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.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Scapegoats: not always what you expect

Years ago, when I first went into therapy, I was a client at a clinic that specialized in abused children, including adults who had been abused as children. Their primary focus was on sexual abuse, but they treated other kinds of abuse as well.

One of the most appalling facts I learned as a client of this clinic was that a percentage of the abusers had, themselves, been abused as children. This shocked me…I could not fathom how someone could suffer the pain and indignity of abuse themselves and then go on and do it to someone else. I had just assumed, like I suppose most people do, that if you have suffered from abuse, you will automatically have empathy for others and, because you know exactly how it feels, you will not do the same to someone else.

Well, that was a wrong-headed notion because many of the people with whom I was in a therapy group reported that their abuser had also been abused as a child, and I found that mind-boggling. Our therapist explained to us that some people, when victimized, deal with their feelings of powerlessness by repeating the abuse on people weaker than they are, therefore allowing them to feel powerful instead of powerless. It made sense in a detached, clinically-logical kind of way, but still didn’t feel right. But she was right:  “…psychologists at Yale [have] concluded that 30 percent is the best estimate of the rate at which abuse of one generation is repeated in the next…One of the crucial differences between those abused children who go on to become abusers and those who do not…is whether they have the insight that their parents were wrong to abuse them.” In other words, kids who buy into the notion that they deserved the rough treatment meted out by their parents often do not see those actions as brutal or even unwarranted, let alone wrong.

This distortion of reality can have varying consequences. In the case of a person who later says “I was a handful as a kid: my parents had to be rough with me in order to get my attention,” this person grows up believing not only that he deserved the abuse he received, he believes it is the right way to parent an uncooperative child. In my case, even though I was very clear that I did not deserve her brutality, the very fact that my NM called them “spankings” instead of the beatings they really were, skewed my definition of “spanking” for many, many years. As a result, I minimized and discounted myself by believing I was “merely spanked” rather than forcefully beaten with a thin leather strap that left whip-like welts all over my tender legs, buttocks and lower back.

According to Gaia Vince in New Scientist, “As many as 70% of parents who abuse their children were themselves abused while growing up.” That, of course, leaves a further 30% of abusive parents who were not abused in childhood…like my NM.

Humans have a tendency to want to make order out of chaos. We like to categorize and pigeon-hole things in order to make them manageable, especially in our minds. It is part of our survival instinct to learn lessons from our experiences and then generalize them to help keep us aware and safe. It is also where our deplorable tendency to stereotype comes from: it is much easier to assign the characteristics of a few to the many than it is to take the time to get to know each one of the many on an individual basis. Our social consciousness has been raised to recognize some of the bigger bugaboos like sexism and racism, but we still sort and compartmentalize and generalize about other things. And those of us who live with the legacy of narcissistic parents and families are, in this respect, not so different from the normies.

We tend to presume, for example, that in any household in which there is a Golden Child, there is also a Scapegoat, but that is not necessarily true. My NM is a perfect case in point: she was definitely the GC, spoilt and coddled by her father as the only girl. But despite her position as the GC, neither of her brothers were designated nor treated as scapegoats. And my NM perceived her brothers as the favoured ones because they had more freedom and privilege than she did, something neither surprising nor indicative of favouritism in the 1930s and 40s, when my NM was growing up.

We also tend to presume that anyone who grew up as the family scapegoat will be empathetic and compassionate and find narcissistic behaviours to be anathema. This, also, is not necessarily true. Remember, as much as 30% of people who were abused as children go on to abuse their own kids and up to 70% of people who abuse their children were, themselves, abused in childhood. How many of these abusers were themselves scapegoats and, feeling powerless, went on to assuage that powerlessness by becoming the powerful, the abuser? How many of them do not identify what happened to them as abuse and so repeat it with their own kids?

I have met a few scapegoats whom I thought were peculiarly NM-like, people who emulated and even admired the powerful people in their lives, even sought out those powerful people in order to gain favour in their eyes. These people, instead of rejecting the narcissist’s power paradigm, adopt and embrace it. And while they are clear on their NM’s having hurt them (and sometimes harbouring considerable anger for their having been neglected or ignored or blamed), these people seek to heal the hole within themselves not through therapy and coming to grips with the reality of their dysfunctional upbringing, but by aligning themselves with a narcissist who will give them some semblance of the strokes they need in exchange for their loyalty and devotion.

But we are people cultivated to accept and be grateful for crumbs. When my brother got new shoes, he got the latest, most basketball shoe that was popular with the boys…I got ugly saddle oxfords that went out of style shortly after I was born. But when I complained, NM reminded me that there were children in Mexico…just a few miles from us…who have to go school barefoot and who would be grateful for the ugly shoes, an implication that I could be made to go to school barefoot that was not lost on me. I had to be grateful for having any shoes at all: expecting my tastes and desires to be taken into account was excessive. Conditioned to accept crumbs as children, as adults any kind of positive attention, no matter how contrived or exploitive, can feel validating to us.

Think “cult.” Think damaged people who commit themselves to a cult in which the leader gives them the messages they so desperately need to hear in exchange for their adulation. They don’t hear the insincerity of the messages because they hear what they need to hear: for the first time in their lives they feel noticed, valued, their loyalty and tokens of that loyalty, apparently valued. That they are being fed calculated, carefully doled out platitudes to keep them hooked they are unwilling to accept. You could show some of these people videos of the object of their devotion ridiculing them, multiple testimonies of a whole host of abuses by their leader, and the faithful will not waver: they have finally found a source of ego-gratification, strokes, emotional sustenance, and they will guard it jealously, even from the truth.

Now, imagine someone with that hungry mindset finding a narcissist who understands that, in order to hook the walking wounded, all s/he needs to do is check in every day or two, say something soothing that can be interpreted as compassion or empathy, and be very careful to keep any nefarious deeds tightly under wraps: just act compassionate for a few minutes every couple of days and the hurt and emotionally starved will fall at your feet. Imagine being one of those followers: no painful, protracted therapy, no agonies of experiencing the deferred pain collected over the years, no being held responsible for fixing the damage caused by others, just blessed validation and a regularly renewed sense of being understood. And if the narcissist holds him/herself up as an authority figure, someone who makes and enforces rules, the repetition of the original narcissistic relationship is duplicated and this time you win…you’re getting what feels like love from that authority figure and you will put up with anything…anything…to keep it coming.

People in the throes of this kind of relationship…whether it is with their Nparent, a religious organization or cult, or an internet guru, do not progress emotionally, they stay stuck right where they are. It is against the self-interest of the leader to see the adoring followers improve because that would mean a loss of the Nsupply they provide (and anything else, like financial support, free labour, evangelizing or bringing in new acolytes). And so the followers not only go into a kind of emotional stasis, they defend the controlling narcissist from the truth. They are the man who beats his five year old with a belt and defends himself by demeaning himself and defending his brutal parents: “A little spanking never hurt anyone. My parents spanked me every day…I needed it…and I turned out fine.” No, he didn’t turn out fine: he turned out abusing his child just as he was abused, and likely for normal childhood behaviours misinterpreted by him…and his parents before him…as defiance or wilful disobedience. They are the woman who impoverishes herself and diverts money from her children’s needs to send gifts of money to televangelists or internet gurus for the validation she feels when she receives their thanks. These are scapegoats who drank the kool aid along with any GC sibs in the household and who believe that they owe their abusive parents allegiance regardless of how they were treated and believe the same not only of their own children, but of others as well. And that includes you and any other scapegoat: you were not abused, in their eyes, but got what you deserved. If you, like them, had been a better, more obedient, more perfect child, your parents would not have been forced…by your behaviour…to treat you as they did.

