Tag Archives: covert

Being Your Parent’s Parent

via IFTTT

8 Comments

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

A Message For Those Who Support Narcissistic Abusers

I always said I’d keep my writing real & I’m doing that with this post.  Be forewarned, it’ll be ugly because I’m very angry as I write this.  It also isn’t going to be pretty or succinct, but it’s going to be real.

**note- this post had to be edited for clarity before publishing.  For a short time after a flashback, my brain doesn’t work very well.  I made tons of spelling errors & unclear thoughts when I first wrote this post.  I needed a couple of days to recover then correct this post before publishing.  Although I wanted this post to be 100% real, that wasn’t quite possible if the post was to be readable.  I did maintain the thoughts & original message, I just prettied it up.  This post isn’t indicative of how coherent I am after a flashback. Thanks for understanding!**

 

This was just going to be a journal entry, but I felt instead I should make it a blog entry.  It felt important enough to put out there for the world to see & to rearrange my scheduled posts so this will post in just a couple of days.  When I prayed about this, God told me, “It needs to be said.”  So, I’m saying it.

 

A little while ago, I was watching “Law & Order SVU”.  One of the detectives was talking to a young woman about statutory rape.  That phrase triggered a flashback as soon as I heard it.

 

When I was 17 & trying to date my now ex husband, my overt narcissistic mother’s abuse was at its peak.  She didn’t like him, & was determined to keep us apart at any cost.  One of the many cruel things she did during that time was accuse me of things I wasn’t doing, including having sex.  She was absolutely obsessed with that topic, thinking I was having sex not only with my ex but a LOT of guys at our high school, including the entire football team.  Anyway one day during one of her many daily screaming fits at me, she told me that since my ex was six months younger than me, she could easily have me arrested for statutory rape for having sex with him.  I can’t describe the blind fear that put in me.  Not because I was actually doing anything, but because I was certain that the police would believe her.  She had about everyone we knew convinced I was nothing but a promiscuous juvenile delinquent.  I couldn’t believe the police would think otherwise.  It also made me wonder exactly what else she was capable of.

 

As I was writing this in my journal, trying to process this abuse, I also had another thought.  I thought about people who blindly support narcissists.  They need to know things like this, things the person they’re so devoted to is capable of doing.  If you know someone who is on a narcissist’s side, then by all means, feel free to show them this post if you think it’ll make a difference!

 

The rest of this post is directed at them.

 

Dear supporter of a narcissist:

 

Think for a moment about what I shared above.  My own mother threatened to have me arrested for something I wasn’t even doing.  And, this is just one example of how she abused me.  She screamed at me for hours every single day, telling me what a terrible person I was, I was stupid, ugly, a disappointment & so much more.  She didn’t just say it, although that would’ve been bad enough.  She literally screamed it repeatedly each & every day several times a day.  She often was so close I could feel her breath on my face.  (To this day, I still get panicky if I feel someone’s breath on me thanks to her.)  My ears would ring after she stopped screaming, because she was so loud.  Many narcissistic parents do the same kinds of things my mother did to me to their children.  How can you support a person who is capable of doing this to their own child?!  Do you honestly think that person is truly worthy of your loyalty?

 

Not only did my mother abuse me daily, but my covert narcissist father did nothing to stop it.  When I told him, he would say something about the way she treated me was hard on him, but there was nothing he could do to stop it.  As if failing to protect me wasn’t quite enough, he also wanted me to comfort him instead of him comforting & protecting me like any decent parent would do.  This is abusive & it’s pure evil, treating your own child this way, yet many covert narcissists do this & more.  Why does someone like this deserve any of your respect, loyalty & devotion??

 

Here we are, almost 30 years after the threat of being arrested & the daily scream-fests.  I’m still dealing with it & countless other similar incidents.  Thanks to the abuse I endured, I have C-PTSD, which means have flashbacks on a pretty regular basis.  Today’s was not an isolated incident.  Anxiety & depression often get so bad that I can’t even leave my home.  My moods are a roller coaster & it takes a LOT of strength not to yell at my husband or cry on him most days even though he’s not the cause of the mood swings.  I have nightmares more nights than not, when I can finally get to sleep that is.   Usually, even with sleep aids, I still have trouble falling & staying asleep.  We won’t even discuss how pitiful my short term memory or my comprehension are thanks to C-PTSD.  Many adult children of narcissists also suffer with C-PTSD because of being abused by the people who were supposed to love & protect them- their parents.  We are the ones who deserve  love & support, not the abusive, wicked narcissists who derive pleasure from hurting others, even their own kids!

