domestic abuse, emotional abuse, life, mental abuse, mental health, mental illness, mental illness blog

For Adult Children of Parents with Narcissistic Personality Disorder / Mental Abuse and C-PTSD

I have received a question about the difference between narcissistic abuse parenting and normal healthy parenting. I thought this was a great question and that it should be responded to in a post, so that others could understand about mental abuse of a child with a narcissistic parent.

I have also had conversations with a few of readers lately and the issues of the effects of mentally abusive parenting on adulthood keeps coming up. There are adults who have become aware of mental abuse during their childhood and that is affecting their functionality as adults.

There are also people who are unsure as to whether they experienced any mental abuse as children but seem to having difficulty with issues such as being a perfectionist or carrying some guilt or toxic shame issues.

In order not to  offend any parents let me state the following, This post is not about parenting or suggestions for how you should or should not parent your children, People that have malignant personality disorder are not likely to reading a blog like this one.

I am not suggesting that any of my reader have narcissistic personality disorder. In fact it is extremely unlikely, with the possible exception of my ex reading this blog. People with narcissistic personality disorder to not read blogs to seek to improve themselves because they do not see any need for changing or improving anything about themselves.

Narcissists are not reading this blog because it is all about empathy, emotions and compassion. The readers of this blog are mostly compassionate, empathetic and seeking validation, information, connection and humanization in a dehumanizing world.

I am writing this post for people who may have experienced narcissistic parenting and would like to find ways to get healthier and become more functional as adults.

Please know that I am a parent and I am far from perfect. All parents have to figure things out as they go along. If your intentions are good and you are trying to guide your child into one day becoming an independent functioning adult, then you are doing the best that you can.

One of the main differences between healthy parents and narcissistic parents  is the understanding that the child will one day be an adult who has to be able to function on their own. They need self esteem, and self confidence to function well as an adult.

Narcissistic parents tear their children’s self esteem down, in order to control and manipulate them. They do not see the child as an individual person with rights of their own. They see the child as an extension of themselves and property that they have every right to abuse as they see fit.

Children can be abused in a physical way by parents, which is always also mental abuse. Being treated as a punching bad for someone to get their anger our onto, is dehumanizing. Sexual abuse is also dehumanizing and has ling lasting affects of shame and trauma.

Mental abuse is treatment that is not physical but also has the effect of dehumanizing the child. It makes them feel that they are an object and not a person. The narcissistic parent sees the child as an object and as one of their possessions that they have every right to control.

Narcissistic parents do not have unconditional love for their children, They expect the children to exists in order to be servants to them. The children are emotionally tortured and controlled by emotional torture.

Punishments for not complying to what the narcissist wants include The Silent Treatment, Abandonment or throwing them out of the house, name calling and criticizing, smear campaign which is spreading ugly lies about the child to others in order to humiliate them.

Other punishments for non compliance to the narcissists are violation of boundaries including but not limited to breaking up relationships, and intentionally causing problems with friendships of the child.

It is typical for the parent to tell the older child, “I am doing this for your own good” The parent feels a right to the child. If other relationships and situations make the parent feel slighted then they will interfere with them, even if it causes damage to the life and ability to function of the child.

If a daughter has a job and the narcissistic parent feels the job is giving the daughter a sense of independence and individuality, the the parent may take severe action to undermine the daughter. They may go to the job location and verbally interfere to the point of the daughter losing the job.

The mother, of course, will say “I did it for your own good” when in reaility the mother was threatened by the daughter’s growing self esteem and independence.

Living with a narcissistic parent is living in constant fear. Life is unpredictable. You can follow all of the rules as you understand them and then suddenly the parent has changed the rules without telling you. You are punished for not following the new rule, which you has no way to know about.

This is a way in which the narcissistic parent can make you wrong all the time. No matter how hard you try, you are always wrong and always not good enough. There may be rewards from time to time for complying but later on the parent sets up a scenario for you to fail.

In his video, Narcissistic Mother’s Pet , Sam Vaknin describes the view of the narcissistic mother of their child. This is in reference to a child that is put on a pedestal and used as an instrument for the parent’s own agenda. This is about the Golden Child of a narcissistic parent. 

