April 19, 2011 Moving On From A Narcissistic Parent-Part 2

Hi everyone. Easter will be here in less than one week and I have been reviewing the state of No Contact with my extended family.  I feel I made the right decision although these things are never easy.  The time away from them has continuously shown me more and more memories of how things really were.  Slowly the illusions that I had accumulated to survive as a highly sensitive child (HSP) have fallen away and the truth is much more clear to me. I am able to reframe my life so that I can see the truth of what I went through and who I am.

As time goes on, I see more of the truth about the way I felt as a child.  I survived the only way I could as a child, by being obedient out of fear, in an environment with little loving support.  My Dad was always working and was tired and stressed when he was around and took my Mom’s side just to avoid conflict.  My Dad has a good heart and I could sense it as a child so this just compounded my confusion when I felt victimized by my mother–he was not there for me and was not a safe person for me to go to.  I felt he also had a low opinion of women in general and was at times emotionally condescending.  And now I remember even more and I can add that he did not believe women were as competent or as intelligent as men.  So for me, this meant I was just out of luck at being seen for  the intelligent soul I was.  My straight A grades in school surprised him and I remember the prevailing attitude of “well but she has to study a lot” whereas my brother got straight A grades without even trying.  I could not win!–and it was made worse because I claimed to be studying a lot as an excuse to be alone in my room to get away by myself!  I was not studying a lot however, and I was actually singing to my favorite music or writing in my journal to cope with all the chaos I felt around me.

All of this lack of love and support caused me to decide as a young child in my despair that I needed someone to take care of me and that I could not make it on my own.  I felt crippled and shamed to the core with constant criticisms, mean looks when no one else was around, and invalidation of  my feelings and gifts–I felt there was something deeply wrong with my being and thought my answer was to find a man to take care of me. (My most extreme trauma happened at the age of 5, when I experienced the death of my true self and completely repressed this pain and replaced it with a false self that was obedient, sweet, and not very bright–see post Sept. 15, 2010.)

I remember in college, after some devastating relationships, finally deciding only to date men who were kind, introspective, interested in self-growth and capable of remorse!  At one point I gave up and wrote in my journal that I was finished looking for someone to take care of me and would now focus on my career and my future on my own. As if heaven was waiting for me to learn this lesson first, my husband and I met the very next day after I wrote this.

My husband of 27 years is a compassionate person who is immersed in self-growth the same as I am and is grateful for my gifts of empathy that help him to learn compassion for himself as he processes through the repressed layers of his own emotionally abusive childhood. (He had some N family members who he felt tortured by emotionally throughout his childhood.)  I am so happy now to see how supportive my husband is in my new career endeavors in Coaching and Writing and Singing.  I feel I truly have made it full circle now and can stand strong on my own two feet with my strong true voice and new-found vitality in helping others. My self-doubt has been replaced by a trust and acceptance of all of my feelings and intuition. It is because of having this childhood that I grew up using my intuition to figure out how to survive and I had to finely attune this empathic intuitive gift that I now use to help others.  It is as if it was all meant to be so I would learn 1)how valuable compassion and love are to myself and others and 2) how horribly damaging it is NOT to have compassion and love as a highly sensitive child.  I am grateful for all that I have learned.

I have learned that Narcissistic parents can manipulate their children into bullying the other children–often the innocent, kind, compassionate, highly sensitive child is the Scapegoat (SG) or Golden Child (GC) depending on whether they are obedient to her demands or not.  N’s may sweetly get you to confide in them so they can find your Achilles heal and then insidiously use it to control you.  They can be brilliant actors of love and caring around spouses  or your siblings and save the stabbing criticisms said with a smile for when you are alone and least expect it. They can feed their other needy children with lies about the  SG and rewards them when they do their bidding. I was the Golden Child first and saw how the other siblings can be talked about terribly.  Then it all switched when at 25 I stopped being obedient and then I was the one talked about.  I didn’t realize this was happening until many years later–we were all low contact then, seeing each other once a year or less and all being on their good behavior.  As my children got older and their schedules got more demanding and I had to be even more assertive about when we would visit, I soon realized how I was now the scapegoat.

Narcissists can be dangerous people to those sensitive souls with wounds that still need healing. I feel passionate about educating others on the dangers of Narcissists, especially as they prey on highly sensitive people who seem to be almost like targets of their remorseless lust for destroying dreams and confidence. Their lack of compassion, lack of guilt or remorse, and endless blaming others for all that is wrong in their lives are the red flags that help me to be able to spot a Narcissist a mile away.

So if you need help because you have a Narcissist in your life, I understand your pain and confusion.  I can help you feel good about yourself and on your path to becoming your true self that is hidden under many layers of fear and self-doubt.  The lessons I have learned have been painful but so worthwhile as I have risen from the darkness into the light and I can help you do it too.  Sometimes No Contact is the only way to freedom so that you can heal.  It was for me and I have no regrets.  I am moving on with great success and love in my life!

Click Here To read my post entitled Moving On From a Narcissistic Parent  which is considered Part 1. (My statistics show that this is my most popular and most viewed post by far).

 Happy Easter to you all!  My 24-year-old son is visiting us for the entire Easter weekend and my 20-year-old daughter will be home from her wonderful semester in Australia in 8 days. Life is good!!

Take Care and God Bless,


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72 responses

  1. Thank you so much for your compassionate writing for those of us recovering. Your insights are so valuable.

    All the best,

    1. upsi, Thank you so much for your comment and kind words. It means a lot to me. Have a wonderful Easter weekend.

      Warmest wishes, Elaine

  2. Mother’s Day weekend is fast approaching and today I have made the final step in walking away from my narcissistic mother. I have asked my father for no contact from both of them. It is so ironic that it happened today. I was in the midst of contemplating how to handle mothers day. I did not want to send her a card, but knew the guilt I would face if I did not. I feel relief which only goes to show me that the decision is right even though it was so hard. Your story is helping me tonight. I know I have a long way to go but it has to get better from here. Thank you again and God Bless!!

    1. Belinda, Thank you for your comment. So glad you are able to feel the relief in your decision to put yourself and your healing first. Yes, it is not easy, especially around mother’s day–I am so glad my story is helping you to find your voice and your truth. Your feelings matter! God Bless you as well. With love and light, Elaine

  3. I am doing the same thing, it has only been a little over a month, and having a hard time, as tomorrow is the special day. I hope your are doing well and have a great day for yourself! : )

  4. Dear Elaine,

    I am SO HAPPY to have found your site. Thank you for putting this site together. I feel a sense of relief reading your and others posts. I also have a N mother and an enabler father who was crushed and put-down his whole life by my mother. I recently found out that for years he is “not allowed to talk to me without the presence of my mother.” He admitted this to me a few months ago, catching him on a day when mom wasn’t around, and we talked on the phone for 3 hours, the longest we had ever talked since I was a girl. A few weeks later, he told me that he couldn’t talk to me “like that”, anymore, that mom “doesn’t like it”. I recently realized, too that my N mother has caused “triangulation” in my family, trying to control everything. I love my father, and would talk to him, but because I am not talking to my mother, and she is apparently in control of our communication, I am now talking to neither. I have always been told that I was sensitive and an empath, from a child, but didn’t know there was an actual name for people like me. I just cried at your 5 year old story, I recently had a memory in therapy of hiding in a suitcase from my mother at age 3 after she belittled me. I also used to hide in the closet. I have a great husband, child, and in-laws now, but when I was younger, went through a myriad of narcissistic and abusive boyfriends. I am slowly understanding the pattern. I am trying to now unlearn some things for sure. I want my own child, now a infant/toddler, to grow up healthy and happy. I hope you and your family have a blessed Mother’s Day! Thank you, again, for this site!

    1. Dear ISO, Thank you for this and for all of your wonderful comments. They will help others who have not yet found their voice as you have… but they are getting stronger each and every day. Your father sounds a lot like mine. I remember once on his birthday, when talking to him on the phone, I said take the entire day Dad and do what You want. I told him how my husband and I and our kids, on birthdays, you get to be queen or king for the day and pick all the days activities and little things like the radio station in the car, everything. And he said no, no…I don’t get to do what I want at all. That was the first time it dawned on me how controlling of him she was. Now there is no contact because he is so fiercely devoted to her.

      So glad you get support from understanding you are an empath. And thanks for sharing that you cried at my 5 year old story..it was repressed from my memory for so long but now the truth is a great comfort… when you reframe what happened with why–a narcissistic mother! I understand the hiding as a child–for myself it was accompanied with much pain and self-doubting beliefs which are now healed as I told my truth and released the painful truth and felt validated. This is my hope for helping others, by telling my story I can validate others and help them heal. So glad you have a supportive husband and in-laws and are seeing the patterns. Your child is lucky to have you as a mother–your “awareness” is everything. Like me you will stop yourself each step of the way as memories come up at each stage of development. You are healing wonderfully.

      Thank you for your well wishes–I had the best Mother’s Day ever with my husband and my children here for the entire weekend. And I had no guilt this mother’s day–the second year was easier. I hope your mother’s day was a great one. And thank you for the kind words about my site–it is greatly appreciated. With love and light, Elaine

    2. ISO, I am so sorry, I meant to say Dear ISO but I typed Dear Belinda on my reply to you. I am going to fix it on the blog but I wanted you to know that I am very sorry for this mistake. Sincerely and with love, Elaine

      1. I knew you were writing to me! It is a-okay!!! I had a good Mother’s Day with my family, w/o my mother, although this “no contact” is hard. I honestly had a very difficult time with it earlier in the day, but my daughter’s spirit lifted me up. I also never actually discussed no contact with her, for she yelled at me and hung up on me the last time we talked and instead of calling her back, like I normally would, I just decided to not talk to her. I think my other relatives are likely perplexed as my mother is the cat’s meow to most of them! Re. your dad, the same thing happened to me. Weird. (Or not!)

        I wanted to tell you on the day before Mother’s Day, my daughter received in the mail, a sicky-sweet card from my mother, gushing of how much she loves loves loves her little baby girl and how cute she is, even though she has seen her twice in her short life of two years and rarely calls to see how she is and neglects to even call my daughter on holidays. I can’t explain, but the whole thing felt deliberate. No card for me, but for my daughter, and things I wished my mother would say to me. I simply just couldn’t believe it. The card is what a normal grandmother would write who has a close relationship with her granddaughter, but from her came off as sicky-sweet, oozing of insincerity and right in time for Mother’s Day. I don’t know what to make of it. Perhaps she really feels this way? I read it as sincerely as I could to my daughter, I am not going to keep it from her. I think that anyone would look at the card and see it as loving, but I look at in as insincere. But perhaps I am wrong. But to get this the day before MD? I don’t know if I am over-reacting or what? But, she didn’t acknowledge MD the year before, and this card to my daughter and not to me just hit the jugular for me. This is the first MD ever that I did not acknowledge her. It felt a bit odd. Anyway, thanks for this blog. It really helps one not feel alone!