You may find yourself shocked when you first come across such a person, and you may even feel blamed…and even that your abusive parent is being validated. After all, this is not some narcissist talking, it is another scapegoat! What does she see that has escaped you? What does she understand that you do not? Is it possible that your parents and their flying monkeys were right all along?

Don’t be too quick to second-guess yourself. There is nothing in the rules of narcissism that prevents scapegoats from becoming narcissists themselves. Even if the child in question was treated by the family as a scapegoat, there is nothing in the human psyche that prevents an abused child from emulating the person s/he perceives as the most important and powerful member of the household: the abuser. Some 30% of abused children grow up to be abusers; 70% of people who abuse their children were, themselves, abused. Not all of us grow up to have compassion, empathy, and understanding for those who experienced the same pain of being the scapegoat of a narcissistic, dysfunctional family.

Since only 30% of abused children grow up to be abusers, it stands to reason that the remainder develop compassion and empathy for others who experienced the same kind of treatment…we are the majority. But none of us have a brand on our foreheads that tells others where we stand, whether we have compassion for our fellow sufferers or whether we have chosen to identify with our abusers.

The fact that a scapegoat is clear on the fact that she was abused and is hurt and/or angry at her abuser is not proof against alignment with the abusers. If she had chosen to assuage her pain by hooking up with another narcissist, especially if that narcissist is smart enough to feed her enough crumbs to keep her bound and begging for more, the victim is going to defend…and maybe even emulate…her present narcissist while simultaneously condemning her original abuser. I have some experience with this, having been clear about the wrongness of my NM’s behaviour for most of my life, but continuing to connect with narcissistic men who abused me. Key is the fact that they did not physically abuse me (the ones who did found themselves suddenly alone), but abused me emotionally. Eager to please and win or earn their love and esteem, I was dug deep into denial with these men, certain that my performance at whatever task or responsibility that was before me would win the love I so desperately sought and fill that aching hole where my heart belonged. That is how you do it: you simply shut out all forms of criticism against the narcissist who keeps feeding you crumbs while you interpret promises of a banquet from the gesture, you just refuse to see or heed the red flags and warnings until it all crashes down around your ears.

Not all scapegoats grow up to be compassionate, empathetic, understanding people. Some of them grow up to seek out other narcissists and try to get emotional sustenance from them, refusing to see the truth and rejecting all attempts from outsiders to make them see it. They may even turn on their family and friends with hostility and cut ties, even engage in N-like behaviours themselves in order to preserve the relationship with the narcissist, a relationship that feeds them mere tastes of the love and esteem they crave…just enough to keep them craving more. Other scapegoats grow up emulating their abusers, accepting their justifications, believing their rationalizations, embracing the feelings of power and control their own abusive acts provide: they become narcissists themselves, their own need for power (Nsupply) overriding everything else.

So if you meet a fellow scapegoat and are puzzled by the person’s apparent lack of empathy, if you meet a narcissist and find it hard to believe that s/he was a scapegoat as a child, remember that as much as 30% of people who grew up abused go on to take on the mantle of abuse at their first opportunity to have power over others, to repeat the abuse their parents perpetrated upon them. From school yard bullies to jealous boyfriends to undermining or husband-seducing friends to abusive parents to nasty manipulative bosses, these scapegoats, while sharing your unhappy, upbringing, decided somewhere along the line that since they couldn’t beat ‘em, they would join ‘em.

What you may not realize is these are among the most dangerous narcissists of all. Rather like turncoats, they not only have the self-interest and lack of empathy of the typical narcissist, having been in our shoes, they have additional insights into what makes us tick. I am convinced my NexH was one of these: raised by an indifferent, resentful, manipulative mother and a distant, detached, self-interested father, he was an angry, bitter man who used his prodigious intellect to attempt to make “the big score.” His motivation was “I’ll show them!” “them” being his parents, siblings, former classmates and co-workers. He was obsessed with being better than someone…anyone…and because he was not above sabotaging or “sand bagging” someone with lies and innuendo, he was ever convinced that others were focussed on doing the same to him. Rather than take empathy and compassion away from his neglected, even bullied childhood, he took away the “do unto others before they do unto you” message. He couldn’t beat ‘em, so he not only joined ‘em, he improved and refined his narcissism until he was a malignant narcissist who was a master manipulator and admitted psychological sadist. He was not unaware of the pain he inflicted on me, he was keenly aware of it and gratified by it because it made him feel powerful. His early life as a scapegoat gave him the ability to see my vulnerabilities—they were part of his make up as well—but instead of being motivated to give me empathy and comfort, he became increasingly cruel and manipulative because that made him feel powerful and the power made him feel blameless and covered over his feelings of vulnerability.

I am not suggesting that you show empathy or give forgiveness to the narcissists you know: these people have the exact same choices you have—every time you interact with someone you have the choice of being kind or being a bitch. Narcissists have the same opportunities for choice that you and I have: with each interaction they can choose to be kind or to be cruel and it is their unwavering decision to gratify their egos by making those selfish, unkind choices that reveals their narcissism. Worst, I think, are the ones who suffered themselves as scapegoats, who know and understand your pain, and who choose to abuse you anyway.

As much as we would like to think that, in meeting someone who was abused by a narcissist in childhood, we have met a kindred spirit, that is not always the case. If we forge friendships with others based on the assumption that having been a scapegoat in childhood, a person is automatically rendered incapable of being a narcissist, we disadvantage ourselves. Narcissists are, by definition, damaged people. And not all of them got damaged by being the spoilt and coddled Golden Child.


  1. My older brother, who took the worst of NF's physical and emotional abuse went on to abuse his own wife and daughters. He said he deserved NF's abuse because he was a difficult kid. My younger brother, who witnessed it all and endured a lot of emotional stuff as an adult is now worse than my NF. He uses his knowledge of how I tick to cut me to the quick if I'm foolish enough to have any contact with him.

    Over the years, I have thought I had a big DM tattooed on my forehead because people looking for a doormat are drawn to me like a magnet. I was a people pleaser, conditioned for years to seek the approval of my parents so, of course, I continued to operate that way.

    In counseling I was told "We parent the way we were parented." because there is no instruction book so we tend to use our parents as roles models. I decided to do the opposite to everything they did, so my kid is a tad spoiled but she's nobody's doormat!

  2. Wow what a fascinating blog. As I read this all I could think about was my brother. He was the scapecoat in our family and has turned out exactly like our NM except a little worse. After reading this I can understand why he is the way he is today.

    I have had little contact with him, even when we were kids we had do little in common. What I remember clearly about him is that he ruined most of our holidays because he would throw a tantrum at any given moment especially at Christmas if he wasn't given exactly what he thought he deserved.

    Now he has a wife and son of his own and the abuse is repeating itself. It is difficult to watch.

    I recently received a horribly abusive email from him which shook me up so much that I immediately decided to go no contact with him. But the main theme of the abuse that he hurled at me was in defense of our NM. I could not believe that he would defend her in such a way (I am currently no contact with her which was the reason behind the email). I just could not understand why he would not listen to me when I tried to explain why I will not see our mother anymore. It was the most frustrating not to mention, confusing, experience! He acted like I was an idiot for feeling the way I do about our mother. And of course he tried to undermine the fact that I am in therapy because of everything I have been through. He basically doesn't believe in it.

    So thank you for another insightful blog. You have really helped me to understand him, well as much as I can anyway.

    1. Some of the scapegoats go Stockholm which means they identify with their abusers. I wonder if this is what happened to your brother. I am sorry this happened. I saw the abused people in my own family who never stood up for themselves and who never got free. I was the SG but there was plenty of others. Many too will tell you that you are lying when you tell them what the NM or other N is saying about them behind their backs.

