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 not accepting 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 Healing 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):

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

how to tell if you have abusive parents

poster is © Lise Winne
(contact LilacGroveGraphics ((att)) for further usage)

Warning: this post contains language that is not appropriate for children.

This post is also intended to help you discern whether you were or are a victim of child abuse.

This is a quote from a WikiHow article entitled How to Deal with a Bad Parent:

Federal legislation defines child abuse as “Any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation"; or “An act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm."
In a post entitled 9 Types Of Behavior You Shouldn't Tolerate From Your Mother by Isadora Baum, CHC is one of the precursors to knowing whether you have a toxic parent (i.e. someone who is not healthy for you emotionally or psychologically). The list includes (abbreviated version):

1. She's rude to you
2. She's uninterested in your life
3. She doesn't think she is ever wrong
4. She leaves you out or favors another sibling
5. She doesn't respect boundaries
6. She makes you feel ashamed of your actions
7. She doesn't appreciate all you do for her
8. She wants you all to herself
9. She's abusive

Note: child abuse tends to be lifelong. If your parents are not willing to change their behavior, the common advice is to seek counseling from a certified therapist (recommended are trauma and/or domestic violence specialists).

Any parent who tries repeatedly or for lengthy amounts of time to punish you when you are older than 18 years of age, whether physically, or by withdrawing love, or by giving you the silent treatment, and has most of the traits of the 9 toxic parenting issues above is an abusive parent. Note that most abusive parents also have very different public images from their private images, and most also fib more than people in the general population.

Note that most abusive parents have personality disorders: Borderline Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Antisocial Personality Disorder are the most common. See my post on what abuse is and who it is perpetrated by, to fully understand the rest of this post.

The following major signs of abusive parents is long, and it is long for a few reasons, one of which is to cover all of the signs with examples and details (for the sake of understanding). I suggest when reading through the bold parts, that if it doesn't apply, then move on to the other signs.

The list:

They neglect you or reject you when you are sick, feeling hurt, feeling traumatized, going through a medical crisis, in the hospital, after an accident, when your other parent dies, or when your sibling dies, or when one of your children dies, or when you, or your spouse, or your child has been diagnosed with a terminal illness:
Narcissistic and sociopathic parents do not take these life-changing experiences seriously because they are that self absorbed. However, if they go through any of these events, they expect everyone in the family to stop what they are doing and to think of them at all times, to pray for them, perhaps even provide round-the-clock comfort! They are hypocrites when it comes to caring: they want to be cared about and cared for, without caring about and caring for others. In fact, some of them resent being asked to care.
Sometimes narcissistic and sociopathic parents withdraw love and caring during these times as a way to punish their child or adult child or as a way to trauma bond with them.
Malignant narcissists (narcissists with sociopathic traits) and sociopaths get off on the sadistic neglect or rejection of their child, especially when their child is going through traumatic life events.

They try to discipline or punish you after 18 years of age:
This is the major red flag of abusive parenting.
(Note: you can become emancipated from your parents in most states in the USA after age 16, so in many cases, punishmernts should be over when you are 16).
Adult-to-adult threats to harm or to punish in any way are classified as harassment. Harassment is illegal.
"Physical discipline" from adult parent to adult child is classified as assault. Assault is illegal.
Locking you in a room or preventing you from leaving a premises as a disciplinary measure is false imprisonment. False imprisonment is illegal.
Narcissistic parents walk a very thin line with the law.
Sociopathic parents often go over the line in terms of breaking the law.
The reason why narcissistic and sociopathic parents still try to punish, discipline, blackmail, arm-twist and sacrifice children is because they still look at their adult child as an underage child. They also don't possess healthy conflict resolution skills, so they retaliate and punish instead. They also feel that children exist for them to control and exert power over.
These kinds of parents are not interested in their children as autonomous adults with minds of their own. An adult child is either deemed to be good (a willing live marionette) or bad (unwilling to be the parent's marionette) in the narcissist's or sociopath's mind.

They practice retaliatory vengeful parenting (they especially retaliate if they feel they are being criticized, exposed or challenged)
Retaliatory parenting is very common for Narcissistic Personality Disordered parents and Anti Social Personality Disordered parents. It is so uncommon among normal parents that if vengeful parents are ever publicly exposed, it can make these parents lose social standing and credibility.
Retaliatory parenting can kill the parent-child relationship forever and is one of the major factors in child/parent estrangements.
Retaliatory parents can expect their children to recite untruths. They often arm-twist children to accept that they, the child, is always wrong, but that the parent is always right. If the child does not promote the parent in social circles, they are known to retaliate.
Retaliation often occurs when parental abuse is exposed, and even when the parent feels threatened that it will be exposed.
The other sign of parents who may be abusive is if they can dish out constant criticism of others, but they can't take criticism themselves (hypocrisy).
Narcissists are known for seeking revenge for people who criticize them. They are also known to seek some sort of censorship.

They play tit-for-tat games with their own children
This is the same as vengeful, retaliatory parenting, except it is a childish game that narcissists and sociopaths find entertaining, fun and funny. Normal parents, if they find out about it, usually find it extremely immature.
Some tit-for-tat examples:
* You tell your parent that you want to take a vacation with just your spouse (this time around). In retaliation, they take a vacation with all of your siblings and their spouses, but do not invite you or your spouse.
* You tell your mother that you are having a birthday party for your three year old, but that it will just be a party for mothers who have three year olds (this time). In retaliation, your mother holds a birthday party for another one of her grandchildren who is also three years old, but doesn't invite you or your child.
* You have an argument with your mother. You tell her that you need some time to cool off and gather your thoughts, and that you will contact her in three days. She insists that the two of you talk right now, that it is terrible to make her wait three days. You tell her that you can't think clearly about the issues between the two of you because your daughter has chicken pox, your husband is trying to find a job after being laid off, the dog has to be put down at the vets, you have to get a personal loan to pay for the mortgage until your husband finds another job, that you are up to your eyeballs in crises. When you contact her three days later, she refuses to talk to you and gives you the silent treatment for three months. After she is done "punishing you" with the silent treatment (note that adult-to-adult punishments are abuse), she says, "How did you like it? Being put off for three months!? If you are going to make me second fiddle to everyone else in your life, and make a dog  more important than your own mother, you know that I got more from where that came from!"
Tit-for-tat parenting is very, very common for narcissists and sociopaths.

They always shift blame away from themselves and burden their child with blaming and shaming instead (even when the child is not at fault)
Narcissists and sociopaths do not accept blame for their actions, no matter how small, so they always put the blame on their victims instead, and this can and does include their children as well.
Typical ways they shift blame on their children:
* If they forgot to pay their bill, they will blame their child for distracting them
* If they stole something from someone else, they will say that their child did it instead
* If they cut their child's face out of the family photo album, they will say that their child expressed a desire to no longer be part of the family (this is highly suspicious:  grandiose narcissists in particular make cutting out one child, or group of children, in the family photo albums a practice)
* If they cut their child out of their life, they will often say that the child cut them out of their life instead (flipped tales are very common with covert narcissists, sociopaths and abusive parents in general)
* If a child falls off the monkey bars at a playground because a parent is not engaged or paying attention, they will say that the child fell off the monkey bars "just to get attention" (this is another kind of abusive parent ploy. This is another instance of a flipped tale to make the parent look good, and the child look bad -- very prevalent among abusive parents)
* A child calls his parent out on a favoritism issue -- that the parent is favoring one of his children over the other. With normal parents, they try to do everything they can to make things even between their children, and to point it out afterwards. With abusive parents, the parent will purposely put a lot more time into the favored child while ignoring you, especially after you complain. This is because they are fuming over feeling criticized about their parenting. If it is obvious favoritism, it is done on purpose no matter what they say (with narcissists and sociopaths it is important to look at what they do rather than what they say). Favoritism in the family covers this topic.
Often narcissists and sociopaths treat you the opposite way that you want to be treated for trauma bonding purposes, for narcissistic supply, and because they are sadists who enjoy their children feeling hurt or marginalized. They like to toy with your lack of importance to them. It is a type of vengeful parenting too.

Perspecticide: your parent re-phrases and re-frames your experiences to their own liking:
This is called perspecticide. Retelling your experiences is meant to be about their own views of you, your thoughts and your feelings. It is also about the role that they have assigned for you in their lives (and this changes depending on whether they are idealizing you or in the discard-punishment phase with you).
They also try to change the events you have lived through in such a way as to make it define their own world view and concepts of you, and to make themselves appear infallible, without reproach. In other words, they use their altered versions of your experiences to self-aggrandize. See my post on word salad arguments for better understanding.
Perspecticide is also about them insinuating that you are either a liar, or that you don't know how to perceive your own experiences, thoughts and feelings (i.e. that you are crazy).
They also use their altered versions of your experiences to self-aggrandize.
Perspecticide is where normal parenting parts drastic ways with abusive parenting.
What it sounds like (using Johnny as the parent's child):
"Johnny feels ________________"
"Johnny thinks _______________"
"Johnny's experience was _______________"
Note that the above should be questions for Johnny, not for his parent to decide. Abusive homes are full of perspecticide in this manner.
When it is especially abusive, this is what it sounds like:
"No, you weren't feeling that at all. What you were feeling is hatred for your sister and you're going to pay for it, and also apologize. You are going to stay in your room all day, and I don't want to hear anything more said about it!"
"I know what you are thinking! You don't fool me! Just for that, you're going to get it!"
"I know I wasn't there, but I believe your sister over you. That's just the way it is. Your sister is mostly always right about events and conversations, and you are mostly wrong, as well as crazy, so you are not going to convince me otherwise." -- this is a typical scapegoating phrase.