        1. ISO, Glad you are okay with my mistake. Thank you for your reply. Focusing on your daughter and honoring yourself as a mother was a great way to cope on mother’s day. Good for you! My relatives are perplexed as well and also think my mom is the cat’s meow–she is a brilliant actress and has fooled them all–but I have to let it all go and be happy I am free now–noone I was really close to or connected with. I agree with you that it seems deliberately hurtful for your mom to send that card to your daughter and forgetting about you. I regret now all of my efforts to help my kids feel loved by their narcissistic grandmother–on our last Christmas get-together she was clearly trying to get my grown children against me–luckily they saw right throught it and saw how mean that was to me. Still when we watch old videos of me saying, “look what grandma sent you, wasn’t that nice of her” it turns my stomach. It is not real love and it confused my kids a lot by my encouraging them to like their grandma when they didn’t feel a sincere connection! Trust your intuition that she is insincere–let your kids measure by their own gut instincts. You are not over-reacting. My N mom knew how to subtly punish me to get me to doubt myself and feel sorry for her–but now I know the truth–her insidious deceptive ways are dangerous! I understand the odd feeling–it is because you never dared put yourself first before. N Mom’s induce shame for this kind of behavior but that is abusive–you would never do that to your daughter–let that be your guide. You are doing great! Stay strong! I send my warmest wishes to you as you continue on your healing journey. Love and Light, Elaine

  5. Dear Iso,

    Thank you for your support and Happy Mother’s day for you and your family as well. I also have a 3 year old. god works in mysterious ways. I realized my mom was narcissistic through my daughter. Every mean, snide statment made to me always had me saying….I would never talk to my daughter this way…something is not right. I am now 41 and it has taken this long for me to realize that I am not part of the problem like I’ve been told for years!! I am feeling weak today…Hopefully, church tomorrow will bring a renewed sense of strength. I must be strong for my daughter…I love her so much!! God bless and stay strong!!

  6. Belinda, Happy Mother’s Day! Ironically, I am an first time mom with a toddler daughter, too. It has taken me all these years to realize it wasn’t my fault, although I still have doubts at times, thank God my husband is there to whisper “reality” into my ear! He tells me that our daughter is a way for me to understand what love is since I have had a hard time loving myself because of growing up with conditional/controlled “love”. Yes, we must stay strong for our daughters and for us. A loving embrace to your soul!!!! I hope church was inspirational!!!

    1. That is, I am a first time 40 y/o (young) mom, like you! : )

  7. Hello everybody,

    I am entering my second month of no contact with my family. I am currently feeling better as far as less stress and anxiety. I am slowing down and trying to be patient with myself. However, as far as anything else I am still in a state of shock. I know I have been verbally abused by my parents but I find myself constantly researching narcissism. It seems I am needing to constantly remind myself that I’ve been abused and I am trying to validate it to myself. It’s like I am doing a research project for someone else until I look in the mirror and realize I am researching about ME!! My whole life I felt like I was watching what was going on in the world but not really being a part of it. I have forgotten who I am, or better yet I never had the opportunity to get to know myself. I am trying to learn about myself and at the same time trying to heal my broken spirit and at the same time trying understand and at the same time trying to not call my family. Phew!! That’s how I feel. I break down in tears often from these overwhelming feelings

    I never really explained to my parents that I no longer want to contact them ever again. It sort of fell in my lap. The last conversation I had with my dad, he suggested that they not call me and I said that would be best. So, I am assuming they are waiting for me to call. That leaves the ball in my court and the pressure of that is almost too much to take. I want to email them and tell them the no contact rules because I actually fear them trying to call me or see me. I am not strong enough right now to fight for my right for space but I know I desperately need it. I try to spend my time keeping my mind busy. That is what is making this the most difficult. My own mind. It is constantly thinking about everything. I have to work at staying focused on the here and now. Having my husband and little girl around always seems to help but it seems like a temporary fix. When alone, my mind takes over. I have been going to therapy for 2 months but there is little change in my spirit. there is much change in my surroundings, though so I guess it is a good start. I must have a long way to go. I sum it up this way…the knowledge of knowing is not enough to heal the spirit!!! I have the knowledge but where do I go from here?

    I find myself trying to find someone else to fill the void that I have. The desire of approval from others and trying so hard to please seems to get in the way of making friends. People see that I am trying too hard. I expect too much out of other people such as a neighbor that has become my friend. The problem with that is she does not understand where I am coming from so in trying to discuss my current situation I end up receiving advice I know is not right for me. She does not know my family so I know that she had the best intentions but the words wound me. I know it’s not the right way to be. I need to learn to rely on myself and validate my own feelings. That was the biggest abues to me. My feelings were never validated. EVER!!! I am constantly searching for approval. I started a journal a few days ago, hopefully, it will help in my healing. I am learning slowly through trial and error. Thank you so much for this website. It gives me a voice.


    1. Hi Belinda, Thank you for your comment. You so eloquently expressed what many highly sensitive people are going through when they first go no contact. Wow. So well said! You will help many others who feel the same but are not ready to leave comments. The pressure you feel to call them is guilt that they induced in you and that you internalized since you were a little child. It may help you to get in touch with some of your anger at having been so controlled and manipulated as a child. Journal out your feelings, all of them, including how angry you must have felt as a child but you were not allowed to feel it or express it then. But now you are safe and you can let it out. Releasing your truth will heal your spirit. When you connect with your true self and have compassion for the child inside of you that suffered, you will feel less needy for other peoples approval. It takes time to heal all the layers so be patient with yourself. You are stronger than you know. Thank you for the kinds words about my website. If you would like me to give you ISO’s email address just drop me an email and I will email her to get her permission as well. with Love and Light, Elaine

  8. I am a year and a half into maintaining no contact with my mother and step-father. Both are NPD, although it is easier for me to see it in my stepfather, since I never tried to feel as close to him as I did with my mother. Memories still come back where, for example, my mother, who I look like to a surprising degree, would attack the one major difference I have – curly hair: “I guess I can see why you wore your hair curly; it is raining out.” It has also been hard for me to watch my mom and step-dad pursue their careers, since both are very successful, with powerful jobs in the financial sector. I feel like the recent financial crises happened in their living room and they were too busy worrying about what people thought of them to even realize they were a part of the problem. None of my other siblings see the bigger picture. Right now, I am calling them for their birthdays but they did not call me for mine. Interestingly, my sister answered the phone right away and she gasped, saying she was so excited to hear from me. I guess there is some hope. Some friends of the family have cut me out as have some of my own long-time friends, but I am trying to remember that they are people who have not dealt with their own family problems, so my changing and growing may affect our relationship but at no fault of my own. Right now, I am in group and individual therapy and it is working wonders. During the day, I work in a psychology lab. My goal is to study narcissism as it relates to power in our culture, but for now all I can do is study and work to remember that all the abuse really happened. By the way, I found my father. (I have only been mentioning my mother and step-father.) He is schizophrenic. His sister takes great care of him and he is doing a good job of working to manage his life. It has been nice to get to know him as an adult. While sometimes I have to tell him to wait a second when he starts telling me about how the Queen of England knighted him so we can order dinner from the waiter, I think I was meant to learn what it is like to love someone as a daughter through him. I must say that it is nice to talk with someone who cares as best he can that I was a top runner, for example, as opposed to living with people threatened with my successes. (I was often the scapegoat as a child.) Even now as I am trying to enter the field of psychology, he calls me to hear how my studying is going even though doing so is hard for him, since he is paranoid about the field in general.

    1. Joanna, Thank you for your comment. Your strong voice and confidence is refreshing to hear as well as your insights on your NPD parents and their high powered jobs and their roles in the national financial crisis! Fascinating! Makes sense that the greed and lack of empathy and foresight of those responsible for the financial crisis would be Narcissists! Wow and you are witnessing it with your own eyes–thank you for sharing this. It is also very insightful of you to see that those who cut you out have not dealt with their own family problems and that you are changing and growing in ways they are incapable of understanding. So glad you have found successful therapy and you are studying narcissism–having 2 N parents must have been painful for you as a child, but now you are turning it around to study narcissism and help others. Amazing isn’t it, how your schizophrenic father who wasn’t even available to you as a child has more to give you than your parents who are Narcissists. Congrats on being a top runner! Thanks again for your comment–your strong voice and light shines through and will give much support as a role model for others. with love and light, Elaine

  9. Hi Belinda,
    I am going through the same thing now, I think I could have written your comment myself, I have had NC about the same period of time with my family. I am in therapy, too, it has been about 2 months, the same period of NC time. It is helping me a bit, although I just found yesterday that my psychologist had an “accident” and cannot see me for an indefinite period of time. I am hoping it is not too long because I like her a lot and we were beginning to chip away at some things. I hate to start with someone new from scratch. I was thinking that maybe we (you and I, that is) could find somehow talk on the phone via Elaine, but I don’t know how to do that. I have to tell you that my entire life, I search for approval too, and a way to try and fill that void, to no avail. I have met older women who have played “temporary mother-roles” that have helped me in various ways with various events that my real mother should have helped me with. Many times I have had professors or bosses who fulfill that role temporarily for me. I have been accused of being teacher’s and bosses pets at times. I think it is honestly an attempt to get approval from my mother and somehow these women are fulfilling that need. I have tried to fill the “void” that I have from not having a caring mother. They are temporary fixes and the void lingers on. My MIL is sort of like that to me now, but she can never really fill the role of my real mother, even though I will never get from my real mother “what I need”, that void is still there, and I am afraid will always be. My husband just tells me to accept the fact that my mother in mentally ill and that will help me, but it is not so easy to do. I have this part of me that wants her to love me and to treat me kindly and mindfully regardless. I guess “I WANT MY MOMMY”, sums it up, but I will never have her. Anyway, if you would like it, I am hoping Elaine can figure out a way for us to have direct contact if that is okay with the both of you, if not that is okay, I understand.

  10. To Belinda,

    Gosh, I just read my stream-of-conscious rant that I posted before reading! I hope you can read through the lines! I forgot to add that I have started therapy not only for me, but for my daughter. I do not want to pass any damage or learned behaviors from my N mother on to her. I think we are both very lucky to have good husbands and be blessed with our wonderful little girls! I think what is very difficult thing too, is that childhood memories are constantly coming up now for me, good and bad, while watching my daughter grow. I think this makes it especially difficult at times, because of not only sad childhood memories, but also the good ones. I feel angry and shocked at many memories, because as a mother, I would never do any of the hurtful things I recall my mother doing. But, the good memories make it difficult for me to sustain NC with my mother, although I am doing it. My husband tells me the hardest part, from what he can see, is the inconsistency that was involved. You see my mother was a “feast or famine” type of gal! Anyway, I see I somehow managed another stream-of-conscious rant. I will leave it though, because I think there must be some benefit to it to me, you, and others that will read this, hopefully! Stay strong!

  11. Iso and Hopesinger,

    Thank you both for keeping in touch. I feel relief of anguish with every word you say. Elaine, I think it would be great to get in touch with ISO. I feel like we have such similar sithations that exchanging email addresses would be a good idea. I will continue writing about my journey here b/c Something good must come out of my struggles. I’ll be honest, good things for me have already begun to happen, but I want someone else to learn from this. Something positive has to come out of this experience!!! Just like the last Oprah show, I related so much to what she was saying. Everyone in this world just wanted to be validated that whatever pain or hard time they were going through someone out there understands and relates. That’s what made her show so amazing. My favorite part was when she stated we are all responsible for the energy we give out. This statement hit home for me for 2 reasons, My parents are accountable for actions and behavior, but there is a time when I must be accountable for myself. Now that I know, I have no excuse. I must be responsible for what I portray to everyone around me. I must try to be the person I have always wanted to be. I can no longer be the person I feared I may have become. Most of all, everything my parents did to me is already done to them. I have to believe this in order to try and move on. I don’t want to be the one to spend the rest of my life blaming my parents but I have no guilt in giving blame right now. For the 1st time in 41 years they deserve it. Now that I know the truth, I am working on being accountable for what I give in this world. I want to be a person of caring and empathy. I want to not be judgemental and to love unconditionally. But most important, I want to trust my own feeling. I am hoping to get there some day.

