The Parental Hoover



Whilst many people experience our kind in the context of the romantic relationship, there are also many people whose experience of the narcissistic dynamic arises from their relationship with a parent. Naturally, nobody recognises at first blush that they have a narcissistic parent. When somebody is a child, they have nothing to benchmark it against and invariably it is usually the case that enlightenment only arises once the child has become an adult.

Sometimes it takes that person to become entangled with a narcissist in a romantic relationship before they are awakened to the fact that they have so been entangled. As part of their enlightenment as to the fact that one of our kind ensnared them through the auspices of a romantic relationship, the individual then also realises that one (or possibly both) of their parents is a narcissist. It takes the coupling with a narcissist in a romantic sense to bring about that realisation. For others, it is the comparison between their relationship with that parent and how they see the relationship of their friends with their parents, or the relationship between their significant other (who is not a narcissist) and his or her parents, to cause them to question the behaviour of their parent which eventually takes them along the path to discovery.

For my own part, it was not until I was shown by an ex-girlfriend what I was, that I realised that MatriNarc was also of our brethren. It was an unusual moment. On the one hand I now had a label to apply to myself, courtesy of the non-judgemental observations of that informed girlfriend. I was pleased with this label as it enabled me to understand more about what I was, although it was not something I planned on sharing. Yet, as I understood how my behaviours fitted with the model of behaviour to which she had directed me, I also realised that my mother was similar and thus also was one of us. A different type of narcissist, but one nevertheless. Such a revelation admittedly stunned me but I soon buried such thoughts as they served no purpose. There was no point dwelling on what had occurred in the past, that was redundant and only going to take me to a place that I had long since escaped. Instead, I focused on my new understanding and how I should now apply this knowledge to my advantage. Thus, that is what I did as I began my journey post university, entering the world of work (aside from summer jobs and the like) and continuing to ensnare unwitting victims romantically, socially and even through the merest of interactions.

Through this time I sought to exercise my independence from MatriNaric who of course sought to exert it as often as she could. I attended university, like many, away from the place where I grew up and therefore this represented the first weakening of the control that MatriNarc had exerted over me. Of course, those elongated holidays meant a return to the mother ship and her continuing machinations and it was only when I commenced my first position on the career ladder of my chosen profession and with that came the necessity of being based in a city, that I truly started to pull away from her grip.

As you would expect, she would not allow that grip to be relinquished with ease and so it is with all parental narcissists. Just like the viewpoint of the romantic relationship narcissist, the parental narcissist considers that you, his or her child belongs to him or her until death. Indeed, whilst those in a romantic liaison with us may sever the Formal Relationship this is far less likely where the dynamic is between parent and adult child. The adult child feels a sense of obligation borne out of the familial tie. How often have you said,

“She is my mother, I can’t NOT invite her to the christening.”

“I know she can be a pain, but she is my mother after all.”

“He is bound to cause a scene but he is my father and well, it would just feel wrong if he was not there.”

“It will cause too many questions if my dad doesn’t attend.”

Such is the sense of obligation which is imbued by the familial link. The narcissist knows of this sense of obligation and moreover relies on it. That is why there is no seduction between narcissistic parent and child (leaving aside those arrangements where incest arises, which is not the purpose of this article) because the existing familial connection supplants the need for seduction. The victim is already tied to the narcissist through blood and you are never allowed to forget that fact.

This tight binding of victim to narcissist does not end there. The existence of the other parent (usually not a narcissist) also causes the victim to remain exposed and bound to the narcissistic parent. Perhaps some of these comments will be familiar to you?

“I put up with my dad for my mum’s sake.”

“I feel sorry for my dad having to deal with my mum.”

“I only see my dad because I love my mum and want to spend time with her.”

“I do it for my children so they see their grandfather, otherwise I would not bother with my mum.”

Unlike the romantic coupling where, once you realise that this person is an abuser (if you have not worked out that they are one of us) you may well escape and aside from the usual concerns and vulnerabilities which come with the empathic victim in such an instance, you make good that escape, the familial ensnarement brings with it a collateral consequence; the other parent. Whilst you may consider quite readily abandoning the narcissistic parent, once you have become alive to what he or she is and how this will not change, your planned escape is hampered by the consequential impact on the other parent who is not a narcissist. Like the dedicated platoon which ‘leaves no man behind’, you are also kept in the grip of the narcissistic parent because of your obligations towards your other parent who is not one of our kind. Once again, do not underestimate the narcissist’s knowledge of this sense of obligation. They will be unlikely to realise that they are a narcissist, but they know how to exploit your relationship with the other parent to their advantage.

