Tag Archives: father
People often don’t understand what it’s like sever ties with parents. It’s easy to understand how shocking it can be to some people. I want people who don’t understand to understand, & I hope to help them to do that with this post.
Looking from the outside in, most people don’t see an abusive family scenario. They see attentive parents & well behaved children. They see parents who are successful at their chosen careers, kids getting good grades in school, active in sports or other after school activities & their parents supporting such things.
They don’t see what happens behind the scenes, though. Screaming, raging, sometimes even physical assaults. Then there are the scathing criticisms said so often that it destroys the child’s self esteem. There also is the fact that narcissistic parents do their level best to destroy their child’s identity & recreate the child into whatever it is they want. The child’s personality, likes, feelings & even morals mean nothing to that parent, only what the parent wants is what matters. While this may not sound so bad to someone who hasn’t experienced it, I can tell you from my own experience & that of others I have spoken to in similar situations, a child in this situation often considers suicide as it feels like the only means of escape.
When the child in this situation grows up, often, that child who is now an adult learns that their upbringing wasn’t normal. They witnessed other people with kind & loving parents. They have friends whose parents bought them their first car when they got their drivers’ license instead of fighting them getting a license & car. Their friends’ parents celebrated when they graduated from high school or college rather than ignoring the accomplishments or finding some way to trivialize them.
Things like this often make this adult child look for answers. Frequently many abused adult children learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder at this time.
Suddenly, so many things make sense! The abuse, the belittling, the manipulation, the control. Then they learn there is almost no hope whatsoever of changing a narcissist. Explaining that their actions hurt only encourages them to do those things more.
After attempting every tactic they can to make the toxic relationship healthier yet failing, the adult child realizes no contact is the only option. Even after the realization, it often takes a long time to work up the inner strength to go through with actually ending the relationship with the toxic parent.
Eventually, they do sever ties though. Suddenly people they know, or barely know, come out of the woodwork to tell them how terrible they are, how they need to fix the relationship, how badly they’re hurting their parents, how selfish they are & more. The guilt is horrific & people like this make it even worse.
There is also the devastation of betrayal, because most of these people are people you never expected to side with anyone who abused you. Actually society in general often sides with parents in these situations rather than the children they abused.
People assume estranged children hate their parents, & treat them accordingly when nothing could be further from the truth. People don’t realize the pain behind going no contact. They don’t realize the intense guilt or the cognitive dissonance because of doing something so extremely abnormal either. They don’t recognize the loneliness because not only did you lose your parents but also most of your family & even friends by choosing to protect your mental health.
This is what happens when someone goes no contact with their parents. This was my experience as well as that of so many others I’ve talked to. If anyone thinks no contact is easy or taking a cowardly way out, they are utterly mistaken. It’s the hardest decision I ever made, yet also the best one.
Those of you young men & women who are still living at home with your abusive parent (or parents), this post is for you today.
You are in a rough place, as you well know. I’ve been there too, & I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy. Until you can move out, no doubt you could use some advice to help you cope.
I hope those of you reading this share my faith. Knowing God has been the most important part of my life, including helping me to survive the abuse. When I was living with my parents, however, I didn’t believe in God because of the abuse. No doubt many of you feel the same way & your parents also have misused religion as an excuse to abuse you. Please know that God is nothing like what abusive parents say He is! He is loving & kind, & will gladly help you through this! If you’d like to learn more, click this link: https://cynthiabaileyrug.com/home/salvation-through-jesus-christ/
Learn everything you possibly can about Narcissistic Personality Disorder. The more you understand it, the more it will help you to figure out ways to cope with your parent’s behavior. It also will help you to remember that you are NOT the problem, your narcissistic parent is. While that may seem obvious when you first learn about NPD, narcissists can be very manipulative. Even to the point of making others believe they are the real problem in the relationship. That happened to me with both my parents & my ex husband. I honestly believed I was the problem in spite of them clearly being the abusers. Not only did I feel awful but they used that as another way to control me. Since I thought I was so awful, I trusted them to tell me how to be better. Learn from my mistake! Abusers are always the problem!
When dealing with your parent, try to show as little emotion as possible. The reason being narcissists use people’s emotions against them. Are you happy? The narcissist will try to make you sad. Are you sad or angry? The narcissist will try to make you sadder or angrier, then tell you that you’re crazy because of how you feel. Always remain unemotional around your parent.
Save up money as best you can. Be frugal with your money & save as much as you can, because you are going to need quite a bit to get a car & to move out. Also, stash your money somewhere where your parent can’t get to it. Many narcissistic parents steal from their children, so you need to be careful about where you hide your money.
Move out to somewhere safe as soon as possible. A roommate helps financially, so that may be an option. You’ll need someone who has a steady job & is responsible, as well as someone you get along well with. Some folks rent out rooms in their home, too. Or, maybe a friend or relative would let you move in with them. Consider your options & make plans as best you can. Don’t share your plans with anyone that might tell your parent about them, however.
If at all possible, buy what you can to prepare for moving out. If you plan to live with a relative or rent a room, you probably won’t need much. A bedroom set, toiletries, towels.. things like this. If you have a friend or relative that knows your situation, they might be willing to hold these items for you until you need them so your parent doesn’t find out about your plans.
I know all of this must seem overwhelming, but really you got this! You have survived so much up to this point which shows you are strong! You can do it!!
Growing up with abusive parents, most kids think that once they turn 18 &/or move out, all their problems will be over. Many victims marry very young trying to rush this process along, & who can blame them?
The problem is though, this mindset is wrong. The abuse merely changes, it doesn’t stop.
In my experience, I left home at 19 after my first nervous breakdown. Although I didn’t know exactly what had happened to me at that time, I knew in my heart that I had to leave or lose my sanity. I moved back in 6 months later for only four days. On the last day, my mother & I got into an argument which escalated quickly into a physical fight, & she slammed me into a wall. I believe she wanted to kill me that night. I also believed that since I determined never to live in that house again, the abuse was a thing of the past. My mother never laid another hand on me again after that night, November 28, 1990. That didn’t mean she never abused me again, however.
After that horrible night, my mother continued to verbally abuse me. Everything about me was subject to her harsh judgement & criticisms, just as it had been when I was living with her. When I had to quit work a few months later due to my back pain from her assault, my mother made it clear she was convinced I was faking the pain because I was too lazy to work. She never said those words exactly, but she would slap me in the back where my pain was, hand me heavy items or tell me I needed to help her move something heavy.
As my parents got older & frailer, my mother expected me to help them. When I did help, my parents were cruel, especially my mother. She gave me a diet soda one day when I was there. The cruelty was the artificial sweetener in it was known to cause a laxative effect in some people. She waited until I emptied the bottle to tell me this & how it negatively affected my father. For the remainder of the visit, she & my father continually asked me how my stomach felt or did I need to use the bathroom.
