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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 Wed 26-Jun-19 20:17:07

Nonnie, Meyoo is right, there's nothing you can do because you really are damned if you do and damned if you don't.

The only control you have is over your own life and that is demonstrated by the decisions and choices you make. There may come a time when you decide that you will no longer be a pawn in their game. You then need to consider what price you may well have to pay and if you can afford it.

For all estranged GP's who established a real and loving relationship with their GC, I cannot imagine what it would be like to put your foot down knowing that for that one act, you may never see your GC again.

We never had that level of relationship with our eldest GC and when his brother was born, contact had already been severed. Walking away wasn't easy, we walked away from our son who we adored and a GC we barely knew. I realise that it would have been much harder if we'd developed a relationship with our GC, but I'm as sure as I can be that we'd have still made the same decision, as spending the rest of our lives, never knowing from one week to the next if we were going to see our S and GC was not the way we wanted to spend the rest of our lives.

Should we do nothing and allow our AC to deny their children, our GC their legal right to a family life? Yes, I think we should because what can we do? We never had a relationship with our GC, something that a GP has to prove in court, so court wouldn't have been an option for us anyway.

For those GP's who can prove that established relationship, they may be successful in obtaining the court's permission to see their GC but then what? What happens if the parents don't make your GC available? You have to go back to court because the reality is, if they don't want you to see your GC, it's going to be extremely difficult to make it happen.

Starlady as you say, the actions of someone jumping in and out of someones life when they feel like it, can appear to be narcissistic even though they're wanting to try again, but a narcissist isn't interested in trying again at a relationship, the only interests they have are what that relationship can do for them, and whether or not they are the most important person in that relationship. They have to be more important than their own parents, their partner, their in laws and sadly in some cases even their own children.

Everyone who doesn't give them precisely what they want, when they want it is disposable.

Starlady Wed 26-Jun-19 22:06:49

So sad, Smileless, to think there are people who see themselves as more important even than their own children. But the do exist (sigh), I suppose. I'm so sorry if your EDIL is one of them. Once again, I'm glad you and Mr. S. made a decision that has helped you get on with your lives.

I'm sure you're right that it would be harder for GPs who were already involved with the GC. IDK what I would do! I can't imagine my DGC not being in my life in some way or other though, of course, it changes as they get older. I agree that GPs have to think very carefully about the choices they make. However, if they are completely CO, they aren't really left much choice, are they? Better to get on with their lives, I imagine, than to sit and pine for the rest of their days. Very sad that these issues even exist!

Mebster Thu 27-Jun-19 02:55:03

I think entitlement must be at an all time high. These young adults have never wanted for much, faced wars on their turf or major economic depression. Many seem to view family loyalty as a burden and strictly optional. Family seems more precious to those in economically challenged countries.

Nonnie Thu 27-Jun-19 10:23:36

It is very clear that some on here really do have issues with narcissists and not just differences of opinions. Perhaps it is easy to understand those who think it could be avoided by different behaviour because, unless you have experienced it, it must be impossible to understand. I certainly had no idea that anyone behaved like this until I experienced it myself.

I think we each have to decide how far we want to push it, go to court, beg or whatever.

Fast forward several years and what will happen? Will the GC behave in the same way as their parents? If they have not been allowed contact with their GPs will they see a need for their children to have GPs? Will the tables be turned? I think some of these narcissist are so deluded that they think they are perfect and that it couldn't happen to them.

Those of us with property and savings may see a change when the AC realise that their behaviour may have cut them out of our wills. Many of us will have chosen to leave everything to other members of the family. It would be understandable if we did.

Starlady Thu 27-Jun-19 12:46:49

"Fast forward several years and what will happen? Will the GC behave in the same way as their parents? If they have not been allowed contact with their GPs will they see a need for their children to have GPs? Will the tables be turned? I think some of these narcissist are so deluded that they think they are perfect and that it couldn't happen to them."

