Narcissistic Mothers and Scapegoat

by Michelle Piper

When you’re in the role of the scapegoat in a narcissistic family system, growing up to feel “normal” can be a stretch. After years of torment, the scapegoat is accustomed to being blamed for every little thing which went wrong in the family. It’s hard to feel a real sense of self and belonging after your trust for yourself and others is abused.

You were given the exact opposite treatment than was the golden child, which may cause you to resent that sibling. The golden child had it all. He or she was perfect in your narcissistic mother’s eyes, as this child was an extension of the narcissistic mother who could do no wrong.

Worse, if you were an only child, you likely were put in not only the scapegoat role, but sometimes enjoyed the hero/golden child role only to be put back to scapegoat or ignored in the lost child role. The punishment you endured was intolerable and something no child should have to endure.

As the scapegoat in your family, you probably took on the family’s issues and problems as your own because your narcissistic mother made you believe everything was your fault, no matter what the situation. This baggage can be felt by you as carried feelings that you bring to present situations. Even though the feelings didn’t originate with you, they are now your burden until you realize they weren’t yours but were from your mother who did not boundary or process hers. Being the adult child of a narcissist (ACON) is one of the hardest jobs because you come to realize that they pain and suffering you have always felt was due to your narcissistic mother.

When it came to you and your siblings, you probably were given more chores and responsibilities, as well as treated unequally when it came to discipline of you and your golden child sibling.

Now that you’re an adult child of a narcissist, you may notice things about yourself and your siblings which reflect how you were treated when you were young.

The golden child sibling may now be a narcissist themselves, never having to deal with the fact they were not perfect because your narcissistic mother never challenged them to believe otherwise.

Or, the golden child may now struggle with a sense of not knowing who they are or what their worth is outside the enmeshed relationship they had with your narcissistic parent.

For you now, it may be hard for you to trust yourself and feel confident in the decisions you make. Growing up, your narcissistic mother may have gaslighted you and you then questioned yourself and your sense of reality. This can lead to low self-esteem, because it was so hard to be certain whether your beliefs and values were right or wrong.

It’s common for scapegoated children to place blame on themselves, even into adulthood, for things going wrong which may be outside their control. They may blame themselves for the mistreatment they endured when they were younger, thinking it was their own fault their narcissistic mother was so cruel. In reality, a narcissistic mother is incapable of consistent love or empathy, picking you as her targeted scapegoat simply because she could.

Many scapegoats succumb to their role, knowing they’ll only receive attention from their narcissistic mother when they act according to how she wants them to. Repressed anger may come out when they grow up, leading to explosive aggression and resentment for their mother and other people in their lives. Then, scapegoats get frustrated with themselves for immature behavior and feel “less than”.

Other scapegoats fight and then bear the brunt of the angry narcissistic family system. Siblings, spouses, friends, and anyone else within the power of the narcissistic mother’s influence are used against the scapegoat. Some scapegoats go from submission to aggression in order to survive.

Now you are older and able to define how toxic your upbringing was. You didn’t deserve the treatment you were given by narcissistic parents and you don’t have to blame yourself for what happened.

Being chosen as the scapegoat in your family is not normal, nor is it healthy.

Don’t spend the precious time you have left trying to change your narcissistic mother’s opinion of you.

When I coach ACONs who’ve been scapegoated, I know they’re going to expand into their own happiness when they detach themselves from a narcissist’s opinion.

Base opinions of yourself according to your strengths and values. As you take actions that honor and protect your values your will feel your self worth increase.

It is no longer about what your narcissistic mother made you think you were or what she and those she manipulates currently thinks of you. You can put carried feelings and behaviors from the past behind you. You can end the cycle of dysfunction, shed your scapegoat role and be your own person outside of your narcissistic mother’s family.

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{ 82 comments… read them below or add one }

Kris November 19, 2012 at 3:10 pm

Being a scapegoat as a child or teenager is a terrible experience. I’ve lived it. Rules are set, but they apply more to you than everyone else. For example, my parents came up with a “system” whereby every individual dish, including cutlery that we left behind would cost us 25 cents off our allowance. An unmade bed cost us a $1.50. They clean it up for us. The golden child sister never had a problem with this system, she didn’t apply to it because she was “working”. My other brother and sister would get a reasonable amount of time to tend to their things. I would go to the bathroom towards the end of dinner intending on coming back for seconds and by the time I’d taken my pee my stuff was cleaned up and I was dinged a dollar for my dinner plate – that I wasnt even finished with. Take a shower and go back to my room to get dressed and find a note that my bed was made for $1.50. I’d start the week with a $15 debt against a $5.00 allowance.

That type of pattern was repeated in various ways throughout my entire life, although it was the worst when I was a teenager. Rules would apply in a bumpy, lumpy way. Golden child didnt have to do chores because she tried hard in school, other kids could do less than their part sometimes and get away with it, I was scrutinized for what I did on a daily basis, to the point of being picked up at 6am on a Saturday morning from my friend’s house because I hadn’t done enough the previous Friday (ie. I wasnt home because I went straight to my friends house after school to sleep over).

It is entirely maddening. It is no surprise that after I got kicked out at 17 I fanticized about buzzing their house with a Blackhawk helicopter and razing the house with a chain gun – with them inside it. The article is correct in that some scapegoats submit and others just get angry. Maybe this is why we see far more literature about scapegoat daughters of narcissistic mothers than scapegoat sons. Boys are more prone to channeling frustrations into anger, which if expressed incorrectly leads to the male scapegoat being ostracized as aggressive and confrontational.

Ironically, my narcissistic mother must have known that I had every right to be angry with her. Because she went and told everyone who might matter that I was an angry child filled with rage all the time, slamming things and breaking things and threatening people. If I actually was that way in my teens, I would have been justified in feeling that way; but the problem was, I wasnt – I was becoming depressed and meek as I watched my self esteem be destroyed layer upon layer in trying to cope with the instability of being threatened to be kicked out on a weekly, if not daily basis until i was permanently ejected the second time. I was actually a very gentle person who loved camping and cats and birds and nature. Slamming and breaking things wasnt my way at all.

All scapegoats, male or female, are fully entitled to that anger. Being treated entirely differently than your siblings and having the rules change on you so often that you can never be playing by them properly is an unfair injustice that even a toddler can see. It doesn’t matter if your mother has NPD, injustice is injustice and those feelings are real no matter what the reason for the unfair treatment is or was.

I wish that there was a guide for the golden children, some sort of a neurolinguistic book that would make them realize that they are in fact the golden child and that the rest of their siblings lived a remarkably different life under the same roof. For us scapegoats, an admission on the part of the golden child of their role in the family and a rejection of that role would be such a sense of justice. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to cut off the hand that is giving you the best of everything so this likely rarely ever happens.

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Jacob March 11, 2013 at 4:16 pm

I am currently 17y.o and I am stuck in a pit. I am indeed the scapegoat in this relationship and I know for a fact that my mom is a narcissistic mother. I have been to countless websites and each one describes her to a point.
Right now I told her basically I was fed up with being the scapegoat. Doing 15+ chores daily before she gets home from work. The thing is that she doesnt ask me to do these things but it is implied that they will get done. But if they arent, she ridicules me and yells at me because they arent done. But since I cam to her and told her I was fed up. She has recently taking away everything of mine because I am “disrespectful” to her and don’t respect the fact that she is the mother and can do whatever she wants < this is a big deal that she brings up every argument. She consantly calls us names and puts us down.
I guess the question I come to you is, what do I do? Do I give in to her ways and just apologize? Or do I continue to rebel and have nothing of mine? I am so stuck and confused at what I should do it is ripping me apart. PLEASE HELP ME AND TELL ME WHAT TO DO!!!

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Michelle Piper March 12, 2013 at 1:45 pm

Dear Jacob,
I hope that Kris and others on the blog also weigh in on this. First, if your Mom is a narcissist and you have to rely on her for anything, be careful about confrontation. A true narcissist will not change and will punish you for confrontation in one way or another if they can. A narcissistic parent will abuse their power to dominate you. A healthy parent does not. If it takes an apology to a dominating narcissistic parent to survive until you can be independent on your own terms, I recommend it. I don’t see it as giving in. I see it as surviving an abusive person until you can remove yourself from the imbalance of power. I hope this is of some help. You are clearly a bright person who is trying to do the right thing.

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Melissa March 12, 2013 at 8:38 pm

Dear Jacob,
You are a wise and strong person. I feel comforted in the early awareness you have about your mother. And I agree one hundred percent with Michelle. You have to do what you have to do to survive until you can rock out on your own. Breathe, know that you can see clearly. By calling her out, isn’t initiating any change in her. It is only creating destruction and more pain, simply because Narcissists are rarely capable of understanding or being willing to change. I mean that I have haven’t met one yet that can truly get and assimilate a change in behavior. I know its a hard pill to swallow but the sooner the better, my friend. They don’t change. Someone said, “Getting a narcissist to love you is like trying to get a blind person to the rainbow” This eventually offers a healthy dose of compassion for these crazy people. And yet, it doesn’t change that it hurts deeply and can be deeply confusing to children.
My sister moved out when she was 15. And I stayed and was the lost child. The only interaction I had with my mom was when she would come home drunk (every so often) and was yelling at me. I learned quickly to just apologize to get her to stop. It didn’t stop the abuse but it lessened it. Its a smart thing. There is a movie called Sleeping with the Enemy. I often felt like that, even though I wasn’t sleeping with my mom, I was going along acting like everything was groovy until I created the opportunity to get out. Telling my mom how awesome she was, how grateful I was and how sorry I was.
Therapy is a great thing, if you can get a good therapist. Find one that knows narcissism. Do yoga, find outlets that are healthy for you to express yourself. Journal. And never stop confronting the truth of your experiences. Hang in there.

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Michelle Piper March 12, 2013 at 8:46 pm

Well said, Melissa!
Thank you so much for replying to Jacob’s post with a very practical, honest approach.

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Corrine April 14, 2013 at 1:32 pm

Hi Jacob,
Please take some comfort in the fact that you know that your mother is a narcissist, and that there is nothing wrong with YOU. It is all HER. With this knowledge, you are already ahead of the game. Being 17, you do not have that much time left to endure her abuse. I agree with the others that your best strategy would be to not rile her up and to simply go along as peacefully as possible until you can get out. And once you do, you are going to feel such enormous relief at being able to direct your own life without the destructive negativity that is piled onto you by your narcissistic mother. Hang on! you are almost there! As I mentioned in another post, somewhere on this website it said that scapegoats are the truth tellers. BE PROUD! YOU ARE INCREDIBLY BRAVE. TELLING THE TRUTH IS POWERFUL AND TAKES IMMENSE COURAGE! NOT EVERYONE CAN DO THAT! And remember, you can tell her off as much as you want after you move out. ;)

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LizzieM April 21, 2013 at 9:41 am

I seriously think that it is awsome that you are on this site and 17. I had the same up bringing as you too. Its easy to let things spiral out of control, fall into a deep depression and loose all hope. Just remember to always have respect for yourself. They day will come when you will move out, follow your dreams and cut her completly out of your life, Im 20 and am still getting over the scars my mom left and am in the prosess of leaving her and her baggage out of my life. You deffiently dont deserve this and dont think for a second you do. Keep your head up and plan for your future now so you can get the hell out of her house :). And I honestly look at it like this, im glad in manny ways that i was the “scapegoat” because I see write through all the nastyness rather than be oblivious to the whole personality, and from being “scapegoats” we know EXACTLY what kind of person we NEVER want to be. Hang in there though! I think 14-17 were my most “trapped” feeling years but your almost there.

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Anonymous October 30, 2014 at 12:46 am

ConvratTions I also must tell U for the courage to seek happiness of UR choosing . To envision what U want out of life to be complete & the best Caus u did nothing to DESERV anything but nurturing d courage t & trust your feeling’s ! Getting out is utmost priority to gain clear perspective! I know that I ot out at 16, went to college with helpof roommate & slowly read learned I wasn’t bad or crazy!!! It’s a process n I like myself now & wat happend to us ISNT whose are!!! Good choices open more doors of a life U deserve

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Taylor August 4, 2013 at 12:43 pm

Hi jacob,

I.was where you are at at 17. Exactly, actually. By that age the lists started appearing and getting longer and longer. I was expected to mow our four acre lawn on demand (got kicked out because i ddnt want to do it 5pm on a friday night). Painting, clearing brush, housechores, chopping wood (im talking about a truckload not 10 or 15 peices) even “cleaning the forest of twigs and fallen branches”. I didnt have my things taken away but i did have everything in my room packed up and thrown into garbage bags and put behind the garage. Came home to my canadian flag hanging on the clothesline, my entire room cleaned out and even the bed removed.

The advice you are getting here is genuine. Do your best to avoid friction, get a job and start savng money in a bank account she cant access (easier for you than me as my NM was a branch manager at the bank). Dont buy flashy things just save up a damage deposit and first months rent. Dont expect to be able to take much if anything other than the clothes on your back when you leave, or when you get kicked out.

What she is doing is setting you up for failure. You are months from getting the boot if it hasnt happened already. The lists of jobs will get longer and longer and the jobs will get more difficult. She either wants to set you up to explode so she can kick you out or to use the fact that you arent doing as you are told to kick you out.

Dont be afraid to leave with nothing. Sleeping on some blankets on the floor isnt that bad. Furniture can be had for free once you have a place to put it. If you have a job especially kitchen work you can eat well for little money if you have a place to cook at home.

You are light years ahead of the game realizing that its narcissism at your age. You likely wont waste decades of your future life trying to be good enough for her and that will save you a lot of pain ling down the road when you have your own kids.

Stay strong

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mark May 1, 2013 at 9:33 am

It has taken me many of trying times to get to the blunt of what was going on with me . I have been diagnosed with adult adhd , i am a recovering alcoholic/addict. I am now 53 and very angry at this sick person/persons(siblings who have been pulled into this crazy world of the insane one . I know that my program in aa states that you cannot blame this on anybody else. BUT! WAIT A MINUTE > I have been in treatment numerous times, she even paid for one, i sware out of guilt,She even drove me to most ,always pushig that blame on me telling me to be a man. I could not get sober until my recent divorce where i blamed it on my wife having an affair. When i knew that the crazy one was always in the midst of every problem i ever had. Now im abstinent from alcohol, divorced and living with guess who ? Your right the narcisist. I am trying to get some financial help to go for couseling but it is hard . I am an unemployed union millwright ( that is one thing i did with out help from her) . She has gotten me over and above any where i want to be when it comes to being angry. No matter what anyone says i was this families scapegoat ,even my ex-wife knew this . Although she did the same , i was always wrong she never did anything wrong. It is true you marry your mother. Yes, i relly do need feedback !

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Christine August 22, 2013 at 3:16 pm

In our case, there is a guide for the golden child. As a golden child, she’s still enmeshed with NM, even living with her, having never been out on her own at 50. But she’s also the only child who has contact with NM. As a result, she’s now scapegoated because she “never amounted to anything.”

The ironic thing is, my sisters and I have offered GC a way out. We all have homes/families separated from NM by several thousand miles. We are relatively mentally healthy, and actively working on our survival and PTSD issues. We do love her, and we do know exactly what kind of abuse she’s getting. But she can’t see that, and she is paralyzed with fear, because NM has ingrained in her what monsters we are.