My mother had irritable bowel syndrome. After having an issue, she called to tell me I had to wash her clothes the next day because “I owed it to her since she took care of me as a baby.” The next day I took rubber gloves along in case I had to touch any laundry since I’m not good with body functions. My mother watched me take off those gloves, then told me to hold out my hands. With a smile, she put her nasty clothes in my bare hands & said “I forgot, these need to go in the washer too.”
The point of these stories is this: narcissistic parents don’t stop abusing their children when they become adults. They merely change the ways in which they abuse them.
As narcissists age, they can’t be the physically intimidating presence to their child anymore. And, their child has grown up, so even if they were able to magically stay the same, their child probably wouldn’t be intimidated like they once were. Also, threats of punishment from a parent don’t work on an adult as they would on a child. Due to losing so many of their once successful ways of abusing their child, narcissists have to come up with new ways to abuse.
Some of those new ways may involve financial abuse, guilt trips to make their child think they owe the parent, misusing their medications to make themselves ill, or even threatening suicide.
If such things are happening to you, you’re not alone! You also have nothing to feel ashamed of! The shame lies with your parent, not you! Do what you need to in order to protect yourself. You do NOT deserve to be abused!!
As I’ve mentioned before, I am a huge true crime buff. Pretty sure my poor husband is sick of it since when I turn the TV on, that’s usually what I end up watching.
I’ve also never been a big fan of stories with happy endings. If it suits the story, that’s fine but if it seems forced, I’m not a fan of that. I prefer real endings, even if they aren’t happy ones.
Growing up, my mother always said how negative & pessimistic I was. She made me feel abnormal for liking such “negative” things instead light, fluffy things like she did. I assumed she was right & something was wrong with me. Yet, nothing changed even into adulthood. I still dislike fluffy stories.
I finally came to a realization about my so called negativity, & I think it may help some of you as well.
So many people I’ve spoken to who were raised by narcissistic parents also dislike light, fluffy stories. They prefer something real even if it is sad. Many also share my interest in true crime.
Many who were abused by narcissistic parents also share some similarities. We often are introverts, very down to earth & interested in the deeper things in life over the superficial, in particular what makes people tick. Knowing these traits, it only makes sense that we prefer what we do.
Another thing I realized is these things allow us to feel the emotions we never were allowed to feel growing up. Narcissistic parents deny their children the right to have emotions, in particular anger or hurt over the abuse. This often carries into adulthood. We grow up not comfortable showing or sharing certain emotions, & aren’t sure how to deal with them. Feeling anything about the abuse perpetrated on us by our own parents is especially not OK, so those emotions are ignored. Since those emotions aren’t felt, they need an outlet. Watching sad movies or true crime, reading sad or unjust stories or even listening to sad songs provides that outlet. They enable you to feel the sadness or anger without feeling it as it relates to the abuse.
Something else narcissistic parents can’t tolerate is their child feeling sorry for themselves. This, too, carries into adulthood, & many struggle with feeling compassion for ourselves because of that dysfunctional teaching. Being able to feel the emotions because of songs, stories or whatever also help you to feel them while not feeling sorry for yourself. If you watch a story of a young woman who was abused & murdered by her parents, as an adult woman who was abused by her parents, you’re going to be able to relate to her story. Your heart will go out to her, & you’ll feel pity, sadness, anger at the injustice. You should be feeling such emotions for yourself, but can’t. Instead it’s redirected.
If you realize that you too behave in this manner, all hope isn’t lost! At least you’re feeling the emotions you need to. That is good. Emotions demand to be felt, so if you don’t feel them in a healthy way, they will find another outlet. This outlet isn’t as destructive as it could be, so that is a definite plus.
Some people think about themselves as a child.. if that child was in front of you, what would you tell him or her now? Wouldn’t you want that child to be open about their feelings & heal? If it helps, talk to that child. Write letters to him or her. It may help you tremendously.
Most of all, never ever forget to talk to God. He truly understands even when we don’t. He wants to help & comfort you, so why not let Him?
When a child’s emotional health is neglected, they grow up dysfunctional in many ways. One of those ways is they learn no healthy coping skills. As a result, lying to themselves becomes a common way for them to cope.
Lying about what? Anything & everything! I remember years ago, I got my father a cell phone & my mother was angry about it. Eventually he was tired of her complaints & got rid of it. When she told me about it, she said she had no idea why he did that. I could see that she was trying to convince herself of that, but she knew the real reason. Remember, my mother’s mother was a narcissist, & extremely cruel to my mother her entire life, including neglecting her emotional health.
That is just one example, of course, but there are many other lies victims of childhood emotional neglect tell themselves.
Another lie is “I don’t matter.” Of course you matter! Everyone matters! The lie stems from being raised by parents who act like you don’t matter. It’s easier for a child to believe they don’t matter than to believe their parent is incapable of treating them as if they do matter. Any problem in a relationship between a child & his parents usually means the child assume he is to blame.
“I’m not good enough” is another lie stemming from childhood emotional neglect. When children are treated by their parents as if they aren’t good enough, they assume it’s because something is wrong with them rather than their parents. That, however is a big lie!
“I’m unworthy to ask for help.” Childhood emotional neglect teaches children that they are undeserving of “bothering” others by asking for help, especially from their parents. This couldn’t be further from the truth!
Another common lie is, “I should be happy. I have no reason not to be happy.” When a child’s emotional health is neglected, they very easily can become depressed, yet may not know why, even into adulthood. They fail to realize they have been abused which is a valid reason for depression.
“I don’t need anything.” is a common lie, too. Of course you need something. Every person has needs. Sadly, being emotionally neglected in childhood trains children to believe that their wants & needs aren’t important, so they learn to ignore them. Years of ignoring them means they aren’t in touch with their needs at all.
Another common lie is, “I’m ok.” When someone is mistreated, it’s normal to be angry or hurt. When the child of emotional neglect is mistreated, although they may feel some anger or hurt, they’re disconnected from their feelings enough that they may not realize that. Or, they may recognize the anger & hurt, but believe they aren’t allowed to feel that way so they say, “I’m ok” instead.
“Anything you want is fine with me.” When a child survives emotional neglect, they learn early on it’s easiest just to go with what their parents want so they don’t get in trouble. After a lifetime of this, it becomes such a habit, that these children act this way with everyone about everything.
If you realize you have said these same lies, you are not alone! Start paying attention to what you say more so you become aware of ways you lie to yourself. Ask God to help you to help you recognize those lies. Once you recognize the ways you’re lying to yourself, then you can deal with them. My favorite way is to ask God to tell me the truth. Am I right to feel as I do? Please tell me the truth, Your truth. He does & it really helps me to see things more clearly. Writing about how & why I feel as I do is also helpful because seeing things in writing gives great clarity.
I wish you the best in defeating these lies & living a healthier, happier life! xoxo
The holiday season is officially upon us, which means those of us with narcissistic parents &/or in-laws are filled with dread. We know the narcissists in our lives have unrealistic expectations of us every day of the year, but holidays often seem to up those expectations.
