Narcissistic Parents

Narcissistic parents are a trip. Once you realize you are the child of a narcissist, your world is turned inside out, upside down and blazingly real. Everything comes into focus and you suddenly see your life differently. You’re not the one at fault, you never were. And that’s the biggest coup of reading and learning about narcissistic parents.

Growing up under the thumb of this type of mother, I never understood why she behaved the way she did, why she treated me the way she did until many years later. I suffered for many years under her wondering what I could do to win her approval. I never could. At least not in private. In public, she always behaved differently.

Vampire is an excellent blog for those of you who fall under this category. Take a look here and check this blogger out: http://thewebofnarcissism.blogspot.com/. It’s more than worth your while. For an extensive list of blogs that discuss not only narcissism, but other mental health topics go here: http://narcwriters.blogspot.nl/. Warning: Be prepared to bookmark because this list is amazingly long and awesome.

Peace.

Sorceress

All works past, present and future are protected under a CCC. Creative Common License, Kaarie Blake Musings by Kaarie Blake is licensed under a Creative Common Attribution-Noncommercial-Noderivs-3.0-Unported License.

Survival Of A Psychopath(With Borderline Tendencies…The Son Of A Narcissist Mother)

The tales of the narcissistic mother. How she throws situations at her child. How she deliberately twists and turns her words to make her child feel as if everything is their fault. She’s good at it. She’s had a lifetime at practicing.

For some of the adult children of her, I do have pity. They have never been able to outgrow the horrible feelings of inadequateness that this mother has bestowed upon them. The hidden belittling towards the child she chooses forever to desecrate. The narcissistic mother never stops. She just goes on and on and on.

For the others that have been able to crawl out of the hole that this mother has dug for them, I salute you.  You earned much in the way of salutations. You first had to live through the belittling and torturous psychological abuse,  you had to identify it, and you had to move away from it. And if you decided to stay in contact with your narcissistic mother, for whatever reason, (and I make no judgements here because many do stick around),  but you do it on your own terms, you my friend, without a doubt, deserve a medal to wear proudly.

I talk about narcissism with a mother, but it is a psychiatric condition found in women and men alike. It can be found in a partner both female and male alike. It can be found in a child, also. An adult child.  For clarification, here is a classic definition of narcissism:

“Traits and signs:

Thomas suggests that narcissists typically display most, sometimes all, of the following traits:[5]

Hotchkiss’ seven deadly sins of narcissism

Hotchkiss identified what she called the seven deadly sins of narcissism:[6]

  1. Shamelessness: Shame is the feeling that lurks beneath all unhealthy narcissism, and the inability to process shame in healthy ways.
  2. Magical thinking: Narcissists see themselves as perfect, using distortion and illusion known as magical thinking. They also use projection to dump shame onto others.
  3. Arrogance: A narcissist who is feeling deflated may reinflate by diminishing, debasing, or degrading somebody else.
  4. Envy: A narcissist may secure a sense of superiority in the face of another person’s ability by using contempt to minimize the other person.
  5. Entitlement: Narcissists hold unreasonable expectations of particularly favorable treatment and automatic compliance because they consider themselves special. Failure to comply is considered an attack on their superiority, and the perpetrator is considered an “awkward” or “difficult” person. Defiance of their will is a narcissistic injury that can trigger narcissistic rage.
  6. Exploitation: Can take many forms but always involves the exploitation of others without regard for their feelings or interests. Often the other is in a subservient position where resistance would be difficult or even impossible. Sometimes the subservience is not so much real as assumed.
  7. Bad boundaries: Narcissists do not recognize that they have boundaries and that others are separate and are not extensions of themselves. Others either exist to meet their needs or may as well not exist at all. Those who provide narcissistic supply to the narcissist are treated as if they are part of the narcissist and are expected to live up to those expectations. In the mind of a narcissist there is no boundary between self and other.”

Taken from :  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissism. Read more at the link provided.

Another description of narcissism:

The DSM IV describes narcissism as:

“DSM IV definition: Someone who suffers from Narcissistic Personality disorder (NPD) has at least 5 of the following characteristics:

  1. has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
  2. is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
  3. believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
  4. requires excessive admiration
  5. has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
  6. is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
  7. lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
  8. is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her
  9. shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes

Associated Features: Depressed Mood Dramatic or Erratic or Antisocial Personality

Differential Diagnosis Some disorders have similar or even the same symptom.

Histrionic Personality Disorder;
Antisocial Personality Disorder;
Borderline Personality Disorder;
Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder;
Schizotypal Personality Disorder;
Paranoid Personality Disorder;
Manic Episodes;
Hypomanic Episodes;
Personality Change Due to a General Medical Condition;
Symptoms that may develop in association with chronic substance use.”