The child is dehumanized and instrumentalized, when they are idolized.  His or Her parents love the child CONDITIONALLY.Not for what he really is but what they wish and imagine him to be.

The fulfillment of their dreams and frustrated wishes. The child becomes the vessel of the parents’ discontented lives. A tool, a magic brush, with which they can airbrush their failures into successes, their humiliation into victory.”

Children of narcissistic parents are molded by the parent into what will serve the agenda of the parent. A person with malignant narcissistic personality disorder does not support the child in developing their own identity and values.

The following link is to a Sam Vaknin video called Narcissist Mother’s Pet: Her Child. This will explain how the narcissistic mother sees her child as something that she is entitled to make into what she want it to be. I have also put the link below. For some reason I was unable to get this video to appear on the post as playable. You can click on the link and it should work for you.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYY1E6bJmBE

People with malignant narcissistic personality disorder make up about one percent of the population. There are other personality types and disorders which can cause parents to be abusive. But for the sake of this article, I am only discussing parents with malignant narcissistic personality disorder.

People with malignant narcissistic personality disorder live in a world of their own reality. This was developed during their own childhood which was abusive. In order to endure the abuse, the child created a fantasy world where they were omnipotent and godlike, They came to tell themselves that they were entitles to all things and services from all people.

This unfortunate survival coping skill which the narcissist developed during their abusive childhood is carried into adulthood as their own fantasy world. The narcissist is unable to feel empathy for others or even to see them as fellow humans with rights to their own thoughts and feelings.

“The child of the narcissist  is taught to ignore reality and to occupy the parent’s fantastic (fantasy) space” The narcissistic parent fails to allow the child to learn very basic life skills that are needed to be a functional adult.

Some of the life skills that are never taught to the child of a narcissistic parent are

“empathy, compassion…a realistic assessment of ones abilities and limitations…realistic expectations of oneself and others….personal boundaries, team work,social skills, perseverance ..

“All of these abilities are lacking or missing altogether”  in the child as they grow into an adult

The following video is about adult daughters of narcissistic mothers and their relationship.

Children of narcissistic parents are sometimes idolized and put on a pedestal. although any time they do not comply to the narcissist wished they are knocked down off the pedestal and emotionally punished.

Sometimes in families with more than one child, one of the children is made to be the scapegoat.

Children of narcissistic parents are abused mentally whether they are the scapegoat child or the idolized golden child. Here is a video about this topic.

I highly recommend watching this video and the other videos which I included in this post. I did extensive research in order to find information that is accurate and delivered in a manner that is accessible to the listener.

The next video I will share with you is about scapegoating and the effects that carry over into adulthood

This is a lot of information for you to look at , listen to and to process. If you feel that you were mentally abused as a child or a teenager, then you will have noticed some functional problems as an adult. The best method to begin dealing with abuse in your past is to learn about the topics that are related to the particular type of abuse that you endured.

Here is a valuable resource for daughters of narcissistic mothers

http://www.daughtersofnarcissisticmothers.com/

This blog has lots of great articles and information for you. Here is a quote from the blog 

We feel we cannot be our authentic true selves, even assuming we can figure out who that authentic self even is.

We suffer from low self-esteem, often to the level of self-loathing, and we struggle with self-care. We almost certainly cannot love ourselves, and all this is evidenced by our negative self-talk.

We may believe we have no right to exist, and almost certainly feel that we’re never good enough, that we’re not acceptable, that at some deep down level we’re inherently flawed.

We either are forever self-sabotaging, or burdened with impossible perfectionism.

Other Topics you might want to research are…

narcissism, adults of narcissistic parents,

malignant borderline personality disorder,

adult children of borderline mother or father,

C-PTSD from childhood abuse,

PTSD,

dark triangle, dark tetrad, and toxic shame

Good YouTube channels for these topics  are

Spartan Life Coach

Self Care Haven

Sam Vaknin

Other videos you might find helpful…

This video is about “Toxic Shame and is very well done by the Spartan Life Coach.  There is another video on this channel that I like which is called How I Overcame Narcissistic Abuse”

25 thoughts on “For Adult Children of Parents with Narcissistic Personality Disorder / Mental Abuse and C-PTSD”

