Please Read First — Important

(New posts come after below this sticky post)

DISCLAIMER:
THIS BLOG IN NO WAY DISPENSES ADVICE – LEGAL OR OTHERWISE. OPINIONS ARE SHARED AND BELONG TO EACH AUTHOR OR POSTER AND NOT NECESSARILY THE OWNER OF THIS BLOG. THIS BLOG IS OFFERED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES AND FREEDOM OF SPEECH. READERS AND WRITERS OF THIS BLOG ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR HOW THEY INTERPRET AND/OR ACT UPON ANY PUBLISHED MATERIALS HERE.

Having said that, let me explain a bit further.

Some self help sites are excellent sources of information and support

The authors are well equipped to offer timely professional help. That would not be me. Some of my insights will be right on. Some will be skewed by my perception and personal biases. I try to be fair, but I don’t claim to be objective.

Many self help sites are run by very well intentioned but messed up people

That would be me. I was raised by narcissists and throughout my life surrounded myself by them. So while I may validate some of your experiences and give you that liberating “a ha!” experience, I have issues. Use discernment in reading my words… for that matter, use discernment in reading anybody’s words.

Some self help sites (not all, but still sadly too many) are run by ill-intentioned people

Yes, narcissists pose online as much as they do in person and will suck the life out of you, abuse and traumatize you there as well. Be careful.

I cannot answer personal email

See disclaimer and #1. I had for a while, but it takes more time, resources, knowledge and wisdom than I have. You’re better off looking to someone else. The email address I have for this blog is for author submission and/or inquiries only. You’d be so much better turning to legal or psychological counsel. Just make sure they know what narcissism is. ASK them.

I’ll do my best to answer author inquiries and approve first comments as timely as possible, but please bear in mind, I’m struggling as much as you and this is not a professional blog – just one woman’s attempt to make sense out of a crazy situation. I have to approve your first comment, but once that’s done, all the other comments will publish automatically.

Thanks for understanding!

PhoenixRising

It Does Get Better

I know you hear this all the time — a lot of times from those who don’t understand, who haven’t been there, who can’t comprehend the depth of toxicity and wrongness of having the other parent of your child personality disordered. Like it’s just a phase you will all grow through, your child, the other parent.

Only it’s not a phase. It’s a dynamic — a toxic, poisonous, spirit crushing dynamic.

Even without meeting the criteria of clinical narcissism, someone who is “just abusive” or “just a jerk” can wreck so much damage on a child. And now you have this.

Not some kind of generational gap or personality clash or the usual conflicts between adolescents and parents or differences in child rearing styles or just someone who has poor parenting techniques. This isn’t something a course on parenting can help or insights from others that can clarify better dynamics or choices.

In those cases, things do get better as the parent, in good faith, attempts to do a better job, when real efforts at communication are made, when realistic expectations and consequences are laid out that speak of respect and love. Or simply, in the case of older kids, things can get better when time and experience tempers the relationship between parent and child.

When a parent is narcissistic, those things don’t happen like that. Because narcissism is agenda driven and doesn’t respond to outside input except in defense and isn’t interested in learning or changing, because it’s already perfect, because any suggestions for growth is seen as an assault.

But things can change and can get better on the child’s end. And you are a crucial factor in how much this possibility becomes a probability becomes a reality.

There’s no guarantee. Even with your best efforts, you may not be able to undo the damage a narcissistic parent can inflict or your child’s genetic make up, which while I don’t believe entirely defines a person, certainly does influence for good or ill.

Your efforts “merely” provide the possibility, the opportunity. But when it comes to narcissism it can be all the difference. Still, when push comes to shove, it’s the child who will ultimately decide their course.

But they are worth it. And so are you.

Don’t give up. Hold on to the thought, It does get better. You have to believe for the both of you.

~PhoenixRising

How Do I Teach My Child to Stand Up to the Narcissist Parent?

You don’t.

You teach your child to value him or her self.

It’s not easy for anyone to stand up to a narcissist, to address them head on, to hold them accountable, to draw the line. Never mind a child, with the narcissist being your parent on top of that. If narcissistic rage is terrifying for an adult, imagine what it’s like for a child.

When you teach a child to value himself, you teach him to have a stronger sense of self. When you have a sense of who you are, you know where your boundaries are, where you end and another person begins. Standing up to any violation or trespass of that happens over time if the child has been given enough respect and role modeling on which to build a foundation for something healthier.

“Enough” varies from person to person. Personal choice, also, factors into it greatly, but in my experience the human spirit is hungry for anything that acknowledges its dignity. Even intermittent examples of empowering acts can go a long way. Your task as a parent is to  model and set as many examples of that before your child as possible.

It’s so hard to watch your child being bullied, so hard not to stop yourself from forcing empowerment on your kid, but you can’t. All you’ll be doing is adding to the pressure and stress the child is already under.

You can empathize with your child. You can validate what that child is going through. You don’t dismiss it by saying, “Oh, you know your father/mother loves you.” That may or may not be true. It’s irrelevant to whether or not how they are treating you is abusive. Someone can love you very much, but your face is going to sting just as much if, for whatever reason, they slap you across the face.

It can be argued whether someone who loves you can do that, but the slap, itself, must always be addressed.

You can affirm the emotions that are invoked when you’re lied to or manipulated. You can give a name to what they are feeling and validate whatever emotional experience of the situation your child is having. In all likelihood, the narcissist parent will be attempting to invalidate that.

You can widen your child’s support network, perhaps bring in another shoulder, another ear for your child’s validation. You can provide professional support from those who may be trained in dealing with personality disordered parents. You can give your child coping tools, but be careful in this endeavor you don’t burden him or her further.

There’s a fine line that’s easily crossed when you think you’re giving your child empowering suggestions, but make the child feel responsible for their narcissist parent’s bad behavior. Be careful as you attempt to empower your child, you make it very clear the narcissist parent is responsible for their behavior — not the child.

The best thing you can do is give the life saving gift of validation. Don’t let the narcissist parent get away with redefining and recreating your child’s reality. Make it a point to give back the child her experience. Encourage your child to talk, to verbalize what she’s going through — give her the vocabulary to use while letting her story be her own.

It’s not a smooth drive. The road is bumpy and pitted with potholes that threaten to open up and swallow you whole. But you can navigate it with your child’s best interest always in mind.

Ironically, your efforts to do so can actually “make things worse”, at least for a time, because seeing there’s another way of relating, knowing that there’s some place, there are some people — that there’s one parent who treats them, “even though they’re children”, with respect and make them feel seen will make the abusive behavior of the narcissist parent all that much more bitter to take.

The contrast you provide can make things more painful before it makes things better.

But that’s good. The last thing you want is for your child to feel comfortable with abuse, to think that this is normal, to be accepting of it. So if you’re child is suffering the difference between being with you and being with the narcissist, whether in different places or just different ways of relating in the same residence, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Children are survivors. Not all surviving techniques are healthy, but they do get you through initially. One way to survive is to numb yourself out or to comply, give in or learn the same kind of manipulation and gaslighting techniques to fight back. That’s where you are so important to your child. You have to give you and the example of another way of relating to your child. You have to provide as many alternative ways of relating and being as you can, knowing that your child can go back and forth between them and in how they treat you.

Stand firm. Be that lighthouse in the storm.

Your child may not be able to “stand up” to his or her narcissist parent just yet, but you can. You can by continuing to give your child a different way of being. Given enough validation, enough real support, greatly increases the possibility — changes it from possibility to probability — to not only stand up to the narcissist parent, but to walk away from him or her and others like them — in due time.

Don’t expect an eight year old to be able to do it. But start giving that eight year old what he or she needs to grow into the person who can follow through on whatever standing up to abuse looks like to them.

I have seen it done.

PhoenixRising

Resurrecting this Blog

Yes, I know I said this before. What’s different? My minor child is no longer a minor. So with that, I feel a certain amount of safety about being able to speak more freely though you can never be too careful in these situations. I do feel a little safer over my child’s safety now they’re legally an adult.

We’ve also gone through the darkest part of those tumultuous teen years where genetic and environmental narcissism accentuates and amplifies regular adolescent narcissism. I think we’re seeing the light now. Having gone through that and surviving 18 years of parenting with a narcissist, 13 of them separated/divorced, I’m happy to say I’ve survived and I think I can say I have a few things to share about my journey that may be of help to others.

It’s not the end of the journey, but we’ve made the shift from minor child to adult child. And I feel hopeful. That says a lot.

My deepest apologies for not responding to comments posted eons ago! But I got swallowed up in the black hole of drama and crisis only a narcissistic “partner” can incite. Not only in person but from “afar”. I hope you are doing well and have found resources and other kindred spirits to help you on your path and your children’s.

I’m turning off registration right now as I update the appearance and security of this blog and take care of the spam that has hit this site since my absence.  Registration is now open.

Mostly, I want to reopen this blog as a safe place for people to share their stories, so when the blog is ready I’ll be once again accepting guest authors to share their experiences. Just speaking your truth with others who can hear you, truly hear you, and sympathize is life saving. It has been for me.

Be well

PhoenixRising

Resource: One Mom’s Battle

I haven’t had a chance to go through this website yet, but it comes highly recommended, and I didn’t want to wait to post it.

http://onemomsbattle.com/

Briefly, this is the story of one woman’s battle in and after divorce with a narcissist. Her name is Tina, and she acts as her own attorney and is an advocate for changing the court system. If you are dealing with legal issues, I imagine you can learn from her expreiences. You can purchase her entire blog in an ebook form or just peruse her site. I see there’s, also, another ebook that may be helpful for those who are getting ready to go into court. I have not read either books, so I can’t tell you if they are good investments or not.

Still, I do believe there is valuable information on her blog that can be helpful to those who are in the unhappy situation of attempting to co-parent with a narcissist or are tangled in the court system with one.

I look forward to reading your reviews. I’ll be posting mine as I go through her site.