Thursday, April 21, 2011

Raising Ourselves

Systematically going through my in-box and catching up on comments left over the last 12-months during another unintended absence from this blog...

once again, I'm struck by the kindness of commenters.

This kindness is astonishing, really, considering the toxic atmosphere in which we were raised. It's a wonder we all didn't turn out just plain mean, or evil.

In the mood I'm in these days - mulling over the legacy of an npd father as his health deterioriates - this anonymous comment caught my attention:

"...it must be healing to now know that the little girl that you once were was made to feel unsafe being raised by someone who in someways was younger than herself. And now you're left to finish raising yourself. I'm here because I'm in a similar situation. My parents both believed they were perfect. They fed each other this illusion and their kids could never quite measure up."

Left to finish raising yourself.

Wow. Sooooo true. Not only are we left to heal ourselves, we're left to finishing the job our parents were incapable of doing. Some days, I feel like a half-baked meat loaf still quivering in the pan and I wonder, why? Why are some things more difficult? Why do I not believe in myself more? Why aren't I more confident? Why do I lack certain social skills?

This raising-ourself-job is something we undertake...into mid-life! It seems ridiculous, but that's what I find myself doing. Oh, this is yet another area in which I'm "half-baked" and must now address. I just hope this process is done by the time I'm 60!

106 comments:

Pronoia Agape said...

So frustratingly true!

I used to think I was just different. Now I realize that I hadn't developed enough socially and emotionally and that it's high time I got started on that.

Now I have three kids to raise - my two daughters and myself.

Anonymous said...

Raising ourselves AND our parents, so true. And amazingly enough in the midst of the toxic environment, we raised ourselves up and out from the sludge and turned out to be pretty decent people.

"Left to finish raising yourself."

That quote is very succinct, the n-parents off doing what they please and leaving us to fend for ourselves among the wolves. I love your half-baked analogy, you have great humor and insight.

-- Enilina

Clara Lee MSW LICSW said...

Raising Ourselves is such a powerful title. I frequently reflect on how I have raised myself. I have a friend whose mother died when my friend was 14. I connect with her because I feel like I don't have a mother. Thanks for the wonderful blog. I'm 42 and am still working toward healing myself.

Anonymous said...

I agree. Narcissists don't "raise" kids. I had a narcissistic mother, and I don't say, "I was raised..." I say, "I grew up..." Because that's what it felt like - like I was simply growing up alongside another child. An immature, impatient, sometimes tantrumming child who saw her kids as peers she was often disappointed by.

And we were whatever she thought we were. Like it says on Light's House, narcissists can't see their ACTUAL kids. They see what they want to, and mine wanted to see her kids as someone who should be capable of doing all kinds of things kids can't possibly do! Doing my laundry all by myself at 8 years old? Crazy-making.

Glad I'm out of it now, but it's like you said - what a mountain of work picking up where they left off. Urgh. Quivering meatloaf, indeed.

nolongerrunning said...

Oh yeah, heaps of recognition here. I was always wondering what about me made me able to have a nice career, but left me feel like a little girl a lot of the time. A little girl afraid of criticism, craving for parental approval.

Yes, narcs are younger than their kids in some ways. Also, kids of narcs have to grow up before it's time, leaving some of the developments that ought to have gone through untouched until adulthood.

Jen said...

Ah raising yourself is right on point. My parents never really taught me how to do anything, even basic tasks one must know by the time they are 18 - such as laundry, cooking, etc. I had to pretty much pick up these tasks on my own. I have yet learned how to cook on my own because I am not allowed in the kitchen much. They never wanted to teach me how to cook, said it was a waste of time. But they BITCH about how I don't know "how to do anything." How am i supposed to know if you never taught me? How am i supposed to know if you DON'T let me learn on my own? I am 20 years old by the way, and I recently had my FIRST job interview ever and managed to get the job right on. My parents are extremely against me working by the way, so I'll be hiding this from them. I hide practically anything I've learned to advance in life, because all the times I've showed them how independent I can be - they felt threatened. Mom would throw in the lines "Who taught you this?" "Did I say you could do these things? You're only [insert age over 18]!" They think they are perfect parents and doing me a favor - but what favor? I always feel like I'm left on my own to figure things out. My parents ultimately feel that I'll make $500k right after college. They feel that is the ONE thing that completes life - nothing else. No social life needed, no work ethic/experience needed, nothing. *sighs* It sucks when it does come a time when you have to take care of them as well as much as I don't want to much unless they were gravely ill.

daughter of said...

Nina and anyone else who is following her blog: do narc moms treat their sons differently? I always felt my mom (parents, really) treated my brother better than us girls. And I've read comments where the writer identifies the brother as the narc mom's favourite. In my experience as a parent of a boy, I've noticed how over-the-top they are with him in gifts, money, compliments, etc., etc., etc. Not to mention how they constantly talk about how much they give him and what they do for him. It's not like we can't or don't provide for him - we do alright and he's not in need of anything. Any advice on how to deal with how they treat him?

john said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
john said...

I came across this website by chance. After YEARS of psychotherapy (not to mention hypnotherapy, energy healing, acupunture and various other modalities, trying to find out what is 'wrong' with me), my newer therapist listening to some of the stories I had about childhood and my parents behavior towards me, said 'sounds like the markings of very narcissistic parents'. I went home and started researching and it's like a lightbulb went off into a million pieces. Everything I've read on here about feeling depressed, angry, not existant, unable to love, guilty, socially awkward and emotionally crippled now has a context. I could never understand why as a child, I was verbally smacked every single day and told I was unloveable and 'weird'. Every time I spoke at the dinner table, I was talked over, until I grew up thinking I had nothing of value to offer. As a child, I was a gifted singer - my father also a singer but not doing anything with his talent - ripped me to shreds until I stopped doing that too. As an adult, I'm exhausted, my marriage is almost over and my career is going nowhere fast because every time I succeed, I hear my father telling me I am useless and won't amount to anything and I shamefully fall back into the cycle of beating on myself mercilessly.
(I've also managed to turn a lot of my problems into my partner's 'failings' - something my parents did to me). I'm deathly afraid to succeed - because of the cost (as a child, my sister was the one my parents wanted to have the show business career and I was actually asked not to steal her spotlight). My father also told me that she was 'easy to love' - in my 30's I have never heard my parents say 'I love you'. My mother also told me a couple of times as a kid that if she had the chance to do it over, she wouldn't have had us (me and my sister). It left me feeling empty, with marked periods of dissociation.

Having found this page is one of the best things to ever happen in my life because in it, I see myself in all of you and for the first time in my life, I feel part of something.

Thanks for sharing all.

PWC said...

Wow, John, I'm so sorry you went through that. You're not alone.

I tried to click on your name to see if you had a blog, but it said "profile access not enabled" or something like that. You're very welcome to be a part of our community and comment more (I cannot speak for the community but I can speak for myself, I guess.)

john said...

Hi PWC,
Thank you :)
I don't have a blog, just a sign in - I guess that message is the standard if you don't.

It's so strange the legacy of our parents - since I commented on here, I have been worrying about 'sharing too much' and judging myself and fretting about 'airing dirty laundry'. Any time I have started a blog, after about a week, I take it down because I feel the anxiety of sharing and 'being too sensitive'.

Does anyone suffer from that voice in their head (not ours but our parents) that tells them to stay small and don't make waves? That is the most frustrating thing for me - the fact that I can never question my parents angry, childish behaviour, or get an apology for the years of abuse (even now they have both cut me off for 2 months over a fight my mother started which ended in verbal abuse on her part and an email threatening to kill herself..... a couple of days later, my father asked me to apologize to her because they were going on holiday and he didn't want it to ruin their vacation... I sent him her email and told him what happened and his response "life's too short, do what you have to do"... ie, no sympathy for me, just the usual message that I was the one causing the problem by 'hanging onto negative feelings'. My entire life, they have always turned their abusive and bullying behaviour around to make it 'my problem'. Does anyone have a self healing way of dealing with the anger that comes from that?
Thanks

PWC said...

John - Are you kidding? We get those voices all the time telling us not to air family secrets! Guess what? The only way to get better is to talk about it in a safe environment with supportive people. It doesn't have to be blogging, it can be a group of people or a therapist or church support group. You seem like you have a lot to say and process, I encourage you to start a blog and experiment with a few posts.

Afterall, what have you got to lose? The good will of people who abused you for years? You can make your blog anon anyways by using just a first name, or a pseudonym.

Anonymous said...

I can relate to so much of this, also feel "half-baked" and like I have just been waking up to myself these past recent years instead of in youth when it should have happened or started happening at least.

John, the only way I've found to deal with the issue you describe (having parents turn the problems around on you and making it seem like you're wrong to be upset) has been to try to deal with it with other people in my life other than my parents. Meaning I try to work out the healthy way to deal with these issues with people who can respond in a healthy way, people who can hear my viewpoint and take it in rather than accuse me of hurting them simply because I am upset and make it all about them.

I found that with my parents I cannot change their behavior or get through to them but I've found it helps to deal with similar situations with healthier people who, through their behavior, show me that not everyone is like my parents and that I can safely state my perspective without being accused of being selfish, ungrateful, etc.