    Iso, your comments about good and bad memories coming back is exactly right!! I have said the exact thing about never talking to and treating my daughter the way she did to me. I may not have mentioned but I have a younger brother of course we are not talking, can I say triangulation. I am beginning to recall a few memories about me but the flow of bad memories about my brother are coming at me like a tidal wave. He was a different child than I was. I was extremely scared, but my brother was a fighter so he received the grunt of the abuse. I used to think, man my little brother is not too bright, why is he fighting he knows that he is going to lose the battle, but now I realized he was fighting for his voice. He was so strong for a little guy. He fought them alone. I feel guilt over not being there for him as his big sister, but I can’t really deal with that now. I plan on addressing this at a later time when I am stronger.

    For those of you contemplating no contact, remember it can be on you terms. If you want it for a little while or forever it is your right. Let me assure you it may be the hardest decision you make but speaking from experience it will reward you ten fold. Stepping away for a little while just to figure youself out is highly recommended. I have walked away from my parents more than once in my life but only now am I contemplating forever. Only now with the knowledge I have possessed do I really believe this is the safest and healthiest situation for my family. Stay strong, but be gentle to yourself.

    1. Belinda, Thank you for your comment reply. I am so glad that my words help you feel some relief. You have much wisdom and light to give others and you are on your way to trusting your own feelings–if you have compassion for yourself every time those feelings come up to heal you will become stronger with each layer you voice and release. I like very much that you said this: “Stay strong, but be gentle to yourself”–wise words for HSP survivors to live by! I am glad and very much appreciate that you will continue with your insightful comments here on my blog site. (If you would like me to email your email address to ISO, please email a clear and direct statement giving me your permission to do so at elaine@hspsurvivors.com.) Warmest wishes on your healing journey, Elaine

  12. To Belinda and Elaine,

    Been meaning to write to you both. Belinda, I would love to connect with you in private email, because I think it may be helpful to me, and hoping it would for you, too. Elaine, I have been re-reading “Drama of the Gifted Child” for the third time, I realize that I first read it in my early twenties. I find it so much more relevant almost two decades later! I honestly have been having a hard time with this lack of contact with my family, some days feel great and others absolutely horrible. I am trying to stay strong and gentle with myself, but it still gets a little difficult, to say the least. My partner often tells me the cliche that “you cannot pick your families,..” but that makes me feel even worse sometimes! This distance makes me realize just how messed up and in pain they are. They try to appear all orderly, in control, proclaim love and Christian brotherhood and compassion, putting on the appearances; realize that they have been in pain and a false facade or disguise forever. I wish they would all get therapy! In addition to the difficult time I am having with the NC, recently found out that my therapist will no longer be working with me, as I was called by her colleagues that “something happened to her, and she will no longer be able to take clients, for a few years, possibly never”. I am sad that they have to be so cryptic, but understand why. One of her friends is taking over her practice, but I don’t think I really care for her, so starting to look for another therapist, start from square A. She was really helping me and I looked up to her like a wise mother figure, so it is a bit painful for me now for this further loss! Anyway, trying to stay positive for my family, but honest at the same time. I honestly feel a bit glum, so it is a hard balancing act to be chipper! Hope this is all makes sense, 5 am here, and not so awake yet! Take care, the both of you! ISO

    P.S. Belinda, your last post really resonated with me, esp. the part about triangulation. That is really going on in my family. I thought it was more recent, but my therapist helped me to see that it has been going on likely before I could even walk or talk! My partner thinks that my NM realizes that she does this, although at times subconsciously, but at many times purposely and almost calculative about it, a control issue. My father seems very oblivious to the whole thing, or perhaps blinded is a better word. My partner says my mother has psychologically beat my father into submission. My golden child sibling is blind to it, too, who is also in pain, but tries to hide it. My sibling states that they are “the good child” and I am the bad one for moving so far away from my family. I now see that this is pretty common with the scape-goat and golden child dynamic. It sounds like your little brother sounds more like me, I always tried to “fight” back too, I guess I questioned my mother from a toddler! I realize today that I was actually seeing things that I intuitively knew were not right!

  13. Iso,

    I sent permission to Elaine so you should be receiving my information soon. I am sorry to hear you having a hard time. I know how difficult it is to stay away. The way I have been reasoning it in my mind is this…I would rather feel sadness and a void in my life then anxiety, distrust, anxiousness and an all over miserable feeling just to have them around. Iso, try to find another therapist. I tend to cling on to people, especially when they validate my feelings so don’t let this stop you from trying to find someone else. It’s ok to be glum, I am glum a lot. considering how long this has been going on, I am still in the blame the parent phase and shock phase. Hopefully, keeping in contact and trying to encourage one another will make things better. I feel like this is all I can handle at this time. I am not ready to pursue outside friends yet. I am not comfortable with who I am and what I am all about. For me, it seems vastly important to choose the right people for me and my family but I feel very insecure in knowing how to choose people to be a part of my life right now. I am unsure how to explain my situation when it arises, I am concerned that someone will pass judgement on me and most of all I am scared to death that someone may actually know my parents and think I have gone totally off the deep end. I live 20 minutes away from them and we grew up nearby so I am just waiting for the day that I either bump into my parents or I bump into someone that knows them and want to know how they’re doing. There seems to be as many uncomfortable situations being away from them as there are dealing with them. damned if I do and damned if I don’t. I feel like I am living in a bubble right now.

    On top of all this, I had to put my dog of 14 years to sleep. It was time, but the anguish comes to me in waves. In the past I would have swallowed my grief, but since I am working through my feelings, I find myself crying uncontrollably and then trying hard to stop. I am sure I look quite funny crying then acting like everything is ok right away but oh well. I know I am learning how to express my feelings. It is sad to see him go, he has really been the only constant in my life. He loved me unconditionally, and in his eyes I could do no wrong. God, how I miss him!! My brother and I were alway big dog lovers. Of course it makes perfect sense now since a dogs love is unconditional. I still have two dogs, a little chihuahua and a beautiful pomeranian so I am showing them much love.

    ISO, I agree with the triangulation notion: she is aware of what she is doing. both my parents are involved in this and they are perfectly aware of what they are doing. They want to slander me before I get to anyone and tell them the truth about what they have been doing. If they make me out to sound crazy, then no one would believe what it is I am telling them. They started to do this to my daughter. They were telling me all these crazy things my daughter was telling them. Of course, it came from them and I never heard it from her, unless it was after she visited my parents. So, in the future if she would ever come to me about what was going on at their house, they would tell me she says crazy things all the time. The thought of this makes me pretty sick. That’s what’s keeping me strong about never seeing them again. My daughter told me something that happened that I believe. I would rather not want to tell, but after talking to the therapist, it is common and very inappropriate. She swayed towards accusing them of abuse. There are different levels, and it was a low level of abuse, but the thing about this is the abuse increases with time, so I was able to remove her from the situation before it got serious. I mean let’s be real, they abused their own children for god’s sake, It will be a cold day in hell before they do this to my daughter.

    My brother does sound like you growing up, but unfortunately a big difference is I think he has become the biggest narcissist of them all. I know he hates me because in the past he would try to drudge up as much bad things about me as he can find. retaliation towards me seems to be running through his veins. Who could blame him, I did everything I could to keep my life a secret. I looked like the perfect child, but being unstable would get in the way of things, and I would make terrible choices. I tried to keep my mistakes in life a secret due to fear of being talked about and looked down on but he would be trying to expose them. Plus, he is very close to my mom. Am I surprised? He is the same as my mother, I learned early on If you can’t join her then you will be rejected all together. So for them to get along, he must be like her. Anyway, now that I am no longer talking to them, he can be their golden child if he wants. I am not in the least bit interested in getting near him right now. I am debating sending them a no contact email, but I want to sit on this a while and work through my feelings before I actually send them what it is I really want them to know. For them knowldege is power and I mn not sure I want them to have any power at all or better yet, manipulate what I say to make themselves out to be victims.

    Well, it seems I have blabbed enormously!! Until we talk again, Stay strong, be gentle!!

  14. I need to go to bed soon, but just saw this email and wanted to respond about your dog. My beloved cat (she was 20), but I had her for 13 years, died a few months ago. She was also the only constant in my life, loyal, and my spiritual kin. I truly adored her and my daughter, and partner did, too. She actually saved my daughter’s life. Long story. We recently adopted a kitten that was abandoned, she has been wonderful and she has helped my family with healing. I, too, burst into tears about my cat, and miss her greatly at odd hours in the night or if I just see a hair or toy of hers.

    I think the problem with me is that I love my parents, and I want them to love me, I know they somewhat do, but they just can’t give me what I need, constantly hurt my feelings and make me feel bad. I feel good sometimes and others, not , but ultimately think I am making the right choice now with NC. Re-reading Alice Miller has helped me a lot. Have you read her work?

    I didn’t realize you lived so close to your parents. I live far away and am worried about people asking me, why? I can understand why you would isolate yourself. I have isolated myself from the rest of my family since the no contact. I often wonder what my parents and sibling are telling people, if they are. I have had some brief email contact w/ relatives and they don’t allude to it, so I have no idea!

    I honestly feel not so alone because of the brief but meaningful connections w/ you and Elaine. Thank you both for that.

    I need to go, my darling girl is yelling for me to come upstairs!

  15. Hey Elaine, ISO and Belinda,

    I am having a hard time preparing for a wedding that in on June 18th and will be attended by my family and a whole bunch of people since I started to maintain no contact. I am in the wedding and so is my sister who I have not spoken to in a year and half. I actually called her for her birthday even though she did not call me for mine and we talked for a little while. She was thrilled to hear from me. However, my NPD mother, step-father and holder brother will be there. They will want to push blame on me and make me feel like I am a loser. My therapist said I should write down my goals. I would like to feel like I tried to reach out in any way I could to my younger brother who, more than my older brother and younger sister, could not maintain a hardened front and frequently found himself as the family scapegoat. I want to say to him that no matter what I love him and he can call me whenever he wants. If he says something nasty back, which I hope will not be the case, at least I will always remember I tried. Another goal for me is not to drink. I have drank heavily before in order to try to manage or, I should say, avoid my emotions, so I am on a strict no-alcohol policy right now and especially for this wedding. A final goal is to remember that by merely showing up I am committing a defiant act, since my mom and step-dad wanted me to either placate them or crumble. This wedding is a reckoning. And on top of it all, my cousin, the bride has asked me to give a speech at the rehearsal dinner.

