Our Forty Year Journey Through Parental Alienation

Last photo together

For those of you who had a couple of hours and were able to wade through the link posted on our page:  Our Journey Through Parental Alienation , I thank you.  Yes, it’s long, but a lot transpired during my husband’s 40 year journey through parental alienation.  Once he disengaged from his narcissistic ex-wife, and actually gave up and ended his relationship with his children, he became an advocate in bringing attention to parental alienation and co-parenting with a narcissist.

He is gone now but I intend to carry on his mission and will continue to post here.

And I think I’ll follow his lead, and pick up where he left off, in not dealing with his narcissistic ex-wife.  It will be difficult because she has a history of attempting to engage me through two of my hobbies:  genealogy and photography.  She has joined websites where I post, gotten in touch with people I am in contact with, posted her personal comments under the names of my deceased family, etc.  I am forever getting e-mails which start:  “who is ***** ******* and what is her problem?”  Being the narcissist that she is, she doesn’t even realize how her behavior looks to others, especially people who are simply interested in genealogy or photography and don’t understand why she is contacting them with her opinions, her obvious superiority and her demands that the way she displays genealogy / photography are the only way they should be displayed!

There is no reason for she and I to be in contact,  and there hasn’t been for many years.

My husband is no longer suffering, and our decades-long journey through parental alienating and co-parenting with a narcissist is at an end.  Instead of dwelling on what he and I went through attempting to maintain a relationship with his children, I’ll remember all the wonderful years we loved and laughed.  And cherish all the memories I have of this incredible man.

Onward and Upward!

How to Deal with a Narcissist: the Only Method Guaranteed to Work

I read the following article with great interest.  Our targeted parent has finally, after 40 long years, escaped from dealing with our narcissist alienating parent.  Long ago, he chose not to have anything to do with his ex-wife, and once the children were adults, there was really no need for him to engage in any contact with her in any event.

Unfortunately, he felt the same way about his youngest daughter, who was a duplicate of her mother — and perhaps an even worse narcissist.   There were many occasions where he said:  “I can’t stand to be in the same room with her [the daughter] because she reminds me so much of her mother.”

Our targeted parent ended his relationship with that daughter ten years before his death and was steadfast in his decision to not have any contact with her.  Being family doesn’t mean you have to tolerate all the drama, arguments and heartache that goes along with dealing with a narcissist.

So it was with great interest that I read this article:

“Typically speaking, narcissists are not people you should seek to be associating with. Anyone who does is likely to sustain emotional – and sometimes physical – harm that they may never fully recover from.

If you want to avoid getting tangled up with a narcissist; if you want to dodge the mental, emotional, and physical harm that comes from dealing with one, then you have no choice but to refuse to engage with them on any level.

To reiterate this crucial point: the only way to effectively deal with a narcissist is to not deal with them at all.

You must put as much distance as you can between them and you if you want to prevent their maleficent influence from seeping into your life. You must break all ties, stop all communication, and eliminate as many (preferably all) of the ways that your paths may cross.

Narcissists feed on the feelings of others; they grow stronger by making others feel weak. To them, the only thing that ever truly matters is their own self-gratification, and one of the easiest ways to attain this is by degrading any that cross their path.

Arguments and disagreements provide the narcissist with opportunities to manipulate; they make other people vulnerable to persuasion and more likely to do things they would not otherwise do. If a narcissist can maneuver their opponent into doing or saying something, it gives strength to the belief they have in themselves as powerful and superior beings.

Whichever way it is achieved, attention is a primary source of narcissistic supply and one that a narcissist must have on a very regular basis if they are to function.

A narcissist will probably remain a narcissist until their dying day because they are simply unable to see anything wrong with what they do. They do not have the necessary powers of self-assessment and self-reflection to realize that their behavior is not standard and not acceptable.

So far we’ve talked about the two main reasons why you should cut a narcissist out of your life completely, but why is it so effective?

The answer is simple and it comes back to the comparison between a narcissist seeking their supply and an addict seeking theirs. If you cease to be a source of supply, a narcissist will have no choice but to look for it elsewhere since they are not willing to risk withdrawal for too long.

It is a sad state of affairs, but in all likelihood, if you deny them what they need, a narcissist will be forced to find someone or something else to provide it for them.

While they may try, again and again, to lure you back into being a source of supply, eventually they will seek to devalue you in their minds and move on to more willing targets.”

It appears our targeted parent made the right decision, didn’t he?