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Michelle Piper November 19, 2012 at 5:20 pm

Dear Kris,
Frankly, I like your comment in sum better than my post. “It doesn’t matter if your mother has NPD, injustice is injustice and those feelings are real no matter what the reason for the unfair treatment is or was,” is telling truth to power. Thank you!

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Kris November 19, 2012 at 6:02 pm

Thanks Michelle,

I had a horrible yet enlightening experience in having a girlfriend who had borderline personality disorder. A relationship with a BPD partner is somewhat like any kind of a relationship with a NPD – but on crack cocaine. Everything moves faster with a BPD. Splits happen quicker, you flip from angelic to loathed faster. You deal with the rages often, about virtually anything. Lies spew out of their mouths over insignificant things just because they can’t help themselves. They are apt to go thermonuclear over the most insignificant of things because they must win. You have to lean validation and disengagement as a means of mere survival and you have to use them multiple times every day.

The enlightening part of it was trying to learn to live with a BPD partner, trying to make it work. Of course the very reason why I would put myself through such torture was because I was raised by an NPD mother and I was quite used to being belittled and smack talked behind my back, sabotaged.

In learning how to deal with a BPD partner the first thing you absolutely must learn is to establish your boundaries. BPD partners test them like the Russian Air Force tests NORAD on a daily basis. You have to be firm in your boundaries of what you will accept and what you will not accept, You must learn how to validate another’s feelings without agreeing with what they are saying. You must learn when and how to disengage. Learning these things are crucial for mere survival with a BPD partner.

The dysfunctional dance with someone with a personality disorder is that the elephant in the room is always the personality disorder itself. Usually the person with the personality disorder does not know that they have it, hence it is a big problem. Those of us who grew up with an NPD learned (even not knowing about NPD) that people sometimes do and say awful things and that everything can change with the next interaction. We rationalize, “oh, she was just having a bad day”, or “she just doesnt understand that I am doing a good thing, maybe I will try harder or do better next time and she will understand”.

However just because someone has a personality disorder it absolutely does not excuse nor absolve them of their actions, and the fact that they have a personality disorder does not in any way erase the damage or negativity of our interactions with them and the effect is has on us. I learned a saying in partner of BPD support groups, that if the relationship is not good at least most of the time, then it is a relationship not worth continuing at all. BPDs have a rapid cycle, where they can scream and yell at you and threaten to kill your cat in the morning and then they can be the sweetest person who was so sorry hours later in the afternoon, then get in a fight with you and go off and cheat on you later on that night because you are a despicable person.

If someone is doing mean/bad/abusive/terrible things to you, then that is a person who is doing mean/bad/abuse/terrible things to you. The reason does not matter. You are still entitled to feel hurt, angry, rage, sadness, disappointment. Unfortunately, those of us with NPD parents have learned to take it, and then take it some more, then take it some more, our natural defensive mechanisms to get ourselves the hell away from this person have been short circuted.

I’m only just over a month of no contact with my parents, but I’ve been somewhat down this road before with the former BPD partner in my life. They say that having a BPD partner is somewhat of a vaccination that teaches us more about ourselves and how to protect ourselves than any self-help book or therapy. At it’s core is, “I am entitled to feel the way I feel – nobody can make me think I am wrong for feeling the way I do”

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Michelle Piper December 1, 2012 at 6:30 pm

I vote for t-shirts with “If someone is doing mean/bad/abusive/terrible things to you, then that is a person who is doing mean/bad/abuse/terrible things to you. The reason does not matter.”

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Mary Pankin November 26, 2012 at 4:31 pm

I teared up as soon as I started to read the section where your mother spreads disgusting lies about your behavior. I can relate, my friends referred to me as smiley (I was a happy kid, something I was born with I suppose) yet I was referred to as the angry “full of rage” child in my family, oh and the “little liar”. Thank you for sharing your story. One never knows what part of their story will be the enlightening moment — I truly appreciate your fine writing and the detail of thought. The more people talk about this form of child/adult abuse the more we can help those suffering and questioning their self worth (and sanity) find peace and self love. Thanks again!!!

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Michelle Piper November 29, 2012 at 7:25 pm

Hi Mary,
What you went through sounds like it was “crazy making.” You knew you were a naturally happy kid, yet had your mother–the very person your instincts are wired to trust–portraying you as a negative person. It is so abusive when a child’s very identity is called into question through name-calling and rumor. Thank you for your comment and I hope the posts continue to be helpful.

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Kris November 30, 2012 at 4:40 pm

The lies carry on into adulthood, and while we are more vulnerable as kids when we are adults the behavior seems to be even more shocking. Here we are, grown adults who have made ourselves out to who we are today – and our own parents seem to be our worst enemies and those who understand us the least – and our parents tell lies to other grown adults about us, who we are, what we do, and how we act or react. We are not the only victims here, the third party adults are as well. For what reason would they suspect that a kid’s own parent would say nasty things about them which arent even true; especially when the narcissist does it in such a charming way cloaked in a veil of how much she cares.

Furthermore, as adults we are dumbfounded by the behavior. I did a job interview and was contemplating moving back to my hometown; I told my mother the interview went well and I was basically told by the interviewer; “Make up whatever job you want, send it to me. We can make this work and we’d be glad to have you come on board.” This was a pretty good offer considering it came not only from an investment banking company that I had worked for before, but that this particular individual had tried to hire me before.

Months later and lots of follow up later; I realized that my “mother” got to him. He was under the impression that I wasnt at all serious about moving back to my hometown and I just did the interview to boost my ego. He also had heard that I was a raging alcoholic prone to doing such things to justify my behavior. Unsurprisingly, I didn’t get the job.

On the same thread, I was looking at buying a place with my bonuses from my current job, and while I was looking to pay 100% cash (bonuses are good) I thought I might be able to speed up the process by getting my uncle to cosign on a loan. I hadnt approached him about it, but the next time I saw him he was happy to see I was doing ok, because he had heard that “I had crawled into a bottle” and I was not doing very well at all.

These kinds of lies about you to people are dumbfounding. It is crazy making, you wonder to yourself, why would my own parent trip me up on these things, say these things about me. Wouldnt moving back to my hometown, buying a house largely (or completely) with cash and getting a good job in investment banking be a “good thing”?

In realizing narcissism; the realization comes swift and hits you like a ton of bricks. There is no explanation at all, there was no rational reason for those wounding things to be said and roadblocks put in your way. It was to either stop you from outshining them, or to stop you from potentially outshining your golden child sibling; who doesn’t really even care much what all those people might think because they dont even know them. It was all to protect a worldview and an ego of a very sick, twisted person.

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Michelle Piper December 1, 2012 at 5:33 pm

Hi Kris,
Your comment brings up a phenomenon I think of as “Narcissistic Territory.” The narcissistic parent stakes out spheres of influence that are toxic to their own children with tactics like rumor, character disparagement, direct lies, “bad press,” and innuendo.

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Kris December 27, 2012 at 6:04 pm

“Narcissistic Territory” is an interesting concept that you have.

I had contacted my mom about a very lucerative offering that my employer had for referrals and she was in the position to refer, my job is sales so its my job to sell the offering. When I had suggested that I could come up and do the meetings with the clients, she went right cold; that I could not be the one doing the meetings.

I now understand why. Her receptionist, whom I have never met, thinks so badly of me that she rants and raves about what an angry, disillusioned, alcoholic, basketcase that I am – to my own girlfriend! (“How could you be with such a man? Stop making excuses for him.”) I wouldn’t doubt if the *whole town* (small town) has heard some variation of the rumour.

When I looked at moving back to my hometown the sabotage reached a furious pace; the uncle I had contemplating asking to cosign for a mortgage with over 50% down heard I was an alcoholic. A guy who offered to hire me dropped me like a hot potato and didnt even bother to call me back and say he changed his mind. Neighbors that I bumped into revealed that they didn’t know I even existed.

It’s like she has set up her whole world up there in that town to show how picture perfect she is and my very presence would be a threat to her little universe. I went up a few years ago and she changed plans at the last minute (despite the plans being made three months in advance). When I couldn’t alter my travel plans, I couldn’t stay at their house for a night even when they were away. When I have stayed up there and they’ve been at work, she sends people to the house to check on me. I’m 36 years old with a 8 year old daughter for god sakes. God forbid that one of her neighbors might actually meet me.

To all of these people, I guess she is the kind soul who took on such a troubled adoptee and is such a martyr. My physical presence would show who I really am, an investment banker with a nice boat and a lovely family who can be quite entertaining company at times.

It would be interesting to explore your concept of “Narcissistic Territory”. Might be a suggestion for another article?

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Anonymous May 19, 2013 at 10:15 pm

Yes! My mother immediately moved across the countryafter her mother died and bought a house next door to my sister- then my brother moved to town. I call the territory NGW (Narcissists Gone Wild).

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lisa December 8, 2012 at 12:04 am

thanks for this site, it’s saved my sanity. god help the scapegoat if the golden child dies…the year my brother od’d i became disabled, and was recently diagnosed with ms. no family support, unable to work, scraping by on disability. grandma died, left a sizable estate, and mom decided “the right thing to do” was to give dead golden brother’s “widow”–a tijuana bar trawler estranged from bro and likely selling his identity–money allotted my brother or his next of kin in grandma’s trust. mommy required me, and all other family, to sign document advocating this “gift”. i confronted her with the obvious: if TJ “widow” really was married to brother, she was his legal next-of-kin and rightful heir to his share, so why did she need our approval…? of course she attacked me for my “sense of entitlement”. what hurts most is, even knowing the sick dance, knowing she’ll pull this crap just like gravity pulls rain out of the sky…it still bloody hurts like a punch in the gut.

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Lisa January 26, 2013 at 9:40 am

I am a scapegoat and the golden child died in an accident a year and a half ago. It has been horrible. She has been consumed in my sisters death. It is perfect for her. She is untouchable. “you never lost a child so you don’t understand” She is the complete center of attion. She bad mouthed me to all of my sisters friends. She even bought a head stone for her and her husband to put next to my sisters. On her head stone she had writen in stone ” loveing parents of April …..”” Not one mention of her other child. She has made it her lifes work to make sure I suffer. She harasses me on my ex husbands facebook page. She tries to get at my children. She has sent nasty letters filled with lies to my friends and family on my birthday. I was lucky once my sister did admidt that she knew she was the golden child. But my sister never understood how my mother manlipulated her to abuse me. My mom would often back me so far into a corner I would just explode and make a fool of my self. This was always done so others could see how crazy I was and poor her for trying so hard to love a crazy and unloving child. My mother wants to make sure I pay for every bit of her pain. The further I get her out of my life the harder she tries to harass me. I have moved and changed my number. But my ex does not understand how crazy she is so he keeps feeding her info on me. We still have minor children so I can’t eliminate him from my life either. Luckly my ex mother-in-law have a good relationship and she understands how sick my mother is and how hard I am trying to break free from her.

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Kris April 8, 2013 at 2:22 pm

Lisa- you are not alone on that one.

My oldest sister (first scapegoat) committed suicide. Despite being repeatedly disowned, having her children removed and adopted away with their locations kept from her, and having my mother costantly say “T is dead to me. I am just waiting for the police to call and say she is dead so I wont have to wait anymore”, she wore my sister’s death on her sleeve, the pain oh the pain. In reality she treated that sister like a peice of crap. Before she died, and long after, she was not prone to say that sister T was at fault for her not being a good mother, taking up so much of her time… the one who suffered the most was GC sister… Which made me sick to my stomach – because the GC sister would get anything and everything she wanted, even if she didnt really want it and she lived by a blatant double standard.

Even more sickening was returning to my hometown years later after my sister’s death. People who didnt really know our family when they found out who my parents were, would say, “Oh, I didnt know they had any kids. I thought they just had the two daughters, one of them died”. Umm, yeah. There were five other kids, male and female. That was a great one to hear.

Also at my sister’s funeral, it was like the rest of us didn’t exist other than to serve as props. Due to the rampant favoritism of my GC sister, she and my now dead sister didn’t get along very well. Me and my brother actually were the only ones who had much contact with her for the final 5-7 years of her life; her car was in my name for 4 years so she could drive to work as she couldn’t afford to pay for her tickets. But no mention of us in the eulogy at all, none of us were asked to speak, only the GC sister was invited to speak. Plus the ceremony was highly religious, and my sister was not one for religion at all (none of us are, actually).

The entire funeral was put on for what seemed like a stage to set her up for empathy from the whole church. Everyone in the flock was there – none of them ever knew my sister, and most of them barely even knew who my parents were. She lapped up that sympathy for as long as she could. Eventually though, I guess the church got tired of it and religion isnt a habit they are into anymore other than saying grace at supper like they always did. They haven’t been to church in 5 years.

The sister who was such a black sheep my mother was just waiting for to die, she set up this shrine and whenever we came home she made us (and other guests) sleep in that room despite having another guest bedroom. Hundreds and hundreds of pictures of her. I liked my sister, she was a fiesty one, but the shrine made me sick knowing the history. When she stopped wearing that event on her sleeve, the pictures were all replaced once again with pictures of my GC sister and her son.

I’ve been NC for six months now. I wish I had of figured out narcissism because if I had of I would have gone NC 16 years ago and been done with it.

My EF’s mother died (at 96) and that’s now her latest thing to wear on her sleeve. In actuality, she hated the woman and never said a good word about her and threw out every kitchen appliance gift she gave my parents. They tried dragging me back into the web of dysfunction over it but I resisted (I’d only met her two or three times, I was adopted in my early teens). While I liked her and all and am sorry for her passing I’m not going to be sucked back into the web of doom over it.

Narcissists love death. It provides such good cover.

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Sophie Allen May 5, 2013 at 8:47 am

Oh Kris thank you for posting this. I’m getting ready – it’s begun after my father recently had a stroke and pacemaker put in his heart. Your words “Narcissists love death” is going to save me. The siblings have surrounded my mother and I’m finally running. I may be poor and alone for the rest of my life but I can’t live confused, bitter and maligned any longer. Knowing death doesn’t change anything gives me more courage. Losing your mother is one thing but God she has taken everyone I loved with her.

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Michelle Piper December 8, 2012 at 9:10 am

Hi Lisa,
Thanks for reading. The scapegoat is the truth teller and a narcissistic mother attacks those who confront her with anything she doesn’t want to hear. Because a narcissistic parent doesn’t have a normal sense of fairness or regard for the humanity of the scapegoat, she will see truth telling and boundary setting as offensive and you, the bearer of perfectly reasonable expectations, as an object in the way of whatever she desires. The toxic narcissistic family system adult children of a narcissistic parent (ACON) is excruciating. So often, narcissistic parents invite the illusion they can be “worked with” and then when you’ve finally convinced yourself that may be possible, they do something rotten again. Then, you’re left with another loss to process, and the cycle of grief about having a narcissistic parent is often triggered. This is better than denial (which the golden child is often a prisoner of) but it still takes energy. Be kind to yourself when this happens, up the self-care and spend time with your most healthy of companions to recharge and heal once again.

