Skip to main content

How a Parent's Narcissistic Personality Disorder Affects Their Child

I am a licensed professional counselor. My practice focus is in general counseling, depression, anxiety, couples, custody issues, and LGBTQ.

Narcissistic Parent Checklist: Signs of Being Raised by a NPD

  1. Children of NPD parents blame themselves. Instead of blaming the parent, a loving child might take on the responsibility for the negativity and sacrifice their self esteem. They begin to believe it's their own fault their parent does not love them, or they hold out hope that by changing themselves, they might earn their parent's love.
  2. They feel invisible. These children may have no sense of themselves or what they want or need. The parent's grandiosity eclipsed the child so completely that it resulted in a person who has no idea who they really are as an individual.
  3. They become so acclimated to narcissism they may either choose narcissistic relationships or avoid relationships entirely. The neglect, abuse, rage, lack of empathy, and emotional games can be so overwhelming they can make a child grow to expect that kind of treatment in all their relationships, develop insecure attachments, or to distrust people and abandon emotional intimacy altogether.
  4. Narcissism breeds codependency, care-taking, low self esteem, guilt, or more narcissism. These children often adapt by either erasing themselves, sacrificing their own needs, developing PTSD, or joining the 'winning' side and becoming narcissists themselves.

The NPD Parent

Young children of a mother or father 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 one 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 unassisted 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 bring negative attention to them and 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 dad who pushes his child to do a sport they do not want to do), others are experts at hiding their abuse and are able to manipulate others at will (including teachers, ministers, police, lawyers, and even judges).

Due to the disorder, NPD parents have little to no regard for their child’s individuality, ambitions, or emotions. This 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 by using charm, false interest, and lavish gifts to get them to commit to a relationship. If 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 will rapidly transform 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).

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 Child's Experience of NPD Abuse

People complain about spoiled children, but children really have very little power over their parents. This is even more true in the case of a child with an NPD parent, since that 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.

Narcissistic mothers and fathers elicit intense fear in the child in 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. A 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 harm to their non-NPD parent or the child themselves.

The child victims of NPD parents are simply there to supply the parent with admiration and 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 may 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 suspected 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 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's, often cloaking this fact with an 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 neglectful and angry, 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: 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.

Narcissistic Injury refers to any threat (whether real or imagined) that the narcissist perceives is being done to their grandiose false-self in any given moment. With every narcissistic injury experienced by the narcissist’s fragile ego, they will exhibit a reflexive urge towards a violent rage.

— Christine Louis de Canonville

Maturing and Adult Children of Narcissistic Parents

The normal development of children dictates that they begin to individuate and differentiate as they grow, meaning that they blossom into their unique selves. This normal progress gains momentum as they get 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 may grow to intolerable levels.

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

The truth is, narcissistic parents don’t have children because they want to nurture and guide their offspring through life; they have children so that they have an automatic, built-in relationship in which they have power, one in which the narcissist can write the rules without any checks and balances.

— Seth Meyers, Psy.D.

Separating From an NPD Parent

Even if the non-NPD parent is able gain the upper hand and find assistance to extract themselves from the relationship, the courts often support standard custody agreements. The child, fearing the narcissistic parent, might not speak to counselors, lawyers, or judges about the situation. The disordered parent has proven over and over again that they will not be discovered for what they are, nor will they be prevailed upon or held accountable. The child has no faith that these adults can help. 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 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 a judge has a hard time believing them. The child believes that there is no one in the world that can help them from the narcissistic parent, so will support them 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 turns 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 what the child needs in terms of 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.

Judicial Intervention

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. Again, the problem 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 from 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 its own. By learning the many characteristic behavioral clues that NPDs 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 jobs and help the child recover and generate coping mechanisms for dealing with their NPD parent more effectively.

How NPD Will Effect Divorce and Custody

In a nutshell: Expect a fight. Because in order to stoke their grandiose and inflated ego, the narcissist will enter divorce court and custody battles intending to win at any cost. A no-holds-barred, dirty, bloody battle will be unpleasant for everyone, but especially for the child who will be manipulated and used as a pawn to win and inflict maximum emotional damage.

It might help your case if you kept a journal documenting exchanges or a folder full of emails and screengrabs of text messages. Get an attorney who has experience with personality disorders and knows what to expect.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2013 William E Krill Jr


Neha Rohra from India on August 22, 2020:

Your article is very substantial about what it is like.

Person "xyz" 's father was an alcoholic who only abused her mother when fights got intense, never the children, though abusing the mother was decidedly wrong. The mother was a narcissist who scapegoated the child by interfering at slightest and lying that a room is not possible for the adult child while building other properties. Left the child without physical boundaries of a room for years, letting him live in Hall, in sister s room, in her own room on rotational basis each day so to leave her open to control and rip off personal power. Breaking independence, esp when adult child is physically ill and mentally low on energy, and acting hero by doing for her in public that too spending on random useless things not issues of significance. When she escaped to build her own life without blaming them narcissists outside tried to take advantage. She met one full blown ASPD violent pitbull or cobra man but walked out soon and didn't suffer permanent damage but worked on privacy, putting physical boundaries and reclaiming personal power gradually over time.

Sharing link to my article below:

cable-bunny8 on March 25, 2020:

I don't want to just assume this is what my mother has..or is, honestly I don't know what to think. all I know is that a lot of what was written in the article is painfully familiar.

right now I have only recently begun to realize just how twisted/selfish she can be and I'm ashamed it took me 21 years..

Hi, my name is Katherine and I guess my mother has NPD? I never really noticed anything due to my two half sisters constant abuse since I was 7. I've recently lost a job due to a foolish mistake on my part and as such have been limited in my funds. at the start of my unemployment i asked her if we could slow down with purchases until I could find a job and her response was to socially blackmail me into making purchases. I put my foot down on the matter and she had a fit.. this happened over a month ago an now a few days ago she tried to get me to log into my bank account on her computer after so she could prove I had money to pay for things. normally I am not allowed to do anything but clean and do activities that she wants to do. I have been told I am addicted to technology when in actuality I am alone and desperate to talk to my boyfriend who lives out of state. she has taken away my phone, laptops, and tablet. (all of which I rightfully own) and forbidden me from using the home phone to contact them. yesterday I was able to convince her to give my laptop back for the purpose of schooling. I can no longer take living with her and every day her voice becomes like nails on a chalk board to me... even if she hasn't said anything wrong... I feel selfish for being like that but if she is just going to continue waving away my mental and physical health .. than I feel absolutely no regret in leaving her in the dead of the night.

I hate her for being the way she is and I hate myself for being so blind to her.

I only hope I can prove to do better by my future children if I ever manage to have that blessing...

sorry for the inconsistent rambling.. I just.. really need to vent out my rage for my situation.. having no outlets like art, writing, music, or communication has proven to be difficult..

Thank you for listening;

I wish you the best of luck in your future.

Mim on December 15, 2019:

So my mother and father were married for 27 years. He left her after she had a newborn for the air force, to which he enlisted without telling her. He criticized her every day, he spent all of her money, they had three more children, each of which he was obsessed with as a child, but when we got older, forming our own opinions and words, he got harsher and harsher. He missed my tenth birthday for a business trip, which I later found out was a trip to Spain with his mistress. He screamed at me in front of tons of relatives at the Thanksgiving dinner table when I was ten. When my sister was sixteen, he banged on her locked door threatening to kill her. My mom didn't know these stories, and if she did, she said he was hurt as a child and he really did love us. She spent nearly every night crying. Every day was tense and fearful. My brother became the boy who never left his room, and rarely ever spoke. My dad started never coming home, and when he did, my siblings and I had a group chat where we asked why he was there and we hid in our rooms. Finally my mom had to take action. She hired a private investigator and found out he was having an affair. For 32 years my mother was blinded by hope, and in one day everything she'd chosen to see was shattered into the truth. She filed divorce papers and she and I ran from our house with our dog (my older siblings had already moved out). Unfortunately, I was and still am a minor. So while all of these horrible stories are true, my father is a narcissist. So he continues to fight. He doesn't want a relationship with me. For years he has never known who I am, not since I was seven. Now, divorced and living with his girlfriend and her children, he claims he was always around, always wanting to be with me. None of it is true. He's fighting to win, he's fighting to take everything from my mother, because it is his nature. Nothing will ever be enough for him. It is his way or no way. But we are winning. As hard as it is. I was doing well and our last supervised meeting with a Catholic therapist he snapped again, screaming at me. While I held my ground, my heart pounded and I wanted to run. This is probably the worst part. The fact that he still has power over me. But all of it is bad. I don't want to write how I feel for the therapist, even though it helps our case should we ever go to court. I fear the day when I turn eighteen and leave him behind, I fear he'll come after me. Because his anger is unhinged. My brother fears he will come after him every day. It's distorted. But I'm trusting. I'm trusting God, I'm trusting his plan, and I'm trusting our father cares for us in some distorted small strange far away way. Because he is incapable of love. But we are his children. I know no one wishes to hear my story, but I've read each of yours. While we don't know each other, we're not all together, we're not all in the same scenarios, and the same ages, I feel we are in this together. I believe in each of you and you are all in my hearts. We can get through this, and if you've been through it already, you are my heroes. These narcissists are only people, and we have to remember that. They are powerless desperate for power. We recognize who they are, and that is 90% of our power. I'm thinking and praying for each of you, and I hope your day of winning is near, and if it's already come, that you are healing and glad to have the negativity out of your life. I know I feel better simply writing this out, even if no one has the diligence to read it, which I'd completely understand. To surviving and living better, no matter how old you may be when it happens :)

Anth Ashta on September 16, 2019:

I grew up with a dad who was NPD and a single parent after my Mum turned to Alcohol and left him and the marriage shortly after i was born ..i was the youngest and only boy and with 3 older sisters .. i dont have many early childhood memories at all up until the age of 4 or 5 and maybe i was already blocking out the emotional trauma of abandonment and coming to terms that growing up was not going to be easy ... My first day at junior school age 5-6 years was probably my first experience of PTSD and my Dad taking me to the school entrance doors and with a firm push he thrust me into the classroom full with kids all looking relaxed and excited with there parents there and i remember every fibre in my body sank to the floor and the overwhelming realization i was very much alone in the world ...My Dad had no emotional capacity to show anything remotely supportive and instead he used his NPD as the way to control and manipulate fear and the threat of violence should i or my sisters disobey his word

Alice Lanham on May 19, 2019:

I wish I had known more about NPD when I was younger. I might have been able to help my late husband in dealing with his mother.

Danielle on February 25, 2019:

I know my father is a narrsisist (idk if I spelled that right but) I knew from the start and I had to learn how to get around this world and I’m still a teenager and whenever I see another of my friends fathers or a random father...I smile but I feel like there going to yell at me or get mad... because there a father and that’s how I’ve always saw my father... as someone who hates who I am and wants to punish me for what I do wrong.