Whilst devaluation is a frequent occurrence within the dynamic between the parent narcissist and the adult child, discard is fairly rare. The dynamic between parent and child falls into one of three categories:-


  1. The adult child is an intimate partner primary source – rare;
  2. The adult child is a non-intimate partner primary source – unusual; or
  3. The adult child is a non-intimate secondary source – common

With most interactions falling into the third category, the adult child will be relied upon as an intermittent, but frequent provider of fuel. The narcissistic parent will also look to gather traits (for instance living through the success of the adult child) and utilise residual benefits (especially as the narcissistic parent ages).

In a non-familial dynamic, the narcissist tends to interact largely with the secondary source victim in benign ways to gain positive fuel, for instance:-

  1. A secondary source who is a friend will be invited to social events and spend time with the narcissist;
  2. A secondary source who is a colleague will also be invited to social events, but will be relied on by virtue of the existing obligation which arises out of the work dynamic;
  3. A secondary source who is also an intimate source will be picked up to use for social events, intimacy, spending time together. For instance, a person the narcissist is having an affair with, a friend with benefits or a dirty little secret.

In those instances the narcissist offers a benign hoover

“Do you fancy going to the pub tonight?”

“I can meet you at the hotel at 3pm this afternoon.”

“I have tickets for that new play, I hope you want to come.”

“I have not seen you in ages, how about lunch?”

“Can we get our heads together to discuss the new project?”

And consequently the victim will almost always respond to this hoover, interact with the narcissist and provide the positive fuel. The narcissist will have a range of secondary sources so the reliance on one particular secondary source is intermittent. This means the positive fuel remains fresh for far, far longer and therefore the golden period can continue for a long time.

With the situation where the narcissist interacts with a familial secondary source, the victim may well be a golden child or a scapegoat. In either instance, the parental narcissist considers there to be an obligation borne out of the familial tie so that the secondary source should not actually need to be hoovered. Since the range of familial secondary sources will be far fewer than secondary sources as a whole, the familial secondary source is EXPECTED to make themselves available for fuel provision et al. Whilst they may no longer live with the parental narcissist this does not matter. The adult child who is a secondary source should attend without prompting to provide fuel to the parental narcissist. For instance, it is expected they will come over for Sunday lunch each week or visit at least once a month for the weekend if they live a distance away. There ought to be weekly, perhaps daily telephone calls/skype/facetime. They expect to be messaged first to be asked how they are, whether they need anything and so forth. If these expected routine events where fuel is provided are not adhered to, then the parental narcissist will deploy a hoover to bring about the interaction and of course the required reaction which provides fuel.

The parental hoover may be benign in nature (which is usually used for the golden child) but also malign. The latter type of hoovers vary to the degree by which malignancy is used. Some may be mild, intending to prick the conscience of the recipient adult child and others especially savage in order to provoke an outraged or alarmed response. The malign parental hoover has one key ingredient ; it invariably causes the child to have to parent the parent. This of course should come as no surprise to the seasoned scholars of the narcissistic dynamic. The parental narcissist remains the vulnerable child which manifests when fuel levels begin to dip and thus the hoover deployed to the adult child is designed to trigger that long-held obligation of the adult child to parent their parent, something they have done for as long as they might care to remember.

It is often the case that a parental narcissist will have given rise to the creation of a child narcissist which in the fullness of time becomes an adult child narcissist. This individual does not escape the demands of the parental narcissist. They still have fuel to provide and most parental narcissists do not know what they are and therefore do not recognise themselves in the adult child narcissist, thus the interaction will continue, often with explosive consequences.

Thus, the parental hoover is a frequently used manipulation which is deployed by the parental narcissist for the purposes of exerting control over the adult child and for the gathering of precious fuel. What do these hoovers look like? There are many of them and here are just a number of examples.

