Sunday, October 7, 2018

Abuse and Step Families

(Warning: this post has a few swear words in it, and is not appropriate for children)

Abusive step parents will have many of the same qualities as abusive parents, with the exception that abusive step parents tend to adopt specific types of abuse more than others (which I cover in this post).

As with abusive parents, you live and die in the hearts of your stepparents if they are abusive, in terms of what you can do for them, rather than what they can do for you in terms of helping you realize your potential in the world, focusing on the positives of your personality, and enjoying you as your own autonomous being. If you are liked because you serve them, and disliked because you don't serve them, this is one sign that you may have an abusive step parent. Another glaring sign is that they use their biological children to fight their battles for them, against you.

Children who have abusive step parents and/or abusive step siblings often feel marginalized, and they have a hard time defining what their family is and where they belong. Abusive biological families have factions, estrangements and scapegoats (in general), but when abusive families are also blended, these tendencies seem to increase dramatically.

While my post on abusive parents will apply to step parents, there are some types of abuses that step parents adopt more than biological parents. At the end of the post there is a list of some of them.

But first here are some major differences:

One difference is in the case of incest. 1 out of 6 underage girls are victims of incest by their stepfather, while 1 in 40 are victims of incest by their biological father.

Incest, in general, tends to go up dramatically in blended families. The incidence of inappropriate sexual behavior towards biologically unrelated children and step inlaws of all types tends to go up markedly as well.

The rate of a male stepparent murdering his stepchild is 40 to 100 times higher than it is for a biological father. Ostracism rates are even higher in blended families.

About 40 percent of first marriages -- and 60 percent of second marriages -- end in divorce. When both spouses have children from a previous marriage, the divorce rate is 70 percent.

Another difference is that the risk of parental favoritism among children goes dramatically up in step families, often based on what a step child can do for the stepparent.

According to this New York Times article entitled "Genetic Ties May Be Factor In Violence in Step families":

... stepfamilies are at much higher risk than are traditional families. For example, Dr. Martin Daly and Dr. Margo Wilson, evolutionary psychologists at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, found that the rate of infanticide was 60 times as high and sexual abuse was about eight times as high in stepfamilies as is in biologically related families.

''We demonstrated a very large excess risk to stepchildren, an increase of thousands of percentage points,'' Dr. Daly said in an interview.

Wow, thousands of percentage points; that is phenomenal!

The New York Times article cites genes (as in the male lion kills off female's lion cubs from a previous male lion in order to mate with her and dominate through his genes -- a true fact). The article says that humans act in the same way because, biologically speaking, they are animals too.

At the bottom of this article I have put in many links as to why child abuse is more prevalent in blended families (most cite "the boyfriend problem" of single mothers).

While genes and the boyfriends who only want a relationship with the mother and not with the child may be two factors contributing to abuse being thousands of percentage points higher than in biological families, psychologists also have other theories about why children are so often abused by step parents and it has to do with the Cluster B Personality Disorders. People with Cluster Bs have a penchant for idealizing, devaluing and discarding their marriage partners when they feel they need more narcissistic supply (validation that they are desirable), or when they feel they are losing dominance in the relationship. So they end up as step parents. Let me state my case in the following way:

People with Cluster B Personality Disorders can have a proclivity to abuse, and more importantly, to have extra-marital affairs, even many affairs. As they have these affairs, and keep discarding their old loves for something shiny and new, they will tend to have more than one spouse during their lifetime and may end up with your parent (thus becoming your step parent).

Cluster Bs are much more likely to want to bust up a marriage too than people with normal constitutions. Their motivation is narcissistic supply and to see how far they can go in inserting themselves into the object of their affections lives. Will the married object of their affection let them into the marital home? Will the married object of their affection let them do damage to their present marriage with their spouses? Will the married object of their affection let them have sex in the marital bed that they share with their spouse? Will the married object of their affection let them dictate how his or her non-biological children are to be treated? Will the married object of their affection let them dictate the terms of their divorce with their present spouse, even to the extent of trying to ruin their present marriage partners financially? Will the married object of their affection let them steal from the marital home or move out all of the furniture and valuables when their spouse isn't there?

People with normal constitutions tend not to want to get into relationships with married women, or married men, and even if the attraction runs so deep as to be irresistible, not to want hurt anyone, let alone the kids. In other words, they are not likely to want to have sex in the marital bed. Insisting on being in the marital home and in the marital bed is not a good sign and shows a profound lack of empathy, and even sadism. People with normal constitutions generally feel racked with guilt or at least disturbed by a double life if they indulge in extra marital affairs, Cluster Bs not so much. 

Victims of child abuse often end up with Cluster Bs for mates too (not a conscious choice). Victims of child abuse are usually abused by a parent with a Cluster B personality disorder.

Also, one Cluster B also often ends up marrying another Cluster B. This is because people who have Cluster B personality disorders grow up in abusive homes (even when they are not the target of abuse, some of the children from abusive homes learn to normalize abuse and use it aggressively in their own relationships when they become adults). Abuse is multi-generational, so another Cluster B is going be very familiar to them, "just like home".

To demonstrate, let us say that your sibling is a male golden child of your narcissistic mother. She favoritizes your brother, and condones your brother "disciplining" the other children. After awhile, the "disciplining" turns into sibling abuse, which the mother also condones because "discipline" and abuse look the same to narcissiststic mothers (because these mothers have also been brought up in abusive homes). This is how scapegoating happens in families: she and your brother scapegoat you. In this case, let us say that you, the scapegoat, are artistic, that you love to take care of sick animals and nurse them back to health, and you are more sickly than your siblings. This is the make-up of the typical family scapegoat, by the way.

When the golden child grows up, and he tries to find a mate, he looks for someone either like his mother, or like you, the scapegoat. The reason he might marry someone like you is that he feels he can wield power and control over his wife and keep her in a subservient shamed state of being, working hard for him, like his sibling scapegoat. He basically marries her to dominate her in every way. But soon he tires of his scapegoat wife (as most narcissists do -- narcissists really do not like or respect empathy over the long term; they see it as an inferior quality). So his next wife is more likely to resemble his mother. And like his mother, his new spouse will support him in his bullying of others. Who will be the prime candidate for helping him and supporting him in the bullying process? Another Cluster B, probably another narcissist just like his mother! When two narcs are the parents, child abuse is highly likely, as well as scapegoating, and what is more, it goes unchecked (because there is no biological empath mother in the picture any more). His own family will resemble his own birth family with one plotting fawning golden child and at least one scapegoat.

The scapegoat that this golden chooses among his own children is likely to have similar characteristics to the sibling he used to beat up: artistic, empathetic, with medical problems or someone who generally gets sick more often than people in the general population. He and the narc step mom take delight in threatening the child, making the scapegoat feel shamed and unwanted, and they do what all narcs do: triangulate and hope that the scapegoat will want to compete with his sibling. Read Shakespeare's King Lear or my post on Karpman's Triangle as to why this does not work as the narcissist wants it to work.

This is also a good example as to why abuse and narcissism are multi-generational.

So for this next segment, I want to backtrack to the pairing of an empath with a narc and how a toxic step family situation can evolve:

So let us say that a man who is an empath is married to a woman who has narcissistic personality disorder. As I've mentioned, narcs like empaths too because they think they can dominate and exploit empaths. The narc-empath pairing is usually not long-lasting because of the disparity of values and morals, but they can be paired long enough to have children.

So, this couple has two children. They are their biological children. The two children have some safety from the abuse of the narc mother because of the empath father. However, the woman, because of her disorder, searches for narcissistic supply by having many extra-marital affairs. She also does not like her husband interfering in the discipline of her children because narcs insist that they dominate and micro-manage everyone in a household.

