Tag Archives: Parental narcissists

The First Cut is the Deepest Part 3

Aunt Alex’s Army has a dry-out tank.

Let me explain. A portion of the emotionally generous population (that would be us, Friends) have narcissistic toads as parents (that would be Fake-Mom and Destructo-Dad; hey, let’s call them as we see them). This messes with the kids’ boundaries, because from birth the tykes try to bond with the toad parents in a normal, healthy way, and the psycho parents will have none of it. They use and abuse, just like all other narcissists. The boundaries get bent. And for some emotionally generous kids, along with this can come a craving.

That craving — it’s for the love and bonding of the parents, and for little kids it’s very healthy. Bonding with your parents increases your chances as a growing and developing human. Narcissistic parents fail pathetically at bonding and completely let the kids down. Then the kid grows up, and in reality the parents become essentially obsolete. But — the primal craving lingers. And the boundaries are bent. Hello, recipe for disaster.

Guess how the cravings are fed? Not with healthy relationships, because the cravings are for the love and bonding of the actual parents. You guessed it. With relationships with people who sense that craving, AND the emotional generosity, and who swoop in for the kill. Toads. And narcissists. And assclowns. Oh, my!

This is critical: THE CRAVINGS ARE NOT YOU. They’re SEPARATE and APART from you, an unwelcome stow-away and a relic from a horrible childhood. They’re scars that flare from time to time. They’re not a disease, or a personality trait, or a weakness. Those cravings are just old aches from war wounds, wounds suffered in the battles for health and normalcy when you were a little child. Old aches from old scars.

Fair enough, but sometimes those cravings are nurtured and nourished by modern romantic narcissists into full-blown misery and trauma, when the toads play on all this old stuff in your head and heart to their own advantage (which they all do). The cravings become large and looming, sore and ravenously hungry. What then?

Then, it’s off to the dry-out tank with you. Those cravings are NOT an addiction. But it works to treat them like one, and the battle can be just as hard. A narcissist lures and taunts actively and with full voice, like a glass of wine passively and quietly lures an alcoholic.

Some people have such a rough time with this craving, that Aunt Alex is going to build a dry-out tank. This will be a closed and private support group to supplement any current support groups or recovery help a person uses, where we only deal with the cravings, 12-step fashion. Dropping the defenses. Admitting this isn’t the way you want to live. Focusing on that first cut. Reviewing how you got here, building the boundaries, and taking full control over your own narcissist-free future. Marching on toward management of the cravings, not toward trying to pretend they don’t exist. Virtual coffee, cider and fresh doughnuts will be served.

And it’ll go like this:
“Hi, my name is Alex, and I have cravings.”


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The First Cut is the Deepest, Part 2

We were talking about narcissist-mom and toad-dad, and how they can bend a person’s boundaries. I person with bent boundaries can be pretty vulnerable to future predators of the personality-disordered variety, until those boundaries get fortified through time and work. Narcissists are like hyenas — very opportunistic, and always on the prowl for the easy, emotionally generous catch. (Plus they smell and whine and have greasy fur.)

This connection of the current narcissist to the crappy parent can be seen pretty vividly in the messages in the heads of the emotionally generous when we respond to narcissists and other toads. Look at what people say when they describe their reactions to these guys:

“I feel lost without him.”
“I felt this connection that I desperately need to feel again.”
“I love him. We had something so special, so unique.”
“I just need to have him back. I can’t explain it. But he has this effect on me that just goes through my whole body.”
“I need you. Jesus, just get normal about this, will you?!”

Now, these might sound a bit over-the-top to anyone who hasn’t been mauled by a narcissist-hyena, but they’re taken straight from the testimonials of survivors. This is the way toads WANT to make people feel — like they’re very special, gifts from the Gods, and irreplaceable. And they succeed in making people feel these things, but especially, and most viscerally, in people who have felt this way before.

Look at those statements. And put them in the mouths of kids, little ones, who are being left out in the cold by their parents. Then those statements make a whole lot of very clear sense.