Benign Parental Hoovers

  1. Holding a celebration for the achievements of the golden child;
  2. Wanting the golden child to show what they have done or explain their latest promotion, show their painting etc to both the parents and third parties who have been summoned;
  3. An impromptu BBQ because it is a ‘lovely summer’s day’;
  4. To celebrate the birthday of the golden child;
  5. Wanting to share good news with the golden child;
  6. Seeking the advice of the golden child if they are a specialist in some area – for instance investment advice;
  7. Wanting to effect an introduction to or for the golden child which places the parental narcissist in a good light for being the deal maker;
  8. Identifying a problem and wondering if the golden child might possibly have the time to resolve it for them;
  9. Identifying (or fabricating) a family problem involving triangulation with another relative (usually the scapegoat) and seeking the good office of the golden child to resolve the issue;
  10. Having some spare tickets (which are not spare at all but purposefully bought) which they would like to offer the golden child;
  11. Suggesting a holiday with the golden child

Malign Hoovers

  1. Noting the adult child (“AC”) has not visited and asking when this might happen;
  2. Triangulating the AC with the golden child pointing out how the golden child has visited more often;
  3. Feigning a crisis – the ceiling is leaking, the oven does not work, the neighbours are too noisy and something must be done immediately
  4. Bemoaning the fact nobody comes to see them;
  5. Highlighting how unwell they are;
  6. Pointing out financial difficulties
  7. Disapproving of the AC’s friends, romantic partner
  8. Claiming they never get to see their grandchildren;
  9. Complaining they are only ever used as a child minder for their grandchildren;
  10. Berating the AC for some imagined vice – drugs, drink, gambling etc based on the flimsiest of evidence but declaring that “I only have your best interests at heart”


  1. Turning up unannounced and uninvited for the weekend;
  2. Declaring how lonely they are and how “your father never listens”
  3. Moaning about never being able to go anywhere;
  4. Pretending to not understand what a letter means and asking for them to come and help;
  5. Deliberately sabotaging something and using it as a pretext for requiring immediate help and assistance;
  6. Threatening to remove the AC from their will unless they make more of an effort;
  7. Calling early on Christmas Day or their birthday to demand why the AC has not contacted them to wish them Merry Christmas or Happy Birthday;
  8. Frequently referring to the death of people they know and commenting how they won’t be long for this world and then “you will be free of me which is what you want really”.
  9. Throwing in the face of the AC everything they have ever done for the AC from his or her childhood “I wiped your bottom” even though they actually did the bare minimum of parenting;
  10. Utilising frequent sarcasm “I was just calling to let you know I am still alive because after all you have never bothered to call me in three days.”

The adult child is not allowed to lead their own life, to expect the ongoing support of their parent but instead be on call whenever these hoovers are deployed and to respond straight away so that fuel is provided without question or delay.

32 thoughts on “The Parental Hoover

  1. 🌹Nicky🌹 says:

    Fascinating article MrTudor and all the comments to.I feel sorry for my Exs narcisism I now realise it’s all due to hes terrible Narcissistic Mother. Hes the only male and has 5 sisters. They abuse everyone and abuse each other. They fall out then forgive each other terrible things done between them just because there blood related. Just because “She is my Sister”. To me they resemble an unhealthy SECT like family. No true healthy positve sentiment between them only abuse and use. My Ex seems to sense something is wrong yet is unable to break free. He distances himself then goes running when the Mother or Sister clicks her fingers. Its unhealthy and leaves me very uneasy.
    Thank you for your teachings.❤

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You are welcome, Nicky.

  2. NP says:

    Well, well, having 2 Narc parents is ‘very interesting.’ What with mother playing the father card, and father playing the mother card.

    But it’s my mum who really does the malign hoovers. Really really malign hoovers while demanding I be her appendage. After being on your blog for awhile, I mustered up enough courage and confronted her while home for funeral. I have never stood up to her before, so this was a shocker.

    She claimed I must have a demon, but I didn’t let up on her and stayed on course during the argument. I confronted and confronted and the responded in typical malignant narc ways, playing victim and attacking my most vulnerable emotions.

    I thank God for that coz now I know exactly where I stand with her, and where I have been standing all these years. She cannot put on a mask again, coz it has slipped and I have seen the demon underneath it.

    It has given me the strength to severe the toxic hold she had on me. I am no longer obligated. I no longer receive calls and texts every single minute of my life.

    I no longer have to play her ‘husband’, listening to her problems left right and center. Freedom at last! Well, is it really freedom at last! I still have a lot of work to do myself…

    It also gave me strength to stand up to my siblings…who she used over and over to triangulate me and reel me back in by painting me to be the bad one, yet I am the one who sent her money over and over again, and did all the house chores, attending to all her needs. Lol.