After awhile, her husband, who is an empath, cannot emotionally connect with or deal with a wife who has affairs (narcissists do not care how their spouses feel or what they are going through), so the husband files for divorce.

His wife (soon to be ex), cannot stand that she is being rejected, and feels her entitlement to have affairs and a husband at the same time is being taken away from her. She suffers tremendous narcissistic injury and feels that her world of many lovers and admirers is contracting and falling apart. Narcissists are also exceptionally immature (they practice the silent treatment and threats to get their own way as a ritual in relationships, for example) and they are also obtuse about seeing or knowing the perspectives of others, so when they feel rejected or their narcissistic supply is drying up, they punish and retaliate against their former spouses. This is what this wife and mother sets out to do to her ex-husband. 

However, to effectively hurt her husband, and appear to have dominance over her husband, she needs exceptionally punishing flying monkeysand right away (no, they don't come in the form of empaths who want no part in hurting others). So who loves the idea of hurting others? Who is going to be best at helping her seek revenge and punish her ex? Who is going to wine her and dine her at the chance to be chief punish-er? It's the sociopath.

Sociopaths love situations where they are being asked to threaten and seek revenge, and they are notorious bullies. They also seem to share feelings of superiority with a narcissist because they typically talk about other people in a haughty manner in humorous condemnations, which gets the narcissist laughing about her ex husband, seeing him as a fool and unworthy of her graces and sexuality. 

"Why would you want to be with a depressed man? You deserve so much better!" -- a sociopath would say because they don't understand why a person would be depressed over a marriage dissolving. They are devoid of a range of feelings.  

Sociopaths also like being around narcissists because of the narcissist's penchant for aligning themselves with others. Sociopaths are loners and lack many, many social graces. The narcissist helps them achieve access to "the narcissistic supply world" -- basically the world of people, and people pleasing through love bombing and mirroring, especially those with prestige, or money, or the public eye, or who are movers and shakers in causes. 

So, in this situation, the sociopath becomes the step parent. Sociopaths are exceptionally horrific parents (see my post HERE about that), and they are ten times worse to their step children. Unless they can get a step child to be a total Cinderella or exploit them sexually, they are of no use to the sociopath at all. In the end, most sociopaths try to convince their narc spouses that they are not getting enough narcissistic supply from these children and the children should be discarded. Or they try to convince the narc spouse that children need to be punished for not doing what they want at all times or for being ungrateful, and set out to torture with physical abuse, sexual abuse, shunning or false imprisonment. And guess what? The biological narc parent often falls for it.

Then the father who is newly divorced sets out to find a new mate too. Maybe not right away as empaths tend to isolate and get depressed after the dissolution of their relationships. The problem is that his self esteem is in the gutter, he has a proclivity to obsess about the past (to try to understand why he became a target of abuse from his narc ex), he has insecurities about himself as an attractive man who can attract real love. The reason why this is a problem for him is because narcissists and sociopaths are attracted to a person who is reeling and depressed from a failed romance or marriage. If he talks about his ex and how he was wronged, they are going to zoom in and love bomb him. They want someone who has low self esteem because they think they can push the person around to do what they demand.

So, the stepmother is another narc. In effect, he is with the same kind of person. That is because the laws of attraction are such that unconscious familiarity is a deciding factor in choosing another mate, especially someone who has never received counseling for the abuse, or studied what Cluster B personalities are about (and why I am writing this blog: to help you avoid the pitfalls of ending up in another abusive relationship).

Here are typical ways an abusive narc step parent behaves (in this incidence, I am using an abusive step mother, though the abusive step father has many of the same traits): 

- There is obvious favoritism of her biological children over his. When all of the children are in the house, she insists that her biological children have treats, beds, are provided for exceptionally well, while her step children can just eat what is served to them, sleep on a cot in the basement or out in the barn (for instance).
- She ignores her step children while listening to her own biological children when there are family disputes and discussions
- She constantly complains about her step children or her husband to her biological children, trying to set up a pattern where her biological children either ignore or reject their step family.
- She uses her biological children to bully her step children. This is done so that her children will dominate her step children, and to get what she wants from the step children, and to marginalize them (i.e. creating a hierarchy) -- called triangulationdemeaning rolessmear campaigns and mobbing
- When your parent dies, she empties the house of pictures of her step children, and only puts up pictures of her own children
- She makes it known that her biological children always come first
- She has an affair with someone in your family, or with your husband, or sibling, creating a divided family where she can take control
- You are the step child, and she invites your spouse to dinner and answers the door in her negligee or naked
- You are her step-child, and she tells your spouse how handsome he is, and/or asks him how he likes sex, or whether he takes Viagra
- She enjoys watching her step children fight and compete for her
- She threatens to leave her husband (your father) constantly, but her husband is an old man and he doesn't want to risk losing more money, another house, another spouse, etc, so he adopts a fawning attitude (i.e. lets her get her way all of the time to avoid another fall out). 
- She exploits your father's money and talents
- She gives her step children the silent treatment
- She tells her step children that she married your father for his money or social connections
- She tells her step children that she has control when it comes to your parent, and that if they don't accept that, they will be kicked out.
- She lets her biological children stay in the household for a half a summer, but insist that his children leave after a day of visiting
- She is rude, dismissive and invalidating
- She tells you or shows you that she could care less about you or your feelings
- She uses things you tell her against you (especially in smear campaigns), or to manipulate you
- She is jealous of you and competitive
- She rarely listens to you when you talk
- She is incapable of negotiation (she either bullies you or commands you or runs to your blood parent or other "authority figure" when she doesn't get her way)
- She is incapable of talking things out, insisting that she is right about everything
- She rejects you without explanation, and you don't understand why
- She steals from you
- She rarely, if ever, takes your needs and wants into consideration
- She scapegoats you
- She is jealous of you and of her step children in general, and tries to compete with you for your father's love and attention
- She tries to get your father to put her kids first, and his own children last
- She tries to isolate your father from you and your siblings
- She tries to prejudice you against your own sibling
- She tries to prejudice you against your own father
- She tries to prejudice each one of the children, whether biological or step in order to divide and conquer all of the siblings
- She tries to find excuses to keep her step children away
- She complains bitterly about being excluded from your family events, but has no trouble excluding you from her family events (hypocrisy)
- She does not confer with you when your parent is ill
- She tries to convince your blood parent that you are ungrateful (or that you will always be ungrateful, and therefor need to be rejected or spared)
- She makes up stories and lies about you, or greatly exaggerates, in order that your parent reject you or let her take over raising the children, or talking to the children
- She tells you that she hates you
- She demonizes you and tries to paint you as evil
- She makes it known that she has never loved you, and that she will never love you
- She unfriends you on facebook when she doesn't get her own way, or to show you that she has never had any regard for you
- She throws away or sells things you have made for her, or gifts you have given her
- She expects you to fawn all over her, and makes it known that she will accept no other behavior from you
- She talks about how you are indebted to her for things she paid for when you were a minor, or educational expenses for college
- She insults you and calls you names
- She refers to you as an insult name with your blood parent (i.e. "that thing", "it", "your bastard child", "that ungrateful piece of crap that you call your child", "your bone-headed child", "your sniveling piece of shit", "your eternal child", "your worthless child", "your serpent child", "your insane child", etc)
- If she is sexually abusive, or one of her relatives is sexually abusive towards you, she tries to convince your blood parent that you either asked for it, or that it never happened and that you are making it up in order to get rid of the step-parent and her family
- She makes fun of you, your interests, your weight, your clothes or some other thing that is of great import to you
- She tries to get her biological children to make fun of you in the same ways she makes fun of you
- She tries to discount your interests and way of life on a consistent basis

For abusive step fathers (particularly those with Cluster B personality disorders), it tends to be along the same lines except that they can be much more flirtatious and sexual with their step children and step inlaws. They can be much more verbally abusive  as well, especially in the way of name-calling and derisive remarks (including criticizing weight, attractiveness and types of reactions, including facial expressions).