Yes that voice is still in my head and I struggle a lot with this kind of thing but for the first time I'm really seeing that many many people react in ways that my parents never did and still don't. I'm learning that the world isn't set up the way my family of origin was/is and that feels good, and I'm learning how to operate in this more positive, healthy, equitable world and I like that. I can't change my family but I can change my current environment, myself, and those I surround myself with and that's why I'm trying to focus on, though I admit the troubled relationship with my parents always troubles me in the back of my mind and I'm not happy about having to be so "behind" in so many aspects of life due to this "half baked" thing.

Sorry this is so long. The bottom line is I can't do anything to change my parents so I try to just minimize my contact drastically and try to immerse myself in healthier situations with others and grow from that.

Love this blog, thank you Nina for writing it and all the commenters for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Once again, apologies.

There is a pattern to my appearing and disappearing...to which readers are unintentionally subjected.

Life intervenes...and I'm easily distracted (propensity discussed before). Started father on hospice. I can honestly say...poor, poor man.

What horrors his dementia has visited upon him...

But I will reply to your comments individually...

Deb said...

((SHEESH, Can't even leave a reply on my own blog w/o goofin up!)

There is a pattern to my appearing and disappearing...to which readers are unintentionally subjected.

Life intervenes...and I'm easily distracted (propensity discussed before). Started father on hospice. I can honestly say...poor, poor man.

What horrors his dementia has visited upon him...

But I will reply to your comments individually..

Niki said...

I am soon to be divorced from my N husband. Finally understanding what kept my husband from loving me, having my therapist telp me understand what was going on with my spouse, has allowed me to lay down this elephant I have been carrying around these last few years. I not unloveable....WHEW.
Now I wonder if anyone might be able to offer insight into what my son might be feeling, and how I might help him understand his father. He is only 13, and will have years of frustration and confusion ahead of him. How do I help without talking poorly of his dad?

Hatini said...

I just happened to come across this blog doing a google search and was amazed at how familiar a lot of the posts sound.

I've just recently realised that narcissism in rift in my family, both my parents and brother exhibit strong traits. This revelation has given me some answers about why I have struggled in life, and hopefully will set me on track to sorting out the mess.

This post really hit home. I currently have my mother living with me until she moves into her new house and have recently realised that, as a mother she is uncapable of healthy nurturing. She never did it when I was a child, and she can't do it now. This has blown me away, because I have finally reslised that she could never, and will never give me the maternal love I've spent the last 29 years trying to get.

I'm a mixed bag of emotions at the moment, but more than anything I can see a light at the end of this long tunnel.

Robin said...

I'm glad I'm not alone! I can relate to all these comments. My dad is a complete N and my mom is an emotional infant - more borderline personality disorder. They've been divorced since I was 11 (I'm 48). It's just been in the past decade I actually feel like I'm somebody worthwhile and somewhat likeable. My family sweeps everything under the carpet so our relationship is just a shell.

I still struggle with self-doubt and some rejection feelings - but I fight it. It has been the love of my DH that I have been able to overcome a lot of crap. I'm trying hard not to let my emotional issues pass to my three DD.

Erik C. said...

Hi everyone,

I am so glad to see this blog is still active. I can identify with almost everything that has been said so far.

A question I am having is this: Would there be anyone interested in being a penpal of sorts? Or does anyone here know where I could find one with similar background?

It seems that these days, all I do is go to work, come home, crash with what I believe is severe burnout, and repeat the cycle. I am 27 and the thought "What is wrong with my life?" has accompanied me for a long time.

Thank you.

maus said...

And I grew up thinking I was just socially clue-less (I mean I was clue-less was but not due to anything I did / didn't do). Yet another little thing I can thank my dad for..

Two years ago this month I saved my dad's life while having a stroke. To this day I still regret doing it. I feel bad even saying that but maybe those of you with a narcissistic parent(s) will get why I say that I hope.

maus said...

Erik C. - there's no contact info on your profile so hopefully you see this but I'd be delighted to talk to you / be your penpal. I turn 29 in a month and thanks to my narcissistic father have gone through what you're dealing with right now. And I've managed to heal myself a bit from all the damage he caused.

If my experience can help you deal with yours that's enough reason for me to take the time to talk / write to you. my email is maus42 "at" gmail (dot) com. E.mail me if you want to talk more!

-Sean

Erik C. said...

Great to hear from you Sean, I would like to take you up on your offer. Will email you shortly.

Erik C. said...

Sean,

Me again. Just wanted to briefly say sorry for not having gotten in touch yet.

I'm admittedly a little worried about giving up anonymity - and on top of that I think I'm still struggling with my quarter life crisis. Maybe this sounds a little familiar.

Erik

Anonymous said...

Nina,

I recently graduated from college and have had to move back in with my parents. I have no job, no money saved up as I've never been taught how to plan for myself financially and every request to learn has been shot down. I've been in poor health for the past year, and all of my parents promises to help me find doctors have not been followed through on - of course. I've been in therapy for depression for five years, and am currently seeing a new therapist to help me cope with the transition into my parents' house.
Last week my therapist told me she is concerned about my wellbeing - and that she believes both of my parents, especially my mother, are extremely narcissistic. After we talked about it, I went home and did some internet research and found your blog. It's like a light was switched on in my head, and everything that's happened in my parents' house and in my life makes sense now - but in the worst, most sickening way. Most of my memories of my father involve him abusing me or forcing me to "live the life he could never live" (his words). Many of my memories of my father also involve his total physical, emotional, verbal absence during all moments of crisis during my life, and all moments of joy in my triumphs that he saw unrelated to his interests. If he was around, or offered any words of advice, they were words of criticism, about how I had failed. My mother, on the other hand, plays the martyr, throwing fits and going into sobbing spells if I don't fold a towel correctly or if I go out with my friends for coffee. If I leave two dirty dishes next to the sink for an afternoon, I am an ungrateful child, and "nobody loves her, nobody cares about her, even after all she's done everyone else".
I am desperate to get out, as although I recognize the truth of their behavior, during the short weeks in which I have resumed to live in their house - if you call this living - I still get emotionally caught up in their games. I never know what they really think, how they really feel. They will boast about me to friends when we are in public, and then at home tell me what a terrible human being I am. I have felt totally helpless, confused, crazy, lonely, stunted, and unloved by them my entire life. I love them, and I believe that in order to cope, I have developed a belief that these behaviors are really their way of showing me love. But the truth is that they are both narcissists. They have "raised" a golden child (my older brother) who is now a full-blown narcissist, unable to cherish and maintain any relationship or show any empathy or kindness towards anyone but himself. And they have "raised" their scapegoat - me- a young woman totally lacking in confidence or a sense of wellbeing or any kind of internal trust of others. I always feel on the outside, I always feel afraid, I always feel judged and unwanted. But the one thing that I know now that they have been totally unsuccessful in taking away from me or warping is my spirit.
Finding your blog has given me hope that my life doesn't have to dwell in sorrow forever - that however bad things have been, and are now, I will get out. I may not be able to achieve my wildest dreams, as I know now that my desire to do so is fed by the desire to be perfect and achieve everything so I can finally please my parents, but I know that I can, eventually, move far away from them, live in a house or apartment somewhere, save some money and hopefully meet someone who will love me and stay with me through thick and thin, as they have not. Thank you for helping me - reading your blog has given me hope that I have found nowhere else. Knowing that I am not completely alone in my experience, knowing that there are others out there who know what this feels like, helps me to remind myself that I can survive.

Traci said...

NINA!! I am so happy to find your blog again. I'm 48 and come from an almost identical situation!! I'm adopted...recently started spending my time with my B parents. I thought I was all alone before this. Thanks so much for putting this all into words.

Anonymous said...

Hey everyone. I recently found Nina's blog, and I'm not astounded, but find it VERY interesting that many of the things that Nina and the other commenters here have mentioned have happened to me too. It seems like Narcs all use the same tactics. In one situation, I actually found a scenario in one comment that was the absolute parallel of something that had happened to me! Both my parents are at least narcissistic, and one of them has NPD.

Through reading this blog, and others, and doing a lot of hard thinking and putting together the events of my life, I've finally started to create a tapestry of understanding.

Thanks for your blog, Nina.

EvieEnclave said...

I've always felt like I was from another planet. I grew up painfully shy, but I've learned to be a bit more outgoing as an adult. I've had trouble figuring out what I want to do in life for the longest time. I can hold a job, but I struggle with ambition because it feels wrong. Every time I aspire to create something or do something different, I end up talking myself out of it by thinking I'm not good enough or I don't have the skills.

I think I could benefit from therapy, but I have trouble trusting (mostly authority figures) - so that's kind of a stumbling block. My father has fooled many therapists in his time, so that adds to my distrust.

I flounder. This is what I do. This blog has made me feel so much better though. Knowing I'm not alone is such a great thing. Seeing what has worked for other people is wonderful. I feel like I'm making progress now - still floundering, but I don't feel quite as helpless as I used to. I'm starting to see the path I need to be on, and that's more than I've had in 33 years. Thank you.

EvieEnclave said...

Maus: I definitely get what you're saying about hoping. I know a lot of us have struggled with those thoughts.

