It is difficult to deal with a narcissist when you are a grown, independent, fully functioning adult. The children of narcissists have an especially difficult burden, for they lack the knowledge, power, and resources to deal with their narcissistic parents without becoming their victims. Whether cast into the role of Scapegoat or Golden Child, the Narcissist's Child never truly receives that to which all children are entitled: a parent's unconditional love. Start by reading the 46 memories--it all began there.

Monday, August 5, 2013

What do YOU want?

The bulk of the work is done and off to the attorneys so I can start easing back into my real life again...

Thinking about what to write next, I realized that while I have some topics in mind, it occurred to me that I have never asked any of you what you might find interesting or enlightening or helpful. Argh! Those fleas just crop up everywhere, don't they?

So I am making this an open invitation, whether you read this now or months after it is published, to make a comment below and tell me what narcissist-related topics you would like to know more about. I can't promise to write on every topic that comes in, but I would certainly like to know what you would like to know and, if I can help, do something about it.

I don't mind if your question comes with a experience you had that led you to the question...or if you want to know more about some of my experiences and feelings  (like in the 46 Memories), so please let your imagination and curiosity and your own experiences be your guides.

I look forward to hearing from you all!


  1. Hello Violet,

    This is indeed a very empathic post - thank you so much. Now when I try to respond I feel a lot like the poet might have felt whose poems have made a large impact on my life while I was growing up: "you listened to me and that made me be at a loss for words"

    I escaped from a narcissistic mother to find myself in the cold embrace of a most cruel narcissistic world. The very same moral senses that made me rebel against my narcissistic mother now makes me rebel against living in a world like this.
    To deny the fact that we are ruled by narcissistic individuals is to be in a fatal denial. There is plenty of evidence on my blog to prove my words.

    Therefore all I can say, please visit my blog and let me know what you think. My blog, like yours, is there to offer help for all of us, even if doing so from a different perspectives. Thank you.


    1. I am not sure if I got the right blog because what came up was a very political site that seemed to have little or nothing to do with narcissism. I can appreciate the macro nature of viewing our society as narcissistic, but The Narcissist's Child blog deals with the microcosm of narcissistic families and the harm it does to those who spent their childhoods trapped inside them. The link, I think, is tenuous.

      Sometimes people try to hide from dealing with their personal pain by distracting themselves. One of the ways people do that is to become "helpers." They can immerse themselves in helping others--and that helping can include being the "town cryer" who tells everybody what is wrong with everything around them--and through that immersion avoid dealing with their own very real, very personal pain. They feel heroic for putting themselves and they problems second to helping others when, in fact, they are really using those others as a shield between themselves and their own pain.

      I am not saying this is what you are doing, but if you haven't spent a good amount of time in a therapeutic situation and resolved your feelings about your NM, this might be something to think about.

      Hugs to you,


  2. First, I just want to say thank you for your blog. I stumbled upon it late last year, and have been reading your entries since then, often going back to specific entries when I feel like I was the problem in my encounters with narcissistic people. In one of your entries, you stated something along the line of even though there were times when your behavior wasn't the best when dealing with your mother, you still knew that there was something fundamentally wrong with your mother. Even though I don't have a narcissistic mother, I believe that my father is very narcissistic and so are several of my paternal relatives. I've also encountered a couple of narcisssitic or at the very least, highly self-absorbed people in the workplace and my experiences with these coworkers are what I am going to share with you. I'm ashamed to say that in my interactions with these specific coworkers, it got to a point where I lashed out at them, after experiencing a build up of annoyance toward their personalities. These incidences were at two seperate workplaces. I've never felt so much annoyance toward others outside of these former coworkers and although I truly believe that something was off about these individuals, I still feel a mixure of anger, shame, and humiliation for becoming so annoyed and lashing out at them in nasty ways. In the case of one of those coworkers, I yelled at him and in the other case, there was an incident where i spoke to her in a sarcastic way, which she really did not like, instead of asserting myself with her properly. It's been several years since my encounters with these former coworkers, and I still dwell on those experiences sometimes. Now that I know better about how to assert myself in situations where I don't like someone else's behavior and how they are interactig with me, I get angry with myself for my behavior toward these former coworkers. I try to look at those experiences as learning experiences, but a lot of the time, I just wish that I had known better back then about how to deal with either narcissistic people or highly self absorbed people, instead of lashing out and and showing poor communication. As an introverted person, I feel like these experiences have been even more powerful for me because I tend to dwell on past experiences and reflect way to much. I just really need to know how I can move on from these past experiences and how to put things into perspective. Thanks. I'm sorry if these experiences seem trivial, there are details that I am leaving out in terms of why I felt so much annoyance toward these people, but I wanted to get to the gist of the issue. Anyway, thank you for you consideration.

    1. I would guess that there are two possibilities that could apply here and you would have to be the one to determine if either of them strikes a responsive chord.

      There was a book some years back by a psychologist, Dr. Eric Berne, called "Games People Play." One of the games was called "Collecting Stamps." At the time this book was written, retailers gave S&H Green stamps or Blue Chip stamps out with purchases, people saved the stamps in special stamp books, and eventually, when you had enough, you could cash the stamps in for merchandise like toasters, coffee makers, and things like that.

      The game "Collecting Stamps" is where people collect little injuries and affronts like stamps and when they've collected enough of them, they "cash them in" with something like a tantrum, a screaming fit, a verbal assault on someone else, even a physical assault. Even though a part of them may feel appalled at their behaviour after the fact, another part of them covertly feels justified and relieved.

      Another possibility is that you simply have a subconscious expectation that things will (or should) go along in a way that does not annoy or otherwise doesn't meet with your expectations. When people do not behave as you think they should, rather than shrug it off, you become irritated that your expectations have been disappointed. This is something I used to struggle with a lot, having been taught by my NM's example that things should always go as I expect them to go--that other people are beholden to my expectations--and when they don't, it is always somebody else's fault--and that I somehow had a right to NOT be disappointed. This was a sense of entitlement I got as a flea from my NM and for a long time I believed, in a subconscious way, that I was entitled to have people around me behave in the way I wanted and expected them to. And when they didn't, I became extremely annoyed with them--although I never lashed out at them, I was too afraid of the consequences (more conditioning from NM).

      These are my best guesses as to what you are dealing with. Regardless of what it is, the problem is something that makes your life less than what you want it to be and it bothers you--excellent reasons for you to seek some professional help to overcome this. I didn't get over that sense of entitlement until I was mid-way through my therapy. There was no epiphany for it, just a gradual adaptation to the reality of the world and my right place in it. I recommend that you try it and see if you can get the same help I did.



    2. Well, I don't think that this is exactly the case for me. I never consciously "collected stamps" when it came to how other people interacted with me. I was more of the type to let a lot of things go because I didn't think of the behaviors as big deals in the moment, and would simply attribute those things to just being aspects of the person's personality, so I would try to have patience and often ignore "red flags". With these former coworkers that I mentioned, like I said in my initial post, after a while, I started to realize that there was something off about them in their interactions with not only me, but with other people as well. What seemed like normal interactions on the surface, started to become unnerving to me after a while. In one case, with the now former coworker whom I lashed out to in a sarcastic tone, previous to that incident, I had started to realize that every time she got a chance she would put down my work efforts, basically not giving me any credit or acknowledging my efforts, but in a very subtle manner. At first, I didn't think it was a big deal because she was outgoing and joked a lot, but after a while, I definitely noticed a pattern, and that's when I started to become annoyed.

      Yes, there were times in the past that I did have expectations of others, but quite honestly, I'm usually more of a live and let live person, unless as I mentioned in my initial comment, I just become completely wary of someone's personality.