My late mother in-law would tell me when I was to be where on which holiday. She never said the exact words, but it was clear there was no excuse for me not to be there. The same with my ex mother in-law. Not obeying meant facing their anger. It also meant spending the day without my husband & being angry with him for choosing his family over me. Obeying meant spending the day surrounded by people who disliked me, & me resenting them. Since many others with narcissistic parents or in-laws face this same scenario, I thought I would share some thoughts on the holidays.
Remember, you are an adult. You do NOT have to blindly obey your parents or in-laws when they demand you spend a holiday with them. When you disobey their orders, chances are good they will be upset. They will try to guilt trip you for not wanting to spend time with “family”, or show their disapproval in some other way such as with criticisms or even the silent treatment (if you’re lucky…). Remind yourself as often as necessary that you have nothing to feel guilty about. There is nothing wrong with wanting to spend a holiday with those you love, such as good friends rather than abusive & mean people
Also, if you want to spend a holiday with someone other than your narcissistic parents or in-laws, you can offer a compromise. My paternal grandparents always had a big Christmas gathering on the weekend after Christmas. That way, everyone could spend the day with whoever they wished, yet there was still a family Christmas party. Why not do the same thing? Does it really matter what day the day is celebrated, so long as it is celebrated? Celebrating on a weekend also means many people don’t need to be at work the following day so they can relax more & enjoy themselves. Since narcissists do things more willingly when they can see it benefits themselves, why not approach it from this angle? “You won’t have to get up early the next day for work if we celebrate on Saturday instead of Tuesday. That means you can relax/enjoy the holiday/spend more time with your family & friends.” I know, many narcissists demand holidays be celebrated only on the exact day. My late & ex mothers in-law were that way. But if you approach your suggestion in a way that clearly benefits them, you stand a chance of getting your way. This isn’t a perfect solution since you’ll still be spending a holiday with narcissists, but it does at least free up the actual holiday to spend however you like. It’s a pretty reasonable compromise!
If celebrating a holiday on another day is not an option, set a time limit. Determine ahead of time you’ll only spend 2 hours with them, or whatever time seems reasonable to you, then leave at the end of that time. Tell the narcissist ahead of time that you only have a short window of time to spend with them, so you must leave by 2:00 or whenever. No, they won’t like it, but don’t back down! Stick to what you said, & leave at the set time.
If the demanding narcissist in question is an in-law & your spouse wants to spend the day with the narcissist, so be it. You can’t make him change his mind. You can, however, refuse to go. You can stay at home & watch Netflix all day. You can spend the holiday with friends instead. You can create a new holiday tradition to enjoy when your spouse isn’t with you. Trying to think of it as a day off to spend in any way you like definitely helps diminish & disappointment you feel.
Most of all, never forget to pray about your situation. God will show you the best way to handle it & help you to get through this difficult time of year. xoxo
Enmeshment is a term used to describe when boundaries are either very weak or non existent in a relationship, most commonly within a family. Enmeshed families aren’t simply close. Closeness is healthy, but enmeshment is not. It can cause a myriad of problems for the children.
Enmeshed families share very similar traits. The children are expected to think & act like their parents, to work in the line of work their parents want them to & basically live the life their parents want them to live rather than what they want to. Children are also usually the only close “friends” of sorts that the parents have. The parents demand or guilt trip their children spend plenty of time with them rather than create an environment that would make their children want to spend time with them. Children, no matter their age, aren’t supposed to do things they want, such as spending time with people other than their parents. In fact, enmeshed parents don’t want their children to leave home. Many adult children from these families didn’t leave home at an appropriate age. Instead they lived with their parents well into their 20’s, 30’s or maybe never even moved out. These children also feel responsible for their parents, starting at a very young age. This can cause them to put their parents’ needs & wants over their own, & later also over their spouse’s needs & wants. It creates a tremendous amount of stress in a marriage.
Children in enmeshed families frequently grow up feeling out of place when they aren’t with their families. They also lack a real identity beyond who their parents tell them they are. Their self esteem is usually quite low as well. Other common problems include a lack of relationship skills & lack of understanding of healthy boundaries. They also tend to be very distrustful of people who aren’t related to them, yet tolerate any abuse their family members heap on them. Many of these adult children seek out romantic partners who need caring for, which is a pattern they learned in childhood from their needy parents.
In order to end this dysfunctional behavior, the child of enmeshed parents needs first to recognize just how dysfunctional & harmful enmeshment is. It can be very hard to do this after a lifetime of believing the lie that the enmeshment means their family is closer & healthier t han others, but it still must be done.
Next, some distance must be set between parent & child. This is also very hard, I know, especially since most likely the parent will shame the child for wanting some space, but it can be done. Start small, such as not answering their call sometimes. If your parent complains, just say you were busy (which you were.. taking care of yourself) & couldn’t get to the phone. Also don’t spend as much time with your parent as you have. Pull away a bit. Don’t be so readily available to your parent. If they need your help, unless it’s a true emergency, tell them you can’t do what they need now but you can in a few days. These small ways to start setting boundaries will strengthen you & enable you to set bigger & better boundaries in the future.
Learn who you are, too. Pay attention to what you truly want, like, think, feel… you may discover you are much different than what your parents always said you were. Or, you may have some similarities. Either way, get to know the real you & enjoy who you are.
Recognize the false guilt. If your parent does their best to make you feel guilty for not taking their call one day or not visiting them, that is ridiculous. You’re an adult with your own life! Don’t accept that false guilt!
If you have close friends who understand your situation, discuss it with them. Let them support you. And if you don’t, check online for support forums. No doubt you can find one that helps you.
Mostly, turn to God. Pray about your situation & let Him help you to heal. He loves you & will be glad to do that for you!
Emotional incest, covert incest, parentification & parentalizing. All describe the same abusive behavior & a topic I’ve written about before. When a parent treats their child as an equal rather than their child, expecting that child to listen to their woes, tales of marital discord, details of their sex life, &/or expecting their child to care for them in ways such as cooking & cleaning for them well beyond what is age appropriate, it damages the child psychologically. The child in this situation often grows up anxious, depressed, lacking healthy relationship skills, feels guilt for things they aren’t responsible for & may even have issues with addiction. Often at the very least, they choose very poorly suited romantic partners.
Sadly, parentalizing is barely discussed in a negative light. Many people see a child & her parent behaving in this way & praise their “close” or “loving” relationship. They even tell the child how lucky she is to have a mom who loves her so much, how she has to be strong for her mom or other similar comments. And, when the child, no matter the age, does something that upsets her parent or *gasp* thinks of herself first, she is labeled unappreciative, selfish, a spoiled brat & more. This lays even more unnecessary guilt on that child, & it is absolutely unfair!
Let’s get one thing straight. No one is responsible for anyone else’s emotions. Yes, someone you love can make you feel happy, sad, angry, etc. sometimes, but that doesn’t mean they are in control of your emotions. YOU ARE! This is especially true for children. Children need to be children, not their parent’s emotional caregiver!
When a parent is abandoned by someone they love, & the only person close to them is their child, it can be understandable they reach out to their child for comfort & companionship. That doesn’t make it right, though! Children are growing up – that is enough responsibility on their little shoulders!
