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How deep are effects on the NPD children?

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How deep are effects on the NPD children?

Postby Learning Tree » Wed Dec 29, 2010 2:29 pm

Hello.

I know this is not easy to answer. It can do any good, that much is certain. But how deep can a child be damaged while growing up in such a family?

I myself had emotional and self-esteem problems all my life. That naturally drew me to psychological literature and materials and I was digging around here and there in my spare time. Then I discovered what a N is and I am almost sure that my father is very close to that if not a full-blown disorder all together. I was constantly devalued, had very high expectations imposed on me (that reflected his dreams) and he was yelling at me almost every day during my teen years. He was a person who never admitted his guilt was almost void of any empathy. The only "love" I really received was material, having food, clothing, etc.

I also had an anxious mother and probably a more sensitive nervous system than an average person.

So far my problems have been manageable but for a few last years things were getting out of control. I was living and studying separate from home, in a distant country and experienced a lot of anxiety attacks that impaired the productivity quite a bit. Recently it has been getting totally out of hand. My self-esteem is wrecked quite a bit as well. Got into a relationship with a girl who was probably also a N from what I can tell but we are no longer together.

Now, I want to get myself back together. But I am not sure where to start. If the root cause would indeed be the emotional abuse in the home I grew up, I might need to dig deeper into that. Or maybe this is all just an excuse for not being determined enough to cope with life and a justification for a lack of will. From what I've seen so far, psychologist say that might have different effects for different people. Some of the victims say such parents destroyed very important parts of their personality and they are sometimes even called "survivors". Not to deny their feelings or anything (I myself can empathize with such stories quite a bit) but I would like to hear how serious and long-lasting this can be.

Any experiences about long-term effects and their seriousness would be appreciated. I know this will get a bit biased since people without problems are not likely to read this forum but maybe you know some?

Also, maybe somebody could share some good books about growing up with a N? I am planning to do some reading on this topic but I am still relatively new to this problem.
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Re: How deep are effects on the NPD children?

Postby undenied » Wed Dec 29, 2010 7:27 pm

You seem really insightful and have a good grasp of yourself, which gives you a LOT to work with .

But how deep can a child be damaged while growing up in such a family?


Hm, I just was saying this in another thread...studies have show that supposedly "lesser" forms of abuse like emotional can be equally as damaging to a child as the "worse" kids of physical/sexual abuse. Furthermore, they have the same effects. This is why they use such terms as "emotional incest" which seem to be "overreacting", but it's truly accurate.

As for long lasting: post-abuse effects can frankly be fatal. Most personality disorders are believed to be caused by child abuse. That doesn't account specifically for PTSD. It's also very usual for persons who suffered child abuse to then get into relationships with abusive people later in life. Heck, people abused as children even report more PHYSICAL health problems. Child abuse can be utterly and completely destructive to a person. Not always, of course, but often.

Side note, I had a similar parental structure to yours: a narc dad and an anxiety-ridden mother. I've only recently even been able to use the word "abuse" to describe it. I'd always believed I was "loved" and my childhood normal.

If the root cause would indeed be the emotional abuse in the home I grew up, I might need to dig deeper into that.


I've never been through abuse-related therapy, but I'm under the impression the focus on the NOW. You can't change the past, and there may not even be a need to "confront" it - just to learn to accept it and make your life functional. Your lack of will is understandable, considering you've probably been miserable and depressed. The fact that you're even trying to reach out is a good start.

I've never read any books personally, but there are a lot about growing up with Narcissists and other abusive family structures. Maybe check the reviews on Amazon?

By the way, if you're looking for a support network, I'd suggest finding one for Abuse Survivors. (You might not like what you find on THIS forum - it's full of narcissists!)
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Re: How deep are effects on the NPD children?

Postby Learning Tree » Thu Dec 30, 2010 2:59 am

You yourself stated you have NPD in another thread. Which probably means you have been doing all that you can to not see or ignore the consequences of damaging behaviour. That's what makes a person into a N. It would also you mean you don't care one bit about me or anyone else, nor can you empathize with people.

You somewhat remind me of Sam Vaknin who is a self-proclaimed "aware N".

So... are you really a N? And if that's true, why bother posting?
I take what you wrote is more of an intellectual analysis of the whole thing, right?

Help me understand a bit there...
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Re: How deep are effects on the NPD children?

