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.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Scapegoat’s Daughter Revisited

Back in October I published a guest post by a young woman named Eve entitled “The Scapegoat’s Daughter,” a post that very poignantly revealed the suffering our children can be subjected to when we allow our toxic FOO to be a part of their lives.

This morning I received a lengthy comment on that post, a comment that bears repeating here, so that no one who is struggling with the idea of cutting their kids off from their dysfunctional families has any doubt on what you can do to protect your kids from damage and why you should do it. Unfortunately, the commenter didn’t leave even a nickname for us to call her by, so we’ll just have to call her “Anonymous.”

Herewith our correspondence for your enlightenment:

Anonymous: Abusive FOOs are no different from poisoned wells. You wouldn't knowingly take your children to drink water from a poisoned well so why would you expose your children to your toxic FOO?

Violet: Your analogy is apt...but if you don't realize the well is poisoned, if your children keep getting sick but you don't recognize that the water is causing it, you keep returning to that well.

Once you know it is the water, you might still go there, because you are in denial. Or it may be just you getting noticeably sick...the effect on the children not so evident, so you don't think it really is the water...or maybe it is just you, there is something in that water that only affects you and everyone else is safe.

That is the kind of thinking Ns grind into their children: YOU are the defective one, not me. YOU are the one with the problem, not me. And if the child believes it (and a lot of them do), then they think the abusive relationship is their fault and the Nparent will be a lovely grandparent.

Even the courts fall prey to this kind of thinking: in a situation where there is an addicted or otherwise unfit parent, courts will award custody or guardianship to the very person who raised that unfit parent. It makes no logical sense, but it happens every day.

You only stop giving your children water from a poisoned well when you truly realize and accept that it is the well itself that is irretrievably poisoned and even though the children may be asymptomatic, it is still bad for them. And sometimes that realization takes a very long time to come.

Anonymous: Apologies for only posting the bit about poisoned wells. This was actually the end bit of my long post to give you a context for my remarks. I will make my post in several parts as it was too long to post in one go.

Part One

I was lucky to have moved away after getting married. It meant, when my children came along, I was able to keep them away from my FOO. I was the child born out of wedlock and my mother put all her shame on me. I was the child who had to be grateful she hadn't aborted me and had kept me after giving birth to me. My mother's siblings and their children all treated me with contempt. Things got worse when my mother got married to my stepfather. She kept threatening to send me away if I caused problems for her by not accepting her new husband. I ended up being sexually abused and raped and was too afraid to tell because I would be blamed and sent away. My mother only got out of that marriage when her husband started to abuse her. Lucky for me, she sent me to boarding school, to get me out of the way as she had nowhere to put me during the time she was hiding from her husband who was looking for her.

I forced the issue to connect with my biological father and met with the same shaming treatment at his hands. Turned out, he had been married the time he had an affair with my mother, with several children at home. In the time, I was being rejected and humiliated at my father's house, not just by him but his other children and his second wife, I met my future husband.

I thought this man wanted to marry me for me but later found out, it was because he wanted to be connected to my biological father, who had money and status. My saving grace was the fact that we moved away after getting married.

My husband picked up where my family had left off but having my babies woke me up. Watching a lot of Oprah’s abuse discussions and reading about toxic families and scapegoating provided me with the means to process my past and make some decisions about the future. I decided early on that I had to protect my babies from what I had suffered and I didn't want them to be poisoned by my toxic family dynamics. I kept my children away from having form of contact with my FOO and made sure my children grew up knowing exactly how mean and cruel my family had been to me. It was pretty clear my FOO were looking to recruit my children to join them in abusing me. My mother wrote a letter addressed to my SEVEN year old daughter, telling her how mean and horrible I was, for not allowing them access. Who does that? Sick and twisted people who can never change do such things. They don't know when to stop and cut the c*ap. They can never accept that their target of hate has woken up to their generational abuse, cut the cord and walked away. They want the situation to continue because it works for them. They will keep coming back and will destroy your relationship with your children if you let them into your life. Even now, when my children are now in their twenties, my FOO keep trying to establish a connection with my children. The door is firmly shut. One of my half siblings found my daughter via facebook and started trying to draw her in. My daughter put an end to that by no longer using facebook.

Part Two
PS: Lucky that my ex husband was mean really to me and our children during the marriage. Our children were relieved to finally be free of the misery he inflicted. He had his own difficult childhood but never got angry at the stepmother who had been so cruel to him nor his father who let it happen. Instead, my then husband turned all his hatred and mental/emotional cruelty on us, his own family. I thought he would see it as a second chance to have a loving family of his own but he never saw it that way. He kept chasing after everyone else's approval while saying horrible things about me where we lived. I only found out the extent of the lies he had told when I filed for divorce and his co-workers got themselves involved. The only way to escape him, and his lies, was to gather me children and move away to another part of the country.

