Tag Archives: father
I’m writing this post for those of you who are currently unwilling or unable to go no contact with a narcissist.
Almost every article out there regarding victims of narcissistic abuse says the same thing – “just go no contact.” The tone in many of these articles & even some fellow survivors can be downright shaming. They make it sound like being unable or unwilling to go no contact means you’re weak, stupid or something is very wrong with you.
No contact is almost always the best way to deal with a narcissist, but that still doesn’t make it an easy solution. It always hurts to end a relationship, even when the person with whom you’re ending it is abusive. The closer the relationship the more it hurts, too. If you’re ending a relationship with your parent, that is going to hurt a great deal more than ending it with someone you have dated only a month. Narcissists usually abuse those closest to them. This is why the most abusive relationships with a narcissist are close relationships, such as parents & spouses.
There is also the fact that narcissists are able to behave & treat people right (they just prefer acting the way they do because it gets them what they want). When they behave, they can be so very good & loving! Seeing that, it’s hard to want to leave them because you can’t help but hoping that good part of them will stick around for good.
Not wanting to end a relationship with a narcissist doesn’t mean something is wrong with you or you’re weak. It means you’re normal!
It often takes a lot of time to work up the inner strength to be able to go no contact. Narcissists beat their victims down so badly, they can utterly destroy their victim’s self esteem. Even when you learn what is happening, it still takes time to repair your self esteem & to build up enough strength to sever ties.
Or, maybe you believe in your heart that the timing isn’t right just yet for no contact. That happened to me with my parents. I wanted to go no contact with them for well over a year before I felt God was saying it was time.
A lot of times, a victim who lives with a narcissist is financially dependent on that narcissist. Narcissists love using money as a means of control, so often they take away any access a victim has to money, even if it’s his or her own paycheck. It takes time to be able to find means of supporting oneself in these situations.
There are also some narcissists who are pretty low on the spectrum. Yes, that person causes problems but they aren’t over the top in their behavior. In cases like this, some people would prefer to learn ways to deal with these people than end those relationships, & it is their right to do that.
None of the above situations make a person weak or flawed.
For those of you who are in situations like these, I want to encourage you today.
It’s very difficult at best being in a relationship with a narcissist, I know. Until the time comes when you are ready & willing to go no contact, there are some things you can do to make your relationship with this person a little easier.
The first thing you should do is ask God to show you creative & effective ways to cope with this person & also to enable you to go no contact if that is your desired result.
Always remember that narcissists are all about gaining narcissistic supply. It’s the motivation behind everything they do. Any attention or reaction you give them, good or bad, provides supply. Learn to be as boring to the narcissist as possible. Show them no anger, sadness or happiness. Be calm & collected in the presence of the narcissist. Offer simple answers without explanations. Provide no personal information. This is known as the Gray Rock method.
Don’t forget to question whatever the narcissist says. They are masters of gaslighting & manipulation, so basically almost everything they say needs to be examined. Ask yourself if what they say is true or not. You also can question the narcissist directly. If you opt to do that, do it calmly in your best gray rock way. “Why do you think that?” “Explain how that makes sense.. I don’t follow you.” Logical & calmly asked questions can throw a narcissist off balance. They show her that you’re onto her.
Never forget to keep & enforce healthy boundaries. You have every right to tell the narcissist no & to expect to be treated with respect. Don’t explain your boundaries either, as the narcissist will tell you why your boundaries are wrong, & may make you doubt yourself. Or, if you feel you absolutely must explain something, remember to stay gray rock & keep all explanations minimal.
Never forget that whatever any narcissist is doing isn’t about you. It’s about them. Everything is always all about them! Yes, that person is hurting & abusing you, but it’s because it makes her feel better. It’s not because you have done something to deserve it. Also, nothing that person says about you is true. Narcissists project their own flaws onto their victims. It doesn’t mean you actually are whatever the narcissist says you are. In fact, if you listen to what the narcissist says about you, you can learn a lot about that person. If she calls you a liar, it’s because she lies often.
If your goal is to go no contact in the future, low contact may be an excellent option for you. It’s as the name describes – you are in low contact with the narcissist. You don’t take phone calls or visit often, but only when you feel able instead. Low contact can be a really good stepping stone to no contact.
While there are no easy, one size fits all solutions for narcissists, these tactics can help you at least. And, don’t forget – there is nothing wrong with you for being unable or unwilling to go no contact. It’s a very big decision, & every person has to do it only when & if they feel equipped to do so.
My ebook publisher is offering a sale that I am participating in. From December 25, 2018 – January 1, 2019, my ebooks on Smashwords.com are going to be 25% off.
Check it out at: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/CynthiaBaileyRug
I think it’s a very safe assumption that almost everyone who has gone no contact with a narcissist, in particular a narcissistic parent or other family member, has had more than their share of doubts. Ending relationships is tough, but especially when the relationship is a close one such as in the case of family.
What makes the doubts worse is when after not speaking for some time, you learn through the grapevine that the narcissist is sick, lost their job, or going through some very difficult situation. Considering this is someone you were once very close to, it’s only natural to want to help them & to feel bad they are in this situation. Those desires may make start to override the terrible things that made you sever ties in the first place.
Today, I want to tell you.. DON’T DO IT!!
No, I don’t know you or the narcissist personally, but I do know a lot about narcissists & have more than a little experience with them. I have learned that once you end a relationship with a narcissist, resuming it will only cause you heartache as it did me.
At first, the narcissist will behave, & probably even be respectful & caring. This lulls you into thinking this person has changed. All is right in the world now. Yet, nothing could be further from the truth!
In time, little things will change. Maybe a comment here or there about how you shouldn’t have left in the first place. Or, instead of 10 complements a day, it’s dropped to 9 & a nasty criticism. Everyone has a bad day sometimes, so you rationalize the comments as nothing more & let it go. After all, things have been going so well.
Gradually more things change. Things get worse. There are more criticisms. Now there are also some manipulation attempts too. “I never did that.” “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” There are also guilt trips about you “abandoning” the narcissist in the first place. They may even have their friends or family mention how hard it was for them when you weren’t in their life. You begin to feel guilty for hurting the narcissist, so you go along with what they do.
Before you know it, the relationship is as bad, if not worse as it was before you went no contact in the first place.
Maybe you’re thinking this won’t happen to you but I can tell you, the chances of it happening to you are excellent. I was fooled into thinking that myself in three very different relationships.
One was a friendship. Upon meeting, she told me we were going to be best friends. I was young, naive & knew nothing of narcissistic personality disorder, so I blindly obeyed, & became her good friend. The friendship ended a couple of years later, then a couple of years after that, resumed. At first, things were good. We had a lot of laughs together. Then things changed. She constantly demanded my attention. I spent a lot of time with her, no matter what I had going on. She expected me to watch her small kids while with her too, which is something I’m not good at doing. I ended that friendship again after about a year & a half.
One was my first marriage. I broke my engagement to my ex husband because I realized I wasn’t happy with him. While we were apart, he insisted we remain “friends.” We spoke often & he told me how miserable he was. Our mutual friends told me the same. We got back together, & married a few months later. I knew that although he was acting better, I shouldn’t marry him but I did. He made me feel like I owed it to him. In fact, when he proposed again, he said, “I’m not letting you go this time.” We separated a bit over 4 years later.