      I think with these two incidences with the coworkers, my problem was that I was in situations in which I had to interact with a couple of what I thought were off-putting (what I now consider to be narcissistic personality types, after giving it a lot of thought)personality types and I wasn't used to that, since I usually spend a lot of time in my own company or around my own small immediate family. Living like that, and then interacting with coworkers who have at the very least very self absorbed personalities and always need attention, does not a good combination make.

      At this point, I have become a much more calm person, who can handle issues more head on, but it was just those two incidences with former coworkers in the past, that really got to me, and which I still think about sometimes. But anyway, since writing my initial post here, I've also looked at websites on ways to cope with narcissistic or self absorbed coworkers, such as being assertive, documenting their behavior, noticing the red flags as they happen, etc. The advice on those sites have helped me on that specific issue. I've noticed that while there are a lot of sites about how to deal with narcissistic family members, the blogs and sites that are completely dedicated to dealing with narcissistic people in the workplace and their affect on other employees, aren't as prevalent. There are quite a few that do include some writing on the matter, but I haven't seen many that are dedicated to just that topic.

      Anyway, thank you for taking the time to respond to my initial entry.

    3. Stamp collecting is never done consciously. None of the games people play, ala Berne's book, are played consciously. And many of the games played are done so by perfectly nice people. The stamp collecting game is played just as you describe--allowing little insults to happen, justifying allowing them to go unchallenged, and eventually, burdened under the weight of them, blowing up at someone. For every game player, the blow up feels good, cathartic...for some there follows a sense of guilt or dismay, for others just a feeling of being justified--"he got what was coming to him for pushing my buttons." Like I said before, only you can tell if this strikes a chord of recognition, and even if it doesn't, it is good to be aware of the dynamics of the game both so you can recognize it if you are doing it and so you can recognize it when someone does it to you. It is actually a passive aggressive response to perceived provocation (which may or may not be real).

      We all have expectations of others, whether you acknowledge them or not. If you think you don't, then you are fooling yourself. You, like everyone else, expect people to behave in certain ways, either according to societal norms or your beliefs. You expect, for example, that a strange man in an elevator with you will not assault you; you expect that your boss will be treated respectfully by your coworkers; you expect that if you arrive first in the queue at the cashier, you will be served first. Our lives are full of expectation, some of them based in reality, some not, some of them rational, some not. Expecting your co-workers to treat you with respect would be a rational expectation; expecting them to treat you disrespectfully would not would be pathological on your part and probably a manifestation of an expectation that nobody would treat you with respect because your FOO didn't. We can actually elicit that disrespect from others with our expectations because they expect a certain kind of behaviour and attitude from you and it you dissapoint that expectation, if you do not fulfill your part of the social contract, they will treat you differently.

      I don't know what kind of NM you had, but mine was overbearing and bombastic. For many years, in the presence of other people like that I gave off "subordinate" signals, not "equal" signals, and these people ran roughshod over me. It took years of therapy to overcome that--and my reactions to it. My last boss was a terrible narcissist who regularly reduced her staff to tears--or to rage. She bypassed me, for the most part. I am still not entirely sure why, but my best guess is that she wasn't getting signals from me that allowed her to suss out my vulnerabilities. I once worked for a man who got to me with the comment "I thought you were a professional!" in a sneering tone of voice and that just stabbed me in the heart. Once I knew I was a professional, however, words like that had no power to upset me.

      So as much as these people in your life may have personality disorders or other issues that get up your nose, it is YOUR nose and your psyche that is reacting to them. Their provocation is wrong...there is no question of that. But letting their petty incursions into your equanimity boil up into an explosion is not the best response to it. One of the problems with believing that we have such a tendency under control is that we believe it right up to the moment that it happens again. And again. Doing the same thing again and again merely gives us the same result again and again.

      See pt 2

    4. Make no mistake, you have a part in those blow ups. The way you choose to deal with the multitude of petty assaults these people commit is your part in it. Some of us are even hypersensitive, conditioned to it by narcissistic parents and family members, and so irritations others would simply dismiss, we cling onto and gather together in that pot along with the more blatant and obvious slights. Ignoring them only works if we can ignore them subconsciously as well and from what you have said, that is not something you have been terribly successful with to date, hence your continual reliving the events.

      It is futile to hope the rest of the world will become as polite and sensitive and thoughtful as we would like it to be so it is up to us to learn productive ways to deal with the insensitive, thoughtless and even intentionally malicious in ways that do not affect our inner peace. The best way I know to do that is to see a competent therapist and ride out the waves with his/her help until you can handle those people with true equanimity.

      Hugs to you


  3. Well, Violet, I'll start off by asking you how you achieved some emotional detachment, given your "sandwiched" situation between MNM, and ND. Any thoughts about that are welcome. Your posts are always so insightful anyway, but I think your resilience probably intrigues me most. I'm glad you'll be able to back away from the lawyers. Good grief, we need them at a minimum in our lives. xo CS

    1. Ok that is a good question and the answer is too much for the reply space here, so that goes to the top of my list for a topic. Thanks for the suggestion!!


  4. Love your site! Sorry to hear about the problems you're having w/your tenants. Per your questions about what we'd like to read about, I am always looking for what WORKS for survivors of malignant narcicisstic parenting. (Am scapegoated daughter of MNM and MNF with a "golden child" MN sister.) Always on the lookout for practicle, do-able strategies for dealing with the rage, the depression, the grief over the years we lost to these families of origin and the life-long damage inflicted on us. Again, love your blog. God bless!

    1. A good subject for a future entry. Thanks for the suggestion!

  5. Sweet Violet,

    I appreciated your kind thoughts last time I commented. I'm working so hard myself to overcome my own fleas. One of the worst is to always assume that anyone that gets friendly with me is a threat to my person. I haven't had genuine female friendships since high school. And those are just via email now some 25 years later. The few that I thought would/could be good ones over the years either stole from me, tried to seduce my husband, tried to get me fired, or in some way damaged the scant trust I'd opened myself up to. My husband's family is just as MN as my own, and we just have pretty much just quit trying to have other people in our lives. I have some cordial female co-workers, but inside I assume that each smile at me has a malevolent sneer underneath. I guess I just don't know how people can trust others enough to make friendships. I know one of my biggest fleas was always being an N magnet, but I really don't see how to recalibrate my person sense to not assume that everyone will screw me over.

    Anyhow, if you have any advice on not becoming a crazy old dog lady and having some sense of just how to determine the decent folks from who I've known all my life, I'd appreciate your insight.

    I'm still NC after 8 months now, and still feeling it is the best 8 months of my life.

    Warmest regards,

    1. It is pretty clear that you have trust issues, Amy. And it is pretty unlikely that you will ever resolve them without outside help.

      Unresolved trust issues are like a revolving door: your ability to discern who is trustworthy and who is not is flawed, most certainly by an upbringing in which the people you should have been able to trust implicity were not trustworthy; this sets you up to trust people like them, people who will inevitable betray that trust. When your trust is betrayed, you get extra-cautious until you are almost isolated then you decide you can't be like that, you MUST take a risk and let someone in, so you let in someone who seems trustworthy to you who turns out to be just like your parents. And the cycle repeats, with you getting more and more isolated and wary each time.

      The fix for this is simply stated but difficult to do: you re-learn who and how to trust. It doesn't work to decide nobody is trustworthy because that isolates you and, besides, it isn't true. Not everybody is trustworthy on every little thing, either, so your expectations of trust may need to be adjusted as well: expecting perfection from others sets you up for disappointment: it "proves" to you that nobody can be trusted.

      How do you do that? Therapy, of course. You let a qualified therapist with experience in helping people from dysfunctional families help you go back and unlearn what you think you know about trust and help you to learn to recognize the wheat from the chaff. When I kicked out my NHusband I took a two-year hiatus from men and concentrated on my therapy--when I started dating again I was amazed at how quickly I could spot the selfish, self-absorbed and narcissistic and how much easier it was to protect myself from them...both in platonic and romantic relationships. Since that divorce I have had two good marriages (the first one died) and one romantic relationship that turned into a long-term friendship.

