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

Monday, September 8, 2014

Just who is looking out for YOU?

Have you ever wondered why you and your feelings always seem to be the lowest priority, why you are always the one who has to give in or give over in order to spare the feelings of someone else? Why others don’t seem to be expected to spare your feelings, but you are expected to spare theirs? I have never seen this addressed before, in any of the articles I have read, in any of the conversations I have had, in any of my many exhausting therapy sessions.

In passing, I have heard people ask “Why am I always the one who has to give way?” but it always comes across as rhetorical, not a real question begging for a real answer. But for those of us who grew up under the thumb of a personality-disordered parent, the question is very real, the dynamic anything but balanced and just.

I once was asked by a therapist, in reference to my narcissistic then-husband, “If you are looking out for him and he is looking out for him…who is looking out for you?” As a person raised and trained by a narcissistic mother, I was groomed to put myself last on anybody’s list or priorities, virtually guaranteeing that my needs would never be addressed…and, not knowing any better for many, many years, this is exactly how I lived. I believed I had to justify every purchase, every need. I didn’t seek medical attention unless I was debilitated by the problem, I didn’t buy new clothes or shoes from quality retailers, but bought from the cheapest stores and even then, felt I had to justify my purchases. Every once in a while I would splash out on something costly…like my sports car…but then I felt like I had to justify my expense by driving it for fifteen years (and thereby saving the cost of buying another car). For the most part, I set myself at the end of the priority list and actually felt grateful for the crumbs that fell from the banquet from which everyone around me was partaking.

A reader made a comment some weeks ago and in it she asked why she was always the one who had to give way to the narcissist or the Golden Child. It struck a chord with me, as I instantly related to the question. And I have a strong sense that this reader and I not are the only people who deal with this…in fact, I have a sense that it is pretty much universal for those of us who have to deal with narcissists.

What is peculiar, however, is not that it is the narcissist who demands this from us, but the other people around us. Well-meaning family members who would never consciously wish to harm or humiliate us, expect us to give in to the narcissist for the sake of family peace, to end a rift, to mollify the indignant and bristling N in their midst. And I have to wonder…why did my grandmother expect me to set aside my animosity after my mother stole my children, told them a pack of hurtful lies about me, and then left me twisting in the wind for eight years, wondering where they were, if they were dead or alive, if they were ok or not? Why didn’t my grandmother seek to restore family harmony by asking my mother to apologize to me and tell the truth to my children? Why was I the one who had to give up a toy to my destructive little brother? Why were my howls of outrage met with a beating and his were met with the demand that I give up whatever it was I was withholding from him, even if the item belonged to me?

But it wasn’t just my NM or my NexH who had this expectation of me. Other people, both inside and outside the family, seemed to have this expectation as well. I kept waiting for it to be my turn to hear, “…don’t be so selfish, it will hurt Violet’s feelings…” but the words never came. Violet’s feelings, it seemed, didn’t need to be spared. Growing up, I knew that I was the one who had to give way…and so did everyone else in the family. I can remember my cousin, a girl my age who I saw only during the summers, threatening me with “I’ll tell Nana,” if I didn’t give her what she wanted. If I told our grandmother about her threat, that would be “tattling,” something my NM had beaten into me as being unacceptable. So there I was, stuck with only three choices: 1) tell Nana and be branded a tattler, 2) refuse to give my cousin what she wanted, in which case she would tell Nana, branding me as selfish (also forbidden), or 3) giving in. I was always, always giving in because that, it seems, was the role assigned to me.

When I was in my early teens my mother arranged a “date” between me and the son of her best friend. They thought it was cute, me dressed in my Sunday best in the backseat with my GC brother and my “date” as the two mothers sat in the front and drove us home from a matinee. The problem was, I already knew this boy and I considered him to be gross. He was at that gangly stage, grown nearly to the size of a man, but not yet able to coordinate those big, ungainly limbs. He was rather crude and didn’t even approach my standards of attractive. For one thing, he had big rubbery lips that always looked wet which I most definitely perceived as gag-worthy. He engulfed my hand in his huge paw, and when I snatched it back, he ignored my wishes and grabbed my hand again. As the mothers tittered in the front seat, he suddenly kissed me, his wet rubbery mouth engulfing my lips and applying considerable suction, which absolutely repelled me. I tried to push him away (I couldn’t make a sound with his mouth covering mine) and instead of letting me go, he then stuck his tongue in my mouth! I found this positively revolting and, when he would not let me pull away and break the kiss, I bit his tongue. Hard. He stopped…and he howled.

Do you think either mother scolded Greg for the intrusion into my sovereign space? Nope…I got nailed for biting him! For being “ungracious”! For upsetting Greg’s mother and hurting Greg’ feelings. What did I think was going to happen, I was asked…I was surrounded by people…his mother, my mother, my kid brother…he wasn’t going to rape me (I didn’t even know what rape was at that time). Apparently I was supposed to acquiesce to his crude, fumbling attempts at wooing, under the watchful eye of our mothers and my brother, and be grateful for his attentions. Nobody…nobody…cared one iota about how I felt.

I look back on my life and it is full this. After my mother told the family a heap of horrible lies about me, lies so bad that they turned their back on me when she stole my children and gave them up to another family member for adoption, when the truth came out and, after eight years I got my kids back, the family still expected me to hold out the olive branch. Did anyone say to her “Georgia, you did a terrible thing to Violet—the least you owe her is an apology”? No…but my grandmother, who was the one who finally broke the silence and told me where my children were…asked me to “bury the hatchet” with my mother for “the sake of family harmony.”

Why is it the victim is always pressed to “forgive” but nobody seems to be pressing the perpetrator to make amends and stop behaving like a predator? Is there some perceived ennobling of a person who has been victimized, making her one who is expected to take the high road and “make nice” with the very people who victimized her? It rather reminds me of the rape culture that has been making the news lately: girls are being taught how to not get raped, but who is taking the boys aside and saying “don’t rape…we’ll punish you severely for it!”? Nobody is telling male freshman college students at orientation to refrain from sexually predatory behaviour and, when they get caught doing it, too often it is brushed off as “boys will be boys” behaviour and a vocal victim, if she’s lucky, just shunted aside. Unlucky ones get further traumatized by being censured for attempting to ruin the future of a "promising young man"…who is castigating the campus rapists for ruining the future of a promising young woman?