The other one was my mother. In 2001, I had enough, & finally cut ties with my mother. In 2007, my father told me that she needed heart surgery. I said I’d pray for her. Once she got home, she called me to thank me for praying for her. I honestly believed at that the change in her personality was from facing a near death experience. The more time passed, the more she regressed into the abusive person she’d always been, which is why when I went no contact in 2016, I determined this time, it’s forever.
My stories are very typical, Dear Reader. I told them because you need to know that if you have doubts about being no contact, they need to be ignored. Take care of yourself. Your mental health is very important! Resuming a toxic relationship does no good to you or the toxic person in question. It simply enables their awful behavior while you sacrifice yourself. There is NOTHING good about that!
Some covert narcissists are what I think of as the consummate victim. They are the ones who are always wronged, always the victim, & never at fault for anything. Some examples of their behavior are as follows.
The narcissist says something cruel. You get angry, & rightfully so. She claims she never meant to hurt your feelings. She was just trying to help & had no idea what she said would upset you. She then stops speaking to you for weeks, even if you apologized.
The narcissist tries to manipulate you into doing something you don’t want to do. Naturally, you refuse to do it. She claims you don’t love her. How could you refuse to do this one little thing for her, especially after all she’s done for you?!
The narcissist is your elderly parent who expects you to come at their beck & call. You tell your parent you only are available one day a week to do what she needs. She tells your family how you refused to help her, & they attack you for being a bad daughter, ungrateful, a spoiled brat & more.
Narcissists who claim life is so unfair to them or that they are mistreated when people confront them on their abusive behavior are also consummate victims. There are also those who blame their victims for their abusive behavior. They are also consummate victims, as are those who complain about their problems, yet refuse to do something to change the situation.
Dealing with these people is incredibly frustrating, I know. My late father & late mother in-law were both covert narcissists & consummate victims. I repeatedly asked my father not to call after 9 at night. When I refused to take his call when he called at 10 one evening, he called my in-laws & a cousin who lives almost 500 miles away. He told both he was so concerned about me for not answering the phone, & asked them to have me call him immediately. Another time, I was angry with my mother in-law because she had snooped through my purse yet again. She asked my husband why I was angry, & he told her. I overheard the conversation. She claimed not to know what she did would be upsetting to me.
Both situations were similar. As a result of my father’s & mother in-law’s actions, my husband & I got into an argument about his mother & my cousin & I argued about my father. Being the typical consummate victims, their obnoxious behavior caused problems for the real victim while making themselves look good.
There are some things that you can do that can help you if you must deal with this behavior in covert narcissists.
Always rely on God to help you in this situation. He will be glad to help you discern the truth & strengthen you to do whatever you need to do!
Remember the type of person that you’re dealing with. No matter what you do, this person will twist the situation around to make you look bad & them look like the innocent victim of your cruelty. Expect nothing else because this person has no desire to behave any other way.
Also remember that there is nothing wrong with you setting boundaries or confronting this person on their abusive behavior. Both of those are good things to do. They are healthy & show you have self respect.
Consummate victims are very skilled at recruiting flying monkeys. When you set those boundaries or confront the narcissist about her behavior, no matter how gently & reasonably you do so, it’s a safe bet someone will tell you how cruel, unreasonable, wrong, etc. you are. When this happens, ignore whatever these flying monkeys have to say. They don’t know the truth, only what the narcissist has told them. Also, it’s best to refuse to discuss the narcissist with them.
Lastly, it’s also important to remember that consummate victims may project their status on their real victims. It can be easy to believe their lies since narcissists are talented actors who give very convincing performances. To avoid believing their lies, remember that you are NOT a consummate victim if you are angry about being abused, setting healthy boundaries or refusing to be manipulated.
If you are faced with a covert narcissist who portrays herself as a consummate victim, you can cope. You have the knowledge & strength to handle this ugly situation.
As children, we’re supposed to figure out what we want to do when we grow up & plan for it accordingly by the time we graduate high school. Many plans change but at least most kids have an idea of what they want to do with their lives.
I didn’t. I never could figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I didn’t even know if I wanted to get married or not, but I assumed I wouldn’t because my mother told me no man would ever want me. I’ve kind of fallen into things rather than having a plan to get there my entire life.
I’ve thought this was strange since it seemed to me everyone else I knew growing up had some goals. They knew if they wanted to get married, have kids, travel the world, go to college, & what kind of career they wanted.
Recently I realized something. I believe this is because when you grow up with a narcissistic parent (or two), you learn early on that you’re wrong about anything & everything. What you think, feel, like, don’t like, want, believe, etc. is all wrong. So, if you believe you’re wrong, how can you set any goals? The goals will automatically be stupid, bad, wrong, etc. because you set them. Why bother even trying to set goals that are going to be so bad? It’s a waste of time.
Plus, many of us with narcissistic parents were told by that parent that they knew us better than we knew ourselves. Believing this lie would also inhibit us from making goals because obviously we are too stupid to know what we should do & what we want to do.
Even realizing this, I still have trouble setting goals but am improving a bit at it. I have learned I’m not the stupid, ugly, fat, horrible, useless person my mother told me I was growing up. I have also learned she has absolutely no clue who I am, so saying she knows me better than I know myself was an absolute lie. I know me much better than she ever has & ever will. Learning these things have helped me some in this area as well as healing my virtually destroyed self-esteem. Realizing these truths about yourself can help you too. Talk to supportive, loving & safe people. Write in a journal. Those things will help you to discover the real you, the good person that you are as well as what you want to do with your life. They also will help you to see that maybe what your narcissistic parent said you wanted, liked or didn’t like was absolutely wrong, & enable you to figure out what makes you truly happy.
Dear Reader, if you have this same problem with setting goals, know you aren’t alone. You aren’t crazy or stupid for not being able to do so. It is simply one more side effect of growing up with a narcissistic parent. Focus on healing your wounded self-esteem, & I believe goals will become more natural & easy to set in time. Ask God for help, too- He will not let you down!
One thing that every adult victim of narcissistic parents I have spoken with has struggled with is forgiving their parents.
So many people, particularly Christians, think that these victims need to forgive & forget. They often quote Ephesians 4:26 which says, “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:” When victims struggle with forgiving & forgetting, they are shamed & even shunned by the very people who should support them, creating even more pain, guilt & shame in the victim.
I want to give you a new perspective on forgiveness that I think can help you today.
If you look at the definition of forgive, nowhere does it say you don’t feel anger. According to Merriam-Webster.com, to forgive means:
1 : to cease to feel resentment against (an offender) : PARDON; forgive one’s enemies
2a : to give up resentment of or claim to requital for; forgive an insult
b : to grant relief from payment of; forgive a debt
It’s possible to forgive someone while still feeling anger for them. What I mean is when you forgive someone, you decide that they don’t owe you an apology or repentance. You won’t try to collect that “debt” from them. You have released that person from paying you the debt that they owe you. This is what I try to do any time someone mistreats me- give up expectations of an apology immediately. That way, I have forgiven that person, as God wants me to do. Yet, even forgiving quickly doesn’t mean I may not still feel some anger for that person for a while. See what I mean? You can forgive while still feeling anger.
I also firmly believe that releasing the anger you feel can be a process. If the waitress makes a mistake on your order or a clerk is rude, those minor incidents are easy to forgive. Big issues though, it takes time to work through the anger. Processing anger from years of abuse takes a lot of time & work, especially if you learned early in life to ignore your anger which is the case with most children of narcissistic parents.
