Projecting

When your child’s other parent may have issues or show traits of being a narcissist, there are two things that can happen. One, you feel the need to protect your child, and rightly so. The second is that you can project the narcissistic parent’s trait onto the child without meaning too. Of course, we don’t want our children to emulate the behaviors of a narcissist. We don’t want to see our beautiful babies grow up to be entitled, selfish people who see other people as resources to be used, who manipulate and can “do integrity” rather than actually be or have integrity.  But children, by nature, can be quite selfish — that’s not a moralistic judgement. It’s normal. And what we call narcissistic traits are part of the growing up stages of children, especially as they enter their teen years. This can throw a concerned parent into a tizzy. In a sense, you are fighting for your child’s life. Make no mistake about it. When one parent models hurtful behavior, when science is out on how much personality disorders are the result of environmental influence and how much is genetics, if your child’s behavior shadows the narcissistic parent’s behavior in … Continue reading

An On-Going Process

Over a year ago, DD made the decision to go no contact with her father. Since she was 16 he’s been trying to convince her to drop out of school, get a “real job” and move in with him. She had other plans, but his perception of her being in school as a waste of time or something she would not be able to attain impacted her. So a number of things combined with this underlying pressure caused her to decide to remove herself from an energy that had more invested in her failing than succeeding. Her senior year stood as a testament to the rightness of her decision. Her attitude improved and with that her grades and with that her self-esteem. She took more risks and expanded more artistically than she ever had before. When she first made that decision, I had long talks with her. I posed different scenarios to her that she might face if she went through with this decision and asked her to consider how she might feel in those situations. However, she was not only thoughtful in her responses but articulate in her reasons. I could see she had made this decision mindfully and … Continue reading

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, … Continue reading

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 … Continue reading

How Do We Protect Our Children?

by PresenceNow My story began with a marriage that lasted almost 14 years, which also produced two wonderful children who are now teenagers. I was not one of those folks who was completely in love, totally bowled over, etc., but I was resigned to the fact that most marriages are “good enough.” I didn’t keep looking for the man I thought would be my true partner in life — I thought that although we all usually have good feelings about our spouse, most everyone has troubles and things to work on and our marriage would be no different. I quickly learned that life went smoothly when I did what was expected of me, didn’t rock the boat, and dutifully reported everything in my day. When I “supported” my husband by agreeing with him and attempting to anticipate his every need or wish, he was happy, and life seemed okay. When we had kids, I kept them occupied and clean, and encouraged them to spend time with their dad (which they didn’t like, and he didn’t push- heaven forbid anyone should see that his kids didn’t like him.) Things changed even more over time — my feelings were never validated or … Continue reading

Staying Put

By EyeOfTheStorm I’ve recently reached a milestone in my journey distancing myself from a narcissistic personality. Like each journey, mine has some unique characteristics. – I am a man. My wife is the narcissist. That is my own non-professional diagnosis, but I’ve been studying narcissism for about eight months now, and am confident in that statement. Having a wife who is a narcissist puts me in the minority. Apparently, being a man who will write about it online makes me even more of a minority! – We have three children. Not that this is so terribly unique, but it is the central point of my decisions. Otherwise, I would have left after her affair and never given it a second thought. – I am choosing to stay. Looking at how a divorce would work, the kids would spend half their time in each location. Not only is that a difficult life for a kid, but I do believe I can diffuse some of the anger/guilt that gets directed toward the children. I would not want to leave them completely with her – open to any amount of anger/guilt/manipulation. Therefore, mine is an emotional distance. I have found a lot of … Continue reading

When It’s So Hard to Let Go

by resdien I am in my early 30’s and have a 2 year old with an ex N. We were together for 6 years and I recently broke it off several months ago. The first year of our relationship was GREAT! I felt like a queen. We were so in love. We were inseparable. I started to get insecure with him working with really attractive females. Part of it was my own past insecurities, but the other part was intuition…maybe more. I found out he was hitting on his female coworkers. This was 4 years ago. I confronted him about it and of course, i became the bad person not him. He eventually apologized. We were already living together at the time. I didn’t want to move back to my parents. From there my self esteem started to go down hill. I was always having thoughts of him doing something. A year goes by, and it comes to my attention he’s hitting on his coworkers again. I confronted him. Again, i was the bad person. He told me to pack up all my s*it and i did, but i caved in to his pressure to come back, and we were … Continue reading