These are just some common examples. Abusiveness is a trend, and is accompanied by a myriad of abuses. It is not a once-in-a-great-while event. To qualify as an abuser, your step parent has to be acting out a few of these instances on a consistent basis. 

So to get back to our story about the empath father who ended up with another narc spouse:

When she finds out that her husband's daughter is the sole trustee to his estate and trust, she threatens her husband and tells him that if she and her own child are not put on his trust as trustees too, that she has a good mind to leave him. So he capitulates and puts his wife and step-child on as co-trustees, creating a "two-against-one situation" for his daughter after he dies.

When he dies, the other trustees, the step mother and step sister, spend their time trying to remove his blood daughter from his trust with frivolous lawsuits (yes, it happens more than you think). They do not work for the beneficiaries of the trust (which are his own children); they work for themselves. They try to exploit the trust for their own gains by hiring an attorney to harass her and in order to take over the entire trust.

Also, they want to sell the common house, so they try to get the daughter who inherited her father's half of the house off of the deed, or off of her part of the ownership.

This sets up a situation of continual and escalating abuse of the step children starting from when her father re-married, and ending in his sickness or death when her father can no longer protect her. Remember: child abuse is life long, even from an abusive step parent, no matter what that step parent promises or says.

In the meantime, when the two children of the narc mom and the empath dad grow up, they also become divorcees. Divorce also runs in families. They also marry people with Cluster B personality disorders. That is because even children will marry what they know. So, in turn, their children become targets of a disordered step parent as well. 

That is how abuse happens, why it passes down through generations, and why abusive step families make the family ten times more toxic. They will either try to disappear the step children with erroneous allegations, exploit them, or try to turn them into fawning serving Cinderellas.

Certainly there are good step parents too. The difference is that a good step parent will put ALL children on equal footing (as in the Brady Bunch). They don't try to exclude step children from family events or from feeling a part of the family. In other words, they consider their step children to be as much their own children as their biological children. They care about their step children's feelings, experiences and perspectives without trying to negate them and render them unimportant, or less important than their biological children's perspectives. They are exceptional listeners and warm towards their step children. They try to comfort and care for their step children when their step child is sick, injured, hurt or crying. They take part in the lives of step children who are under age, or visit their grown step children of their own volition and interest, without prodding from the biological parent. They talk lovingly about their step children. They donate to their step children's educational needs and experiences. They attend their step children's functions: graduations, wedding, baby shower, and the like. They tell their step children they love them on a consistent on-going basis. They initiate hugs and bedtime stories.

When your biological parent dies (the one to whom your step parent is married to), they comfort you, and continue to invite you to family events and still consider you one of the family. 

Step parents who do the opposite (reject, constantly demean and ridicule, call names, do not listen to the cares and concerns of their stepchildren, triangulate, laugh derisively about their stepchildren in front of their biological children, blatantly favoritize their own children over their stepchildren, no longer consider you part of the family when your biological parent dies) -- watch out!

One problem with abusive step families is where the family resources go. There are a lot of threats and coercion around wills, estates and trusts.

For instance, an elderly man falls sick and his wife wants to inherit his property. She might say to her sickly husband, "I'm the one who took care of you all of these years! I'll abandon you if you do not put me on as the sole beneficiary and executor!" So then when he dies, his estate eventually ends up going to his step children instead of to his biological children.

A lot of golden children in narcissistic families arm twist their parent to make them either the primary beneficiary or the sole beneficiary, and the executor to their estates. This often works because narcissists think in black and white terms (almost all narcissists have a favorite coddled loved child and a disfavored, sometimes rejected, unloved scapegoat, or several scapegoats depending on how many scapegoats go "no contact"). In this case, the family resources get passed down to the golden's children, while the scapegoats' children are not part of the family resources -- very, very common as I see this over and over again in forums for child abuse survivors.

If an abusive step parent (and their family) are heavily featured as executors, beneficiaries or trustees, they most likely got there through coercion, threats and pleading ("please me -- or else").

Also, do your children a favor and do not make them co-trustees or co-executors with an unloving, neglectful, self serving, threatening, penchant-for-cheating step parent or step sibling. If your spouse does not treat your children in totally exemplary form and is not all-inclusive (i.e. does not treat them like their own children), do not put your children in positions which will undermine their power and self esteem, or expose them to any more abuse, marginalization and favoritism from their step family.

If you are divorced from a narcissist, get therapy for the depression before going into another relationship. Don't talk to anyone new about what you went through with your ex until you really, really know them -- years down the road. On your first dates, don't slouch, look depressed, jut out your lower lip and talk about how wronged you were in your last marriage (this will attract narcissists and sociopaths by the boatloads). Walk upright and tall, with complete confidence, even if you don't feel like it (this will keep narcissists and sociopaths away from you).

Walking upright and confident will also help you to regain confidence after your self esteem has been shattered because it is a way of talking your mind and body into self-assuredness. Remember: narcissists and sociopaths love people whose self esteem is in the gutter, wronged people, people who are facing injustice, people who have been abandoned and scapegoated by their family, people who went through a divorce with a cheating spouse who "got everything", people who are angry at their ex (sociopaths will tell you that they will help you to seek revenge, and narcissists will pretend to be really concerned for you, love bomb you and tell you that you are their soulmate, and want to know every single detail of what went wrong), so you have to do your best not to look like prey to them, even in public (your appearance and gait).

Sociopaths and narcissists also like whirlwind romances. They are forceful, charming, can't accept "no" for an answer, want to move fast to get your willingness or commitment, only have eyes for you (in the beginning of your relationship, then they discard you later on). So take every potential dating relationship very, very slowly, even "molasses slow". Narcissists and sociopaths hate it when you withhold commitment and say "I'm not ready to make that next step yet" or "I put the welfare of my child first." They especially hate to move slowly on sex.

If you see signs where a potential mate is self serving, punishing, rude, arrogant, dismissive, has to get their own way, pressures you into a relationship, presses you into an extra-marital love affair, suggests sex in the house or bed you share with your spouse, wants to seek revenge against your former spouse, is unfeeling towards others, pressures you to do things which you feel might be detrimental to your children, stalks you, does not respect the sanctity of other people's marriages (i.e. has a reputation for cheating on his or her own spouse), has an estranged child or children, and is not warm and loving towards children, do not make them your child's step parent or you will create a nightmare for them (and for yourself too). 

Always think in terms of a mate as "best for my children first", then they will probably be good for you too.


There is a lot that can go wrong in blended families even in the best of circumstances (when incest, abuse and rejection aren't part of the picture). There are differing traditions, differing parenting styles, and even morals can be ever so slightly dissimilar as to cause many, many problems between a step parent and a step child. It takes a lot of talking, a lot of understanding, a lot of growth on both sides, a lot of time one-on-one, a lot of tolerance, and a lot of patience to work through these differences.

When you have a spouse who is incestuous (towards your child or your child's spouse or your child's own children), or who is abusive, or rejecting, or practices parental alienation syndrome (is negative about a parent whom your child loves), you will probably be estranged from your child sooner or later. The bond your child has to the step parent is only as good as the step parent's willingness to accept your child as part of their family, to show patience and show autonomous interest and love towards your child. Yes, it is up to the blood parent and the step parent to bridge the gap as your child did not ask for a blended family.