Once on MN, I saw a poster ask some young parents this question. They all said it wouldn't happen to them b/c they would respect their AC's boundaries, etc. Some enumerated the "offenses" they wouldn't commit - giving unsolicited advice, questioning their AC's and CIL's decisions, coming over unannounced, breaking their AC's/CIL's rules for their kids, etc. And a few said that if they did break these boundaries, they hope their AC/CIL would cut them off.

What many of them don't realize, IMO, is that their kids may have issues that are different than theirs. There may be things that are acceptable to their generation, that won't be acceptable to the next. So they may find themselves crossing boundaries they didn't know existed and being shocked and bewildered at their AC's/CIL's negative reaction. For those who said they would expect their AC/CIL to go NC if they continually crossed their boundaries, well, that's easy to say now, but they don't know how they would actually feel if it happened to them.

Starlady Thu 27-Jun-19 12:57:16

When I say "they may find themselves crossing boundaries they didn't know existed," I'm thinking of those GPs today who got CO for things they thought were "normal." Ive seen where some people come from places or families where it is common to drop in on each other, so they didn't understand when AC or CIL objected to their coming over unannounced. And I know plenty of people, including me, who didn't like unsolicited advice from their parents or PILs, but who still thought it was normal for parents/PILs to do that and so did the same w/ their AC/CIL when they thought it was called for. I picked up the clue that this wouldn't be tolerated when DD first called me out on doing that, but some parents/GPs persist, thinking that, in the end, it will be ok. These are the reasons I'm thinking that when their AC grow up and have families, today's young parents may do somethings they think are normal but that their AC/CIL object to. IDK how many of them foresee that.

That's another reason I think that if things can't be resolved, the parents should lower contact, rather than go totally NC. At least, that way, the GPs still see their AC and GC, even if not as much as they want. These young parents need to realize they're setting an example that may affect them in the future.

Meeyoo Thu 27-Jun-19 13:01:39

So they may find themselves crossing boundaries they didn't know existed
I think you hit the nail on the head there!

Meeyoo Thu 27-Jun-19 13:04:39

I also agree that some sort of low contact strategy is always a better option, however it does take quite a lot of discipline to not get drawn into the same old conflicts, it almost seems as if people take a scorched earth /take no prisoners approach to the problem because they just can't be bothered to do the hard work of restraining themselves or standing back and trying to see the problem from all sides

GoodMama Thu 27-Jun-19 15:42:38

This is an interesting discussion.

I think what we hear adult children say isn’t that their parents are oblivious to new parenting ways or new social norms.

But that even after the adult children explain or make requests to set a path forward in a relationship with their parents they continue to disregard those boundaries or simple asks.

It’s the repeated refusal to accept their adult children as adults with the authority over their own lives, even if it’s not what their parents want.

There is a common theme among some posts. This idea that parents have been “cut off from their adult children (and it seems sometimes more importantly, grandchildren) due to no fault of their own” that seems at be unhealthy.

There are wonderful examples on this board of people who have changed their ways and realized that their expectations and wants are their own, and that their adult children aren’t required to bend to their will.

They now have wonderful and fulfilling relationships with their adult children, even if they secretly wish there was more contact, they had more influence, more say in their adult children and grandchildren's lives. But they’ve learned to bite their tongues for the bigger picture.

I have the upmost respect for those posters. It’s not easy to do, but it shows grace and humility that is admirable.

GoodMama Thu 27-Jun-19 16:02:25

The idea of “family loyalty” that we see on here is a bit misguided.

Growing up, the nuclear family should have loyalty to one another.

But when adult children get married all of those priorities shift, as they should.

A wedding ceremony (Christian or tradition western) is very symbolic.

Two individuals come tigger with their nuclear family. However, during the ceremony the two individuals promise before the State and/or God to forsake all others for each other. So stand beside one another through all good times and bad.

They agree to stand beside each other. All others are now “others”.