    My dad on the other hand is more likely to use family investments, funerals, and other such important family functions to hoover… Once I stopped taking his phone calls awhile back, he stopped calling. Well, I stopped picking up his call coz my mom played the father card and really poisoned me against him… It was easy to be poisoned because my dad is a Narc too, he is violent and a drunkard with a victim personality, but he plays his game in a totally different level and I am yet to categorize his disorder. He is grand yet violent too.

    My mum is the holy church elder Narc. Lol.

    1. NP says:

      Actually, she is the holiest of holy Narcissists… You know.

  3. raindrop says:

    I escaped.

  4. Blank says:

    Went to see my narc mum yesterday and, as usual, I have to mentally recover for at least a week. I just feel so agressive right now. If only for once I could smack her in the face.

    1. narc affair says:

      Hi blank…ive had that feeling many times and im not an aggressive person by any stretch. When im away from her i feel pity and i understand npd but when im around her she gets under my skin. Shes over today for a meal visit with the kids and hubby and i. Hoping she leaves her wine at home. Shes never been a drinker and just recently started drinking wine a lot and ive noticed the npd get way worse. Either shes super sweet and affectionate(weve never hugged in the past) which makes me feel icky i hate her hugs now or shes in super narc mode. I prefer her the way she was neutral and distant.

      1. Blank says:

        Hi narc affair. My mum does exactly the same, the hugging part that this, I hate it too. She also gives me money every time. She is buying my love. Because she gets old and ill and she needs someone to look after her. She never does this to my sisters. I am ‘the chosen one’ to always have been narcisisistically abused and now she expects me to take care of her, telling me everytime how much she would want me to move to her town. May his holy goodness forbid that ever happens. As far as alcohol, she wil not drink a drop, she might lose control and even worse, she might become cheerful. Nothing could be more frightening to her than that 😉 Wish you strenght with your mum, narc affair, I hope you can handle her. If not, just let her drink 6 bottles at once.

      2. narc affair says:

        Hi blank…its ironic you mentioned your mum gives you money bc thats exactly what my mother did yesterday. This is not something she normally does but she sat me down and told me she got a settlement thru a work related case and i look at the cheque and its 10000. She gave the kids each 5000. This stirred up a lot of emotions in me. She said it was part of my inheritance early. It was a nice gesture but its created anxiety within me. I couldnt figure out why until i thought on it and its bc shes always playing like her healths failing her as if shes on her deathbed. This has been going on for years. Its triggered anxiety over if she truely is not well or if its still an act.
        Also its hard accepting money from someone whose treated me like shit over the years. I wish she couldve kept her money but been a better mother.
        She didnt triangulate my children yesterday and was on very good behaviour. That makes me wonder whats going on. Its sad to be constantly suspicious.

        1. Windstorm2 says:

          Narc Affair
          Hey, money is money. We all wish our mother’s had loved us and actually been mothers, but that doesn’t mean we should refuse what they are willing to give us. Money is about the only thing worthwhile I ever got from my mother.

          Just don’t let it make you feel like you owe her something in return. You don’t. This is just something she’s doing for her own ulterior motives – you just aren’t sure what they are yet. I’d leave tomorrow’s worries till tomorrow. She may just want the fuel from being able to say she did something nice for her grandchildren.

          Mine got a lot of fuel that way. She put all of mine thru college. She bought them each their first car. She never harmed them, though. She seemed to want to harm me. She would hug them all the time and tell them how much she loved them. Always be so happy when they visited. You know, all the things she NEVER did to me.

          I had always been upfront with them about my relationship with my mother and we would all joke at home about how she still treated me like dirt, but was so nice to them. (I’m not going to say that didn’t still hurt me, because it sure did – and they saw that). They understood what she was doing and didn’t fall for her manipulations – and they are all college graduates now!

          They all loved their Granny and were very grateful. But they always saw her for what she was – warts and all. Be open and honest with your children and they will see your mom for what she is, too.

      3. narc affair says:

        Hi windstorm…ty so much for your reply it really put things into perspective. Im sorry your mother treated you as the blacksheep i can very much relate! Ive done the same thing in letting the kids know what her issue is with gender and favoritism and her narcissism. Im very careful tho and i make sure they still show her respect as their grandmother and also let them know she loves them bc she does.
        Ive been going over in my mind why since she gave me this money i feel sadness and anxiety and ive come to a few conclusions:

        Firstly i feel a hypocrite taking money from someone ive been at odds with for years.