They make it clear that they don't care what you feel or think
When you have abusive parents, they make it pretty clear that your feelings and thoughts don't matter, only theirs do.
If you find that your parent constantly expects apologies, or expects apologies over what they think you are feeling and thinking, then this is a definite red flag of abusive parenting.
In normal families, a parent will apologize for hurting his child's feelings, or misunderstanding what he is thinking. In abusive families, this rarely, if ever, takes place during the child's entire life time.
If you feel that you have to shout or get emotional to be heard by your parent, this is a typical reaction of children from abusive homes and something that narcissists and sociopaths tend to label as "drama" or "crazy." They are simply too self centered to understand or care what children think or feel, so labeling you is the way they deal with not being sensitive.

They hurt you or punish you if you cry
Narcissists and sociopaths do not tend to think a child crying is normal including if the child is crying because he or she is hurt. Angry phrases like "suck it up!", "Stop being a cry-baby!", "I don't want to hear you cry one more time!", "Shut up!", "I've had enough of your catterwauling!", "I've had enough of your tears! Grow up!" are lobbed at children.
"If you cry one more time, you're going to get it!", or hitting or intentionally hurting a child because they are crying is a sign of un-empathetic parenting. Narcissists and sociopaths lack empathy. Narcissists are hyper-sensitive to criticism so they tend to retaliate against a child who is crying and in pain because they think the child is criticizing their parenting if they cry.
"Oh, I'm such a terrible parent for making you cry!", "If you are not going to be nice to Mommy, and continue to cry, then you're going to sit in your room all day long until you can behave!" are just some of the phrases that narcissistic parents use.
Parents who are narcissists care much more about their image, even if it is not a genuine image of who the parent really is than the child's feelings.
Sociopaths do not care as much about their image, but crying is an inconvenience to them, something that must be squelched and buried because it is cramping their style and entitlements. They can be extremely retaliatory and cold-hearted towards children who are expressing any kind of emotion. In fact, they don't approve of anything other than agreement with them at all times and sycophant phrases.

They constantly interrogate you for information
Normal parents have been known to interrogate under-age children, especially if they are concerned. However, this practice in normal parenting is usually forsaken when the child becomes an adult (autonomous adult).
Parents who are narcissists and sociopaths do not respect their adult child's boundaries and often retaliate if they can't get information or gossip from their adult children.
Constant interrogations are usually a sign of the parent wanting to exert control. Lectures and ultimatums usually follow.

They punish you if you refuse to be interrogated
Silent treatment, verbal abuse, rage, making you a laughing stock are all signs of an abusive parent who won't respect your boundaries about being interrogated.
Interrogations should be over after you have turned 18 years of age.
This is a sign that your parent does not respect your boundaries.

They give the silent treatment (or reject, ostracize or shun):
This is a shaming and blackmail tactic, made to make you feel unloved. It is primarily and overwhelmingly used by narcissistic and sociopathic parents. It is rare for normal parents to use this tactic (though sometimes normal parents use it for very short periods of time on their children, usually not for longer than a few hours or a day, and often with great regret).
Even a day or two of a parent giving a child or an adult child the silent treatment does plenty of damage to the child, and the relationship between parent and child, particularly if the reason for the silent treatment is for the parent to express rage, disapproval, stonewalling or selfishness (the parent initiating the silent treatment wanting to "get his way" without consideration for the child's, or adult child's, feelings or perspectives).
Narcissists and sociopaths use the silent treatment on their children for very long periods of time. Narcissists generally use the silent treatment for two weeks to several months. Sociopaths use the silent treatment as "punishment", even on adult children, and often for months, years or a life time.
Neither personality type expresses guilt for using it and they almost never apologize for using it unless their tactics are exposed to others.
This is the big difference between personality disordered parents and normal parents. Normal parents know and are concerned that the silent treatment is hurting their child and doing damage to their relationship even within the day it is initiated. They tend to apologize to their child and not use it again.
If there is a perpetual use of the silent treatment (a habit), your parent has a problem. Never blame yourself for their use of this dirty tactic.
Even if you receive an apology for a silent treatment that has gone on for months or years, be aware that the apology may not be genuine. Narcissists and sociopaths do not feel empathy for their children, so there is likely to be some other reason for the apology. They are known to apologize and then to turn around and say that they are the victim of their recalcitrant child and that the child caused them to use it. This tactic is definitely a sign of narcissism or Antisocial Personality Disorder as these personality disordered types usually try to present themselves as victims, even of their own children ... except that abuse tends to flow from parent to child, not the other way around. The exceptions are highly addicted children, and children who have been so abused by the parent, that they seek retaliation against that parent. Most abused children, however, tend to have life long depression (whether very mild or severe), PTSD and some have thoughts of suicide.
The other exception is triangulation. For instance, a child is being triangulated and groomed by a grandparent to hate their parent. There is more danger of this happening in a home that has all three generations living in it. In this situation, the narcissistic disordered grandparent uses the child's parent as a scapegoat -- the 1st generation brainwashes the 3rd generation, and both 1st and 3rd gang-bully the 2nd generation person in the household -- very common.
Of course, most narcissists and sociopaths do not know that abuse is overwhelmingly multi-generational, being passed from parent to child, as they rarely go to therapy or read up on the subject, so they sometimes expose themselves to others who are much more educated (especially if the parent uses the "punishment" phrase when revealing why they don't see an adult child).
If you are under the age of 16, time-outs should be no longer in number of minutes than your age. Time-outs should never be used to inflict harm, only as a tool for cooling down and gathering your thoughts.
Sadistic time-outs are a sign of the silent treatment.
The silent treatment is an emotional bullying tactic. It is meant to make you suffer by showing you:
1. that your relationship between you doesn't matter 
2. that your feelings don't matter
3. that your thoughts don't matter
4. that your experiences don't matter
5. that you are dead to the person
6. it is designed to punish
7. it is vengeful parenting (revenge against children is often the sign of narcissistic or sociopath parents -- both types of parents still often practice child abuse long after childhood)
8. it is designed as a power and control weapon to get you to do what the parent wants
9. if practiced on a long term basis it is meant to damage you and disable you (i.e. to make you depressed and despondent -- if your parent also throws in a smear campaign against you or tries to keep you out of family events or dis-invite you, or threatens others in the family not to talk to you, in tandem with the silent treatment, it is even more of an indicator that your parent is a narcissist or a sociopath).
The silent treatment and forms of shunning are mostly practiced on scapegoats in a family.
Also see my more lengthy post on the silent treatment if this is happening to you.
The silent treatment is just as dangerous as physical abuse; around a quarter of children who receive long periods of the silent treatment with a smear campaign from a parent commit suicide.

They don't acknowledge or celebrate your important events
This usually goes in tandem with the silent treatment. They ignore your birthday, graduations, wedding, special awards, special ceremonies, births of your children, birthdays of your spouse and children, holidays you used to share together, and so on, especially when they are angry. They also don't acknowledge or offer help during surgeries, hospitalizations, births, funerals, etc.
In other words, they are conspicuously absent during important times.
As with the silent treatment, this is a passive-aggressive tactic made to make you feel unloved, worthless, not worthy of human kindness or decency.

"You are crazy" or "You are stupid" and other shaming statements:
Shaming is always categorized as abuse, especially if it went on during a great deal of your childhood.
There is absolutely no reason at all why a parent has to tell one of their children they are crazy. But all abusive parents target at least one of their children for the label (or they use psychiatric labels).
Shaming statements about your sanity, your ability to perceive things, being called stupid, being reprimanded over your interests and your choices about who to love, are, obviously, very harmful and hurtful to a child who is looking to parents for validation, love, respect and worthiness.  If these kinds of statements are said once or twice during your entire childhood, you probably still remember them. If your parent apologized for saying them once or twice during your childhood or adulthood, perhaps you can forgive and forget . However, if these kinds of shaming statements were said throughout your childhood, or off and on, they are definitely meant to harm you and hurt you -- they would definitely fall under the category of abuse (this is with or without an apology afterward -- see wheel of abuse).
The "you are crazy" statements are referred to as gaslighting by professional therapists. Gaslighting is so extremely common in all abusive relationships that it is practically a given (see next paragraph).
For more on other ways parents shame, go here.

They gaslight you:
Gaslighting is a lot like "You are crazy" statements, except they are meant to negate your experiences, feelings and thoughts.
For instance, say that your mother called you all kinds of names at 4:00 in the afternoon like "You're an albatross! You're worthless to me! Right now I could care less about you! And I don't want to hear all of your caterwauling crying either, so if you're going to do that, stay in your room with the door closed until dinner!" Two hours later at the dinner table your father notices that you are looking depressed, despondent and you aren't eating your food (by the way trauma, the fight-or-flight reaction, often manifests as a lack of hunger, no desire to eat). Perhaps your father asks why you aren't hungry, why your head is down and why you are pushing your food around your plate instead of eating it. Say that your answer is "I don't feel hungry" but your father is concerned. Say you blurt out that your mother called you an albatross and worthless and didn't care that you were left to cry in your room since four. Gaslighting would be if the mother said: "I would never call you an albatross! I would NEVER, EVER say that about my own child! I would also never say that you were worthless or just let you cry alone! You're absolutely crazy for saying that! What is the matter with you!?"
Gaslighting is so common in abusive families that you can go to a symposium with 200 other survivors and they were all taught to view themselves as crazy, and not to rely on their own experiences and perspectives for their sense of reality.
Gaslighting most often is accompanied by smear campaigns too, especially with other family members that you share in common. In other words, your abusive parent refers to you as crazy, insane, mentally deranged, mentally challenged, or puts psychological labels on you to infer that you are not worth listening to or relating to. This is a tactic to negate what you have to say, and to isolate you so that the abusive parent feels like they have total control over you without family interference or input.
Gaslighting is child abuse and can do a lot of damage to the psychological development and well-being of a child, and in some instances can cause brain damage. My own opinion is that because it is so prevalent in child abuse, and can have such a negative impact on a child, it should be illegal. There is no reason for a parent to refer to their child as crazy.
Also see my more lengthy post on gaslighting.

