Sons and Daughters of Narcissistic Parents

An adult can choose to live with or without a narcissist, and it is up to that adult to decide whether or not to weather the storm(s). What about the children, the sons and daughters, living with a narcissistic parent? They have no choice in remaining with the narcissist and are ready victims for his abuse as they have neither the knowledge nor the power to defend themselves. The parent/child relationship is so important with its long term effects and, unfortunately, can be easily manipulated. Narcissistic parents can, willingly or unwillingly, inflict long term wounds on their children through their behaviors. It is the people who are closest to the narcissist who bear the brunt of the disorder and children are especially vulnerable.

Narcissists are deplorable parents as they cannot put their child’s needs first at any age. They tend to be somewhat better parents when their children are still young and easier to control. The children are a captive audience, easily impressed and also easily manipulated. If the child tries to gain independence as he or she matures, the narcissistic parent(s) will turn against the child and become more emotionally abusive.

Golden Child and Scapegoat

Beginning in infancy, the children are trained to meet the needs of the narcissistic parent. If the narcissist has more than one child, one of the children is selected to be the “golden child”. This is the child that the narcissist most identifies with. The other children can never achieve to the point of warranting pride or love from the narcissistic parent. Another child usually plays the role of the “scapegoat” and gets the worst of the abuse and vilification. Although in reality, even the golden child is not loved by the narcissistic parent (they are incapable of love) but they will make it appear that the golden child is loved. The golden child will be praised just as the scapegoat and/or others are insulted or mocked. Eventually, the golden child matures and either realizes their parent is not capable of providing love and acceptance or they will continue in their denial and never accept that they have been abused. If the child remains in denial he or she is likely to propagate similar abuse onto their own children.

For the child that realizes his parent is a narcissist (or at least incapable of love), there are three choices:

  • Choice One is to continue to cater to the narcissist and allow the instilled feelings of guilt to push them in directions they do not wish to go.
  • Choice Two is to limit the abuse by setting boundaries with the parent.  If the child chooses to continue the relationship (with boundaries), the child will be tested to their limits by the parent. Rage and negativity will be taken to an entirely new level.
  • Choice Three is to leave the relationship. Completely cut ties with the narcissistic parent. Cutting ties with the narcissistic parent allows them to gain their own life.

The scapegoat has only one choice if he wants to end the abusive relationship and that is to get out of the toxic relationship. He or she must cut ties with the narcissistic parent.

Source of Narcissistic Supply

Sam Vaknin, narcissist and author of Malignant Self Love, wrote “the narcissistic parent regards his or her child as a multifaceted Source of Narcissistic Supply… as an extension of the narcissist…. The child is supposed to realize the unfulfilled grandiose dreams and fantasies of the narcissistic parent.” Narcissistic parents run the gamut from being very intrusive in some ways to entirely neglectful in other ways. The narcissist’s children are “disciplined” if they do not respond adequately and immediately to the parents’ needs. “Discipline” is used to enforce compliance and may include physical abuse, verbal abuse (angry outbursts, criticism, etc), blaming, attempts to instill guilt, or emotional neglect.

Children have an important function for the narcissist – they are sources of Narcissistic Supply. The natural dependence of the young child serves to alleviate the narcissist’s strong fear of abandonment, thus, the narcissist tries to perpetuate this dependence through methods of strict control. They are often over-controlling and try to micromanage their children’s lives.

A child can be the ultimate source of Narcissistic Supply (secondary). He or she is always around, admires the narcissist, remembers the narcissist’s moments of “glory”, and because he wants to be loved he will continue to give and give despite never receiving.

However, when the child doesn’t perform his main function (which is to provide his narcissistic parent with consistent Narcissistic Supply) – the parental reaction is harsh and revealing.

It is at that point that we see the true nature of this dysfunctional relationship. The narcissist may react to a ‘breach in the unwritten contract’ with aggression, contempt, rage, psychological abuse as well as physical abuse. He tries to destroy the authentic child and replace it with the former subservient version.

Narcissist begets narcissist?

Narcissistic parents are unable to meet their children’s emotional needs as they develop, resulting in either narcissistic or codependent children. Although not always true, a narcissistic parent tends to produce a narcissistic child. However, this outcome can be alleviated by a “loving, empathic, predictable, just, and positive upbringing which encourages a sense of autonomy and responsibility”.

Some children in a narcissistic household detect how the selfish parent gets his needs met by the other family members. Those children observe how manipulation and using guilt gets the parent what they want. They emulate the narcissistic parent and develop a false self, use aggression and intimidation, and bully the other siblings and other parent in order to get their way.  Those children become narcissists themselves.

The more sensitive, easily guilt-ridden children learn to meet the narcissistic parent’s needs and try to win their love by obliging every whim and wish of that parent. The child learns to repress or deny all their feelings in their vain attempts to gain the parent’s love. Their aggressive impulses, feelings of anger, or other negative feelings are not integrated in to their development. Those children also develop a false self as a defense mechanism and become co-dependent in their later relationships.

Resources:

  1. http://www.ehow.com/how_8386878_children-narcissists.html#ixzz2vZuPB2TZ
  2. http://samvak.tripod.com/4.html
  3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissistic_parents
  4. http://childrenofnarcissists.blogspot.com/

 

Share with your friends









Submit

About Alexander Burgemeester

49 Responses to “Sons and Daughters of Narcissistic Parents”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. Shelly Franco says:

    Brilliant work on narcissism. Thank you. I have been married for 21 years to a man 17 yrs. my senior. In 2007, he was diagnosed with terminal kidney cancer. His narcissism has made it a wicked experience to boot. Now he is nearing the end of his journey as his final days are present. I feel valiant I have fulfilled my, “in sickness and in health” vows; however, I feel I will spent and betrayed. Carpe Diem…
    Best regards, Shelly

  2. kathlene says:

    Oh yes being born to a narcissistic mother akin to handing a demon a baby! Great article! One thing I have learned about these beings is they are child abusers….or will always cover for child abuse. I used to love my NMother so much- I just took the abuse.When I dared ask her why she let men abuse me…she snapped into a rage that has been going on for years now! Sadly my mother uses her Golden child-my sister- against me. Abuse by proxy was/is rampant with my Mother. It is sick how Narcissistic parents split their children,and enjoy the chaos and hurt- they actually feed on it! I AM the scapegoated daughter!