    Last October, there was a wedding I could have gone to that was only eight months into maintaining no contact with my parents, and, since they were going to be there, I did not go. Now, I have not been in touch with them for a year and four months and in that time I have switched careers, so I feel like I have accomplished some of what I have hoped to accomplish despite the stress of being out of touch with my family. (I am definitely an INTJ and working in a scientific research lab has been a dream come true.)

    My hope is to stay strong through the whole ordeal. I want to reach out to my younger brother, not drink and give a good speech, but most of all, I am trying to be kind to myself!



    1. Lily, Hi. I like that your therapist suggested that you write down your goals–the goals you expressed are wise, healthy and have the best of intentions. Good for you! Plan to reward yourself somehow with a special comforting treat of some kind for your efforts no matter what the outcome. I am sending you my warmest wishes in your endeavors on the 18th. You can do it! Elaine

      1. Thank you, Elaine! And thank you for your wonderful site! I have a lot of work to do, and I hope to write often, which I have so far.

        1. Lily, Thank you for your comment and kind words of gratitude for my site. I look forward to hearing from you about how you are doing–you have much inner strength–you handled the wedding brilliantly and achieved all of your goals…and then some! Way to go! Yay! Keep in touch. Warmest wishes on your healing journey, Elaine

  16. Lily,

    I can totally relate to you and the tough situation you find yourself in. I see you’ve been away from your family for a long time. I know how hard that was. I am entering just my 3rd month and I am still having a hard time with it. It’s better than when I first left but I have a feeling that at some point I will pleateau and have to deal with a certain amount of hurt forever. I am glad I read how you are handling a family gathering. I am sure I will be dealing with one in the future and I probably will not know how to handle it. I will pray for you this week. I will pray that you have peace and confidence at this event.


    1. Hi Belinda,

      Thank you for your post a week ago. I have plateaued several times and even taken a few steps back, but all in all I am improving even if there are bad days, weeks or even months.

      At a wedding this past weekend, a lot happened to me both internally and externally. My heart raced when I saw my NPD mother, and step-father, and currently poorly-socialized three siblings (I hope the jury is still out on their conditions). Both my parents ignored me at the rehearsal dinner and said only a couple nasty comments or acted like victims, so there was no real connection in any interaction between the three of us.

      However, by not being around them during the wedding, I got to experience the happy event more fully. For example, I spent time talking to my aunt and uncle’s friends who introduced the parents of the bride decades ago whereas I rarely met any family friends before, since my parents don’t have too many and certainly never introduced me to them at an event. In addition, I got to hear one of my cousins say that he was confused and stunned by something my mother did, and it was validating to see him have a negative reaction to her antics.

      In a nut shell, I could tell I was at a family event where I was living more outside of their sphere of influence. Don’t get me wrong, it was hard to see my stepfather purpously brush right by me with looks that could kill, but I put my own dig into my speach *(since I was in the wedding) which was “I loving family is everything”. It was a nice enough line where anyone who has been loving towards me loved it and anyone who hadn’t did not love it. (I could only throw in a little politics because I do not have any deep emotional connection to my step dad whereas I can’t manage to do anything like that to my mom.) Instead, I just stayed away from her as she tried to comment on my shoes although she had not seen me in over a year and a half, and does not know where I live or work. (At least she does not know anything directly from me.) I guess shoes and other materials things are truly all she can focus on.

      This is all so sad, but I took a day for myself on Monday and now I am back at work, so all in all I am moving on even with all the pitfalls. and I definitely got more out of the wedding by having more conversations with other family members than I used to when I put up with my parents.

      All my best,


  17. I sent an email to my parents a few days ago outlining my request for complete NO CONTACT from them. I found it necessary for them to know b/c I found some clothes hanging on the front door of my home. The clothes were for my daughter and there was a card inside from my mom. I am assuming they came to my house and dropped them off and left. I was shocked that they would do that if they really did? We have not been talking or seeing one another so I decided to let them know not to come to my home or contact me and my family. This action disturbed me.

    Well, I received an email from my dad tonight. I feel threatened and scared. I understand the email to say that they are insisting on family therapy meaning all of us or they will proceed with a lawsuit of defamation of character. There was much more said but I will have to put my online therapy on hold which pains me. I want to be able to express my feelings openly and honestly, but I do not know what to make of what I’ve been told by them. I was hoping to work through some serious things, but it is going to be in my best interest to stop writing on here until I find out more about this. I am numb right now and whatever progress I have done up to this point is now ruined. What now???

    1. Hi Belinda, I am so sorry that your parents backlash to your no contact request was so awful and punishing and ridiculous. I am not a legal expert by any means but it seems to me this is a scare tactic to pull you back under their control and they are using fear to get you to obey them. You are a grown woman with your own family now–you have a right to ask for no contact and could even get a restraining order against them if you wanted to I think. They probably have no grounds for defamation of character. If you went to family therapy with them a good family therapist will be able to see the dynamics occurring in the family and would support your expressing your feelings about how you are treated and always have been treated. A good family therapist will even encourage and support your desire for no contact. It is surprising that they even want to do family therapy–most narcissists refuse to go–that is why I think this is just a scare tactic to get you to reconsider. You have only used a first name on this website and you have not used their names so writing on this website is probably very safe–you need all the support you can get right now. Belinda, you are doing the right thing asking for no contact. All you have done up to now is not ruined by any means–they just want your new found strength and independence to come to a screeching halt and they are using fear because it probably always worked in the past. But you are stronger now! Stay strong–you are doing everything right. It is shocking and sad that they would retaliate and treat you this way. You deserve better treatment from parents. You might even just laugh and say “Sure, I’ll go to family therapy” –I bet they don’t really even want to go– unless they have already found a therapist that is biased and on their side, the lack of loving support for your feelings will be clear to the therapist. Be very kind to yourself, stay calm and you can weather this storm. Keep in touch and let us know how it is going. I am here for you and so are my readers. Prayers and Blessings are being sent your way, Elaine

    2. Hi Belinda,

      I am so sorry to hear how your parents are behaving. They sound just like mine. Narcissists always try to layout new rules so that there are new hoops to jump through, so they feel a sense of control. For you, their rules now are, “we get to decide what is defamation”, “we get to decide whether or not we have a good case” and “we get to decide what can and can not be done to avoid legal action”. However, defamation never means using one’s own first name in a blog you would have to use their names and probably their full names at that. Also, defamation is verbal slander. They should have said libel if they meant that their names were used in print. Finally, while they are acting like you are the one in a hole, they are in fact the ones in a deep, deep hole, legally. Why? Because comments on a blog can be considered opinions, as opposed to an article in the New York Times, which would be considered a statement of fact. Therefore, the context of your statements make their case weak, and that is again if they meant slander, so if they could clarify, that would be helpful. In addition, they would have to prove that your statements were not made in good faith. A reasonable person would view statements as made for the purpose of healing emotionally. Therefore, they were not made out of malice, even if you are angry, but rather made in order to express a personal truth. As a result, your statements were made out of good intentions not out of a desire to attack another. Basically, your parents are sitting in the middle of a tough legal battle in which they have very little footing.

      I was sued for defamation once (not by my parents) and it was not pleasant and it cost money. However, in the end, the person lost because he was merely retaliating for being punished for his own bad behavior, and the judge saw through his antics.

      Like Elaine, I am absolutely amazed that they would suggest family therapy. There is no way for them to win in that setting, since they can not control the conversation. In terms of what next, maybe a restraining order, like Elaine mentioned? Maybe they could begin to clarify what they are even talking about when they say they have an argument for defamation? I wonder if a psychologist could help you decide and act, since you should not have to deal with this alone.

      Talk to you soon. xoxo, Lily

  18. Elaine and Lily,

    Thank you so much for your support. I am realizing that dealing with this type of situation is a rollercoaster ride. Right when you think you’ve got it under control, their crazymaking sends you spiriiling out of control. I made an emergency call to my therapist, printed the email and brought my husband for support and his input. It was the best thing I could have done. She analyed the letter and Elaine, you hit the nail right on the head. Major scare tactic which is how they always controlled me. It was worth all the anguish to finally get my husband onboard as well. He was shocked by the threat and terribly disappointed in my family. Having my therapist explain things to him, helped him in realizing the truth about the long term abuse I have been receiving adding my intense reaction of fear and anguish he saw first hand the scare tactic in play.

    My therapist suggested I just continue ignoring all emails but print them up for the future…just in case I need to do something a little more serious. As far as his threat to sue me for defamation of character. he has nothing…abolutely nothing. I had scheduled an appointment with a lawyer right after her just in case I needed to give him a retainer fee. I was prepared to fight but ignoring is the best defense, so I cancelled the attorney. I know I will not be afraid in the future if I need to go that route. I came out stronger today. I bet they would be hot if they knew that what they caused actually showed me how strong I could be if I had to be!! I overcame intense fear today. I was physically and mentally exhausted by the end of the day but I learned a little about myself.

    Elaine, Thank you for your quick response. As soon as I read your response, I was inspired to leave work and handle this situation immediately. I was not ging to let it interfere with another night. Your support means more to me than you know. I feel empowered again, but I remain cautious. This situation showed me how fragile I still am. I am a long way away from recovery, but at least I have created a support system. I can pat myself on the back for that. I reached out for it and look I have people that care for me.


    1. Hi Belinda, Yay! I am so happy for you that you feel empowered to stand up to your parents scare tactics. You took action on your own behalf and now you have the support of your therapist and your husband in addition to my support and your new friends on this website. I understand your fear and anguish reaction because I can relate– you have a wound from early childhood that reacts this way because they controlled you by inducing fear in you since you were a tiny child. But you faced it head on and you can see the truth of who you really are clearly–you are strong and you won’t be bullied any more! Yay for you! I agree with your therapist about ignoring the emails but keeping copies of them. In my opinion you will save yourself some anguish and pain if you just have your husband read them in the future and don’t look at them yourself. This is what I do when I get voicemails from my parents–I do not listen to them–it is exhausting to be pulled into their distorted world again and again and you need this time to nurture your self and heal. But since you have your therapist, she can help support you through them if you feel you must read the emails. You have a strong compassionate true voice, Belinda. You are sensitive for a reason and you are helping others be strong by sharing this event in your life with us. This post/forum normally averages 4-8 views per day but the last day and a half it has gotten 26 and counting–I feel the readers are more than just curious, they are concerned, sending their love and support, and are feeling supported themselves because they can relate! You are helping many others by your strength and shining your light of truth–sharing your fear was brave and I am so glad that you did! Yes, pat yourself on the back! Well done! I am so proud of you! Continued prayers and blessings, Elaine

  19. Guess I can relate to your experience. Things kind of came to a head for me with my mother´s death and make´s me think she deserved a far better life than the one she had with my father who I think was after a compliant victim. When my mother was ill in the care home I used to visit regularly and be supportive of my self obssessed father. I knew my mother was on a downward decline, of course in the last few days of her life my father kept me in the dark about the fact she had taken a turn for the worse and only phoned me literally two hours before she died by which time it was too late, his justification being that there was nothing I could do, it left me charging like a mad person leaving the house with a bag of wet laundry that had been drying, I was informed of her death on route, even if I had not made it for another visit it would have been nicer to be more mentally as well as practically for her end which though expected was still a shock when it happened.
    I wanted to view her body, I said I would pass by the funeral home on my own, I would be fine but then me aunt, who´s legs are not good for walking wanted to go too, so we ended up being driven by my father, It was undignified and disrepectful to say the least, my father got into an upset with another driver outside the funeral home, he always manages to get into an upset with another driver somehow, felt like it might as well have been a routine shopping trip. Once inside the funeral home just as I was siitting, waiting, preparing to view my mother, he came bounding kicking off and complaining about the coffin not being quite as he had ordered it, in the same way he always manages to find fault with some work he has had done or product he has bought. Did the coffin really matter, they could change it and they did, how about some decorum and respect for the contents of that box. Was like something out of a bizzare dream.

