How To Be An Adult Child Of A Narcissist

People who are confident in ANY skill amaze me.

It doesn’t matter if the skill is working on a car or playing a guitar or balancing a ledger sheet. They know what the results will be when they begin their task and then they just fucking DO it.

I can’t remember ever beginning a task with the absolute knowledge that I could complete it without a problem.

There is one thing, however, at which I am an expert. I am an EXPERT at being the adult child of a narcissist. I have had decades of experience.

Here are the basics:

No intimacy: You learn at a very young age that trusting another person to protect you or your feelings is a mistake. Best to never really give your feelings away because it’s just not safe. Sure, it’s lonely to keep a barrier up at all times, but we do what we have to do. I’ve proven time and time again that I can reject intimacy with ease. Hell, the fact that I’ve been married three times is a testament to that!

How to be an adult child of a narcissist

Accept that you are unlovable: No one REALLY likes you. You are flawed in way too many ways. You’re not that bright. You’re never going to coast on charm or looks and you really aren’t very good at anything.

You will NEVER know what you want to be when you grow up: How can you know what you want for YOUR life when your formative years are spent being forced to be a reflection of your narcissistic father? Oh, and you failed at that. Whatever choices you made were wrong so you learn to understand that your own instincts can’t possibly be trusted.

You pick up some nasty little narcissistic traits of your own: You desperately want to be clever or have the best or the worst of something. Anything to make sure YOU are in the spot light. Of course, what happens if you DO find yourself in the spotlight, is that you want to run from it. YOU are not a narcissist, you were just raised by one and wanting to be the center of attention is just something you understand because you saw that grandiose behavior every day. When you actually find yourself at the center of attention, you either want to run away from it because it is horribly uncomfortable or you run away from it because you know you don’t deserve it.

Become emotionally overwhelmed when dealing with other narcissists: I can spot a narcissist fairly easily. I loathe having to deal with them. I loathe my reaction to them. I find that I am both terrified of them and their potential rage that I need a fucking Xanax just to be in the same room with them. I also find myself with an internal rage against them. I want to hit them over and over and OVER and FORCE to to admit what dick heads they are. And they never will. A narcissist is perfect. They can do no wrong and they are never wrong.

It’s taken me years to get to where I am. I have a wonderful husband who didn’t care how often I pushed him away, he cared enough about me to keep pushing back until I learned how to feel safe. I learned how to trust him with my feelings.

I began to suspect when I was in my 20s that it wasn’t normal to just ASSUME everyone disliked me. I even remember the day. I was alone in my car after having just met someone for the first time. I don’t remember who it was I met, but I remember this recurring thought “I know they don’t like me. I wonder what I can do to make sure they change their mind”? Some small an unknown voice spoke up and said “That’s fucking STUPID. Why would they dislike you? They don’t even KNOW you”.

I didn’t turn that thinking around over night. I still deal with it, but on a much smaller scale. But it was then that I first recognized that it was silly to believe that I was not lovable.

I still have no idea what I want to be when I grow up. I suspect that I may just have to accept this. I know I don’t want to do what I’m doing now (career wise) but I’ve never changed it because I have NO IDEA what else to do. Now I live my life outside of work. I’m sure it would be more satisfying to enjoy what I do, but I AM grateful that I enjoy the life I have in the evenings, weekends, holidays, vacation days and sick days.

Accepting that we ALL have narcissistic tendencies was difficult. There is no shame with excelling at something. There isn’t anything wrong with enjoying accolades. I suspect that I will always want them a little TOO much and always be uncomfortable when I receive them, but I’m making my peace with that as well.

I don’t know that I will EVER be able to deal with a narcissist without feeling some very powerful negative emotions. What I’ve learned to do is limit my contact with them as much as possible. I have no desire to argue with them and I will not put myself in a position to be abused by them. When it happens, I’d like my voice to be somewhere in between ineffectual and stark raving lunatic. As it were, those have been my two choices. I either make a weak attempt at sticking up for myself, or I completely LOSE MY SHIT. It’s possible that I won’t improve much on that front either. Best to stick with my current plan of just limiting contact. I also find that making faces at them or flipping them off behind their back relieves the stress a bit.

I’ve been reading quite a bit about being the adult child of a narcissist and what I’ve read OVER AND OVER boils down to this: we’re kind of fucked and probably need a lot of therapy.

I also know this for sure. I’m doing pretty damn good on my own. I’ve found strength and a voice that belong to just me.

Sure…it’s entirely possibly that I need boat loads of therapy, but I’m also fairly impressed that I’ve made it this far on my own.

I think there might be a lot of us out there. I didn’t understand what it was to be raised by a narcissist. I just thought my dad was a completely crazy asshole. I stumbled upon this whole narcissism thing in the past year and it explained so much to me. It didn’t fix it, but understanding it has given me a little comfort.

Now love me! Then leave me alone.





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  • Hugs to YOU!! And Amen to limiting contact! I know that as humans we have to just suck it up and deal with folks we don’t like–it’s a part of life–but sometimes keeping your sanity/shit is just more important. I see a lot of the same behavior between the ex and the boys, and do what I can to negate it but… Therapy. 😀

    • Limiting contact helps. I just have to work on getting so fucking ANGRY when I deal with it.

      It doesn’t even have to affect me, I just need to see it in action and I get enraged.

    • Sunday 9.3.17 my borderline narcissistic father passed away. It “sad and complicated”, that seems to be my go to explanation. However, there’s this sense of relief. The scrutiny, the judgement, the devicivness and negativity has hopefully ended with his death. Unless you’ve lived it, you just can’t understand the constant chipping away of his victim’s (me) identity, self esteem and self confidence . He actually relished and perseverated in finding daily ways to humiliate, criticize, belittle, berate, dismiss and deliver crude insults, criticism through constant and endless lectures. He was clever, very clever to continuoually change the playing field… every time I thought I had figured out what he wanted or meant, what would please him, he would totally switch it all up. All by the man who’s supposed to be your protector, biggest fan, Your adoring father. I was never daddy’s little girl, Even though he said he loved me??? Something went terribly wrong. He was so damaged. He was mentally ill and a flawed man with no conscious awareness of reality, only his warped reality. He was void of compassion. I was taken as a prisoner, not a hostage. No one was there to even offer a ransom, he didn’t want one. I was his to torment and he felt it was
      justified. It has been a life sentence. Until now

      • I am so so sorry this was your life. I hope that you can be free, now. I understand all of this. My dad has been brain damaged for many years, so the daily torture stopped for me around age 33. I have had years of growing to do since then.

        I am glad for your freedom.

      • Wow! That must be the day God said, OK, all you effing narcissists, I’ve given you enough time to get it right on Earth and you’ve majorly screwed up, now it’s time to pay the piper! The person who contributed his sperm to my existence (“father” is too revered to be used in reference to the man) also passed on Sunday, 3 Sept. 2017. I had not spoken to the man in over 5-1/2 years. Enough was enough with the toxicity. Didn’t attend the funeral, either. Now I’m trying to decide whether to re-establish a relationship with my enabling mother. Mostly, I’m just fucking angry that he had so many opportunities to make it right and never did, and that I’m the pariah in the family for calling him out on his abuse.

  • I ran into one in the doctor’s surgery today and yesterday. It shocked me how easily I spotted her and it was a brief but truly unpleasant experience. Makes me wonder why I couldn’t see it in my ex and certain members of my family before.

  • I love this blog. I’ve been struggling so bad with this. Try being raised by 2 narcissists. I never do anything right. Ikeep to myself because its just better.

    • I’m not sure which is worse, living in ignorance and allowing abuse because you were taught that your parents want the best for you, or having that enormous load of therapy to find out why your life is so difficult , and then seeing so much you can’t deny it. It is like the Twilight Zone… Anxiety and fear set in like permanent neighbors …Sadness for a lifetime lost , and sadness in the recreation of your past in your kids.

      • I understand this so much. I wish I could change it. I’m certainly not an expert in anything but my own life and it might not be the best course of action, but I’ve decided that I have RIGHT NOW. That is all I have. I get to decide how I am going to live from now on. I wish you peace, my friend.

    • This is a 3 year old comment I’m replying to, but I feel your pain. Finally free of them after 32 years. Now to just deal with all the issues!

      Thanks for this blog! The profanity is refreshing! 😉

  • sadly I get this. and I have two of them, though I only grew up with one so the animosity is usually directed at that one.

    I need serious therapy. Yet, I’ve tried that too and it makes me more angry so I’ll stay in lala land for now.

    • I’m so sorry. It sucks, right? I have been in therapy a few times and I don’t know that it helped me at all either. Being angry a lot is difficult.

      If it helps at all..I think you are fabulous!

  • Wow. I’ve suspected all along that I was raised by one, and that now I am married to one. Damn. Now I gotta figure out what’s next. Thank you. It helps knowing I’m not alone.

    • I hope the very best for you…this is not an easy situation. I know there are support groups out there, it might be good for you to look into that. And no, you are not alone.

  • Love this Michelle! Have you read Karyl McBride’s book “Will I Ever Be Good Enough”. Kudos to you for recognizing something in your 20’s. Until just this about 10 years ago, in my mid-30’s I realized it wasn’t JUST me… my Aunt (sister of my egg-donor) told me some stories about other members of the family that made me realize it wasn’t just me. And it was only this year I realized she has Narcissistic Personality Disorder after reading Dr. McBride’s book from the recommendation of my counselor. My eyes have been opened to so much and I am FINALLY starting to heal from the years of trauma she caused. I’ve had no contact with her for over 3 years and the only way I will now is with a counselor which I know she won’t agree to because “There’s nothing wrong with her” AHHHH!! I’m always amazed at how many of us adult children of narcissists there are… I’m even part of a “support group” on FB which has been helpful.

    • I have not, but thank you for the recommendation! I will look into it!

      Understanding means a lot. It helped me really let go of the guilt I’ve carried for YEARS over the fact that the only feelings I have for my father are negative ones.

      Okay, perhaps ‘let go’ is too strong…but I do feel less guilty about it.

  • I second “Will I Ever Be Good Enough”! I can relate to most of what of what you’ve written and I can also say that, even though it’s taken me nearly 50 years, I finally know what I want to be when I grow up, and am taking concrete steps to get there. In fact, I think it’s safe to say that I AM there: I teach women the art and science of profound self-trust and acceptance by helping them understand the difference between their thoughts and their feelings, and I use Emotional Freedom Technique to help shift and clear negative energy.

    So we’re not fucked…not forever. But that doesn’t mean that we’re ever going to be completely “over it.” What it does mean is that we can learn to catch ourselves sooner…that we can learn to take lovingly take care of ourselves in a way that feels good and right to us.

    I no longer see or communicate with my mother (and I am still working through what that means for me…and for her) and I am allowing myself to shine in my own imperfect way. I spent so many years thinking I only had two choices: either roll over and let her swallow me whole, or hate her. Thankfully I was wrong.

    Peace is possible.

    • Okay, this made me a little misty…Fucking dust at work!

      I understand about the choices..I felt that way for a long time as well. While I cannot claim that I don’t feel anger and resentment toward my father (sometimes it’s overwhelming) but I don’t hate him. Not anymore. I hate what he did. I feel some compassion for him. I don’t want him to suffer. That’s about the best I can do, but I’m pretty close to making my peace with that.

      I’m so glad you found your way! That is wonderful.