    • Karen says:

      great piece, but the reality is that these three options are not so much options to controlling the emotional damage of the narcissistic parent, but steps to healing from the healing. Who is this writer kidding? The child has had decades of abuse, and the narcissist has had decades of power, THAT status quo will be really hard fought over by the narcissist because they have no respect for the fact that their child is a separate entity, and they will have no compunction to engage any empathy when the cards are down. The NPD parent is not open for negotiations.

      Once you become aware of the narcissism of a parent (or, at the very least, you question WHY nothing you ever do is ever going to be good enough for them) then you have no option, as an intelligent being, but to go through the three steps………. try to put up with it, even giving yourself ‘time-outs’ when you are just ‘too busy’ to see the parent, but failing, then try to set boundaries, but having those fail too, then try leaving the relationship altogether………. but you soon realise that this option fails too if you assume that this will stop the abuse. In fact, the abuse intensifies with each step down these three options you choose. THAT is the reality. The other reality is that the flying monkeys are further removed from your real life so you can easily discard them because you have no emotional attachment to them. Third persons that you have never met even.

      (us kids of narcissists are really conditioned to not being good enough, and having all our efforts fail, after all……….. we are conditioned to fail, so we kind of expect that, and we have always accepted that in the past. It’s only when we can no longer accept being a failure that we actually start kicking back as to what we deserve, which is true and unconditional love that should just be natural of our parent).

      What this article fails to acknowledge is the very basis of narcissism in a parent is that the parent does not/will not see the child as a separate entity, the child is an extension of themselves ……….. although it does name a source for it………“the narcissistic parent regards his or her child as a multifaceted Source of Narcissistic Supply… as an extension of the narcissist…. The child is supposed to realize the unfulfilled grandiose dreams and fantasies of the narcissistic parent.”

      The whole problem with this article is that, regardless of acknowledging that the narcissist only sees their child as an extension of themselves, is that the emotional abuse will stop when the child removes themselves (step three). The narcissistic parent is not likely to give up their ‘fix’ so easily and will actually increase the abuse via whatever avenues they can find to get the child to come back to the status quo, even if the child removes themselves. I have gone through these three ‘options’ and found the abuse intensified, the avenues the abuse came from increased massively, even total strangers to me were roped in to pass judgement on me (they had never met me) in stat decs to court proceedings!

      The truth is the attacks continue. They are sent via flying monkeys, they are gossip sent out through channels of church, social contacts about what a horrible child you are to the parent, they are confrontations with siblings instigated by the parent who knows just which button to push for that sibling to get them to attack you, they are total strangers calling you a horrible person.

      The truth is, once you have tried steps one, two and three, you have to grow a BACKBONE and have to find a way to develop a sense of self-worth. You have to have a very strong understanding of what is the truth in your particular circumstances (I found a journal really helped me to go back to a particular issue and say “hang on, THIS is actually how that incident happened!”).

      Us kids of narcissists will NEVER EVER get acknowledgment of us being an individual entity with valid emotions from the narcissistic parent. They will ONLY ever give you ONE option………. accept their truth. There will never be a period of negotiation.

      THIS truth is actually ‘option 4’……….. accepting that removing yourself won’t change them or their behaviour. This is the hardest lesson of a child of a narcissist because it offers no hope of reconciliation………….. ever………… with ‘normal’ boundaries and acceptance. Whilst, as a child of a narcissist, you grapple with having the parent ACCEPT you and love you for who you really are, you always have the dream and hope that this may eventuate, and you spent decades capitulating just for that acceptance. Just as you fight for your truth, they are fighting for theirs………… and so you HAVE to extend to them the courtesy of accepting that they are who they are, regardless of them never accepting you for who you truly are, because your own emotional survival begins with accepting what a wonderful person you are, warts and all, so accepting others with all their foibles is necessary for your emotional healing.

      YOU………… not them is why I say this. If YOU deserve to be accepted exactly as you are, then you have to accept your parent as they are. You don’t EVER have to have a relationship with them again, but you have to accept you have no control over them, just as you expected them to accept that they have no control over you (that is what healthy relationships are all about after all).

      This NPD is a mental illness and you have no hope, as the child, of changing that unless the parent seeks professional help. This is a very rare occurrence, since they believe everything is your fault. I am saying, uncategorically, that option 4 is to give up the hope that you can have a changed relationship in the future………. you HAVE to accept that when you walk away, it is forever. Your new life, where you are worthy of love just because you are a wonderful person with much to offer, starts the day you stop accepting less.

      More importantly, you have to stand by your decision of not remaining in an abusive relationship, no matter what flying monkeys come after you, and I have lived this having having been the golden child of one narcissist parent, but the scapegoat of the other, and having cut ties with both over 6 and 15 years ago.

      This article says that you have three choices for healing………. but the reality is these are the first three STEPS to healing, with or (most likely) without the NPD parent. I am still on step 4, will you join me?

      The writer of this article still assumes that their ‘options’ are valid choices when dealing with NPD parents. They are not, if you want to survive.

      • El says:

        I think it depends on the parents.

        Some narcissistic parents will pursue a child who drastically reduces contact and sets (and keeps) firm boundaries, and will also try to pursue the child even if he/she competely cuts off contact. They are relentless.

        But other narcissistic parents won’t bother. If the child makes it clear that she/he is no longer going to provide N-supply, the parents just “dumps” the kid and moves on to an easier source of supply.

