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When A Toxic Relationship Shifts

In various relationships with the narcissists in my life, I remember a shift in their attitude with me.  It was always subtle, but I noticed it anyway.

My ex husband & I started dating during the second semester of eleventh grade.  By the end of the first semester of twelfth grade, he had become a bit distant.  We wrote notes often as many kids in the 80’s did, & suddenly his went from at least one or two a day to one every few days before suddenly stopping entirely.

Later in life, when I began pulling away from my parents & setting some boundaries, their attitudes became different.  My mother was obviously furious with me, but didn’t admit to it.  My father became controlling for the first time. 

I met my late mother in-law some months before my husband & I began dating, when we were just friends.  One day I was going to drive him to pick up a car he was buying.  I picked him up at his parents’ home, & although I could tell his mother didn’t particularly like me, she seemed somewhat friendly.  Once she realized we were dating, she became ice cold.  After we got married almost 4 years later, she became extremely vicious with me.

This sort of behavior is very common with narcissists.  No matter the type of relationship, at some point, there is a change in their attitude with the victim.  That change often comes about when the narcissist realizes the victim doesn’t want to lose the narcissist.  It also can happen when the victim starts to set boundaries or the narcissist sees the victim as a threat in some way.  Either way, narcissists want to make sure their victim behaves as they want.  What better way to do this than to abuse that victim?  They may make their victim feel so insecure, as if the relationship is bad & it’s all the victim’s fault.  They also may become controlling & manipulative, trying to make the victim feel as if they need to earn the narcissist’s affections.  They may make the victim feel as if it’s best to do whatever the narcissist wants rather than displease the narcissist & face their wrath.  The type of wrath naturally varies between overt & covert narcissists, but in either case it’s best not to face it, so many victims will do absolutely anything to avoid it.

The really horrible part of this is while this abuse happens behind closed doors, the narcissist continues to wear their mask to convince everyone else they are a wonderful person.  When a victim looks for advice & support, those who also know the narcissist often tell the victim how lucky they are to have such a wonderful person in their life.  That person loves the victim so much!  It must be nice having someone so loving in their life.  They’re lucky to have a parent or significant other care so much about them.  Such responses can leave a victim baffled & feeling as if they are the problem in the relationship. 

The result is the victim often stays in the relationship.  The victim feels utterly alone because no one believes them.  They believe the narcissist’s good guy/good girl act instead.  Victims learn quickly there isn’t any point in discussing the abuse because no one believes them.  Meanwhile, the abuse gets worse & worse.

Have you been in this situation?  Are you in it now?  If so, you’re not alone!  This is typical of relationships with narcissists. 

Don’t beat yourself up for getting yourself into this situation or tolerating too much from the narcissist.  Narcissists are experts at psychological warfare.  They can manipulate even the most brilliant of people because they are just that good at what they do. 

You also need to pray a lot.  God willingly gives wisdom to anyone who asks for it according to James 1:5, so ask for it!  He can help you to cope if you’re still in the situation or find ways to help yourself heal if you have escaped it.

Always remember that the treatment from the narcissist isn’t your fault.  Their actions are 100% their responsibility.  Don’t accept the blame for their behavior.  Don’t carry their shame for their actions.  Learn all you can about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, healing from narcissistic abuse & about how to have healthy boundaries.  Take care of & protect yourself.

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Encouragement For Those Who Went No Contact With Their Narcissistic Parents

I don’t know how many nasty comments I have heard people say when it comes to severing ties with narcissistic parents.  I’ve heard no contact with a narcissistic parent is taking the easy way out.  Relationships take work, & walking away is cowardly & lazy.  Blood is thicker than water, so just put up with whatever they do.  Every time I hear this sort of nonsense, I just want to scream.

If someone has told you something similar, I want to encourage you today to ignore their idiocy!  Rather than feel badly for severing ties with your abusive parents, consider some points…

Most of us who have gone no contact agonized over the decision for a long time.  It wasn’t done thoughtlessly.  Quite the opposite!  It took me at least a couple of years before going no contact.

