Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Narcissist as Grandparent

It's painful to watch a narcissist "interact" with their grandchild.

Mostly because there's not much interaction.

And what little there is is so brief and shallow that it hardly rates as a true encounter. More like a hit and run.

Not only do you feel bad that your poor kid doesn't have a real grandparent and is missing out on such a special relationship, you can't help but be reminded that's exactly what you had to deal with for most of your life.

It's like getting to watch reruns of a TV show you always hated.

In the case of my n-father, he's always talked about how much he cares for and worries about his granddaughters. Yet, yet....if he asks how they are and I say, well, one of them is actually very sick, he'll immediately interrupt and begin talking about how sick he'd got earlier that day. He'll never ask what was wrong with her or call again to find out how she's doing.

When my girls were still small, he'd compete with them for my attention. He'd pretty much ignore them and talk over them if he had to. He never asked them about school or what they liked to do. He never suggested that we take them to the zoo or the park. If they tried to perform a dance or sing a song, he'd smile and clap, then lose interest after thirty seconds and wander away.

It was scary to watch.

As my girls got older, they stopped trying to interact with him. They learned to smile and nod and didn't waste energy trying to engage him in any way. As teenagers, they'd exchange exasperated looks and sometimes, when he was "inappropriate," they'd burst out laughing. What was most astonishing was the patience the girls showed him, the adjustment to his odd behavior. They made no demands of him at all. They learned to listen, as I did, and find the quickest escape route. They've never expressed any anger or disappointment in their grandfather. Maybe it's because they have so little to do with him.

When we visit him at the assisted living facility, they do so with grace. Unfailingly pleasant. Cheerful. Supportive. And very, very distant.


littlegirllost said...

It is very painful to watch your child whom you are committed to protecting from harm be subject to the critisim and cruelty of the narc grandparent. My narc mom told me she found it hard to look at my son because he resembeled his bio dad (my 1st husband0!! Can you imagine?? When he was diagnosed with Autism she told me I should put him in a home. This is her ONLY grandchild!! And here's a priceless one: my narc mom is a nanny!! She raves about the boy she watches, even has a picture of him on her bathroom faucet!! And a framed picture of him next to her bed!!!! My son asked her who he was and she ignored him, it broke my heart. When I confronted her about the pictures she raged and claimed she did not know she needed my permission to display pictures in her home!!Bottom line= I have not spoken to her in 3-1/2 years. I DID send her a framed picture of my son & her for the 1st mother's day when we stopped contact.
I enjoy your site!! Take care & remember that you have gone above & beyond for your narc daddy!! Drop the guilt!Elizabeth

HeatherRainbow said...

Q: If I told my mother I was pregnant, and she responded after a minute by saying that she had surgery to remove cancer, is she narcissistic? You aren't alone in that my narcissistic parents have affected their grandchildren, too. And, it is not our fault.

Nina said...

Little Girl Lost,

First, I really like your screen name! Very descriptive.

No. I can't imagine a grandmother saying anything so hurtful about her ONLY grandchild! It sounds like she either has no filters or she's meanspirited. That would elevate the boy she cares for over her own Maybe because she feels he's, somehow, a more fitting extension of herself because she has direct control of him? My self-centered mother took care of a couple she slapped and would forget on the playground at school.

There's not much good that comes out of having a narcissistic parent, but because we've had to think so much about their toxic legacy, we can at least become more mindful parents who can love our children for who they really are and break the cycle of narcissism!

Anonymous said...

Complete disinterest in their grandchildren was one of many first clues. Dad didn't pretend, Mom atleast pretended for 2 weeks, helping my sister after giving birth to her first child. But then it was clear that Mom expected my sister to put her way before the husband and children. After that it was all downhill and Mom would tell anybody who would listen how aweful her daughter and son-in-law are and how she is just a poor desperate mother. I remember thinking "this can't be normal, even for someone as socially obtuse as she is". I think it was the beginning of scales falling from my eyes.

Nina, at least your daughters are blessed with a true mother. They witnessed unacceptable behavior and know how to handle and manage it. You did good by them.

Nina said...


That sounds pretty self-centered to me. I know cancer IS a big deal, but I've also seen how some of my peers have handled it. I've been absolutely astonished and inspired by the fact that, despite such a blow, they put their kids first...beginning with how the information was shared. My friends picked that moment with much thought and would never have, for example, picked a time when their child was trying to share something important of their own..or if they were having a tough time at school, etc.

Being a parent means acting like one. I think we all make mistakes, but the example you gave is so typical of narcissistic behavior.

And no, it's not our fault!

Celera said...

When I called my a-parents to tell them their first grandchild had been born, they said "how can you think of having children when you don't even own your own home?"

Perhaps my kids are lucky that my a-parents never wanted anything to do with them. Yours will not be seriously scarred by their grandfather, though -- it sounds like they have already learned that they can't expect much, and they have the love and care they need from you (and hopefully from their dad and a few other adults in their lives)

Nina said...


Thank you for your kind words.

Ah. The poor, neglected mother routine. It seems to be a favorite go-to behavior...probably because they aren't loving or nuturing enough to earn true affection and the attention that comes along with it. It seems that the narcissistic parent is wired to only receive.....and give as sparingly as possible.

CELERA: Well, golly, who knew home ownership was a prereq for having children? Empathy is, however, and our children at least got that. We can take some comfort in that.

Mia said...

We had the pleasure of spending Easter weekend with a friend of mine (also an adoptee) and his family. They treated my children as you might expect a grandparent would. I was blown away. Absolutely blown away. I knew the whole grandparent thing could be really special but I never imagined just how beautiful a "functional" family setting is. It made me both grateful for the experience and quite sad that my parents dropped the ball so completely in both the parent and grandparent department.

You'll laugh at this one: While we were away my mother had "issues" with her heart. The timing of this did not escape me of course. She said to me "You are usually the one that I call when I have these problems but you weren't here". "You weren't HERE!!!"
Lovely no?

Nina said...

Mia! I totally lost it when I read: "You'll laugh at this one: While we were away my mother had "issues" with her heart. The timing of this did not escape me of course. She said to me "You are usually the one that I call when I have these problems but you weren't here". "You weren't HERE!!!"

