|The Narcissist's Mask Slipped.|
Photo used with written permission from Artist Sherit Ra, via Deviant Art
This insight into narcissistic personality disorder is offered from the perspective of more than 40 years as the daughter of a late narcissist personality disordered mother, as well as years of recovery. Reading a list of diagnostic traits of narcissistic personality disorder may be a helpful guide, but this is how some of those traits play out in everyday life.
Narcissistic personality disorder is a serious condition that can be especially damaging to the children. It is not just a shallow or self-centered person. It can take decades for the children of a malignant narcissist mother to even recognize what the real issue is, many never do. Gaslighting, forgive and forget and triangulation, which are three prevalent maneuvers of the narcissistic mother, will be discussed.
These three maneuvers were nearly always effective tools used to manipulate the "flying monkeys," too. Flying monkeys is a term taken from the Wizard of Oz and used to describe the often times willfully ignorant or easily deceived friends and family the NPD mother manipulates into also harming the true victim. It is abuse by proxy that results from ignorance of the truth or lack of character to stand up for the truth. Whether it is directly or indirectly, physically or emotionally, etc., an NPD will use flying monkeys to do their dirty work.
Even though my malignant narcissist mother is deceased, the flying monkeys continue to carry out my narcissistic personality disordered mother's pretend world. They do not appreciate when the scapegoat refuses to play along. However, the pretend world of the narcissist, the rabbit hole, is intolerable. It is about like standing on the lawn with someone who has their sunglasses on at high noon on a sunny day. They not only insist it is dark outside and those are not sunglasses, but that you agree with them that it is dark outside and those are not sunglasses. If you refuse to or state the obvious, you are clearly a troublemaker. Now imagine growing up in the rabbit hole as the narcissistic personality disordered mother's scapegoat.
What is Gaslighting?Gaslighting was a favorite for the malignant narcissist. What is gaslighting? It is a little known, but insidious form of abuse. The term was taken from the 1944 movie Gas Light, (Wikipedia) in which a psychopath intentionally tries to drive his wife to insanity. Unbeknownst to his wife, he had previously murdered her aunt, but did not get away with the jewels he wanted. He then romances the wife, they eventually marry and he talks her into moving back into the house where he knows the jewels are hidden.
While searching for the jewels in the attic, where he believes the jewels are hidden, he uses a gas light. When he uses that gas light it causes the other gas lights to dim. When his wife notices the dimming, he tells her she is imagining things. He moves things and when she can not find them he gives responses designed to cause her to doubt her perception of reality. Then, if that was not enough, he gets the housemaid to join in. So no one validates his wife's perceptions, which are 100% accurate by the way. I do not want to ruin the movie for you, but you get the point.
Gaslighting can take many forms, but can have the same result. It often causes the the target to doubt their own sense of reality. It's what many abusers do when they abuse you, then the next day deny it happened. This can happen to the extent that we question our own perceptions and memories on an increasingly grander scale. It can become like wearing down a rock over time, especially coupled with the exhaustion that often goes along with dealing with a narcissist. It's psychological abuse. It can slowly dismantle our self-confidence as we begin to question ourselves instead of the abuser. It is especially damaging in severely dysfunctional families where the rest of the family pretends along with the abuser. What is wrong with me? Am I losing my mind? Or, are you being abused with an insidious form of abuse called gaslighting.
In the movie, he intentionally moved her brooch then pretended he had not when she was looking for it. We would likely say something like, "I could swear I put that in my purse!" Once or twice may not do great damage, but over a period of time you begin to doubt your memory. This is also a variation of the gaslighting the Manson family allegedly used breaking into a home, not stealing anything, just rearranging a few things enough to cause distress. (Wikipedia) It is the intentional infliction of psychological torture.
Think about that for a minute. It would be very upsetting to come home and find your home had been burglarized, but you could probably at least tell yourself they were thieves looking for fast money. You come home to find your things moved around, but nothing stolen, there are only a couple of possible conclusions.
You can not comfort yourself with the idea that perhaps it was just a petty thief who has violated your home because nothing is actually missing. Your personal belongings have just been moved. Do you doubt your own recollection of how you left things? Do you conclude there has been something more sinister and directed personally at you, than a burglar in your home by thieves just wanting fast cash? It can be very disturbing. In dealing with a malignant narcissist, just realizing what is going on, that it is NOT you and being able to put a name on it can help you keep your sanity!
For more information on gaslighting, see How Narcissistic Personality Disordered Mother Gaslights the Scapegoat and How to Recognize and Handle Narcissistic Mother's Gaslighting Abuse.
The Narcissist's Forgive and ForgetIn my experience some sick people love to try to beat you half to death with the Bible. Of course, it's usually some biblical text taken out of context being used as a pretext. That's what cults do and in my opinion a family led by a malignant narcissist parent is a little cult family. So, I guess it should not be any big surprise. Forgive and forget must be one of the all time favorites for abusive family members and those who enable them, so I would like to address it.
