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The Child Victim of a Narcissistic Personality Disordered Parent

Updated on January 23, 2017

The NPD Parent

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

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

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

The Child's Experience of NPD Abuse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Intervention

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

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

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

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

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      T.T. 86 minutes ago

      To: Unknown. I really feel for your situation and am praying for you. You are never alone. It sounds like you are in an abusive and unhealthy situation with your mother so I would highly recommend going to or calling a crisis line - they can offer initial relief and should be able to refer you to low cost or free resources in your area. Depending on your religious background, a church could offer some relief/prayer/support as well. Taking action is the first step. You are very courageous, keep going, things WILL get better!

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      Unknown (i want to be incognito for my own sake..) 2 days ago

      Please i need help, im 22 and i have this abusive mother.. many people say that im being rebelious towards my mother, but at home she's the devil. At first my brother was her favourite child who would help me calm her down if we were on a argument, now he also realised that she's also turning up to him. My dad ran away from her a few years back caring alot about me and my brother, but never wanting to see my mother again (and now i understant why..) everytime i try to explain her stuff she always says that "oh you know everything! bla bla" and always end up on a argument, also she uses the "i work hard to sustain you and your brother, im not playing here!" argument everytime i ask her where is she going. She has to turn everything into an argument.. I don't remenber the last time we spoke like normal people..

      The worst part of it is when im sick.. i hate it because my mom ignores me everytime i have fever or im constipated.. "just take a pill and that'll pass" not caring a single time.. but im 22 years old so that's kind of normal.. but she did it since i was 13yold!! i remembered the last time i was sick, i had this bad fever, and i was laying on the couch. I couldnt move a muscle.. and she asked me to wash the dishes. Since i couldn't move, i asked my brother to wash it for me.. that was my bigest mistake.. she started yelling at me and saying "you can never do things by youself huh?! Always asking your little brother to do everything to you, you lazy person!".. I HAD FEVER AND MY BODY WAS SORE! I never had her support ever since, not only when i was sick, but also in school and everything else.. i always wanted to do girl stuff with my mom, and daughter-mother stuff.. i don't know what that is, i have no idea.. if i didn't watch all those movies about family relationships and whatsoever, i would never have an idea of what is daughter-mother relationship..

      Today i'm having a breakdown, and is not the first.. I'm feeling negleted and ignored by my mother. I don't even feel her as my mother anymore.. I need some advice, i need help.. I dont have enough money to pay a psychologist to help me and my brother.. I'm starting to fall into despair and depression.. HELP.

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      Helen Stuart 2 days ago

      It really seems that there must be a better answer for Bravo. But I don't know if there is. If my father had a diagnosis, I'm sure it would contain psycopath in it. You described my own situation so well. I am 52 yrs old, left home for college early at 17 was surprised to be taken OUT of college several times by my parents, (my mom supported everything my dad did, even his molestation of my older half sister and I. I remember reaching sexual climax for the first time at age 3. It was not what you would call blissful, it was imposed on me, I was trying to quickly escape through my mind, by staring at a picture on the wall, when my mom walked in, I expected to be saved forever, but she looked at me angrily and went back out to the pool. That and a couple of less severe incidents are the only times I have any memories of sexual abuse until lately, when a few nightmarish things have been breaking through. But it wasn't just the sexual abuse. It was the command to spend my time in his room when company came over. It was my amazement to see him be nice to small animals. And eventually it was the disbelief and the rage when he told CPS from one state away that I was sexually abusing my daughter! That is his charge against everyone! That was ruled out, but I then had a record ,althougth false, with CPS, and all it took was another false charge to guarantee my daughter would be taken from me. She was the miracle of my life, and she still is, although after spending 6 years in foster care, she no longer seems to trust me, even though I had made a point of never lying to her about anything. She has aspergers and CPS said she "no longer had it" . Aspergers never goes away. It has just been reclassified as High Functioning Autism. They also took her off her levothyroxine, she has a rather low thyroid, and hypothyroidism can cause serious diseases. Now that she is no longer "a foster kid" I beg her to go back to the Doctor and have her thyroid checked. I am not interested in the label of Aspergers, but it is not a mental illness, it is a neurological disorder that can be helped by knowing THAT"S why you just don't want to be around anybody for an afternoon, or THAT'S why you feel a little dizzy and need extra sleep. My father, who feigned "special" love for me, but actually hypnotized me and got his pleasure from my uneducated mind and small body, ended up hurting so badly the person I love most in the whole world, my precious daughter. And even my family, who knew he was crazy when we were little, believed every lie he told about me once I left for good. Your "narcissist" hates you because hate is all they know. I promise you this. I wish there was a better answer for Bravo123, and I know there must be. You speak of no adults believing the children of a NPD parent, well Bravo123 is an adult who more than believes and is willing to take action. I'm not suggesting CPS, they do not deliver what they promise. Perhaps you could see a lawyer in family mediation who favors childrens rights since you were at one time the man of the house and acting father and very familiar with the kids. If you haven't got much money, but you sound like you're doing okay if you have this much intelligence, there is always the public assistance attorneys, and you can call your state bar association first. It is better that you start it and the state does not get involved because lawyers hate dealing with that. You could be saving those kids years of trying to unravel the lies and threats of (now) the man and their mother. They will never forget you for trying, but talk to a lawyer first.