Most children show signs of depression and grief, which can be severe, over their blood parent's divorce. If you subject them to the abuse of their step parent, they are highly likely to be resistant, recalcitrant, and you are asking them to take on more than they can bear. It is not unusual for children to look at a step parent as an intruder, so in order to keep the feelings of "intrusiveness" at bay, you, the blood parent, should be promoting inclusiveness on both sides, as well as politeness, harmony, understanding and caring as much as possible, otherwise the situation will turn into a nightmare. 

By the way, autonomous interest should sound like this: "I miss my step daughter! I'd love to go see her! I'm sure you miss her too! Let's go!"

A high number of children will prefer to live with the parent who is not re-married (i.e. where there is not a step parent figure in the picture -- yet) -- expect it!

Inclusiveness means the step parent renouncing the words and actions that divide: dismissiveness, invalidation, marginalization, insults, being harshly judgmental, hatred, constant lecturing, displaying arrogant know-it-all behavior, making their step children feel as though they do not belong, using their blood children to bully their step children, describing their step children in derisive ways to their blood children, dividing and conquering, favoritism, jealousy, demeaning Cinderella roles, demonizing, smear campaigns, the silent treatment, ostracizing your children by a step parent, the step parent giving your children severe punishments, and all of the other tactics abusers use that I have talked about in this post, and in the general blog.

When you turn a blind eye and put an abusive spouse first, you are destroying your child, their self esteem, your own bond with your child, and the child's sense of belonging to a loving family. I cannot under-estimate the trauma children go through when they live through their parent's divorce, especially if it is contentious, and then when you heap on a highly abusive step parent to their trauma, a step parent who could care less whether they have a relationship with your child or not, and is only in the relationship for you, the mate, you are asking too much of your children.

Children show love when they are loved by their step parent. When they are rejected and unloved by their step parent, do not expect your children to accept or love them in return. It is up to the parents to set the standards, and that means how the parents act, not what they say ("actions speak louder than words").

I will be writing future posts on how to handle unloving step parents, incest in the step family, rejection and ostracism by the step family, the step parent and wills, estates and trusts, the alcoholic step parent, Jane Eyre as the scapegoat child of an abusive step mother, and toxic Cinderella roles in the step family.

further reading: 

Family Structure Variations in Patterns and Predictors of Child Victimization -- by Heather A. Turner, PhD, David Finkelhor, PhD, and Richard Ormrod, PhD, University of New Hampshire

Are Stepchildren at Higher Risk for Abuse Than Biological Children?  -- from the website

Cinderella Effect -- from Wikipedia

Child Abuse and Other Risks of Not Living With Both Parents -- by Martin Daly and Margo Wilson
Both abuse and police apprehension were least likely for children living with two natural parents. Preschoolers living with one natural and one stepparent were 40 times more likely to become child abuse cases than were like-aged children living with two natural parents.

The “Cinderella Effect”: Elevated Mistreatment of Stepchildrenin Comparison to Those Living With Genetic Parents -- by Martin Daly & Margo Wilson Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour McMaster University

Stepfamily Statistics -- from The Stepfamily Foundation
its blog is worth looking at too. 

Risks of Child Abuse and Neglect Based on Family Structure -- by Wayne Stocks for the Divorce Ministry 4 Kids website

Narcissistic Stepmothers–Ultimate Nightmare for Stepchildren -- by Linda Martinez-Lewi, PhD

It's Heresy to Say it, But Having a Step-parent Can Wreck a Child's Life -- by Frances Childs for U.K. publication, The Daily Mail

Stepparent Abuse? -- from the Dr. Phil Show

Stepfamily Statistics -- from The Stepfamily Foundation

Link Between Family Structure and Child Abuse -- from Marripedia website

Repeat After Me: A Workbook for Adult Children Overcoming Dysfunctional Family Systems -- by Claudia Black, PhD (book)

Memoirs of an Invisible Child -- by Kelly Walk Hines (book)

5 Things to Know About Step Families -- from The Blended Family Network website

YOU CANNOT ‘BUY’ YOUR STEP CHILDREN -- from The Blended Family Network website

How to Improve your Stepfamily Relations -- from The Blended Family Network website

Are you in an Abusive Relationship? -- from The Blended Family Network website

Blended Family Issues -- from website

Help for Blended Family Issues -- from website

From the forums: Blended family molestation... -- again, not uncommon

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

my mother rejects me and doesn't love me because ...

© Lise Winne

Please note: this post is about an abusive parent, not about parents or parenting in general. Read about what constitutes an abusive parent from this post.  

Abusive parents are generally rejecting and unloving. They practice, make-up, break-up on a consistent basis with most of their children, unless the child is a "golden child favorite" (favoritism).

The graphic above are all typical reasons abusive parents will give you for your not being loved.  

Also, the above reasons for why Mom does not love you are defined as emotional abuse. Abusive mothers can sometimes tell their children that they love them, but rejection is not love. In other words, the love they claim to feel is not believable. Love requires empathy. A lack of empathy is not love; it is the opposite of love. 

Your mother may claim that you don't love her, so in reaction, she doesn't love you. This is retaliatory tit-for-tat parenting and that kind of reaction is always categorized as child abuse (and yes, adult child abuse counts too). Note: it is the mother's responsibility to love her child first, starting during the infancy stage, to get the child accustomed to being loved and loving back. A loved child will usually reciprocate love. A rejected child won't. It's as simple as that. 

The reason why unloved children stop demonstrating love to a rejecting mother is because they feel it is of no use, and that they are too flawed for their issues and feelings to be taken seriously or heard (especially if they are under-age). They give up trying to be lovable or trying to love, especially if their mother put them on a merry-go-round cycle of make up, devalue, discard. There are only so many merry-go-round trips a child will take before getting off of the merry-go-round altogether. 

Most adults of child abuse gradually begin to feel that "there is something wrong with Mom", especially when they are exposed to a lot of other mothers who love their kids unconditionally. They see the same "mistakes" being made that they made with their mother, except these "other mothers" never reject over the same mistakes. They may laugh, they may lecture, they may look with concern and ask their child how they are feeling, they may temporarily leave the room for awhile, but they don't reject or isolate their child from understanding and love. Children from abusive homes do eventually wonder why they aren't being unconditionally loved like so many children in other homes are, they may crave unconditional love, but they also know that their parent is not comfortable with a child who has self esteem, so they will constantly try to lower their child's self esteem for the purpose of putting themselves in charge at all times, and this means withdrawing love. The reason for abuse is power and control. 

The less self esteem you exhibit, the more likely you are to be accepted by Mom. If you cry the blues and say, "I'm so flawed! How could you ever love me! You're right, I'm crazy, I don't praise you enough, I'm ugly, you have every right to love my siblings more than me, I'm too sickly, I'm a basket case, and I'm especially a basket case without you!" the abusive parent is likely to want you back ... until they find another flaw they don't like and you are thrown away like so much trash from their hearts yet again. 

The thing about these constant makeup/breakups is that the flaws they reject you over will be for smaller and more erroneous reasons than the last time. Some abusive parents beat or reject their kids over a look on their face, for their child confronting their parent about being stolen from, for forgetting to re-cap the toothpaste, for any kind of expression at all other than pain and tears -- yes, it gets as ridiculous and petty as that.

So, why does it get this petty? Why does it increasingly go in the direction of Turpin-style parenting where just about anything is game for rejection, devaluation, isolation and abuse? 

Good question. It has to do with entitlement. Most abusive parents grow up in homes that were also abusive, but they also felt more entitled in some way too. 

For instance, it could be that the abusive parents your mother had only loved her "if" while at home, but her parents made all of their children sound like model children ("better than"), without a flaw in the world, in front of strangers. Your mother's parents may have upheld a false image of the family, in other words.