Emotional Denialism

In the psychology of human behavior, denialism is a person’s choice to deny reality as a way to avoid a psychologically uncomfortable truth. Denialism is an essentially irrational action that withholds the validation of a historical experience or event, when a person refuses to accept an empirically verifiable reality. The motivations and causes of denialism include religion, self-interest and defense mechanisms meant to protect the psyche of the denialist against mentally disturbing facts and ideas.

[Source: https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/35413882/posts/1963681453 ]

If you’ve come along with us on our journey through parental alienation, you’ll know exactly how much the alienation was incredibly chronicled.  So there are way too many documents for our alienating parent to deny, yet she continues to try and re-write history. She maintains her version of what has transpired, when the paperwork proves otherwise.

Is her behavior irrational? Yes.

Is what happened over the past four decades verifiable? Yes.

Does she use religion as a mechanism to protect her psyche? Yes.

Then why does she continue to deny reality?  That, I have no answer for …….

The Narcissistic Wound

Our alienating / narcissistic parent was abused by her own father, which undoubtedly resulted in her being “shamed or disgraced in such a way, that they can never again truly feel good about who they are.” Our targeted parent tried to keep that mind while dealing with this individual over the ensuing years …. as difficult as it might have been. Compassion, given the trauma she had endured as a child, was paramount in his mind.

The Narcissistinc Wound
By: Neil J Lavender Ph.D.

What seems to drive narcissistic individuals is something called “the Narcissistic Wound”. At some time in their life, usually the narcissistic individual is shamed or disgraced in such a way, that they can never again truly feel good about who they are. Perhaps it is a parent. Perhaps a superbly timed and well-targeted put down just at the moment when the young narcissist is acting like a star that she thinks she is.

So, believe it or not, this impressive, larger-than-life compliment magnet is really a wounded little child who constantly needs the veneration of those around her just to give himself the energy to get up in the morning and face the day.

Without it, they feel that they are just losers, failures, zeros; this realization profoundly hurts. It cuts them to the very quick. And they once again experience that cut; that devastation to their pride in the same way they did when they felt that first epic humiliation of their past.

Yes, it doesn’t just hurt once, it hurts each and every time they don’t meet those incredibly high expectations of themselves. Worse yet, each and every time they fail, they feel an even greater need to puff themselves up even more and set their goals even higher in a desperate desire to “go for the glory” in an much greater manner. Like Charlie Brown trying to kick the elusive football that Lucy is holding, each new life experience is an opportunity to prove themselves wonderful and, once and for all magically heal that original narcissistic wound.

But alas, only to fail again.

So what about my own personal situation with the narcissist in my own life? I know that to confront her about her inadequacies would hurt her even more. It would add to her scrapbook of hurts and humiliations, reactivating that Narcissistic Wound and I don’t want to do this to her.

And this is also the very reason I won’t strike back.

[Source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/impossible-please/201401/the-narcissistic-wound%5D

Grandparent Alienation

“When it comes to parental alienation or grandparent alienation, we walk around with the overwhelming emptiness of a child’s absence while carrying the heaviness of their sweet and irreplaceable memory…”
― Donna Lynn Hope

As I sit here and miss the man I loved for 35 years, I can’t help but reflect back on his life.  He was an incredible man.  Thinking of him brings a smile to my face.  He was my best friend, my partner-in-crime, my protector, my soulmate, my handsome devil, my love through the majority of my life ….. I could go on and on.

As much as I hate to the use the term — he was also a victim of parental alienation, and then grandparent alienation.  It was obvious he never considered himself a “victim” of anything, but for lack of a better word, that’s how I’ll describe what he went through.

I witnessed the torment he endured when he had to fight to see his children.  What parent should have to fight to spend time with their children?

But then when his own child ripped his first grandchild out of his life, it was a painful thing to watch.

A child’s absence …. no grandparent should have to endure that heartache ….

 

Dealing with a High Conflict Ex-Wife in Five Easy Steps

I wish I would have found this article thirty-five years ago.  It might have helped my husband and I, dealing with his obsessive ex-wife.

Yes, you heard me right:   I said thirty-five years ago!

When we first moved in together, the phones calls started.  This was in the days before texts and caller i.d.  Just a couple of weeks after we moved in to our new home and got a new telephone number, we had to have it changed because my husband’s ex-wife was relentless in telephoning him.

And that relentless behavior continued until the day he died — forty years after their divorce.  If it wasn’t telephone calls, then it was letters — via mail, as well as hand-delivered by the children while they were visiting their father.  Then, when the digital age came, it was stalking via the internet.  If we were on a website, or had an interest in something, the obsessive ex-wife was right there — making her presence known to the world.