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Anna December 19, 2012 at 1:42 pm

Michelle, the line which gave me chills is “narcissistic parents invite the illusion they can be “worked with” and then when you’ve finally convinced yourself that may be possible, they do something rotten again.” In our last interaction with my husband’s mother and father over 2 months ago, they had said that our approach of phone calls and emails was insulting to them, they clearly “don’t work”, and that we should work things out in person. We agreed, and after feeling hope that things might turn around and normalize (we had a full hour of good conversation with my FIL – however MIL was throwing daggers with her eyes, unable to eat, etc), MIL finally yelled at her husband “how can you just speak to them like everything is ok?” and then that she “needs NOTHING from us”, she can’t get past this and move on. After calling us some choice swear words, we got up and left, and had to go through the healing process again. Ironically, even though nothing has been resolved, my MIL has now been sending us Thanksgiving and Christmas cards with notes in them about how much we’re loved, how she’s so proud of us (of what, we haven’t shared any details of our life for the past 6 months!), and how she wants to spend the holidays with us.

My question to everyone out there, is it being too stubborn to want an apology (or at least an acknowledgment) about the emotional abuse the NM has inflicted, and a promise (even if it’s empty) that it won’t happen again? We are being wracked with such guilt that we’re holding strong because we don’t want to be burned again, especially since our feelings are being denied, we’re beign blamed, and the family is re-writing history to make us the bad guys. I try to rationalize it to myself in terms of “if every time I went over to their house I got hit with a stick, I would not go there again until a) the beater apologized and b) promised to not use the stick again.” But the thing with NM is that they won’t apologize…. which brings us back to the stand-off.

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Kris December 27, 2012 at 5:41 pm

Anna-

No you are not being too stubborn. Most normal rational people when they want to “make amends” are humble enough to apologize directly for the things that they did wrong and make some sort of solid promise that it won’t happen again. Thats the way normal people work.

Unfortunately, I think you’ll be holding out for a very long time with a NM or NMIL. I’ve gone no contact with my parents twice, once officially and once when I was younger unofficially and you will get the exact same run around every time. Explosion, saboage, rage, insults, or whatever the preferred mode is and then when you react to protect yourself by withdrawing they will let time pass and then pretend like nothing ever happened under the guise of “starting fresh” or “reconciliation”.

However what you get in “starting fresh” or “reconciliation” is not either. You are getting an opportunity to forgive the NM for what she did and maybe a bit of time where she will act in her best behavior until the NM’s bad behaviors continue. She will not forgive you for anything, because she does not feel she did anything wrong at all. So the reconciliation process is entirely one-sided.

I’ll give you an example from my own life. I was exposed to a child molester who molested my friend, and tried to molest me. When I reported it to her, she turned me into the scapegoat. I lived in a virtual hell from age 14 onwards until I was kicked out at 16, then again at 17. I tried to get welfare so I could finish high school and she told them I was welcome to come home anytime and told me she was glad I was gone. I couldn’t finish high school. A few years later I needed a place to stay for a couple months because I moved in with bad roomates who were destroying the house. Got kicked out again after 3 weeks, and later found out that I had at least 5 people call from my resume dropping to offer me a job and she didn’t pass on the messages. At 25 I bit into the forgiveness thing and figured now that I was an adult the teenage sillyness wouldn’t continue. I let the sleeping dog lie and told them I had forgiven them.

Here’s what I got. Reams of crap said behind my back, including to my now former fiancee’s mother that I was an angry violent person she should caution her daughter against marrying. Same thing happened to three other girlfriends after that. More job opportunities lost. Realtors who wouldn’t take me seriously. When I got a promotion and a 110% raise, even my own father was convinced that I had made a bad career move and was mixed up in something sketchy and didn’t have a real job – working for a bank is such a sketchy career move, yeah. My siblings were told I was a raging alcoholic, as well as an uncle. I talked to one of their neighbors about something and found out that they didnt know my parents had any kids other than my mom’s two daughters – despite the fact that it was a family of 7 kids. I reported the child abuser (her brother) to the police and she called first my girlfriend, then me, a liar; raged that I only called to brag. My insistence that I was a good person was met with the quip “cut the bravado”. Nothing changed and it was even worse than before.

Nothing will change that’s what led me to go 100% no contact. I’m once again getting requests to start fresh and reconcile. However now understanding NMs I know that I’m just going to get more of the same. She can play the cards but she doesn’t have the ones that make a fresh start or reconciliation possible – and that’s admitting that she did something wrong and really owning it. It’s been hard for me with the holidays and everything, but I’m hanging in there and doing my best to ignore their BS messages.

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Debra December 16, 2012 at 6:46 pm

I am the scapegoat of my family. My parents are RAVING narcissists, and I could literally write a book about their selfish and sadistic behavior. Reading the stories on these forums has helped immensely. I have gone NC for the past 5 years. I tried to make things work for YEARS, to set boundaries, and my parents reacted to my “Declaration of Independence” with scorn; they spread VISCIOUS gossip to others about me, with the help of the Golden Child, my sister. They questioned my sanity, and because I decided to HELP MYSELF by finally medicating the ADD that they used against me for years, they spread rumors that I was on drugs. Of course, they were simply “concerned” about me, they said. BS!! They have done such hurtful things to me over the years..but when I attempt to stick up for myself….or when I remind them of reality…or things they have done…they say I am “too emotional”, they gaslight me, they contradict themselves, it runs the gamut of what I have read on these sites….Its ridiculous. My mother is now approaching the end of her life, and I reached out by writing a letter to tell her that although I was not sorry for separating from the dysfunctional relationship, I was sorry that it hadnt worked out. The response I got back was cold, condescending, and gave me what I needed to know I had made the right decision. They validated zero of what I said…They said because the type was too small (??? oh yeah…it has to be MY FAULT,lol) they couldnt read the letter. (That was bs..they didnt want to give me the satisfaction of knowing they had read my words.) MY Golden Child sister and I are constantly at odds. She has taken on many of their characteristics, unfortunately. She gaslights and projects constantly. She triangulates. I don’t think our relationship can ever be repaired, and this makes me sad, too. Not sad enough, however, to subject myself to her CONSTANT judgements. All I know is that when I am away from the toxicity of my less-than healthy family members, I feel more confident and stronger. When I interact with her, or my parents I feel BAD. ALL of my horrible feelings from childhood and adulthood come back as strong as if I were first experiencing them. These feelings are: GUILT, SHAME, UGLY, FAT, BAD, STUPID, SELFISH, UNSTABLE. WORTHLESS…I am told over and over that I do this to MYSELF??? No way. If this were the case, I would feel this when interacting with all people, but this is not so. As hard as this has been, the more I learn, then more I realize that I need to move forward, as I need to break the cycle and protect my own children. Thank you so much for sharing this valueable, life -changing information.

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Robert December 24, 2012 at 5:29 am

Oh boy, did this ever bring back memories! From as long as I can remember my mother blamed me for everything especially the failure of her marrriage (my fault for being born!).
When I got older she did everything possible to stop me having a career.

What gets me is that her friends think she was wonderful!

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Kris December 27, 2012 at 5:47 pm

Bob I totally understand man.

My NM screwed me so I couldn’t finish high school. Then I got a job in a kitchen and she told everyone that I couldn’t cook and they shouldn’t go there (small town). I got a job at McDonalds and she told me I should stick with it it was my “ace in the hole”. When I got an entry level position in investment banking and was raping her accounts (she was a bank manager, it was a nice twist) for the competition she tried to offer me a job, a ludicrous offer, that whatever I was getting paid I’d get paid double. Luckily I declined, the plan was probably to get me to quit and then fire me because she didn’t even know what I was getting paid. I had job interview messages conveniently not taken or passed on to me. A guy who wanted to hire me when I wanted to move back to my hometown mysteriously thought I wasnt at all serious about moving and didnt want to hire me.

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Maya December 26, 2012 at 9:51 am

This is the story of my life. I can’t stop the tears I’m overwhelmed by all that I read here. It seems as if everyone of you is me and telling my story. I now live on the other side of the world from her. We moved down under because we just couldn’t get far enough. I tried disconnecting myself from them but my younger sisters, 3 of them, are subjected to constant brain washing and gave us all hell. It seemed the only solution is to run away as far as we could.
Wish that helped… even though I’m miles away now her long arm still reaches me easily. I’m scared, ashamed, feel guilty all the time, bad, mean, heartless and many more explicit and implicit compliments I hear everyday. I am in desperate need for answers and today I found this forum and I feel a little more normal. My family keeps telling me how terrible I am, my husband is so frustrated and just can’t understand how can a mother treat her own child like, I can see he is so scared ill turn out the same and me too. I read Kris’s post and im horrified. Being a scapegoat to a narcissistic mother a gran daughter to a narcissistic grandmother (her mother in law!!) makes me wonder every day wether I’m normal, sane or the same?! i am so scared I’m a BLP i fit the description perfectly (my husband will agree I’m sure)… I’m really trying to b a good mother I’m doing my very best (except when something triggers the rage… Omg I’m such a bad mum sometimes…) some people think its admirable that I gave birth at home and that i work nights to be with them during the day but maybe its just to deal with my guilt? or prove im a better mother then her? then them? i cant help but wonder am i really a good mum? are these actions really for their benefit or mine? am i not vaccinating them because of me or them? did i take them all the way here for them to have a better life too?! or was it just for me? I’m so confused… who am i? what do i believe in?
Yes, Iv been to therapy not once and my last therapist whom i went to together with my husband after mum lashed at me violently (which of course no one believes thinking she is such a wonderful person and I’m the rotten apple as always, lies lies manipulation) said he thinks she definitely has a problem either BLP or NP but what about me?!?!. Im afraid I’m the same god help my husband and beautiful girls…. I know the fact that I’m aware probably means something but I’m new to this understanding and i meed some guidance and hope…

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Sparkle February 2, 2013 at 11:00 am

Maya,

I read your post with such understanding and a wish that I could let you know what I have learned without you having to go through many more years of self-doubt and pain to KNOW it. And all of you young women and men for that matter who have suffered from a narcissist denying mother.
YOU ARE WORTHY OF ALL THINGS GOOD. Let the understanding come AFTER the fact of living your life and finding the good in every day, the good in every smile and action of your husband and children.
THAT is the medicine that cures. CHOOSNG your daily moments. Because in choosing (even if we feel the shadows of the past around the edges of our choosing) is the freedom.
Let the understanding come afterwards . And really all you have to understand is that you were treated wrongly, unfairly. And today’s choices are yours to make. :)
It is hard to let go of wanting the approval of a narcissist mother. But the horrible thing is that this sort of mother feeds off that need.
You need to save yourself. It is your mother’s job to save her own life….and here’s the thing: she may NEVER do that in a healthy way. Ever.
I was the kind of daughter who tried to “help” my mother. I mean she seemed so clearly miserable to me. But in hindsight I see my “helping” as a twisted sort of captive/captor behavior. I felt like a hostage of my mother. And the price was my very life., a positive sense of self and the freedom and autonomy that comes with that. That was her price.
Oh I went on to live my life not wanting to pay her price. I no longer try to help her. I tried for 35 years. Nothing changed. I have finally moved on. And the healthy acknowledgement one should get for this autonomy never came to me from my mother.

Have a goal of just seeing that you and your mother have separate lives, separate karmas. That helped me. The idea that my mother has an entirely different karma than I do is so liberating and funny, too, that I am getting out of the way so she can live it ! LOL.
I do not know what it will be for her (tried years to save her from what I feared it would be) but it is her karma, her fate.
Let yourself find many happy and many tranquil moments in your life. Enjoy the new. Explore it with your children and husband. Let your new geography be a metaphor for the new geography you are declaring for yourself in your mind and heart.
Find a meditation group or an exercise group. Or both. Seize every opportunity to laugh. Grieve in private moments and move on for the rest of that day.
There are many good books about setting boundaries. Observe how the others in your world do it. It might take time to get good at it. Or it might not. You might be an expert in disguise. Narcissistic mothers don’t really like us to have boundaries so yours might have just gone in hiding.
Respect your children’s boundaries. Read books on respecting your children’s psychology, their need for autonomy. Give lots of hugs and praise. Practice being silly. Every day.
You deserve kudos for freeing yourself. Your family of origin has their own life. You now get to live yours with your own family.
I, too, got far away as soon as I could and had years of trying to reconcile my early life, my feelings about it.
Don’t get me wrong. I have lived many things, many successes many adventures . And, I have gotten NO acknowledgement from my mother for any of it. None. And I feel just pity now for her that she has none to give. Her choices are for her to make.
And that’s okay. Because I have today and the sun streaming in the window and my day ahead of me. Peace and happiness to you in every day.
A psychologist I went to years ago compared my relationship with my mother and family to a chess game. She suggested that I start playing tennis- metaphorically. You hit the ball over the net. If no one hits it back, you do not jump over the net and hit it back for them. No the game is over if people don’t play with that simple lovely give and take of tennis. When the game is over, feel free to walk away.

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Anonymous June 5, 2013 at 1:17 am

So wonderfully said- thank you. Game over.

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Leah December 26, 2012 at 11:00 am

Thank you so much for this! I am the scapegoat daughter of a narcissistic mother. While visiting my mother on Christmas- I was told by her. “It’s about time you admitted how selfish and inconsiderate you are,” “I can’t believe I raised such a selfish child and I know you’re the problem because I raised your brother the same way and he is not like this.” (My brother is, of course, the golden child.). She also told me that I was “crazy,” that “this is the Christmas she would be free from me,” and “I’m surprised you’re still employed, I’m sure everyone else sees how selfish and inconsiderate you are but I am the only one close enough to you to be honest with you.” She also said that I had “ruined her Christmas” because I was being too sensitive (crying) in reaction to her comments.
She also tells me that “our relationship is completely one-sided because you are so selfish,” She alternates between telling me that I am not helpful or supportive enough, and then when I try to help her, she tells me that I was “so unpleasant that she wishes I had never helped her, or that I didn’t do enough.”
Anyway, you get the idea. I know that I am not perfect and am always open to improving myself, but it’s very hard to get this kind of feedback, given in an aggressive and mean tone. The problem that I have with being told these things about myself is that it makes me feel that I have nothing to offer anyone in relationships- including relationships with colleagues, other family members, friends, and boyfriends. I tend to believe that everyone else will see me as my mother does, so in order to protect people I care about from having to deal with me, I avoid them. (Then, other people don’t know why I’m avoiding them and assume I don’t care about them, so then the only relationship I have left is my mother, who somehow feeds off of putting me down and getting a reaction out of me.)
Anyway, one of the things I told my mother in response to her comments over Christmas was “I’m not concerned with what you think about me. I only focus on what I can control, and what you think isn’t something I have any control over.”
She responded “But you can control what I think of you based on your behavior.” I said “No, I can’t. All I can do is do my best to treat you well, and whatever you think about me is up to you.” It was very freeing to tell her this because it politely indicated to her that I may be less affected by her criticism than she thought, thus diminishing some of her power. I also told her “I am an emotional person and a crier. I am okay with that, and if you feel that my doing that ruins your Christmas, then that’s up to you.
It was nice for me to be able to tell her these things to show that I was less affected by her than she wants me to be.
Thank you SO MUCH for this blog- it really helps to be able to write this out and I look forward to reading more.

