Narcissists Want Everyone, Including You, To Believe That You Are The Problem

A very common tactic of narcissistic parents is to make the child & everyone else believe that the child is the problem behind the family’s dysfunction.  This tactic of discrediting & blaming the child serves a twofold purpose.

Purpose #1 is to be sure that all attention is focused on the child so the narcissistic parent can abuse her child unnoticed.  People are so busy looking at the child’s bad behavior, they don’t notice what the parent does to the child to make the child act out.  They also won’t believe the child if she says anything about what the parent does to her.  After all, the narcissistic mother has everyone convinced the child is a liar, disobedient, rebellious, etc. so why would anyone believe what that child has to say?

Purpose #2 is to create so much doubt in the child, that she doesn’t have time to focus on what is being done to her.  She spends so much time thinking about what her narcissistic mother says she is doing wrong, how she can change, what she can do to please her narcissistic mother & more, that she doesn’t question the abuse that is being done to her.

I went through this with my mother as a teenager.  Her friends who once liked me suddenly wouldn’t even make eye contact with me anymore.  One so-called friend of my mother’s even gave me a lecture one day on how lucky I was to have a mother who loved me so much.  I needed to start behaving myself for a change & stop making her life so hard.  (Interestingly, just before that call, my mother had been screaming at me, accusing me of terrible things that I didn’t do.  I sure didn’t feel so lucky!)  I knew I couldn’t say anything to any of them about what my mother was doing to me, because they believed her.

At the time, it hurt me badly.  I liked some of my mother’s friends, & was hurt when they no longer liked me.  In time though, I realized that although it hurt, it wasn’t a bad thing to lose such people.  Normal, intelligent people wouldn’t blindly have believed my mother.  I’d always been a well-behaved, quiet child, so why didn’t anyone question my mother when she said I was doing such outrageous things as taking drugs or having sex with the entire high school football team?  Such things were completely out of character for me- you would think someone would have said so to her, or maybe questioned me.  Neither happened however.  Losing people who so readily believed the worst of me really wasn’t a big loss.

If this has happened to you, please think about what I said in the previous paragraph.  I know it can hurt when people assume you are the problem, but truly, losing people like that isn’t always a bad thing.  You need & deserve people in your life who love you, not people who blindly believe something bad about you then judge & criticize you.  In a way, your narcissistic mother did you a favor.  She helped you to weed out the unsafe people in your life.  Looking at the situation that way can help to take a great deal of the hurt out of the situation.

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14 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

14 responses to “Narcissists Want Everyone, Including You, To Believe That You Are The Problem

  1. Amen and amen! I have lost all 4 of my siblings and their families due to triangulation by my NM. It hurts, yes, but I have come to see that it’s better than the pain of being abused. I have paid a very high price for my freedom but I have no regrets.

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  2. revengestar

    I am sorry you have been through this, i have a narcissistic mother too and they are horrible in every way possible!

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  3. I can relate to a lot of this, though my mother never turned people against me. Instead, she portrayed us as the perfect family in the public and to all of our friends so that I couldn’t talk to anyone about how horrible she treated us because they wouldn’t believe me and thought I was a bad person for speaking ill of my “perfect, loving, sacrificing, martyr” of a mother. It makes a person feel pretty isolated and alone. For many years I didn’t think anyone would really understand how hard my life had been. That’s why this community is so helpful and healing. At some level, we can all relate to the pain and isolation we went through even if it isn’t exactly the same situation.

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    • I’m so sorry, donshelby! It sounds like you were on the opposite side of the same coin. While many narcissistic mothers make their children look bad, some focus more on making themselves look so good, martyr-like, even perfect or saintly, all to accomplish the same goal. My mother in-law was like your mother. By making herself look innocent, naive, loving, the attention went to her husband for being so abusive, & her children for rebelling. No one ever looked at her behavior, from what I understand, until I came along. No wonder she hated me so.

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      • Oh yes, she would definitely not like you if you called her out on her wrong doings. My mother detested every woman I dated who stood up to her. That is a big NO-NO to a narc and a quick way to get yourself on the hate train.

        Luckily for me, it was important to my mother that other people think highly of me because that was a reflection on what a perfect mother she was so I am still very highly thought of by people from my youth who all rave about what a wonderful woman my mother was. **GAG** I just smile and nod and thank them for their kind words.

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        • That is a super fast way to get yourself on the hate train (love that expression!!). My mother in-law hated me from day one but it got much worse the less I was willing to put up with out of her, The same goes for my mother. They can handle about anything but someone standing up for themselves.

          Wow.. that’s great you can hold onto your composure when people say that about your mother. I’d think it’d be quite tempting to tell them how not wonderful your mother was sometimes.

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          • It would only hurt me at this point if I did that. She’s been dead for nearly 19 years now so it’s not going to hurt her at all. Plus, it doesn’t happen that often and it’s brief so yeah, I just smile and thank them. They don’t need to know the truth. The people that matter know who she really was. I’m not at all shy about telling people if it’s safe to do so, but to damage my own good name and reputation in order to spoil hers is only going to hurt me and she’s done enough of that already. Let them think she was a saint. I really don’t care about it anymore.

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            • I’m sorry- I didn’t realize your mother was deceased.

              That’s so very true. It’s rarely worth telling people the truth. I’ve had moments with people when they say that sort of thing with my mother where I want to shake them & ask if they’re blind- is that why they don’t see what she is? However, it’s not worth it.. they’re her flying monkeys & would probably love to run back to her, saying I’m unstable & a liar for saying such things. They can figure it out on their own. Or not. Not my problem.. although it does baffle me how utterly blind some folks can be to the truth.

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              • Not a problem Cynthia! Her death set me free to live my life as I chose without her constant criticisms and manipulations. I do miss her occasionally, but, in general, I’m happy to be done with that chapter of my life.

                I think those people who are bought into your mother’s story line are not going to listen to yours because she’s convinced them that you’re in the wrong. Like you said in the post, just let them go their own way and you go yours and let them think what they want. Detach yourself and build your own life. For me, the best revenge is a life lived well and lived my way in spite of the abusive start I got. Those other people’s crap is not yours. Let it go! Release it to the wind and remember who you are. You know the truth. God knows the truth. That’s all that matters in the end.

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                • You’re far from the first person I’ve heard say that about the death of their narcissistic mother. Sad, but so very understandable. I felt the same way when my narcissistic grandmother (mother’s mother) died. It’s very freeing, sad to say.

                  Absolutely! The opinions of others isn’t worth being upset about. They can think what they will- I don’t really care anymore. Although I must admit, sometimes I find the things funny that are said about me. My mother’s cousin who I try never to talk to (flying monkey) told me once that my mother said I write children’s books. I never liked children’s books even as a child- why would I write them as an adult?! I guess she came up with that because she’d prefer that is what I wrote about. It was kinda funny though, in its own odd way. My mother has quite a vivid imagination, I’ll give her that!

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                  • That’s pretty funny about the books. Maybe she associates you writing about your childhood with writing children’s fiction somehow. Maybe it just makes her more comfortable.

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                    • I’m sure it does. Plus, she doesn’t know what I write about, really.. she never cared enough to listen to me talk about it or read any but one of my books (about animals). Better in her mind to fill in the blanks with something that makes her comfortable, yanno?

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