My husband is gone now, but the bizarre behavior continues:  sponsoring his memorial on Find A Grave, visiting his grave on our 34th wedding anniversary, sending emails to people I am in contact with — making sure they know she is his ex-wife.  The family is concerned she’ll go so far as to buy the niche next to his, so that — when her time comes — she can be buried there and spend eternity next to a man she was only married to for a few years, and has been divorced from for decades.

You scoff and say “No one could be THAT crazy!?!”  Well, after you’ve lived the life my husband and I lived for thirty-five years, nothing would surprise you.

 

If you or someone you know is dealing with a high conflict ex-wife, be sure and read this article!

Dealing with a High Conflict Ex-Wife in Five Easy Steps

What is Parental Alienation and why does it hurt everyone?

By:  Evan Koslow

Parental alienation is perhaps the worst experience any family can go through while also going through a divorce or separation.

Parental alienation is defined as one parent turning a child or children against the other parent through disparaging remarks and sometimes keeping the child away from the other parent for no reason. As a matter of fact, parental alienation puts a child’s well-being at risk, as they bear the agony of choosing between fighting parents.

Maryland judges understand and easily recognize when a parent is “alienating” the other parent from the children. Because parental alienation is not diagnosed as a mental disorder, Maryland courts do not consider expert testimony in order to label a situation as parental alienation; rather, they accept expert testimony on the negative effect on a child who is prevented from having access to a parent without proper justification.

The term “alienation,” which is commonly thrown around in a high-conflict divorce, is frequently misunderstood and misused. At its core, alienation is about a child’s behavior, not about a parent’s behavior, and it involves a profound change in a child’s reaction to a previously loved parent. This reaction typically occurs in the context of an acrimonious divorce in which the child has been exposed to a great deal of anger and conflict and suddenly begins to reject one parent and become intensely aligned with the other parent. The child’s anger at the parent is not based on the reality of what has actually happened between the parent and the child, despite what they may claim.

In the most severe cases of alienation, the relationships in the family become completely polarized. There is a good, loved parent and a bad, hated parent. The child has lost the freedom to love both parents.

It’s equally important, however, to understand what ISN’T alienation. Hostility, denigration, and other expressions of anger by one parent toward the other during a high-conflict divorce is common. Parents in these cases frequently attack one another and say nasty and vindictive things. Accusations of alienation quickly follow. While this behavior is far from optimal, it is not alienation. Alienation is about the disturbed behavior of a child and the transformation of the parent-child relationship. When a child rejects and refuses contact with a parent, THIS is alienation. When a parent becomes hostile and attacking, it is bad behavior but not alienation.

There are times when children reject a parent for good reasons, such as when the parent has been violent, abusive or neglectful or has demonstrated other parenting deficiencies. In these cases, the child’s rejection of the parent does not reflect unreasonable or unfounded anger toward a previously loved parent. Rather, the rejection is a healthy response to the parent’s damaging behavior.

Early identification is absolutely necessary in every family. Time is of the essence and delays in identifying alienated children, or those at risk, reduces the likelihood of successful intervention. A child’s refusal to visit or the suspension of visits is a “red flag,” particularly if the parent and child previously did things together before the separation and if there are no clear indications of realistic estrangement. Careful inquiry and prompt intervention is crucial.

Attorneys with an alienation case should move early in the case for orders which insure that contact between the rejected parent and the child continues.

[Source:  https://thedailyrecord.com/2018/05/14/generation-jd-evan-koslow-parental-alienation-divorce/%5D

Exes Who Won’t Let Go After Divorce

By Tiffany Beverlin

Much like any relationship you enter into what you put up with you, will get stuck with, life after divorce with your newly ex spouse, will be no different. I am often told stories and scenarios of ex spouses who just won’t fully let go, or who just do not understand or want to understand that their ex is after divorce, no longer a part of their life. To me this all falls under the umbrella of control. How many of us after a divorce still try to hinder, effect, hurt or control an ex?

Using your children to guilt an Ex spouse into not letting go. If you are an Ex spouse who believes just because you have a child with someone you still on some level own your Ex for life, think again. You will always have that child or children together but the reality is your Ex spouse will go on to fall in love, date, marry or even have more children with someone else. You may have created a child together, and you should find a way to pleasantly co-parent, but besides that, you have no say or control over each other. Peoples ability to use children as some kind of leverage to control their ex spouse is well documented, as a source of contention after divorce. You really as the person who is trying to be controlled by your Ex in this manner, need to find a way to totally disengage from this, ignore texts, don’t answer calls, answer in very short precise ways, do not take the bait and be dragged into the Exes web of arguing, controlling or giving them the satisfaction of a reaction. This is exactly what the controlling Ex is looking for, the proof that they still can get to you, still manipulate you and still get their way. DO NOT allow this. Nothing, diffuses the situation better and gets you to a happier place quicker, than disengaging, separating yourself from the toxic Ex, and letting everything roll off your back. Not easy I know but like all bullies and control freaks, these people will eventually quit when they realize once and for all, you are not reacting or engaging in their drama. There is a reason that child custody and concerns are a large part of the marriage settlement agreement (MSA) this is to lessen the children being used as a pawn, as a weapon or as a way to inflict pain on the other spouse. A good rule of thumb is to use this phrase in communications. “Please refer to the MSA”. There is no arguing it, it is set out in a court of law, in black and white and you both signed it, so don’t allow your Ex to think they are above the law, or above the MSA.

