My Inner Child Needs A Time Out

I am a grown ass woman.

I know this. I have the gray roots and the beginnings of some crow’s feet to back this up. The fact that I’m grown doesn’t always mean much when my inner child takes over.

I wrote a blog post about being the adult child of a narcissist (ACON) which seemed to touch a nerve. Apparently, there are a lot of us out there and I decided that maybe this topic wasn’t over with yet.

I am not an expert in how to DEAL with being the child of a narcissist. I am, however, an expert at BEING an adult child of a narcissist.

Even typing that is difficult for me. We don’t get to be experts at anything. We’re mostly wrong even when we are right.

I remember arguing with my father over something and backing him into a corner where there was NO WAY he couldn’t agree that I was right. I have NO idea what the argument was about, but I remember what he said. He curled his lip in contempt (he was a the king of contempt) and said: “You’re right, Michelle. You are DEAD right”.

It was not necessary for him to say more. The underlying message was, I should be ashamed of myself for proving him wrong and it was obvious I was broken. Also, I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, I would pay for it later. I was definitely in trouble.

I spent a lot of my childhood and teen years WAITING to get into trouble.

I never knew WHAT I was going to do wrong, but I was definitely going to do SOMETHING wrong. I don’t know this for sure, but I think this might be the cause of me always feeling like I’m on the verge of ‘getting into trouble’ .

Like I said, I am a grown ass woman.

Who am I going to get in trouble WITH?

I mean really? My boss? Sure, he can be displeased with me and probably WOULD be if he know I was writing this blog post at work, but what is going to do? Get the paddle out? Make me stand in the corner? He could fire me, but that’s the extent of his power over me. It might not be EASY to replace my job, but I would.

Am I going to get in trouble with my peers because I disagree with them? Are they going to beat me up?

No. Of course not. And if they did, well, they’d have a very pissed off husband and two sons to deal with and I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t end well for them.

But still, I’m terrified of disagreeing with anyone or displeasing anyone which MAKES. ME. CRAZY. I need to find a way to help that little girl inside me understand that she doesn’t have to be afraid more.

I’m a grown ass woman.

I don’t get in trouble any more.


Photo courtesy of Kat Smith



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  • Yes, we’re grown ass women, strong women, good women…and yet, we are wrong, weak, and broken. Unless they’ve been through what we’ve been through, they won’t understand those two statements. I shed tears reading this entry for many reasons, but mostly because you are so on target with all of this. Are you sure we didn’t have the same fathers, and grow up in the same house? Hang in there girl, you are phenomenal and you are NOT broken. You are amazing.

    • Okay. Wow. Thank you for that! I really appreciate it. Working through this hasn’t been easy and I wish I would have understood WHY decades ago, but I am grateful that I am coming to terms with it now. 🙂

      And we ARE pretty fucking amazing!

      • Hey, I’m in my fifties and still lament: if only I knew what I do now when I was 15! I’d move out from my NM and study what I actually should have. Ah, if only… Why I’m writing now is to say, isn’t it great that we have a name and criteria for laypeople to understand about NPD and those with it in their lives, and isn’t it also great that younger people in this position can find about it earlier and do what some of us didn’t: know you’ll never change them and find your own chosen family?! Blogs such as yours are really helpful in getting it out there, ‘cos not all doctors of various forms are going to tell you. Ignorance or indifference, not sure… As for the amazing bit: this is crucial to healing. We have to let our inner child know as you said: we’re not just amazing, we’re … F…..g amazing to have survived reasonably intact. Once we know this, really know, can we properly try to deal with the self sabotage stuff that is unfortunately a by product of growing up with them. Oh they’re out there in your adult life too. Not tons of them lol, but usually in positions of power. Just recognizing it is a good start.

        • Thank you so much..and yes..this is true. Understanding, or at least putting a name to it means so very much to me. And it would mean to world to me if someone recognized themselves on this blog and then able to move forward.

          It’s all just steps..we just keep moving forward.

    • My god. Met too! I am constantly worried about getting into trouble and I am 32 years old! And I have never done anything remotely reckless! I was thinking the other day that I have never had a minute in my life where I wasn’t terrified about the consequences of my actions. I think we all had the same father.

      • I’m so sorry. It sucks to live in fear.

        I have done a lot of reckless things in my life..but that doesn’t mean I haven’t lived in fear of them. 🙁

  • I heart you hard. I found you through a comment you left for the bloggess when your ACON post from last week was attached to your name.

    I can’t even express how comforting it is to know other people *get* it. Whatever drama it is… sigh.

    • I’m so glad you found me! And I’m very grateful that you find it comforting. I wish like FUCK I had understood this when I was younger. Understanding has mostly allowed me to let go of a lot of my guilt.

      Not ALL of it..I’m still working through this shit.

  • I love your blog. I can relate to most of your stories. This one in particular, but it’s a learning curve. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Wow. After reading your 1st post on the subject, I wasn’t really sure what you meant. But this post really hits home. The situation with your father is EXACTLY the same as one I had with mine. Even down to his response. And I sure did pay for it later. I love my father to death, but I cannot have a simple discussion with him. I am never right about anything….

  • I definitely know the feeling of constantly feeling like you’re going to be in trouble and trying to please everyone all the time. I don’t know if my mom is a narcissist, but she was (and still is in a way) emotionally abusive. I used to go to ACOA meetings but since I am living with my mom right now it is kind of awkward to go there, because I’d have to make something up about where I’m going, or else say, “I’m going to a meeting to help me cope with being related to YOU!”

  • NPD is probably one of the worst mental illnessnes that I can think of because for the family & loved ones there is no understanding. Many of my mother’s family have this to one degree or another. We would make excuses for thme: running late, traffic, when these people would fail to appear at some event.
    A fair percentage are performers & actors & it is devastatingly easy to get caught up that “Show Must Go On” attitude. But I have to say no. This is not ok.

  • My mother is a narcissist and I am convinced that her inability to nurture left me with lifelong depression and anxiety. But I wonder- if my constant anxiety over the future, my constant panic that the next emergency I have to tend to is only a phone call away, and my constant feeling of GUILT over things I can’t even see or explain is along the same lines of “afraid of getting into trouble”?

    Michelle, just curious, did your mom nurture you? In my situation my dad was the one who showed me true love. He was the buffer with my mom. To say that I was left devastated and broken when he died in his 50’s is a massive understatement. Aside from the horrible loss, I was then left alone to deal with my mother.

    • Did my mom nurture me? I mean, as best she could. My mother suffered from debilitating depression so there was only so much she COULD do. She loved me. I know that. She was often distant, but I wasn’t afraid of her. As we both aged, she became more accessible and we have a lovely relationship. I guess I was mostly on my own when dealing with the wrath of my father.

      The fear of “getting into trouble” is my biggest hurdle. It can paralyze me and I don’t know how to get over it. I try to acknowledge that what I’m feeling is manufactured or not reasonable, but that doesn’t mean I can talk myself out of it.

      I’m sorry you lost your dad. 🙁

By Michelle


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