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      Clarity 2 days ago

      I have been researching for years about this topic and you have just nailed it. My step sons are in this horrible relationship with their NPD step father. I have heard the stories for 9 years now (of being with their father) and we would always just shake out heads, there was never any logic to what we would hear the boys say about things happening in their mom's household. Now that they have become teenagers and much more aware of what's really happening, we hear even more stories. I like that your writing basically tells people the truth. Judges do not know what to do with this information. It's nearly impossible to prove it's happening. There is almost nothing that can be done except to try to get them far, far away from the situation once they turn 18 and get them straight into counseling.

      Meanwhile, they see their mother in tears all the time, the whole family, constantly getting "the silent treatment". The NPD acts like a ridiculous, immature child. When you share stories with other family members of what's going on, people are truly shocked and perplexed that a human being could even act in such a way.

      I constantly dream of being able to send their mother an article like this -anonymously, just so their mother could understand what she has gotten herself into. But, it's not possible. He would intercept her mail. She can't fart without asking him for permission. Sadly she buys into the whole thing, hook, line and sinker. He picked her right off the tree! All I can do is pray for my step children and for my husband and our family as we continue to deal with the absurdity happening in the other parents household. Thank you thank you thank you for this article!!!!!!

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      James Lawrence 6 days ago

      Thank you Mr. Krill...we must have met then, I didn't know you knew my mother! ;-)

      Nicely written, concise, very helpful. And though I'm 72, with years of therapy and self-work mostly behind me, I still find myself at struggle with intermittent feelings of shame, loss, anger, betrayal, insecurity etc. regarding my birth family.

      My mom is the quintessential PDT...and yes, still very much alive but, I say with nostalgic but determined gratitude, a continent away.

      I haven't seen or spoken with her or my sister for more than 2 years...our third such estrangement (2 years, 5 years) and the final one for me.

      My sister got caught up in the trap of being the child who wanted to "own" our mother, and she succeeded by traumatizing, then controlling the family dynamic, and sacrificing those (me, husbands, father and stepfather) who didn't fall into her need to control everything and everyone...especially mom ("Iiiiit's payback time, mommy!").

      Mom is 92, lives with my sister...and my sister's divorced, dysfunctional daughter...and the daughter's two children, one at least of whom is emotionally troubled as well, while the other child, the only male left, will I hope escape soon.

      Mom is still making people around her uncomfortable to miserable with her alcoholic-style erratic emotionality, martyrdom, victimhood, self-centered narcissistic behavior.

      To be the one who "won" in the pyhrric victory of becoming the inescapable center of my mother's world, a hate/love relationship if there ever was one, my sister has walked a very tight rope...up to and including more than one suicide attempt (my other sister, to "keep up with the Joneses", did the same, but alas, she succeeded while my surviving sister, to her great dismay, did not. When I visited her in the hospital after her last near-miss, she quite dramatically proclaimed, "When I woke up and saw I was still alive, I cried...I was hoping to be in heaven." Even to this day, she loves to flaunt her willignness to go to any extreme to get her way..."When I killed myself..." etc. Cue spotlight.