      I know I harp on therapy but that is because some of this stuff is impossible to address effectively without an impartial observer calling us on our own bulls**t. We fool ourselves, we tell ourselves stories that make our own dysfunctional behaviours feel ok. It takes an outsider sometimes to point it out to us and then to have our backs as we try to change it.

      You must not forget your own basic personality type, either. While I can be as gregarious as the next guy, left to my own devices I have no problem spending days alone, feeding my brain. Being alone is not the same as being lonely and if your aloneness does not feel oppressive and you are not hiding from life in it, it could be that you are just one of those essentially introverted people who are most comfortable in solitary pursuits, only occasionally venturing out to connect with others. There is nothing wrong with that, you know.

      Hugs to you,


    2. Sweet Violet,

      You are really very insightful for someone that has never met me in person. But with our similar histories, you are just farther along on your journey than I am at this stage. As NM is a therapist, I will continue to do work studying N behaviors, journaling, and self reflection before I venture down the T route. That is a great deal more scary to me after having two of her hand chosen Therapists explain to me in great detail how I was the broken one, than not having close friends has been.

      NM always pegged me as gregarious and outgoing compared to my GCBro who was practically afraid of his own shadow growing up. In reality, I am really quite introverted if left to my own devices, and quite comfortable with my dogs as companions. I guess I hadn't thought about that aspect of it.

      My neighbors are all very social, and as we all have front porches, there is quite a bit of socializing and drinking going on in the evenings when I'm walking my dogs. My next door neighbor seems quite friendly and nice, but I get a huge N vibe from her although she's not done anything specific that I can pinpoint, other than being chatty. I have a superficial relationship with her husband that is just cordial, friendly and yet politely distant, but she seems to want to be my BFF from the day they moved in.

      I don't know if I'm still too raw from recent Narc revelations and 8 month NC to judge her N-ness or just being overly cautious on my part. I guess that is the just of my intentions to you above. Not that I feel lacking really, but due to the socialness of our street, It does show that we don't have visitors by comparison. I guess I don't want to come off as wierd anti-social when I'm so visible daily from my morning and evening dog walks. (Now that I write that, it has fleas all over it by wanting to keep appearances in front of my neighbors, but not wanting to seem aloof, snobish and selfish.)


    3. Why would you allow your antagonist to choose your therapist for you? If my NM, were she still alive, tried to herd me towards a specific doctor for some ailment of mine, I would run like hell in the opposite direction because I would immediately suspect she was in collusion with him/her! Why would you let your NM choose a therapist--TWO therapists!!--for you??

      Don't blame therapy or therapists for the aversion you feel: you created that by being the dutiful daughter of an N, obeying the N, doing as she asked. Of course these therapists blamed you! It is a sure bet that she had meetings with them before your first appointment, telling them HER self-serving "diagnosis" before you ever got through the door. She led you to a poisoned well and you drank deep.

      The journalling is good--very good--and so is introspection. But it is not enough, especially if your very manipulative NM is a therapist as well (and you are far from the first person I've met who has an NM who is a therapist--I know a woman in Europe whose mother is a prominent psychiatrist and not only acknowledges that she is a narcissist, but says it makes her a better shrink! Talk about rationalization!). Being in the mental health industry just gives her more ways to manipulate you and keep you from discovering the real truth.

      Allow me to make a suggestion: suss out a therapist who has experience in helping people who come from dysfunctional families, who have personality-disordered parents. If, during therapy, your therapist asks what your mother does for a living, downplay it: don't say she is a therapist, say she works in the mental health field; if s/he presses for more specifics, just say "she does some counselling." Downplay it so that the therapist doesn't get fixated on the idea that s/he might be "betraying" a colleague. They are human, you know, and heir to the same ills we are.

      But the bottom line remains: this is not something we can successfully execute on our own and the longer you procrastinate about getting into a good therapeutic relationship, the longer it will be before you come out the other side.

      Best of luck to you


  6. Hi V, thank u for your blog,it helped me so much. I am now in LC to NC with my NM, but I am confused. Through my hole life I heard, of course, that the problem is me, so now I would really like to know,is it ALWAYS parent's f up,when their children don't like them, or can it happen that truly good parents just have an ungreatful selfish child.

    1. Narcissism is not fully understood by the mental health and scientific communities. It is pretty much acknowledged that there is a biological component, but how much additional impact nurturance has on it is not yet understood.

      Psychologists disagree on how much nurture has on any child. When I took my first psychology class in the late 1980s my professor ascribed to the "tabla rasa" theory--that the child's psyche is a blank slate upon which parents write. I had had had three kids by this time and I considered this attitude to be unmitigated bullshit...all three of my kids were different from each other in utero so it stood to reason to me that they would each come into the world with their slates already written upon...but that I would write upon them as well.

      Can "truly good" parents have an ungrateful, selfish child? That, I think, depends entirely on how you define both "truly good" and how you define "ungrateful" and "selfish." Not all selfishness is have to have a certain degree of it in order to survive. It is excessive selfishness that is pathological...and again, there is no clear, objective definition of what is "excessive" because it always depends on the circumstances.

      The real answer to your question lies in determining if your parents were "truly good" by societal norms. I have to tell you, "truly good" parents tend not to blame their children for things but rather blame themselves, so in my book, they've already violated at least one societal norm and I am already leaning towards them being the problem, not you. Furthermore, if you were really the problem, you most likely would not be asking the question because narcissists are extremely averse to introspection and looking for ways to accept blame. Strike two.

      I strongly suggest you do some work on guilt--sounds to me like you've been handed a truckload of it--with a therapist who has experience helping people from dysfunctional families. You might be amazed at what you discover!

      Hugs to you,


    2. Hi Violet and Anonymous 12:38
      I just watched the HBO remake of Mildred Pierce, with Kate Winslett. All through that, I thought, wow, that daughter is one freaking evil psychopath. In Mildred Pierce the mother really does work to do everything for her child, who is an ungrateful psychopath, and an evil bad seed. There's no gray area there. But of course, Mildred Pierce is fiction. I'm sure, though, that every NP who watches that thinks--yeah, that was me I did everything for them--about their own children.

      I think its entirely possible for a good parent to have a child who just is "off." Why wouldn't it be? However, we must work to define each situation as it is. If a parent has done everything for their child, paid for their education, consistently been there for REAL, loving unconditionally and SHOWING it in actions, then, if a child turns out to be a psychopath it aint the parents' fault. But I don't think any of us writing here were in that situation, except maybe Violet, who had struck out on both generational sides. a psycho gene skipped a generation. Those of us who are ACoNs have worked our whole lives to get to a point where we are able to see that no, it really was our parents' selfishness and self-absorption that did the most damage.

    3. CS, you describe the dilemma of my family: my grandparents had three kids, my NM the middle one and only girl. The definitely seems to be a "psycho" gene in the family but where it came from I cannot know: my grandparents were "salt of the earth" kinds of people who did not abuse their children, but each of them came from huge families (that I never met) and they could have had crazy siblings I know nothing about.

      In the generation before me, NM was definitely the afflicted one, both of her brothers pretty much normal. In my generation, one of my cousins seems to have the gene (my NM's older brother's first girl--his younger daughter is as sweet as pie, the older one a mean-spirited vindictive bitch just like my NM). In the next generation, at least one of my kids has it...the last child has Aspergers's and it is hard to tell with him, but he IS as stiff-necked and uncompromisingly self-absorbed and entitled as anyone I have ever met. My other son is definitely not and even though he has suffered brain injuries and is disabled as a result, I don't see anything resembling the N gene in him.