        I dont want to feel i owe her anything or have to be close bc shes damaged that.

        I feel sad bc i second guess if maybe she really isnt well and is hiding things from me altho shes done the opposite in the past and made it seem she was on her deathbed. All the negative feelings, things ive posted here i feel a sense of guilt over but need to remind myself they were true.

        It feels like dirty money bc she rarely was a caring mother and has covertly been abusive over the years.

        I start to second guess her narcissism but giving money doesnt mean youre not a narcissist or that you care in the way a normal parent would.

        It was a nice gesture what she did altho it makes me feel anxious for the reasons listed. Another odd thing is she was super nice and didnt triangulate my kids or me. No gaslighting at all. Its like the abuse was switched off. Possibly a golden period idk. Id rather it stay the same bc thats predictable.

        1. Windstorm2 says:

          Narc Affair
          My opinion:
          * you mustn’t feel guilt for not getting along with an abuser – even if it is your mother
          * wasn’t the money for your children? If so, then nothing you did or did not do matters
          * narcs often give away money if it gets them fuel
          * narcs do often hide their real illnesses for several reasons. So she may or may not be doing that.
          * she may well triangulate you and your kids at any point in the future.

          My philosophy is if your stuck with a narcissist, you should get what you can but have zero expectations. Hopefully it will work out well for you. Think positive. ❤️

    2. Narc Angel says:


      Have you ever told her that?

      1. Narc Angel says:

        Narc Affair

        I would look at the money as a down payment on compensation owed for previous pain and suffering and not as having any hold over you or responsibility for anything now or in future. Who cares the reason. Take it and enjoy it. If she ever raises the “gift” tell her that it was a gift twice-once for you to enjoy as that was her intent yes? and then a gift that she gave herself in being able to witness your enjoyment of it. That not every Mother gets that gift of opportunity and shes welcome. She exposes herself and her motive if she doesnt agree.

        But thats me and Im mean. Or so Ive been told lol.

  5. narc affair says:

    This is mainly my mil in this article but i can see my mother too.
    My mother will fake being ill for weeks on end but will come over with cupcakes shes made and spent hours intricly decorating. The cupcakes are to impress people of her talent and show off not as a genuine gift.
    She routinely goes into asking my 12 yr old son “when im old youll come visit me wont you?….this is always said loud enough for me to hear. Shes not been diagnosed with anything and sits on her ass all day watching tv or doing crafts etc. She is insensitive to the fact weve had major health issues to deal with and dont need to be made to feel guilty over fake ones for attention. She loves a good pity play.

    My mother in law is the queen of malign hoovers. She needs to be active all the time and gets into stinky thinking when left alone for prolonged periods.
    She will call us up and right away you can hear her mood in her voice. Shes ready for a fight. She needs to exert control over my hubbys life and his sister. Shes insulted my hubby and hes hung up on her. Hes slowly understanding shes a narc.
    Shes invited herself to join us on outings despite not being invited. Shes not invited a lot of the time bc she takes over and sabatoges the outing.
    She will call and play dumb…did you call? She knows we didnt or sorry i meant to call…all as an excuse to chat an hr or more regardless if we have things to do or not.
    She throws in our faces all shes done and how shes the kid’s favorite grandmother. She thrives off of accolades and needs to be the favorite.

    The parent hoover happens frequently but distancing can help if youre able. I only ever text my mum and keep things to a bare minimum as needed capacity. Its helped to dilute her affect on me.

    1. narc affair says:

      I meant to add that you should be commended HG for taking what your ex girlfriend told you and researched it. The fact youre a greater helps but you never denied it in the end in fact it was a relief to know more about yourself. Thats rare of narcissists to do this.
      This has made me think that if i did break up with my narc permanently id tell him as well altho i suspect he knows. He knows and takes pride in it.

      It took as described in this article my narc to find out that my mother was a narcissistvas well. He helped solve the mystery of my mums odd behaviour.

      1. HG Tudor says:

        Thank you. I have not denied it to myself, but I always deny it if there is the rare accusation in my private life.