MissChevious on January 27, 2019:

This is exactly what i am experiencing and have been for 5yrs by my sons father. I have cried out for support but due to having depression and anxiety no one will listen and help me stop anymore damage to my kids. My ex lives elsewhere but his traits have rubbed Off on my 8yr old son who nów is abusive towards my daughter and myself daily and will not listen to me at all making me a target for Childrens Services and my ex thrives in it making him worse. My Health is rock bottom and i have no support. Anyone have any suggestions as im struggling to function. on January 03, 2019:

Perfect description of my childhood.....

lost cause on October 19, 2018:

i can't find legal help filing a case against my mother for extensive PTSD and other psychological damages. i can't make friends that want me around more than a day. i can't be around people who have families. this is a serious civil justice issue and it should be cased and filed with the ACLU immediately to prevent suicides

sherree link on September 25, 2018:

what ive just read is my mother and i have been a victim everything you said there about the child feeling in visable and the frist four paragraphs are me totally ive now begun to have the narctistic disorder my self and im going to get the help i need to beat this and get my life back

Camilo on September 24, 2018:

Hi, Thank you for this article, I'm now more than sure that my father is very narcissistic and might even have NPD, there are a lot of factors and little details that make me believe this, belittling achievements, criticizing my self esteem and my lack of it weirdly enough, belittling my career choices and accomplishments and my career as a whole too, attacking my personal appearance my sexual preference or lack of libido, controlling the love he gives depending if the situation makes him look good, a plethora of physical and emotional abuse that has been going on since I was 5 or 6 now at 24 I can finally realize that this kind of people are not worth to have in your life, not emotionally, not monetarily, not in any way, I'm infinitely grateful to my grandparents, uncles and all of my family and friends that did give me love and unconditional support even though I was completely dependent of his approval and his love, it's sad to know that a true father/son relationship with him can't happen, no matter how hard I try to.

I hope that everyone who feels the same has the strength to cut those people from their lives in whatever non-violent means, and I hope that I can find the strength to heal and bring healthy relationships in whatever life leads me to.

To anyone passing through this struggles, you can do it, you can say that you have had enough and you can chose to change and to be a positive influence in the world.

Have faith in yourself, you and you alone can change this for the better.

EFB on September 20, 2018:

Hi, I just read your article... I am currently in family court. I ran away from a 12 year relationship and took the kids. My ex is narcessistic but got a clean bill of health from his psych, which i expected. Since january i have spent 50.000 dollars (my mums whole nestegg... ) on lawyers... with no outcome to property, spousal maintenance or children. He is not disclosing information. My previous counsellor said once to me:" better to stay in the relationship... its safer... if you try and leave, he will destroy you..." right he was. He was the only person that provided me with a snippet of support on paper... he had to resign over it... 20 years of career... down the drain. I am at the point where i consider to return the kids... i know they would be safe and cared for and as long as i stay away, the kids (8 and 10) would be fine. He wants full custody or me to return and have shared care. He doesnt really want full custody... too much work. He only ever had the kids one week by himself and it was too much. If i offer it and he doesnt take the offer, he will have to answer to the judge, which would be difficult. Its a gamble... but i cant see a way out. We have been living in campervans on a property that is now for sale. The amenities and living standard is not suitable for kids. I cant get public housing because i am entitled to property i dont have. He is not paying child support... i am unable to gain empliyment and spend days and nights fighting one thing or the other he put on me, 2 appeals with admin appeals tribunal, trying to fight unfair settlement and get the orders put on hold... trying to talk sense into my lawyer that he is not your dumb ass stupid father that doesnt know what he is doing. . He knows very well... strategically undermining me to the point i have nothing left and am run into the ground... looking crazy and the kids get taken anyway... i dont know... any advice? Thank you kindly... E

Mark W on September 11, 2018:

Very grateful for your sharing of knowledge. I took way too many years to realise the workings of my narcissistic parents but I won’t blame myself - better late than never. The damage that NPD does to families cannot be overstated. Best wishes for your ongoing studies.

April on September 10, 2018:

This article is spot on, unfortunately. Extremely difficult, heartbreaking, and draining dealing with a narcissist. And the children caught in the middle, my heart hurts for them all

Kim Belair-Prevost on September 07, 2018:

I would like to know how deal with a narcissist in my life, I befriended a woman and her and her ex husband and ALL his and her families are ALL narcissistic, they are trying to manipulate me and put me in the middle of their fights, the ex husband and his cousin just recently emailed her and have been threatening her with her children, her home (homeless), her life and also called her some really bad names and told her to KILL herself, I want something done, this is upsetting and unsettling to say the least, this type of disruptive behaviour should not be or should be tolerated!!!!

William E Krill Jr (author) from Hollidaysburg, PA on August 27, 2018:

Working on a book I hope to publish by the and of this year on this very subject called "Relational Aikido: the Art of Peaceful War With a Personality Disorder.

Karen Cornelius on August 26, 2018:

Loved this article Mr. Krill! But I was a little disappointed that you didn't mention how the child of a narcissist would or could heal?

William E Krill Jr (author) from Hollidaysburg, PA on August 08, 2018:

We have begun to offer distance consulting/coaching for victims of pathological relationships. Get more info at:

KristiMay on June 21, 2018:

Very accurate. The truth hurts. The Narcissistic personality disordered parent has the upper hand, if they have the qualities of a covert NPD. Add antisocial personality disorder/sociopathy and it seems like the ultimate hell on earth for you and your child/children. Every type of abuse, including sexual, has occurred. She's only 6. He still won, until now. Find an experienced attorney is the key... Experience with a lot of motivation and fearlessness is a must. I found that many attorneys didn't seem that interested in my case. They were scared. I had one attorney tell me it would cost $30,000 to $40,000. I'm hanging in there, but it's hard. Every single person of authority in this area has stabbed us in the back and refused to help my daughter. It's the worst feeling I've ever experienced. I haven't done anything wrong that I haven't taken responsibly for. It's terrible to see this happen.

cloakanddagger on June 17, 2018:

I knew something was wrong with my mother when I was in my early teens, but I could not have vocalized what it was, only, in my own words that she was "crazy." My father seemed to share that sentiment, but I had to be very careful of what I said to him within my own house for fear of being overheard and paying the price. Even outside, to the two psychiatrists and one counselor that my mother bundled me off to, because I was "damaged goods" I could say little, for fear a comment made for therapeutic reasons would come back to haunt me. I lived in fear, the Iron curtain had not fallen, gestapo wandered the streets, and the very walls had ears. A single comment made in the heat of the moment could send my mother into these spastic rages. she even tried to dictate what i should do with my life.


Adavs on June 15, 2018:

As I read this very interesting article it described my ex-wife to a tee, as if it was written about her.

My three adult children have decided they no longer want to be part of my life. I always suspected the ex was the root cause now I am absolutly sure of it. She offers them things conditionally only if they do not talk or intereact with me. She is evil.

Thank you

Thank you

NerdyGalArt on May 27, 2018:

This was the BEST description I have come across regarding narcissistic parents. Most out there, including books, have left me 90% sure that my adoptive parents and sons father are extremely narcissistic but never sure. I don’t know if i wasn’t willing to accept it but the mental anguish that has accompanied my life has had so much ambiguity attached and it was never 100% clear until I read this. Outstanding job to the author for laying it out and providing in depth examples (i.e. latter children are often treated differently in high regard) that allow me to realize it wasn’t me and start to heal. Thanks and much love to anyone who has been a victim of a narcissistics sick tendencies.

AudiAngel on May 01, 2018:

I am a victim of it but did not see it until I was in my late 20's and I am also a narcissist. I have three teenage kids and I am working on recognizing the behavior but never thought I would end up as my mother who was heavily in the illness of NPD. I hid most of my fears and depression of self doubt through alcohol and drugs, and when push came to shove got 2 my kids removed by DCFS. My first husband is also one as we tend to attract what we think we deserve. he now has full legal custody and physical to my NPD mother. My kids are now living with my mother and her Illness and have not spoken to me in almost a year. It is my time to identify my behavior and how it affected my kids.

I do have love and empathy but for years if you were to tell me I was wrong or point out my character defects and was easily angered. I walked away from the toxic NPD and walked her back into my life and kids life with my abuse of alcohol. I have been in classes and following court orders, but the hurt sends me into spirals as I have in the past seen my kids as an extension of me and tried to control their life lessons instead of guiding.

I am posting this to everyone reading as to see if there are any classes or books that people know about in order to change and redirect my behavior as I did not want to be the abuser since I know how it feels to lived my entire life abused.

Em Susanna on April 18, 2018:

This article has shined so much light on my current and past situation. My case unfortunately, is an extreme one having both parents with NPD, as well as my older sister, in addition to experiencing all forms of abuse, with the exception of sexual, at the hands of all three. Growing up I was led to believe it was my father who was the sole abuser, making me look up to my mother as the “protector” in the family. Growing up, I often compared my family to others who were so obviously loving and affectionate. This created confusion at a very young age, where I began begging to be allowed to speak to someone as I always felt a little off. My mother would always tell me “to stop feeling sorry for myself” or “if you tell anyone about your father, I’ll be the one to suffer”. This forced me to live in constant fear, where I never let on that something was wrong at home, and taught me to never speak up and be honest with my feelings. As I grew older the abuse from my father began shifting mainly on to me as I was often the scapegoat for my family. My little brother is highly intelligent and my sister can do no wrong. Leaving me as the trouble child. I was in a constant state of trying to pretend I didn’t feel as hopeless, depressed, and fearful with everyone I met, as well as myself. I was never allowed to be a normal kid, constantly being abused for simple mistakes almost all kids my age make. When I began realizing I needed to stick up for myself because no one else was, I was abused severely anytime I’d open my mouth, followed by being kicked out into the cold with nowhere to go. Fortunately, I found a few people that supported me during these times, helping me maintain some sanity. Because of the abuse I suffered by my father, I wasn’t truly aware that my mother and sister were equally abusive as they often manipulated me, claiming that either my father was the problem, or that I was either too sensitive or too reckless. Often when being abused by father, my mother would hold me down or prevent me from leaving by standing in front of the door preventing any form of escape. My sister would also join in, verbally and emotionally abusing me all while I was being physically abused by my father. This broke me almost everytime, where I began to just lay down and take it hoping it would end sooner if I didn’t fight it. This only led to their belief that I was born solely to be their punching bag and scapegoat, leading my sister to direct her delusions and physical aggression towards me. Even with all the abuse, I still just wanted what everyone I knew had; a family that loved me. Hoping as time went on they would see and regret how they’d tortured me, I tried my best to please them. I worked like a slave for them, I would be there for my mom whenever she needed to vent, I would eat lunch with my sister everyday at school because she had no friends, hoping she would see I cared about her. All of this was disregarded, and when I was upset I’d be called selfish, a bitch, a cow, really any possible insult you could think of. When it eventually came time to go to college I decided to go into nursing as I wanted to prove to everyone I really am empathetic, selfless, intelligent, and capable of something. When I moved away things were okay because they couldn’t physically abuse me, however inevitably I entered into a severely abusive relationship. My mother was aware of this abuse and would do everything she could to keep me in the relationship, which I stayed in for 3 years. Both my mother and he convinced me he was taking care of me, and I became extremely dependent on him. Eventually I got out after he almost killed me, and when I was desperate for support to gain confidence to charge him my mother tried convincing me that he was crazy enough that he’d hurt her or my dogs if I did. Luckily, I had enough of being a victim and living in fear and I charged him, where of course my mother became angry that I didn’t listen to her. I was not truly aware at the time that she and my sister were actually abusive and not just suffering side effects of abuse themselves, leading me to move in with them. Again I did this to help my aging mother as my sister was diagnosed with a critical illness and I have the knowledge and skills to relieve the stress and care for my sister. This only fuelled their beliefs that my sole purpose in this world was to serve them. I would be up 3 times a night for about an hour each time, lasting 2.5 years, to make sure my sister was okay and then wake up and go to clinical or school. I also stopped eating and lost immense amount of weight because I couldn’t work to afford food and any food in the house I would be physically or emotionally attacked for trying to eat. The most recent time was 2 weeks ago, leading me to move back with my dad and brother. I had tried getting something to eat as I hadn’t eaten in 3 days and thought I was dying, and my sister started choking me. My mother stood by of course until I fought back and then joined in on attacking me. They then proceeded to call the police and constructed a story that I was mentally unstable as I am seeing a counsellor. As police are incompetent when it comes to the indicators of true mental illness they played into my mothers story and made extremely judgemental comments like “there’s always someone in the family who thinks they’re a victim”. That made me lose all hope in their ability to protect me. They called the police on me 4 times in 2 days because they knew if I was arrested I would never become a nurse and in turn gain independence. The police had me removed from the house “to keep the peace” as they viewed everything I tried explaining as irrational and everything my mother and sister were saying as potentially true. As soon as I left, they then called again telling them I was going to kill myself to have me admitted to a mental facility. They were hoping if they had me admitted everyone would be convinced I was unstable, but unfortunately for them my sister had been previously diagnosed by the same psychiatrist with a personality disorder during one of her hospital stays for her gastroparesis. Of course they didn’t hold me because they understood I was not the problem. Simply telling me I should just get out of the toxic situation and move on, as if it was as easy at that. I then began packing my stuff up to move once I got back and my sister of course physically attacked me again throwing a glass at my head and stating to my mother “I was really hoping it would just kill her”. I’ve been out of the house for 2 weeks now and they are now trying to convince my brother who is very supportive of me that they are fearful of me and that everything I say is a lie, while also creating elaborate stories to label me as unstable, physically aggressive, a thief, and not to be trusted. However, my brother is very similar to me and truly understands how I’m feeling and often tries sticking up for me. This just fuels my mothers anger and slander towards me, where she then plays childish games with him in hopes he’ll turn against me.