A lot of pain & suffering led up to the decision to go no contact.  Years upon years of abuse led to it.  This decision wasn’t reached because of one small disagreement!  It was reached only after suffering years of constant emotional & mental abuse.  Often other forms of abuse were present as well such as spiritual, physical, sexual & financial.  There is absolutely NO reason to tolerate that from anyone!  It’s only right to protect yourself!

No contact isn’t easy.  Not only the decision to sever ties with a parent.  The aftermath can be incredibly difficult. 

Many narcissists engage in horrific smear campaigns that turn a person’s entire family & many friends against them.  So many people who go no contact with their narcissistic parents lose any family they have as well, because the family blindly sides with the narcissist.  The ones who go no contact are labeled as selfish, spoiled, ungrateful, evil, un-Godly & more.  This happened to me, & I can tell you that it is incredibly painful when people you think care about you turn on you & side with the people who have caused you such intense pain. 

Other narcissists refuse to take no contact as an answer.  They harass & stalk their victims mercilessly.  They show up places where the victim frequents often.  They inundate their victim with constant phone calls, voicemail messages, text messages, emails & social media messages.  The sheer volume can be utterly staggering!  And, they will have others harass you too.  I have been in this situation & I really can’t describe how terrifying it is.  To think that someone has the ability to manipulate others into harassing you & can devote so much time to harassing you makes you wonder what else exactly are they capable of doing?  It’s also terrifying when you block one means of accessing you they have then suddenly they show up via another means.  One of my abusers was so vicious that I blocked her access to my website, because she began contacting me through it after I’d blocked her ip address by usingother computers.  One of her messages simply said “boo!”  To me, that clearly was her way of saying, “You can’t stop me!”  So disturbing!

Even if you are fortunate enough not to experience those scenarios, that doesn’t mean no contact is easy.  Once you’re away from the constant abuse, you’d think you could relax & begin to enjoy life, but that doesn’t always happen.  Sometimes, once your brain realizes it can stop functioning in survival mode, it seems to want to force you to face all of the problems that were on the back burner because you had to focus on survival.  That can be very overwhelming at first, & it takes time to make your mind behave in a more manageable way.

There is also a grief process that happens after no contact with narcissistic parents.  You grieve the parents you never had but wanted.  You grieve your stolen childhood.  You grieve the family & friends you lost only because you were trying to protect yourself.  You realize your parents & family never loved you, & grieve that loss. 

No contact isn’t easy by any means.  To follow through with it takes an incredible amount of courage & strength.  Never, ever let anyone make you feel as if something is wrong with you for severing ties with your narcissistic parents.  Instead be proud of yourself  because you had the fortitude to do one of the most difficult things a person can do!

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When Narcissists Claim They Don’t Know Why Their Adult Children Went No Contact

I would like to make one small disclaimer on this post.  I am writing it from the perspective of those in a position like mine, the adult child who severed ties with their parent for valid reasons.  This doesn’t mean I always side with the adult children in these situations & assume all parents to be guilty until proven innocent.  I absolutely do NOT believe in blindly siding with any specific person or even group. 

Many times when an adult child severs ties with their parent, that parent claims to have no idea why their child did this.  They say this happened without warning, totally out of the blue.  My parents did this.  I severed ties with them after a huge argument in May, 2016.  During the fight, I felt all knowledge I have of narcissism went out the window because I was so hurt.  I cried, I used bad language & I told my parents exactly why I was so upset with them rather than remain calm & set boundaries as I usually did.  Oddly, they acted like I did this every day, & weren’t affected in the slightest by my behavior.  It was the last time I spoke with my mother before her death, & one of the last times I spoke to my father before his.  He tried to apologize a few months after the argument, but it was obvious from what he said, he had no idea why I was so upset.  When cleaning out their home after my mother’s passing, I read some things she wrote & she was clearly just as oblivious. 

This is very typical of abusive parents.  My story is only one of many similar ones.  This makes it so hard for the adult child in this situation, because you feel like your parent didn’t even care enough to listen to anything you said, let alone try to make things better.  It’s so painful thinking they’re so unaware & uncaring.  If you’re in this position, you know that hurt all too well.

I’ve come to realize something though.  Whether or not they know, it truly has nothing to do with you & everything to do with them.