After years and years of Munchausen's (taking medication he didn't need/injecting himself with various things,etc. to make himself appear to have X disease of the week), my N father actually finally truly had something wrong with him. He had to have a quadruple bypass last month and I secretly hoped that he would die on the operating table. Of course, that didn't happen. Then he developed blood clots in his legs and had to be hospitalized again and that secret hope reared its head again to no avail. Just this past week, he started talking gibberish and acting strangely and my mother started talking about putting him in a home because she couldn't take care of him on her own. She even made an appointment with his MD and a social worker to discuss it and "miraculously", on the way to the meeting, he snapped out of it and was suddenly better again. He managed to convince the doctors that it was happening because he forgot to take one of his pills for a few days. This last one was definitely the Munchausen's pattern emerging again.

The thing that bugs me is not the secret hope (I don't feel as bad as I used to about it anymore, but I still feel guilty) - it's the rollercoaster of "is it finally happening? Am I finally free? ...........Nope. Maybe now?.......Nope." I need to figure out how to be free without it depending on him being gone.

Asobime said...

yeap...the "love" that a Narcissist Mother gives never dies...LOL! It's pain and confusion our whole lives long.

When do we get to grow up? Be the adults? I think it becomes very necessary for our sanity and our development and for our own new families to pull the plug on these parents. They have done their damage long enough.

It's up to us to do something to break the patterns...and NO CONTACT is a new thought, action, but it certainly gives a sense of boundaries..which are what we have never had from them.

We can't grow up...become adults, until we establish boundaries with people...and respect this for ourselves.

Jane

Aravis said...

Nina, I am so happy to have found your blog, I hope you have the time for more of your brilliant posts soon. I love this one, we did raise ourselves. Like someone else said in an earlier comment, once we were able to walk and talk, our N-parents figured their jobs were done and we should now take care of THEM. Wolves would have done a better job, frankly. As a teen, I started reading parenting magazines at the dentist or while waiting to get the oil changed in my car, so I could figure out how it should have been done. It was stunning; like reading science fiction or a behavioral description of a species utterly unlike my own; "Rearing Habits of Homo sapiens Subspecies Normalis".

Anonymous said...

I usually trip over this blog after visiting my parents and trying to (re) center myself via npd google search. This one was a doozie, I go home to spend time with my dying grandmother and, somehow, they manage to make it all about them or, more specifically, how they've been injured by my efforts to spend time with with my her. I had to sneak out one night to go back to the nursing, because I knew that they would pile on with openly expressed sentiment that I shouldn't be making them worry about me driving over there at night, wearing myself out and/or thinking it made a difference anyway.

Ahhh, a new low....

Actually maybe this whole thing helpful and clarifying. Hope springs eternal is one my biggest enemies when it comes to dealing with my parents.

Anonymous said...

I stumbled upon this blog and thought I'd offer some titles that helped me heal and establish an identity.

"Self-Esteem" by Matthew McKay
"Thoughts & Feelings: Taking Control of Your Moods and Your Life" by Matthew McKay
"Messages: The Communication Skills Book" by Matthew McKay

They aren't books you can just breeze through. You'll need a notebook and courage to keep going.

If you have an iPhone or Android, you can also search for "Andrew Johnson" on the app store. He has hypnosis recordings that can help calm your body and mind.

Anonymous said...

Both of my parents had (and still have) a grossly under-developed sense of self and place in the world, and then I was born. Curious, confident, but sensitive at the same time, I was born to parents were so wrapped up in their own small understanding of the world that they had literally nothing to offer me in the way of real-world advice for solving practical problems and becoming the best person I could be. Their stunted, no-risk mentalities led them to avoid anything they feared - translation: that they were ignorant of. And now they sarcastically judge the more confident and courageous things I've done in my life as if I'm an abnormality. Need I say more? Wow, did I grow up lacking a few fundamentals. I am 35 and my mother 65, and now I have the ears to really hear the ignorance in her critical, judgmental speech. I can hear the manipulative tactics my father uses to heighten himself above all others as if he's a freaking saint. I wish it hadn't taken me so long to figure this out, flip them the bird, and really get myself on my feet.

Anonymous said...

Request: Can anybody speak towards planning a wedding with a N-father? Advice would be helpful. My bf and I are planning on getting engaged this year and I am terrified of planning a wedding because of my N-dad. The style of his NPD includes: lack of empathy, basking in children's reflected glory, attention seeking, admiration seeking, and impoverished self. He also is the type of person who has very strong opinions on things like Arabs, doctors, medicine, etc and will go on a one sided rant if any of the topics are raised. My mother is the enabler. My older brother has already adopted some of my father's traits.

My areas of concern:
-being able to plan without my dad's constant interference about how the event should go

-would a larger or smaller wedding mitigate the effect of his need to be the center of attention?

-how do I include him enough in the ordeal so my mother feels he is respected when I don't want him to have much of a part?

-what else can I do to limit his "bigness" at the wedding?

Thanks. Our parents met yesterday. It was so stressful. Our moms got along great but I'm pretty sure my bf's dad had an awkward miserable time. And my dad invited my older brother along too which was totally unexpected and not appropriate.

EvieEnclave said...

To wedding anonymous:

I had the same apprehension when I got married - the biggest thing being not wanting my N-father to walk me down the aisle. We ended up having a small wedding with only immediate family invited (which cut down on his theatrics a bit, but not completely - he still decided it would be a good idea to talk the minister's ear off, telling him all about his Navy days and his bajillion kidney stones/other illnesses). I find the larger the audience, the larger the theatrics get, so we tried to keep it to a minimum.

Also, the wedding chapel itself was arranged so that I entered from the side with no aisle to walk down, which was a huge plus. We also had our reception (with family and a small group of friends invited) at a restaurant. I did that on purpose in order to avoid the dreaded "father-daughter dance" and any questions about the lack thereof. The funny thing is, after all that planning, he decided that he was too sick to attend the reception and went home.

We plan to have a ceremony for ourselves (inviting only people we love who won't make us crazy) once we reach a significant milestone anniversary. It sucks that we have to do this, but it was better (for me, at least) to invite him to the "real" one and be done with it than not to invite him and get crap from all sides for it.

However you handle it, don't let anyone push you into something that will make you miserable on your wedding day.

Anonymous said...

Hi, its not very often you will here of thsi, but my wife was a somatic narcissistic, and i am currently writing a blog about my experiences. We, or should I say I tried to bring the three children up in a normal way, but just about found this impossible with a wife who could only bond with her children in unconventional means.
http://somatic-narcissistic-wife.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Hi, its not very often you will here of thsi, but my wife was a somatic narcissistic, and i am currently writing a blog about my experiences. We, or should I say I tried to bring the three children up in a normal way, but just about found this impossible with a wife who could only bond with her children in unconventional means.
somatic narcissistic wife

Anonymous said...

Hi, it's John. I changed my email address and found I can't log in under that anymore. Thanks for the responses to my questions.

It's been 4 months since I've spoken to my parents. I have been through hell in this period, swinging between guilt and anger until my partner pointed out that they hadn't contacted me either. My mother told me to 'fuck off' and slammed the phone down on me during a phone conversation - she got angry because my partner bought an iphone for a parent and my mother was losing her sh*t because in her opinion, that parent was too old for such expensive technology. 10 minutes later I got an email outlining all my faults and how difficult I was and that I should 'breathe easy because she would never contact me again'.

I ignored the email (hard for me to do but my partner suggested I don't take the bait). A week and a half later, my father sent me an email asking me to call my Mom and wish her a happy vacation (they were going on holiday). I explained that if she wanted to speak to me, I would listen but that after this latest incident, I was no longer going to be disrespected in the way they have ALWAYS talked to me and treated me. I needed her to make a move and at least admit she had overreacted (ideally I wanted an apology but that would be a first - I'm 35). I also sent him the email she sent me... after another hour, he replied that it was up to me, life is too short, blah blah.... basically ignoring what had happened and once again asking me to just gloss over my Mother's behavior and wish her well so they could enjoy their vacation.

My father is N with alcoholism and extreme anger/reactivity and I believe my mother is borderline. She is either calling me every day and 'panicking' when she doesn't hear from me (she then calls my partner upset, worried that something is wrong) or like now, not speaking to me for months at a time (the longest time was a year when I moved to another country and 'abandoned' her). It was like this in childhood - I could never count on emotional stability - and I have grown into an adult who thinks everything is their fault, who believes that they are unloveable and self sabotages myself at every turn.

It's exhausting but having made the stand with my parents that I did, I feel that I am taking my life back and am no longer under their spell... it's tough and I feel alone and grieve for the family/childhood I never had but I am taking very real steps towards being comfortable with the idea of love and success in my life. I deserve it and no one can take that away from me anymore... I just have to keep believing it and not revert to old conditioning and patterning.

Alexis said...

When ppl ask me how I can not like children when I was once one, I tell them, "I was never a child." I never was. At 9, I was standing at the stove, on crutches, plaster cast up to my hip, making her scrambled eggs and toast as she sat at the table reading the paper.
I can't remember not hating her. I never wanted her love and approval, I just wanted her to leave me alone.

Anonymous said...

I am desperate for help. I don't know if my parents were narcissitic. they divorced when I was nine. my father drank a lot and was and is very negative. I don' t feel L
ike I even knew my motheri believe my mother emotionally abandoned me. she is now deceased. I am scared to death because I am forty years old and just realized I am a narcissist. I want help and I want to change. I have two beautiful children and I don't want them to be like me.I never knew I was this horrible person. I always knew I was different but had no idea. I don't want to harm my children. I don't want them to be me. I don't want to be me either.

Anonymous said...

