The Child Victim of a Narcissistic Personality Disordered Parent

The NPD Parent

Young children of a parent who has Narcissistic Personality Disorder are genuine victims of their parent and the disorder, as much as any child who lives through life with an addicted parent, or a parent guilty of physical or sexual abuse. The narcissistic parent abuses in an intensely subtle and devious fashion: they are guilty of severe emotional and mental abuse, and no one outside of the family would ever suspect anything wrong.. These child victims quite often go unnoticed, untreated, and not helped by other adults outside of the immediate family. This is due to the nature of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).

The overriding behavioral sign of a NPD parent is their almost total lack of concern for their child. On the surface, and in public, the NPD parent is often unnoticeable as an abusive person. Inside the family, there is no doubt for the child that there is something very, very wrong. In some cases, the NPD parent will begin to ‘heat up’ and make mistakes that brings negative attention to them and begins to shine a light on their NPD, but in most cases, the NPD abuse continues for years unabated. One might consider NPD a kind of ‘spectrum’ with varying degrees of disorder and behavioral inconsistency. While some NPD adults express their disorder in a fairly mild fashion (think the beauty pageant mom or the sort of dad who pushes his child to do a sport they do not want to do), other NPD parents are very intelligent, experts at hiding their abuse, and are able to manipulate others at will (even teachers, ministers, police, lawyers, and even judges).

NPD parents, due to the disorder, have little to no regard for their child’s individuality, ambitions, or emotions. The NPD parent is quite simply all about themselves, all the time. This is a very difficult concept for most normal people to grasp; it is hard to relate to a parent who has no genuine concern for their child other than how that child can enhance the parent’s image, or how the child can be drawn from as a source of ‘narcissistic supply’. People with NPD consistently look for and ‘groom’ people with charm, false interest, and quite often lavish gifts in order to get them to commit to relationship with the NPD’d person. When they have a child, they have a built in ego supplier. An individual with NPD absolutely needs to see reactions in the people around them in order to reassure themselves of an identity. And they do not really care what kind of reaction it is, as long as they get a reaction. So the NPD parent frequently will rapidly change from the most charming, loving and giving parent on the planet to the most enraged, unfeeling, cruel parent imaginable (think of the film ‘Mommy Dearest’).

Source

The Child's Experience of NPD Abuse

For all the complaints most parents make about spoiled children, children really do have very little power over their parents. This is even more true in the case of a child with an NPD parent, since the child intimately knows the unpredictability, implied threats and intense rages that the parent demonstrates. The child learns early in life to ‘duck and cover’ by constantly appeasing the childish whims (that change with the breeze) of the NPD parent. The child becomes terrified that if they speak to anyone outside of the family about their very ill parent, no one will listen or believe them, since the NPD parent is a master of the ‘false face’ in public. Secondarily, the child is terrified that their complaint will get back to the NPD parent, and they will pay a high penalty for this.

The NPD parent affects intense fear in the child in one of several ways. First, they may tell the child that they have ‘eyes and ears everywhere’ and the child can hide nothing from them. One father of three little girls gave them necklaces that he told them they had to wear at all times, because he had special powers and could ‘see’ everything the children did through the necklaces. They were terrified to keep them on, and terrified to take them off. Another way that NPD parents incite fear is to make either vague or direct threats to the child that the parent will abandon them, or that the parent will not be able to live if the child is not compliant to the parent’s will. Any child naturally loves and wants to please their parent; NPD parents can never be pleased and the child is never good enough. Yet other NPD parents make it clear ‘between the lines’ that if the child should ever be disloyal to the parent, grave and dangerous things will happen, up to an including harming their non-NPD parent or the child themselves.

The child victims of NPD parents are simply there to supply the parent ego boosting reassurance; the parent needs the child to adore and agree with them always, something that the child gets very skilled at doing when in the presence of the parent. Away from the parent, these children are often depressed, anxious, and morose, as if they have simply given up on being a normal child. While some school counselors or coaches may notice that the child is having difficulty, they never suspect it is due to NPD abuse, especially if they know the child’s NPD parent. Should the child tell the adult about the parent, the child will instantly be suspect as having some innate emotional or mental health problem; this plays right into the hands of the NPD parent when the school counselor calls for a meeting. The child is then caught in an impossible trap: the child gets diagnosed with the mental health problem.

The personality disordered parent can slip up sometimes, letting their real lack of character show. This might happen when the parent, intent on what they want, creates an embarrassing public scene with the child present. In fact, they will at times use their children as levers in public situations to get others to back down or give them what they want. The witnesses to such public rages will give in just to save the child the intense embarrassment that their parent is willing to put them through.

The child learns that they must set aside the things that are important to them or the things that they would like to do, because it is only what the NPD parent wants that counts. The parent always places their own desires and needs before the child, often cloaking this with the altruistic statement that the parent is just doing what is best for the child. The child has no real choice not to buy into their parent’s plan for them, even if the child has no desire or any real talent for the activity that the parent is forcing them to do. Emotional blackmail is a given. On the other hand, some NPD parents will simply ignore any achievement that the child makes on their own, and may even belittle the achievement in private while taking full credit for the child’s accomplishment in public, if the accomplishment reflects the NPD parent as parent of the year.

In private, NPD parents will present to the child as either over controlling, totally ignoring of the child, and angry at the child or overly kind, giving, and generous. These presentations can alternate in rapid fashion, leaving the child constantly emotionally ‘off balance’. This is, in essence, a form of mind control and torture well known to survivors of POW camps. So the child is faced with a very narrow choice of how to respond to the NPD parent: they can choose to submit in total compliance (and so lose their identity), wait patiently until they turn eighteen and then get as far from the parent as possible and try to find healing, or through constant exposure and training become narcissistic adults themselves. The latter child may be treated like a ‘little prince’ or ‘princess’ by the parent, at the expense of any other siblings who have chosen a different path of coping.

The normal development of children dictates that they begin to individuate and differentiate as they grow, meaning that children blossom into their unique selves. This normal progress gains momentum as the child gets older. The NPD parent begins to be very uncomfortable when the child begins to assert their individuality or independence; the parent perceives this as betrayal, disloyalty, or disobedience. Children often realize their parent’s illness fairly early in grade school when they have the chance to compare other children’s parents to their own. As the child gets older, the stress in the family system grows to intolerable levels for the child.

Some NPD parents can develop a reputation in the community as at least ‘difficult’ and at worse be considered unpredictable and dangerous. NPD’s may ‘heat up’ and can pose real danger in that they view their children (and ex) as possessions that they are privileged to ‘dispose of’ should they wish to do so. Many cases of domestic violence and murder can be trailed to an NPD individual.

Intervention

If the non-NPD parent is able gain the strength and finds assistance to extract from the relationship, the courts often support standard custody agreements, and the child, fearing the narcissistic parent, will not speak to counselors, lawyers, or judges about the situation. The disordered parent has proven over and over again the child’s whole life that they cannot be discovered for what they are, nor can they be beat or held accountable. The child has no faith that these adults can help them, and in fact, the narcissistic parent often ‘plays’ the legal system so well that lawyers and judges are ‘taken in’ and believe the non-NPD parent is simply exaggerating due to the emotions of the divorce situation. Indeed, the accounts that the non-NPD parent gives of the NPD parent often sound so ‘off the wall’ that even a judge has a hard time believing it. The child believes that there is no one in the world that can help them from the narcissistic parent, so will support the NPD publicly.

Clinical counselors are always very hesitant if not completely avoiding of treating children involved in custody cases when a parent is perceived to have NPD. Most clinicians will only very rarely publicly identify a person as having a personality disorder, lest the narcissist turn their full wrath on the counselor (meaning hauling them into court to ‘testify’ or more often, ‘harass’ them about their work, competency, etc.). Once again, the narcissistic parent does not really care about the child or the child’s needed therapeutic support, only that the narcissistic parent might be able to use the counselor against the non-NPD parent, and make themselves look better in court.

Ultimately, true intervention for the child can only come from the court system, as this is the only institution that a narcissist respects and fears. The problem, as alluded to before, is that judges often miss the fact that one of the parents they are dealing with has this personality disorder. In addition, it is often very difficult to demonstrate emotional and mental abuse, since the nature of the relationship with the NPD parent prohibits the child speaking honestly to the judge, and the non-NPD parent is most assuredly being considered biased. Since few if any counselors are willing to testify about the abuse and place themselves in the path of a narcissist, the court is left to discern these things on their own. By learning the many characteristic behavioral clues that NPD’s inevitably leave in a wide trail behind them, custody courts can begin to identify and then make valuable interventions for children with NPD parents.

If a court were to provide for a moratorium on the child’s contact with the NPD parent, it could give the child enough time to begin the healing process and gain courage to enter counseling treatment in a fashion that can be genuinely helpful. In addition, the court would need to provide greater protection for the counselor from being called into court and testifying (which effectively destroys the therapeutic relationship with the child into the future)so that they can do their job of helping the child recover and generate coping mechanisms for dealing with their NPD parent more effectively.

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Comments 169 comments

Gail Meyers profile image

Gail Meyers 3 years ago from United States

As the adult child of an NPD mother, I know you are spot on in this article. What often makes the situation even worse is an NPD often marries another narcissist. For example, my NPD mother married an alcoholic pedophile. I would actually consider the alcoholic pedophile the healthier of the two, if you can believe that. If it is not bad enough that they had five children, they also "took care of" foster children. So the system definitely let those children down. The situations they were removed from were undoubtedly less toxic than the one they were placed into.

I am not aware of therapists who refuse to testify. I wonder if it is fear or that they are unable to testify about the diagnosis of an individual they have not treated. I have a friend who is an MSW running her own clinic. She specializes in treating adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse, which is often involved in the NPD scenario. She does not have any reservations about testifying to the best of my knowledge. I think the court system is beginning to recognize and become more educated about NPD in general, but you make an excellent point. I know an NPD will play a therapist, judge, lawyer, etc.

Excellent hub! You have given a voice to those who are unable to speak for themselves. Voted up and awesome.


sparkster profile image

sparkster 3 years ago from United Kingdom

This really is a superb article, very well written and full of clear, concise and accurate information. The problem is that when "disorders" are mentioned in a court case they are usually used in defense at mitigating circumstances and therefore the judge often take pity on the person with NPD.

In the court case of Brian Blackwell, for example, his diagnosis of NPD was used to reduce his sentence (although he was still sentenced to life in prison).


krillco profile image

krillco 3 years ago from Hollidaysburg, PA Author

Thanks, Gail and Sparkster. To clarify, Gail, what I mean is that many clinicians simply hate having to go to court, as well as the lost time from work. Not all county court systems allow the clinician to charge a fee for their time, the clinician is simply subpoena-ed and has to go, no pay. And yes, Sparkster, courts (judges) need education on personality disorders.


The Chewy Mommy 3 years ago

As the child of a mother with an NPD I want to let you know this article is highly accurate and very well written. Some NPD parents go out of their way to make it seem as if their child is problematic and making sure others believe them and sympathize with them. Growing up with a parent with a NPD is hellish. I can honestly say being physically abused would have been better than the type of abuse my mother put me through.


krillco profile image

krillco 3 years ago from Hollidaysburg, PA Author

Thanks for the encouraging words about the article! I am sorry for your pain.


Gail Meyers profile image

Gail Meyers 3 years ago from United States

Sparkster, I am only vaguely familiar with the Brian Blackwell case in that I have read the facts of the case. However, there is a huge legal distinction between a criminal murder case and a civil child custody case. So much so I do not believe it is accurate to use an example of NPD reducing a sentence in a criminal case to suppose an assertion that NPD being mentioned in court usually works in favor of the NPD.

In a criminal case, the individuals's freedom is on the line. The defendant is the focus of that case, which means mental illness can be a mitigating factor. In a civil child custody case, the focus of the case is the child. The determining factor is usually "the best interest of the child." So, a clinical diagnosis of NPD should not work in an NPD parent's favor in a child custody case.