They agree to form a new family that stands all on its own. Sure, it was ties to extended relatives who were previously in their nuclear family. But they just formed a new and independent family with each other.

Then, they hold hands and as a new united family wall away from their previous nuclear family.

It’s a powerful ceremony.

People identify mention “gaining a son or daughter” or “joining of two families”. These are lovely thoughts, but that’s not what is happening.

We didn’t witness a new member join our family, to fall under our domain and join in our traditions.

We witnessed the creation of a family, who will create their own traditions and live outside our circle.

Yes, we still love and support one another. Wish the best for each other. We celebrate together, we mourn together. We are a large extended family that includes many people and continues to grow.

But, those two people are a separate family unit within a larger extended family group.

Their loyalty is with each other. Just as when our adult children leave the nest our loyalty and focus should turn to our spouse. They are our partner. Our person to enjoy and put before all others. Our adult children are off doing the same.

GoodMama Thu 27-Jun-19 16:09:06

Apologies for the typos, hopefully it’s not too distracting.

FarNorth Thu 27-Jun-19 16:22:33

There's a thread on Mumsnet just now about things narcissists have said :

Many of the awful-sounding people described are parents. No doubt those parents would claim that they have done nothing wrong and that their adult child is the unreasonable one.

Here is just one quote from the thread :
When I lost my baby at 12 weeks my mum said
“I know you tend to clam up and not talk about things but you probably shouldn’t in this case, but don’t talk to me about it because I find it upsetting”

FarNorth Thu 27-Jun-19 16:51:01

Excellent posts GoodMama.

Summerlove Thu 27-Jun-19 17:10:13

@farnorth, that poor mother experiencing her loss, and her mother being no support!!

@goodmama, I think you’ve made some very valid points

Nonnie Thu 27-Jun-19 17:20:52

I simply don't recognise this situation "the "offenses" they wouldn't commit - giving unsolicited advice, questioning their AC's and CIL's decisions, coming over unannounced, breaking their AC's/CIL's rules for their kids, etc". Do many GPs do this? I certainly never have.

One of my dils lives a long way away, when she was getting married she sent me a photo of her dress so I was included in the arrangements but I had to promise not to show anyone else. When the first child arrived we were invited over and we stayed with her mum because the baby was very new. I could see she struggled to hand him to me, not because I did anything wrong but because she didn't want anyone to hold him. I gave him back quite quickly after saying all the things you would expect.

As time has moved on she has become far more relaxed and totally trusts me on the 5 or 6 times a year we go to them or they come to us. She is very outspoken but polite. If I am not doing something the way she would do it she simply tells me and I do it her way. If asked I give advice but always explain that ideas may be different now. We have a great relationship and I wouldn't have it any other way. I dislike the idea that it is always the fault of the GP, surely there could be fault on either or both sides? Some of us are very good GPs, not all do what has been suggested on this thread and not all deserve what has happened.

GoodMama Thu 27-Jun-19 17:32:42


"She is very outspoken but polite. If I am not doing something the way she would do it she simply tells me and I do it her way. If asked I give advice but always explain that ideas may be different now. We have a great relationship and I wouldn't have it any other way. "

This is wonderful! Kuddos to you and her for your respectful relationship. Unfortunately, as you would see from some of those MN posts, not all GP behave this way. They could learn a thing or two from you!

Nonnie Fri 28-Jun-19 10:54:19

But GoodM I think most of us are like that surely? I just don't recognise the interfering GPs so often mentioned as none of my friends appear to be like that. Most of us help out where we can but know when to not say anything. Many on here give a lot of time helping with childcare which I would if they lived nearer. They don't but her mum does and she helps out. She also keeps in touch with me and sends videos of the children. We are good friends and she comes to us for holidays without the rest of the family. It feels like both families have become extended family. Why would anyone want to change that?

Starlady Fri 28-Jun-19 12:14:28

Lots of good points, GoodMama!

Love your explanation about weddings! I think there are some cultures where a marriage is seen as "joining two families" (not sure). But I agree that in Western tradition, it doesn't quite work that way, even if people sometimes say it.

