How many of you, after surviving a relationship with a narcissist, have experienced a loss of (spiritual) faith? My lifelong faith in God is something I never thought I would lose hold of, and after an 11 year marriage to a narcissist, and a successful escape, it is gone. I wonder if this is common?
Maybe you’re the sort of person who always tries to see the good in others. You have a heart that forgives people time and time again hoping that they will see the error of their ways. You find it hard to comprehend the fact that some people are inherently bad to the bone.
People are drawn to you because you’re kind, warm and caring, you’re like an open book, you’re the one people turn to for love and support and you give it because that’s your nature, that’s who you are.
Sadly, there are those who will take advantage of that big heart of yours. You’ll give them more chances than they deserve to get it right, but they won’t. They’ll take all you have to give, drain you until there’s nothing left and then they’ll leave or maybe you will get to the point where you’ve had enough and you’ll close the door and walk away. Either way, that big heart will be shattered into a million pieces, you’ll wonder what you did wrong and you’ll wonder if your love wasn’t enough.
Some people will never appreciate the love you give. Some people don’t understand the meaning of the word. They have never matured emotionally and will never be able to reciprocate the love and kindness that you so readily give. That is their problem, not yours. Nothing you could have said or done would have changed the outcome. They will live their lives repeating this pattern of behaviour over and over again, never being able to form a deep and meaningful relationship with anyone they meet.
Each and every one of us deserve to be respected and valued. We need to understand that some people are not good for us no matter how much we love them. We need to learn to love ourselves enough to let people go. We need to learn to close doors that no longer lead us to where we want to be. Your heart will heal but it will never heal in the environment in which it was broken. You owe it to yourself. You owe it to your heart.
Written By Anne McCrea
Narcissistic and Emotional Abuse, Shattering the Illusion, now available on Amazon
I have been with my husband for 20 years now. He IS verbally and emotionally abusive. I am not looking for advice on getting out right now. My question is…he claims that I am also emotionally abusive to him but I do not agree. I try to compromise with him on things when I don’t agree with him on something. Of course when he doesn’t agree he becomes abusive. I can have an argument without making personal attacks. He cannot. I DO control our money. If I do not he will blow it on unnecessary things. Sometimes things that are consumed by him alone and have no benefit to the family and there is nothing to show for it later. Sometimes it’s things that he may keep but again it’s not something he needs. I have no problem with him fulfilling wants but as an adult we all know that we cannot have everything we want at all times. Is it abusive that I have started to control our money? I mean one example is he got into our tax money and spent 200 on games on his phone. I think that’s ridiculous. Then he now wants to buy a 1200 computer. So frustrating.
No amount of makeup can cover up an ugly personality.
We often read stories of women being abused by men but what about the other way round? The narcissistic woman is every bit as evil as their male counterpart. Until recent times men were reticent about coming forward and admitting to being abused by a woman. Perhaps this has been due to the fear of not being believed. For centuries men have been perceived as the stronger sex. Admitting to being abused by the fairer sex may have been seen as a sign of weakness. Thankfully this train of thought is changing. There is nothing ‘fair’ about the female narcissist.
If we look at statistics, we will read that there are more male narcissists than female, but surely statistics are only as reliable as the information provided. Mark Twain once said, “Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are pliable.” I am not sure that the statistics in relation to the male/female ratio of narcissistic personality disorder would be an accurate reflection.
How many narcissists actually present themselves to a medical health professional in order to be diagnosed with this unappealing label? Narcissists tend not to blame themselves for their noxious behaviour. They do not hold themselves accountable and shift blame onto others for the very things they do themselves.
I asked men on the Facebook page, Narcissistic and Emotional Abuse, to send me their stories relating what had been done to them at the hands of a female abusive personality.
Below you will find some of those accounts…
As with any traumatic relationship I was completely torn apart when my very short one year relationship and engagement ended with my Bi-Polar ex in January 2016. She was a very violent person who physically threatened me numerous times. I took 15 months off of dating to spend time recovering and trying to find myself. I read many self-help books and books regarding normal relationships and what to look out for when you meet someone.
I thought I had truly found my inner self and could love myself once again. I decided to go on a dating website in March 2017 and explore the option of dating again. After a few normal dates that did not work out for one reason or another I met “JS”. She seemed like a fantastic woman who had a great job as Director of HR for a nationwide law firm. We started to messages on the dating app and that quickly turned into exchanging phone numbers to text and call all within an hours’ time or so. She called me that same evening to chat and we decided to meet up at church the next day as we attended the same church.
The second date was just one day after that at a local bar (pub). FAST RIGHT? At this point she said to me that I was her type because there was a certain smell about me that she liked. I went on a work trip to Boston that Monday and Tuesday and when I came home we had set up the third date at her home on Wednesday evening.
I arrived at her home and walked in the front door to see a rifle sitting by the door. I inquired about the gun and she said that her ex had PTSD and she and her daughter were afraid of him. She left him “or so she says” in December or 2016 after Christmas. She also later gave me a story that he walked out her door and ghosted. I told her to put the gun in the closet and she ask me to help her change the locks on the house at some point in the near future.
The dysfunction of the house was noted by me on the first evening there when her 16 year old daughter walked in the living room to ask her a question and JS told her to please not interrupt our conversation, that they would talk later. Elizabeth stormed up the stairs to her room and slammed the door very hard.
Long story short, I went over the next night to watch TV and talk and the exact same thing happened with a little more aggravation on Elizabeth’s and JS’s part.
Elizabeth stormed upstairs and slammed the door to the point the house shook. JS went up after her and screamed at her.
I returned to her house with an invite that Saturday late morning. We talked all morning long on the sofa and she was very affectionate to me sharing life stories about her ex’s and family. Sunday was the same experience but with a little more sharing, kissing and eventually sex. She told me that she was in love with me after only knowing me a week or so and that did make me a little nervous at the time but I quickly overlooked it with the attention and love bombing at the time. It was wonderful to have someone so interested in me. Really lifted me up and made me feel good. The next night I went over to watch TV and chat and she said that she wanted me to stay the night and that it felt comfortable and convenient having me there. After that night, I do not think I ever slept at my place again except for my daughter weekends which were only four to six nights a month.
Soon to follow in July there were many trips planned with her and her daughter to Montana, Kansas City and Florida for that Christmas. Everything felt so fast but I was swept up in the excitement and attention of it all. Shortly thereafter we started talking about eventually getting married and when we retired moving to Fort Myers.
The lavish gifts started the following week with her buying me anything that I talked about. Expensive back pack for work several $200.00 pairs of dress shoes and so on. I felt so blessed and treated well.
About two months into the relationship something happened that reminded me of turning off a light switch. The emotions and feelings (communication) just stopped. I pointed it out to her and she said that she was just not an emotional type of person and that she liked to take relationships day by day. I found myself asking for reassurance in the relationship on a weekly basis because I never knew where she stood because of the lack of communication. We hardly ever went out or visited friends at all. The days of attention and normal relationship conversation had stopped and were replaced by a little frustration on my part. By then stories were repeated over and over again with a different ending. One day I talked to her about feeling lied to and I let her know how I did not appreciate always feeling like I was wrong. That’s the first time she got really upset and asked me to apologize to her, so I reluctantly did. How could a woman that was so amazing lie to me just about anything over and over and always change the story? I could not understand. I would correct her when she would do it and she would always tell me that people have a selective memory and I just didn’t remember what she said. (I was totally in love with this woman and my memory was always spot on.)
Shortly after celebrating our year anniversary is when the cracks started to appear even more. Her anger got worse when I would remind her of stories that she had told me in the past that had different endings. Things would always change.
I walked by her open computer sitting on the bed one morning while she was getting ready (Gmail was open) and noticed an email from Niteflirt.com. I was shocked so I took it upon myself to type Niteflirt.com in the Gmail search bar and she had been getting messages every week or so for 4-5 years. At that point I decided that I needed to give her more attention and do more things for her around the house so she wouldn’t have to look elsewhere for it. I would hardly ever get a thank you when doing chores for her or buying her things. It’s almost like she expected it.
She told me that she was not a communication person and that she would never be. She then told me that she would never want to marry me and she would not go and see a councillor about her communication problems. That’s when I told her I had to leave the relationship. I packed my things and walked out the door.
I know this sounds like a lot of rambling with no physical abuse, but the
gaslighting and silent treatment that I experienced over the two years just tore me down to a shell. After returning the next Saturday to get my things she told me that she wanted to be friends someday, but she did not think that we should even talk for a long time.