Conservative Lady profile image

Conservative Lady 3 years ago from Surprise Arizona - formerly resided in Washington State

Very interesting and useful hub, I am certain you have helped many adult survivors of NPD parents to better understand their hellish childhoods. Voted Up, Interesting, and Useful.


sparkster profile image

sparkster 3 years ago from United Kingdom

Gail, you make a relevant point but unfortunately it's just not that way. Yes there is a significant difference between a criminal (murder) case and a civil case but even in civil (child custody) cases when NPD has been used by the defendant (ie the victim of the NPD) it has pretty much always had devastating consequences. Using NPD to imply that a person is wrong or is bad or evil or is not fit enough to be in custody of children, even in a civil custody case, is always frowned upon by the justice system and is the worst thing you can do - mention it and suddenly you will be treated as the enemy. It works as a mitigating circumstance for the narcissist, whether in a criminal court or civil court.


krillco profile image

krillco 3 years ago from Hollidaysburg, PA Author

It has always been my understanding that Axis II disorders are not traditionally a valid defense in court, as they are not known to have a neurological connection (i.e. low seratonin or nornepenephrine). NPD is in the same category as anti-social personality disorder, which virtually every criminal has.


sparkster profile image

sparkster 3 years ago from United Kingdom

Not traditionally, no, you're absolutely right krillco. Court cases involving NPD are few and far between. The Brian Blackwell case was the first ever court case to successfully use NPD (but as mitigating circumstances).


Gail Meyers profile image

Gail Meyers 3 years ago from United States

I think Sparkster is right, but I think the Blackwell case happened in the UK. Sparkster, are you speaking of the English or American court system when you say mentioning NPD in court is always frowned upon?

I recall that NPD was also involved in the Betty Broderick case in the US in 1989 or 1990, but I do not believe it was a mitigating factor. Broderick murdered her ex-husband and his wife. Her defense was that she was a battered woman, which was not true. In true NPD fashion she was the aggressor, but played the innocent martyr. I think she got a long way down the road even with the media with that typical NPD routine. It is astounding that even after murdering two people, the NPD gathered pity as the victim. A doctor testified for the prosecution that she had narcissistic and histronic personality disorders. A Woman Scorned is the movie they made based on that case. It has been a while since I watched it, but Meredith Baxter did an excellent job of portraying Broderick. The NPD is clearly displayed throughout the movie, including her manipulating and using her children.

Sparkster, I could see how mentioning NPD in a child custody case could backfire in a couple of ways. It is not well known (and even now the mental health profession is redefining it). If the NPD parent submits to a psychological evaluation, then the other party may also be required to have one. If someone was in a long term relationship with an NPD there was probably damage done whether the person realizes it at the time or not. Apparently therapists are often reluctant to apply that label in court even when it is appropriate. So it could result in the NPD getting some vague diagnosis or even a clean bill of mental health (as opposed to someone who was previously diagnosed with NPD - which probably happens next to never). However, I think NPD is very relevant to child custody cases. It seems the often advised approach is to provide the judge with as much documentation of the actual NPD behavior as possible. It would make sense that a judge in divorce court thinks he has heard it all and that specific documentation might better get his attention. While I do see how one spouse accusing the other of NPD without anything more could backfire. It just sounds like two divorcing people accusing each other, especially if someone is not familiar with this disorder. I do not see how a clinical diagnosis of NPD could ever be a mitigating factor for an NPD parent in a child custody case.


sparkster profile image

sparkster 3 years ago from United Kingdom

Indeed it did happen in UK and this is a relevant point - there is hardly any understanding of NPD at all in general in the UK and it much more well known in US. I hadn't heard of the Betty Broderick case but I've had a look at the details since you posted. Histrionic PD is an important one - much worse than NPD (believe it or not!)

The problem is that if you're going to take NPD into court, from whatever perspective, then you need substantial evidence and an official diagnosis (which has been attained through the courts on very rare occasions). You also need to be prepared for attempts at manipulation and you're going to need someone who can support your claims.

Obviously, the most difficult part is getting the diagnosis, which may never happen. If this is the case then it's just your word alone which will not be taken seriously in a court setting. Personally, I would never dream of using NPD in a civil court case, it's too problematic, it can backfire in many ways and (in the UK) it's not unusual for the victim of the NPD to be accused of trying to twist the situation and end up being blamed and labelled as the "abuser".

I've been looking at a few cases:

http://www.shrink4men.com/2011/08/16/man-awarded-8...

http://www.kentonline.co.uk/kentish_express/news/2...

This is an interesting one:

http://www.shrink4men.com/2011/03/25/personality-d...


sparkster profile image

sparkster 3 years ago from United Kingdom


amanisha profile image

amanisha 3 years ago from Australia

It is a one of the best hubs I have come across ever!!

Thanks for such great post.


Abigail 3 years ago

Shrink4men potentially has an ulterior motive - she's the second wife and wants her husband to not have to pay child support or alimony anymore. (You can google articles about how the second wife (or girlfriend) becomes the chief aider and abettor to revictimize the first wife who was victimized in her marriage by the NPD husband to start with.

Or, maybe the first wife is the NPD.

Some litmus tests are:

Who is willing to lie in court? (NPDs are pathological liars....but they're excellent and charming actors, so they dupe many.)

Who is following court orders and who is not? (NPDs believe they are above the law. They are not bound by rules of decency that "peasants" follow. They are also into adultery. Unfortunately, even though adultery hurts children immensely (since it breaks up their intact families and their secure nests, in addition to role modeling parental selfishness and upside down priorities), family law courts no longer care about this harm to children.)

Who is paying their lawyers #1, #2, #3, and #4 tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars while he or she is simultaneously in arrears on court ordered child support? (NPDs only play act they care about their children...they care about their children only when it will get them their ulterior motive - to dupe others or to get narcissistic fuel. NPDs actually only care about money, their sex lives, and preserving their false images they've so carefully crafted.)

The second wife often (but not always) helps write the NPD's perjury-filled statements to the court, which is another sort of abuse - litigation and financial abuse. (If she doesn't actually write them, she emboldens the NPD to continue to abuse.)

Reason: She wants the money and the support, she's decided to believe the NPD's lies, and she doesn't care about the children either.


LetLoveBe profile image

LetLoveBe 3 years ago from Anywhere

Yelling & spanking don't have to be part of it -- mental abuse can come from a methodical, robot-like speaker. The emotionless, cold behavior of my ex was how he operated most of the time. After putting a woman into the hospital, I guess her learned a less detectable method & was a quick study.


Michelle 3 years ago

This was helpful. I discovered NPD recently and suddenly questions that have plagued me my ENTIRE LIFE were answered in an afteroon. I thought I had all the questions answered...and then I read this article and realized I still have questions.

This is not an easy journey and my heart breaks for children going through it now. They need to be told as often as possible how wonderful they are and how valid they are..


me 3 years ago

when i first found out about narcissistic abuse and realized what my mother had been doing to me i cried the hardest ive ever cried in my life. i couldn't stand to see her face so after being stripped of everything i walked out of the house at 2 in the am and roamed about on the streets until i was able to meet with a friend. ive been "trapped" with her for a few years now - she moved from my education to my finances to my family and friends and now my physical health has suffered because of the stress. i have gray hairs at 25 and can barely think straight. i sometimes pray to God to kill her, but it wouldn't fix what she's broken in my life, my heart, and my mind. shes trying to drive me to suicide. she told me to do it once. i don't know how much more of this i can take.


David 3 years ago

This is an extremely well-written, accurate and informative article. There is only one area where my personal experience, as an only child of an intensely narcissistic mother and a passive, enabling father, differed significantly from what is described.

This article states: "Inside the family, there is no doubt for the child that there is something very, very wrong." However, it was constantly drummed into my head from the time that I was barely old enough to talk that I must never EVER talk about the events that took place inside our home, OR ELSE. In addition, by means of both rewards and threats my mother kept me very much isolated from other children and their families. So, not having an accurate frame of reference, how could I possibly have known what "normal" was? How could I ever have known just how severely dysfunctional my family life really was?


krillco profile image

krillco 3 years ago from Hollidaysburg, PA Author

Thanks for your support, David. As you indicate, there are many different 'flavors' of NPD, and you make a strong point that rather suggests a 'Stokholm syndrome' effect that is quite accurate for some.


Gail Meyers profile image

Gail Meyers 3 years ago from United States

I ran across this advice on a law firm webpage. I recalled this prior discussion and wanted to share this information. This attorney is a prior social worker and judge who currently practices law. This page displays what appears to me to be very helpful advice for clients as well as other legal professionals. The Mentally Incompetent Party is the name of the article found at http://www.gbfamilylaw.com, then search under Articles. For some reason it says page not found when I cut and paste the exact address. She gives detailed advice regarding several specific disorders.


Cadams27 2 years ago

I want to personally thank you for this article. It made me cry for reasons I would rather not elaborate on but I get the feeling that both of my children are suffering... Thank you for opening my eyes more.


Christopher 2 years ago

I struggle to understand how the legal system can leave a child in the "care" of an NPD momster when there is a perfectly loving father fighting for custody.


Roy 2 years ago

Hello,

I am so lost. I think my parents are narcissistic. I live in the usa and have been alone my whole life. Parents cut me away from family and culture. I am at breaking point. I am confused. If anyone could help me.

rastv73@yahoo.com


krillco profile image

krillco 2 years ago from Hollidaysburg, PA Author

Roy, I strong encourage you to seek out some counseling from a qualified clinical counselor.


Jenn 2 years ago

This is a great article and very helpful; my step-daughter is 5 and her mother is a narcissist. Like others, I could list a litany of actions that illustrate what you've discussed here. Are there resources (books, sites, etc) to help describe how to manage situations with a child?

I am exceedingly conscious of not bad-mouthing the other parent, but suddenly she'll say something very out of character, sometimes using words that I'm not sure she even understands, and I can see that something isn't right just in how awkward she suddenly gets. I suspect they are statements she is hearing or being told directly. I don't want to just ignore it, but I also don't want her to get any more confused or make her pulled in yet another direction.

Any help/direction would be appreciated!


Brwnvlle 2 years ago

I'm from a family of 7 children, the 5th child, 1st girl. With an alcoholic father who was thrilled with my gender I feel that somehow made it impossible for my mother to care about me. My parents were deeply in debt my entire gestation period and recovered a bit a few months later, never actually getting out of poverty. I became the family servant, and never did anything well enough according to my mother. My younger brother was treated as well as the rest of the boys, save her favorite, and our baby sister was her pride and joy ... except the rare times mother got upset with her and then she was reminded how father didn't want her. Overall my sister could do very little wrong in mother's eyes. Could our mother have had NPD? It sounds like it based on how she treated me, but I was the 'odd one out' ... does this fit? Thanks for input. I'm recovering from sexual abuse at the hands of my father and favored brother, knowing my mother was aware and in approval of it.


cajean 2 years ago

Brwnvlle: Sounds like it's possible. As far as being the "odd one out," I've read many people refer to this as the "scapegoat" and the favorite is the "golden child" (there may be a GCbro and GCsis too). Do a search for narcissism and scapegoats or stop by outofthefog.net. I believe there's info about that on there, there definitely is in the Unchosen board in the forum. Hope this helps!


Butterfly81 2 years ago

I have been abused by my narcissistic mother all my life and just recently after a seriously abusive incident full of gas-lighting, verbal, psychological, physical and emotional abuse have decided to finally cut ties with her. I am trying to slowly heal the years of damage, trauma and abuse and develop my own identity as well as mental health problems. I would love to connect with others. I am from Australia


JessyJanesWorld 2 years ago

@butterfly81 post your email address and we can chat :) I live in Brisbane and was subjected to a narcissistic father and have always thought there was a piece of the puzzle missing - just didn't know where it was - see that's what he did - his unrelenting mind games, triangulating messages and cruel treatments meant I was like a retired circus bear being let off the chain yet psychoclogically tied to that chain. But you're free now, free like the butterfly you speak of in your name, free to do what you want, when you want with who you want. You see, you were never missing any piece of you - she just convinced you you were the one missing a piece. It was her - it was always her. It was never you - it is not your fault. We can peel off the layers together and feel the sun on our new skin - for we are transformed just like the butterfly.


The Lonely Wolf 2 years ago

This article has clarified so much for me.

I don't want this to sound bad on homeschool, first-off. Homeschool is the schooling route I personally intend to go with my own children, but in my case here I was unfortunate enough to have my homeschooling mom somewhere along the line become infected with this disorder.