There is also the fact many people think to forgive your abusive parents is a one time thing. You just forgive everything in one fell swoop & *poof* you’re not angry & you never will be angry again with them. As anyone who has tried to forgive their narcissistic parents knows, that isn’t how it works. You have to work through many different traumas individually, not lump them all together as one big trauma.
I honestly can say I have forgiven my narcissistic parents. However, there are still some times I feel anger at them.
When a repressed memory comes back to mind, I feel anger at my parents about the incident. When I have flashbacks, nightmares, the anxiety & depression get bad, I also feel anger. It’s their fault I have C-PTSD, after all. Plus, when I told my father about having it, he ignored me then changed the subject. Sometimes I also feel anger when others talk about what a great relationship they have with their parents. I wanted that with mine, but wasn’t able to have it, because their narcissism was more important to them than me.
Do you think this means I haven’t forgiven my parents? If so, I’d have to respectfully disagree. I have released my parents from any responsibility to apologize or make amends with me, which is the definition of forgiving.
Yes, there are times I still feel anger at them, as I admitted, & I think it’s very normal. I also work through the anger & release it quickly. That is the best I can do, & I know God honors that I am trying. That’s all He asks of us, to try our best.
If someone tells you you’re wrong for not forgiving your narcissistic parents, Dear Reader, please remember what I said in this post. If you don’t expect your parents to apologize or repay you for the trauma they inflicted on you, you already have forgiven them. The more you heal, the less anger you’ll feel towards them. It just takes some time.
Many years before my father died, he gave me his Bible and asked that I place it in his casket when he died.
He died October 23, 2017. I remembered the Bible, and knew that even though I hadn’t spoken to him or my mother in quite some time, I needed to keep my promise about placing it in his casket. The day after he passed away, I got it off the closet shelf, and opened it up for the first time. I skimmed through things, putting aside things that didn’t look sentimental and putting the sentimental things back into the Bible. I came across a piece of paper that was folded up very small. It was something my father had written & I’d never seen. Notes documenting some things my mother did to me & said about me to him. Pretty sure my heart skipped a beat when I realized what I was looking at! I was absolutely shocked! I assume because my father’s memory was so damaged from a TBI at age 15, he documented things to be sure he wouldn’t forget. It was a smart move, especially considering the gaslighting my mother put him through (yes, knowing about the brain damage, she used it to her advantage!). Anyway, I put his notes aside to read later since I couldn’t cope with that at the time. My focus had to be to get that Bible to the funeral parlor to be placed in his casket. I accomplished my mission with the help of my husband that day, by the way.
A few days later, I read the notes. It was quite overwhelming to put it mildly. Even after all of this time, it’s still pretty overwhelming. I’m still glad I have them though. They helped validate my pain as well as give me some insight into my father & why he failed to protect me from my mother.
I thought I’d share them here. Now you, Dear Reader, can see what I experienced, & know you’re not alone. Narcissistic mother’s do terrible, terrible things, & I have written evidence of some of those things.
I also wrote comments of what I believe was happening in these events so others can learn about narcissistic behavior from examples.
I have another purpose for sharing this information, & that purpose is selfish, I admit it. I have zero doubt at least one of my abusive flying monkey relatives (but I believe more) read my work. I want them to see this undeniable proof that my mother abused me & my father didn’t protect me. These people are what they were so blindly devoted to. I know I can’t make them accept the truth, of course, but I can fling it at them & hope for the best. Maybe a seed will be planted…
Reading these can be very triggering. If you don’t feel strong enough to read details of narcissistic abuse at this time, you really should consider skipping this post. You can always come back to it at another time.
Here we are… my father’s notes. His handwriting can be a bit hard to read so I typed everything out. I’m showing both versions to see side by side, so no one can say I’m lying. I typed each line out exactly as he wrote it for clarity, & my comments are on the side.
My father’s notes…
Second page of my father’s notes
Last page of my father’s notes
Most people assume there is only one type of grief, the grief that happens when someone you love dies, but there are other types as well.
People also can grieve when they move, get a divorce or lose a job. There is also something known as anticipatory grief, which happens when you know someone is dying. This is especially common in families where someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s due to how this terrible disease destroys a person’s personality before it destroys their body.
Unconventional grief is different. It is grief that is triggered by unique circumstances. I experienced it when learning about the many new limitations because of how damaged my brain was after surviving Carbon Monoxide Poisoning. It also can happen when someone is diagnosed with mental illness or when a loved one has a substance abuse problem. Unconventional grief also can happen as a result of trauma & abuse.
When you grow up with a narcissistic parent or two, & you finally learn about narcissism, although it is a great thing, it can trigger grief. Suddenly you realize that you aren’t the problem, which is certainly good news of course, but realizing what your parent was is difficult & painful to accept. It hurts that the one person who was supposed to love you unconditionally didn’t, & lacks the ability to do so. You also realize how much your parent took from you, such as your childhood & self-esteem. And, it suddenly hits you that there is no hope for your relationship. Prior to learning about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, most people have some hope that one day their parent will realize what she did, apologize & change for the better. Learning about NPD squelches that hope completely. That is a tough pill to swallow!
Facing these ugly truths absolutely can cause a person to grieve, & it’s extremely painful. It’s also difficult to understand because of the limited view of grief that most people have. How can you grieve when the person in question is still alive?! Well, it’s surprisingly easy to do actually.
When my father died in October, 2017, I didn’t cry. I cry easily especially when losing someone I love, but I didn’t cry. I barely have felt sad at all since he’s been gone. No doubt any of my family that may be reading this thinks it’s because I’m a cold, evil person, but that isn’t the case. It’s because I grieved him enough when he was alive that his death didn’t have a very profound effect on me. And you know something? Many other adult children of narcissistic parents I’ve spoken with have said that they felt the same exact thing when their parent died.
Unconventional grief can be incredibly difficult, but you can get through it.
Pray & pray often. You will need the wisdom, guidance & comfort of God to get through this.
Don’t judge your emotions. Accept them. Examine them without judgement or criticism. Feel them. Pray, talk or write about them to cope with them.
Anger is an especially common part of this sort of grief. If you feel a lot of anger, it’s normal! I know, you probably grew up like most of us with narcissistic parents did, believing you aren’t allowed to be angry. Stop that now! Why are you angry? Face it head on & deal with your feelings. The pain will lose its power over you if you face it.
You also may start to remember only the good times. They are good to remember, but don’t forget the bad as well. Embrace the good & heal from the bad.
Write in a journal. Writing is very cathartic, plus it will help you to have documentation. You may even decide that you enjoy writing, & opt to start a blog or write a book.
Find online support groups & websites. Learning that others are experiencing similar things to you is very helpful.
Don’t expect this grief to end entirely. It will get better, but it may never end entirely. It’s like losing a loved one- you grieve most right after the person died, but even many years later, the pain is still there, just not as intense as it was at first.
If you’re experiencing unconventional grief, Dear Reader, know you aren’t alone. You can survive this! It will take hard work & won’t be easy, but you can do it!