        1. Windstorm2 says:

          That surprises me, HG. My exhusband just laughs and agrees if it’s family. To non-family he’d just use it in some witticism or threat (like, “That’s why I don’t give a damn if you rot in jail for the rest of your life”). But he wouldn’t deny it. The two other greaters I have known would turn it into a joke, but I don’t think they would outright deny it.

          Maybe this is partly from the effects of AA and having to be “rigorously honest” with themselves. I think they view their narcissism as a strength and a source of power (much like when you talk about being streamlined and not burdened with emotional thinking). Why would they deny their strengths?

          1. HG Tudor says:

            But it is not conveyed as being a strength when the allegation is made, so if credence is given to it that cedes control.

          2. Windstorm2 says:

            This is just based on my observations, but I think they look at it from the perspective of superiority. That the accuser has no idea of what advantages their narcissism gives them. That’s why they make it into a joke or threat.

            Maybe like when someone says you’re cruel or sadistic or hurtful. These are negative things and would be insults to most people, but you can gain fuel from hearing this, because it is shows your power over them. They seem to gain fuel from having their narcissism recognized for the same reason. But there are probably ways it could be said that are more critical than others. Maybe it depends on how it is said.

  6. Rose says:

    There is an entire generation of parents that are heartbroken and estranged because of spoiled millenials like this. Perhaps there are some parents that are truly hurtful to their children but the tyranny of the minority blankets the love of the whole. Ignoring you would be cause for complaint as well, that’s what malcontents do. I’ll pray for your soul.

  7. JenniferJ says:

    It took a series of increasingly difficult relationships before I realised I was a magnet to narcs and that my mother had covertly conditioned me to be an easy target. These relationships were mainly platonic. They occurred at work with narcissistic bosses and colleagues. There were also romantic narc partners but in my case, the romantic relationships were easier to end and recover from. After becoming severely depressed, I started searching for answers to why I kept having such “bad luck” in so many relationship situations. That led to the realisation that my mother is a narcissist and she had shaped me into an over-achieving people-pleaser with very weak boundaries and low self-esteem. The emotional abuse from a narc mother does profound and insidious damage to a child’s psyche. It starts at birth, persists over many years and a child is helpless and defenceless against it.

  8. Blank says:

    What about “the woman next door has such wonderful children.. they come to see her every day and they go on holidays together” or about the grandchildren “It’s always okay if I give them money, but they never show up here” (that is because when they do show up they get a tirade about never showing up..)

    1. saskia says:

      Blank, this is an older comment of yours but I just had to laugh as it is quite on point. I was only recently informed again about how “the neigbours’ children (also adults) would frequently come home for the weekends and help their mother in the garden” or how “nice it was to see they were such a close-knit family”. Whenever I offer my help, and that has been quite frequent lately due to my parents getting older, it is denied or rejected.

  9. Mona says:

    No, I am not allowed to live a life of my own. Never.

    The most disturbing thing I recognised is that my mother said, she has had a good mother and a good childhood as far as it was possible during and after war times. I knew my grandmother. She never lied or did harm to anyone. My mother did not know her father, she only saw him once when she was two years old.

    So what in hell caused her to be a narc? There must have been a strong genetic predetermination.

    All I know she felt very alone and lonely in childhood. My grandmother did as much as she could to raise her daughter. She almost died because of hunger and gave all her food to her daughter. But my mother sees only that her mother nearly left her because of dying. She is angry about that. Her anger about that is shining through. She does not look at that event with adult eyes.
    She even condemned her mother for grieving the death of her husband and her own father, who was shot during the war. She still says, so many women lost their husbands, why did my grandmother cry so much about that?

    That is so cruel and shows her lack of empathy and her lack of understanding a lot of feelings.

    Therefore there is no reason and no excuse for her behaviour.

    I have to be her mother and her child (both at the same time) until she dies.
    At least I see through her games now and can counter them a little bit, although it is very hard, if someone calculates and manipulates all the time.

  10. Windstorm2 says:

    I could tell my father was a narcissist from early on. He was a very flamboyant, larger than life, always the center of attention, overt type of narcissist. I didn’t know anyone else remotely like him. It was obvious he wasnt “normal.” He was my poster child for narcissism.

    I didn’t realize my mother was a narc until I came to this blog. I just thought she was a hateful jerk. She was a covert, cowardly midranger, and I had never realized that all the midrangers in the family were narcs and not just jerks, since they were nothing like my father.

