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":

PART I:

PART II:

PART III:

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):


20 comments:

  1. Good question.
    I felt like I didn't have a choice other than to go no contact with my parents. Well, I did have a choice but every time I saw my parents they raddled me so much. This was just seeing them out a car window even when they couldn't see me back through the window. Just observing them. The few times I saw them from the car I felt so sick to my stomach that I'd vomit when I got home. I couldn't sleep, I couldn't eat, every mucsle in my body ached. I was shaking and paniced for days. That is not really a choice.
    I had to move far away.
    According to a cousin, they say I hurt them by going away and not telling them where I was. But why did they tell me they didn't want to see me again? So I cried and cried for over a year about it. Now the anxiety is too much to see them. It went too far. Plus I got fired after the last episode of seeing them. I could not concentrate on anything! My boss was like "What is wrong with you?" If seeing them out a car window can do all of this to me, it would probably kill me to talk them.

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    1. Holy Cow! Giving you the silent treatment for over a year and then complaining that you left them! It's hard NOT to think "Where is their thinking, their logic, their looking at the big picture, their intelligence when they think this way? What kind of brain is wired this way?"
      So that is part of the "danger" you might feel (from my perspective on it). It's like when a mind is this twisted with double standards, what else are they thinking or planning?
      But ... when you grow up around narcissists you are groomed to care about how THEY are feeling, and what THEY need from you, and placating, but they make it very clear that it isn't reciprocal.
      I have noticed that when abuses are particularly erroneous, and there is a very clear hypocrisy, and when you are already traumatized by something else, and when the abuse goes on for a long time, PTSD symptoms can get severe. It is par for the course for lengthy parental abuse and silent treatments. Which is to say that all of those symptoms you report sound like extreme PTSD episodes to me.
      I'll be talking at great length about PTSD in the future, but one thing a lot of survivors do is to see both a domestic violence therapist and a trauma therapist. Domestic violence therapists help you assess the extent of the abusiveness of your parents, and help keep you stay safe and focused on healthy alternatives, i.e. investing where a good outcome is possible. Trauma specialists help you to manage your PTSD symptoms and get your life back on track. Trauma is a brain thing: your amygdala is hyper charged and over active, while the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus are under-charged, for lack of a better word (simplified version).
      It isn't a normal way for parents to treat kids in ways that communicate that you don't matter to them. Society does not condone abuse, abandonment of children, neglect of children, and infanticide like throwing you away in a garbage can or a dumpster after you are born, or leaving you out in the elements somewhere, or selling you off to the highest bidder in the sex trade, or rejecting you. Is one different than the other? Yes, but not in terms of how our brains and emotions deal with the trauma.
      I don't know if you saw Dr. Judy's videos above, but she says over and over again that narcissists don't feel good unless you feel bad. So too many episodes of making you feel bad is going to impact you a lot. Her idea that you can keep a parent in your life who has hurt you again and again through abandonment, by telling the parent that a huge range of subjects are off the table, is hard for me to grasp at this point since I visit so many forums, and see that most abused adult children of narcissists are too traumatized for contact. Some narcissists are on the lighter side of the spectrum, without the full blown symptoms, so perhaps her advice has to do with those kinds of narcissists.
      In general, the subjects that will help you to heal from their abuse triggers THEIR rage. Being silent and stuffing our pain FOR THEM triggers our PTSD. There is no way to work it out, thus "no contact", total estrangement.

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    2. Anon, I used to almost throw up from fear heading up the driveway to do the 2-3 visits a year [no one went my way] I always felt fear. The book the Gift of Fear resonates in my head. I thought later, I must have had Stockholm Syndrome or some trauma bonding to visit people who literally scared the crap [puke] out of me.

      I always was getting physically sick during visits to my mother's house. Other suspicions have flitted around my mind dealing with this experience. Some could call me paranoid but read on. It was not like my usual kidney stone attack of that year.

      We followed my rule, see below and left after dinner at my mother's house. In the car, the last time I ever visited my mother's house in 2013. I projectiled vomited on the way home for at least an hour and almost had to go to the ER. I don't want to comment further on this one, but when you are getting THAT sick there's a problem.

      But even on normal days visiting my family, my lungs would shut down, I'd get infections at the drop of the hat. One time my N grandmother remarked at the cellulitis busting out on one of my legs, "That red is spreading so fast!" I don't think she cared. During the last year they were stressing me out so much, I got two leg infections just talking to them on the phone. I literally went NC to stay alive. Serious about that. They were killing me. I had gotten too old and weak to take the stress.

