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Narcissistic adult children

(191 Posts)
craftyone Wed 19-Jun-19 10:03:43

I am trying to uderstand my AD, to learn coping mechanisms for myself. A good video, definitely helping me

Smileless2012 Sat 22-Jun-19 12:25:11

That is a worry isn't it craftyone. How will they feel when we're no longer here and it's too late to try and make amends?

It does make sense that your ED feels guilty because of the way she treated her father and now that he's died, it's too late. Perhaps it depends on the degree of their narcissism. If it's so bad that they have no empathy whatsoever, maybe there would be no guilt.

We sometimes wonder about our ES's reaction when we've gone. He's not a narcissist but his wife certainly is and has been exhibiting the traits it turns out, since childhood.

Will her control and manipulation have been sufficient to mean that he has no feelings of guilt? It would be better for him if that is the case but we'll never know.

blondenana Sat 22-Jun-19 15:43:35

The person i posted about on the other thread had a quite abusive emotionally upbringing, abandonment by his natural mother, then adopted ,and then abandoned by his adoptive mother and left with a cruel adopted father, which seems to be a common thing with narcissists, abandonment, and they somehow are abusive emotionally to all women, as if it is ingrained that women are not to be trusted
Also there is the sudden ignoring you, then appearing again,as if all is fine,leaving you wondering what you have done to upset them,
It does mess with your mind,
The abuse is more emotional than physical i think in most cases
A good website to look at is QUORA,it all becomes clear,
I don't think i have explained properly,without going into detail about my personal experience,
it is complicated, but is all about them, i think too, they have no boundaries, and are risk takers,can also be mean,as their wants come first;

Namsnanny Sat 22-Jun-19 17:28:56

Good mama.....I so wish your explaination of this situation was somewhere near the truth.
Then some of us would stand a chance of understanding and changing things to make the relationship work.
That’s the problem....most people DONT have the experience of it to offer decent advice!
I would argue that most gparents don’t go out of their way to insist gc are brought up the way they want them to be.
I can of course only speak for myself, but all I wanted to do was help my acs NOT to make the same mistakes I did.
As smileless said it’s thhe controlling aspect of the personality that encourages people to label someone with a narcissistic personality. That and the deviousness to cause trouble in any way for their own amusement!
I do accept that we cannot know that someone has a personality problem for sure unless they are diagnosed properly, but as true narcs think they are totally ok that’s not likely to happen.
No what is the case is the label is used too easily, but I can understand why, as there are more and more people who seem to be on the scale which includes some of the traits which go towards making a ‘narcissist’.

I for one would prefer to find my ac was having difficulty with me and only me (and not a narcissist) as that would point to a possible solution.

When the scales haD fallen and I began to see all the horrid clarity of the problem between us, i realised that either my ac or their partner must have some narc tendencies to be progressing in such a controlling way.
Not looking for a solution, just totally focused on winning some ugly game.

Sorry I hope I’m making sense!

Smileless2012 Sat 22-Jun-19 20:11:13

Yes, you are making sense Namsannysmile.

The video was both interesting and informative but to a certain extent irrelevant to me because our relationship with our son, due to his narcissistic wife and his inability or unwillingness to stand up to her, has been over for more than 6 years.

You cannot reason or negotiate with a narcissist. You either agree with them completely or they get rid of you. I thought I was having normal and reasonable discussions with our ES's wife for eg. on maternal and paternal leave. But if you have a different point of view, it's taken as a personal slight. It's not their opinion you don't agree with, it's them you don't like.

IMO there is no solution, you either play their sick manipulative game or you walk away.

We walked away and I thank God that we did.

craftyone Sun 23-Jun-19 10:06:58

my `right thing to do` approach has worked. AD has been in touch via e mail this morning, ok her dd has won some high class competion with an old pony and taught by AD, so yes I see the contact was about AD self esteem but she wants them both to come and stay the night. No phone numbers yet. I am making progress but tbh keeping all my responses short, nice and to the point, not chatty like I normally am. I kind of feel that some AD layers are being peeled back, maybe we will get back to the point before her dad passed, it will still be difficult but better than nothing at all

I will not be mentioning anything to my other 2 AC. They have been hurt enough and have been able to move on. I don`t want them to start worrying about me. I know I will cope now and as long as I get contact with her her dd, my dgd, who is now 11. She will soon be of an age when she can contact me

Smileless2012 Sun 23-Jun-19 13:04:19

It is looking positive carftyonesmile

Nonnie Sun 23-Jun-19 14:31:25

Smileless2012 Fri 21-Jun-19 18:41:07 I think that sums it up quite well.

It is easy to say someone is a narcissist but if it is only affecting a small number of people it could be the wrong description. However if the person has treated other close family members in the same way I think it is probably the correct description.

The video made it clear that you cannot change such a person or make them see that they could do things differently and that it is up to us to learn how to cope.

I think it is difficult to work out whether this trait is growing because it can only be anecdotal, the narcissist is never going to see a doctor about it because they believe they are perfect.

craftyone Sun 23-Jun-19 15:34:16

I disagree nonnie, with the last statement, there must be degrees of narcissism as there is a spectrum for autism. My AD will never see a doctor about her MH, it has been broached with her, I said I would fund it if she had to go privately. No way does she believe she is perfect, she knows that there is something wrong, she told me that. She says that she has developed some coping mechanisms such as concentrating on her foot when she wants to shout and forming a bubble around herself.

I have had to teach her about zipping it when her dh says something that makes her feel cornered. I have had to teach her that she is the reason why he comes home late from work every day and inch by inch she is making some progress, at least to keep some harmony at home. I told her that if she disagrees with something, not to shout but to keep it tight inside and to say the words in her head. Last I spoke to her dh, I asked if he was happy and he said yes. Prior to that he was on the verge of tears. I think some sort of harmonious behaviour can be established but also like I said, there are degrees

Bopeep14 Sun 23-Jun-19 15:34:52

I am wondering now if my daughter in law has this trait as she has two children from a previous marriage who didn't see there their paternal grandparents, i did think it was strange but was told the grandparents were not interested. I am now wondering if she did the same to her first husband and his parents as she has done to us and our son.

Debcz Mon 24-Jun-19 13:13:13

Craftyone, your comment about your D difficult birth just rang a bell in my head. Our D also had a difficult birth, suffering oxygen starvation which caused he deafness. Maybe it affects the brains wiring in some way?
Learning about narcissism is kind of a double edged sword. It helps in that it provides an explanation for things that don’t ordinarily make sense. But hope is removed as things will never change

craftyone Mon 24-Jun-19 15:40:27

Debcz, I don`t think that all hope is removed but perhaps we should be content with less ie less difficult, less estrangement. We will never get perfection as in the hugging perfect AC but there are worse things. I am content in seeing just a layer or two come off and am adapting to an imperfect relationship but a relationship of some sort nevertheless. I feel very blessed in having had 3 children and just one with this problem

Next step, in tiny steps, will be to build her self-esteem. I have always done that but perhaps not gushing enough. eg her 11 year old dd won 2 important dressage comps and I went gushy in my e mail, what a good trainer she is etc (AD trained her dd)

I know I will have progressed if she ever gives me her telephone numbers, I believe it will happen one day

GoodMama Mon 24-Jun-19 17:59:13

All we can do is focus on living our own lives. We only go around once!

It's difficult to see ourselves truthfully sometimes, that goes to Adult Children and their Parents.

Especially when we believe we have the most honest and noble intentions. But not listening to someone else when they (weakly or strongly) state boundaries that interfere with our wants is all too often the beginning of the end of the relationship.

I believe it's rare for someone to want to hurt others for no other reason than getting joy out of it. I believe all too often our feelings get hurt because someone does not want what we want.

Adult Children who try to insert themselves into their Parent's assisted living care planning. They are thinking, "I want to make sure my parents are well taken care of if they need it". While their parents wish they would mind their own business. Or Adult Children who have expectations of free and always available child care might think "my parents love my kids, surely they would enjoy spending more time with them! And it's free!" While, all too often, that puts the parents in a difficult spot and they feel taken advantage of.

Just like Adult Children who want to work out their own maternal or paternal leave plans without their parents well meaning but irrelevant advice. Or Adult Children who don't want every interaction with their parents to be about how they should be raising their children. Even when their parents are telling them these things so the "don't repeat my mistakes". It's still intrusive, inventive advice, no matter the intent of their parents.

And we all get fatigued by the repeated offenses we make against each other. Our fuses get short and eventually one side decides the relationship needs a break to reset.

And sometimes it stays on "a break".

We see plenty on this board and others that sometimes it's the Adult Children and sometimes it's their parents that initiate the break. But they feel tremendous relief when they do.

But I do see how it's easy for all of us to label the other a "narcissist". It lets us put all the blame on the other person and leave ourselves as the victim, with no accountability for the situation we find ourselves in.

At the end of the day, who wants to be in a relationship with someone who doesn't want to be in a relationship with them? When these "breaks" turn into "cut-off" its best to move on. Find happy and healthy joy in our lives with people who want to be around us.

It's certainly not easy, but when two stubborn sides collide, it's best.

Glammy57 Mon 24-Jun-19 18:53:05

GoodMama - such wise words and I sincerely hope that others will read them and take heed.

craftyone Mon 24-Jun-19 18:53:27

That sounds very sad for you goodmama. I am lucky in that my AD still says that she loves me and wants to come and stay for a night or two. She is verbally and physically kind to me, when I see or speak to her. I have lowered my expectations because of her situation and am now happy because I accept and understand that she is wired differently. I don`t fight against it, I don`t stand my ground, I just go with the flow

GoodMama Mon 24-Jun-19 19:08:29

Craftyone, don't feel sad for me at all. I am a thoroughly happy person with a delightful life filled with bumps and hiccups like anyone else. But it's filled with love and laughter.

I was happy to read your post. That is wonderful! I think yours is a great example of what can happen when people have respectful relationships with each other and manage their own expectation. Bravo to you!

Urmstongran Mon 24-Jun-19 19:24:09

GoodMama I’m very fortunate that no one in my immediate or extended family has any experience of this situation.

However, from what I have gleaned from posts here and other similar threads, your post is stellar!

It ought to be held up as a gold standard and read by all who can relate to this estrangement.

craftyone Mon 24-Jun-19 20:50:51

good mama, you last post made me a little tearful. We all want perfection, the perfect close and loving family. It`s been a very difficult and long journey to reach the point of acceptance. There is no point in me wishing that things were different. I feel blessed and happy to be at this stage and it is certainly better than me beating my chest, having sleepless nights and wishing that things were different. It is what it is and who knows, maybe is part of the great plan, to teach me something

GoodMama Mon 24-Jun-19 21:03:24

Craftyone, if you were standing in from of me I'd give you a hug and tell you that I'm so glad you aren't beating yourself up anymore. We can all only be one half of a relationship, you can't make the other person be different. And I'm so happy you are at peace and happy, enjoying your family. You sound like a wonderful woman and I'm sending you an internet hug anyway smile

GoodMama Mon 24-Jun-19 21:07:16

Urmstongran, thank you for the kind words

Nonnie Tue 25-Jun-19 10:47:00

crafty I think you are right, there must be different levels but the one I know, who is fortunately not in my blood line, is not in anyway amenable to listening to anyone. They are always right, very manipulative, even when proof is shown they will still say they are right. There is so much more I could add but won't. I am so glad for you that your DD is not as bad.