        Once I stopped catering to my N parent while I was still living at home, she mostly just ignored me. It was cold, but it was no longer “invasive” for lack of a better word. My choice was clear: pander for fake love, or be ignored. But there was a choice, because once I stopped pandering, it was like I didn’t exist. And once I moved out, drastically limited contact, and made it clear that I wasn’t going to put up with any nonsense or give her what she wanted, she just sort of dried up and blew away. I could see other extended family members at holidays and be in the same place as her for limited amounts of time and she really just exhibited no interest in me – I wasn’t a rewarding enough target. She didn’t pursue me or send anyone after me or anything like that, and I never heard of a whisper of gossip about me either – the extended family and neighbors may have no idea what she’s really like, but are all still perfectly fine with me.

        All narcissists are the same, but not all narcissists are exactly the same. There are different “species” of Ns, so to speak. I believe the terms often used are “engulfing” vs. “neglecting.” You are correct in your description of an engulfing narcissist; there is nothing you can do to get that type to stop pursuing their victim, short of a restraining order. But the neglecting ones are slightly different, and it is possible to get that type to just brush you off and “move on” to new victims if you make yourself too hard a target to be “worth” pursuing for N-supply.

        (Of course, it should go without saying that having a neglecting N parent who is willing to let you go without too much of a fight, and who you can be in the same room with at a relative’s house, is not the same thing as having a real relationship. Having my type of N parent just means that you might be able to breathe the same air for a few hours around the holidays in order to see your cousins, or attend a relative’s wedding without drama; it does not mean that you have a real parent, or should ever relax boundaries.)

        • teddybowties says:

          Hi. saw your response on here and thoguht you might be the one to ask. okay, i think my mom is an Englufing tepy. My dad is an aspie, so if she is indeed an N, then she has already eaten his poor brain. Eitehr that, or I am one sick puppy. Le us hope that this is not the case, becuase If I am the sick one, I will not be a happy camper. That owuld horrify me. But at least I know that I would be willing to accept it on some leve, or at least strive to. All my life, once I realized I should, I have striven to be a better person to myself, to others, and the world. How do you deal with your mother being this engulfer if you:
          a. cant leave becaue oyu have no means and cannot work
          b. she gets your dad to be completely vicious to you whenever you say no to her
          c. you are 31 years old and cannot foresee any help coming your way, but oy uknow you don’t have what it takes to leave yet becaue you know yourself too well. It just isn’t time, and there isNO HELP from the outside world, and you are scared shitless to be alone. What if you are terribly wrong and sick, and you are just perceiving everything the wrong way?

          what would you tell me?

      • Dominique says:

        Yes ! I am with you and I agree and adhere to all you say.
        I have been the partner of a narcissistic man for 27years and when I have left him I’ve believed I was going to die with the pain and the feeling I had destroyed my family.
        I have taken a few years to reach stage 4 and feel relieved and able to love myself and believe that I’m a wonderful person who truly deserves to be loved.
        My mother is also a narcissist but who covers it well. She’s used to saying horrible things about me to all my friends and acquaintances that she’s met but it’s only when she said in the presence of my children in an access of rage that my partner should have beaten me sooner that I realised how much she hates me. It helped me understand how I could go from an abusive relationship to another one and accept so easily to constantly be guilt ridden and the person to blame for everything.

        Now the children : out of my four adult children, two remain very subservient to their father and absolutely horrible with me, contrary to all that I expected (i expected them to be supportive,
        understanding and lucid), the youngest one being a
        little bit more lucid but still too young and fragile to see the reality of his dad, but he is relatively loving and caring for me as well as I love him and care for
        him. As long as it doesn’t create conflicts with his father.
        My daughter in between the two oldest ones and the youngest one was the golden child on whom all his hopes were invested. She was a clever and sensitive child and could feel the sick pressure on her. At the age of 13 she asked to go to Uk in a school for musical children and I helped her apply and do it. She therefore escaped the family sickness and is now the only one truly supportive, very lucid and detached from her father, considering him a sick person she has to be careful with and protect herself from as if he were some sort of dangerous explosive nuclear waste . We have a good loving relationship based on trust, respect and unconditional love and it feels really good.

        Now, what destroyed me most, after leaving the father to my kids in several attempts was that I was convinced they would see what I and they had endured and be on my side. Instead of that they remained submitted to him and were used by him to hurt me without opening their eyes on what’s going on. And they’ve been also manipulated by his all important friend, who happens to be his ex partner from before we met and whom I have put up with (and welcomed and been nice and friendly with) for the past 30 years. Like him, she showed no empathy and was cold as an ice cube especially in all the situations she witnessed abuse towards me so it was reinforcing in me the conviction he was right to treat me like that and I was effectively to blame and it was a situation normal and
        acceptable and what I felt was wrong. B***h.

        I am seeking help towards you all. Is there any hope my two oldest children of whom one hit me several times and never apologised and the other one makes me feel guilty about gifts and materialistic things and has abused me verbally in the presence of her father and with his encouragements, is there any hope they will realise they were victims and the mother they now abuse was a victim too ? Or are they likely to be narcissists like their father ? For sure, those two have imprinted in their flesh that a mother is something that must be treated without respect, like their father treated me, like a non person, a convenient thing with no rights that was repressed all the time.
        I suddenly realise the way they abuse me verbally, make me keep paying for them, manipulate me to hurt by being extra nice then cold then ignoring me in the course of 15 minutes, never call, never visit, never initiate contact, never give a present even tiny and symbolic and meet me only when the circumstances make it unavoidable when they are loving, happy, laughing good friends to my partners ex. Should I fear they too are going to be abusive narcissistic people, and not only to their hated mother ?
        Having to suffer from a mother then from a partnerwith with NPD was one thing, hard to cope with. Do I now have to fear I have engendered
        some too ?

      • Raquel says:

        Karen

        I don’t know who you are but your words reach out to my soul searching question, thank you I would love some guidance on step 4 !!??

      • Lou says:

        Wow. This cut me to the core. Thank you. I needed this!

      • Rick says:

        Thanks so much. This article and your comments were a great help. I have been steadily working on steps one and two most of my life. In the last seven months I have cut almost all ties, but I have left he door open, asking my father to please get professional help. I know in my heart that I will likely need to accept that he will not change and that I will need to begin a new chapter in my life. I have already started reaching out to make new friends and create a stronger support system which will help me through this transition and help me be strong enough to stand my ground in the face of certain retaliation. Thanks again. Rick

      • Sandra says:

        Damn, Karen. I got so immersed into reading your comment that I forgot it was a comment and began reading it like a blog post.

