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.


50 thoughts on “The Parental Hoover”

  1. Both my parents are narcissist. I only recently realized this when my husband said, “That’s because they are both narcissists.” Suddenly everything makes sense.

    The husband is the exact opposite of parents. Super empath, though it seems he understand everyone else better than me. Extremely nice, though probably fueled by guilt :). Does all the chores, a great cook, supports the family while I switch gears to pursue my passion. I got lucky.

    By being with him, and through my own interaction with my child, (through my interactions with the rest of the world really), I’ve long realized that my parents don’t understand what the expectations. My mother delights in my failures and resents my successes. Everyone loves my father, he puts his numerous friends above his family and simply expects everyone to give him everything, (while at the same time feels sorry for himself and thus demands more from you.)

    You’d think that it’d be clear to me that they are narcissists, being a neuroscientist and all, yet it still took my husband’s words to make me realize the truth.

    Once I got to college, I basically cut all ties with them. They quickly moved from Malign Hoovers to pure antagonism. My dad moved on with his new family and so I’m no longer a major target for handouts. My mom use me for fuel sparingly, only when she could be bothered to send me into a new level of hell. These responses seem to go beyond what you wrote in your post, and I hope you could provide some insight.

    I don’t know whether I’m an empath or a narcissist. Is it possible to be both? When shit hits the fan, I approach things logically, assesses how it impacts me, in a detached self preservation strategy honed over the years under my parents. Yet, under normal circumstances, I still do what’s best for others and not my self–or am I doing it to be worshiped and loved? Oh well, doesn’t matter I suppose.

  3. HG, what a relief to read this. You are so right that I had no idea about mother until the chaos with MRN. I knew she was mentally ill but not what she suffered from.

    I get malign hoovers. It is always ‘but your father’ needs you (my father is no prize – not a narc but he hit me a lot growing up- too feeble now but still an angry man), or ‘X (my son) calls all the time.’

    The other night I called to wish them a happy anniversary. Mummy went into a litany of all the things I’ve done wrong over the past month because I mentioned that I had been away for the weekend – the only holiday I have had this year. She argued when I told her I had a record of when we had last spoken a week ago, and when I told her when I would visit – a week hence. She tried to hand off furniture I do not want. She tries bribes – but not with what you want, with what she wants, not your taste, her taste – hence all the unworn sweaters/jumpers growing up.

    She then guilt tripped a cousin I recently spent time with, complaining that she hadn’t visited and that we had not visited when we were nearby (had seen them two days before).

    I told her to stop and she HUNG UP ON ME!! I then called her and told her if she did not apologize for hanging up on me, that would be it. She refused and I went supernova. I gave her tons of fuel.

    In the end, because my sister died a few months ago, I told mummy that if she wanted to lose both daughters, to go ahead and not apologize. And so we have reached an impasse. Ironically, I gained a daughter, a niece, who has no fondness for my mother (sister didn’t either, though she would not approve of what I did).

    I know I made mistakes with the supernova thing but I am happy with the outcome. Done with that, just like with MRN. Don’t need anything from any of them.

    Thank you, HG, for the lessons. Printing this one out.

  4. Hello HG,

    A narcissist has a tool-kit that constructs different masks and manipulations to hide the creature. The same wires are adopted and used to block out the blacklisted exes/appliances. An ‘out of sight out of mind’ kind of structure.

    Maybe you have answered this question before, but:

    One out of your six listed hover triggers need to be meet for the narcissist to hoover one of his/her exes/appliances. Does this deploy in the same manner between the narcissistic parent and her empathic child? I do read that the familial bond gives the relationship different expectations, but is there still an ‘out of sight out of mind’ mechanism, that the hoover trigger criteria’s must be met?

    Thank you in advance.

  5. Dear HG,
    occasionally you mention that ex-girl friend in an article of yours who made you aware of what you are for the first time.
    I am tapping in the dark as to whether this question makes sense, but I have been chewing on it for some time now, and maybe it is possible for you to answer: Could you imagine to have a meta-talk with that woman about your life as a narcissist? Or maybe: Have you ever had a meta-talk with her about your narcissism?
    If not, what would be or had been in the way?
    What are your feelings toward this person presently? Is she perhaps painted black or white? If she has a color, is it because she made you aware?
    Thank you for commenting.

