovered 3 years ago the narcisstic parent thing..WOAH, it totally described her to the T…Now I have friends who have great mothers and dads, and though elder, are not mean or hateful because their lives are getting older. No, my “mother” was a monster for as long as I can remember…Though my adoptive father divorced her, she still continued to keep his “youth” picture on her bedside table, and even 60 years later, refused to acknowledge he grew older and abandoned her. I now know why he did…She cheated on him all her life, and when with me, demanded that I have no friends around whenever she visited. For as long as I can remember, she always did what she wanted, with no regard for anyone else. I didn’t see her for nearly 20 years, and that was fine, but suddenly she showed up when her boyfriend had died, and woah…all about her…No matter what special events I took her to, no matter what trips we tried to take or sharing life and friends, it was always met with contempt and utter hateful actions….unless of course, she was the center of attention…Stupid me tried to think every time we’d get together, that she would for once, be kind and loving…It was NEVER the case, ever…I recall boyfriends from ages ago telling me how she winked at them when upsetting me so with her hatefulness….And now my friends these days tell me I need to forget her and move on…She’s 97 now, and still as mean as ever, and only recently did I call her, thinking I could still wish for a mother who never in all my life, gave me love, would soften up….I mentioned a possible cruise to reconcile and since then, she has closed out mutual bank accounts, sent me a very cold “release of power of attorney” but also sent a letter saying “I want mother/daughter back” and “Lets do this cruise”…Now that has nothing to do with me, it’s about her wanting control and playing her Will…She can stuff it where things don’t shine….for she has PO’d me off more with that stuff and proven it’s NOT about her loving me, but wanting to “win” and “gain control”….I hate to say this, but I hope she rots in Hell….and I’m terrified that she will leave me in debt out of her total meanness….She’s totally capable of it…Understand she’s an old lady who has caretakers that influence her…And frankly, I don’t care, except for a lifetime of horribleness, she’s liable to do anything to harm me…I know that now…She is mean, and I know, as when she became ill, I had to have DSS involved, as she was laying on the floor of her apt, and refused any medical treatment. If not for me, she wouldn’t be alive…and her thanks to me was “How dare you intervene in my life”…She was dying on that floor, and people called me (she lives in another state) saying she was up to her ears in feces and nearly dead….I wasn’t there, as i was 4 states away, but you bet your booty, my mom would be taken care off..I had to talk to the cops, the ambulance people, all whom she told to go to hell, and I said “Take her, and take care of her”…You know what she said to me when I flew up there the next day”? “How dare you interfere with my life” and from then on, I was not allowed to know any doctor reports, nothing…I took care of her and her thanks was this? I came up again when she finally got home from rehab and had no phone that worked or a decent chair she could sit in…I came up there solely for the purpose to get her situated, and instead, it was a freaking nightmare…We went to the furniture store to get her a LazyBoy chair she could push a button and get in and out of…Oh my, 3 hours in that store, and the poor lady working with her was forewarned….”She wont’ be easy”…3 hours later, she had cussed out everyone, and picked a chair that did not fit her at all, and when went to her house was hated..Hello…and cussed me the entire time….Hello…And should I go on a cruise with this person, pretending it’ll be okay? Nope, it’s a given that after one day on that ship, her “majesty” will do everything to make me want to drop overboard. After all, she did demand I make her my sole inheritor…Hello…Now think about that…She’s 97 and I’m nearly 60…and her demanding she’s on all my bank accounts while I”m not on hers???…Hello…All about her and wishing I’d drop dead. It was hard to realize someone could be this way, but yeh, there you go…a mother who wishes her daughter would drop dead so she can have expenses paid…Truly, this is not a lie and I can prove it.

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    • Thank you for sharing 🙂

      You don’t need to prove that this is not a lie. I know that feeling though, as you listen to yourself explain the situation, a part of you waits for that moment when those to whom you are relating your story give you that look of – this is too farfetched, it must be made up. That disbelief (often called ‘cognitive dissonance’) is how narcissists get away with so much of their behaviour. The worst of it is that we sometimes doubt the truth of our own experience, because we just can’t accept that someone, especially a close family member who is supposed to love us, etc, can be that way. We don’t want to accept that they are like that, and sometimes when we tell our story there is a small hope that we’re lying and can’t prove it, because once we prove that it is the truth we have to admit that this person is exactly the way that they are and the ripple effect of that realisation cuts very deep.

      I’ve been stuck on a cruise with my parents, and the best part of it which I remember was standing at the stern of the ship late at night (unable to sleep because I had to share a tiny cabin with my mother as my mother and father could not stand to be in the same room together), all alone, looking at the water and really wanting to jump overboard. I knew that there were sharks and barracudas following the ship as I’d seen them during the day, and I figured my chances for survival were better in the water than on the ship with my parents, and being eaten alive by hungry fish seemed preferable than being ripped apart by hungry narcissists. It was a horrible experience being on a cruise with my parents, and after that I have never wanted to go on a cruise ever again as the idea of it is worse than the most terrifying Halloween movie.

      One of best things that I ever did for myself was to cut my parents out of my life and stick with the decision no matter what. The judgement of others towards a child who disowns their parents can be harsh, but it is less harsh than having to maintain a relationship with people whom you know think they’d be better off if you were dead.

      Wishing that your narcissist parent might one day in some way love you like a non-narcissist parent, that you could perhaps, maybe, if only, have a decent relationship… that wish is like sticking a knife in your heart and twisting it repeatedly. It’s not stupid to think that, to wish for it, that is a natural wish, a wish which lets you know what it is that you want for yourself (and what you are not getting no matter how hard you try), it’s just that that wish will never come true when the other person is a confirmed narcissist. Accepting that your parent does not love you, and only keeps you around because you might be useful in some way to them… that hurts too, but that kind of hurt is one which is easier to heal (it is only easy compared to the other option) because it offers freedom from the cycle of narcissistic abuse.

      It’s not easy to ‘move on’ and ‘let go’ of a relationship with a narcissist parent, partly because the parent won’t let go of you (they see their children as their property), partly because you’ve been trained to put up with them and their shit, and to keep putting up with it and sorting things out. Ultimately you have to do what is best for you, trust yourself, and take care of yourself. Put yourself first!

      Best wishes.

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      • THANK YOU! Truly! My friends state something very similar, and that a cruise with the “devil” would be not a moment of joy, and in fact, another kick to the heart and head. They know her quite well, unlike acquaintances who only saw the “show”, and not the true-true. I once did see a psychologist about her, and the psychologist said “The only thing you can do is decide if you can release her without guilt, as nothing will ever change.” She was right also, and I did everything for that woman, so no guilt there. Since I have blocked her phone calls now for over a year, I get letters and have spoken to her only twice (phone) since I told her goodbye last October. Her letters are like her phone conversations…she’s either angry or putting on a fake smile or “dangling” a carrot…and always demanding that she wants “mother-daughter” to return to its regular relationship and demanding I come visit her….and that is how she states it, “mother/daughter relationship”, which is pretty much saying she just wants “the show to go on”. I recall her demanding all the time, “You DO love me, don’t you? I want to hear you say it now.” That is what made me question just how much those words meant to her. She knew I wasn’t comfortable with being forced to say those words, particularly right after one of her episodes.

        It took me 50 plus years before I learned what she was and is. The last few times I visited her, I watched very closely how she treated others and sure enough, people are only servants to her. She told me she owed nobody a thing because she paid them for any favors they did. Wow, she even said that about a man who had bent over backwards to help her by buying her groceries, taking her shopping when she could barely walk, and cleaning out her kitchen when she was in rehab (3 times)….Nice, isn’t she? Then she’d smile at someone she’d see, and next moment, talk horribly about them. That was when I became SO angry for having been one of her puppets. Something in me broke, and that was the heart, as it turned to stone. It was gradually happening before that, but it hit hard then that the woman was truly a very spiteful, self-serving and hateful person. It made sense why she wanted to have access to my accounts suddenly. It was only to give her what she wanted, and I truly wonder if she purposely would have her “tyrant episodes” (which drove me crazy, as I’m a peaceful person who hates arguments) to push me to thinking of suicide. It made sense that she’d demand I drink tons of wine every night when around her, and I look back to realize she wanted to ruin me.

        Now my friends say the only thing I have to be careful of is what she’ll do next, with me not responding to her. She’s already started things, by clearing out one bank account last year when I cut off her phone calls. I’ve removed her from everything now. Then, this year, it was sending me a “signature required” letter that ONLY had a Release of Power of Attorney….followed by a letter stating she was changing her will. Yep, that’s the “dangling carrot” she’s using now, which has backfired, because it only made me want to stay away even more. Friends say I need to see a lawyer to keep her from leaving me in debt, as I hear she’s already running out of money from her refusal to stay in Assisted Living, where her expenses would be 1/2 of what they are now. The apartment complex used to call me now and then to remind me that they are not an Assisted Living place, and that her demands for the maintenance man to take out her garbage bags were becoming tiresome, as were demanding someone from the desk to bring up her mail. I told them I no longer am tied to her, and someone else has Power of Attorney, lol…Yeah, so she did me a favor. It means when she passes, I am not responsible for the expense of clearing out her apartment. I fear that she will intentionally leave me in debt when she dies, just out of spite, as she knows I’m semi-retired now and living on a very tight budget. I don’t have much, but she could ultimately destroy what little I’ve saved. That is the ONLY thing I’m fearful of now, because I have witnessed her ire before. Once she hates someone, she’s on a war path. That’s why I think sometimes that I should still call her now and then, to placate her somewhat. Silence may or may not work, but until the day she dies, I’ll never be free of her, as I’ll constantly be wondering what punishment she has in store for the silence I now have. Should I call or not call her? And what can a lawyer do to prevent me from being left with her debts? What a way to feel about a mother…distrust and fear. Wow, I just wish she’d leave me alone completely, and forget I ever existed. Stop sending letters, stop using “carrots” and just go away and leave me in peace without fear of repercussions.

        Thanks for letting me vent! Never knew what havoc a narcissist can create….;>)

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        • A quick search regarding your position should your mother die owing money, turned up this info – http://estate.findlaw.com/estate-administration/paying-the-debts-of-a-deceased-relative-who-is-responsible.html which claims that legally you are not obliged to pay any debts which she has accumulated. You might want to check with a lawyer just to be certain of your position, and get answers specific to your personal case. It is best to be in ‘cover your ass’ mode when dealing with a narcissist. Most of their threats are empty and rely on the fear they induce rather than on follow through, however sometimes taking the fear they induce seriously and dealing with it logically is an effective tactic – for reducing the stress of an imagined worst case scenario and for taking the sting out of the narcissist’s game-playing (at least on a practical level).

          I’ve been using a lawyer to deal with my mother recently due to my mother resurfacing in my life after my father died, and although it took my lawyer a while to realise just how insane my mother is, things have now leveled out to a certain degree. She has tried to circumvent my lawyer and deal with me directly (because she still thinks I’m 6 years old and who she thought I was then, which was mostly someone who was easy to manipulate and brainwash), but I have stuck very firmly to No Contact to keep her cornered in having to deal with the situation through the letter of the law (which a narcissist always finds frustrating). It is a messy situation because all situations which involve a narcissist are, however this way it is less complicated than it would be (and even though it is costly to have a lawyer, it is less costly than it would be if I didn’t have one).

          Narcissists are obsessed with money, money = power to them and power is everything to them. They want it all (money, power, whatever you and anyone else has) for themselves. They can be at their nastiest when money is involved. And they always feel entitled to everything and justify it. No one else is entitled to anything.

          There are certain things which you can do for yourself, for your peace of mind, and that’s where your focus should be. On you and what you need and can supply for yourself. You can’t get her to leave you alone and forget about you, you can’t get a narcissist to do anything unless they want to do it (and even then it can be complex) but you can leave her alone and forget about her to a certain degree. Tackle your worries head on in a practical and doable manner – so if you’re worried about the possible debt situation, find out about your position legally. Don’t let the worry fester unresearched.

          It sounds like you have a very good support system with your friends. That is valuable. Friends who understand you and your situation with your mother, and what she is really like, is very precious. It is a source of strength and real, practical love (unlike the kind of ‘love’ you’re always being promised (dangled like a carrot) by the narcissist).

          The psychologist gave you very good advice – nothing will ever change – as far as your mother is concerned. However you can change how you deal with her and view her, and how she affects you. Which is what you have done and are doing. Kudos, keep doing it, supporting your freedom from the tyranny of a narcissist parent. There is no magical solution, but there is a solution, and that is to focus on yourself, on what you need, and take care of yourself. Value those who support you and keep your distance form those who don’t, especially the narcissist. They are never going to change, and they are never going to stop trying to change you to fit who they have decided you should be for them. As far as they are concerned, everything and everyone is all about them… that is their problem which they try to make everyone else’s problem – but we don’t have to keep making it our problem.

          Venting is a healthy way to understand your story and situation. Let it out to understand it, then gradually you will be able to let some of it go, which is how you let yourself go and be free from it (as free as is possible).

          Best wishes!

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          • Thank you again for your most wonderful reply. Believe it or not, I already started the legalities to expunge her from everything, and I’ll totally be “untouchable”, whether from her debts or thinking she take anything from me. What a relief to know in about 30 days, it’ll all be covered, and I can truly truly “let her go completely”….No more worrying about backlash. You’re right about the money thing, it is all she has ever cared about, as she uses it with her “friends” by paying them for errands, etc. And she always felt if she paid them, that she owed them nothing….In fact, she’d rant and rave sometimes when “friends” avoided her in the parking lot, “How dare they treat me this way, after all the money I gave them for Christmas and birthdays!”….And here’s a funny one, a few years ago she told me “I’d love to buy you car before I die, so I can see you enjoy something while I’m living”….BUT, there was a catch…..SHE had to pick out the car totally, with no input from me at all on color, model, anything, lol. I laughed when she made those stipulations and said “That’s okay, I’d rather buy the car I want, with no strings attached. Why offer if you are going to choose something I don’t even like?” She had picked out something silver, which is HER color, not mine. So, she learned she could not buy me. I think the next letter she sends will be left unread. She’s starting to write more and more of them, getting desperate, knowing that something has truly changed. I’d warned her that the time was coming. It’s here now and thank you for the support, and yes, friends have been awesome….My one friend can be very direct and her reply to “Should I go on the cruise with her?” was “HELL NO, are you INSANE?” I laughed, and “Only slightly so, but getting better every day!”….

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            • Thank you 🙂

              Always trust yourself, you know what is right for you and what you need to do to take care of yourself.

              The cruise… I understand the idea behind it, and if your mother wasn’t a narcissist…but the reality of it… I agree with your friend, however sometimes we just need one more confirmation of what we already know because we just wish things were different (that kind of hope keeps most children of narcissists going through the darkest of times)… and narcissists rely on those kind of wishes to keep us trapped in a relationship with them – they are sellers of ideal dreams to wishers of ideal dreams.

              You know what’s what and who is who… the rest is up to you. Trust yourself and take good care of yourself – and let others take care of themselves, and if they can’t that’s their problem not yours (unless they are a minor in your care – which a parent in NPD is not even if they behave as though they are).

              Best wishes!

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            • Yes, yes, yes! My mother also has a lifelong history of trying to bribe me with “gifts” which I didn’t need want or like…..then I was (naturally) labeled as “ungrateful and spoiled” when I didn’t burst with joy. To add insult to injury, every friend or coworker I thought might understand and be sympathetic, always stared at me wide-eyed and breathlessly exclaimed “What? You were stupid enough to turn down a free _____?!?!” But you described it clearly: a Trojan Horse barely qualifies as a true “gift”! How about the one where she wants to pay for your clothing, haircut, etc. but with the stipulation that it’s a style/color that she wants to play Barbie doll on you…(rolls eyes)? I KNOW this woman!
              We actually had a family reunion cruise during which I was told “F*** you!” For ignoring her snarling that was meant to control my exuberant on-vacation attitude. A family member saw this and asked her (after 50 years) “Are you okay?”
              I know exactly what you mean, and how it feels, and most of all the impotent rage that boils at trying to describe it to someone who grew up with a kind, wise, cookie-baking type of mother! Like describing a sunset to someone blind since birth: they just don’t have the point of reference to understand!

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              • Thank you for sharing 🙂

                I was thinking recently about how much of my childhood time was spent with me going out of my way to prove to and confirm for my mother that she was the best mother in the world. It could be a very difficult task at times because I had to put so much spin on her behaviour to make it seem good. This was one of my ‘jobs’ as a child of a narcissist, so I did it, if I didn’t do it there was hell to pay. Many years later, I found out that all the time that I was busy spinning things around to make her appear like a wonderful mother, she was busy spinning things around to make me appear like a terrible daughter – because in her mind she was even more of a wonderful mother for putting up with such a terrible daughter. I’ve seen that same dynamic with mothers who claim their daughters are narcissists.

                My mother used to think she owned all rights to my hair because I’d inherited it from her side of the family, ergo it belonged to her. She rejected other parts of my body because she saw them as being inherited from my father, so they were bad or hated in some other way for some other reason. But all parts of me which she saw as being inherited from her were owned by her and I was constantly being monitored and criticised for how I used them. Narcissist mothers never let up, and it often gets much worse when they get older because the fear inside which drives their narcissism screams louder and is angrier.

                My guess would be that the family member who asked her if she was okay, did it out of a habit for self-preservation – those around the narcissist tend to want to placate them before the shit hits the fan and splatters everyone. You get sacrificed for the benefit of others. Family reunions with a narcissist can be agonising… especially when trapped in a small environment like a cruise with no option to escape.

                In some ways I think that being unable to explain the experience of having a narcissist mother to someone who has had a truly good mother, is a relief – at least it’s a relief to know not all mothers are narcissists and perhaps it’s a good thing for someone not to be able to understand and empathise… unless you need them to understand because they are interfering and their lack of understanding causes problems which could be avoided as, like you said, you do understand. I do sometimes wonder if those people who are resolutely incapable of understanding are perhaps… how I would have been had I believed my own bullshit about my mother being wonderful. Maybe their ‘kind, wise, cookie-baking type of mother’ is a figment of their imagination which they protect by refusing to allow any other type of mother to exist.

                These days though, with increased awareness of NPD, and so many people admitting to having narcissists as parents… I think more people understand. Which is a relief, but also quite startling to see how many children of narcissists there are in the world!

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  5. For my whole life, I always thought all the problems in the family were my fault and I would immediately either take blame to dissolve the situation or I would intervene and soak up all the emotional abuse for the sake of the family. Having 1 parent who is a Narcissist is one thing as you can immediately think that this person is at fault, but when BOTH of your parents are narcissists, it’s unreasonable to think that everyone around you is to blame when it’s more logical that you are the one creating the problems. I first discovered my father was a narcissist about 10 months ago when my brother and I had a discussion about my father always being selfish and displacing blame onto other’s while thinking he has been a perfect father. We discussed that he might have a mental issue and on a whim, I decided to check online for something along the lines of ‘selfish person who projects blame onto other’s around him’ and I got a bunch of search results of narcissism. I then proceeded to search online very heavily about narcissism and concluded from the 15 or so common signs of narcissism of which he had 14 that he probably had narcissism. I then read up on various blogs regarding children of A narcissistic parent and concluded that the best method was to either completely disconnect myself from my father or give him very very strict rules for him to follow. Since I’ve never been a person who’s given up partially due to the emotional abuse I received preparing me for the worst in life, I chose the latter. I put down very strict rules such as when he speaks down to me over something that isn’t my fault then I will punish him. Punishment being since he was living with us, no snacks, no fruit, no tv and that kind of stuff. It may sound very mean but it’s far better than disconnecting from him completely. It worked a little bit as I quickly noticed he changed his habits a tiny bit, and changing a narcissist a tiny bit is a huge step as it goes against everything they are. More importantly, as soon as I realized what he is and why he acts that way, I realized that I wasn’t a loser and it gave me a lot of self confidence.

    Then after realizing what a Narcissist is finally especially with a family member who is one, I slowly started to realize that my brother has some signs of narcissism as well. He is nowhere as bad as my father and he doesn’t show all the signs but he shows enough signs to have cause for concern. Signs like thinking that everyone around him is incompetent and displacing blame to other people including his wife. I don’t know if there’s such thing but maybe it will get worse as time goes on or maybe he just has some of it and he won’t get any more.

    But the reason I found this specific blog just now is because I’ve just as of about 4 days ago come to realize that my mother matches all of the signs of a narcissist as well and the reason I may of have not seen this earlier is because I’m closest to my mother and I always chalked it up to age. After I had a spat with my mother resulting in my mother allocating all of the blame for something that was partially my fault and partially her fault to being just my fault and having a conversation that reminded me of the way my father used to speak to me. I don’t know why it doesn’t show up as noticeably as my father and brother, maybe she’s a patient narcissist if that even exists where she acts like a narcissist but only verbally abuses when she’s had enough and it could be a result of obviously taking this abuse from my father.

    With my father being a narcissist, I could handle it, with my brother showings signs, I could handle it, but now realizing that there’s a possibility that everyone in my family is not only a narcissist but that I’m not making it up just to displace blame(like a narcissist funnily enough) is starting to make me wonder how I can continue living.

    This is by no means me saying that I’m giving up as I personally feel that life is too valuable to throw away when so many other’s wish they could have a life. It’s moreso me just honestly wondering how best to proceed as I’ve already chosen my career path to be involved in the family business. If I had a independent job that had no association with my family, I could just get all my money, write a letter, and move to another country starting my life over again but seeing as I’m involved in the family business, I honestly have always been worried and moreso now that the stress I encounter with my family will one day take me. And by that, I mean the fact whenever I drove my car by myself or friends, I’ve never had any issues while driving but all my near misses while driving are when family is arguing in the car and there’s not enough time to pull over and cool everyone down.

    I am by no means saying that I’m happy with having this situation but there is 1 thing about myself that I am proud of, and from reading this blog, it sounds like I may of have gotten from having narcissistic parents which is I’ve always had a knack for giving a good suggestion to deal with a friend’s personal issue regardless of personal expertise. Possibly a result of me always pushing my brain to the limit to find out how to dissolve a family argument.

    On a side note, there is 1 thing that pisses me off that was eluded to in your blog that doesn’t help people who are children of narcissists. When I’ve mentioned to doctor’s that my father has NPD, they look at me as if there’s something wrong with me. They immediately feel that the child is falsely blaming their parents for their problems(funnily enough what a narcissist does) and I don’t say it to make my father look bad, I say it so they can better treat him either mentally or physically( in terms of telling him to do something for his health that he won’t do because he’s a narcissist). So I think the other issue is that society feels that narcissism is a choice that people act like sometimes, as opposed to what I feel it really is which is a messed up sense of morals developed by a messed up childhood.

    Regardless, thanks for the blog and the insight into the realization that having a whole family of narcissists is while not probable, entirely possible unfortunately for me.

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    • Thank you for sharing 🙂

      It is not unusual, when we become aware of NPD, and begin to really look into it, inform ourselves about it, for us to suddenly see it in everyone. Whatever is in our conscious awareness is what we notice. Narcissism is a natural human trait and phase of development, so we all have certain aspects of it, some of which are healthy, other aspects of it (especially when taken to an extreme) are unhealthy, for us and for others, and we can all at times behave narcissistically, particularly under certain circumstances.

      Narcissistic traits are similar to traits found in a variety of other disorders, some of which are temporary. Some anxiety disorders can cause the person who is suffering from anxiety to be narcissistic, wrapped up in themselves unable to see beyond themselves, therefore unable to empathise with others and how their anxiety may be impacting others. Certain personality disorders such as BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) have overlapping traits and behaviours with NPD, but those with BPD have empathy.

      This is one of an interesting series of articles on the similarities and differences between NPD and BPD – http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/stop-walking-eggshells/201203/why-you-walk-eggshells-bpd-emotional-dysregulation – there is a link at the bottom of this article to another article on two diverse types of narcissist. The author refers to them as Vulnerable and Invulnerable narcissists, other authors on NPD sometimes refer to them as Covert and Overt narcissists.

      In generalised terms, males tend to be Overt narcissists, and are easier to identify as narcissists as they tick all the boxes of the NPD criteria delineated in the DSM, and tend to embody our classic and popular concept of a narcissist. Females tend to be Covert narcissists more often than they are Overt. Covert narcissists are harder to identify as narcissists, partly because, if they are female some of their behaviour may be excused due to their gender and the stereotypes associated with it, but also because Covert narcissism is much more subtle than Overt narcissism, and more insidious because of its covert nature.

      This is an intriguing glimpse in Covert narcissism – http://thenarcissistinyourlife.com/category/covert-narcissists/ – all the articles listed show how difficult it is to spot this type of narcissist because of how the NPD manifests.

      The difference between someone who is behaving narcissistically and someone who has NPD is in the consistency of the narcissistic behaviour.

      One of the problems which a child of a narcissist faces in trying to figure out their family dynamic, which members are narcissists and which are not, is that you really only need one narcissist to dominate the family to cause dysfunction in all its members as they adapt to the overbearing control and censorship imposed on them on a regular basis by the narcissist. Your mother may be a narcissist (there are plenty of resources online concerning narcissistic mothers, such as this one – http://www.narcissisticmother.com/ ) or she may be suffering from the PTSD which tends to go hand in hand with a prolongued relationship with a narcissist, or she may be in denial, or she may be a co-dependent, or she may be toeing the line, coping the way she has learned to do so over the years, the way all those who live with a narcissist tend to do, perhaps at first consciously until it becomes second nature.

      An article about the narcissistic family – http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-legacy-distorted-love/201105/the-narcissistic-family-tree

      Not everyone can get away from the narcissists in their life, especially when those narcissists are family. So try to avoid being hard on yourself for not leaving, for sticking it out. Cutting ties, going No Contact, is just one way of dealing with narcissists, and although it is often advised as the best way of dealing with a crazymaker ( http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/counseling-keys/201403/how-handle-crazymaker ), it has its own difficulties too. As you have found, figured out for yourself, and are looking for, there are other ways of dealing with narcissists, much of it is trial and error until you figure out what works best with your particular narcissist (although all those with NPD have similarities, there is a spectrum to the disorder and they are still individuals who express their personal version of NPD).