      I’m thinking about being an astronaut. 🙂

      • I chose to love my mother unconditionally because when I do, I get to feel unconditional love. Sometimes I think I want to bash her fucking head in with a rock…and when I do, I get to feel my anger. But I don’t hate her, because I don’t like the way hate feels. And I don’t want her to suffer either.

        I am glad I found your blog.

      • Wow. This really made sense to me in a lot of ways. My father is also NPD. I remember the day my friend (who works in mental health) told me that he thought that my dad probably has NPD, and I found out what the disorder was all about, it was the most wonderful and enlightening day of my life! To realise that there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING you can say or do to make them ‘realise’ is quite liberating.
        I have felt so much anger and bewilderment toward my father for so many years. In my memory was the most fantastic dad during my childhood and I completely idolised him. When I was in my mid teens and developed my own personality it took him about five years of mental battery before he finally disowned me completely. I am not even a very disagreeable person. Quite the opposite in fact, as I have been groomed to be.

        These days I really feel sorry for him . To go through your life without ever really knowing anyone is such a heartbreaking idea. A narcissist never truly knows anybody, but will project their own traits (good and bad) onto people. My dad will never know who I am… nor will he know anybody, for that matter. What a truly sad and lonely existence. It breaks my heart.

        Personally, I really want to understand why I never reach out to people. I never call my friends, or invite people to my house. Yet, I love my friends. I only see people, really, because the invite themselves! I just don’t understand this about myself.

        Also, I constantly scan myself for ways to ‘improve’ myself. How to ‘be a better person’ (because I must be doing everything wrong, right?). Then I am terrified that this hyper-vigilance means that I am, myself, narcissistic! It is so very tiring.

        I also just ‘go with the flow’ all the time and can’t ever seem do think of anything that I really want for myself.

        It is amazing how writing all this down really makes it quite transparent how classic my ACON traits are!

        Thank you for sharing yourself so unashamedly. I admire your courage greatly. Sharing, even the most embarrassing and shameful things, is what helps us all to heal. You set a great example for me. Keep it up!

        • Thank you so much for your kind words.

          First of all, let me say that from my understanding..the very fact that you question whether or not you have NPD means that you do not have it. That’s not to say that you might have picked up some habits, but how could you not?!? All we can do is pay attention and decide who we want to be.

          I used to feel sorry for my dad, and I still do in a way. Mostly, I feel so much better about the fact that I don’t really love him. I’ve tortured myself over that for years. I’m learning to let go of that guilt. It’s not ALL gone..but it’s getting there. 🙂

          • Baby steps. 🙂
            Yes, just because you feel sorry for them does not erase the fact that they are still massive jerks!
            But really, how can you love someone that is incapable of loving you back?

            Thanks again for this wonderful blog.

        • I wanted to reply to this part of your post: “Personally, I really want to understand why I never reach out to people. I never call my friends, or invite people to my house. Yet, I love my friends. I only see people, really, because the invite themselves! I just don’t understand this about myself. ”

          I think a new book called Rethinking Narcissism might help you answer this. It explains echoism and echoists, which I had never heard of before, and it might be a reason for your behavior you wrote. I don’t want to say it for sure, you would have to read and find out, but I will say that I realized myself that I do lean towards echoism and not healthy narcissism. In the book, he explains narcissism is on a spectrum with npd being at the high end, healthy narcissism being in the middle and echoism being at the bottom of the scale. It’s a great read, and I hope it helps you.

          • Thank you so much for this! Sorry, but I only just read this reply now. I will have a look. I’m always so eager to understand more about this. Knowledge really is power.

        • I don’t know how old this post is, but reading this reply put tears in my eyes. I felt like I was reading about myself. I am and have always been a ‘people pleaser’ I want everyone to like me and if they aren’t friendly to me I assume they don’t like me or I’m not ‘good enough’ for them. I don’t spend much time with my friends, never really invite people over or to do things. I want to be alone or home with my husband and kids. I feel like I am good at some things but not GOOD ENOUGH to pursue anything. I feel like i have no talents or hobbies. I am overweight, i suck at being a mother, I suck at being an employee. I am always thinking of ways to improve myself. I am 100% ‘go with the flow’. I just don’t care. I let everyone have their way to keep them happy because I just don’t care.

          • You are SO MUCH NOT ALONE. I have all those same thoughts. All of them. I never feel like I’m good enough at ANYTHING.

            I am sending you peaceful thoughts..and a suggestion to try to frame the way you feel about yourself differently, because I’m pretty sure you are awesome. XOXOX

          • I completely understand how you feel, as I have felt the same for a long time. I feel like EVERYONE I see is smarter, prettier, thinner, more capable. Even though I have actually achieved some really amazing things in my life, I don’t credit myself because I feel like I have ‘fluked’ them or that people will find out that I am a fraud somehow. I know that this is totally irrational and your perception of yourself actually has little to do with your actual ability. Have you heard of the Dunning–Kruger effect? Go and look it up. Perceived ability is truly biased. The reason you might be underperforming in your life is because you feel so bad about yourself, not because of your actual ability. I know that I am so scared to make mistakes that I really never take risks and this really hamstrings my life. Maybe it is because I feel like if I make a mistake, or let a person down, then they won’t love me anymore. A lesson I firmly learned from my Father! A hard one to shake. I am only now starting to realise that, for most people, this is not the case. My husband reminds me of this all the time (he is a very healthy narcissist, not NPD). You are the only person who can change the way you feel about yourself, and, in reality, life is too short. I am now trying to learn not to care so much about what people think of me, and to practice more self love. It is very hard, but nobody else is going to do it for me. I am having a baby girl in March and I feel that healthy self love is such an important example to bestow upon your children.

          • For all that is holy…people raised by narcissists are so much alike. I could have written…a few differences, sure, but for the most part, it’s exactly me. XOXOXOX

          • Woah. I want to join that bootcamp. Just the past couple days i found this. Thank you. I have not found how to put all this in perspective how it relates to what i think about myself and my habits, and you nailed it. I’m feeling so relieved. I am so sorry that all here have suffered so much. omg.

          • If this is a new discovery for you, then be kind to yourself. This is NOT EASY to work through..but when you come out on the other side, I suspect you will have some peace and understanding that has eluded you so far. Good luck and you are not alone. XOXOXO

        • Lindsay, you’re post resonated so much with my experience. About the part where we don’t invite people over or go out with people very often… I just watched a Tony Robbins video on Netflix where he asks, “Who did your father need you to be for him?” So I asked myself, who did I need to be for my father? The answer hit me like a ton of bricks, even after years of recovery. The answer was… He needed me NOT to exist!!! Now I see why it’s so stressful and tiring being around other people. In their vicinity, I become a hollow shell, overly empathetic with them, and trying to figure out what will please them. I become a nobody, or I become whatever I think they want me to be. It’s WAY easier just to be alone.

          Another point for healing is when we can realise that the narcissist has never allowed their inner child to just BE. Neither have we, as children of narcissists. So we have that in common with the narcissist. For me, the way to get past the (legitimate and necessary) anger, is to have empathy for the narcissist’s abandoned inner child (at a distance, of course.) There’s no need to make any of this known to the narcissist. My Dad is dead, but I can still do this for myself as a way to restore the broken attachment to the Daddy we can’t help but love, even if we have hated his outer ego structure.

          Healing is a journey, and we can’t skip steps. I’m 61 and just now feel I’m coming to the end of it. I realised he was a narc when I was in my fifties, so you younger folk still have hope. Never give up hope that you can heal.

          • Thank you for this. I don’t really love my father and that makes me sad. But I do hope he experiences happiness and is physically comfortable. That is the best I can do.

        • Wow, thank you so much for this!

          I’m just learning about all of this even tho I’ve been around it all of my life. 54 and back in w/narcissist dad after divorce #3…. a recovery person – alcoholic, tobacco, bulimia + promiscuous behavior (all in past thank the Lord!) Been dealing w/fibromyalgia for years…. no classic symptoms here!

          But, you just helped me tremendously with your addition of friends…. I too LOVE my friends and family. I’ve hardly ever been a “caller” always thinking they are busy, dont want to bother them etc…. BUT love to hear from them when they call! Ive never understood this about myself. Because i DO love them….

          While i was reading up on narcissistic behavior, checking off everyone one of the behaviors my dad has terrified id be there with him, thankfully my big checkmark list is with alcoholism… which i do believe is on the narcissist check list…damn…

          Anyway, this was the first time i heard someone else mention this and i am grateful!

          Thank you


          • Thank you so much for writing. I am sad for you and what you’ve gone through because I know how hard it is. I am also sad that you have to go through this discovery journey. It’s not easy, but so so so worth it. You matter. You have always mattered. I am so glad you are here. I am sending you peaceful thoughts. Please feel free to reach out if you need to.

    • I have been an echoist for years Strangely it took 20 years to actually give a title to my condition Why? My mother is a classic narsscicit I deal with her because she is the only parent I have left Some days are good some days are hell I never have felt good enough and hate to be complimented for anything I have worked on this but it is still difficult even when I deserve it

  • Um, I’m gonna need you to get outta my head. I was reading this, and LITERALLY going, “Check, Check, (Oh hell) CHECK.

    We jacked up people have to stay together. 😉

    Loved the read.

    • Well..I am NOT happy that you’ve gone through this shit, cause it sucks ass…I AM happy to not be alone.

      You’re right..we have to stick together. We’re the only ones who will really ever be able to understand our particular brand of crazy.

      Stay strong, sister!

      • I just stumbled upon this after having to see my parents today and it’s like reading something I wrote. I want to read more posts like this so I don’t feel so messed up and alone for being this way. Thank you for this post.

        I unfortunately have ended up with…the EXACT same career as my father. I’m in the process of attempting to take over his law practice. And frankly this isn’t really what I wanted in life but I have no clue at all what I actually want. So what you said about just living your life on weekends and in the off time rings so true to me.

        • You are so much NOT ALONE. This isn’t an easy journey, but so so so worth. Please don’t hesitate to reach out through my contact page if you need to vent. I’m not a mental health professional, but I AM an expert at being the kid of a narcissist.

  • It turns out that BOTH of my parents have varieties of NPD. It’s taken me until age 58 to put a name to it. Both are still alive. My younger sister just died. She knew. Nevertheless, she often suffered depression. They didn’t go to her funeral. I’ve gone NC. My mother is “extremely distraught”. Yesss.

    • I think NC is really the best thing to do. My dad is brain damaged now, so he’s mostly quiet. I can tolerate being around him…but I don’t LIKE it.

      I’m sorry you went through that..what a nightmare. I’m also sorry that you lost your sister. 🙁

  • I just read a list of NPD characteristics and woah it matched one of my parents 100%. I guess luckily I’m a stubbon person because I don’t have too many of the ‘standard’ child of NPD ‘side effects’ but I sure as hell have some of them. Mind blown when I realised how 100% it matched.

    • I spent about a week in a daze while I took it all in. I’m still trying to get my head around it all. I’m glad you were able to work your way around some of it. 🙂 Good luck on this journey…it’s interesting.

  • Man, I am so good at losing my shit. I go from zero to bitch in about three seconds. My sticking point is when people don’t respect my right to say ‘no.’ I don’t care what we are talking about. If I have to say no more than one time I will flip the fuck out.

    • I get that..I don’t like saying no more than once..probably because it takes such an effort for me to get to ‘no’.

  • You should have write “I” instead of “YOU”, because you are writing about yourself. I did have an N parent and lot of those things not true for me.