Even after all of this, I still just want them to love me and see me for the caring and selfless person I am but I realize now things will never get better and I won’t be able to achieve that normal life with them that I’ve tried so hard to have. I feel like I’m grieving because I know I’ll never change how they feel about me and I know I’ll never stop loving them even though they’ve tortured me my entire life and will continue to do so. I just want to hear my mom say she loves me and she’s sorry at least once but I know it won’t happen unless it’s to just draw me back in so they don’t lose their scapegoat.

Winney George on March 31, 2018:

A very spot on article,My father had NPD and I married and divorced a NPD. It has only been in the past 5 years that I have come To learn about NPD. It is both freeing and heartbreaking,some days there’s so much to deal with that I truly just want to give up. My children are in their early 20’s both have tried to commit suicide, and have been struggling with drug addictions. I wish things could have been different for all of us, the aftermath of NPD is something we will all suffer from. I know first hand how the NPD parent and spouse plays the “your crazy” and what a fight it is. And while my life has been filled with many battles I will continue to stand up for my children and myself. In hopes that someday a greater population will understand the depth of abuse that a person with NPD inflicts.

I on March 29, 2018:

It's been a long process but I've finally cut off my NPD husband. Unfortunately I can't go 100% no contact because we have a son. He was most displeased when I blocked all forms of communication and arranged a third party to do drop offs. He ended up sending me a letter lecturing me about good parenting and patting himself on the back for his surface level parenting achievements whilst subtly pointing out all my failures. It didn't feel like the letter was really for me. It felt like it was written for a wider audience to make himself look like an awesome dad and make me look like an awful mother. It felt like a threat to me. I stupidly took the bait and confronted him about it. Of course that's exactly what he wanted, he wanted to see me in distress. I am so worried for my son. His daughter from a previous relationship attempted suicide at 13 and he wasn't at all interested in addressing it. He never questioned it and has never once tried talking to her about it. He's so emotionally shallow it's scary.

D on March 19, 2018:

I have recently been enlightened. Grew up with an NPD parent. My situation may be a little unique, I work with mine. Everything came to light fairly recently. This is the most mind boggling realization I have ever had. In my 30’s and so many things are making sense. But it’s a daily struggle.

Graham Crowe on March 18, 2018:

This resonates with me completely. I am the youngest of 4, with our father being the one with NPD. I am researching the effects on the adult children; mainly differential parenting due to narcissism and its effects on the adult children. Please write me privately if you want to tell how you have been treated differently from your siblings, and if you struggle with depression/anxiety that you feel is a direct result of your upbringing by a NPD parent. Thanks!

Xyz on March 14, 2018:

18 years later my life makes sense.

mateo on March 12, 2018:

Oh , and I attempted suicide twice and he never cried once when he saw me.....but he'll cry over the two dogs I had to put down for health reasons. Life is something else.

mateo on March 12, 2018:

My father would attend other younger peoples sporting events which were miles away but would never come to my stuff which was walking distance. Whenever we played, it always had to be serious for him and if I would suffer a severe injury he would ask to finish the game through shootout. He took my to CBS news stations so he could use the carpool lane, and once there he accused them the government was harassing him (though I didn't know that was the reason at the time). He then shut off the cellphone when my mom and sister tried reaching me. He doesn't care to watch things with he family if he doesn't like it. He'll cut the grass in hot weather before doing the dishes for his wife before she comes home. He retired in his 30's and receives disability for thinking the government won't let him get a job. He told my the books are read are crap. He still doesn't know what illness I've been dealing with for 2 years and not once has he bothered to help me fight it. He told me to stay away from a lady he never met. He receives advice from others but not us even if it was the exact same thing. Even if the household is struggling financially he'll still buy his pop scicles and keep direct tv. That's just the tip. I have trained myself to forget things for the sake of sanity.

CarylRand on February 21, 2018:

I survived it.......It is still a nightmare, incredible I lived through it.

Anon on February 16, 2018:

Dear JoannaBo,

in the UK grandparents have to appeal to the courts to be given leave to start legal action for contact. You have a few options available, you could try to insist on supervised contact at a contact centre. Or you could try mediation, come to an agreement and get a consent order.

One very useful device in these situations is a contact book. You write in it all the information the grandparent needs to know for every contact session and invite them to do the same, that way there can be no arguments about what information has been passed on. If they play games by showing up early or late or not showing you record it in there. This was suggested by Claire Heppenstall of Garden Court Chambers. She acted for my ex, but this advice actually worked against him and I used it to evidence his bad behaviour.

When it comes to any verbal interaction try and stone face it. You could try, "if you have anything to say put it in the contact book". I used to mirror my ex's own language and dismissiveness. Brilliant stockphrases/ putdowns are: "so"; "and", then finally with an indifferent shrug of the shoulders "whatever"

Good luck !

JoannaBo on February 16, 2018:

Here is a warning to anyone with a narcissistic parent in the UK. ONCE YOU HAVE KIDS THEY COME AFTER YOUR CHILDREN!! When she couldnt control me she resorted to threats and physical violence so I ran away. She harassed, stalked, bullied, said I was damaging her health, all my fault. I learnt to get along with her to stop the tourment. She spent two years wearing me down when I became a parent, undermining my parenting and asking me to stop breastfeeding so she could have her. Even after I allowed one overnight contact two days before daughters 2nd bday, she ruined the party the following day by turning up an hour late with daughter and sulking because she wanted her on the actual bday. No consideration that mum and dad had planned a day out for daughter.

We have tried to stop contact completely so I don't have to deal with the arguments and mind games all played out in front of our child. Also convinced she will manipulate and bribe our child with her games and money.

We are now having to pay thousands to solicitors to fight our case as my mother has taken me to court for 1 day a week.

Cafcass don't seem care about the physical and emotional abuse I received as a child and neglect. They are only interested in the history since daughter born (ignoring the abuse I've received because I wouldn't let her take over/take daughter with her).

I can't believe how much she can hurt me.

Both child's parents are together and happy. She has two sets of grandparents as my dad's remarried, also my great aunt and uncle who played a major part in raising me. We are not restricting meaningful contact just trying to cut out a damaging one.


Rachel on February 09, 2018:

Hi 'not me', I am 33 years old and went through a similar issue at my wedding. My dad lived out of state and due to health reasons my fiancé and I decided to get married quickly. My dad said I was intentionally making it so that he could not come. My uncle gave me away and to this day I am glad for that. We have talked on and off since then, but on new years eve he told me to stay away from him and never call or text him again. It's been very hurtful, but I'm trying to realize that I didn't do anything to deserve this treatment, nor should I accept it. As children of NPD parents we put their feelings before ours and take the blame for the situation. Your feelings matter. This is your day, do what is right for you.

Anon on February 07, 2018:


1) he is a narcissist, so he will attempt to contort their acceptance

2) they are adults, so the narcissist will point out that they have a right to a relationship and so does he

3)they might not truly accept her, they may well just make the right noises to keep their father happy

4)they might even feel sorry for her

5)would have thought that since everyone in this are adults that "private time" would not be an issue

6)I really think that you need to concentrate on your own relationship with your own children, in isolation from your ex. There is nothing to be gained from obsessing

7)you know the old saying; the best way to get over someone is to get under someone new! Go for it

Audrey on February 06, 2018:

Want to know ,do adult children of a narcissistic father who is devorced accept a new girlfriend in his life,and do they ever allow him private moments with this girlfriend.

anon on January 28, 2018:

Hi not me,

do not rise to it. Say nothing. You could ask your stepfather to give you away. But this might risk a confrontation if your father shows up.

A better, albeit a left field idea, might be to dispense with giving away altogether. If he shows up he can either sulk or step up to the mark, the ball is in his court. Do not let it control or determine your plans in any further way.

If he shows up and does not give you away and then throws a strop. Simply say that people are not objects to be given away in any case. If he continues to berate you then tell him that sperm donors don't usually show at their offspring's wedding. That should sting him.

If he does not show up, for goodness sake just be relieved that he is not able to upset YOUR day.

Best of luck with the wedding and your married life.

Anon on January 24, 2018:

e murray,

In the UK negligence comes under the remit of child protection services. Whilest, not reading to her son is not ideal, it would not count as negligence, neither would introducing him to her boyfriends (unless they were abusive). Not giving him breakfast is a different matter.

Would suggest that he makes an application to the courts for a residency order in his favour. He will need to set out how he intends to both provide for and care for his child in a stable environment. He will also need to think about what will happen about child contact. British family courts tend to have a presumption that child contact for the non resident parent is always in the child's best interest; unless there is very good reason to deny it.

Even where good reason for contact to be forever and anon supervised, is advanced; it would seem that the courts tend to only support supervised contact until a fact finding hearing when they seem to invariably grant unsupervised contact every other weekend.

At least this is what happened to me. My ex had been extremely negligent to our son. He admitted that he had shaken our son and that he had tried to injure me with his car, driving off and leaving me in the gutter. I was left in this way and our 10 month old was in the house alone. Court still awarded contact. Our son was diagnosed with a receptive & expressive speech disorder and developmental delays. Could not be bothered to turn up to any of the assessments or communication training sessions that he was invited to. Messed us around something chronic with contact and argued the toss non-stop about his child's diagnosis. He cheated us out of money during the divorce, so we had to move. Took us back to court, because he did not like the fact we had moved, but this time I had solid evidence of his behaviour and the court put a stop to contact.