Those feelings don’t get shaken off right away when a person gets to adulthood, because this is primal stuff and it leaves a mark. The statements above get applied to a manipulative and crafty toad when they tromp through the EXACT same breaches in your boundaries that the crappy parents did, the breaches in your boundaries that the crappy parents created. Your psyche is no dummy — it recognizes this, and remembers the pain and the anxiety from childhood. It remembers these things very well. And never forgot how important that connection was. That memory wakes up. This makes the toad feel even more important to us, along with the rest of his BS. Those effects — the breached boundaries, the memory of our childhood emotional starvation, and the current Toadcraft — all swirl together into a downward spiral. Hello, tornado-o’-misery.

This is fixable in emotionally generous people. All of it. The current toxic relationship, the emotional memories that take over, and the bent boundaries all can be straightened out with time and work. There’s more than hope; there’s pretty much no way you CAN’T fix these things, with some time and good work. This is in contrast to narcissists and other toads, who can’t be fixed, or improved, or trained, or helped. They’re permanently rotted out. They’re screwed.

If you got short-changed by a narcissistic parent, then you’re able to show yourself something remarkable. Write down in words the way you feel when the current Toadboy has you feeling your worst. Then look at those words, and imagine them coming out of the mouth of a kid to his crappy parent. I bet you’ll be astounded at how much more sense those feelings make when they’re applied toward the person for whom those feelings are really and originally meant — the person who cut you first.


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The First Cut Is The Deepest.

drawing by koren shadmi

OK, Aunt Alex is going to tread into some very delicate territory here. And, no, I don’t mean the risks taken by posting about yet another Cat Stevens song. Though this one is awesome.

I would have given you all of my heart
but there’s someone who’s torn it apart
and she’s taking almost all that I’ve got
but if you want, I’ll try to love again.

Now, I’ve railed pretty consistently about how the people who get tangled up bad with narcissists aren’t the crazy ones in the relationship, and I’ll keep right on railing about it. People get involved with personality disordered people because they’re emotionally generous, not because they seek out the punishment narcissists dish out.

That doesn’t change the facts, though, about how particularly vulnerable people are if they were raised by a narcissistic parent. (VULNERABLE. NOT DEFECTIVE.)

When a kid grows up with a narcissistic parent, they’re forced by the situation to bend their healthy boundaries in order to survive. Their psyche KNOWS Mom (or Dad) is a psycho, but they can’t really internalize that point because little Junior or Jane has to keep living with the Parents from Hell until they reach adulthood. Or, if they’re lucky, until they get rescued by other, much more sane relatives. But usually they have to put up with fake, passive aggressive, no-empathy Mom or Dad for the duration, and they have to be able to get through the day for a whole lot of days before they can leave the nest. So, they bend the boundaries in order to interact with NPD Mom or NPD Dad on a daily basis.

Then, Junior or Jane grows up. They go out into the world. They meet flaming narcissists, who smell their vulnerability from a mile away. They can’t shove them away before the narcissists gets their tentacles wrapped around them, because their boundaries are bent from childhood. So they get sucked in, idealized, devalued, thrown away, dangled, contacted…. You know the routine.

For these folks, the recovery from the narcissist assault is basically the same, but they do need one more step in the process. And that’s to go back to the first cut. When they think about the narcissist’s damages, they also have to think about those of the narcissist parent. When they blow off some healthy anger at the narcissist they broke up with, they also have to let some loose at the narcissist parent. The “no-contact” rule is also perfectly appropriate for narcissistic parents of adult children.

I can’t say this enough: When a kid of a narcissistic parent grows up and end up pairing up with a narcissist, it does NOT mean they’re damaged. Or crazy, or neurotic. It means the boundaries have been bent. Those boundaries can be repaired with some work and time, and the adult kid will go on to live a full, rich, NPD-free life. This is in contrast to the narcissist, who isn’t fixable, has no hope, and will never change.

The first cut is the deepest. If you have a narcissistic parent, then you had a horrible childhood that also needs to be mourned, along with the losses in the break-up with the narcissist. Your parent didn’t bond with you properly, didn’t take care of you properly, and didn’t love you properly. These don’t “damage” a child, but they definitely stiffed you and made you feel unsafe. You did NOT “get yourself” into this current narcissist situation; there is no “repetition compulsion” or “seeking out of abuse”. That victim-blaming is disgusting. Mending and fortifying those instinctive boundaries of yours will put you right where your psyche wants you to be — Creep-free. And it’s never, ever too late to start.


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