  • I completely understand where you are coming from. I am the adult child of an alcoholic narcissist. I don’t know if that makes it better or worse, I just know that I ended up entirely fucked up because of it . . . and yeah, my two broken marriages proved that too.

    I am in therapy, I am in treatment for severe depression and anxiety and I’m a recovering alcoholic myself.

    At this point I’m just thankful to be a recovering alcoholic and not still an active one like my father still is. And he’s still an asshole.

    We (the rest of my family) are expecting the day to come soon that we will just find him dead, sitting in his chair in his “cave” where he broadcasts his greatness to world via the internet now. (He’s long ago alienated every personal friend he ever had) This sounds terrible to say, but sometimes the truth is terrible . . . we will not feel sadness when this happens; we’ll feel relief.

    I know your world because I live in it.

    And we do deserve to be loved and appreciated.

    Please visit my blog and read the “Why I Do This” link in my menu bar and you’ll get it, and probably very much relate to it.

    Also, I love your blog and your sense of humor and I am absolutely going to include a link to you in my sidebar. In fact, right now . . . because my OCD says it’s time to go check the site stats again. (It’s been almost 10 minutes since I did it last for cryin’ out loud)

    • Dude..I am RIGHT THERE WITH YOU on checking the’s like picking at a scab. It doesn’t really feel good..but you do it anyway.

      I’m sorry you lived through that…but I do understand it. I will be checking out your blog. And thank you so much for your kind words…I appreciate it so much

  • Oh thank you, thank you, thank you a million times for writing this blog! I just found it and I feel like I’ve thought and felt everything you’ve written. I have a narcissistic father and an enabling mother and they’ve questioned everything I’ve ever done, said, or even thought. I used to be terrified of making any decision no matter how small for fear of being wrong. I gave my dad a kidney thinking that maybe then he’d love and accept me. Shocker-it didn’t happen. In fact, a few months ago he left me a voicemail telling me he regretted it because it didn’t make him as healthy as he thought it would. Its so comforting knowing I’m not the only one who feels so…whatever it is I feel. Reading your blog makes me feel so much less alone now. Thanks for having the courage to write it.

    • You are so welcome and thank you for your kind words.

      Wow! You gave him a kidney…you have truly done everything you can! I’m sorry you’re dad is that way, I’m sorry you’ve had to live with it. But you are right, you are NOT alone..there are a lot of us out there. I wish you peace. 🙂

  • I considered posting this on your latest topic about being an imposter.
    But it didn’t really fit.
    I listen to an amazing CBC podcast called ‘Tapestry’ which truly is a tapestry of philosophy, thought, spirituality, etc.
    This is a link to a podcast on Narcissism. I thought you may find it interesting when/if you have time to listen to it.
    Who Knew?

  • Your article is EXACTLY how I feel….right down to the thoughts bouncing around in my head. I’m 40 now and didn’t realize something was wrong until late 30’s. Even now I’m so confused over the entire situation. I unlike you have great desire to go to war with my N father but he seems to always win. Where did I get the idea that truth and justice would EVER prevail. I live terrified that I have made Narcissistic mistakes that will do long term damage to my children. I’m praying that life will get easier soon.

    • Educate yourself as much as you can. And try to will not win that war. Best course, in my opinion, is limited or no contact.

      It would be silly to think that anyone who was raised by a narcissist wouldn’t pick up some habits. Try to not beat yourself up and focus on the good you’ve done for your children.

      If it’s available, I would urge you to get some counseling so that you can better understand the damage that has been done and what you can do to feel better about yourself. I wish you peace…I really do…

  • Hi, I love your blog! You absolutely hit the nail on the head with all of this narc stuff. I’m 45 and realized a few years ago that this is the deal with my mom. I’m limiting contact as much as possible, but I have a child who loves his grandma, so 100% no contact is not possible right now. I also hate my job and lately have been so terrible at it, I can’t believe I haven’t been fired. I dream about quitting, but I need the money and I’ve been doing this for 20 years so anything different will mean a serious pay cut. I’m trying to pay off debt and save enough to be able to do something different, even for a short period of time, just for a break. I think my poor work is me sabotaging myself, or acting out my resentment about not being able to quit – whatever it is I haven’t been able to give myself the kick in the rear I’ve always been able to do in the past to keep myself going. I finally found a therapist who “gets it” and I’m about to start digging in and laying all of the childhood bs out there and I really hope it helps because nothing else has. I’m not good at quitting things or at making decisions so likely I will be at this job until they fire me unless something else changes. I’d be interested in knowing what books you would recommend about ACONs if you don’t mind sharing. I’m so glad I found this blog. I look forward to your new posts. Thanks and take care, -MM

    • I am so glad you found me! It feels so good to connect with other people who ‘get’ it.

      It’s a hard journey, though. It’s hard. I wish you all the peace..

  • Hi – I found your blog through Ursula. I was married to a narcissist and am sure that my mother (deceased many years ago) was also an N. I understand completely what you have said here – I, too, felt unlikeable and dealt with severe confidence issues. Thank – you for this post.

  • Nice article! I have learned a lot from Sam Vaknin.
    My MIL is a total nutcase narcissist and my husband is cool but it’s taken 10 years for us to figure all this stuff out.
    Thanks for not being silent.

      • I can relate to a number of things each person has written. I had a question for all here; Have your siblings and other parent rewritten history and continue to scapegoat you? I am estranged going on three years with a month of brief communication with them. I told them about a health issue that has changed my life. Silly me expecting support! Talk about going to a poisoned well. My daughter told them my autoimmune issues affected my liver. Good ole NF calls me claiming to be dying if he did not get a liver. Here’s the dramatic part( my disease is worse than your disease upmanship on his part as usual) he stated he couldn’t get a liver because he has an autoimmune disease and he was told by the Dr. ” run don’t walk!” Stupid me fell for it for five minutes. I had tons of tests on mine so I know how they look for issues. He not only fabricated the whole transplant thing, he hasn’t had any liver tests besides a blood test with elevated enzymes. It happens from time to time with fatty liver. In the end that IS what he has. I heard it from my daughter. He never even told me himself. Anyways my sibs are so brain washed and my mom enables and runs everything said to her back to him. They loooove strife and hating me keeps them in the clear. Its crazy making. Especially since we have talked candidly about the. Child abuse. With? Now they treat him as a God. Anyone relate?

        • I am so sorry you have health issues. I have two sisters and none of us are close to our dad. I get the ‘rewriting’ history, though. I am sorry that you didn’t get the support you need. Your dad is a sick man..maybe not dying of liver disease, but he’s sick nonetheless and he always will be. He won’t support you because he can’t. I am very fortunate because my dad is brain damaged and mostly quiet now. I don’t recall my father competing on health issues. He was more in competition with us when it came to jobs or what he considered success. He HATED that my sister and I were decently employed. Every job I had, he would tell me how he could have had the same job if he wanted. It was pathetic, really.

          I hope that you find peace.

        • Dear Daddyissues,

          In answer to your question (at least in my experience), Yes my mother and sisters continue to use me as the scapegoat. I’ve recently closed social media accounts as to not have to be reminded of the situation. Sometimes I feel this is a pansy way of going about things but I noticed I’m spending less time fixating on an unfix-able problem and I’m spending more time on new interests such as new friends and new hobbies. I believe my mother has co-dependent issues which is why she is so willing to perpetuate problems between others in order to feel needed. And one of my sisters exhibits victim narcissistic characteristics. I’m not sure why my youngest sister has discarded me. We were very close before I confronted my father about exploiting my children. I struggle with the question, “Why am I not love able?” TO THESE PEOPLE. My parents are religious and in fact my narcissistic father is a pastor and I’ve noticed in the religious community it is easy to control people with slander and discarding people for not agreeing with them from their elite better than thou club works like a charm The fact is, daddyissues, you are important and you deserve people to be concerned about your health issues. And because your family is so self-centered (in my opinion) you owe it to yourself to look for healthy loving people who will care about you and give you the support you need. You are valuable! 🙂

      • I was literally shaking with recognition reading his book…but it sure explained a lot about my childhood experience.
        Thanks for your article, though no therapy for me, I’ve tried some and for the most part those people are freaking nuts.
        Also, I’m just as invisible to them as I was to my parents.
        No thanks, therapists, I’ll be over here getting on with my life while you’re saying weird things to vulnerable people.
        There is nothing wrong with me, other than people put a bunch of stuff in my head that was not mine. It still jumps out to scare me occasionally, but I don’t have to believe it.

        • I have actually thought about becoming a therapist. Apparently it’s not that hard. I went to one once because I was depressed while I was pregnant with my son. I was at my 3rd session with this twit and she was still calling me “Karen”, and trying to provoke me to make me angry (which was really stupid because I already knew the source of my anger), and then telling me to say out loud that I’m angry. “Did you see what I did there?” she asks, “I said those things to make you angry.” As though it needed explanation. The woman had the IQ of a golden retriever.

  • Thank you Michelle. I am working on my own peace. I believe the best thing I have ever done, and hardest was to give up on my family , see them as they are and not what I want to see. I stopped lying to myself. I knew to anger my father was to lose the rest of the diseased family too. My father can’t be wrong or be alone. Always needs a team patting him on the back and reassuring him nothing is his fault and he can do nothing to change things nor does he have any responsibility. He needs to feel his tour in Vietnam make him a candidate for sainthood and any genetic illness he has came from agent orange. Only he was not exposed to it. He has admitted to me to hearing voices since childhood. Its very sad. Its actually good for him or he’d have no claim to fame. Let me make something clear here though. I support all vets and married one. I understand PTSD as my father caused me to experience it too. There is no shame in Vets. Getting help. My father had issues before as his did as well. However I think its a sin to use a situation like service as an excuse for bad behavior and not get help. He lies about things he did and things he did do he should not have shared with children. No matter the differences all NPS are the same. Sorry military service doesn’t excuse it. He would still belittle me and talk to me as a child and try to intimidate me now in my fourties. No excuse. I am truly happy my kids are no longer around him as they were always made to cry or feel bad.

    • It is terribly sad. Part of me can feel compassion for any human that is this broken, but it’s really hard to feel that compassion when they are you parent. Our parents were supposed to protect us and give us a safe place to learn how to live..our dads did the opposite, so we had to struggle. It’s not fair..but it is what it is..we have to do what is best for us and our children. XO

  • Thanks for sharing. I am a happier and healthier person since I have made my boundaries very clear. No matter who likes it and who does not. Xo

  • Wow. I luckily was born thinking I’m freaking royalty, and screw anybody who says I’m NOT a special little snowflake. My parents aren’t NPD’d (although I worry that maybe I’m a little more narcissistic than I should be). But a very close friend of mine continues to struggle with being the adult child of a narcissistic parent. I won’t tell her story, but suffice it to say she’s been left with a pretty skewed view of herself. I keep telling her how worthy she is (you couldn’t find a more capable, intelligent, caring, WONDERFUL person), but she simply can’t see how anyone would love her. She said, “I’ll be on my death bed and my husband will be there holding my hand, and I’ll be like, “YOU’RE STILL HERE??” She expects to be deserted at any moment as soon as she’s “found out” to be the POS she’s convinced she is. It’s heartbreaking and frustrating knowing that nothing I say will change her mind. But I’ll definitely send her the link to this article! It may do some good for her to see that she’s not alone.

    • Oh I hope it helps!