      There IS a genetic component and nice, ordinary people like my grandparents do spawn self-absorbed narcissists like my NM, but I don't get the sense that this applies to the writer: my grandparents blamed themselves for my NM's behaviour (they say she was spoilt because she was the only girl) but the writer's parents blame her: red flag. It would never even occur to my NM that the problems she faced with other family members was her fault--the idea that she could be the cause of any conflict in the family was completely alien to her: our writer here is seeking to know if she might be truly to blame--she has self-doubt--something that doesn't plague the run-of-the-mill narcissist. Good parents can produce evil kids, just as straight people produce gay kids and people without any mental disease produce schizophrenic or bipolar kids. We don't control the genetic crap shoot, but just because it CAN happen doesn't mean it did.

    4. The original Mildred Pierce version (With N-Poster Child Joan Crawford) horrified me as a child. I knew how I felt about my own mother, and just thought that no matter what you do, Children of course come to hate their parents. My own mother was a master of the plausable deniability and gaslighting, so of course she was a "Good" mother. She told me so all the time. After seeing that movie as a teen, I first had the idea that I would never have kids. Watched it again with my H when we were dating, and that was how I discovered that he didn't want any either. All four of our parents being N's didn't register back then, but we only saw parenthood of people who hated the job, and kids hating them for it.

      When I watched the HBO remake with Kate Winslet last year, I just was so thankful that we never went that route again. Then a few months later, I went NC and it opened a flood of insight as to why we never wanted kids. Neither of us had anyone around us that didn't hate their own children growing up. Neither of us had Aunts or Uncles either, so there really wasn't a comparison we could make of true "Good Parents".

      When I see my neighbors teaching their daughter to ride a bike now (After NC), I just get so happy inside now that there are people out there that really do love their kids, not just say so in front of others or to convince themselves.

      A year ago, I was just upset and bitter that I didn't have that in my own life growing up. What was so unlovable about me that my own parents had to fake it? Knowing them for who they really are now made such a difference in my own perceptions.

      I can at least appreciate seeing it in others now, and have hope for the possibility of the next generation. I do think my neighbors seem very nice and kind. I guess learning boundries as well helps with not either being all open, or all shut off. Maybe I will work on middle ground with wanna be BFF neighbor.


    5. Amy, for every "Mildred Pierce" I believe there are 10 Mommie Dearests. For every parent who does everything for a child, who sacrifices everything for a "bad seed," there are narcissistic mothers who damage their children. IMHO! I never used to think that but I've come to realize how many ACoNs are actually out here over the last year! CS

    6. Think about it this way: my NM was a "Mildred Pierce" sort--she had good parents who actually did too much for her--who grew up to be a "Mommy Dearest." I honestly don't think it was coincidental that Joan Crawford was one of her fave actresses, either. I read Christina Crawford's book (could not bear to watch the movie--I cannot watch any movie in which children are abused or hurt) and despite the fact that I grew up lower middle class and hungry, I identified with her childhood every step of the way. I get really annoyed with people who accuse her (Christina) of making it all up...nobody who experienced a "Mommy Dearest" kind of mother would ever doubt her words.

      We are legion--I have said that before--and my experiences with this blog, the public comments I receive here and the private emails that come in, convince me that there is an epidemic of this kind of covert abuse going on in homes all over the world. Children are still chattel and too often treated as such.

    7. I agree completely. There's no way Christina made that up. Too much pain. Besides, her brother confirmed her version. People who don't have narcissistic parents cannot believe how bad it is to actually have them.

    8. We didn't have much growing up, but NM managed to get just HBO channel in a deal. We had a special box that only brought in HBO. Turn to channel 3 and flip the switch. HBO appeared. We had rabbit ears for local channels. This was before regular cable came to town. This was in the early 80's living in a trailer park when we were in elementary school. So for the other trailer park kids, we had something to envy in that, and kids would make friends with us just to come to our house to watch it.

      One of the movies out on HBO then was "Mommy Dearest". Back then, they had like 5-6 movies they would repeat ad nauseaum each month, then next month, you got a new set of movies. Bro & I must have watched it several dozen times, as when that was the only channel, it was "Wide World of Sports" for East German bobsledding or HBO. Of course we picked HBO. Mom hated that movie. Asked us "What's wrong with you that you are watching THAT again?" when she saw that it was on again.

      Truthfully, back then, I saw many similarities, but that she didn't beat us with wire hangers meant that she wasn't that kind of mother. She was more ignoring with rages if we made her notice us. That she was so horrified by it, and seemed to take personal offense always threw me a bit. She could care less what we watched on TV ever, and I think she got the HBO so that we wouldn't bother her. But that movie OFFENDED her to the core.

      After one of her rants once, I replied "Yes Mommy Dearest!" as just having seen it again, it seemed like the best response to my little 8 year old self at the time.

      Boy was I wrong! The side of my face was on fire for days, and the school nurse pulled me in to ask what happened and why I had a shiner. I said "I sassed my mom". Her response was "You should learn to mind your mouth better." and then just sent me back to class.

      She had never just hauled off and hit me before. It had been a few years since I'd been spanked at that time as we really tried to do what she said, and we tried to not upset her. It didn't occur to me that she was capable of that.

      That movie was the start of her violent streak that would continue for another decade until I moved out to attend college.

      She still brags to people that she never had to use physical punishments for her kids, as we were just such model citizens it wasn't necessary. To this day she will not admit that she ever raised a hand to us, and I have such a vivid imagination.

      I couldn't process the cognitive dissonance hearing her say that until I read about narsissistic rages, and realized that what happened when she was in a rage just disappeared from her memory. As if it never happened. She got more violent with me the older I got, but the above was the only one that surprised me. After that, I disappeared as much as I was able and made myself a non-person. I knew what she was capable of, even if she didn't consciously.

      Wow! I've never put that out publically before. My mother the LCSW Therapist specializing in abuse is a violent person. I don't know that I could have imagined how weightless that statement in writing makes me feel right now.


    9. Violet, I agree with 99% of your opinions and I respect them all, so while I can respect it, I cannot agree with your opinions about Christina Crawford or how you think children of NMs would react to her/her book. I find myself wondering - how long ago did you read the book, and have you ever tried rereading it after you gained new insight in therapy? The first time I read the book I absolutely believed the story, but upon rereading it, after having sought therapy, I was absolutely shocked I had not noticed the first time what a raging narcissist Christina Crawford seems to be.

      Since I find it an interesting topic to be discussed, that can shine light on larger narcissistic patterns, I figured I'd share my opinions, and some of the info I've dug up in places other than the book that supports my take on it. First of all, there are a lot of inaccuracies in Christina's memoir. Claims about Joan chopping down a rose garden, for example, that in fact never existed at the time Christina claims that happened. And there is a disturbing tone of selfcenterd-ness permeating it. Christina can remember every single detail of the presents she received as a child, but the actual abuse she supposedly endured she can't remember at all, frequently contradicting herself and her own time table of events, and having released 3 dramatically different versions of the book, cutting out and adding new info after 30+ years passed since her mother's death. Doesn't that reek of narcissistic rewriting of history, continually making it more dramatic to gain herself more sympathy? One of the claims she added after 30 years was that Joan allegedly killed her last and most loved husband! Now first of all, Christina wasn't even in the same state when he died - isn't that rather a bold claim to make without verification? Isn't that something a normal person would probably avoid doing? And even more importantly, how the fuck could you possibly forget that for over 30 years? (And only think to mention it once your own celebrity is fading?) Too convenient. Too narcissistic.

      Another troubling tendency in her book is her continued repeating that since she's the eldest child, her opinions and feelings matter much more than her siblings. Notice how she's always the victim - her mother abused her, her sisters manipulated her dying mother to get her cut out of the will. If Joan was truly a narcissist, Christina was the scapegoat, and the other children were GCs, why would the other children need to talk Joan into cutting Christina out of the will and giving them more? Isn't that something she'd do naturally if she were actually an NM? This aspect gets even more disturbing when you consider the cruel, defamatory lies Christina tells about her siblings. She claims they were not twins, and that they were adopted illegally. (According to her, *she* was the only child adopted legally - now doesn't that sound like a narcissistic fantasy?) The most bizarre part of this is they are twins, and they were both adopted legally. And they have the birth certificates to prove as much, and have successfully taken her to court for slander.