      1. Thank you MB, you are motivating me to think more about it. And thank you HG, this is leading me on a path on which I hope to find a light. So I am hoping that you can also give some information regarding new questions that came to me after reading your answers.

        HG, I was picturing your relationship with this woman being beyond all that profane and unnerving narcissist – empath / co-dependent hassle, just because she knows. (You state she is “painted white”). Is this picture correct?

        From your answers I conclude, generally speaking, that “finding out somebody is a narcissist” and giving the person a hint need not necessarily lead to the narcissist being wounded, fleeing the scene, licking his wounds or launching an attack. Is this conclusion ok?

        My idea was that a “meta level” may be reached on which communication and voluntary exchange are possible in a rational and friendly manner for a self-aware narcissist and an aware person. (I haven’t stopped thinking that, like cars that do not only need fuel but also oil and some more maintenance, narcissists also need more than fuel.) Or am I too positive about this? I am wondering whether there is an “Anthony-Hopkins-Jody-Foster fallacy” that I have trapped myself in.

  6. There is so little out there for children of narcissistic fathers, even though there are more narc fathers than narc mothers, since there are more male than female narcs.

    There is nothing for only children of narcs. It’s all “golden child vs. scapegoat.” Yeah, what if you’re both because you’re the only kid he’s got?

    And then of course there’s a metric ton of gender essentialism about it. If someone does happen to talk about a narcissistic father, they say he competes with his sons and only his sons. Totally and completely wrong.

    I’ve had to emotionally parent my father since I was 3 years old. All this while he undermined my accomplishments every step of the way through competition and claiming 100% of the credit. Oh but he’s so charming and nice and talks so much about how he loves his daughter, let’s all tell her how lucky she is. He pretended he wrote my school papers, he insulted me to his dozens of friends and my family, he triangulated against me with all of my boyfriends (or tried to — failed every time there), he was drunk every weekend, and I could never tell what would cause him to have a terrifying rage at me. But I was supposed to feel “lucky” because he’d preen around talking about how much he cared about women’s rights.

    I was my father’s favorite source of fuel except for a few years when he was married to his second wife. I think this is because my mother is the queen of codependency to an extent that I’m not sure “codependent” is the right word. She’s only content when she’s being emotionally abused. Probably not much fuel there.

    1. Christine
      “There is nothing for only children of narcs. It’s all “golden child vs. scapegoat.” Yeah, what if you’re both”

      I can identify with this. I was an only child with two narc parents. I was the golden child for my dad and the scapegoat for my mother. They often used their treatment of me as a way to draw fuel from one another.

    2. Hello Christine,

      “…there are more narc fathers than narc mothers, since there are more male than female narcs.”

      IMHO, there are no more male narcissists than female ones. Women are more covert, scheming and manipulative than men. Women are better than men when it comes to making other people believe they are the poor innocent wife/partner/friend/victim. They are good at playing dumb and looking like they do not know what they are doing. This is why so many male narcissists, especially MRNs, fall prey to narcissistic and sociopathic women. Men are also expected to be emotionally stronger than women and do not want other men to see them as *weak* for being abused by their NPD/BPD partners.

  7. Is there a way to tell if a teenager is just being rebellious or if he might have NPD?

    My nephew is currently staying with us because he was using drugs and supposedly by moving in with us he would have a new start.

    Yesterday I found vapes, empty beer cans, and a bong in their room.

    When I questioned him he denied everything. He said some kid asked him to carry the backpack that had the bong in it and that he has no idea of what was in the backpack.

    Then I asked about the vapes. They were in his personal backpack he said someone must have put them there. Not him. I also touched his used condom while searching his backpack. Gross.

    He blamed the empty beer cans on my son.

    He kept lying even though I knew the truth. And he didn’t show any remorse.

    He doesn’t want to do chores.

    They snuck out of the house and went to a party.

    He got a ride to school from his girlfriend. But didn’t ask if that was ok to do.

    He got into a fist fight at school the other day.

    I feel angry, sad and disappointed. My children have never behaved this way before and now my son has used a vape, smoked weed, and drank alcohol.

    I have taken away all electronic devices.

    I will be contacting a counselor on Tuesday when they open.

    I just wonder if I am dealing with a teenage narcissist. Because NPD is usually not diagnosed until you are an adult. Right?