Leaving my marriage enabled me to cut off any token contact I had with my FOO. My FOO took my ex husband's side in the divorce and encouraged him to not give me a thing. My own family wanted me to remain trapped in an abusive marriage due to lack of money or to leave and face destitution. Lucky there is such a thing as free initial legal consultation and being a joint owner in the marital property meant lawyer's fees would be deducted from the settlement.

My FOO's continued relationship with my ex husband has made it easier to leave him behind and not look back. When our children were at university, my FOO tried to use my ex husband to infiltrate our children by passing on contact details. He even tried to bribe them with money but again we were saved by his own damaged nature. He couldn't sustain being nice and his mean side kept taking over, making him someone whose intentions, our children couldn't trust. My FOO had chosen the wrong person to do their dirty work.

So far, we have had a few years of absolute peace, until last month when news came through that my biological father had died. My FOO sent a message through my ex but I never responded. All I felt was a sense of relief at the closing of that chapter and didn't want to get drawn back in.

Part Three

Sorry for writing all this but thought it might help someone else to realise, you can and you must protect your children, from the family dysfunction that blighted your childhood. Nothing good can come from playing nice and letting them have access to your children. I think it is Oprah who said, "when people show you, who they are, believe them". When your family of origin have shown you time and time again, they mean you harm and your pain is their joy, believe them. Nothing good will come from sacrificing your children to such twisted people. Your children are nothing more than pawns in their power games against you. These people want you to serve a life sentence of being c*apped on and will use any means necessary. Take a stand and refuse to have your children recruited into the cult of generational abuse. Draw a line in the sand, pick up your babies, keep walking and go make a life somewhere you can give your children a loving and supportive family experience.

Get counseling to help you get strong enough to do what is right for you and your children if you can afford it. If you can't afford counseling, start to self educate by reading online and using books about toxic families, narcissism etc. The more you know, the stronger you will get at realising what you need to do, to protect yourself and your children. If you are lucky enough to be married to someone who is supportive of you then you are truly blessed. Use this support to make a new life as far away from FOO as you can manage. Remember your children are counting on you to keep them safe from being emotionally and psychologically abused. Your children are also counting on you, to show them what it means to be a loving, protective, supportive and nurturing family. You can't do any of this if you allow your children to see you being abused and ganged up on by your FOO. Teach your children how to stand together and be united from those with "divide and conquer"

Part Four

agendas. Dysfunctional family dynamics depend on compartmentalised relationships. Bullies in families rely on the favoured family members treating the suffering of the scapegoat as something happening to someone else and therefore not their problem to address. Make sure your children grow up knowing it is not OK to ignore the hurt and humiliation of your immediate family member. Just so they can fit in with the bullies. If your children are older teens and you are moving towards waking them up to your FOO, have them sign up for anti bullying campaigns at school, so they can appreciate the damaging nature of bullying. Once a child has woken up to the injustice and dynamics of bullying, it does not take much for them to wake up to the same patterns in the family dynamics. The important thing is not to suffer in silence. Silence is not golden when your family is at risk of being destroyed by your FOO. You can't afford to experiment with your children finding out for themselves that your FOO are toxic people, whose main objective is to turn your family on itself, so the FOO can continue to abuse their chosen scapegoat.

Abusive FOOs are no different from poisoned wells. You wouldn't knowingly take your children to drink water from a poisoned well so why would you expose your children to your toxic FOO? Your children are your second chance to have a family of your own where you can love and be loved unconditionally. Protect your right to have a toxic free family because your future is with your children not your FOO. Your siblings will have their own families and their own lives and you are entitled to yours. I know everyone is at different points in their realisation, deciding the way forward and the process of recovery. I can only speak from my own experiences and from what I have seen so far, nothing good comes from allowing your toxic FOO, to have access to your children. If they can’t turn your children against you they will turn on your children in addition to whatever they have been doing to you. Never compromise once you get it, protect your children at all costs. Only you know how much your FOO has hurt you. Listen to your pain and refuse to allow your children to be corrupted by your FOO.

Sorry for the long post but hope this helps someone going through this

Part Five

Came back to add a clarification about when to encourage your children to sign up for anti bullying campaigns at school. It should be from pre teens and onwards. Mine advocated at their school from middle school until graduation. It is invaluable in teaching your children to see bullies for what they are and how the actions of those around the bully enable the bullying to continue. My children were really helped because they picked up the language to articulate what was going on when someone was being targetted and the emotional and mental coping tools to deal with bullies (toxic people). Support your children by encouraging them to talk to you and to each other about whatever is going on in their lives. Start early and the teenage years though challenging will be a lot easier on them and on you as a parent.

Each of us has our own unique story but we come together as the Adult Children of Narcissists because even though our stories are unique, there is a common tragic, dysfunctional thread that we all share. We are all comforted by knowing we are not the only person on the planet who has had to deal with the traumas and tragedies that are an ordinary part of growing up under the thumb of a narcissist. But there is more to it than that…coming together with other ACoNs gives us an exceptional opportunity to learn what has worked—and not worked—in the lives of other people who are struggling to cope with the same issues we are, and even issues we may not yet have become aware of. It is an opportunity not only for solidarity and comfort, but for raising awareness and learning. And Anonymous, in sharing her story, has given us much.