  1. Thank you for this post Annie. Its taken me a couple of days to review and go over as I am married to a Narcissist and raised by a Narcissist mother. Its been extremely difficult as I never understood what was wrong with me. My Husband kept telling me throughout the years what was wrong with me and I tried to change my ways of thinking. I’ve been married over 10 years. I see how I’ve been “trapped” and really I see it will be a great struggle to overcome as I have young children. There are so many dimensions that are overwhelming. I know I have to start somewhere. I cannot allow myself to continue life on this way. I am not thriving, only surviving. What kind of life is that is live for ?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Memoir Notes and commented:
    Note: There is a lot of information in this post, which is a must-read for ACONs and a great source of information for others. However, I do not recommend reading it in one sitting, but rather reading a little each day. It’s a lot to absorb.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comments and for supporting my blog. There is a lot of information. The problem of overcoming narcissistic abuse is very complex. There was a lot of brain washing and also interference to the developmental stages growing up. There is brain software that is denied to us.

      It is possible to get on a path to healing with proactive work over time. I am working some audios for this and they will be available at my web site gentlekindnesscoaching.com. Please feel free to join the mailing list at the site. There is no obligation for anything by joining the email list. You will just get updates and also informative newsletters.

      If you are interested in coaching you can see some more info at that site or you can email me directly at michelemimimish@gmail.com My approach is to treat each person as a unique individual and to choose techniques and methods geared towards them. Usually a combination of compassionate combination, hypnotic meditative affirmation audios, and NLP techniques can be very helpful to getting people on a path to healing.

      I never want to refuse anyone based on their budget so I have plans starting at 15 dollars for people that cannot afford a lot.

      You can also look up information on the internet that might help you to learn about narcissistic parents, narcissism, people pleaser syndrome, and setting boundaries that are healthy.

      I wish you healing and happiness. Feel free to watch my other videos on the youtube channel annie mimi hall.

      Blessings,
      Annie – gentlekindnesscoaching.com

      Like

  3. Ack. Just a few years ago, when I was 58 years old and my parents in their 80’s, my mother had one of her absurd rage attacks (I had picked up HER pencil) and for the first time in my life I told her that what she was doing was inappropriate and abusive. Both of my parents shouted at me that children are the property of the parents, therefore they can do anything they want, to the child. My jaw hit the floor. These are the laws I grew up with, but because I was a child, I felt these laws but could not believe that MY parents could really believe that, and impose it on me. It didn’t make sense. But it did ruin my life. So when I heard this statement come out of their mouths, in unison, I had this huge, awful “aha” moment. This is why I never felt good enough, this is why I had to rack up degree after degree, send expensive gifts, pay for vacations…because I was raised as property, chattel. One thing I will say, happily, is that my dad and I has extensive conversations about this before he died almost a year ago, and he sincerely apologized to me, which means so much to me, as you might imagine! My mother, who is carrying a hefty caseload as a guardian-ad-litem for abused children (where’s the disconnect here? Or really, the connect, since what she does is to force incarcerated parents to relinquish parental rights, because SHE certainly knows how to raise a child…) is ticking right along, and I’ve gone Minimal Contact, which is a great relief. Dear me, I have gone on and on here! Clearly, your wonderful post has struck a nerve with me, and many others too. Thank you for the huge amount of work you invested for our benefit!
    Blessings–Laura

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You said it perfectly. It amazes me that people with this problem practically say the same words, After years of therapy I had a similar experience with my mother, She was in her 80s. She was ill and did what I think was an odd kind of revenge sort of suicide. She was just being so incredibly mean, I dared to contradict, Not in a huge horrible way.The fact that I dared to at all was unusual. She gave me that “I’ll get you for that!” look. Immediately entered the hospital’s End of Life Care. She literally kept demanding that they take her quick, She was dead the next morning. It has been 7 years and I am still feeling…. how do you even put words to it? The aftermath? Working on it, She raised me actually saying the exact words that your parents later told you. She seemed perfectly comfortable with it. She would say that you must break a child’s spirit. She definitely made it clear that she owned me until the day she died. Unfortunately she kind of did own my soul. She stole it and then she owned it. I haven’t healed nearly as soon as I expected to post her passing, I intend reeducate myself one more time..I am getting way to old to still be shadowboxing with all of the messages that she left behind..