    Since I cannot go no contact on a child.
    I need advice on how to handle the situation. My anxiety levels are high.

    1. More information is required on a range of behaviours, the age of the teenager and to convey what might be done. Therefore this falls within the ambit of a consultation.

      1. Thank you HG. I actually took care of the situation.

        I gave them a chance and said if either one screwed up again that I have zero tolerance. No more chances.

        I figured he would screw up because of his lack of remorse. But I am shocked that it happened so soon within 24hrs.

        My children are my priority and I will not sit back and watch them be destroyed.

        So he is moving out right now.

        Thank you for getting me into the last consultation so quickly. It really help with the outcome of that situation.

      2. I may need to consult with you after all. I feel like I am being targeted right now because I of decisions I made about this situation. My oldest daughter sent me a text last night at bedtime. I haven’t responded to it. But she went on and on how I am a bad mother. She said I was worst than her dad.

        How can I be worst than a lesser narcissist? That’s pretty low.

        I feel bad not responding because I don’t want to give the silent treatment. I think she wants a reaction. I really don’t know what to say. I am sorry I am not a perfect parent. Or is this a situation where you don’t respond and you just block and go no contact? I am really struggling with what to do or say.

        1. Serene
          Don’t know if this will help at all.
          My oldest son used to rant at me that way when he was in high school. I would just say things like, “I did the best I could… I do love you as much as I love your siblings… Its a shame you don’t believe me, but that doesn’t make it true… They say we all get the parents we deserve.”

          What cooled him down towards me was when he got married and started his own family. He has always suffered from low self-esteem. When he began to have a successful personal life, he stopped lashing out at me.

          My father (also a narc) used to tell me he never appreciated his parents until he became one. I think that’s because of that lack of empathy. If it hasn’t happened to them, they have no real understanding of what parents go thru and the constraints we were under. Does your daughter have children?

          1. Windstorm,

            Yes she has two boys. 6 year old and the other is almost 1. She 25 years old.

            I am just shocked at the things she said.

            I am going to consult HG. I would like his input on her text and on my nephew’s behavior.

            And thank you I do appreciate your response.

      3. Windstorm,

        Thank you for your advice. I decided to text her and let her know that I love her. And I left it at that. She didn’t respond. She deleted me from Facebook.

        But I feel good about the choice I made.

  8. My mother is a malign narcissist… That’s now obvious to me. But my problem is that I can’t get away from her. I keep self-sabotaging myself and whatever I try to do I just keep staying at the same place living with her. For the first time in my life I don’t know what to do.

    1. Kanter
      When I was nineteen I put all of my stuff into three very large trash bags and moved into an apartment with four roommates and I never looked back.

      1. You are very strong, K and I am glad to hear you were able to leave and start a new life with other people.
        When I was young, I was asked by two different narcissists to move somewhere else together. A narc female friend, who used to criticize me and put me down at every opportunity she had and also my narc brother who could not stand our parents’ criticism anymore. I used to work at my father’s company and was financially dependent on him. I chose the lesser evil and did not leave. There were other reasons I will not get into but I want to say that when you are repeatedly told that you are mental disabled, damaged since birth and that no one will hire you, it is hard to think you can make it on your own.

        1. EB
          “When you are repeatedly told that you are mental disabled, damaged since birth and that no one will hire you, it is hard to think you can make it on your own.

          Truer words were never spoken.

        2. Thank you E.B.
          At the time you made the decision that was best for you and there is nothing wrong with choosing the lesser of two evils. I have been in a similar position and I completely understand.

          Your parents eroded your self-esteem so they could control you and keep you in their fuel matrices. Well, they won’t be getting any Parent of the Year Awards any time soon. That is so sad and unfair; you deserved better E.B. and WS, too.

        3. EB
          What a shitty deal to be made to feel like that when the truth is you were so valuable that he was in fear of losing you. They start early when we dont yet have a handle on our worth in order to effect this. But you know now what an asset you are and that he was a coward and a liar.