I say "infected" because I honestly can't imagine my NPD mother choosing to Homeschool unless something was in it for her... So it leads me to believe that at one time she was a healthy coherent mother. Maybe I just want to believe that. I could be wrong. Perhaps the prestige or the control it afforded her with me and my sister was the reason, I don't know. Anyway.

It was stated above that usually children start to compare their situation to others' in grade-school... Since we were homeschooled and our mother "approved" our friends before we met them (other homeschoolers aren't like this, we later on realized), we did not have that ability. I think it was a clever move by my mother to keep us in the dark as long as possible. My sister "woke up" from the falsity of the situation several years before I did, and I was so deep into trying to please them that I, even being as tight as twins with her, believed my parents' dogma and all but disowned her for a time. Eventually though, my mother began to slip up. I grew hollow and deeply depressed, and didn't know why. I was doing everything right according to them, I felt, so why were they still wanting more? I remember now how she would look at me as I lay in my bed crying as a gardener looks anxiously at a wilting vine. Her eyes seemed to say "How can I get him pacified again?"

I'm an INFJ, unnaturally perceptive and able to read people's eyes like an open book, so once I began to question and scrutinize them I quickly realized that it was them all along.

There are no physical threats so far, and I'm nearly 18. The "web of eyes" extends into ever nook and cranny of my social life, however, with her friends and acquaintances wrapped around her little finger. The truck I drive technically belongs to my grandfather, who, to my sorrow, thinks my mother is the kindest, truest being on earth. If she asked him he might even repossess it.

She has set up such a tightly-woven web that she could hurt me in so many ways I can't even bare to think about it, so the fear of telling anyone has been very much felt. I live in a prison cell and am often subjected to humiliating or demeaning jokes, punishments, or abhorred "object lessons" for my two younger brothers.

The part about a child being given special treatment if they show signs of NPD, speaking of my brothers, is also true here. The youngest has an inflated ego, is a vicious troublemaker to his playmate, and acts with utter impunity as our mother pretends not to notice his misdeeds and also will pretend not to have any evidence of it if I call her to the carpet on letting him get away with it. With each passing month he grows bolder, his brother more exasperated, her more supportive and intentionally blind to it. The entire scene here is chaustic, and with my sister on the opposite end of the spectrum of the scene (so "burned" by my parents that she refuses to believe or do any single thing they have ever done or claimed,) I feel tired as though I were in my mid-60's instead of nearly 18, unwilling to try and mend relationships, and cheated out of my entire childhood and young-adult years. I start wondering if, even after I leave home and move far away, I will ever be free of my mother's far-reaching and deeply-scarring fingers. But most of all, I grieve terribly for my brothers.


krillco profile image

krillco 2 years ago from Hollidaysburg, PA Author

I am so very grateful that my article has helped you along the way of your long journey to health and joy. I grieve for your pain, and only have compassion to offer. Know that there is healing and recovery; it is out there. You must become sick and tired of being sick and tired, and determine to find the most excellent way. Blessings to your efforts.


onepetal 23 months ago

Incredibly good read. Also very eye opening in so many aspects of my life.

I was raised by two narcissistic parents, ones that would allow our education to lay by the wayside as they wallowed in their own words to one another, they would spend hours picking one another apart to the other or to one of us, however if any of us said a word to them, we would be sent right back off to our specific corners.

I think my mothers form of abuse upon me was her regret of having me with him and her frustrations of being kept as a housewife without a car with 4 kids to homeschool and not not allowed any friends or personal space.

He was the one who controlled the universe, using anger and love as weapons to keep us all on our toes.

I spent the majority of my teen years locked in my room for the mere fact I had breasts and could never live up to his preference for the brothers.

Both of them were quick to anger and say nasty things, good point would be such things as I was a selfish slut at the age of 11 for wearing nail polish, my dad would refer to me as a pussy or wuss for not being a boy or for having my period and not feeling well.

Any human contact I had was strictly monitored, just like several other people have stated, from an early age you are told to not speak of anything that happens in your home OR ELSE.

However it is darker than that if you think about it, you are told to hide things and to lie to avoid conflict and to protect your family. Yet you are punished and punished for not telling the truth in the truth games with your parents when you need to hide something or.. maybe you aren't even hiding anything but they think you are so they sit you down and play bad cop good cop until you feel like you are losing your mind.

In the end it is I who must fight daily to not inflict the same wounds upon my own children, it is a constant battle with my nature vs who nurtured me.. sometimes I do not want to get out of bed because I am afraid I will mess them up, I have gone to therapists, I do daily things to continue my healing, but when I first started out as a mother I had no idea the deep and not so well hidden triggers lay within me. I thought in adulthood and through my childhood that I will never, ever be like them, I detest them and would never put a child through such hell.

Yet there I was years later, saying something mean and then sincerely saying sorry and realizing even though I was sincere and it wasn't mean't for control it was still effecting my children the same as if I wasn't sincere and was doing it for control.

I have taken steps, I have worked hard to better me for the sake of them, even to the point my parents have zero play in my life anymore.

I cannot emphasize strong enough to people out there who have yet to have children or have children who have gone through the hands of a parent/s with NPD please, get therapy, find as much healing as you can so you don't let those deep scars hurt your babies.

The sad thing is, most of us who not only went through the abuse but also isolation abuse were cut off from any idea we could seek treatment or healing for a long time, esp after the fear or shame or telling was so set in, and the confusing conditioning of lying to save face.


lana 23 months ago

Wow. I've known for years that my mother wasn't quite right. There have been moments where she's been the best mom in the world and yearlong periods where I had little to no contact with her because she'd done or said something painful enough with no reason other than her own self-centeredness. Nothing I ever did at home or school was good enough, even though she was always willing to take full credit for my accomplishments and I grew up having to warn my friends to be careful around her, because she would be pleasant and charming to their faces but become increasingly nasty about them when she was alone with me (she would refer to one friend and her family as "the troll people.") If I became upset or called her on her nastiness in regards to them, she would tell me she was joking or it wasn't a big deal or that she'd straight-up never said that (yay intro to gaslighting). There was a period in my teens when I became very depressed and started cutting; when I reached out to my mother, who was a nurse and an RN, her response was to tell me all the problems that people who were *actually* depressed had and to not be an idiot or a diva. The entire lecture was delivered in a tone that suggested my near-miss suicide attempt, like all of my physical injuries, wasn't worth her time. People have looked at me like I was crazy for the level of injuries I've handled on my own without medical intervention. Everything from broken toes and noses, dislocated fingers and ankle, strep throat, throwing out my back. It took years to realize that I didn't just handle my own injuries and illnesses because I was independent, but because *my* injuries weren't worth medical attention. I was so used to being belittled and used for attention, and later--after I was working--for financial assistance, that I met and married a very superficially charming, emotionally manipulative and physically abusive man, partly because that situation felt normal. I've realized over the last few years of separation and later divorce that there were a lot of similarities between my abusive ex-husband and my mother, but it was always along the lines of "my mom's a bit of a bitch" or "my mom's pretty self-centered." I never realized that this could be an actual disorder or that there could be other people out there with such similar stories.

Holy shit, there is so much that makes sense now. Six months after I was raped in college by one of the football players I finally told her about it and she brushed it off and told me that that wasn't a good reason to not have invited her out to the campus to see a game. It's been more than ten years and I still can't wrap my head around the fact that her daughter's rape was less important than a pleasant afternoon at 4th division college game. Who the hell does that??? I've lived in a different state the entire ten years since and she's come to visit exactly twice; once for my wedding and once because I paid for her ticket. Meanwhile, she's fairly comfortable financially. It's just that people travel to visit her, she doesn't travel to visit people.

This is difficult to think about, but I'm more worried about my little brother, who's finishing college, but is still subject to her emotional and financial manipulation. I need a cigarette.


KatW 23 months ago

As the grown daughter of a father with NPD I truly thank you for this article. My father was a minister. A rockstar in his own life. Not only could he do no wrong but we lived under the microscope of the nosey people in the church and community. Being the daughter of a pastor with NPD was almost double what I have seen in many circumstances. Spare the rod and spoil the child was doubled in our home because he had to set the example. He had charmed his way into the lives of the church members. So many only saw him as practically being at the right hand of God. They didn't see, they didn't suspect the physical and emotional abuse that he served up in the name of love and faith. Thank you again.


krillco profile image

krillco 23 months ago from Hollidaysburg, PA Author

I highly recommend that victims become survivors and then thrivers by finding a qualified clinical counselor to work through their wounds. I truly appreciate the support for the articles I write; it is always my intention and mission to help heal others.


Faisal 23 months ago

This is actually what my ex is, I told her once, you are a crocodile with deers head 8n your moth and blaming the dear for you having to eat it. Absolute disregard for 9 years. Here is a sample of her with my 3 children whom she breastfed then abducted them to collect child support, www.ncfamilycourtchildabuse.weebly.com


faisal 23 months ago

Whoever wrote this article, forgive me for not complimenting the fine piece of art, your hand should be wrapped with genuine silk (figure of speech). I can assure you that all you needed to do is put her picture. It's like you were living with her. We were living with terror my children and myself. She abused me physically, emotionally, mentally, financially, socially and even sexually. Then she turns around and files an ex parte evicting me from my house for 8 days.


NH 23 months ago

As a child of an (unknowingly to me) a narcissistic mother this article has really opened my eyes about all of the emotions that I went through as a child and continue to go through as an adult because of my narcissistic mother. I always thought it was my fault that I could never please my mother and now with this article I see how serious NPD is.

It's very sad and I feel very sorry for anyone who had to go through a childhood with an NPD parent.


Jennifer 23 months ago

As a 46 year old daughter of a mother with NPD, I found this article to be be on the mark completely. I have been in extensive therapy for 10 years and am finally just getting to the root of so many of my emotional disabilities which I Now realize stem from growing up with a NPD parent. My father was an Alcoholic and was seen by myself and my siblings as the "normal" and "nice" parent. It is still the same to this day. I have found this article to be extremely helpful in my healing process and intend to share with my therapist! Thank you so much!


Courtney 23 months ago

Thank you so much for this. I was so moved that I actually printed it, underlined it , and wrote footnotes. It takes years of therapy to heal. The most important part of this article is how validating it is for a "survivor" of NPD parenting (like myself). You have no idea how your comparison to torture and physical abuse means to someone who has been through it. The validation is so rare, and even hearing it from a therapist isn't convincing... but the comparisons you use are so accurate. I can't thank you enough.


leslie 23 months ago

Reading this rocked me to my core. This was my childhood.


jegenes 23 months ago

as the non-NPD parent who went through a messy and long drawn-out divorce (the length of it was caused by the NPD parent), with 2 children, I can vouch for the accuracy of this article. Spot on. Thank you for this.

There are 2 basic problems with your ideas for intervention:

1) NPD people are pretty much untreatable, since they tend to be very clever and will dodge any attempts to get them into therapy. Even if they do go to therapy, they will always leave when it becomes too uncomfortable.

2) The courts generally have no real control over the NPD matter. You pretty much have to PROVE that the person has a mental disorder, which takes years and tens of thousands of dollars, if it can ever be proved at all. By then, your children are even MORE damaged from the process itself, and by then they've probably grown into adults.

NPD is one of the most insideous things there is. If you are the victim of it (either a child or a spouse/partner), you have my sincere compassion and sympathy.


Sad story 23 months ago

Hi

My friend has an ex I am certain is NPD. She "accidentally" got pregnant after him telling her he didn't want a serious relationship. She moved interstate and had a baby boy. She made statements like "he will fill the void in my life" and "my boy will always look after me" while pregnant. She initially refused paternity tests and was enraged that this was asked for. My friend visits every six to eight weeks but the costs of visits on top of child support is prohibitive. The mother refuses to allow FaceTime with the young child although a short call on Christmas Day was allowed after much negotiation. Since then things have got worse and she won't even allow him to call to find out how the small guy is going. How does he keep the little guy safe? There are so many NPD signs evident - the rages, self obsession, seeing the child as an extension of her, she thinks she's beautiful and special, she's entitled to special treatment (I deserve more child support) and nothing is ever good enough. What can my friend do? While the wee man is small she will be looking after him but once he blossoms into his own person how can he be protected? It sounds like no one will realise what is happening...