      Later I think back about a rule I had, with my husband. The rule was that if I got sick, breathing troubles, leg pain, throwing up--diarrhea, or any other feelings of physical unwellness around my family, we had to immediately leave and go home. {not even stay in their town} When I was projectile vomiting to a degree most would go to the ER, I thought "No I have to get home, and if I am home, I will be okay. I did not even want to go to the hospital in her town, and thought I would go to the one in my town, when I made it home. [hour and half away] I was okay after I threw up over 20 times in a very short duration. [lots of dry heaves once the food was gone] That was scary day. Later some time into NC, I thought "Why in the hell was I visiting people where I had to have a rule, that we fled if I got sick?"

      I could not trust them to get me to an ER, or help me, and I feared being VULNERABLE around them. That was SCREWED UP and most be some trauma programming BS. My NC was necessitated, by even just staying alive. I am too physically disabled to do the STUFF IT and GREY ROCK IT. Truly mine didn't care if I lived or died. I had over three therapists diagnose me with PTSD. One as recently as 2011, and even back to the 1990s. I do question why I took so many years for full NC, I had a NC for a few years in my 20s. The feelings of fear, I relate, I guess I am saying, it's something we do experience. You are right you did have to flee. I had to as well. "Too Traumatized for contact" sums it up.

      NC by the way has taken away decades of severe panic attacks. I can still panic from physical breathing problems but I do not have have the severe anxiety I suffered with for decades. I think my PTSD could only get better being NC.

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    3. Thank you so much Five Hundred Pound Peep for your story! It is an invaluable story in that I feel it will help many, many survivors.

      PTSD does manifest in physical symptoms and this is a common one (sick to ones stomach or throwing up), and it is the physical symptoms that finally dictate what we can and cannot take in our lives.

      My own heart goes out to you as well. What a horrific FOO family story! And so very sorry you had to live through this! You, and every child like you, deserves to be loved.

      If any normal parent reads this, perhaps they will understand too, that trite phrases such as "respect your parents" cannot work when parents behave like this and traumatize their children to the extent of these two children above.

      Thank you again!

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    4. Thank both of you above. I will look into trauma therapy. I did not know there was such a thing. No one gives you advice or lessons on how to handle this. You walk around in a daze expecting your feelings to go away, try to forget it, concentrate on your work, and your mind is hijaked. The internet is all I had in order to understand what was happening to me. I did not even know that I was severely abused by my parents my whole life until this year.

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    5. One reason that people like us have a blog is so that survivors can find answers, because it isn't so easy to find them otherwise.
      The silent treatment for over a year is abusive, especially when it comes from a parent who is not brain damaged or has some other extenuating reason. It is meant as a passive aggressive punishment.

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    6. I had to divorce my entire family including the extended. Once a family victim, always one. It is true that they put you into the role forever and never let you out of it. I moved overseas to get away from all of them. Best choice I ever made! No contact is a thousand times better. It may be for you too some day.

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    7. Thanks Lise, yes I deserved a lot better. Nope when people are traumatized they have no avenue but to get away. I hope trauma therapy can help anon. Sharon, I had to leave my entire family including the extended behind. I am glad you were able to move overseas. No contact can get hard but I realize I miss people who never really were there, or relationships. A couple cousins were nicer but they are so brainwashed by the rest it was impossible. It's true about being put in the role forever and never let out. I couldn't take it anymore.

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    8. Wow, I got responses! Thanks! For me, the precedence was set by an older brother who moved overseas and refused to be contacted by our parents. While they seemed sad that they lost him, it didn't stop them from transferring the abuse to me as "the next of kin." So I moved too. When my brother died, that was the last contact I had with my family of origin. While I miss him, I don't miss any of the others. When the only relationship they will have with you is to treat you like an archery target, there is not much to miss! Love life everyone! Move on!
      If you can't move on, or feel stuck sometimes, read these kinds of blogs to help you move on!

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  2. Hey I look forward to you writing on PTSD Lise, I would be interested in those articles. I consider writing about how severe my anxiety was sometimes, for years now that I had some recovery with it, it may be possible.

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    1. Thank you. This is what I really want to write about, PTSD and the healing process. The only reason I am concentrating at the moment on narc and abuse psychology (for lack of a better phrase) is to show their tricks of the trade (gaslighting, love bombing, word salad excuses, etc all on the right column on the blog page). People who have read "the list" tell me that going down that list made them realize that abuse was not their fault, that it kept them from second-guessing themselves and contemplating what of their facial expressions, or what word, what phrase, what body language set off their abuser. In other words, they began to give up on thinking it was them and started scrutinizing their abusers. That really is the first step in healing: realizing that abuse is overwhelmingly Cluster B or part of active alcoholism.
      I know that a lot of other bloggers and vloggers cover Cluster B psychology, and I have thought in the past "I don't need to", but it is good to keep it all in one blog, and refer to many other writers at the bottom of each of my own articles. It is not just about spreading the love to my fellow writers; it is about "for united we stand and divided we fall" -- it is about "showing all of the voices", drumming up a movement eventually to get better laws passed and for child abuse to become as out of fashion as slavery became in the 1800s.
      There is also the power of the media. With enough of us, that can change minds too. For instance, the T.V. show, "All in the Family" helped to make bigotry unpopular and cretin; in the 1800s the book "Uncle Tom's Cabin" made slavery so unpopular the war with the south largely became about that issue. What happened with that can be done with child abuse and the obtuse family practice of victim-blaming.
      Thank you for being a voice through your blog, and on this blog as well.
      Namaste.