Im continuing this from last post. Can I be helped.? I don't know what to do. I thought I was a good mom. I don't want my kids to endure any of this emotional pain. What can I do for them? I have been so selfish. How can I ever be the mom that they deserve? Is there any hope?

Anonymous said...

OMG...I'm sitting here in Texas stunned. You and I have lived the same life. I was also adopted by narcissistic parents. My father has passed but I'm left with a mother with dementia. Thank you, thank you, thank you for blazing the trail and sharing your experiences. I'm in my mid 40's now and I laugh when I tell people for the first 20 years of my life I thought I was the square peg trying to fit into the round hole. Then, I spent the next 20 years discovering I was the round peg trying to fit in the square hole. The only difference in our stories is my older brother. He's 12 years old than me and doesn't have a clue. My mother plays him like a drum. All the lies...he believes. I am the evil daughter. Funny, in my real life, I'm extremely functional with a wonderful family and career. Heck, I have a 15 year old who's head hasn't spun around spewing pea soup...yet. LOL! I can't thank you enough for your blog.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this blog. I grew up with a n-father. During grad school I wound up having a n-advisor and I wound up losing my mind. I became really depressed and lost all self confidence to complete my Ph.D. and was made to feel worthless. At this time, my father was still consistently telling me things like, "You should have gone to med school. At least you'd have a job when you finish." He told me this 2 days before my defense which he did not attend. I went through about 2 years of therapy thanks to grad school and my father and when I left, I truly thought that I had let go. However, recently I came into some financial issues and I made the huge mistake of asking my father for a loan. He of course told me that he had too many expenses, that he blah blah blah and basically let me know that he was more important than me and wouldn't help me. I knew I was setting myself up for disaster, but in my childlike mind I thought he might help. He of course made it seem like it was my fault that I needed a loan (I was unemployed for a long while) and he refused to call me for about 2 months. He recently called me and left his typical message, "This is your father, please return my call when you have the opportunity, Dad" Of course sometimes he signs off by saying his full name. I'm at a crossroads because I feel like I'm either ready to tell him off or to stop speaking to him. I am however a little frightened to do this. I keep saying, well, what's the harm of just making a few phone calls to him a few times a year. I somehow feel that by cutting him off I'm going to hurt him and deep inside I know that he's just a miserable man so I begin to feel sorry for him. Sigh...the cycle continues. I am totally determined this time to really cut it off. My mom (who divorced his crazy ass years ago after 25 years of nonsense) actually told me not to tell him off. I looked at her like she was nuts as I'm pretty sure she's still feeling the effects of his abuse years after she left him. The situation is driving me crazy and I feel like narcissists enter my life constantly. I of course know that until I let go of my dad that I will continue to find these kinds of personalities. I've not really been dating because I'm scared to death of dating a person who has narcissistic traits. I truly feel stunted as an adult. I wander around sort of child-like sometimes. I see my friends all married and with kids and I tell myself that it can't happen to me. I just am still lost with all of this. I know what I need to do, cut my dad off, but I'm in need of knowing how to do it. Do I give the silent treatment or do I waste my breath explaining to him (which I did in a letter 2 years ago to which he never replied and then when I asked for a loan, he mentioned how horrible of a daughter I was to ask for a loan after writing such false terrible things about him in a letter) that he is simply unbearable. Any suggestions are much appreciated and a sincere thank you for this blog. It's amazing how many people out there are affected by this disorder. Thank you.

CanaGal said...

Hi Nina, I just stumbled upon your blog. My husband and I are in the throes of trying to sort through the tsunami debris that my father in law has left in our lives. We are dealing with the decision to cut the N-Father out of our lives and having little contact with the martyr mother. (who thinks if we only apologized for what "we've" done, the family can be whole again). This blog has been very therapeutic. I am going to recommend to my husband to read it as well. If you are comfortable with emailing me, as there are details I can't discuss online, please let me know. Cheers, nancy

Alyssa said...

YES!!!! Someone else understands. Im 24 and currently pregnant, this has been the first time in my life that i have felt like an adult. Not like a teenager trapped in a 20 something year old body. I just always thought that I was a freak of nature. Self confidence? I don't have a clue how to get this. Seeing my good points? What good points? This is how Ive always been. It makes me sick to finally wake up and realize how much my dad really shaped me. What about me is even really me and what part is because of him?

forty_blue said...

my husband has narcissistic parents and is standing up to them for the first time. it is heartbreaking to watch them undermine every attempt at communication with denial and dodging responsibility.

his sisters are staying away and silent, offering no communication or support.

he feels desperate. who know that his family, that he counted on, could be lost completely to him? they would rather cut him out of their lives than admit they have treated him badly.

how do you survive this?

how do you not let it kill you?

Justin said...

WOW SO glad I just found this blog. Please contact me at volcommere@hotmail.com, my name is Justin.

I've recently discovered, at the age of 25, that my mother is a malignant narcissist psychopath. I've long sensed that something has been extremely wrong with our family and that something is fundamentally bad. Finding your blog has been extremely enlightening and interesting.

I could explain my situation in detail but Ill try to summarize - my mother is a classic narcissit, exhibiting overbearing negative and destructive emotional abuse to my father who is submissive, weak and at her mercy, barely able to reach for a morsel of food without getting barked at. It is a parasitic emotionally draining and soul destroying vampiristic relationship.

Its left me flat, uninspired, lied to, angry. I feel a distinct and unnerving pain or sickness, an emptiness or feeling of entanglment and abuse.

I feel stronger since diagnosing my pain and finding a community of people who are affected by similar ills. God bless you all.

Anonymous said...

Hello all,

I just yesterday found this blog and I think it is very enlightening.

Does anyone know why Nina stopped posting?

Best regards,
Samantha

Buddy said...

I have been on here before, and I'm always glad when I see people have started to write again. Just wanted to add for the wedding planner---Evie's advice was spot on--plan small. We did not invite my parents to my granddaughter's baptism, because my daughter said, "then the whole day becomes about grandpa." I raised my 6 siblings because my parents had better things to do, but I always wonder, who, if anyone, raised me?

hollyjoy85 said...

I'm leaving a comment under you latest blog post to tell you, Nina, thank you. Your blog has become a sort of 'Voice in the Wilderness' for those of us who have dealt with N-parents. I never could have guessed that the degradation, disregard, suicide threats, blame-game scenarios, and the "missing piece" that I felt since childhood was something that numerous people all over the world have experienced. I want to thank you and your loyal readers/commenter for giving me a place to come to, even slightly, terms with my n-mother.

Many blessings. <3

Robin said...

My n-parent called me stupid and always thinking randomly. However, at the same time, I've understood that on some level, I am not as street smart as some of my peers nor have I had (or been forced environmental wise to have) similar experiences with money as them, which I feel are important if I want to live in this world. We had a disagreement not on the fact that "I needed to grow up," but on how I was going to grow up. Parents (n-parent and non-n-parent) want me to grow up by paying for most of the important stuff (cars, college tuition, etc.). N-parent used to be like a backseat driver. If life were a video game, he'd tell me all the way, in all levels of the game, the best way to play it. Now he and mom just want to let me figure out the game because at 25 I'm definitely old enough. I'm of a different perspective as to the best way to raise myself. I'd like a tutorial or some kind of manual at the beginning, at least, and then I can run free in the rest of the levels and figure out how to beat the game on my own. Unfortunately, with an n-parent, he thinks his way is right.

Robin said...

I think a narcissistic person absolutely refuses to take your opinion and what you feel is best for YOU into account; therefore anything I do is wrong and stupid to him.

In raising myself, I've learned to develop opinions. Growing up and in college, I never got that concept. In english class, we read The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I got that Jay Gatsby wants money, and lots of it, but I didn't really understand why - I just listened to what other people had to say. Discussing the news was too hard. Businesses love to outsource their operations. Big whoop. I never questioned why, just took it as fact. I didn't interpret why an article was written as scathing as it was. All this because my n-parent silenced my voice for decades. Questioning him with a why meant you were stupid (does NOT help that the Asian culture back in the day, maybe it still goes on, didn't like it when people asked questions either). His word was FINAL.

I still remember that when I was about 6, n-parent intentionally asked me, "Are you positive? Are you sure?" when I showed him my answer to a math question. I thought he was trying to undermine my confidence and bring me down, so I said I didn't know. (Even at the age of 6, I knew when someone was trying to mock me, and I wanted to find a way to disengage.) Then he laughed in my face and told me I should be more confident! Ironically, it had the opposite effect. Without building confidence in me first, dad actually decreased my confidence. I would have preferred it if he told me I was right or encouraged me to re-do the problem if I wasn't. I would have liked the confidence to make mistakes and figure a way out of them. At least he'd teach me not to give up and be more confident in my decisions.

He claims I'm not aware of myself, but in raising myself, I've actually become more aware and confident. I know, in my heart, what actions and words really really cross the line and how to defend myself from that.

Buddy said...

Its interesting, isn't it, that a person could raise siblings, or take care of all the household day-to-day stuff, manage to get to be an adult with a family, and still be naive! That's me....college educated as an adult, have had corporate jobs, wrote a newspaper, and I'm still "out of the loop." When as a senior in HS I was accepted into a tough Veterinary medicine college program, my parents wouldn't even look at the paperwork to get me there. The N-Dad said "why? you're never going to do anything but lay on your back and have babies anyway." Honest to God, I didn't even understand what he was talking about!!
Now, he's been threatening suicide on a regular basis, and I can't bring myself to care....