MarkSpark 23 months ago

My mother was a NPD. To make it worse, she was also a psychiatrist. She did terrible damage to our family and the odd time she admitted she could use help, wouldn't seek it for fear of professional embarrassment. She clashed especially hard with my brother, now 50. He -- in my opinion, is also NPD. Doesn't see it of course, but displays all the markers. The fact that he is 50 and somewhat successful despite 4 failed marriages...hasn't changed his view of our mother to this day. He acknowledges her sickness, but not his own. Not even close.


krillco profile image

krillco 23 months ago from Hollidaysburg, PA Author

Yes, that's how it gets handed down, generation after generation.


krillco profile image

krillco 23 months ago from Hollidaysburg, PA Author

I certainly realize what is happening! He is right to worry, as NPD can handed down, both genetically and via exposure to the NPD. The best strategy is education about NPD, and a strong support system of counseling and an attorney (team) that understands NPD.


Carson 23 months ago

I'm dealing with a NPD, bi-Polar, drug addict(heroin/all opiates). We are not married and she has a 10 year old daughter that lives with her parents due to her nature. I have a Son that will be 3 yrs old this April and I've slowly watched his life and mine deteriorate slowly over the last few years. Should I get the courts involved or do something sneaky to get her in trouble in order to protect my Son from having to be around her and her super unhealthy life teachings that will probably be granted 50/50 unless I prove she's total garbage. I'm deferentially affected and not the strong person i was before this relationship. It truly does kill you slowly and if I don't make some kind of move then depression, anxiety of her outbursts and rude classless personality will be the new unhealthy way of life. I can't believe someone that has children can act in this manner.


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 22 months ago from Maui and Arizona

I'm glad I read this in-depth article. First, I re-read your article on what narcissistic personality is and that helped -- and then I read this. I see the comment I made some time ago on the first article, but a lightbulb went on in my head tonight when I read this article here because I now realize that I know and am distantly related to two narcissists. The one is the father of the other. The other is a woman in her sixties. I hadn't seen all of the traits of a narcissist in the person who is the father. Let's call him Joe. But I could see that no one was allowed to have an identity but him. He must have the floor all the time. He's very intelligent (straight honors student in university) and the light only shines on him -- nothing too negative gets out in the open. But his 60-something daughter, she fits many of the descriptions you provided in that first article and I hadn't recognized that before. If I had, I wouldn't have written the comment I did that we need to have more love in our hearts for these poor people. When dealing with a person like the woman I know, it's all one can do to get away alive and well. Love is the ideal, survival of one's mental health must come first. Thank you for sharing your knowledge on this subject.


MonkeyShine75 profile image

MonkeyShine75 21 months ago from Los Angeles, California

Great hub Voted up

I come from such loving parents it's hard to believe there are any like this.

I know it's an illness, but even so, I don't know how anyone can treat a child who came from them so badly

Thank you for sharing


MarkSpark 21 months ago

Physical abuse isn't necessary when mental torture leaves more lasting and permanent scars.


Ardot profile image

Ardot 21 months ago from Canada

Fascinating article! I have never heard of this before! You hear about physical abuse but I guess this would be even more damaging to a child in the long run. It really makes me reflect and think about my own parents, and myself who is now a parent myself. Thank you for opening up my eyes to the NPD parent.


melissae1963 profile image

melissae1963 21 months ago from Tennessee, United States

Thanks for such an informative and enlightening article. I can tell from reading the comments that this affects many people from many walks of life.


RJ Schwartz profile image

RJ Schwartz 21 months ago from Idaho Falls, Idaho

Very informative and eye-opening piece of work.


alan raj profile image

alan raj 21 months ago from Kanjirappally

thanks for such an article...


Guest 21 months ago

Amazing article. So much rings true. As a child and teen, my NPD mother crushed me into a shell of a person. Then I left for college and immediately blossomed. It was amazing - without someone isolating me, constantly telling me I was a social freak with a "dirty mind" and sabotaging me at every turn life was suddenly a breeze. Unfortunately, that left my sister to inherit the scapegoat role. She took it even harder than I had. She started cutting and then left home and became homeless, eventually getting booked (temporarily) into a mental institution. My mom hit only very rarely. But her drive to control was relentless. I hope that someday counselors are better able to identify kids who are being treated this way.


Allie 21 months ago

Great article. I feel you could just insert my name into all the parts that talk about the child. I had an NPD father who has since deceased. He in Turn has trained my elder sister well. She is exactly the same. I have only just worked this out and my mind has been racing looking for information and dissecting 50 years of comments and situations that I was blamed for and make to feel horrid about. Knowing now that it's actually nothing to do with me

I feel like a light has gone on in my head. It's like I have the answers and this article is brilliant in my learning curve.

The weight that has been lifted from my shoulders is incredible.

I am educating myself on this horrid disorder and learning to deal with my sister. Sadly my mum has early dementia and whilst I had no contact with my sister I have been forced back into her world. Which bought all this to a head and led me on is discovery path. Thank you. This is so enlightening and I am sucking in all the information I can get.

After 51 years I know it's not me and it never was. Can you imagine the feeling.


krillco profile image

krillco 21 months ago from Hollidaysburg, PA Author

Blessings, Allie!


cam8510 profile image

cam8510 21 months ago from Columbus, Georgia until the end of November 2016.

Excellent information. Thanks for the hard work you invested here.


Jennifer-Louise-W profile image

Jennifer-Louise-W 21 months ago from Nottingham

Thank you. For writing this, and allowing me to understand my childhood suffering and be able to work through my wounds.


woahthere profile image

woahthere 21 months ago from USA

So glad this was made for people that have to go through these things.


Ammon Beardmore profile image

Ammon Beardmore 21 months ago

Heartbreaking and difficult to imagine a parent whom has no real regard for a child except for attention that reflects back to themselves. The description NPD parents being "... controlling, totally ignoring of the child, and angry at the child or overly kind, giving, and generous" makes the disorder difficult for to diagnose and impossible for a child to understand.


ratnaveera profile image

ratnaveera 21 months ago from Cumbum

Great and sensible Hub indeed. I have already come across such idiotic NPD parents who treat their children rudely. Naturally no one can question them in this regard as it seems they have right to do so. But, in many cases complaints received from neighbors who might have been known those NPD parents and suffering children. Growing children will always needs patience, love and sacrifice. In my opinion those parents should be punished by law. Thanks for this great article. Thumbs Up.


R-Gabrielle profile image

R-Gabrielle 21 months ago from Chicago-Land Area

Very good article! My parent was never diagnosed, but I'm sure NPD was their disorder. It was a living hell. A lot of what you describe in this article is accurate. I survived my NPD parent and eventually got out at the age of 18. It takes years to heal. The hardest part is making sure I don't reflect that same disorder considering I'm now a parent.


krillco profile image

krillco 21 months ago from Hollidaysburg, PA Author

You are right, Gabriell, it is not enough for us just to not want to be like a parent, there are things we must DO to avoid it. Since there is a genetic component to NPD, a child of an NPD may or may not have the gene. Learning how to avoid falling into the same relating style is best done by seeing a qualified clinical counselor.


Chriswillman90 profile image

Chriswillman90 21 months ago from Parlin, New Jersey

This is such a devastating thing a child has to suffer through. Imagine when the people closest to you treat you like you are dirt beneath the carpet. Very interesting and expansive take on a less talked about mental illness.


misbah7 profile image

misbah7 21 months ago from Dhaka , Bangladesh

We should be more kind to treat a child .


AmberW 21 months ago

Enough!!! This has got to change! New laws, teach kids in school what their options are if their being abused and how to identify the symptoms, Keep telling them its ok to ask for help!! If a child tells you "My mommy gives me black eyes and my tummy hurts cause mommy eats all the food, DON'T INFORM THE ABUSIVE MOTHER THEN SEND THAT PERFECT LITTLE GIRL HOME WITH HER!! KEEP HER!! HIDE HER!! HELP HER!! For the love of God, help. She had no one else to protect her. No one cared. Im still haunted by that night. That was 21 year's ago. Isn't It time we take a stand and demand a change In order to help our most innocent citizens? I do.


seraphic profile image

seraphic 21 months ago from Canada

If this is not an editor's choice Hub, it certainly should be! My stepfather had mental illness and I believe he was also a narcissist.

Thanks for sharing great information!


krillco profile image

krillco 21 months ago from Hollidaysburg, PA Author

I'm sorry that happened to you, Amber. Yes, the system and society as a whole has a long way to go to be truly protective of those emotionally abused as well as those neglected, physically, and sexually abused.


AmberW 21 months ago

Thank you Krillco. This article brought back haunting memories of feeling helpless and pleading with God to take my little life in my sleep. I refuse to let this abuse and torture plague my thoughts anymore. The time to act is NOW!! No more excuses. I plan on going to my local school board and demanding they have some type awareness program to let these kids know their not alone and that they have the courage already instilled in them to fight for their liberation from abuse and neglect. I'll care for them , I'll fight for them. No matter how long it takes, they will have their childhood restored.


misbah7 profile image

misbah7 21 months ago from Dhaka , Bangladesh

this one a nice article :)


Thenwhen 20 months ago

Im currently in a custody battle for my children. I am scared for my life that this will not turn out well cause their mother is a resilient liar. I pretty muched raise all three kids when we were together. One not even biological mine and it hurts me that even with documentation of her behavior I will just hit a dead end cause she believes she does nothing wrong.


HopeInBelieving 20 months ago

Being passive is enabling the agresor.

We are the voice of the children crying out in silence.

Our country's future, depend on the wellbeing of the children of today, the leaders of tomorrow.

A child's future depend on those who care, now.

May God help us, help our children and do right by them.


Maxine Pase profile image

Maxine Pase 20 months ago from West Virginia

This is beautifully written. I have been learning a lot about NPD in the past year and came to the realization that there are a lot of them among my family of origin and in-laws alone. Recognizing the way this disorder works has really helped me to identify issues and ensure that I don't repeat the same patterns of behavior with my own child.


Nancy 19 months ago

Especially thought the last sentence was appropriate to my life as my parents actually as I was 23 put my photo in magazines to "SELL" me to my husband. I got letters from all over the world of men willing to buy me. The first one they nearly sold me to was a pediphile who was caught and spent 25 yrs. in jail and is still after me now. The other I married was elder in a religious cult/commune and it took 30 yrs. till my sons were all in college and I was able to get enough nerve to run away!!!!!


Callain 19 months ago

I strongly believe my girlfriend's father has NPD. Ive read this and all the comments, and this is exactly what he does. As a result her emotions can be radical on top of her already being bipolar. She also hates herself unreasonably to the core. She has been in the hospital for suicide threats once, and child protective services have been to the house twice.

But nothing is done. He is such a liar and actor that he talks his way out. He told the people at the hospital he'd get her counseling but now refuses to. He has them all convinced she's the problem. Many people think hes this okay guy and the worst my mother thinks of him is that hes just an idiot.

And the part about ridding of family...i have every reason to believe her mother's death last year was not a suicide. But there's no evidence. He refused an autopsy and the mother was cremated. Not even a month later, he got a girlfriend.

Im terrified because i have no evidence. I have absolutely nothing i can prove against this monster and all i can do is wait till she's 18 and free of his tyrrany. Its only a little over a year yet, so the most i know to do is support her.

I fear for her actual safety sometimes, even thought he rarely acts physically. I fear he'll do what i suspect he did to the mother. Im not the only one who believes, but again there is no evidence we can give. Her younger sister is at risk to be treated the way my she is, but for now she seems to be his spoiled golden child.

This man is a manipulative monster and i feel like im the only one outside the fsmily who knows how much of an arsehole he is. I can't even guarantee many people inside know either. It shakes me to the core, because im worried for her.