      Trying to get others to see what you can see, to acknowledge that the person whom you have identified as a narcissist is a narcissist, is very frustrating and often fruitless and futile. The whole ‘don’t blame your parents for your problems’ thing is just one of many obstacles. A big one because when you talk ‘badly’ to others about your parents, they immediately become children who are protecting their own parents by protecting yours from you. If they accept that your parent is ‘flawed’, it might shatter their own image of their parents, and if they are in denial about their own family this may threaten them, so self-preservation and the preservation of precious illusions kicks in with a vengeance. And of course, there is also the fact that most people really don’t want to know, they have their own problems and don’t want to know about yours, even if yours are relevant to the issue at hand, as with your father’s doctors.

      I was caught up in my narcissistic family’s business. I have no idea whether I would have ever got out of the family business had my parents not caused it to combust due to irreconcilable narcissistic differences. Even after that part of it was over, it still took me a long while to cut ties and get away from them. Blood is thicker than water and hard to swim in, especially when you’re trying to swim away. They always find a way to pull you back in, because narcissistic parents think they own their children, we’re an extension of them, their identity, persona and being, and if their arm tried to get away from the rest of their body, they’d never let it go even if it meant killing it and preserving it in a jar.

      A whole family of narcissists is more common than is admitted. It’s one of those scenarios which we all prefer to view as a rarity, because admitting that one parent is a narcissist is mind-blowing enough to handle but we can cope with that, coping with more than that can be a bit too much and create too much internal conflict and cognitive dissonance, especially as it then leaves us in a very precarious position.

      Once you’ve figured out that someone is a narcissist, it can be a relief to put a name to a face, however it is the beginning of a long process, on which is worth undertaking. Your main focus should be on yourself – a child of narcissists tends to have been brought up focusing all their attention on their parents, this needs to be rebalanced. Many people find seeing a therapist, joining a support group, an online forum, basically finding a means and a place where they can express themselves and talk about their situation in a non-judgmental environment, talk things through and work things out, to be of great help. Healing from a relationship with a narcissist, especially if the narcissist is still in your life, is similar to going through the five stages of grief. It helps to share your experience, once you are ready to do so, with those who have had a similar experience and understand without needing it all explained to them, unless you want to explain it.

      This site has a forum – http://outofthefog.net/Disorders/NPD.html – if you would like to check one out.

      Take care of yourself!

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      • Wow, I truly appreciate not only the response but especially the links and info to now realize how accurate you are in the sense that it seems like my mother may be a covert narcissist as well as realizing that my brother may have BPD which I had never heard of before today. I will have to research BPD heavily to ensure that my brother has BPD so I can know best how to talk with him in the future as our conversations are very hard. As for my mother, it sounds like it’s either a covert narcissist or as you had said or she may be ‘coping the way she has learned to do so over the years’ as sort of a defense mechanism.

        It’s easy to think and wish that I am better than the emotional abuse I’ve been through but now I’ve gotten to wondering that maybe I’ve gained some personality disorders as a result of living with all of this and the hardest thing I think I’ll face is admitting that I may have a personality disorder myself and accepting it.

        The forum idea definitely sounds good as a therapist I found out first hand didn’t work so well when the therapist tried to bring my father in and he walked out as soon as she started mentioning his faults.

        I just have 2 quick questions, what are the steps that people generally take to emotionally deal with this and more importantly, what is the potential best case scenario. What I mean is if I talk about my issues, accept their problems and learn how to deal with them and accept who I am, will I ever truly be normal? And by normal, that is not meant to be a insult to anyone like me, I just wish I had a day when I wasn’t pulling my hair out literally from talking with family.

        Either way, thanks ahead for your response and your compassion.

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        • In my opinion the best case scenario involves acceptance, as you said – accepting yourself as you are, accepting others as they are, accepting the situation as it is. That is the most important step, at least it was for me, because growing up in a narcissistic family is predominantly all about not accepting anything or anyone as is. Narcissists are always focused on what they lack, what they don’t have, what they want (which is never what they have), what someone else has which they want, who they want to be (which is rarely who they are), etc. They are twisted idealists chasing after unicorns, and wanting to be the unicorn which they are chasing. Perfectionists who see flaws everywhere and never stop pointing out what is wrong with everyone and everything. Growing up with that – nothing and no one is ever good enough, or enough – the constant need for more, more, more, bigger, better – creates a dis-ease and dissatisfaction which eats away at everything and everyone. The pressure of that kind of expectation and all the disappointment which it brings, and the increasing anger which goes with their disappointment, means that you can never relax and enjoy the now, yourself in the now as is. So being able to say to yourself, I am enough as I am, is a potent antidote to the narcissistic virus.

          Will you ever be truly normal? The answer to that depends very much on what you consider ‘normal’ to be. What is your concept of ‘normal’ based upon? Is it real or a fantasy? Have you ever considered that perhaps you are already normal. Is there such a thing as an ordered personality? An ordered personality which isn’t part of a disorder such as OCD.

          Spending time on the internet is actually rather interesting as a gauge of normal and the ‘norm’. Personality disorders are a very popular subject online, there are countless resources connected to it. NPD is a hot topic, there are plenty of sites in myriad forms dedicated to it, and more websites, blogs, forums, online support groups, Facebook community pages, etc, are being created everyday based around it to meet the demand.

          Like this – http://www.pdan.org/

          There are times when I wonder if perhaps NPD is what is normal, and not being a narcissist is what is not normal. But then again, I would think that way as I grew up with narcissists, and that was the norm for me. Exploring the stories of other ACoNs (adult children of narcissists) puts things into perspective.

          Accepting that your own personality may be disordered is one of those hard fears to face which once faced turns out to be liberating, because you realise that the fear was keeping you a prisoner, and the reality isn’t as awful as your fear told you that it was. It’s one of those turning points which allows you to get to know yourself as you are, and as you take the time and make the effort to get to know yourself as you are, so you begin to see that many of those things which you thought were so bad about you (because the narcissist in your life made you feel that everything about you was wrong) are not bad at all, they are good. Most of our traits are good and bad and many shades in between the two, how they are perceived by us and others depends on how we look at them, our perspective, and there are always many different ways of looking at the same thing, at ourselves, at others, at personality, etc.

          Talking with a narcissist will probably always make you want to pull your hair out, however once you accept that they are a narcissist, they are never going to change, they have a pattern and it is set, they are stuck in a rut and it gets deeper every day with every word that comes out of their mouth (and they do love to talk, talk, talk), you can detach from the conversation, create some space between you and them which is beneficial for you, a buffer, and it won’t affect you in the same way that it used to. They’ll always be annoying, but the sound won’t be so grating to your ears, it’ll just be their usual drip, drip, drip, the same one which felt like torture, but now it’s just a background noise, like traffic or a car alarm which has been going off for so long you’ve tuned it out.

          Accepting yourself as you are is the point at which you reclaim the personal power which was yours all along but which felt as though it was taken away from you by narcissists, leaving you powerless. You are not powerless. Being yourself as is… is your power.

          “Almost anybody can learn to think or believe or know, but not a single human being can be taught to feel … the moment you feel, you’re nobody-but-yourself. To be nobody-but-yourself — in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else — means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.” – e. e. Cummings

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          • I guess I should have mentioned that I have OCD and it may of have resulted from the toxic situation that I grew up in. But alas, I understand what you are saying and I should instead of living in the past no matter how much I despise the way I was treated as child from the family as a whole, I can never truly move on until I accept that of which is the past and focus only on my future.

            There is a trigger unfortunately that always brings me to talking about my past and I have no idea how to stop it regardless of my willpower. Whenever I talk to my father and he proclaims that he’s been a perfect father and husband, I become enraged because of the emotional abuse we all suffered and the lack of accountability on my father’s end. I know that this is part of my father’s personality and I know he’ll never hold himself accountable for it, and yet the words ‘perfect father and husband’ enrage me everytime. Is there anyway to deal with this outside of my current solution of not talking to him/walking away when he starts talking?

            What you just said resonated inside and I always somewhat understood until now. I’ve always looked at the upsides to my personality disorders such as ADD, OCD and whatever else I may have but I see now that instead of focusing on only the positives I should accept the negatives as well and make it my own. Instead of trying to act like the perceived ‘norm’, I should accept all that I am and live life to the fullest while treating who I am as ‘my’ ‘norm'(without of course being emotionally damaging to people around me) and always remember that I control my life, not my disorders.

            It’s funny to of have only exchanged 2 dialogs and yet I feel so empowered right now, again I want to thank you not just for myself but for everyone who was once lost like I was 10 months ago and apparently again 6 days ago. I hope this doesn’t sound wierd or anything but you are the most intelligent and compassionate person I think I’ve ever spoken to. Thank you again.

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            • Thank you very much 🙂

              I read an interesting perspective on OCD and similar behaviour recently – http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/compulsive/201410/dont-step-crack – which resonated with me. I can relate to certain elements of OCD due to growing up in a narcissistic family. I do think that something such as OCD can stem from a narcissistic environment, the coping mechanisms needed to survive it, adapt to it, and what it contains in and of itself. There is a ritualistic ‘magical thinking’ component to the way narcissists behave and think, and if you are the child of narcissists you absorb it whether you want to or not.

              Exposure to someone with NPD on a constant basis is going to affect you, your behaviour, your thinking and feeling, and to cope with their 24/7 influence sometimes you have to use methods which can be viewed as disorders (to you with hindsight, and to others who don’t have to deal with what you are dealing with and have had to deal with). If you grow up in the chaotic environment of someone with NPD, the intense control and censorship plus the outbursts of confusing drama, sometimes what others view as disorder is the very thing which brings order to chaos.

              Everything is about perspective. The place form which you are viewing it. The place from which others view it.

              The past is a very valuable point of reference and should not be dismissed. The past influences the present, which influences the future. Therefore talking about your past is a valuable way to understand the past, and also the present and therefore the future. There is no need to ‘stop it’, and every need to listen to that which can’t be stopped. What can’t be stopped… has a message for you, and it won’t stop until the message is delivered, signed for, and received – understood. Your past has a message for you which is pertinent to the now and the future nows. Your past has bearing on you, who you are, who you became, who you desire to become, and who you will be. It is very relevant.

              The past needs to be acknowledged, validated, reviewed, relived in some ways to be understood, and heard. By you for you. If the past holds anger, that anger needs to be expressed… and this can be done in a safe space. If the past has grief, then that needs to be expressed, allowed to run its course, to evolve, to impart what comes after it is expressed. All that you have within you which has been suppressed… wants to be expressed.

              Don’t expect the narcissist in your life to ever do any of that, to acknowledge you, your experience, your life separate from them or anything (or anyone) else. They can’t, won’t and don’t. They are also constantly rewriting the past to suit whatever image they have and want of themselves, want others to have of them, to control how others perceive them according to how they desire to be perceived, right here and now. They are never responsible or accountable but they will go on and on and on about how responsible and accountable they are being, and are, and have always been, even though they are not, never will be and never have been. They are permanent hypocrites, who accuse everyone else of hypocrisy (especially when you point their hypocrisy out to them – that’s a no-no because if you do it, they then have to undo it with a vengeance). They will lecture you relentlessly, expect you to live by their word, and not take in a word of all the advice they order others to take from them. They want to control others to control (themselves) their wanted version of reality and of themselves.

              It is worth remembering that downsides have upsides and upsides have downsides. In the long term, both sides have value as they are a part of a whole, and you are a whole. Contrasts are of value, as they give us a way to think things through, ultimately though the black and white view that good is good, bad is bad, has to accept that sometimes black is white and white is black and there are shades of grey, that good is bad and bad is good, and the shades in between bad and good are worth exploring, accepting, and understanding.

              Everything which you have experienced is a part of who you are, it is a part of who you will be because how you view your past influences how you view your present and therefore how you view your future. Your past and past experience doesn’t control you, only you can do that… to a degree, however there is a point where even you can’t control yourself and that is both good and bad intertwined, it is the crack through which something new emerges. A personal power which accepts a certain randomness to how the puzzle pieces fall into place.

              What you can control and what you can’t, and the battle to control, the fight to rebel, all these and more are creative friction within a whole being… that is a part of getting to know ourselves and appreciating what an adventure getting to know ourselves is, and will always be in many ways. The curiosity to see what happens next… and then after that…

              You have a lot of insight into yourself… there are more ways of viewing what you know, many of those views will inspire you and surprise you in an exhilarating way!

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              • Our conversation helped me alot in lowering my blood pressure from speaking to my parents as I now better understand both from our conversation as well as speaking to a relative who effectively explained why my father is a narcissist. I unfortunately or fortunately just saw my brother face to face and realized now that in fact everyone in my family is a narcissist with my mother being covert. I came to realize this with my mother about a month ago but I semi dismissed it because it was unavoidable from having a toxic relationship with my father. My brother I highly suspected it recently when my mother fell down and hurt herself, and my brother’s initial reaction was making a snyde comment that she fell because she’s clumsy. But unfortunately I now know he’s a narcissist from a physical fight that he initiated with me and throughout the fight, he kept accusing me of being the instigator. After he calmed down in his own way, I told him to his face that I suspect he’s a narcissist but I said that it wasn’t his fault and he may of have gotten it inadvertently from our toxic childhood. My intention was so he would realize his faults and try to change himself before he not only gets older but also in the process destroys his marriage. It’s one thing if my father is a narcissist where I can choose to partially disconnect myself but I DON’T want my brother to fall down the same path as my father but due to my brother’s intelligence, it’s sad for me to say, I don’t think I can do anything about that which is truly sad not only for the family business which we are both running now but also as well his relationship with his wife and obviously with any customers with the business. This is both the worst day in my life and the best day of my life in the sense that I know my family is messed up and I have the means to help mend this family but by being who they are, they dont want that help and it being the best day in the sense that I realize what my family is and I now know full well that the majority of the times that I took responsibility for things were me covering for my family. I personally find this sad to say but maybe now at the age of 35 I can start to focus on myself first and stop thinking about what I can do to help better my family first.

                On a Side note, I told my brother that we can both go see a psychologist together to which he immediately changed the subject and kept interrupting me everytime I tried to change it back.

                Maybe it’s just me or maybe it’s a result of the being the child of narcissists, it’s really sad to come to realize all of this.

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                • It is a melancholy experience to realise that your family, especially your parents, have NPD. I remember when I first accepted that, it took me ages to do so, and the sadness was crushing because all hope is lost. However there is a flip side which eventually comes to the fore once you work through the inner darkness of losing hope. Coming out the other side of it I went through a period of viewing Hope as the worst of all the things which came out of Pandora’s Box – basically I saw Hope as a devil in the disguise of an angel. Hope was Keyser Soze.

                  I luckily (it’s one of those ‘luckily’ which may or may not be lucky at all) did not have siblings (other than my parents who often behaved that way). I think the NPD family situation is so much more complicated when the NPD parents have more than one child. At least I was only triangulated with myself, split into separate parts which were then pitted against each other, whereas if this had gone on with actual siblings, I’m fairly certain I would still be a very divided self still fighting with my siblings who would also be very divided within themselves, as all NPD parents like things to be between and within their children so the children can never join forces against the NPD parents.

                  NPD parents make great charismatic dictators who keep the citizens of their country divided and at war with each other so they never see who is the real problem. They also are very adept at finding a common enemy for everyone to fight against, which means no one is pausing to look at the real enemy who is disguised as a friend and leader.

                  One of the things which NPD parents do with their children (and subjects) is to inspire the kind of loyalty which is self-destructive to the child to save the parent. This is very hard to tackle. I found Transactional Analysis (by Eric Berne) immensely helpful with unraveling this as it is designed to find your unconscious programming. Things like CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) are also useful to get an inside perspective and work things out. Although NLP in its more popular version has certain connections to narcissistic manipulation (which is why it is partially helpful, as an inside view of something very complex, but it can also go in another direction and end up being all about manipulation and control).

                  One of the things which often truly messes up a child of narcissists is the extent of genuine caring for others which they have naturally and which has been stretched out of proportion by the narcissist parent to the point where the child only cares about others and not about themselves. A child of narcissists is basically pushed to sacrifice their self for the self of the narcissist and the self of everyone whom they know. This can mean that we don’t get out of a harmful situation because we are like soldiers who refuse to leave anyone behind to save ourselves, and we will risk our own safety to save someone else – like you with your brother. But what if that someone else doesn’t allow us to save them, then what? Do we save ourselves and leave them behind, can we live with ourselves if we do that, or do we sacrifice ourselves to try to keep saving them even if they refuse our help?

                  There are many complex and painful puzzles which a child of narcissists has to solve. One of which requires embracing the healthy side of Narcissism – this is anathema to a child of narcissists because we view any form of narcissism as being bad, even the kind which is healthy for us. The kind which would help us heal ourselves. This is part of the puzzle which you are now dealing with, which prompts you to say – “I personally find this sad to say but maybe now at the age of 35 I can start to focus on myself first and stop thinking about what I can do to help better my family first.” – for a child of narcissists, one as deeply self-reflective as you are (rather than one who has gone the way of the ‘Golden child’ and become like their parents), the concept of focusing on yourself is foreign and may make you feel guilty and bad about yourself, hence a part of the extreme sadness.

                  People who don’t grow up in an NPD family are taught to focus on themselves first. People who do grow up in an NPD family are taught to focus on everyone else (particularly the narcissists) and that focusing on themselves is a high crime akin to treason. So when we finally do what others do, we feel awful about it… but if we do it and keep going through the awful feelings, we begin to feel good about it (which usually triggers even more guilt and inner struggles). It is worth it, worth the inner struggle. You do need to focus on yourself, you deserve it… give yourself time to get used to it (it will always feel a bit weird, but it will begin to help you heal too, and you may discover some very beautiful aspects to yourself which will fill your heart with unusual joy and help to mitigate the sadness).

                  every day I fight the desire to delete myself off the internet (and in some ways off the face of the earth). The more I keep going and don’t give in to that desire, the less strong it is and the more I appreciate just being here, alive, as is. So, keep going, and take the time to focus on yourself until it begins to feel more natural and less unnatural. Take a leap of faith in yourself, you can do this (you’ve survived an intensely difficult challenge by growing up with NPD parents, so you’re tougher than you’ll ever really know).

                  Take care of yourself, be gentle with yourself, trust your inner urges, get to know who you are step by step. It’s going to take time, and it may hurt, but pain can be healing too, it holds more than just pain within it.

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                  • Last night after my confrontation was one of the first times that I truly focused on myself going to a late night coffee shop and realizing possibly due to having a temporary different state of mind how independent and engaging I can be with people when I stop being how I was brought up in the family. I’ve already seen the benefits and I for one am happy that you have yet to delete yourself from the internet as that unlike you where you didn’t have someone to speak to like this early on, I fortunately have and you’ve possibly saved me countless more years till I truly would of changed myself not to mention possibly saving my life physically from doing something stupid.

                    I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart, I hope for my sake this is my turning point where I don’t look back.

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                    • Thank you very much 🙂

                      The sort of time which you had with yourself at the late night coffee shop is precious. Take a shapshot of it and keep it in your mind as a vivid reminder, it is indeed a turning point, and also a spotlight to guide the way.

                      Looking back is sometimes necessary along the way forward, because we sometimes have to look at the past with the new perspective gained from a turning point. It can be very insightful. Things which were confused can be clarified this way.

                      One of the things to keep in mind is that an NPD family doesn’t like its captive to free themselves. Al Pacino summed it up best in The Godfather – Just when I thought I was out… they pull me back in. However they attempts to pull you back in lose their success rate after each turning point, each milestone you reach on your path to freeing yourself and being yourself.

                      Just keep going, if you stumble along the way, pick yourself up and brush yourself off gently, give yourself some TLC. Always be kind to yourself, even when you may want to and do cuss and criticise yourself. Keep those moments of deep connection which you have with yourself, like the one in the coffee shop, as reminders of who you are and can be as you free yourself from the narc influences. You have a world ahead full of great discoveries about yourself, your abilities, and so much more. If and when it gets dark, look towards the light within. Trust the primal instinct within you which wants you to own your own life, and which is always there to give you a survival boost towards having a thriving and exhilarating experience of life.

                      You can do this, you know it!

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  6. Thank you. Reading this was a breath of fresh air. I’m an only child of 2 toxic narcissists. So your story really gelled with me. Thank you also for sharing.
    Kind regards
    Mel

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    • Melissa- I am a daughter of a Narcissist father. I feel your pain. My father tries to make me and my adult children guilty for not visiting as much. Who wants to though when he acts unreasonable, demanding, makes back handed remarks and controls every conversation while we are there. I could not imagine BOTH my parents being Narcissists. God Bless you.

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  7. Thank you so much for posting this. I’ve been trying to figure out what was going on with my family for a long while now, and stumbled upon the narcissistic parent thing several months back. The more I’m reading others’ stories, the more I’m feeling like I am finally connecting some pieces together. Unfortunately, I do not have any friends and because of the interfering tactics my parent(s) have used in the past, I am reluctant to bother attempting to find any new people to befriend. I am a single mother of a two year old with my only income being government assistance, I am back in school full time (although I am not certain if the degree will truly benefit me), I live with my father and drive his car. I was working for a family friend who found out I was planning on leaving the state when I discovered I was pregnant and I was fired. I spent everything on transportation to and from doctor’s appts. and on things for the baby. I was unable to find employment afterward, then they baby came and I did not know how to find appropriate child care and my family is obviously not allowed around my son alone for any longer than a few minutes. Eventually I was backed into a corner, I found child care, however I do not believe my child is properly cared for and I am back in school. As mentioned I am torn between finishing a transfer associate’s or just seeking work. Aside from their narcissistic qualities, my family knows many people high up the political chain and many people in local businesses, so when I have attempted to seek help with my situation and relayed this information, I was told I was delusional as none of my claims were possible. Clearly my main concern now is my child and the effect my family’s presence will have on him as well as my own, because the more I am reading about this, the more I am feeling like I am falling into the trap of becoming like them and abusive myself. So, if any one has any advice, I’d enjoy hearing it. Thanks again for this post, it’s nice to know I am not the only person who has grown up in this kind of ridiculous atmosphere.

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    • Thank you 🙂

      It takes a while to put the pieces together once you’ve located the key piece – that you grew up with narcissists and/or you have been in a relationship with a narcissist.

      Once you get that piece, everything else begins to make sense bit by tiny bit. The confusion slowly clears, the pain finds how to heal. There are many good resources on the internet to help with that, articles, blogs, forums, etc, but you do have to do the personal work yourself. Because as much as someone else’s story may be similar to your own, and they offer support, only you can figure your own personal story out.

      You can do it, trust yourself, take care of yourself!

      What sort of advice are you looking for? There is a lot of advice available… being specific helps to locate the advice which will be personally helpful for you.

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      • Honestly, I’m currently just trying to figure out a way out of this situation, as quickly as possible and with as little damage to my son as possible. I will continue to research this further now that I have figured out what the main issues were. Thanks again!

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        • Knowledge is definitely power where NPD is concerned. Personal power, as in building your own understanding so that confusion can be clarified, self-trust and confidence in yourself is increased so that doubt doesn’t cripple but is simply there to keep your mind and options open.

          With regards to your concerns about your son. Children are very resilient and intelligent, they tend to be more aware of dynamics in relationships than adults, and as long as they are encouraged to think for themselves, they’ll figure things out. The damage to a child tends to occur when adults try to force their thoughts upon a child on a regular basis and those thoughts go against the child’s own thinking, thus making the child feel that they have to betray their own thoughts to be loyal to those of the adult who has complete power over them and their life. That is what happens when a child grows up with a narcissist, and that is what causes some of the most difficult problems for the child of a narcissist once they become an adult themselves. When a child is forced to not trust themselves, they become an adult who does not have confidence in their ability to make decisions for themselves.

          Your awareness of the possibility that you could become like your parents and therefore abuse your child as you were abused shows you that you are not like your parents and won’t repeat the pattern. A narcissistic parent does not have that kind of awareness and uses their child to support their need to be seen by others and to see themselves as a good parent, they constantly manipulate their child to reassure them. They see their child as an extension of their ego, there to serve them, their needs, wants and persona, rather than a person in their own right. You see your child as a person in his own right. You are concerned for his well-being, and empathise with him. This is healthy and not the sign of a parent with narcissistic tendencies. So don’t worry about that.

          I think you should pursue your studies and get your degree. The experience will be of value to you in many ways, psychologically, materially and socially. Getting the degree will increase your self-confidence and will allow you to seek employment which will give you financial freedom. You may not see the benefit of it, but the society around you judges people’s worth based on their education. That degree will mean more to those with whom you seek employment, therefore it will mean a lot to you and your quest for freedom from your present environment and situation. This may mean entrusting care of your son to others for a while, but this is a short term solution to support a long term solution which will benefit both of you. Just make sure that when you do spend time with your son, it is a time where you focus on him and on what is going on with him, his needs and wants, thoughts and feelings, so that he knows that he is seen, heard, and loved in his own right. That will help to balance things out.

          There is no way to ensure that your son won’t be affected by what is going on. He will. Being human is difficult from the moment we are born, and we face challenges from day one, whether we have loving parents or not. Having a loving parent, as you seem to be, simply gives a child the confidence that it can face challenges in life. So just love your son, and he will know that whatever challenges he faces, he can handle them and you’ll be there to support and encourage him. You don’t have to be a perfect parent, protect him from everything and everyone, he won’t expect you to and he won’t mind if you make mistakes, in fact when you do, you show him that making mistakes is just a part of life and being human and mistakes are not to be feared, they are just a part of life. He’ll enjoy helping you in your quest to make a better life for both of you as it will make him feel that he has personal power of his own, and this will help him as an adult.

          Focusing on yourself, on what you need to do to break free, is important as this will benefit both you and your son. Stay focused, don’t let the narcissists in your life confuse you, see their tactics for what they are, trust yourself and keep going (that’s how you get out of hell).

          Best wishes, take good care of yourself, be gentle with yourself.

          Thank you for sharing 🙂

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          • Thanks again, your words mean a lot and make much sense. Sometimes I guess it is just easier to have your own ideas reinforced by another person who has experienced a similar situation.

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            • When someone else supports what we already know but which keeps being invalidated, it gives us the support we need to trust ourselves, which is a powerful experience as we know what we know, but sometimes we wish we didn’t know it and we doubt it.

              Trust yourself and take care of yourself 🙂

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              • I truly do appreciate your words and thoughts, but as resilient as children are, I think it hurts them in the long term to be overly exposed to a bad situation. I guess I answered my own question then, because I believe that small children are little sponges who soak up everything around them, and the more they are subjected to a bad situation, the more likely they are to grow up and think that it is normal. As much as I would love to go forth and get my degree, because as you said, it will be beneficial long term, I have to be a parent right now, that cannot wait until school is finished. I think the sooner I start making money, the sooner I will be able to save and get out of my situation. I suppose I was just looking to talk to someone who understands where I am coming from, and I believe you do, although we disagree on a few points. Thanks again!