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  3. Good article. I love your question list.

    Do they care about my feelings? No one in the family did. Queen Spider certainly did not. That was one foundational point to walk on. If anything I was shamed even by the outer circles for having feelings. The millionaire ex-friend discounted all of them too.

    So it followed that people with no feelings, or concern for any definitely did not care how I was affected.

    I ask myself does this person care about my feelings? Do And I agree people at that point do not love or care about someone. That was the hardest thing about my NC, especially as the years passed and she sent me her creepy cards telling me she did nothing wrong, well even those ended though I still have some other sending me mail, but realizing we are not loved or cared about is very difficult and hard to face.

    Domination was a given with all narcs I dealt with. They all wanted me silent, to give in, or not trouble them with talking about my feelings. Yes they try to shame. For me many tried to censor or repress or silence me, that includes many narc friends I walked away from. I realized any connection I desired was always thwarted with all these people, picture that as having a door slammed in one's face over and over emotionally, as you attempt to give from your side.

    Yes one sided relationships can never be close. I still get troubled today pondering how many relationships I ended up with in life, simply had no real connection with them. I am connected or was [to deceased friends] and definitely connected to my spouse, but this brought me a lot of questioning, that made me wonder what was wrong with me, but then if you live with people giving you the narcopath "freeze-out" for 20 years, it's going to affect a person. I realized I was a stranger and the people I walked away from I really did not truly have relationships with.

    I did start asking a question in my mind, "Are they kind?" when encountering new people. This one has served me well in making my time far far far shorter with new Cluster Bs.

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  4. No Contact was the answer for me. Even though my main aim was NC with four people (three family members a "best friend" of one of them who was treated more like family than I was), I took the decision to be NC with my entire family of origin to make sure there was no Hoovering.

    It wasn't easy to deal with all the emotions I went through but I stopped going through the debilitating and horrifying stress-episodes I did whenever I had to engage with the truly problematic ones. I'm 99% certain they then turned on another family member - which is what they have to do when the Scapegoat turns into a Runner. But I think he's now very low-contact with most of them too. I have no idea who (dys)functions as the family punch bag these days, I'm sure they've found someone.

    As Five Hundred Pound Peeps says, you don't really have a relationship with those people. I'd always felt like an outsider because that's how I was treated. The only time they bothered with me was if some other agenda was at play - either financial gain or using me in some other way - that's not a relationship anyone should want to continue.

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  5. Thank you for your story, anonymous.
    I think many scapegoats feel like an outsider.
    Once they are being used by the family for blame and abuse, there really is no longer a relationship there.
    A relationship with someone has to do with wanting to know how the other person feels and thinks, of wanting to be close, and sharing mutual love and kindness.
    Scapegoating is prejudicy. It is a nullifying act. It is not much different than making a determination of what someone thinks because of the color of their skin and deciding, based on that, that they are the enemy. Very primitive.

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  6. Hi. I'm someone from the forum. As you know, most of us have to go NC. The bullying gets worse. The more the parent bullies, the more they play the victim and tell the rest of the family you are crazy.
    In a way, I think they wanted me to go NC because they really believed I was causing all of the problems. I guess that is what scapegoating is. I went totally silent too thinking they would stop picking on me. No, it was like the salem witch trials in the end.
    After 3 years away from them all, the salem witch trials are going to my little sister. I was surprised because she seemed a lot more loved, even by our brothers, than I ever was and a lot more quiet too. But she is also the only girl left. This leads me to think that narcissistic mothers hate their daughters most.