Children also didn’t ask to be born. It’s not their fault if the parents couldn’t maintain a healthy & loving relationship. Making the child feel that they must step into the role of that other parent is cruel, abusive & unfair!
If you grew up in this sort of situation, my heart goes out to you. I am so sorry for the pain & suffering you have been through. Having been there myself I know it is a miserable situation.
If it is still happening, you’re going to have to set some serious boundaries with your parent. Change the subject as soon as you start to feel uncomfortable. Tell your parent you’re leaving or hanging up the phone if she insists on talking about your other parent that way, then follow through with your threat if need be.
Whether the abuse is still happening or not, you’re going to need to heal from the damage done. Pray. Get angry. Cry. Remind yourself what was done to you was unfair & undeserved. Write in a journal. Talk to a trusted friend or therapist. Do whatever helps you to heal!
You can heal from the effects of emotional incest. It takes time & work, but it can be done. xoxo
Sadly, many children of narcissistic parents aren’t believed when they first reveal the abuse. When the children are small, it’s often they are too young to know what they are talking about. When they are teens, it’s teens are over dramatic & what teenager gets along with their parents anyway? When the children grow up, it’s “why didn’t you say anything at the time?” or “That’s in the past.. you need to get over it.”
It really doesn’t help that narcissistic parents are such phenomenal actors they can make people believe that not only were they good, loving parents, but that their children are spoiled, mentally unstable or even abusive. The narcissistic parents end up with supportive people rallying around them & even abusing the victim.
Some time ago, there was a story in the news about Rosie O’Donnell’s daughter, Chelsea, missing. Ms. O’Donnell said that her daughter ran away because she was mentally unstable & a problem child. She sounded like she was very concerned about her daughter. Maybe she was. I don’t know since I didn’t really follow the story very closely. However, there is also the possibility she’s abusive & said what she did in order to turn the attention off of her daughter’s claims of abuse & put it on her daughter’s behavior.
After Chelsea was found, she did an interview. Her claims were very disturbing. She said she never ran away but moved in with her boyfriend when her mother kicked her out two weeks before she turned 18. She also said her mother is very different in public than she is in private at home. In public, she is funny & pleasant. In private, neglectful & abusive. Chelsea also has a history of depression & anxiety, which sound quite normal under the circumstances. These were things she said she wanted to keep private, & was very hurt her mother not only mentioned her mental illness, but made her sound completely crazy. The public treated this young woman as if she was crazy too. She was berated for her terrible behavior.
I relate so well to this sad story. I was 17 when I first began to realize how abusive my mother was. I naturally started to rebel against the abuse. My mother must have lied to people about what I was doing, because suddenly her friends who had liked me would no longer even look at me, let alone speak to me unless it was completely unavoidable. Also, many people I opened up to about the abuse acted like I was behaving like some spoiled brat who was just mad I didn’t get my way, or they would trivialize the abuse saying my mother loved me & was trying to help me.
As a result, if I hear anyone of any age claim they are being abused, I listen. Of course, they could be lying about it, but I find that to be very rare.
Just because someone claims to be a loving parent, doesn’t mean they are. If the child claims that supposed loving parent was abusive, listen to them! Not all parents are capable of loving their children.
Just because a parent claims their child is mentally unstable, doesn’t mean that is true. Abused children frequently suffer from depression, anxiety & even PTSD or C-PTSD. That doesn’t make them unstable.
Just because a parent provides food, clothing & shelter for a child, that doesn’t make this person a good parent. There is much more to being a good parent than meeting a child’s basic needs.
Victims of narcissistic abuse need to be heard, no matter their age! If someone doesn’t want to hear what you have to say, tell someone else who will hear you. Or, if someone comes to you with claims of abuse, listen to them! Be kind & understanding. Let them talk, cry, yell.. whatever they need to do. You may be the only person who is willing to do such things for this suffering soul.
So many children of narcissistic parents end up in many abusive relationships over the course of their lives. It starts out with abusive parents, then moves on to friends, later adding in co-workers & often eventually marrying a narcissist often from an equally narcissistic family.
As if the additional abuse isn’t bad enough, we also tend to verbally abuse ourselves about the situation. We beat ourselves up for getting involved with people who are so much like our abusive parents. We think we’re stupid, hopeless & much more. We can’t imagine why we would do such a thing. The aim of this post is to explain some possible reasons why we end up with these abusive people.
One reason is abuse is normal to us. We’re so accustomed to it, if a person isn’t abusive, we simply don’t know what to think of that sort of behavior. We choose an abuser over a safe, not abusive person simply because it’s familiar. There is a degree of comfort in familiarity, even when it is abusive. Thankfully, the more we heal from childhood, the more abnormal abuse becomes, & we stop attracting & being attracted to abusive people.
Children of narcissists grow up trying to find love, the love we never received as children. In a romantic relationship, this can give an abusive person a great deal of power & control. Until you recognize the signs of abuse, their power & control comes across as confidence, which can make you feel safe & loved, even there isn’t anything safe or loving about someone being controlling.
We also don’t really recognize what healthy love looks like. It’s not like a narcissistic mom & dad could provide good example of that. We think being loved means being abused, even though nothing could be further from the truth. When someone comes along & claims to love you, even if that person treats you like dirt, you think that person actually loves you.
Children of narcissists also settle. My mother told me no man would ever want me, so when my ex husband pursued me when we were in the eleventh grade, I felt like I shouldn’t pass up this opportunity even though he really wasn’t the type of guy I found attractive at all. After all, no one else would ever want me, I thought. Even dating other men after high school didn’t change that false belief I had. Many other adult children of narcissists I’ve spoken with have had similar experiences, & like me, settled for someone they didn’t love & who was abusive.
Gaslighting is your norm. You are so accustomed to being manipulated that you don’t recognize it as a problem. Since you don’t recognize this problem, the abuser can manipulate you in any way he or she sees fit. One common way narcissists keep their victim/spouse down is to make that person think that they are the problem in the relationship. When a person has low (or no) self-esteem, believing they are the problem will make that person feel as if they have to work hard to please their partner to make up for all of the misery they put that partner through.
If you too have experienced abusive relationships, then please stop beating yourself up! As you can see, it’s understandable! What matters is you escaped the abuse & learned from the awful experience. You’ll also find that the healthier you get & the more you learn, the more narcissists & other abusers will leave you alone.
Being the scapegoat child raised by a narcissistic parent is a terrible thing. Not only do you have an abusive parent, but other members of the family feel it is their right to abuse you as well. Maybe they believe the lies of the narcissistic parent about what a terrible person the victim is. Maybe they assume because a parent is abusive to the child, it’s ok to abuse this person. Or, maybe they are so blinded by the narcissist’s false persona that they will protect their delusions of this person at all costs, including abusing the victim in an attempt to keep this person from divulging the truth about the narcissist.
In any case, chances are good that the scapegoated child will become fed up & walk away. Setting healthy boundaries didn’t work. Confrontation didn’t work. In fact, most likely such actions only made things worse. Deciding to walk away is the only thing left to do.