Sue 19 months ago

I have found this article extremely helpful and it perfectly describes what my husband & his children have suffered with the mother being npd. However in reading the article for judges I am left completely confused as to what path we should take as the children live with the npd mother and are under her terrible regime. They have been forced to say they don't wish to see their loving, normal dad & by this account if he goes through the Court stating this then he is possibly going to be thought of as the npd parent? How do we help them? As you so rightly state she has managed to manipulate cps, school pastoral staff & family court already. It is a dreadful dilemma. Meantime both kids are being emotionally and physically chastised for any attempt to make contact with their dad. They are now age 13 &16 & it has been going on for 9.5 years. Thank you for your advice.


krillco profile image

krillco 19 months ago from Hollidaysburg, PA Author

True NPD's will often 'play the victim' and complain to courts that their (non-NPD) ex is 'alienating' the child from the NPD, when in fact, it is the NPD who is alienating the child from themselves...this only holds true for kids who are protesting (either by behavior or voice, or both) that they do not want to see their NPD parent...hope this clarifies.


pramalkumarsamant 19 months ago

Thanks for thought provoking nice article. You have given the voices of the children of the NPD parents. Child abuse,child beating should be stopped , failing which such children when grown up develops narcissistic personality disordes (NPD ).


Saty Simplistic profile image

Saty Simplistic 19 months ago from Chennai

The system betrays the young innocent children by supporting the elders blindly. Living more years in this world doesn't mean that they won the right to dictate the young. And every adult has this Ego. To save their ego, they support other adult irrespective of right or wrong.


pramalkumarsamant 19 months ago

i agree with these views.But the adult has to make him understand that if the child is not given protection from the torture of his or her parents,the child when grown up will be turned into a narcissist. It is the moral responsibility of every parent in the society. The class teachers of the respective classes may have created impact on the minds of the parents and their wards.


Tina 19 months ago

I am so thankful for finding this. This is my Mother. I was put in foster care from 15 to 18 because of her physical abuse and of course the way worse mental abuse.

I lost three children and she was never there but took grievance from work for them. The last baby I lost was in hospital four months. My Mom took grievance and went to Hawaii and had a great time. None of my siblings came nd I think its because they follow along with her. So I stopped talking to her and a sister two years ago. I was only close with my half brother after my Dad dying. Just last Saturday he called saying the most ridiculous and horrible things that "Mom" said. Again, hadn't talked to her in two years. When I confronted her she got both brothers, their wives, both sister and their spouces and locked me in a group text (and individual texts) for hours bashing me over things she manipulated to her favor. As for losing three kids and them not being there, they never ssid sorry. I get, just get over it thete is nothing we can do about it now.

But why only abuse one child? Is it because I was attached to Dad and the other three her? Is it because I am the oldest? Or is it because I spoke up to her?


Auntwholovesherniecesnephews 19 months ago

Thank you. Thank you. No one wants to tangle with the narcissistic sibling, after 55 years of witnessing bad behavior. No one wants the drama, and there is always drama. The narssistist loves being the center of attention and always claims, out of 12 children, that they were the "favorite". Once burned, cousins, college friends start to "slowly back away from the crazy person", better not to be controlled, manipulated or engage with the "superior actor" in the drama of their life. The ego is so huge, the sociopathic lying, and the sheer absurdity of the actor (accurate:mommy dearest) that you feel compassion for the children. However what to do with the children? Knowing they will pay for any alliance with aunts, uncles who side with the children. The wrath of the NPD is unimaginable. Need to figure out how to support the children when they are with the healthy parent- and avoid the NPD one all together. The children get the wrath when the NPD finds out the connection. When they turn 18, they will completely distance themselves from the charming, abusive on the surface professional (college professor) who takes no interest in her children's education (classes, programs, activities, and teachers) because it is not about them. When entering a room the NPD has to be the center of attention, life of the party, the loudest, craziest person... "Look at me look at me" person. Drama, Diva, deceitful. Really, there are 11 other siblings who recognize the behavior and once burned avoid with all energy.


krillco profile image

krillco 19 months ago from Hollidaysburg, PA Author

Tina: Likely because you challenged her; they don't like that much.


Jojo Yousef profile image

Jojo Yousef 19 months ago

Any parent are suffering from psychological problems this, of course, has a negative impact on their children, therefore, I hope that there will be awareness before the mother gives birth to any child so as not to be a victim of this psychological problems


pramalkumarsamant 19 months ago

Parents suffering from psychological problems should be given proper psychiatric treatment before they decide to give birth to any child. It is the responsibility of the family to take them to the proper psychiatrists,failing which the society may be afflicted with such Narcissistic Personality Disordered parents.


DynamicS profile image

DynamicS 19 months ago from Toronto, Canada

Interesting post! As a parent who has high standards for my children, I sometime wonder if I blur the lines of a NPD parent. The question therefore becomes, what is the boundary between trying to instill a healthy work ethic in children and being NPD? I think the boundary is that one is aware when his/her action is getting overboard and being able to pull back. As parents we are sometime passionate about our children doing well in life especially when we feel that they are not achieving their full potentials but awareness of how our actions/responses can negatively affect our children is key to establish a balance.

Food for thought!


krillco profile image

krillco 19 months ago from Hollidaysburg, PA Author

Here is a useful tool to discern the NPD individual: to the NPD, you are ONLY either a tool, a toy, or an obstruction to what they want. They really do not care at all about you.


NVSurvivor 19 months ago

Mr. Krill - I'd like to comment on a statement you made above about 2 years ago. You stated that you do not believe Axis II disorders are typically used as a valid defense because there is no neurological correlation (i.e. serotonin or norepinephrine). My background and licensure is in medicine & I can tell you I am a little surprised that our legal system depends on a "neurological correlation" such as serotonin, etc in order to be used as a legal defense because when it comes to issues such as depression, the "low serotonin" argument has never been proven. My understanding of this has been "low serotonin" is a pharmaceutical theory used to sell anti-depressants. Now, depression is not an Axis II issue, and there are indeed psychological disorders with a neurological root/explanation - however, having the legal system disregard personality disorders just because there is no currently known neurologic explanation is allowing for 1.) the NPD's to legally continue on their path of ruining others lives and 2.) legally allowing for others, including children, to be exploited. I know of no other issue that the legal system won't take on, and continues to ignore, because for some reason they don't want to acknowledge the destruction that occurs between NPD's and their victims. I'm sorry, but from where I stand, this is a lousy excuse- one perpetrated by ignorance and laziness from a legal system which owes victims of NPD so much more in terms of justice and fairness. Shame.


krillco profile image

krillco 19 months ago from Hollidaysburg, PA Author

Amen! Indeed, this is why the legal community needs education; PD's routinely exercise their CONSCIOUS decisions to do evil and bring frivolous court cases in order to continue the torture of their victims (including their own children).


Hendrika profile image

Hendrika 17 months ago from Pretoria, South Africa

From experience, I know that there are far more narcissistic parents around that we are aware of. Often I pick it up when the children are grown up and all the parents are interested in is how well the children are doing in life and not how they feel or what their life is like. They are only interested that the child must perform.


elizabeth 16 months ago

My father was (is) an NPD but I was fortunate enough to have a mother who got a divorce when I was only 5. What little I can still recall (apparently the brain makes you forget some to most traumatic periods of your life, so people living with that have less childhood memories) those few years were constant mind games. I can't imagine having to spend 18 years under the same roof as an NPD parent! I'm so sorry for all the victims of it.


Holly May 16 months ago

My foster parents were like this. At two years old i learned to duck and cover and try to appease them at all costs to myself. The neglect worsened as i grew older, with them frequently making mr change schools and forgetting to pick me up after school and then yelling at me when a teacher took me home. I was kicked out and sent to job corps school by 17. When i introduced my now husband after i had graduated school my foster mother slapped me for betraying family by marrying out of my age group. I now have absolutely no contact with my family


Agilitybeauty profile image

Agilitybeauty 16 months ago from U.S.A

childhood is the best age to treat our children on the right way and we must be careful about them because its the most important age in them life


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 16 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia

I'd like to recommend the book, The Gift of the Blessing, for those folks who have suffered instead of thrived under an unhealthy parent.


NVSurvivor 16 months ago

In response to "elizabeth" above, I know exactly what she is referring to with mind games. In my own situation, with my dad being the NPD & my mom the enabler, I was started big time indoctrination by my dad. Many times I'd be with him in his den & he would review some of my homework with me or teach me something practical & age appropriate (adding, subtracting, spelling & the like). (One good thing about my family is that they actively promoted & encouraged education.) However, starting at the age of 6 (six) - away from earshot of my mom or anyone else - he began to teach me, very slowly, the phrase, " I am the alpha & the omega" - referring to himself. He taught me the meaning of the words and the entire phrase, in so much as it referred only to him. As I went to a Catholic grammar school, I inevitably learned what that really meant and that it referred only to God. Upon learning this, I remember a mixture of feelings - from confusion to embarrassment at being made a fool of - and I was only 8 years old by that time. So for two years I was learning & believing this concept. I had no reason not to trust my dad. My mom didn't learn about this until very recently. However, when my dad was recently having one of his moments of rage, my mom actually told him he REALLY IS the alpha & omega - the beginning and the end. I begged her- in front of him -NOT to say that and explained how my dad indoctrinated me with that phrase when I was little. Would you believe that diffused his rage & he put a big smirk on his face in front of both of us? At that moment, I once again felt like dirt- I felt trapped- I felt duped - I felt used. This just cut to the very depths of my soul. This is just one example of the often extreme mind games NPD's employ.


Terry Drepaul 15 months ago

Thank you so much for this article it was very helpful to me. My mother was narcissistic. I am now 55 and facing a serious illness my brother passed away a year and a half ago after a very long illness and my mom's behavior was unbelievable during the time I thought it couldn't get worse until after he died and we saw it the real her, I saw her true narcissism shine though and as an adult I saw her for what she is I called her out and she turned the world against me. so I look for help wherever I can.


krillco profile image

krillco 15 months ago from Hollidaysburg, PA Author

Hang in there, Terry. Seek out qualified counseling, it can really help.


MarkSpark 15 months ago

My family NPD is textbook. So vindictive and manipulative. Ready to cut people off who don't supply the narcissistic fuel. 3rd marriage. Impulsive. Treats others badly, knows it...then constructs a scenario where he's the aggrieved party. Talks a great game about counselling where I'm sure he's gaming the therapist. Hits rock bottom. Gets a little professional help...then when he's feeling better reverts to his NPD behaviour. These people seem beyond conventional help.


krillco profile image

krillco 15 months ago from Hollidaysburg, PA Author

Mark, much like addiction to ETHO or heroin, they do need to bottom out, but for many it takes a great bit of pain, and for many others, they never do. And yes, it is easy for even clinicians, psychologists, and even judges to get conned.


janesmith100 13 months ago

I was diagnosed with narcissistic, antisocial, paranoid, schizotypal, avoidant, and borderline personality disorders around 5 years ago. My disorders developed due to abuse and neglect in early life. I have completed intensive therapy and am slowly losing my diagnoses, one by one.

I see the truth in much of what you say in this article, and agree that the influence of someone with narcissistic PD can be subtly and insidiously tortuous. However, I find there to be a lack of balanced perspective and some significant omissions that may be giving readers an inaccurate view of the condition.

You give the impression that narcissists care nothing for others and lack the facility for empathy, similar to psychopaths. This is simply not true. Narcissistic PD has the underlying thread of a deeply felt lack of self-esteem and sense of self that causes those suffering from it to need constant feedback from others to feel present and reassured. It does not, however, imply a complete lack of empathy; many of the parents who are treating their children this way will be feeling intense guilt and remorse for the effect they're having on them, but due to their own experiences having set them up in a negative feedback loop that they are unable to escape on their own, they feel they neither know nor have any other option.

It is also a sad truth that attitudes villainizing sufferers of PD, like the attitude expressed in this article, compound the situation, making sufferers feel unable to ask for help and like they are not worthy of change. I have met many, many people suffering from all types of PD and every single one has been in a state of intense internal suffering.