 

Meanwhile, like most narcissistic parents, my parents tell people they don’t know what’s wrong with me.  (They obviously didn’t care enough to listen when I told them during our last conversations why I was upset with them, even though I was in tears.)  They don’t get why don’t I call or visit or take care of them.  The simple truth is I had to get away from them to protect what’s left of my sanity & protect myself from further abuse.  I just couldn’t take any more.  My mother made it easy by removing herself from my life last year.  My father wasn’t far behind.  I just saved him the trouble by going no contact before he did.

 

And as if all of this wasn’t bad enough, then there are many people out there who defend these evil narcissistic people & invalidate their victims!  They say victims need to get over it, fix things with their parents, use guilt laden phrases like “your parent won’t be around forever yanno!” (they must have forgotten many children die before their parents)  or simply don’t believe them.  Talk about a slap in the face!  It’s just one more incident of abuse heaped on the pile.  Discrediting a victim especially when you don’t know the facts is abuse!  It’s invalidation!  

 

People who blindly side with someone when two people are having problems are acting incredibly foolishly.  It makes no sense to side with one person while not knowing all of the facts!  It’s even worse when the side chosen is the side that enables & encourages a person to abuse their own child, no matter what the child’s age!  Unless a person is truly naive enough to be duped by a narcissist, the only reason a person would do such a thing (that I can fathom anyway) is they get a thrill from abusing the victim like the narcissist does.  I believe there are many wicked people like that, which is partly why I refuse to engage with anyone who shows me they are on the side of someone who is clearly abusive, in particular to me.

 

Does this describe you?  If you are reading this & offended, I’m sorry- I don’t want to offend anyone.  But, I do want to get people to think & one way to do that is to spell out the ugly truth.  If someone you know has told you they’re being abused, don’t brush them off!  Most people don’t make up lies like this.  It takes a lot of courage to admit you’re being abused, especially by a parent.  Don’t think that parent is too nice & couldn’t possibly be abusive either.  All abusers have a public persona & a private one.  Appearing “nice” in public is a way to make sure no one believes a victim.  They aren’t genuinely nice.  Don’t be naive enough to think otherwise.

 

27 Comments

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

Scapegoats In The Narcissistic Family

via IFTTT

2 Comments

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

Two Types Of Narcissists, Part 2 Covert Narcissists

via IFTTT

Leave a comment

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Narcissism

About Covert Narcissists

One thing about narcissists is that they are extremely good at hiding how vicious they truly are from everyone except their victims.  Covert narcissists are even better at this than their overt counterparts.  Coverts can be so skilled at hiding their abusive actions that even the victims don’t consider it abuse.  Often, if they tell others about what the covert narcissist is doing, they aren’t believed.

People often make excuses for the covert narcissist…

 

  • “She just doesn’t know any better.  She didn’t even graduate high school, after all…”
  • “He’s getting old- he probably just didn’t even remember/think about….”
  • “Well, he was diagnosed with Dementia.. he can’t help himself.”
  • “Everyone loves her.  She helps so many people.  I must’ve overreacted.  She wouldn’t have knowingly hurt me like that.”
  • “Just look at what she puts up with from that awful husband!  She was probably just stressed & didn’t mean to hurt me..”

 

If any of these excuses sound familiar because you have heard them or said them, then chances are you are dealing with a covert narcissist.

 

Are you still wondering?  Here are some other clues…

 

  • Does this person act innocent, even slow or naive, but you know for a fact they aren’t that way?
  • Does this person act incompetent, unable to take care of herself or himself?  Maybe relying completely on their spouse to make household decisions, pay bills, etc.
  • Does this person come across as in need of protection?  As if they are too weak to protect themselves?
  • Do you feel as if you shouldn’t confront this person because they are too fragile to handle your confrontation, no matter how gently you approach them?
  • Does this person offer looks of disapproval more than saying critical things?
  • Does this person not give the disapproving looks when you both are around other people?  Perhaps even complementing you in the presence of others?
  • Does this person expect to be taken care of?  For example, elderly parents with plenty of money who refuse to call a lawn care service, instead, expecting their adult son with his own home to maintain their lawn.
  • Is this person married to an overt narcissist, & never stands up to him or her?
  • If married to an overt narcissist, does he or she leave parenting to the overt narcissist, never protecting the children from that parent & appearing as the real victim of the overt narcissist?