      That obvious, proven lie definitely casts some doubt on the rest of her story. It also, to me, supports the idea that she is, herself, the narcissist here. Why did she have to make up cruel and obvious lies about her siblings? Since Joan was dead by the time she published the book, she could never be taken to court for anything she said about Joan as you can't slander the dead. But somehow this wasn't enough for her - she had to tell lies about her still living sibling, which is not legal. Just like most narcissists, she always believes she'll get away with bending or breaking the rules, and will do anything to shame those she has resentment for - and her siblings are definitely near the top of that list, after Joan.

    10. (part two)
      There are countless other inconsistencies and cruelties in her documented behavior. I could probably write a 50 page essay on all her obvious contradictions and lies, lol, so I'll spare you that. As for her cruelty - before she adopted the other children, Joan tried to adopt a baby boy, who was taken away from her because adoption laws in those days were very different. Joan loved this boy and it absolutely broke her heart. She talked about the event in each of her books, and in interviews many years later, she continued to say she had 5 children (the 5th being that poor little boy who was taken away from her only to be put back into abusive foster homes for the remainder of her childhood.) When that little boy grew up, he decided to research his past and write a book about it. He reached out to the children and housekeepers of Joan's, and this poor boy, after a childhood full of abuse, asked these people if Joan had wanted him, and would have wanted to keep him. All Joan's other children and housekeepers told him that yes, Joan had loved him very much, which is obviously true if you read anything she's written or listen to interviews with her. Christina's response? As always, was cruel and heartless. It isn't just her mother she lacks empathy toward, but many innocent people who haven't done anything to her. There are many stories about Christina from actors and actresses whom she worked with when she was trying to make it big in Hollywood - actors and actresses who didn't necessarily love Joan. Yet every one of them describe Christina as an entitled, spoilt brat, who wouldn't follow direction from everyone - not even the director - and seemed to truly believe she was the most naturally talented person in Hollywood. Those accounts, also, sound to me like the face of a narcissist, not the face of a victim of narcissism. And I suspect it was the reason for her wrath at Joan. Joan had what she wanted - a career as a beloved actress - and as much as Joan tried to give Christina opportunities to follow in her footsteps, Christina forever blamed Joan for her own failing to become a star as big as her mother was.

      I have seen interviews with Christina where she talks, with extreme bitterness, about how angry it made her that her childhood friends were more interested in sucking up to her mother than being friends with her. I am certain this is where the vendetta started, and her own failed acting career amplified it. I have seen many interviews with Christina, and she always struck me as quite emotionless and lacking in empathy. But that interview about her bitterness at her friends liking her mother more - that was the most honest, the most animated, the most emotional and least scripted, I have ever seen her be.

      As for how she tells such a convincing story of abusive parenting? Well, now, that is almost the cruelest part of all. And I don't deny that some of her accounts of abuse are very realistic. But try reading some of Joan's autobiographies, or books of interviews with her, and you will discover something most troubling - Nearly all of Christina's accounts of abuse are ripped right from Joan's own life, and accounts of the terrible abuse Joan herself suffered as a child. The rest is pulled from various movies Joan acted in, such as "Queen Bee" and "Harriet Craig." This, also, fits in with my impression of Christina. She wanted very badly to be Joan V2, so she not only tried to be an actor, like Joan, but to steal Joan's own stories of abuse to appropriate for her own sympathy seeking plans.

    11. (part 3)
      As for how she tells such a convincing story of abusive parenting? Well, now, that is almost the cruelest part of all. And I don't deny that some of her accounts of abuse are very realistic. But try reading some of Joan's autobiographies, or books of interviews with her, and you will discover something most troubling - Nearly all of Christina's accounts of abuse are ripped right from Joan's own life, and accounts of the terrible abuse Joan herself suffered as a child. The rest is pulled from various movies Joan acted in, such as "Queen Bee" and "Harriet Craig." This, also, fits in with my impression of Christina. She wanted very badly to be Joan V2, so she not only tried to be an actor, like Joan, but to steal Joan's own stories of abuse to appropriate for her own sympathy seeking plans.

      I know it is not unheard of for children who were abused to go on and to abuse their own children. But as you have covered in other posts, this usually happens when the children don't see anything wrong with their abuse. If you read Joan's own words, she absolutely saw something wrong with her own abuse, and vowed to give her children a better life than she had been given. If anything, I believe she was guilty of rebelling, doing the polar opposite of her NM (which as you covered in a recent post, can also be a bad idea.) If anything, Joan spoilt Christina too much, and let her entitlement run rampant. - This theory, not the theory of abuse, is what is backed up by home videos, Joan's accounts, the accounts of Joan's other children, Joan's maids, etc. Christina was given anything and everything she wanted - including an amusement park being transported to her yard just for her birthday!

      Whew, sorry for the long post, but I find this such a fascinating case study in narcissism, and a perfect example of how the narcissist will project her own bad behavior on everyone else in her life, and can indeed fool a lot of people, unless you've done thorough enough research to stumble upon all the inconsistencies

    12. You realize that you are viewing this as a dichotomy: either she isn't a narcissist and therefore can be believed or she IS a narcissist and you can't believe a word she says. Life isn't like my NexH used to say, "even paranoids can have real enemies."

      Basically, I believe Christina, even now. I know that when I wrote the 46 Memories, I remembered only so much...maybe my mind wasn't ready to deal with the whole truth of my upbringing at that time. As I healed and re-read some of the episodes, new things came to mind, things I hadn't realized when I wrote the original memories.

      I also came to realize that I had some time-frame problems as well: certain periods of my life are mostly blanked out, other periods are so jumbled I have yet to sort them out chronologically. So, in writing, I had to choose a time and place for an event that may, later, prove to be incorrect: you do know that being incorrect is not the same as lying, right?

      Sometimes I write what I have been told because either I was too young to remember or because the knowledge was concealed from me and I had to get it from a third party. Sometimes my own memory is inaccurate or absent and I have to get information from other parties: what I write, under such circumstances, cannot be any more accurate than what others told me.

      If you asked my brother about our childhood and our mother, you would get a totally different perspective. Even though our mother is biologically the same, HIS mother and MY mother were very different people because he was the Golden Child and I was the scapegoat. His perspective, memories, and beliefs about our mother are necessarily different from my own because his experience of her is very different from mine. Does that make me a liar or him in denial? And in a household with more than two kids, usually only one is tagged to be the scapegoat and the other kids align with the their stories--even their memories--will be different from those of the scapegoat.

      You seem uncommonly eager to paint Christina a liar and narcissist and show virtually no understanding of what it is like to be the scapegoat in a dysfunctional family headed by a narcissist. Exactly what was your reason writing to me?

    13. Violet, I am the scapegoated daughter of an NM, so I do know well what it's like. My original comment was quite long, so I cut out extraneous bits, which may have made it seem more blunt, or show less insight, than what was intended. I apologize if I seemed lacking in understanding, or like I was coming at it from a "you're wrong, I'm right," angle. That was not my intention. I wrote to you because:

      1. I disagreed with your statement that no child of a narcissist would think Christina was lying, and I wanted to explain why, from the perspective of a scapegoated child of a narcissist.

      2. I have always found this case very interesting, and had strong opinions about it, but I have rarely had the chance to discuss it with anyone with any true understanding of narcissists within a family unit, especially someone whose opinions I respect as much as I respect yours. That is why I may have seemed "overeager."