A spouse who tries to control who you can date after a divorce.  This is is baffling, but I have heard it many times from divorcees I speak to. An Ex who will verbalize things like “I want you to date but why are you dating her/him?, I don’t like your girlfriend/boyfriend, I don’t want MY kids around your new girlfriend/boyfriend, anyone else is fine just not them”. This is clearly a crazy form of control, unless the new partner is a criminal, or someone who may legitimately be a danger to your child, you have no right to say, comment or control who your Ex spouse dates. You are not their parent, not their partner, and most certainly not their spouse, you even have paperwork to prove it, called a divorce. Generally an ex spouse may incorrectly feel that they are allowed to be jealous, allowed to feel insecure, that you moved on or upgraded from them, but this is also 100% the Exes own issues and attempts to not fully let go, and control your situation. You may be tempted to engage or argue or defend your new partner to your Ex. In doing this though you are saying to your Ex that you are listening to their opinion in some form, and allowing them to have some control over who you date. They do not. You are a single adult the ONLY person who has a say in who you date, love or go on to marry is you. In my opinion even if your ex attempts to question you about your new love interest in a polite or kind way, you are under no obligation to answer to them at all.

As a generally rule when giving a Ex spouse who refuses to to let go, an inch they will always try to take a mile. This is why setting ground rules, and being firm, but fair from the start of a divorce, is always the better way to go. Follow the MSA, give your Ex no reason to drag you in to drama, at the first sign of communication that smells like control or manipulation- disengage. Remind yourself that divorce is a severing of interpersonal relationships between two people. Remind yourself that like all other aspects of divorce, time is much better spent focusing all your energies on the present, and future and ceasing to spend them on anyone or anything from the past. Your children are your children, and their love for you will not alter based on you spending time, focusing on your new life, new relationships or new goals. Happy parents make for happy children. It is also a good time to remind our self that we can not control other peoples behaviors, we only have the power to control our own reaction to them. When you do ignore and disengage, the other person will always eventually stop, as they are getting no reaction, and most likely will transfer that controlling streak to their next relationship, rendering us once and for all free! So anything you can do to get that that place quicker do it. Good luck and if you find your self as the person who maybe is having trouble letting go, the same advice applies, spend your time, energy and focus on building your own life to be as happy as you can make it, trying to inflict pain and control on an Ex will not get you to a happier place or future ever.

Dealing with a Narcissist as you lay dying…..

Our latest posts have dealt with dealing with a narcissist because that has been an ongoing problem in our particular situation, in addition to years of parental alienation.  Undoubtedly the parental alienation was exacerbated by the fact that the alienating parent was suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Here is a narrative written by that alienating parent, sharing her opinions on the fact that her ex-husband of was dying:

Narcissist Blog 1

Our targeted parent was dying of brain cancer.  He had been divorced from the alienating parent for almost 40 years.  He had not seen or spoken to his youngest daughter in over 10 years.  The daughter had shattered his heart into a million pieces when she decided to keep her daughter from him.  This grandfather, who dearly loved his granddaughter, was destroyed when his own child said:  You will never see your grandchild again!  Throughout the 10 years that they did not speak, our targeted parent always said he could not forgive his daughter for the pain she had caused him.

He battled brain cancer for 3 years and when he entered hospice to live out his final days, he was unable to use the right side of his body, he suffered from Aphasia (the inability to speak) and was heavily medicated with morphine and other medications to control his agitation.  The day he was admitted to the hospice facility, he was asked if he would like to see his youngest daughter and he emphatically shook his head “No.”  Her name was placed on a list of people who were not to be given information about the targeted parent’s condition.

But here we have our alienating parent declaring that no one could honestly believe that he made that decision — even though it was witnessed by several people over the course of his final months — because a man with a resentful and vengeful heart cannot enter Heaven.

This is a common attitude of narcissists:  they have to be right, the most competent; do everything their way; control everyone.  How did our alienating parent know her ex-husband had a resentful and vengeful heart?  Because she declared it was the case — and she’s always right!

This was the life our targeted parent led for 40 years.  He would make a decision and the alienating parent would declare that he was wrong.  First of all, was it any of her business?  No.  Secondly, if she did have an opinion, perhaps she might have considered keeping it to herself?  No.  A narcissist has to control everyone and make sure everyone knows her thoughts and opinions are the only possible correct ones.

Our narcissist continued:

Narcissist Blog 2

She waited for someone to take the reins and direct this man’s heart toward the way she felt he should feel?  What about how the terminally ill man felt?  I was with this man for almost 35 years and as his life was ending, all I was concerned about was letting him know he had been loved, and keeping him comfortable.  Perhaps that was why I was with him for all of those years, until death do us part, and our alienating parent and he were filing for divorce after only 2 years of marriage?

When things don’t go according to their plan, the narcissist places all the blame and responsibility on others:  this dying man’s family should have directed his heart toward the way the narcissist felt?

And, interestingly enough, our alienating parent’s comments apply to her oldest daughter, who was with her father at the end, and who did nothing to sway his decision concerning his youngest daughter.  That daughter is defending her actions by saying that is what her father wanted?  There is no need for her defend her actions.  She was an unbelievable help to her father in his final years and she respected and loved him enough to abide by his decision.  I’m sure he’s looking down at her now with an incredible amount of love and pride.

Our alienating parent was relentless in directing her daughter to make peace with our targeted parent.  Relentless in directing her child to go against her father’s wishes?   Classic narcissistic behavior:  the need to control, lack of empathy toward a dying man and his last wishes, and lack of boundaries.

The youngest daughter waited until her father was at his most vulnerable, unable to speak or to call for help, and then she visited him under the cloak of darkness?  Isn’t it nice to see a parent being relentless in urging their child to break the law?  The daughter was informed that her father did not want to see her, but went to visit him when she was sure that he was in no condition to ask her to leave, and when no other family members would be there and ask her to leave.  Those actions constitute criminal trespass.  And our alienating parent is posting it on the internet?  It’s apparent from the tone of her posts that she is proud of what she accomplished:  tormenting a dying man and opening her daughter up to criminal charges.

But again, that is a narcissist for you:  with her exaggerated need for attention.

The targeted parent did see his beloved granddaughter twice before he died.  It was a beautiful thing to witness.  No one can give him back all the years he missed in her life, but at least he was able to sit and hold her hand and gaze into her beautiful face before he left us.

I can only hope that when he saw his youngest daughter, perhaps it was similar to when he saw his granddaughter,  that he was happy to see her and spend some time with her.  I can’t bear the thought that he was horrified or angry when he saw her walk through the door.  That is too much for me to handle.  I stayed with my husband every night until he fell asleep.  The nurses told me that toward the end, before he became completely unresponsive, when he would wake up in the middle of the night and realize I wasn’t there, he would start calling for me.  That was amazing because he really couldn’t speak., but he was so agitated that he was able to yell out my name.  Was that because he wanted me there to protect him from these unwanted visits by his daughter?  Should I have started spending the nights with him instead of going home and trying to get a couple of hours of sleep?  The Bereavement Counselor I spoke to put it in to perspective for me when she said:  You couldn’t have protected him from someone with absolutely no moral compass.

How did this dying man feel about the visits from his estranged daughter?  We’ll never know, will we?  He’s gone and cannot tell us how he felt about his daughter going against his wishes and arriving under cloak of darkness to visit him.  And, unfortunately, whatever version the daughter gives is highly suspect.  When her father was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2015, the daughter told everyone:  I tried to call him, left a message, and he never returned my call.  When the targeted parent heard that, his response was:   “Bu#&%@it!”  Because, you see, the daughter never called him.  But the story she shared made it look like she at least tried ….. which certainly put her in a better light, didn’t it?  Just like whatever story she might tell about her unauthorized visits during the middle of night, with a dying man who specifically said he did not want to see her …… well, I can imagine that story will also be told in a manner which will be most favorable to her.

More of our alienating parent’s post:

Narcissist Blog 3

My in-laws have been gone for over 20 years.  When my father-in-law passed away, my mother-in-law wrote the obituary and included my two children from a previous marriage as “grandchildren.”  This was entirely unacceptable to our alienating parent!  She has an opinion as to how an obituary should be written and, being the narcissist that she is, that is the only way an obituary should be written!