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    1. Hi Anonymous.
      Thank you for writing about your experience. It helps other survivors.
      I don't know if narcissistic mothers scapegoat their daughters the most. It would seem so, but I will look into it. That requires some research.
      I do know some instances where it was a son. But in most of the cases where it was a son, it had to do with feeling their son was ruining their reputation: born out of wedlock, having a drinking problem, broadcasting the abuse inside the house out the window to the entire neighborhood, speaking to social services, instances like that.
      The NPD brand of abuser is going to care about their reputations first and foremost above everything else, so they will torture the child who is challenging that the most (and it doesn't have to be a verbal challenge: it can just be a drinking problem or being born out of wedlock or even being quiet, as you say). They are disordered enough to think that if they get rid of that child, that their lives will get better. However, in most cases it gets much worse.
      NPDs are also extremely jealous, and they tend to be jealous of their own daughters. They either want to prop you up in Jon Benet fashion ("Look how beautiful and graceful my daughter is! Aren't I a great mother with great genes?") or they want to tear you down so that they will look better in comparison. The way they explain a daughter who isn't put on a pedestal is "ungrateful", "crazy", etc -- very common.
      So instead of the narcissistic supply coming from praise, they get it with sympathy. Whether praise or sympathy, it is to suck people in -- to do something FOR THEM. Sympathy gets them something different than praise, and if they can't get praise, they will go for sympathy.
      The vulnerable narcissists usually go full throttle for sympathy, and the grandiose ones for praise (simplistic version).
      They can't get sympathy if they admit to their part in the "family mess", or admit they are in family therapy to try to get to the bottom of family issues -- that is too grown up for them (NPDs are stuck at about 6 years old emotionally, ASPDs are even younger than that). Thus, the scapegoating and "pretend victimization."
      Going for sympathy and victim status in the relationship between you, also deflects any blame or shame away from them. It's a tactic that all child abusers use.
      I think once the public becomes more and more aware of how multi-generational abuse is, this tactic will prove to fail them.
      As for the witch trials, yes, good name for it.

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  7. I would have to agree with the posters above that no contact is really not a choice.
    In my family, our father was the one with NPD. He called me "double trouble" when I was 6, and eventually my nickname was just plain "trouble", as in "Hey, trouble, help me with the lawn mower, will ya?" The nicknames grew from there to "lazy", "girl-o", and many others.
    I asked him to stop many times, but that would send him into a rage. He felt he had the right to call me anything he wanted just because I lived under his roof.
    I couldn't have friends over because he would embarrass me in front of them. Some of them picked up on his nicknames and used them against me.
    As soon as I could move out, I went no contact. Ten years later when my wife met him, all he could say to her was how I was no good and that she should find someone else. She told him that he didn't understand me, that he had gotten me all wrong. Did that help? No, he just treated her like the enemy.
    When we had kids, I often wondered how he could have been so rotten to us. The last thing I would want to do is to treat them badly. We decided not to expose them to my parents. I don't need to be called "lazy" or "girl-o", or the other one hundred degrading names he attributes to me in front of my own children.
    He acts like he never wanted children. So why be his child then?
    He would have to change, and I doubt he ever would. He's been like this ever since I was born.

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    1. "He acts like he never wanted children. So why be his child then?"
      -- I think many of the people who commented on this blog post feel the same way.
      Persistent name-calling is referred to as verbal abuse: http://angry-alcoholics.blogspot.com/2015/10/constant-insults-and-criticism-how-to.html
      Thank you for your story.

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  8. I want to go No Contact so bad. Still struggling financially, though. I really get the impression that my NM knows that I will go no contact if I get away from her, which is why she fights really hard against any efforts of mine to become more independent. It's like this very ironic paradox where I am her scapegoat and she has felt raw disdain from me since birth, yet if I wasn't around, then she wouldn't have anyone who can she control and treat however she wants without the risk of being abandoned as a result. I've been working with my therapist a lot on that lately. I get therapy through medicaid so it's one area where my NM can't yank the rug out from underneath me. My therapist implies that she thinks I have self-sabotaging problems because I can sense that my NM 'needs' me in a really dysfunctional way. I think that is the worst and hardest part about contemplating eventual no contact. It's hard to work through it in such a way that "love" isn't somehow a detriment, since it feels like loving my NM is self-detrimental. Or in other words to get it worked out in my head that separating and going no contact doesn't mean that I am being mean.

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    1. Thank you for your story, anonymous. It is helping the dialogue on this issue.
      You said: "I really get the impression that my NM knows that I will go no contact if I get away from her, which is why she fights really hard against any efforts of mine to become more independent."
      This is where it gets to be like chess if you are working towards "no contact" and she is working towards sabotaging your efforts to be independent. I believe most scapegoats are smarter than NMs. Most NMs have a ruthless campaign to make you trauma-bonded to them (co-dependent).
      Not everyone feels comfortable going "no contact" though. "No contact" is a last resort kind of thing for many. But from all I have seen, a majority make that move if only because an NM will never have your interests at heart, especially if you are a scapegoat.
      You can always try a limitation of subjects, or changing the subject when she gets controlling. There is nothing wrong with creative approaches to this problem. Distraction by changing the subject, or pointing to a bird in the sky, or being on your cell phone looking up meanings or facts the NM throws at you, can work to get the narcissist off of full-throttle-control and manipulation.
      On the other hand, sometimes it makes them angry if you get distracted by subjects more comfortable for you.
      It all depends on who they are, what you want, and what kind of life you want to build. Sometimes just writing down your dreams, and how you can obtain them takes the focus of your mind off of the NM's agenda for you. In other words, the distraction of your own dreams can be your way out.

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