      And for what it is worth..if you worry that you are a narcissist, you probably are not. A true narcissist believes they have no flaws. Having some narcissistic tendencies is just part of the human condition…

  • I have a Narcissistic ex, and while it took me a while to get over it, it really became instant when I thought about it this way:
    My ex husband is not a human. He is an alien, humanoid android who was sent to earth with only one way to recharge his batteries – to find a victim and suck the energy out of them. He was equipped with an advanced software which lets him find an appropriate victim with some sort of weakness which he can exploit, so he can keep them close while he feeds on them. For him it is a matter of being powered on or being powered off permanently. To stay powered on is his ONLY mission.

    Getting emotional about it and feeling inadequate about how I had been treated is about as helpful as getting emotional and feeling rejected, used and abused by my vacuum cleaner because it sucked up your very expensive diamond ring and then ran over my foot and broke a bone.
    It is only a machine and is doing what it was designed to do. Expecting it to validate me, have an empathy or listen to my feelings is ridiculous.

    It really helped me to see that it never was personal for him at all. I was only a “battery”. It had nothing to do with how caring, smart, talented or beautiful I was. All that was needed was my ability to supply him with energy.

    Therefore, I don’t see how I need to spend years going to therapy because my vacuum cleaner stopped sucking dirt or sucked what it was not supposed to.
    This was a great lesson and I am happy to report that I am not into vacuum cleaners any more, now I got myself a real man 🙂

  • Great blog. My father was a narcissistic asshole. And frankly my mother is that way as well….not as bad. These two people never should have had children. That man caused me so much pain and suffering. In my 20’s I distanced myself from both of them and it was the best therapy for me. In my 30’s I took charge of my relationship with my mother and basically told her what I will and will not put up with. If she wanted to have a relationship with me, she needed to understand her boundaries or she would not see me. It also helped that I lived 4 states away. I still set boundaries with my mother. I had no relationship with my father for many years and he remarried and had other children. When it was all said and done and his wife kicked him out, he called me. He needed me….of course. I did the right thing when he was diagnosed with dementia and I oversaw his care for the last 4 years of his life. He had nobody. I didn’t visit him much and felt very guilty about that…just checked in now and then and spoke to the director at the assisted living facility. I oversaw his medical decisions, etc. I had to keep telling myself that i didn’t owe him anything and he was lucky I was there for him. it was too painful to visit him. Because i was so angry but he was still my father and during my whole life, that is all i ever wanted. I just wanted my Dad and he was incapable of being that “Dad” to me. He died and it was the best thing that happened to me. He released me. I released me.

  • You are a real “find”! I have two grandkids I’m raising who have parents who are so narcissistic, there was no room in their lives for their children. What you have to say helps me understand their actions and defenses a little better, so thank you big time!

  • So here I am just cruising around the interwebs, checking out the Bloggess, and follow one of your comments here. Really enjoying reading some of your posts, thinking “Hmm, this one really seems like a keeper, how funny and smart and interesting she is.”. And then I find THIS?! Holy flaming shitbars, the English language needs new punctuation for me to accurately describe the unbelievable epiphany I’m having right now, just from discovering this phrase, “Adult Child of Narcissist.” OMGOMGOMGOMG, like SERIOUSLY?!?!?! Years of therapy, including trauma counseling (from one of the really great, talented counselors out there, yes they do exist), and nobody picked up on this before. Michelle, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for writing about this. I’m having the hugest Oprah-bullshit-lightbulb-aha-moment ever. Like this is life changing. Am I miraculously cured? Um, no but that would be nice. But have you and I just opened a door that might lead me to much-needed and unbelievably helpful resources, and possibly some kind of healing? You betcha! I need a bigger vocabulary to fully express my gratitude. PLEASE keep writing. About anything. I’ll keep reading.

    • Reading this makes my day. I remember that day. I remember the first time I read about adult children of narcissists and how surreal it all was. I promise you, the more you learn, the better you’ll feel. It’s uncomfortable at first..but you are FAR from alone.

      And thank you so much for your kind words. I can’t tell you how much that means to me.

  • I love you for having the guts to say it like it is.

    The apple falls up with all narcissists. You know the apple is supposed to fall down from a tree. When the apple falls up and you know its wrong, but people around you shrug and tell you you are imagining it – its crazy making.

    I read the apple theory somewhere but cannot recall where. Sorry.

    Thank you again.

  • thanks for all the comments.thanks for not being nice! i left the country at 18 to get away from the 2 of them. and have had limited contact since then. about 20 years ago a friend clued me into what was up with the fucking horror that raised me.strangely ,at 50 through debilitating illness i find myself living with them again.(i couldn’t trust anyone enough to get married).i have had several friends with Nmothers(fuckers…)anyway its been validating to realize that i didn’t exaggerate what went on in the 70’s. i am dealing with my passivity and inability to create a new future.i dont want to go to a shrink and talk about the past.i want to prosper.

  • Yet again I’ve read your post and said “Yep” “Yep” “How the hell have I not known about this before?”
    My dad is one of the rose-tinted, make me the scapegoat, if I’ve got an illness his is worse! I spent my whole childhood trying to make him love me and it never worked.
    I then married a man exactly like him and had 17 years of hell.
    Luckily I’m now with a man who has put up with me pushing him away and being a bitch to show him I’m not worth loving. He’s shown me that I CAN be me and be loved. I still have issues but I know they aren’t worth my hate any more.
    I need to look into this NPD more, thank you for sharing it with us x

  • My NPD is my mother, she’s probably sociopathic as well. One of my sister’s is full blown NPD/sociopath. I am high functioning autistic in my later 50’s. It took a nervous breakdown in my early 40’s for me to recognize something was/is wrong and to start to recognize I had been manipulated, taken advantage of, and abused my whole life. The shock of realizing my whole life was a lie put me in the hospital. I’m having trouble writing this because every word of what I just read applies to me. The shock of recognition has brought on an anxiety attack. This is the piece of my puzzle that was missing. I’m thankful I’ll be seeing my therapist soon. I was fortunate to find a good psychologist in the first place. He taught me what to expect of a good therapist so if I confront a bad one I don’t go back to them and look for a better fit. Psy’s and therapists are only human too and sometimes personalities don’t work together. I am sad for anyone who needs this kind of help and got turned off by a lemon. Thank you so much for sharing your experience.

    • I am so sorry you suffered through that. I am also glad you are getting the help you need. I struggled when I realized what had was very surreal for me for a while. I feel much better about it now..but there are still moments.

  • Michelle,
    Lol… and not in a making light of your story sense… but thank you because I appreciate the sarcasm and humor you had in your approach. Honestly, humor and sarcasm has kept me off many a ledge lol…jk. First, I am very sorry that you are fucked and need lots of therapy. I am quite fucked myself and have been in therapy for half of my life (I’m 41), and very thankfully I finally got my very own CORRECT diagnosis as to the cause of my lifelong shits and giggles of hell, and I am a very learned and well-practiced Borderline Personality because hey, if you’re gonna fuck it up, fuck it up all the way lol! Yeah so I’m in a program that focuses on mindfulness and emotional regulation that essentially (theoretically, on good days lol) culminates in being effective in life in spite of the ping pong game of crazy emotions that make me suffer. Much to my amazement and in spite of my well-earned skepticism, I have been in treatment for a year and things are going quite swimmingly. Which is the best thing ever because I was about a millimeter thread away from a total batshit level of no return. So yay! Kind of lol. Along with this delightful sense of awareness I now have about myself, I have the nagging side effect of seeing things I would rather not see in others. Now by others I mostly mean my father and while I always saw it, I was consumed with the delusion that his crazy was my fault or otherwise directly related to me. And, I didn’t understand his special brand of crazy because I never, even to this day, encountered anyone quite like him. Moreover, he trained me to believe I was crazy and inherently flawed because, well… he’s a narcissist and I’m learning that screwing others up is kind of a thing for them, like a note on his to do list. Disturbing. I mean really. And guess what? I JUST figured out about 3 hours ago that he is most definitely a narcissist. I always knew he was sick, and wayyyyy back from the start I knew what he was doing to us was fucked on a level that my lil kid brain couldn’t figure out. I wasn’t allowed to have or be anything separate from him. My thoughts, wants, feelings, concerns, and oh the biggie… emotions were all unacceptable and wrong UNLESS they served him and filled his needs. Happy was the only emotion allowed so he wouldn’t be unhappy, unless of course he was unhappy all on his own and then, well, let the terror begin. And if he was unhappy we had to be neutral because our happy would piss him off. The floors are still covered in 20 foot deep eggshells that we all carefully tip toed on lol. Well, my brother and mother walked lightly, but I couldn’t, so I stomped, which as you can imagine made me the target. And I’m just scratching the surface as you can well imagine, but from what I’ve read over the last few hours, I get it now. And I get why I’m the way I am… or was, I’m just getting acquainted with the cool chic that has moved in to my empty core that has always existed somewhere between my stomach and chest. I mean that literally… I always felt empty to the point that somewhere inside my twisted inside, I physically felt a void in my middle. The abyss is pretty much gone… and all that self-hatred and anger I had toward myself, well it’s not gone per say, but just vacationing with its rightful owner until I figure out where to send it next. He doesn’t even know what I know now or even that I’m inherently pissed off at him to the extent where I’m uncomfortable that I have this level of anger because I don’t like feeling this about anyone… even him. Which brings me here and my stumble onto your delightful take on narcissistic hell because I LIVE WITH HIM, yes, right now, in the house lol. And I am working toward being independent again (just had a slight disconnect from reality a year ago lol), but I will most likely be incarcerated here at “Richard’s House of Dysfunctional Hell” for roughly 8 more months. I know my therapist is so going to bitch at me for my Google diagnosis spree, but I will counter her scolding with a big fat “you knew he was a narcissist and didn’t tell me because you’re so bossy about labels lol”. And I get that because I have had a plethora of diagnoses that an entire alphabet used to follow my name lol (ADHD PTSD BPD OCD LMNOP?), and only a few remain because most of them didn’t truly belong. But, I must admit that I am actually relieved now that I know that Narcissism is his fatal flaw. I mean trust me I see stragglers of other personality disorders on his band wagon lol, but narcissism is him, to the proverbial “T”. And I find it strange that I have known since I was 5 that, well, he had some level of nasty disregard inside him for everyone else and that I couldn’t relate to it, but I never tried to name it. Possibly because I believed that his core problem was my inability to regulate my emotions (my biggest issue), but as I get better I see his worse. And what really had me struggling the past few weeks was that I have been asking him to reserve his nightly “racist/bigoted/everyone is a jackass rant” because I don’t share the vibe and it pisses me off. I am encouraged not to engage him in any form of crazy pissing match, so on a daily, I validate my own feelings and keep it moving. It has made life easier. But then I had a conundrum because after the repeated requests (polite) to simply reserve his thoughts, days keep rolling by and he keeps on being a hateful dick and my patience was approaching rattlesnake level. Hmm… All these years I told myself that he doesn’t mean to be an asshole, and I gotta call this one, he IS an asshole.
    So I said to him “Let me get this straight, you know that I don’t wanna hear the hate fest you like to greet me with because we don’t share the same views. I have asked you to stop several times and yet you do it anyway with full knowledge that it makes me uncomfortable, and frankly, disgusted.” “But the big kicker is that you know that emotional regulation is a big part of my illness so I guess I want to ask you, what part of you keeps doing something that hurts me over and over, and more importantly, why don’t you give a fuck how I feel to just the tiny extent that you could contain your hate and rant somewhere else?” “Oh that’s right, you don’t want people to know you’re racist because then the smiles you give the neighbors would be exposed for the bullshit they are.” “If I were you I would be significantly disturbed by your lack of concern for your own daughter’s feelings.” “It’s not healthy or normal.” Period.
    And then he gave me the traditional left handed apology, “I’m sorry you feel that way” bullshit. (Yeah, because it’s my feelings here that are the problem lol). And then I realized he truly believed that. So I said “I’m sorry you don’t feel any way at all for my emotions because a lack of empathy must be so lonely for you and sad for me because that just tipped the scale from “my dad can’t help it” over to “my dad’s a selfish asshole”. “What I just learned about you I can never not know again and I’m so disappointed.” Strangely he didn’t reply… and read the mail. *SIGH* So anyway, the anger has calmed somewhat this week because I use my skills and remind myself when he’s around that an average emotion lasts about 30 seconds on its own… anything over that and it’s on my watch. True story. But anyway to the moral of my very wordy rant, today I realized he’s not the total asshole I though he was. On some level he can’t help himself. And unfortunately it’s difficult to treat an illness when the people who have it think they are normal as normal can be. And he says that… all the time, and it PISSES me off lol, but not like before and honestly, it’s my anger and only I can corral my crazy. And you are probably right in your assumption that forevermore being around someone narcissistic will always elicit negative emotions within you. And much justified when you feel them. And it’s funny because that serving of empathy my father didn’t get, I got two helpings. And I love that, but I hate that lol. I didn’t really make a strong connection before between my unrelated crazies, but I have a zero tolerance policy for rudeness and inconsideration, which I now know is in direct proportion to the extent that it invalidates feelings. I mean rude to me or anyone… and I get it, the source has a name now, Narcissists are professional invalidators. My father is the master, and it’s tricky with him, he will appear to “feel for” someone, but really its how the “someone” makes him feel. I figured that out recently when I was sick and he said “he feels so bad when I’m sick” and I said “I’m ok”, and he said “No, I mean it upsets me.” And I said “I can assure you it sucks more for me,” and he said since I don’t have kids I don’t understand how he feels when I’m sick. And I felt the embryo stages of a punch forming (jk) and that was kind of my last moment of surrender because you are dead on… it will never be any different than I choose to make it because he won’t choose to be different… he doesn’t believe there is a need to be different. And therein, historically, has been my struggle, that I could make him understand how he made me feel and he would want to be different. I took the 41 year scenic route to get here but with the acceptance that he can’t understand what I (or anyone) feels, and knowledge that nothing he says is a reflection of my worth, I see the futility of continuing my crusade to make him aware of what a selfish bastard he is. Lol, and I gotta chuckle because dammit for a whole lifetime, until today, I STILL believed he had the capacity to feel for my feelings for ME not for him. Clearly my work here is done because he never had that capacity at all. Honestly I kind of feel bad for him because he is incapable of empathy which I consider a gift of the human condition. I love that connection to others, it makes me feel like part of a whole… and all he knows is connection through dysfunction and control. I’m so glad I know my crazy and its tricks and lies and that I have the desire to work through it for myself and for the people I love. Thanks for letting me rant and vent, I appreciate you taking the time to post because it meant a lot to me. Why are people are dicks lol?