WarriorMommy said...

I too raised myself while my 3-years younger sibling was doted on and 'engulfed' by my n-mother. It remained true until I went no-contact shortly after my daughter was born a year ago.

I feel very much older than my 33 years due to this fact and certainly mourn the childhood I never had. Despite this fact, I only began to really feel like an adult after I removed her from my life. With these new feelings, and the birth of my daughter I am beginning the path to healing and becoming the parent I never had. Hopefully this blog and others like it will help give me the guidance and support I need and am only now finding.

Thank you Nina and other Commentors

KSS said...

I have tears in my eyes to find your blogs. I know you've heard it all before ... We have too much in common - about the same age, adopted, negative experiences with that, narcissistic adoptive family, dementia in said family, etc. People don't believe that I can be an unhappy adoptee, that my parents weren't ideal (it's always the birthparents that are horrible, isn't it?), that I was abused (kids aren't put into abusive homes!!). Ohhh, it's terrible to find someone else like me but in a strange way comforting too.

Ellie said...

My father is a diagnosed N. Like so many of you who have posted here, I also raised myself. My mother remarried and moved away, leaving me with dad. From age 14 I was pretty much on my own.

I'm now 42 with 2 wonderful children, ages 2 and 1. I've stayed in contact with my N father and we have continued a superficial relationship -- the only type of which he's capable. I came to terms with my childhood some years ago. However, I recently found myself grappling with these issues again. My N father completely missed my daughter's 2nd birthday. No card, no call, no contact. When I called him a few days later, he brushed it off and gave me all the details of how he'd spent that weekend with his girlfriend's grandchildren (both of whom are near the same age as my children). He clearly talked about her grandchildren more favorably than his own (incidentally, my brother has a 19-year-old daughter who has no contact with the N grandfather (i.e., my dad)).

I was devastated with the call because it brought my childhood roaring back --- how I was ignored, not considered as good as my younger brother, always compared with others, talked over, etc. But then I had a revelation. After doing some research, I realized that my dad focuses on his girlfriend's grandchildren because that they are his source of adoration and admiration. He knows that I know his game. Like an addict looking for a drug, my dad relies on his girlfriend (who is codependent) to laugh at his jokes, ignore his lies, and build his ego. By spending time with her grandchildren, he is securing his supply of adoration (the drug) from her. Even better if the grandchildren adore him.

I've learned that his behavior doesn't relate to me or my children at all. I'm planning to help my girls understand that Grandpop may visit or may not, he may listen to them or may not, but we just won't expect anything from him.

Thanks to everyone for posting. It has helped me so much.

Anonymous said...

I feel like my whole world just changed when I read this blog. I have spent 31 years feeling like i was the only one raised in this environment! My life is dominated to the point of damage by my narcc father who uses gifts and money as leverage and who's ego is so huge, he always screams for hours about all that he's done for me and the rest of the family and how horrible and unnapreciative we are. His anger is so unpredictable, explosive, unprevoked and psycotic, that i always felt like the piece of shit he made me out to be. Only recently have i realized that its is 100% HIM. His insanity cost him his mariage, had a great deal to do with my sister developing a severe drug addiction, and it makes my life (at times)feel not worth living. So glad to hear there are others like this. Can i find a support group?

Anonymous said...

I was raised by a large Italian narcissistic family. The entire thing was a mess from day one!

The whole family was bonkers (me being the youngest for many years and taking the brunt of the "elders" unresolved pain. Due to my "low" position in the family)

These people are mentally ill. You cannot allow them to control you for the rest of your life. They do not know what they do, literally.

They do not possess normal human emotions or instincts. Therefore they cannot deduce or act as such.

They are damaged goods and just as you cannot expect a broken down automobile to roll down the street properly? Nor can you expect these people to behave properly!

Once you accept them for what they really are (always were) and probably always will be. Once you realize that they needed help all along from the very beginning of their lives until now?

You set yourself free.

For you are no longer viewing them as "elders" or even "family". You are viewing them much like that crazy guy on the street corner screaming profanities at you simply because he's... crazy.

"Man that poor guy needs help!" you're thinking as you're walking by.

There is no emotional attachment involved there so you can walk on by feeling no emotional pain.

There in lies a HUGE secret to healing: Accepting that they will never be, nor could they ever have been, what you needed.

They were severely ill all along.

One step closer to healing...

Anonymous said...

Nina,
Thank youfor this blog and for giving us the opportunity to comment. Although you are unable to contribute at the moment, as you say in your last blog entry, this is still a safe place,a place of sanity and rationality, for others to come and comment.

I am female, in my 60's, with an n mother, malignant n older sister, possibly n younger brother, n father in law, self-absorbed mother in law whose own mother was n, possibly malignant n. Sometimes I feel surrounded by n's, and those coping with the effects of being children of ns.

20yrs ago I was told by a psychiatrist that I should never see my mother or sister again. He didn't use the word narcissist but called them very toxic people in my life. I can still picture the look on his face when he told me I should never see them again. He was very compelling, concerned and definite all at the same time. A couple of years later the pastor at my church said almost the identical words. This, coming from a clergyman, was very compelling, given the Christian doctrine of honouring one's parents. Honouring one's parents does not include allowing them to systemmatically abuse you.




I have only known about narcissism for a few years, and am still learning, but what a change it has made to know how sick these people are. It is a wondrous thing that we survive relatively intact

Anonymous said...

Cont. From previous post.

Many things fell into place when I learnt about narcissism.

Previously I had learnt that living a great distance away, although not done for the purpose of getting away from n mother, helped greatly in not having frequent contact. I was able to recover from some of the abuse because I was not constantly thrown back into that confusion of mind, emtional and mental abuse and belttling that happens being around them all the time.

My malignant n sister was more sly. She hid her n effectively from me from when I was 14 to when I was 45 when she revealed herself with an extraordinary personal attack that came totally out of nowhere ( from my point of view) in which she revealed that she had been collecting incidences of my supposed transgressions of many years. I have had little to do with her since. Before I was 14 she behaved narcissistically but I was much younger so accepted her role as older sister. Now I see it for what it
was. Since i have had contact only when absolutely necessary, she has revealed her malignancy even more. On the phone, what she says is designed for who is in the room with her, so that I appear to be the nasty one. It can have no relation to what I'm saying. I'm now aware that when she accuses me of something, it's because it's what she is doing, so I use that as a way to know what she's up to.

She copies what I do. If I wear a colour a lot, she'll start wearing it. If I cut my hair, she'll talk about cutting hers. If I
buy something she sees, she'll do the same. I think she may have even had a later baby so I wouldn't have more children than her.Weird. Many other instances.
When both our parents are gone, I will have nothing further to do with her. It is sad what this does to further generations of the family. It divides the family even further, but I'm not willing to sacrifice my sanity.

I have learnt that I cannot help other people by hurting myself, or by allowing myself to be deliberately hurt.

It doesn't really help them anyway, it just covers up the n's nastiness and control. I did that for many years. No more. I am in control of me now, and that's the way it's going to stay. If others in the family have to deal with unpleasantness then so be it. At least they know that things aren't right, rather than living a lie.

I truly believe now, that the phsychiatrist and pastor were right. The way to heal, to learn who we really are is to live without the n's in our lives, to distance ourselves phsycally, and in contact. It's only when we get the space away from them that we can begin to see what's normal and to begin to heal the effects on our thinking, actions and self-esteem. By surrounding ourselves with the world of normal, we can learn how to be normal.

Anonymous said...

Did you ever drink so much that you threw up all night, and ended up with that feeling like the bottom of your guts had been cleaned with a scouring pad?
Well, I don't binge drink any more, but that's exactly how I feel after spending the first 2 days in 2 years with my mother. Background is I am a 39 year old,
careerwise succesful, personal life empty and hopeless, male scapegoat child.

What am I going to do about her? I struggle also with the guilt issues, subtly and gently increased by statements such as "you should be aSHAMEd" for not visiting her, that she's getting old, lonely, increasingly having small complaints and illnesses
(nothing serious so far) and I moved 10 years ago to another country 1,000 miles away, in no small part to avoid her.

Yes, she cooked nice meals every day. Yes, my father put a roof over our heads. Yes, they encouraged me to read, developed my intellect, and sent me to a private school. And for this, despite how utterly miserable I felt every day from a very young age until 16 (when the first few tiny shafts of light started dawning on me, that not the entire world behaves like this), I owe them. I say them, but after
the divorce my father has not spoken to my mother for 15 years. A plague on both their houses I say, the husband who lived in his own little golden-boy fantasy world,and the shame and blame-racked mother who tried to pass all that on to her offspring.
I don't talk to Dad at the moment either. But it's not such a big deal. He simply lived a self-absorbed life, rejected me early as "not the kind of son" he wanted (a bit arty and not sporty enough basically), we just related on the intellectual level, and it's not such an emotional problem for me.

