Saturday, January 21, 2017

the smear campaign in abuse and bullying, why perpetrators slander and try to get others to deride you and hate you

title of illustration: "The Smear Campaign"
© art by Lise Winne

According to Wikipedia a smear campaign is:

an effort to damage or call into question someone's reputation, by propounding negative propaganda. It can be applied to individuals or groups ...

... Smear tactics differ from normal discourse or debate in that they do not bear upon the issues or arguments in question. A smear is a simple attempt to malign a group or an individual with the aim of undermining their credibility.

Smears often consist of ad hominem attacks in the form of unverifiable rumors and distortions, half-truths, or even outright lies ... the tactic is often effective because the target's reputation is tarnished before the truth is known.

Psychopaths and Narcissists

Smear campaigns have been identified as a common weapon of psychopaths[1][3] and narcissists.[4][5][6]

Legality

In many countries, the law recognizes the value of reputation and credibility. Both libel (a false and damaging publication) and slander (a false and damaging oral statement) are often punishable by law and may result in imprisonment or compensation or fees for damages done.


Words related to "smear campaign" include: psychological manipulation, character assassination, discrediting tactic, vilifying, shame campaign, false accusations and swift boating.

Slander differs slightly in meaning from "smear campaign". According to Wikipedia, slander is:

a false statement that harms the reputation of an individual person, business, product, group, government, religion, or nation.[1]

Under common law, to constitute defamation, a claim must generally be false and must have been made to someone other than the person defamed.[2] Some common law jurisdictions also distinguish between spoken defamation, called slander, and defamation in other media such as printed words or images, called libel.[3]

False light laws protect against statements which are not technically false, but which are misleading.[4]

In some civil law jurisdictions, defamation is treated as a crime rather than a civil wrong.[5] The United Nations Human Rights Committee ruled in 2012 that the libel law of one country, the Philippines, was inconsistent with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as urging that "State parties [to the Covenant] should consider the decriminalization of libel".[6]

A person who defames another may be called a "defamer", "libeler", "slanderer", or, rarely, "famacide".


In other words, "slander" is used more as a legal term than "smear campaign" and tends to be in the form of publications than spoken words, though both have legal ramifications.

The point of using smear campaigns and slander for abusers is to isolate the victim of abuse. For victims of child abuse, the abuser will usually try to isolate you from your family members. For victims of spousal abuse, the abuser will usually try to isolate you from common friends or from your mutual children (called parental alienation, which can turn into parental alienation syndrome), or from co-workers and superiors (for victims of workplace bullying). In general, it is meant to hurt someone else socially. When victims are isolated socially, it makes victims more vulnerable to ever more attack, by ever more people, therefor making the victimization more probable. At its core it is a campaign to rouse others to vilify a target.

You can count on it being used in all abusive situations. It is so predictable, in fact, that if you are a target of abuse, count on it being used and prepare yourself!

The smear campaign in personal abusive situations is a bit different than political, religious or racial smears. For one thing, it is usually told behind your back. If it is in front of you, it is meant to bust up an alliance that you have with another person with fishy facts (divide and conquer). Most perpetrators use smear campaigns in the following way: lies to make you appear as a perpetrator of abuse and the perpetrator to look like the victim of abuse.

The smear campaign feels so necessary to abusers because without attempting to ruin your reputation, you would not go through the maximum amount of "consequence" for what they perceive as "disloyalty" to them (yes, they view themselves as kings and queens). Most abusers want targets to go through the maximum amount of suffering, injustice and damage because they are sadists. Most of them try to do it in a way that does not get them in trouble with the law, however many perpetrators also aren't careful with the law because they assume their victims have higher regard for them than is really the case (that is one reason they are branded as narcissistic). Check with your attorney. Laws for victims are always changing.

Why is isolating a victim so necessary for a perpetrator?

Because they think like predators. If there is a herd, they try to separate the person from the herd.

They do this by trying to ostracize their targets emotionally first. They do it by steps. The first step is to taunt, chide and to dominate their target in what ever way they can in front of others. They try to establish themselves as the authority while at the same time establishing you as the underling (or listener). In the beginning, they try to pass off their derision as your words being funny, a party, a joke. They constantly gauge others' reactions to see if their agenda is working to their favor; i.e. at getting others to see their perspective. They feel if they can get people to agree with their perspective, then they can escalate the bullying. They also gauge how many people are defending the victims so that they can talk them into another perspective. Most of all, they want to see others joining in on laughing, chiding and taunting.

The target may even welcome the laughter at first, just to show he is a good sport. He may say funny things in return (self-mock, much as a comedian would), but in order to make sure others aren't liking the target too much in this stage, the perpetrator will escalate by throwing in a little dig.

It becomes apparent to the target before it becomes apparent to others that he, the target, is being used more than others as a laughing stock. He is also being used, ever-so-slightly, as the object of insults. If the target reacts with pain, the perpetrator might say, "Can't you just take a joke? Aren't you capable of fun? What is wrong with you?"

There is a reason why "What is wrong with you?" is part of the dialogue. It is to get others to doubt your ways of perceiving what is happening, your social competence. It is a way to set up a pecking order too, so that the perpetrator can dominate and control how others see you, the target. It is a way for the bully to become an authority on what the target is about, and especially to constantly whittle away at how the target is being perceived by others as well. The perpetrator might start saying other things along with the usual "What's wrong with you?" like "Why don't you understand anything? Why don't you see that this is just light fun? Why can't you see that we all love you and you're just being sensitive? Why can't you have a sense of humor along with the rest of us? Why are you backing off? Why can't you just go along? Don't be a drama queen!" and so on.

Basically all of this is a form of gaslighting, which is usually part of abuse too. Most gaslighting is slow and insidious.

In order to run a successful smear campaign, gaslighting is necessary in order to get the target/prey separated from the herd, and to get the herd to look at the member as not desirable or lovable, and eventually expendable and worthless.

If the abuser is a sibling, he may want total control of parents and for ALL of the family resources to go his way. If the abuser is a spouse, he may want total control of the kids, and what better way than to smear the other parent? Or he may want his spouse to be an under-ling, in a subservient role where he is calling all of the shots in the marriage. If the abuser is a co-worker, he may be trying to climb the ladder by vilifying and making up stories about his co-worker. If the abuser is a boss, he may be trying to shame you into working harder (ineffective -- in fact, self-sabotaging).

However, gaslighting can work effectively in the short run (as a quick fix) even if it is damaging in the long run.

If the initial gaslighting goes successfully, the perpetrator will then start to cut off as much influence as possible so that the target is no longer part of the herd, and shunned. If a member of the herd listens intently, the perpetrator might interject: "You poor soul! You're seeing her?" or "You're going to listen to her?" or "You know better than to take her seriously!" or "You shouldn't listen to her. You know what the truth is," or "Your ideas are so much better than hers. Why are you listening to her?" or "I swear to God, I'm sick of what she's done to me! How can you listen to her?" or "You can't be listening to her again! You know better than that!" or "You don't know her like I know her." Perpetrators shame other parts of the herd who listen to or have a relationship with the victim. They are also known to arm-twist people who are on the sidelines with rewards, punishments or threats.

It is all very evil ... and unfortunately planned and common among abusers. The whole point of the perpetrator's agenda is to get others to doubt the target more and more and more and more (subtly through time, going in one direction in the continual escalation of abuse), and to render the target voiceless, with perspectives and experiences not worthy of taking seriously or listening to by others in the group. The perpetrator might interrupt the target, find ways to cut off the target's speech, find ways to make a joke out of what the target said, find ways to denigrate what was said, find ways to re-interpret what was said so that it sounds bad, and so on. The whole point is to make the target appear ugly and undesirable to others, to assign ugly motives, ugly words, ugly perspectives, ugly philosophies, ugly incompetencies.

Sometimes both the targets and the herd are confused as to what is really going on, for awhile, but one thing becomes apparent: the target often withdraws, and sometimes goes completely silent, while the perpetrator seems to be dominating most of the time and is getting ever more arrogant, swaggering and blustering as the escalation progresses (I will talk about some reasons for arrogance in another post, so check back).  

If the others do join in, eventually what happens is that the perpetrator starts to escalate to the next level. If the target speaks up, or has a perspective that he wants considered, the perpetrator will either interrupt, find some way to cut the target off from expressing anything, or try to shame or accuse the target of some kind of fallacious wrongdoing.  