      • Barbara Welch says:

        This is where in am.. I did the other 3.

    • joan says:

      im also the scapegoat. she did all of the things that it says that narcissist mothers do. i only recently found out that thats what she is. i just knew she was evil. it is like handing a demon a baby. shes the most evil person i ever met. i was the scapegoat. she divided us. she did every single freaking thing ive read online that a narcissist mother does. i never knew though that thats what she was. she also killed and mutilated all of my pets. i didnt read anything about that on here though. why would anyone want to split their children apart? how strange that i keep reading about one child being the scapegoat and the other the golden child. and even saw it on “you tube” and thats exactly what she did. now i know why. shes a narcissist. that is the most EVIL person ive EVER met in my life. i had no idea why she hated me and did all of these things to me. and every single thing i have read online that they do to their daughters she has done to me. every weird thing.

  3. suzanna anderson says:

    i have a narcissistic mother, i’m writing a lot down, she not only turned me and my sister against each other as children, but she has even turned my own children against me, my son was the only one i had , Tragically he was found dead 2 years ago, nm took the family and friends out to celebrate 3 days after my son’s inquest and disguised what she was celebrating, my misery and grief stricken state, by her birthday, i’m completely on my own now, i walked out of her life for good 12 years ago, i had no idea the price i would have to pay, everyone and everything i ever had, nm was cruel to her own mother eventually killing her and fooling everyone into thinking it was suicide, she had it all planned out, i have the facts, no one believes me, i’m still the scapegoat at 54 years of age, narcissistic mother’s do feed on it,

    • Narcmomsonlychild says:

      I’m 51 and was discarded by my narc parents. It is very painful. That is when I started looking for answers. I have identified the problem. Six months of the silent treatment, I finally made the decision to go no contact. The abuses of my childhood are to sick to be believed by anyone except others who have experienced; ghosting, baiting,gas lighting, and hoovering, neglect, munchild syndrome by proxy, physical beatings, and not to mention putting me in harms way to sexual abuse from the time I was three. No contact is the only way. The abuse will never stop, until you cut them out along with their flying monkeys.

  4. suzanna anderson says:

    narcisstic mother’s are good liars and master manipulater’s, but their not very intelligent as they know what their going to say and do ahead when in company, they copy other people’s sentences, so they don’t get caught out if they have to think for themselves they can’t as they’ve always been too busy plotting and planning how to destroy our lives, their clever at lying, deceiving, but intelligent no, they will play everyone against the other, their so good at lying and manipulating , they even get other’s to think the same way as they do, How in God’s name do they get away with it, their pshycopaths, i’m speaking from experience, they’ll go to great lengths not to get exposed, if they think a member of the family knows and can see through them, they will get rid of them,

  5. kerry kydd says:

    My own mother is a narc and she never loved me enough to take me away and protect me from my sexually abusive father. At age 34, I’m now coming to terms with my co dependancy and seeing a shrink. I have a younger brother and sister, and I felt that my brother and I shared both scapegoat and golden child status… although I do feel that as a child i was more the scapegoat and in older life, the golden child…. it hurts, but the only way to heal from this is to cut ties and move on, and enjoy the adventure of finding yourself without the burden of guilt or criticism. Big hugs and good luck to all the narc offspring…. you made it this far, we are all survivors xx

    • Carrie says:

      Wow sounds like my mother. I told her my stepdad was sexually abusing me and she didnt believe me and then blamed it on me! They way you worded it “she never loved me enough to take me away and protect me” is well articulated and profound. Thank you for your post.

    • J.B. says:

      Yes! We are survivors. I survived both narc parents. My younger brother and I both played the golden child and scapegoat to both parents. We were often put against each other and our relationship didn’t get a chance to heal because just when I was trying to reach out to him, he committed suicide before we can mend things. My N father had put him against me by then to make it harder for me to get through to him and both of my N parents blamed me for his death and turned both sides of my families against me. Never mind that we grew up in an abusive violent household. They even tried to control my kids. I eventually gave up and moved away with VERY limited or no contact. Unfortunately now I’m married to a narcissistic husband who I happened to meet at that very vulnerable point in my life when my brother died. My children and o have suffered tremendously at the hands of these narcs. At one time, all three of them fought for control over the kids around the time I wasn’t aware that my husband was a narc too. We moved away and now life is one big circus show with seemingly no way out. This has taken an emotional and psychological toll on both myself and my children. I survived 2 narcs, now I HAVE to survive this and protect my kids.

      • J.B. says:

        I just recently found out about this disorder so now I know why my N parents behaved so crazily. That explains why I couldn’t recognize it in my husband when we were dating. I feel like a Narc magnet. Goodness, sometimes I wonder if that’s just my lot in life.

  6. callmecyril says:

    You described MY MOTHER to a tea.
    It took me years to leave the relationship and I swore I would NEVER be like her to my own children!!!

  7. Denise says:

    It’s so sad reading this, and all of the comments. The daughters and sons of NM are too many. I’ve walked the same path, destructive, manipulating, coerced by my own NM, and she continues despite more than 2 yrs of going no contact. I take refuge in God, in knowing I am FREE of the cycle, that my children are also FREE. In that I find peace. She is sick, beyond sickness. This world cannot cure it. But in the end, I have been saved, and I pray others find strength in being saved from the abuse, and preventing it from traveling to the next generation.

    • J.B. says:

      Yes, I totally agree. These are only situations that God Himself can take care of. He is my refuge as well and the only reason I haven’t fallen apart. Stay strong everyone. We’re survivors! Let’s just keep on praying and pushing forward. My love to you all and may all go well with you.

    • Lysa says:

      Denise you nailed it! I too have been searching for the “why” behind my moms behavior and looks like I have a Narc Mother – for sure without a doubt but I too have already decided that my God can and will fill the void that me, my poor sister and even my kids have. Breaking and Binding this so it DOES not go to the next generation.