I am not trying to excuse or deny the behavior that you have described in your article, but I think it's important to keep in mind that people suffering from PDs are doing so because of traumatic and abusive circumstances in their own past; they, and those that have the misfortune to suffer the consequences of their damaged minds, can be helped. But this will not be achieved by pointing the finger of blame. It will be achieved through compassion, tough love, holding them accountable for their actions without condemning them, and by consistent support.


krillco profile image

krillco 13 months ago from Hollidaysburg, PA Author

Congratulations on your decision to get treatment. You make very good points, Jane. What is called for is a Hub on that very topic. I have a feeling that Personality Disorder is a 'spectrum' disorder, meaning that there are varying degrees of expression and depth to the disorder. I plan to try and make some good arguments for that perspective. I do not deny that some individuals with personality disorder are in great pain, feel love and longing, experience some empathy. The damaged child inside every PD deserves empathy and care, but the question is, can they come to the point of accepting that healing. Most on the mid to latter end of the spectrum cannot do this. In addition, our legal system has determined that personality disorder cannot be used as a mental health defense due to it being a self-chosen and controlled behavior set. Admittedly, this DOES 'vilify' those with the disorder that commit crimes. While not all PD's commit violent or interpersonal crimes, many on the latter end of the spectrum do. There are some PD's who have fully embraced the 'dark side' and do not indicate any emotions of regret or pain at all. In fact, they often express emotions of great pleasure and glee in their actions.

I fully agree that victims of PD's, and those PD's that accept that they have a disorder and seek treatment deserve great compassion and help. I wrote a book on methods of treating children who have been abused (many by PD parents). It is called 'Gentling'. There is also a workbook for teens and adults in that series.


Wednesday-Elf profile image

Wednesday-Elf 13 months ago from Savannah, Georgia

My husband's father was such a parent. He was even officially diagnosed with narcissistic personality in his late 60s, which gave his 4 (by then, grown) children some relief in being able to put a name to the behavior they had witnessed their entire lives. Excellent article.


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anweshablogs 13 months ago

Excellent hub! You have opened up one blockage of my life, by showing why things were going the way, they were. It added to my understanding of my life, thanks in loads.


livingelysian profile image

livingelysian 13 months ago from Loveland, Colorado

Very well written. As the ex-wife of a NPD, I will always stress the need for a strong support group while going through the divorce and recovering from it. I was fortunate enough that my ex bought our daughter an illegal item considered drug paraphenelia just days before we were to meet to discuss custody.

I was able to obtain sole custody and decision making. Both very important to getting our 15 year old daughter on the right path. He continued to try to play with her mind over the years, trying to set me off. I refused to engage with him, but made sure to use whatever situation as a learning tool for our daughter.

Our daughter is now 24 and has re-established a relationship with her father...with boundaries. She now has a strong enough mind and emotions. But I had to fight those outside influences for many years to help her get there. Again, we had a strong support system.


Susan Trump profile image

Susan Trump 13 months ago from San Diego, California

And, it make take 60 years for that kid to finally understand it was not them.....thanks for writing this piece.


smcopywrite profile image

smcopywrite 13 months ago from all over the web

Most people with this disorder are also saddled with other mental health issues. There is a constant argument of whether or not this is the cause or an effect of another mental disorder not diagnosed or treated. The jury is still out on the entire issue surrounding it. This is unfortunate for countless children, but regardless of this info it is a life changing existence.

Thank you so much for bringing attention to this particular form of abuse. It is with identification and bringing these things to light where kids are able to find help in the struggle.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 13 months ago from Houston, Texas

This is so sad that any child has to be exposed to a parent like that with NPD. I believe I know one such person and she is estranged from all of her children and grandchildren.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 13 months ago from Minnesota

Your article on the Child Victim of NPD is 'Spot On'. I know a family brought up with a NPD father-One of the boys became a heroin addict and has never been able to function fully. He literally 'loathes' his NPD father to this day.


letstalkabouteduc profile image

letstalkabouteduc 13 months ago from Bend, OR

As the daughter of a narcissistic mother, I read your hub and kept saying: "yes, yes, yes, yes!" It's so comforting to read this and not feel so alone with what I experienced as a child. I've dealt with clinical depression since my teenage years because of this. My mom is simply flummoxed that I've needed therapy and anti-depressants. After all, she was such an AMAZING mother and my childhood was so perfect!


Jay C OBrien profile image

Jay C OBrien 11 months ago from Houston, TX USA

According to the Mayo Clinic, NPD is rare and "Because the cause of narcissistic personality disorder is unknown, there's no known way to prevent the condition."

How rare? What % of the general population has NPD?

There is the "Toba Catastrophe Theory" which states there was a mega eruption of a volcano, Mt. Toba in Indonesia. This eruption caused a near extinction of human population about 25,000 years ago. In order to reproduce, people had to commit incest. Incest over generations produced the physical and mental problems we have today. What do you think?


krillco profile image

krillco 11 months ago from Hollidaysburg, PA Author

I'd disagree with it being 'rare'. On the contrary, I have a view that is somewhere like 10-12% of the population, and increasing. I see Cluster B Personality Disorders as a 'spectrum' disorder, meaning there is a range/mix of the Cluster B types as well as degrees of severity and destructiveness. All in all, definitions and conceptualizations of abstract things like Personality Disorder change with the culture. Never heard of the Toba Theory, but think that disease and disorder are caused by evil and sin, and that is very, very old.


Jay C OBrien profile image

Jay C OBrien 11 months ago from Houston, TX USA

"Never heard of the Toba Theory, but think that disease and disorder are caused by evil and sin, and that is very, very old."

According to the Toba catastrophe theory, modern human evolution was affected by a recent, large volcanic event.

Within the last three to five million years, after human and other ape lineages diverged from the hominid stem-line, the human line produced a variety of human species.

According to the Toba catastrophe theory, a massive volcanic eruption changed the course of human history by severely reducing the human population.

This may have occurred when around 70–75,000 years ago the Toba caldera in Indonesia underwent a category 8 or "mega-colossal" eruption on the Volcanic Explosivity Index.

This may have reduced the average global temperature by 3 to 3.5 degrees Celsius for several years and may possibly have triggered an ice age.

This massive environmental change is believed to have created population bottlenecks in the various species that existed at the time; this in turn accelerated differentiation of the isolated human populations, eventually leading to the extinction of all the other human species except for the branch that became modern humans.

What do you mean disease/disorder are caused by evil and sin?


krillco profile image

krillco 11 months ago from Hollidaysburg, PA Author

As a spiritual person, I feel that disease and disorder are essentially evil and have their ultimate source in sin. When human beings turned away from YHWEH and decided to live by their own will instead of staying within the good, generous, and loving order that YHWEH provided, disorder, disease, and sin entered the world as a reuslt. And, like a virus, spread viciously throughout humankind.


Jay C OBrien profile image

Jay C OBrien 11 months ago from Houston, TX USA

OK, as spiritual persons, I feel disease and disorder are essentially the sum total of our Karmic debt from past lives.

Our goal is to become closer to the Great Spirit or organism which is One and includes all of us. (We are never really separate from God at all). We are all energy beings and part of one great energy organism. We are One.

All this is proved by Near Death Experiences (NDEs). See IANDES website or Hub, "Near Death Experiences and What they Mean," (by this author).


Susan Trump profile image

Susan Trump 11 months ago from San Diego, California

Well personally I don't buy into sin and would be taught by the religious. The disorder is just that to me. A disorder. Believing that we choose our parents, it leaves a big question mark as to why, but it will be understood someday. I wonder if the child is there to learn things they could only learn from such a situation.


T Johnson3 11 months ago

Susan, you are right. NPD is a tragic family tradition that is passed down through the generations, I started to read about this in books since the fourth grade. I don't believe that we choose our parents, rather that our spirits are put into situations that temper our souls into being better human beings. If one life repeats itself over for a lesson not learned, we're all in trouble if we don't figure it out within the life we have now.

My story: I had the unique situation of a NPD mother and an Asperger's father. Wow, right? At six, my mother did her NPD thing and told me my father was treating her mean, hitting her and yelling at her. It was a Sunday night, because I had school in the morning. Never saw it, I told her. He does this when you are not home, she said. Morning came, and I was afraid to go to school, I needed to protect her! Into the snowsuit I went, and shoved out the door, and then ignored, as I was supposed to obey. I stayed there, ready to run in if he even stepped towards her! This is what I saw: My dad sat at the table, going over paperwork. My mother scowled at the back of his head. He did some figures, said hey, with my raise, if we put it towards the house payment, we can have it paid off five years sooner than we planned, what do you think? (Mean words to you? Me neither). He turned and looked at her, happy. The scowl on her face turned to a pout, and she leaned against the sink, pout intact, and crossed her arms. My dad's face fell, the papers drooped in his hand. He asked what was wrong, and she kept being a jerk, not talking to him. It was at this moment that I realized my mother was capable of being a liar. The vibe of my sense of injustice caught their attention, and my dad opened the sliding glass door, and yelled, "Go to school!" I had the dumb luck of being the verbal one of four kids. "She told me you were mean to her, and I stayed here to protect her from you!" Yes, I ratted on her, and I paid for this for the next 30+ years. I went to school then, enraged, and it was Game On with my NPD mother from there. As I stomped off in the snow, I heard my dad say,"Is that what you're telling the children? Really?"

After that, I became the Scapegoat. The other three were still in the dark, so were treated golden. My NPD became critical of me when she talked to the other women on the street. Then we moved to the west coast when I was seven, and I entered the second grade. Her mistake was to have me get on a bus and go across town, I was naturally nomadic and found a playground that was five miles away when we lived back east. So, memorizing the route my bus took to my school, I walked the route across town one fine Saturday. My decided goal: To make everyone in town think that I lived in their neighborhood, so I could have more friends and call the whole town my neighborhood. 'Shy' was not in my description base. I walked across town to my school every Saturday, taking a new route, embedding new streets in my memory. One day, I walked a street that had a line of restaurants' parking lots backed up to a line of houses on the other side. My mother said she liked Cadillacs, and I saw one in a parking lot. Excited, I stopped to look at it so I could describe it to her. I saw the couple walking into the Chinese restaurant, and my jaw dropped. The couple had their arms around each other, the man had the woman under his armpit. I recognized the hair color, the snowflake shirt she was wearing, OK, a show of hands of who can guess who she is? She turned around and we locked eyes. She broke away from the man, and looked at me horrified, and I just thought the word DISAPPEAR! , and I dropped to the ground, did a military crawl over to the tree, and stood up behind it. She was still looking at the spot where I had stood, and I was over at the tree, thinking she was the stupidest person that ever walked the earth, again she lied. See, she was telling her four children that she was home-schooling a child with cancer, and he was eight. Before I had left to go exploring, my older sister and I had a conversation. We wondered why she was so head over heels with this eight year old kid with cancer, when she had four healthy kids she didn't seem to enjoy being around? She always had to go off on Saturdays; my dad would leave first, then my mom, and then I would, since no one was there to say NO by then. Well, put a 60 in front of that 8 she said the kid was, that kid had white hair and stood about 6'7". When we were both home, nothing was said between us, but I could tell she wanted to rip me a new one. I was about 9 miles from our house, yet she couldn't say a word, I had ammo and that would have been a costly war of words for anyone to overhear. From that day, my name was MUD. She talked smack about me to anyone that would listen, humiliate me, turn my siblings on me, lie about me, accuse me of everything or anything she could make up or imagine. In the meantime, I caught her with other men. I named them Snowflakes. They were always old with white hair, I never saw the same one twice, and I only saw them when they were with something cold (le NPD). I cracked me up, finding humor in sad things is a plus for a Scapegoat.

As time went by, it was odd that I could get a whole town to love me, but not my mother. The women at church took me aside, and told me,"If you ever need a mother's advice, I'm here for you." That deflated me, she bought that negativity into the House of the Lord? I did turn to my church kin as I hit puberty. They were the ones that told me how to pluck my eyebrows, shave my legs, how to buy the right bra. In the fourth grade, I was earning my Bible, and I overheard some adults talk about how my mother treated me, and they were mentioning Aggressive, Passive-Aggressive, Passives. I asked what they were talking about, and they said Abnormal Psychology. It was a college class, they added. I pretended not to hear my NPD's name in the conversation, but was intrigued. That Saturday, instead of strolling about my town, I walked to the Library, and spent the day in the Adult section, reading up on Dysfunctional Families.

