Tag Archives: children
Growing up with a narcissistic mother is incredibly painful. It causes a great deal of damage too, not only to one’s mental health but sometimes physical as well due to the intense, incredible stress of living with such a cruel person.
Unfortunately, the damage done is still with the child moving out of his or her mother’s home. While some of that damage is obvious, such as a person having C-PTSD, not all of it is so easily identified. There are many behaviors that tend to stick with a person even years after the abuse has ended.
Many victims accept the blame for everything. Growing up with a narcissist, you learn early in life that everything is your fault. If you had any doubts about that, your narcissistic mother would remind you of it. By adulthood, victims have lost all doubts & know everything is their fault.
Closely related is apologizing for everything. Children aren’t allowed to stand up for themselves, especially to their narcissistic mother. In fact, we don’t even have any clue how to stand up for ourselves. Instead, we learn to apologize, whether the problem is our fault or not. This behavior carries over into adulthood.
Narcissistic parents often compare their children unfavorably to their siblings or cousins. Those children grow up comparing themselves unfavorably to others just as their parent did rather than appreciating the differences in each person.
Children of narcissistic parents learned early in life that their purpose was to do for their parent. Children aren’t even thought of as human to their narcissistic parents, but instead they are merely tools to be used as needed by that parent. Knowing this means these children believe they aren’t important. They prioritize everyone else over themselves.
Along these lines, children of narcissistic parents also refuse to ask for help. They believe they are unworthy of help from anyone. Many are also perfectionists & think they should be able to do things by themselves, without any assistance.
Chronic self doubt is another problem narcissistic mothers create in their children. When you grow up hearing how you can’t do anything right, you’re a failure, you’re stupid or other cruel things, self doubt is normal. It can make you doubt every single thing about yourself, even into adulthood. Often it’s like there is a recording in the back of your mind when you try to do something that says those same awful things Mom used to say, & when you hear the recording, it transports you back to childhood, when you felt you were all of those things Mom said you were.
Difficulty making decisions happens often with adult children of narcissistic parents, too. When you suffer with self doubt, decisions can be really difficult to make! Even simple decisions like when your spouse asks where you want to go for dinner can be very challenging, because you feel like whatever you say will be wrong.
Over thinking is another common sign of having grown up with a narcissistic mother. It stems from having to be “on alert” at all times, needing to know what Mom wanted or how to please her or what exactly she needed at any time in order to avoid a narcissistic rage.
The lack of ability to express emotions is common with adult children of narcissistic mothers. So many narcissistic mothers did their best to stop their child from expressing any emotions, negative or positive. My mother used to scold me for having “that Bailey temper” that I learned never to show any anger or even simple frustration. It felt easier to stuff that emotion deep down than to be shamed. My mother also complained that I didn’t look happy, yet if I was happy, if it had nothing to do with her, she would shame me for being happy. Many narcissistic mothers behave in a similar way with their children.
Do you behave in any of these ways, Dear Reader? If so, please know you are NOT alone & you are NOT crazy. I’ve experienced them all, & still do experience some of them. I have found that praying really helps a great deal. I ask God for help or to show me what I can do to change my behavior. Simple? Sure, but also very effective.
I also question things. “Am I really to blame for this? Why?” “Should I apologize for that? Why or why not?” “Why am I comparing myself to that person instead of appreciating our uniqueness?” “Am I really not smart enough/talented enough/etc. to do that? What evidence do I have that shows me I’m not?” “Is it really unreasonable of me to ask my husband for help when I don’t feel good? Why?” These simple questions make me think about the situation at hand more objectively & I can see that sometimes what I’m thinking is nothing more than some old, dysfunctional mindset. Upon seeing that, I am able to act in a more appropriate way. If you have trouble doing this, another approach could be to imagine a friend came to you with the problem you’re facing now. What would you tell that friend? Imagining a friend is confiding in you rather than thinking about yourself facing the problem can give you a very different perspective.
Although these issues are challenging, they can be dealt with with time & work. Do it- you deserve to be rid of these dysfunctional habits!
My maternal grandmother was a narcissist. She neglected & abused my mother until she died. However, my grandmother didn’t limit her abuse to only my mother. She continued it with the next generation.