They insult you:
There are several types of insults including animal names, and other kinds of disparaging names meant to diminish a child's self worth (if animal names are used, it is to perceive the child as less than human).
Normally this kind of behavior breaks a relationship. But as a child, you are hostage to the situation and the labels your parents give you tend to work deep into your consciousness. On-going labeling and verbal abuse can cause severe PTSD in children, especially if these names and labels are used in anger and in conjunction with other types of abuse. A great deal of damage can happen as a result of parental labeling. Narcissist and sociopath parents take labeling to an extreme and rarely change the labels, even over decades. They often refer to their children in public as "the quiet one", "the crazy one", "the comedian" and so forth. That is because they are such control freaks that they put these children into roles at a young age, and try to reinforce the roles upon the children throughout a life time. More on roles from this post.
* Animal names include: albatross, sloth, pig, rat, snake, serpent, bitch, hog, cuckoo, dodo bird, weasel, vulture, black widow spider, scared-y cat, piss-ant, sly-as-a-fox, etc.
* Disparaging names include: stupid, waste, ugly, fat, dunce, worthless, evil, dweeb, dumb-bell, crazy, insane, inane, lazy, crazy-making, cookoo bird, silly, ridiculous, weird, senseless, simpleton, bad-ass, ornery, freak, drama queen, you're such a girl (if the child is a boy), cry-baby, boring, bothersome, bad, terrible, no good, baby, lover (when the child is talking to someone of the opposite sex), has cooties, brain-dead, challenged (especially in front of the child or as a means to hurt the child or reputation of the child), etc.
* Body part names and bodily excretion names include: ass, asshole, fucker, dick, cunt, little shit, little snot, snotty-nosed kid, little pisser, pecker-head, pussy, ass-kisser, bone-head, empty-headed -- never should be used on one's own children
* "Always and never" phrasing is also detrimental to children
* "I hate you", "I wish you were never born", "You're a total waste to me", "I wish you would run away and stay away forever", "I'm tired of you", "I never want to see your little face again", "You drive me crazy", "You are nothing to me", "You aren't mine, so go back to where you came from", "You should never have been born! You've been nothing but trouble since the day you were born!", "get your little ugly face away from me!" -- all very, very damaging to a child
* Comparing children with bad fairy tale characters is also detrimental. For instance, narcissistic mothers have been cited as loving the rhyme: "There once was a girl, who had a little curl right in the middle of her forehead. When she was good she was very, very good, but when she was bad, she was horrid." There is a reason why narcissists love to recite that rhyme to one of their children: one, narcissists tend to be black-and-white and rigid in their thinking and judgments (that role playing agenda again), and two, the rhyme is most likely about the narc parent, NOT the child (narcissists swing wildly between idealize and discard, and they use projection to describe other people). Note this rhyme is most often used on the scapegoat of a family (i.e. the most sensitive of the children whose feelings are more easily expressed and haven't totally shut down from the toxic parenting).

They terrorize you if you aren't doing things perfectly for them (or their views of what is perfect):
Narcissistic and sociopathic parents tend to think that their children exist for parental needs and desires. They don't see them as autonomous beings who need to find their own way in the world. So they see them as workers who will help them run their business or household, and to their standards of perfection.
While normal parents ask their children to do chores, they don't terrorize their children if their children refuse to do them. Terrorizing does not work anyway at motivating children (more on what motivates children in another post).
With narcissistic and sociopathic parents there is also an expectation of perfection in their child's deeds, looks and words, with the implication that the child will be severely punished if they don't uphold these demands at all times. Ever hear of the phrase, "You need to be punished for that look on your face?" Narcissistic and sociopathic parents use that tactic over and over again to inflict pain on their child and damage their child's self esteem (on purpose!). This is to get the child dependent on the parent's views of them.
See my post on perfectionism for a more in-depth discussion of this subject.

If you do things for them, they always nitpick about what you didn't do right, or what wasn't good enough, or how much more you owe them. They strategically withhold love, acceptance, praise and familial belonging
Nitpicking you about what you didn't do right is usually used with other forms of abuse. It is meant to shame you.
Most shamed children feel angry inside and actually perform worse for the parent. Some may endure until they grow up and have their own lives. Some go silent. The reaction, however, is never healthy for the child.
When parents throw IOUs at children, it can make the child feel shame as well, but they also inherently know that their parent possesses the resources and that a child can't, so that a "business relationship" or "business deal" can never be satisfactorily established because of the power imbalance. They inherently know that parental IOUs are unreasonable and meant to hurt them.
Narcissists typically expect to be able to have complete control over their child in return for parental love, acceptance, familial belonging and any semblance of kindness.
Sociopaths can, and do, often expect IOUs to be degrading: They expect their child to accept emotional, physical or sexual abuse, or prolonged periods of isolation/shunning, or complete parental control, in exchange for food, clothing and lodging, or any kindness at all.

When you were growing up, your toys and other belongings weren't really yours:
* An abusive parent breaks your toys on purpose, or gives your toys away to punish you, or in anger.
* The parent does not respect your ownership of your toys and other belongings and they don't ask permission to move them, destroy them, dispose of them, give them away, throw them out or to take them from you.
* They use toys as leverage for control or punishment.
* Projects or toys that you make or sew yourself are re-made by the parent without your permission, or tampered with. Or, if your parent does not like or approve of your creative projects, throws them away, or they go missing, or found destroyed, or used as leverage or punishment. Sometimes disordered abusive parents also take away tools (sewing kits, pencils, crayons, paint, paper, wood, nails, etc) in order to sanction you from making projects or toys they don't want, or that they judge not to be good enough, or that they do not approve of. Unless the projects or toys that you make are promoting bigotry and hate, there is no need for a parent to take charge of deciding what to do with your projects.
* Abusive homes also often have blatant favoritism happening in them, so in some abusive homes, the parent takes away the toys of one child and gives them to the favorite child. Also, favoritism is shown during gift-giving where you receive a card for your birthday and your sibling receives a birthday party, many gifts, a trip, etc. This is meant to hurt unfavored children, plain and simple. Belongings, and who has what, and maintaining an imbalance, is meant as a means of power and control, and to divide and conquer the siblings.
* Some parents sell their children's toys in yard sales to raise money for themselves without asking a child's permission.
* You didn't believe your toys were really yours; you believed your parents owned them, even if they gifted them to you initially.
* Your toys are used for IOUs and guilt-trips.
* Your parent gets clear satisfaction over your pain at ruining or giving away your toys.
If you experienced any of these situations more than just a couple of times over a couple of toys (and especially with some of the other signs in this post), then this is a red flag of child abuse. Normal parents respect personal property, even their child's.

If your abusive parent is divorced from your other parent, they disparage the other parent while aggrandizing themselves in stories
This is called Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) and it is a huge problem in this country. PAS usually means the narc or ASPD parent disparages his (or her) ex to the children, tries to "win" the children's loyalty for themselves. They are known to punish or blackmail a child who feels close to or loves the other parent.
In some parts of the USA, disparaging the other parent is illegal and can mean you lose custody (it is where I live). In other places in the country, free speech laws take precedence over PAS laws.
It is common for narcissistic and sociopathic parents to fight tooth and nail for custody of the children (because life to them is about them "winning" everything they can, not what is best for the children). However, after they have gained custody, it is common for them to feel burdened and bored with parenting (and neglectful of the children), so it is common for them to either ask you, the child, to leave, to live with the other parent -- even after they have told you so many "derision stories" about that other parent!
If you listen to them talk to their peers, they will always be talking about how the child's other parent was an awful, selfish parent, while referring to themselves as model parents.

They use erroneous blaming to justify punishments, shaming and retaliatory parenting.
The punishments are over something unsubstantiated and fallacious. They are also usually severe, the shaming seemingly endless and retaliatory (note: normal parents do not retaliate against their own children).
Erroneous blaming is:
"You need to be punished for that look on your face." -- very common
"I know who you are and what your attitude is, and you are not fooling me, so you are getting smacked whether you like it or not."
"I know what you are thinking! You think I'm a bad parent! Just for that here's this!" -- kicks the child in the kidneys really hard, knocking the kid on the floor.
"I hate you, and I hate that you were ever born! You're going to stay in this room until the day you die!"
"You think you are so great! Well, you're not! You are nobody! Got that? Nobody! No one likes you! You are a nobody and I'll spell it out for you because you're too stupid to spell: N-O-B-O-D-Y! If you're going to think you are great, then I'll cut you down to size every time! And you'll get it! You'll really get it! I'll take everything away from you so that you'll get it through your thick skull that you are no one, a big fat zero, and that no one cares! Get away from me now with your pathetic crying! You're disgusting!"
You get the idea ...
Go to my post on erroneous blaming and erroneous punishments for more information.