I think the Bible is clear that God wants us to forgive, but that does not necessarily mean what you may have been taught. It can easily become the "forgive and forget" that has been handed down in my family for generations, but only to certain members, of course. You are required to "forgive and forget" if you are a Christian, period.
This is usually followed by the implication or suggestion that you return for more abuse in order to "prove" you "forgive and forget." Otherwise, YOU are the one accused of being "mean," "unforgiving," or "unChristian-like" by the narcissist and her flying monkeys. Abusers of all kinds, as well as those who enable them, would love for you to believe this is what forgiveness means. Among other things, this confuses the fundamental difference between forgiveness and reconciliation. Forgiveness takes one, you. Reconciliation takes two.
Of course, the malignant narcissist never forgives the slightest infraction - be it real, imagined or completely fabricated. No, "forgive and forget" is for the victim. If you hurt her feelings or even if she hurt your feelings viciously, but told everyone you attacked her, she has what any normal person would believe to be a long forgotten small disagreement filed away just waiting for an opportunity to use it against you. Bet on it, even if it happened when you were 12 and you are now 50. She has either actively sought revenge or it is seething just under the surface waiting for the right opportunity. God forbid there was anything more substantial.
"Forget" does nothing but play into the denial and the rest of the pretend world of the malignant narcissist. Abusers often gaslight, (see Gaslighting) and those who do especially like to reinforce this belief because it fits right in with them pretending the abuse did not happen. There is no mention of repentance on the abuser's part, but the focus is on your requirement to "forgive and forget." This is a deadly trap in my opinion and one I fell into for several years as a very young adult. Besides allowing abuse God never intended for us to endure, it can also lead to enormous anger toward God.
"Forgive as the Lord forgave you." (Col. 3:13) How did the Lord forgive you? Did He just "forgive and forget" your sin as you refused to repent or even acknowledge it as abusers often do? No, you confessed your sins to Him, acknowledged your sin, repented and He forgave you. God does not forgive a person denying they have done wrong and continuing in their sin. Quite the opposite. In Luke 17:3 it says, "If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him." In the Greek, "rebuke" is epitimao , which in this case means to honestly, frankly, politely speak as you tell a person how you feel that he has wronged you. It does not say a thing about stuffing your normal human response of anger, pretending you forgave, "forgetting" and returning for more abuse as some would have you believe.
"If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. If he refused to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a tax collector." (Matt. 18:15-17) (Tax collectors were hated and ostracized because they had turned against their own people to collect the taxes.
Secondly, they were despised because they were allowed to add their own "fees" to the amount collected, but many would demand a much greater amount. So they were considered traitors and thieves.) That certainly does not sound like the "forgive and forget" I was raised to believe God required! It's actually the "forgive and forget" abusers and their enablers promote to knowingly or unknowingly perpetuate the cycle of abuse.
The point is you are NOT required to "forgive and forget" ongoing abuse if you are a Christian or go back for more. God does not want us to continue to be abused! "Forgive and forget" also removes an opportunity for the abuser to be confronted with their actions and repent - not that that will ever happen with a true narcissist! As some of us know, some people never repent, nor are they truly remorseful. There are actually certain types of people the Bible tells us to avoid altogether, which includes a malignant narcissist who parades as a "selfless saint." You will "know them by their fruits."
On a related note, it can be difficult to grasp that someone in your life is this far gone, let alone the fact that someone is your parent. For years I told myself, "All things are possible with God!" Well, all things are possible with God, but God gave us free will. She did not want to change. It worked for her and it worked well. She paraded as a "martyred, selfless saint," and was terminally ill for two years prior to her death. Even as her professed beliefs told her she was getting ready to meet her Maker, there was no making amends. There was no confession of the truth, remorse or apology for the lifetime of jealousy, abuse, slander, broken relationships, damaged reputation, etc. There were more accusations, lies and manipulation resulting in a dog pile by the flying monkeys as the puppet master's final carefully orchestrated earthly gesture before stepping into eternity.
Do not make the mistake of believing there is empathy or remorse in there somewhere, there is not. See the following on my lessons learned if you are waiting for an apology or dealing with a terminally ill narcissistic personality disordered parent:
- The Dangers of Expecting a Death-Bed Apology from Your Narcissistic Personality Disordered Mother
- The Death of a Narcissistic Personality Disordered Mother
If there happens to be some expression presented as an apology to someone, listen to it carefully.
- Listen for a subtle shifting of blame away from the narcissist, which I like to call a "non-apology." It will never happen spontaneously as you or I would apologize to someone because we are truly sorry. For example, you accidentally step on someone's foot and almost as a reflex you apologize. It is never like that with a narcissist because not only are they not sorry, but they have been plotting, seething and scheming to do whatever they did. They are also seething that anyone could think they did anything deserving of an apology.
- If it gives the appearance of an apology, there is an ulterior motive in there if you look for it. For example, the narcissist gives the "apology" not for the benefit of the person on the receiving end, but for the benefit of an audience who happens to be the narcissistic supply and flying monkeys. Again, they are not truly sorry, but if they do not pretend to be it could cost them in the eyes of their all important narcissistic supply and flying monkeys.
