Save the Children

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If there is one thing which will often scupper an attempt to escape our clutches, it is the existence of children. On the one hand the existence of children created by you and our kind often results in you continuing to endure the relationship for the sake of the children rather than separate. On the other hand, even if you do decide that it is better to separate than stay with our kind, you are rarely able to truly escape because of the shared connection that exists because of the children. Even though you wish to escape the roller coaster existence of being with our kind, as an empathic person you behave fairly and recognise that the children should see their other parent and thus you either make provision or allow for contact to continue between our kind and the children which in turn means that there must inevitably remain contact between you and us. You may however take the draconian step of deciding that it is in the best interests of the children to have no contact with the narcissistic (although usually you only realise the other parent is abusive rather than narcissistic at this juncture) parent and cut all contact off. This then results in our kind turning to formal means through the courts to establish contact with the child or children again.

Your concerns in respect of the involvement of our kind in the raising of children cover numerous factors.

  1. You are concerned that our behaviour will affect the children so that they in turn become narcissists;
  2. You are worried that our behaviour leads to the children witnessing abusive behaviour towards you which will upset the children;
  3. You are concerned that our behaviour will lead to the children not receiving a stable and nurturing upbringing;
  4. You are worried that the children will be used as pawns between you and us and adversely influence so they are turned against you;
  5. You are concerned by our failing to provide emotional and financial support which will in turn impact on the children; and
  6. You are worried that our behaviours will effectively spoil what should be happy moments in childhood.

These, along with others, are legitimate concerns. It becomes especially difficult for you when you find that you face a battle between doing what is right for a child even though this may clash with what they want. They want to spend time with us but you see such time as toxic and having an influence on the child (who as a child cannot see or comprehend what is happening) which is at best unhelpful and at worst downright damaging. How do you deal with a situation where you need to do what is right and best for a child, even though they will not see this at the time? First of all, what must you understand about our attitude towards children and parenting?