    My father then informed me that he could not believe they got the coffin wrong, as had ordered it a month previously, well I was never informed that my mother´s coffin had been ordered. Great. His justification was that he did not want to be ordering a coffin in a hurry, is that not kind of what funeral homes do ? He then told me it was good that I wanted to view my mother a otherwise we would not have known the coffin was not 100%, what the F, omg that is not my life. Having lunch somewhere latter he informed the waiter who was on a lunchtime rush that he wife had died a few days ago, what the f was the waiter to say to that, how do you want your fries ? I was kind of jaw dropped.

    Guess a clue to my family is the type of people my siblings have married, my sister in law minutes before we due to leave for the funeral on the big day, looked round the room of gathered people and said just in my earshot “HOW BORING”, I hear her clearly the first time but invited her to repeat it, “OH NOTHING” she said with a sweet butter wouldn´t melt smile..I could go on with other choice nuggets but you probably get an idea already, since my mother´s death contact with the family has pretty much dried up….

    1. Miguel, Thank you for your comment and for sharing about the insensitivities of your Narcissistic father in regards to your mother’s death. Sometimes it takes an event like a death for us to see clearly the blatant lack of feeling and empathy. I like how you say “since my mother’s death contact with the family has pretty much dried up”. This will help other’s who continue to bend over backwards appeasing a toxic family out of guilt or obligation–you see the truth of how wrong it is to be so lacking in depth and compassion and LOVE and so you are taking care of yourself and choosing to be around others who give instead of take. Good for you! Besides your mother, YOU also deserve a better life. Warmest wishes to you, Miguel, Elaine

  20. It is interesting the comments that these NPD people always think that they are the victims and the ones hard done by.

    NPDs tell you by one form or another that they think you are crap or they don´t like you basically, so logically you think ok I´ll keep my distance, problem solved, clearly this will not bother them in the least given that they consider you basically a lower form of human life.

    But NO! they then feel incredibly hurt and rejected by you, and emotional about it. Still don´t get how that one works in their ´butter wouldn´t work mind´ minds, is kind of comic.

    I just completed a part time Business Masters Degree, going to classes after work on Thursdays and Fridays and studying Saturdays, I did a course in which the course language was 100% in Spanish, English being my first language.

    The family reaction was why did you waste your money on that or if you want to improve your Spanish why not try understanding what adverts in Spanish mean, my reaction back to them was given I have just done academic study in the language I was clearly beyond having problems understanding Adverts in Spanish, of course that was just an other example to them of how difficult a person I was kicking up a fuss over a few harmless comments. Another classic was being informed with great authority at the age of 30 about how things in shops at airports can be more expensive that say in the supermarket, my reaction was sarcastic – oh thanks so much for letting me know I never realised that one…Hey I was giving attitude rather just protesting at being told I was dumb…

    My sister unfortunately, who is a chip off the old block and so like my father, has now had a cancer diagnosis, needless to say it is being heaped on me for all its emotional worth, is not a great situation to be put in. This was the sister who was bad mouthing me to the staff in my mother´s care home during the final weeks of my mother´s life, what a show of family solidarity ha !, most of the staff thought she was a bit nutty but one became her new best friend of the month(they usually don´t last long before a bust up), each time I went to visit my mother I had to deal with attitude from this nurse provoked by my sister, I had hassle and comments from this nurse during my last ever visit to my mother. Now my sister has cancer, it is supposed to be like a wipe the slate, get out of jail free card, and I am supposed to coming running and care ? and if I don´t I am a heartless cruel individual. Well , sorry I do not wish anyone ill and have at least on an interlectual level a concern for anyone who´s ill, but emotionally I stopped caring along time ago.I still can not believe her behaving bad mouthing me to the staff looking after our dying mother, unreal.

    1. Hi Miguel, Thank you for your comment–I agree with everything you say here. Congratulations on completing a Business Masters Degree and in your spare time! Wow! What an accomplishment! Hope you celebrate for yourself even though your family undermines it–They are wrong! So sorry to hear you are expected to comfort your sister when you are “not close” because of her actions. Try not to feel guilty for distancing yourself from this–you can be kind and humane to her without spending much energy. I believe your sister owes you a genuine apology–if she misses you then she must look inward and see where SHE can make amends in my opinion. Warmest wishes to you, Elaine

  21. I have started no contact with my parents yesterday and I feel kind of crap today. I feel free but it also feels weird and a I have a lot of thoughts going through my mind: did I do the right thing etc. I guess it will be better for me and I need to start getting my mind back to my life and family and keep going.

    1. cara, when we take a step towards doing something good for ourselves, often feelings from childhood come up. Be very kind to yourself right now and comfort yourself through these painful feelings and self-doubts. For support, please read my many posts and comments here on my blog about overcoming guilt–this is a common thread through most of my posts starting with my very first post from Jan. 2010 entitled “no more guilt”–when I first went no contact. Warmly, Elaine

    2. Cara,

      It is so hard when our own lives are so separate from that of our NPD parents because hey do not know how to share in it. I have maintained no contact for over a year and a half now. It was tough for sure – and worth it.



  22. Hey,

    I realized I personally wanted to vent some more. I think I am at the tail end of dealing with the fall-out among extended family for maintaining no contact with my NPD mom, step-dad and siblings. A cousin a year younger than me just left me a nasty voice mail message. We were close all the way up until her wedding in June and then she stopped sharing any details of her life with me. Now she does not call me to catch up and returned my recent call with a message that said “Look, I am just returning your call” in a nasty tone that I had my friend confirm. Even though I know that this part of my extended family has their own problems, their coldness and cruelty hurts. How can they not care if I was abused and simply want me to stay silent above all else? Ugh.

    Everything else in my life is going very well – my job (I just got promoted to a full-time research assistant), my friends, my future – everything is where I hoped it would be. However, none of my siblings, parents or first cousins know me as I am. None of them know what I am up to. Only this one cousin who has now stopped speaking to me knew that I am interested in studying NPD as (I believe) it is further socialized in our culture and now she must have told her father who is telling my parents. Would I feel safe seeing my step-dad at another wedding when he may know my career goals? He has anger management problems, and I always protected myself by playing dumb. Now that isn’t possible.



    1. Lily, Thank you for your comment. I agree with all you say here. Your comment will help others. Sorry about your cousin. Congratulations on your life going well and on your promotion–so wonderful that you are studying NPD! Sounds like fear from childhood coming up because you are daring to express your true self–it was too dangerous then. Stay strong–you are doing the right thing. Warmly, Elaine

  23. One problem I find is that the further you get from them they worse they seem, I had a remimder the other week, it got to me a bit. A couple of Sundays ago it was my birthday, appart from the usual emotionless card in the post from my father, I got no contact from any of the family, no problem. I was free the whole day it being the weekend and saw some friends etc, no calls, messages nothing from any family member appart from the one card. The next day Monday I am at work, there are phone messages from my father within the space of 30 minutes, I assume something is up, he wants to talk to me as he is feeling depressed, I say I will call him in the evening, I am tied up. On calling in the evening he is full of self pity, I kind of felt sorry for him but in retrospect now it is just irritating. He said I should call him more frequently, he had an opportunity to call me on my birthday he didn´t, and somehow it is like I am an fault for not calling him on my own birthday. I get the impression that adult kids phone the parents, more than the parents phone them, but he has phoned me about 3 times that I can remember in 3 years. Once to update me about a headache he had even though I had phone him a couple of days previously. Another time within minutes of an airline strike being announce that would effect a flight to visit I had booked, he was on the phone reacting in an OTT disproportionate way, again when I was at work ( I was feeling like hey my flight, my story, my problem, my news if it gets cancelled) and other such nonsense. Of course he is one of those types that is great at making people feel sorry for him but as soon as he is ok again he reverts, like so many other family members to being unplesant and abusive, they seem to have two speeds only. It was irritating in its own right, he pulled this crap on me they day after my birthday, and links in with so many patterns of this behaviour from the past, like everthing is about them, if something is about some one else they have to course a drama an upstage it. At Chritmas my sister in law´s behviour was awful to me, really unpleasant and personal, it also happened to be my late mother´s birthday as well as Xmas, only a date but one you could do without abuse on. On discussing it with my father, he said he wasn´t aware of anything being said to me, I was incredulous that did not seem to have noticed, but then hey a few weeks latter he said he was feeling down about it and the poor relations in the family, ie. if its about you some one being horrible to you, it goes unnoticed, if its about him and his reaction it is an issue. I dumbly have agreed to go away for a few days in Sept, already he is in control freak mode, his flight lands nearly 3 hours before me, the place we are staying is a 15 mins taxi ride as the airport is pretty central, he is insisting that he waits at the airport for me and we go together, I am like but we are staying near the airport why would want to hang round the terminal if not necessary, he is insistant and wont back down, starting to regret it and be wound up before it has started, everything about him in this life..Rgds, M.

    1. Miguel, Thank you for your comment and for sharing what it’s like to have a Narcissistic parent and unsupportive siblings. Your father sounds very much like my mother, so needy but outraged if you need anything from them. It sounds exhausting. Warmest wishes to you, Elaine

  24. Miguel,

    I am so sorry you are going through all this. It made me feel a little crazed and very sad when my siblings stopped calling me for my birthday, so I can relate. For you, after your birthday, your father then needed all the affirmation in the world (and just a couple days later). That is terrible. I am so sorry that your dad is also turning your trip into a huge problem to fret over and control incessantly. I can see why his behavior (and your sister-in-law’s too it seems) would wind you up as my parents did me before I left. Venting on this site was a great way for me to get everything out.