This scenario is very typical. I’m sure it happens with male narcissists too, but it seems to be more common with female ones, so we will discuss female narcissists in this post.
Rather than narcissistic mothers becoming loving grandmothers, they simply become narcissistic grandmothers. Sadly, many children of narcissistic mothers think the abuse they endured won’t happen to their children, but they couldn’t be more wrong.
Many people say that narcissists never change, but I disagree. The methods they use to abuse change & they often get even more vicious with their manipulation & criticisms. If they have grandchildren, they are simply new targets for their abuse rather than happy additions to the family.
Narcissistic grandmothers have zero trouble criticizing their children to their grandchildren. This not only can affect how your child sees you, but it also can affect your relationship with your child negatively & hurt your child. When I was quite young, my grandmother would tell me how lazy my mother was as a child & what a terrible person she was. It really hurt to hear her say those things, but she wouldn’t stop.
Not only will narcissistic grandmothers criticize their children to their grandchildren, but they also will criticize their children in front of their grandchildren. This hurts both the parent & child, & teaches the child that it’s perfectly acceptable to treat Mom &/or Dad like dirt. After all, Grannie Dearest does it, so it must be ok.
Since narcissists believe they always know best & boundaries aren’t for them, a narcissistic mother will run roughshod over her child’s rules with her grandchildren. If you don’t want your child to have a cookie nearer than an hour before dinner, you can guarantee that Grannie Dearest will give your child 18 cookies 10 minutes before dinner if she has the chance! As if this isn’t frustrating enough in & of itself to have your own mother break your rules, this also teaches your child that it’s ok to disobey Mom & her rules mean nothing.
Much of the dysfunction you grew up with at the hand of your narcissistic mother will continue with your children. If you had siblings, & all of you have children, your children will be treated much like you & your siblings were growing up. There will be a golden child & a scapegoat, & whichever you were, you can count on your child being in that role. In my mother’s family, her sister was the golden child & she was the scapegoat. While my grandmother was abusive to all of her grandchildren to some degree, I believe she saved the worst of her abuse for me.
If you have children & a narcissistic grandmother, it is your job as their parent to protect the children. Obviously, you don’t want her hurting your children like she’s hurt you! I believe the best place to start protecting them is to pray. Ask God for wisdom on how to handle the situation & how to best protect your children.
Also limit your children’s contact with your narcissistic mother as well as yours. The less contact anyone has with a narcissist, the better. Limited contact may evolve into no contact at some point. The less time spent around a narcissist, the clearer your thinking becomes concerning that person. You may realize no contact is best for you & your children when you hadn’t considered it an option before.
Make sure your children know that they can talk to you about anything & you won’t get mad. Help them to feel safe knowing that if Grannie Dearest says or does something that upsets them, they can tell you about it, you won’t be upset with them, & you will handle the situation.
Do not leave your children alone with their narcissistic grandmother. Make sure that you or your spouse or both of you are with them at all times in her presence. Not only will this help your children feel safer, chances are good that your narcissistic mother will behave better. Narcissists don’t like witnesses to their abuse, after all.
If you’re in this situation, I believe these tips can help you & your children. I wish you the absolute best! xoxo
Have you ever wondered why people so incredibly self centered as narcissists have children? I have. God showed me a couple of reasons why my parents had me, but I’ve also wondered about narcissists in general, not only my parents, have kids. I think I have figured out some of their “logic”, if you can call it that.
The narcissist who was abused or neglected as a child often has a root of shame, I believe, which is why they work so hard to convince people they are so wonderful, amazing, etc. They’re also trying to convince themselves that they are so wonderful, amazing, etc. By becoming a parent, this proves to themselves & everyone else that someone found them desirable. Someone took this big step with them, so they must be pretty fantastic, right?!
If the narcissist grew up feeling or being told she was abnormal somehow, having a child can be a way to prove to the world that she is normal. Having children is a perfectly normal step for many people, so if she can have a child, it proves to her & other people that she must be normal.
Children are also made to make their narcissistic parent look good, & we know all narcissists are obsessed with appearances. If the narcissistic parent can mold their child into whatever she wants the child to be, that parent can then take credit for the child’s talents, successes, good looks or anything. And, if this child is perfect, he or she will prove to the narcissistic parent that her abusive parents were wrong about her, that she really isn’t bad or unlovable as her parents told her she was.