  1. Children are regarded as appliances by us. There is no distinction made for the fact that they are children nor that we are their parent. We see children as appliances and devices which are extension of ourselves and therefore there to do our bidding. You should never be under any illusion that a narcissistic parent loves the child. Do not be fooled into thinking that any benign act exhibited by our kind is a manifestation of love towards a child. It is not;
  2. This pervading mind set means that children will be used in order to gather fuel. This will be done directly by obtaining fuel from them. Initially this will manifest as wanting to spoil them when we have time with them so that their positive responses to this will provide us with positive fuel. We will upset, anger and frustrate children in addition to draw negative fuel as and when it is deemed appropriate. This is not done because the positive fuel has become stale (as is the case when devaluation occurs in the context of an intimate partner primary source) but is an adjunct of wanting to achieve some other aim. The two most popular aims are control and triangulation. We will provoke a negative fuel response from children in order to exert control over them, for instance, taking a toy away or forbidding them to do something that they enjoy such as watching a certain television programme or being allowed some sweets. This reinforces our control. A child is no different from any other appliance and must be subjected to our control. This control is not exerted for the benefit of the child, for instance, stopping the child from eating sweets every day because it is unhealthy, but is only done so we can establish control. In terms of triangulation, the negative emotional response will be achieved for the purposes of triangulating you. For instance, we may suggest to the child that mummy does not love the child so it becomes upset. We only care about the reaction, not the well-being of the child. We may say that the child cannot do something on your instruction, in order to both upset the child and thus gain negative fuel and at the same time smear you through this triangulation. Thus, when negative fuel is sought from a child it arises in conjunction with the desire to control and/or to triangulate.
  3. The traits and achievements of the child are up for grabs in the same way that we steal and acquire traits from adults in order to furnish our construct and make ourselves look even more appealing. Our sense of entitlement is such that the child has only won the race, come top of the class, swum that distance, secured a place on a vacation scheme as a consequence of our brilliance. We will remind you, the child and third parties that this is the case. Repeatedly.
  4. We will smear and brief against you at every available opportunity. Irrespective of the reasons why the relationship between you and us ended, we will not rise above the desire for smearing for the sake of the children. If there is an opportunity to take a pot shot at you, it will be taken. The needs of the children do not ever come before our needs. Thus if they are upset by what we say about you, we receive fuel and do not care how it affects them. If they begin to dislike you because we suggest you are too strict, we will not counter that but rather we will cultivate this position to our advantage.
  5. Just like you, children can cause criticism to us. Rather than soak it up as a mature, well-adjusted parent would, we will lash out when there is a perceived or actual criticism of us delivered by the words and/or actions of the child. This will as ever result in the ignition of fury and the manifestation of heated fury or cold fury. We will sulk with a child, turn away from them if they want support and/or shout at them. The fact they are a child is meaningless to us. The fact we as a parent owe obligations to them to behave in a mature and responsible fashion to them does not matter because our needs come first.
  6. We have no sense of responsibility or obligation to children. A lesser narcissist will see no need to maintain maintenance payments and will be content not to see work. A greater may well make such payments, not because he cares about the children but it is done to show to everybody else how generous he is and also to make you look bad if your financial contributions are not as substantial. The payment or otherwise of financial support will be used as a carrot and stick against you throughout the duration of childhood. We will only become involved in the lives of the children if we regard there as being some kind of benefit to us. Their emotional needs, education, safety etc. are irrelevant to us. We will attend a school performance not to show support to the child so they feel happy, but to show to other parents that we apparently love and support the child, so we gain fuel and infuriate you. We regard obligations as beneath us, we have no sense of accountability, our sense of entitlement means we can do as we please, our lack of guilt or conscience means there is no mechanism causing us to adopt an alternative stance.
  7. Understand that children are pawns which will ALWAYS be used to our advantage. Whether it is to bind you to us during the golden period, to make us look good to others, to draw fuel, to exert control, to triangulate, to perpetuate abuse and so forth, our interactions with our children are governed by our needs. In the same way that our interactions with you as intimate partner, or our involvement with an inner circle friend, or our dealing with a stranger are all governed by our needs first, the same is applicable to children.
  8. Attempting to curtail our involvement with the children is seen as a criticism to us, irrespective of how morally and factually correct your action may be. That is irrelevant to us. We will use the court system for our purposes. We do not wish to spend time with our children for their sake, but instead it is for our sake. We may find it boring having them but if we know the fact they stay with us one night a week upsets and angers you, we will do it in order to draw this fuel from you and therefore we will use the court system to fight. It is not a fight for the benefit of the children. It is a fight for the maintenance of our needs – fuel, control, triangulation etc.

With this mind set of ours now apparent in our interactions with you and the children, how do you deal with us?