  3. Excellent post Sweet Violet! I linked it in my blog ( and added some commentary, which is also below:

    For reference, I was the scapegoat son of a a narcissist mother, a perfectly enabling father, and twin golden child younger brothers.

    Here are my thoughts on how the scapegoat can also become a narcissist:

    The scapegoat and the golden child grew up in the same emotionally dysfunctional environment, and both are at the same deficient level of emotional development. They both had to invest in a prodigious amount of denial of their FOO dynamics in order to survive childhood. For example, if the narcissist is beating the scapegoat, the golden child is *required* to accept this behavior or else face the same wrath from the narcissist or even worse. This means that the golden child is required to accept abuse as “normal” in order to survive. With this FOO dynamic, either the scapegoat or the golden child can develop into a narcissist or a codependent, or with hopefully the right influences outside of their FOO while growing up, neither.

    The main difference between whether the abused child, be it either a scapegoat or a golden child, becomes a narcissist or a codependent is empathy. If the child is capable of true empathy, they will most likely progress down the codependent path. If the child is not capable of true empathy, they will progress down the narcissist path. It’s all because of the denial they HAD to have in order to survive their childhood.

    For the scapegoat / codependent, they use their denial to rationalize abusive behavior by saying things to themselves like “it’s not really that bad” or “they do really love me” or “I probably deserved it”. This same internal message is also reinforced by the abuser and all the abuser’s flying monkeys making the codependent ultimately believe it, even if it isn’t true. This is the same message that keeps getting repeated in their head as adults when they find themselves in a relationship with another narcissist and unable to extract themselves.

    With the scapegoat / narcissist, they use their denial to rationalize the abusive behavior in exactly the same way as the codependent while growing up, saying things like “it’s not really that bad” or “they do really love me” or “I probably deserved it”. They also internalize this message and carry it into adulthood. The big difference is the scapegoat / narcissist lacks empathy and continues in a state of denial that things were really that bad, because they could not possibly face their internal core shame from their upbringing. This means the the scapegoat / narcissist already *knows* all the rationalizations required in order to tolerate abuse, so if the person they are choosing to abuse does not know how to rationalize the scapegoat / narcissist’s behavior, the scapegoat / narcissist can provide them with a blueprint. This means that the same internal message that the scapegoat has running in their mind that “it’s not really that bad” from childhood is told to their abuse victim when they abuse them. The same internal message that “they really do love me” from childhood is echoed to their abuse victim when they tell their abuse victim “I only do this because I love you”.

    In my opinion, it’s probably even more difficult for the scapegoat / narcissist to ever address their issues than the golden child / narcissist. The huge wall of denial that the scapegoat / narcissist had to create to rationalize their abuse as a child and then turn around and perpetuate that same abuse as an adult means they would never be able to accept that they are just as flawed as their parents, and continuing in denial is significantly more comfortable than facing the fact that they are just as horrible as their parents.

    Stephen Bach

  4. Great analysis, Stephen! Denial and rationalization are definitely survival mechanisms for members of dysfunctional families, regardless of the dysfunction. Realizing that my parents were incapable of loving me was devastating and, to this day, I sometimes slip back into "They loved me in their own way." or "They didn't mean to hurt me." because rationalization is easier than facing the truth.

    Thanks for making me rethink the role of The Golden Child. Yes, I can see that my NGC younger brother was also just trying to survive in a horrendous environment. I consider myself a "broken" human being and have always known he is just as "broken" as I am. Of course, I take issue with how he chose to deal with the damage inflicted.

    1. Thanks you, mulderfan! I'm glad that you found my analysis helpful. I'm sorry to hear that you grew up in a dysfunctional family as well. It seems there are way too many of us!

      You're right, it's hard to not slip back into "they did the best they could", or "they loved me their own way". The truth is, both of these statements are true and false at the same time, which is why it is so confusing. They did do the best they could with the tools they had available. Most parents who abuse grew up abused and have no idea how not to abuse. They did what they thought was the right thing to do, even if it was all about them. The other reality is that they did love you "in their own way". They didn't love you with a healthy definition of love. They didn't love you for who you were, with your different opinions, your mistakes and your shortcomings. They loved you for what you could do for them. If you did your job and properly mirrored your parents, they were very proud of you. It's not that the narcissist is incapable of love, they just have an inaccurate definition of what love is. To them, love is given when you are doing your job correctly by mirroring them properly. It's conditional on your performance.

      Codependents have the same problem with love. They believe that love involves pleasing others and performing to standards, which is also an inaccurate definition of love. This is the definition of love that they learned growing up and continue to pursue in adulthood.

      I went into more detail in a post on my blog regarding the narcissist's definition of love that can be found here ->

      Stephen Bach

  5. Stephen, if they thought they were doing the right thing why did they know enough to treat strangers differently than they treated their own daughter? My father would never dream of being disrespectful or cursing out a bank teller, grocery clerk, medical receptionist or even a door to door salesperson. Yet, even ay age 94, he continued to demand my time and attention while treated he me with a complete lack of respect (I'm 67!) even raising his voice and cursing me out. My mother (age 91) either said nothing or made excuses for his behaviour. Once, while he was screaming verbal abuse at me, dear mother kept insisting he'd never raised his voice to his children.

    You're right, though, their version of love is twisted, to say the least.

  6. I think this warning about scapegoats is good. Not every past scapegoat is going to be your instant ally and pal, even if they suffered the same things. I was the scapegoat myself. Some will go to narcissism while others will not. I know the scapegoat of the last generation became narcissistic, and while they literally destroyed her, she became narcissistic, adopting every one of their values, she was no ally to me though we suffered the same things. She even turned on me like they used her, kicking me when I was down, and when I tried to reach out to her sending her a painting I did, she threw it into the closet for it to be damaged. I realized with time she had become someone who did not share my values, and I went no contact with her as well as the rest of the family and actually I went with NC with her first. Here human beings do make a decision, for good or for evil. Sadly many go down the path to evil. I believe this aunt has Stockholm too but when I say she was destroyed, she was. She served as a warning to me. She is totally "owned" and "controlled" by the family literally and my mother has guardianship over her.

    I also have noted on support boards for ACONs one needs to be careful. Facing evil as a young person can lead someone to want and desire better and to seek after God, but sadly the opposite can happen too.

  7. I have turned this discussion into a post on my blog with can be found here ->

    I certainly appreciate Sweet Violet allowing me to state my opinions here as well.

    One of the most confusing things that occurs when dealing with a narcissist in a close interpersonal relationship is that often they are loved by everybody else. They can be pillars of the community, preachers, volunteers and do many other things that make themselves look good. It seems everybody thinks they are wonderful except for you, their abuse victim. This leads to the rationalization of the abuse victim that “it must be me, because look how everyone else thinks they are so wonderful”.

    Yes, a narcissist will treat strangers differently than they do you. Why? There are a lot of reasons:

    First, this behavior is still programming from childhood if their narcissitic injury was due to parental abuse. They were taught to be “respectful” of strangers at the same time their parents were most likely abusing them. They were taught that the family image was more important than any individual family member’s needs. Also, it wasn’t the bank teller that was abusive to them in their childhood, it was their parents or some other significant authority figure. Again, they are modeling the behavior they were taught during their childhood.

    Second, a narcissist is always looking for narcisistic supply. Being seen as a “wonderful” person by others validates them and helps them to believe they don’t have any issues, making them think along the lines of “I can’t possibly be a bad person, see how everyone adores me”. They live in a constant state of denial of their behavior and will lie to others and themselves in order to rationalize that their behavior is “really not that bad”.

    Another slant on the narcissist always looking for narcissistic supply is that they are always looking to “upgrade” their current primary source of supply, which is why they often bounce from relationship to relationship and never find fulfillment. Who knows, maybe if he turns on the charm, he can seduce that cute bank teller that’s half his age and have an affair with her, only to discard her later when he tires of her.