Postby undenied » Thu Dec 30, 2010 4:45 am

You yourself stated you have NPD in another thread. Which probably means you have been doing all that you can to not see or ignore the consequences of damaging behaviour. That's what makes a person into a N. It would also you mean you don't care one bit about me or anyone else, nor can you empathize with people.


I'm not diagnosed, just very self aware at the moment. (and in therapy, so hopefully a Dx will be shortly following) Sometimes I lose grasp of it and would vehemently deny have any narcissistic traits at all - because then I can't see them. I blame my problems on a spiteful universe, usually (which is apparently totally not normal to do!) It's actually really new to me to realize that I don't empathize with people - I always thought I was doing it. (In case you needed my life story? Sorry, I babble.)

I do honestly like to help people, though. Maybe not because I care, but because it makes me look good, I guess? I don't know.

You somewhat remind me of Sam Vaknin who is a self-proclaimed "aware N".


That comparison sort of horrifies me a little, lol. I scrolled back quickly and re-read what I wrote...I'm pretty sure I didn't quote him or anything, phew. Most of what I said I actually read in relation to BPD and abuse survival.

My awareness has it's limits. Here, I WILL quote something he (and others) have said, and which has evidence from studies to back it up...there is a difference between "emotional empathy" and "cognitive empathy". Narcissists and Sociopaths tend to have extremely well developed cognitive empathy...meaning they have the ability to correctly interpret other people's emotions. But that's not the same as FEELING the feelings. That's why they're good at manipulating people.

So... are you really a N? And if that's true, why bother posting? I take what you wrote is more of an intellectual analysis of the whole thing, right?


Actually, that's really well-put. I'm a really analytical left-brained person. I like researching what makes people tick. That's why I post - I like the discussion, and hey, I like to look smart, I guess?

But there's a missing emotional connection to it, definitely. I'm not a doctor, sure, but I also I could be TOTALLY off the mark because I'm misinterpreting the situation. I'm just regurgitating what I've read that appears (by mathematical process) to be related.

Sooo yes. I'm afraid I totally suck at offering any kind of...support. I don't have the ability to. But I can spout facts and research like faucet. Hopefully you can glean something of value from it, but it's probably wise to take it with a grain of salt.

(I read somewhere: I know-it-all who doesn't know anything is a stupid jerk, but a know-it-all who actually knows it is just an a*hole.)
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Re: How deep are effects on the NPD children?

Postby Euler » Thu Dec 30, 2010 10:11 am

My awareness has it's limits. Here, I WILL quote something he (and others) have said, and which has evidence from studies to back it up...there is a difference between "emotional empathy" and "cognitive empathy". Narcissists and Sociopaths tend to have extremely well developed cognitive empathy...meaning they have the ability to correctly interpret other people's emotions. But that's not the same as FEELING the feelings. That's why they're good at manipulating people.


The first thing I would say...is that there maybe a deep envy towards children of normies. That they were raised to be empowered...to learn, to develop, to study a skill set, only to go on to become adults. While we were the physical manifestations of a Narcissist's fantasies...that we had to performe, to be there for them even though we were 4, not developing a real me, not learning any real life practical or coping skills...only to be told to F*off at 18 and build a life unequipped.

Then to develop the Pd itself, where you've studied your parents too well, only to fall in their footsteps...to chase supply and use others who know how to build a real life since you cannot, and in your heart of hearts that you know that you are nothing before them...the whole ones...that you are a 'fake' human being, regardless of your capabilities for manipulation....

That's what being the spawn of a Narcissist brings unless you're so fortunate to somehow come out f*ed up yet 'normal'.
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Re: How deep are effects on the NPD children?

Postby undenied » Thu Dec 30, 2010 3:04 pm

Euler, you're my new best friend. I like everything you write.

The first thing I would say...is that there maybe a deep envy towards children of normies.


Oh, totally, though when it happens I'm not really aware of it. At first it seems jealousy that kids can get away with being brats and I can't, lol. But that's not exactly it...I think it's more an envy that they have such potential to be the awesome person I want to be, but it's "too late" for me. (It's worth noting I've felt that way since a teen, which is clearly illogical in the extreme.)

Then to develop the Pd itself, where you've studied your parents too well, only to fall in their footsteps


FFFF, this makes me so mad because it's true. I've worked so hard not to be them that I've become them. Ugh.

That's what being the spawn of a Narcissist brings unless you're so fortunate to somehow come out f*ed up yet 'normal'.


Which is likely due to one or both of (a) having other emotional support persons available to you, and (b) being chemically or tempermentally preinclined. (Just like any mental disorder, of course.)
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Re: How deep are effects on the NPD children?