      My sister sacrificed our relationship and, with my mother, destroyed any chance we had for a healthy family in later years by practicing the same emotional/victim/martyr black magic we all learned from Madame Mommy.

      I'm a curious sort of black sheep, the one who accomplished the most, had the most loving, healthy, non-violent, non-punishing, non-abusive, non-histrionic relationship with my own children, for which I confess pride...and yet I still struggle with that feeling of thinking "if I just give it one more chance" re reconciling with the unreconcilable...but that would mean, as always before, that past breaches in the family dynamic will again never be discussed, never resolved, and there will always be only one (the last surviving male, me) to be expected to admit fault.

      It's pretty sad, of course. Our entire family was doomed from the day my mother decided to become a parent.

      I crossed that bridge out into the world as soon as I could, not realizing for many years after how our happy little family was in truth a very sick, sick little family. Right up there with Price of Tides.

      After all, it's not every person who gets to say, "Yeah, my mother, and both sisters, tried to kill themselves more than once. Only mom, the one who got the ball rolling, never intended more than to get attention with her attempt. That's one of many bitter ironies. (The stubborn 3rd husband was the culprit in that scenario, the first attempt anyway). I have compassion for and fear of them all. I worry that I will be shot by one of them, or people in another car who come up alongside me. Our house was one of fear and sudden emotional and physical catastrophe and we never knew when it was coming.

      I never really returned to my family, though I made many attempts to build a healthier relationship with them, with some success...but the dragons spawned of PDT never were banished from the dungeon, and so spewed their fire and flame upon all of us periodically.

      I kept my two daughters away from all of them as best I could when they were young and vulnerable. That was a wise choice, and they've benefitted from it.

      For my part, I was always willing to work things out with my fam. But was seldom willing or able, frankly, to play into the rather remarkable, intricate victim/martyr dance/dynamic that I have wholly done my best to escape from. Even so, in my younger years, I suffered mightily, and caused many adult loved ones to suffer therefrom, by wielding the same emotionally manipulative tendencies as a younger man myself. As I learned the better way, I healed, and stopped acting out with rage, withdrawal of love, manipulation and the whole sad bag of dark tools.

      Still, the sadness, frustration, desire to answer those last finely honed salvos of histrionic condemnation I bore at last visit out west, persist, even at age 72.

      When they pop up, I do my best to acknowledge those feelings of helplessness, powerlessness, feeling misunderstood, rejected, falsely accused and the rest. I try to understand where they come from, do my best to forgive my "family" which never really felt like a right, or safe family because of all the stuff that went on, as you describe so succinctly above, and I have very little desire to re-engage with any of them. That leaves me sad, feeling like my best intentions were in the end a failure, frustrated, angry, and yet I know I must live with the resolve not to expect resolution with them. A conundrum: resolve that doesn't resolve.

      And over time, and benefitting greatly from the 16 year loving marriage and "step" family I flourish in now, it becomes more and more a thing of the past, a great learning period in my life, and the darkness at life's beginning that I leave behind.

      Anyway, this all seems self serving...sometimes I get going and it just pours out - still - mostly just wanted to say thanks for this piece. It'll be saved to help me in those flashes of feeling bereft, and at a loss.

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      bravo123 7 days ago

      Thanks for your reply. I would be interested to get your book. Please let me know once it's published.

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      William E Krill Jr 12 days ago from Hollidaysburg, PA

      Hi Bravo. Yes, I am a clinical counselor, but I do not do distance counseling. Sadly, when a sibling or friend finds themselves a victim of these situations and does not fully realize it, there is not really much one can do to hasten their understanding, especially if the personality disorder has the victim under their spell. You best bet is to continue to learn as much as you can about the disorder, and be ready when (if, really) your sibling is ready to seek out treatment. In many cases, it is a child that begins to have big problems in school that gets the ball rolling. I have the release of a new book planned later this year that is tentatively titled: "Relational Aikido: the Peaceful Art of War With a Personality Disorder", that will be self published, likely on Kindle.