GoodM although I agree with much of what you have said I genuinely believe that a truly narcissistic person can be so without it being anyone else's fault. Yes, there can be interference on one side or another but that is not automatically the case. I am not talking about family differences, we all have those and most of us manage to find a way through. However if one is dealing with a truly narcissistic person there is nothing one could have done differently to have prevented the situation. I do hope that those who are in this situation through no fault of their own can take comfort that they did nothing wrong.

Smileless2012 Tue 25-Jun-19 21:47:32

That certainly could be the case Bopeep narcissists tend to have a history of behaviour that includes estranging family members, so it's quite likely her children's paternal GP's were treated as you are now.

You are quite right Nonnie in that when dealing with a true narcissist, nothing you do can alter the eventual outcome. If they wish to push you out of their's and your AC's life, you're out.

Meeyoo Tue 25-Jun-19 22:18:49

GoodMama I found your post extremely insightful, thank you for your wise words ?

Starlady Wed 26-Jun-19 10:42:39

Yes, I, too, am very impressed with your post. GoodMama! I see Nonnie's and Smileless' point, also, about the "true narcissist." But I think, in some cases, these conflicts are just a matter of each person having difficulty seeing the other person's perspective.

Crafty, I'm so glad your relationship w/ AD is improving. I think you have the right attitude about lowering your expectations and accepting the relationship as it is. It is fortunate, also, that AD accepted the email about GD having a right to her GPs and is, apparently, giving it thought. Ive seen some AC/CIL on MN, etc. brush off that idea as just another tactic that GPs use to try to regain or increase access to their GC. TG, your AD took the idea to heart and has resumed contact to some degree. I hope the situation continues to improve. And hey, kudos to GD! And to AD for training her so well!

Also, I'm glad AD took your advice about her reactions to SIL to heart and didn't see it as "interfering." I realize that since she won't go for professional help, you felt you needed to step in. And I'm glad her marriage seems to have improved since then.

It seems from what you tell us that AD has difficulty w/controlling her temper. Would she consider attending anger management? (I realize you're treading carefully and might not want to make any suggestions right now.)

Ladies, I agree that it looks narcissistic when someone just keeps coming in and out of someone else' life, apparently, at will. But I wonder, sometimes, if that isn't partly a matter of wanting to try again and then finding that the same offenses are committed, causing a new rift. As GoodMama suggests, some AC/CIL may simply not have communicated their wishes clearly enough. Then again, perhaps their parents (or siblings or whoever) have chosen not to respect those wishes or have a hard time doing so. Either way, the offenses are repeated (unsolicited advice, refusal to observe parental wishes for the GC, etc.) and the AC/CIL shut down contact again.

Since I'm not estranged, perhaps I don't have a full grasp of the situation. But, IMO, if you (general) reconcile w/ someone, you need to be careful not to avoid a repeat of the scenarios that led to the original CO. NOT saying the fault is all on one side, but we each can only control our own choices. NOT saying, either, that this has anything to do w/ any of the estrangements posters here have experienced. I'm thinking more of situations like Smileless' EDIL's on-again, off-again relationship w/ her own relatives.

Nonnie Wed 26-Jun-19 11:01:02

How far should one go treading on eggshells? If you have agreed with everything they say, bought the things they ask you to and never interfered, never suggested how to bring up the GC (yes it is possible) what more can you do? If you are accused of doing things you didn't do and can prove you didn't but they don't accept the proof, what can you do? If they have cut off members of their own family and want to cut their spouse of from their family, what can you do? If they put themselves before their children, what can you do? If you have evidence that they have committed perjury, what can you do? Yes, you could give the evidence to the court but then they could get a custodial sentence so that would harm the children. Should you just sit there and let them deny their children their 'legal right to a family life'?

Meeyoo Wed 26-Jun-19 11:48:43

@Nonnie, I feel that your post could be summarised with the question 'what can you do when someone has you over a barrel'
The answer is nothing? they've got you by the short and curlies, rock and a hard place, damned if you do and damned if you don't