Do you "forgive and forget?" Poll
- 12% Yes, I forgive and go back for more
- 31% Yes, I forgive but then I protect myself next time
- 29% No, I forgive but I never forget.
- 29% No, I do not forgive or forget
|The Narcissistic Personality Disordered Mother's Prolific Gossip. Serge Melki, CC-BY-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons|
Narcissistic Personality Disordered Mother's Triangulation: Prolific GossipIdeally, if someone has a problem with another person, they go directly to that person to discuss it. However, that's just often not the case in a dysfunctional family. Some people do this without bad intentions because they have not recognized the habit or if they believe the person will become angry or violent if they communicate directly. However, this can be a favorite of a malignant narcissist that can get you in deep before you even realize what is happening.
Let's use Daughter, Mother and Aunt as an example. Daughter has done something Mother does not like, but instead of going to Daughter about it, Mother tells Aunt about it. Aunt listens to the gossip, then involves herself in the situation, creating the triangulation. The Mother's intentions may or may not be bad. It could be an old habit and she may not realize the damage she is doing unless it is pointed out to her. Daughter then does not have the opportunity to address the issue with Mother, as well as potentially having her reputation harmed with Aunt.
On the other hand, Malignant Narcissist Mother does this with evil intent and it goes something like this. Malignant Narcissist Mother just verbally assaulted Daughter because Daughter confronted NPD Mother about her lying about Daughter. However, when Narcissistic Mother calls Aunt, she tells Aunt that Daughter just verbally assaulted her because she confronted Daughter about her lying (notice the flip, the projection of the bad behavior onto the victim).
It appears to strip NPD Mother of her wrong and true victim Daughter of her virtue, killing two birds with one stone. Narcissistic personality disordered Mother then appears innocent of the abuse, damages Daughter's reputation with Aunt and an alliance is formed against the true victim. Aunt may very well believe she is doing the right thing and standing up for the innocent person even though she is unknowingly being deceived, used and manipulated. However, there are also family members who are willfully ignorant along the lines of being silent partners. Aunt becomes NPD Mother's flying monkey to do her dirty work and heap more abuse on Daughter for daring to confront NPD Mother about her lying. If you choose to confront a malignant narcissist, be prepared for the rage and revenge.
The gossip may also be thinly veiled as fake "concern" for Daughter, whom the Malignant Narcissist Mother just attacked after Daughter confronted Mother about her lying. In this scenario, the Malignant Narcissist Mother may lie by saying something (usually dripping with martyrdom), followed by fake concern. "I tried to be a good mother, but I am so worried about her irrational emotional state."
To the undiscerning, this sounds like a caring mother expressing concern about her daughter. It is gossip just the same, directed toward casting doubt on Daughter's stability. If we stand back and look at it, it is classic malignant narcissist behavior. The Malignant Narcissist Mother has held herself out as the innocent victim who must endure this irrational child (who is not being irrational at all, but responding normally to the verbal attack and abuse) and tarnished the reputation of true victim Daughter in the mind of Flying Monkey Aunt.
Malignant Narcissist Mother has also "explained" any upset Daughter might display, so that Aunt will automatically attribute it to "irrational behavior" should she see Daughter. If Aunt is a well trained Flying Monkey Aunt, she will often turn around and give true victim Daughter a talk about treating her mother better! (Remember, the reality of what actually happened was Daughter confronted NPD Mother about lying about her in the first place!)
Do not underestimate the cumulative damage this can cause to your reputation and other relationships when a malignant narcissist mother repeats this stunt over a span of years. A malignant narcissist can completely destroy your relationships before you even realize what is going on.
Another version of this scenario often used by a malignant narcissist is to lie to BOTH parties about the other one. They use this to divide and conquer, even, or perhaps especially, among their own children. So they lie to Daughter about Son, then to Son about Daughter. If Daughter and Son are not wise to the tactics of Malignant Narcissist Mother, they will each be angry with or dislike the other based on the lie. When Malignant Narcissist Mother does this for months, years or decades it can end up severing the relationship between Daughter and Son.
This is exactly what Malignant Narcissist Mother wants. She wants to be the hub in the middle, the one each child goes to and she certainly does not want them comparing notes. This also allows her to further punish a scapegoat child by manipulating and deceiving the other child or children. Remember dysfunctional families have scapegoats, but a scapegoat is not required unless someone is chronically refusing to take responsibility for their behavior as malignant narcissists are notoriously known for doing.
In my experience as the oldest of five children, with the two oldest children being wise to the tactics to some degree, a malignant narcissist mother will go to extraordinary lengths to divide the knowing from the deceived children. Make no mistake about it, all of the children are being used and manipulated. While it may appear the NPD loves one child more than the other, in reality it is just that in their current deceived state they are more useful to the narcissist. An NPD greatly fears being exposed for one thing and the deceived children serve as narcissistic supply as well as flying monkeys - as long as they are deceived, easily manipulated or willing to continue playing the narcissist's let's pretend games.