  1. Minimise the interaction you have with us. Establish a system for messages to be sent by e-mail or text. If this is deviated from by a telephone call, do not take the call but allow voice mail to pick up the call and then you can establish how best to respond thereafter and you will not provide fuel by being tricked into answering a call. If possible, prevent any face to face contact between you and us concerning the children. We draw the most fuel from seeing your emotional reactions face to face. Remove this (where practical) and you are denying us fuel. For instance, utilise the assistance of other family members or friends for the handover of the children until such an age as when they can use transport or walk between venues safely.
  2. Ensure all communications are to the point, business-like and contain no emotion. This again denies us fuel. Establish a five-minute rule so that you never immediately respond to our communications (when you are more likely to do so in an emotional fashion as we try to provoke you). If five minutes is too short, extend the time.
  3. By denying us fuel we will (initially) try to provoke you in different ways concerning arrangements and interaction with the children. Weather that storm and because we must obtain fuel we will have to seek it elsewhere. You are not a viable source so we will eventually look to obtain fuel from you less and less. You will also eventually notice that this manifests by us losing interest in the children. Remember, we are not interested in the children per se but how they as appliances can serve us.
  4. You will face an ongoing battle between your influence and our influence. This is deliberate as it is used to provoke you into confronting us about what we say about you, what we say to the children and what we do with them. We want you to engage. You must resist the need to do so. Remember, you will not make us change. We will not listen to you. We want to control you and draw fuel from you. We use the children to achieve this. Accordingly, if the children comment that we are making disparaging comments about you: –
  5. Do not confront us about the issue, it is futile;
  6. Do not seek to influence the view of the child by saying “Dad is a bad person” this will trouble the child and the response will be conveyed to us which will secure Thought Fuel for us and also provide us with further ammunition to use against you for your comment. Instead, move on to discussing something else  and the child is likely to forget about the comment. If the child persists in wanting to discuss the matter, then explain that Dad does things differently to you and then move on. Provide reassurance and listen to the child but do not, however tempting it may be, do or say anything disparaging as this plays into our hands. Your role is to maintain a positive influence for your children as often as you are able. By doing this (and starving us of fuel so the interaction will lessen) your positive influence will progressively outweigh our negative influence. The more you expose your children to a positive influence and avoid walking into our traps and playing into our hands, you will tip the balance so that they will, through the effluxion of time and exposure to this positive influence flourish under it and make their own minds up.
  7. In a similar fashion to how you must deal with a smear campaign, do not tell the children what to think, but allow them to make up their own minds. This will be difficult at first and you will no doubt find yourself on the receiving end of hurtful and challenging behaviour. Keep in mind that this is our influence (not what the child really thinks) and that as you weather the storm, the effects of your positive influence will eventually manifest. As the children become older you can present them with independent evidence of behaviour (not just hearsay and say so) so they can evaluate this for themselves and make their own minds-up. Like third parties, children do not want to be involved in a conflict between two people and they do not want to be told what to do. Cater for this and you will minimise disruption and increase your positive influence.
  8. Your approach is one of ensuring the “light side” overcomes the “dark side”. This can only be achieved by repeated reinforcement of positive behaviour and influence. If you engage in behaviours similar to ours, you enter onto our home turf and you will not only encourage us to keep going with our behaviours but you will find there is a negative outcome for both you and the children.
  9. If our behaviour is serious in terms of impact on the children – for instance violence or neglect – involve the relevant authorities. You will not be able to cause us to recognise we have done anything wrong because we either do not recognise that we have or we will not admit it for the purposes of maintaining control.
  10. If you regard it as appropriate, save messages and e-mails which exhibit our behaviour and allow the child access to them when an adult. This is again the presentation of independent evidence when they are in a position to make their own minds up. You must not engage in a popularity contest or sling mud; you will lose as this is playing into our hands.
  11. If you find yourself having to engage with us through the court system, ensure those representing you are familiar with our kind. Rely on independent evidence as much as possible rather than “he said, she said”. Recognise that we are experts at duping people and our lawyers, your lawyers, psychologists, court officials and judges can just as easily be duped. If a hearing does not go your way, resist the urge to lash out at us – it is of course just fuel – and instead continue to adopt a positive approach towards your children. That must always be your focus. We want you to engage with us and we will use children and the court system to provoke you to do this. Fail to engage and you take away much of our power.

It is hard. A narcissistic parent is a fact. We will not go away so long as we are getting what we want or believe we can do so. Prevent us from getting what we want, demonstrate to us that we are unlikely to get what we want and we will turn our attention elsewhere. This will then allow your positive influence to have an even greater bearing on the children and undo any harmful effects from our toxic influence. You will face challenges but by trying to address our behaviour, cater for it and pander to it, you will not succeed in protecting your children. I have seen this first hand.