    • It’s like you are in my head. I am so sorry you are dealing with that. But you will never get him to see he has a problem. Not ever. They can’t see it. They won’t see it. It’s sad…it truly is.

      I hope you are able to continue with this journey of healing and I’m sure it will go much better for you when you can be away from him!

  • I relate to all of this, my mother having full blown NPD. I have just bought the book Will I Ever Be Good Enough and already its riveting and fully explains the devastation caused to the children who were raised by a Narcissistic Parent. Unfortunately, my daughter has had enough of me, she says she dosn’t think I am a narc yet she treats me as though I am, very distant, limited contact, dosn’t trust me, all the symptoms I had with my mother, I wondered and tormented myself why does my daughter seem to be treating me the way I have had to treat my mother, I never abused my daughter, I loved her and still do immensely – yet she can’t trust me or come too close to me, I long for her to be close and trusting but she cannot. So now I am seriously asking myself Am I A Narcissist??? She has told me that I was not there emotionally for her as a child, I can actually see that I wasn’t, I was too busy and distracted by recovering from a breakdown at age 24 also being put on antidepressants, valiums, sleeping pills I was a wreck for years. I am now 59 and my daughter is 39 and we have now split from each other because she can’t seem to have me around her as much as she says she wants to and I have ended up heartbreakingly able to see that we have not really had a relationship all these years with me trying to get a love from her that I didn’t get from my mother (not knowingly) and her needs being overlooked because I couldn’t see her needs and she had learned to not expect me to meet her needs but now she has a crippling anxiety disorder and can’t handle anything, least of all me – I am so sorry for what I’ve done, but I can’t undo it. I’ve been to therapy lots of times trying to find help with this unameable emotional pain I’ve had all of my life, never found the help I needed, and I have been looking into NPD and my mum fits the bill 100%, I was her scapegoat and now she has disinherited me and my brother and sisters are just as much damaged as I am, 3 marriages each and now we are all alone without a partner. It seems this NPD does get handed down to the children, and if I am not a Narcissist then how come the symptoms are there between me and my daughter as though I am a full blown Narcissist. One thing my daughter told me recently is that I have a double personality and she feels like it is a Ghost of my mother, she had read something about dual personalities in Adult Children of Narcissists which she thinks is my problem and why she can’t trust me, she dosn’t know who she is dealing with at any time. I am wondering if anybody here on this blog has any information or links to any articles which address this trait of dual personality in children raised by narcissistic parents, please if anyone can help I would be so grateful. Thank you for this site and that I can be real with you all, thank you. Janice

    • Yes…this is a safe place.

      How heartbreaking for you. I am so sorry. I’m not a professional, but from everything I understand about narcissism, if you think you MIGHT be one, you probably are not. That doesn’t mean that those of us who were raised by narcissists don’t have traits that are like a narcissist. How could we not.

      More than anything, I hope you and your daughter both find peace. xo

  • Oh Michelle. I’ve read your blog so long trying to pretend your narcisissm posts weren’t speaking to me. Or, when similarities couldn’t be denied, that it didn’t matter because I am a grown woman who needs to put her big girl pants on and live right, no matter how bad “mommy and daddy” were to me. But it hits me: I was raised by TWO such people, and recent events have forced me to acknowledge this. It’s even part of why my blog has suffered since they discovered my honesty and “oh the shame and humiliation my LIES have brought upon them.” I don’t even know where to start dealing with this, but I will keep reading your posts because obviously you know what it is.

    • First, I am so sorry. I hate that anyone has to go through this.

      Secondly, I am still fuddling through. I think acknowledging it and understanding helps A LOT. BUT..that is not without pain and anger and resentment. There is a light at the other side, though. I have not had counseling (well, I did, but it was worthless) but I do read a lot about it and I’m trying to learn to grieve for my past and be more accepting of myself as I am now. It’s not an easy journey….and you are NOT alone. 🙂

          • True…I wish it was because we chose to be fucked up with booze together but oh well!
            And not sure if I have 2 narcissists or if one is just an enabler…and, which one is actually worse in that situation? But I am pretty sure 2 narcissists probably couldn’t have stayed married for so long. So maybe mom is a narcissist and dad just drinks the Kool-Aid? 😀

          • Humans are fascinating…the decisions they make. My mom is sweet..she’s suffered from severe depression, but she’s sweet. I am grateful for that

  • Thank you so much for writing this blog. Reading through all the comments in tears. The feeling is like opening a stack of letters you thought were never written, except they actually were and just kept from you. My mother’s npd was pointed out to me by my therapist. So many stories that I identify with. The jealosy, the competition, my awakening was after my 18 year old son passed away last year and my ‘loving’ mother’s lack of empathy was exposed. I always knew something was wrong but I wasn’t sure what…I just believed it was all me. Ive suffered years and years of axiexty and deppression and have had no contact with my mother in four months because I am accepting that I can not rationalize with an irrational person. At almost 40 years old I was still tiptoe-ing through my own house when up in the night because of fear. Because I was ashamed for even breathing. Without her stealing my life, the anxiety has calmed. Glad I found this blog.

    • First of all, let me say how very and deeply sorry I am for your loss. I am so sorry. No mother should have to live through the death of a child. Secondly, I am sorry you have a shitty parent. It sucks. I’m glad you found this blog as well and if it brings you any peace or understanding then it is all worth it to me…I am sending you all my peaceful thoughts.

  • Wow! Yes! I look at people in various jobs, blue collar to white collar and wonder what it’s like to do things that you know you can do. I never knew other people wondered that too. I watch people, a plumber, a nurse, a teacher, a construction worker, etc., and figure they don’t worry when they wake up whether they will do a good job that day. Or whether they can even do it. They just do it, I assume. Whereas for me, every day has been an effort to prove myself worthy. Every thing I do has to be good and done well, because it could make or break my value as a person. I know it’s sounds ridiculous, but it’s hard to stop believing it! I discovered narcissism a few years ago and it’s the first thing that has made sense of how my father is simply unable to emotionally connect to another human being, feel any sense of right and wrong, or even care about anyone else. He’s the poster child for narcissism! Thanks!

  • I fear this for my children. Their father is a narcissist and I divorced him after 20 years of marriage and the kids were still young (10 and 8). My oldest is now close to graduating high school and had major problems with her dad for a couple of years – so much so, I had to legally intervene and ensure that visits with her father were on her terms only. They say to never speak badly about the other parent in a divorce situation, but when one parent is a narcissist I found that speaking the truth about who he is had made the difference to my kids’ sanity. That, and providing a loving, stable home with a (mostly) sane me. What you describe above I struggle with daily. Narcissists are the purest form of evil in my opinion. Wishing you strength, emotional clarity and happiness! Love your blog!

  • I have three kids, who are now adults, and their father is a narcissist. When I left him my kids were 14, 12, 11. Luckily for us we moved 10,000Km away, so we did not have him on the daily basis.
    I learned all about narcissist and discussed it all with my kids, we all learned how to spot them and identified how they manipulate people. We did meditation, as many workshops as we could incl. Anthony Robbins etc where there were very powerful processes going on to clear out all the patters.
    The kids forgave their father before I did, they they went to visit him and found out what a manipulating asshole he is. There was a rough patch when he turned them against me by telling them all types of lies. However, eventually, after few months they saw through him. They all were able to stand up to him and since he could not manipulate them, he became quite civil, although with narcissists you can never relax as my kids found out the hard way.
    Now they visit him, but keep him in check by calling out all his bullshit games when they come up. He knows he does not have any power over them, so it works well.

    I think that the important thing is that I never lied to my kids about anything and never babied them but talked to them like equals. That is why they trusted me in the end.

      • Yes, I am very relieved that it ended quite well, there were times though when I was scared that my kids fell under his spell permanently.