This is where I am hoping to help all of you in pain for putting up with a NPD for so long. They are also known as a Passive-Aggressive. They love cloak and dagger, and have no identity of their own. You will notice they copy other people they admire, from home decor to the way the admired dresses. Aggressives are the Scapegoats, the NPD will goad the SG until they blow up, justifying all the NPD's actions leading up to the blowup. Passives aren't mentioned much, I call them Toadies or Winged Monkeys. The Passive wants peace, becomes the Hero child, achieving and winning awards to please, and always taking the side of the NPD. The new, emerging NPD is the Good Child, and will diminish the competition (Siblings) so the new NPD can shine and be the favorite. The emerging NPD child will make the Scapegoat's life miserable, since that's the parent NPD's target, and they will bond over this. They form a tag team. Now y'all know why I walked around so much. Just know that you normal people are not alone, this comment list shows that. Look up Dysfunctional Families and learn, I no longer talk to the cruel bunch I was raised in, after my dad passed away, it was time to go. I stayed so he wouldn't be alone, his NPD wife mystified him. I laid out the play by plays that were going on for him, Asperger's made it hard for my dad to break down the drama. This helped him deal as Head of the Household better. How did you cope? Remember who was kind to you and the fun you had outside of the house, with your friends! They were the ones who threw me all my birthday parties, NPD never did. Write down a happy past of your good memories, and understand how strong you really are. Omit all the NPD & Co. when you write, just where value, love, and funny events took place. Its fun to read when you dwell on what's sad, and it was a surprise to rethink things and realize where some things had happened and you get an epiphany of WHY that happened and it went in your favor! People DID look out for you.


Susan Trump profile image

Susan Trump 11 months ago from San Diego, California

Every word you say is true. You have done a great service in writing this piece, evidenced by the endless comments. These are children paving their own roads to health. Some never learn they can and some never do.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 10 months ago from Nashville Tn.

A very helpful hub. My own mother had some of this (NPD) going on. My brother and I managed to grow up without too much damage. Not so with my sister. I wanted to protect her which added to my own abuse.

Thank you so much.


grungegirl84 10 months ago

This makes me want to cry. Both of my parents have NPD. Growing up was an unholy hell. Trying to explain to people what this was like is very difficult because, as was stated, it sounds so outlandish that no one believes it. This was almost like validation that I didn't imagine it and so many, many things did in fact happen despite what my parents have drilled into me. I think the beginning of healing starts with the child/adult child be told that they are believed. That it did happen and they weren't imagining it. That what happened wasn't normal even though it's all you knew.

I dealt with my mother, my stepmother, and my father having NPD. How the hell did I end up with 3 parents that were so horribly manipulatively nasty. I believe what also is being described here is Borderline Personality Disorder. Dealing with someone with BPD is very mentally and psychologically damaging.


laxmikanta 10 months ago

A very helpful hub. My own mother had some of this (NPD) going on. My brother and I managed to grow up without too much damage. Not so with my sister. I wanted to protect her which added to my own abuse. www.laxmikanta.com


Girlinrowb 10 months ago

This is my mother. My brothers are the golden children and my sister and I are the scapegoats. My father enables my mother because as long as she gets her way, she's tolerable. She's 78 and it's only gotten worse. If she doesn't get what she wants, she hurts herself and threatens suicide. We've tried to tell her doctor but she denies ever saying it so no treatment is ever given. It's gotten to the point where I won't answer her calls. I'm 38 years old and have to protect my teenage daughter from my mother doing to her what she did to me.


Ari 10 months ago

Thank you so much for this article. I am an adult survivor of an NPD mother. I knew from an early age that there was something wrong but I just thought my mom was difficult. My older brother is the golden child and is a narcissist as well. I have been working hard to stop dealing with my mother but my children love her and I am letting her see them. I am worried that it will end up making them pawn's in her game. I am recovering with therapy but it is hard to shake off so many years of abuse. If I didn't have my awesome husband of 19years I would not have survived he is my rock.


Peggy 10 months ago

My husband's ex-wife has NPD. We have custody, but she has visitation. Things that helped us.

Constant documentation

Therapists for the children

Very firm boundaries

Refusal to engage with her

Legal action tends to galvanize her into action because her self image as a mother is threatened. So we document and refer back to the parenting plan and do our best to help our children see that her behavior is her problem and not caused by them or their actions.

We finally did a custody evaluation. We had everyone we knew endorse us and tipped off the evaluator to our guess at her diagnosis. Because the evaluator was watching for it, she was able to see the NPD pattern. And because we had over 100 people write letters about our characters and parenting, we had credibility. The evaluator told my husband that his ex would make our lives miserable probably forever, but she put some language into our parenting plan that has taken away a lot of her power.

Our children have a stable home now, but they have her regular destabilising influence. It's taken it's toll, but we're making progress.

When our oldest turned 14, he refused to go to her house anymore. I commented to my husband that I was surprised that she didn't try to make visits better because I anticipate the others will refuse to visit soon. He explained to me that in his ex's eyes, our son's refusal to visit had nothing to do with her. It was our son's problem, not hers. I have a lot of trouble wrapping my mind around her mindset.

Good luck everyone


ladyguitarpicker profile image

ladyguitarpicker 10 months ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

Thank you so much for taking about Narcissistic Personality Disorder. My father had it and he was not only abusive but a great embarassment to me and the whole family. I then married a man with NPD, but got a divorce, and now see NPD in my daughter. It seems to go on and on. Thanks Stella


Sue 10 months ago

Wow, right on. Thanks for the epiphany.


Sanjay Kumar A M 10 months ago

Indeed it did happen in UK and this is a relevant point - there is hardly any understanding of NPD at all in general in the UK and it much more well known in US. I hadn't heard of the Betty Broderick case but I've had a look at the details since you posted. Histrionic PD is an important one - much worse than NPD (believe it or not!)

The problem is that if you're going to take NPD into court, from whatever perspective, then you need substantial evidence and an official diagnosis (which has been attained through the courts on very rare occasions). You also need to be prepared for attempts at manipulation and you're going to need someone who can support your claims.

Obviously, the most difficult part is getting the diagnosis, which may never happen. If this is the case then it's just your word alone which will not be taken seriously in a court setting. Personally, I would never dream of using NPD in a civil court case, it's too problematic, it can backfire in many ways and (in the UK) it's not unusual for the victim of the NPD to be accused of trying to twist the situation and end up being blamed and labelled as the "abuser".

I've been looking at a few cases:

http://www.sagarasangama.com


Senem Truth profile image

Senem Truth 10 months ago

This is a very informational and eye opening article. Thank you for taking the time writing such an article and sharing it.


Ellie Lynn 10 months ago

As a survivor of two NPD parents, one who was a pedophile and addict, I found this article to be very accurate. Thank you for raising awareness through this piece.


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StephanieBCrosby 10 months ago from New Jersey

Wow, this article sheds a lot of light on some individuals I know. I wish this diagnosis was more wide-spread so it could be more readily identified.


Gary 10 months ago

This is an honest and articulate explanation of what many single parents have to go through when dealing with an ex.


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Farawaytree 10 months ago from California

This is my second time reading this hub. I get some good information out of it that helps me understand a difficult person in my life a little bit bit better. Thanks again!


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Dive MoMo 10 months ago from Wichita, Ks

Wow, this is a amazing hub! I would have never known this but it a eye opener. My Father is divorcing a narcissist right now and people thought I was crazy for feeling the way I did about my step-mother. Thank you!


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meenakshibhati 10 months ago

Well written with adequate information. Thanks for sharing such a nice article.


flakycrustedmemry 10 months ago

Wonderful article. Very informative. As I was reading this I saw so many traits that reminded me of my sister. Some how it became a narcissistic sibling issue. Sorry I know you are writing about parent/child. I do not want to take away from your intent. Coming from a sibling relationship where my oldest sister showed these qualities. I can tell you it started at a very young age with her and it is an abusive relationship. Even in my 50's I still find her a very toxic person.


winter and spring profile image

winter and spring 10 months ago from Jerusalem, Israel

Great article!

I am wondering about the definition and examples of one who has NPD plus sociopathic disorder....?


sarita garg profile image

sarita garg 10 months ago from Hisar

You have very clearly explained the situation and the disease.


ainezk profile image

ainezk 9 months ago

Can be quite a difficult thing to deal with.


oceansnsunsets profile image

oceansnsunsets 9 months ago from The Midwest, USA

I found this article on the main HubPages page, and found it interesting yet so sad. I think its heartbreaking that children grow up in these sorts of seemingly impossible situations. How horrible that would have to be!

I appreciate you writing this, because this can help others, even if perhaps raising awareness for people in the court system, if nothing else. As you said, the parent that struggles with this, has no real respect or fear for any authority but a judge and the like. If they can learn to see what is hard for the normal person to observe, perhaps they can rule in such ways that would give hope and peace to the child involved, when warranted and possible.


asaralopb10 9 months ago

The Child Victim is very bad


Sulabha profile image

Sulabha 9 months ago from Indore, India

A very informative hub. You have discussed it very well, which many like me would have passed it as a case of very dominating mother or father.


chainfreeliving profile image

chainfreeliving 8 months ago

Informative article, thank you. It took me a long time to realize my mother was some version / flavor of NPD (along with Borderline and Histrionic PD) because she was a 'covert' narcissist: She excelled in her constant Passive-Aggressive martyr stance constantly inflicting guilt on her children for not 'loving her enough' or loving her in the 'right way'. It was hell growing up. Covert NPDs often marry extrovert NPDs, but I'll save that story for my own article sometime. As a licensed Psychotherapist, I can confirm that NPD parents (especially fathers) get away with (soul) murder in court. I have watched my clients who are married to such types be tortured in court in new and creativc ways during custody battles by these master manipulators and can wrap lawyers and judges around their fingers in nearly inexplicable ways, making it difficult for justice to ever prevail.


Carolyn McFann 8 months ago

Both my parents are diagnosed NPD. REVERTING you write is the truth, what I have dealt with my entire life. I was told by a therapist at 12 that my parents have this disorder. I was bullied, verbally and sometimes physically attacked by my parents. My mother is overt, my dad is covert. They are old now, and never changed. I was taken by caring teachers out of our house because of all the abuse I endured, at 16. I have spent my life in therapy because I didn't want to be like my parents and wanted to be healthy. And though I have C-PTSD, anxiety and depression, I have a good and peaceful life alone with my pets, in my home. I have firm boundaries with my parents, who I see occasionally. They made their maid their "surrogate" daughter because she does whatever they want, unlike me. My parents are "friendly" but resentful of me for being independent and not being their servant/scapegoat/doormat anymore. They don't care about me, not really. If I'm sick they do nothing and don't care. I was an only child, so I have made "family" out of friends. Life is good, I take care of myself and have a good support network. It is possible to heal from severe narc abuse. A long and tough road, but worth it. Peace feels good.