I am at a loss to explain a social structure…either in microcosm, like that of a family, or in macrocosm, like the greater society…that demands a victim be careful of the reputation and feelings of her abuser. Whether the expectation is that the victim keep silent about a raping fellow student or an abusing parent, it is wrong. Abusers of every ilk fear the truth and only by speaking that truth do the abused have any chance of ending the abuse, not only for themselves but for others who are current or potential victims.

When someone is being abused, sometimes that person has safety issues…even life-threatening issues…that keeps her silent. But once that person feels safe enough to speak out and name the abuse and name the abuser, why do so many of us feel compelled to shut her up? I once had a letter from a reader who said that her father admonished her to “not provoke” her mother…why did he not tell her mother to stop abusing their child? My step-father, for all that he was a child-molesting sleaze, at least would stop my mother in mid-tirade when she was on a tear with me. Of course he did it for selfish reasons—her screaming at me was drowning out his TV in our tiny one bedroom apartment—but he wasn’t afraid to tell her to “shut up and leave the kid alone.” And he never had the audacity to suggest that I debase myself to her and seek a less fraught relationship. But he did step in, which is more than a lot of people seem to be willing to do.

The perception that the onus is on the victim to “make nice” with her abuser is just senseless. Not only does it fail to support a person who has already been wronged, it sends a message to the abuser that he will not be held accountable…and an abuser who knows no one will hold him to account for his misdeeds is a person with no incentive to stop abusing (if he had the conscience and ethics to stop without an external threat of punishment, he wouldn’t have abused in the first place). Expecting a victim to tread lightly in the face of her abuser is simply adding to the abuse: it passively supports the abuser by not calling the abuser to account.

I never understood people who asked me “what did you do to provoke her?” after my mother beat me black and blue. What transgression can a small child commit that warrants a violent beating? (I am no longer going to minimize what she did and call them “spankings”…I don’t think I was ever spanked in my life because what I got were beatings.) And I further didn’t understand why I was last in line for everything…from new shoes to eye glasses to dental care…I got them only when the situation was urgent, and even then I got verbally abused for needing them, as if I had intentionally contrived to need them. My mother had her own agenda when she stole my children: she had an adored younger brother who was childless and who had not passed the home study for adoption—and she took my children from me and gave them to him with no more thought for my feelings than taking a kitten from its mother and giving it away. And yet, years later and with no apology or acknowledgement of wrong doing from her, I was expected to “bury the hatchet” with her for the sake of “family peace.”

Why didn’t someone ask her to make amends with me for the sake of family peace? Why was I always the one who had to make the sacrifices for the “greater good”? Who was looking out for me and for my feelings? Why did my mother’s feelings matter more than mine…or even those of my children? And why is it, when there is a narcissist in the family, the sensibilities of that narcissist come before anything else? How many times have you heard someone who has absolutely dreadful parents say they feel “guilty” about their lack of contact (or even contemplating going low or no contact)? How many times have you heard these same people recoil at the suggestion that they keeps their kids away, saying something like “Oh, I couldn’t deprive them of their grandchildren…” Or, “that might hurt her feelings” when responding to a suggestion to stop the abuse. Why is it that we are expected to submit to the abuse and they are not expected to stop abusing?

My therapist was really on to something. Who was looking out for me when both my NexH and I were looking out for him? Nobody, that’s who. He neglected and abused me…and so did I. Carefully groomed by a narcissistic mother to put myself last, I was the perfect foil for a narcissistic husband. And when I put myself so far last that I felt almost invisible, I became suicidally depressed…and even that was ok with him, as long as he had clean laundry, food purchased and prepared, and I was available for sex. As long as his needs were met, nothing else mattered.  

Nobody was looking out for me, including me. And I set a poor example for my kids, giving them not only a narcissistic stepfather as a role model, but providing them with a perfect example, in the form of on-going tableaux, of how the other person in a relationship with a narcissist should behave. We demonstrated the crushing of my occasional rebellions, we demonstrated the power of towering rage, and we demonstrated the proper driven-by-fear scrambling to make everything perfect for the narcissist, the anticipation of his every need, the excusing of his selfishness and redoubled efforts to please in order to keep the peace.

And there is the answer…if your goal is peace within the family, then you can’t approach a narcissist for it. The narcissist, the abuser, the perpetrator, is not open to making admissions of guilt and requests for absolution. Rigidly and inflexibly self-serving, the narcissist is not interested in family peace, only in advantaging himself. Approaching a narcissist to attempt to solicit a behaviour that will create peace with one of the narcissist’s victims is a guaranteed way to spark a negative reaction because it implies the narcissist was wrong…and we all know that no narcissist will ever acknowledge that, let alone make a heartfelt apology. No, the person to approach is the victim…appeal to her better instincts, tell her she must be a better person and “take the high road,” to let “bygones be bygones.” And, if the victim has empathy for others, once she is made aware that the well-being of the family hangs in the balance, she will be the one to capitulate, to let go of (or suppress) her feelings of anger and hurt, not only with respect to the initial injury, but with respect to the expectation that she be the one to make nice.

The problem with this is that it encourages the narcissist. It confirms to him that his behaviour and attitude were right all along…and so it encourages even more of it. The victim is put in the position of allowing an internecine conflict to continue or to throw herself into the breach, sacrificing her own emotional well-being in order to preserve “peace” in a dysfunctional family. That she is expected to do so by more than just the narcissist is telling…it demonstrates just how toxic the entire FOO is when it demands sacrifices of the victims rather than banding together to protect the victim from the abusing narcissist.

So what do you do? As always, it depends on the situation: the news is full of stories of dead people—particularly women—who stood up to their abusers and who died at the abuser’s hands. For most of us, though, the situation is not that dire…but it requires us to choose between ourselves…taking care of ourselves…and the people who abuse us and their supporters. And that, after being raised and groomed by narcissistic parent, can be surprisingly difficult to do.


  1. Brilliant post! It's so true that ACON's often put themselves last - over and over and over again. The role of caregiver is assigned early and reinforced often. And even over the past few years of recovery, I've managed to put putting myself first - last! It's difficult and guilt-producing and I'm dedicated to getting over that and looking after myself much, much better. It's a bit like doing those difficult- but-have-to-be-done tasks like paperwork - any little reason to put it off is grabbed at. Thanks so much for this post- it's been an encouragement to keep going!