I TOTALLY laughed. I know, it's kinda mean...but OF COURSE she had palpitations. You buzzed on out for Easter and so SOMETHING had to happen. What's really awful, Mia, is that after so many perfectly timed health scares - given our parents age - this is a dangerous Cry Wolf game to play. We won't be able to tell the diff between just another attention seeking episode and an actual emergency!

I'm so glad you had a lovely Easter with a functional family and that your children got some special, well-deserved attention. It's so nice to know there are generous, big hearted people that will open their hearts and their homes to kids not even in their family!

Sophie & Grace said...

Wow - this is sad. I am also the daughter of a narcissistic father who seems to be getting worse with age not better. I am also a new mother of twin gilrs (only 3 mos right now). I could not help but think this is the type of future they are in for as his granddaughters. I only hope I can teach them to have no expectations of him and to keep their distance.

Anonymous said...

My sister got pregnant and decided to tell me immediately after it was confirmed. A few days later she sent an email to say it was an ectopic preganancy and will be terminated, like it was no big deal. I was very shocked by this. Then a few days later she sent an email that the pregnancy is on after all, that it did not need to be terminated. Again, like it was all no big deal, no discussion of the reason for the misdiagnosis and no regrets of the previous announcement. I wish she would have waited for the third trimester before telling me. She also likes to throw away good food. She will eat half an orange, and throw the rest away. Or she'll eat two cookies out of a box, and throw the whole rest of the box away. She is also very cruel to our mother, she will accept all kinds of gifts and help, but will then stab her in the back. I feel helpless and am afraid for my niece. I don't know whether I should feel sorry for her, or go NC.

Anonymous said...

I was a single parent raising a little girl on my own. Yes, I made the mistake of marrying a narcissist. My Nmom really pulled out all the stops when my daughter contracted a rare case of meningitous. First, she told the family not to go to the hospital because SHE and she alone was the only one allowed into the room to take care of my daughter because "I was no where around". She actually told the family I abandoned my daughter!! I always wondered over those 23 days of living in fear for my daughters life, where the rest of the family was.
When I asked her about it, when she came for visiting hour, she told me that the family has more important things to do than put their time aside for something as unimportant as this, as she waved her hand towards my daughter. "This" was my daughter..her grandchild.
She was using my daughter not only to lie about me, but to gain attention for herself. No only that, but she covered her tracks by telling them no one was allowed to come so they couldn't see that I was living in the same room as my very ill ( who already flatlined 3 times) daughter for 3 weeks wondering why not one family member came.
Who would do that to any one never mind their own daughter and grandaughter? Sick! Sick! Sick!

buddy said...

My daughter decided (with much guilt) to not invite my parents to her child's baptism because "I really want to have a special event that's not about Grandpa." I could have cried because I realized that ALL of our holidays, weddings, graduations and other family events are ALWAYS about how we planning to deal with my dad.

Anonymous said...

Well, I do have a narcissistic parent. It bothered me less as a child than it does now, for some reason. However, in reading a lot of this, it sounds--as in my case, too--as if we are looking for these parents or grandparents to fill in a space of our own making within ourselves. Like, my space is oblong, and Mom, you always are square! How dare you! My Mom is emotionally immature and insecure, wants to be the center of attention, craves connection with others but pushes them away with endless obtuse chatter about herself. Well, she is that way, and no matter what I crave from her, that is all she can be. She is doing her best, like most of us. My brother and I are working on accepting her, gleaning what is good and loving from her, and letting go of what feels...well, not that way. We have the power, we can end the painful conversations, be gracious, and find emotional fulfillment in other people and activities. It's a good lesson for a grandchild, too. Emotional flexibility is a great, grown-up survival tool--meaning don't put your loved ones in costume on your own life's stage, expecting them to act out the part you need. Love them for who they are, and learn to find love and healthy connections wherever you can.

Nina said...


I'm glad you can find it in your heart to be so charitable!

My daughters are now older teens and were around their narcissistic grandfather. I suppose they learned to be flexible...meaning they came to accept that they were not allowed to talk when he was around nor did they come to expect any sort of meaningful, positive interaction with him. They've come to their own realization that he is disordered. I've been very proud of how they've treated him.

For me, I'm all worn out trying to see the carry the burden of adapting after a lifetime of adaptation.

I mean, I simply can't love my father. I needed him to...just be a father. I didn't want to parent him. I didn't want to act as his caretaker my whole life. I think it's perfectly reasonable to expect a father to act like a parent and not a dependent. I don't want to dress him up for a part on my act some heroic part...just NOT to behave like a needy child.

If you can find a way to focus on the positives...all the better!!!...for some of us, it's not gonna happen unless we go into pretend mode again!

Confused One said...

I have a question as well... My mother and I have never gotten along. I have read other article you wrote and it described my mother's behaviors perfectly... Growing up, I was constantly put down... I am a selfish, inconsiderate, ungrateful, and (insert 50 more degrading terms) child. As an adult, no one else views me this way. She has always hated me having close friends and let's not talk about me being in a relationship with a man.

My mom is the complete opposite with my child. My only sibling passed away 2 years ago and she now only has myself, my daughter and my nephew. I stopped giving into her behavior many years ago, so she has now switched her attention to the grandchildren. Since my brother passed, she keeps my nephew a good bit of the time, and if she had her way, she'd have my daughter too. She does not ignore my child at all.

She throws a fit about not having time with my daughter alone. She's not happy with me and my daughter spending time with her, she wants my daughter by herself. I feel like when she has my daughter, she plays mind games with her, and this is really hard to explain. It's like she wants my 4 year old to pick sides. She feels her opinions on thing when it comes to my daughter are more important than hers, and every parenting decision I make is an attempt to be better than her.

Does this still sound like narcissism, or does this rule it out in your opinion?

Anonymous said...

Sigh - i wish i knew my parents were narcisstic before i wasted so much time trying to be friends with them.