This “perfect” child also can gain the narcissistic parent attention for being such a wonderful parent as to raise this perfect little human being. People notice exceptional children, so as long as this child is perfect, the narcissistic parent will lap up all of the praise & admiration she receives for her amazing parenting skills. What the narcissistic parent fails to realize is that no child is perfect, & expecting the child to be is putting a tremendous amount of pressure on the child. Trying to meet impossibly high standards creates a great amount of anxiety in anyone, but especially a child who just wants his or her parent’s love.
Often, if two narcissists have children together, one will take the main role in raising the child. That parent gets to enjoy being in control in this capacity as well as looking self-sacrificing & martyr like by doing everything all by herself with virtually no help from the other parent.
Because children need their parents, this also feeds the narcissistic parent’s narcissism. They rely on their child’s dependency because it makes them feel valuable & good to be needed. They don’t take into consideration that at some point, that child is going to grow up & move on. It’s as if that thought isn’t even a possibility to the narcissistic parent, so when that happens, they feel betrayed by their child. How dare that child do something normal by growing up! Doesn’t the child know that their role is to stay a child as long as the parent wants?!
Some parents also have children because they foolishly believe that will repair their relationship or force the partner to stay with them so they can raise the child together. They mistakenly believe that if they have a child together, their partner will start treating them right or love them more, when nothing could be further from the truth.
Along those lines, the narcissist who was abused as a child may think that having a baby will fix her relationship with her abusive parents. She may think no grandparent couldn’t love their grandchild, so if she gives her parents a grandchild, she finally may have her parents’ love.
There are countless reasons people want to start a family, but when it comes to narcissists, you can be sure all of their reasons will be unhealthy. They will be entirely self-serving to the narcissist, & the child will suffer because of it.
I admit it.. I have another big pet peeve: people who label those of us without children as selfish. After seeing a post on Facebook a little while ago that labeled someone else without children as selfish, I thought I would write a blog post about it.
Many people quickly judge people without children. I’ve been called selfish, immature, told “the reason you don’t want kids is because of your mother” & also told I’d regret not having children one day. None of that is even close to the truth, as is so often the case with those without children.
Some things to consider before judging are…
- Maybe a person doesn’t have children because either she or her mate are infertile. Infertility is an extremely painful thing for couples to experience. It’s especially cruel to judge & criticize these people for not having children! You’re plunging a knife into their hearts when you do that!
- Some people don’t have children because they grew up in a dysfunctional environment & realize they don’t know how to be good parents. If you grew up in an abusive or at least dysfunctional home, it’s hard to know how to be a good parent! How is it selfish for someone who doesn’t know what it takes to be a good parent not to have children?
- Some people always have felt more comfortable in the company of adults. That is also me. I preferred the company of adults, even as a child. There are a surprising number of people like me.
- Not everyone can relate to children. Some people who may not have spent a lot of time around children when they were growing up or were the youngest in their families may not be able to relate well to children due to not a great deal of experience around them.
- Not wanting children doesn’t mean a person hates them. A common belief for those of us without children is that we hate kids. Sadly, some folks do feel that way. That isn’t always the case though. Personally, I don’t hate kids. I just can’t understand them well. Big difference between that & hating kids.
- And, people who don’t want kids aren’t selfish! We have given this serious consideration before coming to the decision not to have kids. Another common misconception of childless folks is we’re just selfish jerks. Nope. We have given the topic of children a LOT of thought! I even tried talking myself into wanting kids several times in my life, but it never felt right even as I said I wanted kids or dated men who wanted them.
If you speak with someone who doesn’t have children, please consider the things I’ve said & don’t judge or criticize them. Everyone has different callings on their life. Not every person feels called to be a parent.
Happy Friday, Dear Readers!
I just wanted to wish you a great Friday & weekend, & also to let you know there is a new book for sale on my website. I can’t take the credit for this one- a good friend of mine wrote it. It’s a really cute children’s book called, “Izzy & the Tree with a Voice.” I hope you’ll check it out. 🙂