She encouraged me to be mad at her. It was actually funny to hear her say, “You need to be mad at me and I would expect you to hate me for leading you on for two years.” How could a woman that wanted to marry me and retire to Florida just change her mind so fast? It was all very confusing to me until I started reading books on Covert Narcissism. Finally, everything made sense.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk about this and possibly finally be believed and understood. I’m a big guy, 6’5″. She is 5’4″ so of course everyone thought, ‘How could she get the better of you?’ but she did in more ways than you could imagine. She played me big time. She got into my head and played with my feelings and my mind. I fell in love with her pretty quick. She told me of how she had been treated badly by her ex-boyfriends and I had no reason to doubt her. Those first few months were heaven. She said she loved me like no other and I thought I had met my soul mate. I never noticed at first that she didn’t have any friends. I thought that she had been burned by people before and decided to be choosy with the people who she allowed into her life. I was flattered that I was one of the chosen few. About nine months down the line things started to change. I bought her a handbag. She didn’t seem to appreciate it at the time and tossed it aside. I was hurt and asked her if she didn’t like it. I was berated for buying her a colour that she didn’t like and told I should have known that she didn’t like brown. She huffed and hardly spoke to me for the next few days, not answering my texts and calls. Four or five days later she called me and acted like nothing was wrong and the handbag was never seen or mentioned again. I was so happy that everything was fine between us again. That was my first experience of the silent treatment. Of course it happened again and again over the next seven years and as you said in one of your articles on the silent treatment, every one of those episodes lasted a little longer than the one before. I never knew what I had done to annoy her to bring on these periods of silence. I tried endlessly to talk to her, ask her what was wrong but was ignored until she saw fit to talk to me again. Throughout our years together she managed to cut me off from my friends, criticising them and telling lies about them. Foolishly I had believed her. It was only when I started to read about narcissism that I realised the type of person I was dealing with. I was a shell of the man that I used to be and I finally woke up to the fact that it was all down to her. I went to a therapist who confirmed what I had thought. I knew that staying with her would destroy me so the last time she gave me the silent treatment I returned the favour. I am sure she expected me to try to contact her, to try to put things right again but I’d had enough. I couldn’t take it any more. It hurt so bad but I knew it was the right thing to do. I’ll admit that as a mature man I was devastated. I read up on narcissism for months and months hoping to find something that would make me think I was wrong, that I should give her another chance to change her destructive behaviour but deep down I knew that she would never change. She moved on to another man and she has done exactly the same thing to him. I have PTSD and am still seeing my therapist but I’m getting there slowly but surely. I have never dated anyone since and to be honest, I don’t think I ever will. I am content on my own, no more walking on eggshells. People need to realise that men can be victims too.
I had been attacked by my ex-wife several times before I finally called the police on her. What came of that was I wound up being charged with domestic violence because she gave a false statement to them. The last time I defended myself (yes, defended myself, she threw punches at me and I pinned her down to stop her) and she told the police I pinned her down for no apparent reason. So I served six months of probation because I took the plea bargain, I didn’t want to lose in a trial by jury and lose my job. Counselling helped, I still think about it but not as much. I went through this in the fall of 2016, started divorce proceedings during my probation, and divorced her in May of 2017. I’m glad to have never seen her since, I’ve been single since then.
I’m an ex-doorman. My partner for over 3 years accused me of cheating all the time. I got accused of cheating with people on my Facebook and Instagram so I took all my female friends off social media. I gave up my job to make her happy. I couldn’t do right from wrong. Constantly getting accused. I finished my day job, gave up my pension and stability because she said that she wanted a child with me. I got a higher paid job. Then 2 weeks later she decided she didn’t want a child. I sacrificed everything for her and she still wasn’t happy. Always picking faults and always comparing me to her ex. I felt like I lived in his shoes. . In the end it finished about 2 months ago. She wanted friendship, I didn’t. She kept playing the head games. I had enough and took her stuff to her house. A few days later I had the coppers at the door. (For me harassing her.) Wtf. But the weirdest thing is I still can’t get her out of my damn mind. She damaged my self-worth and my confidence. I second guess my self. I’ve even had to start counselling for it.
This lady has always been perfect to me with all her flaws and I always told her that I feel like every relationship I’ve been in I’ve attracted partners with problems and feel like I’ve got to help in one way or another. I know I’m a sincere and compassionate person and I know, when I’ve been pushed, I can become a people pleaser. I know I’m a strong minded person. Is that a strength people can see or a weakness they can see? Is that why I attract people with problems? How can I hide that if it is a weakness so it can’t be used against me? I know I used to have a lot of friends and I know they used me for their own benefits so I decided not to have friends. I feel happier in myself that I don’t have friends because I know I can’t get used again. I know I had to sacrifice myself for her to get help because she wouldn’t get help while we were together. She says that she is getting help now that we have split. I’m happy she has taken that step because I know that if we were still in a relationship, she wouldn’t have taken that step. It hurts, what has happened and I had to sacrifice my own future with her so she could get help and have a better life and not live in her past any more. I didn’t want to leave but the accusing and assuming was pushing me away.
About five physical assaults, all in the chest by elbows or punches. Still doesn’t make sense really. Financially, mostly everything in the relationship always seemed to fall on me there too. I enabled that too I guess. So my visa is just screwed. Emotionally, a lot of belittling, and snide remarks that seem irrelevant or harmless and “joking” but really were taxing. Mentally, the “crazy making” amplified an otherwise well managed depression and anxiety disorder, created a lot of mistrust and gaslighting.
How it all affected me? I got run down. My entire narrative became fixate with obsessive rumination of a pretty cookie cutter victim mentality mixed with Stockholm syndrome. My physical health declined. Suicide became a recurring idea as an actual option. I was kind of a shell for a good two and a half to three years after the four year relationship. It felt like it boiled over and completely turned me into a profoundly weak and shattered person like my sense of self, my sense of efficacy. My inner dialogue, my inner narrative felt like it was competing with itself to lose. And I got stuck there. So, financially exhausted beyond my means, emotionally unstable, confused, absent, self-absorbed, depressed, that was the worst. Mentally disoriented and foggy for so long and not even present in my own everyday life. And I hid from the world in plain sight. I have PTSD I guess now and still focusing on recovery. So how it affected me? It felt like someone stole my essence you know. In a sense, in a weird Jungian twist, looking over the brass tacks of it, it was like I became a reflection of her true ego. A fractured, fragile, little person you know? I didn’t externalize it as narcissism but she has psychologically wounded my spirit man. The backhanded remarks and seemingly irrelevant comments I can still hear sometimes. Those were the worst and most corrosive to my sense of self.
I currently got discarded by my girlfriend of two and a half years. I knew there was an underlying issue with her after apparent depression and suicide attempts so I researched. I was not even aware of the meaning of narcissist/sociopath or psychopath/bpd…. I have never read anything that is so dead on with all of everything, I mean word for WORD!
It’s really too bad, I had been so brainwashed, I thought it was all me. She made me leave all of my friends while she kept hers in a separate life. It’s so confusing how I still even hold feelings for this woman. I hope the best for her supplies. It scares me because she just moved her mother into the spare bedroom in the new house she just bought and also her 19 year old daughter in the basement apartment. I stuck with her throughout all her stress and drama, selling her home she built with her ex-husband. Renovations at the cottage, let my own home go almost abandoned because she required me to be with her. I helped her move everybody in and out of their old places to new. I was always hoping that things would wind down once the stress was gone. Wrong: Once I had done everything she completely left me, blocked me from everything. Now I found out she is with a woman that had been dating her best friend. She kept me around until things got settled. She invited me to a magic show and dinner in town with her daughter and her friend probably because she knew I’d pay for dinner… was so affectionate. Once we got to her place she started an argument over nothing and said I’d better leave. I went to leave and she said I could sleep on the couch or her bed. I was tired of getting kicked out numerous times, out for just standing up for myself (recently I have started) and went home. That didn’t go over so well. She was used to me kissing ass to just enjoy the night without drama.
I am currently recovering from the “abuse” and it’s really hard. I have been told over and over that I am a huge empath. This is the most confusing thing I have ever dealt with in my entire life. Even after writing this I feel guilty judging her as I am not qualified to do so and I don’t know whether or not to believe she knows or not. That is the reason I had stuck around for so long. I feel I had seen the good part and feel it’s still in there somewhere but the more I read I’m thinking it all was her game. I can’t believe how people actually do these things. I really feel for her because I think everybody has a right to be happy but I don’t think she ever will be now that I am more educated. I really need help and I think that this may be my opportunity to get it all out. The things I could write down are endless. It is really hard to believe how I stuck around and let myself get beat to a pulp physically and mentally.
I can’t wait for time to heal these wounds. I am so disturbed with myself. Why is it so hard to recover from this sort of person?
I was in a seventeen year long relationship, three of which were dating. It started in high school, and I didn’t know what a narcissist was, much less that people could be that evil. I was always told that relationships and marriage were hard work, so I needed to stick it out and stay in the relationship. Church pastors and members encouraged me to not end things, no matter how bad it seemed.
No one took me seriously, and I resigned to the fact that it’s simply hard work, and this was the way life being married was. I was cheated on so many times, nothing I could prove physically, but multiple times she left me emotionally for other men that I could prove. One time I was so fed up that I actually encouraged her to meet her online fling.
I know now, that she is a covert narcissist. Anytime that I’d catch her, she’d find some way to avoid taking responsibility for her actions, to the extreme of an “attempted suicide”, taking a bottle of pills while at home alone with our then, infant daughter. She simply used this to cover up me finding her the day prior talking to someone online about their hopes and dreams of their life together, and her carrying his baby. I took a screenshot of her email that she was working on as proof to confront her with.
I felt alone, lost, a roommate, a whipping boy, someone to do her bidding and if I didn’t, I’d get rage or the silent treatment. I saw how she treated others that “wronged” her, and would get me to believe that she did nothing wrong, and I ended up being her flying monkey.
Fast forward to the end of the relationship, I had enough, but couldn’t break free. She made me pay for new boobs and a tummy tuck, and later found out that this was her way out, getting confidence in her looks to sleep with as many men as possible. It took a friend who knew what she was to break me free of the seventeen year bond that was there.
Almost six years later, non-stop legal issues with the three children, and the oldest is now estranged from me. She was brainwashed and alienated from me. I attempted to catch her in this with a counsellor, psychiatrist and a guardian ad litem, all of whom were manipulated, and I ended up losing 50/50 visitation with the oldest child to the point I don’t see or hear from her at all.