When you were growing up, your pets weren't really yours and were used as blackmail, or for torture, or used as weapons:
Torturing or killing pets to get a reaction from a child is more of a sociopathic trait (antisocial personality disorder) than a narcissistic trait.
However, using pets for blackmail is definitely in the realm of narcissistic parenting (though sociopaths are known to do it too).
A typical story I see in forums from survivors of sociopathic parents goes like this:
The children are being punished severely or sexually abused by the sociopathic parent. The sociopath brings home some little bunnies for the kids. The kids are taught by the non-sociopathic parent how to care for the bunnies, what food to feed them, how to handle them, and so on. The children become really involved and attached to the pet bunnies to the point where they are worried sick that something might happen to the bunnies. But the non-sociopathic parent assures them that the bunnies are safe.
One evening their sociopathic parent goes ballistic over dinner, or over the chatter at the table, insults everyone, leaving everyone in the family crying.
The next morning, the sociopathic parent gathers the kids and brings them out to the bunny cages. All of the bunnies are dead. He laughs at seeing his children distraught.
Here is a typical story of blackmail over pets:
The narcissist does not want their child going to see their other parent (custody arrangement), or on a vacation trip, or a sleep-over with a child friend. It can be anything the parent is trying to keep his child from doing.
The parent tells the child if he or she goes away on the trip, or on the custody visit, or what ever it is, the pet will not be fed or cared for. "Don't be surprised if when you return home that your pet is dead from your lack of care! That pet is your responsibility, not mine! If you insist on being irresponsible, deal with the consequences!"
These are just some instances. Pets are used as pawns to get children to trauma bond with their disordered parent.

They compare you negatively to others, or to your own siblings
Normal parents appreciate all of their children and try to make things as fair as possible. They see the drawback for themselves of spoiling one child and scapegoating another. They also do not like to hurt their children. They want their children to be able to work together, to compromise, to be kind to one another, so that the family can rally together to take care of each other, the parents in old age, or one of the children, or one of the grandchildren, in the case of illness or strife. They abhor a family divided.
Narcissistic and sociopathic parents go out of their way to produce a divided family by insisting on their children being sycophants competing for the parent's or grandparent's love (the most fawning child is rewarded). If children are deemed to not be enough of a sycophant, they are derided and rejected, sometimes by the entire family (to get them back in line). This eventually produces a favored golden child and an un-favored scapegoat within the family unit. If the golden is used by the parent to discipline, hit, abuse, deride or gang-bully a family scapegoat, the golden child is likely to turn into another abusive narcissist (or lying sociopath). The bullying by both the parent and the favorite child will mean that scapegoats will leave the family, and the parent will only have one child left in their old age (very common). This eventually becomes a problem for the parent, something normal parents would be able to forsee as undesirable, but which disordered parents cannot see because they act on impulse, entitlement and anger.

After they discard you, they try to hoover you back to avoid social derision or fall-out
Believe it or not, a lot of narcissists and sociopaths become exposed no matter how much they try to blame-shift and explain things away. The simple explanation for why family bullies are exposed is that bullying means they have to talk. Bullying does not exist in a silent vacuum. The typical ways they are exposed is being over-heard. Their own children often expose them too, because they grew up seeing and hearing abuse. Usually it is the scapegoat who does the exposing (and that is why he is called "the crazy one"), or it is a group of scapegoats. One of the reasons it ends up to be a "group" eventually is because when one scapegoat leaves (and no one knows what is happening to him), someone else in the family is put into the role of scapegoat next, whether that is an in-law, or a grandchild, or a step-sibling, or just another sibling. A family with scapegoats becomes a chorus of voices.
At any rate, bullies also don't have just one victim; they have several, even if they only try to target or destroy one person at a time. In other words, bullying is done for bullying's sake, to arm-twist and to feel they are in the superior position.
The problem with a life time of bullying is that it means going from one person, to the next, to the next, to the next, and leaving behind victims. It's the never-ending search for narcissistic supply (the search for an ultimate live marionette/sycophant who will do exactly as the bully wants, at all times -- an impossible ideal).
So, in order to avoid exposure, or if they have been exposed, by you or one of their other victims, they will usually try to hoover you or someone else back into the fold of the family with sweet talk and gifts.

They scapegoat one of their children
If they have a child that they continually blame for all of the family's troubles, or if they say they are estranged from one of their children, this is a definite sign that they are abusive parents. The exceptions are a child who has a severe addiction or a child who is often incarcerated. Sometimes parents of children who have a severe mental illness can be estranged from children, however realize that most parents are heavily involved in their child's or adult child's treatments for mental health disorders (in other words, it is not common at all for parents to ostracize a child who has a real mental health problem).
Also be aware that many abusive parents use a tactic to make themselves appear infallible (to appear as un-abusive parents) and make up "psychological disorders" for the purpose of gaslighting their children, and pretending to their friends that they are victims of their insane children.
Scapegoats of a family are most often gaslit and treated in this way.
If someone is always deemed to be at fault in the family, it is a sign that the family is continually scapegoating the member. When you find a scapegoat in a family, you usually find abusive parents behind it.

They play favorites with their children
Rampant favoritism is always a sign of narcissistic and sociopathic parenting. These kinds of parents also tend to be highly abusive parents.
The favorite child is either groomed to be an ultra-empath or another bully.
The ultra-empath golden is groomed to take care of Mom or Dad's every ache and pain, to have the same interests and perspectives, to help with Mom or Dad's career, and to either live very close by, or live in the same house as the Mom or Dad. In other words, they are brought up to be caretakers and to sacrifice their own dreams and autonomy to be at the parent's every beck and call. While many of these siblings end up feeling "better than" and more entitled than their other siblings, they are not allowed to bully or discipline those siblings, or even let on that they are "the favorite" (without being reprimanded by the parent for having a "high and mighty attitude"). Roughly half of goldens are brought up this way.
The other half are the bully golden children. The bully golden child repeats the parent's attitudes and is complicit in bullying the sibling who is the present family scapegoat (assigned by the parent). The parent grooms the bully golden to look at his sibling as "less than" himself, and as "crazy" (see gaslighting). The parent looks to the golden as someone who will help in disciplining , "setting an example" and getting the family scapegoat, the family lost child and the family mascot "back on track". So the bully golden becomes part of the parental disciplinary team. Because he has "the okay" to dominate his siblings in the way he wants, sibling abuse is almost a given in these situations.
It is further enabled because his siblings are also always expected to apologize to the golden, just as they are expected to do with the parents, even when the golden is highly abusive.
Bully golden children are at high risk for alcoholism or drug addiction, and they are often criminal or in high stakes activities. They feel they can "never mess up", or "get caught", or will always be perceived to "do no wrong", thus they take wild chances with their health, and with gambling their lives and fortunes. They also usually take the bullying into other relationships (abuse their own children) when they grow up. They are often swaggering, cavalier, charming, deride people in a humorous way and are pathologically dishonest and hurtful to those who they deem to be "under them" or "less than them", which often includes their own children. Indeed, they often have full blown narcissistic personality disorder or antisocial personality disorder.
See my post, favoritism in the family for a more in-depth post on how the narcissistic parent and bully golden child effects the entire family.
There will be another more in-depth post about the two types of golden children.

They infantilize you
This is so extremely common in abusive families that it is a given.
Some signs of infantilization include:
* baby talks when you are not in the baby or toddler stage
* condescends you, even when you are an adult
* when you are an adult, talks endlessly about what you were like growing up
* treats you physically as if you were still a child: kisses you on the lips, or has you sit in their lap, or pulls you by the hand to go to the kitchen to chop vegetables, or cuddles you, or cradles you, or rubs you on the head, or gives you a pat on your ass.
* talks about you to others as if you are still a child -- as unable to take care of yourself or unable to protect yourself in the "big bad world". This can and does graduate to your parent treating you as though you are too disabled, too stupid, or too crazy (gaslighting again) to take care of yourself or to make your own autonomous decisions.
* coaches you when you are an adult on how to talk to their friends, their parents, or other adults they know
* punishes you, or isolates you from the rest of the family when you are an adult as though you are a "bad girl" or "bad boy" -- i.e. still a child.
* expects your siblings to treat you like a child when you are an adult (i.e. condescend you, lecture you, punish you, arm-twist you, give you unsolicited advice, teach you -- in other words, to view you as a child instead of as an autonomous adult)
* tells you that you can't get married, or that you shouldn't get married, or that you don't need to get married (all are also signs of control). If you do get married, has a fit: doesn't show up at the wedding or makes a scene at the wedding (very common), doesn't recognize your wedding with gifts, congratulations or affection, doesn't acknowledge your spouse and family (inlaws) as part of their family, makes their adult child feel guilty for getting married, tells their adult child they will not get anything from the last will and testament if they get married, tells their adult child they will be disowned until they get a divorce, etc.
* tells you that you can't get a job, or tries to keep you from a certain kind of career, or tries to keep you from advancing in your line of work, or tells you that you need to "come home" right after work (when you are an adult), or tries to keep you from going to college, or tries to keep you from working for anyone but them, or their company, calls you every day on the phone to distract you, etc.
* tries to make you cry or make you hurt (getting you to cry is a victory for parents who are narcissists or sociopaths; it is a sign that you are back to your infant stage of crying). It also shows them that they have the power to effect you emotionally.
* decides what kind of job you will do, what the hours will be, what kind of career you will have, etc. Tends to pick jobs and careers for you which will keep you dependent or co-dependent on them.
* decides when you are going to baby sit their children (i.e. your siblings).Tries to keep you and arm-twist you into the role of babysitter even when you are over 18 years of age.
* pretends that you are their under-age child who they can lecture, give unsolicited advice to, punish, control, arm-twist, blackmail and terrorize into doing things for them. Infantilization includes trying to get you into a dependent, co-dependent or trauma-bonded role, and it usually includes giving you money (fully supporting you, or partially supporting you, or insisting you live with them under the guise that they will take care of you -- as though you are still a child). Infantilization is mostly practiced in tandem with parentification; i.e. the parent tries to get you dependent on them in some way for the purpose of controlling you and getting you to take care of all of their needs, wants, desires, demands, etc, in the guise of taking care of you as an adult as if you are their non-grown-up child.
* gives you gifts when you are an adult which are more appropriate for a child than an adult.
* Note: the golden child tends to be infantilized more than the scapegoat, but both are controlled by rewards and punishments for how much they go along with infanilization and parentification. The golden child tends to be rewarded for doing exactly what Mommy or Daddy tell them to do (even when the child is forty), and the scapegoat is unrewarded, cast aside, reprimanded and punished for not doing, to exact proportions, what Mommy or Daddy tell them to do (again, even when the child is forty). However, since these roles tend to be decided by Mommy or Daddy for life during the child's toddler stage, even when the scapegoat is working very hard, and the golden child is acting entitled and doing as little as possible, the scapegoat is still likely to be blamed and punished and the golden child is likely to be rewarded. This is because narcissists and sociopaths tend to see things in black and white terms (splitting), their opinions never change, and they use perspecticide to keep their opinions and beliefs about people fixed and intact, i.e. in their black and white thinking mode forever. In other words, they live in a fantasy world of their own making and manipulate people to adhere to their fantasies of roles.
For more on infantilization see this Psych Central Article by Rachel Lee.