Postby Learning Tree » Thu Dec 30, 2010 4:22 pm

Two Ns hijacking my first thread and talking only about themselves... You know, this is just too funny to behold :D

[friendly sarcasm]This one was about sharing between children who people like you screw up. If not for us, this forum wouldn't exist. So go away, really... There are plenty of threads about you.[/friendly sarcasm]

On a more serious note...

I think I am rather emphatic with people. I was the guy people would open their hear to or cry on my shoulder when things have gone bad. I have a circle of very close friends of both genders and really enjoy our friendship. If I am not too exhausted or anxious, I will always try to help those in need.

However, N has taught me one simple truth about life. You can't give them empathy. You just can't. It simply doesn't work. Whenever I tried to be honest and open, I was fed upon. Whenever I offered my help, I was drained. Whenever I tried to understand, I was manipulated.

It's a nightmare that never ends and I can't do anything about it. So, I feel for you. I really do. But at the same time, we both now you wouldn't hesitate destroying me over and over again if you had a chance. So I won't help or support you in any way and might inflict harm upon yourself as well if that what it takes to defend my already shattered psyche. I think this is the true sadness of narcissism, especially in families when children give unconditional love to their parents but won't ever receive any.

It's like dealing with a wild tiger, really. You can't hug him because it's fatal.
I just hope some more aware Ns are seeking help and trying to change their personalities but that is probably so rare and so hard to do...

Could we get back on topic now, please? This is not only about me, after all.
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Re: How deep are effects on the NPD children?

Postby undenied » Thu Dec 30, 2010 8:10 pm

Two Ns hijacking my first thread and talking only about themselves... You know, this is just too funny to behold


Isn't that what happens in every thread? :lol: Half the forum exists as kind of a big narcissistic circlejerk. It's pretty fabulous.

Hey, if they want abuse survivor support, they should go to an abuse survivor support forum, right? (Callous, yes, but true.)

It's a nightmare that never ends and I can't do anything about it. So, I feel for you. I really do. But at the same time, we both now you wouldn't hesitate destroying me over and over again if you had a chance. So I won't help or support you in any way and might inflict harm upon yourself as well if that what it takes to defend my already shattered psyche. I think this is the true sadness of narcissism, especially in families when children give unconditional love to their parents but won't ever receive any.


I actually agree with you 100% on this.

I encourage you not to be concerned for my welfare in the least. (And you don't even need to feel bad about it - I've got my IRL babystitters after all, and they're pros!)

I watch a friend of mine spend all of time BEGGING for her mother's love. I've tried to tell her the futility of it, but I've learned to keep my opinions to myself. Who can blame her, really - who WOULDN'T want their mother's love? And then she went and dated a string of horrible abusive douchebags. And if she has kids (hey, back on topic) what's the liklihood they would end up either like her, or like their crappy father? And the cycle begins again.

I read an essay somewhere I'll have to dig out again...it was a philosophical piece about the concept of Original Sin actually being a metaphor for child abuse. What other Sin is passed down through generations, after all?

It's like dealing with a wild tiger, really. You can't hug him because it's fatal.


But they're just so darn cute!

Could we get back on topic now, please? This is not only about me, after all.


Lol.

But yes, on topic...another thread was talking about the level of "nature versus nurture" in the effects of child abuse. (Actually, was that you who brought it up? I forget.) It's important to remember when talking about the effects of child abuse. Abuse will always cause suffering, but it only develops into disorder territory if there's something already there to pre-incline the person. Not all children abused by narcissistic parents will become narcissists themselves...in fact it's probably more likely to say that most don't, or else NPD diagnosis rates would be sky-high.

I'll have to dig through all my saved studies tonight and pull up actual evidence (jerk-versus-a*hole syndrome).
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Re: How deep are effects on the NPD children?

Postby LifeSong » Fri Dec 31, 2010 2:06 am

Learning Tree,

I'm the grown daughter of a diagnosed NPD mother.
I've posted on this subject in the past... think some of the threads were something like "The Narcissist Mother" and "What about the Children?" Not sure of the titles; I've lost track now.

I'm quite concerned when someone comes on the board, claiming to love their narcissism, stating no need to change at all, seeing themselves as glorious, supreme and unique AND then they say that they are a parent.

What a person does with their life is rarely my direct concern, but my protective heart leaps up when there are children involved. I KNOW what it's like to be the child of an NPD person who is hidden and functional on the exterior, fools many, and is devastating to the family and all who become closely involved with him/her.