  25. Lily and Elaine, thanks for your messages, I can understand Lily your comments about family members wanting to ignore unacceptable, abusive behaviour and carry on like it never happened. I said to my father that my sister bad mouthed me to the staff at my mother´s care home resulting in me having comments and attitude from a nurse there when visiting my dying mother, I also told my father about my sister in law telling me she was bored, just in my ear shot, just as I was about to leave for my own mother´s funeral. The behaviour is so extreme its unreal, my father just does not want to know or acknowledge it, is like you are suppost to pretend it just didn´t happen, he is just not interested. I guess it reflects on him in some way as if he had any real natural authority as a father figure, people would not think they could get away with such behaviour. How can my sister possible claim to genuinely want a relationship with me while bad mouthing me to anyone who will listen even when my mother was dying. My father himself had a history of mental ill health, he had a break down when I was little, theyy gave him ECT shocks to the brain, clearly not the right voltage lol, anyway of course this is a big secret as were his crazy fits that he used to have screaming hysterically at small children who happended to be his kids, of course none of this really happened, we are supposed to pretend. And he can´t possibly understand why no one in the family gets on and it upsets him when the whole family atmophere was governed a / by his mental health problems and b/ pretending they did not exist unless there was a crazy episode going down. I have not seen any family member since Dec and just phone contact is bad enough and can drive me mad. That was such a crap thing to do phoning after my brithday and then having a go at me for not phoning enough, he never rings me even after I have left a message. This awful trip I was dumb enough to offer to go on with him. He has now informed me that he has selected a guide book from his local library for me for the destination and has it reserved for me for the dates and will bring it. Might seem trivial, but it gives me the creeps, I never asked him to get me any guide book from the library, how does he know whether I already have one of not, why not have a conversaton first, no doubt he would be consider that he is being helpful, I see it as controlling, interfearing, boundry crossing and annoying. I will now use the guide book he has selected, he has informed me that he will wait the three hours at the airport for my flight to arrive after his, rather than wait at the hotel (is a 15mins taxi ride) for me to show. I forgot you should never give these people information, not even your flight humber !!! they go away make decisions and inform you of them . Normally you give your flight info so people know when to expect you, not to make decisions and inform you of them, I said to him it is dumb hanging round an airport if you dont need too, he was very insistant and stubborn. Something very bizzare and controlling. He is also funny about money though not poor, he is also a very fussy eater, not a good combination when looking for somwhere to eat. The last time he took me his adult son out to dinner, he took me to a McDonalds telling me that I would have extra fires as he wouldn´t want all his. It would have be just great had I been eight years old !! I was not expecting to dine at the Ritz or anything and there are always a good few value dining options availble due to something called the economic recession. Nothing against McDonalds, it has its place, but you have been told by your father you are being taken for dinner by him and you end up surrounded by Not so Happy Meals, was kid of Forrest Gump, Mr Bean and One Flew Over the Cukoo´s Nest. He asked me to order as we were in a Spanish speaking area, I was like great he is acknowleging that my Spanish is sufficient to order a Big Mac Meal, but McD´s doesn´t exactly require much language skill even if you are in Outer Mongolia, and in anycase the official language is English so counter staff should be able to take you order correctly…..

  26. Hi Miguel,

    This is all very crazy making indeed. Similarly, when I agreed to a trip with my family over three years ago, I almost had a nervous breakdown because I was anticipating the craziness that would ensue. Also, when my stepfather came down with leukemia I was not invited to the hospital because, according to my mom, “You did not ask to come to the hospital the way we wanted to to ask”. To this day I have no idea what my mom and stepfather meant by the right and wrong way to ask and why I have to even make a request to see a member of my own family when he is sick, but if I had tried to figure it all out, I would have received more crazy questions and answers, since this behavior does not make sense. Furthermore, it was awful to be part of my family’s social circle because, out of confusion, my parents acquaintances would blame me for not having more details on my stepfather’s illness and treatments at the hospital. However, I had no updates because I was not invited to the hospital, rather than a lack of caring. Finally, it hurt to lose some acquaintances in the process of separating myself from my family, but I am starting to realize that i have begun to fill that void. For me, the hardest part was maintaining no contact before I had a new, more supportive social circle in place.



    P.S. Elaine, since you will see this when you approve my reply, happy belated birthday!
    P.P.S. When I split from my family, I gave my mom a phony address because I was not able to tell her upfront that I was not willing for her to know where I live. To this day, I am glad I did whatever I had to to cut her off.

    1. Lily, Thank you for the birthday greetings. :)

  27. Thanks for the message Lily. No I am not exactly looking forward to it, my father who never ever calls was on the phone today kicking off a fuss today and being disproportionate. He got one of those standard emails from the airline requesting that he confirm his ID type, number and expiry details for the flight ,if you follow the link they usually send it takes about a minute to do usually if they dont have your details already.

    He had this you must have done something wrong tone for them to send me this, as it was me that did his booking. It all involved a lot of fussing and nonense over the phone over something quite routine, he said to me “why can´t they look at my ID at the airport if they want the details” etc. I said to him well its 9-11 today, maybe they introduced ID checks for security so they need the info in advance. Give me strength. He will no doubt be boring people about it for the next two days. mountains out of molehills.

  28. Dear Elaine,

    I am starting to plan a trip to my stepfather’s hometown to see which family members may be worth maintaining relationships with in the future. I, myself am going to be better able to connect with people now that I am not hiding in a false sense of self and, therefore, able to be more expressive. This aspect of my trip will, therefore, be very exciting. Unfortunately, the other side is that I will have to see who from my former, more false connections may now reject me, especially now that I am no longer talking to my mother and stepfather. (Some background, I knew my stepfather and his family since age 5.)
    It has been a year and a half since I have visited this side of my family (no one has driven the 3 1/2 hours to my town either); however I am the one who lives in a city by myself (my mom & stepdad also live here, who no one visits) while they all live in the same town. What I am nervous about is not only whether I may get some snide comments but also whether I may turn on myself in the face of any adversity. However, again, on the other hand, what I am excited about is to see how far I have come and what a different person I am by the time I see these people again.

    In the process of arranging my visit, I have already received some feedback. Via email, I have had one second-cousin tell me that she thought my family was crazy – my stepfather icy and my mother a Stepford Wife, which was affirming. But an Aunt (really a first (step) cousin once removed) responded to my email by saying that she will forward my email along to her husband and that it was good hearing from me. She signed the email with her full name (first and last). How distant. That upset me to see, but I want to face the truth about where my relationships are likely to stand in the future, so I think I am doing the right thing.

    This is all very tough, but not to go may feel like I am hiding, and visiting that home town was part of my childhood, so if the second cousin who responded warmly to my email is my only contact, the trip may still be a success.

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts,


    1. Hi Lily, Thank you for your comment. I hope I am not too late to reply to this subject–I am sorry for the delay. You are courageous and I understand your desire to reach out for support from your extended family. We all need all the support we can get! It will be rare and unusually strong people who can break out of the family dysfunctional mesh so you are fortunate to find anyone. (YOU are one of those rare and unusually strong people :) ). I wish you well with your second-cousin–yes, even one supportive friend will make the trip worthwhile! However, please don’t be so hard on yourself and think you are hiding if you don’t go. It is right to protect yourself from the negative energy of others when you are trying to heal–grieving for not having supportive family in your life is a necessary step in healing. Whatever happens be nice to yourself and allow the feelings to flow and you will grow from releasing your truth. Journaling out your pain can be a big help. But hopefully all will go well!! Best wishes to you on this journey for support! Sending you prayers and blessings as you travel, Elaine

  29. Elaine
    I want so much to talk to you in my sons behalf, not sure where to begin. and wish it could be a little confidential on the beginning anyway.It is a bit different than some of your other readers. but, still some of the same situation. He would be the father and the teen child and mother would be the N. or the N mother controlling the daughters thouhgts with defamation and harrassment of her biological father. Which also effect me as a grandmother in which my grandaughter and I were very extremely close. Now it is a bit different.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Marty. I agree with Lily. Continue to be the shining light of love to your son and granddaughter– she may seek out your comfort and support again in time. Warmest wishes, Elaine

  30. Elaine/Hopesinger
    I think i said that wrong, not harrassment or defamation by the father. but, harrassment and defamation of character from the mother about the father to the young child and now a teenager.

  31. Dear Marty,

    I am writing because I can relate. My N mother kept me from my biological father, disparaging him to me all the time. I have to admit that as a child, teen and young adult, her remarks colored my view of my father and I did not try to talk to him very much. In fact, I never even called him for his birthday. Luckily, I started to view my mother as the problem by 24 and now at 30 I am in touch with my biological father and not my mother.

    What he did that helped me in the process of “switching allegiances” (which the N person creates) was continue to call and avoid disparaging my mother. That way, once I chose to see things as they were, the door was still open between us. There were even years were I would try to reach out, shut down again and then reach out to him and his side of the family yet again. It was, therefore, a bit of a roller coaster.

    Unfortunately, each child with an N parent has to overcome a ton of negative messaging. In the end, I think it is the one who views him- or herself as worth too much to put up with the N parent that gets away. My older brother still caters to my mother’s tiraids, unfortunately, and since he does, he still does have a close relationship to our biological father.

    I think it will be you and your family’s kindness that may make your granddaughter more likely to feel confident enough about herself to stand up to her mother.

    My heart is with you and your son,


  32. Wow.

    The similarities are uncanny. My father was also a good spirit who was simply unwilling to stand up to my mother. I also married a very loving partner who appreciates my sensitivity – although she did confront our marriage in regards to my inability to find my self. She wants to be with me – not a manufactured version of a people pleaser.

    I was/am obedient out of fear and my mother knew exactly how to keep the siblings at a distance from each other.

    Thank you for your articles.

  33. It has been almost five years since I had contact with my father. It was not until two days ago that I had figured out the depth of my wounds through reading such posts on the internet. I am 45 years old and finally free. Reading your story had encouraged me to let those feelings surface. Thank you for sharing and shining that big bright light!

  34. Jessica Bryant | Reply

    Thank you! I am moving to California and that old guilt started creeping in about leaving my mother. Your blogs really helped me to release the guilt!

  35. When I finally realize my mom is a NP was about 2 1/2 years ago. I read a book that saved my life literally “When will I be good enough” I got mad sad and just hurt inside, but at the same time I found healing. I went through hell with the trauma and the pain she has inflicted on me for years. I did no contact for awhile just to get suck back BELIEVING she had changed her ways some. Not a chance. First chance she got when I was vunerable that a friend of mine tried to to kill herself by hanging and lived now has a brain injury and in a nursing home. I have known her for about 30 +years anyway I am telling her about this and she had nothing to say postive or helpful or even one thing to be supportive. I asked why no thought about me and I qoute she said ” I didnt know her”// WTF. of course screw me I forgot I was talking about my feelings not hers. Her contunial put downs and preying on my weakness just to put a slinger on my shortcommings. She has traingluation with my sisters and have been through a smear campaign during a socalled family reunion she had and didnt invited me blanteley lie to me . I have drank on and off through the years (learned it from her) I drank too much last visit to her house she made a huge deal of it we got into an agrument and I fly from Palm springs back to orlando. Anyway that was 2 years ago . Mind you she has been drunk more times in family fuctions than i can tell you. But with the NP they dont have any flaws…NP take 0 resposnbility for the tornado acting in your life but for them they think they are justified in their actions. Anyway I got an email from my aunt and she told me about this email that my mom sent to everyone OMG it was so shocking to me how she went into elbrate details of her love of the family and how beautiful Beamont is (Where her mother grew up who has passed) and tjhat is where the reunmion was going to be. Well in that email were all family members email address. Yes i sent out to everyone how she lied to me and didnt tell me about this reunion. Here comes the smear campaign I got emails from her brother and sister about my drinking.. I left my mom a shitty phone call after wards I guess she saved it and played it for her brother when he visisted. Then she called my aunt and I quote “I dont want a drunk there” Are you freaken serious? So she had her over the top celbration where she could be the center of attention. I feel (I learned that word in therapy!) I feel that she lies and can talk to me right in my face and lie and the hardest part if when she saids me girts and I know its for a need to be needed and not for love. That she is incapable of love and that hurts at times. She hit the juackpot with a man she married 5 years ago all about the money and the image. I have learned alaot about myself and healing and my faith has set me free in alot of areas where as before the words she spoke killed my spirit and drove me to destruction thinking and behaving. I have made a choice once again as I heal that I have to stay away from here. I feel that is hard at times. My fantasy bonding is over and I grieved deeply over that. I had to go through the pain and feel it and it was awaful and I pray I may never feel that pain again. As I contunie on my path of healing I for myself saty away I cannot seem to have a “fake” relationship any longer. I have no family I talk to exceopt I do talk to my dad and his wife sometimes. I know my mom has slammed me with family and my sisters who I yearn for at times. The damage of us daughters and sons who have had to endure the NP destruction way of relating is all the same except we are all different people. That is why we all understand each other. I will pray for us all for complete healing of this trauma of the NP in our lives. I never though I could heal I did and you can too. Its a long journey but you are the most important person in your own lifes no matter what the NP saids. Do not look at yourself through her DISTORTED view. Cutting contact is a must for me , but I am not willing to save face any longer.

