Sadly a narcissist will use their own children, and there are lots of ways they do this. As you might already know, they know how much those children mean to you. So they’ll happily use them to manipulate you, to hurt you and upset you any way they can. Which also hurts the children. First, learn not to let the narcissist know it has bothered you. They know the children are what you will most passionately stick up for and defend, why they play these hideous games with their own children, and it’s extremely hard at first not to react. They might up their games when they don’t get reactions from you. They may find someone else to hurt. Stick with no reaction. It gets easier once we understand that’s all they want and start to focus less on them and their games and focus more on ourselves and our children.
So why do they have children? Parental alienation. What effects do they have on children? What do they see children as? Some of the manipulations they do, and what can you do to protect yourself and the children?
Why does a narcissist have children?
Narcissists like to repackage their trauma and shame as a false dreams.
Having a child to a narcissist is a
1. A self-serving illusion.
2. A feel-good redemption story about themselves.
3. Recasting themselves into victim mode, when the other parent will not let them see the child or hero mode as they saved the child from the crazy parent.
4. Creates, for a short time, a distance of the brokenness within themselves. This can not last for them as they can not heal their inner selves.
5. Partners often stay way longer than they should because of their beliefs about a child’s family unit.
6. Good men and women find it harder to leave as they want children to have both parents.
7. They can try to use the children in any way they can to keep control of the other parent.
The narcissists do believe and behave as they want to. They will happily go around ignoring rules and don’t think they have to abide by them. They will never accept blame. Rarely apologising, the only time they will offer a False Apology is if they want something from you or they are Hoovering you. They will not help in any scenario, be it work or home. They love Making promises and then breaking commitments and agreements. Failing to pay in respect of obligations such as bills, They have grand ideas and make great plans with you and the children but rarely act on these, often blaming you or denying making these arrangements, repeatedly lying to maintain the avoidance of accountability of those challenging them. The only way to beat them is to remove them from your life. This is somewhat impossible when it comes to having children together.
Now, this is Most commonly know as one parent not letting the other parent see the child, which yes, I agree narcissistic mums and narcissistic dads can do this as a weapon, unfortunately, a lot of good mums and good dads that have woken from the spell a narcissist put them under and sees the damage caused to a child’s mind gets accused of alienation when they are trying to protect children, often the children have anxiety or depression, and this is usually blamed on the parent who is deemed to be alienating, now if the parent who is alienating is toxic this could be true, most often though once the child no longer sees the narcissist and the parent recovers children do so much better. Sam Vaknin claims children should not be around these people.
Yes, someone without Empathy is or can be extremely dangerous. A true narcissist can be extremely dangerous, not only mentally but also physically, so follow whatever you believe is in the best interest of your child. If you think Contact is unsafe, it’s unsafe. It’s on a spectrum though so, be careful which way you go.
Genuine mums and dads often feel extreme Guilt, cutting contact, even though they know it’s best, it’s hard to do, and especially when others do not see. A child is better off with one genuine parent, they are not better with an abusive parent.
Now men and women can up and leave their children, then claim they didn’t, they only left the child’s mum or dad, often a narcissist has jumped straight into a new relationship and expects children to adapt, this isn’t true children don’t merely adapt, children hurt and question what they did, for there mum or dad to leave, they question what they could change about their own behaviour, so that mummy or daddy would live with them, children have to heal from the trauma and the pain also, young or old, we are all human with thoughts, emotions and feelings, as the child’s parent who was left hurts so does the child, now if you’ve been Abused you need to leave and do whatever you can to leave with the children.
If you’re a man or a women and you leave the family home for a new family, you left your children for a new partner, and the children feel this. They both feel abandoned. Yes, genuine people do make this mistake, and they do all they can to help the children through. Those genuine people tend to see and wish they’ve done it differently afterwards, so just because a man or a woman leaves, it doesn’t make them narcissists. If they were abusive too mentally or physically, they most likely are.
Relationships can break down, those with empathy will do their best to damage control, and do their best for all parties feelings to be hurt as little as possible, and to support everyone through, those without empathy will not care for how the parent or child feels as they have no empathy to care genuinely, they will run mass Smear campaigns and do all they can to keep twisting the knife in the healthy parents back, to make them look unhinged and like the bad one, the crazy one, they will play the victim or the hero, but never the villain.
To me, there is paternal alienation and maternal alienation when the other parent wasn’t abusive. Yet, the narcissists are no longer allowing the children to see them or talking toxic negative words to the children, to alienate and distort the child’s mind, to divide and conquer, with no care or thought to the effects it has on the child’s mental health, someone who’s abusive often has little to no empathy, therefore they will not put children’s needs first, yes if you are been abused, leaving is putting you and your children first if two healthy parents separate they will still try to support each other for the children to learn how people treat people, yes to start might be hard especially if one didn’t want it to end, they would eventually find a way.
Emotional and phycological damage that the narcissistic parents cause their own child. It is horrendous, heartbreaking, gut-wrenching and overwhelming. It’s unbearable at times for the parent trying to do their best for themselves and the children.
What narcissistic parents see children as and the problems they cause.
Narcissistic parents see their children as a possession, and most will plot and plan any way they can to get control of their children’s minds.
The narcissist sees all others as an extension of themselves, including their own children.
If the children are seen as attractive to the narcissist or have a gift (all children are gifted.), but a gift that the narcissist values, that the narcissist can use to make themselves look better.
Narcissists actually believe that they are an excellent parents, those that stick around to counter-parent. They don’t see how the letdowns or the negative talk has negative effects on the child. They really believe they are a great parent. They believe the other parent is at fault. Their lack of Reflection, and lack of guilt or remorse, means they never see any part they played. Most genuine believe the other parent is at fault, so if you’ve ever questioned yourself, have the empathy to care for others, find it difficult to understand what the best thing to do, then when you follow your instincts feel guilty, you are not the narcissist.
Narcissists will go all out in the smear campaign to all those around them, including the children, about the healthy parent. Some of these parents are isolated from friends and family because of the narcissist, making it even tougher.
The narcissist will step up their games, through the children, through mediation and through family court, in order to win the children at all costs.
The narcissist will blame the caring parent for the relationship break down to the child.
The Narcissist wants the child to doubt the other parent, so the child goes to the narcissist for a reality check.
The narcissist might just say straight out, “Your parent is mean.” Or “They are lazy.” Or “You don’t have to listen to their regimented rules live with me.” They will repeat these things to get the seeds of doubt and the thoughts planted to remain in the children’s heads. They will Gaslight their own children.
They may play inappropriate songs on repeat to the children.
They may threaten or phone social services, child protection on the healthy parent.
They will often give the children no boundaries or rules, telling the children. “I know it’s boring with your other parent, and I’ll make it exciting when you back with me.”
If the child mentions the other parent to the narcissist, the narcissist will shut the child down, “We don’t need to discuss that.” Or ”That’s not important.” Or they might just roll their eyes at the child.
If the children choose to spend too much time with the healthy parent, the narcissist will use silent treatment on the child to make the child feel bad.
Narcissistic parents traits leave trauma within the child.
The grandiose parents can leave the child feeling that they just cannot do anything right.
The entitlement of the parent can leave the child to feel like they are not important. The child can learn to place their needs below all others.
The Vanity in the parent can leave the child feeling like they are just a trophy, always feeling like they have to be perfect at something to be liked by others.
The Selfishness in the parent can leave the child feeling that their needs are always ignored.
No empathy in the parent can leave the child always feeling misunderstood, not wanting to speak of their feelings with others, as they often were dismissed or invalidated by the narcissistic parent.
The Competition the parent creates can leave a child always feeling that they are never enough, then the child can do very little as they don’t feel enough or overextend themselves to feel good enough.
The manipulation from the parent can lead the child to you walking on eggshells, not only around the narcissist, around others too, not knowing who they can trust.
Children can learn they have to be a certain way, to get affection from the narcissist. The children can then feel and learn they have to lie about certain things or keep secrets about things. The children can develop anxieties and depression, may self-harm, struggle with their emotions. The child may then learn to play the parents off against each other as they grow older. They can struggle through adulthood and if it’s not dealt with correctly. In childhood, they may struggle to regulate their emotions.
Narcissists do find children an inconvenience a lot of the time, so they’ll either never see the children, yet all blame will be laid at the other parent’s door for not allowing them to see them. They use the children for their own gains of the grand story’s. They tell others about what a great parent they are, how amazing the children are. They will pick them up when convenient or needed and drop them when not. They will happily, with no shame, use them to get their next partner drawn into the lies. By showing others what a great parent they are, but these people only get a glimpse, plus narcissists are great storytellers and liars to others, they are so great because they often believe the lies they tell within themselves. The link at the bottom is about why they believe their own lies. If you have more than one child, narcissists will usually have one as the golden child. The golden child usually naturally conforms to the narcissist demands. They are still affected as when they don’t conform. They receive cruelty, criticism and silent treatment until they learn how not to go against the parent. They give up their authentic self to please the parent. This can lead for an already timid, quiet, scared individual to be extremely confused—not trusting others yet trusting the narcissist parent while questioning everything and everyone in the world.
The scapegoat child is usually more strong-willed and willing to challenge the narcissist parent, which angers the parent. They receive the same cruelty, criticism and silent treatment as the golden child yet more often. Because the scapegoat is blamed continuously in childhood because they have more adversity in childhood, they often find the inner strength a lot sooner. This inner strength often helps them distance themselves from the parent a lot sooner—link about scapegoat children at the bottom.
The narcissist will teach the child to question themselves about themselves and about you, so avoid white lies. Think before you speak and try to always stick to your word, something a narcissist struggles with. Explain your actions if they differed from your comments.
Parenting with a narcissist.
Sometimes you can parallel parent, hold your head high, do the children’s handovers meeting together, ignore the narcissist’s toxic words. If possible, have someone present on child handovers, even recording what’s said and done.
Sometimes other safeguarding issues are in place, so you have to drop off and collect children in a busy place.
Sometimes, bigger safeguarding issue arises, where the children have to visit the other parent with a safe person always around.
Sometimes, safeguarding issues are that big. They can only see the other parent in a contact centre.
Sometimes the safeguarding issues are that big, and the children simply can not see the other parent as it’s too dangerous.
Then the extreme cases where you have to move miles away.
Whichever contact or no contact you and the children have with the other parent is OK. Although all narcissists have similar traits, they all have different levels of manipulation and violence.
Whatever your personal situation, keep as much as possible in writing from the start. In case the children need to see this when they are older, be prepared for an upsetting deep heart to heart with the children when they ask, just give age-appropriate answers.
One thing that is the same in all of these situations is the narcissist will never see it as being a problem caused by them. They will lay all the blame on you. They will twist it all around on you, to your face and behind your back.
Limited contact within a routine, the less time they spend with the narcissist, the more time the children’s brain can think clearly for themselves. Routine. Exact day of the week. Every week. Or same evening if it’s a Monday, stick with Monday every week. Exact time allowing for traffic delays. If the narcissist is a no show, that is the narcissist’s problem and is, in fact, a blessing on your children if they don’t arrive at time arranged tough that again is the narcissist problem. You’re doing nothing wrong. In fact, stability and routine is a must for children with a narcissistic parent. It’s hard with everything that the narcissist is throwing at you and your children. Just remember, one-word answers towards the narcissist with no emotion if they ask to pick up another day if it suits you and the children then say yes, if not it’s a “no” and if they tell you ” the children are here on days arranged.” Or “you are keeping my child from me” if you must respond using their own words against them, it confuses them when you don’t react. “ that’s interesting “ or “ sorry you feel that way” or “ why would you think that” if you have to re-answer. Stick with these same answers. The narcissist hates routine and loves messing everyone around. No need to explain yourself more than once to the narcissist as you’ve more than likely done this countless times and it’s all fallen on deaf ears. With their cognitive Distortions, I shall link this at the bottom to explain more. They will twist things around and try to take you off-topic, so explain once and leave it, after giving them a chance after chance to pick up the children on their days. From time to time, they may act like they love and care about the children. This is only if it’s to the narcissist advantage. Don’t be fooled; they do not change, and they always resort back to their manipulative ways. The narcissist only loves and cares for themselves instead of wasting your breath on the narcissist. Turn it into a positive with your children. Yes, this is hard, but it can be linked to why they argue at the bottom.
