Sunday, September 27, 2015

Possible responses to child abuse by a narcissist

Possible responses to child abuse by a narcissist



In a prior post...I noted that the three major possible responses to the abuse a child suffers at the hands of a narcissist include:


  • Giving UP: Responding with Anger and Rebellion
  • Giving IN: Responding by Creation of a "Mask"
  • Still Trying: Responding with deep pain, withdrawal with poor self-esteem, highly stressed, depressed, people pleasing behavior

I am certain that there are all levels of responses that fall between, around and outside of these three major categories. Even so, I think that these are the MAJOR groupings of common responses.

These groupings are what lead me to believe that the Golden child, the one most likely to give in and create a MASK...is also the most likely to become a Narcissist in the end. This is MY OPINION and I have not seen this documented in literature or research. 

To me...it is simply a logical belief...but it is still my opinion.

Of course....an abused child can SWITCH responses over time and based upon the progression of the situation. I guess I consider these the three most logical, INITIAL RESPONSES.

In many ways, these are also the responses common in abused spouses and partners of a narcissist as well. The main difference is that we, as adults when we began our odyssey into the demented world of the narc... already HAD the basis of our personality and self-perception intact. Whether that was a GOOD basis or a SHITTY basis...it was there PRIOR to the entrance of the N. Some people have already suffered Narcissistic abuse at the hands of a parent or other family member. Others have never run into a narcissist before.

If you are the child of a narc (or narcs) or if you are a survivor who shares children with a narc...you must recognized that the abuse is affecting you (or them) much more PROFOUNDLY. You have grown up seeing this abuse as somewhat "normal". Even if you have made much progress in getting over the earlier abuse, childhood memories/experiences are difficult to erase completely.

Regardless of how bad, evil, demented, delusional, selfish or just plain MEAN a child's parent(s) may be...the child loves them, believes the best about them, believes that they are correct and deeply longs for their approval and love. 

We all seek VALIDATION from the people in our lives who are supposed to LOVE us...those we depend upon to take CARE of us...those we are FORCED to trust. When you are the child of a narcissist abuser(s) you have no one else to turn to...you cannot escape...at least until you have grown up. As a matter of self preservation, you must create a way of dealing with the abuse. 

A way to SURVIVE!

A direct realization that this person (these people) are NOT invested in us...that they do not love us...that they cannot be trusted...cannot be COUNTED UPON...would be intolerable to a small child
It would leave them ALONE and WITHOUT protection and that is simply too scary to be brought into conscious thought. Since a young child has no choice but to remain with the abuser (abusers) in most cases...the only other choice is to find a way to SURVIVE WITH THEM!

Children do not have the freedom to "walk out" and establish a new life...they do not have the resources or support in doing this. 

ALL SYSTEMS, justice, court, school, church, family, friends, medical and any other system you can name is GEARED toward the belief that the PARENT LOVES THE CHILD, WOULD NEVER HARM THE CHILD PURPOSELY and they choose to believe (and side with) the parent, when faced with a child who is struggling or trying to communicate abuses.

At each turn, and in each setting, the child is told to OBEY the parent who is given, often erroneously, the benefit of every doubt. 

"Well, Johnny, you KNOW your Mother loves you...right? She would never do anything to purposely hurt you. Sometimes we just have to understand that our parents know what is right and, as children, we simply have to trust them and do what they tell us. You will understand when you get older!"

If ONLY that was always true! As we know...it isn't!

When faced with an entire society, and a group of systems, that is CHOOSING to live in this type of make believe world of bunny rabbits, rainbows and running horses...a child is less than powerless. It is very nearly a conspiracy that is being perpetrated on our youth and is likely one cause of the increasing aggression we are seeing in them. Nearly no adult you know would tell a child to trust all people who "seem to be nice" and most adults would NOT venture to say that "Most strangers really DO have your best interests at heart"! We do not even blindly tell our children to TRUST everyone who is a police officer...or to blindly follow the instructions of a teacher...even when they feel uncomfortable. BUT...our children are told, EVERY DAY, that their parents are above reproach or question...are never self-serving...and do ONLY what is in the child's best interest. 

In this way, SOCIETY ITSELF, perpetrates GAS-LIGHTING of our children and makes them powerless to resist and powerless to protect themselves psychologically.

The continued refusal of our society to open its EYES to the reality of the situation is leaving our children abandoned and terrified..with no real option except to keep trying, give up or give in.

The THREE OPTIONS.

Keep Trying....
The choice to keep trying to win approval and love of a P/S/N is a frustrating and very PAINFUL choice. Especially so when the child begins to UNDERSTAND that this is NEVER going to happen...not EVER. 

The child does not BEGIN by assuming that it will never happen because there is something wrong with the PARENT(s)! NO! The CHILD assumes that it will not happen because of some internal DEFECT in them! So they keep trying to get blood from a turnip...keep trying to "be good", keep trying to make good grades, be responsible, clean the house, be polite....trying to do WHATEVER they think MAY make them more acceptable to the P/S/N (s). 