They parentify you
This means  they groom you to be a parent for them.
They groom you continually take care of their needs, to be sensitive to their feelings, to babysit their kids, to cook, clean and care for their children, to discipline and punish their kids, and for you to parent them: i.e. to cook, clean, and help your parents with school or work assignments. You may be changing your sibling's diapers more than they are changing them.
While normal parents expect children to perform some chores around the household, disordered parents can expect children to be slaves who parent them.
Some other signs of parentification:
* They consistently cannot make up their mind, so ask you for your opinions.
* They talk about their sex lives and sexual experiences with their children, and ask for advice about their sex lives.
* They give you alcoholic beverages or supply you with marijuana on a consistent basis when you are under eighteen years of age
* They let you have an affair with an older married man (for instance) when you are still under eighteen years of age
* They talk about their extramarital affairs with their children and ask advice as to who they should be with (even when your two parents are still married) -- it happens.
* They talk about the problems they are having with your other parent consistently (even normal parents who have been wounded by your other parent do this sometimes, so it is not just abusive parents who do this ... However, abusive parents will aggrandize themselves in stories while putting the other parent down, something that normal parents rarely, if ever, do).
* They expect you to be loyal to them while sacrificing your relationship with your other parent
* They expect you to hold them in higher esteem than your other parent (this sometimes goes further into expecting you to tell others that they are the better, more generous, more loving parent -- this is because narcissists and sociopaths are in perpetual competition with everyone they meet)
* They expect chores from you that would typically be for an adult
* They tell you to drive on public roads when you are too young to have a license or driver's permit
* They expect you to operate dangerous machinery that is typically meant for adults only
* They expect you to do dangerous duties for them, putting yourself in harm's way, so that if something happens to you, their lives will be spared
* They expect you to give up other relationships and put them first
* They expect you to give up caretaking of others (such as your spouse or child) to care for them
* They expect you to take care of them in old age and reward and punish in order to get you into that role, starting at a very young age
* They expect you to care about their feelings, while they make constant excuses to not care about your feelings (and in fact, it is obvious that they do not care about your feelings at all if you have abusive parents)
* They expect you to care about their thoughts, while making it clear that they do not care about your thoughts, learning experiences and beliefs.
* They try to talk you out of anything that is an autonomous decision. If you do make an autonomous decision, they shame you or punish you.
* They insist that you don't get married, or that you don't need to get married (i.e. they try to control you so that you are not autonomous from them, or having children of your own, and are serving them).
* They infantilize you first to keep you at home for their entire lives in order that you will take care of them later in life (infantilization turning into parentification: this actually does not happen in the way they want it to).
* They expect you to be a parent figure for your siblings
* As an adult, they compare you negatively to your siblings, and use cartoon characters or children's book stories to explain why you are "less than" your sibling as a way to get you to do more for them (i.e. to get you into a parentifying state of mind).
* If you are not in service to your parents in the way that they want and like (i.e. they expect perfectionism from you in deeds, looks and thoughts), you are either ostracized, degraded, demeaned, insulted or some other threat or sanction.
Parentification is typical in alcoholic homes where the parents are so inebriated that they put unreasonable and inappropriate demands on children that are not fitting for their age or development.
On the other hand, narcissists and sociopaths groom children too, but the difference is that children are inappropriately controlled by the parent figure. They also expect children to walk on eggshells around parental rages and disapprovals (which either manifest as shouting and threats with verbal abuse, or passive aggressive shaming with tactics like the silent treatment -- both are bullying tactics).
Both styles of parenting are detrimental to the well being of the child.
Abusive parents often punish you if you cannot be parentified, or are unwilling to be parentified.
Note: parents who parentify their children often infantilize them first (or use parentification in tandem with infantilization).

They try to sanction you or blackmail you if you do not go along with their false narratives
A false narrative is rewriting history, retelling history in such a way that it is false, retelling events in such a way where they are heroes (when the opposite is true), retelling events that "protects" their image. In other words, it is falsifying for the sake of an agenda.
Narcissists and sociopaths tend to spin a lot of false narratives and try to pass them off as the truth with all kinds of explanations, defenses and word salad.
Child AND adult "punishments" tend to be severe if you do not go along with the parental false narrative. The severity of the sanction or "punishment" depends on where they are on the spectrum of their Cluster B disorder. Borderlines tend to be on the milder side, narcissists tend to be in the mid-range and sociopaths (antisocial personality disorder) tend to be on the extreme side.
In other words, the sanctions and "punishments" will be more severe if your parent is a sociopath than a borderline.
Narcissists tend to develop a fixed narrative about their children when their children are pre-verbal. Children of narcissists tend to be put into roles, including a scapegoat role and a golden child role. These roles do not change because the parent decides very early on who of the children is ALWAYS right, and who of the children is ALWAYS wrong (based upon the narc parent's own black and white thinking). In other words the black and white rigid thinking determines how the children are to be treated and disciplined.
Sociopaths do the same thing except to more of an extreme. Their "punishments" also tend towards the illegal too. If you listen to them carefully, most sociopaths have at least the fantasies (if not the actual carry-through) of torturing children and adult children with false imprisonment, tying someone up, tying someone's hands behind their back, tying them to a post, leaving their child in a locked room with only a blanket and a bucket to pee in (a real live case I have been following and made a comment on), of wanting their child to be destitute or homeless, or locking them up somewhere, anywhere, where their child is a virtual prisoner.
The false narrative exists because narcissistic parents care about their reputations more than anything else in the world, and will do just about anything to protect their reputations (so that they can garner narcissistic supply from unsuspecting moral or high society people). Sociopaths care about getting away with cruel acts without being detected or held accountable.
They are unwilling to change their false narratives (and threaten, sanction and punish) in order to keep the false narratives from being changed.
Some examples of false narratives with "punishments":
* A young girl is molested by her uncle. Her mother who is the sister to the uncle believes her daughter is evil (and probably assigned a scapegoat role). The mother's false narrative is that the molestation never happened, that her daughter is making it up to get attention, except eventually it becomes clear, after years, that she is not making it up. That is because a video surfaces. In order for the mother not to ruin her own reputation at being wrong, she tells her daughter over and over again that her daughter caused the molestation. In addition, the daughter is "punished" by locking her in a room for "being evil" and "sexualizing herself towards MY own brother"! This is mainly to done to keep the daughter quiet about the abuse too, so as not to wreck the mother's reputation. Do you think this doesn't happen? The forums for survivors of child abuse are full of these stories.
* A young girl is beaten repeatedly by her brother. When brother or sister ask for the parent to intervene, the girl is punished because "We brought him up to be nice. Why would you ever say that about your brother? He would never do that to you! So you must be at fault!" The girl is punished by being sent to her room. If she protests the "wise parent's" decision, her toys are either broken, thrown away, given away, or given to her brother. This is a typical scapegoating situation that happens to just about all scapegoated abused children brought up by narcissists.