          • This is what terrifies me! As much as I hate to admit this, I didn’t truly realize I was married to NPD until seeing the effects of his emotional abuse in my child. SIX years into divorce! My son is 10 and we currently share custody 50/50. Our son idolizes his father but is starting to recognize that something is “off” about n. I could list a million reasons to support the fact he’s a narcissist, but what I want is help for my kiddo. He has begun having anxiety and avoiding his activities. He won’t open up to me at all anymore. I can’t even take him to therapy because with the shared custody agreement his father would need to consent. Which he did not of course. I validate his feelings, I tell him I understand, I try to teach him techniques to handle anxiety, I sit in silence with him, I tell him I love him probably too much, I am trying to focus my energy to positive things so as not to keep us stuck in the negative. It’s not enough! No 10 year old kid should have anxiety so awful they can’t sleep. I know that I have to be strong for him and I will be. I just need to get this out! I just wish there were more resources to help the children. A clear recommendation on what to do. Is the realization your parent is NPD better discovered on your path to your own self realization or is it better to have been told of these traits? Do you wish you would have known when you were younger? Would you have been able to understand it? Would you have turned against the person that wanted to help? I guess I’m asking what do you wish someone would have done for you if they could have? I truly hope I’m not being insensitive or inappropriate by asking these difficult things. Knowledge is power and it seems the greatest source would come from those beautiful people that experienced and survived childhood with a narcissistic parent. Much love!

          • First of all, much love and peace to you and your son. I am so sorry you are going through this. I am terribly hesitant to offer opinions on what is best for your child because I am NOT a mental health care professional. I am just a survivor of being the child of a narcissist. Do I wish I would have known younger? Hell. Yes. It would have saved me years of hating myself because I HAD to be unlovable because my father did not love me. How do you impart that information without harming your child? I don’t have that answer. Is there an age where it would be more appropriate? I did turn against my father. He treated me terribly. Knowing why probably wouldn’t have changed that course. I would suggest that you find a therapist who is understands NPD and then YOU go. They can help guide you. Explain that you can’t bring your child with you. Someone out there can help you. I wish you all the luck. Again, I am so sorry your child is going through this. The fact that YOU understand means a lot. Just keep loving him. Keep being his safe place.

  • I really related to your introduction. I felt as if you were speaking for me as I couldn’t find the words. I sit here in tears knowing I am not alone. I was raised by two narcissists and left a narcissist 7 months ago but he is still trying to contact me. I feel like I am in a tornado of emotions. I have become completely akward socially and just want to be alone all the time. I keep my distance even from my friends as I don’t feel safe to be me. I feel people don’t REALLY like me and that I am alert at all times. I am 41 years old and feel very alone eventhough I am not. I am friendly but very guarded. I don’t know what to do anymore.

    • Sorry, I was raised by a narcissist mother and abandoned by an alchoholic narcissist father. I am constantly beating myself up for all the bad decisions I have made over the years. When I was 23, I was in love with a good guy. I pushed him away because my mother told me he was too good for me. (regretting this almost 20 years later. After that, my life went down hill and I dated narcissistic after narcissist then had a child with one. There are days when I don’t know how I have survived to this point. Very emotional.

      • My heart goes out to you. I wish there were words I could type to make you believe you are worthy, but there aren’t.

        You are worthy, though. We all are. Just know that you are not alone.

    • Do you have access to counseling? If so, I really hope you will look into it. This shit is hard and heavy and the way you are feeling is very familiar to me. I am so glad you reached out and I wish you nothing but peace and contentment and happiness.

  • I am 46. I have two boys 14 & 11. I have known there is something seriously wrong with my mother for some 35yrs, but I have never found the words to explain to anyone. My husband gets it, he has witnessed first hand her twisting and lying and manipulation.
    He has supported me since we met 18years ago. Two of my Aunts get it. They understand to a degree but as sisters of a Narcissist, and are therefore too frightened to confront her or stand united with me against her. They suffer in silence, they are filled with guilt for not protecting me as a child and as a young adult, despite feeling my pain and wanting to find a way to help. Fir them it was self preservation. I get that.
    I have since I was 11/12years old, been accused of having something wring with me, being mentally unstable. Being overly sensitive, over reactive, irrational, believing things that haven’t happened, of lying. Its been part of my life. I am now understanding that it is the root of the issues I now present as an adult (low self esteem, being overweight, untrusting). My mother is a classic narcissist. But she is a most dangerous kind.
    She is a therapist! Trained in Hypnotherapy, CBT and NLP. The worst kind of controller and manipulator in my eyes. How does one believe that someone who has dedicated her her life to HELPING other people with their unresolved issues, do the things I claim she has. Be a narcissist!!! How would anyone believe me over someone like that? Someone so caring. All she wants to do is get you to admit you have a problem and let het council you! After all she has helped so many others overcome their fears and anxieties. You get my drift right…..Impossible!
    Every six months or so, when I am feeling vulnerable or overwhelmed, I end up confronting her. Usually its over something seemly ‘insignificant” and because of the fear attached to speaking up, I’m usually not very eloquent. Her reaction to my confrontation then sparks another trigger. I am shaking in my boots. Unable to find the words and then faced with extreme twisting and table turning, Fight or flight kicks in.
    I retreat! Sating Im done. Cant do this any more….
    She as a “professional” in the field of mental health, will then repeatedly tell me and others in the family that I have lost it. That my Mental Health Issues are now getting to a dangerous level and now therefore require a serious level of mental heath care.
    This month has been what I feel has been the final straw. My gran her mother died. Their controlling and manipulating surrounding her final days weeks and finally her funeral have been the catalyst. She has manipulated and controlled the entire funeral, the family and the grandchildren. Everyone had been beside themselves with worry, anger, deep disappointment or at the very least sadly resigned to the fact that they would have to allow her to do what she does. Whats the point of challenging it. She’ll do what she wants anyway!
    It was the straw that broke the camels back! I had to speak out! This was my gran, and not just her mother! She was a mother of 4 children, a gran to 4 and a grandmother to 3. Other people had a right to be included. So I stood up and tried to suggest that others had the right to be consulted.
    Whoa! So okay, that backfired. I have been accused of lying, that I now believe these lies to be truths. That I am trying to sabotage her poor mothers funeral. That my mental health issues are now of “serious concern” and that I am a Narcissist and that “of course my step father, my sister and her were going to consult others. (and they have now done an impressive 360degree in an attempt to prove me wrong). Which at least has meant that the funeral has now been a collaboration (of sorts) between all family members rather than “The Elaine, John and Naomi Show”. Although they have ignored many requests and forged ahead with their own ideas anyway. but hey ho.
    Whilst all this is happening I looked up what a Narcissist was. I read some more and came across this site! Talk about awakening! I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. It was like someone had switched on the floodlights!
    Its not me who is crazy, I’m not a the bloody Narcissist! SHE IS!
    So I showed this site to my husband and he cried too! He said I cant tell you how happy I am that you have found this site! It makes it all so clear. We both decided that it was time. No contact! I have to distance my self from this women if I am ever to begin my healing.
    So I have to face my mother tomorrow at the funeral. I even considered not going at all to avoid having to watch them put in their “show”.
    I know my boys will be used as pawns. Under the spot light. Make people see how much she adores those kids and how I should even consider taking them away from her.
    But I know that “no contact” is the only way forward. But how do you do this without the guilt trip that will be heavily laid upon me by them and other family members, who think that I am being unfair. That despite my feelings towards my mothers behaviour, I cant deny them a relationship with their grandmother. etc etc.
    I know that they will effectively do the same to them as they did with me. With me and my sister. That in fact I know it has already started! My youngest boy, (11yrs) came home from a weekend with them a few months back saying “why does Gran not like me but really likes Tom (his brother). My heart sank. She was already starting to lay the foundations starting with choosing a Favourite!
    So what now. How do I stay strong and stand firm, I know what is best for my kids, I need a method! A procedure, a stock reply. Anything that hopefully allows me to do what I need to do, without falling out with everyone else over it, I love my family and don’t want to feel that I have to constantly, month in, month out, year in, year out, be defending my decision to go No Contact!
    Phew talk about letting it all out! xxxx

    • OMG how completely horrible. A narcissist and a therapist. You poor dear. I am SO SORRY this has been your life. I hope that you can talk to a therapist (one who is not your mother) and get some guidance. I am in no way an expert and am just muddling my way through. I am happy that reading my blog was helpful to you. It’s times like this when it seems so worth my time. Thank you for that. Thank you for commenting.

      I get getting tongue tied when trying to defend yourself. I do the same thing and it is so goddamn frustrating.

      Peace to you. I hope you get through the funeral of your beloved gran with minimal discomfort. xoxo

  • None of my uncles and aunts talked much to my mother and it was always because “they are bad; see, if others are being bad, I forgive them.”. This is the kind of brainwashing my mother did. She keeps trying to change my perception on issues through framing and brainwashing. She is never consistent about her sides on anything: she chooses her side based on how bad she wants to make me feel. I have been gifted with narcissist parents and a narcissist elder sister and seems like my younger brother is also turning into one. Its really hard for me to believe in what I really think about them considering the kind of self-doubt they have caused in me over the years. However, reading your blog reaffirms my faith in my point of view: that I have been lucky to have been developed with a loving disposition unlike my family. 🙂

    • @Reborn, I’ve met so many people who have said that: “I’m thankful that I realised that my upbringing was not normal…” or something to that effect. As someone who is a carbon-copy of my parents and wants to be exactly like them more and more as they age, it has never occurred to me that parents could do wrong or that even if they did, their children could emerge from their tornado upbringing into perceptive and functional human beings.

      I don’t understand the thought process that victims of this abuse (because it really is emotional abuse if not parental neglect at its worst) enlist when determining that, for example: “My mother/father is a pathological liar” without seeing pathological lying as just being ‘the way to get by in life’ if that is what they were primarily exposed to. Of course school, friends, TV and the likes would provide input with a counter-narrative, I just did not have any knowledge that children have an ability to cognitively identify, employ and effect this narrative whilst still growing up in an abusive household. I guess I am asking, if you grew up in a home where values were skewed and prescribed in a manipulative, controlling and undermining way; where did you gain your moral compass from? I’m trying to understand why one child can see the dysfunction and yet the other siblings don’t? Are you able to shed any light on this, at all, please? Thank you so much.

      • Hi Hannah,
        For me, honesty was always the way. My mother actually keeps telling me: “How can your parents think ill of you?” and “I will always think well of you.” on a daily basis. I was conditioned to believe this for my parents because it was what I had always heard and its the way things are. Therefore, trusting them completely, I was honest with them for everything. My mother had socially isolated me from everyone by constantly brainwashing me that I was superior from my peers because of my talents and had to behave differently, etc. Believe me Hannah, I was always so withdrawn from the rest of the society that it had never even occurred to me that my mother was a ‘manipulator.’ But but the catch for me was that in spite of my honesty and concern for her, whenever there was some argument, she used to defend my elder sister saying that:” she is just kidding, you take things seriously, etc.” I wouldnt have ever doubted them even then because there was always something wrong with me according to them but things changed when I began to question my situation: why does she not even reward my honesty? why does she keep doubting my character? and most importantly, how can everyone in this world be so cruel? I was in shatters few months back, because, my brother lost his temper because I had shut his laptop lid hard and he beat me up hard. MY body ached for many days but as was expected, my parents didnt say anything to him and they came to tell me that I should forgive him. My elder sister barely contacts the family members and keeps trying to put me down if we do ever meet. And then I was without friends. So, after that beating incident, I really became more troubled and stressed. I started staying in my room more and more. I had no support for me so I randomly messaged some people on facebook telling them of my situation. One of them was a professor who had had a similar experience in his life. He talked to me and made me believe that there was nothing with me. I was honest with him about all my feelings and all the torture that I had been through and he helped me realize that my parents were not my well-wishers. I came to this conclusion through many incidents that have happened in my life. My condition was so bad Hannah that for me that I never even believed that I could be loved unconditionally. There was another acquiantance who had responded and told me that I was being abused. Then, after some months, my state of mind improved and I took a step that I would go out and make friends and see what it is really like and these people loved me. Once I became comfortable with two-three of them, I told them about my situation and they were very supportive. What for? I did not give them any returns. I did not give anything to that professor who helped me. He had even purchased me a book to read and would not even take money from me. Its almost been six months now, I met more relatives from whom my mother had cut me off saying that they were not good. Some of them are such caring and happy people. I went to stay with one of them for two days and they treated me like a princess. Nobody took advantage of me or something and nobody was cruel. So what were my doubts about my family initially, were affirmed. I have started trusting people Hannah and so glad that there are some lovely people in this world esp. the professor who helped me pull though whose classes I had not even attended regularly. And surprisingly, he lives in another city and he is aged but he connected with me through phone and helped me when my parents were getting more and more abusive as such people tend if they figure out that their target is becoming strong or independent. He helped through all that. He did not make me pay for my honesty but rewarded it. I am honest with my friends and they appreciate me. So now as an adult, I have chosen this way of life. My siblings would have been in the same situation as I have been in had their natures not differed from me at least, my elder sister who has ruined my self-confidence so much. So because, she is like that I dont think she will have any issue with the way they are. I hope this helps! 🙂

        • @Reborn, oh my goodness! I’m so sorry to hear this! I’m heartbroken for you as well as for each and every other person here. I am just devastated for the struggle to recover the brokenness all your parents senselessly, needlessly, cruelly and selfishly inflicted upon you ruining your lives. For the spiritual, emotional, physical and psychological abuse; I am bleeding tears for you. You are all such brave, strong people to come here and share these stories! I applaud @Michelle to providing the forum with such frankness and humour; and you are all in my thoughts and prayers as you travel the road to health, wholeness, healing and appreciating your true worth and valuing yourselves.