    Mulderfan, I can understand how painful it was for you to have your 91 yr old mother stand there and pretend the abuse wasn’t happening. It’s horrible. But what options does your mother have? After so many years of denial and rationalizing her husband’s abuse of her children, do you think she will suddenly have a realization that the man she has spent her entire life is a child abuser? Furthermore, could you imagine the emotional devestation that your mother would be required to go through if she were to acknowledge that she had permitted her children to undergo a lifetime of abuse at the hands of her spouse? No, denial is a much much more comfortable place.

    Stephen Bach

    1. Stephen, I recognize that my mother was very likely NF's first victim or perhaps it was his twin brother who defied the odds and was a sweet, gentle man. Of course, NF's twin also married my mother's younger sister who would never tolerate the abuse of her children. Over the years, my mother morphed into his enabler then, by the time I was a teenager, she became a full-partner in the abuse. She's much more dangerous than the old man having learned to use subtle manipulation rather than intimidation as a means to control her victim while luring them back for more. See this post for details:

      At this point in all of our lives, I do not expect to see any change in my parents and accept them exactly as they are. I also accept that the abuse they continued to dish out threatened not only my sanity but my very existence. My coping mechanism was alcoholism which is a progressive and fatal disease. These days I place my continued sobriety above all else.

      I don't hate my parents, or do I love them. I'm finally free to live as I wish and so are they.

    2. Well it can be done because I'm doing it right now. I'm 65 years old and have gone NC with NM and covert brother and GC brother and it is bringing WWII to this disgusting family. In doing this, I realized I am a healed borderline/scapegoat,,, that married a Narcissist and I have confronted my Nhusband and told him all the shit he did to our son. Right now we are in therapy. My N husband is in pain some of the times, cries frequently and has apologized to me once for a trivial thing , which would be the first time in his life he has apologized. .. Right now our marriage counselor is working with us and our relationship. My Nhusband can't acknowledge the damage done to him by his disgusting parents. I am VERY angry at the damage done to my son by Nhusband. I am angry at myself for not knowing of Narcissism and marrying this guy to be a parent to my children. I have apologized to both my children for my borderline issues. So the above post about "What options Does your mother have"? Well maybe she is old, but what the hell - she is still allowing abuse of her child. This is disgusting. She has a choice. Don't make some lame excuse for this woman - she is part of the problem.

  8. Mulderfan, I’m very happy that you have been able do what’s best for you and address the issues that have plagued you because of your NP’s. It’s wonderful that you have been able to detach and put you and your sobriety first. I read the post you linked. It has to be horrible to watch your mother turn from an enabler into a narcissist.

    I have been NC with my NM for about 6 months now. My EF is deceased. My NM and I have had a tenuous relationship at best since I moved out of the house at 18. I’ve come to accept her for who she is and that she will never change, and the best thing I can do for me is to avoid her all together. For me, I find that acceptance and apathy towards her means that she no longer holds any power over me. I still have work to go on my internal mother, but she’s becoming quieter every day.

    I agree on the subtle manipulations of a covert narcissist being even more dangerous than the overt behavior of a raging narcissist, although I never really experienced overt behavior until my most recent adult relationship, so my perspective may be skewed. My NM was a champion at underhanded manipulation. She was very passive aggressive in her tactics as well. I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop. If she was being nice I knew she was up to something. It sucked. You never know where you stand. The second you think you have it figured out, the game changes and you’re left dazed and confused at having been duped again. She was also a master recruiter of flying monkeys, and made sure everyone knew how big of a problem I was and how disappointed she was in me. She would go pathetic at the drop of a hat and make everyone feel sorry for her and her “horrible” son.

    Best wishes to you on your continued recovery.

    Stephen Bach

    1. Stephen, to feel safe, a child needs consistency. Sounds like we were both short changed in that department! That knot of fear in the stomach while waiting for the other shoe to drop (NF going from zero to raging lunatic in 10 seconds) is the number one emotion I remember from growing up. These days it's been replaced with optimism and serenity.

  9. So my N brother is coming back to where we grew up after having been living abroad for just over a decade. As I already mentioned he sent me quite an abusive email back in the spring after he found out I went no contact with my NM and my very enabling father. I am not sure what to expect when he arrives. I am quite afraid that he is going to harass me and my family or maybe turn violent, especially if my NM winds him up as I suspect she did last spring. My question for any of you reading this is can narcissists become a physical threat if you don't do what they think you should do? He is a scapecoat turned narcissist and I honestly don't know what to expect from him when he arrives. Someone told me once that the fact that his venom was channeled toward me in the form of an email shows that he is actually a coward. He hasn't tried to contact me since but i am not sure if he is biding his time until he gets here and then plans to make me "pay" in person.

    I realize that this is a blog site but I was hoping that someone might have an opinion or be able to share some information that might help ease my mind or at least give me some insight as to maybe what i need to prepare for. Thank you in advance for any and all help.

    1. Anonymous, my late older brother was a narcissist like my NF. They both flew into unpredictable rages with my older brother having a tendency to smash things that were of value to the person that pissed him off. Toward the end of his life, he began to stalk and threaten me, until one day my late husband answered the phone and basically said, "Come get some! I'll be waiting for you in the driveway." That was the end of that because like all bullies most narcissists tend to be cowards.

      My Golden Child younger brother is also a narcissist whose only threat has been to acquaint my parents with my blog. He cyber stalks me on a regular basis and maligns me to other family members but since I no longer respond/react he's pretty much a toothless tiger.

      None of us can give you a definitive answer about YOUR brother, having never walked in your shoes but I would say if you have these kinds of doubts or misgivings about the guy, your only safe course is to have nothing further to do with him. Being related by blood does not obligate you to have a relationship with anyone who is a potential risk to your safety.

    2. I can understand your dilemma, and I'm sure it's making for a great deal of anxiety for you!

      To answer your question: Yes, a narcissist is certainly capable of physical violence. Think about a man who beats his wife, or his children. That being said, most narcisissts manifest their narcissism in different but similar ways. Some will be only verbal, some will use tools like emotional blackmail, while other will become physical. It's hard to say what your N brother might do. I would think your best recourse would be not to engage him unless someone else is around that could intervene. Call over a friend, or meet him in a public place like a restaurant. It's less likely that he would engage in abusive behavior if someone else is watching.

      Please feel free to contact me through my blog if I can be of further help.

      Stephen Bach

    3. All I can say is this.....My NF has a scapegoat sister who I consider a sociopath. I have children and I will not spend anymore holidays with her and her family. I fear she will snap and shot us all. Seriously.

    4. Physical violence is not one of the identifying characteristics of NPD. However Cluster B personality disorders are often c-morbid with other Cluster B disorders, like AsPD (Anti-social personality disorder), which does have physical violence as one of its core characterisics.

      Not all people who engage in violent behaviour are narcissists, however. They may suffer from AsPD in combination with some other PD or they may not be personality disordered at all: some people simply have poor impulse control or are pushed beyond their endurance, while others engage in violent behavior because it is the only way they know to resolve disputes or differences because they were not taught anything different.

      As far as this N brother is concerned, the real question should be "Why do I want to expose myself to this toxic person?" If there is no good answer, then isn't it moot? Sometimes we get so caught up in our anxiety about something that we forget that WE have the choice, and one of those choices (and one of the healthiest) is to refuse to engage with the toxic party. Before you start worrying about what he is going to do when you next see him, perhaps you should first consider whether or not it benefits you and/or your family to see him at all and make a decision on that basis.

