Save Your Babies…

No matter how sweet, no matter how caring or sensitive or kind or loving your little ones, if you bring a narcissist into your life, he will most certainly make an impact on all your children. And some will follow in his footsteps.

He is a role model. He shows your children how to treat you, and you show them what to put up with. You think you’re in pain now? You think the Narcissist is breaking your heart?

Wait till you see what your children – the ones who did not escape, the ones who finally succumb to daily doses, mega doses of selfishness, projection, manipulation and abuse – wait till you see what they can do to you. How they can rip your heart out.

Remember how delighted you were when you heard the first “mama” or “dada”? Wait till you hear fuck you, and not even coming from a thoughtless loudmouth teenager who slips and realizes with horror what he had done, but a young adult who feels totally justified, ready with excuses and reasons why. Ready to damn you for making him angry in the first place, because it was your fault to expect him to be clearer in what he was saying and had the audacity to tell him how you felt.

Wait till you sit stunned, looking at the face of your dear baby boy, no longer a baby, no longer dear, looking past a face you no longer recognize, but staring at a look you know all too well – the one that thing, that “N” wore when he was tearing into you, angry, self righteous, justified, ever bit sure that you deserve this emotional beating and blaming you for causing it – that look now on the face of your dear baby boy, no longer baby, no longer dear.

Do you think you love him, the N? Is he really worth hanging on, fighting for his love?

Snap out of it!
Look at that child now, that beautiful baby boy. Are you really going to sacrifice him? Because if you stay with someone as sick as a narcissist, you murder your children – a little at a time, partially, or completely.

Then it won’t be a matter of whether they ever forgive you. But whether you can ever forgive yourself.

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19 Responses to Save Your Babies…

  1. insidesopen says:

    PhoenixRising,

    So true, so true. It may be a hard decision to leave someone when you have children together. But if your spouse is abusive, even only verbally abusive, get out for the children’s sake, and stay out! Don’t let the cycle continue with your own precious babies. The sooner you leave, the better for your children. If you stay with the abuser, your own relationship with your children will be harmed. The late Kathy Krajco posted how this happens in an excellent post called “How the children of narcissists get conditioned to tolerate narcissists”. The link is below:

    http://narc-attack.blogspot.com/2006/11/how-children-of-narcissists-get.html

    “A year from now you may wish you had started today”- Karen Lamb

    Find the strength.

  2. PhoenixRising says:

    Insidesopen,

    Oh my gosh! This quote from your link,

    “And when one of the children starts showing signs of narcissism, flying into rages at the other, pretty much the same thing happens. At the first sign that something is seriously wrong with that child (such as shocking violence or diabolical behavior), she goes into denial. Because of course she suspects that she is partly to blame for not getting her children away from this man.”

    It is so true! That is what I did, I know it. He didn’t stand a chance, my little boy. Not when the person he trusted the most to protect him didn’t.

    Today I saw my son, we passed by each other in our cars. He saw me. He blew me off. Feeling so self righteous in his use of vulgarity toward me yesterday, the incident that led me to write this post.

    I am sickened to my stomach to recognize so much of the N in him, walking around in my son’s body.

    If I could make one woman, just one partner in an abusive relationship stop and really think about what it’s doing to her children…I still wouldn’t forgive myself. But it would provide some measure of comfort within this huge vacuous hole of sadness within me.

  3. Survivor says:

    I was told last week that I can’t let the guilt of having children with a NPD consume me. I got out of the relationship and was told I am a good mother. There are two books that were recommended to me but they haven’t come in the mail yet. When I read them, I will see if it is worth recommending to the site.

  4. insidesopen says:

    PhoenixRising,

    I think a lot of women stay because they think hubby may get better. We think hubby is just being a jerk and if we could just make him see how much he is hurting us, he would come around. Maybe hubby ACTS remorseful sometimes, and we think that all will be well from now on. I guess it’s just plain denial, as Kathy Krajco wrote. I was guilty of the same thinking: “he’ll get better”, “he is improving”, “he deserves another chance”, blah blah blah. Our first trip to a marriage counsellor 5 months ago changed that for me. The counsellor listened to my hubby’s feelings and immediately said to him that he had “stong narcissistic tendancies”. I didn’t know ANYTHING about narcissism at the time. I began to research it myself, and realised that hubby was a raging narcissist. The more I read, the more I realised “HE WILL NEVER GET BETTER”.

    That is the key. Unless you know about narcissism, you’ll probably always give him another chance. I know *I* would have taken him back if I hadn’t learned about NPD. I thank God that we went to that marriage counsellor who spilled the beans on his narcissism!