When the adult child of a narcissist decides to go low or no contact with the abusive parents, people are often surprised. Narcissistic parents do their best to create an image of a happy, functional family to outsiders, & many people believe this false image to be real. They don’t realize how much serious thought & prayer went into the adult child’s decision. Those people are shocked by the low or no contact decision. They say things like,
- “You were always such a good child!” (children of narcissistic parents are often incredibly obedient in order to please their parent or avoid abuse)
- “You never said anything was wrong.” (abused children rarely do- abuse is normal, & they don’t often realize it’s wrong. Or, if they do know, to survive, they know they must keep the abuse a secret)
- “Your mother/father never said one bad thing about you!” (abusers don’t show their abusive side to everyone- they hide it from those whose opinions they value. Besides, if the abusive parent appears good to everyone, & the child claims this parent is abusive, people are more likely to believe the parent than the child if the child speaks out)
Other people react with guilt, urging the victim to continue the abusive relationship. Often, these people came from abusive backgrounds themselves, & are in denial about it. You facing the truth makes them feel bad for not doing the same, so often, people like this try to bring you down to their level. They say things like,
- “They did the best they could!” (So? Even on the highly unlikely chance the abuser didn’t realize they were being abusive, that doesn’t make the abuse less damaging)
- “Your parents won’t be around forever!” (True, but neither will anyone. It’s entirely possible their child could die first, so why not tell the abusers this fact? And, the Bible says you reap what you sow in Galatians 6:7-8. People can’t abuse someone & expect that someone to tolerate it indefinitely. Everyone has their limits)
- “Your parents gave you everything!” (providing food, clothing & shelter is the job of parents. They may have done these things, maybe even spoiled their child with “stuff”, but that doesn’t make them parents of the year. It also doesn’t mean their child owes them for doing what a parent should do for their child.)
- Some people refuse to discuss the topic with the victim because they have chosen the side of the parent. They often make their displeasure with the victim obvious in snide comments or disdainful looks rather than using their words.
These things can hurt a victim by further invalidating or not believing their pain. These types of responses also send the victim the message that she isn’t important, only the narcissistic parent is.
Dear Reader, if this is your situation, I’m sure you’re hurting. I’ve heard similar comments & know first hand how painful they are. Know you aren’t alone! There are so many of us who understand! This may be a good time to reach out to other survivors of narcissistic abuse. There are online support forums (I have one on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/FansOfCynthiaBaileyRug/ ). There are also so many informative websites & blogs available.
When faced with these conversations, it’s best for you to simply walk away. People who blindly defend a narcissist most likely never going to see the light about what she is really like. Defending yourself will only lead to frustration for you. Tell the person you don’t want to discuss the matter, & change the subject. If the person continues to force their opinion on you, walk away.
Know that you don’t have to tolerate any abuse from anyone. Invalidating & dismissing a victim’s pain is abuse! You have every right to protect yourself from it! You don’t need people who treat you this way in your life, & are well within your rights to cut them out of your life if you feel it’s the right thing to do.
As I’ve said many times, my heart goes out to those in the position of being unable or unwilling to go no contact with their narcissistic parents. You’re in a tough, tough place, & I understand since I’ve been there. I want to help you if I can, & that is what today’s post is about.
There are some small, easy ways you can set boundaries with your narcissistic parent while not eliminating them from your life entirely.
For starters, reduce the amount of time you spend with your narcissistic parent. Don’t visit or have your parent visit you as often. Stop taking their calls every time they call. Ask yourself if you feel up to dealing with your parent, & if not, don’t take that call or visit.
When you must visit or speak with your parent on the phone, set a time limit. Don’t allow your narcissistic parent to waste half your day when that is so hard on you! Set a limit, then say “I have to go” & go.
Also if you visit your narcissistic parent, have a way out. Plan something to do so you only have a limited time to spend with your parent. If you can’t think of something, say you just remembered something you have to take care of & go. It’s not a lie- you remembered you have to take care of yourself!
Remember to keep the conversation away from you. Your love life, in-laws, job, troubles & even your mental & physical health should be off the table for topics to discuss with your narcissistic parent. Giving any narcissist personal information is just asking for trouble such as criticism & unasked for, useless advice. Change the subject if your parent wants or demands to know something personal about you. If all else fails, ask your parent about something that matters to her. Chances are excellent she’ll drop the matter at the opportunity to talk about herself.
If you’re dependent even slightly on your narcissistic parent financially, find ways to put an end to it. Narcissists love controlling their adult children with money, so remove that tool if at all possible. If not, then at least find ways to reduce the amount.
If you have pets or kids, have strict boundaries in place. It is your job to protect them & that includes from abusive & narcissistic parents.
When it’s time to set boundaries with your parent, remain calm. Show no emotion, simply state the facts. Any signs you are upset will fuel your narcissistic parent’s behavior. Stay calm, state your boundary & the consequence of your parent not respecting the boundary, then enforce it if necessary.
If you’re friends on social media, unfollow your narcissistic parent. You will remain friends, but you won’t see her posts which can reduce stress.
If you must go somewhere with your narcissistic parent, drive separately. That way, you are free to leave at any time if need be. Also, cars are a great weapon for some narcissists. There is no escape- you have to put up with whatever they do when you’re in a car together. My mother loved having me trapped in her car, & used it to scream at me when I was a kid or belittle me as an adult.
Always remember the Gray Rock Method. Think about what gives your narcissistic parent narcissistic supply, & refuse to provide it. Basically, you need to be boring to her. Don’t admire her. Don’t praise her. Don’t get angry at her so she can portray herself as the victim. Don’t coddle her. Don’t share anything personal about yourself that she could use against you or as fuel to spread lies about you. Don’t empathize with her if someone has hurt her. Show no real interest in her problems. If she needs your assistance with something, do the bare minimum, don’t go above & beyond. Gray Rock can be hard at first because every tiny thing can provide narcissistic supply, but the more you do it, the easier it gets.
Lastly, pray & pray often. Ask God to help you cope with your narcissistic parent, to give you the right words to say, & to give you effective, creative ways to cope with her behavior. He will NOT disappoint you!
Psalm 101:5 in the Amplified translation of the Bible says, “Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will silence;
The one who has a haughty look and a proud (arrogant) heart I will not tolerate.”
This verse has come to my attention quite a few times recently. It find it VERY interesting. Don’t you think that it describes some aspects of narcissistic behavior? Narcissists have NO trouble slandering others. They also have the haughty look & an arrogant heart. What is even more interesting to me than the description of these behaviors is that God has no tolerance for them.
Yet, narcissists’ evil minions, also known as flying monkeys, love to tell victims of narcissistic abuse that we are being cruel, unloving, & even ungodly if we set boundaries with the narcissist in our lives. They tell us invalidating & horrible things like, “You only get one set of parents!” “He won’t be around forever yanno!” “But that’s your MOTHER!!!” & more. If the flying monkey claims to be a Christian, they also like to throw in their version of Scripture to prove that your behavior is terrible, such as you aren’t honoring your parents or “God hates divorce” if your narcissist is your spouse.
Awful statements like these can make a victim feel ashamed for not tolerating the abuse or even feel enough guilt to resume the dysfunctional, abusive relationship as it was & abandon all attempts of self protection.
This should not be!!!
If you have been subjected to the inane ramblings of flying monkeys, you need to know some things.
First, the people saying these things are abusive. Invalidation is abusive. Encouraging someone to return to an abusive situation is also abusive. Attempting to force someone to do something is controlling & abusive. You have every right to protect yourself from these awful people.
Second, I’ve come to realize that many flying monkeys are simply covert narcissists. Narcissists only care about what is best for them, no one else. Why would you take the advice of someone like that?!