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      bravo123 12 days ago

      This is the best article on this topic I have come across in a while. I have been researching this ever since I started to suspect that my sister-in-law has NPD. I feel terribly sorry for the children, especially the scapegoat who suffers deeply, cries a lot and has extreme bouts of disobedience and anger, though otherwise a sweet and highly intelligent young boy. My brother has been manipulated and doesn't understand at all what's going on. His wife has triangulated the children against each other, so they express violence towards each other on a regular basis. She is a pathological liar and to me it looks like her oldest son is becoming one too. I am concerned about the wellbeing of the children and would like to know how I can help. Is there anyone out there who can counsel me and advise what I can do? I am also worried about my brother, who has always been a happy and outgoing man, but has become withdrawn, unhappy and anxious. He used to be a very balanced and patient person but has developed a short temper lately. I think he somewhere feels that things are very wrong but has either no courage or no clarity (or both) to confront the situation. He is also unwilling to hear any other opinion about his wife (and family) so I am unable to share my thoughts and worries about this with him. The last time I expressed my concerns over the oldest boy's behaviour (who constantly bullies the 'scapegoat'), my brother lost it, saying that I exaggerate and that I am unnecessarily worried. It created a serious rift in our relationship even though we have enjoyed a very cordial relationship and friendship for our entire lives (till recently). William, do you do counseling? I feel that perhaps you could help.

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      Willowbean 2 weeks ago

      This article is spot on...as a child of a mother who has NPD usually the children run far when they turn 18 as I did. There where only a couple of people who could see my mother for what she was over the years and the rest fell to the charm she gave. When she didn't get her way,she made up horrible rumors to tell the friends and family. I haven't seen or heard from her in years because I broke all ties,but from what I have heard from family is that she has this fallacy that I owe her something...I owe nothing & enjoy the peace of mind I have today.

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      William E Krill Jr 2 weeks ago from Hollidaysburg, PA

      Yes, there are adult victims of their children who are NPD.

    • krillco profile image
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      William E Krill Jr 3 weeks ago from Hollidaysburg, PA

      I hope to have a new book finished by the end of this year, tentatively titled: 'Relational Aikido: the Art of Peaceful War With Personality Disorders".

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      teach! 4 weeks ago

      I have a question for anyone out there???? please

      so I can't find anything like my issue. So the non - custodial parent has had history of cancelling, not paying support, yelling at our child when a discussion would help. Calling our child names, neglecting them emotionally BUT has claimed that I am responsible for the situation. They text me all the time that I am brain washing, scaring our child. The thing IS, I have logged ALL over past 12 years. Kept phones, texts, name calling....all of it. Texts go from I love you's to let's talk, to I NEED to talk to my child, I am taking you to court. Threatens my job.

      That will happen all within a couple of hours.....for the past 12 years. "GET A LAWYER" right?? well being a teacher, and not getting support, not an option. I just make sure our child is cared for, well rounded....but still stressed, this will be the 5th year in a row he claims this. any ideas??

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      Natalie Schaeffer 4 weeks ago from Farmersville, CA

      @April Hi, sorry this is late. First of all, good for you for leaving your abusive ex. You did the right thing for your son and for you. I know that you don't want the legal authorities involved, but you owe it to your son to try even if you think it's hopeless. If your ex is abusing you, notify the police immediately. Or if you're too scared to do that, find a way to video record what is going on between you and your ex. Show the evidence to the police, and he will likely be charged with assault. With proof of his physical abuse towards you, the custody arrangement can be re-evaluated, and his rights to see your son can possibly be taken away. This will protect your son from his abuse. As for your protection from his abuse, you can probably get a restraining order against him.

      This may sound risky and scary to you, but it's for the protection of your son, so it's something that you must try. Don't give up. I know your comment is about a month old, but I know that situations like yours can take time to be resolved.

      I wish you and your son the very best! Don't let anyone intimidate you from being the best parent that you can possibly be. Set an example for your son to be strong and do what's right, even when it seems like all odds are against you. It will also teach him that abuse should NEVER be tolerated.