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  8. For many years i have surf the net in search of an explanation, no, a recognition, and here you are throwing the words. Sometimes we think family is father and mother but family is the ones who’ve been through what we’ve been through, how difficult it is to talk and share when the deep self is silenced. Have you also had those years where you just wished you could be mute forever. I guess it is the nature of the secret to want to be mute, and I struggle between embodying the secret and embodying my voice. That struggle that makes me want to die, you wrote it all out for my eyes to read. Thank you. I feel I can at least take a step further out of despair tonight.

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    • Thank you 🙂

      I’ve never wished to be mute, but I have felt as though I was mute. Many years ago I saw a film – The Spiral Staircase – which is a thriller about a mute woman trapped in a house with a killer who wants to kill her. One scene in particular summed up how I felt – inside she is screaming for help, but on the outside she is silent.

      The struggles which we have within us, which are often reflected in what happens outside of us, are conversations between different parts of ourselves, parts of ourselves linked by the struggle. Exploring the internal struggle, asking each side questions, listening to the answers, delving into why the struggle exists, what keeps it going, when did it start, what is the root of it and the purpose of it… that’s how we figure out why we embodied the secret and how we find our voice. The struggle ‘between’ things is a whole. A whole where embodying the secret and embodying the voice merge and become one. The value of the voice is discovered through the silence of the secret, the silence of the secret helps us to find our true voice. There are ways to do both, to blend elements of both sides of the struggle, to keep the secret and also have a voice… the struggle is a dance. The dance between day and night, life and death, sound and silence. Contrasts of black and white which work together, and blend in shades of grey.

      There’s an intriguing book – When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice by Terry Tempest Williams – which explores in an insightful, personal and poetic manner the voice of self expression through many stories of the ways people choose to speak or to stay silent, to give voice or embody a secret. It all starts when the author’s mother gives her daughter a set of journals, which must not be read until the mother has died. The author never knew her mother kept a journal, and this surprising information of something she never knew about a mother she thought she knew well, plus what she finds within the journals and what the experience stirs up for her is what inspired the book.

      “…the unexpected action of deep listening can create a space of transformation capable of shattering complacency and despair.” ― Terry Tempest Williams

      Our voice is not just for others to hear, it is for us to hear too, sometimes our voice speaks through silence, through secrets in secret ways… but it always speaks to us, even when no one else hears it and when we don’t share it. Listening to ourselves in whatever form we choose to speak with ourselves is the deepest act of sharing. That’s where our story is told with all its secrets, and where our wisdom resides and shines.

      Take care of yourself ❤

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  9. Wow. Just wow. I can’t even remember what I googled to lead me here but it must have been God. I needed to read this. I’ve never thought that about it in this way but you described my relationship with my mother and immediate family to a tee. I cried our for help so many and didn’t get it. She has managed to paint a picture of me in her image that is completely false. Called the cops on me and lied to get them arrested, telling me I would never amount to anything, I could go on and on but her craziness drove me to be successful DESPITE her. I am so proud the person I am becoming and of my accomplishments that I’ve made on my own. Thank you so much for this article.

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    • Thank you 🙂

      Being the child, even an adult child, of a narcissist is always difficult and never gets easier. They never allow you to grow up, never stop trying to control you and your life. And they will use anyone and anything to keep you under their control, living and trapped in their version of reality and of you.

      There’s a great blog – http://www.narcissisticmother.com/ – which pretty much covers every angle of having a narcissistic mother. Very insightful, sometimes cuts to the quick with its insights… which is at once painful and liberating.

      It’s wonderful to hear that in spite of her attempts to crush you, you’ve become who you want to be rather than who she wants you to be, it takes a lot of strength, courage and determination to do that, kudos, and remember to remind yourself of your accomplishments and how beautiful you are, especially when she tries to ruin it for you!

      Keep doing what you are doing, be proud of yourself, love yourself and take good care of yourself!

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  10. “You will never amount to anything. You’re just a big fat useless sack of crap.”

    “How do you think Jesus feels when he looks down and sees the way you treat me? The way you bring shame to this entire family?”

    “You disgrace this whole family. Even your brother and sister are ashamed of you.”

    “Yeah.. that’s gratitude for you. You drag it out of the gutter and give it a decent life, and this is how it repays you. Well thank you very bloody much!”

    (Shaking head as he says) “How did a man like me end-up with a son like you?”

    “You worthless bloody bastard.”

    Oh, yes… I was the scapegoat. The stuff I’ve written above was said to me at least 30 years ago, but I can still hear it as clear as a bell, and see the look of contempt on my (adoptive) fathers’ face, see the white in the corner of his mouth that used to form during his tirades. The irony is, of course, that I was a quiet, bookish kid. I never got drunk, or took drugs, or stayed out all night. He just hated me.

    And, as per the predictable pattern, I spent my 20’s, having escaped from the lair of the beast, taking drugs and screwing around, living a self-destructive lifestyle. It wasn’t until I found “Toxic Parents” by Susan Forward that I was able to move along with my life and get my act together.

    My father hasn’t moved on. He still asks my mother why I won’t talk to him anymore, even though I have made it abundantly clear that all he has to do is acknowledge that he was wrong, that he treated me badly, and say “sorry”. He doesn’t think anything he’s ever done was wrong, but of course, he’s missed-out on ever having a relationship with his oldest son. That’s his loss. I’m better off without him.

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    • Thank you for sharing 🙂

      I can relate to the statements of ‘the awful truth about you’ which your adoptive father felt the need to tell you about. In fact when I read the first one, I had a moment of stomach churning.

      What I eventually realised about those kind of statements is that the people saying them are usually repeating, passing on, the voices they are carrying within them of someone else, often their parents, who said those things to them.

      ‘Man hands on misery to man’ – as Philip Larkin put it succinctly in his poem ‘This Be the Verse’ – http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/178055

      Your father can’t move on, he’s stuck, probably stuck in the past where he was a child and had those sort of things said to him. He grew up thinking this was normal and how an adult related to a child. So he did it too. Only this time he got to play the part of an adult having power over a child rather than a child being overpowered by an adult. And we might pass the same thing on to our children… unless we break the cycle, the pattern of abuse.

      He’ll never understand why you aren’t talking to him because he doesn’t want to face the truth. Facing the truth means facing his own inner demons and he’s spent a lifetime avoiding that. Same with my mother, she blames everyone but herself for why I don’t talk with her and haven’t done so for about 15 years. She can’t see that she’s the problem as that would destroy her version of herself and her reality – and that is more precious to her than the truth according to anyone else. Certain people sacrifice others to preserve their status quo where they are ‘safe’ as the ‘hero’. Their concept of a relationship is – you become who they want you to be to support who they want to be – and that is that, no options apply.

      Sometimes we have to lose ourselves before we can find ourselves. Once we rediscover who we are… we find our personal power, one which doesn’t need us to destroy anyone else to have it. Sometimes the hard way ends up being the way to go. There are plenty of people in this world like your father, like my mother, the sooner we learn to deal with them, the more we can focus on living life according to us and not them.

      You are better off without him, but in some ways having experienced what you did with him has given you that wisdom which will serve you well in life. You now know how to protect yourself, keep your personal integrity, when you meet someone else in life like him. That’s a valuable lesson.

      Best wishes!

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  11. I will definitely bookmarked your site. Your observations are right on the money and expressed so very well. I am the child of a narcissist and borderline – personality disorders in my grandfather also, so the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. Grew up with an avoidant father and with bullying from siblings ( and mother). I was both the scape goat and golden child ( depending on what I did) and was diagnosed with thyroid disorder as a preteen ( have read that it is associated with a ‘lack of voice’ in life.) I also developed immune disorders and fibromyalgia from the hyper vigilance that goes along with growing up in a tense household. My parents always wanted the perfect family and I was the problem child who messed the picture up. Even now, I know that many in my community feel that I have been the troublemaker and they feel sorry for my parents.

    My mother actually does have a conscience, but she doesn’t want to acknowledge that she is ever wrong. She would tell about how she would line up her dolls and then act like a teacher and make them do what she wanted. I never remember doing this with my dolls. I was seen as an extension of her and was grilled on how I acted any time I went to visit someone’s home. This made me very self conscious and afraid of making mistakes.

    Like Moonshadow, I am having to live with my parents and am now their caregiver. So now I constantly hear the negative remarks and complaints, and ‘how dare you complain about how I act, when I GAVE my life for you.’ I have no social life and have trouble trusting people, yet I am also sensitive with good common sense, and sometimes have people tell me their whole life story after being around them only a short time. I have to stop myself from helping people, as I have found that many people will use you if they find out that you have any empathy. I’m like a little dog who was trained to do one trick and I have to stop it, I know. I don’t know if I will ever feel like I am a normal person. I often watch people to try and unlock how they manage life, because I can’t seem to get it together. (How I would love a support group where I can feel like I’m understood and fit in.)
    Thank you for writing this – I do feel less alone. Hugs! ( and also to everyone else who has posted)

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  12. …not to mention finding your observations extremely insightful as well. I have my work cut out for me catching up reading your other posts–and so many of other survivors. There’s a lot of us out there and I think blogging is a way a lot of find comfort and healing.

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        • It’s very addictive, especially at the start of it. It’s like a wild horse being let out of it’s enclosure – so much to say and free to say it at last. Keeping it going once the buzz has worn off is another matter. Most bloggers hit a wall at some point, especially when the demands of RL encroach. It is always a very intriguing experience, the online self meets the offline self and things get connected 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

    • Understanding is a wonderful feeling. Relationships are complicated because there is so much going on within them, they can at times seem like a complex math problem made up of thoughts and emotions, conscious and unconscious reflexes, of past, present and future relationships. It’s a relief to figure things out. When we figure ourselves out it helps to understand others, and when we figure others out it helps us to understand ourselves.

      Best wishes 🙂

      Like

    • Thank you so so so much for this. I feel so much empathy for everyone but I don’t trust them either, so I just feel so scared and alone. Thank you for letting me feel less alone.

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      • Thank you 🙂

        Empathy does not necessarily equal trust, in fact sometimes empathy lets you know that trusting someone else is not an option.

        It depends on what definition you give to empathy.

        For me, empathy is about perceiving from someone else’s perspective… someone else’s perspective can be eye-opening in a way which is not always pleasant or reassuring, or supportive. Especially if that perspective is of the narcissistic kind. Narcissists only see things from their point of view. It is better not to trust them as they do not trust us, and don’t have our best interests on their to do list, ever.

        We are always alone, because we are all unique, and that uniqueness separates us from others, however we have similarities and those allow us to connect, to be together in our alone-ness.

        Everyone is scared… we all deal with that fear differently. Those who are aware of it, and honest about it, are often shunned by those who prefer to deny it. There is personal power in facing things as they are, in looking at yourself as you are… it’s a hard and valuable path.

        Feel free to share on here as much as you feel comfortable with… you are not alone, even when you feel it. And you don’t need to trust me or anyone else, but it helps to trust yourself, to feel empathy for yourself, and be gentle with yourself.

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  13. I can tell by the things you said that you truly are one of us. I don’t share this with anyone; what I know. But I still suffer. I am now disabled with no place to go and have lived with my narcissist mother for three years. She threatens to throw me out, she is verbally abusive especially if I have obvious pain or other weaknesses related to my disability. Mostly I bury the hurt but sometimes it’s impossible because the hurts hit too close to home. She has thrown glasses of water in my face, told me she hates me and other hurtful degradations. She can be a monster, and I’m embarrassed yo say I still wish I had a normal mother daughter relationship . I feel like a sucker. I do help her with a lot: drive her to the store or to the nursing home to see my dad. Lately I am feeling the strain. I don’t know how much longer I can take being so vulnerable to her. I’ve been married three times each one
    a narcissist. I know about preferring to be alone but hurting the whole time. My life seems to attract painful situations and people. I don’t know where my life is going but I do know I want to find peace. My physical condition leaves me praying for death at times due to the incredible pain that even opiates don’t resolve completely. I’ve attempted suicide three tines due to unbearable psychic pain. I learned this pain at the feet of my mother who scoffs at love and even yells at her children when they show love to their own children. She claims she never needed it when she was a child but I know that is her excuse for showing it to her own.

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    • Thank you for sharing 🙂

      Narcissist parents often try to cut the wings of their children so they can never leave the Narcissist nest. If their child flies the coop the narcissist parent will spend a lot of time and effort trying to lure them back one way or another. You belong to them, you’re their property, they own you, how dare you think that you’re autonomous. If you find a partner and create your own family, they will try to poison your mind against your partner, your new family, and find ways to break your life up so you’ll fail – they love schadenfreude – and be forced to return to them and rely on them. They often use money as power over their children as it is sometimes the only power they have left to keep control of you.

      Narcissists are terrified of being alone, and sometimes they have children to fill the void of emptiness and they see their children as being the only people in their lives who are not allowed to abandon them. It’s their version of the parent/child contract. Their children exist for them, to serve them. Their purpose for us is to love them no matter what they say or do to us. To be their caretaker no matter how cantankerous they are. To stay with them even if they are a monster. But of course they flip this around and make it seem as though they are the ones burdened by us. They always make their children feel as though we’re a burden to them, that they are martyrs for putting up with us, that we are the monsters.

      The truth in a relationship with a narcissist tends to be the exact opposite of what they say, do, and believe. Reality is the opposite of their version of reality.

      They need us more than we need them. Which is why they like to may us ‘owe’ them in some way. They shame us into a relationship with them. Make us feel as though we have this enormous debt to pay to them. My mother liked to remind me how much she suffered during her pregnancy, how ill she was the whole time, how badly my father treated her because he did not want children, and that she almost died after she gave birth to me – I ‘owed’ her my life was her constant message, a debt I could never pay off and which she expected payment in the form of undying loyalty to her (even if it meant betraying myself over and over again). I remember thinking as a child – Someone has to love her, I guess that’s my job, my purpose in life.

      You’re not a sucker for wishing that you could have a normal mother/daughter relationship, that’s a natural wish. It’s a longing for a healthy relationship. All people wish for that. But that wish can be a crippling pain for the daughter of a narcissist mother. There will be moments when the narcissist mother does something out of the blue wonderful and for a second you get swept up in possibility of love at last…then she turns back into a monster, but you cling to the hope that those moments gave. The pain of a shard of love.

      You said – I’ve attempted suicide three times due to unbearable psychic pain. – The desire to end it all is one I’ve experienced many times, and if you have physical pain as well as psychic pain then it can make being alive feel like torture and death seem like a peaceful solution.

      I thought I’d share this post I wrote a while back – https://anupturnedsoul.wordpress.com/2013/03/07/graven-a-hypnagogic-nightmare/

      You are not alone.

      Please take care of yourself.

      Like

  14. I wanna cry now..

    This was so beautiful and it describes SO well :

    The children of Narcissists are used to being invisible. Being invisible does not mean that you can’t see what is both visible and invisible.” THIS ❤

    "Children of Narcissists live in silence. Alone. Sometimes lost. Sometimes they are the least lost person on the planet, but that is not a consolation. "

    AND THIS ❤ Lovely post, depth and soul.. Congrats for your blog !..

    I am 23 years old. I live 20 years in Hell with a severly abusive N Mother, and neglectful enabling Father, also narcisist and coward. I don`t wanna scorn the past again, bottom line is that I am OUT, I have survived.

    The bad thing right now is that I also kind of live with Narc aggressive personalities roomates unforcinately..

    We are SO JUDGED BLAMED THROWN INTO in this world..since we were born! I often wondered why .. why all my life I had to deal with such assholes and horrific creatures, I was the Scapegoat for Narc family.. years and years..

    Always draw the line and ask you .. "Why dont you have a Life ?? Why dont you Smile ?" Well F YOU ASSholes, beat someone for years (dont get me wrong not always phisical, but always being put down or never aknoledged at all )

    I bumped into your post, since I have been involved with "the Best and the Worst revelation" of my life, called another Narcisist and sadist, that I loved dearly..

    We children of Narcisists have no idea how to love ourselves.. bcause no one thought us. We have to reparent ourselves and be our own Healthy Mother and Father..

    Funny I reached into your post Lost but now Im found.. If I could survive so long in the hands of ppl whose only purpose was to rape my soul and my self confidence, and I am still ALIVE sane and wise, then I think I will be fine from now on … 🙂

    Joking a bit, I have LOTS of stuff to learn, but I will give myself all the the rest of the time to Heal.. funny I came back looking for a way to "make up" with my last Narcisist who made me feel like crap.. but thanks to your post and blog, I remembered my purpose in this world..

    I f I could survive, and I can still laugh..with so many ppl that could not love me, plainly went after to destroy me.. it means that I can survive and even LIVE now, even better.. with the capacity to Love.. something that they do not, never will have..

    We live in a more increasing Narcisistic cruel world,..and even though all my life I have been surronded and forced to live among them, I am NOT like them. After the last straws I endured from my last Narcisist, I wanted to close and brake my heart entireley so I could not feel again.. therefore become one of them.

    I did not really manage that, and I think God did not intended and sent me here, to be the same or worse than the ppl who tried destroy me..

    I think he sent me here to show that, even in the darkest times.. you can survive, you can thrive, you can LOVE. I am not saying this to make myself a Martyr, my life is in a messy place right now, but I am striving and learning to be responsible human being, without hurting others.

    I am and probably always be a Target to Vampires and creatures like these. But I am stronger, wiser and I am a Child of God ..

    they twisted and turned my soul inside out, that I became so detahced from myself, sometimes I dont even recognise myself anymore and wonder if I am becoming more Narcisist! But I refuse to let their hate and small brains..and LACK of soul transform me …

    Loving someone for them is a weakness.. all I can say to whoever reading it, struggling, F THEM very much.

    IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT … YOU ARE MUCH MUCH, MUCH MORE..THAN YOU EVER THINK, YOU ARE TREASURE, YOU HAVE DEPTH, AND YOU HAVE SOUL..That is the reason why they targeted you. Scapegoats have to be Strong ppl to carry all their BS on the backs for years..

    Well time has come for me to start throwing the Sh*t back where it belongs !!

    And no I am not dumb, ugly, stupid and other patethic crap you project onto others to MAKE YOUR PATETHIC SELF FEEL BETTER !!

    That was a mini FU Rant for the Narc Sociopaths 😀

    Thank you for your post , and sorry for the essay !

    Best Wishes, Survivor !!

    p.s. yes, mine tried too to make me the "Abuser" and awful person , all projection for all the things THEY dont want to take responsibility for !! The thing is if for years you are being Brainwashed that you are Nothing, that is how you will feel like. F THEM !

    Bless you xx

    Kat, Europe

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    • Thank you for sharing 🙂

      It can take us a long time to make sense of our experiences in life, especially the ones we had as children because our survival instinct creates a coping mechanism, a way to survive, to get us through and keep us going. Those coping mechanisms are essential, but they also can become traps for us later on.

      For instance, a child who grows up with narcissist parents has to suspend their own reality to buy into the reality of their parents, which means denying what we see in favour of seeing things their way. We deny ourselves to support them. We betray ourselves to be loyal to them. We don’t have a choice or options because we are their children, we are powerless and they have all the power, over our lives and us.

      We spend years and years being brainwashed by them 24/7, about who we are and who they are, etc, and our minds have been programmed to accept how they treat us. That is what is ‘normal’. So when we get older and get away from the family circle and start to socialise with other people, ‘healthy’ people seem strange to us and we gravitate towards what is ‘normal’ for us – so we end up being attracted to narcissists even if we’re trying to avoid them. And they find us attractive because we’re trained to put up with their crazy, we’re trained to support and encourage them, and we do it without thinking about it – it’s a habit, we go on automatic.

      At some point we have an epiphany, they push us too far, we’ve had enough of the crazy, we don’t want to put up with it anymore, we want to break the cycle, kick our habits. Our awareness changes. It’s as though all the years of illusion fall away revealing them in a stark and harsh light. This is both a wonderful release but also a harsh reality. We have a lot of work to do on ourselves, with ourselves, get back in touch with ourselves, who we really are, what we really want, need, feel, think – free from the influence of a narcissist, all narcissists.

      Ranting is an essential part of that, it’s letting what we’ve kept inside for all those years out. It’s like a primal scream. Through ranting we find our voice, the one which was silent but now wants to roar, shout, express itself, express ourselves.

      One of the most important things we have to do for ourselves is to undo the effects of the brainwashing, to find the programming inside, confront it and delete it, replacing it with our own. Such as – Why do we think we’re a scapegoat? They gave us the role of scapegoat – that’s not who we are, that’s who we think we are because that’s who they wanted us to think we are. We accepted that role because we had no choice in the matter as children of narcissists, however we’re not children anymore, we’re adults and we can give ourselves another choice. As long as we accept that role, then we attract and are attracted to scenarios which need someone to play that role. So we need to choose another role – one which is ours, given to us by us not by a narcissist, and which suits who we really are.

      Underneath all the mess which they piled and dumped on top of us, their wounds, their responsibilities, their blame, their shame, their fears, their shit, etc, is us – our real, strong core self. We hid ourselves there so they couldn’t find us and break us completely. So they couldn’t destroy our real identity and replace it with one crafted by them – if we had allowed them to do that, we would have ended up like them. And we will never be like them because the strength which helped us to survive them is the same personal power which kept our core self safe, it comes from that core self. And when we are ready, we can emerge from where we’ve been hiding and claim our identity and our life for ourselves.

      I really love what Mama wrote in her comment on this post (on July 24) – a new way of looking at why we experienced what we have and how to transform our view of it and ourselves. It’s a wonderful shot of much needed inspiration for children of narcissists.

      Take care of yourself, trust yourself, and be gentle with yourself 🙂

      Like

  15. Thank you for sharing your story. I have children with a narcissist and my relationships with them have suffered. I feel guilt because I got out and they didn’t. They excuse his neglect and abuse. I’ve tried to help them with counseling, the authorities when being physically assaulted, and have been through the court system. I don’t know what else I can do. I feel like the only thing I can do now is let go and pray.

    Like

    • Thank you 🙂

      Trust yourself and what your feelings are telling you to do.

      It can be very hard to watch those whom you love suffer and not be able to do anything to help them, to protect them. We can really only help those who ask for, want and accept our help. Those who reach out to us and take our hand when we reach out to them. If we try to give help when someone does not want it, even if we know they need it, our help may be rejected and seen as an intrusion. Sometimes love requires that we let those whom we love live their own lives, learn from their own experiences, feel their own pain… and find their own way, their own personal power and strength, learn to rely on themselves.

      Sometimes letting go is necessary, for us and for them. However we can let those we love know that we are there for them if they need us. That we love them, whether we are near to them or separate.

      Your children will be aware of what you have done for them, and that you love them. They will also be aware that you needed to get out, that you made a choice which was necessary. They just need time to figure things out for themselves, understand their own stories, and their part in your story and their father’s story.

      Being a child caught between parents who are splitting up is very confusing, especially in a family dynamic which includes a narcissist. There can be many conflicting emotions, thoughts, and sometimes children feel that they have to choose a side, choose a parent.

      A narcissist parent will create a scenario whereby if they are not chosen, if the children don’t pick them and their side, they will consider it a betrayal and cease to love their children.

      Whereas the parent who is not a narcissist will love their children, and will not ask them to pick sides.

      For a child the love of its parents is precious, even if the parent is abusive. They will sometimes hurt themselves in an effort not to lose their parents’ love.

      In a scenario where one parent threatens to revoke their love if their children do not pick their side while the other parent offers love – the children might pick the side of the narcissist, as that way they retain the love of both parents. The narcissist will keep loving them and the other parent loves them too.

      When they figure things out for themselves, understand what has happened and is going on, they will reach out to you. When they are ready they will ask for help and will accept it.

      For now just give them time, and love, the love which is just as strong when apart as it is when together.

      Take care of yourself, be gentle with yourself.

      Like

  16. This was amazing to read. Being a child of a narcissist myself, I constantly question if I’ve become just like my father, or my mom, who constantly gets me to be someone I’m not, someone she wants me to be. I’ve now learned to stand up to them, to speak up, to be assertive when something slights me. It doesn’t change who they are, but it changes how I feel, and that is pretty much all I can do. Reading your article was like a breath into my own life. So well put together, and eloquently written. Thanks 🙂

    Like

    • Thank you very much 🙂

      The most important thing we can do for ourselves is to acknowledge who we are separate from our narcissist parents. Which can be hard to do because they call dibs on us, think they own us mind, body and soul, and do not like us to separate ourselves from them, but worth it’s when we do it – for us, and that’s what we have to focus upon, doing things for ourselves. They can lok after themselves and if they can’t, that’s their problem not ours.

      There is always going to be a little bit of them in us, we absorbed part of them into us as all children do with their parents, but how we express what we’ve absorbed is up to us individually. We have creative control. If we recognise their traits and behaviours in us, it’s not necessarily a ‘bad’ thing, it really is only ‘bad’ when they’re doing it because of the intention behind it – they’re always up to something, manipulating and using.

      So in those moments when you wonder if you’ve become like your father, remember you are not him, you’re you, certain aspects may be similar but they are also worlds apart. So don’t try to get rid of a trait of yours just because it reminds you of them – the way you express this trait is your way, your style, not their way and their style. Your motivation and intention is different and all yours. Trust who you are, trust yourself.

      Best wishes!

      Like

  17. Pow! Out of the park.
    That’s a better description of my life and interior condition than I could have dragged, out shred by painful shred.
    Your words quite literally fed my heart the medicine it needed.
    Like fingers on abused and discarded strings, you ! musician able to travel all the way to the child of a narcissists soul.
    Beautiful universe, beautiful grace for our journey to healing.
    Bless you back xxxxx

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  18. “If you want to give us something, give us space to break our silence. Stop judging us. Give us love, we long for that, but not the kind which constricts, censors and burdens, the kind which acknowledges we exist, which frees us to express ourselves, and which encourages us to reveal what we keep hidden, what keeps us in our prison of silence.”

    Maybe this is exactly what we need to give to ourselves! Permission to exist with our reality as it is; without judging ourselves for it. Maybe one of our purposes is to redefine what it means to be human, or rather to add to the already existing definitions, which cover other segments of the human race but does not include us. What I am beginning to understand is that I continue to be hurt by the expectations that I had for my mother (and father) to fulfil. I am hurt by the belief that my childhood had to be otherwise. When people celebrate their mothers (and fathers) I feel pain for not having what they celebrate. Don’t get me wrong, I have been hurt by the actual neglect too….but now that I am an adult, what hurts is the belief that it had to be otherwise. This belief is of course exacerbated by views that other segments of the human race hold, such as the view that parents love their children. I now know that this view is misinformed, I know that it is a lie. Some parents do love their children, and some, like mine, don’t. They are/were too troubled to bother themselves with such an endeavour.