When my mother-in-law passed away, her obituary read exactly the same as her husband’s:  it included my children as grandchildren.  The alienating parent — in her constant need for control and attention — has spent years declaring these obituaries are incorrect.  Needless to say, when our targeted parent heard about her rants, he wrote his own obituary — which did not include his youngest daughter and two of her children.  Again, that was his decision.  Oh, but I keep forgetting:  he wasn’t permitted to make any decisions, was he?

Our alienating parent did not like the way her ex-husband’s obituary was written.  She had absolutely no control over it so, of course, she had to voice her ever-present opinion.  Our targeted parent’s obituary was published the way he wrote it.  But our narcissist cannot accept that and, instead, creates a scenario:  it was my one last time to hurt her daughter.  I know that isn’t true, and anyone who knows the targeted parent knows that is not true.

And, yes, the day after the targeted parent’s obituary was published, our alienating parent had a “corrected” version posted on the internet.  No surprise there, is it?

blog excerpt

Our alienating parent always goes on about how her children and grandchildren are the only ones where the targeted parent’s “blood flows through their veins”.   So his daughter was taught:  you have carte blanche to treat him terribly during his lifetime, to break his heart, ignore his final wishes and then force your presence upon him when he is completely helpless, so long as his blood flows through your veins?

As we mentioned in our post:  8 Reasons We May Need to Cut Ties With Family Members to be Healthy:  the facts are that “family members” are just people and not always healthy people.  If these people weren’t family, we would never choose them to be part of our lives because of their poor treatment of us.  Our targeted parent realized that and had made peace with his decision.  This was his daughter, everything was all about her, there were years of silent treatment, no-win arguments and blame-games.  She was not a nice person and he did not want to have anything to do with her.  Why is it that only our alienating parent has a problem understanding that concept?

Everyone knew my husband was home alone all day, while I worked.  When we had nice weather, he spent most of his time sitting on our front porch.  His youngest daughter could have stopped by our house any time, if she honestly wanted to see her father, at a time she knew I would not be there.  And he always hoped she would, so he could tell her exactly how he felt about her behavior.  But she never did.  She waited until he couldn’t speak, so she could sit and tell him how she felt, without giving him the opportunity to share how he was feeling.  I’m sure she feels much better now,  having gotten what she wanted:  to see her father before he died.  But how did those visits make him feel?

She had no qualms about knocking on his hospice room door, while he lay there sleeping / medicated / rendered totally helpless by disease, but she couldn’t knock on his door when he was strong / healthy / actually able talk to her?  At a sentencing hearing, which resulted in the daughter being incarcerated, the prosecutor spoke of her:  “Yes, she’s a great mother.  She’s a liar and a thief also.”  And I suppose now we can add the following adjective:  coward.

The daughter’s behavior during the targeted parent’s dying days only reinforced for the family exactly what type of person we were dealing with.  It was all about her and what would make her feel better.  There was no regard given to what he wanted, as he lay dying.  Her behavior simply fortified exactly why he made the decision to end his relationship with her ten years ago.

It appears Momma Narcissist raised a Daughter Narcissist?

Here’s a portion of one of our recent posts:  The narcissist wants and demands to be in control, and their sense of entitlement makes it seem logical to them that they should be in control—of everything. Narcissists always have a story line in mind about what each “character” in their interaction should be saying and doing. When you don’t behave as expected, they become quite upset and unsettled. They don’t know what to expect next, because you’re off script. They demand that you say and do exactly what they have in mind so they can reach their desired conclusion. You are a character in their internal play, not a real person with your own thoughts and feelings.

This description of our particular alienating parent is so spot-on that it’s scary!

14 Signs Someone You’re Dealing with a Narcissist

By Dr. Margalis Fjelstad

When it comes to determining whether someone you know is a narcissist, most people make it more complicated than it needs to be. I use the duck test—that is, if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck. There are no physical blood tests, MRIs, or exact determinations that can identify narcissism. Even therapists have to go on their observations of the behavior, attitudes, and reactions that a person presents to determine narcissism.

What makes it simple is the fact that we know exactly what a narcissist looks like. Below, I’ve listed all the symptoms and behaviors you should look for. Keep in mind that not all of these have to be present to make a determination of narcissism. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, which therapists use as a guide, a person needs to exhibit only 55 percent of the identified characteristics to be considered narcissistic. The list I’ve made here is descriptive, so you can get a more in-depth picture of a narcissist’s common behaviors.

1. Superiority and entitlement

The world of the narcissist is all about good/bad, superior/inferior, and right/wrong. There is a definite hierarchy, with the narcissist at the top—which is the only place she feels safe.  Narcissists have to be the best, the most right, and the most competent; do everything their way; own everything; and control everyone.  Interestingly enough, narcissists can also get that superior feeling by being the worst; the most wrong; or the most ill, upset, or injured for a period of time. Then they feel entitled to receive soothing concern and recompense and even the right to hurt you or demand apologies to “make things even.”