What is truly the saddest part of this scenario is the scapegoat is abandoned by their family when they need love & support the most. Rather than receive kindness, most scapegoats only receive tormenting, a vicious smear campaign & abandonment. Some will reach out to the victim only to tell them that they shouldn’t abandon their narcissistic parent because “your parents are getting older..” or “you only get one mother/father”. Some folks also claim the victim needs to fix this or isn’t a good Christian because they aren’t “honoring” their parent. Meanwhile, their narcissistic parent receives kindness, understanding & compassion.
As the scapegoat, you can survive this terrible situation! I know it seems impossible, but it is possible to survive & even with your dignity in tact.
One fantastic way to start is by staying close to God. Psalm 68:5 says, “A father of the fatherless and a judge and protector of the widows, Is God in His holy habitation.” (AMP) He will be there for you, to comfort & protect you, & you will need that at this time.
Also, as painful as it is when your family turns against you, try to think of it this way. You aren’t losing good, loving people. If they truly were good or loving, they wouldn’t blindly believe the lies of the narcissist, nor would they try to encourage you to stay in an abusive relationship. Talking about your experiences with a narcissistic parent is a very effective way to find out who your true friends are!
Don’t defend yourself against the smear campaign. I know this is hard! I’ve been there, & I so wanted to tell people off for the cruel things they said. However, doing so only throws gas on that fire. They will think what you say only proves the narcissist is right & you are crazy, angry, abusive, & they will behave even worse towards you. Don’t defend yourself. Let them think whatever they want. Their opinion isn’t important anyway.
Some flying monkeys harass & stalk the scapegoat after going no contact to punish him or her or to try to bully the scapegoat into returning to the relationship. Block every means of contact these people have with you. Block phone numbers, emails, social media accounts. If you are in a situation where you can’t do this, refuse to discuss the narcissist with them. Tell them you have nothing to say on the matter, then change the subject. Do it repeatedly. Be rude about it if you must. But do NOT discuss the narcissist with this person! It only will hurt you to do so!
If someone is stalking or harassing you, they may change their email or call from a number you don’t recognize as ways to try to force you to talk to them. If this happens, block that access too. You do NOT have to talk to anyone who wants to force you back into an abusive relationship.
And, document everything! This information may be useful at some point, especially if you need to get the law involved, so save every single thing you can. Voicemail messages, texts, emails, etc. Save everything either on cloud storage or email it to yourself so even if your phone or computer crashes, you won’t lose your documentation.
There are some things you can expect to happen after going no contact that you need to be prepared to face.
While no contact is incredibly helpful, it doesn’t fix everything. After functioning in survival mode for so long, you will have to adjust to life not in survival mode. It can be difficult. As you feel safer, your mind seems to think now is the time to start dealing with things you couldn’t deal with while trying to survive the abuse. You may find yourself having more nightmares &/or flashbacks. You might be very sensitive & moody, crying or getting angry easier than usual. This is a normal part of the healing process. You aren’t going crazy, even though you probably feel that way at this point. Try to use these things in your favor. Figure out the root of the behavior, nightmare or flashback, & deal with that however works best for you.
You’ll start to question things. Years of gaslighting take a toll on a person! No one can undo that damage & the warped beliefs over night. It takes time & lots of questioning yourself. Get in the habit of asking yourself “Why do I think that way? What evidence is there that this is right?” when you realize dysfunctional beliefs & thoughts are coming to mind.
Along those lines.. most people have a last straw moment that makes them decide no contact is their best option. For many of us, that last straw moment isn’t even the worst thing that the narcissistic parent ever has done. It’s just their average abusive, hateful behavior. For some reason though, something in us snaps & we are done. That can make a person wonder why was this the last straw when so many other things were worse? Well, maybe it wasn’t the worst thing ever done, but after a lifetime of so many bad things, enough was enough. This just happened to be the thing that told you now is the time for no contact.
You’re going to grieve, so accept that. It doesn’t mean something is wrong with you. It means you’re a normal human being! Just because your parent was abusive doesn’t mean you don’t care about your parent. You’ll probably discover though that you aren’t missing your parent per se, but the parent you wish you could have had.
Allow yourself to feel whatever you feel without judgement. Losing a parent in any capacity isn’t easy, but in particular when that parent in question is a narcissist. You’ll feel all kinds of emotions. It’s ok & even normal. Allow yourself to feel all of those emotions without judging or criticizing the feelings or yourself.
If your narcissistic parent is elderly or frail, you are going to feel a tremendous amount of guilt for going no contact. It’s normal. I did the same thing. There is one thing that you need to consider though. People reap what they sow. A person who is kind & good to others won’t be abandoned in their time of need, because they sowed good seeds. The abusive person won’t experience that same harvest because they sowed bad seeds. Everyone has a limit on abuse, so it’s only natural that a victim will walk away at some point.
One beautiful thing you can expect is in time, the fog of abuse will lift, & you will see everything with so much more clarity! You’ll see why your narcissistic parent & other relatives were so cruel to you, & you’ll clearly see that they were wrong. You didn’t make them act that way. That was all on them, in spite of what they told you. You’ll see them as the pathetic & wicked people that they are. You’ll also see that you’re not whatever they said you were, but instead you’re a wonderfully made child of God, made in His image & to do great things in your life!
I’m really into music, mostly classic & hard rock/metal. I find music to be very good for one’s mental health. A song can transport you back to a special memory such as your first slow dance or maybe the day you met your spouse. It also has a way of putting your feelings & experiences into words when you lack that ability.
Recently I realized something as I was listening to some hard rock & heavy metal music. I think some artists have experience with narcissists & have made songs about it. I found their songs oddly validating, & hope you will too.
Below are the songs that made me come to this realization. The titles are links to the song’s video on YouTube if you want to check it out. If not though, I understand. Not everyone is a fan of this kind of music. I included links to pages that contain just the lyrics for my readers who don’t share my musical tastes.
Thorn In My Side, from the 1992 album “Force Of Habit” by Exodus. Here is the link to the lyrics: https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/exodus/thorninmyside.html In particular, notice the chorus. If this doesn’t describe what it’s like growing up with a narcissistic parent, I don’t know what does. The video also tells the story well. It nearly brought me to tears the first time I saw it.
You are a thorn in my side,
all my life you never left me alone
Thorn in my side, in your mind you wish I never were born
Thorn in my side, through it all I think you pushed me to fail
Thorn in my side, it’s about time you’re recognized
for your lies and your worthless alibis
Soul Sucker from the 2010 album “Scream” by Ozzy Osbourne. Here are the lyrics: https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/ozzyosbourne/soulsucker.html The chorus on this song in particular struck me as being very interesting. It describes very well what it’s like being in a relationship with a narcissist, don’t you think? Whether the narcissist is a parent or romantic partner, this describes very well how it feels.