      Allowing yourself and your family to be emotionally blackmailed ("if I refuse to see him, he might do something bad") is not healthy for you, your family, or for him. There is nothing in the book of life that says you must engage every bully you meet, including family members. You are allowed to take the high ground and walk away without ever engaging. That is not cowardice, knuckling under to fear of what he might do is cowardice...the smart and the brave refuse to engage and start what could become a long and unhappy association with a bully.

    5. Dear Anon:

      Narc NEVER do something for nothing, there's always a scheme. I suspect that your narc brother is playing flying monkey to get in the good graces of your NM and EF and assert himself as the GC in adulthood. Why? To get everything, every meager thing, in their wills.

      You going NC makes this pathetically easy. I'd bet your NM/EF were blind cc'ed on his nasty email to you, or got a copy in snail mail, to establish his bona fides of being on their side. Now all he has to do is show up in person and sympathize with them, and tell them exactly what they want to hear for awhile, and then start "helping" them with various things, including their estate planning.

      This is a "fish in a barrel" scenario: you are already living close to NM/EF, but you, horrid, hateful, spiteful you, the serpent's tooth, won't even contact them (after all they did for you), while narc brother (in sharp contrast) is jumping on his white charger, flying in from a foreign country, no less, to their emotional rescue.

      If narc brother emails you again, you don't have to read it, but don't delete it. And save the email he already sent. Don't erase any aggro voicemails, either. If he shows up at your home, or does anything, says anything threatening, take out a restraining order. That will set up a clear boundary--"You may be able to work NM/EF out of every last dime by filling the vacuum in their NS, but you're going to have to accomplish that without contacting me or my loved ones, period." If he so much as touches you, file charges for assault. Remember "assault" is not getting punched, etc., it is "an unwanted touching" and under the law, the "touching" does not even mean "by his hands"--if he pokes you with an umbrella and you did not want him to, it's assault.

      My gut tells me that he's not "coming home" to hurt you, he's coming home to help himself. But keep your guard up until you are sure that's not a part of his gameplan.

      Stay safe. Move away if it is at all feasible. You are in enemy territory. You need a place of your own. I know if I hadn't put many states between me and my FOO, I'd be dead--if not literally, I'd be dead inside.

  10. Oh sorry Violet I guess I should have been more clear....after receiving that abusive email in the spring I decided not to ever see my brother again for all of the reasons you stated above.

    I am concerned that he is going to come after me partly because of that decision and partly because of my decision to go NC with our parents (in defense of them). I am so hoping that I am wrong and that he will leave us alone when he arrives back home but I am afraid that he may try to hurt me or my family because of the rage that he appears to have towards me (as evidenced in the email he sent). I do not intend to ever see him again but I guess I just don't know what he might be capable of in light of my decisions to not see him or my parents.

    When he emailed me I so wanted to respond with all kinds of "evidence" to negate his very twisted version of facts and events, but I felt that the best thing in the end was to do nothing. I did not respond at all and blocked him and his wife from my email list ( as he thought he was being clever by emailing me some of his abuse under the guise that it as
    my sister in law writing me).

    So I guess my question was what to expect from a scapecoat turned narcissist in light of the fact that I will not have any contact with him and that he is hellbent on defending my parents right now.

    I hope that makes sense. Thank you so much for your reply....I appreciate the advice.

    And thank you to everyone else who posted a reply as well. I know it is difficult to predict what he might do but I was just wondering if any of you had encountered a similar thanks again for the support and advice.

    1. My grandfather had this expression: "Don't borrow trouble." In other words, don't gobble up your time, energy, and peace of mind worrying about things that might never happen.

      Make a plan for what you will do if your brother does get in touch with you then let it go. Narcissists are bullies and like all bullies, they are cowards. And they are selfish: it is highly unlikely that he will bother with you if there is nothing in it for him. You aren't feeding the troll with responses to his mail, you aren't antagonizing him with contact with the family, the most likely response from him is that he will pretend you are no longer a member of the family. He may make the occasional attempt at contact (primarily to see if he can stir up some conflict he can wring some Nsupply from) but otherwise the odds are in your favour that he has written you off as a source of Nsupply (because you do not respond to his provocations) and you therefore no longer hold any interest for him.

      What you should have a plan for is what to do/say if you accidentally run into him in public or if you come across him at some family event. Because he sounds like he is quick to take offense and become angry (which will make him feel justified in anything he chooses to do) your plan should include .NOT antagonizing him because if you do (like having some cute little comment all prepared that is designed to put him down), you open the door to harassment. Sometimes we have to tamp down our urges to "win" in favour of taking the safe route.

      As long as he doesn't think he has an ax to grind with you, either for himself or some other family member, he will most likely leave you alone.

      Hugs to you,


    2. Definitely some very valuable insight Violet, I most definitely agree with everything you said. I definitely agree that the best course of action is to just leave him alone. One of he phrases I have learned to tell myself is that if people are going to be nasty to me, the best thing I can do is to let them be nasty people all by themselves.

      I also agree that trying to figure out "what to do if..." is not productive, especially when dealing with an N since they are so unpredictable. Truthfully, trying to figure out "what to do if..." is, in my opinion, a codependent characteristic of trying to control the outcome of the situation instead of dealing with the behavior when and if it happens. It's like the partner of the alcoholic having a plan along the lines of "what will I do if he/she comes home drunk tonight". As Violet mentioned, it just leads to a great deal of unnecessary anxiety.

      Thinking a bit more about your situation, Anonymous, and the fact that he hasn't tried to have any further contact with you, I would put the odds at 50/50 or better that he may well just gaslight the entire event and pretend it never happened. I think this may be especially true if he knows subconsciously that you are right, but it still in denial about your parents and doesn't have the strength to break free like you do. Subconsciously, he may be very jealous of you.

      Stephen Bach

    3. I'll have to disagree, Stephen. Narcissists tend to be quite predictable and follow the same "play book" worldwide. Any response, either positive or negative, gives them what they crave: attention and drama. Ignoring them is the only path to freedom.

      If they don't get what they want from you, they'll give up and seek out another victim.

    4. Dear Anon:

      I replied above, suggesting that your narc brother is out to get something from his defense of your NM/EF--I overlooked that he was a SG.

      Just one woman's opinion, but I think his former SG wounds make selfish, greedy motives even more likely for his "homecoming."

      After all, he "paid" up front by being SG'ed by your NM/EF years ago, so who deserves payback from them more than he does? And he knows exactly how to get it--just tell them what they want to hear. Aging narc parents are pathetically easy to manipulate.

      I don't think this is about you, or you being NC; it's about him getting his payback from NM/EF, whom he probably hates. All he has to do is pretend that he wasn't abused, just like your NM/EF likely do, and bemoan how you have victimized such loving parents despite the idyllic childhood that they provided for you both. Easy peasy.

    5. Hi Mulderfan. While I do agree that the overall pattern of behavior is consistent from narcissist to narcissist, I do also believe that the narcissist’s response to an isolated incident can be highly unpredictable. This is why we spend a lifetime of trying to do what we think is right for our narcissist, only to have the rug pulled out from under us and having the game change as soon as we think we have it figured out. If my NM was predictable, I would have figured her out during childhood and not carried her baggage with me well into middle life.

      As an example, let’s say I gave my NM an unexpected gift of $1000. How would she respond? I can find at least 3 different responses that all would match her narcissism.

      1. She would beam with pride at having elicited such a wonderful unsolicited and unwarranted gift from me. Nothing says “narcissistic supply” like money.

      2. She would get angry with me, because “Is this all you think I’m worth?? You’re GC bro gave me $5000 last week!”

      3. She may devalue my gift by saying something along the lines of “Where did you get the money for this?” meaning that I, the scapegoat, must have come by it dishonestly.