    So I wonder; had I known from the time when I started going to Sunday school or to school (i.e. when I started getting in contact with information outside my FOO), that such parents exist, would this lie had been so deeply entrenched in me? Would it have been so entrenched that I couldn’t even believe my own reality in an attempt to be normal? Where normal is defined as having loving parents? In an effort to maintain this lie I had to form beliefs that were lies about me. These lies resulted in what I think is the major injury to the child of the narcissist: to believe that there is something wrong with me, to never know my own inherent value. Yes, I think I would’ve gotten to age 6 or so having this belief (that I am wrong) as a result of how my mother treated me….but I certainly would not have gotten to age 33 still believing that I was wrong as a human being in an effort to align myself with this “truth” that seemed to be known by the whole world: that all parents love their children. I would not have gotten to this age still believing myself to be unlovable as a result of trying to make sense of the reason my mother didn’t love me. On top of this, it would not have taken me as long as more than 6 years to finally accept that my mother doesn’t love me and never has, not because of me, but because of her. I struggled to accept this truth because it is not popular…..and as I struggled to accept this truth, it meant I was struggling to see my own inherent value, the value that each human being has. I am still searching for it within me, I am 37….

    So maybe the challenge is for us, children of narcissists to quit wanting to be believed, wanting not to be judged….but instead we need to work hard to believe ourselves and to not judge ourselves against what is already popular knowledge in the world. I am definite that no one can do this for us, and to expect anyone to, is probably not fair…..it kind of looks like what our narcissistic parents did to us when they expected us to cater to their needs, instead of leaving us to be ourselves. I find blogs like yours and anything else that has been written by anyone on this subject to be helpful towards getting up to this challenge. The more I read about other people’s experiences which are similar to mine, the more I feel “normal” and the more I see the need to define a new “normal”, my kind of “normal” instead of fighting it or fighting those who know a different kind of normal.

    Maybe a new consciousness wants to be born in this world and it wants to be born through us – (this last sentence is inspired by my listening of E. Tolle’s book: The Power of Now)

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    • What an absolutely stunning, brilliant and beautiful comment!!! Thank you very much for sharing 🙂

      I agree with what you have said in so many ways that… WOW!

      I would like to make this comment into a post on my blog, would this be okay with you? I won’t do anything without your consent. I think what you have shared is stunningly accurate and beautiful and needs to be a post. Please let me know if this is okay with you.

      Thank you very much for sharing ❤

      Like

      • Thank you for blogging about this, otherwise this comment wouldn’t be here 🙂
        You are certainly welcome to share it ❤

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        • Thank you 🙂

          I posted it today, with a short intro and a couple of quotes by Eckhart Tolle. I hope your words inspire others as much as they have inspired me.

          I sometimes refer to personal power and the flip side of things, of experiences, for me your words embody my meaning when I use those terms. You’ve taken your experiences and turned them into inspiration, wisdom and personal power for yourself, and by sharing your thoughts and feelings with others you give them the opportunity to see things from a new perspective or to encourage a perspective which they may already have.

          By sharing ourselves, by breaking our silence, we encourage others to do the same and this is how we work together to give birth to a new consciousness.

          Like

          • Interesting you should put it this way! Right after I posted my response this morning, I thought I should’ve written that I look forward to seeing whatever beautiful piece my comment would spark in you! Indeed, I agree that this is how we work together to give birth to a new consciousness.

            It’s rather sad because we children of narcissists never really share our thoughts, because we live with the expectation that others will tear us apart for the simple expression of ourselves like our parents used to. And then by not sharing, we miss out on putting our power in the world like this. Thank you for this last response, it has brought my awareness to the power that lives in me and how it works. I dare say it has brought my awareness to that inherent value that I said I am still searching for in myself…there! Just there it is! I get to experience that value for myself when I am mostly myself, and what is more, there is always at least one other person who benefits from it too. It’s not the first time I get this insight, but the DONM in me hasn’t allowed me to hold on to it. Wow! Very nice!
            Thank you. I’ll look for the post.

            Like

            • That’s one of the reasons I keep blogging, and push myself to do it in those moments when I just want to shut up, stop sharing and retreat from the world. Old habits die hard. Some of my posts have received more attention than I ever expected or was prepared to receive, most of it is positive, occasionally it is not and I get the sort of reaction which reminds me of my experiences with narcissists, as you said – of being torn apart for sharing my view.

              I’ve discovered that I benefit as much from the negative responses as I do from the positive ones. Those who choose to tear me apart for having my say, show me that they can only do so if I let them, if I internalise their view and tear myself apart. It’s also shown me that their desire to tear me apart has less to do with me and more to do with them – why are they reacting so aggressively to the voice of one person, why are they trying to tear me apart? Because my words are causing them to feel torn apart.

              And that has clarified for me the dynamic between a narcissist and those they interact with. What they do to us is all about them, and what is going on within them – which is their problem, not mine, not ours.

              A narcissist tries to make others responsible for their wound. A child of narcissists accepts this responsibility because we are trained to do it and don’t have any options due to the narcissist parent holding us hostage. We get Stockholm Syndrome. We become who they need us to be, we do what they need us to do. They need us to shut up because our voice, our words, hurts them, and if we don’t shut up they hurt us until we do.

              At some point we have to realise we’re no longer hostages and are free to express ourselves. If someone doesn’t like the sound of our voice or what we are saying… they have many options on how to deal with it, healthy and respectful options which aren’t the sort of limited, unhealthy and disrespectful options a narcissist tends to use. The narcissist just wants us to shut up because they don’t want to hear us. That’s that. Their inability to not listen, to not ignore, to shrug our words off as just someone else’s opinion becomes our problem because they want to make their problem our problem – but it’s not our problem. Their wound is not our responsibility, and their inability to take responsibility for their problems and their wound… is not our responsibility either.

              We need to learn to say ‘Yes’ to ourselves and ‘No’ to them. And your comment expressed that powerfully! Your voice, your words, are beautiful, inspiring and powerful… so are you 🙂

              Like

    • I have consciously decided not to have an email, a ‘contact me’ privately, with my blog. I may have to rethink this decision at some point, but for now if someone wants to communicate with me, it is done via comments on my blog.

      I know this may not suit everyone, but one of the promises which I made to myself when I created this blog was to focus on what suited me rather than what suited other people – if you’re a child of narcissists, you’ll understand this.

      I’ve been trained from an early age to be more concerned about the needs of others rather than my own needs, to push my needs aside, even if it was to my own detriment, to cater to the needs of others – I’m re-training myself. My blog, and how I handle it, is part of my self-therapy.

      Posts like this one have received more attention (in views) than I am as yet able to process. I wrote this post for myself, did not consider that others would read it – posting it publicly was a challenge to myself – and I did not realise my words would resonate so much with others. So to keep things manageable for myself, I do things my way.

      I moderate comments, and carefully read the comments which are approved and reply as best as I can.

      There are other blogs dealing with the same subject as this post, blogs which have a private email with which to contact the blogger. There are also forums dealing with this matter which allow for private discussion.

      Why exactly do you want to send me an email?

      Like

  19. Reblogged this on I Saw Bob Dylan in a Speedo and commented:
    This is a wonderful essay on growing up with Narcissistic parents and how you feel crazy your whole young life when you are not and why you might possibly date crazy narcissistic assholes your whole life until one day when you’re 47 you realize you can be your authentic self and start kicking ass and taking names.

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  20. I only just found out my parents are both narcissistic. I’m the youngest of four children and the only daughter… I’m the scapegoat. Since I was a child I had to hear how my brother’s would accomplish such great things, but never did they brag about me… I wanted to be a broadway star when I was 4, I suppose I still do… But now I only feel suited to be a house wife. Much of my life, I kept myself locked away in my room. I’m extremely pale because of it, and I don’t tan. I only burn because I would even keep the blinds closed…. There’s no home videos of me either. Just my brothers… They try to live through them. I threatened to kill myself when I was 4, as well. I’m a Gemini and they say we’re “born with a third eye that allows us to see what’s really going on.” I understood at that age that love didn’t exist for me… I just didn’t know why. It was a relief to find out about narcissistic parents, because I knew it wasn’t me… But I’m 21and they do everything in their power to make sure I don’t succeed and can’t leave here… Even today, i applied for a very good job. And my mother encouraged me. But then 2 hours later, discouraged me and said i’d be better working for burger king… I wish my boyfriend didn’t live 600 miles from me, now…. I have no one except the few times a day we talk…

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    • Being a Gemini (awesome mental skills) and as aware as you are (brilliant observer), your strength lies in knowledge – you can see (and have always been able to see) what is going on even if everyone else chooses to be blind to it. Keep your eyes and mind open to free yourself. Trust yourself. Gather information and use it to support yourself.

      I found this was very insightful – http://theinvisiblescar.wordpress.com/2013/04/14/surviving-the-narcissistic-parent-acons-adult-children-of-narcissists/ – and this – http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-legacy-distorted-love/201105/the-narcissistic-family-portrait – and this – http://www.angriesout.com/grown20.htm – The Drama Triangle. This is quite interesting too, although a bit negative and restrictive – http://www.bandbacktogether.com/adult-children-of-Narcissistic-parents-resources/ – but as an overview it’s informative.

      There are many resources available now for ACoNs (Adult Children of Narcissists). So we do in some ways have more power and support than the narcissists in our lives but we have to make it count for us. We need to focus on our needs and not theirs, on our version of reality and not theirs. So your very good job… focus on that and not on your mother’s take on it. Narcissists need us to fail so they can succeed – to hell with that, that’s their problem, don’t make it yours. Don’t fail just for them – and don’t let their view of what ‘failure’ is affect you – don’t sacrifice yourself to ‘save’ them, they’re never happy, never satisfied and always need more and more, and more is never enough. You are not the narcs in your life. You are you. Follow your heart – be aware of the self-destructive tendencies which come with being a child of a narcissist. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, just follow your passion… ignore the narcissists.

      Easier said than done, I know. The important thing to know is even if you are alone (your boyfriend being so far away, he’s still on your side), you’re there for you. Being on your own side is vital, so be gentle with yourself, encourage yourself, follow your passions and your escapes from the narcissistic life.

      You have youth on your side, make the most of it. That is awesome energy.

      There is a lot of support online for ACoNs – find the one which works for you and find your support system.

      Best wishes 🙂

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    • just taking this all in-resonates deeply, many of the words/sentences are things i say already. now looking at it in a different way. father was major NPD and mother enabled it from her own emotionally abusive/disconnected mother. what is fascinating is the looking back and always seeing new things, new things that are actually in current life too. right now in separation/divorce process from wife of 24 yrs who has npd traits and other traits, her mother and father both npd. for 6 months both daughters 13/17 live with me 100% out of choice, but wife abducted 9 yr old son to another state and now will not allow any access…we are in gray zone until we settle which state has jurisdiction. she is using my son as a ‘pawn’ in the worst sense. she does not want his sisters to see him, it is totally bizarre.
      however from this article i can see how i confuse people with my behavior, i go into meetings in many different settings and sometimes everything flows fine, but sometimes there is distrust of my motives, then in the last 5% of a meeting the people somehow see who i really am and my intentions and it all flows, they literally open their doors and arms to everything when they realize i am not there to ‘take’ or get my identity from them-it is hard to explain. i am carrying some kind of NPD behavior that confuses people.
      however in present moment, i and my girls are the saddest we have ever been by missing our brother and son. However we are also strong and learning not to assume anyone’s intentions, especially those that are closest.
      last thing-values follow actions, values don’t follow words or writing even. my lawyer learned more about me in 5 minutes once he saw my girls and i relate and talk in front of him. before that he thought i was just making everything up. a part of me does not want to write or talk about who the heck i think i am or how I am–the best way to see is observation.
      i learned this observation depth from protecting myself from my npd dad..
      hope that makes sense. I appreciate your thoughts and everyone else’s as we work through all of this…

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      • Thank you 🙂

        What you’re saying makes perfect sense. You expressed yourself very well and I do know how hard that is. When you grow up in a family which is dominated by a narcissist you learn very quickly that it’s always your word against theirs and they work continuously to make your words count for nothing. Children of narcissists often develop a revulsion for stating who they are and speaking their truth because of witnessing a narcissist at work, and in some ways we come to believe that all statements of self, no matter how humble and truthful they may be, are narcissistic. It takes us a long time to embrace the healthy side of narcissism, the normal and natural phase of human development which is not how it is expressed in NPD.

        I am also in the middle of dealing with a narcissist in a legal scenario and having your lawyer believe you and understand the sort of person you are up against is of great value. My lawyer has had to learn the hard way (at my expense) that I was not ‘making things up’ but actually understating the truth. I’m dealing with a Covert narcissist – if your wife is also a Covert narcissist then it will make the situation much more complex.

        I came across this recently:

        “I have become more aware of the dark gifts of covert narcissists.Their act is so smooth that it deceives most of us, even highly trained therapists, psychiatrists, custody judges, social workers, domestic law attorneys and the list goes on. Don’t be surprised if you have been compromised by the gifted covert narcissistic man or woman who makes you believe that he or she is genuine and deeply cares about you and wants you in his/her life. His words and manner are so convincing—the eyes sparkle and hold yours. The words glide perfectly out of his mouth. He knows exactly how to move toward you, give you the look that you cannot resist and dare you to say “no.”. Most of us can’t. We are taken, hooked, goners, filled with desire from head to toe. Our frontal lobes are temporarily out of commission. That’s the initial power of the presence of these clever seducers. They strike us as genuine with enough vulnerability to be convincing. The false self of the covert narcissist charmer type is exquisitely honed like a fine piece of ancient 22 karat gold jewelry.” – Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D. Clinical Expert on the Narcissistic Personality via http://thenarcissistinyourlife.com/category/covert-narcissists/

        Things to keep in mind during this very difficult time for you and your children when dealing with your wife:

        1) your daughters may feel very conflicted about siding with you (even though they know that this is what is best for them as you love them and want was is best for them, and with you they are safe) against their mother. Daughters of narcissist mothers have been trained by their mothers to deny their own needs and cater to their mother’s bottomless pit of need. Your love for your daughters has helped them escape her clutches, but narcissist mothers always find a way to undermine the loving and healthy parent – in court you may find yourself accused of ‘brainwashing’ your daughters against their mother – this particular accusation was one both of my NPD parents used against each other to further their version of reality. Narcissists do not view their children as having minds of their own.

        Your daughters and you may find this of interest – http://theinvisiblescar.wordpress.com/2013/04/14/surviving-the-narcissistic-parent-acons-adult-children-of-narcissists/

        2) your love and concern for your son will be used against you. Your wife singled out your son for a very specific reason. Narcissists never do anything randomly or accidentally – whether their act is conscious or unconscious it is always manipulative, designed to hit you where it hurts and use your ‘weaknesses’ against you to get their way. They view love as a weakness. Why did she choose to abduct your son rather than one or both of your daughters? Answering this question in a detached manner will give you insight into her motives, intentions and how she plans to operate during the proceedings. She will use whatever she has to get what she wants, and she wants to win against you and does not care if it damages your children. Narcissists will use their children mercilessly – they view their children the same way that they view property, they own them and can do whatever they want with them.

        If your wife knows about your own childhood with an NPD father, and how this has affected you, she will use it against you to get you to sacrifice yourself to save your son. She will project her own narcissism onto you – therefore she probably thinks that you see your son as being an extension of yourself, so holding onto to him allows her to hold onto you, onto the very heart of you. She is expecting this to completely disable your thinking and get you to react emotionally and perhaps in a way which will be to her advantage.

        You have a great wealth and wisdom of experience of dealing with narcissists, tap into it and use it to stay logical, level-headed and focused.

        Remember narcissists try and manage to confuse the simplest things, legal matters are fairly straightforward until a narcissist is involved and then even those who are in the legal profession get confused. There are quite a few people blogging about their custody and divorce proceedings with a narcissist and the picture they paint is harrowing. The narcissist sees themselves as above and beyond the law, and they use the law against others while it never applies to them.

        Be sure to research – divorcing a narcissist – as different rules apply and being forewarned is essential.

        http://divorcesupport.about.com/od/angerandconflict/a/Divorcing-A-Narcissist.htm

        There is also something called Parental Alienation which you may consider looking into from a legal standpoint – before your wife uses it against you. A narcissist will research this sort of thing, so it is best to get a step ahead.

        http://divorcesupport.about.com/od/meetingyourchildsneeds/f/alienation.htm

        It is good to realise that being the child of a narcissist sometimes causes us to behave in ways that may be NPD-like, because we absorbed these behaviours from our NPD parent, but it is not who we are. We sometimes view the world through NPD-spotting glasses, we tend to spot narcissistic behaviour in others more often than not and react to it defensively. Our experience can affect us in a negative way, however we also have the ability to tap into what we know through experience and use it in a positive way too. We need to harness our wisdom, not use to hurt ourselves, but use it to help ourselves and those whom we love.

        Trust yourself, take care of yourself, be gentle with yourself.

        Best wishes and thank you very much for sharing!

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    • right now… I’m sitting in my good friend’s back yard. And I know maybe two of these people (aside from my own clan of 3). It’s strange because I’m usually very talkative with people. I like to hear their story. People have very interesting lives. But I feel out of place today. So I’m looking for distraction to quell the rising, illogical fear. I don’t even know where it comes from.

      Both of my parents were diagnosed narcissists. First my dad, who wasn’t phased by it and thought it meant he was a good-looking, self-assured man. And later my mom, who absolutely refused the idea. I won’t go into the details of how that came about. I was diagnosed as having co-dependent tendencies and entered into very lengthy therapy. Every now and then, I do a CBT program just to ‘refresh’ my thoughts. I am capable of recognizing co-dependent situations and know how to take steps to resolve them. And I’ve had lots of training in knowing narcissists. They can be extremely charming and it’s easy to fall under their spell. I seldom stay mesmerized for very long. Technically, I have the where-with-all of an average balanced individual.

      And then I read this article. And I see me.

      I am guarded with what I share. It’s generally superfluous; surface stuff anyone will notice if they pay attention. And that’s ok. It’s only veneer. It doesn’t really matter. My ‘skill’ is to help people in whatever they need. And that’s what matters. But not too much. Because then they might start asking about me. Instantly, I know I’ll have to back away. Because it really doesn’t feel safe to let on how alone and scared I feel. And that’s the same thing as shame – only I know it isn’t but it feels like it. So which do I trust? The intellect or the runaway emotion? I’m not supposed to trust anyone. And I don’t.

      I have a friend who never lets up on insisting I answer questions. I just can’t get away with it. It’s relentless. It’s strange because I trust this person. But even they told me that could be a mistake. So maybe it would be. Thankfully, I am very good at finding what it is people need. And people like to be given what they need. So most of the time, even when it gets uncomfortable, I can keep my wits about me long enough to give them what they need. And then I’m safe again. I don’t have to answer anything. And I can do what I know how to do well – help. And that’s how it works.

      It’s not good to be distracted from my skill. I don’t know what to do with myself if I’m not solving something or fixing something or making something better. The only problem is, I sometimes find myself taking on too much. And I make the mistake of asking for help. Now that’s silly. It’s not necessary, really. I’m self-reliant. I’ve always been that way. I don’t really need anybody’s help. That’s the opposite of my skill. If I did, then I would be defective. And how can I help anyone if I’m defective? It really doesn’t fit.

      So it’s better if that’s left alone. Then I won’t have to find out. Except I already know, you know. I guess that’s the last bit that’s always going to stay with me. At least for a while. Being helpful gives me something to do. I’ll just stick with that.

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      • Thank you for sharing 🙂

        For me your own story is very interesting. You’re poetic, with deeply keen observation, and there is a wonderful blend of facets of life and self. A knowledge of the fact that lives and people are multi-layered.

        I think that this – And how can I help anyone if I’m defective? – is actually the key to your ability to help others. If you were perfect, flawless, then you would not be able to help anyone because you would not have the understanding to do so. Our wounds are a source of healing both for us and for others, and through them we learn compassion, understanding and empathy.

        Those who are least able to help others, and who sometimes make things worse, tend to be those who consider themselves to be without defect (a mental view which those with NPD often have about themselves). Those who are without defect can’t understand those who have defects – and are these things which are considered defects really defects at all. Someone who has never experienced depression can’t possibly understand someone who is depressed, and will say something completely stupid such as – cheer up, be more positive – and expect this to be a cure which is acted upon immediately because of course the depressed person has never thought of this. Those who have never been wounded, tend to wound with their unwoundedness in ways which take years from which to recover at times.

        Your natural way of being is the gift which you bring to others. You can question it if that is something you feel the need to do for more understanding of yourself, but don’t question who you are and the way you are just because someone else does or someone else does things differently. Curiosity is one thing, the desire to explore and learn is within us all. The sense of being alone when surrounded by others is also within us all. As is the sense that no one understands us. Some things are for our eyes only, it’s part of being an individual. It’s the thing which keeps us separate, because we need a certain sense of being apart. Then there are things which unite us with others. Each part has value in its own way.

        There is a surface self, and a deep inner sea diving self, and many selves in between. They are all a part of the whole, of us and of others. We notice what we do, ignore other parts, and different times in our lives bring different parts into focus for a reason… the reason depends upon us. There is no true wrong way to live, there are just opinions about right and wrong.

        You sound like a lovely person to be and to know. A beautiful soul on a journey through life, sharing with many, with a few, having experiences and learning from them in your own particular way. That is natural, normal, what human souls do… and so it goes.

        Take care of yourself, trust yourself, and be gentle with yourself 🙂

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    • I liked the fact that it was condensed and accurate. Especially as all ACoNs have similarities of experience but also differences, this allows for the similarities to be highlighted, then we can fill in the blanks of our own version of the story. It’s very helpful sometimes just to have the basics. Then we have that as a reference point upon which we can build and see our own experience. 🙂

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  21. Wow, spot on. I burst into tears when you said we just want to be left alone. Everything you wrote is my life. I had left the country to be away from my parents so I can find myself. We still have a relationship and as a matter of fact I am going to see them in a week, but only for couple of days as I cannot handle any more. It brings out the crazy emotions I work so hard on, it is so draining. Lucky I get to come back to my partner who is a lovely person and takes me out of my depressive moods post family visits. I am excited to see them but at the same time I cant’ wait till its over. Yup, that’s just how it is and I am learning how not to feel guilty over it. Thank you for shining a light on this, means a lot to us all, kids of narcissist, well in my case an adult who still is semi child emotionally, go figure. Life is getting better though,slowly but surely 😉

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    • Thank you 🙂

      I’m glad to hear that life is getting better for you, having a healthy relationship with your partner is a good balance to the unhealthy one which your parents offer you, it allows you to see that you are loved and loveable, and that you can love without giving your soul and everything else away to the person you love.

      It takes a long time for us to heal because it took a long time for us to be wounded, but the way we heal, bit by bit, gradually, slowly, is a deep and lasting healing.

      Best wishes for your family visit. A possible way to deal with the emotions it stirs up is to express perhaps in a journal. You know they won’t be allowed to be expressed openly to your parents, but they do need to be spoken, heard and listened to by yourself in private, somewhere where they will be respected.

      Whenever I have to be in the company of narcissists I switch myself off, create a barrier around myself which the narcissists can’t cross, because I know nothing they do or say has anything to do with me, that it is all going to be about them, for them I’m just a thing they are using to define themselves, I may as well not be there but they need a body to bounce themselves off. This way I protect myself from getting sucked into their drama and from them invading my space. This way the draining of energy is less intense.

      Be sure to give yourself lots of positive, encouraging, supportive self-talk. Especially when in the company of narcissists. Don’t listen to what they say about you (they’re only talking about themselves, but pretending that they’re talking about you) instead listen to what you say about yourself. Remind yourself of your beauty, power and integrity.

      It also helps to see them for what they are – spoiled whiny warped children. Don’t see them as your parents, as having authority over you, as being bigger than you, or wiser than you. They’re small and insignificant. They’re full of fear and confusion which they’re trying to dump onto you. Don’t accept it, it belongs to them, not you. Let them keep it.

      You’re an adult now, and you’ve always been the adult in the relationship even when you were a child.

      Have you read this post – http://theinvisiblescar.wordpress.com/2013/04/14/surviving-the-narcissistic-parent-acons-adult-children-of-narcissists/ – it’s a good reminder of what they do. Keep it in mind, don’t lose yourself in their version of reality. Keep your reality intact from their invalidation of it.

      And make sure you treat yourself to rewards, pamper yourself, give yourself something wonderful before and after the visit. Be gentle, compassionate, kind, with yourself.

      Take care of yourself.

      Thank you for sharing 🙂

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      • Thank you kindly for your words of advice, means the world to me to hear it from somebody who has been where I have been. I have never discussed this with anyone except my partner. It makes me think about things you said and will start writing some of it down. I usually write poetry when feeling down and have never written the actual feelings down. Not since I was a child and my parents found and read my journal. I guess it is time to start again.

        What really hurts me is the fact that my mother is not a narcissist and is the only reason I am still having a relationship with my parents. I feel she got trapped there and what makes it worse now is the fact that she cannot be away from him for longer than 10mins. He is sick and she even works from home now to look after him.He calls her constantly and monitors everything she does. I can’t even have a conversation with her one on one. My dad acts fine now with me ever since I left him. My mum managed to whisper to me one day that he is on his best behavior when I come and that he hasn’t changed and is even worse. I had a mental breakdown few years ago and landed in hospital for couple of weeks and he couldn’t even come and see me once. He couldn’t face what he did. after that time I decided to leave for good and focus on getting better. Now when I visit my family I am not even allowed to stay at their house. He books me a nice hotel every time ever since I left him. I don’t even know where they live now, never been there and have no address. I know this is his punishment towards me because I left and at first it used to hurt so much but now I’m glad I don’t have to stay there because I would go insane. He has never met my partner of 6 years either, but I don’t need him to anymore.