          1. Well, I do not see myself as an asset or feel valuable at all, NA but I did notice that since I stop working for them entirely, their company has gradually been going downhill, although I had warned them about it. Not matter how hard I tried, they would not listen. I used to feel responsible for what they did until I realized I was wrong. Every once in a while my narc brother hoovers me but I ignore his emails. I guess he wants me to help him out (I live abroad) as I used to do before. His wife is a shopaholic MRN. I have also learnt that apart from his company, he had to apply for a job and that he is doing some freelance work as well.

      2. Wow K, good for you. I’ve never succeeded in fully breaking away though I have always lived far away. I think I’ve just done it, though. Better late than never!

        1. SMH
          I am very lucky because I have no connection (emotional) to my biological family so I have been NC for the most part since I moved out. I sometimes see my mother once, maybe twice, a year.

    2. Kanter,

      Yours is a difficult situation to be in. It may help to read and learn as much about narcissism as you can and also about how to strengthen your own boundaries and your own self.

      Even though you live with your mother, try and have as much time away from her as possible. Leave the house regularly for a change of scene and to meet different people. Communicate with people on this blog who understand your situation and can offer some different views and ideas.

      Make a joke or funny remark when your mother is manipulating you (great advice from Windstorm!) or “gray rock” her as much as possible. If she gives you the silent treatment, don’t see it as a negative, just enjoy the peace and quiet and be grateful for the lack of contact. Don’t give up. Your situation will not last forever.

      1. That’s exactly what I am doing. I’m avoiding a contact with her in every single possible way, but you know how they are. They just keep attacking and attacking and attacking… and it seems that I cannot get away from her, although I would love to more than anything in my life. Pretty bizarre situation. Now she actually turned almost everyone against me, including my older brother, which makes this even harder to understand.

        But I will continue to educate myself on this topic, and eventually I will get away from her with NO CONTACT, and that’d be the beginning of my newborn life.

        1. Kanter,

          I wish you all the best. Knowledge is power. Keep learning all about narcissism and how it makes people behave. Also, I have found that being stronger within yourself is also extremely important.

          It’s difficult when other people believe the narcissist and turn against you. It’s emotionally tough. In these situations, I have found that it’s important to continue to be in control of your emotions around those people and develop an attitude as much as possible of not caring so much what they think or say.

          Also, don’t lose your temper, or be rude, or argue with them. Be courteous and also as low contact as possible with them. Do not give any of the bad comments about you any chance of seeming to be true. At the same time, keep your own self protected from their smears. It helps if you can get validation and good emotional experiences from other people who are supportive. Good luck! 🙂

  9. I can relate to this very much. Malign hoover no. 5 – all day long.

    My narc mother has actually been quite ill for several years. This gives her intense pity-seeking a real and credible basis. However, to the knowing observer, her unending descriptions of how unwell she is and how nothing seems to be helping are unrelenting. This leaves no room at all for the conversation to shift to anyone else even though others around her also have their own lives to live and their own issues. It’s exhausting.

    As her adult child, it also leaves me in a kind of double bind. From the outside, I look like a heartless, ungrateful and terrible person if I ignore her or go no contact. It will mean she will be helpless in some instances. However, if I indulge her expectations, I can’t live and enjoy my own life. I feel like I’m walking a fine line. I now make any decision on how to behave with a lot of forethought and logic. It really is like dealing with a child, however, a child who is very much absolutely intent on controlling and manipulating any situation.

    1. I can relate, WiserNow, though my mother is not ill, unfortunately (mentally yes, physically no). I finally threw the gauntlet down the other night. Not sure who won but I believe that I did. As with MRN, I cannot make mother happy. Nothing I do satisfies her. So, just as with MRN, I am out.

      I asked my therapist a few months ago if it was evil to wish your parents dead already. She laughed and said no. Lots of people do.

  10. Great article, HG.
    I can honestly say that I’m grateful both my parents are dead and though their ashes are at the bottom of the the ocean, they’re still assholes. My eldest brother was the golden child. He’s an asshole. The other two siblings where semi golden children. I was the scapegoat, of course. And the only one who was an empath mixed with narcissistic tendencies because nobody taught me right from wrong. I had to learn this on my own. Or until a family member severely punished me for something I did that was narcissistic.. Or even for something good. It was really fucked up.

    1. I can relate. Only I was the only child and still the scapegoat.
      Always thought that if I had siblings, there’s be some sharing of the hate, but reading your post I realize that they would have probably been the golden child and simply made things worse for me.

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