To punish us he messed us around with the maintenance money. After all he would rather pay for 4 stepchildren than his own child. My son's disabilities mean that I am unable to work and would really appreciate more than the bare minimum. Nevermind the big bad karma b***h bit him on the backside. He treated wife number 2 pretty badly, and as a result, wound up on remand in prison.

It was ironically nearly 10 years to the day of our breakdown, that he had his comeuppance. Our relationship broke down just prior to Christmas, I used to struggle around this time of year. Now I know, following his arrest, that all that happened, his affairs, the arguments, the ill-treatment, were not down to me. They are aspects of his behaviour that I did not deserve, he has perpetrated the same behaviour on wife number 2 and now (according to FB) he is out looking for wife number 3 (pity the poor sod that picks up with him).

Sad to say it can take a long time to resolve these sort of issues. If you really believe your grandchild is being manipulated,it might be worthwhile reading up about parental alienation syndrome.

good luck

e murray on January 24, 2018:

for six years my son has been his sons main carer i have noticed things early on and told my son to be careful we have looked after him more than his mother as my son did not want to leave him with her they have now separated and she has decided she wants him there more but wants to send him to after school care as well which means she thinks shes looking after him but really everyone else has him she will leave him with anyone and introduced him several times to a new boyfriend within weeks. she will not get out of bed to give him breakfast, has not read to him in six yearsplay ,the child is now being manipulated by her please help someone as our hands are tied

Not me on January 23, 2018:

Hi all,

I'm really struggling to cut ties with my alcoholic, narcissist Father. We have had an on/ off relationship for the last 8 years since my parents split when I was 15. I am now 24 years old and I am getting married in just 9 weeks.

About 6 months ago, his partner made contact with me after I hadn't spoken with my Dad since November 2016, the night of my engagement party where he threw a barrage of abuse at me. My Dads partner said that my Dad missed me and stuff, I had already been thinking of making contact because I was worried that I would regret not trying again with him so that he could walk me down the aisle on my wedding day.

So we planned to meet, and I took my younger sister with me, as she hadn't spoken to him for years, she's actually tougher than me and cut ties fairly easily because he was treating me like crap. He'd said he'd stopped drinking, got himself a job and turned things around. So I told him what hurt me, the drunken texts in the middle of the night, comparing me to all my cousins and his step daughters all the time, and abusing me when he hadn't seen me for a while. He said me and my sister are adults now and have our own lives and he just needs to accept that, so we move on.

Things are going well, Christmas is good, but there is still some awkwardness, as there would be. This weekend my Dad messages me, "I want to withdraw from the wedding, get who you want to walk you done the aisle, you have never involved me, I've always felt left out of it anyway" wow, okay.

What the hell do I do?! He has such a hold on me I feel guilty for his mistakes, but I don't trust him if I forgave him saying that, not that he has apologised in the last 3 days since he said it, but this is what he does and always has done. I feel like he never did want to be at my wedding, just to make it look like he was a part of it for a while. I don't know if he's worried about seeing my Mum and Step Dad or my Mums family, and even family from his side he has fallen out with over the years, but yeah.

Plenty of people have told me, get rid and cut ties now and stop hurting yourself, it would just be great to get some advice from people who have been in similar positions.

Anon on January 20, 2018:

Dear Helena Teddy Bear,

In your shoes, I'd start applying for jobs miles away from home. It tends to limit malign influences to some extent. You know the old saying: "out of sight, out of mind"

There is a limit to the supply a narc can extract when you have a busy job miles away. The narc will turn on someone else for their supply, who is more conveniently placed.

Had a narc ex-husband, recorded all his bad behaviour, moved a long way away and when he took me to court claiming that I had moved to frustrate child contact, I went litigant in person and presented the evidence of his bad behaviour. Court issued a section 7 order, which put an end to contact. He moved on to wife number 2 and according to the police he behaved just as badly with her. Meanwhile, I have rebuilt my life. Tough in the short term, but worthwhile long-term.

Helena Teddy Bear on January 19, 2018:

I live with parents that play different roles. I think it’s painful but I’m learning to grow out of it. Some relatives rent my home so my mother is less dangerous when some others are present.

Sad to say but I have lived in a mental hospital not too long ago for a few months. Extreme fear and inability to sleep. I did not eat or drink properly during that time also. It is a big blemish especially in the society that I live.

People even professionals are of no help. I know no one can save me and I can only save myself by all means if any.

My mother acts out lesser now that I’m older. My father continues to neglect what happens.

Sometimes I really wish I’m dead. But dying is not easy either. Where is there a guaranteed peaceful death? My big worry is always what if I do not die or it is too painful.

Sad to say I’m not the only one who wishes for my death.

Anon on January 17, 2018:

Dear Tracy

Sorry to hear of your troubles. Please do not blame yourself, you have every right to protect your own personal boundaries and help your children develop healthy personal boundaries of their own. You really need the help of someone outside of your situation to help you and your with your bereavement and the undoubtable, but wholly inappropriate guilt that you may be feeling.

Narcissists like to have control. They tend to love no one, but themselves, so your boyfriend's suicide may have happened because he had burnt all his bridges and had been exposed or was about to be exposed for what he truly was. So suicide would be the ultimate weapon of control.

PLEASE DO NOT LET IT BE SO. Your boyfriend was an adult who chose his own path, you are also an adult who is responsible for a child of quite an impressionable age; despite your sadness, I am sure that you would want the best outcome for your child. For this reason, I urge you to get appropriate support and counselling.

Relationships with narcissists are, by their very nature, unhealthy. You have children, who, through no fault of your own, your narcissistic boyfriend will have been modelling a very unhealthy model of a relationship to. Our blueprint for our adult relationships, are those of our primary caregivers. So if our parent's relationships are seriously f***ed up, then history can wind up repeating itself years later.

The mechanism for this goes something like this. Child has narcissistic parent who perpetrates all sorts of crap and control and manipulations and deceits over the other, thoroughly decent parent. The decent parent in order to survive has no choice, but to acquiesce to some extent and this becomes a relationship where normal personal boundaries are ignored by the narcissist. There is therefore no model of the setting and maintaining of healthy boundaries which are essential to a healthy relationship.

The child will identify with one or other of the parents and will adopt that role in their own relationships. So if the child sees you as being morally right, they may head into a relationship where they wind up being treated as a doormat. If however, your child has seen your boyfriend always get his way with you and others by lying and manipulating, he may see this as being the way to be. I may be wrong, but I think that this pattern is set by who we are most closely bonded to. You should also be aware that narcissists frequently engage their children into their games and reward behaviour that mirrors their own; creating a little mini me if you will.

Really, you do not want your children to copy either style of interacting. The ideal is that they develop a good model of setting and maintaining their own personal boundaries and not transgressing the boundaries set by others.

I know what I say, might sound harsh while you are still grieving. However, I feel it is important to develop a family relationship with a good therapist to start healing the damage that has been done to you and your family. You might feel worse at the start of the process, but stick with it, it will be worthwhile. Think of it as being akin to a painful abscess that needs lancing and/or antibiotics. Yes, the act of lancing is in itself painful and/or the side effects of antibiotics may be unpleasant, but it is what is needed to put you on the road to recovery.

Your kids are YOUR kids, time to take back control and move forward your life and their's in the right direction. As a post script, please be aware that your boyfriend's parents may have the same malignant dynamic at the heart of their relationship, you may need to take steps to prevent to further protect you and yours from them.

I have a narcissistic ex husband. His bad behaviour necessitated me abandoning my career, cutting all ties with friends and moving 130miles away. I have built a new life and have new friends. His bad behaviour has earnt him a spell in prison, the loss of his job, the breakdown of marriage number 2 and his house is on the market. His public social media shows he is on the lookout for doormat number 3. Well as long as he does not think it's me, it is none of my business. As long as he is boffing someone else it keeps him busy from bothering me and mine. I say this to demonstrate that there is life after such relationships. I do feel dreadfully sorry for you, but please do not let this spoil your life, or that of your children.


Tracy on January 16, 2018:

My narcissistic alcoholic boyfriend of 19 years killed himself on Christmas Eve. Sent me a text saying it was my fault. I lived with him for about years. Moved out 4 years ago but stayed with him. I have a 22 year old son who never knew his father. He went to prison and a 9 year old with who I thought was the love of my life. My kids are in big trouble. I'm really scared.

Anon on January 10, 2018:

In the UK, no contact for the mother suggests that either the mother is abusive or that there is an abusive partner or family member. Legal aid is available where children are taken into care. Where a father is the sole carer for a child the mother may apply to the courts for a contact order to be made.

It is advisable to be accepting of whatever little supervised contact that is offered. If child protection state their adopted position is due to concerns about a partner or a family member, then they will only be satisfied by the mother cutting all contact with that person and offering that they may see all 'phone/computer records. This demonstrates that the mother puts the needs of the child above her own.

If supervised contact is offered, see it as an opportunity to display parenting competency. The mother would be advised to turn up to every session early and well prepared. If the child wears nappies, then bring nappies and wipes. If it is hot and sunny, then bring a sun hat, sun cream and a suitable drink. Think before birthdays/religious celebrations, to ask if a gift would be acceptable to give and ask that the carer suggest a suitable gift.

It might well be worthwhile recording the sessions.

The courts work very slowly. Fathers, in particular, are given many chances, even where there is evidence of domestic violence. In my narcissistic ex's case, he was initially able to pull the wool over the court's eyes. However, his downfall was that he used contact only to "get back" at me. He frequently failed to show up, refuted a serious medical diagnosis and would not comply with administering resultant treatment to our child and used contact as an excuse to berate me and shout at me. The courts put a stop to contact as he was "unable to prioritize his child's needs" and his behaviour was deemed to be ultimately harmful to his child.

Citizen's Advice bureaus are a good place to start the search for information.

Val Gratias on January 09, 2018:

I have a grandnephew who is not allowed to see any of his large and extended family. Not even his mother.

How to help????

Anon on January 07, 2018:

Have a friend this happened to in the UK. Ex husband took very young child to Italy, only returned child when developmental problems became evident. He still wanted contact and the courts here were happy to grant it. My friend had to go to the High Court and it cost her over £300K, to overturn the original court decision. She is now unable to work because of the level of care her child requires and lives in social housing. Doubt he cares too much though, I am sure his trying to maintain contact was more about controlling my friend, then seeing his son.