To this day, I have to guard myself because she could easily manipulate law enforcement into thinking I did something to her, and end up in jail for doing nothing. So there is contact via email only, and there is little to no contact in person unless we can’t help it. She has manipulated doctors and nurses in two instances. My oldest was hospitalized for an attempted suicide (just like dear old mommy) and a back surgery. During her stay at the hospital for the back
surgery, I was kept away by her mom’s flying monkeys, and the attempted suicide was hidden from me. It took my legal team contacting the hospital’s legal team to let me in the door to see her. I was told my daughter had taken a bunch of old pills, but found that was untrue. She had overdosed on cocaine, Adderall, and had marijuana and alcohol in her system. I recently found a GoFundMe page, begging for donations for this, but under the disguise of some disease that she doesn’t have. My new wife carries insurance for her, and my daughter is not taking anything for this purported disease.
The relationship with the female narcissist in my life can be very confusing and quite difficult to put into words. EVERYBODY Loves her! I loved her, still love her and have empathy for her. When I attempt to explain it to others, they tell me, “I don’t think you’re being fair. Everybody has a past.” She broke up with her first secret boyfriend, began dating me from within the church, and at the same time was sleeping with a married man. And then moved in with that man and his wife and child. She became a part of several weekday ministries within the church. After I was burnt a few times, my gut was telling me to move on (at that time I didn’t have all of the knowledge I now currently have). I had decided to go no contact for a year. We still shared the same social circle though. Before that time of ‘no contact’ she had REALLY made it appear to me and others that she and I were dating and developing something good. I had really cherished our times together. Unbeknownst to me, she was f****** a married man. I had thought, ‘Ahh, she is the one! She is the one that God ordained for me!’ Oh, damn, I was so wrong. I had to question my religion. I had found out later that she had also given that man 20,000 Dollars. She had only known him for one to three months. Within 3 months she and he were shopping for a home together. She had just broken up with her past boyfriend and would show up to church and lead me on with the love bombing as if we had a healthy courtship/relationship developing. Woah was I fooled. Over time I went ‘no contact’ to the best of my ability. Wasn’t quite as familiar with narcissism then. I attempted to date, other girls. It seems that she somehow befriended every girl I had attempted to date. A girl I had asked out because we had similar interests had called me a ‘CHEATER!’ in a very passionate way, when in fact I was single, very single. I was becoming lonely. I had actually begun experiencing something called “touch hunger”. I began to shower not to wash but to have something against my skin. I needed something to comfort and to stimulate the pressures I was beginning to feel. I had very few hugs and intimacy for a long time. I had decided to date outside of the church. I met a mature lovely woman (maybe I’m wrong) whom I had shared similar interests with. We had gone out on quite a few dates. Several dates into it I began to wonder if this woman liked me…No kiss, no intimacy or anything. I began to back off. I was becoming lonelier and desiring a partner and close companionship. This woman had found her way into my social circle. She began communicating with the narcissist. The covert narcissist invited her out to a group event. Long story short, in a time of weakness, I broke. It was.
during a transition in my life. I began dating the narcissist. Within two weeks, she was talking about marriage. The married man’s stuff was still at her house. Turns out the mature woman did like me. I acquired an std from the narcissist.
I would like to say thank you so much for all your work that you have done to help people understand what NPD is and give them tools to recover. My story is like a short journey into what happened when I met the love of my life and discovered that she was a narc. She is diagnosed with borderline/bipolar 2 but I realized after some time that there’s more to it than that. She is fifty years old and has been in a DBT treatment recently but has not handled it well. It made her worse in many ways coz she used it to hide behind instead of reflect over her own behaviour. I suspect that she has fooled her therapists in a smart way and played the victim card. Coz as we all know they are experts in acting. And she has her monkeys plus talking shit about all her exes and they are many… Still she has contact with all of them just as “friends” by the way😎😂. When we used to talk it was all about her and nothing about me. And if I tried to say that I felt bad by the things she did to me, she would reply quickly with a short, “Not my problem. It’s you who are sensitive and pathetic.” It was and still is hell to realize her total lack of empathy. I became her sex toy and it was real nice. I would be lying if I said it was not. But she used it to control me over time. So off and on for five years, love and pain in a twisted dance. And now I’m trying to recover but the hurt and cuts inside are very deep… I trust no one and look for the signs in everyone I meet. I cry a lot and feel so empty inside. But I’m on my way to becoming myself again, slowly doing the grayrock… I became like her I realized in the end and that was a painful insight coz I always try to think of others and feel for them but at the end I was cold to all people around me. Nothing matters when you’re down and sad. I drank a lot and got laid off from work. I dated and it was not one of the things I’m proud of then. I hurt a girl who loved me and I’m ashamed of that.😔
I was thinking a lot of ending my life but my inner voice saved me from that. The hard part is that you have no one who can understand why I stayed for so long and try to help her get better. (Mission impossible) So I’ve lost friends and family members who think I’m stupid for having loved her at all…
In my case, I had worked in a well-known bank for some eight years and in a variety of functions. My latest position had been my favourite and the most rewarding, but we had recently experienced some staff turnover, and the incoming colleagues replacing those of mine who had left displayed an incompetence and a lack of professionalism the likes of which I had never seen in my entire professional life. This meant that, instead of doing the job I loved and focusing on quality and a great customer experience, most of my day was spent on damage limitation, not unlike bailing water out of sinking ship while your teammates are drilling holes in the hull. Combined with a general managerial disinterest in our team’s activities, it wasn’t long before I started looking for a position elsewhere within the organisation. When a former manager of mine mentioned that another department was recruiting and that my background was a good match, I jumped at the opportunity.
Introductory interviews with the manager of that other department were soon set up. These were fairly informal, since it would be an internal transfer, so my employee transcript was freely available, and it was taken as given that I knew the ins and outs of the bank, both in terms of systems and procedures, and in terms of people and departments. Unlike my previous managers, who had tended to be pure products of the organisation, or specialists in operations or controls, this new manager was a high-profile expert in her field, and the type whom journalists and news networks occasionally approached for informed commentary. My knowledge of the workings of the bank, combined with my quite respectable language skills and academic achievements, came across well, and rather than finding myself in an interview situation in which I had to sell my skill-set to a prospective employer, it almost felt like this new manager was courting me: singing my praises, waxing lyrical over my CV, expressing amazement that “someone of my calibre” had spent “so much time” in “dead-end jobs”, and promising me significant promotions and pay increases. Being thoroughly fed up in my then-role and with my then-colleagues, I took the bait, and within a couple of months, was installed in my new function.
The job itself was challenging on several levels. First of all, although I had been nominally hired as a “business manager” (in itself a title so vague as to be almost meaningless), I found that there was no exact precedent in the organisation for what was expected of me, my responsibilities falling somewhere between project management and IT support/development, neither of which I was versed in. As my manager was herself a new appointee (the previous manager—and entire team—having resigned and left the bank some months previously), the majority of my initial work was essentially “continuity management”: painstakingly going through the records of the past, so as to maintain a semblance of Business As Usual, while myself learning those procedures and attempting to update them to the new team’s requirements. In this, I achieved a measure of success; not as a self-congratulatory self-evaluation, but gleaned from the appreciative remarks I received from several higher-ups.
The red flags started after perhaps three months, corresponding, coincidentally, to my notice period. At first, there was the occasional odd remark from my manager (addressed to me or to colleagues) or questionable conversations I might overhear, as I was seated right next to her. While she made good on her promise of a pay increase (and later on, of a promotion), when she told me, without a trace of humour, “Take the time to get to know the activities and procedures really well, because by year-end, your honeymoon period will be over,” I did wonder what I had signed up for. Given that I wasn’t exactly spending my days hob-knobbing with colleagues at the water cooler, but was instead putting in nine or 10 hours of hard graft a day, I wasn’t sure how that could be described as a “honeymoon period”. It wasn’t an exaggeration, though.
Questionable, inappropriate, and frankly unacceptable incidents came thick and fast. She was not stupid; she systematically reserved her worst behaviour for private settings behind closed doors, or for brief tête-à-têtes while on a lunch or cigarette break, where there were no witnesses. On more than one occasion, I overheard her on the phone with Human Resources, wanting to fire an employee for not having done things the way she wanted, or for having failed to show adequate deference, the poor HR employees being in the unenviable position of having to stand their ground, explaining that what the manager was suggesting amounted to unfair dismissal, and that she would likely get the bank hauled in front of an employment tribunal. In meetings, she would regularly denigrate other employees’ comments and suggestions, and during telephone conference calls, rather than being encouraging, fostering discussion, or leading by example, she would often resort to bullying tactics, quite literally shouting orders rudely down the phone. These conference calls at this point could have upwards of 20 participants, mostly middle and senior managers worldwide, so her behaviour was no longer even on the down low, but more of an open secret.
It was an open secret, known to those in our immediate sphere of activity, but also (I would later discover) known to Human Resources, who maintained a “blacklist” of problematic managers, not that it did much good. Although her abusive behaviour was known to us, it wasn’t tolerated. She was essentially the bank’s global head of activities for our area, so the abuse was that much harder to counter than had it been coming from someone on the same hierarchical level. Instead, the period during which I was there saw probably the highest staff turnover in recent memory, outside of any actual organisational restructuring.
Increasingly, being the closest thing to her right-hand man, I also became the subject of much of her ire, even though I was regularly assured by colleagues, with some sympathy, that I was doing a sterling job. Note at this point that I was already incapable of telling whether I was really doing a good job myself, as my sense of validation, understandably, but in this case toxically, was based on feedback from someone I’m quite happy to define as a malignant narcissist.