They try to isolate you from the family, or they try to keep you from forming attachments with other family members or they have "issues" with the idea of you being attached to people besides them (including getting married)
Since narcissists are very insecure and manipulative, they don't enjoy your attachments to others, and they certainly do not want you making decisions on your own about who you will attach yourself to (they are control freaks, and often want to know about every conversation, every detail of your love life in order to feel indispensable to you as "the expert adviser" on every aspect of your relationship(s) ... and, when their advice is not taken, or when they feel upstaged, then they generally try to retaliate).
One of the relationships that almost all narcissists try to effect is the sibling relationship. Many siblings from abusive narcissistic homes become estranged, whereas from normal families they are very close, often closer to each other than to their common parents. There are many reasons why the sibling relationship is destroyed in narcissistic families: favoritism, roles, triangulation, gossiping about one peer to the other in a derisive way, gang bullying (scapegoating) and enmeshment with one of the siblings (the parent putting preference on the parent/child relationship rather than the sibling relationship -- see my post on Jon Benet Ramsey's story). They also are known to tell one sibling that if he or she contacts the other sibling, then they will destroy the relationship between them (i.e. between the parent and their child ... the child, therefore, is pressured to choose between the parents and his sibling).
I have been on enough survivor forums over the years to notice that anyone with a narcissistic mother has a nightmare wedding (for the most part). The narc mother either wants to meddle in their child's wedding, or they have a snit and do not attend, or give "poison presents", or get wildly drunk, or show up with a wild "costume" to bring attention on themselves, or insist on controlling the guest list, or mouth off many threats and verbal abuses -- all to upstage their child's wedding. Weddings seem, especially, to set off narcissists, and never in a good way. Some survivors have seen their siblings' weddings destroyed first, and decide not to invite their narc Mom to theirs. This, of course, sets off another torrent of smear campaigns, silent treatments, guilt trips, and shaming sessions. I asked a self-proclaimed narcissist in this interview (at the end) about why narcissists love to ruin their child's wedding. His brief explanation was: "They can't stand their child belonging to someone else. They thought the child was all theirs." Whether you invite your narc Mom to your wedding, or not, there seems to be no way of having a wedding that is peaceful and joyous.

They run smear campaigns against you or one of your siblings
Smear campaigns are covered in this post.
If there are silent treatments, retaliatory parenting, and many other signs of abusive parenting, expect the smear campaign to be used on you, and for you to be dis-invited to family events or not invited at all.

They are physically abusive
Abusive fathers usually shove, throw and punch.
Abusive mothers usually slap or smack (mostly across the face or head).
In the 1930s - 1960s, some mothers and fathers asked their child to cut off a switch from a tree so that the parent could use the switch for whipping and beating the child. Today it is not so common because parents risk losing their children to social services and foster families (it was regarded as extreme child abuse by the 1970s and 1980s).
Laws are still being refined, and they depend on your country.
Generally, in the USA, depending on the state and county, any kind of physical abuse that leaves a mark, redness or black and blue on the skin is regarded as physical abuse and the parent is at risk of losing the child.
However, because abuse is a pattern of behavior, being hit often, or slapped often, is a sign of physical abuse. The parents are not working things out with their children, so resort to some form of violence as a means of control.
Great Britain has much better child abuse laws than the USA at the present time.
Even so, the going trend among psychologists and therapists in the USA is that there is no reason why children should be hit or spanked at all, that it often does more damage than good. Here is one take on it from Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC & C.R. Zwolinski.

They are either sexually abusive, or they didn't respond to sexual abuse in a way that would keep you safe from harm (i.e. they do not react appropriately if you are sexually abused or raped: their attitudes are lax)
If your parent's attitude is lax or neglectful over you getting raped or sexually abused, this is another sign of narcissistic or sociopathic parenting. Sometimes alcoholic parents do not respond appropriately to traumatic events like this either (this is because their main concern is drinking ... they are also forgetful from black-outs).
If you were under the age of 18 and your parents knew of you being sexually abused, what kinds of steps did they take to keep you safe, to keep other children safe, and to make the offender accountable? Note: normal parents talk to a police investigator.
If you were over the age of 18 at the time of a sexual assault or rape, how did your parent react? Did they try to help you, or did they blame you for your choice of clothes, for how you looked? Did they blame your other parent? Did they say things like "You had it coming!" or "That was your (other parent's) responsibility"? Did they try to get you help in the way of counseling, gynecological care, police involvement? Or did they, in their self aggrandized way, insist that you were safe because they tried to make sure you were safe (even when it did not work in providing safety).
Or were they neglectful? For instance, did they tell you that you should work it out on your own, that they are sorry but they booked a flight to a resort and they can only deal with it when they get back, or "it's your problem to deal with"?
Lack of concern, lack of empathy, putting the blame on others, making a child feel responsible for the abuse done to them, is a definite sign of abusive or neglectful parenting.

Your parent puts on a mask in public and pretends to love, care for, and admire his or her children when it is clear they do not in private
Narcissistic and sociopathic parents have their public face and their private face and they drastically differ. The only time they might not differ is when their child or spouse is in the public eye, so the public face is worn a little more often to avoid being exposed and derided.
In forums for survivors it is not uncommon to hear the following story (which is often referred to as "the bitch switch", for lack of a better term, in those forums):
A mother takes her daughter to a public event. On the way to the event she tells her daughter, "I wish you were never born!", "I hate your guts!", "I wish someday you would just decide to jump in a river and drown and do all of us a favor!", "I can't stand the sight of you!" Then when they get to the event the mother switches it all off in front of an audience and says the exact opposite: "My daughter is so talented!", "We love our daughter! We adore her! We love her just the way she is!", "Yes, she's exceptional! Thank you! And I'm sure she appreciates all of the attention too", and so on. Thus the term "bitch switch".
This is just one instance of the drastic changes from private face to public face which most narcissists and sociopaths do.
It is a Jekyll and Hyde thing.

Rejects you or has a tantrum at the worst time of your life (perhaps to try to form a trauma bond with you)
Narcissists and sociopaths tend to terrorize their children when they are on their knees with tragedies or life altering events such as being diagnosed with a terminal illness or the death of a close family member.
Narcissists primarily use it in order to get attention on them instead of on the issue you are dealing with (because most of them are pathologically envious of anything that takes your attention away from them). They also do it to try to leverage even more control than they had before (trauma bonding again). They may assume that the child might or will need some sort of help, so they reject or insult the child to see if the child will still run after them. If the child runs after them, then they  feel they can comfortably call the shots in the relationship (i.e. gain more power and control).
Some narcissists become frightened of their child's needs (because they are so self centered and are not good at maintaining a healthy relationship), so they reject their child on that basis.
Many narcissists take off  and abandon after the child makes a suicide attempt, or is going through major surgery, or is diagnosed with cancer, or is traumatized by the death of the other parent or their child. Trauma bonding basically boils down to "I can treat you as badly as I want to because you need something from me." Ultimately it poisons the relationship even if, in the short term, the narcissist gets what he wants from the situation initially. Trauma bonding is a relationship killer.
In other words, trauma bonding is a relationship with a parent where a power imbalance is in place, and the narcissist uses the power he or she possesses to wield over their child to gain more and more control over his or her child. It is meant, in the end, to get the child to bend to the will of the parent over any degradation. It often doesn't work in the way the narcissistic or sociopathic parent wanted because the child will remember the pain first, and how the parent responded to the pain. Minimal caring is given in trauma bonding, and only after the narcissistic parent has his or her needs met first. There is also a constant threat that love and empathy will be withdrawn at any time, and at any moment, during the child's traumatic time.
Sociopaths, on the other hand, love to see their child's heart break after a traumatic event because they are sadists. They will find some excuse for why they withdrew from their child at such a time. Since they are devoid of empathy, and love to extort, they become energized at the thought of causing pain to their child. They also use the opportunity to try to extort IOUs, especially during their child's most traumatic experiences. "She (or he) had it coming to them" kinds of statements, smear campaigns to make it look like the child is making up the tragedy or illness, and trying to make their child focus on what is owed to the parent rather than on what the child is enduring, becomes the sociopath's agenda. Trying to get a further rise out of their children (anger, grief) is typical sociopathic behavior.

They practice some or all of the abuses above with or without apologizing
... they paint themselves as all good and you (or one of your siblings) as all bad in their family stories. Narcissists and sociopaths rarely apologize unless they feel they absolutely have to, to save face. Notice I said "to save face".
Some of the other reasons for apologies are:
* to see if you can be conned into another round of idealize, devalue and discard
* to see if you will take them back after they have treated you horribly (to see how far they can abuse you and still be forgiven by you)
* to spy on you to see how much destruction they have caused to you and your life
* to get their grandchildren back (to triangulate with in order to abuse you through your own children -- yes, it happens frequently)
* to get a sense if their threats against you are working to keep you quiet about the abuse, or to re-mediate the situation before you expose them
* to use it as a Trojan Horse (i.e. to retaliate against you in the guise of feeling sorry and wanting to love you again)
* to see what your reactions are, to get attention from you
* to see if they can talk you into things the way they used to do
* to see if they are able to control you, how much they can control you, what kinds of control they can exert on you again, to see if there is anything left that they can control in your life.
* to see if you will accept any of their abuse, or excuses for abuse

They have ostracized you or given you the silent treatment, but grill other family members about how you are doing in the guise of caring about you
This is typical behavior of abusive parents. They do go on and on and on to others about how much they love you and value you, and that they want to make sure that you are okay (in the guise that they care so much about you). But most often it is to send in family spies that they can grill for information about you and finding out about the extent of the damage they did to you, to your psychological well being, and to your life.
Don't be a flying monkey to a parent who is estranged from his or her child! If they want to know what is going on with their child, make them responsible for finding out!
If the parent has been served with a restraining order, there are reasons why offering information should be off-limits.