        You know, I was always rebelling against him, I never let him fully control me and he despises me for that even though he tries to hide it. I know him now inside out and he knows it and just like you mentioned somewhere on this page, he fears me because he cannot control me at all and I see straight through him. I sense his fear and that’s the only reason he is acting nice around me. Yet he still talks bad of others and is completely loosing his mind. It doesn’t help that he is highly intellectual and well educated but hasn’t worked for a long time. Every time I had something smart to say to him, he would tell me to come back when I had a masters degree. He put me down so much growing up, I have so many issues and insecurities and at times it all gets to me. He messed me up so bad mentally and emotionally and when I wouldn’t break from all that, he physically abused me until I hit him back. But the mental stuff never stopped. Even now he still tries playing his games but I do my best to ignore it and not let him get to me.

        My mum stayed and watched the whole thing. I was angry at her for a long time but have realized she ran away from her narcissistic family into my dads arms, as charming as he was, intelligent, good looking. He was her first and last man she has ever been with. My mum was isolated from her own family(and his stories tell that he saved her from her crazy family and she totally agrees) and this is it. Just the 4 of us. This is our family. My mum has no family of her own, no friends, just him and us the kids. He stopped talking to his own family some 20yrs ago. There is a whole story of betrayal which he told us kids. I no longer know what to believe. But that’s how messed up it all is. I can go on all day long.

        By the way, my 28yr old sister still lives with them and has no idea how to survive on her own. I tried helping her but no go. I can’t tell if she is a narcissist as well because as far as I can remember she was always the most selfish person I knew but she is my sister and I forgave her. She still hurts my feelings and probably doesn’t even realize. She is never there for me. I wish she would wake up and be my sister but I’m starting to believe that I have to let her go too.

        I’m sorry I’m blabbering on about this, its just that today for no reason, I have been feeling very down and sad. I guess it is getting closer to the visit. I am trying to prepare myself. I am only going to see my mum, I feel so sad for her. She once told me that she would never open her mind to certain things/thoughts as that would tore her apart. She told me that (during my breakdown), some things are best left alone and there is no point revisiting. I didn’t realize what she was talking about then but I think I know now. One day she yelled at him for saying something to me and said to me that I don’t need his approval. I think she was trying to help me leave. Even when I was moving countries, she told me that leaving her family and no talking to them at all was hard but then you get used to it. I did not understand what she was saying to me then and was even upset with her for saying that. I get it all now. It has been particularly hard to see this whole thing for what it is and it hurts like hell. Doesn’t help that despite all the abuse and hardship, my dad was my idol. We had a special bond, he thought me all the beautiful things too and it hurts now to realize all of this. He gave me music, thought ne how to play piano, music later saved my life. I am so very nervous seeing him again, I am already not sleeping well. I have had sleeping issues my whole life because my brain won’t switch off and I have anxiety at night mostly. I got it under control for most times, but lately it is happening again. Sorry again for an essay here, my thoughts have just spilled right out my head. I do appreciate so much what you are doing here. This is my life saver, thank you

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        • Thank you 🙂

          Expressing the way we feel, giving voice to our emotions and thoughts, is a very important way to heal as it allows us to get to know ourselves better and to acknowledge ourselves. Poetry is a wonderful means of self expression, in many ways it is the language of the soul, and if it is something with which you feel a connection deep within then it sounds like an ideal place to start. Perhaps discussing the poem with yourself too or creating or finding images to go with it which also expresses a mood or feeling. Experiment with it, let yourself flow into whatever form of expression suits you, nourishes you.

          If I was in your place, as in having to visit my parents, I’d be feeling a heavy sense of dread and impending doom, and I definitely would not be sleeping as my mind would be trying to figure out ways to avoid going. I’d secretly be wishing that I’d make myself too sick to go. Which is why I went No Contact, but then again both my parents were narcissists so there was no reason to remain in touch with them.

          So be gentle with yourself. The sadness and the anxiety are your ways of communicating with yourself, they can feel as though they are obstacles in some ways, working against you, bringing you down when you perhaps would prefer to be up and in the grip of positive energy, but they’re one of the manners in which we communicate with ourselves to let ourselves know about our story. When we put ourselves back into situations which have hurt us, our system reacts defensively, trying to warn us and protect us. They are also a part of the PTSD which many children of narcissists suffer from.

          I was reading an interesting overview of the sort of dynamic which you describe in your family – http://www.angriesout.com/grown20.htm – The Drama Triangle by Dr. Lynne Namka. – it might give you a bit more insight into your mother and your sister, and why they stayed put while you escaped. I don’t think it will ease your concerns for them, but understanding and gathering information is one of the ways to deal with narcissistic abuse and the pain it causes.

          As much as we would like to and feel pain when we can’t, we can’t help other people without their consent and their request to be helped. It is a boundary which must be respected, especially in the interactions between adults. Crossing that line is invasive and may lead to the opposite of what was intended. Trying to help someone who has not asked to be helped, and who may not think as we do that they need help, can cause tension and make things worse. The best you can do is let them know you’re there if they ever need you.

          You primary concern is to take care of yourself. And from the sounds of it you have a partner who is caring and loves you, and who will be worried about you. So focus on what you need to get through this visit, make sure that you have a support system in place, so when things get too much you can retreat and relax and release.

          Best wishes 🙂

          ps. Feel free to use this blog to express yourself any time.

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          • Thank you so much again, it all makes perfect sense 🙂 And the article is just spot on, wow, I just can’t believe this is what it is, still trying to get my head around it, I mean I have always known it but this is the first time I have admitted it to myself out loud. I guess there is some readjustment to be made but I think I’m ready to face it now.

            I had a look at your photography, and I love it! My fav is the one with tattooed face and background, I love shapes and patterns for some reason. I too take interesting photos and make all these different versions of them. Photography, music and poetry all helped me express myself and see the world as a beautiful place, I mean I have to constantly remind myself of that, but I think it is now becoming, how would I describe it, a norm maybe, slowly turning negative thinking patterns into positive ones 🙂

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            • Thank you very much 🙂

              It took me a long time to feel comfortable expressing my creative side. Like you I had that part of me invaded by my narcissist parents and so I hid it away. It took someone very caring to encourage me to jump in again. It makes all the difference, when you allow yourself to openly express in whatever form nourishes you, it makes the world feel more welcoming inside and out.

              I read something today on an astrology blog I follow, the piece was less about astrology and more about life and being human. The quote the author added in the comments was very interesting:

              “Well, I was a clinical psychologist in Washington, D.C., for about 30 years and it’s a great place to study lying. My clients taught me and in my own life I learned that the primary cause of most human stress, the primary cause of most conflict between couples and the primary cause of most both psychological and physical illness is being trapped in your mind and removed from your experience. What keeps you trapped in your mind and removed from your experience is lying and we all lie like hell all the time. We’re taught systematically to lie, to pretend, to maintain a pretense because we’re taught that who we are is our performance. Our schools teach us to lie, our parents teach us to lie. We’re all suffering from mistaken identity. We think that who we are is our reputation, what the teacher thinks of us, what kind of grades we make, what kind of job we have. We’re constantly spinning our presentation of self, which is a constant process of lying and being trapped in the anticipation of imagining about what other people might think. Our actual identity is as a present tense noticing being.” – Brad Blanton

              The post is here – http://planetwaves.net/news/planet-waves-daily-astrology/jupiter-conjunct-varuna-keep-your-promises/

              When we ‘lie’ to protect others, to maintain their version of reality, we can end up harming ourselves because it has a ripple effect. We’re often more sensitive towards others than we are to ourselves. We give up things which matter to us for their sake. And things like that. Which can seem very reasonable at times, it’s a part of relationships and cooperation, and stuff like that, but there has to be a balance to it, where we honour ourselves.

              One of the hardest parts of dealing with a family dynamic which includes a narcissist is to combine what we know intellectually with what we feel intuitively. Sometimes we know things on one level, but other levels need more time and experience to know them too. And to understand them. As we expand our self expression, so our own inner wisdom is given voice and it allows for a gentle readjustment. The source of our healing is within us, and it can be strongest in the simplest of things.

              You’re definitely ready to face it, because you’re doing it naturally 🙂

              Blessings for your journey!

              Like

  22. I have a 10 year old child in my care who came from a family with a narcissistic mother and shows signs of narcissistic personality disorder. She has an older brother who was the “golden child” until her baby sister came along, then the baby was the “golden child”. From a very young age she has been neglected in many ways. I have her in therapy and try to help her through her emotions as best I can. I have read many articles, talked to therapists, doctors, you name it and the advice I get on trying to help her seems to be getting me nowhere. I seem to not be able to connect with her. There are moments when I feel I have gotten through to her and shown her that I care, that she is safe here to be who she is, that she is important and such. However, just when I start thinking we are getting somewhere, it’s like she back tracks and falls back into her feelings of no one loves her, feeling that she’s not special, and that it’s all her fault. Any suggestions on how and what is the best approach I should take in helping her or getting through to her? As a child of a narcissistic parents, what do you think would have helped you best at that age?Everything I find is for adult children of narcissistic mothers, not on how to help a young child to work through this 😦

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    • What you have found out about adult children of narcissistic mothers is actually very useful as it can give you a picture of what this child went through and how it has affected her. This post – http://theinvisiblescar.wordpress.com/2013/04/14/surviving-the-narcissistic-parent-acons-adult-children-of-narcissists/ – is one of the best descriptions I have read of being the child of a narcissistic mother.

      The important thing to know and remember about children of narcissists is that they have been under constant attack (psychological, emotional, physical abuse) 24/7 since they were born by the narcissist. Narcissists never let up or give their children a break. This means that the child sees life as a hostile environment, they are hyper-vigilant, their survival instincts are always ‘on’, they never feel safe and other people are seen as threats. They retreat deeply into themselves and put up a very thick protective barrier. Inside they hurt deeply and painfully, but they often deny and detach from their feelings because they have learned that to survive they must focus on the feelings of others. Deny their own needs to meet the needs of others.

      For a child this means tuning into what an adult wants from them and giving to the adult what they want. Even in a healthy situation this dynamic is going to play out.

      A child of narcissists won’t come out of their protective shell just because you show them love, that you care and that they are safe. Narcissists sometimes do that and they do it very convincingly, and a child of narcissists often falls for it because they so desperately want to believe that this time their parent loves them. So they come out of their shell, they trust, and they live to regret it. They have learned that trusting anyone is dangerous and painful.

      There are a few things which occurred to me in reading what you have written.

      1 – Taking her to therapy is good. Hopefully the therapist is experienced with interacting with children and has in depth knowledge of NPD and how those with NPD affect other people, especially how NPD parents affect their children. However, and maybe this has already been addressed by the therapist, being taken to a therapist may be construed by a child of narcissists as more ‘proof’ that there is something ‘wrong’ with them. That they are defective – this is a message which they get implanted in them by their narcissist parent, it is repeated constantly in myriad ways, and it is very hard to deprogram it, it is a part of what creates the ‘never good enough’ belief which many ACoNs have about themselves.

      Children of narcissists need constant positive reassurance to counteract all the negative assurances they have been given by the narcissist. They need to know what is ‘right’ with them. They need to be gently nudged to see themselves positively regularly because they have been trained on a regular basis to view themselves negatively and tend to default to this view. Everything about them has been consistently invalidated by their NPD parent. They have spent a lot of time feeling completely powerless, so showing them that they have personal power is vital.

      There’s a quote from Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen – “All my integrity seemed to lie in saying No.” – which expresses the powerlessness and the struggle to find a drop of personal power in whatever form we can. To cling to it to save us from being completely devoured by those who abuse their power over us.

      Their voice has been stolen, so they need to be given their voice back. Given the opportunity to express themselves in their own time, at their own pace, and know that what they express is heard, listened to, understood.

      If they say something like – I can’t do this – be careful not to reply with – Don’t be silly, of course you can, you can do anything you want to do – or – Yes, you can, if you really want to and put your mind to it. That is not viewed by a child of narcissists as positive encouragement, it’s felt as pressure to perform to please you and it will be heard as invalidation of who they are. What they hear is – You’re wrong, your opinion is invalid. I’m right, my opinion is the only one which counts, do as I say, be who I want you to be. A better approach would be to say something along the lines of – You don’t have to do it if you can’t do it, that’s okay, what would you like to do instead – or if they have to do whatever it is – Why do you think you can’t do it – and listen to them, you need to convey that your are on their side, that you understand and truly want to know about them, their needs, let them express the fear that is blocking them, then they may be able to work through it with gentle nudges of support which are non-invasive and become more confident.

      Children of narcissists hear the voice of their NPD parent in everything that is said to them. So she may hear what you say, not the way you’re saying it but the way her mother would say it. The same applies to actions.

      2 – When you speak of showing her that she is safe, that you care, you need to remember that she has only been with you for a short time compared to how long she was under the influence and control of her mother. Narcissists can do that too – show they care, give the impression that their child is safe with them. She needs time to be certain that she can trust you. She needs to observe you, to make sure that you’re not conning her, feeding her false hope, lulling her into letting down her defenses so that you can better hurt her.

      There is also another side to it. Children of narcissists are trained to pick up on subtle cues and clues about what the adults in their life want, need and expect of them. So she is tuning into you, she knows what you want from her, she gives it to you to satisfy you, placate you, please you. She is still in surviving a narcissist mode. So her progress is for your benefit. Her reverting to her default position is her not being able to keep it up for your benefit because she has used up all her energy and is exhausted. It will take time for her to realise that your motivation and intention towards her is genuinely caring and non-invasive. She will begin to see that as long as you have patience and are consistent. Your stability as a caring person will slowly work its way into her heart and she will begin to trust you.

      Your best method of helping her is to just be yourself, let who you are as a person show her by example that not everyone is a narcissist. That love is real and can be gentle and unconditional. That it doesn’t have to be hard work or painful. That she doesn’t have to prove herself to you, live up to your expectations and live in fear of disappointing you and the punishments which come with that.

      Be patient, be gentle, be consistent. If she makes a mistake, if she reverts, if she regresses from progress made. Just accept it. Let her know it’s okay, fine, normal, natural. You can actually get through to her more effectively through action than words. Words are suspicious things to a child of narcissist, actions on the other hand are more trustworthy. If you say she is safe and that you care, that will mean less to her than if you show it through how you behave.

      These things have to be done slowly, gradually, gently, respectfully. No OTT displays or anything which would overwhelm. You can’t undo a lifetime (and even though she is a child she has experienced a lifetime) of damage caused by a narcissist overnight or even over a couple of years. It takes time. Small things tend to have the biggest impact.

      For instance – If she draws a picture. Praise it, but don’t overpraise it. She’ll be on her guard for eventual destruction – NPD mothers sometimes praise to set their child up for a painful fall. Ask her if it would be alright to have it, would she give it to you. Something like that. The simply and quietly frame it and hang it on your wall in pride of place, somewhere where it says – I love this. Don’t make a big fuss about it. That’s too much pressure to perform – which is something NPD parents do, it’s part of the golden child process. A child who is the scapegoat, or not the golden child, will be wary of the golden child routine/trap. The golden child role is one of intense pressure to perform at perfectionist levels – and they’re still never good enough. Maybe later buy her a coloured pencil/pen set and a drawing pad – don’t buy her a How to Draw book unless she asks for one. If you were to buy the How to Draw book without her asking for it, rather than see it as encouragement, which a child not influenced by a narcissist would, she will see it as you saying – learn how to draw, kid! Your drawing sucks! But buying her tools with which she can express herself is seen as a wonderful gift of encouragement. It’s a delicate process.

      3 – I can see how much you really want to help her and do your best. It’s beautiful and inspiring. Your kind of caring is deeply touching and sets an admirable example. The task before you is difficult and you may feel discouraged and frustrated. Please know what you are doing matters and has impact. The child will be aware of it. She may test you – just to make sure you are real and not fake, a mirage, false hope like her NPD parent. So keep going and persevere with love and patience.

      Make sure you get the support which you need too. That is very important for you, but also for her. If she senses your frustration, she will take it personally. Children of narcissist are very sensitive, about themselves, but particularly about other people and what they are feeling. She may take your frustration personally rather than see it as something personal to you. And she may feel that she is a burden to you.

      Sometimes the best tactic is the most authentic and honest one. Talk to her like an equal. Share with her your thoughts and feelings. You don’t have to be strong around her all the time. It’s okay to be vulnerable. That will let her know that she doesn’t have to be strong all the time either, that it’s okay to be vulnerable. That being vulnerable doesn’t mean you’re weak, and that someone is going to use it against you. You can probably talk to her about all of this. Let her participate in her own healing process. Give her personal power in what is happening. Don’t talk about her with experts like she’s a thing, a problem child – that’s the sort of thing an NPD parent does to invalidate the child and set them up, and set everyone against her.

      Involve her in her healing process, help her to understand what she has been through and that she is not at fault through showing her who is at fault – but be careful, she was trained by her NPD parent to sacrifice herself to protect the parent – http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-legacy-distorted-love/201105/the-narcissistic-family-portrait. So gently does it. But honesty as power is a good course of action. Let her be a part of what you are doing for her. That will show her that you’re a team and she has someone on her side.

      She may be 10, but a child of narcissists is old before their time. They often are forced to grow up very quickly and miss their childhood completely. Thay sometimes end up being parents to their parent – their parent often takes on the role of the child, a big nasty baby who drains their child of their youth. So. She knows more, understands more, than she lets on. Let her release her knowledge and acknowledge it.

      Sorry this is so long. It would actually be longer, I’ve left a lot out. Hope this helps a bit.

      Best wishes.

      Like

  23. anupturnedsoul, I just found out that my fiance and I are pregnant. I haven’t spoken to a family member in a month. Should I tell them or continue living my life, guarding my child from the pain??

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    • Congratulations! 😀 Best wishes to you and your fiance!!!

      What do you want to do?

      Remember this is your life, it belongs to you. You have the family you are creating with love for yourself, your fiance and your child. This is the family which matters.

      What do you think will happen if you tell them? What do you think will happen if you don’t? They will, I imagine, find out eventually through gossip, especially if you’re living in the same community or area. Your mother will probably use it to her advantage. She will play the soon-to-be grandmother role to the hilt and want to take over every aspect of your pregnancy and your baby once it is born. If you reject her, it will become her next big drama and she will involve everyone whom she usually involves. She may play super nice for a while. It depends on her modus operandi. It won’t change anything, but it may appear to do so for a while.

      I’m guessing that you’d like to share the news with your father.

      Whatever you do, think it through, make sure you’re prepared for all possible outcomes and maneuvers. You know your family, you know how they behave, they won’t change. So use your knowledge to protect yourself, your child’s happiness relies on your happiness and the happiness of your fiance. So do what is best for you. Trust yourself.

      If you are more content with how you are doing things now, then I would, if I were you, stick with what you’re doing. If your family want to be a part of the family which you are creating, they need to respect you and your choices, your life, and your loved ones. It’s up to them to make amends. Don’t doubt yourself. You don’t owe your family anything just because they are family.

      Take care of yourself, those whom you love and who truly love you 🙂

      Like

      • Thank you so so so much!!! Yes, we live SEVEN minutes away. She will hear once it gets out… I know she is going to do the whole, “I will love that Grandbaby no matter what, but I refuse to be around Jared (my fiance.)” And that’s when I will tell her that she either accepts everything or she just won’t be a part of my life. I’m not going to have to answer to our child when he/she asks why Grandma and Daddy don’t get along.That will not be the case. I have already decided to never leave our children alone with her. She is mean and deceitful. My biggest fear is that she will try to turn our children against us using foul lies.

        I do want to tell my Dad, you are exactly right, but he also hates Jared. My parents are the types of idiots that say, “I can’t love or look at that baby because it looks like Jared.” and I’m not even joking.
        I feel like it would be best to go to my appointment first to make sure everything is actually healthy before I tell them. I will also tell them over the phone/text because I am afraid that they will end up not letting me leave. Lol They have done that before, Held me down and blocked the doors,

        When I found out, I almost couldn’t be 100% excited because I was in so much fear about her/his relationship with my parents. I don’t want to go 9 months hiding everything because I am afraid of my family. If they do not like my choices, they will simply be taken out of the equation… again.

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        • Most parents find it hard when their child grows up and falls in love, and the person they are in love with is viewed in some ways as an intruder who is stealing their child’s love away from them. They are protective of their child, always worrying their child might get hurt, because they want the best for the one they love. Healthy parents realise that this is a part of their child’s journey through life, and once they get to know the person their child loves, and they see how much their child is loved by this person, then they welcome the new family member. However in families which are dominated by a narcissist things play out very differently because the narcissist must always be in control.

          From what you have told me about Jared, he loves you very much and is very protective of you. He stood up against your mother, and your family. Your mother will never forgive him for that. Narcissists never forgive those they can’t manipulate and control because they are afraid of them. Jared’s love for you helped you to free yourself and claim your life as your own. This is wonderful, the best thing for you and the worst thing that could happen for your mother.

          I understand why it’s hard to be completely excited by such a beautiful event as being pregnant. I’ve always been wary of being happy because that is usually when the narcissist attacks – they hate to see other people being happy, they envy that and want it for themselves, and they try to get it by taking it away from those who are happy. Sometimes it seems as though they are in control of your happiness, even from a distance. But they’re not, you are. Focus on yourself, Jared, and your baby. Do what you need to do, the way that you want to do it. You are strong, you are in love and are loved, and you have a lot of power in this situation.

          Your children will be fine because they have you and their father to love them, protect them, and guide them. Your parents won’t be able to turn them against you even if they get the chance. Remember your own experiences of being a child. The only person who can turn a child against its parents is the parent with how they treat the child, and even then a child is very forgiving.

          Trust yourself, follow your instincts, listen to your own knowledge, rely on your strength and your love.

          Best wishes to you and Jared and your baby 🙂

          Like

          • Well.

            I told her, about a week and a half ago. She was on cloud nine, but of course I can see through it all. Here we are and she’s already picking and poking. The first thing she started with is.. “If you don’t let me see my grand baby I will take you to court and get my rights.” I shrugged it off because I’m trying not to stress since I am in my first trimester. Then she proceeds to tell me (Maybe 2 minutes at the most after I tell her I’m pregnant.) Well, I have bad news. Doctors think I have cancer in my breast. They found lesions in my breast and I’m pretty sure I am about to be fighting for my life.” Again, I shrug it off– I mean, what do you do? I can’t just immediately back out after I had JUST called.. So i decided to give it time.

            So, today I asked her to call me whenever she gets off work so that we could discuss Jared and my wedding plans. We are getting married in August, so I don’t have a lot of time to be screwing around. I wasn’t going to ask for anything, because I know she won’t help. But she has no problem running her mouth and trying to take control. When we first started planning the wedding, I left her out, and when she found out she raised HELL. You would have thought she was satan’s wing man. So this time, I invited her to help me pick out a dress.

            I literally was only able to say, “Hey! Well, we have decided on getting married August 16th and I just figured you would like to come with me to pick out a dress!” Then she butts in, “Well, I’m just going to go ahead and tell you that I’m not going to be paying for anything because I have cancer. I am emotional and stressed, and worried to death!!! I might be fighting for my life soon, and I don’t have money or energy to be wedding planning.”

            ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?! She hasn’t even went and seen if anything is malignant or benign… if there is really even anything at all. How are you just going to go ahead and jump to conclusions that you are DYING? ANNNDDDD.. why would you stress your pregnant daughter out?!?!

            Not to mention, one of the construction workers who was working on their (My mom and dad’s) pool, asked my Mom who Jared and I were. She says, “this is my daughter, Brittany.” and just looked at Jared and didn’t say anything. I said bluntly, “Since your just going to be rude I will just introduce your SON-IN-LAW for you. This is Jared, my fiance.” She said, “I just didn’t think about it.” W H A T E V E R. You looked RIGHT at him…

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            • The important thing is to stay focused on yourself. Don’t let yourself get sucked into your mother’s latest drama, no matter what it is. She will suck the life out of you and anything which gives you joy. So put up your boundaries and maintain them. Protect yourself, Jared and your baby. You joy is precious, look after it and yourselves.

              What you’ve described is typical Narcissist mother behaviour. She is making everything about herself. Your baby is now hers. Your wedding is hers. And her health situation, whichever way it goes will become her favourite new way to manipulate everyone. If she doesn’t have cancer she will make almost having it as dramatic as having it. If she does have it, she will be the only person in the world ever to have it, hers will be the worst ever, and every interaction will be a death scene whether her cancer is treatable or not. It’s the ultimate tool of total control and manipulation of other people. She’s going to use it for all its worth and it will overshadow all of your joy until she’s made you and Jared completely and utterly miserable.

              Unfortunately you can’t allow yourself to feel sympathy or compassion for a narcissist. They use it against you. They wouldn’t feel sympathy or compassion for you and they never will. They see that as a weakness to be exploited for their benefit.

              Make sure you limit your exposure to her and her drama. Just because you have made contact doesn’t mean she’s in charge of your life again. Remember this is your life, you’re in charge of it.

              You have nothing to prove to your mother or your family. If they disrespect you, don’t make it your problem, it’s theirs.

              You might find this interesting – http://theinvisiblescar.wordpress.com/2013/04/14/surviving-the-narcissistic-parent-acons-adult-children-of-narcissists/

              Please take care of yourself. Best wishes 🙂

              Like

            • Brittany,

              I understand your pain and dilemmas.I am alot older than you, I also had a NArc mom and she would do many of the same things to me as your mom is doing . Every single milestone, right of passage or happy moment in my life was overshadowed & ruined by her. I never got the full joyous experience of many things. Ursulas blog can be very useful to you now in discovering the covert interactions of what is really happening & in helping yourself to find options that will work best for you. Best advice I can give is to try to focus & you & your fiance only! Focus on your future with him & your baby. You need to do that now or she will seize this precious time & you will never get it back. My mom had cancer also later in my life so i can relate to that . It tends to suck you in because you have empathy for her. Try to keep that ,but it has to be in balance —– right now , your focus should be you!!!! I applaud your bravery and wisdom. You have great insight into the dynamic of you own situation. Best wishes to you for a healthy & happy pregnancy!!!

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    • I am 54 my mother 82. I have 2 beautiful twin grandchildren ages 12. She knows nothing of them. I will never let her visit her madness on them.