 

Covert narcissists are much harder to spot than overts since they are so much sneakier & more deceptive.  This is what I believe makes them even more dangerous than overt narcissists.

 

Dealing with covert narcissists is even more of a challenge than dealing with their overt counterparts.  You still have to have & enforce strong boundaries, refuse to provide them with supply, limit your time in their presence, etc. like you do with overts.  The problem is with coverts, they will slip into the victim role extremely easily & quickly.  It can be VERY hard not to apologize or give in.  The more you stick to your guns, though, the easier it gets.

 

Another thing I’ve found to be helpful is being cold & logical with them.  Show them no emotion.  If you do, they will try to squelch your joy or provoke you when they know something makes you angry.  Instead, show them no emotion.  Walk away if you feel emotions reaching a boiling point if you must, even if it appears rude.

 

Change the subject as needed.  Since covert narcissists are pretty passive in some ways, this tactic works quite well with them.

 

Limiting or even ending contact with them is your best bet.  The more time you spend with a covert narcissist, the worse they seem to get.  At least that’s been my experience.

 

And lastly, never forget- just because a covert narcissist isn’t screaming in your face doesn’t mean they aren’t just as vicious as overt narcissists.  In fact, many strike me as being even more vicious.  They are simply better at hiding their viciousness under the guise of whatever works best for them- naivete, being helpful or innocence.

2 Comments

Filed under Mental Health, Narcissism

Grieving Covert Narcissistic Parents Is Often Harder Than Grieving Overt Narcissistic Parents

Learning about Narcissistic Personality Disorder is an amazing thing.  It gives you answers you’ve always wanted & shows you that you were lied to- not everything was your fault.  It’s a wonderful thing in that way!

 

Yet at the same time, learning about NPD also means you grieve.  You realize that your narcissistic parents never will be the kind, loving, caring parents you always wanted & hoped they would be.  It destroys that hope that one day, they’d see the error of their ways & start treating you well.  Thank God, grieving does get easier, but I’m not sure it ever goes away entirely.

 

In my experience, I’ve realized something else about the grief process.  For me, it was easier to grieve when I learned my overtly narcissistic mother was a narcissist than when I learned my covertly narcissistic father was one.  Her actions were so obviously wrong, that there was no denial she was that way.  There was no questioning that she was out to hurt & control me.  I knew that even before learning about NPD.

 

My father, however, was a different story.

 

My father always acted naive, even though he’s very intelligent.  He can play the victim or pitiful card well, too.  When I went to him with problems about my mother, he would act sad & tell me he couldn’t do anything to help me.  It was hard on him knowing she was hurting me, he said.  I ended up comforting him when he should’ve been comforting & protecting me.  He’s also very subtle at his manipulations, so it’s easy to miss what his true motives are unless you’re very familiar with narcissism.  For example, there were times when I didn’t answer his phone call or didn’t call him when he thought I should.  He would tell other people he’s so worried about me- he doesn’t know why I haven’t called him in a while.  If they talk to me would they mind have me call him?  Sounds like a concerned father, doesn’t it?  Yet, it’s about making me do what he wants, not concern or love for me.

 

Because my father is so good at being subtle (the opposite of my mother), it’s been really hard to accept that he’s a covert narcissist.  I always thought of him as the good, loving parent.  He never called me names, verbally tore me down, or screamed at me like my mother did, so he had to be the good parent.  Or, so I told myself.

 

Besides, having two parents who don’t love you is a very painful thing to accept.  No one wants to believe neither of their parents care about them.  It’s easier to deny that the covertly narcissistic parent is that way.  Their actions are so subtle anyway, it’s easy to miss their abuse, unlike overt narcissists.  Compared to an overt narcissist parent, the covert seems like a tiptoe through the tulips.  At least until you learn about covert narcissists & how diabolical they truly are, hiding behind the mask of the good parent.

 

 

If you’re having a tough time accepting that you have a covertly narcissistic parent, please don’t feel bad.  It’s tough to accept!  It really hurts & is very disappointing when you realize the one parent you thought loved you really didn’t.