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53 thoughts on “Save the Children”

  1. It’s so sad, I knew it was abuse but had no idea what a narc was. He had a 17 yo daughter that I couldn’t figure out why she sat at his beck and call… didn’t have a life of her own. He bought her gifts then talked to her like a dog! Some days I felt as though she was his abused wife… even wondered if he sexually abused her… I had a great relationship with her and when he cut me off so did she! Wow it all makes since now! HG, you may have destroyed many people but you saved my life! Luckily I was only around 6 mos because I had been in an abusive relationship before and I was doing all the steps in your book revenge on the narc… I was not aware at the time of course, I just thought this was one sick mofo! But for the life of me couldn’t figure out why he seemed so wonderful and a victim of his ex wives ect… I’ve been reading all of your books and it is life changing!!! Thank you for making it all come together and reiterate that I was not loosing my mind lol…sadly enough I should’ve gotten the hint when his ex wife committed herself when we were dating for 3 mos!!!

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  2. Court for the second Monday and I feel my anxiety already 😔. I haven’t seen him since December at the last hearing. I’m already preparing for him to ask for a paternity test again to further draw this thing out as well as his antics to be on level 10. Other than those on the docket no one is allowed in the waiting area, so I have to go alone this time. I’m already ready to get this over with.

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      1. Hey Sug, it went well! We started communicating a little and turned into all day and night 😩 We started spending time a lot and going on dates, but nothing “romantic” but spending lots of time; nooo conflict it was sort of confusing. I’m celibate now, but he doesn’t know. We had her party together and it was great also. I’ve backed up to mandatory convo again bc I felt we were doing way too much for no reason. Today is his birthday and it was kinda tough but I did a lite something for him. We’re okay, though. I just had to back out a bit. It was so strange Us not having sex, I took it as him controlling the only thing I could want. He says “it would make us argue” weirddd loll. Sorry this is so long, thank you for asking ♥️♥️

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  3. Excellent advice, I agree with all points. This is the most sophisticated way to deal with a narcissistic parent.
    I’ll bookmark this and paste the link to your post whenever a new victim asks how to proceed in such situation. It’s the most difficult part for most of us.
    Thank you HG.
    ((Hugs))

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  4. HG.
    Of all the subjects you speak on, there is not one that is more important. Thank you.

    Ive said it before-if you have no children you should leave, if you do have children you must leave. If you do nothing else but prevent them from the toxic exposure and damage of these relationships you will have succeeded as a parent. The damage is irreversible and will return to you if you do not act. Your grown children will not understand whatever reasoning you try to use. It will only appear selfish and pathetic in the end.

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      1. Hello JWHL, see the two articles on When Narcissists Collide. There are more articles on this to follow but these two answer your questions for certain schools of narc and in different settings (romantic, familial, social, work).

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  5. you mention that a narc parent first spoils a child, then later upsets them, all in the name of fuel extraction. if you don’t mind me asking, do you have any memories of being spoiled by your mother?

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      1. Since starting this blog you have received many questions like the one asked by ava101 (which is of course is a great question). Is it every hard for you to be repeatedly confronted with having to remember such a painful childhood?

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      2. HG
        Do you resent being in this process (with both the Drs and the blog) when the questions are difficult, or is it helping you at all to confront those memories? As in the more you are reminded of them or comment on them it makes them just a fact from the past but with less negative emotion attached.
        Or do you just want to punch me in the face for asking that? In which case thank you for your honesty and I wont take it personally.

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      3. I find revisiting my childhood uncomfortable and prefer not to do it, but I recognise that it is part of the process of securing my aims.

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    1. My parents also never spoiled me. More like ignoring and emotional abuse through neglect. Golden child only in front of other people, bragging about my accomplishments in school. One of the things in my possession I cherish most is the little bracelet and heart pendant my grandparents gave to me, my parents never did anything like that.

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  6. The author of “the shack” confessed his wife’s fury and having got caught was only the beginning of a long trek to healing his brokenness. She supernova’d constantly until she saw a flicker of truth. He had to confess everything, write a book for all the injured family members – then it became best seller, now a movie. HG are you working on the screenplay?