Another instance is that your mother's parents may have insisted that their children all compete with each other for parental love and affection. Your Mom may have been favored by their parent while the other children were in various stages of rejection, and in return for being rewarded, they felt they always deserve rewards (entitlement). They might have been rewarded for sibling abuse even, and rewards have a lot to do with how a person conducts themselves later on. Your parent may feel that abuse will work in any relationship, to use it in any situation. 

Another instance is that your mother may have had cruel rejecting parents, and therefore learned to be rejecting and cruel to get what she wanted from others. While they accepted being rejected by their parents, they may have normalized being cruel and rejecting themselves when they reached adulthood, so they practice it on their own children (privilege). Thus they expect to be rewarded by being rejecting and cruel -- this would be more unconscious than the above instances. 

These are just a few ways that abusers reach the point of on-going and ever-growing needs to have their entitlement desires fulfilled (i.e. being rewarded for things they want at the expense of others). They are willing to hurt their children to fulfill their needs for absolute power, absolute control and entitlements that go beyond natural human limits. One reason they pick on weaker unsupported individuals (like children) is because they feel weakness equals "giving in". 

One reason why suicide rates for abused children are much higher than for non-abused children is because child abuse victims have been brainwashed by their parents to think that it is their life duty to take care of their parent's needs, their parent's super sensitive feelings, their parent's need for absolute control over them, while sacrificing all of their own. When the child is seen as not fulfilling the desires of the parent and are rejected over it, the child often thinks about self destruction, including suicide. Believe it or not, it's a natural feeling -- brainwashing will pull a child's mind in that direction. 

One reason I put a question mark in the spot of "she likes to hurt me" is because while it is a conscious choice in some parents to hurt their children (those vengeful, retaliatory, tit-for-tat parents for instance), it is unconscious in other parents (who grew up with abuse and therefore think it's absolutely "natural and normal" to hurt their children to get what they want out of them without thinking of their children's feelings, and without thinking of alternatives of relating to children). 

It is often hard to tell if they intentionally want to hurt us, but it isn't hard to tell if they love us or not. The more rejecting they are, the least loving they are (they aren't practicing love, after all; they are practicing rejection and devaluation instead). You will have to accept that your parents don't love you, just like so many other survivors come to an acceptance about it and disengage. It will get easier to accept as time goes on, especially if you can find a good domestic violence therapist and a good trauma specialist.

Time and good company (like spending time with mothers who love all of their children equally and unconditionally, without the unreasonable demands in the graphic above) heal all wounds.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

fulfilling life goals after being a cast out scapegoat

art by © Lise Winne
available for sale here

I have been reading Lenora Thompson's articles for awhile and I usually respond to them, and we often have discussions about each of them. The reason why? I'll tell you.

Lenora writes for Psych Central and the Huffington Post about being the child of narcissists. She is a self-proclaimed golden child (an only child) to what would seem to be helicopter parents, parents who, according to her, would not let her grow up. You can read her stories in the articles. She has many, many articles on how she felt stifled and imprisoned by her parents, how every decision she wanted to make was superseded by her parents' decision-making, how she felt she was being groomed to please them at all times.

Every abusive family has a golden child (favored and coddled) and a scapegoat (unfavored and picked on, and often rejected). That's just a fact of life when you have Cluster B personality disordered parents who put their own feelings and dreams first, and expect their children to put their parents dreams and feelings first too (no, that's not how it is supposed to work, if you are wondering).

When she and I talk, I give her the scapegoat versions to her stories. They tend to be drastically different, opposites. But not all of the time.  Sometimes we find only nuanced differences between the golden versions and the scapegoat versions.

I have been working on a side project full of scapegoat stories (which I plan on publishing some day). This is just a teaser.

Sometimes she feels the scapegoat is so much better off than the golden child, other times she sees how painful being a scapegoat is.

So what is a common thing that scapegoats and goldens share, since most of the time there is such a huge disparity between the two roles? And let us not forget that these are roles -- they were thrust on us by our parents at a young age, perhaps even when we were pre-verbal, rather than how we define ourselves.

Gaslighting would be one of the things that golden children and scapegoats have in common. But the nuances are these:

Gaslighting of a golden child would be: "Oh, she's a little crazy, but we love it! So creative! So full of life and wonder! So cute when she does that, isn't she?" Gaslighting of a scapegoat would be "She's our crazy one. Yes, she's creative, but she has so many problems! We just can't deal with her any more! She should be put away, but that's not how the world works these days." The first one is to get strangers to admire their offspring, hoping they can cover up the abuse with great accolades and admiration and the image of being perfect parents of a lovable crazy child; the second one is to get strangers to reject their offspring before that offspring spills the beans and exposes the abuse and the parent's image.

But who is kidding who? Golden children are just as capable of exposing abuse as scapegoats are, such as in Lenora's case. Goldens often feel so suffocated and burdened by their parents that they feel spiritually squashed, emotionally squashed, physically squashed, developmentally squashed. It is claustrophobia on steroids. Goldens have been brought up to be pleaser puppets. They can't say anything at all that doesn't please their parents, and after awhile, don't even try to challenge that coding (except maybe through their own very private thoughts which they don't dare to share with anyone ... until they can't stand it any more). This is not what life is meant to be, to be an eternal child with no choices and no dreams, and only to be thinking about your parent's thoughts, feelings, dreams and image (let's not forget their image!). Our spirits really have a hard time with being shoved into Stepford child roles (after The Stepford Wives).

I see her point of view. Love is super conditional whether you are a golden child or a scapegoat. For the golden, it is totally reliant on people pleasing and competition with your sibling (if you have a sibling). The golden feels he cannot be anything else, and be safe from the abuse he sees being hurled at everyone else.

I feel sorry for the golden child in my own life who has to live this way and give up his own dreams, who is called to do it constantly, who has to be careful and terrified over everything he says, and walk on eggshells. He has been groomed to compete with his sister on everything (for the parents divide-and-conquer strategies), and since the sister gave up on the competition and left the family, he has to provide ALL of the narcissistic supply now. There are no more roles left, in fact, no other siblings to take up the lost roles. He will have to fulfill them all. And if something doesn't suit his parents, he will have to endure a barrage of shaming, temper tantrums and insults -- as though he is still a little boy who needs to be reprimanded. If he sees rage, he'll have to pretend he didn't mean what he said. He'll have to stir up a pot of excuses, fast talking, fast thinking, taking things he said back, explaining that he didn't mean what he said, saying things like "It was just a stupid comment. I agree with you" even when he might not want to agree with them, asking how to make it better, giving word salad explanations for every little hurt feeling they have that they blame on him, or on his wife, all with the most syrupy apologies. He will have to have no convictions about anything. Interests? No, too threatening. Opinions? No, he's required to have their opinions. A career? No, not one that will take time away from his parents. A sister? How dare he think to have a relationship with his sister when they have anointed him the golden child! How dare he even think about his sister!

He will have to constantly ameliorate them (and make no mistake about it: he is expert at ameliorating -- as if that is a good thing to be).

I have seen him in 24 hour rages when they aren't around, and then turn it all off like a switch and be sticky sweet with model vocabulary and wit. That's a good life??? Talk about Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde! He has to "go along to get along" with hair-trigger parents. That's not love! They don't love him!

And worst of all, he seems to have become another Cluster B, full of phony faces and charm just to get through life. I believe the swearing, rage-ful, disrespectful, laugh-behind-their-backs, deriding-of-others personality is really who he is, although that may be a cover-up for how scared, vulnerable, sensitive and sweet he really is. Who knows, but it is all so sad. The worse part of it is that he does the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde because his parents squashed him, wanted him to be their daily pleaser. They spoiled him rotten, favored him over his sister, and tried to convince him that his sister was at fault for any rage he felt. "Take it out on her, not us!" they cried. Because, you know, all narcissists are perfect, and they can't hear otherwise, and what they did to him has to be taken out on someone, after all ...