      All three examples fit the pattern of a narcissist, but all three are very different and therefore unpredictable.

      It's OK, we can agree to disagree :)

    6. What I think you miss here, Stephen, is that while the specific response of the narcissist might be unpredictable, what is predictable is that the response will be self-serving: it will serve the narcissist, whatever the response might be. It will be predicated on the narcissist's mood and needs at the moment and will not take into consideration the other person's feelings or needs except as those feed the narcissist ("make him feel bad and I will feel more powerful").

      It is this big picture that we must all learn to expect and learn that the cause of it is not our own, but the narcissist's. In predicting a narcissist, we need only ask "what would he get out of it?" and then answer it from the narcissist's point of view. That, perhaps, is the most difficult part of it because normal people who possess empathy have places they won't go, acts they won't commit whether they would get caught or not: narcissists think well outside the normie's box and think nothing of committing actions the rest of us would recoil from in horror or disgust. To the narcissist's mind, if s/he can get away with it, then it is ok (my narcissistic ex-husband told me that right to my face).

      So, it is unlikely a narcissist will commit an act that will bring on the police; it is also unlikely that a narcissist will commit an act that will bring on censure, especially public or familial censure. Their image is all-important to them: everybody but the scapegoat must see them as blameless. Exposure is anathema to them and they are adept at telling plausible lies to cover their tracks. They are predictable in the macro sense, as are most people: and like most people, they are unpredictable in the micro sense: you cannot know exactly what s/he will do or say because that can depend on the mood of the moment.

      What is most difficult is for us to wrap our minds around just how malicious a narcissist can be and yet temper it with the knowledge that the narcissist will almost never act unless s/he stands to gain from the act. Here is my example: at 17 I fell pregnant. My NM was embarrassed about it and tried to force me into a back alley abortion or to a home for unwed mothers where I would be forced to give up the baby for adoption. I thwarted her and she had to stand the censure of her parents for raising me "wrong" so that I would up unmarried and pregnant (getting rid of the baby would have spared her that). I thought I had won.

      It took her 6 years to exact her revenge: she did not want to raise more children, so she left me alone (literally--no visits, no calls, no contact) until she found out her younger brother and his wife were infertile and turned down as unsuitable by the adoption authorities in their state. Here was her chance: she got revenge on me for thwarting her plans to get rid of my baby, she got to be a hero to her brother: she set about blackening my name in the family even further, spreading really awful lies (like I was a drug-addicted prostitute), called CPS on me so there would be a record of me being reported (even though they found nothing wrong) and eventually kidnapped my children, got a guardianship of them in another state by lying about my whereabouts so I was never notified of the court hearings and lost by default. She then took them to yet a third state and gave them to her brother for adoption. It was eight years before I learned the truth and recovered my kids.

      (See below for conclusion)

    7. Pt 2

      Where I failed was that I did not accurately predict to what lengths my NM would go. I assumed she had the same boundaries I had...I would never even THINK of such a thing as my NM did. Since I didn't realize the kids had been turned over to my uncle, I could not figure out why NM had them as she hated the responsibility of child rearing. Even before I knew about narcissism, I was clear that my NM didn't do anything unless there was something in it for her...and I could not figure out what was in it for her to have my kids except to hurt me for not obeying her when I was pregnant and get rid of my baby. She was determined that I would not be allowed to keep my child and it might have taken her 6 years, but she finally got her way. What I didn't know was that the burden of raising two kids was a bigger price than she wanted to pay for her revenge, but once she knew she could dump that responsibility on someone else, she was "all systems go."

      We underestimate the depths to which a narcissist will stoop because we try to predict them along the lines of our own...normal people's...behaviour. We have to go well beyond that into the realm of "I cannot imagine anyone doing that!" behaviour. BUT, the narcissist's behaviour is self-limiting: s/he is VERY unlikely to do anything unless s/he gets something out of it.

      So, unless this brother has a way of wringing Nsupply from his actions, he is unlikely to take any action. If he finds a dry well, he will go elsewhere, to someplace easier to tap for the Nsupply. The best and most certain way to keep a narcissist at bay is to make sure you do not represent Nsupply to him or her by failing to respond in the way the N expects. If it is difficult to get Nsupply from you, the lazy buggers will move onto softer targets. And that is a very predictable behaviour.



    8. Violet, Keeping up appearances is definitely what it's all about for narcissists, this is why family members tend to be their favourite source of "supply". They can do so much in private: groom their victims, treat them like shit, rage, gaslight, etc. In public they act appropriately, even toward their victims, which is really confusing to a child.

      I went out with my husband for eight years and we played the happy family game in front of him. He knew it was a sham and played along for my sake. The minute he married me and became "family" my father's mask came off (in private) and he got the same treatment I did.

      As my father gets older, he's finding it harder and harder to maintain control in public but it's all good because mommy dearest is ready to make excuses for him.

      What a horrendous story about your children! I'm glad it has a happy ending.

    9. Violet and Mulderfan: I think we are all in agreement, truthfully. While a narcissist's response to a particular incident will always be self serving, the manifestation of that self serving response can vary wildly in response to a particular event. After the incident occurs, and having a knowledge of where the response came from (the narcissist's need to keep it all about them), we can more easily connect the dots of why they behaved a certain way. And I agree Violet, normal people will have the same issue of being unpredictable in the response to a given event. However, normal people have empathy and will typically be able to evaluate their behavior and offer a sincere apology or at least offer an explanation of why they are out of line, where the narcissist will never admit that they may have done something wrong.

      I agree that it's very difficult for people that have empathy (normal people) to understand the narcissist's behavior. When a narcissist is devaluing us, it makes absolutely no sense to us. How can a person that was madly in love with me 10 minutes ago suddenly treat me like I'm the most horrible person on earth? Honestly, I believe it's actually projection on our part. We can't possibly fathom that someone could be so self centered and heartless, so we project our empathy onto the narcissist and assume that they are "just having a bad day" or make some other rationalization that "they really don't mean it".

      This same ability to project is exactly the same way the narcissist behaves. They can't fathom the concept of empathy, so they project their lack of empathy onto us and assume that we are as self centered as the narcissist, which leads to their crazy responses that we aren't able to wrap our heads around.

      This projection is not healthy and is what keeps us stuck on the dance floor with the narcissist.

      Stephen Bach

    10. I disagree that it is projection on our parts.

      When I was married to my N ex-husband, I had expectations of his behaviour and feelings not based on my own, but based on what he SAID and my belief in how loving people interacted. So, when he set me up, I did not recognize it because in my definition of how loving people interacted, one did not set the other one up for some kind of disaster. I behaved according to my perception of how loving people behaved and, because he said he loved me, I trusted him to behave in a loving manner (according to my definition).

      Now, YOU might call that projection, but it was not: I behave much the same with my present husband and we have had a loving, drama-free marriage for ten years. My mistake was in expecting a snake to behave like a lamb and in refusing to acknowledge the snake for what he was, for believing he was a lamb because he said he was and I trusted him.

      Where we are at fault is in engaging in denial, not projection. It is the denial that keeps us stuck to a narcissist: we love and trust and we therefore discount the red flags, make excuses for the bad behaviour, forgive the transgressions. We know that a person who loves us wouldn't behave with evil, hurtful intent, we believe the narcissist loves us (either because s/he has said so or because we buy into the cultiral mythology that all mothers love their children), so because we believe we are loved by this person and we can't reconcile their hurtful behaviour, we make excuses for them both to others and to ourselves. The alternative would be to admit to ourselves that our mothers, husbands, and other people we love do not love us back, and we simply cannot do that because the pain would be devastating.

      It's denial we engage in, in order to protect ourselves from the pain of acknowledging we are not loved by those people we love the most.