    So the bottom line is: try not to beat yourself up. Narcissism was even not talked about in popular culture until recent years. People didn’t know about it. Most people STILL DON’T! How could you have known the depths of his disorder? How could you understand how anyone could be so utterly empty inside? Especially someone that you loved! Don’t blame yourself. Put the blame where it belongs: on the narcissist.

    It is through your posts and others that I educated myself about narcissim and how these people don’t change.

    Thank you for sharing your story. You are helping others more than you know.

  5. insidesopen says:

    PS. Your post on “Trying to Hold On for the Children” was especially important in giving me the push I needed to leave hubby. Especially the part where you wrote:

    “Look at that beautiful child full in the face, look deep into his or her eyes, and tell that beautiful soul that they’re worth the gamble, that you’re willing to take that gamble with their lives, their happiness for Mr or Ms Narcissist.”

    My nine-month old baby boy has beautiful blue eyes and that line knocked the wind out of me.

    Now I am separated from hubby and already life with my two small children is so much better!

    Thanks again for sharing

  6. PhoenixRising says:

    Thanks Survivor. I’d be really interested in knowing about those books and what you think about them. I understand what you say. It’s my emotions I’m having a real tough time with. It’s easier to forgive myself when my children are in a better space. It’s instant self-condemnation when I see the narcissism sucking our their lives, their own narcissism, like an invisible vampire. And I just hadn’t seen it to this degree with my boy.

    But I’ll be okay, and it’s thoughtfulness like yours that will help me through this time.

  7. PhoenixRising says:

    Insidesopen, thank you, thank you, thank you…wow…Thank you for taking me outside of myself to realize that the circle of influence doesn’t begin and end with my N and my immediate family, but extends outward to others by the choices we make, and we in turn are affected by them.

    And I’m so glad you are taking the steps you need for your own empowerment and the safety of your children. So glad life is getting better for you and your children! You deserve it!

    This makes me smile 🙂 And boy, what a gift after these past 36 hours!

    How fortunate you were to have such an insightful therapist! What a kicker your ex actually went with you! Ha! Mine refused. He said he thought he might, but then changed his mind when he realized I was the one with the problem, not him.

    In a way, he was right. I was the one with the problem – him!

    Anyway, not one of us here advocates breaking up families. But sometimes it’s necessary to protect the people in that family – namely the little ones. And yourself! You understand, and anyone else who has had to leave an abusive situation for the safety of children and self, understands.

    What is frustrating for me is that I left my first husband, and later picked an even more abusive man, who on the surface seemed better. But looking back, not really. I think there were enough signs even without the narcissism to have alerted a healthier individual, but I did not have the eyes to see.

    But you are right in that knowing what you’re dealing with can be a real eye opener and a real impetus to finally leaving. I didn’t know anything about narcissism either until I had come to the realization that even though I didn’t have black and blue marks on my body, I acted like and sounded just like a victim of domestic abuse. This led me to discover narcissism.

    I was shocked as I recognized traits, characteristics and similar dynamics in the experiences of other people involved with personality disordered people. It was the stories of other survivors and stores of people still struggling – their experiences and wisdom and questions – that saved me, that enabled me to not only leave, but stay gone, never to go back.

    Unfortunately, this was after I had been with this guy for 11 years, and my first two had already left home, and much damage had already been done.

    But you’re right, beating yourself up doesn’t solve anything – or change anything, although I will insist on doing some of it anyway.

    Really though, I will try to be mindful and try to avoid blaming myself while I hold myself accountable for choices I made. Thank you for letting me know how that post and others have helped inspire significant changes in your life for the better.

    If my words have helped you, your words are a balm on the sense of despair I’ve been struggling with since yesterday. I think I’ll sleep a little better tonight. Thank you.

  8. Survivor says:

    Phoenix Rising,

    I have two more book recommendations. I received them in the mail yesterday and haven’t stopped reading. The first one is, Beyond Codependency by Melody Beattie. I feel like she wrote the book about me and I can see the connection of how I was in such a destructive relationship with a narcissist. It is a very easy read and it is hard to put it down. The second book is, Joint Custody with a Jerk by Julie Ross and Judy Corcoran. It gives specific examples on how to navigate through common child raising situations when the ex is a total jerk. In my mind narcissist = jerk. Of course other words come to mind as well but I will be a lady in this comment. 🙂

  9. Rae says:

    Is Joint Custody with a Jerk really helpful? I heard mixed reviews, but I don’t know how many of the reviewers are dealing with an N.

    The first half of this post was me. Staying together for the children. I had to really smack myself in the face with the damage he was doing to the children before I could get out. Even then, I thought I was being selfish.