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  24. I am so thankful for a page where I can talk about the things I have gone through, when no one else believed me. I tried being the best I could be; I tried my hardest. I am nineteen years old, and I am just now realizing what my Mom is. After days of reading through psychological disorders, I think “Engulfing Narcissistic Mother” fits her best. It is her to the T! Everything began in my pre-teen years. She told me how I could and could not do my hair and what I could and could not wear. If I were to wear something that she didn’t approve of, she surely would let me know. She would either call me fat (I am 5 foot even and weigh 110 pounds at nineteen, I was not fat then and I am not fat now, no matter how many times she says it.) until I changed, or pester me about it over and over until I couldn’t take it anymore. If I continued to wear it, she would physically attack me. I remember a time when I wanted to wear a Terminator tee shirt and she knocked me to the ground and ripped it off of me, when she got it off of me she went and got her scissors to cut it up. My boyfriend at the time tried getting the shirt back, but she fought back. Somewhere in the mess, her hand was cut by the scissors and she threatened to put us both in jail, at the age of 15. All because of a tee shirt. She constantly told me what to do, and made me the clean the house daily, while she slept or watched tv. In high school, I won Homecoming Queen, MISS HCHS. I graduated as an honor student, beta club officer, and with a 4.0. I never got in any trouble, and never even went to a party. I was accepted into Mercer University, however she refused to talk to me If I went. I did what I thought all parents would want and appreciate. They didn’t appreciate anything, because that’s what I was SUPPOSED TO DO, and If I didn’t do it, they would disown me. I can’t even remember the number of times that I have been disowned. In one weekend I was disowned 17 times. I am an only child, but luckily I dated the same boy from the time I was 12 to 18, so I wasn’t alone through everything. We were the only two in the family that knew something was mentally wrong with my mom. No one else saw it, or maybe they were just enablers. No one in my family talks to me, neither side. I didn’t see my grandma and grandpa on my dad’s side from the time I was two to nine because my Mom wouldn’t let me see them. Last year, I finally just asked my grandma why I didn’t see her.. and her response choked me up. All these years I had been told that they hated me and didn’t want me.. but, the truth of the matter is that my grandma passed by us in a busy store one day and didn’t see us. My mom didn’t even reason with her, she just immediately called my dad and lied all over her saying she “purposely ignored us.” Seven years later I met my grandma for the first time since and the sad thing was that it was on accident. And that she lived right in front of us. Literally 10 feet in front of us. I had never seen her. Even though, my grandma knows what my mom is, she refuses to stand up because she is scared of her. It seems as if my mom starts drama right before any and every holiday, so either I don’t come to the get together and she attacks me and backstabs me to the family, or I come and the whole family is cold towards me from all the lies my mother has spread. My mother has beat me on numerous occasions: for not doing something right, not dressing how she wanted, not saying word for word what she wanted me to say. She used to respond to my friends through text and facebook acting like me… on MY phone. I could only have a small circle of friends that she approved of, and if she didn’t like them, she would destroy them with horrible lies. Last year, I was in a car wreck and I broke my neck in three different places and ripped my scalp off, and she literally told me that I deserved it. I had been moved out until the car wreck. She gained full guardianship until I was completely recovered. She went through my stuff daily and continued doing everything she always has. She made me clean with a broke neck. The hardest thing to do was the laundry, but I had to do it. One wrong move and I could have been paralyzed. She conditioned me just how she wanted me every single day, until I went crazy. I couldn’t take it anymore. We got into a huge fight and she took me to the ER trying to get me “mental health.” The Doctor said I was completely normal, and very healthy and advised counseling and medication for my mother. She blew up in the hospital, telling him not to tell her how to raise her children, that she was parenting me fine. She threatened to get his license taken from him and the whole nurses station realized what I was dealing with. The list goes on and on with mental, emotional, and physical abuse. My fiance and I are still dealing with it. We pay all our bills and have a beautiful home together. We are getting married soon, but my family refuses to come. No one wants to be there. And no matter how many times you shrug it off, it hurts. We are doing well, but she doesn’t want that to be the case. She has accused him of cheating four times in the past year. She changes the stories 3 times while telling me what happened. I know my fiance isn’t cheating on me, she just knows that we know what she is and we don’t want her around. I am so glad that I have cut ties. I was beginning to think I was crazy. I would love any response. And.. to anyone dealing with this.. YOU ARE STRONG. YOU CAN DO THIS. YOU WERE FEARFULLY AND WONDERFULLY MADE.

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    • My heart goes out to you! You have been living in a nightmare, and you are surviving! Know that there is more out there. The world is bigger than what you have experienced. You also need to GET OUT. The sooner you can bring positive influences into your life the better. Some of the other posts on here have stories of negative therapists who made things worse, but I have had a wonderful, caring therapist help me begin to heal. I have had to grieve so much for the mother I never had, you have been through hell and will need to grieve too. Congratulations on your grades, go to school! I don’t know you but I’m proud of you. Follow your dreams and don’t let her poison your future. I let my mother do that and lost years of my life. Sending you love and courage!!

      Like

      • Kirsten,
        I am one of “some of the other posts on here” and I am in the same (virtual) space with you and following this thread. I am a human being and no post. My therapy experience is not to be labeled “negative” by someone who has not gone through it. Not even when giving your back to someone who is having a hard time like Brittany. (Brittany, your story moved me and I would have like to send you a personal message.)

        I shared my “negative” experience to tell in my own name that it is important to listen to your inner voice when getting help. So I ask you to speak for yourself and not about “me” in your response to others. I am beyond your “but I have”. I am happy you do have a t that is harmonious/coherent for yourself and needs – and that is seriously meant. Please leave out the “but”. I have gone through a therapy’s shadow-world a n d you are having a supporting experience. There is no but, I am not your set of referral, reality is. My experiences turn out supportive, too: For myself in a warped way ’cause I did go through some more harm successfully. To others it may be a signal to trust their guts when they tell them: “This t makes me feel… this or that and it is incoherent/inadequate/inconsistent.”

        In the internet all we have is w o r d s. So words and their using them sensitively is crucial to me. The old me wouldn’t have told you that personally and visibly. My newly evolving self does. It was there before yet I had no access.

        Best
        N

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      • Thank you so much, Kirsten. That means a lot to me! I did get out!! I have been on my own, supporting myself for a year now. I thought my Mom would stop once I left, but she didn’t. Now, She can’t threaten to kick me out anymore, so she just disowns me. I met my fiance right after my car wreck. He was there for me when I was laid up in ICU and bald. He never discouraged me or hurt me like my Mom. He never belittles me, controls me, or intimidates me. He is always kind to me, and always listens and encourages. We have been in five fights our whole relationship. Three because of my Mom and two because of his ex wife… because my Mom CALLED HER!!!!!! Yes. You read that right. My mom called my fiance’s ex wife to talk crap about him and find out everything she could on him. His Ex Wife is a narcissist too. Which is just peachy. I dealt with them at the same time, until I was to the point of calling the cops.

        I’m thinking about going and seeing a therapist. I am having a really hard time dealing with everything. It is just unbelievable to think that I thought all that was normal for so long.. all because someone said so.

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    • Thank you 🙂

      Your story is one which I know well from my own experience of being the only child of a Narcissist mother. They do indeed engulf and devour you, because they think they own you, that you owe them your life. Your mother will never let you go, and cutting ties is one of the best things that you can do for yourself and your fiance, but it is also going to be very difficult and stressful for both of you. If your mother can’t destroy your relationship through you and the lies she tells you about your fiance, she will try to do it through him, and if that doesn’t work, she will use every person who creates a link between you and her to get to you.

      She will use society to put pressure upon you, and society will probably judge you for cutting ties with your mother. And you will have a hard time, as you know already, getting anyone who hasn’t experienced what it is like to be a child of a Narcissist to listen to your side of the story and believe you. People find it hard to believe what a Narcissist parent does to their child, partly because they just don’t want to know the truth, it’s too harrowing for them to believe, and partly because the Narcissist parent covers their tracks and is usually good at maintaining a perfect public image. So society, people, often side with the Narcissist and say things such as – Oh, but your mother loves you, all parents love their children, you should forgive and forget, blah blah blah.

      You know the truth, and you need to believe in yourself, and do it with determination. Never give up on yourself.

      There is absolutely nothing crazy about you, other than that you have a crazy mother who dumped her crazy onto you and made you solely responsible for all of her insanity. The fact that you have managed to stay sane for so long under so much pressure, the constant invasive attention, and abuse of a Narcissist parent, and you’ve done it since you were born, shows that you have great inner strength and a powerful will.

      Narcissist mothers envy their daughters, and that envy is poisonous. Your mother wanted to be you, become you, have your looks, your youth, your life, your mind, body and soul, since she can’t possess your body outright she attempted to possess your body and your life like a puppet master. Watching you like a hawk, stalking your every move, spying on you and using it all to control you. Life with a Narcissist mother is like being locked in a prison, watched intensely, finding fault with every little detail, demanding perfection but never being allowed to achieve it, mind games, brainwashed, interrogated and tortured 24/7.

      Since you’re doing research into NPD, Narcissist Mothers, and being a child of Narcissists, if you haven’t already done this make sure you look into PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). All children of Narcissists suffer from it, but we sometimes aren’t aware of it because we’ve become used to feeling that way. We never feel safe enough to relax, so we tend to always be on our guard, holding our breath, waiting for something awful to happen.

      You mentioned your father, where is he in the family dynamic. Is he also a Narcissist or is he a victim of your mother too. I was very angry at my father for not protecting me from my mother, but he was a Narcissist too, so he blamed me for not protecting him from her and he sacrificed me to her to get her off his back.

      There’s an interesting article about the Narcissist Family Dynamic – http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-legacy-distorted-love/201105/the-narcissistic-family-portrait – and another article about Crazymakers which is worth reading – http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/counseling-keys/201403/how-handle-crazymaker

      You might find this blog – http://n-continuum.blogspot.co.uk/ – and its forum – http://www.webofnarcissism.com/forums/ – helpful, supportive and full of good information.

      Knowledge is power when dealing with Narcissists and the impact they have had on you, especially if you are a child of Narcissists. Putting things in perspective helps to clear the confusion and the feeling of going crazy.

      Thank you very much for sharing, and for offering encouragement to those of us who like you know the pain of being the child of a Narcissist. Beautiful words from a beautiful soul!

      Please feel free to share yourself and your story on my blog any time you need to, here you are believed and understood.

      Take care of yourself, trust yourself, and be gentle with yourself 🙂

      Like

      • My father is afraid. She hit him too (He’s smaller than she is.) She has him brainwashed, unlike me. Every time I try to talk to my Dad, he just sticks up for her, or begins to agree and then she brainwashes him again. He has had to pull her off of me, after seeing her attack me, and then scolded me, saying I started it. Time and time again. A little over a year ago, she had me cornered in the hallway and she flicked me as hard as she could. (I was in my neck brace. She knew she couldn’t hit me without it paralyzing or killing me.) She flicked me so hard you could hear it down the hallway. I told her not to flick me and she said, “I did NOT flick you, don’t you dare lie!” My dad honestly believed I had lied. Later that night I heard her hit him and then say, “I did NOT hit you!!!!” I am just dumbfounded that my dad hasn’t realized. It really breaks my heart, because I feel like if he ever cut ties, he would be normal. He was my best friend at one time, and then the controlling began.

        She definitely tries to turn everyone against me. Any opportunity that she finds, she takes. She does this evil thing too… She will say she “heard something about me” and ask about it, knowing she never heard anything. It ranges from “I heard Brittany was on meth” to “I heard Brittany was about to lose her car” when it’s NO WHERE close to true. Now these people have it in their heads that it could be a possibility and the whole thing was made up. You can’t prove that she didn’t hear it and you can’t prove she’s trying to start rumors… It’s a win win for her. However, it damages my character and reputation. If she can’t be involved, then I can’t have a good life. That’s her logic.

        When she said my fiance cheated on me, she changed the story three times. She said he was with a girl on a day that I was with him all day, so then she said, “Oh, I meant the day before.” She sent me this in a text, “Oh by the way, tell Jared to try to be more slick next time he is picking up a girl at Dollar General and trying to get her to go on a date. :)” Yes. She put a smiley face. And just to add this.. I’m 110% that if my fiance WERE to cheat on me and pick up another girl, it wouldn’t be at Dollar General. Lol.

        If I hear another person say, “You are your Mom’s world, she loves you so much! She wants the absolute best for you!!” I will die. She may say that all day long at work or in public, but they don’t see her pick at me until I’m on the floor crying.

        You were talking about “spying and controlling.” I use to wake up at three in the morning because a light was in my face, and there sat my mom scrolling through all my facebook messages and text messages. If I said ONE thing that she didn’t approve of, she would wake me up SCREAMING. Do you know how scary it is to be woken up being screamed at? I wake up in the middle of the night frequently, panicking that she is in the room. She would get stuff confused all the time and attack me before I could even explain.

        One night I couldn’t take my Mom anymore, so I left. I grabbed my keys and drove to my fiance’s. The next day I had to come by to get clothes. I was nervous because it was a weekend and I knew they were going to be home. I begged a friend to come and we headed over to their house. It was worse than I imagined. It was an intervention. I walked in and the whole family was attacking at me and trying to send me off to an asylum. They held me down while I struggled. My friend was brainwashed after 5 minutes of being there. I had to call my fiance to come get me. He came and they backed off. We packed and I left. I didn’t talk to my mom for months afterwards, but then I gave in. I can’t give in again.

        My family has tried putting me in an asylum many times. I don’t know if they can even do so, but they threaten me with it saying, “all they need is three signatures saying that I’m crazy and I’ll be gone, so I better do as they say.” Just to remind everyone, I have been evaluated twice, and I am completely normal. How is it that my Mom can control all of my family? Are they brainwashed? Or do they know how she is??

        I definitely have PTSD. I have not been diagnosed with it, but trust me, I have it. I have been terrified my whole life. I about lost my life a year ago. I had a stalker from the time I was 7-13. I probably need anxiety medicine, but I just have never gone to the Doctor about it.

        If I can make it through everything I have been through in a short 19 years, anyone can make it through anything. I have complete faith in them. It’s been a rough road, but hopefully I can make a new path. I have cried every night for two weeks, that is the last time my mom contacted me. I know it should SEEM simple enough to move on, but it’s not. I feel empty, but heavy at the same time. I wish I would accept everything already, but I know good things come with time, so I will heal with time. Is it normal to feel bad about the situation? Even though you know you are not in the wrong..

        Kind Regards,
        Brittany.

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        • Yes, it is absolutely natural and normal to feel bad about the situation even though you know you are right and not in the wrong. You are not a narcissist, it’s not black and white to you, you can’t switch how you feel on and off. Your emotions are not mental constructs like those of a narcissist, your emotions are very real and very human, and you care deeply even when you wish that you didn’t.

          One of the things a child of a narcissist has to learn to do is to become a good parent to themselves, to give yourself all the things which your parent did not give to you as your parent was busy taking from you. Your were never allowed to be a child, to express yourself freely, to have your emotions acknowledged, your needs met, you were not allowed to think for yourself. You were expected to suppress yourself and cater to the narcissist and their endless demands and bottomless pit of need. You were expected to become who they wanted you to become, and who they wanted you to become (especially if you are an only child as you are) is a conflicting paradox. You’re the scapegoat and the chosen one at the same time. It is intensely confusing.

          Be careful of your tendency to be hard on yourself. Try to not push yourself to achieve things before you are ready. You have a lot of things bottled up inside of you, a lot of confusion, pain, and conflicts which you need to give yourself plenty of time to sort through. One thing at a time, gently, slowly. There is no rush, don’t put pressure on yourself. You are more than good enough as you are. Be gentle with yourself.

          Remember that you were forced to grow up quickly, in many ways you were the adult, the parent, and your mother was the child in your relationship. You may be replaying some of that dynamic within yourself, pressuring yourself to be older and wiser, demanding that you be perfect and handle this efficiently. Cut yourself some slack. What you’ve been through in your 19 years in the way of experience is more like an entire lifetime, perhaps more than one. When I was your age I felt ancient, like I’d had all the youth sucked out of me and I was so exhausted I just wanted to go to sleep and never wake up. But I also had the power of rebellion which being a teenager is all about, and it tends to carry over into the early twenties too, so use that personal power to keep you going. You have youth on your side, the the ability to bounce back from the hardest knocks of life. Let yourself be young and enjoy your own energy.

          You also have someone by your side who really loves you, sees you, knows you, supports you. That’s a precious gift. Your fiance loves you because you’re you, that is very important for a child of a narcissist because we get used to not being loved, seen, heard, known, and being told that we’ll be loved is we become someone else only we never reach that goal because it keeps moving like a carrot, manipulating us, controlling us, forcing us to move away from who we actually our. Someone who brings you back to who you are and says – I love you exactly as you are, you don’t have to do anything to win my love, I give it freely and unconditionally – allows you to learn to love yourself here, now, as is. That’s your oasis in a desert, your safe place where you can emerge, blossom and heal. Make sure both of you take a time out from the stress of what you’re going through. You’re both very strong, you also need to allow yourselves to be weak sometimes, safely together.

          I don’t think that your family can commit you as easily as they think and threaten that they can. The threats of narcissists usually are all about inducing fear in the person they are threatening and using that as leverage to exert control. Their threats are often empty and not to be feared, however they sometimes follow through especially if the threat itself doesn’t get the result they want. It depends on the narcissist and on how much power they have on the people who enable them. If you think that they may attempt to follow through on their threat, especially as you are proving to be out of their influence and control, and your mother is likely to get more extreme in her measures to regain complete control over you, and your father seems to be passive in all of this, not likely to support you, it may be wise to take some precautions. Be prepared and arm yourself in advance with knowledge. Research what they would have to do to follow through on the threat practically and legally and find out what you need to do to counteract it. Know your legal rights and how to use them to protect yourself. Make sure you have a plan of action. Hopefully you won’t need it, but what you discover may help you in other ways with other sides of this situation. When dealing with Narcissists and those they have under their influence, it is best to gather facts and information. Knowledge is power. They tend to pretend they know things, and claim them as facts. So knowing more than they do gives you an edge to deal with them.

          It might be a good idea to see a therapist or join a support group for PTSD. But you need to feel comfortable doing that, and you need to find the right environment for you. Put your needs first, don’t allow anyone to pressure you into doing something if you don’t want to do it and don’t feel right about it. Trust yourself.

          It takes time to absorb it all, to accept it, to understand it and how it has affected you. Give yourself plenty of time to heal at your own pace, gradually and gently. You’re a survivor, give yourself time to appreciate that, who you are, what your experiences has taught you and given you, and slowly life will stop being all about surviving crazy people, and more about enjoying it for yourself. Never give up on yourself. You’re a beautiful soul!

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    • Hello Brittany,
      your story sounds so familiar.
      I do admire your courage and understanding of your reality with your mother, it’s excellent that you are able to see clearly right now, as you are very young and you have your life ahead of you; i have woken up in my forties and so many things are not possible anymore.
      What you have lived will help you to be a very good mother and loving your child you’ll love your inner child too. Wishing you the best, seashell

      Like

  25. Thanks from the bottom of my heart, anupturnedsoul! I came to your blog following Snake Esmeralda – so touched by that story and the animal itself. I have an annual ritiual on New Year’s Eve connecting with my poweranimal of the new year. Last NEE the snake showed up in my cards for the third time in a row. Yes, I have really shuffled the cards very well. Snakey came anyway. And it does make a lot of sense. There is a green (!) snake poster in my bedroom looking at me when I sleep. Almost like Esmeralda. What a coincidence. It’s my personal guard of transforming all the poison and toxic refills I have been infused with my whole life.

    When I read your story I teared up instantly and nodded my way through your lines. Deep loneliness even among others. Death as an option in my mind more than once, This deep sense of being unheard and invisible… all that I know so darn well, too. The permanent subtext-messages that make you feel confused and crazed. “Be successful, don’t you dare to reach what I have not” and the like.

    And then the healing path… providing a brandnew narcissist for me. A therapist that retriggered me so badly that I almost got killed in the consequence. It was my fault, of course. I had casted her for my ongoing drama How to Survive Narcissism… When I ended that therapy she accused me of “breaking it off” – oops?! – and she even threatened me. Little have I known back then. The term “Narcissism”? Unknown to me. Was my first therapy. Started it to save my child from my own toxic behaviour. Got really overwhelmed and had no clue that having a child would make me face my own truth of verbal and emotional abuse. When about 6 years old I had to take entire care of my younger bro. I was left alone with this child to take care of. Being a mother myself turned me into that overchallenged girl from back then. So many emotions flooded me. I knew I had to get help with that. For myself I would have never done this step at the time. At that point I was totally unconscious. I had even told everbody that I had a great childhood and wonderful family. I tried so hard to believe that lie myself.

    Years later I made the next move, another therapy. This time I chose a motherly type. And when I told her about my deep pain when my “mother” said: “If I could turn back time, I would not have children anymore!” she said the very second without even thinking or giving me space to feel that grief: “Your mother may have meant that she was not born to be a mother.” Beg your pardon? A narcissistic mother would say something like that? But good, functioning girl I was I kept my mouth shut and never told her how much her missing validation added to my pain. She made herself an assistent of my mother’s fantasy to erase me at least verbally.

    2007 I had my first severe – I mean all these events were really severe – but this crisis topped everything at that point: the NPD father of my son used an authorization I had given him for emergencies to sue me in the name of my teenage son. We, my son and I, were in the natural process of letting go and his father pathologized this by using my child as a weapon against me. All he wanted was to cause hurt and destroy me and the relationship my son and I shared. It was difficult yet we shared a bond of true love. Right now I can not be with my son, although I love him, for his behaviour is toxic and very much like his father’s. Verbally abusive, insulting, devaluating… I feel these are fleas and I openly talked about it to him (he is in his midtwenties). It broke my heart yet on Mother’s Day this year it became evident that seeing him harms me too much, In 2010 my “life” fell apart when I broke up with a well disguised narcissist. Now I am really all by myself. Job gone, friends gone, in my early 50ies. Enough challenges for healthy women. I have no clue how to get through this… I keep listening to the winner song of ESC 2014: Rise like a Phoenix, That really gives me some comfort and power just by listening.

    Have just started to work with “Mothers who can’t love” by Susan Forward. Very powerful book that I can recommend. There I figured out that my “mother” has other dysfunction-patterns as well, such as the controll-freak.

    What really blows me away is the fact that so many of us have had stereo-treatment and brain-washing. Two parents with severe PDs. My father is a NPD/BPD mix. As if one would not be enough…

    Right now there are so many thoughts in my mind, feelings/emotions in my heart, a rock in my stomach… For the first time in 50 years I feel there are people who truly understand me. Even if you all are far away and virtual I can feel/connect with your souls. I am so thankful for that. It started on outofthefog.net for me… there I found the book recommendation and other precious insights… then the link to the site with Esmeralda…

    I lit a candle on gratefulness.org: “To all of us daughters and sons who survived their upbringing and went on the path of healing. I love you. Thanks for your support and validation.” I just let this flow. Best to all of you.

    N

    Like

    • Thank you very much 🙂

      It seems to be a recurring theme that those who seek help from a therapist for dealing with the damage done by a narcissist, often find a therapist who is a narcissist and end up having to heal themselves from the extra damage done to them by the therapist.

      There are of course some very good therapists, but the profession is one which would appeal to a narcissist, especially a cerebral narcissist, because for them studying psychology is all about being the superior mind, learning mind control and better tactics to manipulate people and get under their skin, and being a therapist puts you in an instant position of power over someone else who gives you their trust and access to their psyche.

      And one of the most frustrating parts of discussing the narcissists in our lives, especially when they are our parents, with a therapist or a friend is that they don’t know what we know, and what we know is hard to explain, and they don’t necessarily have any experience with someone with NPD so they can’t understand it, so they make excuses for the NPD behaviour, try to explain it away rationally and say things like what your other therapist said. This is said more for their sake than ours, particularly when it concerns the parent/child dynamic because most people prefer to believe that it is a loving relationship no matter what. When we try to express our experience and our pain it usually triggers all sorts of issues which are within the person we are talking with, which they may be hiding from themselves and not consciously aware of them, and they react defensively to protect themselves, to counter any cognitive dissonance which our revelations may cause, which ends up hurting us.

      The stories of children of narcissists are hard to tell for us, but they are even harder for others to hear. When we get up the courage to talk about our life, we often find ourselves being told to stay silent again, sometimes openly and sometimes in subtle ways – and since we’re overly-sensitised, due to our training by our NPD parents, to be aware of how others are feeling and to cater to their needs, if what we say makes someone else uncomfortable in any way we pick up on it and react by retreating back into ourselves, back into that place where we are all alone in the world, and we really don’t know why we’re here if no one wants us around, if we can’t express who we are because it always seems to disturb and bother people, then what’s the point of being.

      We have a very deep and real existential angst. I read a quote by Jean Cocteau the other day which kind of encapsulated it for me – “Here I am trying to live, or rather, I am trying to teach the death within me how to live.” – quite a few of his quotes resonated with my experience of being the child of narcissists and what that does to the psyche.

      I came across this article recently which I found very interesting – http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-legacy-distorted-love/201105/the-narcissistic-family-portrait – it captures the dynamic.

      It’s good to know that our side of the story is finally being acknowledged, even if it has taken an age for it to happen. When I first started exploring psychology there was not that much about NPD, most of it was very clinical, and rarely delved into the impact that someone with NPD has on others and on their children.

      I did benefit from reading books by Alice Miller, Alexander Lowen, Andrew White, Theodore Rubin, and many others.

      Now there is loads of information, much of which is excellent – although there are some narcissists wading in on NPD, claiming to be experts (which I guess they are in a way, but not in they way they intend) and confusing matters – and many people sharing their stories which is insightful. Just as you are sharing your story. The more of us who speak out, share our experiences, the more we help ourselves and each other to heal ourselves, to find our personal power, and to make sense of what for so long was confusing and so very complicated and conflicting.

      Thank you so much for sharing, for being you, and for having the courage to survive. Many blessings to you and best wishes. Take good care of yourself 🙂

      NPD often overlaps with other disorders.