      3. I have strong convictions (perhaps stronger than unusual) about this for the same reason you do : because we are the scapegoated children of NMs. It's not that I am eager to see Christina as a liar - instead, I see our positions as quite similar. Just as you may identify with Christina's experiences, and have stronger convictions because you can relate, I identify very strongly with Joan's childhood experiences, and have stronger convictions because I can relate. I am not, however, certain that my interpretation is the right one, and I am sorry if my original comment came across that way. I am open to your idea that it is not either or - that perhaps they were both narcissists and children of NMS and neither completely fabricated their experiences. I still do have some doubts and questions, and would certainly welcome your opinion on them, though I will understand if you don't wish to continue the discussion and will respect that.

      As for where I'm coming from as the daughter of an NM - I watched interviews with Joan years before I even heard about Christina. There was a lot about her that I related to, even before I knew about the details of her childhood - the sense of insecurity one detects from her, the perfectionism, the people-pleasing, etc. That led me to pick up her autobiographies, which were filled with stories of her childhood that I found myself identifying with a lot. Joan was, without doubt, the scapegoated daughter of an NM.

      Her brother - a reckless, selfish troublemaker - was the golden child; she wrote about all sorts of classic GC / scapegoat dynamics. Her mother always doted on him, while emotionally and physically abusing her; her brother would get in trouble, and she would be punished instead; I could go on and on - all the classic stuff is there. So it is not that I am simply eager to bash Christina. I am, perhaps, eager to defend someone I see as a scapegoat, just as you are.

      Here are the things that I find confusing, and correct me if I'm wrong about any of the general trends that I might mention - I am open to being misinformed about something. I believe it is usually the golden children of NMs who grow up to be narcissists, while scapegoats grow up with massive insecurity issues (and Joan exhibited quite a few of those) - all of which would make it more surprising to me if she was a narcissist herself. Also since golden children more commonly become narcissists, it would be doubly surprising if Christina was a scapegoat and later became a narcissist herself. I've seen you mention that a scapegoat who goes too far in the opposite direction can also end up with children with N tendencies, and I thought that might've happened with Christina.

    14. There's also the fact (and I admit I may be biased here) Joan did so many things my own NM would have never done: She was frequently described as a people pleaser, and in her own words was too insecure to ever feel comfortable being on a stage - my own NM was basically the polar opposite. She loved animals and made many anonymous donations to charities - my NM would never do anything charitable except for attention, making anonymity absolutely unthinkable. She continued to speak very highly of Christina, even after Christina began speaking negatively about her (she did an interview years before the book) - if I had done that to my NM, I would be dead to her and she would never have said anything positive about me. And if I badmouthed my own NM publicly, my GC siblings would waste no time tearing me apart. Christina's siblings, in contrast, have reacted very differently, refusing to badmouth her, and saying she is entitled to her perception of events and they still hope for reconciliation. I could go on and on. I'm sure you get my point.

      You did make very good points about memory - I have a flawed and jumbled recollection of my childhood as well. I didn't in any way mean to imply that this invalidates our experiences as abuse survivors, and I'm sorry if it seemed I was - perhaps I shouldn't have cut out all those extra bits after all. And I see nothing wrong with either of us discussing our recollections to help our healing or that of others. But I still have my doubts, because, well, I don't see either of us publicly attaching our recollections to our NM's name for millions of people to read. I think if I were to do that, I would think twice about reporting on facts I didn't remember well and could not verify (especially hurtful inaccuracies about my still living siblings, or accusations of something as serious as murder.) If I were determined to share those things, I would at least offer up the fact that it was secondhand information from other people, or information I couldn't be 100% sure about. So I still see some lack of ethics in the way Christina went about sharing it. And I still see worrying narcissistic motifs in the stories she tells (like about her being the only legitimate child.)

      I hope this has cleared up my opinion somewhat as well as any potentially problematic implications. I appreciate your thoughts and would be interested if you feel like discussing any of the factors I just mentioned.

      Best wishes,

    15. One fact I meant to mention but forgot - that in her autobiographies, Joan admitted to many mistakes and regrets she'd made in her life, including as a wife and as a parent. This is something no narcissist I've personally known would ever be willing to do, but I am open to the idea that there are other types of narcissists that I have not been personally acquainted with.

    16. This is not a forum for discussion of famous people and their problems.

      That said, I will address a couple of things you said:
      1) the fact that your NM would not behave in certain ways means nothing with respect to how Christina's mother behaved. While NMs all have a common thread, they are still individual human beings. Neither your NM nor mine are the benchmark of how NMs behave. The fact that your NM would not behave a certain way under certain circumstances does not negate the narcissism of a woman who DOES behave that way.

      2) being a scapegoat does not keep a person from becoming an N. Last month I published a piece on this: Approximately 30% of people who were abused as children go on to abuse their own children; approximately 70% who abuse their kids were themselves abused. It is a well-documented phenomenon.

      3) You invalidate Christina's experience and I find that offends me. If you were to apply the same "logic" processes you have used to invalidate Christina to my memories and my written reminiscences, you will find enough holes in things to invalidate me as well. You will be able to invalidate ANYONE whose life did not unfold not only logically, but logically to your satisfaction. That is unjust.

      Let me give you an example: my NM stole my kids and kept then away from me for 8 years. She told them I had abandoned them, which was not true. She had been blackening my name with the family for years but a year or two before she took them, she stepped up her campaign and by the time she took them, not one person in my family would give me a single word of help: they all truly believed what she had said about me.

      Eight years passed and the truth finally came out. I got my kids back. But NM would not admit to her lies...she was adamant that all of those lies were the truth and guess what? SOME of the people in the family continued to believe her...including my own daughter. Why? Because they employed logic: why would a mother say such awful things about her own daughter if they were not true? This "logic" is based on the false premise that all mothers love their daughters unconditionally so, they would never tell hurtful lies about them.

      In your "analysis" of Christina's tale, how many assumptions have you based your "logic" on? I can give you one right off the top: you assume that everybody who contradicts Christina is telling the truth. But I know better, because if you asked my family about me, they would all have told you the same ugly lies my NM told to them...that would be their "truth." Another assumption you have made is that scapegoats never grow up to be narcissists -- as much as 30% of them do because they align themselves with the people who have the power...the abusers...rather than those who were the victims.

      I believe Christina for a very simple reason: her story resonates within me. Her NM was a lot like my own. Her memories strike a chord of truth because her experiences mirror many of my own. And I don't think anyone who never experienced that kind of "mothering" can even think up the bizarre behaviours that these Ns engage in with their kids. I read the book and thought, throughout my reading, "Geeze, no wonder Joan Crawford was one of my mother's favourite actresses...they are two peas in a pod!"

      And now the topic of Christina Crawford and her unfortunate childhood is closed. I will not publish any more comments on the topic.

  7. Hi again everyone! Thank you, Violet and others for taking your time to answer me. O, no, I know my mother in a N. It's just I am so brainwashed from the childhood that I am a selfish and insensitive bitch who only thinks about myself. I definitely STILL have some guilt and different doubts. But it’s a tremendous help to find this site, because I used to believe that ,being a survivor, I am a selfish monster.

    A bit about myself. I am 40 years old, a successful carrier woman, who chose to be child free, because our family made me disgust the whole institution of family. I am the third generation (as far as I know) of NM daughters. My grandmother was terrorising my mother till she died, but my NM never got it. She always tells me how her mother was her best friend! My mother never moved out (we always lived together, me, my brother, my mother, my grandmother and my biologic father, well until they kicked him out). Since the day I and my twin brother were born, we were told that we have bad gins (from the father) and my mother’s side of family were the saints who were still raising us. When my grandmother had died (I was 12) I didn’t even cry once (honestly I was glad she died, I hoped that the emotional terror will stop), but I just got marked as even a bigger monster. There were a lot of terrible psychological abuse in my family while we were growing up.