Jenny on January 07, 2018:

My ex is a covert narc who took of with our infant daughter and moved to another state

Hid her out started a successful smear campaign again me went to the police they did nothing I got to see her 10 years later

When social services called me and offered

Reunification after he wrote a letter statement say to take her he did not want her he was going to hurt her if they did not they placed in thier care he worked his program

And despite my protests his sister protest of the child had all the signs of sexual abuse she was place on an extended home visits for 7 months she was being rape while casa worker

The case manager and CBrs workers were in out of the home despite my constant complaints of her not being safe she wanted lil to do with me the closed the case in October after the court case of half custody but did not comply to anything that was in court order by January 1 I get a call from a social worker that my child is back in foster care and her father is in jail for lewd act to a minor with very good evidence social worker sent both me and him to lincence physiologist

For testing and they deem him just fine he was in the process of appealing the judges decisions he complained to the governor of his state that his rights were being violated

There were so many red flags we were surrounded by so called educated professionals but no one saw thru his self need to abuse his child

Samantha Davis on January 03, 2018:

Narcissistic parents are also narcissistic grandparents.

vinca123 on December 31, 2017:

At age 2 my narcissistic, bipolar mother slammed me down so hard, that I needed 8 stiches to close the cut in the back of my head. That action earned her a trip to a mental hospital for 8 weeks and electro-shock therapy, until she calmed down enough to be sent back home. The “story” told to the outside world was that she had a “nervous breakdown” and my injury was happened while playing with my 10-yo brother (her scapegoat for everything that went wrong in the family). My father would always work two jobs to minimize the time spent in the house and having to interact with her. While she was hospitalized, my sick, elderly paternal grandmother took care of us kids: 2, 10 & 12. When I was 4-yo, she was back to her old tricks and broke my arm. This time it was not officially reported (so no hospitalization, as my grandmother was too sick to care for us) and again the injury was explained away as happening while playing with my (scapegoat) brother. From the time I can remember (5-yo) until about 9-yo, I would endure almost nightly beatings on my bare bottom with a belt or hairbrush. For transgressions such as: not finishing my breakfast, accidently spilling some water or totally false accusations. I remember begging to be “beaten” immediately. But, she would always wait until bedtime, so that I could think about what I had done. She would torment me throughout the day, constantly reminding that I would be beaten at bedtime. Occasionally, my father would come to (in his words) “make sure she wasn’t killing the kid.” My father bailed out when I was 10-yo and simply abandoned me to her constant abuse. Not that he was any real help when he was living in the house (of horrors).

The physical abuse stopped at about age 9, but the emotional and verbal abuse continued until she died last year.

I can remember four times from about 10-yo until I was 18-yo, where she had a “nervous breakdown” and was committed by the courts to a mental hospital for treatment for various lengths of time.

In those 4 times, I never once remember the judges, doctors, nurses, social workers, etc. ever asking me whether or not I felt safe in the house, whether or not I was being abused, whether or not I felt I was cared for… NOT ONCE! I was simply left in the care of my older brother (who was over 18) while she has hospitalized. My older brother was as abused as I was, so he could offer no protection.

All three of us kids, endured horrible abuse as children that had lifelong impacts on our lives.

But, the state (courts, mental health dept, social services, etc.) never once made any effort to ensure that we (her defenseless children) were living in a safe environment, free from abuse… NOT ONCE!

In situations like these where it is clear that one parent is abusive and the other is either an enabler, passive or totally absent, the state should be held accountable for protecting the children from the ongoing abuse. If the state fails to protect the children, then the children should have the right to sue the state for failure to protect them from the abuse. This right should not be subjected to any statute of limitation as the impact of this child abuse is lifelong, so the right to seek damages should as be lifelong, as well. This ability to sue and collect damages from the state is the only way to force the state to protect these children, as it is obvious the state simply does not care that these children are being victimized!

BJ on December 30, 2017:

My grandson is living through this. Do not know what to do. He is five years old. We only get to see him once a month. His father lives with us! His mother did a very strange and off the wall thing, while he was trying to enjoy himself and she needed to leave, she started .... but who will wake me for work? How will I get up in time without you? My grandson looked so sad, felt so bad for him. She went on but what about my cuddle buddy? I will cry. I was like WOW! She leaves them all the time with her friend the "caretaker" with no problem. She really made him feel like crud. Then she went on I need you, I need you. If we dare say anything she will take the children and we will not be able to see them for months. Bad enough she does not let the baby stay who is 8 months, afraid he might bond with daddy (I think). Sad and off the wall. She does it every time. The grandson gets up and feeds the 2 year old and takes care of the 8 month & 2 year when the mother decides to "sleep" and not be up. There is no help for them it seems. When it is time to come to Nana's it is always something that makes it almost a no come. She uses me as a weapon to the 5 year old. You better listen,do your school work, be nice or anything like that or you will not see Nana (which he sees rarely). So wrong. Wish Someone would help!

Jeanna on December 30, 2017:

so my husband treats me in this manner but is super loving and generous and kind to the children, in particular my 16 year old daughter. He tells her she is the most beautiful woman in the world in front of me when he is angry with me. He won't help me with anything without being upset but refuses to ask her to do one chore. He has called me jealous...and I"m realizing finally that it is simply his way of using her as a tool to hurt me. Sad.

Anon on December 30, 2017:

All narcissists are narcissists by stealth. They know the rules of social interaction. They can fake empathy, it is their way of buying into the world and into relationships. Many are very skilled at this and consequently come across as very charming. However, once you are dependent upon them because you have trusted them, their malignant psychopathy starts to shine through. They start off with you on a pedestal and then they start to subtley test the boundaries of the relationship. Just silly things at first, like showing up late with a perfectly believable excuse. But it escalates, until you find yourself living in a nightmare.

Hi on December 29, 2017:

Omg my dad is a stealth narcissist. Very few people know what hes really like.

Joan on December 29, 2017:

There are 4 adult children in our family. Our father has always talked poorly to one of us about the other kids. He just talks behind the backs of all of us to all of us.

He definitely has NPD. It never ends, he was verbally and physically abusive to all of us and to animals. He thinks that he is smarter than everybody, is unscrupulous in business endeavors, well, all endeavors.

He is now and has always been a monster. A wealthy, lying, backstabbing, abusive, delusional (told me the other day that he "always enjoyed his kids."

This man us to look at me between the ages of 4-12 and scream, "YOU MAKE MY GUTS TWIST, GET OUT OF MY SIGHT."

He acts like a big shot, is condescending in all words spoken about anybody else. He taught me from an early age that it was best to take advantage of everyone.

The bottom line is that in my family, MONEY was and always will be WAY MORE IMPORTANT THAN LOVE or FAMILY.

I am good to this man these days, though I live 2000 miles away. If you are near him, he will start instructing you to "do things" chores really, errands for him.

God he's a fucking asshole. Deep down, I hate him and always will.

Probably why I drink too much.

Thanks for the read and the release.

AprilBR on December 28, 2017:

So much of this rings so very true as to the experience that I suffered (& continue to have) at the hands of my NPD father. It has been wonderful to read this. I really didn't think anyone truly understood how insidious the behavior is.

Anon on December 24, 2017:

Ive been through this whole.sha bang and after 35 years finally found some parents deep hatred... And mine for them. The divorce was spot on too

Mike on December 23, 2017:

Can one child experience a narcissistic parent as overbearing while his or her sibling does not? Would this be a difference in sibling brain chemistry? Or do narcissistic parents target certain children because they are naturally kind or docile? I've noticed my siblings and I responded to our upbringing in quite different ways.

Rebecca k on December 21, 2017:

My mom used to tell us we were better than other families, smarter, more established, (things kids don't care about)... That was why the were no sleepovers... No team sports... No having a glimpse into what normal families were even like do I didn't know any better until now.... I'm 34.

I only Know what a happy family looks and feels like now that I realize I have BPD because of her narc abuse. I would never stand a chance at happiness without this Dx. I've been in therapy for 15 years.... And couldn't figure out what was wrong with me...... That's how deep into the abuse I was... That I couldn't see it in my own mother this long. I feel stupid. Cheated. Used. She's stolen happiness from my life. Robbed me off a sense of self that most people feel and have naturally without having to question and think about it. It sucks. Not knowing who you are. That your life was a lie to make someone else's life appear to others the way they wanted it to just to boost their fake self image...... One mental illness breeds another.... One takes and one never stops giving.... Neither will ever be normal. There is such a thing as normal.... To a borderline there is....I want my daughter to realize this long before she's my age. I pray for her.

Anonymous on December 20, 2017:

I posted a comment here yesterday, bringing into detail my story and what NPD can do to people, but for some reason they didn't post it. Guess the truth is too hard for some to handle.

Anyways, to make things short, my father most likely has NPD, has messed with the rest of my family my whole life, and I can't stand living with him, so I'm moving out, even though I don't have an exact plan.


Rebecca k on December 19, 2017:

What if you have ridiculous amounts of solid evidence of this narcs NPD? Like... Really raunchy stuff? Double life activities that this 64 year old woman has been up to while.... Simultaneously playing the Caretaker grandmother to "the poor left behind little girl".... Gaining respect and sympathy from others and off of the energy and at the expense of my daughters sense of self.

Tax evasion.

Poisoning...(that lead to worse)

Affairs with Catholic priests

Stalking men and doing really ridiculous things to make them want her when she was rejected

Seeking compliments about her beauty from my me and my daughter.

She has freaked out and relocated... Quicky... And for... Questionable reasons...

There is a diagnosis literally floating around out there....I know. I remember because SHE DIDN'T LIKE IT WHEN SHE WAS TOLD. And it was my fault of course. Since then I've been in therapy and she doesn't have any problems. Except that my daughter is 15, and their living together is about to become hell if it isn't already.

SadDad18 on December 19, 2017:

It took me nearly dying to realize my ex is a narcissist. It’s most likely to late. I spent years thinking I could change her with being nice and agreeable and it led to more abuse. The narcissist sees kindness as opportunity and weakness. Never ever believe you can love a narcissist enough to change them. They do not feel what we feel. When they do act compassionate or kind they are manipulating you for something they want or need. It takes a long time and a lot of pain to realize love will never make a difference.

The courts will never protect children from NPD parent as long as the incestuous nature of the system continue unabated. It takes an average of 10 months to get a custody hearing assuming the narcissist parent doesn’t successfully get multiple continuances and you are given 30 minutes to present your side. It rarely comes down to truth. It’s which side can distort truth or outright lie most convincingly that wins.

Judges have no time to review case facts yet they have little issue with making a ruling immediately after the hearing based solely on the most convincing story teller.

There is little thought to the lifelong effects of the decision on children and parents. It takes longer to adopt a dog than it does a custody hearing to decide a child’s fate.

To add insult the court assigns the drafting of the judges decision and orders to the winning attorney. This illogical process happens nationwide and opens the door for the winning attorney to play loose and fast with their interpretation of the judges ruling. Despite the rules about drafting deadlines, they will often wait months to draft and submit the order so by then the judge will have little recall of the ruling and will sign off on the order trusting the attorney has been honest. If you complain the judge is the responsible party for drafting orders. Who wants to piss off a judge by bringing a complaint?

What if you have no attorney? Simple. You never win. If by a miracle you do then the losing side attorney will draft the order leading to more potential distortion of truth.

The NPD victims are revictimized and invalidated by a system that sees them as the unstable parent because they don’t believe a parent with this disorder is capable of the abused parent allegations. The most destructive and soul crushing effect of NPD abuse is the feeling that nobody will believe the truth. The longer this goes on the more desperate the abused parent becomes to save their child. This is seen by the court as a desire to continue conflict by making outrageous claims. The cycle continues and the courts become complicit in and another weapon of the abuser. When a parent usually men finally snap they do things like kill themselves on the court steps or worse the opposing attorney and others. This only allows the judge and system to use this desperate act of an abused parent to reinforce thier belief that they made the right choice in denying the abused parent custodial time. Never considering it was the results of their hasty custody decisions based on incomplete information that led years of abuse and to a parent feeling so broken and hopeless they commit suicide in a manner that was intended to bring awareness to the systematic abuse.

Sadly, they will only be portrayed as unstable. Something the narcissist will surely celebrate.

It happens.