In team meetings, my comments would be derided and denigrated in front of everyone, the insinuation being that I had nothing of value to contribute, and leading to much post-meeting commiseration from appalled and well-intentioned colleagues. In bullying fashion, and perhaps in an attempt at some “good cop, bad cop”, she would try to commandeer my workstation, so as to send rude and wholly inappropriate emails to her underlings from my email account, forcing me to physically shut down my computer. On a couple of occasions, I witnessed her being (mildly) taken to task by her senior colleagues or her own managers, but it did no good.
By the end, I was living in a liminal nightmare scenario of constantly being made to feel inadequate and incompetent, contrasted with the positive feedback I continued to receive from colleagues, all the while pulling 10-hour days, with this monster sitting next to me, for 18 months. My sleeping and appetite were affected, with friends outside work commenting that I looked positively gaunt; I was drinking too much by way of self-medication; and ultimately, I suffered two nervous breakdowns, not just while working for her, but literally at the workplace.
I took some much-needed holiday time one summer. Two weeks, but it was barely enough to recover from the psychological abuse. My manager had already planned to take two weeks off immediately after me, so I fancied I’d essentially have four weeks of breathing space and comparative normality. That didn’t happen. The very day I got back, I was subjected to ongoing and almost daily emails from my manager (while she was on holiday) enumerating what she saw as all of my failings and incompetence. (For the record, until this posting, I had a stellar employee record.) I saw these emails more as a reflection of her frustrations and panic at being left alone without me to do her bidding, but by then I had already reached breaking point.
I decided that I couldn’t (or wouldn’t face her again), and wouldn’t even wait for her to return from her holidays. I did my work as per usual, tied up some loose ends, and took my leave on a Friday lunchtime for a wisdom tooth extraction (this was actually true, not a ruse). I then consulted my GP and told him all that had transpired, and he put me on sick leave, so that I didn’t have to return to work.
This sick leave was extended for a period of three months (after my GP, it was granted by a psychiatrist I started seeing, in combination with a psychotherapist specialised in work-related PTSD). During my official absence, my manager tried to contact me several times (which is technically not allowed), leaving voice messages imploring me to contact her. I did no such thing. I then started receiving calls and voicemails from colleagues who had never previously contacted me, so it became obvious that she was trying to get me to contact her in a roundabout way, perhaps not unlike police trying to track a line when they’re on the phone with a hostage taker. It sounds paranoid, and perhaps it was, but at that stage I believed her to be capable of anything.
The bank belonged to those companies that had had their share of regulatory and employee woes; there were quite literally legal practices in town that specialised in the fall-out from employees taking the bank to court. I think this bank was eager to avoid legal action, as I could certainly have made a case, and they were already aware my manager was a problem for them. Instead, my contact with them was limited exclusively to HR managers (they no doubt informed my manager of this, too), and they offered me a generous severance package, along with an excellent letter of recommendation (signed by my manager, through gritted teeth, I imagined).
I spent a total of six months in therapy, recovering my sanity, my sleep, and my health, after which I moved to Berlin for a month, both for the language experience (languages being my first love), and to have a real holiday, away from the looming prospect of working with a pathological narcissist, and looking forward to writing a new chapter in my life. My experience in therapy and the insights it gave me was an incredibly positive one, and inspired me to take university short courses both in philosophical logic (constructing and deconstructing arguments, learning about logical fallacies), and in psychology, where I focused on abnormal psychology, specifically.
I don’t think one ever really completely gets over such an experience. Perhaps the best that can be hoped for is the day you no longer think about your abuser, not as a result of repression, which is unhealthy, but because you’re as over your abuser as you can hope to be, and they no longer have a hold on your emotional and psychological processes—or at the very least, when you do think of them, the thought is no longer a trigger for distress. That, I think, is when you’re free, and at present, I’ve rarely been happier.
The woman who abused me from an early age was none other than the woman who brought me into this world, my dear beloved mother! A mother in name only.
My dad left her after I was born. It was my fault that he left. She used to tell me that if I had never been born, he would still be around. I didn’t know any different.
My brother was five years older than me. My mom gave him all the love she had and there was none left for me. I was the accident, the disappointment she wished she never had. My brother never did anything wrong so she allowed his friends to the house and I had to go to my room. I was always the cause of her embarrassment and never did anything to please her so she wouldn’t let my friends come round.
I grew up believing that I was not good enough. I tried hard at school hoping that she would be proud of me but she never was. If I did something that displeased her she would acknowledge me at all. I used to go to my room and cry wanting her to hear me and show me the love that she gave my brother. I waited and waited but she never came. Why would she? I was hard to love, so she said.
I couldn’t wait to grow up and leave home and I did as soon as I was working and earning a wage. She tried to make me feel guilty for leaving and said that I should stay and help her and pay her back for raising me. I believed I owed her something and sent her money every month. When I met my wife, we were saving hard and I told my mom that I wouldn’t be sending her money any more. I told her that I was getting married and was saving for our home. The verbal assault was something else. It was hard to listen to her rants about how she was sorry that I had been born. I figured out then and there that I owed her nothing more. I hung up the phone, wished her a nice life and have never spoken to her again. I don’t feel guilty for cutting her out of my life. I did for a while and went to therapy. The support from my therapist and my wife helped me see that her presence in my life was toxic for me. I still have feelings of low self-worth at times but my therapist is helping me deal with those. I know that years of conditioning me to believe I was worth nothing played with my mind and cemented those feelings in my brain.
My second ex wife and I had been friends for several years. We met at work, which was the inpatient cancer unit of a paediatric hospital. You would think anybody who can do that kind of with is automatically a good person, but that’s not the case.
I had to quit working shortly after we started dating after years of battling chronic illness. I have severe fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, and anxiety. We were still in the love bombing phase, and she vowed to support me and stand at my side, and I believed her.
Her mask started to crash around the time we got married. She began to have angry outbursts that scared me. After we married, her mask came off altogether. The sweet, seemingly empathetic person I had known disappeared and was replaced by a sarcastic, critical, raging monster. Most of the emotional and verbal abuse took place behind closed doors. She was charming to coworkers, friends, and frankly, but vicious behind their backs. She would crack sarcastic jokes putting me down all the time. She would constantly deride and belittle me, as well as others. There were days where I would be incapacitated in bed, literally shaking with fibromyalgia pain, and she would stand over me screaming and cursing at me. Her former admiration of me was replaced with resentment and contempt. She had no interest in listening to anything I had to say, but expected me to listen to her whenever she wanted to spew venom. She isolated me from family, friends, and the finances. She knew stress made my condition worse, but she did not care. She would storm around the house throwing things and slamming doors. Her rage was unpredictable and terrifying. Her own children were afraid of her, but when I would try to advocate for them, she would rage at me and deny all the abuse.
The stress from the abuse became so bad that I began having seizures. I felt like I was on the verge of a stroke, and my doctors told me that was a very real possibility. I reached out to some friends she had isolated me from, and they believed I was experiencing narcissistic abuse and was in an abusive relationship. I planned my escape over the course of three weeks. The day I left, she was at work and the children were with their father. I had to gather seven boxes of DVDs to sell to Movie Trading Company to get enough gas money to drive thirteen hours cross country to my parents. I have never been so scared in my life. I had to pack up my car and grab my car, and do all of this while literally shaking with Fibro pain and fatigue, and under the weight of anxiety that she might come home early from work.
I made it to my parents that night with $12 left, with my cat, and with my life.
Life since then has been hard. I have been diagnosed with PTSD from all the trauma. She was vicious and nastier than ever after I left. She had blocked communication with my stepdaughters and is trying to poison them against me.
I fell into another relationship shortly thereafter with my childhood sweetheart, whom I had known for twenty five years. She ended up being a covert narcissist who used me and my family and threw us away like trash. I am devastated. I am in therapy trying to break the cycle of abusive relationships I’ve been living, trying to heal, and trying to learn to live myself again.
Narcissistic abuse is terrifying, powerful, and insidious. It sucks your soul dry, destroys your health, ruins your finances, shatters your mind, and erases your value and sense of self. And it knows no gender. The road to recovery is long and arduous. Trauma bonding makes you miss the narc, in spite of what they did to you, and feel like you’re going through drug withdrawals that are so painful that I wanted to commit suicide just to escape the pain.
I’m slowly beginning to heal, but sometimes feel I will never escape this trauma. Thank you for bringing awareness to this issue.
The subject of men being abused by women is very real and something that needs to be addressed by society in general. Police, legal professionals and the court systems need to recognize different perspectives in relation to emotional abuse. Men need to talk about abuse without the fear of not being believed simply because of their gender. Let go of the notion that admitting to being abused is a sign of weakness. On the contrary, talking about abuse is a sign of strength. It is not easy talking about what has been done to you especially if you hold the belief that your story will be dismissed. So come on guys, let’s talk about this. Let’s get this information out there. Change your mind-set. Make this a topic that is no longer taboo. Let’s get men being abused by women out in the open.
Written by Anne McCrea
My thanks to all the men who have contributed to this article.
Letting go doesn’t mean giving up, but rather accepting that there are things that cannot be.” ~Unknown
You two are family. Maybe you grew up with them and were by their side for a huge chunk of their life. There was a lot of laughing, crying, and sharing. Some fighting too.
You know how their brain works probably better than anyone else. But sometimes, in adulthood, those closest to you can become unrecognizable—estranged, cold, and careless. For no apparent reason, you find yourself shut out of their life. Your peace-feelers are increasingly rejected. You’ve been left out in the cold.
There is always a reason why people turn out the way they do. But, sometimes the metamorphosis is so gradual that it sneaks up on you, and one day, you wake up and wonder, “How did it come to this?”
You want them back. So you start to question and blame yourself. Was it the time I chose to go to the party instead of keeping her company? Was it when I used his things without asking? What did I do to deserve this? What can I do to make it better?