They seem like they expect you to think that abuse is perfectly normal and that you should take it without complaint
This is called normalizing.
Narcissists and sociopaths always try to place the blame on others when things go wrong, which is the precursor to abuse.
That means that there will always be a lot of injustice in homes headed by a narcissist or sociopath. Since they decide where blame and punishment should go (often over very little or no evidence), it means that their child will be burdened with a lot of injustice and trauma.
Phrases where abuse is normalized:
* If it is between siblings: "He didn't hurt you; you hurt him!" -- this phrase should never be used, and unless a parent has ironclad proof, it will cause trauma to the child who has gone to the parent for protection.
* "I know you! You're always at fault! You are the trouble-maker!" -- this is a typical scapegoating phrase where the scapegoat is expected to endure abuse because the parents have deemed the character of the child to be bad -- so wrong.
* "You had it coming from goading him!" The child answers, "But I didn't goad him! He's getting out of control with the punching and threats!" Parent answers "I don't want to hear any more of it!" or "I don't want to hear any more of your problems!" -- again, this just helps the out-of-control person hitting the child escalate abuse. The parent is also condoning the abuse with the phrase "You had it coming ..." Abuse should never be justified under any circumstance at all.
* "If you can't behave yourself, you deserve it!" -- similar to the one above.
* "I can't believe she is so violent! What did you do to deserve it?"
* "Siblings always fight!" -- not an excuse for abuse -- so wrong.
* "Your getting hit is not my problem to deal with! It's yours!"
* "If you can't grin and bear it, maybe you need to get out of the family!"
* "I'm not going to hear about your uncle sexually abusing you! You have no right to say that! You need to apologize to him NOW!"
* "You're a bad child! You deserve to be hit!", or isolated, or given the silent treatment, or any other form of abuse that is about arm-twisting the child to accept bullying and abuse because of a demeaning, false, parental label (unless children have been mercilessly abused by a parent, they want to please a parent).
* "No one likes you! I, personally can't stand the sight of you! And I'm certainly not going to stand around listening to you talk about how you have been abused!" -- very damaging!
For more on this subject, see my post, Forgiving abusers: the "You're better than that" family culture that expects victims of familial abuse to make up with their abuser

When you were under the age of 12, did you think about suicide or running away with any consistency? Did you cry a lot, were you depressed or anxious a lot? Did you under-perform in school?
How did your parents react? With concern or without concern?

Thinking about or talking about suicide:
If your parent reacted with concern, brought you to a mental health practitioner, asked what they could do to make your life and state of mind better (without any of the other abusive signs above), then this is normal parenting.
If they were flippant or unconcerned, then this is generally termed child neglect.
Some of the phrases abusive parents use when their child talks about suicide:
"Good! Then I don't have to take care of YOU any more!"
"Bwahahahaha! You would never do that! I know a liar when I see one!"
"Good! Then I don't have to see your little face again, or hear you caterwauling!"
"I don't care how you feel! If you don't like it, lump it!"
"If you kill yourself, I'm not going to be sorry about it! I'm not going to suffer at all! But you will! You'll burn in Hell forever!"
"Bwahahaha! What are you going to do? Put a bag over your little ugly face and kiss your ass goodbye?"
Any phrase that shows a lack of empathy for your plight.
Thinking about or talking about running away:
If your parent reacted with concern, asked you to talk about why you want to run away, what is turning your feelings and thoughts towards leaving home and putting yourself at risk of the elements (without any of the other abusive signs above), then this is normal parenting.
If they were flippant or unconcerned, then again, this is a sign of child neglect.
Some of the phrases abusive parents use when their child talks about running away:
"Bwahahaha! Don't forget your toothbrush and some P.J.s!"
"Good! Why don't you run far, far away? Let the bears eat you for all I care!"
"Good! I can't stand the sight of you any way!"
"Maybe you need to run away just so you know that you have good parents!"
"How dare you say that after all I have done for you! If you run away, you'll be confined to your room for months! And you won't be allowed out for any reason! Don't say I didn't warn you!"
"I could care less what you do! Don't talk to me about it!"
Any phrase that shows a lack of empathy for your plight.
You cried or were depressed a lot: 
Normal parents know that a child crying a lot, or who is withdrawn and depressed a lot, is not a normal way for a child to behave, and will try to get to the bottom of it. If they promise the child comfort (especially if they do not have any of the abusive traits and signs above and can gain the child's trust), they can usually get to the bottom of what is bothering the child, they can also get relief for the pain that their child is enduring.
Disordered parents, however, are so self involved that they put the blame for the crying on the child: "My child is always depressed. That's just the way he (or she) is", or "My child cries a lot. And she (or he) drives me nuts with it. But what can I do? I just have to endure it until he (or she) calms down."
One of the reasons why depressed and sad children cannot talk to a disordered parent is because disordered parents twist events and feelings. Sometimes they make their children feel guilty if they were a victim of abuse by a family member or bullying at school. This, of course, makes a child feel much worse, so the parent will have a child who cannot talk about why he or she is sad or crying. This is also a sign of child neglect.
Children who cry in a grocery store when Mom or Dad won't buy them a toy is one thing. Children who cry by themselves in their room is another thing.
Typical non-empathetic phrasing from narcissistic and sociopathic parents include:
"Stop your caterwauling! I don't want to hear about it! Grow up!"
"If you cry one more time, you're going to get it!"
"Okay, I've heard about enough crying out of you! If you're going to keep crying like that, then you'll be punished! Is that what you want?!"
"I really don't care! I don't care! You have nothing to gain from all of this crying! Shut up!!!"
"If you keep crying, I'll give you something to REALLY  cry about!"
"If you can't stop crying, you won't be coming with the family to the amusement park and the ice cream parlor afterward! You can stay home all day and all night and keep crying!"
"Shut the hell up! Don't you have any consideration for the rest of us! Just stop crying NOW!"
"You'll do anything to ruin the peace around here, won't you!?"
"You wanna cry? I killed your kitten! Now you really have something to cry about!" -- more likely with sociopathic parents
You were anxious, spacey or preoccupied in school to the point where you had learning disabilities:
This is a sign of childhood PTSD (or C-PTSD), which is what children who are exposed to abuse or trauma-related episodes go through. It is called amygdala hijacking. You cannot learn when your brain is in fight or flight mode, frozen from fear, or preoccupied with keeping safe.
Typical non-empathetic phrasing from narcissistic and sociopathic parents include:
"You really are stupid!"
"If you can't pass your tests, you're going to stay back another grade! Is that what you WANT?"
"You're an embarrassment! Such a stupid kid!"
"How come all of your sisters and brothers can do well in school and you can't?"
"What's the matter with you!? I helped you study for that test, and now you're showing me a D? I have had it up to here! Do you hear? I just give up on you! You didn't even try and this grade shows it! I guess you'll never amount to anything!"
"I'm so disgusted with you! If you're going to be stupid, you'll just work at Wooly-bear-marts in the toy section for the rest of your life!"
"No one likes you! You're just stupid!"
"Retard! Weirdo!"

They let you be abused, or they excuse the abuse, or they punish you or ostracize you if you are abused by a family member
Note: this part of the post will have a lot of similarities and redundancies to "the false narrative" part of the post above.
When you take a look at survivor forums, it is quite common to be ostracized when you are the victim of the abuse of a family member.
For instance we'll take the classic story that shows up in forum after forum:
Let us say you have an alcoholic Dad or stepdad or uncle who is sneaking into your bedroom some nights, really drunk, and demanding sex (incest). You tell your narcissistic Mom, hoping she will protect you, but instead of focusing on how traumatic this is for you, she doesn't want to hear another word and demands you apologize right away to her and to your Dad or stepdad. She also states: "How dare you insinuate that about your own father (or stepfather)! You little tramp! Maybe you were trying to seduce him!"
Narcissistic Moms make snap judgments without research, they think people lie about sexual abuse (because many of them lie and pretend to be victims themselves: it is projection on their part).
Many of these situations end up where parent and child are totally estranged. If the estrangement does not come right away, it usually does when the survivor has her (or his) own children and doesn't want those children exposed to the "condoned family practice of incest".
One of the reasons why narcissists DO get married to incestuous or child abusing men is because sociopaths and other cluster B personality disordered people are attracted to each other. They lie for each other; they work in tandem to punish other adults; they extort together.
The other common one is golden child abuse (note half of golden children become ultra-empaths; the other half become bullies):
Let us say that your parent consistently favors one of your siblings. They use one of your siblings to discipline the other siblings, or gang up on you. If you do something they deem "not perfect enough", or express emotion for being hurt, you are punished, and the golden child is told not to let you out of your room, or some other sanction. In other words, your sibling is used to discipline you, becoming another "parental figure." Obviously this will cause sibling estrangement (it is a divide and conquer strategy from the parent because narcissistic and sociopathic parents do not want their children to be close; they want them competing for parental love).
The other golden child abuse goes like this:
The golden child constantly beats up the scapegoat of the family. When the scapegoat complains or cries, he (or she) gets further abuse from the parent because the parent has deemed the scapegoat to be showing up the bad parenting. They deem the scapegoat to always be wrong, and the golden child to always be right in every altercation between the two children. So the victimization of the scapegoat goes unchecked. The black and white thinking of the parent is called splitting and is typical of narcissists and sociopaths and NOT typical at all of normal parents.
The reason why these situations happen so readily in a family headed by a narcissist is because narcissists primarily live for themselves. Their reputations come absolutely first and front-center. They don't care who is being hurt so long as it does not touch their reputation.
The reason why these situations happen in a family headed by a sociopath is because sociopaths live to punish others, as they get satisfaction from it, even if they have to do so by proxy. They scheme punishments and retaliations against their own children constantly. They use the disappearance and destruction of toys and pets as a way to further punish. They want absolute control over every aspect of their children's lives.