We need stronger processes in place to identify and investigate high conflict custody instead of, as one judge put it, telling long term high conflict parents to just “kiss and make up”.

Ignorance and apathy regarding NPD are destroying families and children and it seems nobody in power cares.

Until they do, children will continue to take the most direct and lifelong consequences of the arrogance of the family courts.

Anonymous on December 19, 2017:

I'm currently living with my father (who has NPD) while attending college.

He divorced my mother before I can remember, and I've typically lived with my mother while visiting him every other weekend. I had never understood why my mom and stepdad had pressured me my whole life to "stand up" to my father, and it somewhat pushed me away from them (but barely, as they were fighting for me in court, from what I understood).

I understand more now, and why my brother has practically cut off contact from my father. The whole time, him and my stepmother have been checking my bank account each week; they don't know my password, but call me out each sunday to sit down beside them and type it out, so they can view what I've spent. Let me mind you, I'm 19!

They then print out the week's spending, and have me sit down with markers, a pen, and calculators, in order for me to highlight, calculate, etc. and for them to store it. They even set me a limit on what I do with my own money (which I worked at a factory for)!

I've also listened to both of them in regards to court. Recently, they complained that my mom's court statement mentioned she knew my bank password (I trusted her), so they sat me down to change my password, as they were insulted THEY didn't know!

I called my mom in private afterwards, and listened to her side. Of course, I ended up agreeing with her, as they're obviously trying to get out of child support.

What I've known for a bit now, is that my father and stepmom do ANYTHING to get out of paying child support, and tends to act obnoxious in court (holding his head up proud when he's finished with his statement, glaring at my mom, etc.). Everytime he goes to court, the judge ends up siding with my mom, and tells my father he's legally obligated to help out his own kids, yet my father mindlessly schedules court again and again and again! Then again, the taxpayers pay for it, so what does it matter to him?

My father also lies in court (says he didn't have tenants, when he really did; I told my mom, but she didn't bring it up in court, as she didn't want me getting in trouble).

I believe the horror stories about him, too (eg. when my mom and him were fighting long ago (still married), she stayed somehwere else for a week or so, and he called during that time to say, "Casey (her dog) is dead, so I buried her". I honestly believe he may have very well killed that dog himself, as when some kittens we used to have drank antifreeze, he did bring them to the vet to save their lives, but said he "only did it because you love them"; in other words, he would have let them die instead of pay a few hundred (and let me mind you, he wasn't broke; him and my stepmother take a tropical vacation EVERY YEAR!)).

I went to the mall (where I currently am) to research about how to set myself up somehwere else, but he just happened to sit down and stare at me, asking me why I'm here, like he wanted to make me nervous. I said it was schoolwork, and he shrugged and left me be.

In truth, my marks are failing, as I've been skipping class, and even holding back on connecting with one of my class groups (of which I'm the leader of), as the home problems have been killing me inside.

When my stepdad was helping me throghout my childhood (more than my father EVER was), my father was never appreciative, even when my stpedad encouraged me to spend more time with my father. My father always resented him, and my stepdad eventually, once I got older, advised me to eventually cut off contact with my father; now I know why.

One time, when I was out with my stepdad, my father happened to come by (it really was a coincidence, though; no sarcasm), and he started arguing with my stepdad, and stabbing him iwth his keys!

My mom saw me crouched to the ground, covering my ears and eyes, and brought me into the Staples store, which was closing up (but the manager let us in).

Of course, my stepdad, being the one to want the best for me and my brother, simply grabbed my father's shoulders and pushed him down, holding him until the police came, and he didn't press any charges.

BTW my stepdad died of cancer almost two years ago, and I had to live with him, his cancer, and his increasing fits of rage and crying for 3 years, which was obviously emotionally challenging for me, but my father wouldn't extend much sympathy; he just preferred calling him "fat f**k, and such.

There's so much more, but my grandma was crying on the phone to my mom, and said she was worried about me before hanging up, after which my mom called me; this was last night. Basically, my grandma notices I don't sound the same on the phone anymore (possibly because I talk quietly, so my father and stepmom don't eavesdrop on me; sometimes I just go outside into the shed to use the phone). My grandma told me that she's willing to pay for me to rent somehwere else, because she hates me rotting here.

I plan to move out after this semester, but I've already had the next semester payed for (although their was a relief fund for students pulling out (I'm in Ontario, where the strike occurred), it's too late for me to get a refund), and even though it was payed for in grants, I'm still not sure how I feel with walking away from that. I also have to find someplace to live, and I don't want to live with any of my relatives; truthfully, I'd like to go back to the college I went to last year (lived in residence, but had to pull out of there and live at my father's, as I was clearly wasn't mature enough to handle college at that point, but working full time before this semester proved I've changed), as I made the only long term friends I've had there, who've helped me study and make a difference in my life (I have Asperger's and ADHD), and I told them I'd eventually come back, but my parents (both mom AND father) have sort of pulled away any idea of going back, as they both (understandably) don't trust me living on my own. However, the last college had the exact courses I enjoy (and am good at; I failed from not handing things in, while everything I handed in was above 90%), and people (both friends and teachers) who may have saved me from myself.

I told my school counselor to tell my teachers why I've been missing, and to NOT contact me on my school email, because of course, my stepmom has access to that too.

Seems rent in Ontario, Canada is expensive (upwards of $900), but I can't stay, and it won't be long before my father finds out I've been lying about what I've been doing.

I'm not sure what my exact direction is, but I'm not showing up to class anymore, as I need to invest my time and money into getting out of here! I'm sorry to my group members who have depended on me (I handle the virus report we're working on), but I'm not failing you out of laziness, but out of misery.

I'm leaving, but I just don't know when and where, or how I'll pack everything I have without too much notice; I don't want to get things ready while they know, as drama is going to come once they know.

I hope he doesn't come circling back to spy on me, though, so I'm going to head to the college now to study there in the library.

He switches between manipulation and being over-emotionally loving, so it was hard for me to abandon them, but I'm doing it. I will leave, mark my words!

Anon on December 18, 2017:

Rebecca Kilgore,

If you are in the UK, you can use, which lists those on the electoral roll. If your mother shares your unusual surname this should not be too difficult. If you have a 'phone number there are some tracing services. You might even be able to get her to reveal her whereabouts, by getting someone to ring her saying she has won a prize and asking where it should be sent to. GOOD LUCK

mlh on December 18, 2017:

This is an excellent article. Thank you for explaining the difficulties and frustrations of the child who has a parent with NPD and the non NPD parent. The abuse is a double hit on both the child and non NPD parent by the court system that almost seems to have a bias for the NPD. Save the children and the rest of society from NPD scourge.

18 yo child of parent with NPD on December 17, 2017:

This made me want to cry. I’m currently back home for break after my first semester of college. I was so happy to get away. I’m currently a psych major. I knew my father lacked empathy for so long but socio and psycho didn’t quite fit the discription because of his showering of gifts and fits of rage that were so confusing to me as a child. Now I am struggling it has been three days and no one understands me except my mother who divorced him and her and I are not as close because she herself has an NPD mother and she has never recognized her abuse. For a long time I had to manage both of my parents emotions. It was hard but today I decided to no longer live with him. Never have I experienced anxiety ,neither during a test, or walking through a dark alley, the way I have experienced it with my own father. After a 6 year custody battle at the age of 7, after him convincing the judge and police my mother was never abused, after my own family has called me crazy, I am finally ready to move on.

Rebecca Kilgore on December 15, 2017:

i need help. my mother has my daughter. i cant find them

Anon on December 11, 2017:

Sorry, Jasmin. Jesus does not save narcissists. Only the narcissist can save themselves (or more likely those around them, that are on the receiving end).

A narcissist can only change if they themselves really, really want to change. That requires the narcissist to have a degree of introspection and a guilty conscious about the negative effects their behaviour, or better still a degree of empathy.

Unfortunately, as the ex wife of a narcissist, I can say that the narcissist will say whatever it takes to continue their narcissistic supply. This includes going to therapy. They will then continue their manipulation in that situation. Let me put it this way if the therapist is not to the narc's liking, then the therapist will be labelled a bully, unprofessional, or even a flirt. The narcissist will then bail. Or the therapist may well bail!

The best analogy for narcissism I have seen, is called the appliance model. The narcissist sees people as objects. So imagine an object that you really like. I am imagining this might be something like one of those all singing and dancing iphones. It looks great, it is multifunctional and it helps you run your life. You love it, or more precisely you love its functionality, you love what it can do for you. Imagine losing it, you would be pretty upset. But the chances are it would be replaced by insurance money, or you would save up to buy a new one and the new one might be a better model; then presto, whilest you might be irritated by the cost and inconvenience of the original lose, that will soon be replaced by the buzz of a new phone.

When a narcissist says they love you, they do not mean they love you as a person, they mean they love what you can do for them, they love your "functionality". When they have had enough, they will move onto someone else, but when things go wrong, they may well try to ressurect a long dead relationship.

I am divorced from my narcissistic ex. He had affairs when we were married (apparently my fault) and he was controlling and abusive. He quickly went on to marry his second wife. It broke up pretty spectacularly, with police involvement. He is on FB, obviously looking for wife number 3 at salsa classes and at the same time he has been trying to involve himself in my life. Typical

Thea on December 10, 2017:

As a teen with a narcissistic mother, I feel supported and understood by the myriad of others out there going through the same thing I have went through for the past sixteen years of my life. Yes, I may be young, but I am very grateful to have realized this early that I am dealing with a person whom I am financially dependent on, who is simultaneously harboring a mental illness, the effects of which may appear in my later adult life. Thank you all for sharing, and know you also have my support.

Renee on December 10, 2017:

My six year old daughter has been forced by the failing legal system to have shared custody with her narcissistic father who had nothing to do with her the first four years of her life. She is being tortured and has become so fragile. The courts and psychologist have failed her and she truly believes that no one can help us even though I continue to assure her I will not stop fighting. It is horrifying to watch your child die inside.

Anne on December 08, 2017:

My former husband is narcissistic and has sociopathic traits. This was diagnosed many years ago, despite that I persisted as long as I could in the marriage in the mistaken belief it would be better for the children. They have all in turn, grown up to be narcissists and turned on me, all in different ways. I made the decision to end contact both for my own safety and sanity and for my current husband. I cannot begin to describe the pain I feel at spending almost 40 years nurturing, loving and caring for people who regard me as a pawn in their manipulative games and hurtfulness.

Emelda on December 08, 2017:

My mother and father were and are narcissists. My father is now dead. I agree that nobody will defend children from narcissists their charm , manipulation and ruthlessness can make them very powerful. Image is all important.

My father was a ‘legend’.

I am now married with four beautiful, confident, successful children. I have devoted my life to raising them. I am looking forward to having time to devote myself to my talents that were dismissed as being average by my father. My father is deceased , I have gone no contact with my mother. Also with most of my siblings who when together act out a toxic dynamic. It is a relief.

Justme on December 06, 2017:

Reading this made me cry. My mother was a horrendous creature. It took me over a decade to recuperate from her bullshit. She made me drop college, she made me believe nothing was worth doing, she trapped me with one crazy situation after another.

And now, I'm letting my sister and all of her baggage do the same to me. It feels I'll never be me, and I'll never be able to satisfy my dreams and my goals.

AT 30, I have accomplished nothing. I have wasted years and years catering to their shit...And now, everything is twice as hard, twice as seemly impossible.

But how do you protect these children? The State barely gives a damn about those with clear signs of torment, imagine these....It must come the day when not everyone is allowed to have kids.

Liz on December 04, 2017:

My step daughter is 12 years old and since October she’s been taken to the hospital twice for a mental evaluation, spent almost 2 weeks in a mental hospital, and is constantly acting out. However, this didn’t start until she mentioned to her Mom back in September that she wanted to move in with her Dad. Her mom was on board with it at first then after the week passed to give her time to think it over and be sure, her mom told her she wasn’t moving in here. It’s also been brought up since all these hospital trips that “her doctor has it in his papers that being away from me (mom) is one of her triggers”. Since her release she’s been going to psychiatric appointments and has been labeled to have a mental disorder. I’ve spoken to my step daughter and she’s mentioned that her only worry is hurting her mom because she’s been told it would devastate her.

To give a little back story. The mom left my husband and me and him got together right before she got married to the man she left my husband for. She’s constantly telling everyone; doctors, co-workers, friends, etc. that my husband has a horrible temper, he’s violent, abused her and the kids...etc (you get the gist) she’s made her kids dad look like a horrible person and she’s also done the same to me. Now, she’s going through a divorce and has a live-in boyfriend that has 4 her 2. My step daughter doesn’t like him and she’s told her “you can go live with your dad because I’m not having you saying things like that about him” but then apologizes and says she didn’t mean it. She’s manipulated both the kids and they’ve distance themselves from their dad over the years, especially my step son. And, most recently she filed a report with CPS saying that my husband grabbed his daughter and threw her on the couch and he also allegedly pinned her down so she couldn’t move and it’s been 3 weeks and he hasn’t seen his daughter. His son has actually been around more than normal since the report but it’s shady.

Are we dealing with a Narcissist?!??

Davidslr on December 02, 2017:

I disagree that children of narcissistic parents have insight into their parents' behaviour. My mother was always the narcissistic one whereas my father operated as enabler, but as children me and my siblings had no sense of this. How could we? My parents' behaviour only become clear to myself and a sister when we researched the subject as adults.

As children your parents behaviour is not questioned, no matter how dysfunctional their behaviour may appear to adults. The children of narcissistic parents perception of their parents is ALWAYS filtered through the distorted prism of their parents' manipulation.

Still Healing on December 01, 2017:

This is the profile of my mother and the abusive relationship I have endured for 43 years. Fortunately I have had long healing breaks from her, I actually moved State twice in order to just avoid her. She would threaten to kill herself if I did not comply and even carried out a serious attempt when I was very young as punishment for my lack of loyalty.

The abuse has made me a programed target for abuse in all relationships in my life, I see how hard it is to escape your abusive programing. I have always understood that she was abused and that she was just passing on the abuse as that is her programing. I have attempted to show her love and what a healthy relationship is, although she would not stop her abuse and in the end I saw how messed up the relationship had made me, mentally and emotionally. Understanding my feelings and being in touch with them is a battle due to all the abuse but I am getting there.

I think that deep down I have always maintained and fought for my indivuality and this has saved me in the end. I have seen my mother recently after a three year break through all the abuse I still love her but I love myself enough to protect myself from her. In true form she has already attempted to undermine my power and authority with lies and emotional manipulation.

I have made it clear to her that I am happy for her to never be apart of my life again. She states how much she has missed me and yet she has never apologized or even acknowledged all the constant abuse through the years when we were in contact. Further she still continues with it. I will be happy when she moves away again for good, despite everything I have to keep in mind that I am still healing from all the abuse and the relationship will never be anything but an abusive one.

I know that it is not my fault and that has been the hardest truth to face as I have no control over it and can do nothing about it other than avoid the abuser and use my energy to focus on things that empower me instead of focusing on emotional vampires like my mother that destroy you just so they can suck the life and love out of you.

Sarah on November 30, 2017:

Wow! So many of us, survivors of the same kinds of abuse. I'm in my 40s & so much of this article is true for me. I thought I was super nieve that it took me sooo long to understand why the "crazy train" kept stopping at my house! I was compelled to ride that thing! If not, I was labeled "unloving" or worse. One day I decided to see what would happen if I didn't purchase the ticket. My mother hasn't phone me since. It's been 9 years.

jasmine on November 29, 2017:

i learned that these people only come after people who have a heart remember in the trauma that accured in there life some were along the way they became cold. these are wicked peple but Jesus can save them just like he can save you everyonr takes pain differently in order to grow its needed for these people to take a season in our life

free bird on November 28, 2017:

My god it is so sad to grow up knowing somethings not quite right and then in your 40s find the answer to your hellish nightmare.My parents have destroyed me and don't even care.Im left with a hole in my heart asking why.They have gaslighted me for years upon years and silly me I kept trying to make myself better to fit.How do parents cause so much hate towards their own?! My mother gets off when my father destroys me,very sick people.I wanted them to love my daughter thru out her years of growing up even thou all they did was push her away and I think God for that now.theyve destroyed enough,I actually feel like a walking dead person,they have sucked the life right out of me.i was convinced I has a serious health problem last year due to all the sytoms I was going thru,I had many test to in the end hear that my body is in the fight or flight response.they take and cry making everyone think they are the victims.people like this should have to give the years they have taken,they are blood sucking,greedy,unable to feel emotions,selfish,heartless theifs I ever seen.Time for me to learn who I am and perhaps live with what I have left of my health,life!! I hope that someday they don't get their karma (not).

Elizabeth on November 28, 2017:

Terrifyingly accurate. I can't breathe it's so accurate. I developed PTSD after years of repressing the pain of abuse, I fell apart at 25. I have two daughters who I adore. My soul may never health but their happiness and content living in happy home and feeling loved is the best tonic.

Sending love and hope to other survivors of child abuse xx

JenniT on November 25, 2017:

There really is no way to beat them. No way to save your children. No way to spare your emotional wellbeing, because it is already too late once you realiazed what really happened. Too late to fix years of a learned negative opinion when your kids are turned against you. But these creeps need to be held accountable. They should not keep getting away with their erasing a good and loving parent, and if they would identify them in court, we could end this cycle of abuse.

Anon on November 18, 2017:

Thanks, emotional hostage. Have found that the legal system in the UK is not particularly good at protecting ex partners and their children from narcissist exs. Even when you have proof of your ex's duplicitous, controlling and manipulative behaviour, the courts will allow unsupervised contact. Thus allowing the narcissist unfettered access to an even more vulnerable victim. The courts do not seem to comprehend the damage done to a child just by witnessing such dysfunctional dynamic.

As Larkin, I believe, said "they fuck you up your parents"!

Krillco on November 18, 2017:

The term "codependent" does not imply guilt of either party; but indicates a dysfunctional dynamic. But these terms escape into the culture and thee animus become adulterated. "Bipolar" is another of these words.

Emotional hostage on November 18, 2017:

Very well said, anon.

Tyler H on November 17, 2017:

My mom did drugs and constantly hit me and verbally abused me and I used to have fits of anger and end up in the hospital. I always believed it was my fault for feeling like crap until I found out about npd parents I'm still dealing with the side effects of growing up in that environment at least I now know it wasn't my fault that I have no faith in a real relationship with anybody and seem to have trust issues.

anon on November 17, 2017:

Personally hate the way that some experts use the term co-dependent, as if the victim is somehow responsible for the abuse.

The narcissist might seek to engender dependancy and if this fails will embark upon a campaign of isolating their victim from family and friends (to destroy support systems), blackmail and/or violence. The victim may well have perfectly healthy personal boundaries, but this will not stop a narc. The victim may well want to escape, but the game is not over until the narc says it is over.

To say that someone is co-dependent is to make out that they are somehow enabling or contributing to their own abuse. The dynamic of victim in this situation is one where survival by acquiescing might be the only option.

In this sense the victim is more akin to a hostage, then a co-dependent. No one would say that they were responsible for their situation. I find the continued use of the term co-dependent, belittling, inaccurate, disempowering and ultimately offensive.

Have moved to the other end of the country and given up my home, friends and a career, to rid myself of my ex husband. At first it worked, he remarried a foreign lady. But he treated her and her children so badly the police have been involved and it is obvious from facebook he is no longer with her. So he is now misusing legal procedures to try and locate us. Worse still his house is for sale, we are just praying he does not move anywhere within 100 miles of us or we can guarantee it will never end for us

Mark on November 15, 2017:

I'm 29, my mom is an emotional terrorist. She's not satisfied until she gets her "emotional pound of flesh". Or an apology for some issue she has created. I have had to reassure her that I "love her" my entire life. She has sabotaged every relationship I've ever had. I honestly don't feel bad about saying that I wish she was dead. I've felt that way since I can remember. I've told people this before in person and believe me the shock of such a statement kinda scares people. I want to send my dad a link to this article, I've resented him for choosing such a lunatic for a wife for a long time. This article kinda made me sad. I was depressed in jr. high and high school and was diagnosed as bipolar. I never thought I really was. I was anxious as hell as a kid and never wanted to be home. I can see now how easily a doctor would diagnose me that way especially with my mother in the room speaking for me and prodding me into an almost confession. I was on all sorts of mood stabilizers and anti psychotics and also adderall and who knows what else. I took them because she made me, and they were expensive of course. Also the part in the article about the children of narssissists choosing bad partners in their own relationships resonates. I have dated the worst women... I have recently decided to delete all my social media, blocked several people on my phone, who have been friends for years, and I've almost decided to swear off of women all together. I think I definitely have some things to work out with myself.

I feel like I've been rambling, but I sort of feel better. I've never posted a comment on a site like this.

Bill on November 08, 2017:

My ex-spouse is undeniably an NPD parent. She used my 3 kids in our divorce as weapons against me, tried parental alienation to turn them against me. She neglects their basic needs regularly, and despite having them 50% of the time, I still have to pay her child support as she refuses to get a job and our kids STILL go without proper clothing and footwear at her house. She had violently assaulted me in my sleep twice while we were together. She tried telling me "Leaving for you isn't an option" when I tried telling her I didn't love her and wanted to leave her. As if I had no choice but to listen to her! Now my son is going back to her house after being at my house for the week and snitching on his sisters for things they do or say at my house to gain her favour/approval. He's the oldest of the 3 and she treated him like he was 19 during our separation/divorce, telling him all sorts of dirty details he had no business knowing. She treated him like a little Prince and it's gone to his head. He DOES resent her, I've seen it in person, but it's like when he's at her house, he tries to stay on her good side. He refuses to speak to counsellors because I'm convinced he believes that it will get back to her and there will be hell to pay, so he just says "I'm fine" and refuses to talk to anyone. It's sad. My ex is a great manipulator and I've called Childrens Aid several times to report her abuse/neglect and each time they come back with "Everythings fine there!" No it's not. We had a social worker come in from the Office of the Childrens Lawyer during our divorce because she wanted sole custody (maximum child support!) and I was asking for split custody. Not only did I get it, the social worker called her "borderline neglecftful" of the kids during her home assessment visit. She's the ONLY professional that actually saw my ex for what she was.

Maiko Michelle on November 07, 2017:

This article hits the nail on the head. I am a relationship coach who works with women who are in relationships with men who have children (and unfortunately the bio-mother of the kids is NPD). It wreaks havoc on everyone's life... especially the children! I will be sharing this via my social media and with my clients. Thank you!

sparky on November 05, 2017:

This article is so right on. I grew up with a NPD mother and this article places everything into a good perspective for me.

Melissa on November 01, 2017:

My husband do nothing to get something and that's from me.If he can do to me,he can do to my daughters.I fear for my daughters life.He took them away from me.My daughters still young .One time,I received a voice chat from the 2 girls and they told me to not go back.I have spent 8 years with them.They never reply this words to me unless scripted by someone.When my husband placed a false accusation on me and my family,he took my girls away.My plan is ruin.I want to take my girls away from him and build a better life with them excluding my husband but information regarding school entry for my girls leaked out.I don't want them to live in that kind of life with their father who is a psychopath.I wanted to tell people but I know one thing for sure,that no one will believe me.He really know how to win an oscar in acting.I tried many ways to branch out his behaviors toward me and my 2 girls.No one spot it only their auntie who regard them as her own children understand and seen what he has done before.No one else.When I complain to his mother about his behavior,she only answer me this"it's okay,He is like that","Just ignore him" but don't challenge him and follow what he says.What?I was shocked at her answer.She cares about her granddaughters life but she told me to ignore his behavior.Is his mother a psychopath too?I was worried like hell for my children lives and she could just ignore her son's behavior without reminding him or warning him.That's the reason why I took them away.Looks like luck is not on my side for that matter.I don't know where they are know.I been tracing all the way from facebook,try hacking in to the phones or messages,GPS tracking.Nothing seem to work.Still,doing it and hoping one day I could just let him live alone without causing harm to my children or anyone lives again.Save my girls again.My husband controls my girls movement even when I'm around.But,I always go against his will till I get the beating from him for being ignorant.Most of his ways are just being onto himself and not us.I was just trying to save them by get beaten.It's my mistake for bringing them into this world especially to this guy.

Wsing1974 on November 01, 2017:

Seth and Aiden, I hope one day you stumble upon this and read it, and realize that what you are going through is not your fault. You were always both good kids, and you are both growing into strong and intelligent young men with good hearts,and I am very proud of you. Your sister Haley misses you both very much, and she hopes very much that she can be reunited with you one day.

As for me, I am broken. I can’t fight anymore. Every day my heart and mind is consumed by my grief and longing for our relationship to be restored, but after five years, I can’t go on like this. I have to put it away and focus on other things. Should you ever decide to look me up, I will be in Orlando, like always, and not hard to find. My door and my heart will always be open to both of you. Please believe that I don’t blame you for any of this, and I’m so sorry for what you’ve had to go through. I am also sorry for the mistakes I have made along the way, and I hope you can forgive me for them.

Remember to be kind and forgiving to each other. The turmoil and strife between you two is not because of who you are, but because you have been played against each other. Don’t let the fact that you were treated differently drive a wedge between you. You are brothers, no matter what. I love you both, yesterday, today, and always.

Walter Singleton, Dad

keabetswe on October 30, 2017:

i do not know what to do about my life at this age because of a controlling parent. I'm 24 and staying home unemployed and uneducated. this happened when she told me to drop out at high school for her to feel good about it I don't know for what reason exactly. I no longer have a boyfriend because she interfered. she does not let me go over to my dad's family since he passed on and she's not in contact with them. i have no where else to look up to, besides my auntie and desperate to leave the nest. it looks like my mother enjoys seeing me sitting home doing nothing with my life. she does not even give me a monthly allowance. once i ask for some money, she complain that I'm using up all of her money.what can I do in this state?

tonysam on October 29, 2017:

I wish I had had this article decades ago. My mother died close to 20 years ago, but I am still suffering from the effects of her verbal abuse. She was one of 13 children, and no doubt the root of her personality disorder, and I am positive she was NPD (she didn't ever get therapy), was that she felt lost in the shuffle. She had some real tragedies along the way including having lost several babies in stillbirths, SIDs, and one having died of leukemia at only around 18 months old (that was in the 1930s). She was pregnant at least 13 times that we know of. That plus marrying at only 14 years of age compounded her problems, but they certainly don't justify her abusive, controlling behavior. Not once in my life did I ever feel like anybody ever truly loved me and I know she didn't; I am 62 now and still feel that way. I refused ever to repeat the cycle by going through marriage and children. I never cared about them anyway, but I made a conscious decision as a very young girl I would never go through either one. For years I didn't realize I was a victim of child abuse until this year, when I started doing the "life review," did I finally realize that I was indeed abused. I work in education, and another thing that helped me realize how dysfunctional my childhood and early adulthood were was in seeing how parents of young children treated them. These kids were and are loved, no matter how hard the home life might be for some of them. I never got this from my mother. Not once.

Annalichia on October 28, 2017:

After reading this, so much makes sense now of why my mother is the way she is with me and has been my whole life. I've never even heard of this but it fits my mama to a T. I've always felt that she literally hated/hates me. Has never loved me the way she does my older sister and younger brother. I put a stop to my kids going to her house as much as they were doing because of certain situations and then all of a sudden, my kids were taken away from me and I was and am still having to do drug tests because my mother lied on me saying I was drugged out and that my house wasn't livable for children and has completely turned my whole entire family against me along with our Pastors at church. No one will have anything to do with me now. She has my kids, but I'm not even able to see them, much less able to get them back even after submitting a hair follicle test that did show weed from a couple of years ago, but even submitted urine tests which I have passed all of them, and it showing that I have no drugs of any kind in my system but I still can't see my kids and the judge, she has so convinced and has completely fooled him, even after him getting and reviewing my drug tests, and he still won't give my kids back to me because my mama has him so convinced that I'm a danger and hazard to my kids safety and wellbeing. I need help!!!!!! Any suggestions??? Alone and heartbroken in Louisiana.

PenelopeP on October 14, 2017:

I am in the middle of disgusting divorce with my Ex who is NPD, but of the covert kind which has made everything so scary. we have 2 young boys and I have been a stay at home mom to them since my first was born. My youngest has a rare metabolic disorder as well. It was a progression of emotional abuse with him toward me. He is also that way with the boys and is physically aggressive with my eldest. He is calculated, manipulating, and deep down an extremely angry man. He has made every effort to punish me in the divorce process, including trying to take the children for soul custody, which he told me he would do if I ever left. He accused me of the most disgusting things including his belief that I would expose them to pornography and cocaine among other things in a 14 page affidavit of lies. For three days before court I couldn't sleep, I was a wreck thinking what if these strangers actually believe this???? Then what? Now, currently, because the living under the same roof was so acrimonious, the deal is that I live in the basement while he parents on his weekends and he at his mothers when I have them on the weekends. He is controlling everything, breaking court orders on finances, video taping me in the house, cutting off our phone line, managed to bully our family therapist until we had to select a new one which he has been manipulating. He even barricades my door in the basement, has shut down the lights and locked me in. He badmouths me to the children. Before we had this living arrangement I am supposed to be happy about, he refused to follow any schedule with the children, waiting to inject on my time and then when I would say it is now time for us to... (bed, get up for school etc) , he would scream at me in front of them calling me an alienator. The children sought me out to sleep with me at night for security and he used that against me saying I was forcing them to, and even said this in front of the children until they were in tears saying they needed to sleep with daddy. I supported it because what else could I do? Now when he is upstairs in the house, he sleeps in my bed, in my bedroom with them (we had been sleeping separately for a year). The children have suffered nightmares, night terrors, biting their nails down, developing ticks, fighting at school, inability to cope to name a few. And all of the "professionals" tell me is it is his word against mine, and he is their father after all, and there is nothing that can be done. I do not want the children to be without a father but what the heck is this? I hear constantly about the best interests of the children and I keep being told I have to wrap my head around 50 50. He refused to be any part of our lives before and now he is doing everything he can to punish me for leaving. I can hear them when he is parenting and all he does is yell at them or stick them in front of the tv and then showers them with stuff to win them over. It's incredibly painful, especially as I see how flawed the system is. Does anyone recognize NPD or emotional abuse in divorce and custody or does it just not matter?

Medina527 on October 05, 2017:

My Stepson is in the Coastguard and was relocated to Waco TX. His wife remains working in South Florida because shoemake more money than him. They lived in South Florida for 7 years with my grandson who my husband and I practically raised. In June of this year my stepson decided to take my grandson to live in Waco with him while his mother remains in South Florida working. I have always known that he is a Narcissistic individual. There was no reason for him to take my grandson to Waco out in the middle of nowhere without any family support or friends, but he controls his wife 100%. He asked me to go to Waco to take care of my grandson because he had to take a plane to SC. I was there for 3 weeks and was horrified at what I saw. My grandson was a happy child when he was here because my husband and I had him most of the time. My daughter-in-law works at a club in Miami at night and my grandson was always at our house mostly from Wednesday through Monday. My Stepson was transferred in August 2016 to Waco. His excuse for taking my grandson was that my grandson missed him so much. Okay so yes he did but that is normal for a child to miss his Father. When I was in Waco I saw how my grandson had changed. He is scared to show any emotion, he is scared of his Father he is saying things like I want to make Daddy proud of me. He doesn't show his emotions even though I can tell he still has them. He is being mentally abused by his Father. My grandson adores me and my husband when I was dropped off at the airport he didn't even cry, but I could tell it was because he is being coached by his Father not to show anyone that he upset or lonely and wants to come back home to Florida where is family is. It is breaking my heart and I don't know what to do about it.

This, is EXACTLY what my mom AND stepdad are! on October 02, 2017:


Daughter of NPD Mother & Sister of one... on September 27, 2017:

I am needing help ASAP! As mid-30 yr old daughter of an NPD mother and unable to do much in my life at all bc I feel so disabled from everything I've gone though.

***Should I admit myself to a mental institution or do the adult partial hospitalization programs?*** I want to go into the health profession, so will these programs hinder that career? Or should I just keep reading/watching youtubes & Streams/and trying to participate in forums as a way to get help? ***What is the best way to get help and recover from NPD mother/sister/family?***

I don't have and need to get the interpersonal skills I need to stop being treated by my mother, society, and jobs I've had, where I'm focused in on and bullied/mentally tortured by NPD's that see me 10 miles away and attack me and use me as their supply. I feel 100% crippled and don't have the skills to even be in society. This leaves me feeling 100% helpless/hopeless/a burden to society.

I'm a daughter of a very malignant covert NPD Mother and one of my two sisters has NPD as well, so that made it very easy for mom to pit my two sisters and mom against me, the black sheep. The youngest doesn't have NPD, yet had to 'go along w/ the mob mentality' or she'd get treated like how I was and she was terrified of that. Youngest went on to be very depressed, self-harm, and try to OD.

I wasn't able to get out of the situation until I went off to college. I had to move home summer of 2010 bc of the great depression in 08-09 and have been home since then. I've been 'trapped' here and have had to 'use the money I earned to give to my mom', so I'm financially trapped along with every other mental/emotional/Stockholm entrapment. I am now in my mid-30's and feeling extremely hopeless bc I can't get out of my situation. Therapists have told me that my #1 thing in my plan is to 'get out', which I'd LOVE to do, but mentally/physically/psychologically/financially can not do. I feel trapped, hopelessly lost in myself and the world, and as though I won't amount to anything, ever. Idk what to do and where to go and get help.

Thank you for your time reading this and I appreciate your feedback on any tips on directions of getting true help.