You may find they want to start doing the school run with a narcissist. This will be so they can get into a relationship with one of the other parents up there. Worse, the teacher. The narcissist is always looking at what they can gain control over with no thought to how it affects others.
Remember, the narcissist is looking to win the child round at the moment. You need to look at the end game. They may have made the children say stuff to you like “ it’s all your fault”, or the children may blame themselves. Simply let the children know, “ it’s not mummy’s fault, it’s not daddy’s fault, and it’s definitely not your fault sometimes in life things don’t work out. So look for the positive and move forward.” Re-enforce that whenever needed. Find that positive and tell them one, which can be hard, and you might have to say it through gritted teeth.
If the narcissist has moved in with someone new and the children are finding it hard to say things like “ you don’t have to like them straight away, you don’t have to like or love them even if you don’t want to, but you must respect the new persons.” And perhaps “ it’s ok you’ve just got more people to love you and look out for you” Or “ just show respect if nothing else. It’s hard now, but you may grow to really like them. If not when you are older, it’s your choice too if you spend time with them” it’s all about you being positive at the moment with everything you say and do with your children. Making sure your actions match your words. As children listen to both, as they grow, they will see for themselves. That is because you’ve to surround them with positive love and care. Something the narcissist cannot do. They will know who was truly around for them, and it will be ok. You may have lost something in the moment with what the narcissist had said, but you and your child will win in the end. Do not slate the narcissist to the child, and the child will be dealing with enough of this from the narcissist.
For you, if they did straight in with someone new, it can hit your emotions hard, and this is normal. Remember, no one falls in love faster than a narcissist that needs somewhere to live. This is not love. This is using people for their own gain. It can be extremely hurtful and hard on you at first if the children come home really liking the new partner. Remember, no one can replace you. The children love you. They have more people to love them and hopefully one good role model when they are with the narcissist.
They will talk to the children In Very manipulative ways, asking questing about you, planting seeds. The children will often come back different and Throw everything at you. They may be stressed or agitated. This is actually a Positive. No, not that your children are acting that way. But look for the positive. Your children feel safe, secure and loved enough with you to let it all out. Let them let it all out. They need to get it out, “ ask what’s bothering them”, let them know if they don’t want to talk now, it’s ok. Do not put your words into the children’s heads. This can be hard and frustrating. As the narcissist is doing this to them, they need to learn they have one parent that will listen, and they don’t doubt that reliable parent. Then find something to bring them back out of that mindset, watch something funny, read a funny book etc. Whatever you and your children enjoy.
You need to accept that right now, and your child might not be able to see who you are clearly and who the other parent is. Just love them, accept them and be there for them. It will slowly become clearer to them. The truth always out itself. As you know from being in a relationship with a narcissist, it just takes time.
Limited contact is the best approach if safeguarding is too significant, no contact.
The narcissist may suddenly get involved with what school the child goes to. Yes, look into the school. Don’t just say no because it’s what the narcissist wants if you’ve already looked into the school and don’t like it. Then yes, it’s a no. If not, go in with an open mind. You know and care about your child, and you know what’s suitable. They do not. So stick with your choice. They may want their children to do activities with them. I believe that’s good as they can not directly speak one-on-one while at the activity, although they might use these to put the children down when they don’t play how the Narcissist wanted them to. All because this is an embarrassment to the narcissist. The only way for you to counteract this is by making sure you also take them. ( not you and the narcissist take together, you take one week the narcissist the next, or they do an activity on a Monday, you do one on a Friday. When you take them, tell them how proud you are. Really lift their spirits when you go. Do not mention if they play bad, because of the narcissist the child might mention it to you then go with “ oh I didn’t notice that because of how well you did this, well if you think you made a mistake, that’s fine, we all make them don’t worry about it for too long, instead think what you could do within yourself to improve you for you. Could you practice more? I think you did amazing and it’s great quality and to know your own strengths and weaknesses. Just make sure you remember what you did well, and don’t let others put you down for what you didn’t do so well. That’s for you and you only to work on.”