2. Exaggerated need for attention and validation

Narcissists need constant attention—even following you around the house, asking you to find things, or constantly saying something to grab your attention. Validation for a narcissist counts only if it comes from others. Even then, it doesn’t count for much. A narcissist’s need for validation is like a funnel. You pour in positive, supportive words, and they just flow out the other end and are gone. No matter how much you tell narcissists you love them, admire them, or approve of them, they never feel it’s enough—because deep down they don’t believe anyone can love them. Despite all their self-absorbed, grandiose bragging, narcissists are actually very insecure and fearful of not measuring up. They constantly try to elicit praise and approval from others to shore up their fragile egos, but no matter how much they’re given, they always want more.

3. Perfectionism

Narcissists have an extremely high need for everything to be perfect. They believe they should be perfect, you should be perfect, events should happen exactly as expected, and life should play out precisely as they envision it. This is an excruciatingly impossible demand, which results in the narcissist feeling dissatisfied and miserable much of the time. The demand for perfection leads the narcissist to complain and be constantly dissatisfied.

4. Great need for control

Since narcissists are continually disappointed with the imperfect way life unfolds, they want to do as much as possible to control it and mold it to their liking. They want and demand to be in control, and their sense of entitlement makes it seem logical to them that they should be in control—of everything. Narcissists always have a story line in mind about what each “character” in their interaction should be saying and doing. When you don’t behave as expected, they become quite upset and unsettled. They don’t know what to expect next, because you’re off script. They demand that you say and do exactly what they have in mind so they can reach their desired conclusion. You are a character in their internal play, not a real person with your own thoughts and feelings.

5. Lack of responsibility—blaming and deflecting

Although narcissists want to be in control, they never want to be responsible for the results—unless, of course, everything goes exactly their way and their desired result occurs. When things don’t go according to their plan or they feel criticized or less than perfect, the narcissist places all the blame and responsibility on you. It has to be someone else’s fault. Sometimes that blame is generalized—all police, all bosses, all teachers, all Democrats, and so on. At other times the narcissist picks a particular person or rule to blame—her mother, the judge, or laws that limit what she wants to do. Most often, however, the narcissist blames the one person who is the most emotionally close, most attached, loyal, and loving in his life—you. To maintain the façade of perfection, narcissists always have to blame someone or something else. You are the safest person to blame, because you are least likely to leave or reject him.

6. Lack of boundaries

Narcissists can’t accurately see where they end and you begin. They are a lot like 2-year-olds. They believe that everything belongs to them, everyone thinks and feels the same as they do, and everyone wants the same things they do. They are shocked and highly insulted to be told no. If a narcissist wants something from you, she’ll go to great lengths to figure out how to get it through persistence, cajoling, demanding, rejecting, or pouting.

7. Lack of empathy

Narcissists have very little ability to empathize with others. They tend to be selfish and self-involved and are usually unable to understand what other people are feeling. Narcissists expect others to think and feel the same as they do and seldom give any thought to how others feel. They are also rarely apologetic, remorseful, or guilty.

But narcissists are highly attuned to perceived threats, anger, and rejection from others. At the same time, they are nearly blind to the other feelings of the people around them. They frequently misread subtle facial expressions and are typically biased toward interpreting facial expressions as negative. Unless you are acting out your emotions dramatically, the narcissist won’t accurately perceive what you’re feeling. Even saying “I’m sorry” or “I love you” when the narcissist is on edge and angry can backfire. She won’t believe you and may even misperceive your comment as an attack.

In addition, if your words and expressions aren’t congruent, the narcissist will likely respond erroneously. This is why narcissists often misinterpret sarcasm as actual agreement or joking from others as a personal attack. Their lack of ability to correctly read body language is one reason narcissists are deficiently empathetic to your feelings. They don’t see them, they don’t interpret them correctly, and overall they don’t believe you feel any differently than they do.

Narcissists also lack an understanding about the nature of feelings. They don’t understand how their feelings occur. They think their feelings are caused by someone or something outside of themselves. They don’t realize that their feelings are caused by their own biochemistry, thoughts, and interpretations. In a nutshell, narcissists always think you cause their feelings—especially the negative ones. They conclude that because you didn’t follow their plan or because you made them feel vulnerable, you are to blame.

This lack of empathy makes true relationships and emotional connection with narcissists difficult or impossible. They just don’t notice what anyone else is feeling.