    11. Violet, Wrapping my head around the fact that my own parents didn't love me was the hardest thing I have ever done. Maybe that's why it took me so damn long! I'm pretty sure I'll never fully heal from being denied that most primal bond with my own mother.

      When people say, "They loved you in their own way." I now know the answer is simple, "That wasn't love."

      Even with my new found understanding, part of me says, "Wow, if your own mother couldn't love you, you must be a real loser."

    12. When that part of you starts that kind of negative self-talk, shush it! Remind yourself that SHE is personality disordered and she doesn't love anyone but herself. You cannot get blood out of a stone and even the cutest, most lovable baby, the most adorable child, cannot get love out of a narcissist.

  11. Thanks again everyone....your replies have really helped me to understand things more clearly. I do suffer from anxiety and worrying is second nature to me. I have just recently begun to try to sort out everything I have been through in my life (and how to control my anxieties, not an easy task mind you....but I am determined to get there!) through therapy.

    I did not even know that NPD existed until a few short months ago so I am still learning about it and how it has affected me psychologically and emotionally. I always knew something was wrong with my family dynamic but really didn't understand the extent of the problem until now.

    This blog has an extensive amount of information which has been extremely helpful to me as I begin my recovery. I am so grateful to have found it and that you, Violet are able to communicate your knowledge in such an articulate and considerate way.

    Best wishes to you all as you make your way on your own journeys.

  12. Sometimes I wish -- as much as I tire of the social networking sites and their gimmicks -- that you had one of those "like" buttons or an "lol" thing I could press. Only because I feel like I sound patronizing to agree with what Anonymous just said so well. It's just that there are no least I've run out. And I'm just really grateful for your blog because you help me so much. I'm getting better every day.

  13. Violet, all of your responses to the girl with a ominous brother is really great. But i wish to add my own point. After legally no contacting my Narc-inlaws in the court, when the matter came up to the police and as the indian police are the most corrupt, pursuing the case further is doomed to never ending circles of bribes on both parties, i withdrew the case stating the matter had been settled at the court. To represent them came my wife's cousin a lawyer. The police had legalised their crimes by bribing them. Much more than any threat of law, these people were scared of me. I told my wife to switch off her phone, my phone is something they would never ring up. 15 days after the switch off, they presented themsevles to my house with offerings of sweets, flowers etc as a peace deal, i slammed the door on their faces. They refused to leave, i opened up the door and the lawyer-cousin had anger writ on his face, and he was holding the door so that i might not slam it further, the father in law was seated in his car, and after several arguments they made a request to atleast to allow him to see the grand children, just to get rid of them i asked him to come up to see them, beyond which they did not stay long.

    The best solution is to call the officers, but the indian police is a corrupted lot. So as you say, it is better to play safe. Had i slapped the trio, it would have been a case against me ever mind what they do. It is a one sided situation, the senior perverts are treated sacred and an altar built around them and so many provisions to protect them though most of them deserve to be begging on the streets.

    despite a restraining order they made it to my house. This is what exactly Sam vaknin says that narcs dont respect court orders.

    The fear of the anonymous blogger above regarding her brother is valid, because narcs are downright zombies, and psychopaths and they are capable of criminal actions. Luckily i was available at my home to defend my family. The abusers had miscalculated my being away from home. What if they were to ambush my wife and kids when i am away was the nagging question. Since narcs know no boundaries they are capable of criminal physical abuse. As i mentioned earlier in my posts the narc father in law tried ambushing my children at school, but my measures were taken and i had given it in writing to the school to handover any intruder to the police.

    At the same time your advice of avoiding anticipatory anxiety is equally good.

  14. What you describe in paragraphs 9-13 is exactly what goes on at the chumplady blog. There was something disturbingly peculiar about her and the vitriol dispensed by her more radical fans toward those who even mildly disagrees with opinions expressed there. Thanks for the clarification that having been a scapegoat or a victim does not rule out also being a narcissist. Great post.

  15. I was wondering if anybody has had the experience of being demoted from golden child to scapegoat and what the long-term effects were.

    1. You have a better chance of getting a response if you ask your question in the Facebook group. To join the group, send me a request via the email form below and i will send you an invitation.

  16. Hello,

    I completely disagree. Parents are NOT doing the best they can. THEY KNOW EXACTLY WHAT THEY ARE DOING.

    It is down to a choice people.

    Kindness or cruelty.

    Please let me tell you my story so you will believe me.

    I am the scapegoat. In fact, it is so bad that my little sister is convinced I am the golden child not her. When if you look at THE FACTS (blantant favoritism, cruel bitchy attitude, OVERLY picky with people and shallow) she is the golden child and very delusional, dangerous.

    NOw, my mother Phd holder (in therapy for YEARRSSS 40+ years) is more dangerous now than ever with even more "knowledge" under her belt.

    My EXX, the most MACHEIVILLAN person (previous scapegoat too) that you can imagine. Trust me. He litterally destroyed me, and honestly I do not know if I can through..Reading about the dark night of soul is helping and reading about PTSD.

    YOU people, now that im old yes i still get picked on and bullied. In fact I would wager some of you would even reject and humiliate me (most probably). At work recently I got told "im scarey" to my face, for being so quiet. AND at school people were out right CRUEL and came up to me and said these things, for NO reason. I have spent 80% of my life hiding (bathrooms, my room, library). And I am 33 and still do. Can you blame me? Yes most people are just terrifying to me.

    BUT what I want to say please (my point) even if most of you probably dont deserve it, (seeing as how Im sure I would get rejected by most of you but Ill tell you anyway)
    THESE PEOPLE CAN MAKE A CHOICE. It is not about being damaged or some other ridiculous excuse. Please understand this. THEY ARE PURE EVIL. I have tons of compassion for killers (school shooters, serial killres) BUT not these people. THEY ARE AWAKE!!!! THEY ARE NOT IN PAIN THERE IS NO SOUL OR HEART !!!!! Please run run far way. Because THEY are the killing machines they seek to destroy you and squash your light out COMPLETELY to bring you to KILL YOURSELF. They DO NOT CARE AT ALL. THEY are the killing machines, quiet and sneaky like a nasty sick slow death gas. I hope all the good hearts get away from them fast.

    1. There was nothing said in this post that exonerates narcissists. And I have never said narcissistic parents are doing the best they can because I know they are not.

      I have published this diatribe for one reason: to demonstrate just how off-track we can get when we get so emotionally worked up. This person is very, very angry but instead of turning that anger and its energy into a driving force for change and healing, she is scattering it to the winds, benefitting no one and actually making herself look a little crazy.

      It is a good lesson for all of us...this is what WE look like when we simply react. What we need is to ACT, not REact. We need to acknowledge that we were wronged but we do not need to focus our energy on that, we need to focus it on healing ourselves, learning and taking steps that lead us out of the mindless anger and into the calm of being at peace with ourselves.

      The Ns are never going to help us, and few GCs ever have the insight and compassion to help us either. They have been damaged is ways different from our own, but damaged just the same. But this kind of spewed anger won't heal anybody, it just keeps the wounds raw and festering. This person is so caught up in her anger that she didn't even address the topic of the post but went off, spraying her vitriol, on something that is not even addressed here. She put words in my mouth that I never said, never would say (that NParents are doing the best they can)...her entire tirade is pointless and misdirected, at least on this particular entry.

      Blind anger does that. It misleads you, it blinds you to everything except your agenda (which is actually a little narcissistic, if you think about it), and it can actually cause you to make a fool of yourself, leading you to post polemics such as this in inappropriate places.

      Sometimes an example is worth a million words of caution. And this is an excellent example of how even legitimate anger can lead us astray.