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tatum December 27, 2012 at 8:23 pm

Leah,

I am married to the family scapegoat. His mother is awful. We went to therapy this year, after 15 years of dealing with these wretched woman. We are beginning the healing process and distancing ourselves from her. I feel awful because that is his biological family, but after years of trying to please this woman, we realize that nothing we ever do will be good enough. I am now the scapegoat as well via my relationship with my hubby. Best of luck to you. The most important thing to remember is that YOU ARE NOT DAMAGED GOODS! That’s what they want you to believe. She has turned all of the immediate family against us and we just have to move on in the realization that we may never have the relationship we wanted with our family.

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Mary December 31, 2012 at 11:05 am

I didn’t even realize I was a scapegoat until what happened to me this Christmas. I thought that sending my mom on a short cruise would be a nice Christmas present because she hasn’t had a holiday for over ten years (she’s a martyr). I ran the idea by my brother (golden child) and her best friend whom I thought would like to go with her. Her best friend said yes she would like to go and my brother said yes it’s great idea he’ll pay half her fare. Well, come Christmas day my brother and her friend let me give her the card with the cruise itinery in it. She opened it up and looked at it and just brushed it aside and said I’m too busy to go on a holiday and then said let’s eat. She pretended like it almost didn’t happen and didn’t mention it the rest of the day. The next day she called my brother and said she was very angry about the gift and she knows it was all my doing and that I forced him and her friend to go along with it and I am sending her on this cruise because I am a manipulative person who is trying to control her life!
This experience has sent to searching on the net with the words “scapegoat” as it has made me realize that I have been one all my life without realizing it ( and now I know we’re my low self esteem and anxiety comes from). I don’t know if she is going on the cruse or not at this point. I don’t really care if I lose the deposit or not because it has been well worth the money to know that all the put downs and blame and all the complaints to my brother about what a bad person I am are not true. It’s not me. It’s her!
At least my brother is a good person and doesn’t treat me like a scapegoat too, but I now feel like I have to explain to him that I am not the person that she has made me out to be over the years. I do feel that he believes that I have been the problem child and given her grief ( All I’ve done is all the normal stuff that everyone does -get married, get a degree, have a job, have children- but when we scapegoats do it, it’s really bad).
I don’t think my mother is narcissistic. My father is definitely one. I am still trying to work out what my mother is. She is a wonderful mother 60% of the time. The other 40% she seems to be a different person. I don’t believe that when she is nice that it is an act. I belive that she truly is a good mother those times, but she just sometimes seems to “lose it” and lash out and it is those times that I cannot do anything right.
And she has undermined my confidence by telling me that I am not good at anything etc.
Any insights?

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Sparkle February 2, 2013 at 11:12 am

Mary, it doesn’t matter what you call it- narcissist, you know, whatever. Your mother like my mother is a professional at being miserable. Find other lovely strong giving people who are acknowledging. Create a new circle of friends. All mothers aren’t depriving. Hang out around other women, perhaps older who are acknowledging, who ENJOY life.
Really truly begin the process of having your own life that your mother is not a part of. Make a list of all the things you enjoy or would like to try and DO THEM. Don’t live one more moment letting other’s steal your joy (“Oooops look at the time I’ve got to go…I have a life to live!” Think that to yourself every time you get down about your family. Practice the line. :) )
Make being a part of your life a gift you give for good behavior by others.

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Corrine January 4, 2013 at 6:27 pm

I am so glad to have found this website! I have known for awhile now that my mother is a narcissist, but it is still such a revelation to read all of these stories.

My father left when I was only months old, and soon after my mother met a violent sociopath/ borderline/narcissist, whom we lived with until I was 12, and who remained involved with our lives for a long time after. I won’t go into all the mind-raping and soul-annihilating details of living with these two sick and twisted people – it would take up to much space, even though it would probably feel great to tell it all, but I would like to offer some insight and advice through a brief narrative of my experience.

I am the scapegoat, my sister is the golden child. My sister is the child of the sociopath, born when I was 8. After not ever wanting to have a child with this crazy man because she didn’t want to be tied to him, thus causing him to become even more controlling, she finally did get pregnant – because my aunt was pregnant and would be getting all that attention. It was obvious to me even then, and I was embarrassed. But I loved my sister with all of my heart. I was no longer alone.

During the time before she was born, regarding my mother, I alternated between being the scapegoat and the golden child. The sociopath was a violent abuser/mind manipulator who was very methodical in his abuse, and my mother was the screaming, raging lunatic. I always said she was a split personality – fine one minute, violently raging the next, and then back to normal as if nothing ever happened. I though she was the devil. I’m sure you can relate.

We moved in with my grandmother when I was 12, and when I was 13, the three of us were on the stairs, and she tried to strangle me. In the scuffle she left fingernail marks down my neck, and I decided this was the last time she was going to abuse me. I took the trolley to the emergency room, and made my grandmother come with me because i thoughtI would need an adult with me

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Corrine January 4, 2013 at 9:15 pm

Sorry – I accidentally posted…
When the emergency room nurse saw the marks, she went right to the phone. I had no idea what I had started, but it really made my mother mad….permanently. My sister and I were both taken out of her custody and put into my grandmother’s custody, although we still all lived in the house together ( huh??). We had someone from the state coming in to inspect the situation, and we had to go to outside therapy. You can imagine the fury that was my mother! (makes me laugh now ;) ). Ever since then I became the permanent scapegoat, never to experience the warmth of golden child again – I was banished. She ignored me completely, as if I didn’t exist, unless she was interfering in my little life and/or taking every opportunity to hurt my feelings and make me feel like a piece of garbage. I was completely neglected. She considered not one of my needs… ever, ever again. We had always been on the poor side, but now I had nothing. My grandmom tried, but was weak and passive, and she had also been the traitor (by coming with me), and was also feeling the effects, but she had power – it was her house.

My mother also ruined the relationship between my sister and I. She began keeping her away from me, keeping her in her room (she was 4 or 5), and telling her bad things about me. While neglecting me, she did everything for my sister, which has been the case for the rest of my life thereafter. My sister became the full-blown golden child.

Over the years I have tried to right the big “wrongs” my mother held against me, like calling children’s services when I was 20 ( I am 44 now) to tell them that I had “made a mistake”, so my mother might love me again. She acted like she would if I did it. Of course, she didn’t. She never had any intention of “loving”me again, she just wanted the opportunity to hurt me. I even once broke down crying, on the floor, and begged her to love me again. She stood above me, hand on her hip, cigarette in the other, and said, “Well, maybe I can love you again.” ADVICE TO ALL: NEVER BEG FOR LOVE FROM A NARCISSIST! But I was young and so wounded, and didn’t understand.

I moved out when I was 17 and often tried to connect with my sister, which was, of course, derailed by my mother. And it really pissed her off that I was the intellectual and talented one (theatre, dance, voice), and my sister was a lot like her father. Shoplifting, fighting, etc. and it was always somehow my fault. It was my influence coming through the ether.

I finally moved far away and have never gone back. I had an on and off relationship with my mother through the years, that was only successful if I walked on eggshell in every conversation, allowing her to make demeaning comments whenever she felt the urge, holding my tongue and effectively becoming my own abuser, as
I sat there and said nothing, afraid and powerless.

One day I initiated an argument (not too hard, I continued to disagree with her, and yelled back) and hung up on her. I had contemplated this for awhile, but was hesitant because I had what I thought was a close and loving relationship with my sister. She was my best friend, and I was afraid that if I was off with my mother, she would eventually drop me. (This happened before).
After the argument, I called back a day later and apologized for yelling, and told her that she was “just being so overbearing.” She was especially vicious and hung up on me, and although it wasn’t official, I didn’t talk to her anymore. And yes, my sister dropped me from her life. Again. They did, however, continue to acknowledge my children, sending birthday and Christmas presents, while continuing to ignore my existence, which, of course, was killing me. It wasn’t until my 14 year-old daughter helped me write a letter to my mother confronting her with everything she had done to me, (and let the sociopath do to me), and telling her that until she takes responsibility for her actions, she is to have no contact with my children. She tried once more to send them mail, but I sent it back ‘return to sender’.
I also sent a nicer letter to my sister, which I’m sure my mother intercepted, as they all still live in the house together. That was four years ago. I have never spoken to either of them since. It is still difficult because my grandmother lives there and she mentions them and only calls when they go somewhere because she feels uncomfortable being loving with me in front of either of them.

I do have a wonderful husband, who also comes from a different type of dysfunction – dad left, cold mother who didn’t foster family love, so there is no surrogate family to foster my own healing. It is just us -but we are very tight.

So I guess the advice I have to give is that they will never change. Stop hoping to someday have the family you always wanted but didn’t get. It won’t happen with them. THEY WILL NEVER CHANGE. My husband always tells me it starts with us. We are the top of the pyramid. We start a new and beautiful family.

If you do decide to go no contact, it will be liberating, but also scary, and lonely. You may be free of the soul-destroying narcissist, which is WONDERFUL, but you may lose the others, depending on your family dynamics.

I talk to no one in my family, except my grandmother, and when I left I never went back. I miss my home terribly, still, and feel as though I was kicked out, not only of my house, but of my town and all that was familiar to me. Even though I no longer have anyone from my childhood family, (aunt, uncle cousins) , I have memories of them, before my mother ruined the whole family with her poison. I miss them all, who they were, all the time. I think it is harder for me because I didn’t find love in my husband’s family, so I keep reaching for tidbits from the past. But still, I would not change a thing I have done.

My mother did call the other day to give me health news about my grandmother, and nothing had changed. She was exactly the same, trying to hurt me with her exquisitely framed comments, and I again was reduced to a vulnerable child. My response to her voice was still fear, mixed with hope that I could please her, and that maybe she had changed. I leapt into helpful action, only to be knifed. Yes, I cried, hard – because hope springs eternal in the human breast.

Contact with them will always be a trap you will always have to climb out of. There is already so much backstory, and when you talk to them you will always be re-wounding yourself. I have enough bad memories, I refuse to create anymore.

If you do stay in contact, always stay Top-Dog. Never be vulnerable. Never give expose your personal self. Never be tricked into intimate conversations, they will eventually be used to hurt you. Do not give any narcissistic supply. When they talk about themselves, talk about something else, like you didn’t hear what they said. They will probably want to hang up. Lucky you!

I hope my story helps others. I still struggle with all of the psychological after-effects of my childhood, but I could never have moved forward if I had not stood up for myself and said, “I’M DONE”.

I just want to add one more memory here. When I was 10 there was a boy on TV that killed his father because he physically-abused his mother. As I said, the sociopath was violent and he was abusive to her -and me. It was before bed and I was halfway up the stairs in my nightgown when this report came on the news. My mother looked up at me and said , “That boy loves his mother. If you loved me, you’d kill Billy (sociopath). You’re a juvenile, you’d get off. You don’t love me, or you’d kill Billy.” I felt my head swelling as if it were going to explode. It had never occurred to me that getting away from sociopath was MY responsibility. I couldn’t kill somebody! What was I going to do?! I was horrified. I started to think of how I could do that. All I could think of was to stab him, but he was such a big man. But I could never do such a thing. But if I didn’t do it, I didn’t love my mother.

Sometimes I get confused about my past and wonder if my mother really a narcissist, or I am just blowing things out of proportion (typical ACON confusion), and then I remember this.

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Linda May 1, 2013 at 2:44 pm

Wow. Your mother’s reaction to the news report when you were ten had my head spinning — for a number of reasons. Check out the film “September,” directed by Woody Allen (one of his serious films, I assure you). It stars Elaine Stritch as a narcissistic mother and Mia Farrow as her scapegoat daughter, locked in patterns of interaction that any scapegoat child will recognize immediately. Buried deep within the present-day story is a situation exactly like the one you described from the news report you saw when you were ten. It is harrowing to imagine what transpired years ago between this mother and daughter; I have no doubt it would have been close to what your mother said to you to plant the idea of murder in your head.

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Shirin January 6, 2013 at 7:11 pm

I am the Scapegoat of a NM with one younger sister. I am also a woman. She is the Golden Child. Growing up I always felt that something was wrong in my household and knew that it was about my Mom, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. She was room mom, sewed, cooked, cleaned etc., but in terms of emotional support? It was just not there. It wasn’t until my Dad died suddenly when I was an adult that I started to see how dysfunctional my family really was/is.

When that happened and I was age 33 was when they real scapegoating started. Since I had a loving father I was able to realize the behavior that I was now receiving was wrong and what it brought out in me was this absolute pent up rage. I have had health problems for 7 years ( no family support) and married a Narcissistic man ( not surprising now that I’ve been through therapy and realized the dance I’ve done in all of this mess. We are drawn towards what feels familiar even if it’s not so great ) My husband had an affair, is not remorseful, and now tries to tell me that I was the abusive one (this because I would become angry with him throughout our marriage when he would refuse to allow me to set the boundaries I needed in a marriage. Oh, things like him going out drinking, passing out in the back of the car and not coming home until 4am. Or going out of town and never being able to be reached ). At this point I wonder how many affairs there have been, but none the less according to him because I was upset about these things I am the abuser.

Here’s my question. How do you all get over the anger at the injustice of it? Who treats people like this? I am sure there are many people who look at me and think “Look at her. She’s having trouble with her Mom, her Sister, AND her Husband. Surely she MUST be the problem. When in reality I’m not. I don’t like to think of myself as a ‘victim’. What a horrible role to be put in. I would love to walk away from all of them but I have young children, I don’t have my health, and I have no family support. It has been a horrible, painful and I’m sure unimaginable type of abuse for people who are surrounded by healthy people. I am surrounded by people who have no empathy and no ability to realize their mistakes and say they’re sorry. I am very, very hurt which comes out as very, very angry and at times when my husband starts pushing my buttons ( we’re still living under the same roof ) as flat out rage. I am so sad for my kids.

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Corrine January 21, 2013 at 2:05 pm

Hi Shirin,
I’m sure no one here thinks that you’re the problem. When you made the statement about “walking away from all of them…” by family support, did you mean financially? Because it sounds like you already have no family support, and if you can afford to leave, then go for it. This is definitely not an environment you want your children growing up in. If you meant that you can’t leave for economic reasons, then maybe you could introduce some healthy influences into your life. I don’t know where your spiritual life lies, but if you are so inclined, you might want to consider going to a church. I personally am more spiritual than religious, but if that is something that would work for you, you might want to consider it. It would be an opportunity to expose your children – and yourself – to healthy individuals (ideally), and maybe through active participation in different church activities you can create a different, healthy, more positive aspect of life to counter the dysfunction you and your children now experience as normal. There are many positives that can come from belonging to a church community, or ‘church family’ and great potential for forming loving bonds with others.

If that is not right for you, then I would suggest some way of interjecting normalcy into your lives on a regular basis, even things like your kids belonging to clubs at school, so they can see and experience normal, healthy interactions between people to counter what they see and experience at home.

I hope this is helpful to you, and I kind of do hope you consider giving church a try. With only negatives forces around you, it seems imperative that you bring in something good, and belonging to a church seems like the “biggest”way to get that going and you don’t have to pay if you can’t.