Then they try in subtle ways to work on others to see the target as flawed, whether that be calling the target stupid, crazy, ugly, incompetent, not worthwhile, untruthful, selfish, lazy, provoking, too sensitive, or all of it. More often than not, it is all of it, and I mean ALL of it, whether the name-calling is intellectualized or not ("intellectualized meaning replacing "mentally ill" with crazy, "intellectually challenged" for stupid, etc) -- it is all the same thing in the end as far as how abusive it is.

What is most insidious about this progression is that it is erroneous, called erroneous blaming, another form of abuse.

When perpetrators make their target a laughing stock successfully, they have won half the battle. If they have successfully enlisted others to deride the target, they have won all of the battle.

This is when you will notice that the perpetrator escalates by insulting, denigrating and humiliating the target. Even in this next step, they are constantly gauging other people's reactions to see how far they are willing to follow along with going along with abuses (called gang bullying or mobbing). It is a slow process, but absolutely intentional, and it can be deadly (as some targets are driven to suicide, especially if they have no other social networks).

There are challenges to this trajectory, of course, but that is for another post. In the meantime, it is important to put up strong boundaries and to pursue new relationships that they cannot infiltrate.

The smear campaign is an ugly political campaign.

It is probably the worst stage of abuse, especially if it is successful in isolating the target socially. Social isolation means that abusers will have an easier time getting away with abuses within the social group because no one will stand up for the target. Some people rate being gaslighted higher on the scale of being abused than all other forms of abuse, but I would rate the smear campaign higher if only because smears include a lot of gaslighting and lying with a gang mentality. It is like a criminal getting away with a crime, and continuing with more crimes against you, to destroy your life bit, by bit, by bit. It can negatively effect your self esteem and dreams for living in peace without abuse and coercion.

Smears are done to get a victim of abuse derided by any group of people that will listen to smears, and to take smears seriously, as truth. To a perpetrator, it is like getting a jury of peers to all agree. That group of people can include anyone close to you including your family, inlaws, spouse, children, co-workers, boss and friends. Some perpetrators of abuse try to smear your reputation to every person they know about in your social sphere through subtle stalking (I talk about that in this post about triangulation).

If you have gotten used to the silent treatment from an abuser, and prefer to live with it, and if the abuser has caught on that the silent treatment is not packing enough of a punch in terms of making you feel miserable, hoovering you back with love bombing can be the only way they feel they can get access to your latest social contacts and social influences to smear your reputation again and again. The more clever narcissists do feign that living without you has become impossible. They also feign that they are truly sorry for everything they have done, that they cannot live without you any more and will do just about anything to make it up to you. They have also been known to fake tears (crocodile tears) just to gain access to more of your social support. Beware!

The reason why you need to be wary? It is really the only way that they can do damage again, to control, to keep testing their smears with ever more of the people in your life. If they can influence other people's perceptions of you, they feel they have an endless avenue to keep up the abuses and smears. And if you won't let them back in your life, they can, and often do, send out their flying monkeys to lay guilt trips on you. They can even become dangerous stalkers who show up at events just to make you uncomfortable and to rattle you by their intense gazes, dirty looks, tisking and constant presence.

Hoovering often happens when you are getting successful or are successful at something in your life, i.e. when you aren't thinking about them any more. Perpetrators can't stand to be left out in the cold during your high-flying times, so their personalities can often switch to super sticky sweet with crocodile tears when they feel deflated and insecure again (i.e. when their arrogant steps start to flag).

Many abusers could be classified as insane if it weren't for their use of gaslighting and the smear campaign. Unfortunately, that is where evil departs from simple insanity.

Further reading:

The Vindictive Narcissist -- by Joseph Burgo, PhD

Debunking the Narcissist’s Smear Campaign -- by Zari Ballard

Why Narcissistic People Lie, Smear Campaign, and Gossip About Victims -- from the Narcissists, Sociopaths, and Flying Monkeys -- Oh My blog

Flying Monkeys Lie and Say Narcissistic Abuse Heals Over Time -- also from the Narcissists, Sociopaths, and Flying Monkeys -- Oh My blog

Smear Campaign: Is a Narcissist Trying to Ruin Your Rep? -- by Angela Atkinson for the Queen Being website

The Smear Campaign - View it as a Badge of Honor -- by "My Emotional Vampire" (facebook)

Narcissism and Parental Alienation Syndrome -- by Sharie Stines,Psyd

From "The Little Shaman Healing"
this is an accurate description of what happens in a smear campaign by an abusive person:

From Sacha Slone on how the smear campaign happens
(in her own words):
"Narcissists and Sociopaths pump targets for information, store it, and file it away in their brain to use against the target one day. The only solution is to NOT share personal information with people you don't know or trust 100%":


From someone who has been through a smear campaign
by Tom ("Narcissism Survivor")






found on Twitter:

Saturday, January 14, 2017

abuse and walking on eggshells, being ultra careful about what you say

art by Lise Winne, quote by Robert Davis, LCSW

If you are in a healthy relationship, you will know it, because you can say anything you want to say, as long as it is not abusive or untrue. Also what you say will be respected and heard.

If you are in a dysfunctional or toxic relationship, you will not be able to speak about a huge range of subjects, even if they are true and are not abusive. In addition, you will be expected to go along with lies. What you say will not be heard and it will not be respected. Furthermore, when you speak about anything they don't like, you risk being abused, rejected, betrayed and/or raged at from your abuser. You are lectured to, rather than the conversation being about understanding or enlightenment about different perspectives.

According to Wikipedia "Walking on Eggshells" means:

1. (idiomatic) To be overly careful in dealing with a person or situation because they get angry or offended very easily; to try very hard not to upset someone or something.
2. (idiomatic) To be careful and sensitive, in handling very sensitive matters.


Abuse always seems to be accompanied by the "walking on eggshells" phenomenon.

Abuse wouldn't be abuse without victims being expected to walk on eggshells and being afraid that their abusers will strike against them at any moment.

Who among us survivors hasn't gone through "punishments" because we said something the abuser did not like, or because we failed to say something, or because we grimaced or rolled our eyes in such a way that our abusers felt enraged?

To top it all off, most of us weren't even trying to hurt them or enrage them, and so we find ourselves confused ("Why is this happening? Why are my words being interpreted so darkly?" and so on). We find we are "walking on eggshells" most of the time when we are around them -- in order to keep the peace.

What is really going on in abusive situations where you are required to walk on eggshells is that the abuser wants to try to create peace and harmony in their lives, for themselves, at the expense of you. Some of the phrases abusers use are: "Can't I have just a little peace already?", "Why do you create so much drama? I just want peace!", "I want peace in my life, but you are the impediment to that." Then when you are deemed to ruin their sense of peace and tranquility, they punish you for it (whether that be verbal abuse, emotional abuse, psychological abuse, physical abuse or financial abuse).

Requiring you to walk on eggshells around their highly sensitive feelings and explosive natures is also about trying to control you, and in this case it is about trying to control how you view them and how you talk to them. If you listen to them carefully, they will be giving you lectures and instructions on what is acceptable to them in terms of your speech. Most victims of abuse soon find out that most subjects of conversation become slowly and methodically taken away. The only subjects left seem to be flattery of them, telling them that they are always right, promoting the abuser, making excuses for the abuser and doing/saying what the abuser wants and expects. It is the main way that abusers get other people to give into them. Yes, they are game-players who feel that they must always and unequivocally win, and in the end, dominate.

It is, at its core, an arm-twisting tactic: "Only speak in the way I want you to speak or you will be punished". They provide the code of conduct that you are to perform for them (and age is not a limit: they talk down to grown-ups as much as they talk down to little children). They expect you to follow their code of conduct when it comes to relating to them, but they almost never use their own code of conduct themselves (abuse is, after all, an obvious anti-code of conduct, plus most abusers are hypocrites).

So, in this way, what they are doing is like stealing. Your need for peace and contentment is expected to be totally sacrificed for their need of peace and contentment.

Believe it or not, abusers enjoy "their subjects" walking on eggshells. Yes, most of them view themselves as kings and queens who will get things done if they just shout down at people enough. If their subject is recalcitrant, they will shut them out instead. They use intimidation, threats, temper tantrums, maneuvers, betrayal, emotional blackmail, back-stabbing and triangulation to get people to capitulate to them in terms of enforcing "the walking on eggshells expectations".

Again, this demand that you "must walk on eggshells for me and be hyper-sensitive to any hint of criticizing me, and any other easily bruised feelings I may have -- or else" is a quality peculiar to abusers (who overwhelmingly tend to have Cluster B personality disorders: Borderline Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Antisocial Personality Disorder -- see my post on what abuse is and who it is perpetrated by).

Walking on eggshells feels a little like dancing on hot coals (trying to keep your feet up in the air enough so that the coals don't burn you). The abuser is the one who keeps shoveling more and more hot coals for you to dance on.

The hot coals represent what you can't talk about without getting burned, and the number of hot coals increases over time.

This serves several purposes: To make sure you are a 100 percent loyal subject/servant, to test how much rage and taking away of your freedom of speech that you will endure just to be in a relationship with them, and to conveniently find a reason, any reason, to escalate abuse.

Insisting that others walk on eggshells is premeditated, and therefor evil. It is just as malevolent as gaslighting, and is usually used in tandem with gaslighting. It is insidiously cruel, and for many victims, the rage and ensuing abuse they endure from it is initially shocking and confusing. Over time, most victims find there is no room in their mutual relationship with the perpetrator for their own views, perspectives, truths and experiences. It whittles away at their person-hood, their very presence in the relationship. 

Over time, it can and does cause PTSD too.

What are some instances of walking on eggshells in abusive situations? I have three to show you. One features a husband and wife, the next features a mother and daughter, and the last features a family scapegoating one child.

1.

A man tells his wife that he will be home at 5:00. He comes home at 6:00 instead. The following conversation ensues between husband and wife:

wife: I thought you were coming home at 5:00. What happened?
husband: I never said that! I said I'd be home at around 5:00. 6:00 is around 5:00 if you hadn't noticed.
wife: Well, to me, an hour later is not around 5:00. 
husband: Are you going to harangue me about the time? What's the matter with you? Do you have so much to do that I can't be an hour late? You really are trying to drive me nuts with this, aren't you? (getting testy): You're really trying to drive me over the edge. I'm warning you: you are provoking me!
wife: How did we get to the point of me trying to provoke you? I was just defining it, that's all ---
husband: (interrupting): You know what you think of yourself as? My boss! You think you can boss me around you little twerp! You think you can snap your fingers and say "5:00" and that I'll come running! But let me set you straight just in case you think you can pull that BS on me! 
wife: What?! Now you're really making up things to --
husband: (interrupting): Oh, so now you're going to call me crazy!? Just for that I'm not going to tell you when I'm coming home! I'll never tell you again, in fact! How do you like them apples?!
wife: How did we get to defining what late or around 5:00 means, to all of this? Please stop this!
husband: Forget it! You aren't going to have a husband at 5:00 or 6:00 or at any time! You've pushed me over the edge with this, and with your insanity! And I swear to God, if you continue with this, I'm gonna smack you in the jaw! Is that what you want? A nice big bruise to your jaw?
wife: Please stop this! (runs over to husband to hug him, but he throws her on the floor). 
husband: Look at you! You look pathetic! I used to think you were attractive, but no matter what you say, it is ALL ugly! It is ALL ugly little lies that you like to spread about me! Everything you say is one big fat lie, you evil little bitch! Don't ever tell me what I said again, do you hear me? I tell you what I said, and you believe it! And I'm not punching some clock at home!
wife: (cries on the floor)
husband: Next you're going to say why am I so mean to you? Right? Like it's my fault that you interpreted it as 5:00! Right, bitch? Right, bitch? Get up off the floor, and face the music, bitch! (gives her a little push with his foot)
wife: I suppose I should have said nothing.
husband: No, what you say is: "You came home when you said you'd come home: at around 5:00. I'm so thankful that you're home, sweetie." But no, you're too uppity for that, you ungrateful bitch! You can't appreciate someone who comes home to you, at any hour, so I'm leaving for the night. 
wife: So you want me to walk on eggshells and be careful of every little thing I say?
husband: Just think about it: if you hadn't said what you said, we would be having dinner together, but because you were a bitch, and ungrateful, I'm going out, and I'm going to think about whether I'm ever going to come back! And I'll also consider how much money of mine you'll deserve in a divorce. Not much, I'm afraid. You can stay here all night, sniveling on the floor, and think about what you have done, because that is what you deserve! (kicks her in the back)

Notice how he escalates it all. Almost all abuse escalates whether it is over a matter of minutes or over a matter of many years.

The wife in this situation really cannot say much of anything without risking enraging her husband, so many women in these situations go silent. 

Besides the wife having to walk on eggshells, notice:
* the blame-shifting and making it seem that she brought on the abuse by talking about the time
* the verbal abuse ("bitch", "evil little bitch", "little twerp", )
* expecting perfectionism in words and deeds
* the threats
the silent treatment (walking away) 
* telling her what she thinks and feels and what her plans are (this is what he makes up about her, and usually it is mostly a matter of the abuser projecting)
* defining her in a vilifying way (calling her evil, perceiving her as evil)
* notice how he treats her like a child who needs to be punished
* notice the interrupting 
* notice the lectures and imperious tone
* notice the common phrase that most abusers use: ungrateful
* notice the physical abuse: throwing her on the floor, taunting her with his foot, kicking her on his way out.
* notice the financial abuse (threats about money) 
* notice the gaslighting (making it seem that she is at fault for "provoking him": the "she made me do it" excuses that abusers are famous for, telling her that she is insane)
* and last, but not least, notice the lack of empathy (what most abusers are famous for)

2.

Here is one between a mother and daughter. These are actual screen shots of phone texting, but I have blocked out names in Photoshop. The daughter is telling her mother about a party for her toddler and telling her mother she is invited. However, the mother feels she is in competition with her mother-in-law (narcs are usually very competitive jealous people where they feel they deserve to come first, or have the right to decide who is invited and who is not):

It is amazing how an innocent invite can turn into this, isn't it? In order to make her daughter feel guilty, the mother refuses to go. This is very, very common narcissistic mother behavior, by the way. The daughter came to the forums asking us for advice. It seems very clear to most of us that however the daughter responds, it may be "the wrong thing" in the mother's eyes (narcs tend to be a Princess and the Pea, and get enraged over just about anything that is said or not said). What is more, they have been known to try to make their daughters believe they are responsible for causing this big mother-daughter rift.

The mother may give the daughter the silent treatment over this episode, and is giving her a veiled threat of it. The mother may also withdraw help, withdraw love, tell her daughter to "get everything you need from your mother-in-law. I'm done!" The mother may insinuate that she will only stop the silent treatment when her mother-in-law is out of the picture (permanently dis-invited). This is all too familiar to survivors of child abuse.

This text and story is also a good example of perfection in abusive relationships and erroneous blaming. It is also an isolation tactic (trying to isolate her daughter from having a relationship with her mother-in-law). All of these can be categorized as abuse.

3. 

A girl who is 11 (Angela) comes home from school and her brother who is 10 (Craig), throws a bunch of Styrofoam peanuts over her head as she walk through the door. He laughs at her surprise. She tries not to react and quickly heads outdoors, but is followed by him. 

Craig: I surprised you, didn't I? Admit it. (he laughs and points his finger at Angela, but she doesn't react)
Craig: Oh, so you are going to ignore me and pretend that it didn't happen? Just for that, I'll tell Mom that you did it! And we know how Mom is: she'll take my side! And you know it! (laughs out loud, pointing his head to the sky and doing a little dance)

He knows he is getting to Angela, because her shoulders hunch and she looks depressed.

Craig: Mom knows how crazy you are because she says it all of the time! (he walks up to Angela and tries to trip her)
Angela: Stop it, you little brat! 
Craig: Calling me a little brat now, are you? Well, just for that, here's this! (he runs towards her and punches her hard in the stomach. She doubles over and falls to the ground, lying there for awhile).
Mother: What is going on here? You both need to come back to the house. (Craig runs up to the house, but Angela is hurt so she walks slowly, clutching her stomach).
Mother: Oh, so much drama. Why are you holding your stomach?
Angela (upon approaching the door): You know why. You had to have seen it. He punched me in the gut.
Mother: I didn't see any such thing.
Craig: Mom, she punched me in the gut, so now she is pretending that I punched her in the gut. You know how she is.
Angela: No, Mom, he's lying.
Mother: Angela, go to your room!
Angela: Why am I always the one who is punished?
Mother: Because you're older and should know better.
(Angela heads off to her room and then the mother visits her there eventually)
Mother: Okay, so you punched him in the gut, and left those peanuts all over the floor. First you are going to clean them up and then next you are going to apologize to your brother.
Angela: But Mom, I didn't do it! I swear I didn't do it! Why won't you believe me? Didn't you see any of it?
Mother: No, I didn't. But I know who you are. Don't think you can fool me!
Angela: But Mom!! (she starts to cry and her mother doesn't comfort her).
Mother: You know what irritates me? All of this crying! You cry over everything! As if I'm this terrible, terrible mother! Well, I don't buy it! You want something to really cry about? (takes a toy off of Angela's shelf and smashes it).
Angela: (screams as if she has lost a long lost friend -- focuses her attention on the damage to the toy)
Mother: You know what you're going to do? You are going to clean up all of those peanuts, and you are going to put them in a trash bag, and put the trash bag in the garbage can, and you are definitely going to apologize to your brother. Then you are going to go right to your room every time you return home. This will be your punishment for a week. This is so you will stop making trouble with your brother and so that you will have time to think about how you are acting. Let's get going."
Angela: I want my father!
Mother: Your father is not going to rescue you! (laughs)

Tim, another sibling comes into the room. He is usually very silent, almost monotone, and unmoved by the struggle between mother and daughter. He asks if he can have a glass of milk, and the mother gives permission and he leaves. The mother nudges Angela, and Angela partially fights back by sprawling on the floor so she is like a dead weight. 

Mother: I'm warning you! I'm not going to drag you, but I WILL kick you if you proceed with this, so make up your mind about what you are going to do!

Angela gets up and puts the peanuts in a bag, takes them to the garbage can, and whispers "I'm sorry" to Craig. 

Mother: What's that now? I didn't hear it!
Angela: Sorry! But I still didn't do it!
Craig: Look, Mom, how she tries to get away with it! Look at how much of a liar she is! She even looks evil!
Angela: I'm angry because I didn't do it!
Mother: Yes, you did! (walks to the doorway and shouts down the hallway). Tim, come up here!
Tim: (he shows up in the bedroom) What do you want?
Mother: Do you see how she is acting? This is what I don't want! If either one of you act like this, this is what will happen. You will be sent to your room and you will stay there. Do you both hear me? 
Tim: Yea, I know. She's always in trouble.
Craig: Not just in trouble, she's horrible!
Mother: Okay, that's enough, Craig. You can leave now. I want you to hit the books.
Craig: Oh, of course! Thanks, Mom! I was just planning on it! (gives Angela a little knowing smile, runs down the hall with enthusiasm with Tim following) 
Mother: You see, if you acted more like him, then we'd get along a lot better too. This isn't doing you any good at all, but I suppose you'll have to learn about it in time. 
Angela: (rolls her eyes)
Mother: Don't you dare roll your eyes at me! You need to be quiet and contemplate what you've done! It's a wonder I haven't smacked you silly for that look! You are lucky I have a cool head and that I'm smart! If I wasn't educated on child rearing, you would be so bludgeoned right now! So count yourself lucky! (shouting): But, you will get to your books now!
Angela: Mom, I just want to say (looks frightened) ... never mind.
Mother: Never mind is right! Get to the books!

Hours later the father comes home.

Father: (talking to wife): Why is Angela in her room again?
Mother: She misbehaves. I try and try and try, and it is exhausting, but she just won't listen. She insists on starting trouble, so she is paying the consequences yet again!
Father: I don't like it that she's in her room again. I just don't see where you are having so many problems with her. I just never see it.
Mother: That's because you are away. Believe me, she starts it with everyone around here.
Father: Well, I don't like it that she's in her room all of the time. I'll take care of this situation now that I'm home.
Mother: That's the problem with you. You always undermine me!

This is absolutely terrible parenting, by the way. It is also typical of toxic abusive families. It is what happens in scapegoating. 

Angela would be the one who is blamed and punished for the transgressions of her brother and her mother. Angela has no voice, as well as no power to influence the outcome, so her victimization goes unnoticed by the whole family. Only her father seems to treat her with some consideration, though he is caught in the matrix of the family dynamic the mother is insisting on, and is trying to get him to adopt via persuasion. 

This is also not typical parenting. It is exclusive to parents who are addicts, Borderline, Narcissistic or Sociopathic. Favoritism among children is abusive because over half of families who practice scapegoating and favoritism end up in this way. The golden child in this situation becomes duplicitous, is allowed to be an authority on the truth, while the scapegoat is not. He is also a bully, while the scapegoat is continually silenced, gang-bullied and expected to endure it all (see my post on favoritism in the family). 

If Child Protective Services never catches on, this sibling and parenting dynamic can, and does, continue throughout adulthood, or until the parent dies. 

In terms of walking on eggshells, the scapegoat is heavily, heavily burdened with it. The other children aren't, so they never see the perspective of the scapegoat, and many of them don't care to. They go along with the perception of the parent that the scapegoat is a trouble-maker. Scapegoats really aren't considered at all in the family unit (they can easily be forgotten, even, especially if they have gone quiet). They are barely regarded as people with feelings, even, they are so vilified. Many scapegoats give up on talking about their victimization because it does no good within the family unit, and in fact, it is made known fairly early on that talking about it is a detriment in terms of escalating more "punishments". They grow up feeling that they are flawed, that their looks are flawed (from hearing too many times: "I should smack you silly for that look!" or "You need to be punished for that look!" or "Look at her! She's horrible!" or "She even looks evil!"). In these situations, most children understand that how the child acts towards the mother becomes more important than how the mother acts towards the child. 

Many scapegoats are extremely pressured to flatter, or to at least to talk well of their abusive parent, even with this dynamic going on!

For this reason, many scapegoats find the family situation unbearable. Suicide rates and addiction rates are high for scapegoats. Adult scapegoats are also often treated as pariah by their offending parent (dis-invited to special family events, ignored, taunted, goaded, lectured to constantly, expected to be a Cinderella, insulted, left out, and so on). The family is also brainwashed to see them as hopelessly recalcitrant.

Tim, the sibling who doesn't talk much, most resembles "The Lost Child" in family systems theory. More on the lost child in another post.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO ABOUT THIS SITUATION?

So what should you do: walk on eggshells or not walk on eggshells? And if you don't try as hard as possible not to be ingratiating, how bad will the punishment be? 

My answer to that is: only you can decide which way to go with this. My advice: "safety first" and to contact a domestic violence counselor. 

Remember that abuse escalates (gets worse over time, and can sometimes be life threatening no matter what you do or don't do), so most victims choose to get out, whether sooner or later. Abuser's lack of empathy also tends to get worse over time. The relationship between you is likely to be only about the abuser, their perspectives, their relationships, their deeds, their illnesses, their accidents and their agendas. Yours will most likely take a back seat or diminish altogether, to the point where you may feel you are non-existent to this person. It is an insecure place to be. In addition, they are likely to expect that only they will matter to you too, that you will sacrifice yourself for them. You become, what is termed as "voiceless" and slave-like. Abusers also tend to be much more jealous than the rest of the population, and intensely jealous people tend to intentionally hurt other people (a lot of them indulge in revenge fantasies and strategizing).

You will have to determine whether you can take any more of it, and if not, how to get out of it. Again, contacting a domestic violence center can help in terms of giving you options.

FURTHER READING:

Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder / Edition 2 -- book by Paul T. Mason, Randi Kreger



Quiz: Are You Walking on Eggshells in Your Relationship? Part 1 -- by Neil Rosenthal, licensed marriage and family therapist

Emotional Pollution in the Home: Walking on Eggshells -- a Psychology Today article by Steven Stosny, Ph.D.

Are You Emotionally Abusive? -- another Psychology Today post by Steven Stosny, Ph.D.


7 Signs You’re Sharing Your Bed with a Narcissist -- by Clinton Power, psychotherapist, for the Australian site, Clinton Power and Associates

WALKING ON EGGSHELLS EMOTIONAL ABUSE AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE -- from the Australian site, Violence Hurts 

NO MORE WALKING ON EGGSHELLS: Domestic abuse survivors write haunting messages about their experiences on cracked egg shells to promote White Ribbon Day -- a UK art project by many survivors of abuse 

Walking on Eggshells -- a personal story from the blog, The Narcissist's Wife

Walking on Eggshells -- another personal story from a survivor of Narcissistic abuse

MARTHA’S STORY: A LIFETIME OF WALKING ON EGGSHELLS -- a DVD of a domestic abuse survivor by Terra Nova films

8 Reasons Arguments Escalate -- by Aaron Karmin (for Psych Central)

The Keys to Conflict Resolution -- by Aaron Karmin (for Psych Central)

here is a long video by Dr. Judy Rosenberg, Ph.D. on the subject:

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Iced out of a holiday event? One good holiday cure when it comes to your narcissistic mother

original drawing/painting © 2017 Lise Winne

(Note: this post has to do with narcissistic mothers only. A similar one on narcissistic fathers will also be posted at some point).

As a lot of us survivors deal with a holiday of either "looks that could kill", insults, put-downs, from our narcissistic mothers or deadly silent treatments, smear campaigns and being cut out of family events (on purpose!), so I have a solution for your holiday blues that has worked for me.

I'll get to it momentarily, but first I have a couple of things to say about mothers who are either cruel, unloving or rejecting at holiday time.

I want to remind you, my fellow survivors, that it is every parent's duty to love their child, not for the child to "make" themselves lovable to the parent, i.e. turn themselves inside-out to be "attractive or want-able enough for parental love".

If your parent doesn't love you for who you are, as you are, and all of your great qualities, it has to do with them, not you. It is hard to get our minds around that because we have been brainwashed to believe that we are so flawed that we can't be loved.

Your parent refusing to love you is along the same lines as prejudicy, bigotry, and witch hunts (vilifying). It is not commendable and it is irrational. Unfortunately it is what some of the more less evolved humans do: hate people they don't know or understand, or want to know or understand (they are often non-investigative and their reality is based on irrational belief systems). Narcissists are incapable of empathizing, and empathy is a key ingredient to love (that's the classic definition of a narcissist anyway: lack of empathy). Like bigots, narcissists judge instead, so their prejudicy can seem maniacal, even towards their own children.

Anyway, this prejudicy, this witch hunt to make you out to be the bad guy is mostly them trying to put the blame on someone for how they feel in their own lives. It may be that they feel overlooked the way they did in childhood (especially if they were a neglected child). It may be about feeling entitled to treat others in ways that they would not like to be treated. It may be about growing up witnessing bullying and abuse and wanting to do that too.

Basically unloving, rejecting, abusive parents are people who have very little tolerance for children who don't feel absolutely familiar to them -- and yes, that can include their own children. To them, a child can seem like someone from a different tribe, and in their paranoid minds, even from an enemy tribe. It's just a typical part of the narcissism: they like mirroring people, and people who mirror, and people who try to mirror, and people who adopt mirroring. Sometimes they want a mirror that does not show a speck of imperfection about them, one that says "You're right all of the time" or "You're beautiful all of the time" or "You win all of the time." They also tend to like people who think that their tribe is superior and worth belonging to even when it is just a pit of snakes for many of its members. They also think they are perfect, and any deviation from thinking that they aren't can be a great threat to them.

Think about it: isn't it incredibly BIZARRE that when so many narcissists feel criticized (operative word here is feel) that they go into an annihilating rage where they want to destroy you, their relationship with you, where you are suddenly and swiftly nothing to them?

The problem is: the more perfect that they want to be and the more destructive their temper tantrums are over it, the less perfect they seem to others. In fact, they seem like horrible mothers, and can even have the reputation of being evil.

Most of the time parental rejection has to do with what they grew up with and what seems most familiar to them. If they grew up with narcissistic parents who were neglectful, cruel, or dismissive, they may be neglectful, cruel and dismissive, or they may be attracted most to family members who act in those ways. If your parent grew up with addicted parents, they may be attracted to children who seem most like an addict. This is their choice, and you can't do anything about it because they like mirrors!!

Who wants to be their mirror? Us? Nooooooo!!!!

So, we just have to realize we are not "one of them" and be really proud of the fact that we are not "one of them."

Of all the narcissists that you know, do you envy any of them? I sure don't.

Most of the narcissists I have known in my life (and I have known too many unfortunately) are glib. They are not strong people, they do not fight for causes unless it directly benefits them or makes them look socially attractive or superior, they are seldom inventive, they are rarely honest or good sports, their lives seem empty, they work at occupations that I would never want, they grasp desperately at status and flattery even though most of them do not have status nor are worthy of half the flattery they demand. Most of the ones I have known do not like hard work either. They particularly do not like working at worthwhile relationships, preferring to move on in order to find a new source of narcissistic supply. In fact most don't like hard work all -- usually preferring to delegate.

And their relationships are the least enviable of all. Their relationships with their own children are terrible, even. Let's face it, children are NOT good sources of narcissistic supply because when they are small they are needy and they have an instinct to cry when they require something. When they are teenagers they usually want more autonomy, and this can include putting their peers first before their parents. For this reason, teens can be rebellious against their parents, an absolute nightmare for the parent who is counting on children to give them narcissistic supply. When children become adults, their main focus is on careers, and raising their own children and family. Almost no children idealize or idolize their parents, especially when they are past seven years old.

So why do narcissists endeavor to try to make their children into supply anyway? Why do they want it so badly that many will try to arm-twist their children into it, even when most children have no tolerance, liking or need to "praise Mom or else be punished". The arm-twisting to get narcissistic supply tells children right away they are bad parents. Many children leave arm-twisting parents in the dust.

So why do they do it when their best source for obtaining narcissistic supply is the criminal (and not kidding about that). A criminal will overlook all of their faults, play the sycophant, and flatter them to death, especially if your narcissistic parent has money.

And who envies that? Not me! I think we all know that narcissists attract these types and keep them around -- as if that will make their lives better.

If they don't have those kinds of people, they have scared co-dependents who rely on them for something whether that be money, intermittent approval, status, a job, lodging, or some other thing. The thing is, because the narcissist is so cruel, the co-dependent will usually have no trouble walking away when the money, approval, job, lodging, etc, dries up and is no longer available.

Who envies that kind of relationship? Not me!

In fact, these two extremes are usually ALL that narcissists are capable of in relationships. Can you imagine?

In fact, we are all attracted to what we know. What survivor of child abuse hasn't been through a string of love affairs or marriages with narcissists? Narcissists only make up one percent of the population, but somehow they know how to find us survivors, even though we don't want one more relationship with another narcissist for as long as we live, and tell the world that. But somehow, some way, these awful narcissists seem to find us anyway ... They are attracted to adults who were abused as children. They know how to detect someone with low self esteem, and they can sometimes even tell that we were expected to please an impossible-to-please narc parent.

Well, your parent attracts narcissists too, just like we survivors do, except they seem to want to keep them around. It's that being attracted to a mirror thing again. And it is probably liking being in a pack of predators too. A lot of narcissists who are flattery addicts end up with sociopathic narcissists even. The types of sociopaths who like narcissists may be step parents: someone who tries to figure out how to drive your narcissistic mother's children off with trumped up charges, someone who might try to seduce your narcissistic mother out of a committed marriage, someone who might plan a scheme to get total control of your mother, someone who senses there is money your narcissistic mother's coffers. Narcissists who are flattery addicts (most of them are) are vulnerable to sociopaths.

There is a much more rare breed of narcissist who spends their holidays with children who will bend over backwards for them, who will do anything for them, who the narc is turning into the ultra-servant. Sometimes the narc parent will keep out the children not willing to be servants. But usually, let's face it, if your parent prefers the company of empaths, they do NOT tend to leave anyone out: they are going to try to get the children and grandchildren in one big unit competing with one another as to who can bend over backwards for them the most. They want ALL of their children and grandchildren around, fighting it out.

... Not that being a servant is a bad thing, and taking care of a parent is commendable. But, most empathetic children are rejected and derided in narcissistic families. There is a breed of narcissist who makes it their preference to be surrounded by empaths instead of bullies. These would be your more extroverted and engulfing narcissists, either the life of the party, or the cult-leader type.

But suppose the golden child is the caregiving variety of co-dependent, super sensitive to all of your parent's every whim and ache, and you've been iced out because your life goal is not to be their full time caretaker or because your parent has rejected you too many times over nothing to feel secure in the parent-child relationship, or of making your parent a priority. Heck, I have known adult children who were rejected by a narc parent for a look on their face -- and that was ALL it was. Who needs that? Who even wants to bend over backwards for a parent who treats you like that?

So, your destiny may be to do something else, something grand. It's that making lemonade out of lemons thing -- and yes, I have been there, so I say it from experience, not just education. Sometimes scapegoats find that their purpose is to do something more than being a punching bag for a family, or trying to please a rejecting Princess and the Pea. If it wasn't for being "an outsider" of our family, we might never have become all we could be: invented something, or gone to school, or had a chance to travel, or moved to a place that was away from mom or dad, or been accepted into a more compatible family of choice. Sometimes their rejection is a blessing!

Who they will choose to spend the holidays with is not worth thinking about for all of these reasons and more. Do you look forward to a holiday where the jokes are all insecure veiled insults sometimes with threats or imperious judgments about other people? I sure don't!

Narcissists are either rejecting people, or they are engulfing people who can't let anyone alone. It's either ice or hot jungle, take your pick. There is no inbetween.

Most children of abusive narc parents have the ice variety, and if you have gotten this far in this post, I would bet that you are the kind of survivor who got iced out in some way by your narc parent.

There is something about being told you are a not-good-enough child. You tend, eventually, to think of your parent as not-good-enough either. Funny about that. It just tends to settle into that reciprocity and co-perspective, that fixed chasm, which I guess is just another mirror in the narcissist's world.

So, following is my cure for getting the narc parent out of our heads for the holidays:

What it is:

It is writing from hundreds of survivors and it is called "You Know You Have a Narcissistic Mother When --- ". Personally, some of it gets me laughing. Other posts are really sad and awful. Most of all it puts me in touch with a huge laundry list of what I'm not missing at all when it comes to spending holidays with narcs!  Believe me, if you don't want abuse in your life, you really, really want to miss out on many of the things abusive parent(s) or family do to ruin your holidays. Personally, when I go through this list, I get back to enjoying the hot cider, the beautiful tree, the Christmas songs and New Year's jamming with my musician friends.

These are all true stories. There were over 250 of them originally (not counting the even more copious amount of comments), so I picked the best of them. I put "when" in front of some of the entries to be consistent, cleaned up some of the grammar, and took names out.

If you have a narc parent, you can relate to most of it. So here we go!

You know you have a narcissistic mother when:

- When she accuses you of stealing her jewelry, and doesn't forgive you when she finds it later...in her bedroom!

- When you mention in conversation that you are going to shop for a new flat iron and she insists on going shopping with you to get it. When she sees it, it is the last one on the shelf, and she decides she has to have it instead and thinks nothing of buying it from right under your nose. Even smiles.

- When you talk about another person, any person, and she gets jealous, and looks like she wants to bite your head off.

- when she calls security like a dumb ass demanding to be in the labor room when you're birthing your child and screams "if it wasn't for me giving you life you wouldn't have this moment to treasure! So you owe me!"........
     comment: this is literally my nightmare. omg no
     comment: Mine was a nurse on the palliative care unit and wore her scrubs and ID badge onto maternity thinking she'd go unnoticed. When I needed an emergency c section only DH could go with me. But somehow she sneaked in even tho it was clearly stated to her. That bitch scooped up my daughter and held her before me and my husband could stop her. The last person I would want to hold my baby, let alone for the first time.
     comment: I hate to say it but what hideous bitches we all have as " moms" how any of us haven't seriously hurt them or ourselves is a miracle

     comment: Mine was FURIOUS she wasn't allowed to see the birth of my neice. We had to have the nurse kick her out.
     comment: I didn't want my nm there at all - of course she showed up -3rd husband she'd just married in tow and couldn't understand why I didn't want him in my labor and delivery room ... ?!?!
     comment: They think it's THEIR baby! They can't stand it that it's yours! Hate em


- When she gets angry that you don't call her on her birthday even though she's been giving you the silent treatment for months! lol
     comment: Ha! Ha! So funny!
     comment: We shouldn't laugh, but that is funny!
     comment: Lol omg true
     comment: So true! Has happened to me
     comment: My mom has been giving me the silent treatment for 7 months!! And I seriously felt guilty that I didn't call her this year and for all of the grandkids. I thought it was ALL MY fault. Wow! I never realized so many other people went through that too!! I'm learning so much!

- When you tell them how hurt you are by what they did, and they turn it around and tell you that you hurt them instead. It happens every time. Why can't they hear that you're hurt? Why is it always about them?
     comment: Gaslighting...classic! Hugs.
     comment: Yes, gaslighting, they do it every time! EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM! We've all been through it.
     comment: Yes. After decades of dealing with it, followed by years of trying distance (physical/emotional) and civility, I gave up and went NC. It's exhausting. I am beyond sick of any gaslighting. zero tolerance.
     comment: Yes, been there done that too many times. All done now!
     comment: These parents have no love for their kids. Blame them over any silly things to hurt them
     comment: Crazy parents who have to gaslight their kids just so they don't have to face the fact they hurt their kids.
     comment: Age old abuse tactic. Don't tell them anything. The only thing I found that works with gaslighting is to either talk like a robot with no emotion or go NC. They either get off on hurting their kids or they deny they hurt their kids. Most of us are done with it.


- When she doesn't call for a couple of days after you watched your dad die and says she wasn't going to the funeral because she wasn't that close to him anyways even tho they've been married for 30 years
     comment: Sorry
     comment: just like my mother
     comment: I'm so sorry


- When she presses fake charges against you, the cops show up to get your side of the story and you, the cop, the judge, and your attorney laugh about it after court is over.

- When they steal the carbon monoxide detector out of your house just to put it on their garage shelf.
     comment: I mean who really steals carbon monoxide filters??? Narcissists, of course! lol

- When she reams you out for being a bad mom because your baby is crying and.clearly hungry when you know you just fed him, and discovers her corsage has scratched his cheek and doesn't apologize
     comment: It was her corsage and not her tiara?
     comment: bahahaha!

- Here's one. Because it's classic:


























     















     comment: yup
     comment: Omg .are we related!! I am in stun shock. God i get it!

- When she tells you she isn't going to leave you anything in her will. Duh, I just wanted her to be a mother!
     comment: classic
     comment: yes, you'll find a lot of that here
     comment: they love this threat. next.
     comment: that's the only desperate threat they have because they know they are shit mothers
     comment: we all know this one.


- When your inbox is totally full and its all from messages from her. In only 1 day!! :)))
     comment: I really want to parrot the typical manipulative response to be funny, but I don't want to post a trigger for someone else... *Biting tongue*
     comment: *spewing coffee!* Too funny and too familiar!

- When she comes back at you with, "How could you do this to me!" Especially when you tell her you are not a virgin lol

- When your mother says "You're looking kinda chubby, here's some zit cream." -Indian give presents for major holidays and to embarrass you.

- When you've never liked or eaten coconut, like your whole life, and your mom makes you a German Chocolate cake for your birthday. Oh yea, just happens to be her favorite. "Oh no! I didn't know that you didn't like coconut!".... Oh really, after I told you dozens of times.
     comment: Yes, they do that!
     comment: SO RELATE!!! Both my mother AND MIL have done this to me!!!
     comment: This is what they do. It's always about getting a reaction.
     comment: This happened to me and I was allergic to the food she put in the cake. "Here child, and croak on it while you are at it."
     comment: Yea, they hate us so much that they want to poison us or give us food we hate, and all on our birthday! Bitches!
     comment: This is kind of like Munchhausen by Proxy except they are trying to poison us emotionally (get us upset). They should make up a word for it like Emotionally Abusive Munchhausen. Terrible.
     comment: they are known for giving us stuff we don't want. Who among us has gone shopping with our mothers and actually got what we wanted?
     comment: not me
     comment: not me either
     comment: god forbid we should be happy over something we actually want!


- When it takes more than two to five minutes to solve a conflict with them...
     comment: How about a lifetime! The conflicts never end, and of course she is never at fault; everyone else is even if she has to make up some bizarre story to prove it.
     comment: Yours get solved?? Haha


- When you buy her a bday, xmas, mother's day gift, and she ends up giving it back bc "she'll never use it." After too many give-backs I thought about giving her a care package of toilet paper, toothpaste, and deodorant. LOL!
     comment: I bought my mom and step-dad a romantic dinner at a nice restaurant. Had to save up for it. A year later she regifted them...to me. I'm single.

- When you ask her to tell you the story of your birth and she says, "you were born not breathing, I had a bad cramp in my leg, none of the doctors or nurses cared about my cramp because everyone was crowded around you to get you breathing."
     comment: Translation: you're a pain in my leg.

- When she cuts out my face in her photo album where I'm with my children and puts her narcissistic face into the holes where mine was cut out, and doesn't see why I'm Pissed!
     comment: my mother is always cutting out family members in her photos. Pretty soon she'll have no one left to cut out. Kinda like her life
     comment: these mothers can't deal with what they do to their family members so they cut them out thinking it will make their lives better. Then when some non-family member picks it up cuz its left on the coffee table she tells them that it's her kids photo album, but none of her kids are in it!! lol.
     comment: that whole "lie on the fly" maneuver didn't work out so well, did it? Ha!
     comment: it's good when they are caught at being looney tunes
     comment: cutting their children out of photos is so classic. They don't really want us to exist after all.

     comment: she probably does understand why you're pissed. That's a lot of why they do it. To get a reaction. Like "Pissed is good. Now maybe I'll try something else to get her goat." Evil little plans.

- When she gifts your siblings the things you wanted.

- When your grandfather dies and she knows your dad will be coming into an inheritance, so rather than consoling her family, disappears to Macy's for four hours and returns with a new wardrobe.

- When your mom calls you and says the only reason you are on birth control is so you can go have all the sex you want behind your husband's back without getting pregnant. She has this great fantasy going on in her head that I cheat. That's because she does.
     comment: projection!

- when she gets mad that you won't let her control your wedding plans, the where, the when, the who etc. You finally stand up for yourself and she says, "you really are a fucking bitch." And then she boycotts your wedding and tells ALL your family members not to come. Since they are all scared of her, they don't come.
Wedding day...there are 64 family and friend members on my husband's side and 8 friends, step dad, (who NM cheated on) and sister on my side. Awkward much?! Sigh.

     comment: Ugh, they do that ... and at graduations, funerals, going into surgery, any time the event is about you. It gets to the point where you scratch them off the list.
     comment: So sad!!!
     comment: I think we could count thousands of posts and comments here where NMs have ruined weddings. 
     comment: Do they ever NOT ruin weddings?
     comment: best thing to do: tell your inlaws that you have an abusive crazy family. Show them evidence. Then if your mother ruins the wedding or gets too drunk or makes a scene, then they won't be surprised. Sometimes inlaws are the most supportive family we'll ever have.


- when you reply to an Oprah casting call looking for mother-daughter conflict and the producer calls and says "your mother is crazy." (I declined to appear because quite frankly, I thought she might kill me...and she might have)

- When you get a full scholarship for one of the top colleges in the nation and her reaction is - " well it's not that big of a deal, you'll never be as good as your cousin." PS - my cousin goes to community college.

- When you spend copious amounts of your hard earned money to create a perfect Christmas and she gifts you Q Tips
     comment: Seriously?
     comment: yes, #true story


- When she screams for 45 minutes at you in the car on your way to your first highschool art exhibit, telling you that you are a bitch, that she hates that you were ever born, that you are a spawn of the devil and that she NEVER loved you, and then when you get there, she turns her rage off instantly and acts nice, like you are her star child. Whoa! I'm standing there dumbfounded and stunned with a PTSD episode from hell and she tells all these other mothers about how proud she is of me and I'm looking at her suspicious. She comes over to hug me and I stand there as stiff as a tree. When I can't seem to move she tells em all that I'm a little crazy and that I'll snap out of it eventually. That was years ago. I couldn't take any more. I now believe in NC from here until eternity.
     comment: gaslight.
     comment: yup, gaslighting.

- When, as a child, she gave you a toy, and you love it, really love it, and it goes missing mysteriously, and you are heartbroken. Then it shows up in a present she gives your cousin.

- When she tosses your bedroom in search of your diary and when confronted she replies "you know I'm nosey, you should have hidden it better" then proceeds to get angry at you for discussing the violation of privacy and breaks all of your belongings

- When after your dad dies she rearranges the entire house and removes all the photos of you and your children and only keeps up ones of her and the GC. The GC and her family who haven't been around in 20 years! And then when you finally get the courage to ask her about why pictures of you aren't on the wall, she smiles and says all the pictures of you are in her bedroom. They were/are not.

- When you break your leg and all of a sudden her arm hurts really bad and she needs to tell you that it hurts worse than your broken leg.
     comment: you describe their behaviour and it's so crazy people think you're insane.
     comment: If a person hasn't experienced narcissism they can't truly understand it. Which shouldn't be a surprise, even those who've experienced it are often at a loss to figure it out.
     comment: Only those close to me understand. I gave up trying to explain any of it to anyone else. I guess we have to understand why people would be perplexed about a mother caring about some somatic thing in her arm when their kid has a broken leg and is in the hospital.


- When your 81 year old mother doesn't know how to use her smart phone and "butt dials" you while ranting about you. And you answer and hear the whole thing loud and clear through your bluetooth. And you tell her she did it and she claims to NOT KNOW what you are talking about. #truestory#Jesustakethewheel

- When she tells you in the car with all your kids, "you're lucky I didn't believe in abortions when I was pregnant with you"
     comment: OMG.. Mine told in me in front of my friends one day, "Well you should have been aborted but I didn't do that" and for no apparent reason.

- When you broke your toe and couldn't walk and asked your mother or sister to get you a pain killer and they both say no and watch you drag your foot across the floor in agony to get yourself painkillers.

- When you are 7, wake up to a garage sale at your house and she's sold all your toys.
     comment: happened to me too
     comment: That happened to me at the age of 9 . Not only that but she emptied us kid's bank accounts -leaving us for her boyfriend


- when I raise my voice at my son and put him in time out, she rages and abuses me, and thinks she can provide him a better life. Are you fucking kidding me? It's enough that I had to live with that nightmare! Not my kid!!

- when she's an alcoholic who made your childhood miserable and when she at last joins AA, she decides YOU have to "make amends" to HER.
     comment: She is not really getting what AA is about, is she
     comment from poster: I know AA works for a lot of people, but she totally turned me off it. She never worked the program yet became a beloved speaker and sponsor. Such a fake. 
When she died, we dutifully held a memorial per her wishes at her AA club. We should have won Oscars for being able to keep a straight face as people told us how lucky we were to have had her as a mother. Good thing they had no idea what a liar she was.
     comment: omg. only a narc would fake the 12 steps.

- When she calls the cops on for you trespassing on your own property!
     comment: ahahaha! Best one I've seen all night!

- When you were a young girl who started her period and never knew anything about the situation so you put your underwear in the bin and she goes through the bin, takes your underwear out and throws it all at your 13 year old innocent self and calls you a filthy slut.
     comment: Ouch. We share a similar story. I was ashamed and felt dirty so hid mine under the bathroom cabinet as I was overwhelmed. Of course she found them, called in my dad and ripped me apart and humiliated me and I wanted to die. Made me sick for a long time. Hugs
     comment: I yelled from the bathroom " mom , it's time " and in storms her 2nd husband accusing me of being pregnant...WTF ?!     
     comment: welcome to a narc mother's view of reaching womanhood. 

- When my brother recently committed suicide and she comments that she is more depressed than he ever was and his suicide was like he was in a car accident! Yea, that didn't go well! We haven't talked since the week before Thanksgiving.

- When she gives you the silent treatment for 10 years but wants you back because your sibling isn't so golden lately.
     comment: typical

- When you catch her at a lie and she says you need to see a psychiatrist

- When you take her to lunch and the waiter takes our picture together. Then she yells that I made her look old & fat & that I'm a terrible photographer. Even though I didn't take the picture since I'm in the picture too!
     comment: Bahaha!! So dumb. Our mothers are literally toddlers

- When, as an adult, she locks one of your shoes in her room so you can't leave.
     comment: That's actually against the law -- called false imprisonment. I learned the hard way.
     comment: good to know!


- when you say you "I love you" and she says "I know"!
     comment: Mine would say "mmm hmm"

- When your 14 year old self told her you wanted to be a dancer and she laughed in your face and said you loved food too much

- When she blames you because she left her moon roof open on her car, on a night it rains, and you get beat for it. I was in first grade.

- when what she said and did was so abusive and so fucked up I can't even tell people why I have no contact. "Her? Such a great lady!" as if I'm lying! And then they look at me like I did something to her. Now I make up lesser reasons or make it about myself."

     comment: we have all been through this. NMs wear a mask. they have a "bitch switch" that they turn on and off in an instant. they laugh at what they get away with. It's good we have this group.

- When you're 8 years old and alone in a house with a 2 year old and an infant, changing and washing cloth diapers, mixing bottles, making meals, cleaning. Then your toddler brother wakes you up because he had an accident and is terrified Mom will find out and needs your help to hide it. So you change his pj's and sheets and do the laundry and you're only 8 years old.
     
- When you're her only girl child and she says to the neighbor, right in front of you, "I like boys better."

- When she throws away your IVY league college acceptance letters and lies to you about what happened to them, just so you can't move away from them and go to college.

- When she puts bills in your name and doesn't pay them

- When they tell you to run off and kill your self

- when they tell you that they want your life to be a story that pays them money.

- when she bad mouths you to your son even when she's on her death bed and he believes her and berates you throughout her funeral, bad mouths his sisters, and walks away with almost her entire estate. C'est la vie.

- When they tell your grandmother that you are a prostitute. I've been a licensed medical doctor for over 13 years!

     comment: the shite they tell is laughable.
     comment: Like they haven't known us our whole lives! WTH is that all about?!


- When you realize that you act more mature than your mother... and your only 10 years old

- When you've had every counselling going since the age of 17 ..humanistic. .cognitive. ..psychodynamic. ..and at the age of 43...you read a book called ' I'm not crazy it's my mother' ..and suddenly then everything makes sense!!!

- When she says she doesn't understand why you hate her so much and exclaims, it's not like she was a bad mother to you growing up because she wasn't addicted to drugs or prostituting herself. Wow, the bar you set for yourself, dear mother, is so high! Not being a drunk or a slut must make you a great mother! Barf!

- When your mom takes all of your pain medication for herself after you have a medically necessary surgery at 12 years old and you get to recover with no pain relief at all

- When she tells you to divorce your hard working husband so you can qualify for public assistance like her! Of course, now she wonders why we are no contact, lol

- Wow. This thread is so incredibly eye-opening. I had no idea NMs could all be so terrifyingly similar. Heartbreaking and enlightening.

- When you're happily engaged to be married and she passes out your phone number to the loser men at the drive-thru at the liquor store
     comment: What an asshole! I'm dying laughing though! Dude, she couldn't even go for drive thru banking? She must want you to be with an alcoholic!
     comment by poster: yes, just like her. And to live in her southern cracker town
     comment: Omg omg please say they called!! Heya is you thurr? Wonderin if you wanted to split this *hick* discount jug of wine, I'm fixin *hick* to get off werk. Whatcher say, thar *hick* missy?
     comment: OMG I'm feeling lucky that my NM hates people enough not to give out my number to strangers!


- when she came to look after me after I had a horrible miscarriage and decided that while she was there she would have a facelift so I could take care of her! I kid you not!

- When your mom stages a fake car burglary with her new boyfriend. You're only 16. He was hiding in the backseat with a ski mask on and wrapped his arms around me from behind as we drove down the road in the middle of the night. They kept up the act for at least a few minutes of terrifying hell until they started laughing hysterically. Ya, real funny mom...
     comment: That is SO fucked up. I'm sorry!!!
     comment: That's sickening.


- When she puts her dog first and her grandchildren second
     comment: That's because they can train a dog to worship them lol
     comment: Exactly as if they are Almighty God.


- When she spends several hours diddling with her VCR, comes to you, her SG, and asks for help to get the tape out that is stuck. You discover the reason she couldn't get a tape out of the VCR is because there isn't one in there (LOL). You do your best to remain serious as she is quite upset about the machine eating a tape ... and explain there is no tape in the machine. She then insists that you must have stolen the tape when she wasn't looking. It's okay to roll your eyes and laugh now 😂

- When you cancel dinner plans with her and her friend because you're six months pregnant and have just finished a 10 hour work day and need sleep, so she doesn't speak to you for 10 years
     comment: Man that is a blessing!
     comment from poster: took me a while to realise it, but yes
     comment: Wish my mother did that. When you'd rather have a mother not talk to you than beat you ... I get it.
     comment from poster: I think because I was pregnant it gave me the strength not to beg her forgiveness as I always had done, I knew I didn't want my daughter caught up in her drama and nastiness so I stood my ground. It's not over though, she upped her game and her behaviour is psycho but at least now I know not to respond and that you can't reason with a crazy person.
     comment: Amen to that!


- When your husband dies and she calls all her friends over to support her through the terrible time and then yells at you for being too catatonic to entertain her friends while they're there supporting her. But it's my husband!
     comment: omg, that's awful
     comment: horrible
     comment: I'm so sorry


- My heart breaks for those of you whose NMs have told y'all they wish they had aborted you. I can't even imagine how that must feel or how hard that is to heal from. 
I don't think my mom ever wanted children. I think she just had us (or me anyway) because that's what she figured she was supposed to do, because that's what was expected. Push out some kids, make sure they stay alive and and voila! You're the best fucking parent ever! You did it. Congrats, NM. You're the fucking star of all of our posts. Asshole(s).
     comment: Mine got drunk (somewhat regularly) and admitted to me that if abortion had been legal in 1962...
     comment: How about she has 5 children and tells people that she hates kids. Lol. Or that she never wanted children. She would say it whilst in public even


- When your NM falls and breaks her wrist and shatters her leg to the knee cap ... She lays outside on the ground for seven hours in December snow, cold develops two huge clots in her lungs and she has a heart attack and barely survives. You take off a semester to practically live with her at the hospital for five months as she recuperates. Then the Golden Child Sister shows up for 4 days. From Another state. You find out that your Golden Child Sister is bragging to everybody that if your mother dies she gets everything in the estate. Sure enough a will surfaces while NM is fighting for her life and GC gets it all. When NM has lawyers draw up a new will the GC stomps off and goes back to her state mad. It's the wacky world of narcissists.

- When NM says she's never had a problem with either of my siblings. But the truth is that she punched one when he was trying to leave her then she had him sent to juvy and the other one she ended up trying to stab. Then she tried to kill herself. Why do NMs say things like they never had a problem with your siblings when they did all of this? Hard to understand.
     comment: they don't know what reality is because they lie so much, and they also can't figure out what they lie about, and what the details of their lies were. They al;so can't figure out which lies they told to which people. Who knows why they want to live that way.

- When your younger sister confides in your brother that she had been sexually abused by her father and NM calls the school and gets my sister on the phone and tells her she needs to apologize to her father for making up those lies.
     comment: This is one of those sad things that narcissists do, and all of them it seems. I have never heard of one that tried to stop sexual abuse -- maybe because they want their kids abused, sad to say.

- When you tell NM that you are being bullied by your brother and the only response you get is how much they did for you, and even contributed to your college (140 dollars - lol!), and that you're so ungrateful.
     comment: They like that ungrateful praise and will use it over the tiniest things. We need to be grateful for being smacked around, ignored, abused, because it's better than nothing - their narcissistic logic.

- when she gives you the silent treatment for ten years because you got married and had children. Then at a family event she comes up to you and wants to pretend that you and she and your kids are the biggest happiest family and have always had a great relationship. When you wince, and hate that she's even touching your kids, and you tell her to go away, because she's giving you the major creeps. What does she do? She looks at you and your kids like she wants to kill you and them. No remorse, no apology, no realization that ten years doesn't make her part of my family, just wants to strangle you for not going along with her attempt to pretend she hasn't rejected you for ten years.
     comment: it's all about the image!
     comment: image is EVERYTHING to them
     comment: strangers are who they live for and family is nothing to these people. They literally love anything superficial. 

- when my uncle tried to sexually abuse me when I was younger but I put up a fight. I had nightmares about it and opened up to my mother 2 years later. She told my sister what I told her and they were both laughing at me saying I was lying. I then found out a few weeks ago that my uncle was actually a convicted sex offender and she knew all about it. When I confronted her and asked her why she deliberately left me alone with a sex offender she got defensive and abused me and said how DARE I accuse her brother of being a pedophile, I then proceeded to tell her that he was a convicted sex offender and I knew everything that's why he was jailed for so long. I gave her dates of his convictions and she still tried to call me a liar, and how DARE I MAKE THINGS UP ABOUT HER BROTHER. I'm lead to believe that she intentionally left me alone with him and knew what he was like. He even raped his own sister.

- When your beloved younger sibling dies suddenly when you are 18, but you're not allowed to grieve just yet, because you're a singer and she insists on you singing at the service in front of several hundred people.
     
- When she threatens to tell the cops you touched your father when he nearly choked you to death. Two against one...wasn't gonna win that one

- When your sister and mother gang up on you and kick you to the floor whilst holding your hair and then call the cops and side up with each other so you get taken away in a dimmy van and never allowed back to your home.
     comment: I swear to god we have the same mother

- When she never, once, said she loved you. When she never once helped with homework but beat you if your grades were bad. When she never, once got up in the morning to fix you breakfast or to see you off to school. When she never had a conversation with you that wasn't used against you in some damning or embarrassing way.

- Here's one: So I used to be an army wife of 24 years. My husband was infantry. His 9th deployment in total this one, Iraq 04 05. His first Purple Heart, his humvee blown up, he received wounds to the left side of his body; arm, face, neck, jaw line, hand, wrist etc. He was in a coma for a little while. Two of the soldiers were killed as well..
Because, there was so much fighting going on in Iraq and there were so many casualties of u.s. armed soldiers, President George Bush and his wife flew to check on the families. Actually came to check on me but my own mother does not call for 30 days. We were interviewed by the BBC and CNN because of this. She still doesn't call. The planet acknowledges us, the news acknowledges us, the president and his wife fly Air Force One to our installation to check on us, because of the severity and the amount of casualties that our families were going through AND my own mother doesn't even f-cking call..
Around a month later, I called my mother she answers the phone, she asked me how I am... I told her what happened.... she says "Oh your sister told me that about a month ago, is he okay?". My response was "Someone tried to murder my husband, you didn't call! He was in a coma, you didn't call! I was almost a widow with 4 kids and you didn't call! The F-cking President came to see us and you couldn't F-cking call??? Wow you finally showed me your truest true colors! Am I starting to realize that you don't love me??" and I hung up on her. She didn't call back for years....