The effects on the children of profoundly narcissistic people, let alone NPD people, are profound, deep and long-lasting.
I have worked hard to address the issues in my life that were created by having an NPD mother - it hasn't been easy.

And I continue to have to manuever the reality of having an NPD parent; I keep my distance (went 'no contact' for a few years to facilitate my own focused healing), and have never let my own children be alone with my mother... never. The cycle has stopped with me... as far as my own family is concerned. I have siblings and the cycle continues in their families and in them, although one has just entered therapy so I'm hopeful there.

To a person who feels that their narcissism is a glorious gift to them, I say, "Do not have children. Keep the 'gift' to yourself. Never have children."
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Re: How deep are effects on the NPD children?

Postby undenied » Fri Dec 31, 2010 4:25 am

LifeSong, you'll be happy to know I don't want or ever plan to have children. Thankfully I do not suffer from the delusion that my children would "have to" love me. (My diagnosed BPD step-sister had children for that reason. But she actually turned out to be a really good mother, to everyone's surprise. I'm always impressed by how "normal" her daughters are, lol.)

(Pardon the interruption; back to the regularly scheduled program.)

I don't know where I saved/bookmarked everything, so I was going to try trolling through PMC...and good grief. Just type in "child abuse". (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/)

"Fully 70% of the GSAD(Generalized Social Anxiety Disorder) sample met severity criteria for at least one type of childhood abuse or neglect as measured..."

"Significantly higher annual health care use and costs were observed for women with a child abuse history compared to women without comparable abuse histories. Total adjusted annual health care costs were 36% higher for women with both abuse types, 22% higher for women with physical abuse only, and 16% higher for women with sexual abuse only." (You'll note that one doesn't even include emotional abuse or neglect....)

"...fathers’ higher educational attainment and their positive involvement with their children most discernibly predicted lower maternal physical child abuse risk." (One from the other side - how a person can avoid post-trauma effects.)

"This study is the first to our knowledge that compares associations of child abuse with both depression and obesity in adults. [....] the fact that child abuse predicted two debilitating conditions in middle-aged women indicates the potential long-term consequences of these experiences."

"Those who were identified as maltreated by a combination of both prospective and self-report method s[...] displayed the most emotional and behavioral problems in late adolescence (i.e., 74% met diagnostic criteria for a clinical disorder)."

All of those were from just the first page of searches.

Here's a good general one for people interested: Child Abuse and Neglect:Diagnosis and Management. Don't read it if you're especially bothered/triggered by this stuff...it's pretty blunt. Apparently one survey found that "17% [of parents] consider 'a sound thrashing' to be appropriate under some circumstances". *smacks forehead* Christ, even *I* know that's ridiculous. (It also notes abuse is perpetrated almost equally by males and females, which is important, because I think women get away with it more often?)

Here's a part that I think is extremely relevant to NPD-raised children:
Emotional neglect and early childhood deprivation are the potentially most severe risk factors for impaired emotional or intellectual development and are also
found as cofactors in most cases of other types of child maltreatment. They are characterized by lack of recognition
of the child’s developmental needs and by the lack of a normal parent–child interaction.


Some more specific to NPD:

"The present study examines the effects of different types of childhood maltreatment on personality disorder symptoms in a sample of adults with no Axis I psychopathology.... These findings indicate that emotional abuse/neglect and physical/sexual abuse are risk factors for a broad array of personality outcomes..." It also said about 12% met criteria for a personality disorder, most NOS, with equal BPD, NPD, and "depressive" PD. Interestingly to me, the highest disorder was OCPD....

Another study cited personality disorders as putting teens at high-risk for suicide, Cluster B PDs in particular.

"in a community-based study, individuals who had experienced childhood physical abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect were over four times more likely to be diagnosed with one or more personality disorders during adolescence or early adulthood, even after age, parental education, and parental psychiatric disorders were controlled " It goes on to say "individuals who experienced verbal abuse during childhood were over three times more likely to develop borderline, narcissistic, obsessive–compulsive, and paranoid personality disorders". Hmm.

That last one slays me, really. Diagnosis aside, what are my most maladaptive behaviors? The ones seen with borderline, narcissistic, obsessive–compulsive, and paranoid. Gee.

Bottom line: children are our most vulnerable people. No matter how much is genetics, you are who you are because of your childhood.

I'll shut up for a while now. :D
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