Instead all i got is... u should be nice to your parents, there all u got, u need to look at for each other, and all this other out of context wishy washy bullsh1t.

i hope all the dumbsh1ts who gave me there stupid uneducated unbased retarded advice burn in hell.

but i already know for a fact hell doesnt exist. fingers crossed for karma i guess.

Anonymous said...

Sigh - i wish i knew my parents were narcisstic before i wasted so much time trying to be friends with them.


Instead all i got is... u should be nice to your parents, there all u got, u need to look at for each other, and all this other out of context wishy washy bullsh1t.

i hope all the dumbsh1ts who gave me there stupid uneducated unbased retarded advice burn in hell.

but i already know for a fact hell doesnt exist. fingers crossed for karma i guess.

oh to the person who had the baby and the cancer mom. Yea she is a attenion seeking narcisist. - good luck

Anonymous said...

Ah, Nina, I've become addicted to your blog. I am sorry, but I really feel the need to post on some of your comments.

My N mom is different with my son. She was different with my brother, too, always giving him everything he wanted and then some. Not us girls. My brother is now a complete a-hole who is very narcissistic and sees everyone else's life as revolving around him. The weird thing is, they fight ALL THE TIME. Now it's almost like she wants to turn my son into the same thing. She comes here every summer, expects to take my son (now 15) everywhere with her, gives and spends an incredible amount of money on him, tells him how easy I had it growing up (clearly delusional- in some instances she is the perfect Mommy Dearest), but then really does nothing with him. She'll ask to take him for a coup,e days, guilts him if he doesn't want to go, then sits in her cabin the entire time, not doing a thing with him. The. She brags to everyone how much time she spent with him. It's like she's trying to rationalize how much 'time' they spend together as quality time. As he gets older and wants less and less to do with her, more and more mo ey is thrown at him. And the guilt increases, too. I hate what she does to him and it always causes fights. Then she guilts me, which is an easy feeling for me to fall back on - that was my childhood, after all.

Your blogs are saving me from thinking I have gone off the deep end. It isn't just me, a lot of people have and are going through this. I thank you for your honesty and your blog.

OverwhelminglyDiscouraged said...

I am 27 and have one 15 month old daughter and my next daughter is due in 5 weeks. I have a 53

year old mother who unknowingly suffers from NPD and histrionic disorder. We have NEVER

had a good solid relationship. After putting myself through 7 years of therapy, I have long since

come to the conclusion of "accepting" my mother for who she is. That she has good qualities and

bad, and that she did the best she could. I feel that she loves me, but she is still a Narcissistic,

still disrespectful, and still crazy. I am over the hurt that she has caused me (and continues to

cause) and I just accept her as a relativly good person, just a dissapointing and bad parent. She,

in true NPD fashion, believes she was and is a fantastic mother. Thus, we butt heads at least once

a month.
Prior to having children, I did not trust her. With my feelings, my heart, my husband..anything.

Now that I have a child, those feelings have not changed. I still do not trust her. My mother is

great one on one with me AND my child. I do not fear for my daughter's safety, but if my

mother's husband-with whom she is constantly cold and disrespectful to- is around, my mother

shuts down, will ignore others and will become volatile and stew or pout until she is done. This

can last anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks. She talks "out" whatever family news or

memories are currently on her mind. Including talking about family members behind their

backs. She is big on replaying memories of past hurts that people have caused her. She is a child

and it does make me concerned for my daughters well-being. Thus I am terrified of exposing my

daughters to her. Many books I've read suggest that my mother may be a "better/different"

person now than she was when she raised me. This is not the case. She is worse and I'm afraid

it's going to continue.
Because she believes she was and is a "fantastic" mother to my sister and I, I am terrified that

that she will use the same methods of criticizing verbal abusive, putting down others and similar

hurtful tactics on my daughters.
I want to protect my daughters from her NPD, but my sister insists that my daughters "need to

know crazy people, and that they need to know sane people." In a desire to "keep the peace" and

not deny my children of a relationship with her, I only allow my mother to see my daughter twice

a month, only while I am present/supervising.
A little over a year ago, I sat my mother down and expressed that she and I have never been close

and that it confuses me why she desires to be a part of my life now that I have children, when she

literally said all my life that "she doesn't like me."
For the second time in nearly a year, my mother is questioning why I don't call her to babysit,

expresses that she feels slighted not getting to see my daughter unsupervised and so on.
How can I keep from having to have the uncomfortable conversations with my mom? It's like she

doesn't hear me or is self-sabotaging herself, as she tries to get me to hurt her feelings over and


Anonymous said...

My father-in-law is a textbook case of a low functioning narcissist. Last year his 3rd wife left him, he lost his job, and went bankrupt. My husband, feeling a need to please his father, I'm sure stemming from his own dysfunctional upbringing, let his father live with us till he could get back on his feet.

Within the first 2 days I knew what I was dealing with, having majored in clinical psych in college. But, I had no idea how bad it would be. He got and quit 5 jobs in 6 months, all were "not good enough" for Mr. holier than thou. He sat on his butt in our living all day, complaining and criticizing everyone and everything, eating peanuts and watching marathons of 1 show over and over.

And this is not the worst of it...I have a 10 year old son. Their relationship was far from a typical grandpa/grandson relationship. My father-in-law was constantly putting my son down, calling him a wimp who will grow up fat and friendless (my son is very sociable, gifted, heh and thin, maybe it was jealousy) He was always competing with my son too. He actually once said "I bet I can ride your bike better than you can"!

Needless to say, he stayed for almost a year when my husband finally suggested he would pay for a cheap apartment for him. His fear of being alone caused him to find another family member to mooch off. So, within that year, I pretty much lived in my bedroom and became a complete emotional wreck. My son eventually joined me in the room, feeling so degraded and worthless that he couldn't stand to continue trying to forge a relationship with his only living grandpa.

He left, 4 months ago, and we recently got an email from those currently living with him...a desperate email pleading for help to deal with him, to make him get a job, and even to take him back lol. I don't know how narcissists can think they are normal, because their world is so intensly insane!

Anonymous said...

where to begin....
I recently discovered i have been married to a narc for 25 years and low and behold, i more recently found out that actually , my mother is a narc also!!!
I am a wreck and need help. I have four children who are confused by both father and grandmothers behavoirs

Trying2Heal said...