Normal human beings recognize when they have said or done something bad.  They apologize & try to make amends.  As anyone who has even a fleeting knowledge of people with narcissistic personality disorder knows, that isn’t how narcissists work.  Apologizing & making amends are beneath them, so that won’t happen.

Also to apologize, they need to recognize they did something wrong. Narcissists lack the basic human empathy to see anything from another’s perspective, even when that problem is glaringly obvious to about anyone else in the world. 

In many cases like this, however, the narcissists do know that they were wrong.  They won’t admit it, but they know.  You’re probably thinking I am wrong on this, but I really don’t think I am.  If you pay attention to what a narcissistic parent in this situation says, there are hints that show they know they messed up. 

They may talk only about their child going no contact with them or how angry that child has been with them.  They talk about how this affects them.  But they leave out things that led up to their child being so angry or making this decision.  They may say things like their child says they are a terrible person or says cruel things to them, but where are the details?  Those are left out.  Sure, this could be a narcissist’s way to keep all focus on them & off their adult child, but I believe in many cases, it’s a way to make them look like the innocent victim & hide their awful behavior.  The listener is supposed to be so distracted by what was done to the narcissist that it never occurs to them to ask what else happened.

If your narcissistic parent has told people they have no idea why you severed ties with them, I know you’ll feel hurt, maybe even unimportant because your own parent doesn’t care about why you opted for no contact.  That is a natural way to feel but that doesn’t mean it is right!  Whether or not your parent truly knows, their behavior is all about them, & is no reflection on you.  Please remember that! 

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For Adult Children Who Went No Contact With Their Narcissistic Parents

This post is for those of you who have made the bold, painful step of going no contact with your narcissistic parents.

All of us who have gone no contact with our narcissistic parents know that in such situations, the relationship had become utterly intolerable & that pushed us to the desperation of no contact.  The constant control, vindictive criticisms & abuse became too much from the overtly narcissistic parent.  The constant shaming, manipulation, childish behavior & abuses so subtle most people didn’t see them from the covertly narcissistic parent also were too much.  Who can live with this indefinitely?!  No one with any normal human emotions could!

Upon ending the relationship, the shock of the flying monkeys & their despicable abuse was next.  The constant comments of, “But that’s your mother or father!”  “You only get one set of parents!”  “They’re getting up in years.  How do you think you’ll feel when they die?” & other venom comes from their mouths.  When guilt & shame don’t work, they attack your character.  They call you ungrateful, spoiled, a brat, evil & more.  If you’re a Christian, your faith will be attacked, too.  As they like to claim, by severing ties with your abusive parents, you obviously have no idea what it means to honor your parents.  You must be a hypocrite!   

Trauma doesn’t end with no contact.  Thanks to flying monkeys, it often continues for quite some time until they find a new target.

The time immediately after no contact is a very difficult time.  The guilt, the doubts & the abuse from flying monkeys are all incredibly hard to deal with!  Also many times, C-PTSD goes into overdrive after no contact.  No longer needing to function in survival mode seems to make the brain think that since you’re safe now, it’s time to deal with all those old issues you put on the back burner for so long.  All of these things can make you wonder if you did the right thing by going no contact.  Sometimes it seems easier to remain in the relationship just to keep the peace, but it truly isn’t easier.

Once you are no contact, you’re finally free.  Free from the barrage of abuse from your narcissistic parent.  Free from your parent trying to make you into whatever they want you to be.  Free to do what you want without your parent trying to tell you how wrong you are & shaming you for your so called bad decisions.  Free to be the wonderful person God made you to be.  You’re finally free!!

From day one, narcissistic parents try to make their children into whatever sick fantasy they have.  They don’t care one iota about the child’s talents, interests or anything like that.  They are narcissists, after all, so all that matters to them is what they want.  Growing up like this, finally experiencing freedom can be scary.  The assaults of the flying monkeys & often the harassment from the narcissistic parents can add to the fear.  You know something though?  Going through the fear is totally worth it.  On the other side of that fear are peace, joy & bravery like you have never known! 