          • I wish we could just make all of this go away….but we can’t, can we? At least we have each other. It feels good to be understood.

  • I was raised by two of the most loving parents in the world, and I had NO idea that parents could be anything but sacrificial, wise, loving, caring, supportive and endearing until my early thirties. I first came in contact with NPD when I met and became extremely good friends with a man whose mum was the textbook version of NPD. At first, he was the exact opposite of her: where she was cruel, menacing, emancipating and bullying; he was considerate, observant, kind and gentle. We began a relationship and things have been going downhill since. For me, I can never really tell whether his gravitating from being SO extremely wonderful to following a failure-script, being emotionally distant and lying is merely a learned behaviour of trying to “people please” or whether he is trying to gain an advantage and is sincerely without conscience and manipulative like his mum? He displays typical traits like flamboyance, attention-grabbing, pretentiousness and overconfidence in her presence and then in her absence is the entire opposite; always helping everyone and thinking the best of others: to a fault, even. He lives alone and co-parents a daughter with his ex-wife; but he works in the family business with both of his parents. His father is indifferent/ineffective to abase his narcissistic mother. (So suggesting no-contact is not an option, really. If that is the only option, how do I bring it up?)The yo-yoing is doing my head in. How can I tell whether he is being deliberately deceptive in order to gain leverage because this is the only relational model he has ever learnt i.e. people are simply ‘supply’ that should be paralyzed or manipulated into subordination in order to meet a narcissist’s need; or whether he is far from a narcissist and is just wounded, broken and mirrors his mother in her presence in order to win her affection and approval (he can’t and doesn’t seem to understand that he likely never will) or he is unable to share his feelings with me for fear of this being used against him at a later stage? (I know he has feelings, but I don’t understand whether HE knows that he has feelings, and that they matter and need to be expressed.) I know that we women have a tendency to put up with emotional abuse much longer than men because we are nurturers by nature and believe that we can “fix” or “change” people; but if he is a true narcissist, no amount of patience or understanding on my part will make any difference. I also feel like there are a lot of resources and forums for women who had narcissistic mothers/fathers growing up, but virtually nothing for males raised by over-bearing, self-centered, emotionally incompetent and damaging mothers. Before I make this relationship more serious, please advise how to differentiate between people who just mirror their parents with NPD out of habit, in pursuit of love or to keep the peace, and those who have themselves become narcissists because this is all that they know. Thanks so much, in advance!

  • And I was married to one – for ten years. It’s not true that I am totally “free”, but I have come a long way.
    So glad I found this blog!

    From me in Norway 🙂

  • Great blog. Obviously there are a lot of us out there… my husband and I were both raised by narcissists. My mother was one and his father. Actually I believe his mother was one too in a subversive, helpless way. It’s been a very interesting journey and we are doing well… it has taken many years,, and I often think how wonderful it could have been from the beginning without the “fears of failure and intimacy.” But here we are and life is good… only the rare flare-up. There is great reward in healing each other.

    • THere really is! My husband went through similar issues and we’ve been so good for each other (with the occasional flare ups) haha

  • That last comment was from my wife. I am 61 years old and frequently suffer from anxiety and even occasional depression. Never feeling good enough and always trying to please everyone. My Dad was indeed a total Narcissist. Loud, belligerent, always right and smarter than everyone. No matter how well I did something, there was always something that I should have done differently or better. It’s taken me a lot of years to recognize that none of that was true and that career-wise, I have surpassed him in many, many ways. Growing up, my Mom and Dad created a very co-dependent relationship with my sister and I. They always knew how to press our buttons and even as an adult, they could make me feel awful and guilty with just a few words on the telephone. It wasn’t till I left home getting a job at SeaWorld of Orlando and moving away from them did I begin to become my own person. I have managed to keep my distance from them more and more over the years but it hasn’t been easy. They were awful and judgmental at my second wedding. No one that I chose to marry was ever good enough for them. They had little respect for my feelings and who was important to me. But after our wedding, I wrote both my parents long letters telling them what I thought about how they handled my sister and I through the years and at that point I broke off contact with them for 4 years. It was only when my Dad got colon cancer that I went to see them and he said that if it took colon cancer for me to see them all again, it was worth it. After that, my wife and I would see them on holidays and birthdays but not very much else. Things became much more bearable. My wife has been very good for me. We talk a lot of things through and my anxiety became more under control. However, about 15 years ago I went to work for a man that is also a narcissist. This has brought back a great deal of anxiety especially since my chosen field is the Entertainment business which is always very stressful in and of itself. But he makes things much worse. Teasing, demeaning and just being a major jerk all under the guise of good-ol-boy humor keeps my blood pressure high and my self-esteem low. It was interesting reading your blog so keep up the good work. It’s nice to know that I’m not alone.

    • Oh man….thank you. Thank you for sharing this with me. I am so so sorry that you’ve had to live with this. It’s horrible and it makes us broken, but we are who we are now and it is all of our parts that make us who we are and we are pretty goddamn awesome. I’m so glad you are here and I appreciate so much you telling me your story. And FUCK your boss.

  • Michelle, Thanks for your comments on my and Ken’s posts. I was adopted. I never knew my birth mother and my adoptive mother was a very interesting woman. She actually taught me some really wonderful things. There was much good but there were “those” moments throughout my childhood and young adulthood. It all came to a head starting in my teen years. The older I got the more her narcissistic side showed up. Or the more I was aware that everything was or had to be about her. This became evident when all my friends would complain about her to me. She even told one of my friends that she didn’t want her only “claim to fame” to be that she was “Patricia’s” mother. I was a cheerleader, President of the drama club and in numerous other clubs/activities in high school. That comment she made was my “rude-awakening” to the fact that there was a problem with her… it wasn’t me.

    When I met my husband’s family they immediately rejected me… I could tell you stories… but let’s just say his father, mother and sister definitely didn’t want me to be part of their “club.” It was really horrendous and I remember they invited me to diner one evening (Ken was out of town) and were so awful that I was in tears driving home. When I was stopped at a red light I looked at the car in front of me and it had a bumper sticker that said “Mean People Suck.” I laughed… I knew the “Universe” was talking to me.
    I had never really had any problems with people… most people really like me and the situation with Ken’s family really opened a very deep old wound that I never knew existed. It took years to find peace with it and to find my own balance and for us to find a space of our own so our marriage could flourish. Ken was of course battling his own “demons” so he could finally have a “full life” of his of his own with another human being.

    Thanks for this wonderful blog… I am sure it helps a lot of people!

    • I was talking to my mother last night about this very thing. This connecting with other people who have had similar experiences and how much we heal each other. Just to be understood means so much. To be heard means so much.

      I don’t talk to my mother about this much because I never want her to feel bad and I know she does. She knows who my father was and she knows what it was like for his children and she feels guilty. I know she loves me and did the best she could. My father did the best he could too, but he didn’t love me. But I digress…anyway, my mother and I were talking about this and I told her that my favorite thing about writing is making these connections and maybe even making a difference. I didn’t expect that and it turns out that it’s my favorite thing about writing. Thank you both so very much for sharing your stories with me. I wish you peace!

  • Wow…I’m teary-eyed reading! I was raised by 2 Narcissists with a younger, Narcissist sibling….plus endured isolation due to our family emigrating. I have always been made to feel like I was a problem. If I expressed any thoughts, or feelings, about anything (good or bad!), I was always in the wrong. My sibling was adored no matter what they did. I tried so hard to be the “good girl” to no avail. Everything was viewed as sub-par.
    I’m still carrying the unloveable/unlikeable mantle…so hard to shake it. I’m trying to develop a sense of self after trying to play roles for various narcissistic partners, family, and my narcissistic (former) best friend! There’s been a pattern here. Took me long enough to see that I’m drawn to them.

  • I can soooooo relate to this. Up until last year I had a narcissistic boss who was a carbon copy of my mother. I stuck her out for 3 years but it nearly broke me. Dodging these people is the only way. Thank you for writing such a down to earth article.

  • Observe a little girl talking to her dolls or a little boy talking to his toy soldiers – in essence that is how a narcisstist talks to you. They talk at you and not to you. I am nothing but a source of narcisstic supply (admiring attention) to my narcisstic father. Now he knows that I know this to be true – he doesn’t even bother with me. Thank goodness for that.

  • I’ve always been alone, even when surrounded by friends. I’ve always been screwed up and thought it was somehow my fault that life was difficult to understand. It took me 65 years to find out that it wasn’t me that was mad but my mother, who is an emotional vampire and toxic narcissist, still capable of delivering her own brand of venom at the age of 92. Your post is brilliant. The important thing is that, somehow, we’ve made it through life on our own, and we know ourselves. Perhaps I need therapy, but I’ve made a good, happy life for myself, so maybe just muddling through in my own way is best. Happiness was all I ever wanted and I’m happy now. Thank you, your blog is great!

  • Sorry I’m tardy to this party, just catching up on my reading 🙂
    But had to tell you my belief about “what you want to be when you grow up”
    Namely that it’s a ridiculous concept. Growing up, that is. We keep growing. Except those people who are stunted and stuck and never change. But most of us keep growing and changing and that includes deciding what to do to pay the bills. That does not define you. What defines you is who you are constantly becoming by doing all of the other things in life….you family, friends, hobbies, interests, etc. All of the thoughts, actions, activities, kindnesses (or lack thereof, for some unfortunate souls) are what define who you really are. And that is also a constantly evolving thing. It is very freeing to realize that you are a work in progress and that your vocation/job does not define you. I know some wonderful people in very mundane jobs who have contributed more to their fellow humans by their thoughts/actions/words than people in “important” jobs. So throw out the concept of growing up and all that nonsense and rejoice in the wonderful, accomplished person that you have become. And be proud not only of who you are but of the fact that you have become YOU in spite of your asshole of a father.
    There. Now off my soapbox to tell you how much I love your blog. Keep on sharing with us. You are awesome. Seriously.
    Now I’m going to leave so you can have your alone time 🙂

  • I’ve spent just over 12 months in forced isolation cutting everyone out- even the good ones. I hit a despair that a lot of folks know too well so I needn’t explain.