While it’s good to ask yourself such questions, sometimes the lesson you are meant to learn is to let go of the memory of who they were and accept who they have become.
This is based on my own relationship with my sister. We’d always been close, and when I was growing up, I looked up to her as my role model. I was shy, nerdy, and runty. She was pretty, popular, and good at sports.
But after she went to college and, four years later, I followed suit on another continent, our lives didn’t really intersect. When we did meet, we’d butt heads about a lot of things. She had grown bitter in the years post high school, while I’d grown up, become assertive, and was impulsively exploring the world. Still, despite our differences, I thought we’d always be there for one another.
Then she got married to a man who doesn’t get along with me or our parents. They began living in a strange emotional autarky.
She grew very cold, defensive, and resentful toward our family and began to cut me out of her life. I tried to reach out and mend the relationship, but she refused to open up. She’s always been proud that way.
One day when I told her I loved her and wished we could be close like before, she replied, “That was a long time ago.”
Over the last few years, the relationship has really gone downhill. I’ve struggled with the hurt of “losing” my sister, as well as feelings of self-blame as I struggled to find a reason for her change. I have racked my brain for memories of what I could’ve done wrong, but my mind draws a blank.
Then, I decided I didn’t want to dwell on feeling hurt any longer. I didn’t want to keep longing for and trying to rekindle the sisterhood we once had.
I have come to realize my sister is not the person I once knew, and I have to accept that, learn to let go, and move on. That is how I decided to take certain decisions for the sake of my own happiness and mental health.
I hope this advice can help those who may be experiencing a toxic and estranged relationship with a family member with whom they had once been close.
1. Identify in what ways the relationship may be toxic and how it makes you feel.
A toxic relationship can manifest in many ways. Perhaps your relative always puts you down, lacks empathy, acts passive-aggressive, or ignores you when you speak.
Once you have pinpointed the person’s patterns of behavior, become aware of how this affects your mood, body language, energy levels, self-esteem, and peace of mind. Knowing how to recognize toxicity and its effects is the first step to understanding your feelings and empowering yourself to deal with the situation.
2. Accept that you may never find the root cause for your relative’s behavior.
People do therapy for years—there’s never a simple answer. You may be able to talk to your relative to find out why s/he acts a certain way. You may not. Sometimes, the reason why a person treats you badly may not have anything to do with what you’ve done, but might just be the way they process and respond to their own life experiences. Hardships may strengthen one person and make another bitter.
In any case, try to reframe toxicity by understanding it tends to come from a place of unhappiness or discontent. People’s hurtful actions will then become less hurtful to you when you realize they reflect their inner state rather than you.
3. Do not normalize toxicity.
If you have done nothing wrong, don’t forget it is not normal for anyone to continually be negative, inconsiderate, and hurtful toward you. It is very easy to lose perspective about what is right and wrong, especially when you are constantly justifying a person’s behavior with stories of their past traumas or hardships.
People tend to make concessions for difficult or estranged loved ones because they wish to forgive and forget, avoid conflict, or do not want to push the person farther away. Empathy is good, but it cannot be used to keep making excuses for terrible behavior. Sometimes you need to set limits and say “enough!” before such behavior becomes the new normal.
4. Don’t expect anything from your estranged relative.
Yes, you might expect your family to have your back because you’d do the same, but don’t count on it with an estranged relative with whom you struggle to maintain a relationship. I’ve learned not to be dependent or expect any help from my sister, even though I grew up believing that’s what siblings should do for one another.
5. Realize it takes two people to fix a relationship.
As much as you try, if the other person is not ready or not willing, you may not fix much. The relationship will remain toxic for as long as the person is unable to change. You cannot blame yourself for it. You have done your best.
6. Decide how much space you want to give them in your life.
You will probably encounter your relative again at family gatherings, or you may need to communicate with them about family matters. In this case, minimize the amount of time you spend in their presence and keep communication to a minimum.
Sometimes, though, you may need to cut them out of your life entirely, whether permanently or momentarily. Keeping a space open for them and constantly making the effort to reach out is emotionally exhausting.
Once you have deemed you have tried enough and done your best, don’t feel guilty about drawing the line and deciding that enough is enough.
7. Don’t bottle things up.
Communicate your feelings to people you trust. If the person knows your relative, you may learn that they also share the same feelings of hurt and disappointment in dealing with him/her.
Talking through your feelings is therapeutic and helps you acquire perspective about the situation.
In my case, my parents also have a toxic relationship with my sibling, and I found that letting them talk about it and encouraging them not to bottle things up has been a great release for them.
8. Refrain from frequently gossiping about your relative, especially to a wide circle of people.
There is a difference between sharing your feelings with people you trust and constantly focusing all conversations on this individual and what s/he did or said. You risk getting into the habit of speaking badly of someone, and the conversation will often just keep going around in circles. Also, the negative talk can return to your relative’s ears and feed the cycle of negativity and estrangement.
Instead, decrease the mental and emotional energy spent thinking about your relative, and focus on the positive aspects of your life and your loved-ones’ lives.
9. Don’t give your relative an opportunity to blame you.
People like my sister are often extreme narcissists who blame everyone but themselves. It is important not to give him or her ammunition for this blame-game. If he/she always shows up late, acts rude, never tidies up, or uses your things, resist the temptation to do the same in return. Do the right thing and s/he won’t be able to reproach you for anything.
10. Accept you may not be able to have a frank, heart-to-heart conversation.
My sister goes through life demonstrating a character devoid of vulnerability or weakness. If you are faced with an emotionally inaccessible and excessively proud individual, you may have to accept the fact that you may never have that cathartic moment of truth you so crave. Strive for closure on your side and move on.
11. Shift your focus.
Do not dwell on the pain and hurt of “losing” a relative. Don’t focus on trying to grapple with the toxic relationships in your life. Build upon the positive ones you have instead. Accept the cards that life has dealt you and make the best of them. Live your life and cultivate your soul. Be content and grateful for what you have and who you are, for that is more than enough to fill a heart with happiness!
My sibling has finally agreed to go to family therapy. I’m pretty freaked out. She has avoided all ownership of their actions, gaslighted me, projected her behaviour onto me, undermined me, stonewalled me (for over a year), everything from the toxic person’s rule book. Her and my parents desperately want her to be at my wedding and they have been testing boundaries much. My boundaries are – talk things through with a therapist or keep minimal contact, being polite at family events. Now, in a 180 degree turn around, she claims she wants therapy. There is only evidence of her avoiding accountability. She never apologises for anything. Argh. I feel sick inside.
I am just completing my first week apart from my partner of 16 years. He has chipped away at my self esteem, gradually taken over my home to turn it into a man cave. He has a gaming addiction and a weed addiction and I honestly feel I created my own monster by pandering to his every whim, always being the one to apologise after his constant insults and rages left me an emotional wreck. It was like I was addicted to him and would tolerate any amount of emotional abuse just to keep him in my life. He told me I was stupid, fat, ugly, old, waste of space, retard etc etc..but still I
provided everything emotionally and financially as well as a roof over his head.
The rage last week was a different level and I had him arrested after he injured me throwing items at me and smashed my doors with his head…this would all have quietened down in a couple of hours had I left it, he would have simply said “Sorry for grouching.” I would have said that it was okay. Until the next time…everything I owned, did or said he insulted…so WHY do I now feel guilty to hear he is in tears and has hurt himself? I know if he came back it would very soon be MY fault for calling the police not his for 16 years of mainly mental abuse…so WHY do I still care.? Please tell me..
I have chronic fatigue, chronic back pain, depression, stuck with meds I cannot stop. I came back in the house of my narcissistic parents that is isolated in a little village. I cannot drive, they ruin my mental health. I called to the town hospital but it is full, don’t know what to do, feel like I’m trapped with no support. What can I do? Sos suicide just listen but don’t do anything else. I don’t want suicide anymore. I want help but nobody seems to care, my parents have all the family in their bag. I have no vital energy anymore. What can I do?
Many people spend a lifetime blaming themselves for everything that has gone wrong within their family. From a young age they were conditioned to accept responsibility when they had done nothing wrong. They were the family scapegoat. From the day they were born they were never given the love and respect that their siblings received from their mum. There was the golden child in the family who could never do anything wrong and then there was the scapegoat who never did anything right.
The reality of this family dynamic is that this scenario is played out over and over again within the dysfunctional family unit. The scapegoat child is usually the kindest, empathetic member of the group, always helping others yet constantly being taken for granted. They have carried a burden well into adulthood holding on to blame for all that went wrong, a burden that was never theirs to carry.
The narcissistic mother will never accept blame for the harm that she does. Instead she will make the designated scapegoat carry this unacceptable load.
The author of the following article is not known but it is an accurate explanation of the characteristics of the typical narcissistic mother:
Everything she does is deniable. There is always a facile excuse or an explanation. Cruelties are couched in loving terms. Aggressive and hostile acts are paraded as thoughtfulness. Selfish manipulations are presented as gifts. Criticism and slander is slyly disguised as concern. She only wants what is best for you. She only wants to help you.
She rarely says right out that she thinks you’re inadequate. Instead, any time that you tell her you’ve done something good, she counters with something your sibling did that was better or she simply ignores you or she hears you out without saying anything, then in a short time does something cruel to you so you understand not to get above yourself. She will carefully separate cause (your joy in your accomplishment) from effect (refusing to let you borrow the car to go to the awards ceremony) by enough time that someone who didn’t live through her abuse would never believe the connection.