My parents are the same with my children, very distant. Never any real communication or connection with them. My mother used to visit only on Sunday afternoons somewhere between 4-5pm, just enough to tell everyone she was there and what a wonderful grandmother she is. She love public appearances with the grandchildren: school functions, birthday parties, etc. but no one on one time whatsoever. However, my sister, the "golden child" has the opposite relationship with her. She can do no wrong and she treats her children the same- seemingly having a wonderful relationship with them. She shows them what seems to be genuine affection and gives them LOTS of her time. I think this makes the healing process for me much more difficult. I'm wondering if anyone else is in this situation. I could go on and on with the examples of abuse I've endured and her blatant favortism, but it's too much to go into. Thank you for this blog. I've always thought there must be something wrong with me, but now I know the truth and am dealing with it. I've found that no contact is the best with my parents. I've tried to keep a relationship with my sister, but I'm finding that she shows the same characteristics as my parents - toxic relationship.

Anonymous said...

I am in a similar healing process after identifying that my in-laws are narcissists, particularly my mother-in-law. In the 12 years that I've known my husband, my self-esteem has never suffered such tremendous roller-coasters, always wondering what we did wrong or what was wrong with me. I've been in therapy for almost 4 years, but what gets in the way of healing is the favoritism. It was pretty blatant once my husband's brother (who is the designated golden child...because he is so emotionally dependent on them)got married, but now with grandchildren it's 20 times worse. When you don't follow their advice or do what they want, they withdrawal affection, and the grandkids are no exception. They show up in crises and other public events where they can tell everyone they were there, but when it comes to any real connection or inquiry into our kid's lives, there's nothing. We took a 6-month sabbatical from them (no contact), and it was the healthiest time we've been through. We did what we loved, built loving relationships with others, and didn't spend every week recovering from venomous comments or wondering what we did or said to deserve the lack of attention or affection. I'm not sure the the solution is. I do see that my husband suffers from low self-esteem as a result of growing up with did I miss this when we first met? I've tried a spiritual journey to heal, but when I try to forgive or send them loving thoughts, I get stuck. How do you protect yourself from such emotional abuse while trying to live a joyful, giving, thoughtful existence? My intention isn't to hurt them, but I cannot continue to grow spiritually when every week there's another hurtful act. It's true that emotional bruises go much deeper than physical ones. We can't keep subjecting ourselves to the abuse if we're to be loving, present parents. Is it right to cut ties?

Anon 59 said...

Aon Feb 2012

Did you and your husband decide not to see his parents anymore?
Yours is one of the most recent entries, so I wondered if you check in from time to time?
For what its worth I think cutting ties is sometimes the most helpful/practical and caring thing that anyone can do.
I have found myself regretting the years I've spent trying to find a way to "handle" the n.parent. With little or no change.
Looking back, one of the decisions I made was to keep my children away (as much as was humanly possible) from the troublesome one. This proved to be the only and I mean ONLY success I've had!
I'm now trying to repeat it for myself (as my children are adults now) with my sister-in-law, who has many n traits and has gone into overdrive recently.
I would love to know your ok.

Anonymous said...

Wow what a great blog I feel like when I read this a lot was my life I'm looking for advise my narcissitic mom has made my son her golden child trying to turn him against me. He is 12 now and I am just putting the puzzle together. Anyone have advise oe know of any books on this issue

Anonymous said...

@Confused One Said,

Ah, your situations sounds a lot like mine. She wants to have our kids all to herself--babysitting or sleepovers. Having a family gathering is not good enough. I've kept her at bay. My kids are 4 & 4 months, and she has yet to babysit. I'm saddened by this, but she makes poor decisions, and I question how safe the kids would be with her. I also question what she'd do to their heads. Her mind games have had me doing mental gymnastics and feeling crazy for most of my life. I really struggle to find happiness in life. I only recently learned that she is a narcissist. It's finally beginning to make sense that I'm not the crazy one--she is. I haven't been imagining it. I haven't yet learned how to "handle" her, or if that's even possible, but I'm determined to protect my kids from ever letting her screw them up. And I plan to have some therapy so that I can avoid repeating any of the mind games that were done to me.

Anonymous said...

Also have narcissistic mother but have only just realized it since about feb! Its always been a one sided relationship,she lives in the same small town and never comes to visit! she favours my eldest son who now is 35 and moved in with her when he was in his twenties as she was on her own and thought it would be nice to have company! He now doesnt speak to us!she works at the same place as i do and always asks other people how their families are and is completely different to them ! she goes out of her way to ask about their grandchildren but not mine!she shows no interest in my other two sons never asking if they are ok, nothing!my youngest son had a little girl 7 years ago she is not interested in how she is! we had her every friday and some w/ends and yet she doesnt come and visit when shes here either! when i told her that my middle son was expecting her comment was it will be nice when ... (the eldest son) has one! no congratulations Nothing! She bought a present for the baby but when i suggested that my son and partner come to see her with the baby she said "no not yet ive got a cold and an earache! i said ok let me know when you'd like to see them and i can come and pick you up or they can come over to yours but she never mentioed anything and 5 weeks later even though i see her at work every day she still hadnt asked how the baby was or how they were! ive had many many upsets over this in front of her but it makes no difference to her! The finel straw was on new years when i got upset and told her shes just not interested in my family and how it makes me feel and told her i thought it was discusting that she has never asked about or seen my grandson who was now 3 months old and she replied it is bloody discusting that .... and his partner havent bought the baby around! and yet i had offered and left the ball in her court when i told her to let me know when she'd like to see him! I could write a book about the way she hurts me but i havent got the time!!! I have had no-contact with her since New years eve!

Dawn Goodman said...

I left home at 18 before I was financially independent. I could not stand living with the Narcissism any longer. Although I married and had two children,my deadbeat husband supported my mother's effort to destroy my independence from her so he would not be stuck paying child support.
The lack of a support base led to complete violations of my boundaries, and my mother's dominance over those two children. Those two children are now vengeful Narcissists like their Grand mother who do everything they can to torment me about the things I did not provide during their child hood. You are doomed to destruction if a Narcissist ever gains control over you financially.

