Living with the narcissistic parent. Anyone else experience this? -

Living with the narcissistic parent. Anyone else experience this?


Someone suggested I post something about my situation. My mom is handicapped and in serious pain. She's been like this since she turned 50. At that time I moved back home to help dad take care of her. He confided in me he couldn't take it anymore. She is now 87 and dad is dead. My situation is complicated in that, I have a narcissistic parent, but she is in serious chronic pain. Her doctors have confirmed it. The situation has ruined my life in more ways than I want to expound on. Please don't suggest I find resources. I've been through all of that. I am currently reading books that discuss having a narcissistic parent, and they are helpful in reflecting back what you're feeling, but I have yet to find anything that reflects the incredible damage a narcissistic parent can do. I saw one film entitled "Jaffa" (2009) about a family that falls apart after the black sheep of the family gets killed. There was a talk after the movie and the discussion focused around the "narcissistic" mother. I was shocked and speechless because I couldn't even tell the mother was self absorbed. I don't think anyone yet knows how growing up in a home with a narcissistic parent can be so completely and horribly complicated. I have yet to see anyone really define it well, or come up with a solution that the affected child can actually come to hold onto as a way out and still be intact. What I wish for now-a-days, maybe strangely, is acknowledgement. The way bullying is in the spotlight now. I wish parental narcissism was in the spotlight. I wish people would wake up to it. Thanks for reading. Please share your experiences if they are similar.

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My mom died on December 20th. The only reason that I'm still half way sane is that I put the blame...and kept the blame...exactly where it belonged. On my mom. My mom had a mental problem...not my fault. My mom had a mean streak. Not my fault. My mom was abusive, verbally and physically. Not my fault. My mom could never be pleased or satisfied. Not my fault. My mom's idea of satisfaction was absolute perfection, something only God is capable of, so she was never, ever satisfied no matter how much anyone did or gave, namely me. Not my fault.

And all the times she told me it was my fault all my life I refused, absolutely refused, to believe it. Even as a young kid I sensed danger around my mom. I remember my mom telling me that she was the way she was because she had to raise me and I 'made' her that way....Yeah. Sure. lol I thought it was funny when I first heard that and I still think it's funny thinking about it now. You don't have relationships with narcissists, you survive them. I survived by never owning what my mom dished out. I placed that responsibility mentally squarely on her shoulders mentally. Complete disassociation with her problems and refusing to accept and shoulder the blame for that mess is what kept my sanity in tact.

Does that mean I didn't experience lingering problems and issues myself dealing with her? Not by a long shot. I'm on my knees, crawling and gasping, scraping and clawing my way uphill out of a dark pit, but I'm on the right path.

I felt sorry for my mom. Even as a kid, dealing with some major abuse, I felt pity at this poor soul that felt the need to do such extensive harm, that felt such an intense need to HURT. One thing is very clear above all else....allow yourself to drown in HATE because of injustice against you and you're a goner. You MUST forgive or you lose. Period.
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Oh, and if you want acknowledgement you'll be waiting until the sun implodes. It MUST be good enough to acknowledge YOURSELF.
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crepella, I have done some reading on narcissism and do not feel that psychologists/psychiatrists have defined it well. One of the first things that is mentioned in the description of the disorder is that there is an excessive amount of effort put into the narcissist's appearance. Believe me, I have known narcissists that don't care at all what they look like. The overriding characteristic, in my mind, is that they are the center of their own universe and expect to be the center of the universe to everyone around them. They seek to have their own needs and wants met, no matter the expense to other people. They are all take and no give, except as it serves themselves. I suspect that narcissists don't have the ability to really feel love, not even for their own children.

I don't know if there is really anything we can do about narcissism, because it isn't illegal. Anyone watching the story of Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest would say that she indeed was the ultimate in the narcissistic parent, but nothing she did could be prosecuted. However, we know that yelling "No wire hangers" at her adoptive daughter hurt as much as if she had beaten her with them. Who would a child report such an incident to, except maybe in a book written in subsequent years? The child couldn't even go to a psychologist without the parent's permission.

Even more hidden is Mommy Damnedest, who bullies and belittles her children at every turn. If you get a chance, google the phrase. You may find a lot of good information.

Dealing with a narcissist makes a person feel like they're dog-paddling in deep water, trying to keep their head from going under. But ultimately a person realizes that they have been the strong one all along. It is sad that many children are raised by narcissists, who could never give the love needed, but it is just the way of life. The children are fortunate that they only have to stay with the parent 18-20 years, then have a lifetime to recover. If they return to caregive for the parent, they just have to remember who they have become and not return to the shamed child.
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You are not alone. I'm living with one. I can't do anything right. Dementia makes them so much worse. If she doesn't get her way. She rages. I've heard all my life how I ruined hers. I'm an only child so it's been a hard road. I'm having to make decisions about her right now. I may have to walk away.
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Crepella save yourself!!!
Keeping one's life in an even keel after first growing up with a narcissistic parent, then establishing and maintaining healthy boundaries takes a great deal of energy. I didn't get it right the first time......nor the 30th time...and it will be a work in progress for my entire lifetime. As a child I would often escape into the world of books: I wasn't allowed out of the house, no one was allowed to come into our apartment and I had no friends or anyone to confide in. My days were highly structured to go to school, look after two siblings (one her favorite, the youngerone was a punching bag for the first, and, he and usually were scapegoats for all that was wrong in our family) to take care of the household chores she didn't feel she "should have" to do, nor assign responsibility to my younger brothers for anything either. My complaining to my dad or grandfather only got me more misery so I learned early to just shut up, take the verbal and physical abuse while vowing to get out of there as soon as I could. I moved out on my 18th birthday and never returned home even for a night.
My mother and I "would get along" (her term) as long as I didn't bring up things from the past - things that I was still working through with a therapist and attempting to have the much needed dialogue with her. Those attempts always ended in escalating arguments, accusations, threats etc until we just didn't talk to each other. Then we would go for years without communication or very limited short phone calls a few times a year. Periodically we would attempt to re-establish some in-person communication but it was always superficial and emotionally draining for me to maintain a relationship that didn't begin to meet any needs for me.
I kept my kids away from her once they were in school as I didn't want them to get sucked into the drama with her. Fortunately after she remarried, they moved several hours away so seeing her in person was rare.
My stepfather died a few years ago and I realized too late he was being subjected to her nasty ways but he didn't want me to intervene on his behalf as it "would just make things worse for him". I regret not confronting her then because once the funeral was over she started complaining about how much time energy and effort the last year of his life took from her! She had become more of a recluse in the last several years, highly suspicious of the people living in the small town where she still lives - always on guard to make sure "no one knows her business". As a result she would order him to go to the grocery store, pharmacy etc, even when he wasn't feeling his best. On a couple occasions I had traveled there to accompany each of them to their doctor appointments to get a first hand report of what each of their health issues were, and his was clearly more serious due to the acute nature vs her chronic health issues. We haven't spoken since (fours years now); months go by and she doesn't even cross my mind - I no longer feel guilty that I cut her out for good because my life is so much better without her constant negative energy.
Somehow you need to find the your inner strength to establish and keep firm boundaries with your mother or your own life is very much at risk - I'm not being melodramatic here: there is a very real mental and physical toll that you endure. Is your quality of life/potentially shortened life expectancy really worth maintaining this relationship?
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Children of narcissistic parents are damaged for life. I am one. My mother has been A1 narcissist life long. She also has Parkinsons and dementia and has taken to calling me from the nursing home every afternoon. Yesterday she was ranting & raving about getting a new house in the spring "when I can walk again" - she's been in a wheelchair for 9 months since breaking a hip, unable to sit up or stand alone and after a stroke a few months ago her speech is slurred. She can't get in or out of bed and can't go to the bathroom by herself.

She wants to talk to me about finances so she knows how much she has to spend, then get a realtor to look for her. Determined she would buy another house and have live in nurses 24/7 (which we can't afford) we had quite the fight.

I don't feel well today, slept in and I'm quite shaky. She'll call again around 4 p.m. and I dread the phone ringing. I visit, I run her errands, ensure she has all she needs and pay her bills but she must stop calling or I'll change my phone number.

I threatened it some time ago and she straightened out but, one more time and I truly will. She knows the name of a nearby village but I've been very careful never to give her my address - many years ago she called the cops on me when I didn't answer the phone!
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The first step to getting free of a narcissist is learning the definition of one! How many keep going on and on and think the relative they know is normalcy because that's all they know? Congrats to all of you breaking free! Keep growing and growing!
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Finally....a label for my torture. I find pieces of my truth in all of these answers. Thank you all for the brutal honesty. In self reflection I agree that survivors from a narcissist abuser have significant challenges. One realization that changed perspectives for me ....knowing that it is impossible to please some one who expects you to give them exactly what they want....but they don't know what they want....or when on the occasion that you meet their expectations.....the expectations change and often in a drastic manner. It is like watching a dog chase its tail and knowing he will never catch it. I had to separate myself from that world to survive and to salvage any healthy relationship I had managed retain. Unfortunately for me, I let my since of duty overcome my sense of survival and I find myself back in a turmoil. Now I must remind myself daily.... Boundaries.....they are essential... and self worth!!.......does not hinge on my mothers opinion.......Thank you all.
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Wow, where do I start? There are many definitions of a narcissist. It runs a spectrum from mildly to severe. My parents (dad now deceased) were severe. Dad was the obvious, grandiose, "little Napoleon". Mom was the victim. They were codependent. Mom always blamed dad for everything wrong in her life and after he died, well, guess who got to be the new "scapegoat"? Yes, me.

She has to have someone to blame all of her unhappiness on due to the fact that she never takes responsibility for anything. She is immature, selfish and I believe not capable of truly loving anyone except herself.

Yes, narcissism is beyond damaging. No one really can understand how harmful it is unless you live it. Even my husband who can do nothing but shake his head and feel sorry for me, does not understand it. It is a mental illness of sorts and can be passed from generation to generation. However the narcissist will never admit they are a narcissist. You see, everything is YOUR fault, not their fault.

I have found that children of narcissists will be damaged for life. But, you can learn how to set boundaries or completely disengage with these hateful people. That is what I am doing. I don't think many understand the deep, psychological damage these people do to their children. Leaving them with a terrible burden of climbing out of a deep dark hole.

I feel with knowledge or therapy, you can begin to understand why your parents are this way, that you can't change them and that to wish for a real" relationship with them is like wishing for wings to fly.

I feel sorrow for all of those who have had to deal with a parent of this sort, but two parents (and often there are two) is just a very unfair hand to be dealt. Go to the site "" and you will probably see your mother. I saw mine and my father and others as well. You are not alone.
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Reading Crepellas' submission and the subsequent comments was like receiving a gift ..... an honest place to talk about the crap my Mother and her narcissic ways has dragged me through my whole life.
At 51 I am just realizing that I can choose to no longer be a victim, as a child and young adult that was not possible for me. Narcissism is complex and hard to deal with, my Mother started when I was 3 or 4 telling me how she almost died giving birth to me, I have heard that story countless times, she has always said she was dying with some ailment or other and threatened to kill herself numerous times ... being an only child and adoring my Mother made me feel so insecure.
Now at 82 she is still the same, I am all she has so I do visit her regularly and do everything I need to do for her but to be honest I am looking forward to the day she passes away, and i will be free,caring for someone like this is exhaustive.
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