FarNorth, what a sad story! And if the young woman tends to clam up, I can see why.

Nonnie, you sound like a wonderful MIL! No wonder, you have a "great relationship" with your DIL.

I didn't mean to suggest that all GPs commit those "offenses" or even that many do. It's just that these are the transgressions the young parents in that MN conversation were complaining about and what they said they wouldn't do. I'm sure family rifts are not always the GPs' fault. No doubt, sometimes the young parents are to blame (as I've often read, a "bad MIL" was probably once a "bad DIL"). In fact, I'm certain that in some cases, there's fault all around.

March Fri 28-Jun-19 13:11:38

Nonnie, you sound like a dream!

You described your DIL as a friend and you have a great relationship with her. That is so lovley. No wonder she trusts you, you have proved time and time again that she can trust you.
You haven't demanded anything, you take her advice on board, you value her as a mum and you listen to her.
You sound like your genuinely care about the girl and her feelings.

I've said this before, It's the build up to the grandchildren I found is where it went extremely wrong for us.

It was already rocky between DH and his Mum but it really did ramp up when I was pregnant and when DD was a newborn. It's those first few days/weeks that are very important as a new parent, you need time and help not bad feelings and arguments.

Had she of acted like you, things would be very different now. It's so sad how things can turn out.

March Fri 28-Jun-19 13:14:04

This is just my view on our situation and how things deteriorated with us. I'm not saying it's like this for everyone thanks

Nonnie Fri 28-Jun-19 15:29:57

I really don't think I am much different to any other GP, surely? It does take compromise on both sides but so simple when you recognise that it is their family. Perhaps it helps that I never phone any of them as they have such busy lives and I leave it to them to contact me, they do. I simply message them if there is anything to say or do and they can choose when they open the message.

My other son & dil live quite close but have no children so it is a different relationship but still close. She trusts me to help if she needs it and I know she would help me if I needed it. We recently went to a show together and had a great time, just the two of us.

I just don't understand how reasonable people can't work towards good relationships, just use common sense. That is why it is difficult to understand the person who is making our lives hell is not reasonable.

FarNorth Fri 28-Jun-19 18:39:09

I really don't think I am much different to any other GP, surely?

How would you know?

I recently commented to a friend that a grandparent wouldn't give a child sweets before dinner if they knew the parents would be unhappy about it.
I expected her to agree.
She put on a hurt face and said "Ooh, I like to do those things."

Luckily for her, her family treats her as a bit of an eccentric rather than getting annoyed.

March Fri 28-Jun-19 21:26:12

I really don't think I am much different to any other GP, surely?'

I can't speak for every other grandparent. I dont think it matters about the 'grandparent' title. I think its just down to the person, but my MIL asked her son if he was sure the baby was his, discussed my personal medical information with all of my step FILs side, started an argument with us when I was in labour, complained that once a week seeing her wasn't enough, complained that she shouldn't have to 'book an appointment' with him and we should be available whenever she wants to see DD and made DD ill by smoking around her. I could go on really.
Whatever happened, it wasnt good enough and it what she what she wanted so she would complain about me to her son. That went down like a lead balloon.

She doesnt tell people those parts though. Just that I'm controlling and DH is in a controlling marriage.
That's why she doesn't see him and her grandchildren. It's all me.

I don't know if she's a narcissist but I've never met anyone like her before. She's utterly exhausting.

Some people just aren't reasonable.

Meeyoo Fri 28-Jun-19 22:07:13

"Ooh, I like to do those things."
Crikey was she saying that she likes doing things that she knows the child's parents don't want her to do, or in other words she likes undermining the authority of the parents?

Summerlove Fri 28-Jun-19 22:37:05

Nonnie, Not every grandparent is able to give up and except that they aren’t the active parent of a small child anymore. They aren’t able to accept that new parents Doing things differently isn’t a slight to them.