      If you really feel like your self-esteem has been scarred from your ex's abuse, it would probably be in you and your son's best interest to seek counseling so that you can slowly re-gain the confidence that your ex has whittled away from you. It's important to love and respect yourself. Remember, you have a little man who is watching and learning from you! :)

      Also, if you suspect that your son is being abused and he comes back from your ex's residence with bruises and welts, DO NOT HESITATE to call the police! The source of whatever/whoever is harming your child needs to be investigated, or the abuse will continue...and worsen.

      I hope this advice helps. It's not much, but I felt compelled to respond to your comment and offer whatever advice that I could. I hope that others on this thread with more knowledge and expertise on this matter will do the same.

      Again, I wish the very best for you and your little one. Good luck!

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      Sandy 4 weeks ago

      I am a grown daughter and scapegoat child of an NPD mother. My mother convinced me my whole childhood that I was evil and that everything was my fault. It took me a very long time as an adult to realize what she had done to me. She still continues to abuse me and unfortunately other people, even my own husband, does not really understand the emotional abuse that I have suffered. She has caused me 2 breakdowns and my first priority for myself is to protect myself from her and not let her drive me insane. I have many times wanted to cut all ties with her but other people in my life - my husband and my in-laws don't support this decision and so I suffer in silence.

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      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 7 weeks ago from Philippines

      This is a very informative and interesting article. It is very sad that children grow up with so much uncertainty because of parents who have NPD. Sadder, too, that they need to be protected from their own parents.

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      Sherin 8 weeks ago

      I have never read anything so accurate and true as this. Truly a direct hit. When I Finally took a stand to the mis-treatment (after having my own children), I was disowned (27 years now), nonetheless it was a relief. Sadly, I went on to marry "my mother ". I read somewhere that marriage is unfinished business, I guess I'm a product of that. At least I recognize the signs and can speak up now. Thank for for the validation & acknowledgement.

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      Miksel 2 months ago

      They seem to be everywhere. Being a spouse of one is exhausting when you try to protect then from NBT is unbelievable. If NBT parent is also an alcoholic, this parent relationship with the other adult is an unhealthy for the child's view of love and marriage. So very sad this robs children of a normal happy childhood and possibly carries over to adulthood. Damn!

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      Paula whittle 2 months ago

      My children and I are living proof and its not a life (since 2010 my pigeon pair are now 18 yes and 16 yes it breaks and kills everything u are

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      April 2 months ago

      Hi, I'm in desperate need of help from any and every one of u who's comments I have just finished reading. My name is april hernandez, I am from Youngsville, La, I'm 32 years old and I am blessed with the most handsome/beautiful/timid/shy/ blond haired & crystal blue eyed baby boy. My ex of now 2 years, is to what I and my parents strongly agree to being a narcissistic, he was highly abusive to me mentally and both physically and still is to this day, even though we have not been together since our son was 6 months old. I left him Bc of his abuse towards me in front of our son, I did not want my baby to end up growing up, speaking to me nor any other woman the way his father speaks to women in general. This man had me (the best way I can even begin to describe his characteristics) brainwashed to say the absolute least. He destroyed me, completely shattered any positive self confidence I ever may of had before he and I met, to the point, I couldn't bare looking at myself in the mirror and questioning my life and how ugly I was the day I finally said enough was enough, if not doing this for myself, I'm doing this to save my son from having to witness the misery and unhappiness and ugliness of his fathers behavior towards me daily, so finally I left his father. My son is now 2 years and 5 months old. For about a year now, I have been highly suspecting physical abuse from his father on our son, from me getting him back from being at his fathers for the weekend and my son being as if he is in a trance every single time even to this day. I've found marks; bruises; welps; not to mention his mental state each and every time. He stares straight ahead, without any emotion being present upon his little sweet beautiful face; his bottom half of his body being limp, as if he is paralyzed for the first hour of having him back in my prescience. Pls pls I beg of y'all, help me! Help me save my son from this evil man who I know, I know, not only from the signs my son has been showing for the past year, but also, I feel it deep deep inside my gut as his mother. My baby isn't my baby when he comes back home to me from his fathers. I know how upsurb this all sounds, but I have absolutely no reason to lie about anything I'm saying right now. I'm terrified, terrified as his mother of exactly what is going on behind closed doors at his fathers house with my son; it scares the living hell out of me; idk what route to take, I do not want to involve OCS, as he is a MASTER MANIPULATOR, I am not being overly dramatic about this, I promise u. Pls any and all help to save my sons life will be greatly appreciated. I will even throw in cash for anyone who is willing to help guide and direct me on my journey in saving my poor son from the man who is slowly ripping my happy/joyful 2 year olds personality right out from under his feet and he's barely even begun to be himself and who god so perfectly created! I need help, I'm afraid I can not do this on my own without someone's guidance and unsure! Pls