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  26. I am so grateful for this. The past year has been for me one of enormous self discovery, and grief. I’m a 37 year old stay at home mom. My kids are 8 & 5. I began therapy for clinical depression in January. One of the things that came up was my grandmother’s narcissism. She was diagnosed with it. Through therapy I began to see that my mother, who had spent years criticizing everyone for selfishness is a narcissist herself. I’ve been using the book: Will I Ever Be Good Enough, by Karyl McBride, as a sort of how-to guide for moving past it. It’s been really helpful. I’ve never let myself experience any kind of grief and letting go of wanting my mother’s love has been soooo painful. My big realization this week is that my dad is narcissitic too. How did I not see it? I’ve been blaming myself for being a failure as a human being because I couldn’t earn their love. No one, NO ONE, can earn the love of either one of them. They barely speak to any family members, and have no long-term friends. They work for recognition at church and live for the feedback they get there. Who can criticize you if you’re raising money for orphans? Ironically they don’t actually like children very much. They’ve seen my kids four times since birth.
    Your story was the lifeline I needed. The aloneness you expressed has been the most powerful force in my life so far. Just like you I was trained to be tuned in to the needs of those around me and ignored or punished if I had any of my own. I remember my mother sobbing to my dad about how “The girls just take and take from me, and I get nothing back!!!” It was because she had to drive us to swim lessons. It was apparently pretty traumatic for her, lol. She was moody, self-obsessed, and a total martyr. My dad was a show-off who put everyone down, including kids, to help boost his fragile ego. He’s also got a vicious temper and his dicipline sometimes crossed the line into abuse. They cannot stand each other but have stayed married for Jesus. I hope Jesus appreciates the sacrifice.
    This is the first time I’ve connected in any way with people who understand. It’s true, we ARE invisible. I’be been continuing my childhood role of catering to everyone else’s needs and holding in all the pain. I didn’t know why I couldn’t stop hating myself. I gave up everything I loved and walked away from my own talent (my mom doesn’t like my art and I sacrificed it in a misguided attempt to please her). I worked as a nanny because it felt appropriate to be a servant. I quit college for a boyfriend. At every turn, I’ve sabatoged myself and hurt myself because I couldn’t face the pain of accepting that my parents are too fucked up to ever love me as I am. I’ve become steadily more isolated as a mom, partly because (surprise!) I married a charismatic narcissist who never actually participates in our family. Of course I decided it must be because I’m not a good enough wife and I went into overdrive trying to please him and earn his love. Until I couldn’t anymore and ended up having panic attacks and suicide fantasies. This pattern is so ugly and I’ve been playing it out for so long.
    The surprising thing to me as I work through this, is how hard it is to stop putting myself down. I can see now what I need to start doing to change the cycle. When I get the urge to punish myself I need to take care of myself instead. But weirdly, it HURTS to take care of myself. I don’t want to accept that there’s no one to take care of me. That grief is strong. But if I can learn to do it I can see that I have a lot going for me. It’s a shame my family will never recognize that or be in any way supportive. But there will hopefully come a point when I truly know that I don’t need them.

    Like

    • Thank you 🙂

      I’m in my 40’s and have only just recently felt confident enough to discuss my experiences of being the child of narcissists openly. Part of this comes from a fear, for want of a better word, of how others, how society, reacts to a child, even an adult one, who in any way says out loud and in public that their parents are not loving. The few times in the past when I broached this subject I have been met with – Oh, but your parents love you. I eventually gave up saying – No, they don’t and never have. Because this kind of admittance creates cognitive dissonance in those who hear it. They want you to shut up and buy into the myth that all parents love their children, even when they abuse them. And since most children of narcissists don’t have visible bruises and scars…

      Since I’ve been blogging about my own experiences I’ve met many children of narcissists, and the parallels between our experiences and the way we have dealt with them are unnerving, but also a relief in some ways, even if we known the pain of it. Just as narcissists have similarities in their behaviour, even though each one is different, so children of narcissists (ACoN’s) also have similarities. One of which seems to be that it usually takes us half a lifetime to admit to ourselves that our parents, one or both, are narcissists. That admittance is life changing, positively and negatively, and telling the difference between what is positive and what is negative can be difficult. We finally have found a name for what has always seemed unnameable, we’ve found an explanation for what seemed unexplainable, but now what do we do?

      We’ve always dealt with everything on our own. Privately. Quietly. Trying not to bother anyone. Trying to stay invisible because being visible seems to hurt everyone else’s eyes. Maybe we should retreat into nothingness… but something within us wants to live and be visible. That is the same something which kept us going no matter what happened. That’s what we hang onto even when we want to let everything go because nothing seems to matter.

      The process of healing for us is long and arduous, but also deeply meaningful. We know we’re strong, but usually our strength has been diverted to other people and other things, using it for ourselves in what seems to be a completely selfish manner… it feels good, yet wrong somehow. But it’s not wrong, we were just trained to believe that our needs, wants, desires, were wrong, we were taught to put everyone else first, second, third… never finding a place for ourselves, so taking care of ourselves seems wrong, putting ourselves, our needs, etc, first… we’re always going to feel a little bit uncomfortable with that even though our logic tells us how good it is and feels when we do.

      We are very used to being alone. In some ways this is one of our greatest strengths. But for us it often feels anything but that. We want to connect with others, but the connection can feel so remote. We’ve seen things, heard things, experienced things… as you have with your parents… which have made us very aware of the reality which happens underneath the perceived reality. Sometimes everyone seems to be a narcissist and the hypocrisy of the world can be overwhelming. Society says – be yourself – then gives you a bunch of rules about who you’re allowed to be. Express yourself freely, just don’t speak about this or that. Things like that. This is where our slightly twisted sense of humour comes from, that wonderful humour which gets us through so much and which I can see in your words, and which made me chuckle even though I know the pain it is hiding and helping you to get through.

      We often think the solution is to kill ourselves. Finally to get some rest after years and years of exhaustion. One of the things which kept me going when I was tempted to end it all was the thought of how my death would be used by my parents to get attention, sympathy and to promote the drama of their lives. That annoyed me because I knew my death would just be another way that they used me. Sometimes I think they wanted me to kill myself so they could have their fantasy child without the real one ruining their fantasy for them. I decided that my goal was to outlive them. Of course there are other reasons to live, but when things get dark inside and outside, sometimes you have to grab onto whatever is there.

      Your words really hit home with me in so many ways. Thank you so much for sharing.

      The tide is turning, very slowly, but enough. There are a lot of children of narcissists speaking out about their experiences. Of course there are going to be people who don’t believe us, who deny us, make us feel the way we’ve always been made to feel… but there is something else emerging too.

      Have you been to these blogs:

      http://narcissistschild.blogspot.co.uk/

      http://calibanssisters.blogspot.co.uk/

      http://npdrecovery.blogspot.co.uk/

      And this one, although she’s not an ACoN, she is a great resource for information, she gets it, and there’s a forum connected to the blog:

      http://n-continuum.blogspot.co.uk/

      Take good care of yourself, trust yourself… and you’re welcome to express yourself on my blog any time you need to. Never give up on yourself!

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  27. Hello ! I have just discovered your website: it is a treasure !!! I want to delve in more in depth since it resonates deeply with my biggest issues triggered at this time by the grand cross of Pluto (Opposed my south node in cancer , I’m very cancerian: stellium in cancer + moon in 4house, my Chiron is in capricorn in 7 house) , Uranus, Jupiter and Mars . I wanted just to know how you get the pattern of pathological narcissism in a chart, the possible signatures so to speak. I’m studying Evolutionary Astrology and my mother’s chart is for me difficult to interpret. She has a very strong Aquarius in 4 house , South node in capricorn , North node in Cancer with Pluto, an Aries Moon square the nodes and conjunct her chiron. After having read some posts you wrote, I’m feeling this could be right on target! What do you think?

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    • Thank you 🙂

      This Grand Cross, especially now that Pluto is retrograde (thus the intensity of it is turned inwards), is really stirring up many issues for many people, we’re all being affected by it, both on a personal level and beyond ourselves. Everyone is going a little stir crazy. Uranus in Aries square Pluto in Capricorn seems to want us all to tear down old structures and free ourselves from their confines, review and change the old and start something new, realise our personal power and be responsible with it, and with our resources.

      So if Pluto is opp your south node, then it is conjunct your north node? The north node is the challenge to undertake and embrace (my NN is conjunct my Chiron in 7th). Is t-Pluto conjunct your Chiron? Urging a transformation of your wound.

      I’ve tried to explore narcissism from an astrological angle, but I really don’t have enough know-how to do it. I can see certain aspects of it in my natal chart, but it’s still rudimentary. Chiron in the 7th is a difficult position to have because it means your wounds and the wounds of others tend to merge and get confused. It requires a lot of self (1st house) work to balance the me versus other equation. To realise how much you and others are interconnected. Projection, mirroring, etc.

      There are quite a few astrologers who have explored things like finding signatures of trauma and other psychological things in the natal chart.

      Howard Sasportas is a realy in-depth astrologer to read. Especially his book on the Twelve Houses.

      With Pluto, Jeff Green is still generally acknowledged as the best at understanding its impact in the natal chart and through transit. He sees it as an evolutionary intent. We choose our challenges for our own evolution.

      There’s another astrologer who uses Uranus as a pointer for trauma. A friend of mine did a post on her blog with some of his videos – http://pluranianrambullngs.com/2014/01/11/knowledge-red-pill-time-uranus-from-an-evolutionary-viewpoint/

      I think Neptune is the planet to explore where Narcissism is concerned. But not everyone agrees. For me it makes sense as my natal Neptune is caught up in a T-square with a Neptunian theme. It squares my Moon in the 12th – Moon being the mother, hidden enemies, and so on.

      I think if you’re trying to understand your mother’s impact on you, then you have to explore your own chart, perhaps looking to see how her chart impacts yours, but focusing on what your chart plots as an evolutionary path for you. In other words, in evolutionary thinking, you chose your parents for a specific purpose, that purpose can be found in your natal chart.

      A friend has been doing quite a bit of this type of astrological/psychological exploration of parent/child relationships in her posts on her blog, especially in association with traumas experienced, both personal and through family issues. Her relationship approach to astrology is a million times better than mine – http://emergingfromthedarknight.wordpress.com/

      If you’re trying to understand your mother as a person, without your own feelings, thoughts, and experiences of her influencing that understanding, then you look at her chart as is. But since charts and the positions and aspects in them can go either way, negative or positive, it may only give you a glimpse of who she is. That which pushed or pulled her may be elusive. You also have to consider how her parents influenced her. Just as she has influenced you. Because your mother’s identity as a mother to you would have been influenced by how she experienced her parents when she was a child. Did she base her role as parent on her parents, was she repeating what was done to her with you. It’s a ripple effect. Alice Miller (psychology and not astrology) is a very good author to read if you want to go down this route.

      Also Richard Idemon is a great astrologer/psychologist to check out. He did a lot of work in the relationship side of astrology – Through the Looking Glass is a wonderfully insightful book to read.

      I’m sorry I can’t offer any insight into what you are exploring, trust your instincts and follow the track you’re on. Sometimes things take time before they reveal themselves to us, like they are testing us to see if we really want to find something out, if we’re really ready to see it.

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  28. Thank you for this article. I just accepted the fact that both my parents are narcissists. My father a very abusive, violent NPD and my mother is a covert NPD. I am the scapegoat child and younger sister is the golden one. I don’t know how I have survived so far. I am realizing that I am terrified of being in a relationship and constantly wondering if the person I just got acquainted with is trying to use me or not. I know that is not normal. It is extremely isolating. I don’t want to be in a constant fight or flight mode. I want to heal…just don’t know how. Thus started the research. That is how I came across your blog. It is a relief to see another human being experiencing the exact same thing as me and to know that I am not alone. Everything I have felt but could never say it out loud or fully accept…you have written about. Thank you for that.

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    • Thank you 🙂

      You’ve survived because you have a very strong nature, you’re more powerful than you may realise because growing up with narcissists as parents can make you feel powerless. As though nothing you say or do seems to make any difference.

      That natural strength is probably why you’ve been chosen as the scapegoat, because no matter what they do to you, your parents can’t control you as they would like to. Also narcissists tend to use the divide to conquer tactic, narcissist parents tend to divide their children if they have more than one so that you and your sibling don’t form a team against your parents and they can play you off against each other giving them the upper hand. Being the golden one is far worse than being the scapegoat in the long run because the scapegoat learns to question the version of reality of the narcissists early on, the role they’ve been given, and usually sets off, like you have, on a quest to figure things out for themselves.

      Children of narcissists basically have to scrap everything they have been taught by their parents and start from scratch, especially where relationships are concerned.

      There’s a good blog post which touches upon this a bit – http://n-continuum.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/the-appropriation-of-no-contact-when.html

      Relationships are difficult even for those who weren’t raised by narcissists. One of the things which being raised by narcissists causes is a heightened sensitivity to narcissistic behaviour. We’re more aware of being treated as an object by other people. We’re more prone to noticing when someone is being manipulative or wants to get something from us. We are tuned into the needs of others and feel burdened by it, as though because we’re aware of it we have to do something about it.

      Narcissist parents tend to train their children to pick up on their every need and supply them with need fulfillment. They make their needs our priority. But it is also one of the ways we survive being the children of narcissists, picking up on subtle clues, mood, need, etc, to protect ourselves from what happens next, what happens when they don’t get what they want either from us or from someone else.

      Since all humans have narcissistic traits, sometimes it can be hard for us to tell between someone who is a narcissist and someone who is just being narcissistic but who is not a narcissist. Everyone uses everyone else to a certain degree, it’s not always negative use, there is a positive side to it too, which can be beneficial to all, it’s part of the flow of interaction, give and take, of cooperation, of partnership. The difference is a narcissist only uses and takes, gives nothing back other than pain and suffering. Whereas people who aren’t narcissists need to give as much as they receive, they want to be useful to you too, they want to benefit your life in the same way that you benefit theirs. They do not want a one-sided relationship.

      Children of narcissists sometimes experience all relationships as one-sided. Other people come to us when they need something from us, but we rarely go to them when we need something from them. So we don’t find out if they give as well as receive, because we don’t ask. We don’t ask because we learned from our narcissistic parents that there is no point in asking. Because our parents isolated us, we end up isolating ourselves. We need to learn how to ask others for things too, to reach out. That’s one of the ways we find out if someone is just using us, is a narcissist. By seeing if they give as well as take. Another way to find out is to see how much they give without being asked, people who are not narcissists tend to be naturally generous with no ulterior motive. We just need to learn to accept what they’re giving, which can be hard for a child of narcissists as when a narcissist gives you something there is always a sharp hook embedded in the gift.

      It takes time to figure things out. So give yourself plenty of time to move at your own pace. And don’t assume that the way that you are and relate is not normal. Before you decide what normal is, it helps to get to know what is going on under the surface of what you consider to be normal. Other people may seem to be normal, have everything sorted out, do things such as relationships more easily, but chances are you’ll find the same issues which you have in others too, just differently arrange and in different degrees. And you’ll see that what seems to be not normal is simply normal amplified. It’s like having the volume turned up so loudly that you can’t hear other sounds, but you can learn to turn the volume down.

      Everyone feels alone and isolated from others, it’s part of being human. Perhaps it is because there are more narcissists in this world, and therefore more children of narcissists. There are a lot of us out there (known as ACoNs – adult children of narcissists). A lot of us are speaking up about our experiences, breaking the silence and reaching out, sharing our stories… making changes bit by bit to how the experience impacts us and others.

      Here’s a blog by a child of a narcissist – http://npdrecovery.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/beginning-of-recovery-my-own-experience.html

      And another – http://narcissistschild.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/the-scapegoat-picks-partner.html

      Remember to be gentle with yourself in trying to heal. You don’t need to become someone else, you just need to free yourself to be yourself. Easier said than done, but bit by bit you’ll get there.

      Take care of yourself.

      Thank you for sharing!

      Like

  29. I reblogged this.
    I relate so well to so much of this. It was my father who was the narcissist (or maybe he was borderline) many of the results are the same. My mother was codependent and very much an enabler. And it’s sad and hurtful to see and experience the fact that my mother became my sister’s minion.

    And as I mentioned in another comment on here, that I am no contact with sister, I am super low contact through email only with my mother.
    I’m getting a lot of insight from your blog posts. I’m glad I found it. Betty Laluna had reblogged something from you and that’s how that happened. 🙂

    Like

    • Thank you 🙂

      There is an interesting series of articles on Psychology Today written by Randi Kreger about the differences and similarities of NPD and BPD. Here’s a link to one of the series which also contains links to the others – http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/stop-walking-eggshells/201110/what-borderlines-and-narcissists-fear-most-part

      I think it helps to put a label on the bewildering behaviour of others as it can give us confirmation that what we experienced is real and there is some order to the disorder. It can help us to understand what happened and why. Ultimately though we have to find our story and figure it out, which when narcissists are involved in our story usually means cutting them out of it as much as possible because they tend to want to own our story, make it a small part of theirs, and rewrite it so it suits their version of us and life.

      I’m still working on it, making the occasional progress, seeing things from a less chaotic perspective and finding some logic in what was for so long completely illogical. These things take time, but are worth it or seem to be.

      Thank you for sharing 🙂

      Like

  30. Reblogged this on Safire Falcon and commented:
    Here’s a post that describes so eloquently much of the confusion of being a child of a narcissist, whether both parents or one it’s easy to relate to this. For me it was my father.

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  31. After reading this and growing up with a narcissistic father you describe “very well” what it is like to grow up in such a environment. We grow up but we don’t know who we are because to survive we have learned to do what it takes to please others mostly the narc in the family. For me it was not till a few years back that I started to piece together all the messed up things my father did to me and our family.

    Most of the time I spent by myself and now I have a few friends but I prefer to be on my own. I don’t understand the word normal nor do I know what that is? All these people in the world that didn’t have a parent that has some type of disorder and could go through the process of childhood to teen years then move on to being an adult. I understand that I am male but the rest of me I am lost who am I and what makes me up.

    I think we can become predators and do what was done to us. We have seen the abuse up front that was done to us and also have the ability to act and be whatever image we want to give people. Most of the time I watch people but I don’t feel human like I am some being on earth that doesn’t have any “experiences” others have in life. I can act, put on emotions, joke and interact with others, but in the end as you put its mostly so people have this image of me and leave me be. Any type of behavior that is normal I learned on my own or by observing others.

    To be able to tune in to others pain can be both a gift/curse. I have become very aware of body language and hints about possible arguments, drama, altercations that once I see them I go into another mode. In the past I have lent a open ear to others and their problems but now I find I am much more cautious and straight to the point if I choose to deal with other people problems.

    We have seen the ugly side of humanity and paid a deep price. Only those who have “truly” experienced the same can REALLY use the words that they understand in some shape or form.

    Like

    • Thank you.

      I don’t think there is such a thing as normal, it’s a collective construct. I get the feeling that we’re all pretending there is such a thing, and pretending we are for the benefit of… others? Maybe, maybe for our own benefit… not sure why ‘normal’ exists as a goal, perhaps it is an intrinsic part of being human and the human experience.

      I see a lot of people pretending to be normal, and admitting as much yet still playing the ‘normal’ game, and just as many people getting kicks out of not being normal, seeing themselves as special for not being normal – very prevalent in NPD, a ‘normal’ behaviour for narcissists – and others seeing themselves as being subhuman because they aren’t normal. It’s a puzzle. Normal only exists, it seems, as a point of reference which is not real yet real because we think it is.

      There was a study done of Facebook which sought to find out if people really had, say, 200 friends… and the conclusion was that people think they need to have lots of friends because things like Facebook make people think that quantity is more important than quality, but the truth is most people on have about 1 to 5 really good friends, people they rely on and trust, confide in and turn to for friendship of the kind which is deep and satisfying. And many of those who have 200 plus friends on Facebook admitted to not really knowing those people but friended them because that’s what people do on Fb and there is a certain need to compete and appear popular.

      And studies have shown that most people feel lonely and alone. Which is kind of obvious, especially on the internet, as being alone is a very human experience. We’re together yet alone. I think it has a lot to do with being a part of society and being an individual. Our solitude allows us to know ourselves as an individual, but we also feel the need to belong to a group. But being a part of a group requires that we sacrifice some of our individuality, which may not be something we are prepared to do even to belong and feel less lonely.

      I think children of Narcissists (which is a group in some ways and you can join forums for this group) are simply and painfully made more aware of pretense in relationships, and tend to develop an aversion to it because of the pain experienced. We are more aware of facades and role play.

      I know that whenever I make a new acquaintance I tend to ask myself – Is this person interested in getting to know me as I am or am I just another actor or extra in their story, and I am being assigned a role to play for them with a script from which I am not allowed to deviate and bring any of my personal individuality to it. I get annoyed at myself for being cynical… but experience has taught me to be that way. Naivete has not served me well.

      And yes, everyone hurts and passes the wound on, repeating patterns of relationship. It’s hard not to, requires enormous amounts of self-awareness which isn’t always easy to do or possible. And in some ways this is the part relationships play in our life journey, to show us our stories and dramas, and for us to learn and evolve, bit by bit. We all play games in our interactions. We play the hero or the villain, the victim and victimiser… and we learn and grow from those experiences… or don’t and get stuck.

      The thing which has helped me the most thus far is understanding, not just myself but others too. And seeing just how ordinary I am (vital for a child of narcissists because of the narcissist’s wound and its poison). My experiences and my pain from them… is ordinary even if it has at times felt far from ordinary.

      You sound like you’ve worked hard to unravel the problems and puzzles which life has given you, to find clarity in confusion, and to uncover solutions, and have found a healthy way to deal with them. It’s an inspiration. Thank you for sharing.

      Take care of yourself 🙂

      Like

      • “I think children of Narcissists (which is a group in some ways and you can join forums for this group) are simply and painfully made more aware of pretense in relationships, and tend to develop an aversion to it because of the pain experienced. We are more aware of facades and role play.”

        True in any interaction with people such things go through my mind. Their body language, how they talk. I can be wrong but part of the time I can tell if this person is faking, put on a act, or what they are showing is not the “real” them. Through my experiences dealing with my fathers narc personality I am “aware” painfully so of body language and gestures.

        “You sound like you’ve worked hard to unravel the problems and puzzles which life has given you, to find clarity in confusion, and to uncover solutions, and have found a healthy way to deal with them. It’s an inspiration. Thank you for sharing.”

        I wouldn’t say that I have unraveled/solved what I have been through. Everday that I am breathing….i am fighting. Somewhere down the line you have to figure out what is important to you NOT what has been told to you all your life. There are things that you must let go to move on and that is no “easy feat”. Dare I say it like you and others I deal as best I can it is no walk in the park.

        There was a point where I had to come to the painful conclusion that my father did not want to be involved in life. This was shown by his constant behavior up till this day. Now (again) it is taking each moment of life as it comes for I feel a lot of experience, behaviors, etc where just things to nail me down. You learn by being in life not just by readling all the supposed things poets/philosophers/ so called wise men say. I have move on past my father “regardless” how he feels because up till now I haven’t been living mine own life.

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        • That is very true – “I wouldn’t say that I have unraveled/solved what I have been through. Everday that I am breathing….i am fighting. Somewhere down the line you have to figure out what is important to you NOT what has been told to you all your life. There are things that you must let go to move on and that is no “easy feat”. Dare I say it like you and others I deal as best I can it is no walk in the park.” – and it applies to children of narcissists and those who are not children of narcissists but who have grown up in our modern times where ‘society’ is more often than not a narcissistic parent, telling us all who we should be and how we should appear -appearance being more important than what lies beneath – confusing us with contradictory demands and pressuring us to be perfect citizens at the cost of losing who we actually are as individuals for a collective image which keeps changing on a whim.

          First we should be skinny, then skinny is bad, fat is good, but then fat is bad too, then we should be toned and tan, but being toned and tan is not good either, so… society just can’t make up its mind what it considers to be the perfect body, but it is certain we should all kill ourselves and be miserable just so we look good according to whatever looking good is at the moment. You can see this NPD style of being/having in all aspects of society.

          It’s very hard to absorb the concept that your NPD parent does not care about you. I knew this about my parents when I was a young child, I even confronted them about it on several occasions trying to clarify the confusion, and made the mistake of voicing my thought to others, and I was told that I was wrong… but I was not wrong. But the manner in which I was made to understand how wrong I was, made accepting the truth more painful because I was denied the right to it repeatedly which meant that I had to make myself stupid to believe their version of reality rather than my own. So… it’s taken years to unravel that mess. But doing so means that other confusions and messes can also finally be resolved. To a degree.

          It is very much about finally living your own life and accepting everything which comes with doing that, including the fact that for many years you did not live your life as though it was yours and belonged to you. Embracing all of your experiences as being a part of the whole of you… takes time, patience and compassion towards yourself.

          The important thing is that you are consciously aware, you are making progress, and to trust yourself, and support that trust with each step even when it hurts. Your life is yours, and you must learn to know and love and care for yourself. You’ve learned how not to do it, now you get to discover how to do it 🙂

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          • “It’s very hard to absorb the concept that your NPD parent does not care about you. I knew this about my parents when I was a young child, I even confronted them about it on several occasions trying to clarify the confusion, and made the mistake of voicing my thought to others, and I was told that I was wrong… but I was not wrong. But the manner in which I was made to understand how wrong I was, made accepting the truth more painful because I was denied the right to it repeatedly which meant that I had to make myself stupid to believe their version of reality rather than my own. So… it’s taken years to unravel that mess. But doing so means that other confusions and messes can also finally be resolved. To a degree.”

            That is the first big blow a child has to overcome that “they don’t care about you.” Every child wants love and support but when a parent by their own “choice” decides their own flesh and blood isn’t important it can be CRIPPLING! People with NPD often rewrite things in what they think happen. How many times was I a victim of numerous rage attacks plus witnessing his degrading attacks on other family members. That’s why my own outlook and life and philosophies are much different from others. I have a right to question since many things I was told were warped versions of events.

            Like

            • Very true. That need to question, to verify if what is presented is true or false or otherwise is strong in children of NPD parents. Everything and everyone is under scrutiny. Question everything… but occasionally question the need to question everything too.

              I think ultimately it is a good thing, a gift in the curse, and helps to heal the pain of the wound inflicted, as it encourages us to explore, reflect, review, observe, investigate, and develop the ability to see something or someone from multiple perspectives. Detachment is needed.

              I think for me the hardest aspect of my parents not caring about me was not so much that they didn’t care, as that was obvious from the get go, but the fact that they denied it and insisted that they did care, that I was wrong and thus I had to deny my own knowledge – that denial of my own knowledge to buy into their version of reality – that they cared – that is what hurt me more than their inability to care. And they did the usual NPD thing of claiming that their love was greater than all the love in the world, proving it by grandiose displays of fake caring.

              And of course they do care about you because you’re an extension of them, but it’s not love, or caring as in one human feeling concern and interest in another such as their child, it’s self-interest, self-care. You belong to them, you are them, they own you and you must be who they need you to be to support their version of reality and themselves.