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Renee January 10, 2013 at 8:57 pm

I applaude everyone’s candid sharing of their stories! I feel almost euphoric that for the first time of my 34 years of existence, I’ve found people that actually understand what I went through with my mother! And still go through! Growing up, my dad was in the Army, so we moved around a lot, which in and of itself is a difficult thing for a child. My dad preferred to be at work or on TDY and away for weeks than to deal with my mother and the children they created to give my mother the attention she demanded. My mother’s reaction when I told her as an adult that moving all over the world was almost debilitating for me considering my parents dysfunctional relationship, and that by the time I was a teenager I came home and went straight to my room crying, she respondedf “well, I thought it was fun”.

As long as I can remember, my mother’s love was always, and still is, fake. She would deny me any kind of a meaningful hug or compliment. I was definitely the scapegoat and my younger brother, the golden child. They were so much alike…up at dawn, always out to make my day as unbearable as possible. Waking me up at dawn on the weekend so I could start my all-important chores. I actually remember my mom setting up a family therapy session when I was 14 and when we went in to it and sat down, it ended up with my mom, dad and brother sitting on one side of the room, arms around each other like the perfect, well knit family, and I on the other. The Counselor picked up on this and my mom proceeded to tell the therapist what “awful” things I had been doing (totally misconstrued and outright lies of course). Nobody defended me and it ended with the therapist saying that I was the one causing discord in the family. Wow, if I was getting my way so much, why was I so miserable?

Currently, my mom has lied (maybe not lied, but perhaps embellished) her way into disability from the government and claims that she can’t possibly drive because the motion moving from gas to brake was entirely too much pain. So now she is holding me hostage to take her everywhere she needs to go. This past Christmas, I picked her up to spend the night Christmas Eve. All she did was pout and snap at me because Christmas was “110% not the way she wanted”. She apparently pictured her kids and grandkids coming over to her house for dinner and exchanging gifts. I have to say, I love children, but I was so terrified of being like my mother to them, I chose not to have children. Now that I am finally aware of what was causing my problems, I feel more confident to consider it.

Anyway, we had a blow out after I told her I didn’t appreciate having my holiday, as so many before, made miserable because it didn’t measure up to her impossibly high standards, That’s when the narcissistic rage kicked in and she screamed at me that I would never have to worry about dealing with her again, etc. etc. and that I was just like my f#$%’n father. I hung up. We didn’t talk for a week and then I got a text from her that said “I let you push my buttons and for that, I’m sorry”. Lol, I didn’t even respond.

So right now, I am in the position of waiting for retaliation, whatever it may be. A smear campaign, a sudden debilitating illness that I have to take her to the ER for (for which they will not find anything) or a card in the mail explaining that she didn’t understand what my problem was. I really want to have no contact with her at all, she is so toxic and draining. As with so many people, what I have said here does not even begin to tell what she put me through. It’s so hard to stay away from her when I know she needs to go certain places (i.e. doctor, groceries). I suggested the county transportation and was met with extreme narcissistic rage that boiled down to, not that she would admit it directly, she didn’t want to be seen on such a thing. I even printed her a bus schedule and discount form for people on disability to get a discount. Anybody know: I want to go extremely low contact, but how do I do that when she supposedly can’t drive?

Thanks for anything you can offer!

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Kris January 13, 2013 at 10:06 am

Its a tough nut to crack but you can simply tell her youve done enough for now and to call you golden child brother for rides. It is amazing how common in stories i read that even when the narcissistic parent is elderly they still force the scapegoat to do all the menial tasks of helping them get around and blessing the scapegoat with a never ending stream of negative comparisons with the golden child in exchange.

Before i went no contact with my NM when i would go and visit she would cook up a long laundry list of things she needed me to do around the house and in her garden. I refused to do any of them at all, save for moving something heavy here and there. When i was visiting i was on vacation with my family, not there to do housechores. She did eventually get the message and stop with the asking, but before she did i was always quite annoyed with even the way she would ask:. “oh your sister really loves that flower, she commented on how much she loved it when she was up last week – could you transplant that to a bigger pot and move it to the front door so it will be big and luscious so she can see it at the front door next time she comes to visit? She doesnt visit us up here often so i want it to be front and centre next time shes up.”. Of course this is the sister who receives a gold esquire watch for her birthday and come christmas i had received my fourth used coffee grinder in a row – i never even get birthday presents.

As far as i was concerned she could get my sister to do her bloody gardening for her. One year she got my former fiancee to help her do some canning at the neighbors – and when it was all finished she exclaimed how happy my gc sister would be when my NM delivered all 50 jars of jam because she loved that jam. Me and my fiancee werent even offered a jar for her troubles.

Being no contact is pretty liberating. I no longer feel any need to “keep the peace” at all. I can speak my mind direct to my siblings and if they dont like what im saying about her, tough. I dont give a damn what gets back to her. If my siblings dont want to hear my opinions of her, then we can just not speak of her. Im fine with that.

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Corrine January 21, 2013 at 2:19 pm

Kris, you are so right! Going NC is beyond liberating! After being away from the crazy person for awhile you realize just how sick and crazy they really are!

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Corrine January 21, 2013 at 1:09 pm

Hi Renee,

The only thing stopping you from going low/ no contact is your own guilt – that she put there. If you had had a healthy, loving relationship you would want to do all you could to help her. But you did not, and she was, and still is, a bad mother. Because of the pain and suffering she has inflicted upon you throughout your childhood, and now your adulthood, any responsibility you are supposed to have had for her is null and void.

Her transportation is not your problem. I’m sure she can figure it out if left to her own devices, along with anything else she thinks you should be doing for her. I will say that, by going no contact, these issues do not exist. If I had gone low contact rather than no contact with my mother, I would still be experiencing all of the toxic emotional and psychological effects that come with ANY contact with her, even from the very sound of her voice, and I would have never been able to begin healing. I feel that maintaing any contact is much harder on the soul because you are always being wounded. However, as I said in my post above, going no contact can bring pain of another sort depending on how this plays out in your family. And if you ever do have children, the dynamics will be the same for the new generation. She will be the same – but now with YOUR children. They are just a new set of pawns. That is something I think people don’t consider when they talk about what to do with the narcissistic parent, that if they decide to remain in contact with them, they are putting their children at risk of EXPERIENCING THEM. Even though we lived far away and never saw my mother, I saw her playing the same damaging games with my children long distance, and it terrified me. She did come to visit once when my son was born, but it had to be cut short because of her horrendous behavior. My husband drove her to a motel by the airport and she left the next morning.

Your mom will never change her ways because she doesn’t think there is anything wrong with her. If you do decide to stay in contact with her, or low contact, my advice would be to not take any of her crap. If she yells at you on the phone, hang up. If you are together, and she becomes abusive, leave immediately or drop her off immediately. She will gaslight, but she knows what she is doing. The key is ZERO TOLERANCE. Do not even argue. Just end contact. But don’t think that she will learn something and turn into a nice person. She won’t. She may ACT nice, but she will always be trying to manipulate your psychology. She KNOWS you, and she wants you to relax your defenses so she can go back to normal. That is A LOT of work. Is it really worth it?

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Melody January 15, 2013 at 2:17 pm

Wow! I can relate to this so much, its frightening but so helpful. Thank you for your posts!

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Sheila January 23, 2013 at 2:59 pm

I believe I grew up with a narcissist mother, & then later I married a man who’s mom is a narcissist. My life was hell with both my mom & my MIL being this way towards me. In the early years, I was too young to understand these people were “not normal”. I had no idea how to deal with either one of them. I do remember being smart enough to know I was being “unfairly” treated yet I didn’t know how to defend myself against people like this nor did I want to deal with their angry wrath towards me if I didn’t do what they wanted. It took me years to realize I was not the bad person they often made me out to be. These two women had their own personal problems & chose me as their scapegoat. Perhaps so they didn’t have to deal with looking in the mirror at themselves, accept their own flaws, or deal with their own problems by getting the professional help they obviously think they didn’t need. I’m sure it was fun for them to treat me like crap for years & watch my reactions to their never ending tormenting of my character, shredding me down to feeling like nothing more than a piece of crap who could do nothing right in their eyes. I’m sure it gave them pleasure to see me upset from their ongoing negative attacks which would happen without any instigating on my part. When I would stand up to them to get their bad behaviour to stop, I was the bad one, not them. I was not to speak up or defend myself. I was to shut up & take it no matter how much they dished it out to me. In verbally spoken words to me personally, they justified their cruelty as “constructive criticism” spoken out of “love” & meant to “help” me. As long as they were putting me down, they seemed very happy. But if I was happy, they tried to rain on my happiness. I was not to get married, not to have children. I was to do whatever they wanted & if I didn’t comply, I was reprimanded. Over time (20 plus years later), I grew up, I matured & I’m finally free because I won’t put up with this kind of crap from them & they both know it. I’m a nice person overall, respectful of others, & I never deserved to be treated so badly. I’m no longer a scapegoat. I’m a human being & I expect to be treated like one. I’ve found the best thing to do is limit my contact with these kinds of people & it generally keeps them on better terms with me. I took my life back & took the power away from them. It saved my sanity.

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Another Scapegoat January 23, 2013 at 9:26 pm

Hi Sheila,

I’m the scapegoat too, could never do anything right and I had 2 narcissistic people doing this to me, too, my mother and my stepfather. It took me a long time to figure out I wasn’t worthless, but I’m still trying to accept my upbringing and grieve the loss of a childhood. I like that you stated “I’m no longer a scapegoat”, that’s a statement of empowerment! I’m also limiting my contact with my narcissists, if I even care to see them at all. Best wishes on your continuing journey of empowerment and health!

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susan January 27, 2013 at 2:06 am

I was the scapegoat for many years everything with always my fault for lots of diffirent things I coould never seem to please my mother nothing I ever did was never enough in my mums eyes I was a very shy child very scare of my mum she used to tell me how think I was because I could not read she so ending up believing it because told me I was so many times she loved to show me up any chance she got it so hurt and upset me she hit and beated me with a slipper so many time for just small reasons begged her not to hit me but she just did not care at all I did me best to do my best to please make her happy but sadly nothing was ever enough she alway looking down on me she alway had to be in the lime light it always had to be about her all the time she alway had the power over me in every way no matter what everything had be done her way all the time her rules all the time if not you were in big trouble if did something she did not like or agree with she wwould be so nasty would hit me say very horrible hurtful thing to hurt me she make life hell when got older was aloud to have life my own was not aloud to have my own feeling or aloud to smile if so she would soon make ssure I was put down a peg or two was so very unhappy was I had my first child she try to make out to poeople that my child was her child that she was his mother not me as I never did any right in her eyes I had two more children she was much the same with them too always saying with doing things wrong did try to say that everyone has different of doing thing but because it was not done her it was wrong when I marryied try her best to spoil my wedding day because it was not about her did like the fact it was husbands and my day she pick every little did understand she was like that she made anything so hard work and so stressful my marriage did not last so was on my own with children for a while she would not trying to take over my life with blackmailing control me to do what she felt right for my life as a whole this when on for such a while you could no say no to her at all if you did she would make my life hell I found it so hard to stand up to her becauuse the controling power she has she bad mouths me to all the family so no one in family talk to me she tell so many lies not just about me but about everyone in the family so when you pull her about what told about that are lies she says she did not say it when know your self that she has she has told my two kid lies about me that are not true they believe every word she says because she controling them now my daughter is has turn out to be just sadly like my mum and everyway which so breaks my heart so much I got to the stage in my life now were it feel have had enough of all the hurt the pain the heart break and damage that she has caused me all my life have not talked to her for two week now I want to have peace to my life to heal the hurt the pain the heartbreak and damage tha she has caused me I can bear to see her talk to or everyrrihgt now how do I stop all contact with her to talk to heal how do you heal forty years of abuse hurt pain damage that this woman has done to me just want to free from the pain I blame my self for letting her done for too long for so many years of hurt and pain

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susan January 27, 2013 at 2:47 am

I would waut to say when my mum abuse me could it was wrong because had a very close bond with my grandparent stay with they never ever felt the need to hit me of abuse me in any way yes got told off sometimes that knew it was so wrong inn the way she was treating me so badly was aloud to be my self if had ant sig of happyness to my life or smile that was soon taken away from me she never want me to be happy in any way this last april I got married but did not have me mum did know we were getting maarrried in that if she found that would spoil are happy day it was so hard to do that but was the only way we could have are happy wedding we are happy enjoying are live together it has been so very peaceful for two weeks now as not been talking to her of having any thing to do with her want to stop the contalt with for good as she will never change or treat me any better as has is still bad mouthing me to any one that will listen to her lies ect I am going to close my eyes and ear to her so cant suffer any more pain deep hurt I not trusted my mum with anything for a long time because of the way she with things just to try to become strong and be able to learn to stand up for my self more build up my selfesteem to be a better person and to have happy married lifee with my husband

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cassiereroni January 27, 2013 at 7:09 am

OMG. I am 57 years old and I am just now discovering what it was I went through as a child. All these years I was convinced my mother was bi-polar with some kind of personality disorder. But now, after reading some of this, I believe she was a Narcissistic Mother! I could never chose the “right” choice when deciding whether I should do this or do that. I was always “a big girl” even though when I asked the doctor about my *weight issues* he would always tell me that I was right where I should be at my height and age. Good thing I didn’t know about anorexia back then or I really think I would have done that just to try to get to where my mother thought I should have been. As much as I wanted to have a close relationship with my mother, she wouldn’t let me. I remember every time I tried to hug her as a small child she would brush me off as if I were some kind of blob that was clinging onto her and she couldn’t get me off fast enough.

I had a extremely close relationship with my g grandmother, to this day I still consider her my mother, but my mother didn’t like that we were so close so I was forbidden to ever see her again when I became a teenager. I had 2 brothers and 2 sisters and we all knew that the youngest sister was the “favorite” but all of my siblings seemed to follow my mothers lead on how I was treated and I found as an adult they would sometimes admit and apologize for the treatment I received. But they would then turn around and, seemingly unable to help themselves, they would fall into the same patterns over and over again. My oldest sister and I are not close by most families definition but we are close by our families definition. Though she would never back me up on anything publically no matter how much I might need her help.

My mother had people convinced I was a thief, told women not to leave their purses unattended because I would take all their money, when I never stole anything in my life. She would call my potential landlords behind my back and “warn” them that I wouldn’t pay the rent and run out on them if 5they did rent a place to me. And I’m the only one out of 5 of her kids that graduated and earned 3 degrees! She was really irate when I took a job that she didn’t approve of and told everyone my going to college was a waste of time and money. Neither of which she had anything to do with.

Then to really top it off…when my husband and I divorced she would invite him and his new girlfriend to dinner and set there and talk to them about what a bad person I was and agree with all of his complaints and comments.

I finally cut off all contact with her and never spoke to her again until, at my sisters urging, she was on her deathbed. Then I went in to see her, leaned over the bed and told her who I was and that I was there. Her reply? I KNOW WHO YOU ARE. And gave me such a look of contempt that I turned to my sister and told her that there was no reason for me to be there and I left.