    I know that NP had terribley damaging mom or dad in there life, and they are damaged themselves. But it takes courage to change. we are the lucky ones really because we want to heal and we know that the NP knows what they are doing too and chooses not to heal. But bleed on everyone else. In a strange way I feel confident in my relationship wuith God because there is no condemnation with God and I found out through him what uncondtional love is. I thank Him everyday. I stand alone and I am ok with that. (Family) They are strangers to me my sisters and they are ok with excluding me and that tells me everything I need to now. No empathy=a true narississtic and my sisters are just like her. I am so grateful I didnt turn out like them and I have had a very seriously hardcore childhood and teenage years possbile its the people who suffer so much that truly see things that others dont. And we seek the truth and seek healing.

    God Bless Dana

    1. Hi Dana,

      Thank you for your comment. I like how you say “Its a long journey but you are the most important person in your own life no matter what the NP saids. Do not look at yourself through her DISTORTED view.” Also, “we are the lucky ones really because we want to heal and we know that the NP knows what they are doing too and chooses not to heal. But bleed on everyone else. In a strange way I feel confident in my relationship wuith God because there is no condemnation with God and I found out through him what uncondtional love is. I thank Him everyday. I stand alone and I am ok with that. Wise and helpful words, Dana! :)

      Blessings, love, and light to you, Elaine

  36. So glad to stumble across this spot. My father had, among other mental health issues, NPD and OCPD. He was harsh, rule bound and demeaning. Together with my mother who has strong narcissistic tendencies, he scapegoated me and trained my older brothers to do the same. I have learned so much about the damaging effects and overcome much but the most debilitating effect has been a kind of paralysis that keeps me shut down, unable to follow through on much at all. Last winter, I read Peter Levine’s book about PTSD and saw that the third response to trauma is to freeze. That is me. I freeze out of trained response to anticipated condemnation. That criticism was designed to controll and destroy me. How do I know? The week before he died he told a psychiatrist at the hospital that he had used intimidation his whole life to get what he wanted. Now I am determined to overcome that freeze reaction and finally become free to be the person I was born to be.

  37. Hi Everyone

    I wanted to share my story since I got so much from all of yours.

    There is such comfort in reading of others experience, strength and hope.

    I am 39 years old and very recently cut off all contact with my family. The last to go was my mother, and this was the hardest but most liberating thing I have ever done. I have had physical symptoms and psychological trauma. I have thought I am going to literally die and in a sense I have. I have died and I am slowly being reborn into the real Zoe, “Version 2″, the authentic, and hopefully contented happy confident woman I always deserved to be. The trigger for me finally walking away for good was I believe the birth of my own daughter. After having her I experieced a complete nervous breakdown. I returned, ironically enough to my mother seeking help. My time with her was enough to confirm to me that I cannot be in her company and be myself. It is simpy too painful to remain in the role I had in my family, and in particular in relation to her. My role all my life was to save her, to be subordinate to her, I was utterly suppressed by her.

    I don’t know where to begin with my story, but I will try to keep it brief. I am the youngest of three children, and the only girl. I was, like many here, the “good” girl, the quiet one, as my brother said I never did anything, by which I think he meant I just kept quiet, read my books, and obeyed. Very ocassionally I would “rebel” or speak up and then after a harsh put down I would retreat again into my own world. I was suicidal by the time I was 10. My mother is an alcoholic narcissist and my father was largely absent, but also a narcissist. I loved my father, mainly becuase he didn’t criticise or condemn, but instead he abandoned us repeatedly and cruelly leaving to have affair after affair. Because I loved my father my mother treated me the worst. She hated my father and therefore she hated us all, but mainly me, because I suppose we were and always will be half of him and because despite his leavings when he was at home I was his favourite. All 5 of us, including my two older brothers are horribly damaged. Only I have sought recovery in many different ways and only I can now speak the truth of the horror of our childhood. I am alone in wanting to speak truthfully about it all and I am alone in no longer towing the line that narcissists insist upon to keep the truth from themselves.

    One thing that I have really identified with here is the sense of guilt. I wrote to my mother about two months ago saying I no longer wanted contact. Yet, only 3 days ago she caught me up in the street. (at the moment I have the misfortune to live very close to her but I am moving!) Within 5 minutes she had called me cruel, told me I was denying my daughter a grandmother, was sarcastic about my breakdown, and emotionally maniuplative in faking tears as she stormed off when I simply told her I could no longer cope around my family. Later that day I was crying, shaking and couldnt
    not sleep. The body does not lie. I really cannot cope in her presence any longer. I really believe that when go through an breakdown you change on a molecular level, your vibration changes and dark forces like my mother, my family feel like poison to the system. That day I saw so clearly as never before my mother as the horribly damaged little girl she is. I felt compassion for her, but I realied I cannot save her, I cannot save any of them. I can, and must save myself and my daughter.

    Someone once told me that all adult relationships should be chosen and voluntary. I agree. As a child I had no choice, I was born into this family in which there was no love, no warmth no respect. I grew up having to fight my corner, when my spirit was sensitive and gentle. I did not want to have to battle and fight. I did not enjoy the sarcasm, the cruel jokes, the releantless teasing. I was funny, I was gentle, I wrote poetry and animals. I was a gentle soul living amongst harsh and angry souls.

    Now, my home is a place of quiet gentleness and love. All my life I was criticised for beng too sensitive. I was never too sensitive I was in an environment that was too harsh.

    To anyone reading this and all these stories who is thinking of walking away, I would say, I don’t know your story but I do know that as I start on this lonely path away from my family I feel I am honouring my spirit, my essence, that beautiful little girl who all those years ago was criticised, abused, disrespected and abandoned. I will not abandon myself any longer or sacrifice myself to those who haveonly their self interest at heart. I owe myself that and you do too. As my, excellent, therapist said when my mother was criticising me or abusing me I was actually “irrelevant” it actually doesn’t matter who is in the path of these dark souls, remembering that helps me with the guilt. Their souls are unlikely to find the light, but we can.

    Good luck veryone.


  38. Elaine,
    It is August of 2013, and I am just reading this post and all the comments. I have been NC with my NM and extended family for 15 months now, and all you have said is my exact same story! It is still hard, but I am gaining more peace and strength every day.

    The biggest thing I still struggle with is how to deal with my adult children. I was divorced four years ago, and during the separation and divorce my N (or BPD) ex upped his contact and relationship with my family, and they began to turn against me. Even more so when I developed a new relationship and had a new SO. They turned badly on him, and it got so crazy, that was alot of what prompted my NC, although there were many other factors too. I also moved out of state around then with my SO for a new job opportunity, and to start a new life.

    Since then, my adult children (27, 25, 20) have struggled as to how to handle this. My ex began arranging visits with my children to my families home at the holidays with his new SO, (without my knowledge or me being invited). They contact him or he contacts them and they arrange to have get togethers. My children originally were a bit uncomfortable with this, but have grown used to it I suppose, since they do want to keep relations with my family and their cousins and grandmother. My family are all sickeningly sweet the them, esp. now.

    My kids understand my situation to some degree since they have experienced some crazy all along the years with my family, and do not criticize or judge me for my position,. They have never said ‘what are you doing’ or ‘you need to re-engage with grandma’…….but they continue to see them all.

    I have to admit it drives me crazy. I want to be the grownup and realize they have the right to be with them. I know it gives my family some satisfaction and adds to their position that I am the crazy one, and they are just waiting for their mother to come to her senses. I struggle every time one of my kids mentions having gone to my sisters house or seeing my mother. I want them to stick up for me, but I cant put them in that position. It would also mean taking sides with their dad, which they have made clear they are not going to do. How does one let this go?Any advice from anyone who has been there? Is it possible that someday they will actually get it? Or do they get it already since they do not judge me…at least to my face? Or can they be acting fake to me so as not to hurt me and they are really agreeing with my family? I have made occasional short comments to them about the situation, but usually try to just talk about life and other things as usual and leave it all alone.

    I am firm in my decision for NC, and most likely will not have contact again. My mother and family are not going to change and I know it. I cant have the new life I have now and be in relation with them. it doesn’t work. They have disrespected my new partner, and feel no remorse, and seem to be content that they have a relationship with my ex and my children. They are like one big pack of narcissism and dysfunction.


    1. Karen, Thank you for sharing your story with us. My heart goes out to you for how tough a situation you are in. I believe it is important to share with your children one on one, heart to heart, how much it hurts that they visit your mother who is an abusive person, with a mental disorder in denial, who has no remorse for the pain she has caused her own daughter. Ask them how they would they feel if you visited someone in their past that severely bullied them as a small child or made their life a living hell. They are probably just going along because they don’t want to cause conflict or hurt anyone’s feelings or ruffle any feathers– but you are the wisest and “sane”ist one of the whole bunch and you can teach your children about protecting their boundaries as a role model just as you have learned to finally protect yours. By being passive with your children you are showing them it’s okay to disregard the feelings of their own mother and disregard their own feelings too. I know it’s difficult and we hsps don’t like conflict but even a big blowup about it is better than pretending it’s okay that you are alone with no network of support from your loved ones. Why are you are not talking to them about the abusive treatment you endured as a child day in and day out and how what happened to you is what keeps you being afraid of standing up for yourself even today? Share your pain with your children and your recovery and growth and higher self and you will grow closer! You and your SO can be a role model for them of a relationship that’s deep, caring, and heart to heart if you talk about wanting to be closer as a family and really support each other through hard emotional times, not just get together occasionally for superficial visits or holiday obligations like your ex is doing. They will “feel” the difference and choose to be on your side as long as you keep giving them love and support and asking for this same love and support in return and keep communication of feelings open and honest. All this happening is an opportunity for you to be closer to your children. Give them time, a divorce is very painful in any circumstance, but you can help them to see that you have compassion, love, a safe and secure place for them to fall when they need support, and wisdom to give them– all of which they are surely craving if they have a narcissistic father who is incapable of really “giving” them the love and mirroring that all children (even grown ones) need and deserve. If you are calm, and assertive about your emotional needs and not blaming or guilt-inducing they will feel cared for and compassion for you and just naturally become protective of you.