  2. I tried asking my NGC younger brother, "How would you feel if....?" All I got was a blank stare. Maybe when "god" was handing out the empathy gene, narcs were in the other line getting seconds on the nasty gene.
    Through therapy I started changing the way that negative voice in my head spoke to me then one night, crying myself to sleep in frustration I asked out loud, "When will it be my turn." and the voice in my head answered, "When you make it your turn." From that point on things began to change.
    Those of us that were conditioned to appease/please carry this into all of our relationships, personal & professional. It takes a lot of time and practice to realize that "NO" is a complete sentence!

  3. Thank you Violet for this post. It was both timely and validating for me. It is such an awful place to live when you are asked to sacrifice yourself for "family peace". It led me to feel invisible, alone, and like a non-person. It's taken a long time to trust myself and believe I have a right to be treated with respect and valued for who I am too. Unfortunately, that gets me branded as selfish and self serving and the family trouble maker. But so be it. Sacrificing myself was killing me.
    Thank you for taking the time to write these posts. I appreciate your wisdom and sharing of knowledge. And it helps to remind me that I am not alone.

  4. This is so timely for me! A few days ago, I stumbled up another site describing narc parents and how it affects your romantic relationships later.

    It made me feel sickened as I saw myself described again and again. Almost unbelievabley, my last 3 prior relationships were with narcissistic men. One I was with for three years, and he was even leading a double life on me, and secretly engaged to another woman behind my back, for the last two years I was seeing him. I was conditioned to thinking I didn't matter, to sacrificing myself and 'having no needs' of my own. He set the tone for the entire relationship and it was all about him and his 'suffering'. He was always criticizing me and guilting me for 'competing against him' (I had no idea what he was talking about), and all kinds of other weird mind games. He used to toy with me, like a cat with a mouse. Then I found out he was cheating on me, and it finally ended.

    I couldn't understand after it was over, how he'd had so much power over me. But I gradually realised I'd put him first (mind you, he was a bully and it was always his way or no way), and I just convinced myself that I had NO NEEDS.

    I'd learned this from having it driven into me by my MN mother that I had no needs and was a non person. I was so conditioned to it. In my FOO I'd been told I was unwanted. My MN mother actively encouraged my siblings to mock me too, and all she said she wanted, was for me to leave, even if she had to drive me out with a broom. (and no, I was not playing up or doing anything to provoke her. She used to scream at me, if I just walked through the room.)

    My feelings were met with scepticism and I was told I had no feelings and no needs, and only mother's feelings and needs mattered. And I was upsetting her.

    I've gone back to NO CONTACT recently, and guess what? My mother called yesterday (she never usually calls), and was being unnaturally nice to me, though I sensed her biting her tongue, where she would usually have had a go at me.

    And then my GC brother wrote last night, to tell me that HE had done the right thing and visited mum on the weekend, and that she isn't always scarey and how HE can draw out her nice side because HE makes the effort.

    I have told him how mum affects me, but he doesn't comprehend ( or doesn't care about) my pain, because he's the GC. She doesn't pick on him. And my feelings don't matter. Just try to get along with mum. He always has an excuse for mum's behaviour, but my feelings don't matter.

    I can see that the ONLY way to change the dynamic of my life IS for my feelings to matter.
    In regards to my GC brother, I keep telling myself that I know the truth and to hold onto that.

    I DID feel some guilt for not visiting on Fathers Day (on the weekend), but finally properly comprehended yesterday, that my enabling dad has used me as a human shield (he used to say, that if she was getting screaming and angry with me, at least she wasn't getting angry with him). He sacrificed me. Again, my feelings didn't matter.

    1. Venus, you were conditioned, just like Pavlov's dog, to feel guilt when you are not doing the "right thing" according to THEIR definition. In the real world, not the narcissist's fairy tale version of it, the "right thing" means that the parents make sacrifices for the betterment of their children, not the other way around. I think most of us know this instinctively so, in order to counter this natural expectation of a child that her parents will see to her needs by sacrificing their own, if necessary, you are conditioned to feel badly when you heed your own inner voice, the one that says "hey...isn't this backwards? shouldn't they be giving to, taking care of me, not the other way around?"

      How does a dog get over Pavlov's conditioning? By learning to ignore the bell. And we have to do exactly the same thing...whatever it is that provokes guilt in us with respect to our N parents. Of course, we have to examine the situation at first, to make sure than the guilt is not warranted, but when we know it is not, we must not let ourselves be controlled by it.

      It comes down to internalizing the right messages...throwing out the manipulative messages our NParents inculcated into us and keeping only the ones of real value. Feeling guilty for taking care of yourself...and that includes going NC if not one of those messages of value. I know it is easier said than done, but consider that you have an absolute right to live your life free of parasites, emotional or otherwise...and they have no right at all to expect you to subordinate your life to them and their selfishness.

  5. Thanks Violet. Today was a tough day, so your insightful response has really helped. As I said recently, I'd had several months of NO CONTACT, and it was so healing for me and I was so happy and made lots of major strides in my life and in my relationships. My entire life improved! I was doing so well!!!

    But the last few months of having low contact again, had just started to erode those gains, hence I've gone NO CONTACT again.

    But I think I have proved to myself that NO CONTACT really works, and LOW CONTACT is just returning to all the same old family dynamic.

    I'd rather just get on with my life again.

    You hit the nail right on the head. Guilt, has always been my mothers and fathers tool with me, which is why I don't enjoy talking to my mother on the phone. When I say that she would usually have a go at me, it's always with the perspective of guilting me about "all I put her through" as a teen, as a child, and as a baby.

    I dread it.

    It isn't that I hate her, that I don't visit. (I often feel sorry for her. Although some of that is conditioning, too. ) It's just that I can't stand all the little 'guilt' digs at me.

    I'm still at the beginning of NO CONTACT again. It's only been a couple of weeks, so I think I've just got to get over that initial hump. And like last time, not feel guilty. (my brother stopped talking to me, last time).

    Guilt and shame. I'm sure most of the women on here, know those feelings oh so well.

    Mind you, since doing all that journalling, I can step back and see these are HER issues, when she says this stuff. Not mine.

  6. My mother also really specializes in cognitive dissonance. Yesterday on the phone, she was going on and on about horrible mothers who physically OR emotionally abuse their children. And how some women shouldn't have children. She was even describing cases eerily similar to her own abuse and saying how it screws up the poor child. These "horrible" women who use their anger to terrorize their family and get their own way. That she can hardly stand it

    This is just one way my mother cleverly re-writes history, and that she was the perfect mother. If she does this, whilst I am visiting, dad says nothing, and I'm expected to nod my head and go along with it.