But with my mother, the hypocrisy, the blaming, the shaming, the endless simplistic judgemental moralising about others which doesn't stand 10 seconds of logical scrutiny,
the scuttling cockroach immorality of the woman when not being viewed by anybody,the off-colour strange sexual comments, the sharing of personal problems with her own young children, the drawing of us into her marital issues, the patronising and demeaning
of my sister (the "good kid") behind her back, (even when she has given up her whole life for my mother and her lack of boundaries), the pathetic and ongoing defence of my mother by
my sister, who I will never reach due to my mother's "triangulation", the small personal
comments about toilet details or bathroom etiquette, the talking-up of my intellect and "potential", so that whatever achievements I did make were therefore "bare minimum", the continuous acid drip, drip, drip, the "doing me a favour" by "trying so hard" to love me as a kid, because that was so hard for her, as I was worthless.

And I know in a way, it's not her fault, she doesn't have a clue. Every time (and very rarely) I
contact her, the conversation revolves around how other people are stupid and inferior to her, how these people or those people in the news, or society, are "bad", the disparaging of people she's come into contact with, and the (really laughable if it
wasn't so desperately sad) genuine surprise that others keep avoiding her.

Got to just keep avoiding her, or the guilt will get me again. And god help my sister. It's hard enough to deal with my own issues, and repair a bit of the damage done to myself (often by myself) without needing extra damage.

Thanks Nina for doing this blog, I needed to say all that. Thanks to all the other people, on this
blog and others, whose postings I have read and related to, that have helped me slowly pull out of
my own tendencies, and understand what the hell was wrong all those years. Take care now

Ed.

Anonymous said...

my in-laws are narcissistic. i've spent countless hours with my husband unearthing his soul from the guilt, invalidation, covert abuse that they've heaped upon him.

they refuse to give him a voice.

i wish we could have an in-person support group. we live in new jersey. just once a month would be good.

i will try to set up an email address that doesn't reveal my name.

Cheryl said...

My husband's mother was a narcissist, and for a long time it was hard for me to understand a lot of how he was feeling. We're thinking about having children, and it's something that I'm excited about, but also a little fearful. I've been trying to read as much as I can about narcissism so that i can better understand it. This blog is wonderful! I've also found some interesting stuff at http://onlineceucredit.com/edu/social-work-ceus-nar. Thank you to all you commenters too. This is all so encouraging.

Anonymous said...

Cheryl, I think its great that you are thinking about having children, and putting so much thought into how to bring them up. That frame of mind alone is going to protect yr child against problems.

I'm interested in how NOT to pass on problems and traits from my parents to my children too. But in my case they're adults now, so I have to find a way of using hindsight and looking at my behaviour in the past to try to rectify any disadvantages I may have passed on to them. I can already see the effects both good and bad in my relationships with my sons and daughter.

One thing that I instinctively did as a new parent and that was put distance between my parents and my family. This meant not relying on them for anything. But protected my children from the manipulating behaviour of my Mother. Having spent most of my life anxious and angry at the treatment my parents meeted out to me, whist watching my brothers being treated SO differently.
I could write much much more but I my son lets me use his laptop and he needs it back now!!!!

Good luck!!

Anonymous said...

I am so glad this blog exists. It's helped me a lot to understand my family dynamic, and it will provide me support through the tough times. Thank you for all of the posts.

Anonymous said...

Nina, I too was adopted and have narcassistic parents. I was also sexually abused as a child. I have overcome a lot, but there is still so much to do. It is over-whelming at times. It's nice to know I am not alone.

angel.cares3@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Okay so I am an over-pleaser, an under-achiever, and I just found out that my parents are incapable of loving me because they are N's (another family member diagnosed them for me because my parents believe they are perfect in every way, shape, & form and it's the rest of the world (mainly me) who is messed up in the head). Great! I also have two teen girls and I think I suffacate them at times because I never want them to feel the way that I have been feeling most of my life. Yup, that about sums it up. :(

Denise said...

Hello Nina,
I never knew I had a narcissistic mother until I began writing about my experience and came across the term in that context. I've recently published my book as a fact-based novel called Rose's Will, available at http://amzn.to/HvP4yH

I am planning to do a blog tour in the near future. Would you be willing to host me on your blog by doing any of the following:
-Read and review Rose's Will
-Interview me about it
-Post an excerpt in a blog post
-Allow me to do a guest post

If you would like to help me get the word out, please email me and let me know what you would like to do, and I'll give you date as soon as I schedule it.

Thanks for being here and for putting a name to the horror some of us have lived with all our lives. Just doing that makes it more manageable.
Denise

Sylvie said...

me my mum and my sister have had to put up with my N dad for years and after 17 years of a miserable marriage she's finally found the confidence to divorce him. He has always been violent, if he didn't get his own way or he felt like he was loosing the smallest bit of control over us he would go mental!

I remember once after school i went to a friends house but i hadn't asked his permission (at 16years old) he called me and started shouting come home right now! so of corse it did. When i got home he was throwing all of my clothes out of the front door onto the drive. Saying this is my house go if you don't like it...

He did things 100 times worse like e.g throwing furniture down the stairs, throwing things at us, he even tryed to strangle my mum with dental floss once.

The worst thing was how whenever i tried to tell anyone they didn't believe me because he seemed so nice and polite, to the outside world he was wonderful. I felt like screming. I felt like i was going crazy.

I think he's the reason i'm so quiet, for some reason i feel like everyones going to hurt me like he did.

It makes me feel better to know i'm not on my own.

Anonymous said...

Oh you're not alone sylvie, not by a long chalk!!
Another site that might give you someone to actually talk to about anything you want, is called Web of narcissism. Give it a try there also.

I think you've done really well to speak out on this site and I wish you well.

Krissy said...

Hi Nina! I was wondering if there is any way to "follow" your blog or email you?

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I have found that I too had to raise myself too. My mother actually expected my seven year-old brother to get himself ready for school, and blamed him for his constant tardiness!! I had to teach myself social skills, household skills, etc.

Finding a supportive adult you can learn from and talk with is ESSENTIAL to your emotional health and growth.

I too found my n-mom favors my brother. I always call him the "golden boy". My dad is no better in his narcissism.

I am close to cutting off contact over yet another "incident" that is yet my fault. I cant keep hoping things will change...they never do, unless they need me. And anymore I am beyond caring.

kat said...

I asked to go into foster care at age 13. My incompetent mother was out at the bars dating anyone who would have her while her husband was in Vietnam. My father was too busy after he gave up custody to my unfit mother to "get a career" started in Alaska. At least I understood early on this was NOT MY FAULT and I was NOT GOING TO ACCEPT IT.

Anonymous said...

I am a successful 26 year old female who has found success both professionally and personally, I feel especially proud of these accomplishments because I am proof that the scapegoat of an entire family of N's can prevail! The stories are all to familiar...it's sad and liberating to know I'm not alone! Both of my parents are certifiable N's and my golden older brother, well lets just say the all fed on me regularly. I am currently in the middle of getting the silent treatment from me N parents. Here's why:

After saving for 3 years my fiance and I can finally book our destination wedding. After all the work has been done planning and booking everything, and after all the conversations about availability have been had...my N parents then decide to tell me my wedding date is selfish!! My N mom actually brough up her weight and dentures as a reason to postpone the wedding...along with a host of other personal issues of hers. In addition to killing my joy of finally having a wedding date, she proceeds to demand I have my father walk me down the isle. I calmly told her I would like to discuss that with my N dad...well she promptly went into hysterics and hung up when I didn't comply...she then helped herself to having the conversation for me. Since then, they have delived messages of childhood guilt and shame for my fiance to pass on to me, all the while saying I am killing them and breaking there hearts because he should walk me down the isle. They actually said they almost went to the ER over it! All the while my dad is telling me I need to pay for his personal expenses the weekend of my wedding. YES, I AM TO PAY FOR MY OWN WEDDING, AND PAY FOR MY PARENTS PERSONAL EXPENSES FOR THE WEEKEND WHILE I'M AT IT!!!To make matters worse, my brother already said he isn't coming either. I have cancelled my wedding, and I plan on going NO CONTACT with my entire family. Why should we keep trying out of a sense of duty, shame, guilt, whatever keeps us in this cycle of abuse...it's time to be around people who allow us to have boundaries, wants, needs, opinions, feelings, and the basic human respect we all have gone far too long without. Thank you for all the posts and for letting me just put this out there in the universe!

Anonymous said...

The problem with weddings is that it is not all about them. Hard to deal with that fact for a N. We paid for our oown wedding so that they would not be able to call all the shots and make all the demands. My parents always used money as a means of control. They still got to invite all their friends and rented a party bus, to take their friends to the venue, so got to feel important.

Just get married and dont worry about them. I found their grip weakened when i got married. They felt less able to call all the shots on life decisions.

Why is it that many seem to have both parents with N tendencies?

Anonymous said...

Wanted to know if there is a spectrum to N. Both my parents display different tendencies. Dad grandiose and boisterous, according to him i decend from many different famoushistorical figures in historyand and thrives off womens attention, mom more of the child than i, needs to be the center of attention and not able to make real friends, verbally abusive.

But compared to some they did not seem like they were that bad and i did feel loved. But i always say I am sucessful in spite of them not because of them. Back then children were raised with benign neglect. They had N tendencies but not full N. Any thoughts on this.

Anonymous said...

Hi Anonymous from May 21.

Yes, Narcissism is known as a spectrum disorder, which means no two narcissists are exactly the same - they may have a number, but not necessarily all, of the behaviours attributed to narcissism and at different levels of severity.