    As to parental hoovers, mine from my mother were all malign. My father never hoovered me as an adult. He had already had his mind burned out from electroshock treatments. If he had been able to hoover, I’m sure most would have been benign. I was a golden child to him, but a scapegoat to my mother. Probably in large part because he used me to triangulate with her and she both hated and resented it.

  11. I know this is about the actions of the parental units. I am familiar with many of these, from grandamanarc, sperm donor, and other friends parental units. My most constant parental units, did not continue to use these, once they were shown how to communicate differently when we were required to get family therapy. They did slip up, but we were allowed “takebacks” “What did you say?” “I take that back, what I mean to say is……” So I still am giving them a benefit of the doubt.
    I find interesting the differing ways of handling the narcs when they do not hold thrall.

    I simply refused to see sperm donor anymore once I was an adult.Mom says, “Roy would like to see you. He called me to ask about you.” “I don’t ever want to see him ever again.” “Well you’ll have to tell him yourself.” “He knows. That’s why he called you. He thinks you’ll say I’m obligated, but I’m not.I didn’t choose him. No duty, no phone call or visit.” Too bad, I didn’t continue to apply this attitude to other people in my life, before now.

    Son made communication with his father as uninviting as possible. He calls the house, narc sees the number and answers. “Hello son! How are you?” Son in monotone” Fine. Let me talk to Mom.” He had plenty of practice with egg donor before he sussed out what his father was as well. Treated them the same; annoying mosquito’s buzzing around him.

    My ex child actor friend dealing with ex stage mom. Mom: “We were at our favorite restaurant, but they were rude today! We’ll never go back there again!” “So they were rude, huh? What did you do to provoke them? They don’t act like that for the fun of it!” Mom, sounding hurt “Why would you say that?” Daughter, actually scapegoat of family:”Well that’s what you always told me! If something bad happened to me, well I did something to deserve it, right? So what did you do to piss these people off? I know how your are!” She does treat her elderly mom exactly as her mom treated her as a child.

  12. Catherine says:

    I find this article to be very interesting and useful. Just as you describe HG, it took me a romantic relationship with a narcissist to discover, through your blog after the relationship ended, and through relentlessly at that point trying to search for information about what happened to me, what was wrong with the familial dynamics of my childhood. I knew something was wrong of course, with both my mother and my grandmother, and I remember thinking my grandmother must have been some kind of sociopath; now I know the narcissistic truth of it without a doubt.

    Soon after my escape from home my parents got divorced so my mother never could play the father card and exercise that kind of power over me. And even though my sister as the golden child and me as the scapegoat were triangulated and had some rough years, we ended up as best friends, albeit with a somewhat different take on our formative years. Still, I can’t really get away from my mother, her power over me has lessened through the years, but she knows exactly which strings to pull to have me stressed out with guilt and some kind of endless shame. But I still care about her, she was a victim too and as long as our contact is limited I try to accept what is. I recognise most of the malign hoovers though, she knows how to get to me each and every time.

  13. NarcAngel says:


    Ha, I bet a lot of people suspect it about their in-laws before it may (if ever) occur to them about their own. Reason for all those Mother-in-law jokes.

    Question 1:

    Was the attraction to your chosen profession largely to do with travel, in that it would allow her less access and also explain your many absences or was that just a side perk? (Assuming of course the decision was made young).

    Question 2:

    I know your Mother has no idea what you have planned for her (and others), but do you think that having you in therapy and involving your family is part of a carefully constructed (by her) smear campaign against you in case you ever decided to share the information of your childhood? Labelling you as the crazy one in therapy and her as the ever suffering but well meaning mother? Is that your view?


    Your girlfriend must have been one smart cookie to be but a student of psychiatry and yet be able to apply what she learned to correctly identify your behaviours and then be able to approach you in a way to raise the subject with you without fear and have you actually consider it. A lot of professionals now fail in that capacity after practicing for years. Did she identify this as a reason for not continuing the relationship?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      The travel element of what I do is useful but it was not the prime attraction.
      It is part of her smearing and attempts at control, yes.
      Psychology, not psychiatry. I had disengaged from her beforehand and it was roughly a year later she conveyed it to me. Her father is a psychologist also, so she had additional input.

      1. Narc Angel says:


        I had wondered for some time. Thank you very much for your reply.

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