    Like I said, she called yesterday and was being 'nice ' to me, but acting like all these other women were abusive but she was never like that.

    This puts me in a terrible position of holding my tongue and seeming to go along with her, and it's so dis-empowering.

    I come away feeling frustrated. And it screws ME up.

    My mother is not feeble-minded or losing her memory. She's a highly intelligent woman and still sharp as a tack, and as a friend once observed, she knows exactly what she is doing.

    It's crazy making stuff, that normal families don't experience, so don't understand.

    It's why I need NO CONTACT. It's not that I'm bitter. Talking to her, just messes me up.

    1. Years ago my parents, who had been divorced for nearly 30 years at the time, found themselves living in the same small town. Like many narcissists, my NM can spend years tearing you down and then, when meeting you, act as if nothing ever happened and that you are the best of friends. So, when my stepmother, who has been married to my dad for most of those years, ran into her in one of the town's two supermarkets, she was braced for an unpleasant uncounter,

      Instead, my NM acted like they were long lost best friends and cornered my poor step mother for a "chat"--and if you know narcissists, you know it was a one-way diatribe. Some months later, when I was visiting my father, my stepmother told me about this incident. It seems my mother spent a good half an hour complaining about how her own parents (both dead at this time) had favoured her brothers over her, and how ill-treated she was (this was actually not true...other family members have told me my NM was terribly spoilt as the only girl in the family). My step mother, in recounting the tale, said she was slack-jawed at this accusation, and further astonished that the woman could not look in the mirror and see that she was guilty of exactly the behaviour she was complaining about!

      It was one of the most validating moments of my life...somebody besides me FINALLY could see the favouritism, acknowledged it, recognized it...and could also recognize the self-certred craziness of the woman.

      Years have passed since that time and I have learned that narcissists re-write history, not only to make them look good to others, but to make themselves feel good about themselves.My mother used to call the police on one of our neighbours and righteously accuse the woman of beating and starving her children...not only was that untrue, it was my mother who was actually beating her own children and keeping such a tight rein on the groceries that I had nothing for after school snacking and my GC brother resorted to white bread and sugar sandwiches. He was a pudge from all of the carbs and I was painfully thin. She did this by redefining what she was doing: she was 'spanking' whereas the neighbour was 'beating,' for example.

      I know no other solution that NC...not only with the NM but with all of her enablers, flying monkeys, and other hangers-on. She is not going to change and they have already declared themselves as HER allies, so any contact you have with them will eventually get back to her and give her that much ammunition with which to hurt you.

      I know very few people who have successfully gone LC, and then it was with an ignoring-type of NM, not an engulfing one. Those LC situations, from what I have heard, are fraught with tension because the daughter must constantly monitor the NM's incursion against boundaries and either warn or take action. It is like having a huge toddler to mind. Personally, I think LC is seldom worth the effort (the one successful case I can think of involves a large inheritance that would be lost under NC) but that is not a call I can make for other people. You have to decide how you life would be best lived and then make the choice for yourself.

  7. This was very personal to me. I'm currently going through the realization that I've been conditioned by my NM to care for myself last. As a care giver who puts everyone's needs above her own, I tend towards the martyr complex of "Why me?" - as in, "Why doesn't anyone ever consider me and my feelings?" Its a vicious cycle. I was conditioned to be the way I am and I, in turn, conditioned others to treat me like my NM treated me.

  8. Oh, so much this: "Well-meaning family members who would never consciously wish to harm or humiliate us, expect us to give in to the narcissist for the sake of family peace, to end a rift, to mollify the indignant and bristling N in their midst". The only theory I've come up with is based on something I overheard when a bully at work went way over the line attacking someone, and the boss wanted to put a stop to it. The enabling Office Manager hissed, "Don't say anything to her--she'll start SCREAMING". I thought to myself, "Let her scream, then fire her". But nope, I suspect cowards around the N's will do anything to keep the N's happy to keep from being victimized themselves. Even if that means trampling all over the designated scapegoat.

  9. Violet, I am experiencing that LOW CONTACT just doesn't work. I was attempting to go NO CONTACT again, and never expected my usually ignoring mother, to call me.

    When I went NO CONTACT last time, I went through all the hoo har of changing my phone number, and rather dreaded doing all that again. So thought I could avoid that, this time.

    Now I am seriously considering just sending an email and just declaring NO CONTACT.

    You see, I was no contact for many months, and oh gosh, it was glorious. I felt like I was 24 all over again. I felt like a young woman on the verge of life. A new relationship, freedom to be the REAL ME. I forgot my MN mother even existed, after a while. My mind was unfettered. I became more social and really at ease with other people and laughed and was happy. I just felt like other people, and forgot I had a NM.

    I don't mean I've lost all that. But just that frustration is now creeping back in, and I feel I'm being sucked back into the whirlpool of my FOO.

    Omigod, I've just realised what I am saying. MY ex-husband used to say that he felt like he was holding my hand and trying to stop me from getting sucked back under, into the whirlpool of my mother.

    The imagery is perfect. He used to say he couldn't stand the way my family all 'played the game', pretending mum wasn't being abusive. (she was still very actively trouble-making, in my twenties and thirties).

    This morning I woke, and realised I not only want and need NO CONTACT with mother, but at this point, I need at least LOW CONTACT with my flying monkey GC brother, as that's getting me down as well. And weirdly, dad has started emailing. He never does that! Since the weekend, I've had all three of them working on me.

    I don't want to play their dysfunctional game.

    I also don't meant to monopolise this page. It's certainly not all about me. I see other women on here, who are going through/have gone through this junk. Or are going through it's aftermath. At least we know we are not crazy. I'm just at a crisis point, at present, and this page is proving a lifeline to me. Especially as I have my brother actively working on me at the moment.

    Violet, what you described of your mum, wanting the report that neighbour for 'beating ' her children, describes my mother to a tee.

    And it's what I cannot stand. Having to accept my mother and enabling father's false REALITY.

    And yes, my mother is exactly like a big toddler, complete with tantrums if everyone doesn't go along with her.

    I can't do LOW CONTACT, I can't. It's no way to live. Because it mean having to go along with her reality, and that damages me.

    I am going to have to adopt the same attitude as Jessie (above comment), and not care if my family call me selfish. I really understand, Jess, about how going along with it, makes you feel like a non-person. It means denying your truth. Ceasing to exist. Your feelings not mattering.

    Now I know what NO CONTACT feels like, I can't go back to the mess.