The DSM IV is considered controversial by some for its opinions expressed in its manual.

“The DSM has attracted praise for standardizing psychiatric diagnostic categories and criteria. It has also attracted controversy and criticism. Some critics argue that the DSM represents anunscientific system that enshrines the opinions of a few powerful psychiatrists. There are ongoing issues concerning the validity and reliability of the diagnostic categories; the reliance on superficial symptoms; the use of artificial dividing lines between categories and from ‘normality‘; possible cultural bias; medicalization of human distress and financial conflicts of interest, including with the practice of psychiatrists and with the pharmaceutical industry; political controversies about the inclusion or exclusion of diagnoses from the manual, in general or in regard to specific issues; and the experience of those who are most directly affected by the manual by being diagnosed, including the consumer/survivor movement. The publication of the DSM, with tightly guarded copyrights, now makes APA over $5 million a year, historically adding up to over $100 million.” See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diagnostic_and_Statistical_Manual_of_Mental_Disorders for more information.

A very easy layman’s guide to personality disorders can be found here:  http://www.halcyon.com/jmashmun/npd/dsm-iv.html. Written with excerpts from the DSM-IV, this piece takes apart disorders and puts them into easily understood terms for the layperson.

Narcissism as described from halcyon.com:

“1. An exaggerated sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements). Translation:  Grandiosity is the hallmark of narcissism.

2. Preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.  Translation: Narcissists cultivate solipsistic or “autistic” fantasies, which is to say that they live in their own little worlds (and react with affront when reality dares to intrude).

3. Believes he is “special” and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions).  Translation: Narcissists think that everyone who is not special and superior is worthless. By definition, normal, ordinary, and average aren’t special and superior, and so, to narcissists, they are worthless.

4. Requires excessive admiration.  Translation: Excessive in two ways: they want praise, compliments, deference, and expressions of envy all the time, and they want to be told that everything they do is better than what others can do. Sincerity is not an issue here; all that matter are frequency and volume.

5. Has a sense of entitlement.  Translation: They expect automatic compliance with their wishes or especially favorable treatment, such as thinking that they should always be able to go first and that other people should stop whatever they’re doing to do what the narcissists want, and may react with hurt or rage when these expectations are frustrated.

6. Selfishly takes advantage of others to achieve his own ends.  Translation: Narcissists use other people to get what they want without caring about the cost to the other people.

7. Lacks empathy. Translation: They are unwilling to recognize or sympathize with other people’s feelings and needs. They “tune out” when other people want to talk about their own problems.

8. Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him.  Translation: No translation needed.

9. Shows arrogant, haughty, patronizing, or contemptuous behaviors or attitudes.  Translation: They treat other people like dirt.”

I’ve chosen three presentations of narcissism simply because each human mind digests material differently. We all have different learning styles and I want those who have come here to truly understand the narcissist.

I lived with a psychopath and his narcissistic, histrionic mother for a number of years. Dealing with these two people led to an incredible journey of becoming a Survivor with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  The thought processes of both Daniel and his mother Sandra were unlike any other people I had ever encountered.

Daniel’s mother was classified as a narcissist. Her tales to me often spoke of the ways she used people in her different jobs. She would often laugh at her intricate ways to use people without their knowing. She would build her stories to a crescendo and then sit back to her audience and demand respect, praise and attention . I questioned her methods of arrogance. I often found her repulsive in her attention-seeking methods at the expense of others. In the end of our relationship, her despising me eventually became built on my honest appraisal of her spoken truths that were thinly disguised lies for others in her mission to always manipulate people.

Daniel had blocked many memories of his childhood and with good reason. He often talked of his abuse during childhood. At times, he would question Sandra openly of her parental tactics in front of me, often putting her on the defensive/offensive. If she couldn’t blame someone else for her abusiveness as a parent, she would walk away from the conversation and ignore him. Nothing was ever her fault, unless in her eyes, the outcome would have been well-received.

Sandra admitted to me she drank heavily during her pregnancy and during the earlier years of his childhood. She blamed her drinking first on her obstetrician’s recommendation for her pregnancy. She told me that she couldn’t keep any food in and was constantly vomiting during her pregnancy with Daniel.

Queasiness is  quite common for the beginning of a pregnancy. In her words, she told me that her doctor told her that she should “drink beer and eat saltines” for her pregnancy if “that was all she could keep down”.  I have no way of proving or disproving what this woman told me. I do find it difficult to believe that a medical doctor would recommend his pregnant patient to drink alcohol. Medical advice has changed through the decades, of course.