Anonymous said...

I read this book...someone was asking for books on this I thought I'd post it. Not all of it is relevant, but it gives ideas on what is doable in being around narcissists you cannot get away from! I borrowed from the library, and had to return it before finishing...might take it out again.

Children of the Self-Absorbed: A Grown-Up's Guide to Getting Over Narcissistic Parents [Paperback]
Nina Brown EdD LPC (Author)

Megan said...

I too have a narcissistic mother. I've learned over the years how to bottle up all my feelings and emotions (because with a narcisstic mother you aren't allowed to have those because they make them feel guilty and how dare you make them feel). Now I have 3 beautiful children and my mother adores my daughter and spoils her...but she could care less about my twin boys. I've tried talking to her about the way she treats them, but it falls on deaf ears or she gets really defensive and tries to turn it all around and have it be my fault. She will never take any responsibility for how her actions make others feel. Its always about her. This weekend we had a blow up and I ended up releasing all of my suppressed feelings since the boys were born at her which wasn't the best decision ( it was done in the heat of the moment). I have apologized and apologized but she will not let it go nor do I think she will. I don't know what else to do. I just want to get this experience over with and move on with my life with as little contact with her as possible. I am so done with not being allowed to have feelings and a mother who can show real love and support and not just what she feels obligated to give. I think I need to see a therapist or something. Any suggestions on what to do? When I told her it hurt me when she left town the day after my twins were born at 29 weeks and the risk of them dying was high. She told me "I'm not their mother! You are and I had previous plans...Quit trying to blame me for you having the twins....that's your fault and you need to deal with it." What loving mother leaves their daughter who has been on bed rest for a month in the hospital and just had an emergency c section for twin boys who were only 1 lb and 3 lbs and not given a high chance of survival? What loving mother says those things to their daughter who expresses hurt by those actions? I wanted to tell her "Yes I am their mother...but you are mine and I really needed a mom at that time." But I know better than to go would end in with it being my fault again. It is too frustrating to not be able to have a relationship with her and too hurtful. I need help...Any advise from survivors on the best course of action to take and what therapy help is out there to sort through all these feelings and emotions? Help.

Emma said...


I've landed here whilst googling 'Narcissists & their grandchildren'. Its a relief, a sad one that I feel, to know that I'm not mad!
I've only just realised what my Mum actually is. It scares me to death. I was told by my GP when he diagnosed me with PTSD at the age of 33, well a few weeks before my birthday, & showed me my medical records, it was awful. Then I was told that she had Munchausen by isn't. I know that now, she's a classic narcissist.
I've had PTSD since the age of 3 or 4, there has been so much that I've discovered, especially through flashbacks.

But I have two sons, both with autism, that I DO NOT want to be hurt by her. She already shows fake favour of my eldest, she even thought she was autistic when my eldest was diagnosed because "-- doesn't like people either does he? We're like two peas in a pod." You don't want to know my answer to that!

I need to cut contact with her. She has already managed to cut me off from the majority of my family (she phones them & makes things up about me), she treats everyone & every thing on whether she will gain money, attention, pity or material items by bothering with them. I don't want my boys anywhere near anyone like that.

There's obviously a lot more to what's happened to me, I don't think it's necessary to go through that with you all, it looks like you may have had the same.

I'm glad I found this site, I'll be coming back quite a lot!

Anonymous said...

So glad to hear the stories. I have been living with narcisstic inlaws for almost 20 years. We have gone through everything from antidepressants to therapy ect. In therapy they told us to give it a 2 year break, this was about 4 years ago. When we told them they immediatly wanted the therapists name and number and rushed down to ask him what in the hell he was talking about! My husband is my biggest problem because they use alot of emotional blackmail on him and he is still living with the fantasy of having a functioning family of origin. The blackmail is the worst.They hate me and have made it clear in letters ect that he should leave me, because I make him weak.They go on about how they never see the grandchildren, and that I have brainwashed them too, but the fact is that they have seen them at least twice a year since they were born. Alot of the times they were invited Grandparents day, Christmas concerts, they wouldn´t come , excuses that there were too many old people there or it is too crowded. Christmas presents forgotten for our kids only, not sister inlaws. The list goes on and on. Lies , yelling, screaming, drunkeness. Its crazyville!, but it is still so hard to keep the children away even when they are so crazy, because they keep using emotional blackmail on my husband, who in turn because he doesn´t know how to deal with it puts it on me. I know in my heart they really don´t have too much interest in our children but it hurts so much because our natural instinct is to have that relationship and without it there is always a void. We are both so sad that what could be so special for all of us will never be.

Anonymous said...

What if you want to cut ties with NDP inlaws but your husband doesn´t?

Anonymous said...

My Narc mother and Narc Golden Child brother both treated my little boy badly from a very young age. He, thankfully didn't realise what it was they were doing or saying about him and since he turned 7 I decided enough was enough.

My mother had started preaching to me about how I and everyone else should treat him as if he doesnt exist because otherwise he will turned out spoiled. My brother started painting 'The Joker' face on his face. Of course I was angry but also confused as to why my family were behaving like this, then I learned about Narcissism and started going No Contact.

It was the best decision I have ever made and I am so grateful I did so. My mother tried everything, wailing down the phone line at all the relatives that my husband has cut me up or is abusing me and she has lost her baby (imagine that! after treating me like so much dirt all my life!)

as a result relatives would turn up at our door and threaten my husband that they would come back later and break it down. every weekend for months after going initially No Contact was an absolute test of patience - every weekend we would be bombarded by calls from 'concerned' people and visits too. We simply didn't answer their calls, messages or doorbells. For a while we just switched the doorbell off. If we were not expecting company we would not answer the door.

She is continuing on her smear campaign to ruin my reputation now, she started off with my best friend who she told was too good to be my friend and really needed to break up with me. Now all the people I grew up around she has been gossiping to. I dont really care because me and my husband have just cut out these people because if they are willing to believe such rubbish then they must have some issues themselves.