In my experience, the malignant narcissist was a prolific gossip (spending 4 to 8 hours a day or more on the telephone gossiping), who triangulated to divide and conquer, manipulate and punish. Watch your back! The same malignant narcissist who tries to guilt trip you to death with twisted Scripture will completely overlook what the Good Book has to say about gossip!
Healing from a Narcissistic Personality Disorder MotherAfter all of the hurt, anger, pain, frustration, trying, forgiving, trying again, praying, walking away and going back, it did not change anything about the NPD. It cost me time, money, enormous energy, broken relationships, trauma, devastation, anger, and nearly my life. She was my mother and I loved her, but I can honestly say had I fully grasped what the therapist was telling me 25 years ago - the true depth - I would have walked away and never looked back.
No contact would have been the healthiest option for me by far. Oh, I did walk away, more than once, but I would have stayed far away and never returned. I do not issue that opinion lightly. True clinical narcissists do not change, they destroy other people, including their own children. The biggest mistake you can make in my opinion is to underestimate a narcissistic personality disordered individual. If you are trying to decide whether to go no contact or low contact, see No Contact or Low Contact with Narcissistic Personality Disordered Mother.
It is important to me to be as transparent as I am able to be in my hubs on this topic simply because I know there are many others out there who have dealt with or are dealing with the same situation. The simple fact that you are not alone can aid the healing process. I was in my 40's before I found so much as one other human being on the planet who had experienced my situation.
It was a very healing experience just to have someone who truly understood because they have been there! If this sounds like your mother or father, know you are not alone. There is help in dealing with a narcissistic personality disordered family member.
Healing is possible after a narcissist, even if the narcissist was or is your mother. If you are on Facebook, there are narcissistic personality disordered mother resource pages and support groups specifically for daughters and/or sons of narcissistic mothers. Narcissistic Abuse: Echo Recovery is a community page on Google+. It is intended to be a resource with a variety of articles by various authors.
Having even this much support can make a difference. Also, being around a malignant narcissist was once explained to me in a way I think is good to keep in mind. Allowing a narcissistic personality disordered or malignant narcissist to stay in your life is like being injected with a steady stream of venom, then wondering why you don't feel so good. You wonder because you might not be able to put your finger on exactly what is wrong. It's not you. Get the viper out of your life, cut off the flow of venom, find some healthy support and start the journey toward healing and wholeness. Healing from a Narcissistic Mother provides some ideas and tips I have learned along the way. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
*This article was previously published on HubPages on October 15, 2011. Prior to relocating it on this blog, the following comments were made:
zionsphere, I think before we heal we are attracted to what "feels like home" even when it was a dysfunctional home. I'm sorry to hear you endured a narcissistic personality disordered mother followed by a narcissist mate, but I am very glad you are in the healing process. Thank you for reading and commenting.
Great article. I grew up with a mentally and physically ill NPD mother too. Then, as victims often do, I entered into a 10 year marriage with an NPD man who has more flying monkeys than all of the witches in Oz combined. I am still healing. Thank you for sharing you story.
NancyJ left the following comment: "Saoirse- often narcissists are mistakenly diagnosed as bipolar:"
She then provided a live link to NBI's webpage and a scholarly manuscript entitled, Commonalities and Differences in Characteristics of Persons at Risk for Narcissism and Mania. Thank you for reading and commenting, NancyJ. I was unable to approve your comment because it is a violation of HubPages TOS to have links in the comments, but I appreciate your input.
gabgirl12, I took a quick peek at your profile before responding to your posting. I see that all of your hubs are on the topic of church and religion. I also see that you stated you were deeply hurt by the church. Additionally, I see that you believe this article is a "witch hunt" and for Christians only.
I have been where you state you are, or at least in the neighborhood. I appreciate your honest feedback. I hope that you are also able to appreciate my transparency in this article of sharing my experience, including being manipulated with religion.
If you read my hubs you will see that I clearly state there are "some very sick people who love to try to beat people half to death with the Bible." I attended a very legalistic, if not right out abusive church growing up. Rigid religion or using the Bible to torment or manipulate is often associated with severely dysfunctional families. I walked away from that church mad as hell at God and at the time that anger was blinding.
I later read the Bible for myself and discovered it is a love letter to us. The biblical text was taken out of context and used as a pretext to torment and manipulate by abusive people - which is exactly what cults do.
That was after growing up believing God was some all powerful Grandfather sitting up in heaven just waiting for me to screw up so He could whack me upside the head. One of the points I attempt to make is that I was later able to separate abusive people in the church from God Himself.
I also make a point of stating that my mother was diagnosed by three separate licensed professionals. So the diagnosis is not just my opinion or "witch hunt."