My father has high levels of narcissism, but not as extreme as some of the things posted here. I think he sits pretty high on the narcissim spectrum, but probably not at the extreme end. Like you, I felt loved by my dad, I always believed that he loved me. But he also used to repeatedly and relentlessly put me down, amongst other typical narcissistic behaviour. Yes, I felt he loved me, but that didn't stop him trashing my confidence and self-esteem. So I think I understand what you mean.

I recommend you read Children of the Self Absorbed by Nina Brown (a different Nina to the one who's written this blog). It does a good job of describing the different sub-types of narcissists.

I hope this helps. Good luck with your healing!

C x

Anonymous said...

Hi!
I am also happy to find this blog and all of your comments.
Hi!

It is incredible how all storylines are alike. Thank you for sharing it. It helps. Thank you Nina!

I come from far away from the USA. But still..narcissist seem to be the same everywhere.

I am 29 and I just now realize I have lived an unhappy life because it was not my own. I was here to be for them - both mum and dad, and brother who is the golden one. They morally and physically abused me. My mother still says that I am crazy, that I imagine things, and I am ungrateful, as I had so good childhood as nobody.

It is so sad it has made me to be underachiever, people-pleaser, sabotaging myself, trying to look worse, be friends with people who use me, etc. I have always felt alone. And I was.
The moment when i started to realize, that something is wrong, was when I was 22 and and I had to leave the hospital after surgery I had. There was nobody of my 3 family members who could pick me up as they were busy with work and I do not know what... the fact I hate the most, is that they act as they know they can do whatever they want - beat me, call me names, ignore me, ask me not to come for Christmas, say that I am not welcome - nevertheless I am always there for them...

I want that to stop, I want to be happy. I want to BE ME! The best version of me!

I am trying now very hard to become immune to their abuse, to learn how to live - how manage my money, how to silence voices in my head telling in my fathers voice that I am nobody , a looser. I have realized that agressive, manipulative people in my job "like me" a lot. I am so good for their tricks! Boyfriends - narcissist, but mostly I am alone, although I strive for my own happy family.

I believe, that hard work with myself will get me there. I will keep you updated when I succeed!

Good luck for you all in your lifes! You are all actually extremey strong people surviving all that and still being where you are!

Eliza

Anonymous said...

Yes- we are not alone and knowing how others have learned that it is not too late to have a happy childhood, and that we don't have to have toxic people in our lives- even if they are our parents. We don't have to be bullied by those who try to tell us that we are wrong to not love and respect our parents. I am 60 years old and the best thing I ever did was to move from the west coast to the east coast when I was 24 years old to get away from my N parents. My contact with them was pratically non-existant and I was able to get therapy and heal from their mental and physical abuse. Life is good!

Anonymous said...

I've commented on here already but it is so weird how people continue to read the blog and comment on it. We're not alone, and we're all handling it somehow. We, and future generations, have or will end up with such parents. We can only do our best to help raise ourselves instead.

Anonymous said...

I am so glad to have found this site. Years and years i have been led to believe that i am the bad one, the ugliest, the fat, the dumb one. I am the only one in graduate school in my family, i can speak several languages, i have men pursued me and my friends and bf's family called me beautiful and intelligent. I was 120 lb and my mom told me to lose more weight, i have acne and she made me wash my face 100 times a day because i'm 'dirty'.

My mom pinched me really hard until it bruised my whole life because i was 'fat'. She has abortion and told me to bear the sin because i was the only one who asked some sense about who was going to raise the kid as she barely raised us. We see my parents 2 hours a day because they always work. We were left at the school until 10 pm because no one remembers to pick us up. When we reached teenage year, we got shipped overseas. She tried to arranged marriage me twice in my twenties to a man of 40 years old and to a family friend's son who has a gf. Yet now i have a long term bf, she tried to pull me back home, because she didn't like how he was a little bit late in picking us up. I guess my bf forgot the memo that a queen comes to visit, so does the traffics.

All my life i was the black sheep. My brothers were given cars, houses, i have to work part time to support myself and she called me a dirty maid. She cut off my college funding, yet she bought property overseas, and asked me to buy her a birkin bag.

Every cousins, aunty, uncles looked at me like i am some kind of a dirty ungrateful daughter everytime i visited home, and dared to give me lectures on how to be nice to my parents.

I live 24 hour flights away, one ten minute phone call every two months, yet she managed to fit every single insults calling me a useless piece of crap. I just put the phone away until she finished screaming and hang up. Enough is enough.

Mara said...

I just found your blog, and I can't say thank you enough. I hope you write more....please.

Mara said...

I just found your blog, and I can't thank you enough for sharing your words.

I hope you'll write more soon. Please? :)

monica loosley said...

Just found your blog at a moment of feeling low and have been unlifted to find that I am not alone having been the adult wth childlike parents. Like Nina I was adopted, which makes one grateful and guilt ridden. I swore that I would not abandon my parents,they had done their best, but oh it is hard to keep going. My father died in February and my mother has got more depressed and anxious by the day. Naristic and with no empathy for anyone, let alone me, she off loads all her negativity. She wants me to take care of her - I am involved every day, shopping, cooking, looking after the finances, organising a team of carers 24/7 yet nothing is good enough. She mourns her looks, bent over she rejects every garment I buy....why do we children try so hard to please...not just her but everyone we meet? Why cant we look after ourselves? Got breast cancer last year. My mother was only worried that I wont be able to look after her. I always thought that there waws something wrong with me..it was only when a psychiastrist told me that my mother was narcistic that my life fell into place,all that I had suffered came to the surface. I was able to look at my experiences in a different light.

Amy said...

Hi Nina,
I see that you haven’t posted anything new for a while, I hope you’re okay!

I hope the reason you haven’t written lately is because you’ve moved on with your life and no longer need this, (maybe it's all just a bad memory?) and if that’s the case I’m really glad that you’ve kept this blog posted because it’s really helpful to those of use who are just figuring out that what’s wrong has a name and that other people understand. I wish I'd met you years ago!

I do hope you’re still out there reading this because I want to say THANK YOU.

I started with the most recent page and I’m “reading backward” on my lunch breaks (right now I’m in August, 2008.) There are so many comments that I could’ve written myself. Except that the people who did write them are more eloquent than I could ever be. There’s something on every page –usually multiple somethings- that I can relate to, and I’m temped to fill up your blog with my own examples!

Best wishes to everyone on here that I feel like I know now, even though you have no idea I’m out here reading!

LemonSparkle said...

Im am the mom of two boys, 12 and 15. My exhusband is a narcissist. Im doing my best to raise my boys on my own, trying have as little contact between the boys and their father as possible, as its nothing but distructive.
Do any of you adults have any help for me in raising my boys? Things I can do to help them? I'm so scared my kids will be like their dad...any advice you have, I would appreciate it.
Please email me at stacey41077@gmail.com

kristie zack said...

Hi!
anyone have a narcissistic moon who took her own life? would love to chat!

Kristie zack said...

That is mom not moon

Katie said...

I hope that people that have recently started posting to this blog continue. I just recently found it myself and I'm hoping that we can give each other support.

Anonymous said...

"Yes, narcs are younger than their kids in some ways. Also, kids of narcs have to grow up before it's time, leaving some of the developments that ought to have gone through untouched until adulthood."

I really feel this hits the nail on the head.

I couldn't figure it out for a long time. When I did find the answer, I didn't believe it.

That's exactly it, though. My parents are constantly immature, creating issues over nothing. I feel at times like I'm the mature person in the room. Mom likes playing games about how I should talk to dad for her or something. They frequently don't talk to each other in general over frivolous stuff.

Growing up before it's time? For sure. Had to become far more responsible than most of my peers really, really early, in part also due to some secondary issues.

And now I feel I am actually growing up in some other way. Going over things I haven't gone through because I was too busy surviving or something.

And all I know is I am much better off away from my parents "raising myself" than staying in this toxic household.

Anonymous said...

So thankful for your site and the sharing by yourself and others. I have observed children born in and around the 60's seem to have very dysfuncational parents and siblings. There is no unity and parents favour one child-usually the one who does nothing and gets all the credit. They blame their kids but we can finally figure out it was them. My parents conditioned me to be a servant all my life. My mother was often drunk and had a problem with alcohol, father was a non drinker and would not have a drunk wife. Crazy rages in the house from Dad. My brother, the golden child, had it all with no effort. They bought him everything to impress girls. I have disconnected from two brothers,a very good thing. My parents have the "don't tell club" as they age, only including me in a crisis, but exclude from everything else. Yes to come and serve and fix the problems. I have learned to put limits on this and be selective. My mother was in hospital recently, and looked at me and said "You are the reason I am ill and dying." Now if that is not an N Mother for you, what is? She is out of hospital but remains ill. The world is about them-especially her majesty the Queen. I guess I was merely an unwanted child who is to be submissive and obedient from birth. I have processed her lifetime of unkind and demeaning words and find I am not alone with N parents. N Parents act like the King and Queen and I no longer serve nearly as much as previously. I am still kind, because I don't want to let them turn me into a bitter person, but I don't put up with their childish manipulative behaviours anymore and do speak my mind with them. If nothing else, I disconnect when needed. Avoid them and enjoy my own small family. They can have "their world" as I am no longer here to prove my worth by serving them and being belittled. As they continue towards 90 yrs of age,they can have their golden boy and his good for nothing friends help. I recently learned my father has to hand over cash to golden boy and his gang when they help. The definition of the phrase THE PAST is hard, because it keeps appearing in the present and the future. I am working on leaving negatives from my parents in the past, and appreciate this blog very much. Some time ago, I decided every day to wake up and be the Mom I wished I had growing up. Time will tell, if my kids turn out okay or not.