Its made our life bliss! I am so thankful for having left all the crap behind - so thankful indeed.

My husbands family who are also really messed up (broke into our house, went through my underclothes made voodoo dolls and such to try and break our marriage) we have cut off from them too. Its been liberating, everyday is a blessing and we are both recovering and becoming more and more different to who we were in the past.

It took us a very long time and we lost alot of time, money and opportunities but the most important thing is we still have one another, we've realised who the evil ppl in our lives were trying to destroy us and we have turned our lives around as a result.

I urge everyone with Narc families to go NC, its the only way to allow yourself and loved ones to heal and recover - to become the true people they were meant to be.

Be free, don't live in chains.

(Another thing I noticed was that sometimes after a long time apart I feel myself soften in my resolve to keep distant from my parents - but when somehow they manage to get contact with me through using an unfamiliar number etc I realise that they have not softened at all like me that they will never change and that they will always hold this grudge against me. I was meant to be nothing, meant to be treated like rubbish which I was by my inlaws and they were best friends with them the whole time and regardless of what I endured told me to go back to them. They told me it was what I had to do and I had no other choice.)

I have a few choice words for my darling parents but truly they are not worth the breath or time.

My husband and I speak hardly ever of them anymore and are trying to loosen the emotional connection my son has with them.

I am having a little girl in a few days (overdue right now!) I will email my parents to let them know they wont even be getting a picture of her because I dont trust them.


payback is sweet.

Anonymous said...

My n-father isn't interested in his grandchildren either. Though in some ways I'm happy about that, I don't want him to get too close to them and twist their minds and emotions like he did mine. I'm not sure if he's even a bit jelous of the attention I give them. So sad, but maybe for the best really.

Anonymous said...

Omg! All the stuff ive heard here is truly astonishing!! I have lived this my whole life too. My mother is a narcissist! A malignant one at that. She has turned every family member against me. Its always poor me routine with her, telling my friend i don't love her, when its clearly HER that doesn't love and has never loved me. She's evil and manipulative. She gaslights'. She stole my son. They really are thief's. They don't care about us or anyone else, but they will give the appearance that they like and care about other people, so you know deep down that they don't care about you. They try to make you jealous all the time,but we have empathy and love in our hearts so we can be happy for others. They want us to be left out or end up bitter like them. I'm just sad heartbroken and shell shocked, but be careful this is the best time for them to invade and attack. Be on guard at all times. Its very tough. I have to keep telling myself to have boundaries because i have none. She overpowers everyone incl my father who had to agree with her. He stood up to her times but she always won. They are really abused kids trapped in adult bodies that want power and control over YOU. why?? Cause it makes 'em feel better. Pacifies their demons for a while. And they can never be on their own or by themselves, they also have to be outor visiting someone or working or someone visiting them. They're sad worthless creatures. The more i think of her, the more i realise there is nothing to like. She, and i mean used to wear the most awful clothes when were growing up. She used to make them herself. All elasticated no shape and probably thought they were the bees knees'!! Haha weird crazy patterns n all looking like a hippy gone wrong! I'm NC now and happier! They are conniving, BE aware. They can turn a whole neighborhood against you in no time. Good riddance to old trash!

Anonymous said...

What does it mean when a grandfather hangs up on his 12 yo grandson, who called to wish him a happy birthday. I know he is a narcissist, but still, how to understand this cruel treatment of a young child who has done nothing wrong or nothing to deserve this?

Anonymous said...

Dear anonymous

Your grandfather wants to hurt others and bewilder them so that they strive harder to win his affection. It is the behaviour of a self obsessed individual who doesn't care for anyone other than themselves unfortunately. My own mother is a queen of manipulation and this was one of her favourite tricks. She would even later claim that she hadn't put the phone down on me but had simply reached the end of her sentence. She lies as easily as she breathes.

I am currently in the process of trying to go NC, even though it is bittersweet and laden with huge dollops of guilt. I have to do it for my own sanity and the welfare of my husband and children.

Anonymous said...

Howdy all, here's my contribution:
Once I realized what sort of family I married into, my motto regarding my in-laws (esp. my father-in-law) has been, "If you want your kids to worship you, just be self-centered." My husband continually makes excuses for his dad's behaviors (e.g., loud, boisterous, disinterest in topics other than what he's interested in, ignores calls from grandkids, doesn't acknowledge grandkids birthdays, holidays, etc.). His response is "people don't change" and "I'm a fence-sitter, I don't like to make waves." Or some version of, "He knows whenever he comes over it creates stress so he stays away."

All that said, it seems my husband and his two siblings seem to have a sense of "When do I get my due?" Like, as if, since they had to work around their parents whims/wishes when they were kids, they would be entitled to the same treatment/"respect" when they grew up and had families of their own.

[I did not grow up that way, my mother showed her love for me and everything didn't center around her. She listened to our stories and invested her time and energies in my brother and me. It was just the three of us so for the most part, we had to operate like a team.]

It's the "gift that keeps on giving," unless the cycle can be broken. The effects of a narcissistic parent is far reaching. The pattern seems to keep repeating with my husband's siblings and their choices of mates. Since the resultants do not include physical abuse or criminal behaviors, the root of the problem (narcissism) permeates quietly. Its like the 800lb gorilla in room, that no one wants to talk about.

Even if we have to live with it, I choose not to ignore the problem, nor make excuses to my children about their dysfunctional relatives. I do not want my kids to think they can be narcissistic when they grow up, that they are "entitled" since they endured it when they were young.

For whatever, it's worth, I am grateful my kids are pretty understanding about their funky relatives. Thanks to the love and kindness of my own family, who happen to live quite far away, my kids are sweet, kind, and respectful.

Hope this makes sense w/all the editing as I type.

Nisha said...

My mother is classic. I spent 45 minutes today telling her how deeply effected I have been by her behavior. she ended the conversation with "I am sorry but I don't think it's hopeless... She's talking about me... I have to go ride my bike."

Nisha said...

Oh and she made this big display of saying how sorry she was, but it wasn't followed by anything except the usual ho hu well yes I am very sorry I shouldn't have been so abusive but you see I have these plans to go ride my bike and since I have spent 45 minutes on the phone with you I think you have had far more of my time than necessary and seeing as how my time is so precious to me and you are taking it up by talking about yourself again, gotta go.