    Its only recently that I have fully accepted the level of abuse that I have endured. I was played.

    Thanks for sharing this- I feel like I’ve just read parts of my life and am another step towards healing.

  • You are one of our unchosen tribe. It’s 2016 now and still no therapy protocol nor even understanding of what is so clearly needed by so many people. I have lost all faith in the psychological community but not in myself nor people like you.

  • Hi there, I am in my mid 20’s, and still suffer from my narcissistic alcoholic father. I was wondering what sort of professional to go to in your opinion, a psychiatrist that focuses on what exactly? I am slowly admitting to myself that I need help. I cannot let him affect me and my life any longer.

    • I wish I had solid advice for you. I would definitely seek a therapist or psychiatrist that has studied and understands parental narcissism.

      You do need to protect yourself from him. I wish you peace and healing.XOXOXOX

  • Thank you. I feel I could’ve been the one writing your post, it was almost shocking to read everything and relate so well to all of it, especially the instantly feeling no one will like you. I’ve suffered this my whole life, always thinking people won’t like me, and if they do, they’ll quickly decide they don’t. It’s really so sad. I think of a little kid feeling this way and it tears me apart, I would never want a child to feel so unliked and not accepted, but that was me. I never felt worthy, or accepted. It took me 42 years to finally put my foot down and decide it was enough. I haven’t spoken to my dad since Feb, and sadly, it’s looking likely to also happen with my mom too as she’s now getting mad at me for my stand. And I say sadly because I always felt she was my ally against my dad (even though she never left, which would’ve been best), but now I feel like she’s against me. Putting my foot down has been a blessing and a curse though. I’m starting to think the best thing would be to go NC and cut them off completely, but that same fear and anxiety rears its ugly head when I really think about doing it. I’m fine going NC with my dad (he’s the narc), in fact it brings me joy to think about never talking to him ever again. But my mom recently went through some serious health issues, so it tears me up to think of going NC with her too. But she’s clearly decided whose side she’s on, even though I clearly explained to her she didn’t need to take a side, I just need to not be around my dad for my own sake. She’s not okay with it. The whole thing is a mess, but I can’t continue to be his scapegoat just so we can have the illusion of a “perfect” family. My brother is the Golden Boy here, but fortunately he does also realize my dad is an asshole too. I never expected to write this much, I just wanted to let you know I’m so grateful to have found your blog, I don’t feel so alone now.

    • I am so glad you feel less alone. I am SO FUCKING SORRY that this happened to you. If it makes you feel any better, this means a great deal to me. Every time I think that it’s dumb to keep writing. That I’m wasting my time and it’s a folly, then I hear from people like you and it makes my day. Thank you, thank you so much for sharing.

  • How many fucking narcissists are there in this world???? Are they some different breed (some people say reptilians, or bad parenting (not in the case of my ex, he was a favorite child – by far, with his mother), or some trauma in childhood? If we figured it out what exactly is the reason they exist, perhaps we could do something about it?

    • I think they are terribly broken people who were either neglected and abused and this is how their brain protects them. Or they were put onto pedestals and never given any boundaries. I am not an expert, but I don’t think they’re going away any time soon.

      • There must be a reason why there are so many of them. I would love to find out what it is. My ex definitely was the golden child, but on the other hand I know another person who grew up with a narcissistic mother and she is as crazy as the mother, if not more. So, at the moment there does not seem to be a pattern there.

        • It is not uncommon for a narcissist to breed narcissists. That is true. I know I have some tendencies, but I am aware and I’m working on shedding them. I am comforted in the fact that I KNOW they are issues and that I am far from perfect. A narcissist would never think (or admit) that. So, yay me! haha.

  • I am horrible at commenting, but I reread this tonight and had to say I am so grateful for the internet and bloggers like you. I’m an old, and I’m fixed about as well as I can be fixed, but the young versions of me have the chance to understand that they aren’t alone, that it isn’t their fault, and walking away if needed is forgivable-that is value beyond measure.
    You described it so well, and I guess one of the saddest parts of dealing with this is that the damage is more or less invisible. Well, except when I talk to myself too much…

    Thank you, Michelle!

    • Thank you for this. So much of the damage IS invisible. I used to think that I am as fixed as I can be, but I keep finding that I change. I wish it would have happened when I was young, but it didn’t, so I will just focus on right now. Thank you again, this makes my day.

  • I relate so much to this. I am the child of a narcissistic mother, who scapegoated and emotionally abused throughout my childhood. My whole life I was focused on my own pain and my mother’s narcissism, never realizing I had the same problem. I was diagnosed with NPD not too long ago.

    This is what’s so frustrating about this disorder–the person that has it is unaware they have it. They are the victim. When people say things like “if you’re asking yourself if you’re a narcissist, you probably aren’t one” is so incredibly damaging, because it keeps people who have the desire and ability to become self-aware in denial.

    If you’re the child of a narcissist who has some “learned behaviors” or “fleas”, you may be in denial yourself. The disorder *is* learned behavior. The vast majority — two thirds– of children of narcissists go on to have NPD themselves. I’ve been working on a site to help ACoNs become more self aware. I hope this helps someone out there, because those with NPD can absolutely change. But not until we face reality. My only regret is that I didn’t know sooner.

    Please check it out

  • Thank you so much for this. I feel like *I* could have written everything you wrote. It was my mother for me. The part about either weakly defending myself or completely losing my shit really hit home. I can’t be around her without eventually completely losing my shit. She picks and digs in the hopes of starting an argument, just so she can completely bulldoze the hell out of you. She prides herself on going for the jugular. She told me she was nicknamed the “Put Down Queen” in high school and she’s proud of that. The last time I saw her in person was a few years ago, what was going to be a 10 day visit turned into me packing my things and my kids and leaving on day 2. Have been very low contact ever since. On that trip she started in on my oldest daughter (8 at the time) and that was finally the last straw for me.

    Sorry this is rambly. Thanks so much for putting your thoughts and feelings out there.

    • Thank you so much for being here! And this isn’t rambly at all. I want this to be a space where people can talk about what they need to talk word limits. 🙂

  • Hello everyone:
    I am very moved by all your words…..I was raised by a narcissistic grandmother, a narcissistic aunt who visited us often, and a mother who was so beaten down that she hardly objected to anything. I also had an older sister who was sick throughout her childhood and so she was attended by my loving and sacrificing mother head and foot. My sister I have come to believe also turned into a somewhat narcissist. I felt as a child that I needed to learn to depend on myself. Growing up I felt I was an appendix to them ….. I tried very hard to be me, I grew up fast…..Who could I rely on??? Everyone was involved with their own worlds. They gave me “Permanents” meaning they gave me permanent curls to my hair since I was a toddler, I cried and I objected to them but nobody would listen. I do not know whose idea was it to keep me in those nasty curls. Now everyone is dead except my sister….It is very difficult to have a relationship with her, she is very shallow, moody, and I can not put up with her changes…..we have gone months and even years without speaking to each other, but then somehow we start talking to each other again. It is such a roller-coaster. I have to accept that she will never change.
    So many things you say sounds so familiar… sad so hurting, so humiliating , so invalidating, I know!!! Now I am in my early 60’s and I have decided to live my childhood dream….I have become a farmer.
    Sometimes I remember what they put me through and I get angry, even at my mother for not leaving to find a better situation for us when we were little, eventually in my teens she did ….I know she did her best. I know I need to forgive them to be able to move on…..Forgiving does not mean we have to put up with them.
    Thank you for letting me talk about this difficult subject….I feel for all of you and wish you happiness, peace, and love.

    • Thank you so much for being here and for sharing. I am so glad you realized your dream of becoming a farmer, how wonderful! I am sorry you are still dealing with a contentious relationship. 🙁

      We are here when you need to vent!

      • Thank you so much Michelle for being here for us…..thank you for your supporting words…..thank you for taking the time to listen…God bless you……
        With love,

  • I have just read through what seems like hundreds of comments on this blog. Wowzers! So many of us. I have come to realize recently that my father was a narc and my mom severely codependent. I am also codependent. I fucking hate it! Constantly worried what others are thinking of me, constantly doubting myself, and so much more. Yuck. I am sick of it. I am 42 years old. I’m going to make an attempt to live life as the real me now. Thank you so much for posting this!

    • I am so glad you are here! I wish you luck on your journey, it’s a hard one, but you are stronger than you know. I am certain of that.

      We can’t go through what we go through and not become stronger. xooxoxoxxoxo

  • I can barely bring the attention on myself to leave a comment. I don’t know what to say… I’ve never seen my feelings so clearly written

    Thank You

    I love you

    Get the fuck out of my head!

    • Hahaah!! Hi Josh! I am glad you are here. I love you, too! (It is getting easier and easier for me to say I love you to people. Not completely comfortable with it, but stil…getting better).

      Do you have Netflix? I JUST discovered Neal Brennan’s stand up. His show is called Three Mics and he talks about his narcissistic father. I highly recommend it to people who have experienced something similar. It’s good to not be alone. 🙂

      • Thank you Michelle. I will be sure to check it out. Mark Maron is a favorite of mine, look up some of his stand up.

        My mother is the super caring codependent catholic, I inherited that too.
        I love and am genuinely interested in helping people, but I also hate them all and wish they would just leave me the hell alone…

        Thanks again, it’s nice to know I’m not alone, not to feel quite as crazy.

  • “I either make a weak attempt at sticking up for myself, or I completely LOSE MY SHIT”

    Are you speaking about me?? There’s just nothing in between there. Ugh. Hate that.

  • Thanks For Being Someone out there!
    I relate to what you have explained. I can never fully explain to obnoxious, how horrible and oppressive it has been and still is (I’m 58). Words just
    can not paint the picture we victims have endured…I rest my case
    Hugs To You and I pray we all find strength, through this damned dark forest!

  • Thank you, for writing this and sharing your story. It has brought me such comfort to know I am not alone. One of my parents is a narcissist and right now the realization of my experience and combing through it is ineffable.

    Your analysis of your healing process is personally inspirational to me. I am working on healing and gathering courage to be honest with myself like you are here. I admire how real you are with yourself and the world (through this post) about your experience.

    Thank you, for being brave. <3

  • So glad to know that I’m not the only one who never had a dream of what I wanted to be, cuz I was so scared of her growing up that all I wanted was to survive till I cud get away. 60 yrs old now. Still afraid of her voice &she is 90.

    • I am so sorry. I understand exactly what you are saying. I wish there was a magic combination of words I could say to convince you to not be afraid, but there isn’t. I will try, though. You don’t have to be afraid anymore. She was wrong. Broken. You can be free.

  • My mum spent her entire life protecting me from my abusive father. It was horrible watching her suffer every single day…. and yet evil has a way of consuming everthing. My childhood was destroyed and my angelmum died recently..i am beside myself with grief. My life so far has been so tough.. but i think im still standing.

    • My heart is broken for you. I am so sorry this is your experience and I wish there was something I could say to help. I’m so sorry for your loss. Is your dad still in the picture, or is he gone?

  • I get an almost irresistible urge to run up behind them give em a hard shove and push them over…dunno why I just wanna push them over – especially my mother – that’d be awes…

By Michelle


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