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      fed up coparent 2 months ago

      It's really hard to stand on the sidelines and watch your wife go through all of what was mentioned in this article. Her sick Ex just needs to stop trying to be some kind of Disneyland Dad, and do what he is suppose to and pay his child support. His kids will end up just like him, like this article says. That is what I fear...

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      Crystal Chappell 2 months ago

      This is my grandson's stepmother to a tee. She uses me a small punishment and won't let Me see him, have lunch with him at school Andrea lately she has started giving me instructions on things I'm allowed to do or I can take see him! What can I do?

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      William E Krill Jr 3 months ago from Hollidaysburg, PA

      I believe you, Lilly.

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      Lily 3 months ago

      This sums up my childhood. So sad. I feel like I've healed mostly, and I'm only 22 I've been in therapy for years, but sometimes when I think about it I get sickly angry or extremely cold and detached. The worst part about it, is when you try to speak up about the abuse even as an adult no one believes you and further isolation occurs from your outside family and even friends. It's truly one of the loneliest and isolating experiences that barely anyone on this earth understands. Especially being the scapegoat, we had intense abuse from the start of our lives and we deserve so much more then these piece of shit narcissists.

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      Freedom at any price 3 months ago

      NPD parents do not disappear when the child reaches adulthood. This goes on forever, as the NPDs are not cured. Even 80 and 90 year olds can bully 60 year old adult children. I know.

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      Maddy 4 months ago

      It has 2017 date because it has been updated, as stated under the headline.

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      Stephanie biggs 4 months ago

      why is this article dated 2017 yet comments are from 4 years ago?

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      andi lea 5 months ago

      my ex boyfriend's father spent 2-3 years planning to desert his wife and young son. When he finally took off, he made sure that he didn't in ANY way contribute to their care for 2 years, so that he could claim he was divorced, in order to marry another woman. Unfortunately, i am now seeing these same character defects (silent treatment, avoidance, dishonesty,manipulation, lack of commitment, just disappears whenever he wants to...etc) in my ex. I am so glad i never allowed him to have sex with me, nor did i fall for his "i'm a very wealthy man" ploy to try to trick me into some kind of financial bind. Good old fashioned morality protected me, so that i was able to notice when that carefully crafted mask slipped. Poor man, i feel sorry for him, but he needs to pursue his own recovery- i can't do it for him!

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      Valley Hanna 5 months ago

      Thanks for your post. Does the NPD parent ever follow through on his/her threats? My mother, whom I feel has slight NPD, has threatened to put my niece / her teen granddaughter (whom she's raised since age 2) in foster care after getting enraged that my niece slightly ignored her at a track meet while hanging with her teen teammates. My mother has been acting completely heartless and out of control about that tiny diss since it happened and says she will begin taking the steps toward foster care/abandonment.

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      Sunshyne1975 7 months ago from California, US

      Being a step parent to a child with a narcissistic mother has been a struggle and I wish I would have recognized signs earlier, but more than anything I wish the court system would have given a care. Unfortunately narcissistic people are really good liars and have lots of people including therapists fooled. Thank you for this hub. :)

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      William E Krill Jr 10 months ago from Hollidaysburg, PA

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

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      Concerned other parent.. 11 months ago

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

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      William E Krill Jr 11 months ago from Hollidaysburg, PA

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

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      Concerned other parent 11 months ago

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

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      William E Krill Jr 11 months ago from Hollidaysburg, PA

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

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      11 months ago

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

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      Live To Write 11 months ago from Phoenix, Az.