Many of her putdowns are simply by comparison. She’ll talk about how wonderful someone else is or what a wonderful job they did on something you’ve also done or how highly she thinks of them. The contrast is left up to you. She has let you know that you’re no good without saying a word. She’ll spoil your pleasure in something by simply congratulating you for it in an angry, envious voice that conveys how unhappy she is, again, completely deniably. It is impossible to confront someone over their tone of voice, their demeanour or the way they look at you, but once your narcissistic mother has you trained, she can promise terrible punishment without a word. As a result, you’re always afraid, always in the wrong, and can never exactly put your finger on why.
Because her abusiveness is part of a lifelong campaign of control and because she is careful to rationalize her abuse, it is extremely difficult to explain to other people what is so bad about her. She’s also careful about when and how she engages in her abuses. She’s very secretive, a characteristic of almost all abusers (“Don’t wash our dirty laundry in public!”) and will punish you for telling anyone else what she’s done. The times and locations of her worst abuses are carefully chosen so that no one who might intervene will hear or see her bad behaviour, and she will seem like a completely different person in public. She’ll slam you to other people, but will always embed her devaluing nuggets of snide gossip in protestations of concern, love and understanding (“I feel so sorry for poor Cynthia. She always seems to have such a hard time, but I just don’t know what I can do for her!”) As a consequence the children of narcissists universally report that no one believes them (“I have to tell you that she always talks about YOU in the most caring way!). Unfortunately therapists, given the deniable actions of the narcissist and eager to defend a fellow parent, will often jump to the narcissist’s defence as well, reinforcing your sense of isolation and helplessness (“I’m sure she didn’t mean it like that!”)
She violates your boundaries. You feel like an extension of her. Your property is given away without your consent, sometimes in front of you. Your food is eaten off your plate or given to others off your plate. Your property may be repossessed and no reason given other than that it was never yours. Your time is committed without consulting you, and opinions purported to be yours are expressed for you. (She LOVES going to the fair! He would never want anything like that. She wouldn’t like kumquats.) You are discussed in your presence as though you are not there. She keeps tabs on your bodily functions and humiliates you by divulging the information she gleans, especially when it can be used to demonstrate her devotion and highlight her martyrdom to your needs (“Mike had that problem with frequent urination too, only his was much worse. I was so worried about him!”) You have never known what it is like to have privacy in the bathroom or in your bedroom, and she goes through your things regularly. She asks nosy questions, snoops into your email/letters/diary/conversations. She will want to dig into your feelings, particularly painful ones and is always looking for negative information on you which can be used against you. She does things against your expressed wishes frequently. All of this is done without seeming embarrassment or thought.
Any attempt at autonomy on your part is strongly resisted. Normal rites of passage (learning to shave, wearing makeup, dating) are grudgingly allowed only if you insist, and you’re punished for your insistence (“Since you’re old enough to date, I think you’re old enough to pay for your own clothes!”) If you demand age-appropriate clothing, grooming, control over your own life, or rights, you are difficult and she ridicules your “independence.”
She favouritizes. Narcissistic mothers commonly choose one (sometimes more) child to be the golden child and one (sometimes more) to be the scapegoat. The narcissist identifies with the golden child and provides privileges to him or her as long as the golden child does just as she wants. The golden child has to be cared for assiduously by everyone in the family. The scapegoat has no needs and instead gets to do the caring. The golden child can do nothing wrong. The scapegoat is always at fault. This creates divisions between the children, one of whom has a large investment in the mother being wise and wonderful, and the other(s) who hate her. That division will be fostered by the narcissist with lies and with blatantly unfair and favouritizing behaviour. The golden child will defend the mother and indirectly perpetuate the abuse by finding reasons to blame the scapegoat for the mother’s actions. The golden child may also directly take on the narcissistic mother’s tasks by physically abusing the scapegoat so the narcissistic mother doesn’t have to do that herself.
She undermines. Your accomplishments are acknowledged only to the extent that she can take credit for them. Any success or accomplishment for which she cannot take credit is ignored or diminished. Any time you are to be centre stage and there is no opportunity for her to be the centre of attention, she will try to prevent the occasion altogether, or she doesn’t come, or she leaves early, or she acts like it’s no big deal, or she steals the spotlight or she slips in little wounding comments about how much better someone else did or how what you did wasn’t as much as you could have done or as you think it is. She undermines you by picking fights with you or being especially unpleasant just before you have to make a major effort. She acts put out if she has to do anything to support your opportunities or will outright refuse to do even small things in support of you. She will be nasty to you about things that are peripherally connected with your successes so that you find your joy in what you’ve done is tarnished, without her ever saying anything directly about it. No matter what your success, she has to take you down a peg about it.
She demeans, criticizes and denigrates. She lets you know in all sorts of little ways that she thinks less of you than she does of your siblings or of other people in general. If you complain about mistreatment by someone else, she will take that person’s side even if she doesn’t know them at all. She doesn’t care about those people or the justice of your complaints. She just wants to let you know that you’re never right.
She will deliver generalized barbs that are almost impossible to rebut (always in a loving, caring tone): “You were always difficult” “You can be very difficult to love” “You never seemed to be able to finish anything” “You were very hard to live with” “You’re always causing trouble” “No one could put up with the things you do.” She will deliver slams in a sidelong way – for example she’ll complain about how “no one” loves her, does anything for her, or cares about her, or she’ll complain that “everyone” is so selfish, when you’re the only person in the room. As always, this combines criticism with deniability.
She will slip little comments into conversation that she really enjoyed something she did with someone else – something she did with you too, but didn’t like as much. She’ll let you know that her relationship with some other person you both know is wonderful in a way your relationship with her isn’t – the carefully unspoken message being that you don’t matter much to her.
She minimizes, discounts or ignores your opinions and experiences. Your insights are met with condescension, denials and accusations (“I think you read too much!”) and she will brush off your information even on subjects on which you are an acknowledged expert. Whatever you say is met with smirks and amused sounding or exaggerated exclamations (“Uh hunh!” “You don’t say!” “Really!”). She’ll then make it clear that she didn’t listen to a word you said.
She makes you look crazy. If you try to confront her about something she’s done, she’ll tell you that you have “a very vivid imagination” (this is a phrase commonly used by abusers of all sorts to invalidate your experience of their abuse) that you don’t know what you’re talking about, or that she has no idea what you’re talking about. She will claim not to remember even very memorable events, flatly denying they ever happened, nor will she ever acknowledge any possibility that she might have forgotten. This is an extremely aggressive and exceptionally infuriating tactic called “gaslighting,” common to abusers of all kinds. Your perceptions of reality are continually undermined so that you end up without any confidence in your intuition, your memory or your powers of reasoning. This makes you a much better victim for the abuser.
Narcissists gaslight routinely. The narcissist will either insinuate or will tell you outright that you’re unstable, otherwise you wouldn’t believe such ridiculous things or be so uncooperative. You’re oversensitive. You’re imagining things. You’re hysterical. You’re completely unreasonable. You’re over-reacting, like you always do. She’ll talk to you when you’ve calmed down and aren’t so irrational. She may even characterize you as being neurotic or psychotic.
Once she’s constructed these fantasies of your emotional pathologies, she’ll tell others about them, as always, presenting her smears as expressions of concern and declaring her own helpless victimhood. She didn’t do anything. She has no idea why you’re so irrationally angry with her. You’ve hurt her terribly. She thinks you may need psychotherapy. She loves you very much and would do anything to make you happy, but she just doesn’t know what to do. You keep pushing her away when all she wants to do is help you.
She has simultaneously absolved herself of any responsibility for your obvious antipathy towards her, implied that it’s something fundamentally wrong with you that makes you angry with her, and undermined your credibility with her listeners. She plays the role of the doting mother so perfectly that no one will believe you.
She’s envious. Any time you get something nice she’s angry and envious and her envy will be apparent when she admires whatever it is. She’ll try to get it from you, spoil it for you, or get the same or better for herself. She’s always working on ways to get what other people have. The envy of narcissistic mothers often includes competing sexually with their daughters or daughters-in-law. They’ll attempt to forbid their daughters to wear makeup, to groom themselves in an age-appropriate way or to date. They will criticize the appearance of their daughters and daughters-in-law. This envy extends to relationships. Narcissistic mothers infamously attempt to damage their children’s marriages and interfere in the upbringing of their grandchildren.
She’s a liar in too many ways to count. Any time she talks about something that has emotional significance for her, it’s a fair bet that she’s lying. Lying is one way that she creates conflict in the relationships and lives of those around her – she’ll lie to them about what other people have said, what they’ve done, or how they feel. She’ll lie about her relationship with them, about your behaviour or about your situation in order to inflate herself and to undermine your credibility.
The narcissist is very careful about how she lies. To outsiders she’ll lie thoughtfully and deliberately, always in a way that can be covered up if she’s confronted with her lie. She spins what you said rather than makes something up wholesale. She puts dishonest interpretations on things you actually did. If she’s recently done something particularly egregious she may engage in preventative lying: she lies in advance to discount what you might say before you even say it. Then when you talk about what she did you’ll be cut off with “I already know all about it…your mother told me… (self-justifications and lies).” Because she is so careful about her deniability, it may be very hard to catch her in her lies and the more gullible of her friends may never realize how dishonest she is.
To you, she’ll lie blatantly. She will claim to be unable to remember bad things she has done, even if she did one of them recently and even if it was something very memorable. Of course, if you try to jog her memory by recounting the circumstances “You have a very vivid imagination” or “That was so long ago. Why do you have to dredge up your old grudges?” Your conversations with her are full of casual brush-offs and diversionary lies and she doesn’t respect you enough to bother making it sound good. For example she’ll start with a self-serving lie: “If I don’t take you as a dependent on my taxes I’ll lose three thousand dollars!” You refute her lie with an obvious truth: “No, three thousand dollars is the amount of the dependent exemption. You’ll only lose about eight hundred dollars.” Her response: “Isn’t that what I said?” You are now in a game with only one rule: You can’t win.