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am glad you feel validated by the post. I am sorry for what you had to go through. Yes I would call that the aftermath of abuse. Your brain was wired a certain way (an abnormal way ) from ongoing abuse. I am not a psychiatrist so I cannot legally diagnose you but it is likely that a psychiatrist would identify you as having C-PTSD (complex post traumatic stress disorder). But you would have to find a mental health professional that believes in C-PTSD. Some of them do and some do not. You could ask.

        There are several things that go wrong in the brain when someone goes through on-going abuse. Developmental stages are interfered with. There are certain things we re supposed to learn that you did not such as – being taught and guided to be an independent individual with rights , also the ability to self generate self esteem and feelings of self worth. The narcissistic mother programs you to seek your worth and self esteem from external sources (her) and not withing yourself.

        This leaves us unable to feel good about ourselves and we need to look to others for our own self esteem. When people do not approve of us, it is hard to approve of yourself. When you do something good you need someone from the outside to approve it.

        Also there is usually a feeling of emotophobia. This is a fear of negative emotions in yourself and also in others. You were never allowed to feel things as a child. If you expressed feelings of sadness, frustration or not liking something …this was punished. You were not allowed to have opinions and feelings about things that were happening to you.

        Also there is a fear of causing negative emotions in other people. This results in people pleaser syndrome. As a child you had to cater to the narcissist (your mother) and you always had to focus on her feelings, her desires and try to keep her from getting angry or upset. You feared making her angry or upset because you would suffer her wrath.

        This leads us to be codependent and to have people pleaser syndrome which makes it hard for us to assert ourselves and communicate our feelings especially when they are different than what we think the other person wants.

        It is a comlex problem because it was caused by years of conditioning. But it can be overcome. The brain can be re-wired. I am currently working on some audios for this. They will be avialable at my web site store gentlekindnesscoaching.com Probably within the next week or so. You can get on the mailing list at the web site and be notified about the audios.

        I also specialize in life coaching in these areas. I treat each person as a unique individual and use the methods that are suited for them. Sometimes a combination of compassionate conversation, hypno affirmation audios and NLP techniques are effective. If you are interested in coaching you can visit the gentlekindnesscoaching.com web site or simply email me at michelemimimish@gmail.com.
        I have affordable plans designed to meet the needs of everyone’s budget starting at 15 dollars.

        I hope some of the info I gave you here helps. You can do some research about C-PTSD and people pleaser syndrome and narcissism. You can look up Daughters of Narcissistic mothers also.

        Good luck on your journey to healing. Your mother does not have to keep ahold of you. You are an adult now and she had no right to violate your boundaries and personal rights. You have a right to be your own person and have your needs met.

        Much love,
        Annie

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m sorry but not surprised to hear that your mother continues to haunt you. I hope you are able to purge her from your space. It would give her immense satisfaction to know that her gift of guilt was still giving. If I manage to outlive my mother, which isn’t at all certain due to my lousy health and her excellent health, I plan to have a huge bonfire and incinerate anything of hers that isn’t valuable, and sell the rest, and live out the rest of my days thanking her for finally kicking off and giving me the freedom I deserve. Ten or so years ago I burned all of the “poison pen” letters she had sent me over the years. I don’t know why I kept them. I guess it was because they were the only things she ever sent me. Anyway, I burned them, and it felt so good not to have that bad energy in my house anymore! It’s gonna feel great to sell her damn figurine collection on eBay! Guess I’ll have to figure out a way to outlive her 🙂 Can you think of any ways that you could exorcise your “murder” from your life? She doesn’t own you anymore. She never did. She brainwashed you.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. You probably have C-PTSD from childhood mental abuse. I cannot diagnose you because I am not a certified mental health professional at this time. If you wanted a diagnosis for C-PTSD you would have to check with the psychiatrist first to make sure that they know about C-PTSD and that they believe in it. This is a split issue between mental health professionals.

      Some of them know that C-PTSD exists and others do not understand it .. It is not in the DSM 5 as a disorder, unfortunately.

      There are ways to overcome the effects of this kind of abuse. I am currently working on some audios that are designed to help with this. They will be available at my web site gentlekindnesscoaching.com If you want to sign up there for the mailing list then I will send you an email when the audios are up. You can also read more about coaching there. I specialize in this kind of work with people that suffer from C-PTSD.