      My own grown son was very torn about what to do or say when if N grandma called him and tried to get him to take sides after I went no contact. I said tell her, “That’s between you and my Mom.” He was so grateful to have something to say and felt better and prepared. So when it happened he said it and N grandma was so insulted she never him called back. He saw that she didn’t really care about him, didn’t ask about him and how he was doing and just wanted “control”. Then he understood better why I had no contact–he experienced the inability for her to love and “give” first hand. Anyone else have any thoughts on this complex subject? It is not easy, Karen. Be very kind to yourself about all of this happening. You are doing a great job with little support! Amazing really! Keep shining! You are a strong and wise highly evolved soul taking the road less traveled. Hopefully in time your children will see that your road is the path for them too! :D Sending warm wishes and blessings, Elaine

  39. My mother moved in with me and my two girls (17, 10) over two years ago after manipulating her way into living with me based on her need to save money for a “couple of months” and get back on her feet. Because I am an apartment manager with my apartment as part of my compensation she pays nothing. I recently began going to therapy in part because I really felt it was time and in part because I got tired of her always telling me “I need help” I’ve learned over the past several months about N and strongly believe that my mother is indeed a N. Everything I have read and learned thus far points in that direction. It has been very eye opening and quite the journey to say the least. By biggest challenge right now is that I went to her about 4 months ago and asked her to please figure out what her next move was going to be so that I could have my space back. Mind you I have been sleeping on my couch while she has been in my room for the past 2 years with no ounce of privacy whatsoever because she is always there. Well that conversation didn’t go over very well, the look of death plus the misconstruing of the story to all family, plus the silent treatments that has lasted for the entire 4 months and is still going strong, is driving me up the walls. I initially decided that I was not going to engage in her passive aggressive behavior when she first started giving me the silent treatment (I’ve been through this so many time before) so I simply was ignoring it but now I feel like yet again I have been silenced in my own home because I’m walking around not speaking when really all I want to know is when the hell she’s leaving. Of course she will not communicate this with me and all I’ve heard is what she decides to discuss in my ear shot while on the phone or what she has said to my oldest daughter about working though getting all her stuff in storage sold, boxed up, etc. If it wasn’t for her living with me I would most definitely have no contact with her whatsoever.
    I feel like although I am working through a ton of things and gaining new insight daily that my progress is stunted every time I have to walk into my apartment knowing she is there or watch the clock when I know she will soon be arriving. My level of patience is deteriorating and the last thing I want is to completely loose it.
    Being able to write about and discuss helps tremendously. Thanks so much for sharing your stories here and allowing me to not feel so alone in my journey!

    1. Goldenlife, Thank you so much for sharing your story! Oh my goodness, I feel you need to get this woman out of your house immediately–and at least your own bedroom! I understand you do not want to hurt her or upset her but I think you have GOT to! What about how she has hurt you? She has no regard for YOUR feelings AT ALL– at the very least, a grown woman with a growing family and a full-time job needs a good mattress for back support for basic health needs–consider putting HER on the couch and give her a very short amount of time to find somewhere else to live and stick to it! Of course try talking to her assertively first and give her a date and a countdown. Don’t feel guilty about it! I don’t know for sure much of a bully she is but it may require moving her stuff out and changing the locks and you may have to get a restraining order against her if she harrasses you. Light’s House website is a wonderful resource for how to do this : http://www.lightshouse.org/how-to-go-no-contact.html#axzz2a9ii6FfZ. You are a role model to your daughters and you are inadvertently teaching them it is okay to be put out of your own bed because someone bullies you with emotional blackmail which is emotional abuse! It does not matter if it is your own mother–an emotionally healthy mother would never dream of putting her own daughter out of her bed that she worked hard to own for herself and not respect her privacy and boundaries with her own children! Would you ever treat your daughter’s the way she is treating you? No. She has a mental illness called Narcissistic Personality Disorder (which she will always deny) and has no remorse for her actions–that is the nature of the disorder! She is a dangerous person who is sucking the life out of you–some people acquire life threatening illnesses due to the negative energy soup they live in by being boundaryless and because they have become too passive to take action in their own behalf!

      Do not worry about how she will cope without you–she will quickly find someone else to suck the energy out of. If it makes you feel better, warn your family and friends that she may try to do the same to them and then move on and give it little thought while you concentrate on moving on to a new peaceful life for yourself and your daughters (She has given you little thought your whole life I’ll bet, right?) Your own healing and getting strong should be your number one priority so you can continue to be a wonderful role model for your growing girls. You have wounds from childhood that are keeping you from feeling you have the right to establish healthy boundaries for yourself. Having private space is a basic human right! And you have the right to protect your space so that you have inner peace and you do not have to explain or get permission from any other person to do so! I have recently found a new book by Charles L. Whitfield (Love all his books) called Boundaries and relationships and I highly recommend it to you. I also recommend finding a counselor who understands narcissistic parents and going no contact (no contact at least until you heal the inner wounds that are keeping you from feeling you deserve a happy independent life free from abusive people). Be very very kind to yourself after you ask her to leave or have the police remove her if she doesn’t–shame from childhood often comes up each time a hsp survivor stands up for her rights to boundaries of any kind. You must learn to comfort yourself when having any guilt or shame attacks or feeling you do not deserve what you desire in your own heart. It’s a free country to pursue our own happiness–you can create the life you want any way you want it!! Good luck!! You are an amazing and gifted strong spirit, Goldenlife. You have persevered and succeeded in life and tried to do the right thing by taking your mother in. That has been a very human mistake we all make and then we learn a valuable lesson about our limits to being around negative, toxic people. We learn how precious our space is often only by giving it away first. Lesson learned! Forgive yourself and move on to better days ahead! We are all rooting for you to reclaim your space!! Sending you love and light, comfort and healing wishes, and the permission to shine your light on yourself and your daughters, Elaine

      1. Hi Elaine-

        Thank you so much for your kind words and encouragement. Indeed my lower back is feeling the effects of sleeping on a couch for 2+ years! I am wrapping my head around giving a stern deadline for her to vacate, a friend suggested the same. I never really wanted it to come to that but as time goes on I truly realize that her procrastination is hurting me more than if I were to take a stand and stick with it. I have gone through a multitude of emotions involving accepting that my mother is a Narcissist. I always thought that if I could pin point what was wrong with her, it would be easier to deal with or at least to some degree understand. At times I feel sorry for her, I think that it would suck to live in a world like that!
        I also immediately went out and got the book you suggested, thank you. I’m doing the work to heal from the many years of pain and although it is truly a roller coaster ride I believe that ultimately I am going to come out a much stronger person. I can already see and feel the changes within myself. Thank you also for pointing out what I hadn’t taken the time to truly examine about what I am teaching my girls in regards to how I am allowing my mother to continue to treat me, that was a huge eye opener for me.
        Please know that your words throughout your website and words directly to me have helped tremendously. May you be richly blessed!

      2. So I would really just like your take on this scenario. After 4 months of not speaking to me she actually comes to me and says she wants to talk. The conversation consisted of her explaining that she needs to do this for herself because she realizes her behavior has not been godly and she’s had all these months to do nothing but think and her thoughts have not been godly, such as thoughts that she’s completely done with me and there’s no hope because I’m just like my father (long story but not a great person to be compared to) but that has all been the devil and she instead knows that I am her daughter and she loves me and can’t hate me even if she tried which at first she was intending because this was the last time I would hurt her. However, whatever it is that she has done to me because she is not aware of anything, she is sorry and I should really work out my issues with her. She sees the effect that this is having on her grandchildren, she has had several conversations about it with my older daughter and she is aware of how hard she is taking it and this will one day come up again in terms of my relationship with them because you can’t change the word of god. All this time I am simply listening and not saying a word but then when I do open my mouth to speak about the incident explaining that my intentions were not to hurt her but to simply express my needs and my words were completely taken out of context, she should be the one person I should be able to go to to express my feelings and needs…she states that she is no longer dwelling on the past and when I try to say that brushing things under the rug is not solving anything she states that she is not brushing anything under the rug because she has dealt with it and If that is what I am feeling then that is on me.
        Bottom line I let her continue her new found revelation with nothing more to say knowing that it would be a dead end road anyway and when she was done I said thank you and carried on with my evening. There was still no mention of her leaving other than its happening “sooner than later.”
        Since then it is now all of a sudden hello and little attempts at conversation which I personally am not interested in. I can be civil but I don’t trust her at all and have no interest in having any in depth conversations with her.
        I have gone over and over again prior to her coming to me about giving her a date to move and I actually even spoke to my daughter about it who didn’t understand why I would do that. It is difficult to try to explain to her without tainting her view of her grandmother who has clearly gotten to her in terms of manipulation. So right now I feel smack dab back right where I started with no clear idea of when I will have my home back. The whole time she’s talking to me and since then revisiting the conversation, even writing it out here has allowed me to clearly see the signs of all that I have been learning but it’s when she gets to doing the whole religious talk that tends to throw me for a loop. Any thoughts would be welcome!

        1. goldenlife, This is a complex situation and I can’t give a long response but I want you to get some support for yourself in the form of a really good counselor who will help you get a step by step approach to getting your space and your family back–your daughters would benefit in going to the therapist with you so they can understand your side of the situation–say it is because you need their support not because “they” need any help. Seeing you reach out for help in your own behalf will model for them that we must reach out for support when we are feeling disempowered and abused. They will admire you for your strength even though they may be able to show it until they are older. I have a question for you that I would like you to ponder: Where is your anger?

  40. Wow I just read your letter and I am so amzed how NM move into our lives as if we are there to serve there endless needs with our needs always on the back burner. I have gone NC for 4 1/2 months and I have been in touch with this website for over 3 years. It has been a tough sad ride for me. I have read so many books on healing and learn alot about N mothers. I had to grieve the mother I would never have and for me hetting an illness this year which I know is a direct result of hate and revenge I felt towards her. I have coem to forgivness with Gods help. I had too or suffer more wiht my illness. My resentments actually hurt me physically. I was eaten up with bitterness and it hurt me not her at all. The one thing I found for me was acceptance I NEVER believe that could happen for me. But it has. Sometimes I still get angry but I am defiently al ot better without her in my world. I will never take her back . She broke my spirit -my health-and she is so toxic that there is no way I will allow that BS in my life again. I have a laser-eyes for any emtional abuse I do not tolerate it from anyone anymore.

    I really feel for you with your mother taking over your room what a bitch a selfish self centered bitch. Kick her out and bnever look back. Rememeber my NM is too toxice for me she is too toxic for anyone close to me. You cannot reason with a NPD. They dont care and for me to realize she has no conscience no empathy and her main goal is too see me suffer she actually enjoys that is called N supply. Sick- twisted…I dont feel any compassion for her I am not there yet. I feel she is a tornado and people are left in the wake with her selfish self-centered ways. Get ready for the smear campaign how you threw her on the street. They are so full of lies. LIE_LIE_LIE. NM will do anything in ther power to see you pay. I would move not give her your number-address anything. I firmly believe that healing will not cannot take place until NC. You must have them out of your life for true healing to take place. They dont love they are not part of humanity. I believe in my heart they are evil and do not care about what they do-whom they hurt- they evny period. They want what you have and they will never get it and that is a conscience and love. When you are happy they will destroy you literally. MYBFF mother was NP and she tried to commite sucide and it was a fail attempt but she is still brain injury and might as well be dead. We are the blessed ones who made it out alive and we are also the ones whoo will be driven to help others find true freedom. God bless Dana

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