I’ve always felt empty because I couldn’t confront her on her reasons why she treated me the way she did, not that it would have mattered. I doubt knowing that she was narcissistic is going to help me at this point in my life but it is comforting to finally find out that I wasn’t imagining the things she said and did. That she wasn’t the Saint that so many people tried to tell me she was when she passed. But I’m afraid I might very well have lived up to whatever she was telling people about me when I blew up telling them all that she was no Saint and they would have known it if they had lived with her.

cassiereroni

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Sparkle February 3, 2013 at 8:51 am

To Cassiereroni-
It sounds like you got the designated “scapegoat” role in your family. You describe some of the same dynamics I knew in my family. I have come to think that mothers who have no real sense of themselves, (some true way of knowing themselves and knowing their own choices, knowing their own true place in life), project onto their vulnerable children all sorts of things they don’t want to acknowledge in themselves: their own deep unhappiness and confusions along with all the ‘negative ‘feelings’ that it brings up.
All their own unworthiness (of love or belonging or success) they project onto their children.
Your mother and my mother were from a different generation- not used to looking inside. My mother is consumed by ‘how things look’ ….to other people. Not how things FEEL to their children. These mothers have no way of truly dealing with (let alone recognizing !) their own feelings, so they deny them. It’s no wonder they can’t acknowledge their children…you see?
The upside of getting the scapegoat role thrown on you, I think, is that in a weird sort of way your mother (and mine) were acknowledging our own inner strength and power by trying to neutralize us through this scapegoating. Does that make sense to you?
I bet you have many gifts. Many strengths, many people who think well of you. Let that be your guide. After all, our own approval is the approval that really matters.
Bless you. Through sharing part of your story, you have probably helped other women acknowledge their upbringing. And with acknowledgement comes a whole new life that we can choose.
Check out the book Celestine Prophesy. There’s an important chapter on the four ways people try to get power from one another. Check it out. It was so illuminating for me.

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Sparkle February 3, 2013 at 8:53 am

PS Cassiereroni; That triangulating thing with your husband, my mother did/does that BIG TIME. It too is all about grabbing power through attention and scapegoating. It’s kind of pathetic really when you see it for what it is.

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notalone June 6, 2013 at 4:59 am

I’ve read so many of these posts. I am 41 years old. I have always said that I am the black sheep in my family for being the good one. Recently, I read a book that touched on triangulation; which lead me to some internet research about scapegoating. I believe both my parents are/were narcisists. I think my dad may be full-blown, or very close. Mom has been through years of therapy that seems to have helped, so I would guess she was not as far along on the spectrum. My older sister is the golden child. I am the scapegoat. I believe they have always known I was the stronger one. Although, this is not what is communicated throughout the family. It took a lot of strength to survive them.

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Kris April 8, 2013 at 2:34 pm

Wow. Your mom and my mom would be the perfect matter and antimatter. They would destroy eachother.

My NM did the same things. Calling landlords, potential employers, telling my girlfriends and even my fiancee that they were too good for me, that they could do better, that I was abusive, the full gamut.

The sabotage is the hardest part of it all to take. I was just a teenager or a young man, and was always wondering why my life had to just be so damned difficult, and why couldn’t something at least work out for once. Well now I know. I would, in textbook fashion, run off and tell my NM about my great accomplishment, the great deal I found on a place, or an employer who would want to hire me, or bring home my latest love to show that I was doing well in life. She took that information and did her best to destroy it. And all for no gain whatsoever. Just to perpetrate her image of me as a loser who would never get his act together who was some angry child.

She even took it upon herself to call my fiancee’s mother when my fiancee said pooey to her tales. (We had lived together for 6 years by that point). The fiancee’s mother though did everything she could to “protect” her daughter from getting in with an abusive angry drunk and eventually the relationship collapsed under the pressure.

I just cut off all contact and called every mutual person who she may come in contact with and said that I would no longer be speaking to her. I told them why, if they wanted to know, and informed them that I wasnt looking for people to take sides. I did this to protect myself and my reptuation so if good old NM came along and said, “Oh, Kris is doing this or that” that they would know that I was no longer communicating with them in any fashion whatsoever. I’m sure it’s aready happened a few times. Except now they will say, “Oh, is he speaking to you again? He called and told me that he was never going to talk to you ever again. I’ll have to call him and see what changed his mind.”

Triangulate that, beeyotch. LOL

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Taylor August 4, 2013 at 1:05 pm

Cassieroni,

One point you make that sticks out for me is inviting your ex over for dinner and mutually griping about you.

When i broke up with my fiancee of 8 years i was devastated, who wouldnt be. Every time she came up my NM would take her side, even though she wasnt even around. “i can see why she would want to get out of this house, this place is depressing.”, or “well you were lucky to have so many years with her, she was bound to leave to chase her dreams”.

Nice emotional support from your supposed mother. So much for kind words to make you feel better. Ick

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Also Renee February 7, 2013 at 10:31 pm

Been having a lot of anger and I struggle with identifying which role I truly am – I feel like all of the roles but my therapist insists I was scapegoat. The whole thing I very unclear to me cuz I recall being the favorite some moments and rejected and forgotten most of the time. She was all over the place, it was hard to make any sense of it. Today me and my sister who I thought I had worked out was golden child are both “on to her” – but I moved 3000 miles away so it’s easier for me than my sister because she’s only an hour away. Also I think my sister was ostracized when she gained weight after she left home. Honestly I can’t work it all out. There are too many conflicting memories. But what my anger that’s coming up right now seems to be about is how I just felt like my siblings didn’t want me around playing with them. Like they would play games with their friends and exclude me and I was the oldest child. Usually I hear stories like this from the youngest child. But then they knew how to get me angry and worked up and then I would start cussing them out then they would tell mom that I was swearing and I would get a barbed soap in my mouth. I am angry because they scapegoated me. They didn’t love me. Thy didn’t want me around. No one did. I’m sad and hurt and angry about all the rejection and loneliness. There was no one who wanted me.

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Michelle Piper February 8, 2013 at 4:36 am

Dear Renee,

One of the most hurtful things about a narcissistic family system is that the roles do tend to shift at the NM’s whim. It is understandable you may feel many conflicting thoughts about a remembered childhood.

You’ve probably figured out that even when your therapist is highly skilled, there’ll be differences of opinion between the two of you. That’s often healthy.

As a therapist and coach, I tell my clients “I’m the therapist but you have the PhD in your family. You lived it. I’m here to work with you to do the best job we can to figure it out.”

That said, I rarely see people always put in the same role throughout their entire childhood. And, from the narcissistic mother’s point of view, it usually gives her more power to have all of her children unsure of where they stand.

On a practical level, try thinking of the roles as typically more fluid. You might find it helpful to review the longterm experience with the differing roles.

You may have been scapegoated a great deal of the time but put in other roles such as lost child or golden child during certain years of your life or during specific situations. Healing from narcissistic abuse is often accelerated if you can look at the traumatizing events and figure out which role you were placed in at the time.

I hope the is of some help.
Michelle Piper

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Hope March 20, 2013 at 10:35 pm

Renee,
I am glad you were born and that you survived to tell your story. You were meant to be on this planet just as much as anyone else. You belong here with the plants and animals and other people. Thank you for being you and having the strength and courage to tell your story and open your heart.

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Geminigrl March 14, 2013 at 9:13 pm

I recently made the mistake of talking with my mother after the years of torment and abuse. I was in foster homes since I was 14 and she made me believe that it was my fault for being a “bad child”I was physically & mentally abused by my alcoholic father at the time, to the point where neighbors would call the police from hearing my screams.
I was placed in foster homes because my mother said I was a “bad child” for running away from fear and to get away from the abuse. She has even went as far as saying I chose to be in foster homes. I was a burden on her marriage and foster homes were easier than trying to fix the problem. She would insult me and tell me out of the blue with no explanation and say “How did you let yourself get so fat” There are so many other ugly things she has done to me.

When I was 18 I forgave her only to find out I was now the scapegoat. My brother could do no wrong. When I told her my brother tried to rape me she kicked me out of an apartment in the middle of winter, that I was renting from her. She told me I made this up and I need to move. I was suffering complications from a pregnancy at the time and ended up miscarrying and she still wanted me to move under the tremendous stress.My brother turned out having the same disorder and has been abusive to every woman that has been in his life, has even tried to hit me. She buys him new cars, house, etc. My mother has not bought me at least a X-mas present since I was 9.

My last draw with her is recently is when I told her I was expecting. Her first words were “Why would you keep doing that to yourself!” You have had 3 miscarriages already why keep going through that again” I brushed it off and did not put much thought into it. I emailed her a pictures of my ultrasound, thinking she will be filled with joy like I am and she condemns my child. She responded by email and she don’t know how involved she will be because of the hate and pain I have brought to the family.

I responded and challenged her email and reminded her of my nightmare childhood and she quickly stated that I hate her and I have no conscious, and she is “finished with me”. I am old enough now to know that she is a master manipulator with a serious mental illness. I now have accepted that my fantasy of having a normal & loving mother will never happen. When I am in public, I see daughters with their mothers and I envy so much the love they have for each other. I have soo much love to give to my unborn child and would never let her around my children because she is so toxic. My child will never see the pain she has inflicted on me. I feel so robbed of a normal family. I have learned that if you keep trying you are only setting yourself up for more heartbreak and disappointment.

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Sheqinah March 16, 2013 at 8:14 pm

I only found out in the past year or two my mother is NPD. What a revelation to have a name to this, and then to find out all that chaos, all that confusion and lack of love and emptiness is a common, predictable pattern with NDP children. I definitely am/was the scapegoat. I am nearly 50 and I am so thankful that I am now learning and walking away from not just the toxic relationship (cut off communication with her two years ago) but I am getting so much healing! Just feel my love for you. I know your stories, I feel them in my heart. I lived many parts of the things you have lived through.

I also wanted to comment on the golden child. My sister is two years younger than me and was the golden child. My sister now is only discovering how messed up she is because of the way our mother treated her. She has a very confused sense of boundaries and is very frustrated with not being able to control her life. I feel for her so much. She is starting to see how destructive and how much our mother lies and distorted reality to fit into her need. I do not think she gets how mom used her. I always felt ‘used’ discarded and filthy. My mom used me to discard her own bad feelings about herself. She used my sister and other siblings to hurt me and to use me to trash on me too. But she used my sister to elevate and protect herself from facing herself. We were both used.

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Rose March 21, 2013 at 8:12 pm

As a 64-year-old woman who has never been able to figure out her mother, I am relieved to have found this website and other information about NM on the Internet yesterday.

I am the eldest and it was drilled in my head that “You are stubborn just like your father’s family. Your sister _______ is good. She obeys me. She’s good like my side of the family.” The Golden Girl is my younger sister, and she and mom always got along very well. My youngest sister and I didn’t fit in. We were both called “hateful child.” We’d get in trouble for not doing a chore, and when we explained that we were not told to do it, mom would say we should have done it without being told. There was also the “Blame Game” and the fun of being put on “Guilt Trips.” Mom was illogical, which I found confusing. I wanted to be hugged, and mom did not want to touch me. I was denied showing emotion; if I cried, I was “feeling sorry for myself.” Mom would suddenly go into a rage, which taught me to totally fear her.

My father tried standing up to her, which sparked vicious arguments whenever they were in the same room. When my father came home at night, they’d argue so loudly, we children were awaken. They actually argued every night until he died. Dad turned to alcohol and doing what he wanted, knowing he was doomed. He died at 55 of a heart attack, and what I know personally about him could be put into a shorter paragraph than this.

I married and had children. I soon learned not to tell Mom much on the phone or in person, especially if the children were ill. Somewhere in my 50s, I realized that no matter how fast I tapped dance, I’d never make her happy. So I gave up. When she developed strokes that robbed her memory, she actually began being nice to me because she didn’t know who I was. We all took turns caring for her in the hospital as she was dying of pneumonia. I thought it was the end. I was wrong.

Two years after her death, I had a nervous breakdown. Mom was the issue. A psych helped me through it. And then, over a month ago, it all returned, again. This time, I am not making excuses in my head for my mother’s actions. I didn’t realize my second sister was the Golden Girl and thought I had messed up in developing a good relationship with my mom. It is such a relief to know it wasn’t me, and that there was nothing I could have done to change my childhood for the better.

I now see that I am a survivor. My intellect is in tact, and I am a logical person. I was blessed with two children to hug and love and a husband who still thinks I am terrific. The relationship between my siblings and me has always been good, even with the Golden Girl. That may be one thing mom did right, or we decided we needed each other as we got older. It was by the grace of God that we did not become alcoholics, drug abusers, prostitutes, criminals.

I wish I had some words of wisdom to give to my fellow victims, but there is none. At this point, knowing my mom is in her grave, I sigh and smile.

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Marie March 30, 2013 at 8:41 pm

BUT how DO you survive? my mother has NPD. I’m a nurse over 30 years, working on my PhD in BioMedical PsychoNeuroImmunology. My husband is a Police Specialist, Internet crime detective running a special unit protecting children from online predators. We’ve raised three bio kids. Our oldest is 29 w/ PhD in BioMedical Neurology and Engineering. Our daughter 28 is married, supporting her husband soon to graduate from nursing school, she has a Masters in Ed for science and teaching but created a forensic science class, she works outside the normal science but brings it into real world tv, safety issues and the learning. Our next son was admitted to pharm school, working now on his PhD in NeuroPsychology. As our children were finishing high school they asked why we never chose a child to adopt, to help a little person who just needed a family. At the time WE did lots of research, chose to do this, But then I realized how dysfunctionaly my family really is, they all tried to stop our adoption, tried to say I was an unfit mother. My Mom threw such a fit, refusing to hear me, to talk, only to attack then not speak, she had my siblings attack me, ripping my heart out right when I needed her the MOST! We almost failed our homestudy. I ripped up our application, packed up the baby’s room knowing that if we failed, it goes on our permanent record. We wanted to adopt a special needs child. Not a young healthy baby since we had that opportunity. I grieved so hard, feeling like I LOST a child.

We put a white Christmas tree in the window with only angles, letting go of our dream. Then in the mail a file about a sn child from Korea. I called the SW asking to negotiate how to get approved so we could adopt. We did choose a special needs child, passed over by 4 groups of parents, but we were fine. I’m a nurse, our kids were all old enough, so it did not matter to us. This baby needed heart surgery only to arrive on a plane from Korea, 6 months old picture of health. We had her checked by the international clinic, even to be sure she carried no infection. After a quiet two weeks at home we decided to take a trip to see my parents after things had calmed down once we were approved to adopt. We had an awesome visit! But once home, nasty emails accusing us of attempted murder. Saying our child HAD SARs!? My siblings got my parents so outraged, made them think it was true, our child was NOT ill, we had medical tests but to this day no one will believe truth. SARs was in China. Our daughter from Korea.

So as I grew up I realized Mom was not mothery. I had to mother her. My Dad never stood up for me but I felt he was there. But, he never talked much, and never took any stand against my troubles when I needed him but one single time when two sisters beat me up for not letting them drive when he told me what to do. He knew I could do a job well, told them to unhook the wagon for me to move the jeep truck, rehook, but they refused thinking he played favorites!

Each time in my life I do something, they undermine. My Mom is jealous. No matter what I do, taking care of my Dad in the hospital, she got so upset when I was not paying HER attention.

My sister Barby married Ken. He turned out to be abusive. I tried to tell her not to marry him, she got upset with me. Tried to cut me out of her life. Told my family I was the one doing bad things all the years. I bailed him out of jail NOT realizing at the time he was bad, she needed $50,000 on a friday night. Then she later needed my husband to take her to file charges against him for abuse. Then my Dad called for me to suddenly drive 45 minutes away saying Ken had a gun, was on his way, and to move Barby and her son OUT. This over the last 20 years. Plus being ostracized and blamed. My husband’s police unit did a search of their home which she blames me. Not realizing HE was not on the case nor did I know till it was over. Ken managed to hop from job to job, came up with enough money to own a million dollar jet. They flew a neighbor couple to dinner from one city to another, it crashed on take off in Chicago, their neighbor lady friend paniced and drowned inspite of Ken going back down twice. She walks up to me in front of my kids saying she wished I WAS THE ONE DEAD. My children still bear the trauma. My parents never helped her. The way our mother raised them to lash out and bulley. No matter what good I’ve done for them, always being there for all of my siblings. Most ask if I am the oldest with how I care for the family. How I’ve coped, how my parents all the years have leaned on us until we started to set limits.

Not realizing as a young one a mother should have been loving, sweet and treated ME as a special person. That it was not my job to always be there for them. But then realizing my health was failing, our second son has ptsd from years of this, with the death threats, that my family NEVEr supported us but if normal people support each other, and they support each other, why is it wrong for me to ask for that?

Two years ago our korean born daughter jumped off a swingset. She was 8 yrs old, perfectly healthy but suddenly developed a severe pain condition. My family never bonded with our younger three adopted children but tolerated them in person. If we made a visit to my parents things were tolerable, Mom acted ugly if we did not pay her attention but we expected that. When Barby was there she never made eye contact or allowed us in conversation. At times everyone would leave to go to her house saying I did not want to.

Years of being excluded, if I said a thing I got punished. I still did try to set boundaries, learn all I could. Not provoke. Not attack back. Look at me, what I was doing wrong.

a year ago I called two of my sisters trying to work on my relationship. Instead they got upset. They violated privacy, mocked me then ganged up on me to our parents.

I have been struggling for two years with the daily PAIN, our daughter with no emotional support from my family. Trips to ER, then no compassion.

my two sisters called my husband’s job, internal affairs, accused him of an ethical violation. Said I injected drugs to make our child ill, was risk of physical harm and have the mother complex. Knowing that social service would HAVE to take our adopted children by them saying such things! My husband was taken infront of internal affairs over two HOURS to be interrogated. His 30 years of a perfect record. The event was when he worked with another agency! Because I’m a cops wife I cannot tell my family things that could have proven what I was saying but the police refused to help them understand the truth. So all the years I’ve been falsely attacked behind my back. My husband facing jail, complete loss of pension IF he had ever shared anything. And they did beg years ago for him to look things up for them! As a nurse I could be facing at least 5 years in prison, lose my license.

None of the family were the least concerned to learn of these accusations! They tried to say it was me making things up. Then saying I was mental. Then I finally got my husband to have his major talk to my Dad in hopes of stopping this crisis. After an hour my Dad still denies they did a thing WRONG! He says I called my criminal. They sadly used MY email to my Dad clearly saying how I care about my family but Barby projects her anger at the losses in her life by trying to upset mine. She was married to an abusive criminal who has deeply hurt her. But I cannot live like this.

In the process of dealing with my ill child, now terrified to lose all three adopted children! Our friends all so tired of the years of my family doing something to us, the same mess, they started to not want to be around us eventhough we tried so hard to not speak of it, but it WAS our life! One crisis after another we never predicted. One hurtful event after another but not having a Mom I was never loved. Or a Dad I never felt protected. Just empty and hurt inside.

My Mother called my sister in law the first time in 30 years of our marriage. My sister n law never was really supportive, but tolerable, but now she calls me about my Mom calling expecting me to worship her? But realizing what my Mom was up to, the information my sil gave her would be used on me. I gently tried to warn her, thanked her but explained. My sil told me how I was NOT making HER feel welcome in the last two years, how I did not include her in any parties etc as if I was not meeting HER needs? I have not been able to make time for me! Now my sil is acting out like my family. My sisters have gone to everyone they know that was my friend. None of them want to be in the middle. My support system is gone.

I’ve gone to several different therapists over the years. I’ve struggled to help refucus my expectations. I know my own stress affects how I parent but I’m terrified at how out of control this is. My Dad used to be truthful. Now he is ready to call crisis intervention in his email when I told him we must get to the bottom of this. He tries so hard to make ME look like I am mental. No matter what I offer, to go with them to a therapist, to send a letter to his therapist, nothing ever is something he will do.

My husband will go with me to therapy and has tried to talk to my Dad. We have tried for the no contact. that was when they went to his job.

I’ve tried so many many things. but now we have no support, all our friends think we are just feeling sorry for ourself but our daughter has a genetic condition. A very painful genetic condition called Ehlers Danlos syndrome type 3. She was in the hospital for a week, but none of our family or friends called or sent cards! We were not allowed to stay over with her, our younger two so upset she was not home. I belong to a moms club for 10 years, not a single message of encouragement. I was one to always reach out to others in need, keeping their kids from noon till bedtime returning them in pj’s when their mom needed a break.

I tried to explain my position of needing support to our friends only for them to accuse me of asking too much! I just wanted them to keep in touch, to do what they said they would do. We see them on facebook leaving us out of the things we used to do with them. It hurts. They then say they care, but we NEEDed physical help. To have a shoulder, to know we could call in a time of need. Not to feel alienated.

I feel if I was not alive, my husband could start over. I will not take my own life. But I have lost my will to keep going. I’ve lost hope. I can’t find a way out of this nightmare. My mother shuts me out if I try to speak to her. My dad will not listen if I ask him to speak the truth. My siblings have all ostracized me after shaming me publicly! The people I loved hurt me so deeply. More things have happened, but no help, no hope. My dr refused any medication. I’ve been seeing a therapist, my husband and I both too. They do not seem to have an answer. My father will listen to someone but not us. But no one will speak to him for and with us. I with I knew what to do.

please, if you know of any direction. So many say to pray not realizing that is all I do all day as the tears flow.

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lynne April 2, 2013 at 5:18 am

I am 60 years old, and realized 10 years ago that I was/am the scapegoated daughter of a MN mother, her GC son, and an enabling father. I went No Contact 10 years ago, when they told me they supported my abusive N ex-husabnd in my divorce. I think by supporting him, they enforced in their own minds that “I deserved” the treatment that was dished out on me, by them, my entire life. Of course, I married an abusive man! I never knew what receiving love was and thought physical, emotional, and verbal abuse was “normal”. I didn’t , and probably still don’t know anything else.

As a child, I knew something was seriously wrong with my mother. Of course, it didn’t have a name. But, I had that “feeling” the in pit of my stomach being around her. She was always on the verge of a rage for something. My Enabling father and GC brother bowed to her wishes and demands. I got punished.

The first trauma I remember was when I was about 3- 4 years old. I was playing with my dolls, in my room, minding my own business. Nmother was in the bathroom next to my room. Suddenly, she opened the door and told me to “come in here”. I told her I didn’t have to use the bathroom, and kept playing. She came out of the bathroom, in her rage, and dragged me in. It was hot and the room stunk to the heavens. She told me to look into the toilet. I did. It was full of blood and feces. She said, ” You look in there! See that? That’s a baby – dead- in there, and YOU killed it!” She began beating the hell out of me. At 3 years old, I couldn’t figure out what she was taling about. There was no baby in there! It’s the first of too many times after that, she set my mind reeling. But,It got better. She told me that she was calling my father to come home, and “He’ll take care of you! Just you wait!”” She locked me in the bathrom with that poop, blood and stink. I was banging at the door, screaming and crying for her to let me out. She kept me in there for what seemed like hours. Suddenly, she opened the door and just walked away. I realize now it was because my father had just pulled into the driveway. I walked into my little room, where just a short time before, I was playing with my dolls. The painted smiles on their faces annoyed me. It was as if they were laughing at me. Dad came into the house looked at me, said “hello” and walked into their bedroom, where MNmother was suddenly crying and carrying on. Nothing happened to me and Dad was talking in whispers for the rest of the day. Of course, MNmother had a miscarriage. But, as an adult, it’s the first thing I remember with clarity, being marked as the Scapegoat, and severe emotional, and physical abuse when no one was there to witness it. It was going to be the first of far too many.

A few years later, I was aware the Golden Child came into play as her flying money. I was sitting coloring, and she decided she would, too. She went into her room and appeared with a fresh, beautiful box of crayons. I was using the broken stubs that I shared with my brother. It was in awe of this crayon box. It had a gold crayon! I asked if I could use the gold crayon to color a crown on the page. “No! These are MY crayons! You’re not allowed to touch them!” The phone rang then, and she went to answer it. Being young and stupid, I slipped the glorious crayon out of the box, colored the crown and slipped it back in place. When she came back, she saw my gold crown. All Hell broke loose! ” You’re a Thief!! You’re nothing but a thief! I’ll fix you for stealing!” She called the GC, just 2 years older than me, had him assemble as many neighborhood children as he could and brought them to the house. She took my outsdie and announced that I was nothing but a thief. She pulled down my pants, in front of the whole neighborhood,took me over her lap and spanked the hell out of me, with the kids laughing and chanting “theif”! over and over agin. After that, I couldn’t go outside, or to school, without my brother screaming “There’s the thief!” He instructed children to spit on me, hit me, throw rocks at me – all with MNmother looking on. I spent the rest of my childhood being abused, physically, verbally, emotionally and, later, sexually ( by GC) by both of them, behind closed doors and in public. If I told Enabling father about it, he said nothing because they were too busy screaming ” Don’t listen to her. She’s a liar”. He would say something “wise” like: “Why don’t you just ignore them?” or something about “sticks and stones”. In other words: It was my fault for not being able to take it. But, it wasn’t going to be stopped. He announced himself to them as the perfect Enabler. This was my life each and every day.

The smear campaigns, which were going on far and wide, were bought into by family, friends, boyfriends, husbands, and yes, even my only child. No one believes me. No one.

The last conversation I had with my Enabling father, who was trying like hell to get me back into my “role” and play along was, ” I know what they were doing to you. I knew it for a long, long, time. But, I couldn’t do anything about it because I had to watch out for myself. You understand, right?” Nice. Thanks alot, “Dad”.
The rest of the conversation was his telling me that I should “forgive and forget” and “honor your mother and father” – all the moral stuff. Obviously, morals, or just being human, never applied to them. I just hung up the phone. He later denied even talking to me and ( of course), I was a liar.

To this day, I have a problem being around people. I don’t know how to. I never learned. I’m waiting for them to hurt me in some way. I always stay back and just look on. I never get near enough to join in. I guess I’m used to being isolated. Being alone means not being hurt – for awhile anyway. I’ve been conditioned like this for 50 damn years. For the last ten, I’ve been discovering what really happened. But, I’ve been programmed, isolated and abused for too long. How do I know what’s “normal” now? In my adult life, I was so hungry for love, I believed anyone who said they did. Well, you can imagine what that did.

I’m thrilled to find sites like that. It valadates me and, as I have now realized, so many others who lived this nightmare and survived to tell it. God Bless each and every one of you.

Lynne

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Scapegoat No Longer May 5, 2013 at 3:51 am

Lynne, my heart goes out to you. I’m in my late 50s and also the scapegoat daughter of a narcissistic mother who died several years ago. I went through the same kind of childhood hell that you did with all sorts of vicious, sadistic physical and verbal abuse from my narc mother and GC siblings. My enabling father buried himself in work and denial. I was brainwashed into believing that this was all normal and spent a lifetime “turning the other cheek” to these wolves in sheep’s clothing.

Now we know that our hateful mothers’ behavior was severe child abuse, pure and simple. I was the typical adult survivor of child abuse carrying a sense of emptiness, low self esteem and inability to put down roots. I never married and had children of my own, but I would rather be single than have the kind of spouses and children my siblings have. Their children are equally as conceited, smug and self-centered as their parents. Users and takers, never givers.

Today, after expending sheer willpower and tremendous effort, I live thousands of miles away from these cretins. I can only urge you that you MUST not let the evil in the past win out. You DESERVE to live a full, happy life! Please surround yourself only with uplifting people and get involved in activities that involve nature or animals. You will meet decent, compassionate people who volunteer at animal shelters, for example. And I hope you can “shop around” for a church that has a supportive social community. And sometimes a good therapist can help (I’m still “shopping around” for one who fully understands these sick family dynamics).

God bless you. I guarantee you that all of us posting on this site are with you in spirit and want you to thrive!

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Trixie April 2, 2013 at 10:09 am

I found this site, today. I am 45yo and married to the son of a NM. My DH is the scapegoat—always has been. Because DH is the scapegoat, NMIL treats us all (me, DH, and our children) as unimportant.
The GC is DH’s (very intelligent, Ivy-league educated) youngest brother. NM is totally enamored with everything about youngest brother (he even looks the most like her). He is a doctor and is successful “because he got his smarts from his mother”.
I only realized my NMIL has NPD about 6 months ago, after nearly 25 years of marriage to my DH. Some of the NPD signs that stand out the most are: grandiose self-importance (self-proclaimed SMARTEST person in the family); obsession with her body & appearance (supposedly, men hit on her constantly, and her make-up/hair/nails are done to the 9s all the time); pathological lying (feigns illnesses for attention); talking “over” every person in the room (she will shout to be heard, and when she is left alone in a room, she makes sounds like sighing, moaning, hmms, and ahhs like she is letting everyone know where to find her); physically leaving the room if conversation turns away from her; and one-upping (i.e, the weather is always better/worse than us).
My NMIL was the only daughter in a house where she was treated as the total princess. Her mother was her world until her parents died 20yrs ago….an event from which NMIL never emotionally recovered.
NMIL’s world revolves around her deceased parents and her GC (and his family, of course). She often sits alone with a glass of wine, “chatting” with her mother; family events must always revolve around “celebrating” her parents (prayers, toasts, sharing of family memories & photos). She uses other’s empathy to gain/maintain attention. She’ll cook something and comment, “Oh, my mother would LOVE this!”
She is an alcoholic, too. About 18mos ago, DH and his other brother approached their parents about her alcoholism. (She starts drinking at lunch and doesn’t stop all day. She gets sloshed in no time, and MIL begins the diatribe of how non-GC family members are “less educated,” less “refined”….just plain “less” than her, etc.)
Things have deteriorated immensely over the past 18mos, since the confrontation. MIL is so bitter. She is intolerant of DH, me, and my kids. She doesn’t speak to me or my children; we were not part of the confrontation, either. She talks to DH, weekly, but DH & MIL’s conversations are very one-sided. Not a surprise! I think the only reason she calls DH is to save face in front of other family, like the strain in the relationship isn’t due to her, but due to him always being “the difficult one”.
FIL is quite the enabler. DH has spoken to his father about MIL’s NPD. FIL isn’t listening. He wants to save the relationship with DH, but he won’t confront his wife. DH has asked his father to seek help for her (mentally and for the alcoholism). FIL has lied saying he talked with doctors and everything is “just fine, nothing to worry about.” (We’ve caught them lying about it.)
Here are some gems:
NMIL is 65 and is on every wild diet and diet supplement to try to get her aging figure back. She has undergone plastic surgery to keep her youth. She will NOT eat food I make b/c it isn’t within her carb-free diet. She is a self-titled “Foodie” so if I cook in front of her, she judges everything I do. When she visits, I make everything ahead of time so I can avoid constant criticism.
She has asked my weight and size for years, however, I told her both topics are off the table for conversation, and I will not engage her. Since, I have caught her reading size labels of my clothing in my luggage when our family visits her.
MIL is ALWAYS needing to know my daughters’ bra sizes—she asks EVERY time I see her. MIL once told me in front of my 12yo that my breasts are spread apart too far and not lined up properly for my body, and she followed that up by sighing to me, “Poor thing!” and patting my shoulder.
MIL told my daughters that she only plans to visit them once per year because she has other things to do. She added, now that they are older, she needs to concentrate on her other [GC's] children, since they are little ones who need their grandma more.
MIL has told DH, “I love you, but don’t like you. And that is OK. You are a difficult person.”
My youngest is quite bright, and MIL proclaimed, “She obviously got her smarts from her grandma!”

Thanks for reading.
It is nice to see I am not the crazed DIL I am made out to be. My SILs think I am cold-hearted and mean, thanks to the gaslighting from NMIL. After years of her under-the-breath comments to me, finally, FINALLY, my DH sees the light!

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Catherine April 20, 2013 at 11:27 am

I have narcassistic mother from hell. She has turned this completely around on me since I was little. She conspired with a narcassist I was dating at 17 to get me pregnant so I would marry him. They took my only children and have repeatedly assaulted them and blamed me. The place I grew up at has helped her do this (Phoenix, AZ). I have no recourse. My children hate me. The neighbors harass me. I cant even see a doctor without there being some grief. My children have been repeatedly assaulted and neglected (per the CPS reports I have obtained) and no one will help them. These people are trying to kill me because of my crazy bitch mother. Is there any recourse with dealing with people like this because no one will help me? Its like they are TRYING to turn me (and my kids) into her or kill me (even drive me to kill others?)! I dont know how much more I can take!?

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Anonymous April 27, 2013 at 9:52 am

Jacob I am 43 and just this week figured this out. You are in a good place. Awareness is the key to your freedom. You will be ok. Think about your future. Plan, do well in school. Take care of YOU. Don’t allow her image of who you are be who you are. You are you. Jacob. Be proud of that. Live long and prosper!

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Acadiamom April 27, 2013 at 9:53 am

Jacob I am 43 and just this week figured this out. You are in a good place. Awareness is the key to your freedom. You will be ok. Think about your future. Plan, do well in school. Take care of YOU. Don’t allow her image of who you are be who you are. You are you. Jacob. Be proud of that. Live long and prosper!

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pall June 4, 2013 at 1:16 am

Iam suffering a lot with my narsistic mother too, this website has given me lot of support and healing, now she shouts at me daily and makes my life hell, its actuallu causing me health problem, my bp is shooting up, for no fault of mine she shouts, blames me, wants to snatch my granddad property my dad father,, what do i do with her.

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Neeley July 6, 2013 at 10:45 pm

I’m 12 years old and just found out tonight my mom has NPD… I’m the scapegoat in my family… it used to be my brother until he went crazy, ran away at 14, got into drugs, and went to jail… My little sisters my moms favorite… My mom adores her to death and Gianna can do no wrong… My mom turned everyone I know against me… my stepdad just recently told my mom I kept him up till 3AM WHEN WE BOTH KNOW VERY WELL HE WAS ASLEEP AND SNORING AT 1!!!!!!! This causing my mother to erupt in a screaming fit slapping and scratching me. My mom taught Gianna “the golden child” to hate him since the day she was born. Gianna Is 3 and is already telling me to die, and that I’m horrible and suck, and way to many profanities For her age… I can’t talk to anyone without them telling me to shut up. Ive started to notice that I’m now unconsciously playing the role my family has given me and I’m really scared I’ll follow In my brothers footsteps… Everything I do is blown out of proportion, I even get yelled at for breathing!!! One time I kicked a kickball and it flew up and hit Gianna in the head, but the thing was Gianna wasn’t even crying till my mom rushing over screaming ” what did Neeley do!!!” but still it didn’t hurt till my mom told her it hurt.. And then after that my mom picked up the kickball put it an inch away from my face and slammed off my head hard enough so that my nose started bleeding while she screamed ” see Neeley now imagine that but it’s hundred times worse for a baby” she tells me she hates me and then five seconds later she’ll say that she loves me. I hate talking about cause no ones ever believes me but please!!! I really need help… Im afraid of my mother and I don’t think that’s a good thing!!!!

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Neeley ^^^^^ July 6, 2013 at 10:52 pm

P.s. Until today I always thought she was bipolar. But this seems a lot more accurate!!!! Even though she’ll never admit there’s something wrong with her there obviously is…

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Corrine July 26, 2013 at 8:26 pm

Hi Neeley,
What your mother is doing to you is child abuse. It is not allowed. When you go back to school, please tell a teacher or the principal what is happening to you. Tell them how she treats you, and tell them how you are afraid of her. They have protocols in place for dealing with situations like this. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU! IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT! Your mother is unwell and what she is doing to you is WRONG.

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Corrine July 26, 2013 at 9:00 pm

Neeley, you can also call the child abuse hotline.
Here is their number: 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453)
Here is their website: http://www.childhelp.org

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Wounded Bird October 13, 2013 at 11:59 pm

I always knew there was something seriously wrong with my mother. I didn’t know exactly what it was, but my heart told me that the way she treated me wasn’t right. There was so much hostility there, so much contempt in the way she talked to me, the way she always rolled her eyes and sneered at me, always trying to keep me down, always disapproving.

No wonder I always compared her to the mother in the movies “Mommy Dearest” and “Flowers in the Attic.” Yes, she was, and still is, that kind of a mother. Self absorbed, always bragging about her accomplishments, always demanding that her children and grandchildren crowd around her to watch her cry her crocodile tears.

She demands nothing less than a complete and utter devotion and adoration. She has published three books at my expense. I devoted long hours to editing, designing the covers and even ghost writing large parts of them, only to find out that she took credit for all my work. But this is really quite nothing compared to what she stole.

She stole 20 years of my son’s life from me. The moment my boy was born, she snatched him away from me and pushed me aside like I was some rented womb she could dispose of. The way she got me to acquiesce for so long is because she enslaved my mind with religion. She would constantly remind me that depriving her from her divine right to be a grandmother was going against God, and that it was a sin to stand up for my own maternal rights.

For 20 years, I internalized all the pain I felt every time I tried to go near my son and he would kick and scream to get me away from him. He became my mother’s child, and she was constantly telling him, “don’t listen to her, she’s crazy, she’s sick, she needs help.”

I was undermined, humiliated, made out to feel like I was the evil daughter every time I cried out in rage because I was being separated from my only child and I couldn’t find a way to reclaim him.

Today, none of my siblings talk to me, and my son came very close to never wanting to see me again after he moved out. The only sibling that still has somewhat of a relationship with me constantly defends her and tries to gaslight me into thinking that she’s the victim, that it’s all my fault that she never loved me, that I’m the one to blame for everything, and that Mother has suffered so much because of how rebellious I’ve been.

Fortunately, I started seeing the light when she came home one day and actually bragged about how she’d been diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. “Oh, yes, she said. I am a narcissist, alright. I feel superior and I see people like shit.”

I know it sounds really hard to believe, how a 60 something-year-old woman who teaches junior high and has a masters degree and a credential can behave like that, but she does. She takes pride in being a narcissist because her own mother was a narcissist, and she used to punish her by humiliating her in public and calling her stupid in front of her friends.

All that pain she felt when her own narcissistic mother tortured her emotionally she has taken out on me. In order to get away from her, I had to go live in a homeless shelter. I had to sell my car and throw away most of my belongings because I didn’t have a place to store them.

I literally went through hell, because I had resorted to doing drugs to drown all the pain of her abandonment and disdain. Especially so, because my son had come to perceive me as a useless junkie who was crazy and couldn’t hold a candle to his dear sweet grandma.

Little by little, I have been able to put my life back together. I went to rehab and finally got off the drugs, then moved closer to my son, and we started going to church together. Nowadays, I can finally say that I have a normal, functional relationship with my boy.

I finally got away from the dark shadow of the malignant narcissistic womb that gave birth to me. I still have nightmares though, and I wake up overcome by rage and pain for all the years she stole from me. I know I can’t take that back. I know that time is gone, but at least I know I can reach out to other scapegoat daughters who can understand where I’m coming from.

I want to encourage anyone who has gone through something like this to please tell their story. The dynamic of the narcissistic mother and her scapegoat daughter is not addressed in the mental health industry. Psychiatrists just want to pathologize and prescribe drugs instead of addressing the source of the problem.

So many daughters out there are suffering because they don’t understand the dynamic, because no one tells them that it’s not their fault that they were born out of a vampiric womb that only wanted to consume the life out of them.

Scapegoat daughters, I know it’s painful, but we have to tell our stories, so that doctors finally catch up and start treating us effectively instead of pumping us full of drugs. Drugs may help with symptoms but they don’t eliminate the problem.

The problem is the fact that we want that mother love so desperately, that we’re willing to take all the blame ourselves. Society has to know about us. This world has to hear our plea because nobody believes us. It is a very disturbing truth that no one wants to confront. Yes, there are many Mommy Dearests out there. There are many self-absorbed, superficial, vain, egotistical, Flowers-in-the-Attic mothers out there.

It’s time their daughters came out of those attics where they kept us trapped all our lives. Don’t eat the poisoned donuts any more. Reclaim your lives. Reclaim your children. It’s okay to leave and never look back. It’s okay to never, ever, talk to them again. It’s okay. There is a loving God out there who is not going to punish us because we couldn’t honor the vampiric wombs we were born from.

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Lynne July 31, 2014 at 12:56 am

My mother is a horrible, horrible human being. She has turned every family member against me from my infancy and continues to perpetuate the idea that I am the lowest of the low. She will lie, fabricate stories and alter facts to make me look bad……not only to my sisters and father, but to the extended family members and life-long friends. She has isolated me from so many people by her evil-hearted lies. She has whacked me across the face after I had four impacted teeth removed because I used too many pillow cases and she had to do that much more wash (she was lazy). She has accused me of being a Moonie (where did that come from?), a lesbian……not that there’s anything wrong with that (and I’m not) but SHE thinks its the worst of the worst so better even yet to blame ME with it……. AND of being pregnant before being married. I don’t know?????? Can lesbians even get pregnant?????? None of these things are true and she was just looking to pin something on me. Things in her own mind that were bad and would make ME look bad. Furthermore, she goads my father by choosing things that he would especially find immorally disconcerting (in the world of Catholicism) and tries to apply them to me. I am approaching 56 years of age and still dealing with this monster. I do not love her. I see how she has chosen a life for me that is at the very least filled with shame, unworthiness and a dark sadness……. and at the very best a struggle to fill a lost potential

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Peter August 11, 2014 at 5:56 am

Narc mom right here. Strangely enough these people are so darn good at “sniffing” out your moods at that moment. If she feels you are angry or bothered, she is like your best friend and gives you something to ease your anger (a small amount of cash, compliments, something effortless). But when you are happy, positive, she gets all haywire and lets loose her acquired “wrath”, she makes sure you feel destroyed, after that you feel bad……you take a break, forget this incident and the whole process starts again (the next day). And that’s pretty much the joy of a narcissist, to break people down when they are up and to “save” you when you are down, this is a never ending cycle. These emotional vampires feed off other people’s emotions, especially their sons or their daughters, the people most helpless towards these retards. Funny thing is, being in society I am approached by these types of people as well, these people can sniff out your moods and they make you the target for their narcissistic behaviours. Immense put downs, followed by effortless aid/help/support.
Having had only narcissists in my life, I can honestly tell you, these people are either ass kissers or superiority complexed, but really deranged people. Obviously these “monsters” know what they are doing, if they didn’t, then how would they know when to stop their narcissistic acts and become buddy buddy with you again? And let the whole process start over, only once you have let down your defences. Simply put, they prey on the weak or the nice (they are cowards in front of the strong), but let’s not forget, it was your mother (or father) who destroyed your confidence in the first place, to let all these outsiders take advantage of you. What with the gaslighting and triangulations, all these have happened and, fxxk, only realizing it now. (35 yrs of age)
An example of my narc mom (ex-mom now under my own decision), we can jump past the continuous put downs/competing with sons and daughters/manipulations, cause those are the basic traits of all narcissists, at ages 57-60, still brags to me in regards to the amount of attention she gets from other males, still acts like a princess and demands respect at the same time the continuous put downs (to and from her son, ohhh a mother’s love, and has the audacity to say how great a mother’s love is, she strongly stresses on this point), almost made me vomit.
So, a piece of advice to all the sons and daughters of narc parents out there, disown them, it’s easier, they will never change, don’t hope they will cause they won’t. You don’t need a narc parent in your life, cause that’s a love you will never get, it’s easier to love yourself than hope for their love, the only way you can love yourself is when you can erase these toxic people from your life.

Lastly, for the people who do not have a narc parent in their life and insist on bashing/saving me/critisizing, skip this post cause you know nothing and your comments are already irrelevant. Do us all a favor and try not to be heard, cause your “best intentions” will send alot of weak, confused innocent people back to these monsters.

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Angela August 28, 2014 at 10:17 am

Peter, I have just read your piece twice, I resonate to every word you’ve written.. so much so this is the first comment I’ve entered into. I have to now ‘front’ this narc mother of mine (who’s been overseas for 20years) you see I’ve had very little to do with her, however yesterday I saw the lawyer who gave me a copy of my Grandma’s will (who died over 10 years ago now) this will shows that her mother, my Grandmother left me half of everything. Obviously I got none of it. What to do? A part of me is so furious I can’t sleep then another big part of me dreads confronting her.. knowing I’ll get nowhere as I’ve never had a ‘voice’ with her. I have to do something as she has ‘wriggled in now, living near my daughter!

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Andrew December 4, 2014 at 3:50 pm

Hi Angela,

Wondering how you went? I’m guessing you got no where…Peters comment really resonated with me however I swing between severe guilt and anxiety that I’m at fault and a narcissist to small realizations that I may have narcissistic people in my family.

I’ve had PTSD this year after being gaslighted by my sister in law, but its the comments from my immediate family which confuse me the most such as “you’re never responsible for you actions” “you live life as if there are no consequences” “you don’t live in reality” “after all we have done for you” “We tried to help you but you threw us under a bus” “you always walk away from arguments”

or the classic from Sister In Law “you are always doing what you do” after she got in my face, then told my brother I physical with her. I lost my business to them as a consequence, and my parents rallied around them though in their time in need with sympathy and support in having to deal with me. My Dad told me he always knew I was weird, did not know where he had gone wrong, did not know what he had done wrong to have a son like me and I will not be getting any inheritance (I didn’t have my hopes up especially with the recent addition of SIL to the family).

So yeah I’m still in crazy land trying to get better (I drink heavily to deal with this) I was close to being on the streets but was given a great job by a guy who believed in me and now have $20 000 in the bank (1.5 years from ending up with PTSD in hospital broke).

I will never be normal I have suffered from severe anxiety my since I was a kid and at 35 have never really had a lasting romantic relationship however I can say that I made friends with an amazing woman who really has shown me an unconditional kindness and cracks me up with her wicked sense of humour.

I can feel the anxious hole in my heart fill with a loving feeling.

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