So, this hub is neither a "witch hunt," nor is it for Christians only. I respect beliefs different than my own, as well as the fact that we are all in different places in our healing and spiritual journeys. What is shared here is my personal experience as the scapegoat child of a clinically diagnosed narcissistic personality disordered mother. I wish you well on your journey. Thank you for reading and commenting.
thewicked1, your situation sounds hauntingly familiar to me. I am sorry for your pain and your loss. Just realize that you are not alone in that struggle. Thank you for reading and sharing your situation.
Lisa, I am very glad to hear you have gained insight and support in your situation. Thank you for your feedback.
Scarlett, based on the results of the poll most of the people who responded stated it is their mother who is the narcissist in their life, not their father. I attempt to reach out in either case. However, this is based on my personal experience and my mother was a woman. lol I appreciate you reading and commenting. I hope it was still of benefit to you even if you had to read "father" in place of "mother."
Doug, I unfortunately know the feeling of it making you sick to your stomach. Thanks for reading and commenting.
After reading this hub, I realized this is just for 'Christians' only. I used to be a "christian" and I dealt with 'strong personalities'. I won't go overboard and say they were narcissistic but they were definitely strong. I am also a strong personality who doesn't take any crap, but I know how to treat people as human beings and not as mental patients if I don't understand them otherwise I could be accused of trying to change them. This is yet another article that could be used in a 'witch hunt' like what Churches use to find 'Jezebel's'. I was horribly scarred by a church so using any kind of 'word of God' not only did I used to cry for hours, but when I would try to pray, I would vomit. Anyone can look at anyone and see all kinds of disorders and convince themselves another person is crazy...all you have to do is not like who they are. And you can be hurt by someone so bad that all you want to do is see the 'devil' in them. I would rather not. And if its one thing about being hurt especially when you were completely vulnerable, its that you stay away from the ones who did it. This doesn't mean you don't forgive them, it means you don't go looking to put yourself in the same position you were when they hurt you to begin with. I'm sure people are capable of knowing the difference between the possibility of reconciliation and setting yourself up to get hurt because you are painfully aware how vulnerable you were, but the 'word' of God compels you to go there anyway. Not me. I've been accused of being everything from narcissist, to feminist, to fascist, I've been called a Jezebel, a sinner, the B word...all by Christians who's constant purpose is to demonize anyone with a backbone. But none of them saw me as a human being. I can tell you though that if any of them were drowning in a river, I would save them because they are humans no better and no worse than I am, but I can't say the same for them because they already have me condemned. And if according to them 'god' has condemned you, then its ok to let them die. This is the truth. If it wasn't then why would God order Saul to kill the Amalekites? Or the Jews to destroy the Canaanites?
I feel for everyone of U lovely ladies, cause this has been my life experience as well. I am 60 yrs old & just now learning about this. I call myself the wicked in jest, because my soft; forgiving nature kept me under the Evil Queen's (my NPD mother) influence for years. It has cost me both health and peace of mind, and now the rest of my family too. I am the eldest of 7; Mom's best traditional scapegoat. I now suffer from PTSD and major depression. I finally "stepped away detached" within the last year for my own sanity & health. I'd confronted Mom the year before when I caught her slandering me. She simply upped the ante & formed a "brute squad" using my other siblings to tag team punish me. She hides behind her poor fragile little old lady act; but she is a killer of spirits. Because I had to detach from her, my siblings retaliated: "After all Mom's done for you!" "Deserting her in her old age", etc. The tantrums she threw when I wouldn't come back for more resulted in her having a minor stroke, which of course I am being blamed for. But I don't want to die of exposure to her the way my Dad did at 54. I've tried reasoning reconciling with all of them (she has victimized them too) but all they want to do is use me for target practice and play "emotional keep-away" as punishment. I feel like the wolf who chewed his own leg off to escape the jaws of the trap. It hurts each and every day, but I know I've done the right thing. Don't doubt yourselves, M'dears. It's how they keep you hooked in and letting yourselves be toyed with for their own malicious pleasure. We all deserve better. It really helps to know I'm not alone in this experience. I have a button which reads: "Stupidity is making the same mistake over and over and expecting different results." Hang tough, I'll do the same. May God be with us All. XOXO
Wow. I read this just thinking it looked like a fascinating hub (which it certainly is), not expecting a near-accurate description of my mother and twin sister. It's nice to know I'm not the only one who has to deal with people with this disorder (although I did not actually realize there was a term out there for the stuff those two have put me through). Luckily, I have learned to deal with my mother but not my sister, who I haven't talked to in about six months now (her choice, not mine).
I have forgiven a lot and let many things go that I shouldn't have and I've only learned in this past year to finally stand up for myself and not just step aside and let them ruin my relationships and reputation. What helped was having someone come into my life who saw my side and reminded me that, no, I'm not as crazy as those two would have me believe and I'm stronger than I think I am. It's hard for me to admit that my mother and sister can be this way because I love them dearly but they have done a lot of severe damage that I don't think they are completely aware of it and makes it hard to keep them in my life.
Thanks for sharing. I look forward to reading more of your work!