If your parent uses some or a majority of these tactics
They aren't a real parent in any normal sense of the word.
Sometimes we have to accept that they are not out to help us; they are out to hurt us. Giving birth does not equate to empathy and caring for children. It does not necessarily equate to a healthy relationship either.
You have to make the choice of whether your constitution can take your parent's abuse of you (most people, over the long term, cannot withstand it, especially when they have been through a number of cycles of abuse and can no longer believe in the honeymoon stage). Also, abuse escalates.
If you are an adult, and you want to make steps to disengage from your parents, you may want to visit a domestic violence center. They will also be able to assess how dangerous the situation is, find you counseling, get you connected so you are not experiencing it alone, and in general, get you help.
If you are under age, asking to talk to the school psychologist at your school or calling a domestic violence center usually helps to get you on a healthier track.
Remember: parents who abuse their children are not healthy. Their abuse of you has nothing to do with you; it is their dysfunctional way of coping and most likely learned from their own parents.
Also remember: if you go to a domestic violence center, and bring to light and expose the abusiveness of your parent, it puts the family in crisis and the abuse can no longer be ignored or excused. There will be members who are opposed to what you are doing (perhaps because they have a lot to gain from the present system), and who denounce you as a troublemaker, but even they will eventually be challenged to look at the situation for what it is. Scapegoats are often whistleblowers and canaries-in-the-coal mine within their families; taking it outside of the family is the natural progression when they have been told to put up and shut up for so long.

From my own experience:

Narcissists and sociopaths can act like normal parents for a long time.

As long as you are, more or less, going along with what they expect you to do, going along with their views on everything, accepting blame even when it doesn't belong to you, and talking in the way they want you to talk, and at least going along with perceiving things the way they want you to perceive things, they can seem as sweet to you as any other parents. They can even seem exceptionally normal as grandparents too. They can shower you with affection and gifts. They can appear to love and adore you just like any normal parent.

But ... there are ways they won't be normal. They will give too much advice, pump you constantly to the point of claustrophobia for information about all aspects of your life, which can include questions about your sexual life. They will deny that they ever hurt you (insisting that you hurt yourself, which will make some pain hard to heal and fester for a long time). They will want to know what your relationships are like with other people and give you constant advice on how to act towards those other people. They will tell you that your decision making is flawed in some way constantly, even if ever so slightly (gaslighting). They will lecture you (in an overtly haughty manner, or an ever so slightly arrogant manner, lowering the voice, or raising it in a flippant aire). They will show signs that they "will take care of you" if only you give up your career ambitions, or your job, or some other thing that is about getting you into a co-dependent role -- they will seem to want to be enmeshed with you, all without revealing much about themselves (for covert narcissists) or reveal their problems and issues too much, and make sure the conversation always turns back to them and how wonderful they are (the TMI type -- for overt narcissists). They also will react very badly to criticism (giving silent treatments or deflecting blame -- it will be obvious to you that they will want to be praised no matter what they do or what they say). And there will be a huge range of subjects that you cannot talk to them about to get resolution.

If you were gaslighted or scapegoated by your parent in childhood, my advice is not to let your guard down, ever, and certainly do not allow for any enmeshment (i.e. allowing them to manipulate your decision-making so that you are co-dependent or trauma bonded to your parent -- narcissistic parents will NOT do what is best for you; they will always do what they think is best for them, and scapegoating is one of the things they do for them). If they have used gaslighting, scapegoating, silent treatments and word salad arguments before, these tactics may be dormant, but they are ALL likely still there.

Covert narcissists who have loved bombed back their children and seem to be repentant and sorry for their past "mistakes", can, and do, use old tactics again. They are not good at keeping promises or of rehabilitating themselves. They tend to fall back eventually on "It is ALL your fault" strategies when they are caught at immoral underhanded behavior again.

When you are going through hard times, formerly abusive parents will suddenly start to be abusive again. They discard, blackmail, extort, stonewall and break promises to their children when their children are going through the worst tragedies of their lives (and not kidding about that). The last thing you need when you are going through a hugely challenging time is extortion, blackmail, gaslighting, discards, your parent hitting you up for an IOU, having to please an impossible-to-please parent, and ever more trauma, from someone who has, up until then, professed their undying love and devotion ... so, this is why it is always important to set boundaries and distance which is much more firm than other types of people in your life.

The focus needs to be on you, and your recovery, when you are going through extremely difficult and tragic times ...

Also, a relationship is not normal where you are expected to keep things uncontroversial for them at all times, to accept altered versions of the truth for their comfort, and provide peace for them, while sacrificing your own. This never bodes well for a relationship of longevity. There will be a time when you cannot accept a demand, or extortion, or an abuse. That is because narcissists and sociopaths  escalate at pressing your buttons and trying to make you uncomfortable.

You can feel that you have lost years of your life trying to placate a parent that can never be placated, can never have enough power or control, can never alter stories enough to their liking, can never have enough drama in their lives (i.e. making people suffer over their temper tantrums, and through their blackmail and extortion).

further reading:

How to Tell if Your Parents are Abusive -- a WikiHow article (the question and answer section is also worthwhile)

How to Deal with Abusive Parents -- a WikiHow article (the question and answer section is also worthwhile -- many are children asking for help)

How to Protect Yourself From Violent Parents -- a WikiHow article (the question and answer section is also worthwhile)

How to Deal with an Abusive Father -- a WikiHow article

How to Cope with a Controlling Parent -- a WikiHow article

How to Forgive an Abusive Parent -- a WikiHow article (note: forgiveness is not necessary: it is up to you)

Some videos I hand-picked that show child abuse

Why You Didn't Get What You Needed From Narcissistic Parents -- by Mark Zaslav, Ph.D. for Psychology Today
An excerpt as to why you can't get narcissistic parents to acknowledge the pain and damage they caused you (hint: it is because their main focus in life is to self-aggrandize and seek others who will aggrandize them):

It is important to note that even if your parents are living and sound of mind, they will likely be of little assistance. Having paid scant attention to your needs, they will produce a highly distorted picture of events, if they even remember them. Therefore, this is where the support of a competent, experienced therapist can be of great value as you identify and confront your actual history of trauma and neglect.

It will probably be necessary for you to relinquish any expectation that your parents will acknowledge any part in your difficulties or change their behavior in any appreciable way. Owing to their need to distort or disavow deflating truths and to turn away from honest self-evaluation (Peck, 1983), their version of events will be dramatically different from your own. But healing will inhere as you begin to dissent from internalized parental invalidation and take ownership of difficulties developed in response to very real childhood neglect.

6 Signs of Controlling Parenting and Why It Is Harmful -- by Darius Cikanavicius for Psych Central

4 Reasons Why Controlling Parenting Doesn’t Work -- by Darius Cikanavicius for Psych Central

4 Effects of a Controlling Upbringing People Struggle With -- by Darius Cikanavicius for Psych Central
In the previous articles we talked about the signs of controlling parenting and why it doesn’t work in terms of raising a healthy, happy, self-sufficient individual. Today, we will look at the common problems people raised in a controlling environment have as adults.
If you have been raised in a controlling environment or know somebody who has, you may recognize some of the signs described below.

How to Tell if Your Parents Are Abusive -- a Wiki article
discusses everything from physical abuse to emotional abuse

How to Recognize Abusive Parents -- from the No Bullying website

Child Abuse and Neglect: How to Spot the Signs and Make a Difference -- a HelpGuide article

7 Types of Parental Abuse -- by Christine Hammond, MS, LMHC for Psych Central

I Am Permanently Estranged From My Toxic Mother, But I’m Still Sad We Aren’t Close -- by an anonymous writer about her experiences with a shaming and insulting mother. Written for the Scary Mommy website

Parents That Bully Children and Others -- from the Bullying Statistics website

Stop Bullies: Especially Toxic Parents -- from the Bullies Be Gone website

For Adult Survivors of Child Abuse -- from The Invisible Scar website

Abusive parents who try to shift blame may face tougher sentences -- from the Guardian, a UK publication, on the ever-changing for-the-better child abuse laws

I Was Complicit in My Own Narcissistic Abuse -- by Lenora Thompson
This post talks about a survivor who is complicit in punishing herself for not being perfect for her narcissistic parents.

11 Things NOT To Do With Narcissists -- by Dan Neuharth, PhD MFT

Narcissistic Parents Are Literally Incapable Of Loving Their Children
 -- by Joanna McClanahan for Scary Mommy website

The Narcissistic Personality: How They Think -- by Joe Navarro, M.A. for Psychology Today

Narcissistic Personality Disorder and the Antisocial Personality Disorder -- A Lot in Common -- by Stanton E. Samenow, Ph.D. for Psychology Today

Excerpt from the article:
Children are the gift of God! But is every child treated like one? The abusive environment at home makes the child toneless, expressionless and dull. Parents mean the world to children. Everything else is a second priority for them, but when such things happen at home, they start becoming monotonous and depressed. Their innocence is being murdered ruthlessly by their parents.

For Kids, Mental Abuse Can Be Worse than Sexual, Physical Abuse -- by Rick Nauert PhD, for Psych Central

How to help your children when their other parent is a narcissist -- by Sharie Stines, Psy.D, for Psych Central

When Parents and Children Are Estranged -- by Janet Singer for Psych Central

Narcissists and Children -- my own post

Sociopaths and Children -- my own post

found on facebook:

found on The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (Children's Bureau) website: 

found on Pinterest:

found on Pinterest:

A quote from Tina Fuller: