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I have been reading a lot on here about being abused. I am assuming child abuse & then abuse prior to the illness taking over the mind. Maybe I am wrong.

Would you include physical abuse? Is this spanking on the rear or more than that? Would it be with a belt? More?

Emotional abuse? Of course and how bad.
Verbal abuse? Of course and how bad.

I guess I am trying to find out what these parents do exactly to kids. I was married to a narcissist/diagnosed as such and he never abuse our kids. He was an excellent father, hard as it is to believe. I was his sole target. So I am just wondering if anyone can answer my questions and I wonder why my children, who are now adults, NEVER saw him as the abuser. They thought I complained about a good man.

Thank you very much.

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I think Sodone is perhaps being a little cynical - ?! - but I would certainly agree that when one parent is fun and the other isn't so much, the fun parent is the one the kids tend to gravitate to. You get a lot of this in divorce, too, when the parent who does the daily grind gets compared unfavourably with the parent who does the weekend theme parks and oversized teddy bears (that have to be found house room for), and guess which one the kids like better?

And what is really unfair, of course, and I think this might perhaps apply to you Marymae, is that the fun parent is partly, if not altogether, the cause of the weary parent's being so weary. And if, as in your case, the weary parent tries strenuously to observe all of the rules about not trashing the other parent to the children, then it's even more of a strain.

I couldn't agree more with Blannie about how one's understanding of one's parents' relationship develops with experience and reflection. However, going back to narcissism on this point, one thing I've observed with my in-laws' family is that this kind of appraising reflection is an absolute tabu with my ex and his siblings. They might occasionally feel sore, annoyed or upset with MIL, but this is NEVER allowed to be her fault. If she's being unreasonable it's because something else has got her stressed or upset. If she's making outrageous demands it's because she's always expected the best of everything. If she's being a b*tch it's because she 'doesn't realise' how hurtful her words can be. If she is emotionally blackmailing them for all she's worth, even, it's only because she loves them so much.

Now as it happens I have become fond of my MIL, mainly because I am no longer obliged to spend any time with her unless I choose to. She has attractive and admirable qualities, in among the dross; and she is my children's grandmother and it is important to me that we honour that status. But it seems to me that when highly educated, intelligent and open-minded people such as my ex and his sisters are wholly incapable of taking a clear-eyed view of their parent, accepting her faults, loving the rest… well, in that case I would suggest some serious damage has been done inside their heads. It's as if they have all been through aversion therapy.

This chimes with what Shakingdust was saying about the way narcissistic families behave, and why it is so hard to break their repetitive patterns. Marymae, for now you need to concentrate on your mother, and on yourself, and let the children find their own course. I saw from another post that you were also very worried about bad news from a friend. I'm wondering if you are finding things really overwhelming at the moment, so that comparatively simple decisions such as about calling your friend are becoming terribly difficult for you to manage. Who is there around you whom you can trust to ask for help?
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Oops! Sorry. I meant to address Maddisson.
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Marymae, one thing I''ve noticed about the children in a tumultuous family situation, especially when their parents divorce or separate, is that they frequently side with the parent who controls the money. It sounds like you and your husband are still together, but if your illness has prevented you from working or if you don't have a sizeable inheritance, then your daughter may side with her father because he controls the purse strings.
A charming dad who hands out cash won out over a mom who was sick and couldn't do the things with her when she was younger that her friends' moms did, in other words.
I'm just surmising here, but money has a way of producing loyalty.
You'd be better off not trying to convince your daughter that your husband was a Jekyll and Hyde. Back off a bit and keep the lines of communication open in a loving, low-key way.
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I am sorry for addressing you as Maddison??? I am going to have to go back and see where that name came in to the picture. So sorry.
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Marymae~You are doing so much already with self care and caring for your mother. I hope you continue to post and let us know how you are. Can your mother get some outside help with home health care? Blessings to you and I hope you continue to post.
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Marymae I want to second the suggestion to just stay in touch with your daughter. No pressure from you on her, just a loving presence. When I was a young woman, I thought my father was the big bad ogre of our family. As I got older and did more work on myself, I came to understand that while my dad was the one with visible anger and cutting remarks, my "quiet" mother also did her share of harm with her more passive-aggressive barbs and behaviors. Neither of my parents were narcissistic, so I'm not putting them in that category at all. I'm just saying that as grown children reflect, they may come to understand more about their own family dynamics.

I now understand that both of my parents were doing the best they could given their childhoods. I love them both and have forgiven any/all things they did that hurt me as a child. I hope your children can come to the same conclusions and see your family for the truth of what it was.
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Thank you Shary. No I fully self-care, but that is about all I can do + what I can do for my Mom. Trying to hang in there.
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Maddison~I didn't realize you were also ill. I am so sorry. Are you getting home health care to come in and help with your needs?
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Thank you all for your great kindness. No I was never able to leave him due to severe health issues on my part. It's too long a story. I did not stay to hurt the kids or because I love him anymore. My love died afer years and years of abuse. Most of that time, I was too stupid to realize it was abuse, having been abused as a child. I am stuck. I prefer living at home to being in a nursing home which is where I would go if it were not for him. I am homebound and in need of care.
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Maddison~I am sorry you are going through this with your daughter. You have a heavy load on your shoulders while caring for your mother. Your daughter may need time to come around, if she wants no contact with you or phone calls, then just send her cards on her birthday, mother's day (if she is a mom), and other special days. Do not pressure her but let her know you love her.

You have a lot you are dealing with, we are here to support you if you want to share how you are feeling and coping with your mother's illness. Hugs to you!!
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Maddisson I'm very sad to read of your daughter's distancing herself from you. It sounds as if there is a complex set of reasons behind that. I think I understand what you mean about your husband's abuse: a sort of insidious, seeping poisoning of your own self-confidence and, worse, of your children's understanding of you. The thought makes me shudder, and I am glad that at the very least you are now out of that relationship (you are, aren't you?).

But it will take a very long time, and it may not be possible, for everything to be put right in your children's minds. Actually I don't think it is wholly possible, because what we remember isn't like a fixed video replay, a definitely accurate, perfectible account. The plus side of that is that your daughter, being only in her 30s and therefore with a great deal of growing and learning still to do, has time to reach a better understanding of you. I'm not suggesting that you can do anything to accelerate the process; but be patient and try to stay hopeful. If you can do so without making her feel under pressure, continue to let her know that you love her and miss her. She isn't lost to you forever.

Again I ask are you okay? You sound very down. What is going on with your mother, and do you have people around who can help you?
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Maddisson, I can also sympathise with your bewilderment that this person, such a good father, idolised by his children, was a completely different thing in his behaviour to you.

Narcissists, it seems to me, are pretty good at dividing and ruling. Maybe that's a bit unfair - what I mean is, they treat their favourites very well and others abysmally. The narcissist I know best is my ex-MIL. Her son, my ex, won't hear a word of criticism about her ever and genuinely considers her the personification of feminine graces; her behaviour very occasionally annoys him, but he brushes it aside. Her older daughter emigrated with her husband to Australia in 1988, and I don't think they chose his home country to live in by coincidence; when she comes to visit her mother, they resume fighting like two cats in a sack within 48 hours, but this SIL runs her mother a close race in the narc. stakes and so gives as good as she gets. Then there is my fave SIL, the youngest. She is a bright, loving and deeply caring woman whose personality and sense of self worth were systematically crushed by her family. The abuse came in the form of constant, unrelenting ridicule, belittlement, dismissal and - well, they would have called it 'teasing'. I call it bullying. I witnessed only one incident of physical abuse, a hard slap full in the face for 'cheekiness' when my SIL was in her early 20s. Not much in itself, but the fact that my MIL thought this an acceptable thing to do spoke volumes. Me, I'd have turned on my heel and left, and I wouldn't have been back. I couldn't understand for a long time, still struggle to, why my SIL can't tell her mother to "eff off." But I think the thing is that victims don't believe they have any right to be angry, or to protect themselves.

And sometimes narcissists will rearrange their 'good books' of people; then you have a situation where there is jockeying for the narcissist's approval among those who are desperate to have it. I find it quite chilling, but sometimes also ludicrous - like the sillier types of 'I'm a celebrity get me out of here' t.v. show - why is this a prize any sensible person would want to win? The approval is meaningless, the conditions attached so often are irrational, absurd, and offensive.

I don't think it impossible for a narcissist to be a good parent - perhaps especially a good father, seeing as traditionally fathers aren't under the same pressure to be even-tempered and patient with the boring bits of childcare. And if your husband pulled this off, then sigh with relief on your children's behalf and be glad for them.
But at the same time, have a question mark in your head. Don't challenge their belief in their father, just examine it closely. It may not be as absolute as it looks at first sight; and if they need comfort, support or understanding you can be there for them.

And if they have trouble understanding why you found their father so oppressive, explain to them that while he was a great father to them, he was not a good husband to you. There is room for both points of view to be true about the same person. How are you dealing with things now? Are you okay?
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Any more responses to my question?
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My children are grown adults in their 30's. No they never witnessed the physical abuse (rare) and it stopped, but then came the emotional/verbal abuse, very covert, and, it too, was done in private. He is the "nicest guy in the world to all and always willing to help. But I have seen the other side, always in private. I made moves to leave him when the children were grown and told them why (big mistake I am so sorry for), and was not believed. To this day, they think I am the trouble-maker and he is Mr. Wonderful. "They" means my brothers, my one parent. The only one to believe me is my now ill Mom.
No, my children told me that they knew I always loved them, never abused them, etc. I suspect he may have said things about me in a covert way so that they did not even recognize it for what it was, but have only a few instances of proof. One of my children estranged me, two years ago, saying all of the above about me doing my best, and loving her, no abuse .. but ... and the but was all about the fact that I was a sick Mom and that that hurt her, inspite of the fact that I totally cared for them physically, emotionally, in every way. She said it was just too painful a memory of having a sick Mom. I lost her. I am devastated over it. She will never know the truth, and in a way it is best because she can at least have one parent.
Now I am losing my own Mom, so I am grieving loss of my daughter (age 36), my Mom, and my own health.
My mistake was to get ill on my child. I apologized for it.
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A narcissistic parent abuses their children in many ways. Hands on physical abuse (not a slap on the butt), it is backing a child in a corner with repetitive slapping in the face and egging the child on to hit them back. Kicking, hair pulling, pushing them into walls, this goes on for 30 minutes or more. You get the idea.

They lie about something they just said or did and convince you that you misunderstood or that you have a problem. They use fear, obligation and guilt to control you (FOG). Emotional abuse at it's best, confusing your gut instincts about the situation, using you as their buffer, making you a surrogate spouse by telling you all their woes and convincing you their spouse is the abuser.

When a child does something wrong as all children do...the name calling, you are stupid, dumb, lazy, irresponsible, fat, selfish. You hear this all your childhood and you believe it about yourself. No matter how much to try to please this parent, nothing is ever good enough, and that is when you give them exactly what they wanted. They still are not happy. They have to be the center of attention by everyone at all times,

You are given mixed signals and messages all your life, you grow up with such low self esteem, can't make decisions, can't always see when someone is mistreating you because you have been conditioned that you are the problem not the abuser.

It can take years for a grown child with this type of parent to realize who the real abuser was in their childhood because of brainwashing, gas lighting, and FOG. You can google gas lighting to learn about it. Some victims never do realize the real truth or they just deny it for fear of not being loyal to the abuser.

If your children still live with you, they may not see the truth until they are out on their own for a few years. If your husband abused you when the children were not present to witness it, they may have a hard time believing you that it happened. It also depends on what he told the children about you that you are not aware of. My mother convinced me and my siblings that our father was the bad guy, I hated my dad for many years until I saw the truth after I left home. My parents never divorced. My relationship with my dad did get better when I realized the truth and I would visit him when my mom was not at home. Do your children think you were the abuser?
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