I will offer that any child whose mother drank throughout the nine months of development has a definitive opportunity for a host of problems in their physical and mental capacities after they are born. As she continued to drink, she offered the excuse that she did “continue to drink for the sake of her marriage”. She never took ownership of her problems and the problems they might have caused for her son.

Environmentally and genetically, he never had an opportunity to thrive with his narcissistic mother. That is not an excuse for any of his behaviors. Many people go on to surpass abuses and victimization. Others do not. Does a narcissistic mother create a psychopath? I have no answer for that. I don’t think anyone does. There are many views and reasons on how a psychopath is created. I had the opportunity to live with one. I still suffer to this day from the experience.

Peace.

Sorceress.
.

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Survival Of A Psychopath(With Borderline Tendencies…The Narcissist Mother & Her Power Over Her Child)

A child growing up under a narcissists control is so mind-boggling to the child. It wreaks havoc in the child’s mind as the child matures and becomes an adult they have no idea what they have become or where they are going when they have arrived. Confusion reigns in the mind of the child of the narcissist in the wake they leave behind. In the clouds of the dust.

Struggling to view themselves as good enough, as smart enough, as pretty enough, the child of the narcissist has no idea of their happenstance in life. But it really wasn’t so accidental after all. The narcissistic parent plans everything, and plans it well. Their child’s life is planned from the day they were born and from before and the child will suffer for the rest of their lives, unless they are able to break free of their parent.

Every accomplishment this child attains is of no use (to the parent)because the narcissistic parent will find a way to pass it off as “expected” or “your sibling did the same thing” so “why are you expecting so much praise?”  The parent won’t say these words in front of others where they might be chastised or frowned upon for their negativity at their own child, but in the dark confines of their own interactive world in their one-on-one where they will and do and find ways to belittle their children.

Not so bad you think? Let’s break this down. Child comes home from school with a grade on a test that she worked diligently on the night before and she passed with flying colors. She received an A-. That’s a great grade. It’s an A for chrissakes.

A typical response from the narcissistic parent would be: “An A-?” (And that’s if she will talk to you at all.) Let me get your brother’s tests from that grade level and see how he compares to you.” You didn’t even know she was saving his tests all these years. But she was. So now you have this knot in the pit of your stomach waiting to see if he received better than an A-  because if he did, then you’re grade sucks. And she will let you know it, in so many words. Or looks. Or non-looks and non-words. The excitement of your grade just got squashed. Doesn’t matter anymore. She just made you feel like crap. Again. The narcissistic parent just stomped on you. Again.

Sounds incredible? That a parent would actually think an A- sucks? A narcissistic parent does. And believe me, they let you know. But in subliminal ways. All through your childhood. Nothing you do is ever good enough for them. They compare you to something better. Whether it’s another sibling, or another friend’s child or whatever.

The point is, you are never good enough for them. And you carry this stigma as a child until adulthood. Because as a child, you don’t have the capabilities to understand just why you aren’t good enough for your parent. What could you have done to not be good enough? But that’s the point. You, as a child, didn’t do anything. You didn’t do anything wrong.

So you keep on trying. You keep on striving as a child. You keep on setting those goals for yourself. You keep telling yourself that you can be better. You will be better. You will seek that approval of that parent. Why? Because every child wants the approval of their parent. It’s a natural emotion. It’s the psychologically ill parent that attempts to destroy the child. Remember that. It’s not the child. It’s the parent.

They are always trying to tell their friends how they are attempting to help you because after all, they are such good parents and you need such help. My mother was a Singer Seamstress. She worked for the Singer Sewing Machine Company teaching sewing classes. She was good and made many of her own clothes. She was so good, in fact, no one could tell that her clothes were hand-made. She knew what patterns would design classic clothing. She knew style. She knew fabrics. She was one of the best.

At around age 9 or so, she decided she was going to teach me to sew. Not that I wanted to learn, but she was going to teach me. After all, if she was a professional seamstress, her daughter (by her definitions) had to sew also. Her daughter had to have her skills. Forget the idea that by this time I was already writing short stories. Her opinion was in on my writing.

I had come home for lunch from 4th grade with a story about astronauts landing on another planet as yet undiscovered in our huge universe. My story talked about astronauts stepping off their spaceship and being greeted by these balloon heads with smiling faces  and then welcomed to their planet. (I was 9. I was interested in the universe and space at the time.) I remember reading the story to my parents and this was her reaction. She looked at me with her cold eyes, and simply said. “That’s sadistic.” I didn’t even know what the word “sadistic” meant. I went into my room and quickly looked the word up. Even at age 9, I knew my story had nothing to do with sadism. I walked back out of my bedroom, and said nothing. I was seething inside, but knew better than to say something to her ice eyes. I never read another story of mine to her again.