This is a very good article, but I almost can't read it due to the gender reference. Most narcissists are male. If the article had been about narcissistic "parents" I would have felt compelled to share it with everyone I know.
Many thanks Sam for your video.
Very helpful. I have just learned about narcissists and feel it perfectly describes my parents.
I would like to read your book.
Thank you so much for the article. My cousin just tried in a letter the "Forgive and Forget" routine concerning my Mother. The Triangulation was so perfect that is sounded like my Mom had written the letter herself. My Mother uses the word "Love" as a weapon. If you look at her actions there is absolutely nothing loving in anything she does concerning me. She also loves to play the victim saying she did the best she could. The whole thing makes me sick to my stomach.
Psalm91, thank you for your thoughtful response. I am glad to hear you found the article helpful.
Gail, thank you for sharing your insight and experience. It helps me so much to see me in there and take this issue seriously (never underestimate the N relatives). I can see God delivers me miraculously and I'm getting healed from this thing called "love addiction": God help me! I agree with you 100% about the forgiving and forgetting conditions. Anyways, thank you again for our great work and support.
Saoirse, I hate that you are having such a difficult time. I do not know a lot about lithium, except that it is a pretty heavy duty drug they monitor with blood work. I am sorry for your loss of your father. In my opinion what you describe about doing all of the work but your mother taking all of the credit sounds typical. It also sounds like you feel like a prisoner trapped there with your mother. I hope you have been successful in your attempts to get her into residential care. I do not know about dementia, but I know Alzheimer's patients can get mean even without a personality disorder. I would think someone in the system would have to listen to you if your mother is not able to care for herself and you state you are no longer able to care for her either.
Rainshadows1, I think Christians are often taught they are to be nice to everyone. I also know some very abusive people take Biblical text out of context and to use it as a pretext. What you said about being so subtle and unjustly ruining reputations is spot on in my experience. I also absolutely agree with the distinction you made about anger. That is another thing so many people are taught - that it's not "nice" or okay to be angry. Anger is a normal human response to abuse. Jesus Himself expressed anger in the Bible. The reason I try to stress that point so much is that 90% of depression is said to be repressed anger. If someone thinks anger is "bad" or "wrong" they often stuff it or deny it, but it ends up displaying as depression. Anger is a healthy and required part of the healing process, just process it in a healthy manner. Thank you for reading and commenting with such meaningful comments!
Freebird, I could not agree with you more. I am glad to hear you left the situation. They are starting to find a link between an NPD parent and several auto immune disorders, etc. Malignant narcissists can make the people around them physically and emotional ill. Another thing that really help me is taking B12. The stress depletes it and your nervous system requires it. Thanks for reading and commenting.
My mother is a malignant narcissist. She has been vaguely diagnosed with bi-polar disorder (she was never referred to a psychiatrist), and been medicated with lithium for over 10 years. I didn't even realize she was on any "mental meds", I can't see any difference in her behavior from 20, 30 years ago and now. She developed a condition years ago that causes Parkinson's like symptoms, and eventually dementia, she entered the dementia phase about 2 years ago.
I was carer to my father (congestive heart failure), and I was also caring for my mother, since he died I have continued to be her carer, while my father was alive her NPD behavior became increasingly worse and worse (as my father's condition deteriorated) , when he passed away her personality completely flipped and she became nice.
I didn't know what NPD was at the time, although I've always known there is something wrong with my mother. Everyone seemed to think my mother had been stressed from caring for my father, and when he died she'd been "freed". But, wait, *I* was his carer, not her, she never lifted a finger for him. If he had one of his 'turns' in the night, she'd get out of bed and scream at me to come and do something... she wouldn't even call an ambulance!
Since I found out about NPD I've been trying to get my mother put in residential care, but no one in the 'system' wants to listen to me. I can't get away from her, unless I just up and leave. In which case she will sit in the house until she dies. She will not call anyone and tell them I've left, she'll wait for me to come back. I don't doubt for a second I'd be tracked down and hauled up on manslaughter charges over it.
A few months ago I found an orphan kitten, I brought her in and took care of her, but she had heart and lung problems and died. For the first time in my life I saw my mother cry(!) WTF she was upset about this kitten dying?
I told a friend about the kitten and she said she had several strays living in her shed, and that I could have one of them. She set about "taming" some of them for re-homing, and eventually had two that were suitable, but she didn't want to separate them, so I said I take both... I brought them home and showed them to NM, and she went berserk, full-on N Rage mode, yelling her head off at me to get rid of those cats.
She yelled for 3 days, then calmed back down, so I assumed she'd accepted that we now had two cats...
She tried to catch one of them in the door, then kicked the other one in the face. The following morning she 'accidentally' let them out when I was putting the bins out. Thankfully they'd only escaped from the living room and were still in the house.
The smug grin on her face when she was laughingly telling me "oh the cats have run away!!!" told me I wasn't going to be able to keep these cats. Somehow, some way she was going to harm them, or make sure they really ran away.
I called my friend to tell her and she agreed to take them back, so I took them away.