    I am proceeding with NO CONTACT, but I now must ensure she does not call anymore, and ignore my GC brothers flying monkey emails about mum.

    It's now just down to the logistics of doing so.

    1. Venus, you might find this interesting...

    2. I've just finished reading it, and YES! YES! and YES! That's exactly what it's like!!!!

      Especially feeling guilty for going continuing with NC when mother suddenly starts calling and being 'nice'.
      And the follow up email from my GC brother saying "See, mum can be nice when you just try. I can get along with mum."

      My sister used to say "Mum can be so horrible. The trouble is, when she's even a bit nice, you're so pathetically grateful, you forget everything else and take her back."

      Mum and I never got along because I WAS the only member of the family who would stand up to her when I was young, but my poor younger sister used to frequently come under mums control as her flying monkey and do mum's dirty work for her, and would then rue it later when mum would turn on her. Mum was just using her, to hurt other people. She'd hide behind my sister and tell her what to say on the phone. My sister was just a kid! She was trying to groom her.

      I think mum is more dangerous when she is being 'nice.' Last time she was 'nice' to my sister, she told me a few days later, than she'd only done it to get information out of my sister. Information she used against my sister, quite viciously to try and destroy her. It made me sick. And dad was there, and you guessed it. Never spoke up or did a thing.

      When I complained to him about it, he acted incredulous, like I was being tiresome and ridiculous. He was totally on mum's side.
      Even when mum sat there and said my sisters husband should bash her up. That some women need the daylights bashed out of them.

      I was shocked and spoke up! And both my parents stared at me blankly.
      If my father ever once had a mind of his own, he lost his identity to mum. He's just her lap boy these days. Maybe that''s what happens when you are an enabler for too many years????

      This is a good article Violet. You were right. I got a lot out it. And quite frankly, I got a lot out of the comments posted below it, as well. It helped me see a few things I was missing.

      I had to laugh. You were right when you said..

      Yup. The push and pull of hoovering is so classic: and too often, just as you think you are free, you hear this giant sucking sound...

      But this is what's helped most...

      You cannot successfully hoover someone who doesn't give a shit if you approve or not!

      I used to want dad's approval so much, and mum used to use that and tiddle tat on me to him, if I tried to stand up to her.

      But remembering back to how they treated my sister 18 months ago, I've finally realised, dad is just become a clone of my mum. :-(

      Also, I got to see firsthand, my mother hoovering my sister, at the time. And it WAS a tactic, on mums' part. There was nothing genuine about it.

      I'm done with them.

      This time I won't feel guilty, which is why I previously stopped NC.

      I'll re-read the article so I'm ready for their tactics, but I know what I have to do.

      Thank you.

    3. One caution to you...we are often tempted to write long, heartfelt letters or emails telling our Ns that we are going NC and telling them why. Some part of us subconsciously wants them to know how badly we have been hurt because that part believes it will pluck their empathy strings and make THEM feel bad about how they hurt us and then they will feel bad about our turning our backs on them and maybe...just will spark a change in them. It ain't gonna happen...ever.

      I once wrote a letter (as part of my therapy) telling my mother what it felt like to be her daughter, tossing in a few examples of things that occurred in my childhood. I didn't even mention NC or anything like it. I fully expected the light to go on in her head...and boy, was I ever disappointed. What I got back was a card, on the front of which was a down-trodden looking cartoon knight sitting atop a bedraggled looking cartoon horse with the words "You will never hurt me again!" as the text. Inside were three pages of the most vicious, vituperative, positively malevolent attack I have ever had the misfortune to read. Rather than having the desired effect, my letter merely made her all the more vicious and hurtful.

      People I know of who have written the NC letter and sent it universally report an undesirable outcome. Your N absolutely will NOT receive it in the spirit intended, nor will she honour it and respect your boundaries (going NC is, after all, establishing a boundary). Based on several years of correspondence with people who have tried the NC letter, I predict that she will respond with increased hoovering, sending flying monkeys to shame and hoover you, and a reaction as if you had just slapped her in the face.

      The best advice I can give you with respect to NC is to do it in stealth mode: simply stop communicating. Don't tell them what you plan to do...not only will it motivate them to attempt to break NC, your letter will serve as proof to the flying monkeys as to what an ungrateful, selfish, heartless creature you are, which will get her a lot of Nsupply from them.

      If you absolutely HAVE to write that letter, do so...but do not send it. All you do by sending such a letter is throw petrol on a fire. Just fade out of her life, don't answer her (or your father's) phone calls, delete their emails unread, throw away unopened anything they mail to you (ok--open the mail to see if they sent money or precious things from your early years that you might want to keep, but don't read anything they may have enclosed). NC means NC--do not engage.

      Think of it as having finished a book...close the book, leave the characters and the book behind, open a new book...this time it is one that YOU can write and there is nothing in the rules that says you have to bring characters from the old book into it.

    4. I wrote that letter too, Violet! It took me three weeks to carefully craft it. In the end all I ask for was respect b/c I'd at least had the brains to give up on love by then! I figured it would either release a s**t storm or they'd change. Neither happened. there was no response whatsoever. I began to think the letter was lost in the mail until the NGC told my cousin our parents so were devastated by a letter I had sent they refused to show it to him. Fortunately, my cousin had proofread the letter and knew I said nothing nasty at all.
      I sent it against professional advice. My therapist asked these three questions:
      Will it be "seen"?
      Will it be understood?
      Will it change anything?
      I answered no to all three but sent it anyway.

      Violet, I love "do not engage"! It keeps us safe and sane while dealing the hardest blow possible to a narcissist...robbing them of their victim!

      Venus, the description of your dad fits my mother to a tee. What I finally came to realize was that somewhere she had morphed from victim to enabler to a narcissist in her own right. Now she subtly manipulates and guilts making her much more dangerous than my raving lunatic father.

  10. Okay, I've got it. I can do that. And no, I don't want to confront her. It did it twice in my twenties (she was interfering in my marriage), and it was absolutely traumatic. She went cold and calm and nastily told that I was mad and I'd always been insane. She then said nastily, "Talk to you in 6 months", and hung up.

    Then I had peace for a while, until my sister started telling me that I was selfish and should apologise to mum, for dad's sake. I also had relatives stop talking to me. Finally I did apologise, and mum was smug and treated me worse than ever.

    So, yeah, I've had a taste of how badly it can go against me.