If you were going away with the child or days out, the narcissist would resent this as they try to stop you from having anything fun in your life. They might say to the child things like, “ you can not go on holiday and leave me. I’ll be lonely. Why don’t you tell the other parent you don’t want to go” I’ve had something along those lines. What I’ve learnt is don’t tell them. Don’t let them know. Just do it or tell them once you know the child will not see them again before you go “ booked a holiday we go in Sunday so kids will not be with you this Monday” leave it there. The kids will travel with a clear head and enjoy.
Keep all communication via email or messages.
If they drag you to mediation or court, this is why it’s vital you do as much communication about contact via messenger or email, including the ones where you explained why and given them chances. Because the first thing they do is twist everything they do onto you. Then you can simply hand over the written evidence and watch the narcissist squirm. This is great if you’re finding communication too difficult.
Also, remain calm and polite in your response. Remember, when you use these as evidence, they’ll look at both sides of those messages. Don’t panic. Most of us have sent some reaction ones; now is the time to learn not to react and just to respond.
Your children. Children can and will thrive with the unconditional love of one stable parent. Eventually, they will grow up and know the difference between a narcissistic personality and another personalities. Surround yourself and your children with as many positive people as you can to counteract the mental abuse.
How to help yourself.
One strong, happy, safe, loving parent is enough for your children to grow up happy and secure.
Working on a happier you, your self-love and your self-esteem each and every day, focus on where you’d like to be one year from now and take those steps to make your new dreams your new reality.
Keep everything recorded for when the children are old enough to understand. Stick to facts. Do not fight fire with fire. Put it out by blaming no one to your child. Explain it’s no one person fault. Things happen, and people just don’t get on all the time. You’re the child. We realise this is our own time.
Try to keep your mind busy, If they see the other parent or not. Try new things with your children. Stay positive, stay happy.
Stick with your boundaries, and narcissists love to take these down. Stick to them.
Call authorities each and every time they threaten you, get restraining orders, non-molestation orders
If they don’t see the other parent, and you don’t have much family around, join support groups, join toddler groups, connect with others for you and your children, if they are older, dancing or martial arts, tennis, football, soccer, hockey, team sports are good so they can make new friends, as can you with other parents.
If possible, try to find time for yourself to relax or do the things you love to do for yourself.
They to get enough rest and sleep.
Find your sense of humour, truly it helps.
Find support, friends, family members, people who’ve lived it.
The narcissist only ever puts themselves first.
Some are dangerous, be careful.
Boundaries and routines are best. Stick to them. That can be very hard when dealing with idiots, and you might like most have your moments of taking a step backwards, just go again.
When they come at you, hang up the phone, close the door. Saying No. do not let them in your home. Retreat, rethink and only respond if you need to do so.
Keep communication by messages or email.
Also, as the children get older, if they need to see if they can.
Teach your children to put themselves in other’s shoes and teach them empathy.
Teach them if something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.
Focus on creating a new happier life for you and your children. Take the steps each day, you can, and you will.
Get as much support from those around you as you possibly can, get a child psychologist in for the children if needed, keep communication via messages and email means. If they take you to mediation or court, you have written evidence. Do not let the ex know you have. Keep a backup record if needed. Records need to be kept, excellent ones and consistent, with dates and times, the good if there is any and the bad.
Why do they always think they are right.
Why they argue.
Scapegoat and golden child
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Elizabeth Shaw is not a Doctor or a therapist. She is a mother of five, a blogger, a survivor of narcissistic abuse, and a life coach, She always recommends you get the support you feel comfortable and happy with. Finding the right support for you. Elizabeth has partnered with BetterHelp (Sponsored.) where you will be matched with a licensed councillor, who specialises in recovery from this kind of abuse.