NM is absolutely delighted, she's been singing and joking around ever since, and mocking me for crying.
Just some quick tidbits about "victim anger". It is RIGHTEOUS ANGER. Now take a few moments to process that before speaking too soon. As long as I am living upon the face of this earth this anger will reside with me. I hate SIN. I am angry at SIN. I do not forgive the unrepentant and have NOTHING for such a person except REBUKE. Jesus said, BE ANGRY and sin not. It is not a sin to keep this anger, it becomes a sin when one acts in such away that is displeasing to a holy God. If anyone on this post claims to be a victim of narcissistic abuse and can't comprehend my comment then either you were NEVER a victim of true narcissistic abuse or you are LYING to yourself and are a great OFFENSE to people who are true victims. I can explain it to you but I can't comprehend it for you.
This article expresses an authentic reality that was lived out by a pure hearted individual who will see the face of Jesus. His unrepentant flesh relative unfortunately will taste His wrath. I agree totally with the message of this article because the Holy Spirit of a just God resides in this fragile temple of mine and tells me this is truth. It is a bold faced lie from Satan that we Christians are to forgive and unrepentant sinner. The bible gives examples of shunning such by making it KNOWN that they are not worthy of forgiveness because of utter un-repentance. My ex is a narcissist and so is my only sibling and it hurts to see your reputation ruin unjustly. The evil is so subtle that if you do not have discernment from the Spirit of God, you WILL be deceived. Blood sisters and brothers in the FAITH are thicker than the blood of flesh. And I quote, Jesus said who is my mother and father, my brothers, and sisters. Those who follow HIM, THAT'S WHO!
Last year after 9 months struggle with the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, I divorced my mum/parents. If the whole world collapses under my feet I will never forgive someone who is not sorry. I cannot describe how beautiful the life is now. Sharing genes with someone who has given birth to me does not mean she can abuse me.
Ebonny, I can relate to that! Manipulating with guilt and pity were huge in my family of origin. That fits right in with the inverted parenting in a family with an narcissistic personality disorder mother. They raise their children to meet their own needs, instead of the parent meeting the needs of the child.
The peculiar thing is that, even when you begin to realize that you are being manipulated (and the rest), for some strange reason you can still let "guilt" get the better of you and end up going back for more. When it is your elderly mother, it is so very difficult to completely estrange yourself, even though you have every right. Even though you feel you have no reason to feel guilty, being made to feel guilty or ungrateful has you going back for more.
Adrienne, welcome to Hubpages! I am sorry to hear you endured a malignant narcissist mother. Thank you for reading and commenting.
Thank you, Catherine. I am so glad to hear you have found understanding and support. It sounds like Understanding the Borderline Mother did for you what People of the Lie did for me. I have not read that one, but maybe I will check it out. Thanks for reading and commenting.
I must admit my mother was also a malignant narcissist, she has since expired and awaits life a new under our Creators perfect promised society, where there will be no more "mental illness" Revelation 21:4.5 I truly look forward to that time! Your write up was right on it!!! Thank you!
I found it interesting in "People of the Lie" that M. Scott Peck, a practicing psychiatrist, believe nothing less than the diagnosis of "evil" covered a true narcissist. Framing it in psychological as well as spiritual contexts seems to me to be a comprehensive view. When you stand back and look at it, the characteristics of a malignant narcissist correlate with the biblical description of "evil."
The bible says that in the end times there will be lovers of self.
You nailed the description of a narcissistic personality disorder mother. I too, in my forties, have finally found others who lived through the same experiences and it is very comforting. I have found many answers I have been looking for in the book Understanding the Borderline Mother. It made my life of confusion come into sharp focus. I highly recommend it. Great Hub.
Garnetbird, I've been there and been on the receiving end of that. Thank God there is support out there!
I agree with you in believing it is not all generic. I think nurture is a huge element, but I also believe for a person to arrive at such an emotional, mental and spiritual state of being as narcissistic personality disorder in particular, they made many choices along the way. I also believe there is a point of no return.
Thank you, thewritingowl. I'm glad to hear you do not have an NPD, but sorry to hear you are often the scapegoat. I know it does hurt, but I think seeing the truth is a lot better than fumbling around in the dark or worse yet actually thinking it's you. Thank you so much for reading and commenting.
I have a relative like this who nearly destroyed my life. So glad there is support for this out there!!!
You have obviously suffered a great deal and have been courageous and generous in sharing your understanding. I work clinically with people labelled with personality disorder and I think it could be helpful to many people. I would only say that I believed that there is a huge element of nurture - it is not all genetic. Thank you.
You write so insight-fully on this topic that I was nodding my head all the way through it, brilliant hub. I don't have a NPD parent thankfully but I think my parents have often been part of the Narcissists triangulation process and me often the scapegoat victim so I understand what you are saying completely. I suppose the only consolation now is knowing what the issues are and moving on. 'That which doth not kill you will make you stronger,' not much comfort at the time but in the longer term very true. I will read more..