  17. I'm 69 years old and was parented by two malignant narcissists...the quiet kind and the raging maniac kind. My younger brother, hid his narcissism for years but has become a raging chip of the old block. So before NC, I used to deal with two older versions with no real idea of why they do what they do and a younger version who I've known since the day he was born so I have a pretty good insight into his "why".
    Here's my point: I don't care "why" they do what they do. All that is important is "how" I deal with it. In the past, people have thought I was weird and a maybe a little crazy which made me the target of bullies. Being raised they way I was raised I was bound to have mental health issues.
    I was everyone's doormat until in a therapy group the guy next to me said, "All you have to do is get up of the f***king floor!" Not easy but when I finally stopped victimizing MYSELF others stopped victimizing me too. I still get the occasional bully (like my own stalker younger brother) but they are little more than a speck of fly poop on the wall of my life. Easily wiped away and quickly forgotten.
    Anonymous: Get up of the floor. You're worth it!

  18. I have so far only read 1/3 of your very interesting blog post. Id like to comment before I loose the energy to do so on the one point that sticks out the most for me so far: I'm a number cruncher, so I crunched the numbers you gave:

    If the first generation of abusers consists of 1000 people and has 1000 children, these 1000 children will become abusers at a rate of 30% as indicated by the numbers you cited. Meaning from the 1000 abusers in one generation only 300 abusers will abuse the grand children generation to the first one we were talking about by means of perpetuating the cycle. These 300 people according to your sources make up 70% of the abusers in the second generation, meaning the other 30% are abusers who were not abused as children. If 300 is 70% then the remaining 30% correspond to 128.6 people (I'm a number cruncher, please don't tell me 0.6 people is not a realistic number. I know already. It's beside the point right now XD ), together this makes 428.6 people in the second generation being abusers. So the first generation had 1000 abusers, the second has only 428.6 . The number of abusers has become less than half compared to the parents generation. If these number were true wed see a drastic decline in abuse cases as generations go on. If we assume 30 years per generation we should see the numbers of abuse cases drop to a quarter of what they were when we were born if we happen to live 90 years. With the current population of what 8 billion people, let's claim 1% of them are abusers (this number is a complete fabrication to illustrate my point) thats 80 million abusers.

    roughly 34.3 million abusers born and raised with the next 30 years based on the cited numbers and my assumption about generation time and initial abuse frequency, 14.7 million in 60 years, 6.3 million in 90 years, 2.7 million in 120 years, 1.16 million in 150 years, 495 thousand in 180 years, 212 thousand in 210 years and so forth. You get the point by now I guess. I do not think the growth of human population numbers can correct for my perception that the number of abuse is not moving in either direction that significantly... (Obviously my perception may be wrong but I dare anyone to compare the situation with abuse today to that 210 years ago and make a believable case how it has dropped that severely from what it was back then to what it is today if we correct for fluctuating overall population numbers.)

    I do not blame you for citing the best available sources of course, if anything I blame the sources for claiming such thing, because I do call BS on abusers naturally disappearing. Something here is VERY off, Either their definition of abuse is skewed or they do not have all the data or whatever but I do not buy this for a second. :)

    1. The problem with reading only 1/3 of something before replying is that if you don't finish reading the thing, you don't know if your issue is later resolved or not.

      Studies of human behaviour are done with a finite cohort and the results extrapolated. The larger the cohort, the more statistically accurate the findings. Notice my statement is qualified by the word "statistically."

      Abusers do not "naturally disappear" and nothing in the statistical data implies that. Further, the studies did not address abuse from 210 years ago, it addresses abuse contemporary to the study and within the memories of the people studied.

      Simplified, out of each 100 people studied, all of whom were abused as children, 70% of those studied DID NOT go on to abuse their own children while 30% of them did. Furthermore, out of each of the 100 child abusers studied, 70% of them reported having been abused in childhood while 30% of the abusers were not, themselves, abused as children.

      Anything more you extract from these statistics is not a valid conclusion of the studies since 1) you didn't bother to read the whole thing and 2) you were not part of the study team. You cannot legitimately criticize their methodology unless you know what it is and, having some experience with clinical studies myself (I used to work in biotech), I would trust the researchers at Yale be considerably more accurate than an armchair quarterback such as yourself.

      Your eagerness to refute this post without even finishing it and your convoluted methodology to invalidate the finding of Ivy League researchers, quite frankly, makes me wonder if you have an ulterior motive. Like, perhaps you are one of those abusing parents who seeks to invalidate the research or its methodology so that you can walk away feeling blameless.

      For me, as a person who was abused as a child, I believe that the researchers used appropriate protocols, defined "abuse" adequately, and conducted a bona fide study. I accept their conclusions. You are free to disbelieve, as is anyone who reads here.

      But you can manipulate the numbers any way you want and draw whatever specious conclusions you desire, and the findings of the original studies do not change: out of each 100 abuse victims studied, 70% of them did NOT go on to abuse their own children and 30% did; out of each 100 child abusers studied, 70% of them were abused as children and 30% of them were not.

  19. I learned about the nature of narcissists about a month ago, and realized my mother was a covert narcissist, and I was a scapegoat. My family consisted of my ED, my NM, my GC younger sister, and me. Growing up, I felt like my family has always been a bit odd, but I kept telling myself maybe I was just overreacting.

    When I was an eight-year-old, I was bullied at school. Eventually it came to a point where I was afraid of going to school one day. Instead of comforting me, my NM told me if I didn't go to school, the police would get me. I went to school out of fear. I later learned that it was an empty threat.

    Later in life, I asked her why she did that. Her response was that she loved me and cared about my grades, but it felt fake. I was an A student throughout primary school, and she prided herself on raising a smart student. Both my sister and I were GCs at the time. When relatives asked her how her children had all these spectacular grades, she would pride herself on her own parenting.

    As a grew up, I was still bullied at school although the difference was I had friends who stood up for me. I stopped talking to my NM about my friends because she would threaten breaking up the friendships I had with my friends with the threat of telling them about all the "horrible" things I've done in the past whenever I did something she didn't like. Eventually she assumed I was friendless except for my sister who I was close to at the time. My NM continued to use empty threats. At the same time, my bullshit detector improved.

    Although I knew there was something a bit off about my family, I still loved them and thought that they were probably just being normal and I was overreacting. I came out to my parents as transgender and gay, and talked to them about how I might be depressed from the bullying at school. My parents thought I was crazy for having depression and being transgender. They didn't even bother to hide there thoughts from me. Whenever they drove me back from school, my NM and ED would talk in front of me like I wasn't there. At the same time, my sister became the sole GC, and I became a SC.

    My teen years were the worst. My sister whom I was once close to, fell into the trap of my parent's lies and was convinced that I was a mistake in the family and was mentally insane. My depression got worse, and no matter what I did to reconnect with her, I was ignored or was told that I was a bitch. My sister started to exhibit some N-like traits. It was stressful. I wanted to get away from my family.

    Eventually I did get away from them by going to college. I'm almost NC with them except for the fact I still want to reconnect with my sister. She's a teenager now, and I worry for her. However, our relationship is so flawed that I don't know if there's any chance of repairing it.

    My biggest worry is that I might have N-like traits because I tried to preserve my torn-down friendship with my sister. I don't want to become a narcissist, and I do not want to hurt anyone. I felt like I've already been enough trouble for anyone who tried to help me with my depression, and I don't deserve attention for my issues. Sorry that I unloaded an entire life story here.

    I'm slowly recovering from being raised by a narcissist ever since I moved away from them. I could relate to a lot of things on your blog post, and I found it helpful. The information you have here will help many people who are recovering, and best of luck to everybody on the road to recovery!


I don't publish rudeness, so please keep your comments respectful, not only to me, but to those who comment as well. We are not all at the same point in our recovery.

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