Third, you also have the right to protect yourself from any abusive person, which includes your narcissistic parent(s) or significant other. There is nothing holy, good or loving about tolerating abuse. Anyone who thinks there is has some seriously warped beliefs, & obviously they know nothing of God or His ways.
Fourth, the Bible says in Matthew 5:48, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (NIV) One duty all Christians have is to become like God. While we can’t be just like God, of course, we can love as He loves, & treat people as He does. So, keeping this in mind, if God does not tolerate certain things, like narcissistic behavior, this means we shouldn’t tolerate it either.
And lastly, as I said, there is nothing holy, good or loving about tolerating abuse. Doing so encourages a person to behave poorly. It keeps them indulging in sinful behavior, hurting other people & even themselves. How can this be good for anyone?! It’s impossible!
On the opposite side of that coin, refusing to tolerate abuse is a good & loving thing to do. It sets boundaries that give consequences for a person’s bad behavior. If they wish to avoid those consequences, they will behave better. (While no one can force another person to change, boundaries at least create circumstances that can make a person want to change. ) Helping a person to be the best version of themselves that they can be is a loving thing to do.
Refusing to tolerate abusive treatment also removes the opportunity for the abusive person to sin, at least where you’re concerned, & that is a good thing. Tolerating abuse not only allows the abuser to sin but practically encourages it. After all, why should the abuser stop being abusive when they don’t have any reason to? And no, for narcissists, knowing they’re hurting someone else isn’t enough of a reason to stop abusing.
Dear Reader, the next time someone criticizes you for not tolerating abuse from the narcissists in your life, please remember what I’ve said. There is absolutely nothing good about tolerating abuse for you or the abuser. You have every right to protect yourself however you see fit, whether it’s by setting boundaries or even ending the relationship. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise! xoxo
Narcissistic parents often expect their children to care for them rather than the normal course of events where parents care for their children. They expect their children to meet their emotional needs, listen to their woes, make them happy when they are sad, fix their problems & more. This is called parentification, parentalizing, emotional incest or covert incest. (For simplicity sake, we’ll use parentification in this article.)
While parentification may not sound all that bad, its effect on children can be devastating. Children feel responsible for their parents, which burdens them with the false belief they are responsible for everyone in their circle as adults. That type of responsibility is incredibly stressful, no matter a person’s age, & as everyone knows, stress can cause a plethora of physical ailments.
It also robs children of their childhood. Parentified children aren’t allowed to hang out with their friends. They have their parents to take care of instead. Basically these children are living an adult life in their childhood.
Parentified children also are depressed. They often feel like failures for not being able to fix their parents’ problems, & narcissistic parents only make this feeling worse by blaming their children for not being able to accomplish the impossible.
These children often carry a great deal of anger inside, too, yet are unable to express it. To be angry at their parents feels so wrong since their parents have made it their job to protect these parents. Since expressing that anger is wrong, as far as the children are concerned, the anger gets stuffed inside & often manifests in very unhealthy ways. It can come out as self destructive ways (such as addictions) or other destructive ways (becoming abusive towards other people).
Parentified children have a right to be angry. They have been subjected to an incredibly cruel & insidious form of abuse by their own parents. And, to make matters worse, unknowing people compound their pain. They tell the children how lucky they are to have such a close relationship with their mother or father. Some people compound the guilt & responsibility on their child by saying things like, “I don’t know what your mom would do without you.” “You have to be strong for your dad- he needs you.” These kinds of things only make a child feel ashamed for having any complaints about the relationship, extra responsible for the parent they shouldn’t be responsible for in the first place & angry that they have been forced into this position.
If this describes you, you are NOT alone! Many people have been the victims of parentification, in particular children of narcissistic parents. I’ve been through it myself & sympathize with your pain. My parents came to me ever since i can remember with complaints about each other & even wanting me to fix their disagreements. I still have moments when I think of it that I get angry. And you know something? It’s ok! Being abused in any way, shape or form isn’t right. It’s ok to be angry about the unfairness of abuse & being forced to live with the painful effects, such as PTSD or C-PTSD.
The best way I’ve learned to cope is to go to God, & tell Him about what I feel. He truly understands & gives me a lot of comfort. I also have friends who have been through the same thing & understand. Sometimes one of the most helpful things for me is when they get angry over something I went through. That can be so validating! What my parents did wasn’t right, but, as a typical child of narcissists, I’ve always felt guilt for being angry with them. Although it’s diminished a great deal, it’s still there a little. Someone else getting angry about what my parents did helps me to understand that it’s ok to be angry about what they did & to realize just how wrong it was.
If you’re still in a relationship with your parent who indulges in parentification, you are not in a good place. Until such time as you decide to end this relationship, if you decide to take that step, you will need to learn ways to cope. Narcissists don’t accept boundaries like normal people, so you will need to get creative. Whatever you do, do NOT tell your parent, “It hurts me when you talk about/do that. Please don’t do it anymore.” Statements like that are like throwing gas on a narcissist fire. They will mock you for being oversensitive or do the behavior more often just to hurt you.
Instead, try changing the subject. Since narcissists love to talk about themselves, you can use that to your advantage. Ask your narcissistic parent something about herself. How is her job going? How did her last doctor visit go? Has she talked to her favorite cousin lately? It’s really not that hard to get a narcissist to talk about themselves. Why not use it in your favor?
Suddenly have to go. You just looked at the time & you have to go. You don’t owe any explanations- you just have to go.
Ask if your parent has talked to someone else who has been through something similar about this situation. After all, that person knows a lot more than you do & no doubt can help your parent more than you can! Let them think that you’re only suggesting this because it helps them in some way, not you.
Whatever your situation with parentification, I truly wish you the best. I pray you find effective ways to cope with your parent or are able to release any false guilt you may feel for no longer being in that situation.
Many people tell victims of narcissistic abuse things like “You need to be the bigger person & let it go.” “You just don’t understand- she had a bad childhood!” “You just need to forgive & forget.” “The Bible says to honor your parents. If you call your mother/father out on their behavior, God doesn’t approve of that!” Such statements are often said for the following reasons…
- The person has come from an abusive past, & refuses to face the pain. You talking about it reminds that person of his or her pain. That person wants to shut you down so you stop making that person uncomfortable.
- The person knows the narcissist, & like all flying monkeys, is protective of that narcissist. If the narcissist is related to this person, this is a very likely scenario. Families are extremely protective of narcissists. You can see a post I wrote on the topic here: How Families Protect Their Narcissist
Whatever the reasons these ludicrous statements are said, they not only hurt, they confuse & frustrate victims. As if it’s not bad enough we’ve been abused by the narcissist, now other people are being abusive as well by invalidating our pain as well as judging & criticizing us for speaking up to the abuser.
There is a verse in Isaiah that can shut down the argument that a victim shouldn’t speak up:
Isaiah 1:16-17 “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, Learn to do good; Seek justice, REBUKE THE OPPRESSOR; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow.” (NKJV) (emphasis added)
Notice the part in all caps. “Rebuke the oppressor.” God said that! I just capitalized it for emphasis. Pretty cool, huh? According to God, we are not only allowed to confront someone about abusive behavior- we are supposed to do it. Do you really think God would’ve included that in the Bible if He didn’t want people to do it? Also notice- it doesn’t say, “Rebuke the oppressor, unless the oppressor is a parent.” There are no exceptions in this verse!