Most children go through this stage for some period of time....for some it is temporary...for others it becomes a way of life that persists into adulthood.

Giving Up...
If the realization of this is complete...even though there is still the delusion of self blame....and once the child realizes that NOTHING CAN CHANGE the fact that they are too substandard, too damaged, too ugly, too UNACCEPTABLE to EVER gain the love, support and respect of the parent(s)...
a portion will find it impossible to continue to try when they cannot possibly succeed. Because they still place the blame for this failure (although it can be subconsciously)  squarely on THEMSELVES, they become angry and rebellious. 

They Give UP!

They may often have "verbal tirades" about the issue being WITH THE PARENTS...but INTERNALLY, they still feel that if they had been better, smarter, more handsome, neater...less DEFECTIVE...the P/S/N would have loved them and valued them.

They have DAILY, CONSTANT and OBVIOUS CONFIRMATION of this truth in the form of the Golden Child! 

Let's face it...it is hard to buy that the P/S/N is INCAPABLE of love and caring for ANYONE when they so OBVIOUSLY love and care about the Golden Child!

With this evidence in constant view...it is impossible to believe that the problem lies with the parent! 

Who does that leave then?

The blame must be placed, either upon the Golden Child...or upon the self. There is no other option.

Continued abuse has shown this child that it is UNSAFE to express (or EVEN FEEL) anger at the P/S/N...so where does the anger get directed? Toward the Golden Child, toward the other parent (if there is one who is not a P/S/N), toward society in general or INWARD toward the self. 

Eventually, as they grow...they begin to see where the anger REALLY belongs...but this may take decades and may NEVER happen.

These internalized feelings of fear, rage and injustice persist into adulthood. As adults, we attempt to normalize these feelings as being rational...due to the abuses we suffered at the hands of the P/S/N and, often, at the hands of the Golden Child. This is one hurdle of recovery that many never get over if they were in a family with a Golden Child...and it was NOT them. 

Many never get past the work of realizing that the Golden Child is often the most HIDEOUSLY abused of all the children.

When adults look back at childhood, despite their best efforts to do so with the adult mind....they are STILL seeing things through the eyes of the suffering child most of the time. 
The eyes of the child see the "preferential treatment", the misdirection of blame, the way the Golden Child seemed to be complicit with their abuse by the P/S/N. 
The Golden Child appears to be an extension of the Evil and is not seen as a victim...but they were/are victims. 
Their particular type of victimization is especially abhorrent because it can easily ruin their lives and render them mere shells of human beings.

Consider this...the ones who keep trying without success and the ones who have figured out that it is useless and have just GIVEN UP...have the burden of believing (at some level) that the issues are their fault...and YET they ALSO have a very great emotional INVESTMENT in proving that the P/S/N is wrong!

In reality, they WANT the P/S/N to be wrong! 

This is the only hope they have of escaping the feelings of worthlessness and shame that comes with having a parent that does not love you...does not support you...that even appears to despise you. Those parents SAY they love you...but their EVERY gesture, look and eye roll TELLS you that this is just NOT SO! 

This means they are also liars.

More than ANYTHING they DEEPLY desire to believe that the P/S/N is WRONG!
This desire, this inkling of the truth, this obviously logical assumption is there! It may be mostly masked by the self-blame and self hatred of the child...but it is still THERE! 

Because it IS THERE...the child is much less likely to buy into the perfection, deity and correctness of the P/S/N. Less likely to emulate this or find it an attractive alternative! Whatever inborn strength that was apparent to the P/S/N...the spark in them that gave them some power to resist...the thing that the P/S/N identified as a FLAW...usually keeps them grounded enough in reality and with enough HUMANITY to resist becoming the monster they see.

Not so with the Golden Child. 

Giving IN... Creating a mask...
Unlike the others, the Golden Child has EVERY REASON to need to believe that what the P/S/N sees in them...their perfection, their superiority, their status... is true! 

They see how the others are treated and they realize that this status of being "Special" is the ONLY THING keeping them from suffering the same abuses! They often spend their lives behind a mask because they are terrified at what will happen if the abuser discovers they are IMPERFECT. They fear the abuses that they see others suffering at the hands of the parent. 
For the Golden Child...there are STILL abuses but they are immensely more COVERT, sugar coated, shit on a stick. 

Most children, as they grow...especially the Golden Children, come to realize, deep inside, that they are NOT all that special. They do NOT always AGREE with the abuser...but are not going to point that out and risk losing their protected status! They SEE that they are NOT special but know that they must keep the abuser BELIEVING that they are! This is their only protection!

So they create their own mask. They emulate the abuser. The more effectively they do this...the more "special" the abuser sees them as being. 

"A CLONE of perfection ITSELF". 

This is a no-win situation for the child.

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