    I DID toy with the idea of emailing and telling her I was going into therapy and couldn't talk for a while. But it's no long term solution, and she'll only get curious and call all the more. (it will excite her)

    But I really appreciate the tips you've just given me, because I WAS getting bogged down in the logistics.

    Your not engage......, is better than how I did it the first time (which was kinda messy...I made an excuse and pretended I'd disconnected my phone, because I was scared of hurting their feelings). In reality, I'd changed my number.

    Your way, would simply just be a RELIEF. I don't have to do anything. And I can simply mentally move on, like you said.

    I like it.

    And Violet, thanks for taking all this time, over me. I've hated hogging the comments section, but I've just been at a critical point, the last few days.

    I hope anyone else reading this, will see what happens when one breaks NO CONTACT. Just don't.

  11. (Yikes, I wrote this message in my word file before pasting it here, due to my iffy wifi, and my message is so LONG, I will have to divide it into four separate messages. I'm sorry for taking up so much space!! Feel free to delete my messages if you want, I promise I won't take it personally. It feels so good just to have your blog to read, and a way to get this off my mind to someone whom I know UNDERSTANDS and CARES. Also, I don't want to be anonymous, I go by Alaina... am using my wordpress ID.)

    Dear Violet, you amaze me. I don't know how you've managed to go through everything you have endured with all the Narcissists in your life and come out so sane, wise, and compassionate. Your insights and instincts strike me as being Right On. But it has taken me over half a century and a lot of excellent therapy to even begin to figure all this stuff out.

    Last November I wrote a letter explaining in detail what it has been like to be the scapegoat daughter of a malicious, evil, malignant narcissistic mother. I initially wrote it as an emotional catharsis only, with no intention of ever sending it. But then I thought, MAYBE if my mother reads this, she will FINALLY GET IT, and apologize, and STOP ABUSING ME.

    My hope that my mother had the capacity to be understand and care about my feelings, was encouraged by a book I read awhile back, The Power of Apology, which was written by therapist Beverly Engel. That book was inspired by her mother's apology to her. Her abusive mother's apology came as a welcome surprise after her mother had read Engel's earlier book, entitled Divorcing a Parent.

    If Beverly Engel's mother could read a book written by her daughter about how awful it had been to grow up with a narcissistic mother, maybe my mother could read a letter from me explaining things from my point of view, and then she would apologize too, and we could live Happily Ever After in Mother-Daughter Fairy Tale Land!

    I had one other reason to hope, one that I thought was a really good reason: About 10 years ago, my mother called me one day and asked if I had heard of the book, A Child Called "It." I told her yes, that I had actually read it. (A Child Called "It" is a memoir written about what has been called one of the most horrific cases of child abuse in California history.)

    When I told my mother that I had read this book, she dumbfounded me with the question: "Was I as bad as that mother?"

    My mother had never before admitted that she was ever more than just a little wrong about something, sometimes. She had never admitted the scope of her abuse. On the contrary, she had always blamed ME for “bringing out the worst in people.” For my mother to actually call me on the phone specifically to ask me if she had been as bad as the mother in that horrific child abuse case, seemed like nothing short of a miracle!

    But at the time.. ten years ago... I felt like I was walking on eggshells with my mother. We were "getting along" for the first time in decades, because I had reached out to her, yet again, a few months prior, and I did not want to rock the boat. I did not to lose the relationship I had with her.
    (continued below)

  12. (continued from above, message 2 of 4)
    In any case, I did not know what to say. How do you compare the relative "badness" of a mother like the one it "It's" story, who forced her scapegoat son to eat the poo out of his baby brother's diaper, who literally fed him from a garbage pail, and who made him sleep almost every night of his childhood in a cold damp basement without any blankets, while the rest of the family slept upstairs in heated rooms with comfortable beds? My mother did none of those things, she allowed me to eat from the dinner table and I got to sleep in a bed like everyone else in the family. HOWEVER, my mother DID to even more horrific things like try to gas us our whole family to death when I was a child... only her inability to override the safety shutoff valve on the gas furnace saved us... so then she was going to drive us all off a cliff to our deaths, only I, at age 12, stopped her... and then when I was in my late teens and married, my then-late-30s mother had an affair with my first husband, while I was still very much married to him and also pregnant with his child.... SO... how do you compare an evil WITCH with SATAN'S BRIDE? Was my mother "as bad" as the boy whose mother called him “IT?”

    Ten years ago, when I was 50, I was SO STARVED for my mother's love that I told her what I knew she wanted to hear... Oh No, Mother, you were never THAT BAD.

    …..which briefly mollified her. But before the year was over my mother was constantly finding fault with me again over every minor thing, lying to the rest of the family about me yet again, and being so insufferable that I went low contact until a few years later when the last straw happened and I went completely NC.

    But... after a few years of missing having a “family” – because the rest of them always side with her, with the sole exception of my sweet aunt, my mother's younger sister – I thought that MAYBE if I sent her a carefully worded letter explaining what it has been like to be me, in the role of my mother's scapegoat, she might see the light, like Beverly Engel's mother supposedly did. I mean, if my mother could see a mirror of herself in the “It's” memoir, surely she could see the truth about herself in my honest letter. Right?

    I honed and rewrote and reworded and honed and perfected my letter from early November of last year until early January of this year. I shared the letter with my husband and my aunt, got their feedback, and honed and rewrote some more. Then, right after the New Year, I mailed my letter with delivery confirmation requested. She got the letter three days. Later.

    And then, I waited. And I waited.

    And I waited some more.

    Two days ago, a little over 8 months since I sent her my letter, I got a reply. It came in an envelope addressed to me, but with no return address, which she has never done before. The envelope was postmarked, not from the town where she lives, but from a nearby city, where most of my FOO live. Again, this is not how her letters to me have been in the past. Most telling of all, her typically tiny neat handwriting was drastically changed, as the envelope was addressed to me in big, sloppy letters.

    Inside the envelope was three pages. On the first page, in the center, was hand printed a huge capital letter "I." On the second page, in the center, was hand printed in huge capital letters: "LOVE." And on the third page, in the center, was hand printed in huge capital letters: "YOU." Under the you was the signature: Mother. In case I might not recognize the insanity, I guess...
    (continued below)

  13. (continued from above, message 3 of 4)
    I realize that someone may read this and think that her I LOVE YOU response wasn't bad at all. But if you knew the whole story – f you knew what my letter that I sent her 8 months ago said – I believe you would see it as an absolutely inappropriate response.