Stop talking to me
Just like I don’t even bleed
This cross is heavy when
You’re my soul sucker
Get out of my face
The past is running in place
The slivers cut me as you
Suck the soul right out of me
Holier Than Thou from the 1991 album “Metallica” (or The Black Album) by Metallica. Here are the lyrics: https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/metallica/holierthanthou.html To me, the lyrics sound like they’re describing a narcissist. So many use God & religion to abuse their victims, & definitely display that “holier than thou” behavior. My mother did it. When I was in my teens, she told me she was going to Heaven because she was such a good person, but being such a bad person, I was bound for Hell. Anyway, I found this part of the song in particular especially interesting:
Before you judge me take a look at you
Can’t you find something better to do
Point the finger, slow to understand
Arrogance and ignorance go hand in hand
These songs have made me wonder what other songs out there of any genre also came to be due to narcissistic abuse. Do you know of any? Do you find listening to them validating?
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Overt narcissists & covert narcissists often marry because this creates a perfect, dysfunctional union. The real problem begins when they have children. Overt narcissists are not only able to be the center of attention in this family but also abuse the child without interference from the covert partner who refuses to defend the child. The covert narcissist is able to look like the martyr, the long suffering spouse. People wonder how this wonderful person can put up with being married to that awful spouse. The covert narcissist is also able to convince everyone, including the abused child, that there is no way for him or her to protect the child. In fact, often, the child becomes protective of the covertly narcissistic parent & comforts that parent when the overtly narcissistic parent abuses them rather than the parent comforting the child as it should be. The covertly narcissistic parent appears to be the true victim in this scenario, not the child.
Once that child grows up though, she usually learns first that the overtly narcissistic parent was abusive. She accepts that truth, as painful as it is. She may even change her behavior to be healthier such as setting boundaries.
The problem adult children in this situation often have is the covertly narcissistic parent. Accepting that parent was equally if not more abusive is a very hard pill to swallow.
I wondered why this is for a long time, & came up with some ideas.
When you compare an overt & a covert narcissist, the covert doesn’t look so bad. That person isn’t the one who beat you, cussed you out, tore your self esteem to shreds or destroyed your identity like your overtly narcissistic parent did. It was much harder to deny that your overtly narcissistic parent was abusive when that parent did such awful, hurtful things to you. Your covertly narcissistic parent probably seemed normal or even loving by comparison because of not doing those terrible things.
Chances are, your covertly narcissistic parent also was nice to you sometimes, maybe doing nice little things for you that your other parent didn’t know about. Nice behavior mixed in with abusive creates a great deal of confusion, especially in a child. No one wants to believe that a person who can do such nice things can be abusive.
And, that parent made you feel as if you needed to care for him or her instead of he or she caring for you. That created a strong bond to that parent that wasn’t created with your overtly narcissistic parent. Caring for another person naturally creates a bond. Look at mothers who care for their children or adult children who care for their elderly, frail parents for example.
When discussing this topic with a friend of mine some time ago, she also added that she thinks part of the reason it’s harder to accept that the covertly narcissistic parent is abusive is because that means that neither of your parents truly loved you, which is incredibly hard to face. That is an excellent point.
Accepting one parent was abusive & didn’t love you is hard enough, but BOTH parents?! That is incredibly painful. No one wants to feel they aren’t loved by one parent, let alone both. Even if you know about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, realizing both your parents didn’t love you can be devastating to your self esteem. It can make you feel unworthy, because you think if your own parents don’t love you, you must be unworthy of love.
Dear Reader, if you’re in the position of having one overt & one covert narcissistic parent, please know you aren’t alone. This sort of situation happens more often than you might think. And if you’re struggling coming to terms with it, you’re definitely not alone. Many, many people have been there, including me. As painful as it is though, you need to find a way to come to terms with the fact your covertly narcissistic parent is also abusive & not the good parent you thought he or she was. It’s hard, but you can do it! It will help you to accept the truth. After all, the truth sets us free! xoxo
People often think it’s necessary to have some sort of closure at the end of a relationship, & it’s impossible to move on without it. Sometimes, however, closure isn’t a possibility. When it comes to narcissists, that is absolutely the case.
When an average relationship ends, it comes after two people have tried to work out their differences yet were unable to do so. They agree that the best solution is separation. Maybe some harsh words are said & the people decide to move on, each in their own direction. Each person also grieves, but in time, they do move on.
When a relationship with a narcissist ends, none of this happens. Narcissists see this as a rejection & narcissists’ simply can’t handle rejection in any form, ever. It’s a narcissistic injury. In other words, it is a direct blow to their self esteem. Rather than risk feeling not good enough or people finding out someone thinks the narcissist isn’t good enough, narcissists rage. The rage may be either a physical or verbal attack on the person ending the relationship, creating a smear campaign to discredit anything their victim says, recruiting flying monkeys to attack the victim, harassment & stalking or they simply pretend the victim never existed & meant nothing to them.
However the narcissist handles the relationship ending, it leaves no opportunity for real closure for the victim. The reason being the victim is too busy trying to process the trauma from the narcissist, survive the pain of people the victim thought cared turning on them, dodge the flying monkeys’ attacks, finding ways to protect him or herself from the narcissist’s harassment or stalking or processing the pain of the narcissist moving on as if the victim never existed. Such situations prohibit victims from being able to get closure in the traditional way.
None of this means that a victim can’t have closure after ending a relationship with a narcissist, however. It just has to come in different ways.
One way to help get closure is to accept the fact you won’t get it in the normal ways, & there is nothing you can do about that. Narcissists are far from normal people, so why would getting closure after ending the relationship with one be normal?
Another helpful thing you can do is accept the fact that the relationship meant nothing to the narcissist beyond what you could do for him or her. There was absolutely nothing you could have done to make that relationship healthy or loving, & that is NOT your fault! The blame for that lies on the narcissist.
It’s also common for people to beat themselves up after ending a relationship with a narcissist. Whether the narcissist was a spouse or parent, people often get angry with themselves for tolerating the abuse for too long or making excuses for it. That is nothing to be ashamed of! Any normal person wants to believe the person they love is a good person, which makes it hard to believe otherwise. Plus, narcissists are excellent manipulators. By being good sometimes, it thoroughly confuses victims. It makes them want to think the bad times aren’t the norm, that the good times are. This is known as Stockholm Syndrome or trauma bonding.
Since narcissists are so good at manipulation, that is why even some people close to you go to the side of the narcissist. If someone has their own issues, they may blindly fall for the narcissist’s manipulations. Someone abused as a child yet not facing their pain may side with your narcissistic parent because siding with you reminds them of their own pain & issues they fail to face. Or, they may be cowardly & see siding with the narcissist as the easiest path. The narcissist may benefit them somehow & not being on his or her side would mean losing that benefit. People like these are easy for narcissists to manipulate.
Lastly, as always I recommend praying. Ask God to help you. He will show you what you need to do as well as help you to heal. He will do so gladly, so why not let Him?
Closure with narcissists is difficult, but it is possible. It just isn’t what most people think of when they hear the word “closure.”