Thank you, Anonymous, for your revealing and heartfelt comments. I am sure I am not the only person who appreciates the effort you have expended on our behalfs.


  1. Thank you for sharing that powerful message!

  2. Yes, thank you greatly! --quartz

  3. This was so clear and well-written and gives such solid, straight-forward advice. Thank you for writing it. --LuLoo

  4. thank you. you are so lucky you were able to get away from your children's abusive father. I am trapped in craziness. joint custody and he uses the children to continue to abuse me with no regard to their welfare, but so subtly that he gets away with it. I like the anti-bullying campaign involvement idea. that will help them see things for themselves. I am under a gag order called a behavior order in the divorce decree, and cannot speak poorly of this man who I suspect is really Satan. he creates the illusion of being the loving involved father and at a certain level he is, but his primary motivation is to destroy me, to harass me. I will be accused of parental alienation if I try to warn my children, or just explain why certain events confuse them. on the day they are both 18, I will explain it all. but by then, there will be a lot of emotional damage. any advice??? -Mnav

    1. Therapy--you don't say how old your kids are, but a child psychologist, preferably one who uses "play therapy" techniques if your kids are young. Not only does this help to counteract your ex's machinations, it can lay the groundwork for a court challenge later on. The therapist can write a report or even testify in court as to the psychological damage the father is doing to the kids, which can be instrumental in changing those custody orders.

      But you, also, should be in therapy. I keep hearing people say they can't afford it, but then I see them spending money on soda, cigarettes, beer...modern life is full of little luxuries that people mistakenly consider necessities. Comb through your finances and determine what you can give up...biologically, you (and your kids) do not need meat every day: dairy foods and eggs provide high quality protein and meat is just about the most expensive way to get protein: can you cut your meat purchases in half and what will that do for your budget? (This is just an example...we can cut costs in amazing ways if we just think about washable kitchen towels instead of paper towels, for example.) It may mean sacrifices, but if you want your kids to grow up emotionally healthy, that is what good parents do: they sacrifice.

      I want to caution you against waiting until they are 18...because they won't believe you. My NM fed my kids crap about me for 8 years and when I got them back (she stole them), they were convinced I had abandoned them...and nothing changed their minds, especially my daughter. She was 14 and believed all the bad things she had been told about me...she is now 49 and still believes it, regardless of what I have been able to provide as proof to the contrary. So waiting until they are 18 will be too little, too late. The time to act is now.

      Hugs and best of luck


  5. Ok soo.. I live with my mother.. she's the BIGGEST narcissist in the universe and i fu**ing HATE her. I wish she would just DIE in pain, that's how much I HAAAAAATE her!!!!!! I could write a book on how much she has hurt me and the most hilarious thing is.... no one outside the family SEE HOW SHE ACTS!!! She's the devil in disguise I swear and I'm so mad right now I want to slice the tires on her car so she can pay for some shit. Lately, I got this great apartment.. and for the last 3 weeks.. that is 21 days, morning, day, evening and night she's been PISSED OFF.. why? Because I'm moving out.. And my father (they're divorced) said She's a psychopath just ignore her.. how would you like it if you for 3 whole weeks, 24/7 had a narcissist mother sit like the fatass she is in the kitchen, smoking infront of the fucking stove like a lardo and giving you the side eye, sighing heavily and moan "Aren't you gonna pack huh? HUH pack now, it's not many weeks left" (btw it was 2 months til I had to move in... so.. and I only had to pack some shit in my room.. not a full house) So ofc I got mad about that too.. She has done so much crap to me. Told me to commit suicide twice, told me I'm a ugly nun who never will get black D (for some reason idk why just a black man but oh well) I will never get married, I'll have ugly kids, (i might not even have kids according to her based on my uglyness lol) Truth is.... I'm a converted muslim, I have the most amazing fiancé in the world, we have talked about kids and in 2 or 3 years I might be a mother, I'm heading for a GREAT career, I'm a humanist, I want to adopt kids or work with adoptions.. so all these things she is telling me is just lies, bullshit and jealousy. She constantly tries to make me jealous over sex..!? I dont want to know about her sexlife!? It's disgusting. I'm sorry if this is long, I just HATE her so much!!! And btw, she's sleeping with a jackass who's cheating on his wife with her.. is the monster proud of herself? Of course she is.. in her own words "I guess she should've fu**ed him better then hehehehe.." D-ISGUSTING!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. I also had no money to escape my abusive nar husband and my nar family knew it.They let me stay in a very dangerous situation ;whilst 2 of them are millionares or multimillionares.I was very ill at the time and destitution would be to hard.I have no children and grieve that.It put so much in perspective when I found sites like these.I am the family scapegoat.

  7. thank you that was so beautifully written!!!!!
    -Miriam Gebhart


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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