  8. Nina says:

    Thank you for this article and all you’ve shared. Really helps knowing others are struggling with same madness.

    At 44 years old, I finally had to go No Contact with my narcissistic disordered Mother, father and sister.
    Mother was always the leader and the sickest. But Sis and Dad just followed along. Always too busy worrying about themselves. Before I went No contact I tried to see if I could still be involved with my family with this knowledge. NOPE. Things only got worse. Image is BIG in my family.

    I’m not sure what to do next. I haven’t talked to or visited my family in 7 months. And guess what? They don’t care if They ever see me again. The big secret is out.
    I always wondered why I felt so different and lost. Why I never developed a sense of self. Why I always picked the wrong friends and wrong relationships . Why I hated my self so bad. Why I’ve suffered debilitating depression ever since I was a kid. Someday Ill share my crazy family stories.
    I am angry. I’ve been trying to fix my self for 20 years Therapists, psychiatrists, group therapy, medications.
    And not one of these people could figure this out. I had to find out myself searching the Internet. I believe most therapist are narcissits…… At least all the ones I’ve been to were.
    I am angry. I literally have to start my whole life over again at 45 years old. I can’t even stand to be around the people I used to consider my friends. I feel like such a fool. I am sitting here right now like I was just born into a new life. I feel lonely.
    I should add: I have been trying to heal for 13 months.
    Any advice would be appreciated.
    Thank you.

    • david says:

      nina,

      I’m 39 and totally get where you are coming from. I relate to your post BUT I’ve been trying to solve this since a kid and I feel like I just cracked the code for myself! When I finally figured out what I tried to ask of my mother (narc) for all these years and realized why she has worked so hard to NOT answer it was a relief! I don’t wonder anymore why I feel crazy and frustrated and SO f cking angry. She would take me there so she could say, “I just don’t understand why David is so angry?” Its been almost 3 years of no contact and finally after understanding gas lighting I am free!!!!! I don’t wonder anymore and take the blame on. She still through aunts, sister etc is asking “why I’m so angry” and I haven’t seen her in 3 years! How would she know if I’m angry? She doesn’t but its always been her go to for what the problem is. Guess what? Im not angry anymore! Its like a weight has been lifted and I have realized I have a second shot at living my life. It’s like I just got out of prison for a crime I didn’t commit and instead of feeling bitter about time lost and losing out I feel like I get a second chance and it really is mine this time. I can finally leave it behind me, like her, and know it’s right. Don’t feel like a fool or lonely, with a newly clear head go grab some life and use your second chance to LIVE!

      • Louise says:

        David,
        36 & in exactly the same place with my NPD Father. Looks like my sister, now, too. My discoveries since reading & learning.
        I’m looking to move away somewhere…not sure where! Huge step but better than being dragged back into things in the future due to some family crisis or other.
        Scary stuff, but hopefully positive results.
        Lou
        x

      • Dominique says:

        When I left my partner, the first nights i managed sleeping alone in my independent flat I felt as if i had escaped concentration camp. Seeing the daylight in the morning and feeling safe was an exhilarating feeling. So I so much understand how you feel too. I hold you tight. Dominique

    • Tae says:

      Nina, you are mirroring my life. I am 45 years old and have struggled to live. I tick the boxes of University education, marriage, three beautiful children and am working part- time. I have seen countless professionals like you have and am as angry as you are that no one since I was about 18 could work out the cause. None of the doctors or specialists picked that I was still in actively abusive relationships to which I was reacting with all types of depression and other symptoms. I have since gone no contact and am much better. I could write a book though. I had been soaking in this abuse all my life. These people are very evil but only the victims seem to come in for help. I feel lonely as well and have numerous types of brokenness that I can’t fix. I have trouble forming relationships. My advice is prayer. Ask whatever is out there even if you don’t know what it is, to heal you. I have had massive healing this way. Also , no contact, exercise, fruits and veggies, glycans ( health powder) , doing what you love every day, nature, music, good movies. Life’s getting better all the time. I wish you healing.

    • Karyne says:

      Look up the Melanie Tonia Evans website from Australia. She will show you the way. You will definitely be saved. Best of luck.

    • san says:

      Hi, for the first time, after reading this, I realize that the perennial depression I have always had since a long long time, more than two decades, is what other people , have too. Now, I need no longer blame myself for being so low sometimes, it was part of the struggle. I also realized that my father never ever gave me a gift in my whole life. I also have been made to feel so guilty in life that I never thought of this even, until I read this, and it struck me. I have always been treated like a non entity but sometimes as if they really care…which has made it all so confusing. I am not sure of how to deal, but if I start with the damaged parts of me, my self confidence, and most importantly, the acknowledgment that I deserve better and that I am the only one who can give myself what I need. For starters, I am going to do all the things that make me happy.

    • Diana Moser says:

      I’m 8 months into no contact with my narc dad. I’m 56 years old and when I found out there was a name for what was so profoundly wrong with him it shed light on my entire childhood while simultaneously freeing me from the responsibility of being his daughter. He is now feeling the full weight of the consequences of his actions and has tried twice to contact me and even showed up at my church thinking he would get supply from me or everyone around me. One of my friends dispatched him diplomatically and I didn’t get within 20 feet of him. They don’t want help, they want an audience for their drama. Fix their problems and you take away their drama. They’ll have to create more. Don’t look back and regret the time wasted on them. Get out while you can and FIND YOUR JOY!

    • Celeste says:

      Nina,
      If you are still out there, I feel the exact same way and I’m in my 40’s also.
      May be we can support each other?

  9. cheryl says:

    I finally became no contact with my mother after 47 years of HELL. She was as physically and verbally abusive as possible. My brother is the golden child and, since my father passed away, it has been “no holds barred” for him and my mother. They call my grown children and try to get them on their side.My mother calls, feigning a reason, and i firmly believe it is to “feel me out.” I hate her, and have since the day I was born.

  10. Nina says:

    Hi David. Thanks for the reply. It’s so weird. After learning about and understanding this sick, bizarre family dynamic… I felt such relief. Now I am sitting… STUCK in a big puddle of anger. I KNOW HOW UNHEALTHY THIS TYPE OF THINKING IS. I’m lashing out like crazy.
    Most of the time I’m not even sorry.

    Thank you for giving me hope. I guess Healing takes time.
    You are 3 years in. And are feeling better. This gives me hope. I feel like a crazy person most of the time.

    God!! I feel like I have nothing but kindness and compassion for others. And to think my Own family just thrived off of this kind of behavior Is almost more than I am able to accept. I’m trying to forgive and let Go.
    But I am just not there yet.
    Best wishes to you and to All.
    N

    • P says:

      Alice-Miller.com – go to her website. You will find out that your anger is healthy, that so many therapists will tell you to forgive while it actuallymakes the things worse.
      Alice Miller saved me from my narc father

  11. benson says:

    Great Article!

    Very straight forward….

    I am a codependent… I have a narcissitc father and a very controlling mom.
    i took me years before i have known what has been happening to my life. It is good to have internet this days, everything is really at the tip of your fingertips.

    I have awaken right now and i have been strugglingall this months. My dilemma right now is my parents are getting older. I just cant leave all of a sudden.

    I am an Asian, half Chinese and half Filipino. I handle most of our business, specially the business problems. I am the first born, male, 45 yrs old, and still single.

    I know i can really go forward with whatever i want to do in life. I am a Mechanical Engr and has an MBA degree, but my saalry here in our family business is so much frustrating. I make more outside the company.

    I am trying to make the best of option 1 and 2, as mentioned from aboved but i an having a difficult time.

    any one? need help?
    thanks

    benson
    notocitibank@yahoo.com

  12. teachit says:

    I, after suspecting, knowing then denying round and around for 30 years; just realised I am a scapegoat. In the last week the lights came on! I mean like blinding my sight for a minute. And this is all thanks to posts like this. At 48 it has now become brutally apparent that I was raised by a narc mother who employs my ‘golden child’ sister as her minion. All of the continuous put downs, neglect, bitchiness and lies she has told about me have been replaying through my mind and I am in part, still in shock that it was not all in my mind or that it was something to do with some filthy flaws in me. So much of the experience of other victims resonates with me I am finding it all rather mesmerising. The final catalyst was an argument with my sister last week that was instigated by my mum. My sister, being the favourite actually accused me of being the golden child at which point I fell about laughing. Interestingly enough my mother sat there witnessing the whole thing. That to me felt so weird I decided to emotionally become unavailable to them both. Being at the end of my rope and feeling that this time I had really really had enough, I searched under manipulative mothers on the web. Lo and behold a truckload of posts about NPD came up. What a bloody revelation that was!!!
    So let the healing begin. Turns out I’m not so bad after all.

    And in the words of a previous writer, Yes we are the lucky ones. At least we get to come out of the friggin rank and insipid darkness. Power peace and love to all survivors. Xx

  13. CatsEyes says:

    I have a Narcissistic Father & Co-Dependant Mother. It’s only taken me 36 years to figure out! My mother also became abusive. I believe this was her frustrations being taken out on me as a child, to compensate for the abuse my Father handed out to her. Her mental health was severely compromised. It’s no excuse, but I can see how it could come about.

    I was constantly dating narcissistic or sociopathic men, & it was through researching them & then learning about myself, that led me to realise where the whole problem began; with my parents.

    I left home when I was 15 years old, unable to cope any longer. I had no where to go to, no money, no plan…I just walked out of the house with the clothes I was wearing. Finally I just snapped & told my parents exactly what I felt & thought, then walked away.

    My life up to now has been very, very hard, on lots of levels. I was unable to complete my education due to leaving home, which prevented me from going to university, as I had wanted. I have had to forge a career for myself, which has been really difficult.

    I have had depression & anxiety, emotional problems, relationship problems, financial issues…you name it.

    Just a month or two ago my Father decided to give me his latest bout of the silent treatment, because I expressed my feelings & needs on a matter, & when he became angry & started to verbally abuse me down the telephone, I hung up. Apparently that warrants the silent treatment, and so I have done a great deal of thinking…

    I have spent the years since leaving home, trying to make up for it! I did nothing wrong, but in trying to minimise & rationalise, & to maintain good relations with my parents, I have allowed my Father to repeatedly abuse me & play silly head games, such as the silent treatment. Keeping him in my life has done me more emotional harm than good, & unfortunately this also applies to my sister, who I believe also has strong narcissistic traits. She’s certainly showing very strong signs of lacking empathy.

    So, I’ve decided that this time, I will not be waiting for him to break his silence! When he tries, he’ll be very disappointed by the lack of open arms. I will stay in touch with my mother (although I expect that my Father will make that as difficult as possible), but I have taken the decision to remove all toxic people from my life. No one has the right to guilt me into being around abusive people. If they push me to do so, then they do not truly love me, & so I will not feel bad.

    Do I feel devastated by my realisations & my decisions?…at first, yes. For a couple of weeks I felt very low. I felt cheated out of a loving, supportive family, & angry that I lost my childhood, & any hopes I held onto that one day I would have a ‘proper’ family around me. I felt very lonely.

    After a few more weeks of coming out of the FOG (Fear, Obligation, Guilt), I now actually feel like a weight is off my shoulders. I feel positive about the future, & able to perhaps do things I wouldn’t have considered doing before, & living my life as I want to, & not holding back for fear of judgement etc.

    I plan to move away. If my Mother decides to leave my Father (Yeah, right!) then she is welcome to follow me.

    It’s a very personal decision to make, to cut off a loved one, but ultimately we deserve to be happy. We have done nothing wrong. If you decide to make the break, then do it with your head held high, know that you did your best & tried all other options, & then walk away & never look back. Don’t allow yourself to feel guilty. Life is too short. You are only taking back what should have always been yours.

  14. Problem Child says:

    Wow. Very eye opening article that I just happened to stumble upon.

    Having been labeled the “problem” by my mother my entire childhood, I was taken to counselors, doctors, “diagnosed” with ADD, put on medication for ADD and depression (all as a child). Only ONE out of countless doctors and therapists took the time to interview my other family members and subsequently told me (at age 12) that I was NOT the problem and I was NOT the “crazy one”. She probably saved my life but I didn’t really know what to do with that information. So I ended up marrying a physically abusive N sociopath who molested my oldest child. I divorced him (obviously) and remarried a N man. While not physically or sexual abusive, he was emotionally (and physically most of the time) absent. I divorced him too. Fast forward 20 years…I have 3 grown children and am single. My oldest child is estranged from me as she is so very angry with me…for everything, really. I don’t think I was the mother she imagined or wanted. I can’t do anything right in her opinion…I am too conservative, I’m too overweight, I’m too lax with her siblings, etc. The other two have a relationship with me but it’s very much like the one I had with my father; infrequent polite conversations. I’m so sad about this… I grew up wanting a close knit family that does things together and encourages each other and I end up having exactly what I grew up with. Reading this article terrified me…did I turn out to be a N parent? Am I the one the article is about? I don’t have a golden child or scapegoat among my children but we aren’t close, unfortunately, and with my oldest daughter, I’m ok with that because she is so angry and loathsome of me that she calls me names and is verbally abusive. I don’t chase after her…I think she needs therapy and hope she finds peace. OMG…am I the N one in my family???!!!

    • Wishing for NC says:

      No, you definitely are not a narcissist! Just asking if you are one already shows awareness, concern and sympathy. Traits that are absent in a narc. Peace to you!

  15. applecheeks says:

    Researching narcissism has been like discovering playbooks that describe my mother, and her various behaviors and actions. It is eery how they are all so similar in their tactics, yet are completely blind to that, and consider themselves so smart, and above others ( my mother always thinks she is fooling people).

    The thing I appreciated in this article is the explanation of how, and why Narcs treat children differently, and pit them against each other. My mother did that to my sister and I. I was the scapegoat/ rejected child….. my sister the “golden” one. Despite the outer differences in treatment, my sister was also neglected and abused…. and had to witness horrible things happen to me. As teenagers, she and I were always at war with each other, however…..whenever our mother would go away for trips with her boyfriend, like magic we suddenly would get along great. It was due to not having her pitting us against each other. Fortunately, once we no-longer were living with her, my sister and I became best friends, and love each other dearly.

    The comments from other posters saying, “it is like handing a demon a baby” caught my breath, because that is how we have always described my mother when she flips—all of a sudden she has a demon voice and face, with just pure malice, and even wicked pleasure (from causing pain) in her eyes. My second earliest memory is of her beating me. I was two, and I had wet the bed…. and she had me on my back on a table, and was slapping me all over, all the while that demon voice and face spitting horrible things at me, and demeaning me by calling me a baby, and asking me if I wanted to wear diapers like my sister. Who the heck expects a two-year-old to be completely potty trained, let alone to not have bedtime accidents?
    My mother did not care about what happened to me. When I was five, she was engaged to a man who started molesting, and beating/ injuring me before they were married….. but she married him anyway. An unloved child is an unprotected child. She made some kind of pact with him that he could have me, as long as he didn’t touch my sister. She then became absolutely hateful towards me, and we think it was because she both blamed me for the situation, as well as was jealous of/ saw me as some kind of threat and competition…..instead of understanding that I was her child, and that I was being harmed, and that she was supposed to protect me. She punished me for my step-father’s “attentions”…..non-stop cruel words about how ugly, stupid, fat, disgusting I was….that no-one would ever love or want me etc….combined with constant physical abuse, demeaning treatment, neglect etc…..( its sad now, to see pictures of myself, and see that in reality I was a very beautiful child, but I was made to believe I was nothing). I was never hugged, kissed, or given any kind of affection or comfort…and typically was not allowed to cry when I was beaten etc….I grew-up thinking touch was pain.

    My mother’s friend reported my step-father when I was 9, and it resulted in my mother having to get a divorce to save face……so she took it all out on me. Blamed me for his actions, told me I was dirty, damaged goods, and that I could not tell anyone because they would hate me……and forbade me from talking in the court-appointed therapy group. Now I understand that a lot of that was to cover her own self…..she was afraid that I would reveal her abuse, and that she had known the whole time about what my step-father was doing….so she scared me into silence. Just how she would punish/ beat me for flinching, staring at my feet, crying in pain, revealing/ reacting to injury etc…..all to force me to conceal what she was doing.
    Once step-father was gone, we were completely neglected. She became a party girl of sorts, and my sister and I were alone without food most of the time….and were expected to take care of her, the house etc….We went through her live-in boyfriends ( who always were more important than us). I went without a bed for years, rarely had coats, proper shoes etc….what little she did buy in that regard went to my sister, because I did not matter.
    When I was 11 I almost died from severe medical neglect. For months I endured pain that any adult would have instantly rushed to an emergency room for….. could barely walk, and was in constant agony. I was beaten and threatened when I tried to tell her, and when the PE teacher called and reported that I kept sitting down. Most parents would notice that their children were struggling to walk. I knew that I was dying, and didn’t understand that anyone was supposed to care. In the end, after screaming for hours ( and being ignored)…..I finally was taken to the hospital, and ended-up having surgery ( for something that the doctors were baffled had not already burst/ killed me).

    Our house only had pictures of my sister on the walls. My mother’s work desk had a collage of pictures of my sister that she showed off….but not a single one of me. She did not see me as pretty enough to show-off, however I doubt she ever considered how horrible all of that must of looked to her co-workers who knew she had two daughters. Ironic?
    Whenever I had something important…. such as a choir concert, birthday, graduation etc… she would do and say horrible things to me just before, in order to strip the happy/ big moments from me. She couldn’t let me be happy, or feel good for achieving anything. So she would inflict pain, and create obstacles to make herself feel bigger, and in control.