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  7. This post reminds me of a conversation I had earlier today with a State Trooper. He was telling me about a murder/suicide that happened nearby yesterday. A man shot his wife during an argument. She was sitting in bed smoking a cigarette at the time. He then shot himself. The cigarette set the bed on fire. Their four children aged 2-12 were right there in the house witnessing it all. The children escaped the fire, but how can they ever escape those memories? It so horrified me hearing this story, that a man could do something like that to his children, but he was obviously a narcissist and they were just possessions to him…

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  8. HG, do you think it’s possible that you witnessed how your mother treated your father when you were very little and you then decided not to let the same happen to you?

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      1. HG,
        I know your forte is writing about how a Narcissist thinks. I know you write too in logic and fact, that’s how your mind works. You write mostly from a Narcissist in an IP relationship perspective. I acknowledge that this isn’t the exclusive perspective, that this is the broader audience so it makes sense it gets touched on the most.

        Do you think though that you will ever write an autobiography detailing the abuse you suffered?

        Thinking from an empath and personal perspective, I wonder what exactly happened to you. I wonder this because I want to relate to you. I would like to read your story and identify with it. Just like I read other commenters stories and relate to them. I want to feel like I wasn’t the only one. I want to think that was horrific treatment you endured and you overcame it and survived it in your own way. I do think that about what you have divulged so far.
        Yes, I wish you didn’t become a Narcissist. I do still support you in that you became a contributing member to society. I do that because I suffered too. I had to survive my parents and overcome. We turned out differently but the people we became was as a result of narcissistic abuse. I know it’s part of the draw here to find out your personal story. I know the mystique is a draw. Empaths want to figure it out, to know why. We want to compare and contrast. We need to get a feel for the person, to relate. Of course you know all this and I am basically reiterating here, but I guess it boils down to a Barbara Walters question, Who is HG Tudor? I can hear you saying, “Wouldn’t you like to know!”
        I guess I could have simply asked, “You doing an autobiography or what”? But that is way to narc-y and I’m trying to let you know I care about your story still. 💙

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  9. This is the one area that leads me to confusion about my Narc. He seems to love his children (adults now). He has a rocky relationship with is son, and it is okay now….but a close one with his daughter. However he moved to a different country to retire (better weather, and I think a nasty divorce so he could avoid paying her out….just so selfish IMO)….and left them back home at 17 an 19 years of age. He has only gone back home this year to visit 12 years after leaving. He only met his two grandkids for the first time. His son visited it a few times and his daughter almost every year and he would be upset when she left. They facetime once a week. This isn’t the norm is it? however I understand that Narcs are capable of normal feelings?

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  10. Thank your for your answer. We just talked about memories of childhood on another blog. Sometimes also (well known) memories seem to vanish again. Both (fragments and vanishing of memories) are really disturbing defense mechanism. Do you know how your mother treated you as a baby? Did you hear something about that? or, could you observe how she treated a sibling of you as a baby?

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  11. Or you could run. They show you before pregnancy. They also like to get you pregnant to trap you. Don’t tell them you’re pregnant. If you make the mistake of telling them, tell them you had a miscarriage. The psychopath comes out in all of them pretty early in the pregnancy. But RUN! Across the country. It has to be far enough. Don’t speak with anyone they know. Cut off all contact. If your family or friends would betray you to them, cut them off, too.
    It may sound awful to some, but I think putting a child through the torment of narcissist abuse is beyond wrong and cruel. Years later when your kid is an adult and they look at you one day, “thank you for not making me grow up around him.” Then you’ll know that one good loving parent can be enough.
    This only works for women, though. If it’s the other way around, you’re screwed & not in the good way.

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    1. But children don’t really understand narcissistic abuse. If you grow up in it you might get a sense that something is not right, but you don’t really know you’re being abused. And if you don’t grow up in it (as I am protecting my son), he’ll probably just fantastise about his father and wonder who he is. My heart goes out to my son so badly – he is so beautiful and he deserves nothing but love.