Thank you, MattieHattieMae and thanks for stopping by!
Very much true what you're saying here. Well done! :)
Thank you, Star. I think it can be difficult to put your finger on what is happening, especially before you stand back and look at it.
Great hub. There are many behaviors that are wretched. The important thing to know is how to be ready to recognize them. You're hub helps. I often find myself becoming a victim even when I think I am smart enough to recognize bad behaviors. The results can be varied ramifications. Good work. Thank you.
SONUVANARCISSIST, I don't know about you but I would have loved for my mother to have been anywhere in the neighborhood of "wasn't perfect." Thank you for reading and commenting. I am glad to hear from a son of a narcissist because I know this happens with sons just like it does daughters. My late brother was one of them.
One of the very worst days of my life was the day I realized my mother wasn't perfect...
MillionaireTips, I think it is extremely difficult for someone who has never been in the situation to understand just how destructive, deceitful and cruel these people are. So I can see how someone would think it was just anger. I finished with my therapy years ago, but one of the things a therapist does is get you in touch with your anger. That is often while many others along the way tell an ACON to "just let it go." However, according to psychiatrists (Dr. Paul Meier comes immediately to mind as one example), you have to get in touch with your anger and process it before you can truly let it go and true move on. Anything less is just burying it and it becomes like trying to hold a beach ball under water. The repressed anger comes out somewhere - usually in unexpected ways. It is a very important topic to me because I know there are still hundreds of people dealing with it - many who have no idea it is NPD. Thank you for the vote up!
When I first started reading this hub, I was thinking, "wow, she is really angry." But as I kept reading, I realized that I know someone with these traits, and I can't even begin to imagine being her daughter. I do hope you continue to get the therapy to overcome this. Voted up, you have brought up a very important topic.
awesome Hub--I love that you clarify the Christian position. we are to forgive and move on, not stay and be abused over and over. That is so true. I forgave a relative for molesting me, BUT if I had a child, I would not allow her or him to be alone with my abuser. Forgiveness is not giving your car keys over to a drunk driver.
This just makes me sick every damn thing i read is like a movie about my mother -_-
justateacher, I am glad to hear you are one of the ones who figured it out!
Donna Sundblad, taking biblical text out of context in order to use it as a pretext is exactly what cults do. Being in a family with a malignant narcissist parent is no different than being in a cult family in my opinion. They use many of the same tactics.
Sparkster, if I had it to do over I would never have allowed my child to be around the NPD or her flying monkeys regardless of what anyone in the family had to say about it. It certainly appears that we are in the era of "lovers of self."
I found it interesting in "People of the Lie" that M. Scott Peck, a practicing psychiatrist, believe nothing less than the diagnosis of "evil" covered a true narcissist. Framing it in psychological as well as spiritual contexts seems to me to be a comprehensive view. When you stand back and look at it, the characteristics of a malignant narcissist correlate with the biblical description of "evil."
GarnetBird, I agree that allowing someone to abuse or lie to you is not forgiveness but enabling. I like your analogy of boundaries sometimes being as necessary as locking your car.
Kerlynb, I am glad to hear you also recognized the illness of the family member and took steps to protect yourself. I think it is hard for the typical person to grasp that some people are truly never remorseful regardless of what they have done. For so long I just kept expecting the Narcissist to keep herself in check as any person with a conscience would do, but it just simply never happened.
Sharebear, I am so glad you recognized the abuse for what it was and set yourself free!
I was abused in every way possible. The day I finally called the police he beat in two doors, spit in my face, threw me into a shelf, threw a dish at me and tried to burn my chest with a cigarette. I realized he used triangulation because I called his mom and she told me I make her son hit me and if I was more loving he wouldn't hurt me and that I've been beating him. His plan of getting out of it was being set up. Truly disturbing. He told me in the beginning that his mom always tells him no one is good enough for him to get rid of them. I'm glad I got out with my life some pain and scars and court battle against a liar that got his allies in a row. May the truth set me free.
"As some of us know, some people never repent, nor are they truly remorseful." - Unfortunately, this is true for one of my immediate family members. I had tried to reach out to this person for so many times only to fail again and again. Eventually, I realized that it wasn't me who was the problem. I tried to move on and has since regained my self-esteem.
Excellent Hub-forgiving does not mean allowing someone to abuse or lie to you--I feel that's enabling. I keep a lot of boundaries up--I have a relative who is unstable and tends to involve me in her melodramas at the expense of my own mental health. it hurts to turn her away, but boundaries are sometimes as necessary as locking one's car.
Both of my daughter who are very young have a future to face with a narcissistic mother, something which I can never forgive myself for.
The bible says that in the end times there will be lovers of self.
The Bible does teach us to forgive and not to keep a list of wrongs, but it does not teach us to be a doormat for abuse. So sad how twisted minds can twist even what it means to forgive.
I was married to a narcissist for over 20 years. At first, I did think it was me and I was going crazy. As the years passed, I realized that it was him with the problem.