    As adults, her manipulation has continued to create chaos for us. She is a hoarder, and has created a fantasy history of amazing achievements, and being the best mother ever….. that she thinks is real. She thinks that we owe her, and even steals from us…….. neither of us like to have her in our homes. Its gotten to the point that we no-longer have her over for holidays, because it is too draining ( she always acts like its her birthday……all of the attention should be on her etc….), and not fair to my nephew to have her detract from what should be special for him.

    For me, I am there if she needs legit help with something, but I otherwise keep distance now. It is always hard to tell what is real with her though, because her whole life she has faked and exaggerated medical issues…. to the point of even doctors being baffled by her. I don’t like who I am around her. I rarely get angry, irritated etc… ( which i found interesting given mention of that in article)….. save when I am around her. Many other people feel the same way when interacting with her… and i think it is due to how draining it is to try to talk to someone who is highly self-absorbed. It is always a battle to get her to understand things, to listen etc… she is in her own bubble, and does what she wants without consideration of others.

    I have spent my life figuring-out who I really am, and learning to love myself. I battled c-ptsd….. and have had struggles with touch and connecting with others in those kind of ways. It is very hard for me to ask for help, or open-up to people because I was trained to always do, and cope with everything on my own……so in a way I am a contradiction. I crave connections and support, but struggle with the “how” etc….. thus, 40, single, no kids etc…. so it goes to show how far-reaching narcissistic parental abuse can be. I am someone who feels great love for others, and I have no problem with giving of my self etc… but sometimes I over do it, and do not see when I am hurting my own self in the process. I can’t bare to see anyone in pain, or having to deal with things alone. However, on the flip side, I still am learning how to let others love, and help me…..it literally overwhelms me, and it is hard to work past the mental reflex that makes me think I am an inconvenience/ burden etc…

    It is so important to hug, and love children.

  16. Ang says:

    I am about in tears reading this. I never knew this was something that they all do. My oldest child is the scapegoat, the middle is the golden child, the third is just ignored. I thought it was just him. I just found out in Aug that he was a N. I never knew anything about this disorder. 23 years of feeling like I wasn’t were I should be. Hating every moment of verbal abuse to me and my children. Now the courts say they have to go to visitation. It just isn’t fair. They don’t want to go and they get angry for me making them go. I am afraid if they don’t go then he will take me back to court to get more rights. Why will the court not listen? Why must they suffer?

  17. Bradley Wayne Englund says:

    My name is Brad Englund a son of a narcissist. i am a sensitive well mannered child thanks to some men in my community where my mom raised me. I was the escape goat and was treated like crap but God is a Good Good Daddy. I have been codependant due to going to college and the awesome economy that we americans live in. I am a codependant to my narrcissitic father. i have had two girlfriends in my life and my last one i noticed that i was turning into my father and i am not going to do that because that is not Love. 1 John 4:7-8 says to have a relationship with God my True Father is to have Love, for if we do not love God than we can’t have a good relationship with our spouses. i have learned that with my walk. So ya

  18. Rob says:

    I enjoyed your post with the exception of referring to the narcissistic parent as being male. I am becoming a little tired of reading posts like this with the continual use of ‘him’ ‘he’ when referring to the possible instigator. Please leave posts as open to both sexes being the possible instigators.

  19. Angela F says:

    I was the golden child. I became her caretaker into adulthood, a people pleaser (even became a nurse), codependent personality that attracts NPDs, hopelessly emeshed with her. I knew she was “off” but wasn’t sure what. I loved her. My younger stepsister was the scapegoat and was verbally abused. My N mother followed me around the country living down the street, always saying bad things to each of us about each sibling. In an auto accident 2 Yago and could no longer offer her financial and emotional sustenance, and I moved. She FLIPPED even though I offered to take her with me (she would have had to pack her own things as my leg was broken). She used her spare key after I left and sold all the appliances (lawsuit for $7,000), tried to get my employment records (why?), and told everyone in my family I got evicted, was using drugs, was a bad mother, constantly berating me via text for months.

    She got someone to move her to my city. We made up. 2 years later I received a medical diagnosis that made it difficult to care for my son. She didn’t offer help, she offered to take my 10 year old away. I finally got SO ANGRY and told her off to high heaven via text. Felt so good.

    She spends her days now telling all kinds of lies about me and has turned half of our family against FOUR of her FIVE children. She has convinced one sister that I am evil. I always wonder…..She raised 5 children and only one has any contact with her. She really has the whole family convinced that she just had bad luck and rotten kids.

    I love her, and I hate her. But I don’t think anyone but me realizes that she doesn’t love us, or anyone for that matter. She’s incapable. They are such hurtful, cruel parents. I agree the golden child has many more years of suffering than the scape goat. I was depressed when I was 6 years old.

  20. jaim says:

    Does anyone feel like their parent could be comorbid in having narcissistic personality disorder with bipolar? I really think this is my mom’s issue.

  21. jody says:

    I am a health care professional and I have read your article. I am sure many other people also have read your article. My concern is that is this world of ours, there are too many people who are too anxious to quickly label someone they have a disagreement with as dysfunctional. The internet provides information, but as the old saying is “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing” There are some people who search the internet to look for something that will “fit” and use that label to describe someone who they have issues with. Sometimes instead of trying to work out problems, these people are so decided in their unprofessional diagnosis that labelling someone with the wrong label, will be perceived as name calling and it can become more damaging to any relationship than practising effective communication skills. Too many adult children looking for reasons to blame their parents for……..anything. Nobody is perfect, Communication,listening, and genuinely caring about each other, projecting a loving relationship is a good start. Isolation, deviance, name calling and labelling or putting others under a magnifying glass and searching the internet to see what will fit, is not the way to future any relationship. Humans are basically social beings and as a community, I think we need to nuture supportive relationships and learn to help each other instead of abandoning people or isolating them because we find them inconvenient. Everyone has faults, we need to work through them. All relationships need work, they are not made in heaven.

    • Alexander Burgemeester says:

      Hi Jody,

      Thank you for your concerns, I understand where you going at. Do you have some tips or advice I could use to address this or is it more of a general concern? I am not here to label people, just to give people insights. Thanks for sharing.

Leave A Comment...

*