Thanks and take care

Dominika said...

Great blog, Nina. You really make the dynamics come alive. And you have a lot of courage to speak the truth. I hope you take up writing here again.

Anonymous said...

Just discovered this blog. Am having a particularly hard time with n/dad and possible n/mum right now - such a relief to see others experiences and finally feel I can relate! Please start posting again

Anonymous said...

Were my parents narcissists or just typical parents from the ME generation? My husband and I debate this. His parents were not narcissistic in the classical sense just self absorbed bad parents. Maybe all parents raising kids in the 70 and 80s were just selfish. Maybe it was just part of the normal culture, to indulge oneself in drugs, alcohol sex consumerism, religion. A whole generation of the self absorbed. Now this generation is aging and they want all the perks such as Medicare and social security, not in the least bit concerned about future generations, their kids or grand kids, who will never be able to retire. Mememememememememememememe generation.

Anonymous said...

Hello Nina,

I am from Germany und we don´t have so much information in german about narcisstic parents on the net. So I am very lucky to find your blog. Please excuse if my English is not perfect. Thank you very much for your blog! I just have read a few articles and not everything, but these articles are so well written I am really impressed. They are like a mirror: when I read them it is like recognizing myself und getting a glimpse of my horrible past as a child. Like you I´m still struggeling with many problems like "raising my self up" or dealing with my aging n-mother (she is in hospital since months, tells me the same things as your old n-father since years). Tough questions! Reading your blog helps a lot. Yours sincerely, Susanne

Anonymous said...

are you also someone adopted to nacrissistic parents?

This is my situation I was adopted at 12. I am looking to chat with people in a similar situation as it is, I beleive, somewhat rarer than those with birth narcissistic parents.

Anonymous said...

It's good to read these comments and realize I'm not alone.

I'm 35 years old and my mother is the most destructive, violent, cruel person I have ever known. She terrorized me for almost 30 years, screaming at me daily, telling me how messed up I am, punishing me violently for saying the wrong thing or looking at her the wrong way.

For years I felt terrified of everything, totally debilitated, socially awkward, and full of pain. It took me a long time to realize that the problem wasn't me, it was the fact that I had been terrorized by my parents for my entire life.

From the outside my mother is the most loving, caring, and gentle person you have ever met. Behind closed doors, the story is very different.

If I said the wrong thing at the dinner table, my mother would burst into my room at 3AM and destroy my entire room. She would rip things from the shelves, throw things on the floor in a rage, and scream at me at the top of her lungs. This could go on for hours. Of course I was absolutely terrified. When I was smaller she would hit me in the face, hard, and my father did the same. I remember my father hitting me so hard in the face that my face was bleeding. I was dripping blood on the carpet.

My mother also instilled so much guilt in me that I still have problems dealing with it. Guilt for having fun. In my family, having fun was illegal. It was punished severely. My parents are both so violent and full of rage, that to have a happy child in the family would upset the whole balance. It would be like having a happy prisoner in prison. It doesn't work. I haven't been to prison, but I'm guessing that if you were in prison and were happy all the time, the other prisoners and guards would quickly put you in your place. You learn very quickly to shut the F up. That's what happened in my family. If I came home from school with a smile on my face, the first thing my mother would say is "What are you so happy about?", in a very agressive tone. Then she would use this as a punishment. She could take away my happiness, and she knew this would hurt even more. So I learned never to show my emotions at home. I learned to always look sad. If I look at childhood pictures of myself, I can see it clearly.

Now when I have fun (for example if I go out and meet girls, or just go dancing at a club with friends, very normal things) I still feel down the next day. BECAUSE I DID SOMETHING BAD. I'm not supposed to have fun. I feel so guilty for enjoying myself.

When I was in high school and I stayed at a friend's party past midnight (this is when I was 18!), my mother would scream at me the next day, how I can be such a terrible son. That taught me that having fun was bad. If I brought friends over to our house in high school my mother would scold me (sometimes while they were there!), saying that my friends "laugh too loud", or that they are making the house dirty, and that I should never bring them back.

It went on and on. I'm so glad to be freed of their terror. I will never speak to them again.

Anonymous said...

To everyone who has posted here: Your comments are so helpful for me to read, because I had the same experience.

I highly recommend the book: "The Drama of the Gifted Child", and other books by Alice Miller. Her books are available in many languages. Reading the book will clarify your entire childhood.

Anonymous said...

Hi,
I found your blog and really, really like it. I have a narcissistic mother and I think my father is very self-absorbed. I've been in therapy a lot and am in a pretty good place with them both, though I really have trouble spending time with either parent.

I have so much to say that I can basically say nothing (here). I do have some guilt over not liking my parents that much and not being able to be very kind to them. I know they are giant babies but I don't want to take care of any of their needs--and as they age their needs will grow. That's a scary thought. I've come to a point where I don't long for their approval and I keep my own children shielded from my parents. But I dread dealing with my parents' getting older and calling on me to be compassionate toward them. I don't feel it.

The more I raise my kids the more I marvel at what terrible, selfish parents my own were. Not that I'm perfect or even that great. But I do see that my kids need to be listened to and acknowledged and hugged and comforted. And that it's not a burden to do any of those things. And that when they do something, I'm proud of them and tell them so. And that when they mess up, they mess up--they didn't do it to inconvenience me or hurt me. They messed up because they are kids and they are separate people from me and that's it. It's my job to help them not do whatever it was again and to get over it. I'm me and my kids are my kids and I'm the parent and it's my job to love them and raise them. it's not their job to be something, or match something or confirm something about ME.

okay, I hope you keep posting. THanks!

W

hopeful said...

I will be back, I can sooo relate to all of what little I have so far read here. I am 66 and am still having problems with my so called mother. She will sabotage whatever she can in my life. She is 90 & still doing it! Hate to tell anyone who thinks their parent will change how old I & my mom are! It took me until I was 55 though to find out why I couldn't get along with my mom & wanted to choke her every time I was around her. I am much much better but still in counseling about how to deal with her & myself. I can attest to it being a very worthwhile effort however! Like some quote says, the only tragedy in life is die-ing without knowing who you really are! Getting better is it's own reward, for health sake in every way. Della

Anonymous said...

That is very interesting! I really enjoyed your unique take on raising ourselves and our parents. I just read this article called "The Problem with Narcissistic Parents" http://www.psychalive.org/2013/03/the-problem-with-narcissistic-parents/

Anonymous said...

I'm 59 and still raising myself, now that you mention it!
I'm slow, but I'm learning! Best regards. You're a very good writer, please write some more.

Sian Houle said...

Ugh! This whole thread makes me feel SO MUCH BETTER! I have narcs on both sides, mother and parents in law. I've never seen such self absorption. I told my mother that I can't have you treating my kids the way you treat me, of you can't do that then don't come around. She's seen them almost two and a half times this year Easter (that we don't celebrate), when she dropped of a bag of gifts for my son (who is old enough to not care anymore about what his grandmother does), and a funeral. She can't understand why I've been so mean to her...huh? I've never kept my kids from her (or the other grandparents) and I won't push them on her...they just don't care anymore. That's what happens the narc parents parley themselves into narc grandparents...

Anonymous said...

Wow, loved your answer. Resonates with me very much the same story as mine. My mother is italian also. A waste of space malignant, crazy, loud, drama queen , munchausens etc etc. She made out she loved her friends daughter's and stranger's(of the same age as me) MORE than me. Took over with my son stole him off me, first brainwashed him into calling the cops on me told him to say I was beating him!! Because this is what she did to me all my life beat me and verbal abuse then when I got older emotional and psychological abuse in the extreme, sly digs/comments, stalking,whispering in front of me to sister then turning away when I looked, evil smirking @ me got my sister involved in it. Smear campaigns, lying, constant repetition(brainwashing) projection etc etc. When I was 13 she had beat me up pretty badly and I was in pain crying, I couldn't take anymore ran downstairs told her im calling social services(CPS) AND I wanna move into a group home. She ran down and grabbed the phone and told im not or she will kill me!! I think she never forgot this narc are evil and seek revenge even if years later. .So she did when my son was old enough she decided to take him off me cos I wanted to be taken away from HER!! SO SHE PUnished me and got me back!

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Anonymous said...

I am so glad I found your blog. Please post more! It has been God-sent for me. I have spent more than 6 months looking for some sort of help in the area of mentally-disturbed parentage. The more I read, the more the situations and stories are sounding like my own. Of course everyone's story is different, but your posts help on so many levels that is it finally giving me that light at the end of the tunnel. I don't deserve this treatment (and on the reversal, My mother does not deserve the way I treat her) and I never have.
All growing up I felt like I deserved to feel like scum under people's shoes because they only did it half the time so “I must have done something to make them treat me like this”. Or... “they were only joking... why does it hurt my feelings so much? I must be too sensitive.” Guilt trips are how my grandma has gotten most of what she has today… my mother is following her example. I refuse to do it to my future kids. I have to break this chain of guilt and shame before my baby is born next year, I have to save myself! I feel like an ungrateful child for not wanting any contact with my mother or that side of the family… but I just can’t deal with all those negative emotions anymore. I am not property, I am a human being!