    After my grandmother died, my mother used her newly found freedom to get social with her friends , remarried and was ignoring us until she get older and started to need us. We were never ever close, never talked about anything important. Since I was a little girl I wished me another mother.
    But I am the strong one in our family. I sat boundaries, moved on with my life despite of all her disapprovals about any choice I’ve made and even though I need work on my personality and some retaining occasional guilt for treating my NM as I do(I just now started researching on the subject, to put words on my feelings and the situation), I am doing ok. I knew nothing about N personalities, so I’ve confronted my NM many times, hoping she will change, but of course in vein. But I did said to her a lot of stuff, about her lying, manipulation, not whishing me well etc.

    Why it’s still an issue for me, it’s my brother who I love to death. He seems damaged much more than I am and now he is really ill and she manipulates him as hell. For that I really hate her! NM contributed to our ruined relationship (the classic), so I can’t even talk to him about that. What she does is she encourages and accepts the expensive gifts from him, which he can’t afford, but borrowing money or work much harder which is good for his health to please her. My heart is bleeding! I did confront her with that at least twice and now I don’t talk to her. I thought that if I know nothing, then I wouldn’t worry so much on my brother’s behalf.
    It doesn’t help though to realise that the situation won’t change because of that.

    I don’t know how to help my brother and what to do. Don’t really care though about my NM.

    All the best regards to all of you, what doesn’t kill us……

    1. The very first thing we have to learn when we embark upon this journey of dealing with our narcissistic parents is that we cannot change anyone but ourselves. That means we cannot change the narcissist and we cannot change other family members either--and that means your brother, too.

      He is still stuck deeply in hope. He is believing that if he can just find the right words, the right gift, the right behaviour, he will get the love from her that he craves. As long as he believes that is possible, the only thing you will get from him, if you try to get him to see the truth, is hostility or denial. He is not yet ready to acknowledge the truth, he still believes the problem is him, not his mother, and as long as he believes that, nothing you can say will help, it will only make things worse. Some people NEVER acknowledge the truth...I deal with that in my own family, so I know just how it feels.

      The only thing you can really do is take the steps to take care of yourself and be there for him if he ever wakes up and sees her for what she really is. THEN he may be ready and willing to listen...but while he still believes he is the problem and he can win her love by fixing his problem, he is not going to listen to you and may even be hostile to the truth.

      It is a waiting game with no guarantee of the outcome...

      Hugs and best wishes,


  8. Oh, ja, sorry about the gramma, I am not a native english speaker. You are welcome to edit, if you like. Thank you very much again for your blog!

  9. Thank you so much, Violet! You are right about all we can do is to help ourselves, but it still hurts... I am more than happy that I, somehow, found strength and brain to figure out what is going on, but all of this NM business is not easy as you know yourself.
    I am reading more and more of your blog every day and it helps me to confirm what I intuitively knew-it's not me, it's my mom. I'll keep reading and with your permission will come back if I have more questions. I live in Scandinavia, so you now have a fan from oversea :-)! all the best wishes to you and my admiration for you being so strong! Good luck with everything!

  10. Violet, I am now recently divorced after 23 years from my MN wife. She grew up with a Pathalogical Malignant N Father who was never there for her. When her parents divorced she was glad because all the yelling stopped. I could tell the stories about how the N father abandoned her and her sisters but they are usually the same as others experiences.

    Anyway, when I met her, on her 21st birthday, she told me she hated her dad and he was the worst dad ever. At the time I really didn't understand what that meant. The first 10 years of our marriage was great because the N Dad was off doing his own thing. Eventually his mom died, the mom was his secondary source of N supply. No woman would have him even though he is super rich.

    After the mom died and all the woman were driven off he started staying at our house more often when he came into town. My wife hated it. She would cry in my arms and ask "why does he have to come ruin my life". She made me promise her in those early days to "never let her become like her dad". Initially her fleas were talking loud, interrupting conversations, and dominating conversations. We had hand signals we would use to alert her to this behavior because she did not want to be that way.

    Eventually, she started staying at his house for a month during the summer, he lives in Colorado, and he made her his golden child. Whereas for the first 10-12 years of our marriage we would talk about what we were going to do and let him know if he was part of the plans, the last 10 years "they" would talk about what was going on and include me "if" I was part of the plans. She became his suragate wife. Planned his parties, vacations, decorated his house etc. In return he would take her on trips to Europe, NY, Hawaii etc all without me of course.

    Now she has become JUST like him in every way. I have no doubt in my mind whatsoever that if he stayed out of our lives we would still be married.

    Could you write about Narcissistic parents that come back into the lives of the children in later years and ruin their independent families and marriages. Specifically, in my case there is a little girl trapped in my exs body that wanted very much to have her dad's approval and love. I guess all little girls are like that. It was never forthcoming in her childhood and she would do anything to get it. By mirroring his behavior back at him to gain his approval she became that very reflection, even though she clearly proclaimed that she did not want to become like him in the early days. The meanest thing I can say to her is that you have become just like your dad, even though now she is proud of it. What do you think? I have been hurt very deeply down to my very core but I still see that wounded little 3 or 4 year old girl just wanting her daddy to notice her. Unfortunately, I am a casualty of that longing for her daddy's love.

  11. I'd love a great forum for discussions, I'm very wary of the main one out there for the obvious reason. If you know of one you could recommend?
    I've just gone NC so could really do with the support x

    1. Anybody got any suggestions for this reader?

      Thanks much!


  12. My father is a narcissist. When I read the criteria for narcissistic behavior, I will put him up against anyone for being the poster child. My brother is awaiting trial for murder. My mother has not even gone to visit him because she is not "allowed." He makes all decisions for everyone. When a mother does not free herself and her children from a narcissistic husband/father, the outcome can be tragic. I need to start a blog with my top 46 stories.

    1. Journalling--you should be journalling. There is an entry in this blog about journalling and you need to look it up, read it, and start journalling. My 46 Memories were the result of my journalling (nothing magic about the number--it just took me writing 46 of them before the poison was purged--you may have more or fewer memories to write about).

      Let me tell you what I just told another person about journalling: "Start journalling. NOW.

      "Go back to my blog and read the entry on journalling and start right away. You obviously have a computer, so get yourself a Blogger blog, set it to private so it doesn't publish on the internet, give it a password nobody else can guess, and it is safe from all eyes save yours.

      "Start today. Write down why you are going NC. Write down every event that comes to mind where you have been victimized. Write your feelings. Cry. Write your anger. Rage. Write your hurt. Don't stop writing until you run out of words or feelings. Do this as much as you can.

      "This will give you two things: catharsis--it will help purge the poisons in your psyche that life with her has given you; and reminders--it gives you a place to go when you are feeling weak or panicked, a place that reminds you in your own words why you went NC and why you will stay that way. Nobody can say it better than you can. Nobody can touch your heart or your soul or stiffen your resolve like your own words.

      "Time has a tendency to gloss over the bad stuff and it lures us back because we either recall only the good or we discount ourselves..."Oh, it wasn't really THAT bad..." But it was that bad, our minds are just playing tricks on us, our inextinguishable flicker of hope for a real mother growing to a flame that blots out our memories of the reality of having an NM. Dip your toe back in the water and you will find that it is just as chilling as it ever was, it is YOU who have changed, mistaking the waves if cold wafting off the icy surface for steam coming from a warm and inviting pool. Your own words will move you the way no one else's can."

      Your mother is controlled by your father because she allows it. You cannot exonerate her from blame because she enables your father by permitting him to dictate to her. She has...and has always had...other options, including the option of removing herself and her children from an abusive, narcissistic father. Obviously her desire to stay married and not have the responsibility of raising and supporting her children alone was more important to her than moving her children and herself to a safer, more emotionally healthy environment. Your father may be a narcissist, but your mother is not a blameless victim: she is an adult person who has long had the option of walking away and saving herself and her kids from him, an option she chose not to take. You mother IS allowed to visit your brother, but she has put your father's dictates ahead of her desires and your brother's needs. She may actually be USING your father to give her an excuse to do what she wants without taking responsibility for it.