Now I realize with narcissists, many times it’s easier to let them do something than confront them. They love turning things around where the victim is the blame or telling others how mean & unreasonable a victim is for not tolerating their abuse. It’s frustrating but such behaviors mean that sometimes we shouldn’t confront them. But, even so, there are times that we know in our hearts we need to speak up to them no matter what they do. During those times, you can rest assured you are doing the right thing. It’s even in the Bible, in the book of Isaiah!
If anyone judges or criticizes you for speaking up to the narcissist in your life, although it can be painful, try to ignore it. If God Himself has said we are to rebuke an oppressor, who is any mere human to tell you it’s the wrong thing to do? You do what you know that God would have you to do, even if that includes confronting a narcissist, & you do it secure in the knowledge God approves of what you’re doing.
Since I’m working on a book about narcissistic in-laws, it’s certainly gotten me to thinking about them. Not exactly a fun topic since I’ve been through a LOT at the hands of narcissistic in-laws, but it’s also a topic that needs to be addressed. I’ll share a blog post when it’s published as well as add the link to my website at: www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com
One thing that recently has come to mind about these dreadful people is how they are with exes. I’ve heard of & read so many stories of narcissistic in-laws who keep in touch with their son’s or brother’s ex, even after he has moved on to another woman & there were no children created in the relationship. They may even have the ex’s picture hanging up in their home or a picture of him with her when they were together. They may invite her to family functions, whether or not the new lady is present.
I’ve been down this road. A woman my husband broke up with in 1991 is still a bigger part of my in-law’s family than I ever have been. In 1997 at an in-law family party, my two sisters in-law spoke a LOT about her (when it was just the three of us together, no witnesses, of course), talking about what a great person she was & how they should hang out with her soon. They never wanted to hang out with me, mind you. Not long after we were married in 1998, my mother in-law told me how disappointed she & my father in-law were that my husband married me instead of this person. Over the years, I learned that at least one of the sisters in-law not only kept in close contact with this ex, but kept my husband abreast of what was going on in her life. Then, when we ran into her in a store two months to the day after my husband’s father died, I saw how comfortable & friendly she was with my husband. It was painfully obvious she’d seen him recently, so I later asked what was going on with her. Turns out not only had she been to my father in-law’s funeral, but also my mother in-law’s & took one of her sons to visit my mother in-law in the hospital. She also lives only a few miles from my late in-laws’ home & attends the church they attended.
As if all of this isn’t awful enough, I also realized when we saw this woman that she obviously is still very attracted to my husband.
This whole situation got me to thinking about these types of situations. If you’re in it, you’re going to need a lot of wisdom on how to cope with it.
I’m not saying all friendships between people & their exes or even their family & their exes are bad. Sometimes they work out just fine or are necessary because of children or other ties to each other such as owning a business together. When narcissistic in-laws are involved though, it’s a whole different situation. This relationship isn’t because these people were genuinely fond of each other. Like everything else, there is a self-serving purpose in it. Never ever doubt that! Your spouse may think his family’s behavior is normal but it isn’t!
If you wonder, watch how this relationship is handled. Your feelings should be considered. Your in-laws should not flaunt this person to you. This person shouldn’t be frequently discussed fondly in front of you or her picture shouldn’t be in a predominant space in the in-law home (especially if it also includes your spouse).
How do they handle this relationship regarding your spouse? Do they keep your spouse up to date on his ex’s life? If your spouse wants no parts of the details of that ex, do they force him to listen anyway? Do they forward her emails to him so he not only knows but has her email address as well?
These behaviors are all red flags, & you are going to need a lot of wisdom on how to handle this situation.
As always, I recommend prayer as the best place to start. Luke 12:12 says, “For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.” (KJV) & James 1:5 says, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” (KJV) Seems to me prayer is the best place you can start!
Also never give your spouse an ultimatum. People who do this almost always end up losing because no one wants to feel controlled or manipulated.
Stay calm when you must discuss the situation. If you act angry or hurt, chances are your spouse will discuss the conversation with someone in his family. From there, it would be very easy for your in-laws to convince your spouse that you’re unreasonable, paranoid, even crazy. And, no doubt if he sees his ex, she is on good behavior. She will look even better to him & you even worse. So stay calm during the discussion for the sake of your marriage!
Do NOT tell him what you think his family is up to. Coming from a narcissistic family does quite the number on a person’s psyche as most people know. One thing I’ve noticed is men in these situations have a lot more trouble facing the truth about their family than women. (No guys, I don’t hate you or think you’re stupid. It’s just an observation.) If you’re in this position with your spouse, I know it can be frustrating. You see the truth so clearly but your spouse doesn’t. Don’t work hard trying to convince him of the truth. You telling the truth will come across to him as you criticizing his family, which in turn will make him very protective of them & angry at you. It will drive a huge wedge between you two.
You can, however, gently, let your spouse know that you are very uncomfortable with this situation. Tell him how you feel, & don’t be afraid of being vulnerable. Better for your spouse to see that side of you than the angry side, because it won’t make him defensive. He will be more willing to listen to you & relate to your perspective if you aren’t angry.
Also, what about the ex? Is she obviously still attracted to your husband? This is tough, I know. I really feel your pain. The best I know to do with this is to focus on your spouse. Make sure you don’t stop doing things that he loves or finds attractive about you. Do nice little gestures for him to show him you love him, like slipping love notes into his lunch box, sock drawer, coat pocket or even taping them to his steering wheel while he’s in the shower. If you tell him what a terrible person his ex is instead, you’re only making him defensive of her & angry at you. Yes, I know this one is HARD. After seeing my husband’s ex, every fiber in me wanted to say exactly what I think of her & his family. But, I knew that he wouldn’t believe what I said & would end up passionately defending them while simultaneously being very angry with me.
Lastly remember, all of this isn’t about you. It’s about some pretty dysfunctional people doing what dysfunctional people do. If the ex is still interested, well, she should have tried harder to keep him & is being foolish for not giving up. He moved on & she should too. As for your in-laws, they are getting something out of this relationship. They probably want to split you & your spouse up or at the very least cause trouble between you two. Maybe they think because she’s wealthy or in some sort of position in society, she makes them look good. Who knows? But you can be sure of one thing… whatever sick mess is happening in this relationship, it has nothing to do with you.
I wish you the absolute best in this situation! xoxo
Like everything in the life of a narcissist, the gifts they give are all about them. They give what will benefit them in some way or what they think will make you change according to what they think you should be. This is why so often, people dread receiving gifts from narcissists.
If they’re trying to win you over somehow such as in the early stages of dating or after an argument, narcissists may give a good gift. That gift is supposed to help buy your love or forgiveness. That gift may be extravagant or something you mentioned wanting. My ex husband gave me only 2 nice gifts in our entire relationship. The first one was about 2 months after we met, for my birthday.
Narcissists also may give a gift to make you indebted to them. Maybe you are supposed to give them a gift in return. Maybe the gift they gave you is very expensive so you feel obligated to tolerate their abuse because they spent so much on that gift. Maybe you showed signs of wanting to end the relationship & this gift was supposed to make you want to rethink that move.
Often, narcissists give terrible gifts. They lack the desire to be a blessing, & that shows in the gifts they give in particular on days like birthdays or Christmas. They’re only giving gifts on these days because they have to in order to look good, not because they want to. As a result, no thought or consideration goes into the gift.
Other times narcissists give awful gifts is when they try to change their victim. For example, my mother gave me clothes for my birthday or Christmas for years. While clothes in general aren’t a bad gift, they are when the clothes aren’t in the receiver’s taste, but are the giver’s. Our tastes are extremely different & that was a problem for her. My mother wanted me to like what she likes, & this was one way to try to force me to dress like she thought I should dress. My late mother in-law did the same. A few months before Christmas one year, I mentioned in passing that I hate to cook. Yes, I do it because I don’t want us to starve, but that doesn’t mean I enjoy it. For Christmas that year, she & her daughters all gave me a LOT of cooking paraphernalia. Cook books, utensils, food, & a big ugly pasta dish I later used in the attic when the roof was leaking.. lol
Sometimes bad gifts are also a way for a narcissist to let you know they hate you without saying the words. A narcissistic mother in-law who dislikes her daughter in-law will give her terrible gifts, as one example. My late mother in-law gave me a Christmas sweater (I’m NOT into Christmas or Christmas sweaters), polyester slacks (not a fan) & other gifts that were clearly NOT my taste.
Sometimes they may “forget” to give you a gift at all. This is just one way to let you know you aren’t important to them or the gift giving day (your anniversary, Valentine’s day, your birthday, etc) isn’t important to them.
Or, narcissists may give away a gift you gave to them either to hurt you or out of thoughtlessness. My sister in-law gave me this cute little knick knack many years ago. I thanked her & said it was cute. She said she thought so, & was sure her mom would like it. She gave it to her. A few months later, her mother gave it to her & said something like, “I don’t know where this ugly thing came from. You can have it.” She said seeing it hurt her badly so she wanted rid of it. Since I thought it was cute, I could have it. My heart broke for her when she told me that story.
When you get an awful gift, it’s best not to let the narcissist know how awful you think it is. If you do, the narcissist can play the victim & tell other people how ungrateful you are, making you look like a jerk. Rather than ask for the receipt so you can return or exchange the gift, simply thank her for the gift, then when you can, quietly give it to someone who you know would like it or give it to a charity.
Likewise when you get a great gift, it’s best not to let the narcissist know you really like it. If you do, the narcissist is going to get a ton of narcissistic supply from that, & feel that you owe her for giving you this awesome gift. Simply thank her for the gift.
It’s always best to implement the Gray Rock method as much as possible when dealing with narcissists, including when they give gifts.
Recently I was thinking of something. Maybe some of you remember last December, just before Christmas, my mother had her attorney/flying monkey send me a letter asking if I wanted my father’s car. (here is the post if you missed it: Coping When Narcissists Hit A New Low)
I thought about the letter the other day, & the wording of it all. At that time, I felt a lot of guilt even though I knew with every fiber of my being I needed to maintain strict no contact with her. It was such a difficult time! I also thought about the fact my mother wanted my help with what she was dealing with after my father’s death. She expected me to help her, after everything she’s done to me, & there has been a LOT! Just throwing out a couple of examples…
- My mother threw me into a wall when I was 19 hard enough to give me back pain for 10 years. Why? Because she started a fight with me & got mad when I eventually snapped & cussed at her. She never apologized or even admitted to any of her part in that incident. She also told people I faked the back pain so I could quit working because I was lazy.
- My mother stole the savings bonds her mother left me when she died in 2001. I had to go after her with proof of what the inheritance was worth & copies of the cashed bonds to get it back. When she sent me a check, I saw she wrote in the memo line, “What you claim Grandma owes you.”
- Most recently, in 2016.. my mother in-law died. I hadn’t spoken to her since 2002 because she was so cruel to me. My parents knew this. When my parents learned of her passing, they called me & were mad I didn’t tell them in time to attend the funeral & “pay their respects.” I was stunned that was an option. I expected them to tell me what a great woman she was, even though they only spoke to her twice in their lives. I ended up so hurt & angry that I cried & cussed at my parents, which is not my normal behavior. The more upset I got, the more bored my mother acted. She then tried getting me to feel sorry for her because she has vertigo. It didn’t work. We haven’t spoken since.
These are only a few examples. I have a LOT more.
So anyway, I was thinking of these things & others, & it hit me. My mother has a LOT of nerve thinking she is entitled to my help after not only doing all of these things, but also not once accepting any responsibility or apologizing for any of the abuse she’s inflicted on me. She is still the same abusive monster she was when I was a kid. Her tactics may be different now, but she is still out to hurt & control me as much as possible if given the chance. This quickly got rid of any guilt I felt regarding her.
My point (finally, I know.. sorry!) is this….
If you are struggling with feeling guilty regarding your narcissistic parent, for being no contact or feel like now that your parent is elderly & frail, you should take care of her even if you haven’t spoken in years, I really suggest doing what I did.
Consider your relationship with your narcissistic parent. Think about the things your parent did to you. Has your parent shown any signs of improving their behavior? Has she admitted any wrongdoing at all? If your parent is like most narcissists, you honestly can say no to those questions. And, if you can say no to those questions, then you need to maintain distance to protect yourself & your mental health.
If you’re still feeling any guilt at this point, also remember- people reap what they sow. Galatians 6:7 says:
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. ” (KJV)
A person who sows bad seeds will reap a bad harvest, period. This means that an abusive parent will not be treated with love & kindness indefinitely as a good parent would be treated. A person can only take so much before they pull away from their abuser, even if that abuser is their parent. It’s the natural way of things. You aren’t being petty, childish or any other awful thing people may say you are by putting distance between you & your narcissistic parent. You’re simply a part of the normal system of reaping & sowing.
Lastly, you are NOT dishonoring your abusive parent with either low or no contact. By maintaining low or no contact, you are removing the opportunity for your parent to sin. Your parent can’t abuse you if you aren’t there. You’re also encouraging her to improve her behavior by giving her consequences for her actions. That is very honorable & loving! Anyone who tells you that you’re not honoring your narcissistic parent or thinks it’s honorable to tolerate anything your parent dishes out truly does NOT know God or understand His word at all.
So remember, Dear Reader… you have no valid reasons to feel guilty regarding your narcissistic parent, but if you do feel guilty, remind yourself of what your parent has done to you like I did.
Have you ever wondered why people so incredibly self centered as narcissists have children? I have. God showed me a couple of reasons why my parents had me, but I’ve also wondered about narcissists in general, not only my parents, have kids. I think I have figured out some of their “logic”, if you can call it that.
The narcissist who was abused or neglected as a child often has a root of shame, I believe, which is why they work so hard to convince people they are so wonderful, amazing, etc. They’re also trying to convince themselves that they are so wonderful, amazing, etc. By becoming a parent, this proves to themselves & everyone else that someone found them desirable. Someone took this big step with them, so they must be pretty fantastic, right?!
If the narcissist grew up feeling or being told she was abnormal somehow, having a child can be a way to prove to the world that she is normal. Having children is a perfectly normal step for many people, so if she can have a child, it proves to her & other people that she must be normal.
Children are also made to make their narcissistic parent look good, & we know all narcissists are obsessed with appearances. If the narcissistic parent can mold their child into whatever she wants the child to be, that parent can then take credit for the child’s talents, successes, good looks or anything. And, if this child is perfect, he or she will prove to the narcissistic parent that her abusive parents were wrong about her, that she really isn’t bad or unlovable as her parents told her she was.