But her words didn’t stop me. By the time I hit high school, I joined the newspaper and made feature editor. By the time I was a senior, I had been named the first female editor-in-chief in the school’s history. No accolades from her. Instead, I was told, one of her “good friends” that she “graduated high school with” was an advisor to the school paper and, “you know, I’m sure that had something to do with your appointment”. So another words, here she was telling me that my four years of hard work of writing, four years of being different editors on the paper had nothing to do with my being named editor-in-chief. It was all because she knew the advisor to the school paper. Squashed again. This is what a narcissist does. Draws attention back to themselves.

By the time I was 12, I could put in a zipper, sew in shoulders in a blazer, and had made a suit jacket, shorts with a zipper and a skirt perfectly (according to her standards) of course. I say “her standards” because she had this tool called a “seam ripper” that she would have me rip out the seams all the time if she thought one stitch was out-of-place. I often wondered if she was that tough on her own students at work.

So here I am, age 12, finished with the 3 piece suit deal, and I decide to make a bathrobe for the summer. It was a wrap-around with 3 armholes. Pretty simple idea that I could whip up in no time. No such luck. She pulls out that damn seam ripper and tells me to rip out the seams around the arms holes again. I remember looking at her and told my mother simply, “No.” I told her they were good enough. She argued. I argued. I put the seam ripper down. I got up from the Singer Sewing machine, put what I was working on away, and never turned back again. I have never sewn anything again in my life to this day. She spoiled my love for sewing.

In high school, one of the classes “girls” had to take was sewing. I opted out of it. Horrors! My mother actually took me to the sewing teachers home for a consultation. (She knew the woman and had graduated high school with her back in her own day.) These two women sat in the living room and had a discussion  about me. The sewing teacher was actually very nice. She didn’t ask me much, but I think she understood why I didn’t want to take her class. She told my mother it wasn’t important for me to have sewing, because after all, I had the best teacher right at home. I realized she was playing right into my mother’s narcissism. She told my mother that it would be better if I took another type of home ec, perhaps cooking, since I could learn all the sewing techniques I needed from a Singer seamstress and after all, aren’t they best in the world? I was smiling to myself, and thanking this woman silently. She was looking at me very kindly.

We left and on the way home my mother was half-angry and half-embarrassed, I guess. She felt she had wasted her time and she didn’t like that. On-going was her tirade about how she was always trying to help me because I was such a needy child. I told her I would meet her at home and took another way so I wouldn’t have to listen to her speech for the next ten blocks of walking because she didn’t get her way and I did. I paid for it tho with a week of silence from her at home.

So how do you explain that situation? It seems a caring mother brings her child to a teacher. A caring mother explaining to another woman that her daughter should take this home ec class and this mother cares so much that she is willing to take the time out of her busy day to visit this woman at her home to discuss this situation. NO! That’s not what this was about. This narcissistic mother was embarrassed that her daughter didn’t want to take sewing because she herself was known in that town as one of the best professional seamstresses that taught others how to sew. How would it look if her own daughter didn’t take the sewing class? Now her daughter couldn’t show off her skills to the teacher. She would be embarrassed. She didn’t have her daughter’s interests at heart, she had her own interests first.

But she had taught me the basics and I turned that around. When my youngest was in pre-school, he wanted to be a Ninja Turtle. I didn’t like the plastic costumes that you could buy at the mart-type stores. So I decided I was going to make one for him. But I wasn’t going to sew it, I was going to hot-glue it together. And that’s what I did. I took my sewing skills in cutting out the materials with the pattern for a Ninja Turtle, pinned the materials together, then instead of sewing it together, I hot-glued it together. Oh yes I did. He wound up wearing it two years in a row. Other mothers marveled at his costume. They thought I had sewn this little boys Ninja Turtle delight. When I told some of them how I had actually made the costume, they had to look at it carefully to inspect it for hot glue for proof.

I guess what I’m saying here is I rose above her making me hate sewing at age 12 by using the skills she taught me and transferring them to another medium. I still find it difficult to sew, I get that balled-up feeling in the pit of my stomach when I approach a sewing machine or needles or thread or anything remotely related, but at least I can transfer those skills to use in other ways. Admittedly, I probably will use hot glue to quick hem a pant leg than sew it, that’s how much I hate sewing. That’s how much that tight ball feels in my stomach. And that’s what a narcissistic parent does to you. They can make you feel like crap about things in your life.

You’re sucked in because you’re their child, but at the same time, they devastate you. It’s up to you how you want to play their cards as an adult. It’s not an easy road.

Peace.

Sorceress.

All works past, present and future are protected under a CCC. Creative Common License, Kaarie Blake Musings by Kaarie Blake is licensed under a Creative Common Attribution-Noncommercial-Noderivs-3.0-Unported License