      I think journalling is a great idea for you. Seeing a therapist with experience in helping people from dysfunctional, abusive homes is another great idea. I wish you the absolute best.

      Hugs to you


  13. Forgive me if you've already addressed this topic - I started with your most recent post first, and haven't read all of your archive yet. I am wondering about the tactics NMs use to instill fear in us so we don't become independent from them. I have had a lot of thoughts about this lately, but I still find myself frequently doubting my own conclusions. Do they really do this with conscious awareness - can anyone really be that cruel and sick?

    Ever since I was a child, my MN was hyper-vigilant about germs. The interesting thing is, according to all my family members, this tendency didn't manifest until after she had her children. So was it intentional, cultivated to scare us, or did having children actually awaken some misguided protective instinct in her? She would punish us every time we weren't as hyper-vigilant as her, which meant washing our hands immediately every time we shook hands with a stranger or touched an object belonging to someone else (even other family members besides her.) It meant scrubbing every surface in the home after any visitor and even after our father would leave for work. It meant refusing to eat food prepared by anyone but our NM - even food prepared by a well rated restaurant, or cookies made for us by our grandmother. We had to constantly obey these rules, every second of every day, or we'd be punished. This left me with massive OCD issues for a very long time, rendering me practically agoraphobic - was that her goal, I wonder.

    Her frightening of us took many other forms as well. At least once a year, every year of my life with her, she'd say to me how much she regretted having me, because the world was a cruel place filled only with pain and evil people. That's another one that is hard to decode. Did she really believe these things (maybe if she did, it explains her bitterness) or did she say them only to make me terrified of ever being independent, because the world was supposedly such an evil place filled with such evil people?

    When I was far too young to handle hearing such gory details, she would give horrific accounts of serial killers and rapists and the things they did to their victims. This too, I suspect, was to keep me too scared to move out as an adult, or to run away as a child like I desperately wanted to. And like everything else she said, it messed me up. I had horrible nightmares throughout my entire childhood, and as an adult I was terribly afraid any stranger I met might secretly want to kill or rape me.

    On a smaller scale, every time I dated a boy, she would try desperately to get us to break up. She would plant in my mind the idea that nobody could possibly want me, and any man who wanted to date me must be some scumbag with a mistress in every city. So much paranoia, and still so hard to make sense of it. Were these her fears, from her own life, or did she calculate it all, desperate to separate me from anyone who might inspire me to leave her or to see her for who she really was?

    Most troubling of all were the gory stories she used to tell me when I was a child, about mothers who murdered their own daughters in brutal ways. This I could never make any sense of, even when I was totally under her sway. The other terrifying stories - I could believe that was merely a heavyhanded way to try to warn me away from dangerous behavior like hitchhiking or talking to strangers. But what purpose could these stories possibly have? Even now I am not sure. Was it just some sick delight she took in seeing me scared, or even more sinister, was she trying to instill in me the idea that disobeying her could be deadly?

    Any thoughts you have (or links to relevant articles I might've missed) will be greatly appreciated.

    1. It's all about power and, in the case of your NM, I think there is a decided element of sadism present. But mostly, it is about power. She discovered you could be controlled through fear.

      Narcissists are control freaks...they cannot feel safe unless they feel in control. The reasons she felt she needed to be in control of you is not nearly so important at this stage of the game as YOU and your response to it. If she has succeeded in terrifying you of living an independent life, then you need to seek help immediately in the form of therapy because the problem will not get better with time, it will get worse. You have been trained to be paranoid of the world around you, and you need to spend some time sorting out what is reasonable to feel fearful of and learning to let go of the unreasonable fears she taught you.

      Power means different things to different people. She could have terrorized you so that you would be obedient and she therefore didn't have to deal with the normal (and often mischeivous) ways kids ordinarily learn about the safety of their world; she could have done it because it made her feel powerful to be able to pull your chain so easily and effectively; she could have done it in order to groom you to be her life's companion so she would never again be alone and/or powerless. But like I said: her reason is really immaterial--what is important it YOU.

      Find a good therapist and, in the meantime, I strongly suggest you start journalling. In your case, I would start by writing down, in the finest detail you can remember, each of the terrifying stories, scenarios, etc. The more you can remember and write down, the better. Later, go back and review/re-read them. When I did a similar exercise, I was able to start seeing patterns in my NMs behaviour that I had never seen before...this may just happen for you.

      Best of luck to you,



  14. Hi Violet. I would like to find out about what might help with the feeling that I don't know what I like or prefer. I get things at thrift shops to decorate my apartment and then throw them out and start over with colors and styles. Same for what I read and whether i like a person or not. I don't know how I really feel about things. I'm pretty sure this is because Nmom used to always TELL me how I felt and what I liked. But how can I discover my own true preferences and feelings? Do you ever feel this way? I haven't read your whole blog yet so sorry if this already a topic.

  15. Dear SweetViolet,
    My parents were nice normal people, so realizing after 7 years of marriage that my ex-husband was a narcissist was a shock. The thing that bothers me is reading how they groom a golden child, whether consciously or not. The x used to make a big fuss over the oldest son, but ignored the other two. Fast forward to now, remarried to the most wonderful man in the world, so since age 7, this son has had two good influences and no contract with the x, but is wholly and completely narcissistic at the age of 12. He choked his 11 year old brother last night for not telling him something he demanded to know, and steals his 10 year old brother's breakfast from in front of him(it was returned and he was punished), he lies, steals things, and sometimes hides them and pretends to not know what you are talking about. Rules and boundaries don't apply to him, and he even threatens us, saying he will call cps if we don't give him his way, and he has run away from home 4 times already because we call him out on the behavior. He lies to the family, and my husband's parents, who used to like me, don't anymore, which I know is because of things he said, but I don't know what exactly, though I did hear one of his lies - he broke the window frames on all three bedroom windows and demolished the security system on them as punishment for us telling him he was to young for a cell phone, well we rent the house from my husband's parents so we had to tell them and spun a yarn about how he just wanted some fresh air. They believed him! I will never forget that look my father in law gave me on his way out, sad, but full of contempt. The question I need answered is, is it too late to save this child, how can I do it, and does anyone know anything about the narcissist child, because all I find is on adults. If its too late, how do I go about mitigating the damage to my other now four sons (added two new babies to the family),since no one is safe from his "justice", if you get my meaning. I've tried talking to him, he says he doesn't trust me, which I never understood until reading your blog, he doesn't trust me because he isn't trustworthy. This is an odd angle I know, but you do seem to understand the way these people work and any help on the subject would help our family, and perhaps others dealing with the same things because there really isn't a lot of writing on the fledgling narcissist, though I now have the distinct impression that they start very young and are overlooked because they "are only children, they can't be doing that", but he's so careful not to say those things in front of anyone outside myself, my husband, and the other four boys, though he has told us. He told me a week ago that he read about a selfmade millionaire, and now he wants to do that because he doesn't like to try hard, even after I explained the woman had to work very hard to go through college and development of her formula(she made shampoo), but he just shrugged and said he wasn't lazy, just didn't want to try too hard. This seems "normal", until you realize I told all three I can't afford to send them to college without scholarships, so they have to get good grades. The other two have taken it to heart and make no less than C's, but the oldest isn't even trying, his last grades were F's and one D, so he somehow believes he will go to college and I will somehow pay for it. This is just a small amount of stuff that happened recently, we've been dealing with it for years, and my husband and I are at wits end and fearful of what he may do to the younger ones, since we have already seen a taste of his disregard for others safety when it suits him. Thank you for taking the time to read this, it feels good to know I'm not alone, that we aren't crazy, and someone believes us.


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