So one of the things Lenora and I were talking about had to do with living our dreams, and how she had to put that off for so long (required to be the daily pleaser: don't forget!). Any way, here is my response to this article by Lenora about living your dreams after having them squashed by narcissistic parents for most of your life:

I'm always thinking of the scapegoat part of this story, Lenora.

The thing about scapegoats is that they are onto their NMs earlier than anyone else. If we are given the scapegoat role in our family, we're the canary in the coal mine. That's why we are scapegoats: we see the evil, we hear the evil, and we speak about the evil we see and hear. How dare us speak about it, right? How dare we want to make that better for all of us children in the household? 

And the first thing they do about it is try to shut us up and shut us down emotionally. However it doesn't work because we still see, hear, etc ... so we are punished for it instead. The "punishments" for seeing, hearing and knowing are brutal, let me tell you. They are so unethical, unjust and severe as to encode us with traumas and triggers. In fact most "other" family members don't want to acknowledge what we go through because it scares them half to death. So they only "watch" the abuse in horror on the sidelines, perhaps try to tell themselves it is not so bad and that it is "normal" in some way, hoping it doesn't happen to them. 

In fact, they are rarely singled out for abuse until we leave. And we have to leave if we are to survive. When we leave for good to fend for ourselves, the narcissists adopt another scapegoat. They always do; they always feel they have to in order to keep any kind of potential bad image they might acquire away from THEM. 

So eventually we are no longer alone when the new scapegoat appears and says to us, "I went through it too! I'm so sorry!"

But the difference between us and the golden child is that our parent's trying to disable us and our dreams by severe punishments and THE BIG BAD SILENT TREATMENT does not get internalized within us (well, a lot of us). It may get internalized in the beginning, but for many of us with long term "no contact" or living our lives autonomous from their opinions? Not at all. I think most scapegoats can attest to not feeling much shame at all over being given the silent treatment. Why? Because it almost always is over a myriad of silly excuses like a look on our face they didn't like (as though we should have a facial complex JUST FOR THEM), or because we refused to be their full time Cinderella to our brothers and sisters (as though we should really WANT that for ourselves), and a number of equally bizarre "reasons". They grasp at the most desperate of straws to make us a scapegoat. 

They do this scapegoating for THEM, because THEY feel threatened by the truth and by exposure. The more they abuse, the more desperate they are to hide it, the more they NEED some sort of  scapegoat!!  All people who see, hear, and speak of what they see and hear must be scapegoated in their eyes ... except, wait! Doesn't everyone tell of what they are about behind their backs? Aren't all people in their lives just ass-kissing back-stabbing two-facers? 

So they get ultra paranoid.

The reason why a lot of us scapegoats don't internalize their mediocre dreams for us is because we never "really" try to please them. Ever. We know the cost is too high, and nothing will be good enough. We may pretend at it at times because not every battle is worth it, and we want some peace, just like they pretend to love us, all the while slandering us to everyone they can, and throwing us away to the wolves and casting us as "crazy people".

We aren't supposed to please them anyway: they assigned the scapegoat role to us, the role that can never please them NO MATTER WHAT. We find, unlike the smooth fast talkin' always-make-an-excuse goldens, that there is no smooth fast talkin' for us to adopt. What we say, what we do, is ALWAYS vilified. So we give up on pleasing them, and decide to please ourselves instead, and we go for our dreams. 

That's one big difference between a golden child and a scapegoat child.

We HAVE to go big for our dreams to survive without a family, support, and familial approval. So many of us put our dreams first, in fact, and a lot of us (the ones who don't stay in the matrix of the abusive family to get beaten down again and again), are pretty satisfied with where we end up. There are times we might be taken in by the hoovering of our parents, but for the most part we are cast out at pretty young ages. Try 15 as opposed to 30 or 40 for you goldens. 

Sometimes there are narcissists along the way who try to trip us up, or stalk us, or slander us, and other tactics. That can set us back. But we also have been able to get back up from being knocked over since childhood when our parent was doing it.

The reason our abusive parent always goes for tactics such as hooverings and punishments is because narcissists hate our successes. Yes, I believe that. 

How dare we be successful when they have tried so hard to beat that out of us, when they have worked so hard to smash our self esteem and make us lower our heads in shame our whole lives! They can't stand that their mediocre dreams are only about narcissistic supply: spreading lies, gossip, covering their tracks, panicing over "not covering their tracks ENOUGH", fear of exposure, trying to convince others that they are model citizens who love their children when they don't, trying to keep all of these false identities and false motives together and trying to remember which false identity went with which person, and which lie and wild tale they told to whom, trying to think of top-of-their-heads excuses as to why they are estranged from their children, and continue to be, trying to think of shamings of their children that will stick like glue and permanently damage them -- what a life! 

And to compensate for a life of boredom that selfishness, insulting of others, discarding important people and unfulfillment inevitably produce, they create drama. How? Rejecting or picking on another empath from their lives, or two or three or four. "Yes, let's do that so that we have no empaths when we are sick and old!" Now isn't that the dumbest thing ever? 

So instead they find themselves surrounded by other narcissists or sociopaths when they aren't feeling well. Who envies that?

So glad we are not them and that we pursue dreams that are actually meaningful and worthwhile, while they muck around in the putrid swamp of "trying" to manipulate people all of the time. Good luck with that agenda, eh?

Saturday, December 16, 2017

When all we want for Christmas is an apology from a narcissist (maybe)

If you are the victim of narcissistic abuse, perhaps all you want for Christmas is an apology.

Even if we know that the apology may just be a hoover and fraught with bad things for us (a Trojan Horse, for instance), we sometimes still want the apology.

Perhaps we know that an apology is only meant to get us back into a role accepting abuse again, but we still find ourselves aching for an apology.

If we are survivors of child abuse we can't have a parent who treats us with love, caring, respect and dignity. We've been told a million times that we can't always have what we want (far from it), and that includes a real parent, the kind of parent other people have. We also know they mean to give us a parent who is cruel to us, or rejecting of us, so that we will feel we don't deserve what others have.

If we are survivors of spousal abuse we can find another spouse, but we can't have a real heartfelt apology from the spouse who hurt us so badly. Even if we were to receive an apology, we would probably be suspicious of the intentions of that spouse or ex-spouse. We would probably ask ourselves: "Why would he (or she) hurt us so badly and trash what we have and then decide they want us back all of a sudden?" -- hmmmm .... survivors make it a point to check for ulterior motives for the rest of their lives after you have left. We aren't innocent little fawns any more.

If we are survivors of sibling abuse (the most common form of abuse), we can't have a sibling in the way other people do. No, our sibling probably only cares about taking things away from us. We aren't close; we aren't visiting each other and bringing our children together. We aren't having vacations together, laughing about old times, looking over pictures together. Most likely, all that our abusive sibling wants is everything we have, everything he can get, to control us, demean us, take away our common parent, own our common parent lock stock and barrel, get our common parent to hate us and abuse us under false charges ... How DARE we not look at them as lord and master of our lives, as well as our parents' lives? They will make all of the decisions about our common parent, and if we want to live, we better stay away and never interfere with their plans.

If we were brought up in an abusive household, we might have all three situations going on all at once. That is because we have been groomed since birth to accept abuse -- from siblings, from partners, from co-workers, from a spouse, all originating from our parent's abuse of us. Perhaps we got so used to it that we abused ourselves, even. "You're no good!" "You're worthless!" "What worthless child deserves an apology! In fact, you are so worthless you should be apologizing to everyone who ever abused you!" "Even childhood sexual abuse is too good for you! You should have been grinded up in a chipper instead when you were a kid!" "Worthless children deserve to be abused, denigrated and discarded!"

It all effects us, but we can't ever expect a real apology delivered from Santa and his reindeer. No, we can only ache with the want. We have to accept a fate more like Ann Boleyn: head chopped off for trumped up treason charges just so that King Henry could marry his next source of narcissistic supply.

We may be reprimanded or attacked for:
* expressing emotions when we are hurt (because, you know, emotions are for weaklings, and because they want to decide what emotions you are feeling and when, even when it comes to labeling them for their own needs)
* expressing emotions they don't like (because, you know, you are only supposed to be expressing emotions that they have deemed  right for the occasion)
* a facial expression they don't like (because, you know, facial expressions they don't understand, or that they deem to be "critical" of them are a punishable offense deserving of the utmost cruelty even if it was not our intent to hurt them)
* making an autonomous decision (because, you know, you certainly will never be allowed to be autonomous, and your decisions are sooooo flawed -- only they deem themselves experts in the decision-making department ... and how dare you think you can make your own decisions!!)
* making a life decision that would benefit us (because, you know, you are supposed to be selfless, only serving their needs -- how dare you make a decision on your own behalf or that would benefit you! How come you don't put them center of everything in your life?)
* having an opinion that differs from our abuser's (because, you know, you have to go along with whatever an abuser says, mindlessly and emotionlessly, in what ever brainwashed fashion they want for you)
* being spontaneous, having fun (because -- how dare you have fun! Take off that party hat now! Serving them means being abused, and you can't be abused and have fun at the same time -- how dare you get out of the role they picked for you!)
* not letting our abusive family make decisions about our life (because, you know, all decisions that should be yours have to be a family decision. Every move you make needs micromanaging, persuasion, chastising, belittling, confusing double standards, arguments, debates, being compared to others unfavorably, gaslighting ... no decisions allowed without all of that! -- otherwise you will pay and pay and pay and pay and ... )
* not keeping quiet about hypocrisies that we see (because, you know, you aren't even supposed to be seeing hypocrisies, let alone talking about them! You are only supposed to be looking at how perfect they are ... because if you see hypocrisies or dare to utter a word about it, you will pay and pay and pay and pay and ...)
* making the narcissist jealous even when we don't want them to feel jealous (because, you know, narcissists are so super jealous and insecure that only dressing down in shoes with obvious holes and shredded laces, unattractive filthy clothes, gray clothes that need mending, unwashed unkempt hair, bruises, heroin tracks on our arms, and a tear soaked face is the only thing that will make a narcissist feel better by comparison!)
* not worrying for a moment about the narcissist's super sensitive feelings and ego even as they trampled all over ours for the entire time we have known them (because, you know, only their feelings count in the mutual relationship between us)
* setting a boundary (because, you know, narcissists hate boundaries ...  and how dare we set boundaries when they feel so entitled to know everything!!!)
* for not feeling guilty (because, you know, we are supposed to feel guilty for having been born)
* for feeling sad (because, you know, you're supposed to be happy around them when they say so)
* for calling them out (because, you know, you're never supposed to call them out ... How dare you! They have decided they are too perfect for that and you better get with that program!)
* for trying to think about how we feel and think about a certain subject (because, you know, they have decided what they want us to feel and think, and nothing else will do!)
* for disagreeing with them (because, you know, they are control freaks and it is the ONLY thing they care about, and that includes getting you to agree with them at all times ... and if you don't let them have control over you at all times, you will pay and pay and pay and ... well, you know)
* for loving others (because, you know, they own us! We are only supposed to be loving them!)
* for wanting more freedom (because, you know, we should feel like we are jail birds of theirs at all times, indebted to them because they give morsels to lowly people like us and should be worshiped all over the land for it!)

Okay, so now are we cured this Christmas season from wanting an apology out of that sleigh?

(note of thanks to Lenora Thompson for her article, Narcissistic Abuse Makes Us Say “I Couldn’t”, which inspired me to write this post)

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Interviews with someone diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder

I have been dealing with a number of issues, so I thought I would share some interviews that The Little Shaming Healing put up on You Tube that show some similarities and some differences with the NPD diagnosed man I interviewed.

These are worthwhile interviews to listen to if you want to understand NPD. It will give you some perspective on how a person diagnosed with NPD sees the world, his relationships and family.

The contrast between the man that The Little Shaman Healing interviewed and the one I interviewed is that the former was more of a target of abuse in his family of origin, whereas the latter largely played an observer role and is a golden child.

Both of them are in counseling (which is extremely rare -- in other words, don't expect someone who displays symptoms of NPD to go to counseling and become enlightened about anything). That they are both in counseling says something about their wanting to understand their condition, and why they are living with that condition. That is to be applauded. I think both men have some inkling that the rest of the population does not think the way they do, or act the way they do, though they think that anyone is capable of it if pushed too hard. In contrast, those who have NPD that never set foot in a psychologist's office, usually think that others conduct themselves in the world as they do (narcissists are known for projectionperspecticide and erroneous blaming which makes their understanding of anything beyond their own feelings and thoughts extremely compromised). In counseling, they both learned that NPD was developed as a defense mechanism against parental abuse (in particular, shaming).

As expected, the man in the following interviews grew up in a family where shaming of children was rampant. While there was no physical abuse, there was a lot of verbal abuse and emotional abuse. I suggest listening to the ones on his childhood first.

The four videos after the ones on his childhood are about how he conducts himself in his relationships. You can hear why he erroneously blames and abuses others (it is a pre-emptive strike so that he won't become abused himself). You can also hear that he does not care if he is accurate or not when he blames or abuses others. The pre-emptive retaliation is meant to control the other person from making, what he feels, the decision to strike against him. In other words, it is a show of power.

He decides that his impulses and his feelings about others are facts. In other words, he does not attempt to understand, or give the benefit of the doubt to others, or search for the truth. He assumes most people are out to hurt him, and that in order to keep from being hurt, he must abuse. When asked if it was fair to hurt others without proof that they were out to hurt him he said "Yes". While his answer is disturbing, it is also common for people diagnosed with NPD.

He also talked about his work life (that he doesn't like to work, preferring to delegate to others) -- also very common.

When asked if he could not tolerate the criticism of others, he said that he could not, that he felt it put him in his childhood state of feeling helpless, unloved and alone (this answer is to be expected, but most NPDs will not expose themselves to this extent, that they have a vulnerable frightened side since mostly they show the tough I-can-live-without-anyone side to the world most of the time). He said that he felt like a con artist, and that when people fell in love with his false self, he has trouble feeling good about it, that it causes problems and repercussions in his life.

The areas of the interview that are not expected is that he is quite aware of his true self (vulnerable, afraid, lonely) and his false self (grandiose, acting, pretending and abusive). He also revealed that he loved and cared about others, though he pretends not to in order to keep from being hurt. Most narcissists are deemed to be without any empathy, and many will admit to not having any empathy at all in interviews, but perhaps the narcissists who can no longer feel empathy are those who wear their false selves so continuously that they no longer recognize their true selves where their empathy might reside.

© The Little Shaman interviews:

Interview With The Narcissist: CHILDHOOD CONFESSIONS (Part 1):

Interview With The Narcissist: CHILDHOOD CONFESSIONS (Part 2):

Interview With The Narcissist: CHILDHOOD CONFESSIONS (Part 3):

Interview With The Narcissist: CHILDHOOD CONFESSIONS (Part 4):

The next are about his adult years:

Interview With The Narcissist: RELATIONSHIP CONFESSIONS (Part 1):

Interview With The Narcissist: RELATIONSHIP CONFESSIONS (Part 2):

Interview With The Narcissist: RELATIONSHIP CONFESSIONS (Part 3):

Interview With The Narcissist: RELATIONSHIP CONFESSIONS (Part 4):

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Should you go "no contact" with an abusive parent or partner?

This is a personal decision.

However, in making the personal decision there are some questions you may want to ask yourself.

These are questions I personally found invaluable about how much to withdraw from a person. It is a rather simplistic formula, so I have included psychologist, Judy Rosenberg's videos below to give you some other perspectives on it, and a video by popular life coach, Lisa Romano, as well as some articles at the very end.

With partners, or friends (or potential partners, or friends):

I ask myself does this person care about my feelings? Do they care about how they effect me? If the answer is "no", then I conclude they don't love me or care about me. Note: I also conclude they don't care about me even if they switch to concern and care later on. In other words, I don't believe that love bombing and hoovering to be authentic love. Love and caring does not switch on and off; if it is real it is a constant (Jeckyll and Hyde traits are common among abusers, and not common at all among the rest of the population).

The next question I ask is whether they seem to want to dominate me. Do they interrupt? Do they listen, or are they more concerned with responding, in making come-backs, persuading, lecturing, patronizing, in giving advice or demands? Do they get in my face when they try to talk? Are they more concerned about their feelings, than about both of our feelings? Is there any shame-talk going on? To me this is a bad sign of them wanting the relationship to be about them, and their agendas, rather than about us, as a team. Domination also shows they probably don't love or care.

The next question I ask myself is: Does it matter that they don't love me or care about me? The answer is usually yes, I care that they don't care or love me. It's a one-sided relationship in that case, which can never be close, and is likely to be painful. If it is clear that their relationship agenda is about them dominating me, they will be in pain over the fact that they cannot dominate me, and I will be in pain because I believe that love, caring and respect is not about domination. The course of action I take then, is to at least disengage enough so that they are not part of my life in any real sense of the word. I can see them at a party, or function, be polite, very occasionally be helpful, or keep out of their way, but that is about it.

The next question is are they kind? Usually a lack of kindness points to some kind of abusiveness.

If I see clearly that they are abusive (and particularly if they practice rounds of idealize, devalue, discard in their relationships, display overbearing behavior, perspecticide, shaming, verbal abuse and excuses which don't add up), then that becomes the deal-breaker for which I go no contact, or at least do my my best at avoiding them (note: that wasn't always the case when I was young and groomed to feel that abuse was normal, but it is now).

These days I want to do my utmost to not become attached to people who, from the beginning, cannot love me or authentically connect, cannot care about me because they want me in a role submitting myself to their will, cannot be kind to others. So before any kind of significant connection starts, if I see a lot of signs of perspecticide, teasing (chiding) and haughty-know-it-all behavior, I disengage at that point. One reason I do this is because I feel I don't have any more time to invest in relationships that have a potential to be filled with rancor, triangulation or disturbing issues.

However, if you have children with an abusive partner, going "no contact" will prove to be very difficult, so my best advice is to go to a domestic violence counselor to help you set up boundaries and keep a record of infractions to those boundaries (note: abusive people do not like boundaries, and keep trying to side-step them, but they will also most likely, unless they are violent, respect boundaries if the law is involved ... Domestic violence counselors are usually up on all of the laws within your county). In the meantime, here are some good boundaries to start with:

1. No talking about personal issues other than the children's welfare and schedules. If your partner starts in on personal subjects, or attacks you verbally, or wants to argue, disengage.
2. If your partner insults you, remind him that you will not be responding to insults, and that he needs to stick to the subject of the children.
These are just examples. You may have to keep a list of things that you expect your ex to say and do, and have a plan in action in terms of how you will respond.

With parents:

As far as parents go, the deal breakers should be the same for them too. A parent who does not love you, or care about you is not a good parent. If they are abusive too, they are a nightmare parent. A parent who is not kind to others (or your siblings, other parent, their siblings, or is someone who disposes of, or derides others) will probably eventually not be kind to you either. However, it is sometimes impossible to avoid your parents altogether, especially at family functions. Some abusive parents can be super invasive, goading, taunting, laughing derisively at you, and triggering to be around. They can make family times miserable. You can avoid them by not going to family functions at all (which is what a lot of survivors find themselves doing in the end), or you can do your best at setting boundaries before or during the event so that you have the most minimal contact.

If the parent is dangerous, threatening, sending their flying monkeys (bullying partners) your way, then the answer should be self explanatory in terms of whether you should have contact.

This is not to diminish the pain of the realization of what they are about, or of having to separate yourself from them, but many people survive going no contact with a parent who has spent a lot of time in their lives inflicting emotional wounds, and come out, after an intense grieving process, with flying colors. There are steps I will recommend to make the transition as smooth and healthy as possible, ones that I found that helped me, but for now I will just say that abuse almost always escalates (gets worse over time), and there is usually always a cyclical pattern of love bomb, denigrate, dismiss and destroy (Dr. Judy Rosenberg's words). Also, it is imperative with abusive parents to get financially independent of them. They use money to justify constant erroneous guilt trips and punishments (abuse).

However, children of abuse do not always see abuse as awful because they were groomed by the parent to normalize abuse as a child. Children who have been abused a lot often become trauma bonded to an abusive parent, making the separation more painful. The second-guessing of whether you are doing the right thing by disengaging from your parent, becomes another huge hurdle along with the grieving process. All child abuse victims have been taught at a young age to feel guilty for any and all actions that do not meet their parents approval. However, my thought on this is that they have lost their rights to approve or disapprove of what you do, period, if they abuse or condone the abuse of others who have hurt you.

To get a good sense of whether you are a victim of child abuse, see this post.  For general information on what abuse is and who perpetrates abuse, see this post.

videos of psychologist, Judy Rosenberg, discussing about whether
to go "no contact":




from life coach, Lisa Romano:

further reading:

The one thing Narcissistic Abuse victims never seem to regret: going no contact -- from the Narcissists, Sociopaths, and Flying Monkeys -- oh My! blog

Recommended: 7 Signs It's Time to Cut (Toxic) Family Ties -- by Genevieve Shaw Brown for ABC News

Recommended: Signs You Need To Go No-Contact With Your Family -- from the Rebel Circus website

Recommended: What does going no contact mean? -- from the Narcissists, Sociopaths, and Flying Monkeys -- Oh My blog

Recommended: No Contact – The Scapegoat’s Last Resort -- by Glynis Sherwood, MEd, CCC, RCC

The Myth of “It Takes Two to Ruin a Relationship” -- by Sharie Stines, Psy.D. for Psych Central

Why "No Contact", Intentional Detachment and Support Help the Trauma Bond-- by Rhonda Freeman, PhD

'Life Without My Mother Is a Joy': Women Talk About Divorcing Their Moms -- by Samantha Ladwig

Reddit forums: Raised By a Narcissist -- long discussion among many members about going "no contact" with their abusive families.

When No Contact as an Adult-Child Is Necessary -- by A.J. Mahari (tells of his life with a father who is alcoholic diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder and Narcissistic Personality Disorder)

Recommended: Letting Go of Toxic People, Even If it’s a Family Member -- for The Pragmatic Parent website

Why I Stopped Talking to My Family -- by Ashley Davison

No Contact -- by Danu Morrigan from the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers website

How To Achieve No Contact With A Toxic Or Abusive Person -- from the Femsplain website

What does going no contact mean? -- from the Narcissists, Sociopaths, and Flying Monkeys -- Oh My blog

5 Reasons Why Adult Children Estrange From Their Parents -- by Kim Bryan for We Have Kids Magazine
Recommended: Letter From a Narcissist’s “True Self” -- by Lauren Bennett

How To Deal With A Narcissist: The Only Method Guaranteed To Work -- from the Conscious Rethink website (it has a lot of ads, but it is a good, worthwhile article to read)

Found on Facebook (author unknown):