              And then there is also the whole public image thing too. In private they ignore you unless they need to unleash some stress, but in public they’re the perfect parent who adores their child, and the public lap the act up because they know what people want to hear and see, and you have to participate in the act or else public opinion turns against you, they make sure of that if the public is slow to act on their behalf – what a brat, ungrateful child, etc. They get others to shame you back into submission and support of their reality. The usual thing of the NPD person manipulating reality, performing to an audience who believes the truth of their performance and is swayed by their words and will.

              It’s exhausting, and we end up being hypervigilant because we feel that we are under constant scrutiny, in case we slip up and ruin their version of reality which will upset them and they will unleash their disappointment on us. And we can’t confide in anyone because someone might tell on us, squeal to the NPD parent. This makes us question others because we grow up unable to trust anyone, usually including ourselves (that one is the toughest to deal with – we trust ourselves, but we don’t as we might do something to harm ourselves, and we have betrayed ourselves in our efforts to win a small drop of genuine caring from our parents – very complicated inner struggle).

              The important thing is that you care for yourself! And I feel that you do, which is inspiring 🙂

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              • “Very true. That need to question, to verify if what is presented is true or false or otherwise is strong in children of NPD parents. Everything and everyone is under scrutiny. Question everything… but occasionally question the need to question everything too.”

                I was not aware that this “trait” was strong in children of NPD parents? Maybe it comes from being told lies and dealing with warped perceptions of life? All my life I have questioned and questioned things most would never dream of!

                “And of course they do care about you because you’re an extension of them, but it’s not love, or caring as in one human feeling concern and interest in another such as their child, it’s self-interest, self-care. You belong to them, you are them, they own you and you must be who they need you to be to support their version of reality and themselves.’

                Bingo!! You are a possession in their eyes a “object”. I never felt wanted in any manner with my father. Just talked to like I am not in family with no feelings. It makes me laugh that my father tried to be so hard to be the “alpha male.” When out around people he tried desperately to use that persona, but a home he was the total opposite. The opposite persona was man that couldn’t do anything by himself but sure could talk/yell at you like he did know something. Its even more interesting to see his behavior now that I and other family member have caught on and to some point give back what he has given us. A sad version of a man that sulks, rages and tries so desperately hard to be noticed!

                “The important thing is that you care for yourself! And I feel that you do, which is inspiring”

                Thanks, again when I came to the conclusion he didn’t care I moved past him and started to do things for me. As you said “taking care of you!”

                Like

                • Children of narcissists share similarities of behaviour because our parents have NPD and the disorder comes with a rigid cycle of behaviour – press play, rewind, reset and repeat – a consistent pattern which repeats itself over and over again with little to no variation. We develop our behaviour as a response, a survival coping mechanism, a way to deal with their NPD behaviour.

                  The basics are similar, but since we are all unique individuals the similarities take on the shapes, colours, and expression of our personal style and creativity.

                  The questioning of everything comes from experiencing from an early age many contradictions and clashes of conflicting versions of reality, and from the inability to trust what is real, what is being presented to us, because it keeps shape-shifting.

                  Children seek stability and consistency, because the world is vast, unknown, yet to be discovered, and they need some terra firma under their feet, a solid foundation on which to start their journey through life. But with NPD parents the only consistency is inconsistency, and nothing is stable, the ground keeps giving way to an abyss.

                  One minute THIS is reality and the next minute THAT is reality, and THIS and THAT are polar opposites which keep changing their polarities.

                  One minute you’re being praised for your good behaviour, the next minute that same behaviour is bad and you’re being punished for it. Then it switches again, and again, etc.

                  One minute you’re being told that someone is evil, and the next minute that evil person is an angel. And vice versa. All on the whims and moods of the narcissist. Their BFF is now their mortal enemy, and their other mortal enemy is now their BFF, then it switches, switches again, and so on.

                  And that happens 24/7 so the child of narcissists can’t make sense of anything or anyone and has to learn to figure things out for themselves by taking the curiosity which is natural to children and making it into a weapon to battle the endless onslaught of confusion which the NPD parent keeps dumping on them.

                  Those with NPD tend to split the world into polar opposites and they swing between extremes, all coloured by their warped magical thinking. They do not know who they are, or what the world is actually like, they have no boundaries between self and other, or illusion and reality, it is all a big mass of clay which they shape to be whatever they need and want it to be in the moment for them and the world according to them. And they do that with people. People are like dolls, puppets, which are there for them to play with to create their own reality. And the puppets become the character which they choose for them. If the puppet pretends to have a life of its own, the NPD punishes the puppet, discards it into a big box they have for bad broken toys.

                  The film I spoke about in this film (video of film included) kind of summed it up for me – what it was like being the child of two people with NPD who behaved like warped children and trapped me in their version of reality – https://anupturnedsoul.wordpress.com/2013/11/30/a-film-which-captures-what-it-is-like-to-be-in-a-relationship-with-a-narcissist/

                  And the child of an NPD parent eventually gets fed up with trying to make sense of nonsense, and decides to start from scratch and discover what is real and unreal on their own – this is partly done as a way to escape from the world of the NPD parent which is suffocating, restrictive and a never-ending nightmare. Which is a mammoth task, because when you explore the world you realise that although not everyone has NPD, magical thinking is an intrinsic part of being human and every person whom you meet has a different experience of life and therefore a different view of what reality is, and thus what is real and what is unreal is a question which has too many answers and none of them answer it.

                  It’s like reading every book in a section of the library and realising no one really agrees on anything, and even when they do agree the agreement is approached from a different angle – which is why humans are still trying to figure out the meaning of life, and are willing to kill each other to prove their version is THE version.

                  And children of narcissists tend to experience a disconnect from everything and everyone, our questioning and desire to know becoming in some ways the only thing which connects us to the world and the people in it. We are the reader and they are the books, we are never a book which another reader reads, our story is silent words floating in the nothingness of space – a space we are exploring but it is still that vast world we experienced when we were born and we still don’t have solid ground under our feet, we’re still trying to find our planet, one we can land on, trying planets out, searching for a home, a base. We’re a bit of a Space Oddity.

                  And in what we do, the way we are as we are… well that is our planet, our home, our base. Our version of reality is to explore all the realities in the world.

                  Or something like that… that’s just my version 🙂

                  In many ways we are our own parent, looking after our child, giving ourselves the love and care we need, nourishing and nurturing our nature. We didn’t get it from our parents, but in some ways, that is a good thing because it pushed us to take care of ourselves.

                  Thank you for sharing, each time I interact with someone who has had similar experiences, I find life makes a little more sense, and the connection is heartfelt.

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                  • Excellent reply! Your response sums of my process of learning because of NPD. I think these statements sum it up from what you have written…

                    “The questioning of everything comes from experiencing from an early age many contradictions and clashes of conflicting versions of reality, and from the inability to trust what is real, what is being presented to us, because it keeps shape-shifting.”

                    “And that happens 24/7 so the child of narcissists can’t make sense of anything or anyone and has to learn to figure things out for themselves by taking the curiosity which is natural to children and making it into a weapon to battle the endless onslaught of confusion which the NPD parent keeps dumping on them.”

                    “And the child of an NPD parent eventually gets fed up with trying to make sense of nonsense, and decides to start from scratch and discover what is real and unreal on their own – this is partly done as a way to escape from the world of the NPD parent which is suffocating, restrictive and a never-ending nightmare. Which is a mammoth task, because when you explore the world you realise that although not everyone has NPD, magical thinking is an intrinsic part of being human and every person whom you meet has a different experience of life and therefore a different view of what reality is, and thus what is real and what is unreal is a question which has too many answers and none of them answer it.”

                    There are some MANY viewpoints out there and you realize that “your own view” is in that group. That is why I never believe what my father says because he has twisted his statements so badly and often that at the end its just sounds like contradictions and very little truth. I cant count the number of times he says he is “going to do this” and it never happens.

                    As far as the “disconnect” as long as I can remember I never felt a close connection to most people. I don’t have a problem going out and doing my own thing while so many just have to have other people around them. I too am looking “for solid ground” as I take apart myself, my thoughts, and life!

                    Again GREAT reply!

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                    • Thank you 🙂

                      There is a rather big gulf between what a narcissist says and what they do. Narcissists talk a lot and for them I think the talking is the doing, if they say it and say it over and over again then it becomes true, it becomes a deed done even if they don’t actively do anything other than talk. So when they say that they are going to do something, saying it is doing it. At least that’s how it seems to work for them. It ties in with their twisted magical thinking – if they say something it becomes true because they said it, so they can make a lie a truth and a truth a lie just by the magical power of talking.

                      They also study people, especially the reactions which people have to their words. And they see that other people believe what they say, they think this is because they have a super ability to manipulate reality, they assume they are very clever and everyone else is stupid. What never occurs to them is that other people believe what they say because why would a person lie about the things which narcissists lie about, such as what they are going to do, it’s illogical. But a narcissist is fundamentally illogical

                      They’ve found that many people take others at face value, at their word, without checking up on whether what is said is backed up by action and therefore is the truth rather than a lie. They don’t realise people do this because it is a basic of human interaction – to trust that others are presenting themselves correctly, to consider others innocent of deceit until they prove themselves to be otherwise. They don’t understand why people are so trusting of others, they just can’t grasp that it is the sign of a healthy approach to relationships, for them it is a sign of stupidity in others and cleverness in themselves.

                      They know they’re untrustworthy so they are paranoid and suspicious of others – they think everyone thinks the way they do, which makes them believe that they are more clever than others because they are so adept at deceiving people and no one can deceive them (yeah, right). They make life very complicated for themselves with their illogical thinking, and they end up making life very complicated and confusing for those who are in a relationship with them because they defy logic, and the only way to understand them is by thinking illogically.

                      The human mind is designed for logic – to get from A to Z you move through the alphabet letter by letter in order. A narcissist gets from A to Z by going backwards because they’re so clever they’ve found the shortcut no one else found and it never occurs to them that the reason no one else goes backwards is because it’s stupid and nothing is learned or gets done by doing things that way.

                      Growing up as a child in the world created by an NPD parent means your mind works overtime, which in some ways is useful, but it can be exhausting because your mind is constantly processing things, reviewing and analysing, trying to see events and statements from as many different angles as possible and then to find the correct way to view them from your own perspective – we often lose our own perspective because we were not allowed to have it as it created cognitive dissonance and made life too difficult and survival requires making life simpler, so we jettisoned the weight of our own version of reality in favour of the warped reality of our NPD parent.

                      So in some ways finding solid ground requires that we find our own version of reality, the one we had to suspend or throw away to survive an NPD parent because it threatened our sanity and health, but which now is imperative for our sanity and health. We do this when the time is right, but it is hard work, hard work with a big reward, finding ourselves, making ourselves whole, and discovering that place within where our feet finally touch solid ground.

                      Talking with you has sparked many insights for me, thank you 🙂

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  32. ugh. This hurts. Very good job. I hate it though. I want out of being this. I want someone too, but not in the way I have been “taught”. Not anymore. I don’t think it’s possible though. Thanks for your beautifully written honesty and insight. You were really able to hit home with me. I hope you are finding a way through the maze of a brain we are left with.

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    • Thank you 😀

      It is a painful place to be in and the best cure I’ve found is seeing the pain as an ally and not an enemy. The pain shows us where we hurt and asks us to acknowledge the hurt and find a way to express it which is constructive and healing for us, and which does not pass the wound on to others – because that is something that narcissists do, and which they did to us.

      I’ve found blogging about it has helped me. It allowed me to tell my side of the story and do it publicly – that was important as hiding stuff from others, presenting a perfect, happy image and covering up anything imperfect and unhappy is a narcissistic behaviour which was taught to me and which kept me a prisoner in silent pain. And I have been able to release pent up emotions which had been denied expression, and as I released them the confusion began to clear. And I saw that so much of what I thought was mine, so much of the confusion and fear, did not belong to me but belonged to those who dumped it on me. That’s why it was impossible for me to figure it out, to face the fear and clarify the confusion, because it wasn’t mine and did not originate within me. It was illogical and I could not make it logical until I basically went through myself as though I was a cupboard stuffed with things and sorted out what was mine and what was not.

      It’s still an ongoing process, because I have my issues to sort out, but at least it’s clearer and the air circulating around the maze of the brain is no longer stale.

      So much of it comes down to accepting yourself exactly as you are, which is difficult when you’ve been taught that that is the last thing you should ever do, but it is a relief to do it.

      I wish you all the best in your quest to heal your own pain, take care of yourself and be gentle with yourself, take your time to see how beautiful you are as you are.

      Have you visited this blog – http://n-continuum.blogspot.co.uk/ – there is a forum connected to it – http://www.webofnarcissism.com/forums/ – and there are lots of very useful links and resources.

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    • Thank you a million times over 😀 I know you know what it’s all about!!!

      I was thinking about you and loved your latest Pluranian RamBullings post! I was thinking something which ties in with what you wrote. You too have the gift and working it in P/U.1 style 😉

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  33. Wow, this really hit home. Although I’m not sure exactly where it comes from for me. One question I had as I read this, is you pointed out how these traits appear in the ‘child of a narcissist’ but it leaves me wondering what it is that creates the actual narcissist. I know that was not your point in writing this, but I would be interested in what people think about that. I have heard of course, kind of like you said, that ‘too much encouragement’ does it. But that doesn’t seem quite right to me, giving and getting encouragement is a really good thing, especially for young children who are unsure of themselves and might be easily discouraged without it. Like you said, people are starved for it. Then some people say ‘encouragement without achievements’ which seems maybe a little more on the right track, but also wrong, since all successful people know that you will fail alot before you succeed, and how bad would/does it suck for people to withdraw encouragement just because you aren’t achieving at the moment?

    What you said before about authenticity seems applicable. But does that mean ‘encouragement in inappropriate situations where it’s not deserved and clearly a lie’ is the culprit? This still causes a problem for me, because I know that many times, because of self-esteem issues, people will think there is something wrong with them when there is not, or that there is no reason for anybody to like them when there actually is, etc etc … so that, at least at that moment, if that individual receives appropriate encouragement, it will seem fake and inappropriate to them, and even make them angry (I have even seen this in myself sometimes!) So that that individual might *think* the encouragement is inappropriate when it really is not… but since it’s perceived as a lie, would it still contribute to narcissism?

    I’m really enjoying reading your writing btw, there are so many really good insights in there.

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    • Thank you 😀

      That question about how is a Narcissist created is one I have been trying to answer to understand the disorder better. Since Narcissists repeat what was done to them in their behaviour to others, some of the answer lies within their behaviour. They repeat the same behaviour over and over again like a broken record as though they are trying to move on but are stuck in a rut.

      Here’s what I’ve figure out so far, and whether it is right or wrong I am not sure:

      1 – The Narcissistic phase of development which we all go through and pass through in our formative years is when the major wounding happens which turns a child into a Narcissist and make Narcissistic Personality Disorder the dominant disorder – Narcissists usually have sub-disorders, overlaps with other personality disorders.

      So what exactly is the wound?

      2 – The Narcissistic wound seems to involve a removal of the actual self of the child which is then replaced with a false self. The person or people who inflict the wound push the child to become who they want it to be. It is in many ways a rape and murder of the developing self of the child by an authority figure in their life. Since children are hard-wired to survive, the child adapts as they are powerless to protect and defend themselves as the authority figure rules over them and they do this to the child on a constant basis, there is no escape except into fantasy, and there is no choice but to do what the authority figure wants them to do. Since the wounding occurs during the time when a child’s imagination is in full bloom, pretending is easy and is a game of sorts. They imagine that they are whoever they have to be to please the demanding authority figure.

      This is clearly seen when a child shows an early talent in some field – a child prodigy – and the parents push the child to develop the talent into an all consuming activity. Encouraging the child to fulfill an ideal. Let’s say the child shows an early ability to play the piano, the parents make the child practice instead of playing, the child is not allowed to spend time with friends of its own age, socialise, have fun, as it must become a genius to fulfill its parents ambitions for it and for themselves as the parents and creators of a genius. The parents will take the credit for the achievements of the child.

      It can also been seen in families where parents sacrifice their own comfort, working very hard to give their child the education and life they never had. The child is expected to fulfill the ambitions of the parents to rise up in society, to be successful, to move up in the world thus uplifting the entire family with them, and to redeem the sacrifice of the parents. To make the sacrifice worthwhile. To make the investment pay off with interest.

      3 – Narcissists are unable to feel emotions the way non-narcissists do. They have them but do not understand what emotions are or how to handle them, and when they have one they experience it as stress, that stress causes an intense fear reaction within them, this stress and fear builds causing immense pressure which they usually relieve and release by having a tantrum, an outburst, picking a fight with someone or picking on someone until that person has the outburst (which is a passive form of the same thing – emotional stress release – for the Narcissist) – often dumping their emotions onto someone else to deal with them.

      Thus the child who becomes a Narcissist was not taught to handle emotions, was probably forced to deny their emotions just as they were forced to deny their needs to fulfill the vision the person who turned them into a Narcissist had for them.

      4 – Narcissists have a bottomless pit of need and they are starving and hungry and seek to fill the bottomless pit. This is partly what the Narcissistic supply which they seek is intended to fill, but nothing ever fills it and they become more and more anxious and demanding. Like babies when they are hungry only in a baby this is natural and normal, in a Narcissist it is what drives them to devour people.

      Narcissistic supply is also used to confirm to them that the false self is real. They need to believe that they are who they say they are and are pretending to be because if they are not then who are they? They do not have that core self which non-narcissists have.

      When we have an experience which devastates our world and reality and we feel as though we are free falling, we still know who we are even if the experience has upset our identity. Even if we have an identity crisis. We have a bottom which we’ll eventually hit. Narcissists don’t have that, they feel that if they free fall it will be forever or they will be annihilated. This is why they are such control freaks, they have to control life and people and themselves to prevent any threat to their reality. If their reality bursts and ends so do they.

      If you want to know what created a Narcissist look at the Narcissist’s parents or whoever was the authority figure in their life who had the most influence on them as a child, and did so continuously, and usually still has a hold on them. this person may be revered as a god by the Narcissist, they may also be very hated by the Narcissist but they may still be close to them. That’s where the answer lies.

      Narcissists are not born with the disorder, it is not genetic, passed on through DNA, they are normal children until someone wounds them so deeply that they get stuck inside the wound. It can be inherited through family behaviour patterns and personality disorders handed down and absorbed generation after generation. Children learn how to be and behave from observing and being around their family members.

      There are different types of Narcissists, the disorder overlaps with other disorders and this will give added information.

      Encouragement is indeed a good thing, and a lovely thing to share. It does not cause NPD. You can’t turn a child into a Narcissist by encouraging them, but you can boost their confidence and help them to pursue their loves. The type of encouragement which creates a Narcissist is not really encouragement it’s pressure and pushing and forceful. It’s a form of bullying. It is very controlling. It has a very definite purpose and intent. It’s not saying – you have a wonderful voice, I love your singing it’s beautiful, perhaps you should train to become a singer. It is saying – you have a wonderful voice, you’re destined to become a singer, I have signed you up for lessons, you will train and practice and train and practice and not do anything else until become a famous singer. Failure is not an option, you can be whoever you want to be and I have decided you’re going to be a singer.

      However an adult Narcissist does love the usual and uplifting form of encouragement, as we all do, but for them it is essential nourishment as it confirms their version of themselves and reality and it soothes their fear. They seek it constantly like a desperate treasure hunter. They depend upon it because their life and who they are was dictated to them by someone else, now they have internalised the dictator and have become that dictator to themselves. They are living a lie and the only way to keep living is to keep that lie alive as a truth.

      Giving encouragement to an adult to boost their self esteem, even if the encouragement is perhaps not completely genuine won’t create a Narcissist, but it is often how people deal with Narcissists as certain types of Narcissist use low self esteem as a fishing for compliments and Narcissistic Supply manipulative device. You can tell if they’re a Narcissist by the way they react to it. They generally demand more and more after they get the first taste of it. This exhausts people’s genuine encouragement and they resort to faking it to meet the demands of the Narcissist and not incur their rage if they don’t get it.

      You can’t turn an adult into a Narcissist, they either already are or they’re not.

      All humans have Narcissistic traits, sometimes they are more dominant than at other times depending on what is happening in that person’s life. These are healthy traits and normal and natural.

      Society is very Narcissistic at this time, so we’re all encourage to be that way and behave that way. To have a dream and make it real no matter what. To be perfect and look perfect, etc. However most of us do it sporadically and eventually tire of it because it is exhausting. If we’ve hurt someone while we were being Narcissistic, and we become aware of it, we’ll apologise, make amends if we can and try to not repeat what happened. We acknowledge other people as equals to us and we respect them. Narcissists can’t do that because they never learned how to do it and were taught something else instead.

      Okay… I have written way too much! You hit upon one of my passions, to understand the roots of NPD. 😀

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      • Dear Ursula,
        This is an exceptional accurate description of the NPD’s inner world. I am speechless as this paragraph you wrote so much identifies with my clinical data. You are a great clinical genius! 🙂 (forgive my possible English mistakes as I am not native speaker)
        I wish you love!

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      • This is spot on. It took me over 50 years to work this out. I wish I had this information 40 years ago. Once you realise the people you are dealing with are crackers they seem much less scary. I would just like to add that I feel non NDP people have a pretty accurate view of themselves because other people act as a mirror and give feedback on their behaviour. However NDP’s are unable to take that feed back on board. They have an infinite capacity for self deception.So they have no mirror in which they can see themselves as they truly are. Also my NDP mother came across as being quite stupid. I realise now it was because her decisions were not based on facts or getting the best outcome in any situation but were based on maintaining her grandiose view of herself. Does anyone else feel this about there NDP parent. Because of this I distanced myself from my mother since very early childhood and have had a life long mistrust of other people.

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        • Thank you 🙂

          The important part is that you have the information now and it’s clear to you and your eyes can see perceptively and you understand your history and how it has influenced your present, and you can claim your life and your version of reality with confidence.

          It is indeed wonderful to have the information available the way it is now as it confirms what we suspected and knew, it clarifies confusion caused by conflicting realities, puts it in context and gives perspective.

          I also think being able to share personal stories is immensely helpful. I remember years ago when I was first researching NPD on the internet coming across a blog written by a woman whose mother had NPD and she was very honest and open about her story, and as I read it I just had one of those penny-dropping moments where I recognised my own story in her words. It confirmed my thoughts about my mother. Thoughts which I already knew but was continuously second-guessing.

          I did come across a couple of books many years ago on NPD but one was too clinical and the other one… the author seemed to be crazier than the people he was accusing of being crazy. The latter one in some ways was useful because it put my parents and the people who supported their skewed reality into context for me. It was the first time I really grasped how much reality is a construct of our own making, and that sometimes our reality is not ours but we’ve adopted someone else’s – usually the one our parents told us was real, but it is just their version of it and it takes us a while to snap out of the spell of it.

          And I think when you’ve grown up with a parents or parents with NPD, the full understanding of what that means and how it affected you takes a long time to fully form. In some ways I think our minds have been protecting us and we are only able to face the whole picture when we are older as we are stronger.

          Your remark about your mother coming across as quite stupid make me chuckle. As a child I used to sometimes look at my parents, especially when they were having one of their NPD vs NPD fights, and wonder who was the child and who was the adult because their fights were so infantile – which would have been fine if they had actually been children but appeared ridiculous as they were adults. And they expected me to behave correctly and appropriately, be reasonable and sensible, like a mini-adult, but they did not have to. If I behaved as they did I got told to stop being childish, even though I was a child.

          I do think most children, whether their parents have NPD or not, think their parents (and other adults) are quite stupid. Because adults often are not logical.

          Having mistrust of other people is definitely a result of growing up with NPD parents, but in some ways it is a useful result. Taking the time to get to know someone, observing their words vs actions, basing trust given on experience of that person and doing it gradually is a wise precaution.

          The hard part is learning to trust yourself, because this ability gets very damaged by growing up with parents with NPD, since our survival depends at times on disregarding our own instincts and knowledge to placate and be able to live with those with NPD.

          The self-delusion and self-deception of those with NPD is a coping mechanism for them. Without it they have nothing except fear and pain. They can’t see themselves because to do so would shatter the thing which keeps them alive and keeps them going. They look to others for a reflection, but they want to control what that reflection is – it has to be what they need it to be. When we don’t reflect what they want to see, they smash the mirror – they smash us. It is all about them, never about us. We don’t exist, we are extensions of themselves.

          So, yes, other children of NPD parents do feel that way. You too are spot on!

          Thank you for sharing. Take care of yourself, trust yourself, and best wishes 🙂

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  34. “So if the child of a Narcissist speaks up and out against their parents, they will not be believed, . . . ”

    I remember being 13 and told a family friend about how my mother would always dominate conversations. Or how if you tried having a conversation about something I did in school or perhaps a something in the news, the conversation would immediately turn back onto my mother’s interests. There was no dialogue, it was “oh you’re talking, well we are going to talk about what I want to talk about.” Nonetheless, the family friend did not believe me. I quickly learned it’s just better to shut up and don’t say anything. Another time I tried telling someone about how I was the constant target of my mother’s yelling and screaming. And the verbal abuse from my sister. And again I was not believed.

    One of the drawbacks to living in silence is that it will effect one’s health, not just their mental health, but physical. I paid the price a few years ago in my late 20s, From decades of hypervigilance, it took its toll, but I’m physically stronger than before. Now it’s time to work on the mind.

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    • Thank you. You’re spot on about the effects of the silence on health. I’ve been exploring those, especially in connection to habits such as hypervigilance. It’s exhausting isn’t it! You can never relax because you know the moment you relax… something happens. I’ve been trying to break that habit, but it takes time and being compassionate with the self which is not easy when you’ve been trained to be hard on yourself.

      Glad to hear you’re working on it and on freeing yourself from the influence of your past. Keep at it. Persistence pays off. So does breaking the silence even when others don’t want to hear what you have to say, say it anyway, for you… sorry, but screw them! Being less considerate and mindful of what others need to hear has helped me a lot. Being stubborn about your truth, knowing the truth even if others consider it a lie… is a must for the health of the self. If it comes down to self versus others, choose the self, because others don’t have to live your life.

      You’re younger than me and wiser earlier than I was… you’ll be fine, follow your intuition and stand by yourself through it all!

      Your mother sounds like mine. Problem is you’ll find that similar trait in others, even the healthy others, because everyone is obsessed with themselves, wants to talk about their interests rather than yours, even us, but differently. We’d love to talk about what interests us but we’re programmed to be aware of the needs of others. Turn the curse into a gift. Place your needs first, let others take care of themselves, if they can’t and need you to do it, that’s their problem, not yours. It’s hard to do that, but necessary.

      Take care of yourself!

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