People who grew up with narcissistic parents learned early in their life that their feelings didn’t matter & in fact, they weren’t even allowed to have feelings. The only feelings that are important to any narcissist are the feelings of that narcissist, after all. Growing up in such an environment, it’s very common for children to learn to ignore their feelings or on the off chance they feel something, to stuff that emotion deep down inside & ignore it.
This is very unhealthy behavior!! Feelings don’t just disappear or die. They remain, even when ignored & neglected. Sure, you can ignore or even numb them successfully for a time, but they will demand attention at some point.
Feelings are actually a wonderful thing, in spite of what our narcissistic parents taught us. They let us know when things are good or bad. They warn us when something harmful is happening & give us a release when too many bad things are happening at once. Sharing your feelings also can create intimacy with someone by making you vulnerable with that person. That really is a good thing, provided you share with a safe, loving person.
After a lifetime of ignoring your feelings though, where do you begin?
First, start paying attention to yourself. Notice how you really feel about things. Do some things make you happy? Sad? Angry? Pay attention to what those things are & how they make you feel. This will help you to get to know yourself better as well as how you honestly feel about things. You can journal about your discoveries, too, as having a written record to look back on can be very helpful.
Also, never judge yourself for what you feel. Feelings just are, they just happen, even the strange ones. You aren’t wrong if vanilla ice cream makes you angry. Chances are that if you get angry when you see vanilla ice cream that there is some trauma in your past connected to vanilla ice cream, & that is why you feel that way. Figure out what that trauma is & face it head on. Sure, that sounds odd, but things like that can happen. I believe God lets us face only what we can at a time which is why some repressed memories start as unusual things like the ice cream example. That first strange little thing is a stepping stone to a larger thing that needs your attention.
Don’t forget to talk to safe, good people about your feelings. It helps to have caring people validate your feelings. There is nothing wrong with you for what you feel, but it can feel that way at first. Having someone you can trust tell you that you’re OK, & there is nothing wrong with you for what you feel can be incredibly helpful!
Most of all, don’t forget to pray & pray often. God will help you however you need the help, so let Him! Tell him whatever you think & feel, ask for whatever you need & listen to His voice as He speaks to you. You’ll be glad you did!
Most people who hear of someone being abused think of someone weak. A small child, an adult with low or no self esteem who isn’t very intelligent or even mentally or emotionally stunted. Maybe someone who has a very gentle nature, lacking the strength & courage to stand up to an abusive person or thinks that tolerating abuse is the Godly thing to do.
While it’s certainly true that people like this are sought out by abusers, they aren’t the only ones. Highly intelligent, strong & confident people are also sought out by abusers.
Have you ever heard a story about a wealthy person being charmed by someone who stole most if not all of that person’s money? Or, maybe a strong person ended up abused, & turned into an empty shell of their former self not long after marrying their abuser. That person isn’t someone you would consider weak, but even so, they clearly were abused.
The natural response most people have is to wonder how this sort of thing happened? They think that person was too smart or too strong to be in this situation, & it doesn’t make sense. Their opinion of that person often drops because they feel that person must have been weak or stupid, in spite of how they appeared to be.
Such thinking couldn’t be further from the truth!
Abusers are often like prey hunting animals. Sure, they’ll hunt the wounded, young & easy prey sometimes. It’s there & they need a meal/victim so why pass that up?! But, that doesn’t mean they have an aversion to the more challenging prey. If a lion is hungry enough, he’ll hunt that healthy & strong antelope even though getting that antelope is a lot of work.
The same thing goes for narcissists. They don’t have an aversion to abusing a victim that is more of a challenge. In fact, they enjoy it. Easy victims are good, but conquering someone who is strong, confident & successful is big time narcissistic supply. That challenge makes them feel very powerful. It makes sense in its own dysfunctional way. It shows the abuser they are able to destroy the un-destroyable. They must be powerful to accomplish that, right?!
If you are someone who has suffered abuse, that doesn’t mean you are weak. It means the person is an abuser, & often abusers seek out a challenging victim. If you were sought out, that means there is something about you that appealed to the abuser. Your strength, success, intelligence, kindness, faith… whatever it was, it was a good thing to make such a horrible person want to destroy you.
And, if you know someone who has been abused, this also applies to them. That person must possess some very good qualities if that awful person worked so hard to destroy them. That doesn’t mean there is something wrong with the victim. Quite the opposite – there is something very right with that person!
Those of us who have gone no contact with abusive parents most likely have heard the same invalidating, nonsensical comments.
- “But that’s your MOTHER!”
- “Your father can’t help it… that’s just how he is!”
- “You need to let what they say roll off your back.”
- “You need to forgive & forget/honor your parents!”
- “You only get one set of parents!”
Statements like this make me cringe. People who say such utterly moronic comments truly have zero clue what it’s like to be in the position of feeling no contact is the only option left to protect our sanity.
If you have gone no contact, Dear Reader, then this post today is to remind you of some things.
First, no one has the right to tell you how to feel about anything, let alone your abusive parent’s actions. You know how it feels to you, & that is all that matters. Just because it may not bother someone else so much doesn’t mean you’re automatically wrong. It means you two are different.
Second, no one has the right to dictate how you should handle the relationship with your abusive parent. They aren’t in the relationship so they don’t need to have an opinion on it, let alone share that opinion with you as if it was the Gospel.
Third, just because you are no longer speaking to your abusive parent doesn’t mean you aren’t honoring that parent. There is absolutely NO honor in tolerating abuse. See this article for more information: What It Really Means To Honor Your Parents
Forth, you have every right to protect yourself from abuse from anyone, including your own parent. There is nothing Godly or holy about tolerating abuse. Nothing.
Fifth, remember that the person saying these things has absolutely zero clue of all the heartache you have endured, all the tears shed, all the prayers & begging God to change things & to show you what to do. This person is talking out of sheer ignorance, & is NOT someone whose advice you should listen to.
Sixth, many people who say such invalidating nonsense come from their own dysfunctional backgrounds. You facing your pain reminds them of their own pain that they are trying to ignore. Seeing you face your pain makes them feel cowardly for not facing theirs. Or, it threatens their denial. If they had a decent relationship with your narcissistic parent, you clearly showing the truth about your parent threatens their delusion that your parent is a good person. Either way, they want to shut you down because of their own issues & lack of courage.
Lastly, if you have doubts about whether or not you’ve made the right decision to go no contact with your parent (which we all do at some point), ask God to tell you. He will tell you nothing but the truth & it will help you greatly. Some time back, I was starting to have doubts about being no contact with my mother. Elderly, widowed & on her own for the first time at almost 80 years old, it’s natural I felt badly for her. I asked God one morning if I should resume contact. Immediately, I knew what would happen if I did. I could see it kinda like a movie playing in my mind. At first, she was nice & not very demanding. As time wore on though, she expected me to come by a couple of times a week, then three times a week, then daily. I would be forced to be at her beck & call, unable to take care of my own family & home, & even my writing would be neglected. I knew in my heart God was right, & this is exactly what would happen, because it happened before. My mother’s mother was this same exact way. Physically & mentally, there is no way I could handle this, plus I can’t allow my calling & family to suffer just to provide someone with narcissistic supply. God helped me to stay on the right track, just like when He told me it was time to go no contact with my parents in the first place. He can do the same for you. All you have to do is ask.