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

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      William E Krill Jr 11 months ago from Hollidaysburg, PA

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

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      Parent73 11 months ago

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

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

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      parent 11 months ago

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

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      Ray Van Hoff 14 months ago from Michigan U.S.A.

      Very professional handling of a sensitive subject

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      Jacob Letwala 14 months ago from Tembisa

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

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      Natalie Schaeffer 14 months ago from Farmersville, CA

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

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      Marié Patricia Nicolina Murray 14 months ago

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

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      Hurting & trying to heal 14 months ago

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

    • krillco profile image
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      William E Krill Jr 15 months ago from Hollidaysburg, PA

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

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      Peggy 15 months ago

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

    • krillco profile image
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      William E Krill Jr 15 months ago from Hollidaysburg, PA

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

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      Jenn130 15 months ago

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

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      ugh 15 months ago

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

    • krillco profile image
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      William E Krill Jr 16 months ago from Hollidaysburg, PA

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

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      Helen Stuart 16 months ago from Deep in the Heart of Texas

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

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      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 16 months ago from Philippines

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

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      Adney john 16 months ago

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

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      Carolyn McFann 17 months ago

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

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      Rebecca C Mandeville MA 17 months ago

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

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      Sulabha Dhavalikar 17 months ago from Indore, India

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

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      asaralopb10 17 months ago

      The Child Victim is very bad

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      Paula 17 months ago from The Midwest, USA

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

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

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      ainezk 17 months ago

      Can be quite a difficult thing to deal with.

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      sarita 18 months ago from Hisar

      You have very clearly explained the situation and the disease.

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      Maytal Erez 19 months ago from Jerusalem, Israel

      Great article!

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

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      flakycrustedmemry 19 months ago

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

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      meenakshibhati 19 months ago

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

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      Monique 19 months ago from Wichita, Ks

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

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      Michelle Zunter 19 months ago from California

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

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      Gary 19 months ago

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

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      Stephanie Bradberry 19 months ago from New Jersey

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

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      Ellie Lynn 19 months ago

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

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      Senem Truth 19 months ago

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

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      Sanjay Kumar A M 19 months ago

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

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

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

      I've been looking at a few cases:

      http://www.sagarasangama.com

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      Sue 19 months ago

      Wow, right on. Thanks for the epiphany.

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      stella vadakin 19 months ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

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

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      Peggy 19 months ago

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

      Constant documentation

      Therapists for the children

      Very firm boundaries

      Refusal to engage with her

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

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

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

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

      Good luck everyone

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      Ari 19 months ago

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

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      Girlinrowb 19 months ago

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

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      laxmikanta 19 months ago

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

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      grungegirl84 19 months ago

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

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

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      Audrey Hunt 19 months ago from Nashville Tn.

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

      Thank you so much.

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      Susan Trump 19 months ago from San Diego, California

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

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      T Johnson3 20 months ago

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

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

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

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

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

    • Susan Trump profile image

      Susan Trump 20 months ago from San Diego, California

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

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      Jay C OBrien 20 months ago from Houston, TX USA

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

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

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

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      William E Krill Jr 20 months ago from Hollidaysburg, PA

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

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      Jay C OBrien 20 months ago from Houston, TX USA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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      William E Krill Jr 20 months ago from Hollidaysburg, PA

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

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      Jay C OBrien 20 months ago from Houston, TX USA

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

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

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

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      McKenna Meyers 22 months ago from Bend, OR

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

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      Linda Rogers 22 months ago from Minnesota

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

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      Peggy Woods 22 months ago from Houston, Texas

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

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      smcopywrite 22 months ago from all over the web

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

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

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      Susan Trump 22 months ago from San Diego, California

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

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      Elysia Valdivia 22 months ago from Loveland, Colorado

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

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

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

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      anweshablogs 22 months ago

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

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      Wednesday-Elf 22 months ago from Savannah, Georgia

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

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      William E Krill Jr 22 months ago from Hollidaysburg, PA

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

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

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      janesmith100 22 months ago

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

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

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

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

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

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      William E Krill Jr 2 years ago from Hollidaysburg, PA

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

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      MarkSpark 2 years ago

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

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      William E Krill Jr 2 years ago from Hollidaysburg, PA

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

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      Terry Drepaul 2 years ago

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