 

You need to grieve & get your hurt out to come to a healthy place of acceptance.  As you do, you may find yourself going through an angry phase.  I have.  Angry about being fooled, angry at being manipulated into thinking he was the good parent, angry about being manipulated & guilt tripped.. lots of anger.  I think this is very normal.  Covert narcissists work even harder than overts do to fool people.  Most overts worry about fooling those they want to impress, while not caring about their victims.  Coverts, however, want everyone to think they’re good people, including their victims.  Since we do buy their “good guy/good girl” act, it’s incredibly maddening to find out how badly we were duped.  So, when the anger surfaces, just know- it ain’t gonna be pretty, but it’s OK.  Get it out however works for you- pray, journal, talk to someone safe.

 

The anger also may come back even when you think it’s all gone.  Nothing wrong with that so long as you’re dealing with it when that happens.  Anger isn’t always easy to process.  Sometimes it takes a long time.  Sometimes, you’re only able to deal with it in small doses, so God hides some things from you until you’re able to cope.  All you can do is deal with it in whatever ways help you the most.

 

Never forget, God will help you get through it all.  Ask  for help & wisdom on how to do what you need to do.  Listen to what He tells you.  Trust Him, & you will be just fine.  xoxo

9 Comments

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

The Most Dangerous Of All Narcissists- Covert

When people first learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, the almost always learn about overt narcissists.  They read that narcissists are always loud, brash, braggarts who openly use & abuse people.  Which is mostly true.  Overt narcissists are absolutely that way.

 

What is equally true is not all narcissists are like that.  Some narcissists come across as insecure & passive, even offering apologies sometimes which overt narcissists don’t do.  They make you feel sorry for them.  If you’re romantically involved with one, he may not even be someone you were attracted to at first.  Somehow though, he acted in a way that gained your attention.  He pretended to share your values while also gaining your sympathy, thus making him attractive to you.  He probably says things like he’s never loved anyone like he loves you, he’s waited for someone like you his whole life & other lies.

 

Over time, the mask slips & a much more devious & sinister person comes to light.  Yet when you have believed that this person was good, believing that they are cruel doesn’t compute.  You think the abuse can’t be real.  You must be paranoid.  You must be imagining things or reading too much into it.  After all, when you approach this person, he blames you & says he is the victim of your cruelty.  Someone so good wouldn’t abuse you..

 

Or would they?

 

Covert narcissists are extremely good at hiding their abuse.  So much so even victims don’t always consider it abuse.  They make excuses- “she just doesn’t know any better,”  “He was just kidding!”  “She was just trying to help…”

 

Confronting a covert narcissist never goes well.  They tell you that you’re crazy, wrong, reading too much into things, they never said or did what you believe they did & more.

 

In this position, victims often submit to the twisted beliefs of the covert narcissist, losing their self-esteem in the process & doubting their sanity.  Some try harder & harder to please the narcissist, never being able to do so.  The narcissist constantly changes what they want so you aren’t able to please them.  The victim’s self-esteem continues dropping, & they try harder to please the narcissist, & the cycle continues.

 

If the covert narcissist is a parent, the parent will do their best to gain their child’s sympathy.  They commit emotional incest on a constant basis, treating their child as a partner rather than a child.  They burden their child with their woes about their failing marriage or other inappropriate topics.  If still married to the other parent, they expect the child to get involved with marital problems or protect the parent from the other parent.  They portray themselves as the real victims of this dysfunctional situation, not the child, nor do they care that they & possibly the other parent abused that child

 

Covert narcissists are a thousand times worse to deal with than overt narcissists, in my opinion.  At least with an overt narcissist, you know what you’re getting.  They are bold & “in your face” with their actions, leaving you no doubt what they’re like.  Covert narcissists keep you guessing.  They use your natural instincts of kindness against you.  While overt & covert narcissists both can make you feel like you’re crazy, chances are you will figure out that you aren’t much sooner with an overt narcissist.  Coverts are not only great at manipulation but also using pity to get what they want.  Victims don’t want to think the covert narcissist is trying to make them feel crazy, & they’re afraid of upsetting him, so they are less likely to question what they are told.

 

Covert narcissists are everywhere.  The mother in-law who won’t let go of her adult son & quietly treats her daughter in-law like dirt when no one is around.  The father married to an overtly narcissistic wife who fails to protect his child, instead wanting her to comfort him because his wife abuses his child & it’s hard for him.  The husband who everyone thinks is a good guy, but behind closed doors, criticizes his wife in every area possible, compares her unfavorably to other women & makes her feel guilty for not measuring up.  The parent who sexually abuses their child.