    Now that he’s gone and they’ve been through counseling, my children are thriving. Staying with him only reinforced the damage he was doing. Leaving has changed their lives for the better in almost every way. (Money sucks on my income. LOL)

    My favorite book on the topic so far has been: Disarming the Narcissist. It’s heavy on validation, if limited in effective ways to deal with narcissists. Let’s face it, their shrinks and counselors can’t do much with them, what can we really do? The main message I took from the book (aside from holy crap it wasn’t all in my head like he kept telling me) was mixing empathy and accountability. Don’t let them off the hook, but empathize first or nothing you say will get through. I work really hard to practice that.

  10. Survivor says:

    Disarming the Narcissist was the first book Mr. Survivor and I read. My ex is a narcissist and Mr. Survivor’s father was one. We were struggling to deal with my ex and needed some clarification. I continue to read to stay informed and to feel in control. The books helps strengthen my interactions with the ex. I am never perfect and do fall into old traps;however, I think I may finally getting better at it. After my ex tryed to sabatoge by wedding anniversary with Mr. Survivor, I had enough. Most of what the ex consists of is noise. My only contact revolves around arrangements for the kids. The Joint Custody with A Jerk explains how the relationship with the ex is a business deal coordinating visitation, etc. for the kids. When I can disengage, life is more peaceful. It has been recommended that my interaction be limited to this type of arrangement with the ex because he can be so destructive. Take care.

  11. Rae says:

    Very cool. I’ll definitely check it out. I’ve been using the coworker approach to coparenting for a few months and it does help to treat those interactions like points of business. If there’s one thing I’ve learned with him, it is Show NO Emotion.

    I’m sorry he tried to sabotage your wedding anniversary. It really sucks that they just can’t let go. Mine sent little barbs over on both my birthday and Mother’s Day this year. What’s funny is that he actually remembered them.

  12. PhoenixRising says:

    “The Joint Custody with A Jerk explains how the relationship with the ex is a business deal coordinating visitation, etc. for the kids.”

    That’s really good, Survivor. Yes, I can see that. I guess that’s how I’ve been doing it these past few years, but it’s nice to be able to articulate it. At first, I let him get to me too much, and oh, how he loved that!

    I guess it really sunk in the day we got into it in a parking lot. He had come after me, finger pointing in my face, towering over me and cursing me out, accusing me of keeping information from him about our daughter, when in fact, he had been fully apprised by me the night before.

    But that was beside the point. The point was he was already feeling guilty about a choice he had made concerning the incident I had told him about, resented the hell out of me for that, and wanted to punish me for it.

    I was totally taken aback by the injustice of his accusations and his abusive emotional assault, and I took it the bait, hook, line and sinker. He yelled. I yelled. He made an ugly face. I made one back.

    And then he smiled. He SMILED. I fell to his level, returned kind for kind, and I saw, too late, his eyes twinkle and his mouth turn into a satisfied smirk.

    He had won. Didn’t matter what I said, or what the situation was. He got me to react emotionally and fall to his level. I felt like shit. By the look of his face, he felt great!

    I promised myself and my daughter that I would never take the bait again, that no matter what he said or what he did, I would not engage him again.

    That was several years ago. I have been true to my word. How? Not easy, but when you think of the consequences, easier than dealing with the anger and self contempt after finding yourself neck deep in the crap he laid out just for you – again.

    Totally disengage, limit all conversation, and be as business like as possible in any necessary conversations concerning logistics of arrangements for your child.

    It really is a business deal, a business deal you can’t get out of as long as your child is a minor. Once she’s independent, I’ll see him perhaps at her wedding or graduation and such events as that, but never again on a schedule.

    I am counting the days.

  13. PhoenixRising says:

    “Money sucks on my income” – I hear you, Rae! It really sucks on just my single income, too. Do you get child support? I don’t. And I have her much more than he does, and pay for everything. Everything.

    And when there are significant expenses above and beyond that of normal expenses, that should be shared, he usually gives me a sob story about his bills assuming I will just cover him.

    I used to ask him for his contributions, but no more. On occasion I’ll inform him of an expense, but that’s it. He just strings me along. Took him a year and a half to pay for a class he had agreed to split with me, and lots of me reminding him…and a few “I thought I paid that.” Um…no.

    I prefer financial poverty to being with him though. Real poverty is having the life sucked out of your soul. As rough as it is, I’m happier than I have ever been – and so is my child.

  14. Rae says:

    I’m getting what he calls support right now. It’s not enough, but it’s something.

    I hear ya on being strung along. He’d agree to stuff, then just not pay it. I’d have to go back and ask over and over again. It was a game. It was power he had over me. He actually told me that his contributions were entirely up to him and I was not entitled to even know what he’d be contributing to – or what kinds of things he’d contribute to. It was simply up to his whims. For a while, he played favorites and only denied one child. When that didn’t bother me enough, he started denying the other, too.

    As part of the divorce agreement, I ended up getting a set monthly sum for those expenses. It’s less than his actual share, but he has to pay it now. He can’t make me account for every little thing, then pull the plug on something after I’ve already paid. He lost that power.

    The money sucks, but it’s worth it. My kids have come so far from the frightened little mice they were when he lived with us. Yeah, we don’t get to eat out and there’s not enough money to go around, but it’s worth it.

  15. beatrixkiddo says:

    I am so grateful to have found this site and for each one of you here. I have just awoken. My whole life I have been raised by narcissists, only to grow up and marry them. It is ture, I have been accused of doing and being everything they are, and have come to believe the worst about myself. I was sure it was I who was crazy. But a voice in my gut said no. I have just discovered research on N and I can’t believe it! This is my life,and now that I understand, I can forgive myself.

    This post hit me hard. My crazy ex (N) has damaged my teenagers so much and I have been fighting in all the wrong ways. Teenage son has N tendencies, and teenage daughter is just like me, codependent. But how could we not be? For me, joint custody with N failed utterly. In battle for sole custody now. Want to see an N really act up? Try threatening his pocketbook, power, pride and reputation in a single gesture!

    But the clincher is, I am remarried with a two year old and guess what? OK, he’s only cold and mean sometimes. Talks about himself incessantly and wont eat bread that doesn’t come from special bakery’s. He used to be so charming. Now I am sick to my stomach. But I can only battle one N at a time. Reading this post, I know I will do whatever I have to to protect my youngest, sweet baby boy. I will not pass the sickness on anymore! Iknow that means I will need to be very careful and patient and prepared. This is never an easy battle to leave an N with his child!

  16. PhoenixRising says:

    Rae,

    “He can’t make me account for every little thing, then pull the plug on something after I’ve already paid. He lost that power.”

    Yup, can relate.

    “The money sucks, but it’s worth it”

    And agree!!!

  17. PhoenixRising says:

    Welcome beatrixkiddo!

    Gotta run, but just wanted to say I totally relate to the “jumping out of the frying pan into the fire” thing. Although for you, I hope it’s not too much of a fire…

    Unfortunately, for me I went from bad to worse, but you do have to choose your battles, and focus on one at a time! My heart goes out to you…

    Hang in there. Educate yourself. The more you learn, the more empowered you’ll be!

  18. mydaughtershero says:

    When my precious 6 year old didn’t offer me help when I was hurt or cry when I told her we had to put the dog to sleep it terrified me.
    “Holy shit she’s turning out like him!” (The one who didn’t cry while his mom died.) She was learning how to treat me by watching him!

    I left a few months later and cried a lot because my precious once sweet girl showed no empathy or compassion. I took her to a counselor because I feared to God she had inherited whatever her father had. At time I thought it was Asperger’s….but those people aren’t cruel and heartless.

    Several weeks passed with the counselor and one day she accidentally bumped one of our cats.
    She followed him, nearly in tears “Oh Boo! I’m so sorry! Are you OK buddy?” she cried. A few days later I bumped my elbow and she came right up to comfort me. Hallelujah! I wanted to cry “My precious girl is back with her big smooshy heart!!” She is now learning that her dad is strange and people who feel and notice others and cry and laugh are normal.

    I thank God everyday I had the friends and resources to get away- and not only save myself, but my daughter too.

    If you think you are helping your children by staying I would caution you to remember that their NPD father/mother is teaching them how to treat you, and how to treat their future spouse and children.

  19. PhoenixRising says:

    This sounds like what my daughter went through for a period. For her it was both emotional overload and emulating her father’s behavior. I remember breaking down and crying when she witnessed two children being verbally abused by their parents in a restaurant, and she had no reaction. She could actually care less.

    I was stunned. This is a child who used to shudder at the sound of a baby crying in a distance, and become either distraught or very concerned, depending on the intensity of the crying. This is a child who cared about animals and children and trees.

    After our first year of separation, she began to change.

    We talked about it, a number of times, and eventually after time, she began to tap back into that side of her. I didn’t press it, because in one sense it was a way of survival. But having a number of survival mechanisms set in place when i was a child, I knew how those very same mechanisms can weigh you down as an adult. So I had to find that balance between giving her space and prodding her out of it.

    Your last paragraph is filled with wisdom. I wish every parent could read it and be forewarned.

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