On the rare occasions she is forced to acknowledge some bad behaviour, she will couch the admission deniably. She “guesses” that “maybe” she “might have” done something wrong. The wrongdoing is always heavily spun and trimmed to make it sound better. The words “I guess,” “maybe,” and “might have” are in and of themselves lies because she knows exactly what she did – no guessing, no might haves, no maybes.
She has to be the centre of attention all the time. This need is a defining trait of narcissists and particularly of narcissistic mothers for whom their children exist to be sources of attention and adoration. Narcissistic mothers love to be waited on and often pepper their children with little requests. “While you’re up…” or its equivalent is one of their favourite phrases. You couldn’t just be assigned a chore at the beginning of the week or of the day, instead, you had to do it on demand, preferably at a time that was inconvenient for you, or you had to “help” her do it, fetching and carrying for her while she made up to herself for the menial work she had to do as your mother by glorying in your attentions.
A narcissistic mother may create odd occasions at which she can be the centre of attention, such as memorials for someone close to her who died long ago, or major celebrations of small personal milestones. She may love to entertain so she can be the life of her own party. She will try to steal the spotlight or will try to spoil any occasion where someone else is the centre of attention, particularly the child she has cast as the scapegoat. She often invites herself along where she isn’t welcome. If she visits you or you visit her, you are required to spend all your time with her. Entertaining herself is unthinkable. She has always pouted, manipulated or raged if you tried to do anything without her, didn’t want to entertain her, refused to wait on her, stymied her plans for a drama or otherwise deprived her of attention.
Older narcissistic mothers often use the natural limitations of aging to manipulate dramas, often by neglecting their health or by doing things they know will make them ill. This gives them the opportunity to cash in on the investment they made when they trained you to wait on them as a child. Then they call you (or better still, get the neighbour or the nursing home administrator to call you) demanding your immediate attendance. You are to rush to her side, pat her hand, weep over her pain and listen sympathetically to her unending complaints about how hard and awful it is. (“Never get old!”) It’s almost never the case that you can actually do anything useful, and the causes of her disability may have been completely avoidable, but you’ve been put in an extremely difficult position. If you don’t provide the audience and attention she’s manipulating to get, you look extremely bad to everyone else and may even have legal culpability. (Narcissistic behaviours commonly accompany Alzheimer’s disease, so this behaviour may also occur in perfectly normal mothers as they age.)
She manipulates your emotions in order to feed on your pain. This exceptionally sick and bizarre behaviour is so common among narcissistic mothers that their children often call them “emotional vampires.” Some of this emotional feeding comes in the form of pure sadism. She does and says things just to be wounding or she engages in tormenting teasing or she needles you about things you’re sensitive about, all the while a smile plays over her lips. She may have taken you to scary movies or told you horrifying stories, then mocked you for being a baby when you cried; she will slip a wounding comment into conversation and smile delightedly into your hurt face. You can hear the laughter in her voice as she pressures you or says distressing things to you. Later she’ll gloat over how much she upset you, gaily telling other people that you’re so much fun to tease, and recruiting others to share in her amusement. . She enjoys her cruelties and makes no effort to disguise that. She wants you to know that your pain entertains her. She may bring up subjects that are painful for you and probe you about them, all the while watching you carefully. This is emotional vampirism in its purest form. She’s feeding emotionally off your pain.
A peculiar form of this emotional vampirism combines attention-seeking behaviour with a demand that the audience suffer. Since narcissistic mothers often play the martyr this may take the form of wrenching, self-pitying dramas which she carefully produces, and in which she is the star performer. She sobs and wails that no one loves her and everyone is so selfish, and she doesn’t want to live, she wants to die! She wants to die! She will not seem to care how much the manipulation of their emotions and the self-pity repels other people. One weird behaviour that is very common to narcissists: her dramas may also centre around the tragedies of other people, often relating how much she suffered by association and trying to distress her listeners, as she cries over the horrible murder of someone she wouldn’t recognize if they had passed her on the street.
She’s selfish and wilful. She always makes sure she has the best of everything. She insists on having her own way all the time and she will ruthlessly, manipulatively pursue it, even if what she wants isn’t worth all the effort she’s putting into it and even if that effort goes far beyond normal behaviour. She will make a huge effort to get something you denied her, even if it was entirely your right to do so and even if her demand was selfish and unreasonable. If you tell her she cannot bring her friends to your party she will show up with them anyway, and she will have told them that they were invited so that you either have to give in, or be the bad guy to these poor dupes on your doorstep. If you tell her she can’t come over to your house tonight she’ll call your spouse and try get him or her to agree that she can, and to not say anything to you about it because it’s a “surprise.” She has to show you that you can’t tell her “no.”
One near-universal characteristic of narcissists: because they are so selfish and self-centred, they are very bad gift givers. They’ll give you hand-me-downs or market things for themselves as gifts for you (“I thought I’d give you my old bicycle and buy myself a new one!” “I know how much you love Italian food, so I’m going to take you to my favourite restaurant for your birthday!”) New gifts are often obviously cheap and are usually things that don’t suit you or that you can’t use or are a quid pro quo: if you buy her the gift she wants, she will buy you an item of your choice. She’ll make it clear that it pains her to give you anything. She may buy you a gift and get the identical item for herself, or take you shopping for a gift and get herself something nice at the same time to make herself feel better.
She’s self-absorbed. Her feelings, needs and wants are very important; yours are insignificant to the point that her least whim takes precedence over your most basic needs. Her problems deserve your immediate and full attention; yours are brushed aside. Her wishes always take precedence; if she does something for you, she reminds you constantly of her munificence in doing so and will often try to extract some sort of payment. She will complain constantly, even though your situation may be much worse than hers. If you point that out, she will effortlessly, thoughtlessly brush it aside as of no importance (It’s easy for you… / It’s different for you…).
She is insanely defensive and is extremely sensitive to any criticism. If you criticize her or defy her she will explode with fury, threaten, storm, rage, destroy and may become violent, beating, confining, putting her child outdoors in bad weather or otherwise engaging in classic physical abuse.
She terrorizes. For all abusers, fear is a powerful means of control of the victim, and your narcissistic mother used it ruthlessly to train you. Narcissists teach you to beware their wrath even when they aren’t present. The only alternative is constant placation. If you give her everything she wants all the time, you might be spared. If you don’t, the punishments will come. Even adult children of narcissists still feel that carefully inculcated fear. Your narcissistic mother can turn it on with a silence or a look that tells the child in you she’s thinking about how she’s going to get even.
Not all narcissists abuse physically, but most do, often in subtle, deniable ways. It allows them to vent their rage at your failure to be the solution to their internal havoc and simultaneously to teach you to fear them. You may not have been beaten, but you were almost certainly left to endure physical pain when a normal mother would have made an effort to relieve your misery. This deniable form of battery allows her to store up her rage and dole out the punishment at a later time when she’s worked out an airtight rationale for her abuse, so she never risks exposure. You were left hungry because “you eat too much.” (Someone asked her if she was pregnant. She isn’t). You always went to school with stomach flu because “you don’t have a fever. You’re just trying to get out of school.” (She resents having to take care of you. You have a lot of nerve getting sick and adding to her burdens.) She refuses to look at your bloody heels and instead the shoes that wore those blisters on your heels are put back on your feet and you’re sent to the store in them because “You wanted those shoes. Now you can wear them.” (You said the ones she wanted to get you were ugly. She liked them because they were just like what she wore 30 years ago). The dentist was told not to give you Novocain when he drilled your tooth because “he has to learn to take better care of his teeth.” (She has to pay for a filling and she’s furious at having to spend money on you.)
Narcissistic mothers also abuse by losing others on you or by failing to protect you when a normal mother would have. Sometimes the narcissist’s golden child will be encouraged to abuse the scapegoat. Narcissists also abuse by exposing you to violence. If one of your siblings got beaten, she made sure you saw. She effortlessly put the fear of Mom into you, without raising a hand.
She’s infantile and petty. Narcissistic mothers are often simply childish. If you refuse to let her manipulate you into doing something, she will cry that you don’t love her because if you loved her you would do as she wanted. If you hurt her feelings she will aggressively whine to you that you’ll be sorry when she’s dead that you didn’t treat her better. These babyish complaints and responses may sound laughable, but the narcissist is dead serious about them. When you were a child, if you ask her to stop some bad behaviour, she would justify it by pointing out something that you did that she feels is comparable, as though the childish behaviour of a child is justification for the childish behaviour of an adult. “Getting even” is a large part of her dealings with you. Anytime you fail to give her the deference, attention or service she feels she deserves, or you thwart her wishes, she has to show you.
She’s aggressive and shameless. She doesn’t ask. She demands. She makes outrageous requests and she’ll take anything she wants if she thinks she can get away with it. Her demands of her children are posed in a very aggressive way, as are her criticisms. She won’t take no for an answer, pushing and arm-twisting and manipulating to get you to give in.
She “parentifies.” She shed her responsibilities to you as soon as she was able, leaving you to take care of yourself as best you could. She denied you medical care, adequate clothing, necessary transportation or basic comforts that she would never have considered giving up for herself. She never gave you a birthday party or let you have sleepovers. Your friends were never welcome in her house. She didn’t like to drive you anywhere, so you turned down invitations because you had no way to get there. She wouldn’t buy your school pictures even if she could easily have afforded it. You had a niggardly clothing allowance or she bought you the cheapest clothing she could without embarrassing herself. As soon as you got a job, every request for school supplies, clothing or toiletries was met with “Now that you’re making money, why don’t you pay for that yourself?” You studied up on colleges on your own and choose a cheap one without visiting it. You signed yourself up for the SATs, earned the money to pay for them and talked someone into driving you to the test site. You worked three jobs to pay for that cheap college and when you finally got mononucleosis she chirped at you that she was “so happy you could take care of yourself.”
She also gave you tasks that were rightfully hers and should not have been placed on a child. You may have been a primary caregiver for young siblings or an incapacitated parent. You may have had responsibility for excessive household tasks. Above all, you were always her emotional caregiver which is one reason any defection from that role caused such enormous eruptions of rage. You were never allowed to be needy or have bad feelings or problems. Those experiences were only for her, and you were responsible for making it right for her. From the time you were very young she would randomly lash out at you any time she was stressed or angry with your father or felt that life was unfair to her, because it made her feel better to hurt you. You were often punished out of the blue, for manufactured offenses. As you got older she directly placed responsibility for her welfare and her emotions on you, weeping on your shoulder and unloading on you any time something went awry for her.
She’s exploitative. She will manipulate to get work, money, or objects she envies out of other people for nothing. This includes her children, of course. If she set up a bank account for you, she was trustee on the account with the right to withdraw money. As you put money into it, she took it out. She may have stolen your identity. She took you as a dependent on her income taxes so you couldn’t file independently without exposing her to criminal penalties. If she made an agreement with you, it was violated the minute it no longer served her needs. If you brought it up demanding she adhere to the agreement, she brushed you off and later punished you so you would know not to defy her again.
Sometimes the narcissist will exploit a child to absorb punishment that would have been hers from an abusive partner. The husband comes home in a drunken rage, and the mother immediately complains about the child’s bad behaviour so the rage is vented on to the child. Sometimes the narcissistic mother simply uses the child to keep a sick marriage intact because the alternative is being divorced or having to go to work. The child is sexually molested but the mother never notices, or worse, calls the child a liar when she tells the mother about the molestation.
She projects. This sounds a little like psycho-babble, but it is something that narcissists all do. Projection means that she will put her own bad behaviour, character and traits on you so she can deny them in herself and punish you. This can be very difficult to see if you have traits that she can project on to. An eating-disordered woman who obsesses over her daughter’s weight is projecting. The daughter may not realize it because she has probably internalized an absurdly thin vision of women’s weight and so accepts her mother’s projection. When the narcissist tells the daughter that she eats too much, needs to exercise more, or has to wear extra-large size clothes, the daughter believes it, even if it isn’t true. However, she will sometimes project even though it makes no sense at all. This happens when she feels shamed and needs to put it on her scapegoat child and the projection therefore comes across as being an attack out of the blue. For example: She makes an outrageous request, and you casually refuse to let her have her way. She’s enraged by your refusal and snarls at you that you’ll talk about it when you’ve calmed down and are no longer hysterical.
You aren’t hysterical at all; she is, but your refusal has made her feel the shame that should have stopped her from making shameless demands in the first place. That’s intolerable. She can transfer that shame to you and rationalize away your response: you only refused her because you’re so unreasonable. Having done that she can reassert her shamelessness and indulge her childish wilfulness by turning an unequivocal refusal into a subject for further discussion. You’ll talk about it again “later” – probably when she’s worn you down with histrionics, pouting and the silent treatment so you’re more inclined to do what she wants.
She is never wrong about anything. No matter what she’s done, she won’t ever genuinely apologize for anything. Instead, any time she feels she is being made to apologize she will sulk and pout, issue an insulting apology or negate the apology she has just made with justifications, qualifications or self-pity: “I’m sorry you felt that I humiliated you” “I’m sorry if I made you feel bad” “If I did that it was wrong” “I’m sorry, but I there’s nothing I can do about it” “I’m sorry I made you feel clumsy, stupid and disgusting” “I’m sorry but it was just a joke. You’re so over-sensitive” “I’m sorry that my own child feels she has to upset me and make me feel bad.” The last insulting apology is also an example of projection.
She seems to have no awareness that other people even have feelings. She’ll occasionally slip and say something jaw-droppingly callous because of this lack of empathy. It isn’t that she doesn’t care at all about other people’s feelings, though she doesn’t. It would simply never occur to her to think about their feelings. An absence of empathy is the defining trait of a narcissist and underlies most of the other traits I have described. Unlike psychopaths, narcissists do understand right, wrong, and consequences, so they are not ordinarily criminal. She beat you, but not to the point where you went to the hospital. She left you standing out in the cold until you were miserable, but not until you had hypothermia. She put you in the basement in the dark with no clothes on, but she only left you there for two hours.
She blames. She’ll blame you for everything that isn’t right in her life or for what other people do or for whatever has happened. Always, she’ll blame you for her abuse. You made her do it. If only you weren’t so difficult. You upset her so much that she can’t think straight. Things were hard for her and your backtalk pushed her over the brink. This blaming is often so subtle that all you know is that you thought you were wronged and now you feel guilty. Your brother beats you and her response is to bemoan how uncivilized children are. Your boyfriend dumped you, but she can understand – after all, she herself has seen how difficult you are to love. She’ll do something egregiously exploitative to you, and when confronted will screech at you that she can’t believe you were so selfish as to upset her over such a trivial thing. She’ll also blame you for your reaction to her selfish, cruel and exploitative behaviour. She can’t believe you are so petty, so small, and so childish as to object to her giving your favourite dress to her friend. She thought you would be happy to let her do something nice for someone else.
Narcissists are masters of multitasking as this example shows. Simultaneously your narcissistic mother is
- Lying. She knows what she did was wrong and she knows your reaction is reasonable.
- Manipulating. She’s making you look like the bad guy for objecting to her cruelties.
- Being selfish. She doesn’t mind making you feel horrible as long as she gets her own way.
- Blaming. She did something wrong, but it’s all your fault.
- Projecting. Her petty, small and childish behaviour has become yours.
- Putting on a self-pitying drama. She’s a martyr who believed the best of you, and you’ve let her down.
- Parentifying. You’re responsible for her feelings, she has no responsibility for yours.
She destroys your relationships. Narcissistic mothers are like tornadoes: wherever they touch down families are torn apart and wounds are inflicted. Unless the father has control over the narcissist and holds the family together, adult siblings in families with narcissistic mothers characteristically have painful relationships. Typically all communication between siblings is superficial and driven by duty, or they may never talk to each other at all. In part, these women foster dissension between their children because they enjoy the control it gives them. If those children don’t communicate except through the mother, she can decide what everyone hears. Narcissists also love the excitement and drama they create by interfering in their children’s lives. Watching people’s lives explode is better than soap operas, especially when you don’t have any empathy for their misery.
The narcissist nurtures anger, contempt and envy – the most corrosive emotions – to drive her children apart. While her children are still living at home, any child who stands up to the narcissist guarantees punishment for the rest. In her zest for revenge, the narcissist purposefully turns the siblings’ anger on the dissenter by including everyone in her retaliation. (“I can see that nobody here loves me! Well I’ll just take these Christmas presents back to the store. None of you would want anything I got you anyway!”) The other children, long trained by the narcissist to give in, are furious with the troublemaking child, instead of with the narcissist who actually deserves their anger.
The narcissist also uses favouritism and gossip to poison her children’s’ relationships. The scapegoat sees the mother as a creature of caprice and cruelty. As is typical of the privileged, the other children don’t see her unfairness and they excuse her abuses. Indeed, they are often recruited by the narcissist to adopt her contemptuous and entitled attitude towards the scapegoat and with her tacit or explicit permission, will inflict further abuse. The scapegoat predictably responds with fury and equal contempt. After her children move on with adult lives, the narcissist makes sure to keep each apprised of the doings of the others, passing on the most discreditable and juicy gossip (as always, disguised as “concern”) about the other children, again, in a way that engenders contempt rather than compassion.
Having been raised by a narcissist, her children are predisposed to be envious, and she takes full advantage of the opportunity that presents. While she may never praise you to your face, she will likely crow about your victories to the very sibling who is not doing well. She’ll tell you about the generosity she displayed towards that child, leaving you wondering why you got left out and irrationally angry at the favoured child rather than at the narcissist who told you about it.
The end result is a family in which almost all communication is triangular. The narcissist, the spider in the middle of the family web, sensitively monitors all the children for information she can use to retain her unchallenged control over the family. She then passes that on to the others, creating the resentments that prevent them from communicating directly and freely with each other. The result is that the only communication between the children is through the narcissist, exactly the way she wants it.
As a last resort she goes pathetic. When she’s confronted with unavoidable consequences for her own bad behaviour, including your anger, she will melt into a soggy puddle of weepy helplessness. It’s all her fault. She can’t do anything right. She feels so bad. What she doesn’t do: own the responsibility for her bad conduct and make it right. Instead, as always, it’s all about her, and her helpless self-pitying weepiness dumps the responsibility for her consequences AND for her unhappiness about it on you. As so often with narcissists, it is also a manipulative behaviour. If you fail to excuse her bad behaviour and make her feel better, YOU are the bad person for being cold, heartless and unfeeling when your poor mother feels so awful.
Author unknown. Republished by NarcissisticandEmotionalAbuse.com in the hope that it will be of helpful to those who have suffered at the hands of a narcissistic mother.
I need help. My narcissistic ex just got awarded shared custody of our daughter. Now he controls when I talk to her, what we talk about, and how long we are on the phone. I I need help. He’s so good with his words that the court failed to see that he’s a danger to our child’s emotional and mental health. My daughter is hurting.