      When we grew up this way we need our brains re-wired and we need the software that was not given to us as children. We were supposed to be taught and guided to be independent adults that can self generate self esteem. But this was denied to us.

      Other people can generate feelings of self worth and self esteem without an external validation and approval. We were taught to always focus on the narcissist and what they need. We were trained to keep our feelings and thoughts to ourselves. Only what the narcissist wanted mattered. We were punished for expressing any feelings that we did not like things that were happening. This makes us always want to please other people as adults.

      It can be overcome but it takes a lot of proactive self help and often some help from a therapist or a life coach that specializes in this area. Hypnotic meditation audios and affirmation audios can help because they can reach the subconcious. Compassionate conversation is very important.

      I wish you healing and feel free to add your email to the gentlekindnesscoaching.com mailing list. There is no obligation to anything by adding your email.

      Much love,
      Annie

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Annie,

        Yeah, I have an excellent Ph.D psychologist who is well versed in the C-PTSD mess. Just it’s not in the DSM doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist LOL. In the v.V they took away my Asperger Syndrome and now I’m just on the Autistic Spectrum, NOS. Unfortunately my amazing neuropsychiatrist just retired, and I’m going to have one hell of a time explaining my med cocktail to anyone else. Meh. Yeah, the narc. She has everyone convinced she’s an angel. Well, I tell ya, everybody shits, and she’s shit in her own hat, as they say. When she gets to the nursing home, all the staff are going to hate me, because who could leave such a sweet, heroic, wonderful, amazing mother all by herself? Only an ungrateful, uncaring child. But as my high school Latin teacher used to say, as he handed out tests: “As you sow, so shall ye reap!”

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Fantastic article on narcissism. Unfortunately, I can relate to much of what is written here. Hence, I wrote a book about the impact my own mother had on me. Thanks for sharing.

    Like

      1. That is a great truth. It’s truly amazing to find just how many suffer mental abuse, many not realizing it. And that those of us who are brave enough to tell our stories help others understand and find a place they can relate. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

    1. I am glad this was helpful and validating to you. The aftermath of living in abuse usually means that you have C-PTSD (complex post traumatic stress disorder) I cannot diagnose you because i am not a mental health professional. I am a life coach and i deal with people being able to get on with their lives and to get their lives back on track.

      If you have C-PTSD then you missed certain brain software that you were supposed to be given growing up. This causes lots of problems as an adult including People Pleaser Syndrome, codependence, difficulty saying no, and emotophobia. Emotophobia is a fear of negatiev emotions in others and in yourself.

      If you lived with a narcissist growing up then you were not allowed to express your feelings and thoughts. You were programmed to always focus on the needs and whims of the narcissist. Any time you expressed a feeling like sadness, frustration or not liking something that was happening, you were punished or shut down. You learned to not express your feelings and to cater to the narcissist to avoid punishment.

      These things can be rewired in the brain. I am currently working some audios for this. They should be available within the next week. If you want to join the mailing list at my web site, I will notify you about the audios. gentlekindnesscoaching.com

      I also have coaching times open and you can visit the web site for more info or email me directly at michelemimimish@gmail.com I always work with each person as a unique individual. A combination of compassionate conversation, audios, and some NLP techniques can improve your state and help you to get on a healing path, with some tools to use. I have plans for every budget starting at 15 dollars.

      I hope this info was helpful. You can also look up some topic on google. Daughters of narcissistic mothers, children of narcissistic parents, narcissistic personality disorder, people pleaser syndrome, setting boundaries and red flags of abuse. There are youtube videos at my youtube site – annie mimi hall and also others like self care haven.

      Another is SHow Boundaries and also there is spartan life coach you tube channel. I hops this helps.

      Much love,
      Annie gentlekindnesscoaching.com

      Like

  5. Thank you for this post.
    I have spent most of my life learning, first and foremost to keep myself safe, not only to prevent myself from being a burden to others, and now not only to be able to protect others, but because maybe even I deserve to be safe. It is taking a long time, but posts like yours help confirm that it is my mother, not me, who was not right. (Ok, several friends and distant relatives telling me the same thing, with insistance not to give her money also helped).
    Shira,
    14November, 12015 HE (Holocene/Human Era, the Holocene Calendar)

    Like

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