And, you don’t have to walk through that fear alone.  God will be right by your side!  Remember, Psalm 23 says that He walks with us through the valley of the shadow of death.  I have experienced that first hand, & I can tell you that as painful as those times were, especially after going no contact with my parents, it was all worth it.  I ended up closer to God than ever, & He enabled me to do the unimaginable.  He will do the same for you if you allow Him to.  Dear Reader, as hard as no contact with narcissistic parents can be, don’t give up.  Don’t go back.  Don’t listen to the absurd ramblings of those who don’t know your situation like you do.  Lean on God.  Let Him support & guide you through this process.  xoxo

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How To Handle People Who Shame Adult Children Of Narcissists For How They Treat Their Parents

I saw a comment on one of my old YouTube videos I thought was rather interesting.  The comment said that this person took care of her elderly abusive mother until the end of her life.  She suffered health problems that didn’t run in her family as a result of dealing with their “complicated” relationship, but she is glad she didn’t abandon her like I did my parents.  She went on to say that although she didn’t like my video, she said she’s glad she watched it anyway because she realized maybe she wasn’t such a terrible daughter like me after all. 

Rather than simply delete the stupid comment, I left it up.  It’s sort of a lesson within a lesson.  The original lesson being my video, & the secondary lesson is how to deal with people like this.

This sort of comment happens all the time with adult children of narcissistic parents.  The smug ignoramuses of the world think they have the right to judge how we treated our parents while they truly know nothing of our experiences. We need to be aware that this can happen & how to handle it.

To start with, I believe it’s very important to realize this is a trigger, which is why your reaction may be exceptionally emotional.  Mine certainly was.  I immediately felt rage & wanted to tell this person exactly what I thought of her judgmental words.  I took a few moments to calm down because I recognized my strong reaction was a trigger.  It reminded me of things my own family has said.  If a comment like this is said to you in person or on the phone, you don’t have the luxury of taking a few minutes to calm yourself before responding as I did.  Instead, take a deep breath & let it out slowly.  This will calm your mind & body long enough for you to formulate a good response rather than react.  Reactions in situations like this only cause more problems.  You need to have a calm & calculated response instead.

It’s also important to recognize that a person saying this sort of drivel has some ulterior motive.  Often they are flying monkeys, saying such idiocy to hurt you on behalf of the narcissist.  They may even know the truth but say this anyway simply to hurt you because you hurt the narcissist that they idolize.  In my case, I don’t know this person nor does this person know my parents.  Flying monkey obviously can’t be the case.  I have another idea of what her problem is though…

The commenter in my situation is, I believe, a covert narcissist or at the very least, has narcissistic tendencies.  Covert narcissists will do anything they can to get the word out that they are wonderful, caring, & even martyr like.  That is what this person did with me.  She came across as a loving, devoted daughter who was willing to sacrifice herself & even her health for her abusive mother.  She shamed me for not being a “good daughter” like she obviously was while at the same time building up her martyr image.  I’m glad this person was so obvious in displaying those narcissistic tendencies because that enabled me to know how to handle the situation immediately: provide no narcissistic supply.  I debated deleting the comment, but that would’ve validated to this person how mean & unreasonable I am.  It also would’ve enabled her to look like the victim of my meanness, & provided narcissistic supply.  Instead, I figured it best to respond simply, without emotion.  I said that everyone has to do what they feel is right in their situation.  I did in mine just as she did in hers.  I’m not judging her so please don’t judge mine & if she can’t refrain from that, please stay off my page.  Simple, to the point & calm. 

Whether the person in question in these situations is a narcissist, flying monkey or just some poorly informed person with good intentions, it’s never wise to defend your actions.  Somehow, that always seems to make things worse, so don’t do it!  If you must say something for whatever reason, keep your comments unemotional & logical.  State only the facts, not how you felt.  And, ask logical questions like, “I don’t understand how you think me doing what you think I should makes any sense.  Why should I subject myself to being treated so poorly?”

Lastly, always remember that God is there for you.  If you don’t know what to do, ask Him for help.  Even a prayer as simple as “Please help me!” can work wonders! As the adult child of a narcissistic parent, you need to know how to handle yourself when these situations arise & unfortunately, they will arise.  I hope my situation has given you ideas on how to do that when the time comes. 

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About Toxic In-Laws, part 2



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About Toxic In-Laws, part 1

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Why Do Narcissists Have Children?

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.

 

 

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