Adney john 7 months ago

Very interesting and useful hub, I am certain you have helped many parents to better understand their hellish childhoods. Voted Up, Interesting, and Useful.


grand old lady profile image

grand old lady 7 months ago from Philippines

This is a very nice, informative, and well written article about the children of narcissists. What a very sad life these children live.


helenstuart profile image

helenstuart 7 months ago from Deep in the Heart of Texas

I am 51 years old, and I was the only biological child of my father, who adopted my older two step siblings, and made it a point to favor me and punish them needlessly. He sexually abused all of us. He was not only a narcissist, but in all my years of counseling, I have also been told from his actions that he was probably anti social or a psycopath, as they used to be called. Sure enough, my half siblings still hate me, I have CPTSD, I had that syndrome that Patty Hearst had, making excuses for both my parents, including my mom who clearly loved her other two kids more, "she had to protect them" I told myself and "she was an angel" even though I remember happily jumping into bed with both of them as a VERY young toddler, (I called lying between them being in the "swimming pool" and she would immediately leave the room alone with my dad and I was stuck there. I remember a scene when I was 4 or so , so clearly, it was just pornographic, my dad "checking a rash" and my mom leaving him too it, and then she was so angry at me afterwards, but I had had no choice . She could have gotten him away from me and been mad at the pervert, him. I remember every Friday night it was his big thrill to wrestle my ten year old sister to the floor and pull down her pants and spank her hard while she was crying and screaming, she had done nothing wrong, my brother and I were screaming at him and lunging forward to try to rescue her, so was my mother. But she could have rescued her. That is not how a mom lets her child be treated. I would have shot him. or something. The next day he always loaded his van in a big show of leaving and then my mother brother and mom cried and tried to hang his clothes back up in the house. My distant relatives like cousins barely even like me anymore, because I guess my mom, brother and sister told them I was a spoiled brat and got everything I wanted, and my dad would make a point of pretending to be all favority around me, or making me stay in his room when we had company, so I was insulted and hurt badly by aunts uncles and cousins. My daughter is in CPS now, because he made a number of false claims against me. It has broken my heart worse than anything. My diagnosis has gone from years of gaslighting to bipolar, by his doctor when he tried to take her from me. too much more to write here. Ihave done nothing but fight for myself all my life and I will never stop. He is over 80 and won't die, it seems, won't stop accusing people. I will never see or talk to him again. My daughter was my world.


krillco profile image

krillco 7 months ago from Hollidaysburg, PA Author

Helenstuart: I am not even going to reply to your story, as I know anything I could say would just sound like platitudes, and I will not insult you. Your long suffering, sadly, is a familiar story in my practice.


ugh 7 months ago

Last time I spoke with my mother, she told me what I should do to prepare for my own suicide. Typical mom, I wasn't feeling or showing signs of wanting to take my life, I felt insecure to say the least after that conversation with her. I remember as a child she dug two holes in the yard, told me the holes were to burry my body in, then she had the neighbors little boy sell "tickets" to all the other kids in the neighborhood, so they could come see where she was going to put my body. She reminds me about the "burial holes story" on a regular basis throughout the many years that have gone by because to her it's still funny. To me, it was just another day in hell. I once asked why nobody in the family saved us and the answer was "because your mother would stop letting us see you." I sometimes thought I was probably the favorite since my sister often complained about the attention I was getting. I was told how beautiful I was and she was the smart one. Years later my father told me he didn't realize I was smart too until I was in my late 20s. I was diagnosed with a mental disorder when I explained how I felt about my parents and it's followed me since then. I never really understood what was happening in my childhood but I knew it was wrong because I know people's reactions as an adult the rare times I explained how my mother poured gasoline on my first real boyfriend and said it would keep happening until I stopped seeing him and next time she'll bring a match. I was her "baby" even into my 30's. I still warn people about her and to stay away because she somehow always got away with the most horrific acts. If I didn't cry when my step dad wanted to leave her, she said she wouldn't have stabbed him in the back with a screwdriver. The things I mention here were just another day with mom. I was still listening to the way she speaks her first few words of the day to know what type of day it's going to be with her. The tone of her voice was like a crystal ball into the near future. I cut her out of my life 95% last year and still feel guilty and left a gate open where she can contact me. Of course she doesn't use it, she asks people I highly dislike because they hurt me too much, she asks them what's going on with me and my children. Nobody ever confronted our mother on what she did to us, except my older sister and that's the day my sister became her enemy.


Jenn130 7 months ago

I'm so (heartwrenchingly) happy to have stumbled upon this article. My husbands mother has NPD. After reading this article it has become so much clearer, down to manipulating lawyers and judges during a divorce. Luckily the kids were teenagers and able to choose their father. But she left the country and was awarded so much that the kids had to help support their father (which was a far better outcome then being placed with their mother). We've been together for 11 years and she's only recently (past 3 yrs) been in the country and we have had to endure her torturous behavior. The only reason we see her is bc my husband adores his grandmother, aunts and cousins. After a recent holiday (which is the first holiday we've ever spent with her), my husband wished for her to just disappear (she was verbally abusive in front of a large crowd). I need to decide whether I want to share this article with him. I don't know if it will make it harder, or be more healing. And we need to find a way to disassociate ourselves from her while still trying to keep a relationship with the extended family (that she currently lives with and spend each day with). This has opened my eyes, and will encourage me to seek out more answers from others who have had similar experiences.


krillco profile image

krillco 7 months ago from Hollidaysburg, PA Author

Jenn, I have written other material related to coping with NPD's. Just put my author name ('krillco') in the search box to a get a full listing of all my articles. The ones on NPD will stand out by title. Education is your best option besides counseling. Thanks for your support!


Peggy 7 months ago

At what age do children sense that something is not normal with a parent?


krillco profile image

krillco 7 months ago from Hollidaysburg, PA Author

Peggy, I'd say what used to be called 'the age of reason', which is between 6 and 7 years old. At this age, kids are able to become starkly aware of differences between themselves and others way of life, morality, etc. Often, it is at this age where the NPD either escalates attempts to create the child into a 'Mini-Me', or the child actively starts making statements of or behaviors of disapproval to the NPD parent. In this latter case, if the child has a strong enough sense of identity and ego, and hold s their ground, the NPD parent may reject them and begin harassing them like they do the non-NPD parent.


Hurting & trying to heal 5 months ago

Reading this article just hurt my heart. I am currently going through divorce from my husband who I believe most assuredly has NPD. We are in a custody battle over our 2 year old daughter and 1 year old son. When I think about the hell I endured in my short relationship/marriage to him and how I now have to place my babies in his care 50% of the time because the court system either doesn't believe me about him and his personality disorder, doesn't care because he's only been abusive to me or because he hasn't shown to be abusive to them, or maybe it's just because he's dad and deserves time with his children and he's not bad enough to warrant anything less than 50% I could just cry. He didn't care to spend time with them until it mattered, not even after I filed for divorce but after he was kicked out of the house and our divorce was under way did he actually start to act like he cared about seeing his children and being dad. And what was his excuse? I wasn't allowing him to be! I've never heard such nonsense. I am forced to put my faith into a justice system that isn't fair or just, one that continually fails and wait for him to tire of the real work involved in being a parent to two toddlers because my hands are tied and our judges and lawyers are blind to these people and the damage they do. I feel like all I can do is love and care for them as best as I can when I have them and hope and pray God takes care of the rest, especially when they are not in my care. It breaks my heart, which I know is ultimately the greatest source of narcissistic supply for my abuser. Prayers for my children and family please as we continue to deal with this nightmare court system only to continue to be victimized in what will surely be a shared placement outcome - amply opportunity for my abuser to continue to abuse me and to abuse our small, helpless and impressionable children.


Patricia Nicolina profile image

Patricia Nicolina 5 months ago

A fantastic, and spot on article on children of NPD parents! Thank you for posting!


nataliejs profile image

nataliejs 5 months ago from Farmersville, CA

Sadly, I know of a parent who almost completely fits this description! And I see the effect it has on her child. The child's naturally bubbly, happy personality totally changes around the parent, and everything they say and do is to appease the mother. The child acts frightened around her and the mother has total control. She tells her what shows to like, what sports team to like, and to be unkind to anyone the mother does not like. And if the child refuses, the mother would punish her emotionally, telling her she didn't love her and that she was never going to see her again. It's painful to watch and my heart goes out to all children with parents like this! Parents have to see their children as precious individuals, not as an extension of themselves!


Jacob Letwala profile image

Jacob Letwala 5 months ago from Tembisa

@ Natalie, I agree with you as I just read your comments, I think it also affect this children as they grow up as well. they either bully other children at play grounds and at schools and they some do not care whether they would be punished or not because that would not be the first it happens to them.


caretakerray profile image

caretakerray 5 months ago from Michigan U.S.A.

Very professional handling of a sensitive subject


parent 3 months ago

After Reading this and seeing the relationship between my son and I become estranged, I often wonder if I would have been diagnosed with NPD. I say this because my son's GF has mentioned it to him that I was a narcissist. But the funny thing is our relationship has always been good up until he and this Girl got together and I got married after being a single mom and raising him on my own for 19 yrs. I guess what I am asking is really what are some signs that I might have this? mainly talking to all the Children who had NPD parents. I mean we all have moments as parents, but I never really thought it was about me. Not until just recently. Thank you and I would please like to not be attacked. I am searching for help and I am hurting.


Parent73 3 months ago

After reading this article and being told that I am a narcassist by my son, it has really made me wonder if this is true. He and I have always had a close relationship until he got his first true GF at 18. She was the first person to tell him I was and he told me that. At that time he didn't think I was. But since than I have gotten married after being a single mom for 19 yrs. Raising him on my own. Father only in his life for 5 yrs until he was 16 almost 17 he filed for full custody after being gone for 8 yrs. Of Course he didn't get it but my son and him started a relationship. Yes at first I was very angry about this cause my son went behind my back and wrote his dad a letter to start all of this process. but the letter never said he wanted anything with him until he was ready. But his dad took that letter saying he was. Anyways, I never thought Of myself as a person with NPD. But maybe I do, maybe that is why my relatioship with my son is in the toliet. But I just chalk it up because I don't like his GF after she posted crap about my family, me and my stepson on social media and he didn't stand up for his family to her. He allowed it. But now, he has moved in with my parents and I was totally pushed out of that decisions. My parents have always spoiled my son and given him whatever he wanted even when I said no. They have always gone behind my back and undermined me as a parent. So now, here I sit wondering if it was really me all this time. That maybe I have NPD. So just wondering from all the children out that really dealt with parents who have NPD what were the signs for y'all? I am just really lost and hurt that my son has decided to not be in my life anymore by the snap of the fingers.

Parent looking for help and answers. Thank you and please no hurtful comments


krillco profile image

krillco 3 months ago from Hollidaysburg, PA Author

Anyone who suspects that they may have a personality disorder should seek out qualified help in the form of an experienced counselor or psychologist to consult with; it is a diagnosis that should never be taken lightly and takes more than a few anecdotal comments to ascertain. Most every human being has some self-centered traits, ranging from healthy narcissism to vanity, big egos, and even annoying behavior sets. This does not mean that the person is NPD.


Laurinzo Scott profile image

Laurinzo Scott 3 months ago from Phoenix, Az.

I notice that this narcissistic trait doesn't allow them to see the wrong... I have experienced a relationship with such a person ... it is sooo difficult; it must be incredibly for a child... powerful HUB!!!!!


3 months ago

Krillco, child victims of NPDs are oftentimes groomed to become blind to the disorder of the NPD parent. In those cases, what does it take for them to realize it? What could be some implications of marrying a child victim of a NPD parent who doesn't realize that parent has NPD? Or seems blind to it?


krillco profile image

krillco 3 months ago from Hollidaysburg, PA Author

?, Very good questions, but it appears you already have a good lead on the answers.


Concerned other parent 2 months ago

I found this article and am so concerned..my daughter's best friend has been living with us for two month now and I have been trying to figure out what was wrong with her mother..and finally in this article I found it..her father enables the mother..same control the mother has over the father..the manipulations and threats I hear fr both parents chill me to the bone..I know this because the child I speak of recorded her parents once with the advice of my daughter..I'm not saying any names as this is still ongoing and I am scared for the child..the recording chilled me to my very core of my motherly instincts. .to protect ..children ..all children..I heard them threaten her with adoption and then they tell her of the abuse that happens there in hopes that she won't choose that option. Sorry they gave her options if she didn't want to stay with them..one was adoption and the second was her nonbiological grandparents in which the mom again shot it down with how strict they r.and how the child would not be able to do a thing...the child did not even know how to make a simple egg..I taught her that..it's something a mom or dad teaches their children.. it's such a strange story..the mothers first born wanted to go live with her dad at a young age in which she did and the second child she gave up for adoption and coincidentally my aunt and uncle adopted him..we only found this out a few months back..and he is 23..this has all got to count for something...in me helping this young girl. ..I want to keep her here and safe...I have talked to lawyers ..(I can apply for custody but over a year to get to the courts .) And to top it off the father wants to bring her back to the mother tomorrow..my dilemma continue s as I try to fight for her..my heart wants to plea to the mother ..but am scared of the repercussions of that to the child..she is 15 and her birthday is Feb....so lost .what to do?????


krillco profile image

krillco 2 months ago from Hollidaysburg, PA Author

Keep educating yourself on personality disorder....visit my website: gentling.org


Concerned other parent.. 2 months ago

I need to do more than that..what if talking with the mother gently of course .would that possibly work. I've been so scared of letting her go back. The father is suppose to come get her today. My heart is breaking..social services will just cause trouble for the girl..I have no intention of doing that..I'm so conflicted.. reading about it is not enough right now since she is being picked up later.


krillco profile image

krillco 6 weeks ago from Hollidaysburg, PA Author

I'd like to thank the close to half-million people who have read and benefited from this article. I appreciate the support!


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