Wednesday, 20 June 2012

How does a Narcissist Mother choose her targets

This is a question that has long intrigued me. What also intrigues me is how alike NM's are. When you go through the blogs and websites and you read an article about an NM you immediately see something far too familiar. And then when you scroll down to the comments, everyone is saying stuff like 'that's just like my mother' worse still  I read stuff like ' I read your post it, it reminded me of my mother and I cried '

Love me or suffer, you ungrateful little bastard

Now that's what makes me really angry, Narc Mothers ruin peoples lives and it's widespread.  I say people not just children.  My mother  has held a large extended family to ransom since before I remember. She couldn't have children naturally so we were adopted, I was 18 months old, already answered to my name, so she couldn't change it.

But 18 months is still a baby, a little human being to love and nurture. If I had known what was going on at the time, I would have hoped for that I suppose, but even the adoption agency didn't bargain for me being a mere possession to be moulded as a  compliant worshipping enabler of malignant narcissist. But that became  the objective.

My younger sister arrived 6 months later but was just a few weeks old. So why was she chosen as the golden child and not MEEEE???   If I asked her , she wouldn't have a clue what I was talking about. But I'm not that stupid and I'm the survivor and she the one has to comply with the old vampire now, I'm well away.

I suppose that by 18 months old I'd been reacting well to quite nice treatment and had never encountered cruelty or emotional abuse up to that point, and once it started I probably reacted badly.
 I sometimes wonder how it feels to a Narcissistic Mother to inflict that first bit of cruelty  on to an innocent helpless baby. Is there a pang of guilt? Or is it done with with no conscience as part of a carefully worked out plan?  How did she go about it?  She did do the crocodile tears on my 2  kids when they were young and they laughed! The other Grandmother was normal so they thought this was some kind of play acting, how right they actually were!!

I'm can only vaguely remember never quite falling for the gaslighting and other nasty little tricks, so I was already becoming a rebel  at 2 years old, in my mothers eyes anyway.   I suppose it's genetic and If I'd been their natural child I might have been easier to understand but coming from somebody different and somewhere else, I might have inherited stubborn or headstrong genes, again I don't really know for sure.

Let's talk about physical abuse and cruelty. Yes, that happened and mostly it wasn't justified. It wasn't for stealing which I never did, or fighting, just occasionally maybe, ripping clothes when playing outside, yes ok. Generally, I was a polite boy and I was well behaved in public.
No, the face slaps came from non acceptance of a Narcissists rules.  These aren't rules in the normal sense and to child like me completely confusing, that's why I always fell foul of them. That's why I was always scared. I didn't know what was going on until it hit me.

Well the rules are-
1, Obey every whim
2, Show lots and lots of love and lots and lots of gratitude.
3. Agree with every statement whether friendly or foul.
4. Don't even ask why, that's defiance and feigning ignorance
5. And always remember, it will never be enough, so try harder and harder.
6. All rules are changeable and deniable on a minute by minute basis.

Anything contrary or showing independence of thought will be  punished by slapping, kicking, strangling and even belting.

When you cry as a result of punishment, that's confirmation of  guilt and will result in more physical punishment. If you don't cry, that's evil defiance, more slaps.

Wincing when slapped, yes that's being defiant, so another slap.

It all went wrong one Sunday morning when I received a slap for something or another and my mothers engagement ring slashed my face just before setting off to visit her parents. She coerced me into lying about it so as 'Not to worry your Gran, she's not been well and doesn't understand things you see'.
In other words I would be responsible for making my Grandmother ill, and if she's stupid she can't help.
But I knew my Gran was in good health and not mentally subnormal so I told her everything.

 I was just scared and didn't wan't to go home. I was 10 at the time and vaguely remember my mother telling my Gran I was somehow evil,  had bad blood in me , then telling her that she was probably senile so wouldn't understand how bad I was.  The worst thing was the stunning silence from my Father and Grandfather, nice  passive old enablers, you can always rely on them to do absolutely nothing. 

The slappings stopped when I was about 13, they hadn't bargained on a teenage 6 foot son, I also did well at sport, so I was quite athletic. It all stopped when she aimed a slap at me for some imagined defiance and I caught her wrist and held it , when my Father threatened to join in I warned him verbally and he just backed down.

If you think that that was it, NO, Narcissists just alter the tactics, it was time to grind me down verbally. The demolition wasn't quite over yet.

So where how did the golden sister fit in to all this, well, by being proactively charming to those that mattered, that's my parents and she'd also learned how to speak condescendingly to those who didn't matter, that was  just about everybody else. Hilariously, she let slip my mothers private derisive remarks directly to just about every family member.  Result, no friends growing up and grandparents and Aunts, Uncles were wary of her.

The truth is that everyone who comes into contact with a narcissist is a target, but the treatment they receive will be chosen carefully  for the roles they will play in the narcissists life.  On this special chessboard there is one High Queen and lots and lots of pawns.

My rule is,  Every minute you spend thinking or worrying about a narcissist is a minute taken from your life and wasted on them.

I would really like to know if you had a similar experience, or am  I just crazy?


  1. You are not crazy. I also felt (and still feel) the rules are always changing. I never know what will cause my mother to lash out at me, except for the fact that it usually has more to do with her mood than anything I actually do. If she's feeling jealous, resentful, depressed, or angry, I will definitely hear about it. And usually, why it's my fault.

  2. And holy cow, that is a frightening picture!

  3. thanks Jessie it scares me too but beauty is the eye of the beholder

  4. How'd you get a picture of my mother?

  5. Hello Dave--Thank you for your post. And no, you are definitely NOT crazy! It's just awful what you and all the rest of us who got dealt the nasty N mother card for this lifetime had to endure growing up in the viper pit with "Mommie Dearest." Though some of the details of my childhood are different, the basic pattern of tyrannical authoritarianism, relentless ongoing abuse, crazy-making denial, strict demands for unquestioning loyalty coupled with the guarantee of punishment for everything and anything that threatened my NMs reign of terror is remarkably similar in my case, and in so many children of NMs. It's like a horror story that repeats itself over and over, across all continents, and through the generations. I am glad to see more and more people speaking up about it and breaking the silence, telling the truth about how horrible life with an NM can be.

    If you haven't already done so, please consider reading Alice Miller's work on this topic. Her little book--The Drama of the Gifted Child changed my life, when I read it back in my 20s. It was the first validation I got about the damage narcissistic parenting can do. She was so very much ahead of her time in her understanding of the effects of child abuse, and very empathetic towards those who have been victimized by it. Brilliant and compassionate. I highly recommend her.

  6. Your Description is a parallel to my upbringing. The first time I set a limit "Please Call Before you come" at 33 years old, She & dad showed up uninvited at a dinner party. They intruded, made demands of me, then burned rubber out of my driveway while screaming F-U! The dinner party was over, but not without a white trash floor show.