    Here is an analogy: If someone is taken to trial, charged with having caused the death of a family's only child due to driving while intoxicated, and the person is found guilty as charged and sentenced to prison – if the judge were to tell this person to send a written apology to the bereaved parents of the child he killed, how inappropriate would three pages, each containing just one giant hand-printed word, spelling out I LOVE YOU, be in such a dire circumstance?

    Such a “letter” would amount to a slap in the face, an utter trivialization of what the perpetrator had done had done to the bereaved family.

    Yesterday I sent an email to a friend, who does know the whole back story, telling her about my mother's kindergarten-style response. My friend suggested that perhaps my mother really did mean her response to be loving way? Because at least she did not write me a long letter lambasting me and refuting everything I had said in my last letter to her?

    Well, but see, NO... the thing is, prior to two days ago, the last time my mother sent me something in the mail, back more than three years ago, she sent me a 62 page letter full of hate and lies and judgments and put downs, telling me everything that was ever “wrong” with me in my entire life. The letter was her delayed reaction, apparently, to realizing that I had been ignoring her for the last few years.

    HOWEVER, I never got that hate letter (which was only her last of several, she had sent others), because my loving husband, to whom I had already given permission to read anything that comes in the mail from my FOO and to use his best judgement on what to do with it, he happened to get the mail that day. He read part of her insanely long letter and quickly became disgusted by what he later told me was "all her hate and jealousy," so he took the letter to the dumpsters downtown and tore it into bits and threw it all away. Then he never said a word to me about it, so I would never have known about the letter, except for this: my mother had sent copies of her hate-the-scapegoat letter, to the rest of my family of origin. So I soon heard about the letter from some of them.

    When I let it be known that I had never gotten the letter, then my hubby fessed up to me about what he had done and why. Soon the word went out to my FOO and through them, the word got back to my mother, that I now have a good man who loves and protects me – unlike my previous relationships which were repetition-compulsions of the abuse I had been groomed since my earliest childhood to tolerate as being the norm and my “duty” in life.

    So, you see: when my mother received my letter back in January, she knew that she could not send me a hateful reply without the risk of it being intercepted by someone who only wants the best for me.

    But the malignant narcissistic mother HAS to have the last word, right? She can't WIN at the game of one-up-man-ship, if she can't get in that LAST LICK. Apparently she is slowing down in her old age, because it took her 8 months to come up with an idea about how to get a message through to me that she knows will HURT me with its obvious, childish insincerity... but that MIGHT pass through my husband. She and kick me, while looking like the SAINTLY MARTYR she loves to pretend to be, and maybe even put some doubt in my husband's mind about whether or not she is really as bad as I say, because she responded to my letter with LOVE! Win-win for her, lose-lose for me.
    (continued below)

  14. (continued from above, message 4 of 4)
    I got the mail two days ago, otherwise I have no doubt that her stupid childish reply to my heartfelt letter would never have been given to me. My husband is not stupid.

    These malignant narcissists are truly hopeless. I can't speak for Beverly Engel and her mother. Maybe her mother was pretending to be sorry, in order to reestablish her narcissistic supply, or maybe her mother wasn't really personality disordered.

    I also can't understand the weird fluke of my mother calling me ten years ago and asking me if she was as bad as the abusive monster mother in the book, A Child Called "It." Was my mother having a freak moment of sanity that day? Was she on a new medication that temporarily rewired her brain? OR was she just baiting me? Who knows....

    By the way, the letter I sent to my mother back in January, the letter I was hoping would make her understand me at long last... I started that letter off by reminding her of her question, 10 years ago, about how she compared to the mother in the Child Called It book.

    Yesterday, I explained all of this to my friend who had said that maybe my mother really did mean for her message to convey sincere love to me – and my friend replied that, OK, then maybe what I need to do is just FORGIVE and LET IT ALL GO.

    Ah, yes, the old Forgiveness Panacea. My friend means well, I know.

    I'm letting it go, yes. But in my belief system, forgiveness requires repentance, recompense, and – HELLO – Stopping the Abuse. My mother is 80. It's never going to happen.

    ~Alaina, Healing from Crazy (I used to be Elaina at Healing from Broken, but I've changed a bit :)

    1. My narcissistic parents conclude every letter with "Love as always..." and it true they love me as they always have in a twisted dysfunctional way because they are constitutionally incapable of healthy love. Their idea of love is about ownership and control.
      So when your mother wrote "I love you" she likely meant "I own you".

  15. A wonderful post, Violet! Thank you...As a gentle personality, the onus has always been on me to 'forgive' (and forget).

    The perpetrator is unlikely to Give In, usually demanding their victim apologize in sackcloth and ashes before they'll deign speak to her/him again. I think most families simply want to end the conflict and they know from experience that their one hope in achieving that, is "guilting" the giver. Families don't even hope for resolution--dysfunctional families don't know how to do resolve conflicts.

    p.s. I wanted to say to Alaina (above) that Love Does Not Hurt. Just remember that when your mother tries to confuse you by saying she loves you. Who cares what she's feeling when she sends a three-page rubbish letter? It's what she DOES that proves her love, not her words.

    1. you took the words right out of my mouth, CZBZ...Love does not hurt!

      That said, the messages can be confusing and that can be easily explained: it is all about how you define "love."

      It is entirely possible that Alaina's NM does love her...but only according to her own definition of "love." And that definition undoubtedly is self-centred and self-serving and doesn't take Alaina's feelings into account.

      The three page response is not only childish, is it exceedingly manipulative. One can read much into the response and, as a well-trained ACoN, Alaina would be expected to read pain...caused by her...into it. It is guilt-tripping in the extreme...poor Mama, so stricken she can't respond for months and then, when she can, it is only to heart-rendingly grit out those three all-important words. Hogwash...every bit of it...

      The only way I know to avoid this kind of drama is to simply excuse yourself from the entire production. Don't write, don't call, don't accept well-meant but nevertheless disrespectful admonitions to cherish or respect or love your parents. Just disengage and excuse yourself from the whole thing.

      As ACoNs we have been groomed to think we must do as expected and if we don't/can't/won't, we owe everybody an explanation...we have to soften the blow, make excuses, or justifify our choices. Bullshit. The ONLY person we owe an explanation to is explain to ourselves why we continue to put up with the disrespect of our feelings and sensibilities by others. We owe no explanations to anyone...although we are quite entitled to do so if we WANT to.