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  12. HG
    Did you ever witness any affection between your parents? Hug, kiss, a look between them even? Or did you see your Father make attempts but was rebuffed? I have wondered how long the golden period was with her (I know she is unaware of what she is) before he realized what the future held for him. Since you had a stepbrother, I sssume your Father was married before so resigned himself to staying in the 2nd marriage. I wonder if 1st wife was a Narc also and this was a pattern for him. Yes, I’ll wait for the book but wanted to let you know some things I’m hoping to learn in it.

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  13. So I have no choice but to give my child into the hands of the abuser? For fuck’s sake I am a mother and I can’t just send my child to be abused and then comfort him and hug him as he cries. This is ridiculous! I’d do anything to prevent this, just tell me how.

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    1. Maybe you can act like you don’t care or give up your child because you can’t take his bullying anymore. The more you show you care like a hot head, the more your narc will use your child to control you, torment you endlessly. If he is convinced that you’re leaving for real and move to another country, he might bend to you. The question is how to find an “out” for him when he’s wanting to give up the child but want to save face.

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  14. HG – do you have any books on parenting after divorcing a narc?
    I am in so much pain when the kids are with my Narc Ex – they totally worship him; my son identifies with him , and my daughter disassociates. It’s scary.
    Will I ever be able to get ahead of him & undo the damage ?

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    1. I do not have any books as yet but I can certainly assist you with what you can do and need to do through the auspices of a private consultation (see the menu bar of the blog for more details).
      Yes you can get ahead. I have the answers. You need to read also, make Exorcism, Manipulated, Escape, Fuel, Fury and No Contact priority reading.

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  15. I recently discovered your books and they’ve been very insightful. Was with a narcissist for 22 years until he left me for the mistress he impregnated last year (after triangulating us for a while). I have an almost 3 year old daughter with him that he appears, in my opinion, to love bomb on some level. Always wants to be the first one she sees in the morning and the last person she sees at night. How worrisome is this? What is the ultimate end game here? To create another fuel source that adores him? He seems to think she’s the female version of him.

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    1. She is, in his mind she is his little mirror. She is an object for his use in terms of the extraction of fuel, the commandeering of character traits (through her achievements and accomplishments no matter how trivial) and to triangulate with you.

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  16. Thank you for writing this article, I hope many children will get saved by it. Nobody saved me…my parents hated one another so much that nor my father (he called me when she didn’t respond to him, I was only a “tool”) neither my mother (all the times it was about “my dear father”, in the malicious sense of “dear” word) bothered themselves with what I’ve felt. My mother hated my father even in “me” because (physically) I very much resemble him. Every single time, still now, she strikes when I’m not doing what she wants me to do: “you are just like your father!” It used to hurt me a lot, now I ask her to look upon her own mistakes, she’s still criticising and comparing me (I’ll never be good enough for her, she “ordered” me what university studies I had to follow, the one she tried for 3 times and didn’t make it, the one I wished for wasn’t “the best” for me…). They are divorced for almost 25 years, but it is all my fault that she couldn’t get rid of him and she has no one (partner), even if I didn’t take my father’s side or put her in any difficulty with another man. I had to choose between them in court, in front of 3 unknown people (at 9 or 10) and tell them why I chose her and not him (to live with). Without any psychological treatment, that is only for “week ones” in her opinion. She kept repeating she endured the same, but it isn’t true, she had a normal childhood and a loving father and mother. It is one thing confronting a narc at 20+, by your choice and another one being birthed to one: so unimportant I was to him that when he found out I’m a girl (not a boy), he was very upset, in his mind…I wasn’t such a perfect “extension” of his, his “name” wasn’t “surviving…

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      1. How long did you love bomb weeks months years? Does it vary for you ? As you get older do you get tired doing this ? Does duration of your live bombing episodes decrease ?

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