Nisha said...

To her just taking the time to talk to me without being entertained is painful and boring. and rather meaningless, clearly, as what I am saying doesn't seem to represent an attempt to communicate but rather the time of a clock ticking away in which she would rather be riding a bike and enjoying her Saturday afternoon. her life isn't about people I guess.

Nisha said...

Don't listen to your crazy therapist. Go no contact and set boundaries now or watch her try to turn the child against you. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Thankyou so much for starting this site. I now know what is wrong. I am 46, and never figured it out. I just knew my mother hated me and wanted to destroy me. I had little/no contact for years, and then when I was established, educated, and stable I tried to allow my mother contact with my oldest son (he's 14 now). That was a mistake and when I found this site, I have been trying to have him read it, and educate him about "what happened with grandma- and why we are not really in contact now". It was hurtful to him, but I think her main ambition regarding her relationship with my son, was to turn him against me. It runs counter to what most people understand and so I just rarely share with people what she has done.
As a few examples, (so you know the types of things that N-grandparents do)- My mother purposefully, gave my son an electronic gift that I had expressly told her not to give to him, because there was a possibility that he could access porn on it, and I couldn't keep good track, and did not want the responsibility of having this in my house. My mother told me I was "controlling" and gave it to him anyways, and I then had to deal with having it in my house for 3 years until it broke- because my son loved it. My mother told my son he would go live with her. My mother refuses contact with my son now, because I told her that emails had to be sent to me for review, due to concerns I had. My mother called CPS and had me and the family investigated and it was totally made up accusations. My mother secretly sent money to a store that my son frequents- so that she could bypass dealing with me. My son even commented that "this was stawkerish" for my mother to do. My mother insists that "the only way she could contact my son, because I am so abusive to her- was to send money to the store where he goes with his friends". I have repeatedly told her to just send an email to me, and after review I will forward it on. She refuses to do so. My mother regularly states "how much she helped me with this or that- and how I am ungrateful"- when in fact I have not lived with my mother - aside from few months- since I was 14. She just flat-out lies. Everything is some kind of competition or power struggle- when it's actually not at all.
It is not about "he said/she said" type stuff. This is about- for instance- when I had not seen the family for 4 years and arrived in town, that she wouldn't come pick me up at the airport because "she doesn't like to drive at night" (but then will easily drive at night to her own activities) It is hard to talk about because everyone has normal family conflicts. But the stuff the N-people do is really over the top. My main reason for posting this, is to make sure that if you have NC and you are considering that "your children can repair the damage" to run fast in the other direction. I made a huge mistake in allowing my son to get to know my mother.
It is an unnatural situation when the grandchildren do not have contact with grandparents, but it is up to us parents to protect our own kids and never let them by manipulated or bullied the way we were. Good luck to each and everyone of you, and you are all on the right track. My youngest two sons will never get to know my mother at all, and I have ceased feeling guilty about it.

Anonymous said...

My mom refuses to return my emails or to respond to letters. After several weeks I sometimes will ask an aunt or my brother to check on her for me. She then FINDS my emails all in one group. She normally becomes very defensive and implies that I sat down and typed them all in one go. Of course everyone knows that emails come with date and time stamps. If she doesnt do that she claims she has had computer problems or server problems or whatever. She also implies thet I am the one not keeping in touch by saying things like she is glad to FINALLY be hearing from me. Once, because I live abroad, she said that she was just about to do a well check through the embassy...this cracked me up as I would just provide my email and password to the embassy and they can scroll through the emails with the time and date stamps. My parents are also completely disinterested in their grandchildren...rarely asking any questions about them husbands mother lives across the courtyard from us in her own home and is the same. It is very depressing for my but I am trying to just accept it because I cant change their behavior I can only change my response to it.

Jane No said...

I cannot tell you how happy I am to have found this blog, and you lovely people. My story is very similar.

I'm 32 and I'm coming to grips with the fact that my parents are severe narcissists. It's so deep and crazy that I can't even put it into words.

They've threatened my life, cursed at me, cursed at my husband, insulted my child...etc..and then they play the victim. Their game is usually to provoke me into becoming angry and then using things I say to cry and play the victim. I've gotten wiser and now am able to remain more calm while they are screaming at me and berating me. The last time my father called me in a rage, he actually was upset that I was not getting upset. It was really sick and weird.

The only thing that's different so far that I find is that so many of you say your narc parents are cold toward your kids.

My parents will ignore me bleeding to death but spoil my daughter like crazy, not normal spoiling, like OVER THE TOP INSANITY. But, even though they spoil with candy and toys and not setting any rules or boundaries, they don't visit her or attempt to see her.

I recently told my parents that I would no longer allow unsupervised visits on their terms because of my angry violent father, so all they do is answer face time when my daughter calls them (sometimes). She wants to call them, especially my mother, because my mother will play on the phone. She pulls out all the stops. She sends gifts and will get my daughter anything she asks for.

When my daughter is playing with her "grammy" on the damn computer, I want to hurl. It's so sick to hear my mother's fake voice, and know that she is struggling to keep up this high intensity play just so that my kid will want to call her. I know that as soon as my mother gets off the phone, she and my father are making fun of my child, asking each other things like "Why is she so ill behaved?" I've heard it before. YES! They even crap talk on my baby behind her back.

When I did used to drop my daughter off at their house, she would have bags full of candy and toys when I picked her up. My mother NEVER respected my wishes and would always find a way to "spoil" my daughter, even though I'd ask her not to go overboard. We have a small house and we don't have much space for hundreds of dollars worth of toys. (My mother even bought my kid the Anna and Elsa dolls even though I told her me and my husband were going to get her those for Christmas!) We haven't raised a materialistic daughter so she doesn't even really care about all the toys after she opens them. This is just my mother's way of manipulating her to set her up for the "your mom doesn't want you to see me" talk, which she has already started.