      When we put our feelings first, when we respect ourselves and we get used to how that feels, we are less and less inclined to accept less from others. And that is how it should be: when we encounter people who treat us disrespectfully, to whatever extent possible, DO NOT ENGAGE. Carve a circle of friends and family of people who respect themselves and they will also respect us. Those disrespectful individuals we cannot escape--coworkers, bosses, traffic cops--keep your cool, make your interaction as brief as possible and avoid them as much as you can. And never, EVER invite them into your life...even if they are our parents, siblings, or other family members. We DO have choices in this...exercise them!

  16. Thank you, Mulderfan, CZBZ, and Violet, for your wise and affirming words. I am taking everything you three said to heart.

    Mulderfan: "..when your mother wrote "I love you" she likely meant "I own you". ~Yes, that sounds right.

    CZBZ: "Who cares what she's feeling when she sends a three-page rubbish letter? It's what she DOES that proves her love, not her words." ~Hello! Right On!!

    Violet: "Love does not hurt!" ~and~ "...when we encounter people who treat us disrespectfully, to whatever extent possible, DO NOT ENGAGE." ~Agreed. Thank you.

    When I logged on to my computer earlier this morning, it was with the intention of sending an email to Violet asking her to remove my above messages, because I was feeling ashamed. Ashamed for "going on and on," ashamed for "being too sensitive," ashamed for "letting it bother me" ~ the "it" being my MNM's latest ridiculous message.

    Then I read these messages and let go of my false shame.

    I have studied enough about how it affects one to grow up with narcissistic parents to know that my "shame" is typical, but also grossly misplaced. I affirm myself when I can, nearly every day, which does help to bring me out of the false-shame abyss. But the wisdom and affirmation of others who have been through this too, and who KNOW what it is like ~ this is infinitely valuable.

    I wish I could give each one of you a hug. I'm sending you hugs right now in my heart.


  17. You are so right, Alaina. That's exactly what it is. Shame. Feeling so terribly terribly ashamed. When the NM has digs at you, you instantly feel shame, even though they are HER issues. And that no matter what you do, or how your react, or who you reach out to, you cringe and expect others will blame you, too. And then you wish you'd never spoken up.

    I even felt ashamed for writing my above messages and taking up space on this page. And for bothering Violet with my problems, when there are women on here with worse mothers. I also fear being self-centred like my mother, and here I was writing about ME.

    Yet, being on here in the last week, may have prevented me from being hoovered back into my dysfunctional family, who were really working on me.

    I read your story intently, and felt very affected by it. Bless you for writing it. I'm so glad you were wise enough to see through your mothers 'secret language'. All NM's seem to use that secret language, and they KNOW that we get what they are really saying. And yet we can't prove anything.

    My mother never tried to kill all of us. It must have been just terrifying to live under that threat. She sounds insane. And Narcs are scarey enough mothers at the best of times!

    My mother used to just carry a large knife around, threatening to plunge it into her own stomach and make my father watch her die. (of course, she never as much as grazed her skin)

    They're all about manipulation.

    I'm so glad you are okay Alaina. I think every woman on here, is a brave soul.

    And the messages by other the women on here (under the HOOVERING link), have really helped me to drop the guilt about NO CONTACT. This time, I WILL stick with it. No more guilt!

    This is the only place I've ever had, to discuss these things. And my God it helps, to see other people who have NM's that behave the same way. It helps ALOT to know it's a personality disorder and they all carry on, in that same mind bending way. The guilt-mongering, projecting, gaslighting, shaming and threats and tantrums and manipulations, and pouting and no talkies. Like Violet said, they are just big toddlers.

    Knowledge is power, and being on this site and reading has empowered me like nothing ever has before.

  18. Thank God I have found this site. I see and re-live events in my life in every post I have read. Maybe I am really not the one who is insane! I truly look forward to learning to break free

  19. Alaina: Your NM's letter gave me chills! How.. I don't even know words.. disturbed that letter is! It reminds me of the birthday card my NM sent me few month after going NC. It was a typical plain flower card she always sents (I think she has bought tens of them at the same time, as they seem to be the same series year after year. Why bother to search cards every year, right?). It was her handwriting, even though very carefully written. It said "Congratulations". And had no signature.

    My first reaction was to cry. I have made my poor mum so sad that she cannot write "BR, Mum" to the card. She must be so upset. And she must still love me because she sends me a card... WHAAAATTT! Wait a minute... OR is it just one of these fuc**ing manipulation tactics, to which I was responding just the way she hoped, that is, feeling bad. Would she have sent the card thinking I would be glad? Happy? Would feel good to have an "anonymous" card obviously from her? No-o-o-o-ou. I am sure she knew 100% well it would not be taken as a positive sign.

    I showed the card to my dear BF, and his reaction was so healthy: "Wtf?! Is she serious.. She must be crazy". :D. After showing the card to few of my friends, and after laughing at it as many times, I threw it in the trash.

    -- LucyF--

  20. I've explained before to friends that being the child of a Narcissist is sort of like being viewed as an accessory, like a handbag.

    They look good, they're useful sometimes, they can even up the Narcissist's image among their peers if they're a shiny designer one, or if anyone else compliments it or envies it.

    But a handbag is designed not to need anything of its own. It doesn't need to be fed regularly to work properly, or be paid attention to consistently, and it certainly doesn't make noise or want anything. And pretty much if, as a person, any of those things come up (because they will), the Narcissist considers you to be a very, very _difficult_ handbag. And that just won't do.

    It's taken years for me-- and feedback from those who know me-- to realize I'm not actually difficult, as I was portrayed. And it's okay for me to ask for help, to get things for myself, to want things, to say things, to be noisy or squeaky or just THERE and not feel shame about it.

    To have a right to have lunch when I'm hungry even if it might take a moment, and not worry that every little thing I do for myself, normal things, might inconvenience someone else.

  21. Hello,
    I don’t know if someone said this yet (I haven’t read all the comments), but I assume the reason the responsibility to “smooth things over” is laid at the feet of the abusee is that the alternative, accusing the narcissist of being the vortex of the conflict, will force everyone in the family to acknowledge what is really going on. And if you acknowledge something is bad and don’t act to stop it, you are just as guilty as the abuser. Violet mentioned something similar in the original post about protecting rapists from accusation, and this dovetails into the entire post regarding narcissists vs. those whom they abuse.

    Maybe as a society we don’t want to acknowledge abuse because we don’t want to admit to ourselves how sick some of our members are, and that very few of us do enough to stop it. Of course, if you are someone who points out the dysfunction, you get labeled the troublemaker.


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