A lovely lady in my Facebook group by the name of Ella Jane Gamberi shared some extremely wise & insightful thoughts on the topic of honoring one’s parents recently. Since so many of us with narcissistic parents have been subjected to judgmental people criticizing us for not honoring our parents, I believe her words may help others as they helped me. I’m very happy to say that Ella allowed me to share her insight.
Check this out…
Hi. This is my first post here. I wanted to let you all know that I have studied some on this honouring abusive parents thing. Proverbs says “honour is not fitting for a fool”. If your parent is also an atheist which mine were they qualify for fools as a fool says in his heart there is no God. Look up some other characteristics of fools and you might be surprised who qualifies. God is not mocked. Nobody who treats the weak and lowly like trash gets away with it. In my opinion children, new mothers and many others qualify as vulnerable. God both loves and keeps those who cry out to Him against injustice. Remember the widow and the judge! God bless.
How much sense does this make?!
I’m embarrassed to admit I never connected the passage about honor not being fitting for a fool in relation to honoring one’s parents. Thank God this lovely lady did though! Isn’t this helpful?!
Dear Reader, if your parents are like the majority of narcissists & don’t believe in God, He considers them fools & unworthy of honor. Personally, I don’t think He means we can treat our parents any old way. As children of God, we are to glorify Him & part of that is being good to people. That being said though, we can rest easy knowing that having boundaries with our parents, not blindly bending to their will & yes, even going no contact aren’t signs we are being dishonorable to our parents, hypocrites or “bad Christians”. There is nothing wrong with any of the above!
Children who are abused by their parents without fail show signs of that abuse in their adult years. This post addresses some of those signs.
Abused children grow up believing they have no control over what happens in their lives. This is because abused children are not taught that they have the right to have boundaries or even to say “no.” That faulty thinking often carries into adulthood when the abused child finally realizes that he or she has as much right to have boundaries as any other person.
Abused children also grow up into a false person of who they really are. Children want their parents’ love & approval. It’s only natural to feel this ingrained need so strongly. With healthy & functional parents, it’s a good thing. With abusive parents however, it’s not so good. In fact, a child can be so starved for their parents’ love & approval, they learn to live in whatever way they believe is pleasing to their parent(s). A child whose parents tell her she needs to be a nurse when she grows up may become one, all the while hating her line of work because she really wanted to be a teacher, or vice versa. Sadly, this can continue until that child gets to know the person that God created him or her to be & discards that false self.
Abused children grow up not in touch with their emotions. Abused children are often told that their emotions are unacceptable. Usually the only acceptable emotions in a home with abusive parents are the emotions of the abusive parents. They criticize their children for having a bad temper when they are righteously upset at being abused. They call their children oversensitive & mock them for their emotions. These children learn quickly the best way to deal with their emotions is not to deal with them, so they push them deep inside so they don’t have to feel anything. While this is a useful survival skill with abusive parents, it doesn’t serve anyone well long term. This child needs to learn to trust his or her emotions, to recognize them & find ways to cope with them in healthy ways.
Abused children often become people pleasers. Children whose parents abuse them learn quickly the best ways to avoid abuse is to please their parents. If they can just be good enough, smart enough, talented enough or pretty enough, their parents won’t hurt them anymore & will love them, they believe. Sadly this mentality carries into adulthood, & that abused child is an adult who worries about pleasing other people at any personal cost. This adult is angry, bitter & miserable, yet feels unable to make any changes. Realizing what is happening is the first step. Once that has happened, learning about boundaries & developing healthy self esteem will help tremendously.
Abused children learn not to trust their instincts. Narcissistic parents love to gaslight their children. Gaslighting in its simplest definition is when someone distorts another person’s reality in such a way that the victim learns quickly not to trust their own instincts or perceptions, often even their own sanity. Children whose parents gaslight them grow up with instincts like every other person, but they lack the ability to trust those instincts. As a result, they frequently end up in situations that are bad for them or abusive relationships. Even if they felt somehow that something was bad for them, they ignored it since they don’t feel they can trust themselves to know what is best. Learning to trust your instincts after a lifetime of gaslighting is NOT a fast process, but it is possible. Listen to your instincts, & observe what happens. Chances are, you’ll see those instincts were right time after time. The more it happens, the more you learn you can trust your instincts.
Leaving a relationship with a narcissist is so hard! Whether the narcissist is a love interest or family member, it’s always hard. They can make you feel obligated to them as if you owe them something, like no one else would “put up with you”, & you’ll lose everyone you love if you end this relationship. It takes a lot of strength & courage to end a relationship under those circumstances.
It’s hard to end any relationship. It’s sad eliminating a person from your life that you once cared a great deal about. If that person is a family member, it’s even harder simply because that person is family. Family is supposed to be full of people who love & support each other. It’s hard to wrap your mind around the fact someone in that role in your life isn’t that way at all, but is an abusive monster.
There is also the fact that narcissists make their victims feel like they’ll never find anyone to love them. My ex husband told me once, that I’d never find anyone who loved me like he did. At the time, it was terrifying! I was sure I’d be alone forever. The more years we have been separated though, the more I realized he was right. No one else has so called “loved” me like him & I thank God for that!
There also is the problem of flying monkeys. Whether the narcissist in your life is a relative or romantic partner, chances are excellent that this person has some devoted flying monkeys who think she can do no wrong, & you know they will attack you if you are “mean” enough to abandon their precious narcissist. That can be pretty intimidating, especially when you’re already beaten down by the narcissist.
While these can be upsetting scenarios, it’s still best to abandon the relationship with the narcissist in your life. You will NOT regret it! I have not once heard anyone in this type of situation say they wish they had stayed in the abusive relationship. Not once! In my experience, I have absolutely no regrets either.
When you do end the relationship, you are going to love your new freedom & realize it was worth it.
Suddenly, you will feel as if a huge weight has been lifted off your shoulders. No longer do you have to seriously consider every word you say for fear of upsetting this person. You no longer have to worry about how you style your hair or how you dress being a reason for this person to put you down. You can do whatever you want, have your own opinions, listen to whatever music you like & even eat whatever food you want without the fear of being mocked. It’s so freeing!
When stuck in a relationship with a narcissist, it is hard to see just how bad things are. You’re so busy trying to survive, that takes up all your thoughts. It doesn’t cross your mind that things are really bad. Once you leave it though, your thinking will be much clearer without the narcissist taking up so much of your thoughts. You’re also going to see exactly how bad the situation was, & be incredibly grateful you left it.
If you’re considering ending your relationship with a narcissist, but are afraid, I want to encourage you today. You can do this & you won’t regret it! Ask God to give you strength. Talk to your supportive friends or a counselor & let them encourage you. Look at your past successes, all the times you dealt with the narcissist in your life or her flying monkeys & they didn’t get their way. You can do this, Dear Reader! You really can! And when you do, you are going to be incredibly grateful you did it!