8. Emotional reasoning

You’ve probably made the mistake of trying to reason and use logic with the narcissist to get him to understand the painful effect her behaviors have on you. You think that if she understands how much her behavior hurt you, she’ll change. Your explanations, however, don’t make sense to the narcissist, who only seems able to be aware of her own thoughts and feelings. Although narcissists may say they understand, they honestly don’t.

Therefore, narcissists make most of their decisions based on how they feel about something. They simply must have that red sports car, based entirely on how they feel driving it, not by whether it is a good choice to make for the family or for the budget. If they’re bored or depressed, they want to move or end the relationship or start a new business. They always look to something or someone outside themselves to solve their feelings and needs. They expect you to go along with their “solutions,” and they react with irritation and resentment if you don’t.

9. Splitting

The narcissist’s personality is split into good and bad parts, and they also split everything in their relationships into good and bad. Any negative thoughts or behaviors are blamed on you or others, whereas they take credit for everything that is positive and good. They deny their negative words and actions while continually accusing you of disapproving.

They also remember things as completely good and wonderful or as bad and horrible. They can’t seem to mix these two constructs:

Marty labeled the whole vacation ruined and the worst ever because the hotel room didn’t meet his expectations and the weather wasn’t perfect. Bob was blamed for 20 years because he wasn’t there when his wife had their first child even though he was stranded in Chicago in a snowstorm. Marie’s husband dismissed her concerns about the $30,000 cost for the new landscaping because he loved it.

Narcissists aren’t able to see, feel, or remember both the positive and the negative in a situation. They can deal with only one perspective at a time—theirs.

10. Fear

The narcissist’s entire life is motivated and energized by fear. Most narcissists’ fears are deeply buried and repressed. They’re constantly afraid of being ridiculed, rejected, or wrong. They may have fears about germs, about losing all their money, about being emotionally or physically attacked, about being seen as bad or inadequate, or about being abandoned. This makes it difficult and sometimes impossible for the narcissist to trust anyone else.

In fact, the closer your relationship becomes, the less she will trust you. Narcissists fear any true intimacy or vulnerability because they’re afraid you’ll see their imperfections and judge or reject them. No amount of reassurance seems to make a difference, because narcissists deeply hate and reject their own shameful imperfections. Narcissists never seem to develop trust in the love of others, and they continually test you with worse and worse behaviors to try to find your breaking point. Their gripping fear of being “found out” or abandoned never seems to dissipate.

11. Anxiety

Anxiety is an ongoing, vague feeling that something bad is happening or about to happen. Some narcissists show their anxiety by talking constantly about the doom that is about to happen, while some hide and repress their anxiety. But most narcissists project their anxiety onto their closest loved ones, accusing them of being negative, unsupportive, mentally ill, not putting them first, not responding to their needs, or being selfish. All this is designed to transfer anxiety to the loved one in an attempt to not feel it themselves. As you feel worse and worse, the narcissist feels better and better. In fact she feels stronger and more superior as you feel your anxiety and depression grow.

12. Shame

Narcissists don’t feel much guilt because they think they are always right, and they don’t believe their behaviors really affect anyone else. But they harbor a lot of shame. Shame is the belief that there is something deeply and permanently wrong or bad about who you are. Buried in a deeply repressed part of the narcissist are all the insecurities, fears, and rejected traits that he is constantly on guard to hide from everyone, including himself. The narcissist is acutely ashamed of all these rejected thoughts and feelings. For example, I had one narcissistic client who was into skydiving and other intense risk-taking behaviors tell me that he never felt fear. “Fear,” he said, “was evil.” He was clearly on a crusade to defeat it.

Keeping her vulnerabilities hidden is essential to the narcissist’s pretend self-esteem or false self. Ultimately, however, this makes it impossible for them to be completely real and transparent.

13. An inability to be truly vulnerable

Because of their inability to understand feelings, their lack of empathy, and constant need for self-protection, narcissists can’t truly love or connect emotionally with other people. They cannot look at the world from anyone else’s perspective. They’re essentially emotionally blind and alone. This makes them emotionally needy. When one relationship is no longer satisfying, they often overlap relationships or start a new one as soon as possible. They desperately want someone to feel their pain, to sympathize with them, and make everything just as they want it to be. But they have little ability to respond to your pain or fear or even your day-to-day need for care and sympathy.

14. An inability to communicate or work as part of a team

Thoughtful, cooperative behaviors require a real understanding of each other’s feelings. How will the other person feel? Will this action make both of us happy? How will this affect our relationship? These are questions that narcissists don’t have the capacity or the motivation to think about. Don’t expect the narcissist to understand your feelings, give in, or give up anything she wants for your benefit; it’s useless.

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