 

These people are incredibly dangerous!  Covert narcissists should NOT be underestimated!  Be aware of what to look for with covert narcissists, & protect yourself accordingly!!  Have good, strong boundaries.  Pay attention to their words & actions.  Don’t let your guard down around them.  Keep conversations very superficial.  Most of all, pray.  Pray lots!  Ask God for wisdom on how to deal with this person.

12 Comments

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

Covert Narcissistic Parents & Their Need To Rescue Their Children

A thought crossed my mind a little while ago.  Over the last maybe 10-15 years, my father has become quite obsessed with rescuing me.  If I’m in financial trouble, he wants to give me money.  If I have car trouble, he wants to tell me what’s wrong with the car even though I know cars & my husband has worked in the automotive industry for 30 years.  I even remember one day when  I was knitting during his visit to my home, I dropped a skein of yarn & he practically leaped towards me as if he was going to pick up my yarn.  He also tried to tell me how to knit differently.  Mind you, he knows nothing of knitting.

 

Since this rescue thing began, it’s been a problem.  It infuriates my mother & she in turn would take her rage out on me.  Plus, I don’t need a “daddy”- I’m a capable adult.  I needed a father as a child when my mother was actively abusing me & my father wanted me to console him about that fact rather than protect me.  Him wanting to rescue me now & not then just ticks me off.

 

I’ve been wondering why he does this.  I thought it was just about getting some narcissistic supply.  Covert narcissists like him love to look good by helping people.  They don’t help out of the kindness of their hearts or because they care- they help for supply only.  However, it felt like there was something more to it than that.

 

Today, God showed me there is more to it.

 

My father’s behavior started as I began to set more boundaries with my father, to spend less time with him & to pull away emotionally as well as physically.  Narcissists don’t handle their child growing up as normal parents do.  Normal parents embrace each stage of life their child is in.  Narcissists want their child to remain small children indefinitely.  Small children are easy to manipulate & control as well as are eager to please their parents.  Since children grow up, narcissistic parents are forced to find ways to keep their children from maturing too much.  My father has opted to rescue me to accomplish this.  If I see that I need him to help me often, it will keep me doubting myself & dependent on him.  He’ll get the narcissistic supply he needs by looking like the good dad who helps his daughter, plus I’ll stay dependent on him, easier to manipulate & wanting to please him.  I won’t cause “problems” by having boundaries or my own wants, needs, or feelings.

 

There are a great deal of covert narcissists in the world, so I’m sure that my father isn’t the only one who behaves this way.  They all seem to use the same rule book so I’m sure some of you reading this have a covertly narcissistic parent who behaves in this manner.  It can be so frustrating wondering what is happening when they behave this way!  I hope this helps you, Dear Reader, by giving you a possible reason for this behavior.

 

If you’re wondering how to deal with it, the only thing I found to do is to refuse the gifts, advice or attempts at rescuing.  I remind my father I’m an adult & can handle whatever the situation is I need to handle-  I don’t need any help or advice.  It’s going to anger your parent, but the good part of that is they can’t say so without looking foolish, so they won’t say anything.  In fact, I’ve found my father pulled away from me more & more as I refused his rescuing.

Leave a comment

Filed under Mental Health, Narcissism

Pity, Sympathy & The Covert Narcissist

When narcissism is discussed, often it is the behavior of the overt narcissist.  Very little is discussed about covert narcissists.

 

Covert narcissists are much more devious & sly in their actions, yet they are just as abusive if not moreso than overt narcissists.  Because their actions are so covert, their victims are often very hesitant to admit what was done to them was abusive.  They often doubt what was done to them was done out of maliciousness, taking the blame on themselves for being over sensitive or reading too much into things.  One way this is accomplished is by the covert narcissist using pity & sympathy.

 

Pity & sympathy are tools covert narcissists often use.  If they can make you feel sorry for them, chances of you calling them out on their actions or setting boundaries are very slim.  If you do either, you are going to feel very guilty for being so mean & unreasonable.

 

One way covert narcissists acquire that pity is by acting as if they aren’t very smart.  Whether or not they are educated is beside the point.  Covert narcissists like to give the impression that they’re very naive & innocent.  Do NOT be fooled by this act however!  There is absolutely no way a person can be stupid & extremely devious at the same time.  Someone who is genuinely not very smart won’t know how to abuse people while appearing innocent.  They also wouldn’t know what they are doing is wrong & it needs to be hidden.

 

Another way they acquire sympathy is by being married to an overt narcissist.  Very often, overt & covert narcissists marry.  It’s the perfect dysfunctional match.  The overt narcissist can do anything, gaining all the attention, without anyone standing up to him or her.  Meanwhile, the covert narcissist is able to abuse quietly, behind the scenes.  No one really notices because the overt narcissist is gaining all the attention.  The covert narcissist enjoys this because compared to the overt narcissist, the covert narcissist doesn’t look so bad.  In fact, they tend to play the role of the good spouse very well.  They look long suffering, patient, even martyr-like in the fact they can tolerate so much from their spouse.

 

Because of this appearance, many people, particularly empathetic ones, are extremely hesitant to set boundaries with or confront covert narcissists.  I was the same way with my late mother in-law who was clearly a covert narcissist.  I noticed she was especially mean to me after a disagreement with my father in-law.  I felt bad for her- sometimes he said some really hurtful things to her.  I thought, naively, maybe she was just getting out her frustrations.  And, I didn’t have the heart to say anything to her because she had enough to deal with.  As time went on though, I realized she got meaner & meaner, whether or not they had a disagreement.  Not saying something wasn’t helping her or me.

 

Most people like getting a little sympathy or pity periodically.  If you have a bad cold, doesn’t if feel good if someone says they’re sorry you’re sick & brings you some soup?  Covert narcissists take that normal thing to an extreme, though, using it to get away with any abuse they can.

 

Overt narcissists may use sympathy & pity too, but not nearly as much as covert narcissists do.  Plus, their methods are much easier to spot.  They often can turn on & off their tears as easily as most people flip a switch, for example.  I’ve seen that with my overtly narcissistic mother.  She has back problems, & uses that for sympathy.  If she isn’t getting enough attention, she has burst into tears, claiming to be in pain.  Yet interestingly, when I didn’t rush to her side, after a moment she stopped crying & went on with her activities.

 

If you notice someone in your life constantly wants pity or sympathy, be forewarned, chances are, you’re dealing with a narcissist.

 

2 Comments

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

Covert Narcissists, aka Introverted Narcissists

Periodically, I like to post about the signs of a covert narcissist.  Everyone knows about overt narcissists, but there just isn’t much information on their covert counterparts.  Today, I want to share some warning signs of covert narcissists.

 

They are terrible listeners.  When having a conversation with a covert narcissist, it is painfully obvious they want you to shut up so they can resume talking.  They look bored.  They pretend they’re going to talk as you start to talk, then obviously stop talking, acting as if you interrupted them.  They try to hurry your conversation up.

 

They create a false image of themselves.  Covert narcissists are not as obvious in their delusions of grandeur like overt narcissists.  They may even say depreciating things about themselves such as “I can’t do that.. I’m not talented.”  “I’m not very smart.”  This false image of modesty often makes people complement them & provide narcissistic supply when they make such comments.  Some pretend to be stupid, when in fact they are quite intelligent, so people will take care of them & protect them.  Others do for the people in their life to create the image of the self-sacrificing martyr who never thinks of herself.

 

They are smug.  Narcissists look down on other people, whether they are covert or overt, but coverts are quieter about it.  They may not tell a person flat out that they are better than the victim, but the victim knows this is how that person feels anyway.  Covert narcissists have a look that conveys the message well.  Or, they compare you unfavorably to someone else.  My mother in-law told me how disappointed she was my husband married me instead of someone he used to date, which left me feeling not good enough to be a part of her family.

 

Covert narcissists have no empathy.  Like their overt counterparts, covert narcissists have zero empathy.  They don’t care about your pain unless it directly affects them.  If you cry in their presence, they will look at you blankly.  If there is a witness, the covert narcissist might offer you a hug or some kind words, but that is only to make the witness think well of them.  They really don’t feel any empathy for you whatsoever.

 

Always the victim.  Covert narcissists are always the victim.  If they hurt you, & you confront them, you are mean/unreasonable/abusive/etc.  They’ll even bring out the fake tears to attempt to make you feel guilty.

 

Covert narcissists fake apologize.  On the off chance you get an apology from a covert narcissist, it is obviously fake.  They don’t understand why what they did was wrong, but they feel forced to apologize to appease you & keep you providing their narcissistic supply.  When there’s no way to get around that apology, it can be either passive/aggressive (“I’m sorry you feel that way”) or by saying things they think you would want to hear.  Chances are, they’ll be dead wrong on what they think you want to hear, too.

 

They are extremely sensitive.  Narcissists are all sensitive to any criticism, real or imagined, but covert narcissists are the worst.  Any slight from you can have them crying about how cruel you are.

 

 

6 Comments

Filed under Narcissism

A Strange Side Effect Of Parentalizing

Growing up with at least one narcissistic parents almost always means there was an emotionally incestuous or parentalizing relationship between the narcissistic parent & her child.  Since narcissists are so self-absorbed, they often have children to take care of them or to fill some need in their life.  This is where emotional incest, aka parentalizing, comes into play.

 

Parentalizing, parentification, covert incest & emotional incest all describe the same thing.  (To simply, we’ll use “parentalizing” in this post.)  It is when a parent & child’s roles are reversed, when the parent makes the child responsible for her emotional well being.  A parent who talks to a child about adult matters such as her sex life or failing marriage is indulging in parentalizing.  Although this behavior may not sound so bad, it is devastating to a child.  Her feelings & issues can be made worse when people tell her how lucky her parent is to have her to count on or other misguided comments such as,  “She needs you!”  “You have to be strong for her!”  “I don’t know what she’d do without you!”  On the outside, this parentalized relationship may appear loving & good.  The parent & child are close- what a wonderful thing!  When people see the relationship, they encourage it or make those misguided comments, often without realizing the harm this is doing to the child.

 

Children who have survived a parentalizing relationship with their parent or parents often grow up full of guilt, angry, depressed, possess poor relationship skills, are in co-dependent relationships, have a very overdeveloped sense of responsibility (feeling responsible for everyone in their life)  or have addictions.  Another side effect you rarely see mentioned though is the feeling of needing to be invisible, to blend into the background.

 

Parentalizing parents seem to take up all the space in the relationship with their child.  Be they overt or covert narcissists, they share one common thing- the fact that they come first in that relationship, period.  Through fear or guilt, they give their child the message that they are more important, & their child isn’t important at all.  Children often internalize the message, & as a result feel they must stay invisible so as not to disturb their narcissistic parent.  Never upset that parent!  Either comply with anything & everything the parent wants or stay strong for her..  All of these ideas are to please the narcissistic parent & avoid the rage that comes from not pleasing her.  These thoughts even continue into adult relationships, such as “If I’m good enough to him & give him what he wants, he’ll stop hitting me.”

 

Parentalizing parents also communicate the message that they aren’t able to handle things, they are weak, & need the child to clean up their mess.  This message tells the child that her needs are just too much.  Just existing is a burden to the parent.  Her needs aren’t important, including the need for validation.  In fact, often the only validation the child gets is when she is her parent’s “savior” by fixing her parent’s problem.  If she dares to express any need, chances are good it will be met with anger, even rage, so the child learns to fade into the background until she is needed.

 

Feeling invisible, I think, is rooted in shame.  We are ashamed of having needs, wants, feelings because we were made to feel ashamed of them.  Our parentalizing parent also gave us the message that we aren’t important.  Both of these things, I believe, work together to create a root of toxic shame.  Toxic shame can cause you to feel so ashamed of who you are, that you don’t feel worthy of anything.  You assume people won’t want to help you or even talk to you.  Simple things most people don’t think twice about can be a challenge for you, such as leaving your home.  You may feel so ashamed of who you are that you don’t think you should bother people with your presence.  Even expecting help from salespeople, service people, or staff in a hospital may seem impossible because of that deep root of shame.  It’s surprising just how deep shame can go.

 

So what do you do to get rid of toxic shame?

 

First, pray.  Ask God to help you to heal.  Obey any instructions He gives you.

 

Next, push yourself outside of your comfort zone sometimes.  The more you see you can do things successfully, the more confident you will become & the less hold shame will have on you.  Sharing things with trustworthy people, you will see that other people actually do care about you which helps as well.

 

Also, question the shaming beliefs when they come up.  Why do you feel so ashamed of yourself for wanting something?  Why do you feel to blame for a situation where you had no control?  Things like this.  Ask God for the answers if you don’t know them.  And, ask Him to help you to release those beliefs.

 

I have learned these things help a great deal.  I have slipped up, unfortunately, & when I have stopped doing these three things, I fell right back into old, dysfunctional & miserable patterns.  For them to work, you have to keep doing them, even when it gets uncomfortable.  Remind yourself of these things often.  You’ll be glad you did!

2 Comments

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

Father’s Day

Those of us who grew up with overtly narcissistic mothers often grew up thinking our fathers were great guys.  After all, compared to Mom, they really were great.  They didn’t berate & control us constantly.  Since we also had a skewed view of love, we believe they loved us.

 

The sad truth though is many of us have fathers who weren’t the great guys we thought they were.  Many men married to overtly narcissistic women are covert narcissists.

 

Covertly narcissistic fathers often come across as hard workers (working long hours &/or traveling for work), soft spoken  & naive.  They need to be taken care of because they don’t always know what to do.  They may be clingy with their daughters, confiding in her about problems in their marriage.  When told about how abusive their children’s mother is, they claim they had no idea it was that bad, & there is nothing they can do to stop it.  They may even turn it around, claiming it’s so hard on them, knowing how cruel their wives are to their children.  Many are quite sneaky too, telling their wives one thing & their children another, to stir up strife between the mother & her children.  Some men, if their wife is angry, will somehow find a way to bring up their children to refocus her anger onto her children.  They will not hesitate to throw their children (of any age) under the bus with their wife in order to protect themselves from her anger.

 

Does this sound familiar to you?  If so, I really understand!  It’s my father in a nutshell.  And, I also understand that Father’s Day is a painful & frustrating day for you because of this!  It is for me too.

 

Remember my post about the recent argument with my parents?  I’m still dealing with it.  My mother is still not speaking to me, which works just fine for me.  She won’t hear my side of it, I don’t understand hers, so there is no working things out with her.  My father, however, is obviously still angry at me, but refuses to talk about it.  He insists on looking like the good guy no matter what, so rather than come out & say he’s angry with me, he goes into passive/aggressive mode.  He constantly brings up how he upset my dog by coming by one day when I wasn’t here, & hints that he doesn’t believe I wasn’t here.  He knows it bothers me he upset her & that he doesn’t believe me when I say I wasn’t here that day.  About a week ago, I didn’t answer when he called as I was busy (& frankly not in the mood to deal with him), so the next time we spoke, he told me he was so worried when I didn’t answer my phone.  According to him, since I didn’t answer the phone, he was forced to call one of my cousins who lives 450 miles away to try to get in touch with me.  All of this drama is about control- letting me know I am wrong for being upset with him & for not taking his call.

 

Normally I’m not thrilled with Father’s Day anyway, but this year?  UGH.  Much worse than normal.

 

I figured out to deal with it this year, I would still get my father a card, but it’s quite different than any other card I’ve given him.  I usually opt for a nice, Christian themed card that basically says “God bless you, have a nice day”.  Simple but nice while not saying he was a great father, since he wasn’t.  This year?  I opted for something funny.  My father will be glad he got a card, so there won’t be any repercussions for me.  I wasn’t even feeling like sending him a nice card, so the funny one worked for me.  It was a good compromise.  On the actual day, I won’t be calling my father or seeing him.  I’ll focus on my husband, who is a good dad to our furkids instead.  Plus,  this is hubby’s first Father’s Day since his mother died.  She often had big family parties on Father’s Day, & since this is his first year without that,  I want to be available for him in case he wants to talk or needs some  support.

 

I’m choosing to focus on what is the most important to me, & there is nothing wrong with that!

 

Father’s Day is a lovely idea.  If you have a great dad, then by all means, let him know he is a great dad!  Celebrate him on Father’s Day & any other day you feel the urge to do so.  However, if you too have a covertly narcissistic father, you don’t need to celebrate him on Father’s Day.  It’s OK!  There is nothing wrong with you!  You aren’t failing to honor your father!  It’s not un-Christian not to celebrate it.  It’s not commanded in the Bible to celebrate Father’s Day.  You are allowed to do whatever you feel you need to do.  Get him a card or don’t, give him a gift or don’t- there are no rules.  You need to do what feels right to you.

8 Comments

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