This “perfect” child also can gain the narcissistic parent attention for being such a wonderful parent as to raise this perfect little human being. People notice exceptional children, so as long as this child is perfect, the narcissistic parent will lap up all of the praise & admiration she receives for her amazing parenting skills. What the narcissistic parent fails to realize is that no child is perfect, & expecting the child to be is putting a tremendous amount of pressure on the child. Trying to meet impossibly high standards creates a great amount of anxiety in anyone, but especially a child who just wants his or her parent’s love.
Often, if two narcissists have children together, one will take the main role in raising the child. That parent gets to enjoy being in control in this capacity as well as looking self-sacrificing & martyr like by doing everything all by herself with virtually no help from the other parent.
Because children need their parents, this also feeds the narcissistic parent’s narcissism. They rely on their child’s dependency because it makes them feel valuable & good to be needed. They don’t take into consideration that at some point, that child is going to grow up & move on. It’s as if that thought isn’t even a possibility to the narcissistic parent, so when that happens, they feel betrayed by their child. How dare that child do something normal by growing up! Doesn’t the child know that their role is to stay a child as long as the parent wants?!
Some parents also have children because they foolishly believe that will repair their relationship or force the partner to stay with them so they can raise the child together. They mistakenly believe that if they have a child together, their partner will start treating them right or love them more, when nothing could be further from the truth.
Along those lines, the narcissist who was abused as a child may think that having a baby will fix her relationship with her abusive parents. She may think no grandparent couldn’t love their grandchild, so if she gives her parents a grandchild, she finally may have her parents’ love.
There are countless reasons people want to start a family, but when it comes to narcissists, you can be sure all of their reasons will be unhealthy. They will be entirely self-serving to the narcissist, & the child will suffer because of it.
No doubt you have heard about passive/aggressive behavior, but do you know what it is? You need to know, because many narcissists behave in this way.
Passive/aggressive behavior is very sneaky. It makes you wonder if the person acting that way is mad at you or not. The worst part may be that when you confront the passive/aggressive person, they have a plausible sounding explanation for their behavior. This makes you doubt your perception of the situation. Plausible deniability is always a part of passive/aggression, as is the desire to punish another person.
Passive/aggressive behavior is deliberately inefficient, quiet in that the person refuses to discuss their needs & avoids responsibility. Some examples of it are….
Not doing things well. A passive/aggressive spouse may put the laundry in the washer but fail to put them in the dryer for hours claiming he thought you would do that. Or, she may leave your car with virtually no gas in it after using it after you argue. Usually whatever is done poorly is something that has happened countless times before, & rather than argue about it, you just fix the problem quietly.
Running late. Some people are always running behind due to poor time management skills, being forgetful or another reasonable excuse. Passive/aggressive people, however, are not that way. If they have a punctual partner, you can guarantee that they will run late periodically solely for the purpose of irritating that partner. They may say they forgot that special event was in an hour, so they will take their time getting ready & you end up leaving two minutes before the event is due to start.
The silent treatment. Passive/aggressive people love the silent treatment. Rather than saying,, “I was upset when you did something.. can we work it out?” they simply stop talking to you. If you try to ask what is wrong, they refuse to admit anything is wrong or get angry at you for not knowing what is wrong. The silent treatment is designed to make you come crawling to the person & work hard to gain their forgiveness. Don’t fall for it!
Backhanded complements. We’ve all heard these at some point. Passive/aggressive people use them often. Comments like, “Nice hair cut. It really helps hide all that gray hair.” or, “I used to have an outfit just like that! I stopped wearing it after high school though.” are just two examples of backhanded complements. If a passive/aggressive person says such a comment to you, chances are he or she feels threatened by you in some way. Maybe that person thinks you look more attractive than they do, you’re smarter or more talented. Sometimes backhanded complements can be hard to spot, so just notice how you feel when someone gives you a complement. Genuine complements leave you wanting to thank the person & feeling good. Backhanded complements leave you feeling offended & even confused wondering what the person who said it meant by their words.
Fake concern. Closely related to the backhanded complements are the fake concern comments. When a passive/aggressive persons says, “I don’t mean to sound judgmental/insensitive, but…” you can guarantee the next words out of that person’s mouth will be judgmental &/or insensitive. This is their way of saying nasty things to you while appearing to be helpful. If you say anything about how judgmental or insensitive the person is at this point, you are going to look like a jerk to anyone who doesn’t realize what is happening. That is a bonus for a passive/aggressive person- making you look bad on top of insulting you.
Destruction & sabotage. Sometimes passive/aggressive people will “accidentally” destroy something important to you when they’re upset with you. That could be something like “accidentally” spilling red wine on your favorite white shirt or a coworker “forgetting” to tell you that the project you’ve been working hard on is no longer due next week, but in two days.
So, how can a person deal with the obnoxious passive/aggressive behavior? First, be aware of it. Learn what you can about recognizing the signs.
Second, set & enforce good boundaries. If your friend is always late, stop waiting on her. Meet her at the restaurant & order without her. Or, stop hanging out with her at all.
Third, never forget to stay calm at all times. Pretend not to be flustered by their actions. If you show that you are upset, they will do it again & again.
Forth, never forget to pray. God will help you to identify & deal with this awful behavior in the most effective ways possible. All you have to do is ask Him to.
I recently read an article about Father’s Day. In it, the author gave valid reasons why we should honor our fathers. It was a very good article, but one thing about it bothered me- the author didn’t mention how exactly to honor our fathers. I thought I would discuss it here. Actually, I’ll refer to honoring parents, not only fathers.
When you have good & loving parents, you don’t have to have strict boundaries. Your parents respect them naturally, so boundaries aren’t a concern. However, with narcissistic parents, you have to have & enforce very strict boundaries. This is very honorable, because these boundaries encourage your parent to behave in a healthier manner.
When Mother’s Day or Father’s Day comes around, if you have good parents, you can be a blessing to them, enjoy yourself & have zero fear of repercussions. You can spend time with them, give them nice cards & gifts. Narcissistic parents? No. Doing those things for your narcissistic parents basically tells them their abuse is OK. You’ll show them love no matter how awfully they treat you. This is why it’s important to give more minimal gifts & rather neutral cards- you are recognizing them as your parents but at the same time, you’re not praising them for their great parenting skills. You never want to reward bad behavior!
Even going no contact can be very honorable when it comes to abusive parents. While many people think that no contact is dishonorable, it really isn’t. By severing ties, you are removing the opportunity for an abusive person to abuse you & commit sinful acts. You are also encouraging that person to change their behavior for the better, because you won’t have them in your life if they are abusive. You’re also removing the temptation from yourself of going off on the abuser.
Dear Reader, there is never, EVER anything honorable about tolerating abuse, & that includes tolerating it from parents. If you still have doubts, read this…
Psalm 101:5 (AMP)
“Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will silence;
The one who has a haughty look and a proud (arrogant) heart I will not tolerate.”
This verse tells me that God has no patience for narcissism. Since as His children we are called to be like Him (Ephesians 5:1-2; 1 Thessalonians 2:4), then we should have no patience for narcissism either, no matter who that narcissist is! If people disapprove of your refusal to tolerate your narcissistic parent’s abuse, well, that is their problem. Your job is to live a life that pleases God, not man…
“Thus saith the LORD; Cursed [be] the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.” (KJV)