I'm writing because I don't know what to do. I've recorded several phone calls of them screaming and cursing at me, for my own sanity. Because we all know how narcs do it. They scream at you and belittle you in private and then are sweet as pie around other people. I've let some friends listen to these calls and they bring them to tears.

I know I've got to end this "relationship" between my daughter and parents, but I'm afraid. I'm afraid my daughter won't understand. Also I'm afraid of what these insane people will do. They've recently latched onto my brother again after a 6 month estrangement, so I'm thinking he will be their victim for a while...but what happens when they want to sink their talons into me again?

Any advice?

Anonymous said...

My sisters and I realized via separate therapists that our Mother is a Narcissist with Borderline personality disorder. I spent my first 38 years of life trying not to "get in trouble" with her and feeling responsible for her happiness or lack thereof. I always realized my Mom didn't act like my friends' Mom's but I couldn't explain why she was different. Once I realized what I'd been dealing with, I knew I had to protect my kids from her. I'm currently enforcing a paradigm shift in our "relationship" and have taken control of what is and is not acceptable behavior from ANY person in my life. I've also let her know she'll not be seeing my kids unless I'm there as well. This was/is the scariest restructuring of my life I've ever undertaken. My Mom is domineering, angry, controlling, gossipy, and very very manipulative. I was terrified to stand up to her - even at age 42. I'm still terrified. As she gets older, her circle of people to control shrinks as they tire of the abuse. She is isolated, cries constantly, drinks and takes tons of Xanax and blames the world for the crappy life she's created. I feel like I'm a whole new person. I'm sometimes afraid to be in control because I've known nothing but giving control away until now. I'm happier for sure but am still adjusting. When I began restricting contact, I expected my little one (6) to ask about her a lot because she was engulfing with him, but he hasn't. In addition, she doesn't ever ask really about them. Funny how transparent things have become.

Anonymous said...

My mother's personality, irrationality, and borderline actions all contributed to a lonely and angry childhood. I was an only child... and lived with a disengaged father who was completely dominated by my mother and my maternal grandfather (he was 80 when I was born). My grandfather was cut off from the rest of the world and my mother collected money from her siblings to take care of him... but she just paid off the mortgage with it. He never got anything he asked for and ate this weird oatmeal mush every day. Her poor relationships wth anyone meant I never grew up close to my cousins, I didn't have any family friends to play with, and all my friendships were sabotaged by her in some way or another. I was not allowed to speak to her after my father left for work at 8pm every night... for my entire childhood, he worked 7 days a week, so it was every day. She said she needed quiet for her headaches, so she would sit in her room and read magazines in bed. Unless she was out visiting her friends... then I was carted around and slept on couches, in back rooms, and even in a cold basement until 2-3am. And now that I think about it, why didn't one of her friends ever offer me a blanket for that stupid basement??? I remember curling up as tight as I could so that her jacket would cover my shoulders and my toes... wtf. Every time something happened in my teenage years that was devastating or traumatic she would just yell at me for being such a disappointment. How could she have a rich and respected son-in-law someday if I were such a fat, ugly, slutty, or underachieving, etc. daughter. I was none of the above... and it took me years of crying and therapy to know it and believe it. As an adult, every time I made a decision that took me off an approved path she would say, "What am I going to tell everyone???" And she always turns everything back on me, "I'm the only person who will tell you this because I actually care about you. Everyone else just tells you what you want to hear." It's taken me many years to come to terms with her enough so I can carry on without the shadows of my childhood following everything I do.

I guess I just had to get all that off my chest with some other people who will understand. I'm currently pregnant and it's brought up a lot of old feelings. My fear and anxiety are running super high. I fear that the same monster lurks inside me and I'll resort to the only type of motherhood I know. I'm scared I'll use fear, threats, and physical slapping and whipping with hangers, dusters, and umbrellas to control my child. I'm scared my temper (which I have a fiery one from years and years of learning how to battle and fight from my mother) will get the best of me and my mother-child relationship will spiral out if control. I'm scared I'll become her. She has been completely indifferent to my pregnancy and told me if it's a boy that I don't even need to let her know. I've snuck in some private moments with my dad to show him the ultrasound pictures and stuff... but he's pretty mildly excited by it... I guess that's just how he rolls.

I'm ready to do whatever it takes to protect my baby from her mental manipulations... even if it means cutting off contact. But part of me is so sad to know it's possible for my baby to be subjected to the same heartless treatment from her. What will I say one day if he or she asks, "Why doesn't grandma love me?" Ohhhh, don't worry about it baby, she doesn't love anyone. :(

I think the disappointment I already have of her as a grandmother is dredging up al these old feelings of her as a mother. I'm hoping that now that I have shared this with others and voiced my insecurities that they'll live outside of my heart and mind... and I can move forward without their burdens.

Thanks for reading.

Shirley Speed said...

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Marcus Williams said...

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Up to U said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I''ve suspected my mil is a self centered person for some time, so I pulled way back and don't interact with her unless I have to. My poor husband though thinks she has other issues but that's it's not extreme selfcentredness but something else. Being too afraid to interact on an adult level with her adult son. Well, he got a shock this week. When we had a baby and he sent her messages, she didn't respond for a week. He was worried she was dead. Then after a week of nothing she messages back - everything is fine with me, I expect a photo of the baby.
That was it.
Talk about trying to make everything about yourself. I felt so sorry for him, because how difficult is it to say Congratulations?
I think she is jealous of her son and grandson cos she didn't even ask how either of them are doing.
After reading this I think she is a narcissist and I don't really care but I am scared the effect will be on my husband now when he realizes that he is watching his life experiences playing out again and recognizing it for what it is.

Kendrick Reaves said...

Greetings to every one that is reading this testimony. I have been rejected by my wife after three(3) years of marriage she left me and the kid and move out with another man. one day when i was reading through the web, i saw a post on how this spell caster on this address , have help a woman to get back her husband and i gave him a reply to his address and he told me that a woman had a spell on my wife and he told me that he will help me and after 2 days that i will have my wife back. i believed him and today i am glad to let you all know that this spell caster have brought back my husband and my wife and i are living happily in our marriage. because i am now happy with my wife. Thanks for Dr. Nosa. His email: