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Why Do Narcissistic Parents Side With Their Child’s Abuser?

My mother hated my ex husband from the moment she first saw him.  She barely tolerated him after we got married… until he hit me.  At that time, my mother saw me injured a couple of days after, with my ex’s hand prints still bruised on my wrists.  She told my father she couldn’t imagine what I’d done to him to make him hurt me.  Months later, I learned my parents saw my ex around town & were friendly with him.  Around 18 years later, my mother called one day & said my father told her my ex hit me.  She asked if this was true.  I said yes.  She told me how if she would’ve known, she would’ve contacted a lawyer & pursued it.  I also realized during this conversation that seeing me battered meant nothing to my mother, & she forgot it happened.

Sadly, my story is not unique.  Narcissistic parents often side with their child’s abuser.  The facts don’t matter.  According to narcissistic parents, the abuser is right & their child is wrong.  This behavior can be one of the most painful & baffling of the many abusive behaviors of a narcissist.

I have some clues as to why narcissistic parents behave in this manner.

When someone upstages a narcissist in any way, it’s bad in the narcissist’s eyes.  People pity another person covered in bruises or wearing a cast, which means there is less attention for the narcissist.  To a narcissist, this means that person should be punished, & what better way to punish someone than to side with the person who hurt them?

If their child doesn’t have physical evidence of abuse, their parent doesn’t believe them.  Narcissists lie & assume everyone else does.  It’s projection.  So unless their child has evidence of abuse, their parent won’t  even believe they were abused.

Narcissists believe they are the only ones worthy of attention, so when another person, in particular their “lowly” child gets attention, they get angry.  With narcissists, any attention is good attention.  All they see is someone got attention that they didn’t get, & that makes that person bad.

Narcissists don’t want to accept that abuse is wrong, because then they would be wrong.  Rather than face truth, it’s better in a narcissist’s mind to normalize abuse & make the victim bad.

If the abuser was the other parent, making the abuse ok means it was  also ok that they didn’t protect their child.  Remember, with narcissists, everything is about them.  If they can spin your trauma around to how hard it was on them, denying knowing it happened, or denying it happened at all, it makes their lack of protecting their child acceptable.

The abuser is someone a narcissist admires & they’re afraid the victim will make them look bad.  Narcissists care what people other than their victim think of them & certain people’s opinions they value above all else.  If that person hurts their child, their primary concern is still how that person sees them.  As an example, my mother believed my in-laws’ were a big happy family.  When I told my parents my mother in-law was abusive, even siting examples, my mother didn’t believe me.  Until our relationship ended, my mother asked my husband often how his mother was, sent his parents Christmas cards, then bragged to me about sending them cards.

Jealousy is another reason narcissistic parents side with abusers.  In cases where a narcissist’s adult child is being stalked &/or harassed, most narcissists act like the abuser really must love their child rather than realizing the abuser has serious control issues.  This makes them jealous.

Narcissistic parents are often lazy.  Just because they have a child doesn’t mean they want to parent.  They get angry if they have to care for their child, & take the focus off of them for any length of time.

Covert narcissistic parents like to rescue their child.  Coverts gain narcissistic supply from appearing good & kind, so if they can wait until their child is terribly abused, then rescue him or her in some way, it’s  supply to them.

Whatever the reasoning, remember when your narcissistic parent sides with someone who has hurt or abused you, it is just more evidence that your parent is the one with the problem, NOT you!  Normal people don’t side with abusers over victims!  xoxo

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

Why People Defend Abusive Parents

So many people are quick to defend abusive parents.  They may say they did the best they could, or you should forgive & forget what they did to you since they were abused as children so they didn’t know any better.  Others simply refuse to believe the abuse happened, accusing you of lying or exaggerating.

 

Why does this happen so often anyway?!  I have some thoughts..

 

If you notice, people who came from truly loving, functional upbringings aren’t the ones doing this.  They know what real, Godly love is, so this means they also know what it is not.  When you tell them horror stories of the abuse you endured, they normally are shocked & horrified that a parent could treat their own child that way.  Their parents never would have done such a thing to them, & they know that.  They won’t make excuses for the abuse or try to normalize it.  It’s wrong & they call it wrong.  They offer you love & support because they know that is the right thing to do.  They may not understand how you feel since they never endured such things, but even so, they empathize with you, & it hurts them you have been so mistreated.  I have two friends that I’ve known since Kindergarten & first grade.   One male, one female.  Both were raised by loving mothers, she had a very kind wonderful father & the his father physically abused his mother.  They have no personal experience with being abused narcissistic parents, yet they are very supportive & kind to me.

 

People who come from dysfunctional upbringings however act much differently.  They are the ones who are quick to say, “But those are your parents!  They won’t be around forever!”  “I’m sure they did the best they could!”  “They just don’t know any better!”

 

I can’t help but think this is because these people are triggered by your openness.  You discussing your painful childhood makes them think of theirs, & they aren’t willing to face theirs at all.  If they can shut you up, they can resume their denial of their own pain.  For years, my husband thought I should try harder with my parents.  Ignore their cruelty.  He made excuses for what they did.  At the same time, he was doing just that with his own abusive parents.  It took him many years before he would say anything even remotely negative about his parents, let alone admit his parents were abusive.

 

Some people also may recognize their own behaviors when you describe the abuse you endured, & they don’t want to face that either.  They may be abusing their child the same way you were abused, & don’t want to admit they are abusive or wrong. They like the control they have, & don’t want to lose it.

 

There are also others who can’t handle anything negative.  These are the same people who expect every book & movie to have happy endings, & they want the same from real life.  My mother is that way.  She hates anything negative.  These people don’t want to hear about your problems.  They want to hear only about light, fluffy, happy topics, ignoring anything bad or negative.   These people don’t seem to have good coping skills, so they avoid anything that is even mildly upsetting.  You discussing your pain is upsetting, so they don’t want to hear about it.  Unless you can share something light & happy with them, they don’t want you to talk about it with them.

 

Whatever the reason someone defends abusive parents, take it as a warning for you that this person is NOT safe to discuss your painful experiences with!

 

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism

When You’re Upset In The Presence Of A Narcissist

You know it’s best to be as emotionally neutral as possible around narcissists because they use your emotions against you.  As hard as you try though, there still may be times when you can’t keep your emotions in check around a narcissist.  You try your best, but no one is perfect.  You may be having a bad day or their cruelty hits you especially hard because you’re fed up.  So what can you expect during those times?

 

Narcissists have various reactions to their victims being upset in their presence, but all of their reactions are designed to let victims know their problem isn’t important.  They may mock you by saying things like, “Awww… the poor baby is upset!  WAHH!”

 

Or, they may be invalidating, saying you have nothing to be upset about, get over it, or they don’t see what the big deal is.

 

They may be blatantly insulting, telling you how stupid you are for being upset.  They may even go from insulting to downright shaming, telling you something is wrong with you for feeling the way you do.  If you’re upset at the narcissist, chances are good they not only don’t want to hear what you have to say, but will be very shaming to you for feeling that way.  You have no right to feel that way, they may say.  After all, you made them do whatever it is they did.

 

Another reaction they have is to be ice cold, clearly showing you they don’t care you’re upset.  They may even act bored as you cry.  I once watched my narcissistic maternal grandmother act completely bored as one of my cousins cried to her, hurt over things she had done.  My own narcissistic mother has done the same with me- act completely bored with me when I’m clearly suffering.

 

Some narcissists also try to say what they think they should say when you’re upset.   For example, many years ago I was upset with my mother in my narcissistic mother in-law’s presence.  Since my husband was with me, I’m sure she wanted to give him a good impression, so she hugged me tightly & said, “Don’t be upset!  I’m your mother now!!”  Maybe that sounds nice, but truthfully, it didn’t feel nice.  It felt creepy!  She always seemed to want me to pretend I had no family & morph into hers.  Remember the Borg from “Star Trek”?  That’s how it came across to me- I was to Borg into her family & this gave her an excuse to verbalize her wishes.  Resistance was futile- I would be assimilated.  lol

 

These scenes are incredibly frustrating.  Normally, you might want to scream or cry louder, trying to get the narcissist to understand you.  That isn’t a good move though.  If you can remember it, try to remember to simply disengage.  Walk away.  Hang up the phone.  The more you try to convince the narcissist you have a right to feel as you do, the more they will try to hurt you or even make you look like you’re crazy.  This only hurts you more.  When you feel things starting to elevate, try your best to stop for a second & take a deep breath.  Ask God for help during that moment.  Ask Him to help  you to remember to disengage before you get to this point.

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

Why Do Some People Defend Narcissists Rather Than Their Victims?

My mind wanders…a lot.  Today, it wandered to something I’ve wondered about off & on for years.

Why is it that when a narcissist hurts someone, most people close to the narcissist & her victim are quick to defend the narcissist rather than the victim?   Have you noticed this?  People say you need to understand your narcissistic mother, be more patient with her, realize she was abused as a child, don’t forget- she’s the only mother you’ll ever have & she won’t be around forever, or a plethora of other reasons you should give her a free pass to abuse you.  In fact, when I was seventeen & my mother’s abuse of me was at its peak, one of her friends (a school principal, by the way!) scolded me for giving my mother so much trouble, & for not appreciating how much my mother loved me.  She claimed my mother did everything she did out of love for me.  And, it isn’t just with a narcissistic  mother this type of thing happens – I went through this with my narcissistic mother in-law as well, like so very many other frustrated daughters in-law.  When my husband’s mother told me how ‘stupid’ my grandfather was (she never met him), or would criticize me, my family, my pets, my car, etc., my husband told me I needed to understand her, or that she simply didn’t know any better.  His sisters have not once in the almost twenty years of our relationship acknowledged their mother mistreated me.  They, too, don’t believe how devious their mother can be, instead believing her to be only sweet & naive.

Why does this happen?  Are people afraid of a narcissistic rage if they disagree with the narcissist?  Do survival instincts kick in, & people look to placate the more dangerous person for their own protection, while ignoring the fact the safer person has been mistreated?   Or, is it something about the victim that says, “Sure, it’s ok- I don’t matter.  It’s fine to treat me any old way you like!”  After all, when you’ve been the victim of a narcissist, you are accustomed to being mistreated.  Maybe some people unconsciously pick up on that, & assume you don’t object to how you’re being treated.  Or, could they see you as the stronger, healthier person, more able to be the mature one in this situation?  Whatever the reason or reasons, it is so wrong!  God doesn’t defend abuse, & neither should anyone else!  True, Godly love wants what is best for people, & abuse isn’t in anyone’s best interest!  Not the innocent victim, nor the abusive person, determined to inflict pain.  What is best for everyone is to treat each other with gentleness, love, understanding, wisdom & patience

Psychology fascinates me, so I can’t help wondering about this.  What do you think?  I would love to hear other people’s thoughts on this topic.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism