Love Is A Taught Construct

love

 

How do you know how to love? Did you sit wide-eyed in front a large screen as colourful costumed characters hugged one another to a saccharine sound-track so this imbued you with the concept of what love was? Did those cartoon characters explain to you what it is to love? Did their exaggerated voices and crazy antics, followed by the moral of the story teach you what love is? Perhaps you read about it in love, heard it in songs and studied the many ways in which this ultimate emotion appears and affects people. Chances are that you have been affected by those hugely affecting passages from the great works dedicated to love. Chances are you have been captured by haunting lyrics and catchy jingles which also profess to tell you what love is. They have all played a part. You may have learned about love from the version churned out by the media, of Hollywood romance, dashing heroes, fair maidens, tarts with golden hearts, the good man who rides to the rescue, the wayward soul saved by love. Love may have been explained to you from the pulpit as a higher love, something which transcends all earthly manifestations, a love so powerful and complete that it sacrificed its only son in order to demonstrate its love for humankind. This godly love is all around you, it touches each and all and is mighty in its effects. Love may have been learned from furtive fumbles down alleyways, sneaking into bedrooms when so young, the exploration of warm and urgent body parts accompanied by those every so sincere protestations of love. A haphazard journey through galloping teen years as nothing and everything makes sense all at once. Then again, love might have appeared to you in the form of something small and furry, an unconditional (so long as it was fed) love which was loyal, giving and ever so cute. So many erudite tutors, learned lecturers and wise proponents of what love is. Love thy neighbour, love yourself, love is all you need, woman in love, it must have been love, crazy little thing called love, to know him is to love him, we found love, how deep is your love? Love is all around us, in us, between us, lifting us up and letting us down. It is everywhere and you may well have been taught by many of the above and more besides as to what love is.

However, love most likely will have been taught to you by those who created you, those two people who came together and through their own pleasure created you. Two people who decided that they would shoulder the responsibility of creating life, nurturing it and bringing a new person into the world. Those two people accepted many, many responsibilities from such a decision and act. Chief among them was the responsibility of teaching that person what love is. Through their offices they have furnished each and every one of us with the notion of what love is. A deep-seated and visceral understanding of this is how love feels, this is what it looks like, this is what it sounds like. This is love. From those two people more than anything else we are first grounded in the concept of what love is. This grounding lasts a considerable time and whilst there are other factors to be considered, as I have mentioned above, it is this lesson which is learnt invariably first and the one lesson which resonates beyond all others. So often we are in their hands when it comes to being taught about love. So, what is this taught love? It has so many, many facets.

Love is being told to never trust anybody.

Love is being made to re-write the entire essay because of one spelling mistake.

Love is being sent to stand outside on a cold winter’s day until all three verses of Ode to Autumn are recited correctly.

Love is knowing nothing is ever good enough.

Love is understanding that someone else knows better than you what is best for you.

Love is turning away from the reality.

Love is standing straight against a wall for several hours for speaking out of turn.

Love is for the weak.

Love is being told that when I am gone nobody else will look out for you.

Love is succeeding.

Love is building a wall as high as possible.

Love is trying until it hurts and gaining that final curt nod of approval.

Love is being seen and not heard.

Love is fulfilling your potential and securing that legacy.

Love is hurting you even though it hurts me, but someone in this household has to do it and it won’t be him will it?

Love is reading to yourself than being read to.

Love is living in the shadows and hoping not to be noticed.

Love is being the best.

Love is the preserve of the powerful.

Love is being denied a birthday party because the other children are too stupid.

Love is being undermined in order to prevent conceit.

Love is a begrudged recognition and the injunction to try harder, go further, climb higher, run faster, study longer.

Love is burning your hand but not crying.

Love is don’t tell anybody about our secret.

Love is a righteous beating.

Love is being distant and pretending things never happened.

Love is being sent away.

Love is not being told.

Love is splendid isolation.

Love was taught this way.

193 thoughts on “Love Is A Taught Construct

  1. Mona says:

    HG,
    did you ever get a positive reinforcement/strengthening in your childhood by someone whom you could respect when you showed compassionate behaviour to someone else ? (compassionate behaviour towards your mother excluded)

    1. HG Tudor says:

      No.

      1. windstorm says:

        This makes me wonder, HG. Was this due more to lack of positive reinforcement to compassionate behavior from you or lack of respect on your part for those who gave it?

        1. HG Tudor says:

          See my reply to Mona, WS.

      2. Kellie Mccoey says:

        😔

      3. Mona says:

        HG, did they laugh at you for compassionate behaviour? Or did they even punish you for compassionate behaviour? Or did they “only” ignore it?

        1. HG Tudor says:

          I do not recall ever exhibiting any compassionate behaviour. If I did, it will have been ignored.

  2. SuperXena says:

    I believe the concept of love is a multifaceted concept:

    On one hand there is the “feeling of love” and on the other hand there is the actual ( cognitive) love. I believe the real power of love lies in the latter not the former.

    The type of love that is depicted here is the “feeling of love” . This is mostly an in learned concept ingrained in all ( empaths, narcissists etc.) through acquired patterns during childhood upbringing and influences of environment( family /society) . The outcome of how the concept develops depends on the different ingrained patterns playing genetics a decisive factor .

    For instance the one that is described here as
    the Romeo &Juliet type of love is a chemical type of love caused by oxytocin . That feeling is weak, volatile, ephemeral,static. It is like a drug to the brain and people react to it as such. It is flimsy.
    Those ephemeral feelings are related to feelings of adulation,exaggerated admiration,obsession,infatuation,lack of self boundaries assessment, lack respect of one’s and/or each other’s personal boundaries ,where both ( or one) lose (s) themselves for the sake of the other, where there are the misconceptions that love wins all, that love hurts…

    This is a feeble feeling with no power, no substance, no permanence.

    The real power lies in the actual “cognitive “love( not the flimsy feeling of love) :the robust ,solid ability that goes beyond the feeling: it is the ability of the strong.

    Actual “ cognitive” love :

    -Is investment: of your time, your respect, your loyalty, and your dedication. You decide to give these things on a regular basis because the person you are giving this to is worth it. They have aspects that you enjoy and want to keep in your life. It is hard work.You have to be willing to put that work in despite your feelings on the matter.

    -Is recognising the autonomy of the other person by respecting each others boundaries ,respecting where one begins and the other ends .There is no such concept as “love is putting yourself second.”It is not a competition : there is no first or second place.

    -It is the understanding of the person you are with, honesty with how that person enhances your life, what you value about them, and what you yourself are willing to do to be sure that they have a reason to stay around.

    -Actual love is about levelling/balancing the faults of your partner against your own. Neither of you is perfect.

    -Actual love is evolutionary persistent, always in movement never static. It is strong ,solid and robust not volatile and ephemeral.

    -Actual love is a choice to be mature, it is a choice to recognize where you have faults.

    This type of cognitive actual love and to be loved the same way is not so easy to be incited( due to its substance) in comparison with the chemical feelings of infatuation that are easily awaken and therefore easily vanish because they have no substance, no solidity, no depth.

    Actual love is something that goes beyond a feeling. It is not fleeting,fugacious but solid and robust.
    So there is another type of “love “different from the chemical experience of the feelings of love and bonding, that goes beyond the flimsy chemical feelings of love:
    The actual “cognitive” love. There is where the power lies.

    1. Less confused says:

      Great comment, I love it 🙂

      1. SuperXena says:

        Thank you Less confused.

    2. WiserNow says:

      SuperXena,

      Thank you for your comment. It made me think a lot about what you mean when you describe “the feeling of love” and “cognitive love”.

      I understand what you’re saying and to some extent I agree with you. So, please don’t take this as contradiction or argument. I just see these definitions of love from a different perspective.

      When you say the “feeling of love” is weak and doesn’t last, I think I understand what you mean by that. But I have thoughts that are very different. The “feeling” that I think about is very real and comes from somewhere that has no cognitive control. It is not fleeting at all, but the most real truth and it is built on trust and experience. It is not just changing levels of oxytocin or infatuation. It is based on external reality and it is solid and lasting and comes from a deep spiritual place.

      When you talk about cognitive love, I understand that too. We love and show love because we ‘want’ to. There is commitment, duty and respect. We want to make sure we do the right things to enable our ‘loved’ one to feel our love.

      When you talk of “cognitive” love though, I remember all the times I felt it was my duty or obligation to show love to people who were actually narcissists. I felt guilty if I didn’t, because it was my mother, or sibling, or intimate partner, or friend. They may have been emotionally manipulative and didn’t reciprocate my love, but I thought that if I truly “loved” them, the “right” thing to do would be to show cognitive love. That was before I was aware that they were operating differently to me and didn’t actually deserve my love. In fact, I was incorrect to have “cognitive” love for them, because in reality, if I had been more in tune with my own feelings of real love, I would have seen that it was not a truthful or justified kind of love relationship.

      So, I would just like to say that yes, cognitive love can be very strong and justified, however, cognitive love can also be based on something that is not “real” love. When you are dealing with a narcissist and you are not aware of it, “cognitive” love can be a trick that you deceive yourself with, thinking that it is “love” when it is actually emotional thinking.

      There is no “right” or “wrong”. It is something that each of us needs to understand for ourselves and to be as clear as we can about our own feelings.

      1. SuperXena says:

        Hello WiserNow,

        Thank you very much for your input. I understand where you are coming from.
        I think we are labelling concepts differently.
        I believe our emotions are invariably connected to thoughts and sensations. I believe that the brain is the seat of thought, sensation, emotion and cognition.
        What I label as the “feeling” of love as weak and ephemeral as i.ex, infatuation is the one where your emotions are connected to certain in learned patterns where you let yourself be driven entirely by that underlying feeling in despite it trespasses your personal boundaries. In the example you give that you were driven by a sense of guilt and obligation is another example where that feeling has an underlying “trauma”. It this exactly when I believe there may be an emotional dysregulation where what you feel ( guilt, remorse,obligation) is not in accordance and in proportion with the external reality: is there really a reason to feel guilty of what you were doing? No. I
        What I label as cognitive is when your feelings are in accordance and in proportion with the external reality: you are able to asses your personal boundaries being the starting point of a meaningful relationship. To continue or not in a relationship that does or does not respect your boundaries should be a cognitive decision and not driven by feelings of guilt or obligation.

        I believe we are “seeing” at this almost in the same manner but with different
        tags.
        Agreed. There is no wrong or right. There is awareness.

        Best wishes

        1. WiserNow says:

          SuperXena,

          Thank you for your reply. I agree with you that the brain is the seat of thought, sensation, emotion and cognition. I think that emotion can be of the more ephemeral or fleeting kind, and emotion can also be of a deeper kind. The deeper kind of emotion is harder to access and more difficult to change. I think this kind of deeper emotion begins in our subconscious and comes from the part of our brain where instinct also belongs. That part of the brain is quite different to the cognitive or “thinking” brain, which is conscious and easier, in general, to access and change with our thoughts.

          Overall, there is one thing that I completely agree with you about SuperXena, and that is awareness. Becoming aware is like having a light switched on. Suddenly, all of these things become easier to understand.

          Thanks again, and best wishes to you too.

          1. SuperXena says:

            Thank you WiserNow. I find this exchange of ideas and perspectives always very enriching.

          2. WiserNow says:

            I feel that way too SuperXena 🙂

  3. Mona says:

    I agree to nearly all, what Windstorm said. Maybe, you are born with a strong will and manipulative skills, it depends on your parents, how malignant you will be in future. If they give you love and limits !, if they teach you a conscience! , you probably will be a dominant individual in future, you probably will be manipulative to get your will, but you probably will never abuse other individuals in a very bad way. You will be a person, who needs sometimes need some clear words to reduce your demands. I have seen it. My aunt is a pretty good example. She is dominant, she wants a lot and she manipulates to get what she wants. But …. if you tell her, she is not fair and tell her that she starts to abuse people, then she draws back and changes her behaviour. She is no narc, but I am pretty sure, that she is born with a predisposition for it. Her father was no narc and her mother died too early. Therefore I do not know, what kind of person her mother was.
    Your environment has a lot of influence of what you will be. And there is a huge difference between born psychopathic people and made psychopathic people (sociopath). Born psychopathic people show a lot of abnormal behaviour, although they grew up in a loving environment.
    In that case, education has no influence at all or only a little..
    HG is the product of his genetics and his environment. Both factors strengthened his narcissism. He did not develop a conscience, because he did not experience people with a conscience. His mother had no real conscience and his father ? I do not know, but he seemed to be so co-depended, that he forgot his son. I do not know, therefore I have no right to judge about his father, there is not enough information about him.

  4. Lou says:

    HG, I know you were taught that love is for the fool and the weak. Has your attitude towards love changed since you are in therapy? Do you despise it less, or makes you feel less uncomfortable?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      No.

      1. Lou says:

        Thanks for your answer, HG.
        Just a clarification. I know you don’t feel love; I just wanted to know if, intellectually, you were more “open” to it. Less judgemental of it.
        But I understand your attitude. I grew up with it too.

      2. SuperXena says:

        And yet, you want and need to be loved to survive recognising the power of that ability that you do not posses and haven’t
        experienced .

  5. Less confused says:

    This is such a sad read. My childhood was very similar – had a sadist matrinarc. I just tried typing the story of how she served my rabbit for dinner while my older brother celebrated the fact after he had first alarmed me. I had to delete, not least because I assume people won‘t believe me.

    Older brother died far too young, a self-harming borderliner. He had a split view of my mother – loved her one moment, then hated her the next. My younger brother is a workaholic midrange victim narcissist – I only recently worked out what he is. He has superb facade management with a doormat wife and no recollection of my mother AT ALL who died when he was 9. Or so he says. He sees himself as healthy and in no need to confront any childhood demons because he doesn’t have any, he is always right anyway … l am the crazy one of course…well you know the type (he was the golden child. I am contemplating NC because he tends to hurt me around Christmas. I told him what he is recently and to leave me in peace – since then there have been remote hoover attempts via his children). Well and there is co-dependent me (very much recovering though), the scapegoat – a role I shared with my older brother when I wasn’t busy redoing my homework, doing chores or being ignored.

    It is frightening to find that my siblings and I turned out to fit the categories to a T… as if taken from a matrinarc‘s guide to effective child abuse. But I suppose the symptoms came first, then the categories…

    Sorry about relating such bleak stuff …. Happy Christmas!

    1. NarcAngel says:

      Less Confused
      Don’t be sorry. I read it (as I’m sure many others have) and commend you for your courage in relating something so painful. Even when it seems silent here, there is witness and support, so let it all out I wish you peace over the holidays.

      1. Less confused says:

        Thank you NA. Much appreciated. Somehow I am grateful to my rabbit – crazy though it may sound her death might have saved me. I suppose finding her on the dinner table could have also traumatised me to such a degree that I might have suppressed the memory. But I knew also as a five-year-old that this is too much – that there is something not quite right with the woman, the ‘saintly’ construct who claimed the role of my mother. I think this memory and others similar to it (many Christmas ones) meant I understood that there are boundaries and that she violated them, and that this is not OK, that ‘love’ is not having to eat your pet.

        But I ended up seeing boundaries cognitively while not feeling them. Feeling her violation of them would have killed me. The greatest pain I have now though is that, not least because I developed such a high tolerance for emotional abuse, that I let my own son be scapegoated by his narc father. (Narc ex was abused himself, so was his father. Incidentally, upper midrange narc ex father-in-law appeared to be smitten with my what are called “magnet empath” traits round here, which is why I have some idea of how abusive his childhood was – I was shocked to find that he had NEVER related anything about his childhood to his own children. That he had told me some of it caused tremendous jealousy on their part. Which he used to triangulate of course. It did not result in him or the family to confront anything.)

        I KNEW it was wrong what my ex was doing to our son but for years I had no means to stop him even though I tried – this only happened when I found a therapist who opened my eyes to the sad truth that he cannot and will not change, and she supported me while I divorced him. It is painful to know that I lacked sufficient empathy for my son or I would have known earlier that leaving his father was the only option. I do have a lot of empathy. Tonnes of it! But I had to learn that it can – unwittingly – be regulated from hot to cold if it conflicts with my emotional dependency needs – a dependency I didn’t admit to myself.

        What I really struggle with now is narc`s refusal to change even if they have insight. I have insight, it is growing, and I want to change and I do with growing insight!

        My ex husband actually admitted to having been verbally and physically abused by his father and having suffered from it. After admissions such as these (or my reminders of them) followed a respite period for our son. The painful truth is though that my dependency needs where so big that I – unwittingly – allowed my ex’s scapegoating to go on as a way of keeping the conflicts I should have had with him away from myself and could thus stay in the relationship. I think this enmeshment is the biggest sin of the “other” parent. But ultimately it was my son’s pain that allowed me to leave him.

        I learnt early on that it is pointless to have conflicts with my ex. Still I stayed, tried to fix things that cannot be fixed all the same (the scapegoating for example) – – – and that is hard to accept in hindsight. The good thing is though that I am right amidst the healing process – and am in good contact with both my children whose truth is being validated at a relatively early stage in their adulthood. I hope the narcissistic cycle stops with them!

    2. MB says:

      Less Confused, figuring it all out will help the truth seeker in you move forward. I believe your rabbit story. No child should have to endure such abuse. I’m glad you’re here.

      1. Mona says:

        Less Confused,
        as long as you validate your children`s pain and confess that you made a failure in past, the easier it is for them not to repeat the narcissistic cycle. You are on a very good way to stop it. Whenever the truth is allowed to shine, then there is a way out of it.

    3. nunya biz says:

      Merry Christmas, LC. I found your story very believable. It’s important to talk, don’t worry about what anybody thinks. I find writing summaries of my thoughts every so often helps me sort things and I tend to make progress on my comprehension.

    4. E. B. says:

      Less Confused,
      Unless people have witnessed what these types of sadistic women are capable of, they will not want to even hear about it. I believe you.

  6. 2SF says:

    K,

    “and my narcissistic siblings (2) told me that we had a wonderful childhood and that our mother loved us very much. That’s gas lighting and it is really weird.”

    My sister and I speak about our childhood often lately. It is the truth that she experienced our childhood different than I have.
    First that is because she is a normal and I am an HSP empath. I saw and felt things that she never noticed. Besides that, mother would know what to say to whom. She knew she could put guilt on me easily, I was sensitve, so I was sorry for her far more often than my sister ever was, she didn’t really care. It’s not that my sister had a happy childhood either, but she was the eldest and perhaps more in line with what mother expected or wanted. I was also prettier (sorry, that sounds disgusting to say) so, on the one hand she wanted to show of with me, on the other she was jealous (I noticed this because of her mean comments).
    It is still like this today. Matrinarc will call me and talk endlessly about all her medical issues, how sad she is and how my father is an insensitive jerk. Next minute she phones my sister and everything is gloria, hallelujah. My my, what a manipulator she is.

  7. Nika says:

    My non-biological grandmother is mean to me. So, I distanced myself from her, finally. Everyone thinks, now, that I am a terrible granddaughter because they don’t know how verbally abusive she has always been to me, all these years, behind closed doors. After all, how can an elderly grandmother be at fault?

    It got to the point where I’d go through anxiety-attacks each time I knew I would be seeing her. I finally had to stop after years of trying.

    Now, her few friends, her son (my adopted dad), and his lady friend, all see me as the terrible one. I am planning on writing my dad a letter as to why I am being such “a bad granddaughter”.

    1. Nika says:

      I imagine the letter will mean nothing to them, but will only reiterate to them that I am the bad one… same as when I was 16 yrs of age, and the psychologist was obligated to tell them, against my wishes, that I was raped at age 13 by an adult relative, and I was seen as the one at fault, by my mother. My adopted dad had no care about it, but in fact, continued to befriend the relative without even ever confronting him.

      But, maybe the letter will be beneficial for me to write.

      1. WiserNow says:

        Nika,

        I am so sorry you experienced all of that. It must have been (and still is) very painful to live with the trauma of being raped and then to have that terrible crime against you while you were a child to be turned against you and made into your fault. And now to face the meanness of your grandmother and the lack of protection from your father. I am very sorry.

        None of it is your fault. You were/are the vulnerable one, so it is easier for your narcissistic family to make you the scapegoat, and to push you into a corner and then to blame you. They need to keep their facade intact to the outside world. It is not your fault. They are cowards and emotionally stunted people. They need the false strength of their facade because they have no real inner strength or empathy.

        You have a personal right to take care of yourself and protect yourself from further abuse. Please don’t feel guilty about distancing yourself from your grandmother and from the rest of your family. It doesn’t matter what people say about you. Keep being strong for yourself and don’t do things out of guilt, especially if those things will cause you further abuse. You need to protect yourself. You will get stronger when you do and then you will see that it doesn’t matter what people say. You will have your own truth.

        In my opinion, it will not help to write your father a letter and give it to him. He will not see what you want him to see. Write the letter for yourself only. It will help you to understand your own emotions and to progress further with your own understanding.

        I wish you all the best Nika. Keep reading here and commenting. There are people here who understand 🙂 ❤

  8. kel says:

    I’m so glad you’ve found your way out of all of that. I understand so well, too, how they suppress your potential. To me it seems like there’s a mine field of equal amounts of narcissists in the world. Here’s to the present and future, putting the past behind us, putting a stop to narcissism, and finding real love.

    1. kel says:

      Elise Marie, I meant this reply comment for you, not sure how it ended up at the top of the page.

  9. HappyTimesAhead says:

    HG, you reject pity. Will you accept our love and gratitude?
    💖💕

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Indeed I shall.

      1. DebbieWolf says:

        HG

        Good to know. 🎁❤️

      2. Nika says:

        😞 😢 😞

  10. Whitney says:

    That was really powerful. My heart is with you HG. I wonder if you feel love. You speak truth so pure and you are helping lives 🌷

    1. HG Tudor says:

      I do not feel love, but thank you for you compliments.

      1. Whitney says:

        Well we love you, and you are doing good things.

      2. Nika says:

        😯

  11. ifonlymommy says:

    And one more thing, Tudie, I didn’t mention love that isn’t romantic. Love from your parents shouldn’t be questioned. As a parent, that is my goal. My children never doubt my love, no matter what. It’s really sad that all children don’t get that same love. No one has to be a victim of their own circumstances. We should all strive to break the bad patterns of our elders. I know situations vary and the damage done affects each of us in vastly different ways but we all should try to break free from the hurt others force upon us. Love how we deserved to receive love but didn’t. Find mentors to guide us.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Tudie? Am I 8 or something?!!

      1. ifonlymommy says:

        😂😂😂 I have no idea how old you are, Tudie. The options were Tudie or Dory. I bet Tudie looks better now. My initials are HG and that was too distracting 🙄😉.

        1. HG Tudor says:

          My liege, sir or your majesty are all acceptable, IOM.

          1. ifonlymommy says:

            Ha! Lord BS Tudie 🤦🏼‍♀️ 🙄. I’m bowing….yea, no. Give me a minute and I’ll come up with something brilliant.

          2. ifonlymommy says:

            Here it is.
            Final decision.
            I’m calling you George and sometimes Georgie and you will like it. No bowing.

            P.S. You also feel love. I don’t believe that you don’t. I’d almost bet that you love it. You were just in a mood when you wrote this. And no I’m not flirting.

          3. MB says:

            When I read “my liege” I always get butterflies!

        2. Nika says:

          I feel as light as a feather from laughing so much over these names! I feel as if I could float away… it’s 3am, and I am laughing so much!

          1. ifonlymommy says:

            Kaka, don’t float away. There’s more laughter to be had 😊👍🏻!

      2. ifonlymommy says:

        If don’t mind me asking, why do you think your mother was like this? It certainly wasn’t about you or who you were. Was her on mother cold?

        I apologize if I offended you. I reread my comment and realized it could’ve sounded cold. It wasn’t what I intended. However I did read on a comment, as I did regarding something about your mother, that you don’t feel love. Maybe the feeling isn’t something you allow. We all have reasons for how we are…narcissists and empaths alike. Whether upbringing or genetics or a mixture of the two. There are things that have molded us and also things that break those molds, such as letting love in. I could be completely wrong. Life without love or the desire for it. I don’t get it.

        1. HG Tudor says:

          Her father I suspect.

          No you did not offend me.

      3. Nika says:

        Made me giggle…! I am happy for this because rough day for me.

      4. Nika says:

        🧸 I wish this moment could last forever! 🧸

    2. Nika says:

      ♥️

  12. ifonlymommy says:

    Your colorful word choices in this one…fantastic. Snarky descriptives crack me up.

    Was this the world you grew up in? As described by you in another post, I am an empath in need of the truth. An obsessive researcher and inquisitive observer. Fault…maybe, maybe not. So my question is, do you ever feel the need or desire for self improvement? Do you ever want more, want to be more, want to feel more? You are obviously aware of our differences but
    have you ever wanted a day to really get it? Zip into an empath’s body and have all the feels? What if your way is just defensive wall built around your ability to love and be empathetic because of a lifetime of hurtful treatment and bad examples? What if one day that wall comes crumbling down and you are left sitting in heap of tears, electrifying “feels”, and the desire to give back, donate all your can goods, save all the puppies, pick daisies, skip, heavy blink, be a hugger. The possibilities are endless. Have you rolled your eyes yet? Stopped reading? What if the empath was really in control?

    Being physically attracted to some one, the adrenaline induced beginnings, the hard pounding need to be close to that person often, get naked and roll around with, think about all the time and then commit to that person even after those initial things fade is love. Love is always considering the other person and knowing they consider you. Love is built and maintained. Love is cared for. Love is never perfect. Love is not alone. That is what’s love is to me. Love is never losing yourself to make someone else happy.

  13. Presque Vu says:

    Your mother clearly didn’t show you an ounce of maternal love. Did you have any other maternal figures around you growing up? Did anybody show you kindness and empathy and expect nothing in return?
    In my head, you would be shocked by such behaviour if so but curious?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Not especially, no.

      1. windstorm says:

        HG
        What about your grandmother? The one from the cookie story? Was she your maternal or paternal grandmother? Was she just a lieutenant of your mothers?

        1. HG Tudor says:

          She was not a lieutenant, she did show some warmth towards me, yes but I did not see much of her.

          1. windstorm says:

            Thank you for answering, HG. Was she your matrinarc’s mother?

  14. Lou says:

    As an ACON and human being, I don’t know what real love is either. I read comments saying it is a feeling, but I do not agree with that totally. For me, the feeling of love is part of love only. The feeling is not always there, so love must be greater than just feeling it. Love,to me,is composed of many things. Maybe that is why it is so difficult to find, have and give. To me, love is commitment, friendship, passion, humor, good companionship, understanding, honesty, tolerance, attraction, generosity and meeting each other’s unmet needs. I am sure there are other components but I won’t go on because I don’t want to make you throw up HG. Ha ha

    1. windstorm says:

      Lou,
      To me love is a feeling, an energy that I give to others. Sometimes it is reciprocated, sometimes not. I do, however, believe that those I love know that I do love them, even if they are narcs and can’t really love me back.

      When I love someone, then all those things you mentioned automatically happen “commitment, friendship, passion, humor, good companionship, understanding, honesty, tolerance, attraction, generosity and meeting unmet needs.” I don’t always get them back myself, but I automatically give them and honestly, I usually get them back, too.

      1. mommypino says:

        WS, I love when you said you give love whether you get reciprocated or not. That in my opinion is when you seize the power. I used to get bothered when I give love and get nothing positive in return from my narcs. Then resentment and feeling like you have been had starts to build up. Eventually I thought about it and asked myself, when I do something nice for people was it because I wanted them to reciprocate or was it just because I wanted to do it for them. My answer is always because I just wanted to do it for them. So whether they recoprocate or not ia irrelevant. I did what I wanted to do. Their reaction, reciprocation or lack of, doesn’t have power over me. I just wanted to be nice and no one can stop me from being who I am.

        1. windstorm says:

          MommyPino
          That’s a great attitude to have. You’re right. That is when we seize our power, when it doesn’t matter if people respond or give back to us. But also I have noticed that when we live that way, good things just seem to happen.

      2. nunya biz says:

        I love the way you say all that, MP. I have been able to finally fully start stumbling into this mindset. It is such a relief. I didn’t realize I could do this, especially in situations where someone keeps doing hurtful things over and over. I have finally been able to detach from that as an expectation because of therapy and HG.
        HG says say something once and then drop it. I am using that even in regard to someone’s repeated behaviors. My expectation of love in the form of a changed behavior by someone who can’t or won’t change it hurts me and drains me. I am so much more able to be my kind self and stop arguing. I can’t change another person. I think it is narcissistic for me to want to change another person, even if I am RIGHT.
        With the conserved energy I can be more generous and areas where I CHOOSE (that is my power, where to put energy).

        That is great, WS, “good things just seem to happen”.

      3. Lou says:

        Windstorm, I agree that love is an energy, a feeling, you cultivate in yourself and you give, and translates in all the things I mentioned, yes.
        I guess I was thinking more of an specific love feeling, not the all encompassing love feeling.
        Merry Christmas Windstorm and everyone.

        1. windstorm says:

          Merry Christmas, Lou! ❤️🎄

    2. mommypino says:

      Lou, I looked up ACON, is it Adult Child Of Narcissist? I guess I’m an ACON too.
      I agree with your definition if love.

      1. Lou says:

        Hi Mommypino. Yes, ACON is Adult Child of a Narcissist.

        Merry Christmas Mommypino!

      2. mommypino says:

        Thank you Lou! Merry Christmas to you too!

  15. Lori says:

    Every time I read this I want to scream this is not who you are !!! Just because you had a miserable bitch of a mother doesn’t mean you have to adopt her construct. I find this so frustrating to read because I do find myself wanting to scream at you this is not who you are ! You weren’t born this way a bitch made you this way don’t be her ! It can all be undone But I realize it’s futile. I realize that this happened to you at such a young age that it’s hard coded

    I could be wrong, but I do feel though just from your writings that you are making some progress in therapy. I can’t really explain why I think this it’s just coming across in your writing.

    Do you feel you have made any progress ?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      But I did because I did so before I even knew I had, that’s how I was created.

      1. Lori says:

        So you believe you were born that way ? I do think some are born prone however I think they are small in number. I think the majority are created.

        The frustrating part is from the outside looking in it seems so easy to solve but I know in reality it is not. I know from my own issues that it is near impossible to break patterns that have been there since childhood. I have a friend that has ask me over and over why don’t I try tibheal from my Codependency so that I don’t keep attracting Narcs? and the truth is cause I have no idea how to be any other way. I have no idea how to not want to control my environment, but I will say I have gotten somewhat better with awareness These disorders are woven into us like thread. They aren’t just an overlay on top of us. If you undo the thread, we unravel into nothing

    2. Whitney says:

      Hi Lori 🙂 He wasn’t born that way. He was created because while it was happening, he wasn’t consciously aware of it. He adopted her construct before he was aware.

  16. SMH says:

    So bleak yet so vivid, HG.

  17. Lori says:

    I’m sorry that was done to you

    1. Nika says:

      I agree.

  18. JJ says:

    HG is the king of kings.

    Whenever you get angry at Mr. Tudor, compare him to the other vile narcissists and you will realize that he is the king.

    HG got through his difficulties and now his helping hands is reaching other people all over the world to enlighten them and help them to understand. Most importantly, to let them get through their difficulties with their narcissists, which was the very thing that impacted him.

    Respect & Honor to

    Mr. Tudor.

  19. EmP says:

    Dear HG, I hope the Grand Design involves the shattering of your mother’s facade. She deserves to be seen for what she really is.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Indeed.

      1. blackunicorn123 says:

        If HG is really unlucky, it will all be stolen from him at the last minute. My “mother” has dementia and her facades are now all over the place. I can see what is going on, because I know what she is, but to others she is ill and “doesn’t know what she’s doing”. 🙄 Er, no, she does know, and she’s trying to maintain “business as usual”, it’s just the links between the masks are now jumbled.
        She’s finally unmasking herself, and it’s put down to something else. Typical.

      2. kel says:

        Oh Blackunicorn! My mom has beginning dementia too. I never thought about all of that with the masks. She’s been aware of her mind slippages all along, and would catch herself and kind of laugh it off. I don’t know why I never thought of some of it being faked and some of it about trying to control her facade when she gets confused.

        1. blackunicorn123 says:

          Hi kel, I’m sorry to hear about your mother. Dementia is hard enough when your relative is “normal” and you genuinely love them. It takes on a completely different flavour in our situation, and especially if we are the only ones who know what they are. It’s going to be a long, slow, frustrating journey ahead I fear. Xx

      3. kel says:

        Yes, very frustrating! I’m sure she’s enjoying the freedom of being allowed to irritate, push buttons, accuse, because she’s got an excuse for it now with dementia. Lord!, I always knew she was crazy, well before this!

      4. kel says:

        I don’t want anyone to think I don’t love my mom by my ‘crazy ‘ comment. I do love her very much, I enjoy chatting with her on the phone, I like her and admire her despite that evil streak that manifests at times and some things she’s done, I still have great respect for her. I need her in a lot of ways still, she’s my mother, and is wise and has good advice. Even if narc are missing something and are manipulative, they are human beings and have good in them too. I’m sure there are some who don’t, but my mother, brother, daughter, even my boss, all have a lot of good qualities about them that I do admire. Being aware of their narcissism means I can see and understand the reality of who they are, and avoid the entrapments of it.

  20. mommypino says:

    This is so hard to read as a parent. To imagine a little boy or any kid being taught by the parent’s actions that they are not unconditionally loved breaks my heart.

    I went through similar things. I didn’t think that it made any lasting effects on me until I became a mom. When my first child was born, all kinds of deeply burried anxiety, anger, resentments and fear started to manifest. Memories were triggered and my greatest fear was that I would fail as a mom because I didn’t have a good model for parenting. I have read all kids of parenting books to give me knowledge and confidence but the thing that really helped me with these issues was finding out that my mom was pathological and I am not. Your work has really helped me so much in understanding my mom and why she did what she did. It wasn’t that I am unlovable. She was just not capable of it.

    This article was so beautifully written, parents need to read this as a reminder.

  21. Mona says:

    Yes and you ,HG, have been a good pupil and now you are a very good teacher. You learnt your lessons well.

    I knew that this pity play number would be there on Christmas. It is feeding time. You need your positive fuel. And all the newbees will fall for it.

    Return to sender, address unknown.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      It is not a pity play at all. It is there to inform people about my world and perspective. I reject pity.

      1. Mona says:

        If you would reject pity, you would not bathe in all the pity, that you get at the moment. It is a little bit weird, isn`t it?

        But nevertheless- you really learnt – a very special form of “love.” And maybe your natural feelings of what love could be- have been lost on that way. Today I saw a very interesting TV report, in which they talked about new scientific results. People can change completely after traumatic events (for example accidents, brain not damaged) . They even develop new talents and forget old ones. They completely change their personality including character traits. And maybe that is the reason why you do not find an access to the abused boy inside of you. This chain was cut.
        You tell what you have experienced, but you are not able to feel the (connected) pain anymore. Normal people think, that you still feel the pain. That is a fault.

        Yes, you inform about your experience but without any real emotion and therefore that should not lead to too much compassion by others, because we both now that such a kind of story is a good tactic to ensnare empathic people. As I said before, you get a lot of positive fuel today.
        On the other hand it is a good hint, that you were not born that way,(although you want to believe it) but made.

        I feel compassion for all of the people, who will suffer the next days because of you. Merry Christmas, HG.

        1. HG Tudor says:

          How do you know I bathe in it when I have just told you I reject it. I provide the information. If a reader wishes to provide pity, that is a matter for them, but I do not want it. Something I have made repeatedly clear throughout the time I have operated this blog.

          I do not get a lot of positive fuel because, as you should know Mona from my work, it is being provided from tertiary sources (the least potent) and in writing (the smallest amount by which fuel is provided). Again, I have consistently explained that I do not seek fuel here on the blog, my fuel needs are met privately.

          Nor is this done to ensnare people. There is no ensnarement in this place. People can come and go as they wish.

          How do you know anybody will suffer through the next few days because of me? You do not. You ought to have written “I feel compassion for any people who might suffer in the next few days because of you”.

          1. ifonlymommy says:

            Well, Toot Toot, I think this is a bath bomb set, Reject & Pity, made by Fuel. I’m sure it’s available at your local department store. Merry Christmas and happy tubby time 👱🏻‍♀️!

      2. ifonlymommy says:

        Mr. T, I bet, rejected pity too. No, no, he pitied the fool. My bad.

      3. Mona says:

        Well, HG, I used some narcissistic manipulative tactics and behaviours.
        – Provocation at first.
        – Second : “I know better than you, what you will do and what you feel.”

        No, to be honest, I do not know how you will behave the next days in the real world. But it would be the typical narcissistic behaviour to spoil Christmas. Therefore it would not be unusual, if it happens.

        (Although I do not know, how much your mother will cause/provoke that too)

        No criticism today and no provocation. It is Christmas.

      4. Lori says:

        What’s to pity? I think this whole pity thing is what we victims say in an attempt to feel
        superior to someone who made us feel inferior.

        I do not pity HG he appears to live a fine life. No he doesnt experience a normal range of emotions nor attach to anyone but he knows no different so it feels completely normal to him. You cannot miss what you never had.

        I only feel sad that his that bitch that is his mother did this to him

      5. mommypino says:

        Lori, I agree. He has told us the evil things that he has done so that we can learn from it, the same way that he is telling us his childhood. Not to earn pity but to educate us.

  22. Findinglife11 says:

    God HG, sometimes i feel so sad for you.
    The other part of me then becomes analytical… and thinks..is it is really that simple? Plenty of people have endured abuse and not become narcicissts so whats the difference in why you became you and they didn’t. ? Bc of my experience w marrying a narcicisst (divorced now) but having 4 kids w him….i carry so much baggage bc of him and 4 kids in any scenario is not easy. (Ages 11, 10, 9, 7) but i find myself struggling to act like the good mom consistently like i was for my now 26 year old… i find myself b instead sometimes being like him . Much less patient than w my older son. Maybe bc im older, maybe bc theres 4 not 1, maybe bc of the narcicisst…. idk. But it worries me… that though im trying to NOT make them like him, narcicissts….. there is still his influence, even though my kids know who he is and that hes off….. but then when im off too. I think oh lord.. how are these kids gonna turn out. So far… despite it all, they are all pretty good and empathic.
    Some more than others. Any traits of narcissism i try and deal w and crush immediately. And teach them empathy. And i pray a lot for them.
    HG….. do u think if u had a different mom and growing up experience, do u think u would have NOT been a narcicisst? Would u be a different person?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      I believe so, yes.

  23. inspire2bu says:

    HG,
    This list of what love is makes me sad. Even though I was abused growing up I can not imagine hurting my children the same. I want them to always know I love them regardless of their accomplishments or failures. May I ask…. do you have a relationship with your mother still?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      She remains my mother.

      1. Nika says:

        Truth

      2. JJ says:

        HG,

        GOSO, don’t be fooled by your emotional thinking!

  24. Leslie says:

    Uh..load of absolute crap.

    No one taught me to love. I just do it.
    I came with a working conscience and insight.
    No one had to explain to me the horrific abuse I was being subjected to from the beginning of my life was wrong and that it was being perpetrated by deeply insecure people who felt threatened by the fact I could see into them.

    I agree some people need some guidance to learn how to navigate their internal world, and some people are almost devoid of consciousness or emotional depth.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You’ve missed the point.

    2. Nika says:

      Yes

    3. mommypino says:

      Leslie, I think that we are taught how to love from the moment we are born. There are scientific studies done that indicate that loving and soothing touches given to infants increases their oxytocin and vasopressin levels which help with the ability for social bonding. My matrinarc was not the hugging type but I was lucky enough to have all kinds of cousins, some were old enough to be my mom, who babysitted me and cuddled and tickled and played with me. My matrinarc was not very expressive but my relatives were and they have the most infectuous laughter that is part of my childhood memories. We are not taught how to love in a verbal or lecture type of way but through actions. And it is crucial in early development of little kids.

      1. windstorm says:

        MommyPino
        Yes! And that’s the perfect example of how we can be such an important influence with the children of our narc relatives! We can provide that loving example that makes a difference in the lives of our cousins, nieces or nephews.

      2. mommypino says:

        So true Windstorm. We cannot underestimate the impact of small acts of kindness to these kids of narcs. We might think, I only got to treat this kid to chocolate factory and took him to see the beach last year but it could be a happy thought that can help this kid get through a hard life with a narc parent.

        1. windstorm says:

          Very true, MommyPino. I used to bring each of my nieces to my house when they were little to let them make their own gingerbread houses. I’d totally forgotten that, but they still talk about this and how much it meant to them, even now that they are grown with children of their own. Little things where you show them love can make permanent impressions on children. And knowing that people other than their parents love them is very important.

        2. NarcAngel says:

          From my experience, any acknowledgment and kindness to the child of a narc is appreciated. Even if the child stays quiet and seems distrusting. They quietly add up and let the child know that there is another way. Something to aspire to.

      3. WiserNow says:

        Mommypino,

        Your comment makes a lot of sense to me. I understand what you’re saying about loving and soothing touches and cuddling and playing with babies. All babies need to be cared for and ‘loved’ in this way. Studies have also shown that if babies are not given this kind of attention, they will not grow and develop normally and can even wither and die eventually from emotional neglect.

        Your words “we are taught how to love from the moment we are born” make me think about what this really means. ‘Love’ is such an abstract word, it’s difficult to know if your definition is the same as mine. The way you describe it in your comment, it makes me think that what you’re saying is that we are taught how to bond socially with others from the moment we are born. Does this mean that we are taught love and that we are able to show love to others? I’m not sure.

        When babies are touched, cuddled, played with and shown attention, does it teach them empathy? Maybe it does to some extent, but then, narcissistic babies may be shown the same things too, and they grow up with a very different attitude. It’s very interesting to think about. Thank you for your comment.

      4. mommypino says:

        WS and NA, so true. I also have little treasured memories of people who touched my life and gave me happy thoughts even though my experiences with them were very short. Gave me joy and happy memories. And gave me something to aspire to.

        1. MB says:

          This makes me feel hopeful for the children.

      5. mommypino says:

        Thank you for your thoughts WiserNow. It made me think. I have these ideas. You inspired me to be an armchair (couch) psychologist lol.

        My definition of love is that it is a feeling that we get when we care. Romantic love is caring deeply about somebody mixed with a strong attraction and attachment. There has to be a strong attachment or bond for love to happen. We treasure this person because we are attached to him/her. Narcissists do not get attached to anyone. When two normal people have sex, the woman releases oxytocin (the cuddle hormone) that makes her attached and care about the guy, the guy releases vasopressin. From what I can remember with my previous readings, vasopressin is the muscular version of oxytocin, depending on other aspects of their relationship, vasopressin will trigger parts of the man’s brain to think about his future with this woman like he might be inspired to get a better job to provide for the woman etc. So if an empath and a narc has sex, the empath is screwed because the narc doesn’t process or create(I don’t know which one) these attachment hormones.

        I was thinking, from the parenting books that I have read (Whole Brain Child and Brain Rules for Babies), babies brains develop as they grow and a lot of it are already genetically predisposed, but a lot of the development are also affected by how parents treat the child. I was just thinking, if the baby is not producing enough oxytocin or vasopressin because of the lack of stimulation from the caregivers, the parts of the brain the process it might not develop fully because it doesn’t see the need to develop it anyway. Just my ideas. I can be completely off that it’s unreal.

        Merry Christmas WiserNow. 💕

      6. Chihuahuamum says:

        Hi windstorm…thats so true about showing children of narcs theyre liked and loved yes it does make an impact!! I remember instances like this in my life. One such instant i thought about the other day and it was my great aunt. Shes my mums aunt but theyre a year apart bc my great grandma had a child late in life. This aunt always treated me like a child of her own. She loved unconditionally and with open arms.
        My narc grandma(her sister) was never close with her. My mother and her were close and like sisters. Over the past 5 years my mum has turned on her and smears her saying shes bipolar and doesnt take her meds. They are no longer talking. I think its more shes seen thru my mothers facade.
        Sadly ive not seen or been in contact with her for years but the instances of kindness she showed me growing up is deeply ingrained in my memory and my heart. Its showed me there are other type of mother figures out there. When you dont have that you are parched and thirsty for it. Thats why so many develop codependancy issues and with the wrong people like other narcissists who see and take advantage of this need.

      7. Chihuahuamum says:

        Hi windstorm…i forgot to mention in relation to your gingerbread comment that i also try to pass on unconditional love especially when i see a child who has a narc parent. One of my daughters friends has a very disturbed mother whose most definitely a narc. When shes at our home i build her up. She likes to sing so i encourage it and tell her how pretty her voice is. I asked her why she never enrolled in the singing lessons and she responded her mother wouldnt sign her up. Im by no means a perfect mother but i do try to compliment my kids and help them with their passions in life. To find your passion is to fully live. It brings you to who you are as a person and who you were meant to be.
        I do think as empaths we see these individuals out there hurting and starved for the validation, acceptance and love they arent or didnt get as a child. I love the quote “be the change you want to see” and by showing these people they do matter and throwing a compliment their way it helps more than you could know! It may seem like nothing but its incredible the impact it can make in someones life.

        1. NarcAngel says:

          Chihuahuamom
          Its great you encourage her. Just being acknowledged is invaluable. They often become skilled at staying off the radar to avoid trouble with the narcs in their lives so don’t participate in things and their talents are wasted.

      8. Chihuahuamum says:

        Hi HG ….i was curious as a child or teen if you remember any instances where someone gave you what your mother didnt emotionally? Does any instant or person stick out in your mind that was an example of giving unconditional love? It can be even just one instant you remember that has stuck with you.

        I also want to wish you and your readers a wondetful christmas season and all the best in 2019!!🤗🤗🤗💓

        1. HG Tudor says:

          I have answered this earlier CM.

      9. Chihuahuamum says:

        Hi HG…was your reply re: your childhood and examples of unconditional love in this thread or somewhere else? Thx

      10. mommypino says:

        Chihuahuamum,

        I have read HG’s answer and he said no one in particular. His grandma was warm to him but he didn’t see her that often.

        Merry Christmas Chihuahuamum! And happy New Year! 💕

  25. WiserNow says:

    Love may have been taught that way, but none of those things is love. If you, HG, (and narcissists in general) were able to feel what love really is and what it isn’t, you would be able to recognise that.

    It makes me think that love is *not* a taught construct at all. Love is a feeling. That feeling is difficult to objectively describe and define to enable someone else to cognitively understand it, however, for those who can feel it, it’s easier to recognise what it is and also what it is not.

    Perhaps this is the big difference between narcs and non-narcs. The ability to feel love and therefore the ability to recognise it. When it’s clear there is no *real* love, the non-narc can start to love themselves.

    1. windstorm says:

      WiserNow
      I agree that love is a feeling. What HG describes are how ideas about love are taught by society at large. In a way we must be taught love, though. To learn how to feel real love, we must first have people in our lives feel love for us, we then learn how to pick up on this feeling thru our natural empathy. Then we feel the same feeling of love back at them. I have seen this happen with babies and small children many times.

      It seems the problem comes when a person does not have empathy. As a child, they cant feel the love projected at them and cant learn how to reciprocate since they dont feel love. And with those of us who have empathy but were raised in loveless homes with narcs, we don’t learn how to accurately recognize the feel of true love. We learn to love in pieces, thru friends and animals, but always feel a void because we know we’re missing something important. This leaves us ripe for victimization by narcissists who pretend to love us.

      At least that’s how it seems to me.

      1. kel says:

        I like your explanation WS. It’s ironic as an empath that we embrace people lovingly, but we also keep them at arms length, and seek our alone time. Maybe that’s the habit we grew up with. Growing up with narcissists, somewhat neglected, creating a world of our own, and finding peace and love there.

        1. windstorm says:

          Kel
          Sure sounds like my life.

          “creating a world of our own, and finding peace and love there.”

          That’s the key, right there. We must create our own world and not expect or allow anyone else to create it for us. Once we do that, peace and love will fill our lives.

      2. EmP says:

        Kel,

        I do that a lot. I can’t stand being around people for too long. Friends, partners, it doesn’t matter…I need my alone time. Being too close, too often makes me feel smothered and claustrophobic.
        I believe this stems from the push/pull narcissistic dynamic I was subjected to by my parents (especially my mother). Pulled close, then pushed away. Over and over.
        This is why, I think, narcissistic relationships worked very well for me on many levels. Especially when I was the IPSS.

        1. windstorm says:

          EmP
          Would you consider yourself an introverted person? I ask because introverts need alone time to recharge when they are depleted, also. Extroverts recharge by being with other people.

          1. EmP says:

            Windstorm,

            I am not sure I would label myself an introvert.
            I do like my own company, yes, but I also like to engage with others. I have an extroverted streak.
            Up until a few years ago, for example, I was quite the ‘viveur’. Parties, clubs, events….The thing is, I needed to detox afterwards.
            In relationships, I did feel severe anxiety if I couldn’t detach from him after having been close for some time.
            If he wouldn’t leave me alone (but, being with narcs 90% of the time, that didn’t happen) I would start feeling panicky, as well as repulsed. And here is where I see the effects of the narcissistic family dynamic..

            Let’s say I am 60% introvert, 40% extrovert.
            I am also ‘picky’, to be fair…which forces me to act introvert, at times – if it makes sense.

          2. windstorm says:

            EmP
            Your comment conjured up a memory… like you said, it’s often impossible to get alone time in a family with narcs. Also living in disfunction makes people do crazy things. When my kids were teenagers (all four teenagers at once and 2 of them narcs), despite having a good/sized house, I bought a huge screened in tent, fixed it up and spent my evenings in it and slept outside. I can look back in hindsight and see how crazy this must have seemed, but I was desperate. I had to have alone “me” time or I’d have ended up in a mental ward.

          3. EmP says:

            Windstorm,

            To a ‘normal’, or someone generally unfamiliar with narcissism, it might sound crazy but it actually makes sense to me.
            I also recall reading a comment of yours describing how you absorb other people’s energy. Isolating yourself makes even more sense then. It’s self-preservation.

      3. nunya biz says:

        That is so true ws.

      4. Nika says:

        Yes, Windstorm… sometimes we become so familiar with the abuse that it seems like love. We have nothing, at times, in which to compare it.

      5. WiserNow says:

        Thank you for your reply Windstorm. I feel that what you have said is very similar to what I said (or meant).

        You say: “It seems the problem comes when a person does not have empathy. As a child, they cant feel the love projected at them and cant learn how to reciprocate since they don’t feel love.”
        This is exactly what I meant when I said “for those who can feel it, it’s easier to recognise what it is and also what it is not.”

        I think we are on the same page. To “feel” love and to “recognise” what is and what isn’t love, despite what a narc parent (or society, etc) may tell us or try to manipulate or convince us that it is or isn’t, we ourselves need to have the ability to instinctively feel it.

        I partly agree with you that “To learn how to feel real love, we must first have people in our lives feel love for us, we then learn how to pick up on this feeling thru our natural empathy.”

        I agree with you that we feel real love through our natural empathy. I’m not so sure though that we “must” have people in our lives feel love for us. I believe the “natural empathy” leads us to instinctively recognise love when we see or feel it. In the same way, when we see deception or violence or rudeness or negative behaviour, our natural empathy “tells” us instinctively that we do not enjoy or condone it, or want to be treated that way or treat others that way.

        In my case, I believe I always had natural empathy. The actions of other people around me … and everywhere – in the books that I read, in the TV shows or films that I watched, in the activities going on around me that I may or may not have been involved in etc … other people’s actions (whether directed specifically towards me or not) would resonate strongly with me in either a positive or negative way.

        I didn’t know about narcissism or narcissistic traits. I thought that everyone had more or less the same ability to feel empathy or compassion, and therefore also love. Although ‘love’ was a higher form of the same compassionate or empathic feelings and therefore, love was reserved for fewer people.

        I also thought that if I showed more compassion, respect, commitment or willingness to sympathise, befriend, or try to show understanding to others, it would help them to feel better about their situation or themselves. I used to be a love devotee. I thought that love would save the day in most situations. That was when I thought that everyone could somehow “feel” love.

        I believe that the “love conquers all” myth that society tries to convince us of is the harmful part of being “taught” love. Society in general tells us “love is the answer” while at the same time, society is the source of much hatred, inequality, distrust, and ruthlessness. This is where manipulation gets a foothold and guilt, obligation and emotional thinking start to get problematic.

        Instead, I think people should be “taught” that empathy is not a natural ability that ALL people have. Compassion and conscience is not universal to all humans, and actions and consistent behaviour speak louder than words.

        It’s a complex subject Windstorm and I understand what you’re saying. I am not contradicting you or arguing with you. If anything, you have helped me to tease out my own ideas in a more detailed way so that I can more fully understand my own thoughts and feelings on the subject. So, thank you again for your very helpful comment.

        1. windstorm says:

          WiserNow
          That’s why discussion is so valuable. Not only are we exposed to different thinking, but it allows us to better identify what we personally believe.

          When I say we need to be exposed to people who love us to learn to recognize real love, that’s because so many of us end up chasing false love or partial love. We feel love automatically, but until we have actually experienced real love, we can see fake, imitation love and think it’s real. Yes we can instinctively recognize love, but only when we’ve been exposed to it.

          I didn’t know what real love was until I got to know my grandmother when I was 15-16. And it took me awhile to recognize that it was real love since I’d never really experienced it before. It made me think back to other people that I met occasionally and had felt this strange feeling from. I came to realize that this was love that they had projected to me. I hadn’t considered it love at the time, because I thought my parents loved me and I’d never felt this from them. I just thought these were some kind of extra special people.

          Yes all babies with empathy will automatically reach out with love to those around them. But I believe it takes someone responding back to them with love before the babies will be able to accurately identify real love from other people.

          1. WiserNow says:

            Windstorm,

            I understand and agree with what you’re saying, and I also think you have a very clear, logical and sincerely peaceful way of explaining what you mean. It makes sense to me. Thank you for explaining your thoughts and reasoning.

            Thinking and talking more deeply about the subject of ‘love’ makes me think that humans in general (or maybe it’s just me) go about understanding the concept of love the wrong way around. We (people in general) believe what our parents tell us, what the media tells us, what films, or books or the world in general tells us, and only after we take in all that external information, we start to look more deeply into what our internal world, or our self, is telling us.

            I can resonate very much with your description of feeling love from certain people and feeling it as a strange feeling, and how you thought they were some kind of extra special people. I have also felt that before, and still do, and it gave/gives me a lovely sense of feeling safe, grounded, calm and free to be myself. It also makes me ‘want’ to be kind and to reciprocate those same feelings with openness and trust.

            So, yes, I understand you Windstorm and I think in the same way overall. Empathy enables us to recognise love, but if we grew up with manipulative love in which to believe in, our sense of what love is can make our beliefs/emotions/drives about love from others not as clear as they otherwise would be.

            Thanks again for your comments, and I hope you have a lovely Christmas! 🙂

      6. kel says:

        WS, you’ve said that your sons are narcissists too, like their father. Did you notice when they were infants that there was any interaction missing from them?

        I didn’t have a strong bond with my first child, and it seemed to me it was coming from her. No matter how much I tried, staying up all night holding her to soothe her colic, there was something warm missing from her, it seemed like she didn’t like me. She was sort of stolen away from me by my narc mother. She would defy me as a little short toddler even, hiding behind my mother who would give her whatever she wanted, manipulating her at the same time. I was always there for her, informing her she’s intelligent, disciplining her when needed. She’s a hypochondriac, I don’t know how much is because of my mother and how much came from birth. I remember how crushed she was when I taught her she’s not more special than others, and when she lied to me so convincingly about a cigarette not knowing her sister had already confessed to it.

        Now we have a fairly close relationship, she’s still with my mom, and in another state. She calls and texts a lot for a dose of motherly love. I’ve talked to her about mom’s narcissism and she asked if my brother was too, which he was. I don’t know if she’s one too, but there’s certainly signs of it, and at the same time she’s a very giving, generous person who certainly cries easily. It’s just when she was born, there was something missing from her. My second baby was completely opposite, there was an instantaneous connection.

        Did you notice that with yours, as infants?

        1. Windstorm says:

          Kel
          Yes, i did. My first son was different. He was very fearful and untrusting and only would allow me to hold him when I was feeding him. He seemed to be missing some emotions from the start. My 6 year old grandson (super-empath daughter’s son) was the same. Neither one were ever loving, they taunt and bully younger siblings and don’t like to be touched. We worked hard with my oldest (and my daughter works hard with hers) to teach them cognitive empathy and that being kind and thoughtful to others will benefit them. My son is now 35 with two little girls of his own and is a good father to them. Of course he is still a narc, but he has mellowed much in his taunting and obnoxiousness from when he was a teenager.

          My middle son is an empath and was loving, smiling and cuddly since an infant. He is much more secure and confident than his older brother (who is an upper midranger.)

          My youngest son is adopted. He didn’t move in with us until he was 16, so I dont know how he was as a baby. His father is a lesser and he is the next to youngest of I think 12 or 13 children by 3 different women (9 by his mother). His home life was horrible and he just left at 13 and bounced around from friends house to friends house until in Pretzel’s words, “he crashed landed at our house.” I think he’s a lower midranger.

          Based on my own experience, I am certain that babies without empathy are noticeably different from birth. I am also certain that if they have caring families who work with them, show them constant love and teach them the importance of cognitive empathy, that they can grow up to be good people.

      7. kel says:

        WS, that’s true, my daughter was never comfortable hugging, whereas my second was very cuddly. I can see it’s obvious she’s likely one too, of the victim variety. No matter, she’s not mean, she’s a nice person, she doesn’t have the mean streak my mother has & goodness knows I would never put up with that from her, but she can turn sour. I love them all, regardless.

        I guess people are born narcissists.

        HG, can a narcissist, raised in a non-abusive, emotionally healthy household, develop unconditional empathy and not be manipulative?

        1. HG Tudor says:

          No.

          1. Windstorm says:

            Expecting any narc to not be manipulative is like expecting water to not be wet.

          2. HG Tudor says:

            Save when it is steam of course.

          3. ifonlymommy says:

            How could you know this? Seriously asking.

        2. Twilight says:

          Kel

          I have one child I believe is genetically to be a narcissist, when I was pregnant with this child I felt no bonding, I could sense yet felt no bonding to me.
          I have an Empath child and when I was pregnant with this child I could feel this connection a bonding.
          From the moment they were born I could not only feel the differences yet their mannerisms were completely opposite.

      8. kel says:

        Hmmm. HG, does it matter then how a narcissist is raised? Will he turn out the same no matter if he’s raised with love or with abuse?

        1. HG Tudor says:

          Yes, because it is a combination of genetics and environment.

          1. Windstorm says:

            HG
            If it’s a matter of genetics AND environment, then how little narcs are raised would make a difference. They will still always be narcs, but whether they are raised with love or abuse, they will grow up differently. Otherwise environment would not play a role.

          2. HG Tudor says:

            No, you are not born a narcissist. You have the predisposition towards that which is then affected by environment. Some become narcissists, others do not.
            Similarly, someone may experience an environment which would create a narcissist ordinarily, but they turn out different because they do not have that genetic predisposition.

          3. Windstorm says:

            HG
            Thank you for the explanation. And I would then think that the environment will either ameliorate or exacerbate how abusive the narc will learn to be in getting his fuel and possibly be a determinant for which level and type of narc he becomes.

          4. HG Tudor says:

            Agreed WS.

          5. ifonlymommy says:

            Ignore my previous question. This answers it.

      9. kel says:

        You know Twilight, that’s true. My first daughter was so quiet in the womb, I was worried if she was alive, and then she’d get hiccups and I’d be grateful. My second daughter was very active.

      10. Kel says:

        My experience with my daughter tells me they are born more than predisposed, they already behave differently than normal. I think that’s a good indicator of a narcissist, is when someone isn’t behaving normally. Before I knew narcissism existed, I could only scratch my head and overlook their odd behavior, but now I know what it is. People are born with a personality, and it develops more through their experiences. From what I’ve observed in my own life, narcissism is born too, and exhibited even by infants before they’ve experienced anything.

        1. windstorm says:

          I agree, Kel. Based on the babies I’ve seen, I believe we are born with empathy or not. We can learn cognitive empathy and certainly teach it to our children. But if they weren’t born with automatic inborn-empathy, they’ll never have it.

          My oldest son never has had the full spectrum of emotions, either, and nothing I could do could get him to feel them. He will never feel joy looking at a beautiful flower. He can appreciate its intricacy, notice unusual colors, value its rarity, but he will never be filled with joy. He only feels what I consider “joyful” when he’s well fueled. But it’s different – more complicated, smug with overtones of superiority. Not pure, uncomplicated joy like we feel.

      11. Twilight says:

        Kel

        I think you misunderstood my comment. How active my babies were is not what I meant by feeling this bond.
        Both were very active in the womb, what I was feeling was their energy, it is a subtle difference. After birth their mannerisms confirmed which path they were walking. The one was manipulated, would lie, blame shift with a chaotic energy. The other was sensitive, emotional and had a calm energy.

      12. kel says:

        Hi Twilight, I just read my comment and thought it sounded that way too, but I did understand you. I guess I was sort of thinking out loud, and it came out the wrong way. As quiet as my daughter was in the womb, she was much the same after birth- there was no warmth or connection, she was independent and entitled right from the start. It is really something that you were able to sense it and notice it even in the womb.

      13. Chihuahuamum says:

        Hi windstorm…i just wanted tonsay you have a very big heart to have adopted your youngest son. We need more people in the world like you ❤

        1. windstorm says:

          Chihuahuamum
          Thank you. That was sweet. I hope you and your family are having a great holiday!

      14. Lori says:

        Some appear to be born Narcissists likely because there was a problem with attachment as an infant. For whatever reason they didn’t properly attach as infants

        1. windstorm says:

          Lori
          Ah, but why were they unable to attach properly as infants? I’m talking about being able to see a difference at 3-4 weeks old. Perhaps they are unable to attach like normal babies because they have an inborn difference?

  26. 2SF says:

    “Love is don’t tell anybody about our secret”…
    I have a feeling that this is the core issue of every malignant narcissist. Only a few (famous) narcissists at one point in their life open up about sexual abuse during childhood. And my thought is that men feel more held back to admit to this than women, because they are supposed to be ‘strong’ and able to resist. Also these few men mainly open up about being abused by adult men. There is hardly any men ever speaking about sexual abuse by their mother, aunt, teacher… and this must be happening also. I feel there is a lot men don’t ever tell and they take their secrets with them in their graves.

  27. nunya biz says:

    “Love is putting yourself second.”

  28. veronicajones1969 says:

    Wow that’s really sad that your perception of love is so twisted because that’s not love that is abuse of love it’s is a manipulator of your love and It’s not a learnt thing it’s a choice with Me I was raised by vile people and abused in every way you can think of and then some my relationships with my children are so good there is respect without fear genuine love my daughters are my best friends and my son adores me just as much as I adore him I know what Love is because that’s what I chose, hurting someone because you’re hurt is not ok Believe me , I know how to hurt someone I’ve had a lot of firsthand experience at it , not doing it , receiving it And no matter what ever happens I will never choose intentionally to hurt someone to feel better about my life and if something I have said or done dose hurt someone I would genuinely try to fix that, no one is perfect, and I accept my own mistakes, but repeating the abuse to me all that would say is that I agree with them that hurt me I don’t believe it was right and I never will
    It’s really sad that things like this post are deeply ingrained into your core sound so painful to me

  29. kel says:

    What love is: 1 Corinthians 13:4-5
    Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor other people, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

    13:11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, thought like a child, argued like a child. Now that I’m grown, I’ve put away my childish ways.

    1. 2SF says:

      Hebrews 12:6

      Because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.

      1. Nika says:

        True

      2. shesaw says:

        2SF, that bible-verse should be verboten for religious narcissists. Is that a leftover in your backpack from a religious education? (as you claimed to be an atheist somewhere else)

      3. 2SF says:

        Shesaw, yes and it is not just that verse that should be verboten, but the hole bible, unless they will say it is just a history book and has an 18+ warning sign (because of all the murders and other narcissistic abuse).

    2. Nika says:

      Beautiful

    3. DebbieWolf says:

      And

      One of my favourites. . .

      Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

      Corinthians 13:7

      It certainly does endure and bear things even when hope dims.
      🐾

  30. shinelighter says:

    Beautiful. B.

  31. kel says:

    No, that’s what hate is. Love isn’t always so much of a feeling as it is more of something you give to someone, it’s being nice, and it feels good to both of you. You don’t have to feel love to give it. But you do have to give it freely, and unconditionally.

  32. Elise Marie says:

    Yes. This is what love is.

    1. Elise Marie says:

      Note that my earlier response that “Yes, this is what love is,” was to H.G. , not Corinthians.
      My parents are Christians. In the church they raised me in, these New Testament passages were skimmed over. The first passage I was taught, and made to memorize, at age six, was “The wages of sin is death.” After reading this blog post, I recalled for the first time in my adulthood when my father that love meant he should beat me with a belt every night, not because I had done something wrong, but to prevent me from doing something wrong in the future. Although he did beat me for other inconsequential sins, or just because my narcissistic mother said I had insulted her or because ahe was jealous of me, he did not “show his love” by carrying out this threat of daily beating. But he did allow that threat to hang over me and inform my perception of ‘love.’ This was how he was raised. At other times, a few at least, mostly when I was very young, he showed me affection and took care of me while I was ill, while my mother showed me mo affectio n – I have no memory of her ever kussing or holding me- told me I got ill ( with severe asthma) to get attention. My parents were teachers in a Chrisrian school. I lived in a glass house and anything less than perfection was criticized or punished. I was reading at four but told not to allow my intelligence to show. The abuse included being emotionally completely neglected throughout my childhood and teen years; I was ridiculed when I shared my dreams of what I wanted to study and become ; I was told I was not atteactive and that I could never succeed and should do a low-level subserviant job. I am attractive and I am rather successful but I would have gone farther sooner if I had not been abused. I did always feel deep, strong empathy for others; but this was not love. It was as if I wanted to help others who were in pain because I knew what pain and abandonment felt like. The bits of love I got from my father, grandparents, and some teachers must have saved me from becoming so hardened that I could not feel empathy. But even now, at least some of my empathy has strong undertones of selfishness in it: being kind assures that I will be loved and respected. Only that is not true. Since I began to recall my childhood abuse with the help of a therapist and how it has affected my interactions with everyone from my intimate partners to my work colleagues to people on the street, and since I have started recognize abuse in my current and past adult life and say “no” to it, I am gradually starting to feel more free to give with no strings attached and to feel loved – that is, to recognize abuse and to trust those who have earned my trust. It is an entirely new feeling. It took a revent, intense, gaslighting, nightmarish relationship with what I think was a MR or Greater narcissist who truly hooked me into believing I had finally found true love to shock me into looking back. It took me to the brink of collapse and ruin. That was not the first relationship I have had with a narcissist. I have experienced the violence if a lesser, too, and for years I lived with the fear that he would find me and try to kill me for outing him in public. H.G. helped me understand that entire relationship and how it had never been about love – on either side. All four of the narcissists with whom I have had abusive intimate or work relationships told me they had a severely strict, critical, perfectionistic, emotionally unavailable parent. But none of them seemed cognizant that they were abusive.

      1. NarcAngel says:

        Elise Marie
        Welcome, and thank you for sharing a bit of your story. It must have been painful, but I hope you also feel better letting it out. This is the very best place for you to do that amongst others who understand. HG will continue to provide you much clarity so keep reading and sharing.

      2. MB says:

        Elise Marie, thank you for sharing. Hugs to you.

      3. Caroline R says:

        Elise Marie
        They are very painful realisations to come to in life, and to have them trigger lots of other buried memories can be overwhelming. It’s hard enough processing Ns, then the mind-bending reality of Christian N-parents….I’m wading through that myself.
        Thank you for sharing with us. Be kind to yourself while you’re processing all these things. It’s a rough ride.

      4. 2SF says:

        Elise Marie, I’m very sorry for all the abuse you have suffered. I hope you are safe now and I wish for you that your future will be so much brighter. xx

      5. K says:

        Elise Marie
        I am very sorry that you were so badly abused by your parents. None of that was your fault. You were a small, defenseless child and you should have been loved and protected. There are a lot of supportive and understanding people here and you are safe on narcsite so you can share as much as you want. This is the best place to be to recover from narcissistic abuse.

        Several of my narcissists told me they had non-abusive childhoods and my narcissistic siblings (2) told me that we had a wonderful childhood and that our mother loved us very much. That’s gas lighting and it is really weird.

      6. WiserNow says:

        Elise Marie,

        Thank you for sharing your story and your feelings. I’m sorry you experienced the pain and confusion of your past relationships, starting with your parents. It’s a very difficult personal ‘journey’ and it takes time, inner strength and persistence to deal with it all.

        The good news is that you’ve already come a long way. Be kind to yourself and try to feel self-compassion as often as possible. It wasn’t your fault and you were a small child ‘learning’ from the people you depended on. The things you learned became familiar or ‘normal’ at some subliminal level. It takes time to ‘unlearn’ those things and to replace them with healthier thoughts and feelings. Although it takes time, you will get there. All the best to you 🙂

      7. Less confused says:

        Elise Marie, so much of what you write rings true for me as well, especially this:

        „Since I began to recall my childhood abuse with the help of a therapist and how it has affected my interactions with everyone from my intimate partners to my work colleagues to people on the street, and since I have started recognize abuse in my current and past adult life and say “no” to it, I am gradually starting to feel more free to give with no strings attached and to feel loved – that is, to recognize abuse and to trust those who have earned my trust. It is an entirely new feeling.“

        I know that love begins with trust – especially trust in oneself, trust in one‘s own emotional perceptions. I used to rationalize („must be me….“ …“it was my fault“) which is a form of gaslighting oneself. Before my therapy I regognized (and remembered) the blatant forms of abuse (my rabbit served for dinner….) but not the daily subtleties and I did not understand that any of these ‚maternal‘ behaviours had little to do with me but served the matrinarch to feel in control. My matrinarch was deeply religious as well and God was her lieutenant („God sees everything“). I grew up not with a punitive inner critic but with an entire court of inner nazi judges.

        Recognizing abuse for what it was was my first step to inner freedom – freedom also from inner self abuse.

        What I would be interested to ask Windstorm, Twilight, Kel and you people who feel that your children displayed narcissism from birth:

        Did you have those incredible harsh inner critics or perhaps suffer from them still? If so there may be a lot of projection at work. I am not entirely sure where I am headed with this – I certainly don’t want to offend any of you! But I am convinced that babies cannot be but narcissistic- they want instant gratification and they are dependent on it – and they cry with rage when their meets are not met instantly. it is only slowly and with time that they learn that mum (any primary caregiver) is dependable. If babies grow up with secure attachment is very much dependent on a mother‘s inner self. My daughter for example hardly ever cried. Everyone was complimenting me as to what a wonderful baby she was and what a wonderful job I was doing. I understand now that she didn’t cry because she instinctively felt that this would have made me feel inscure, since I wanted to meet her needs. I grew up with this overbearingly strict mother who was cold and unavailable- so I was overbearingly available. My daughter supressed her rage instinctively because I would have perceived it as a criticism of my motherhood – my wanting to be a good mother.

        Kel, you write that you sensed that your daughter didn‘t like you… Even if I wasn‘t there I know this wasn‘t true. Babies are dependent, they have extreme dependency needs. You took it personally perhaps that she raged with pain and you could not soothe her, but the pain was hers, not directed at you. You perhaps needed to project your self-doubt onto her in thinking she did not like you. Do you mind my asking if you have or had doubts as to whether you are or were a good mum?

        Especially those of us with such doubts use projection – it is a form of emotional abuse that we inflict on our children even if we have the best of intentions. I am struggling very much with accepting this for myself and am hoping to find people here who can relate….I do not want to hurt anyone here!

        1. windstorm says:

          Less confused
          I understand what you mean about projection. And probably most of us who were raised by narcs grew up with harsh inner critics. I also understand what you mean about all babies being narcissistic, but that is not what we are talking about.

          I, at least, referred to how my oldest son and one of my grandsons were different from their siblings. They were much more fearful and untrusting. They did not like to be touched or held. It was not just a matter of not being able to soothe them, although they both were difficult to soothe. It was not a matter of being inexperienced or doubting myself from harsh inner criticism- certainly not with the grandson. I had a whole lot of positive baby experience by then.

          Babies are each born with their own personality. Contrary to some opinion, they are not “blank slates” or not all the same. Each newborn baby, after the first few weeks, reacts to the world according to their own in-born personality. Their personalities begin to show and their emotions are easily identifiable.

          The babies that I have been connected with who show what I believe to be a tendency to narcissism do not show the full spectrum of emotions. They do not at all react like their siblings or other babies. Not just with me, but with any caregiver. They also continue to show this difference as they grow up.

          As to projection: I can feel the emotions from other people very strongly. I believe this prevents my projecting my own feelings onto them. I did grow up with much lack of confidence and a very harsh inner critic. And it is often a default setting to expect to feel this in other people.

          But when I am actually with another person or hear their voice on the phone, there is no denying their own actual emotions. These emotions slam into me undeniably and are more often than not, totally different than I was expecting. That’s why I don’t believe I am projecting my expectations or surely I would see what I expected and not be being constantly proven wrong.

          All babies are different, just as all adults are different. They do not all react the same way. Just as you described your daughter as never crying because she instinctively understood how you felt, some babies do not have this inborn empathy. They do not instinctively recognize the love and concern projected at them by their caregivers, nor do they return it

          For these babies, the world is a scarier, less trustful place. They may not all grow up to be narcissists, but I do believe they will be much more narcissistic. Since they do not instinctively love or trust others who love them, they fall back on only trusting themselves.

          1. Less confused says:

            Hi windstorm,

            thank you for clarifying and taking so much care to answer! I do understand and agree – I have two children and I was amazed at how different they were right from birth; I too think children are anything but blank slates when they are born. Mine were also very different as to how much physical contact they wanted . As for the range of emotion… I don‘t know for sure, I would have to mull over it a bit.

            The example with my daughter- yes perhaps she was empathic in catering to my need by never crying – but I don‘t think I was projecting love and concern (even if this is what was my intention) but rather my need to be loved and validated as someone who is caring and loving. It could well be that a baby who shows his fear ( this world is a frightening pöace for babies!) has better boundaries and is in better contact with his emotions than the one who pacifies her mum (when it should be the other way around).

            So yeah, the idea of projection still bothers me – its interesting for me to read that you are sure to say you were not projecting. What makes you so sure? I still have trouble identifying whether I am or not, since projection is the hallmark of narcissistic relationships regardless of which side you’re on. And because it is it cannot but affect the children you raise in some way or other. I want to find out when I am projecting and when not because it is usually done unconsciously unless of course you’re malign or called HG. …..Perhaps it can‘t be done without a competent therapist.

            If you have a harsh inner critic or court of sadistic judges ( I don‘t mean a normal healthy critic but a delusional parental introject ) it always leads to projection, it‘s something that is part of our design until we distance ourselves from this form of inner abuse. (Incidentally, I just finished reading „Chained“….Not a fun read – and I don‘t agree with everything HG writes – but hey that must be a sign I am well on the road to recovery :))

          2. Twilight says:

            Windstorm and Less confused

            I have a theory and opinion on children and projecting. I can not go into details at the moment, I have to be at work shortly. I would like to share this view thou after work this evening.

            Projecting isn’t just a narcissist trait, everyone projects it is the intentions behind either consciously or subconsciously that defines if it is negative or positive. An Empath full of fear can project this onto a child and this child will become fearful never fully understanding why this is.

          3. Less confused says:

            Twilight : Looking forward to your thoughts!

          4. windstorm says:

            Less Confused
            I’m interested as to why you believe that everyone often uses projection? Even my narcissists don’t use it all the time, only on occasion. And even then, my Pretzel may be saying his projection as a joke to see if I catch it. When I do see through it, he laughs.

            I don’t believe I project my emotions much for two reasons. One, I really want to think I am a fairly logical, observant person and that I have a fairly good grasp of reality. Projection, by its definition, is self-delusional.

            Also, projection doesn’t really work for me. The reason projection doesn’t work for me is that I can’t help but become aware of when I’m doing it. This is because I’m highly sensitive to other people’s emotions.

            For instance, I may not like someone and project that by thinking that they don’t like me, either. Then when I actually have to interact with this person, I feel their actual emotions that they are truly happy to see me and that they enjoy spending this time with me. How could I maintain my projection that they don’t like me in the face of this evidence to the contrary?

            Projection is just a learned coping mechanism for dealing with difficult emotions. But there are many different coping mechanisms to choose from. We don’t all choose the same ones. We chose the ones that work best for us. And projection just doesn’t work for me.

            As to how to stop projecting – my advice would be to practice clearing your mind with meditation and then try just observing people and situations without any judgement – just observe. Maybe even jot down notes (factual notes not opinions). After you’ve done this, then sit and think objectively why things might have happened the way they did. Watch life happening around you like you’re watching a movie.

            That’s what I learned to do as a child. It has several benefits: it is entertaining. It separates you from events so fear or anxiety are much lessoned. It forces you to see reality and practice logical thinking.

            I didn’t enjoy “Chained” either. Reading about abuse is painful for me. My favorites are “Fuel” and “Black Hole.” Very glad you’re on the way to recovery! 😊

          5. Less confused says:

            Windstorm
            Thank you! Will have to answer your points later but need to ask a quick newbie question first just to get the right picture – would you identify as co-dependent? It’s the link between motherhood, unwitting projection and a harsh inner critic I’m trying to unravel. A harsh critic IS delusional and a form of self abuse (and, if I understood “Chained” correctly, having low self esteem coupled with a harsh inner critic is the identifying trait of the co-dependent, a trait that other empathic people do not have whereas co- dependent people can be very empathic/compassionate but need not be ). My concern in this thread is to think about ways of becoming more aware of projection because the critic projects something onto children in some form or other, there is just no way around it unless the self abuse stops… and one can’t switch it off in a day…. This is what my shrink tells me and I have found this point made in literature on narcissism too….. . Until later!

          6. windstorm says:

            Less Confused
            No, I am not codependent. I’ve even had that verified over the years by a counselor and a therapist. But even without their input I have read much on codependency and I just dont have the characteristics. I do have several codependent relatives.

            I have had low self esteem beaten in to me over the years, but it never eradicated my own inner self-concept. There is a core of strength within me that is impossible to vanquish. I personally view it as a connection with God/the universe. I don’t think I have a harsh inner critic – more like a superficial critic. My inner self is that core of strength and light that is constantly recharged by the environment (why I picked the name Windstorm. Nothing recharges me like a strong wind!).

            Look forward to hearing from you later! I’m off to have lunch with my two oldest grandsons and then take my 5 yr old granddaughter to see Mary Poppins! Do you have grandchildren?

          7. Less confused says:

            Hi windstorm,

            no, I don’t have grandchildren just as yet, my kids are in their very early twenties. Got nieces and nephews though (their father is my MR victim narc younger brother – his wife is possibly a narc herself or a totally unempathic co-dependent bristly doormat).

            I can’t quite see how awful your inner critic is from your writing, I have a hunch it’s a demonic creature you occasionally lose sight of, because in your earlier post you say you grew up “with much lack of confidence and a very harsh inner critic” and that this was your “default setting”, and in the more recent post you say he is “not harsh” but “superficial”. It’s not a contradiction because these introjects work on robotic autopilot, so they are extremely superficial – but I’m left wondering is he harsh now or not?

            I am struggling a bit with the labels here on the blog, magnet super trooper carrier geyser and what not empath – it is an impression that not many here like the term co-dependent (that’s “bad”) whereas to identify as empath means being “good”. But as HG details in “Chained” we must all think of ourselves as good people no matter what. I suppose HG is catering to this with his terminology – his readership would not like lesser midrange and greater narc-bait or similar 🙂

            When I criticise black and white thinking in some of the self congratulary comment threads I don’t mean you personally – just generally. For me co-dependancy comes in various shades and guises as does narcissism, I don’t have that diagnosis (but a shrink who does not give you a diagnosis to not compartmentalise you) and I have a true (albeit weak) core self too – I prefer the term emotional dependency as is, because co-dependancy has the whiff of substance addiction and it is often misunderstood in that way. Ultimately the label doesn’t matter much to me – it’s just that the focus on the blog is very much on narcissistic abuse but not so much on our emotional abuse of children as (ex) partners of narcissists. If narcissists can ensnare us because we have poor boundaries we’re not going to model good boundaries; if we project our desires onto the narc then also onto our children. Logical thinking demands this to be true, ET says otherwise though…

            I’m writing this cos I am worried about my kids. I think they will be fine, I’m hoping that I can set some things right that went on in the past, cos hope dies last and I have to fix. See where I’m coming from?

          8. windstorm says:

            Less Confused
            Wow! You jumped quickly to several very false conclusions about what I’m like inside! Is that what you meant by projection? I can see how that could be very abusive.

            I can emphatically state that nothing about me is a “He” There is also absolutely nothing about me that is “demonic.” There is no demonic creature inside me – no creature at all in any form (just a little inner child that most people have). I don’t have an “interject” that works on “robotic autopilot.”

            Earlier I used the term “inner critic” because you had used it. I tried to explain that my “inner critic” is actually very superficial. It is more like an outer covering. It does not go deep inside me. It is like a veneer on the outside of me that was layered on by my mother and family my first 20 something years of life. It is unfortunately my “go to setting”, much like a knee-jerk reaction in many situations. But my internal belief in my self always overrides it.

            As I grew up and began to study and learn about myself, I came to realize that I had always had a deep well of confidence and light in the core of my being. This confidence and light is what enables me to always override the fear and negativity that was layered on me by my family. It is always up and running, filling my life with light.

            And as to codependency – well, some of us just aren’t codependent, or even “emotionally dependent” as you described. It is not unreasonable for anyone to not like being labeled with something that they know is not them. Nor is it unreasonable to not like being labeled as anything by someone who does not really know them or their situation.

            How “harsh” is my inner critic? It’s just a series of lies that I’ve been told that create temporary fear and feelings of incompetence. For the last 20 years or so, it is more irritating than anything and fairly easily overcome. I have found that my best course of action is to draw on my inner strength and then power through whatever situation triggered it. It’s a lot like a boggart in Harry Potter. I just need to aim my wand, shout “Riddikulus” at it and it will disappear. Lol!

      8. kel says:

        LC, just getting the narcissist out of your life and thoughts/mind is the best thing you can do for your kids. It will free up your time and mind for them instead. You’re so much wiser with the knowledge you have from narcsite than I was years ago raising my kids. They grow up fast, don’t waste another a moment on a narc.

    2. Chihuahuamum says:

      Hi mommypino…ty for your reply im going to read thru the comments on this thread to get a better understanding. Thats sad if no one showed HG unconditional love but sadly there are many that never experience this. Many children that simply dont have that in their lives and moreover experience terrible abuse. How can you love yourself when you never had parents that loved and accepted you for yourself? It is a taught construct. You can learn later in life but self love for us that didnt have it growing up is something you need to practice. Its a skill and like a muscle needs to be worked. Practicing asserting boundaries and respecting your beliefs and who you are are ways to love yourself. Staying no contact or limiting exposure to toxic people is another. It doeant come naturally its something you have to practice daily.

      1. Less confused says:

        Windstorm: I realise I have offended you, was not my intention, am very sorry. It was probably clumsy wording on my part or a genuine misunderstanding, because I have not come to any conclusions as to how you are like inside at all, I can’t know that, can I – I just don’t quite get the way you use concepts yet and the way you do clashes with the way I use them. Example : harsh inner critic / introject (and these are mechanical and robotic! ) for me could never be ‘veneer on the outside’ (this, for me, would be the facade that covers the struggle inside) – but it doesn’t matter, you say you don’t have to battle with a harsh inner self as an adult and that settles it for me, for me that was what I wanted to understand. I wanted to know if any of you have this and how you deal with it as regards your own children – now and in hinsight, but if you don’t have it I can’t hope for answers! (as for my making your critic male, yeah that might have been projection 🙂 sorry!! )

        1. Windstorm says:

          Les Confused
          I am not offended. Obviously we are operating on different wavelengths and using different terminology.

          You seem to me to be describing more like how narcs are, with the creature within and putting up a facade to fool the world. Since I don’t have that but was raised by narcs, I guess I’m sort of backwards. I have my own strong, confident center within, but had the fear and low self-esteem piled and layered on me by my family. It has warped me and made my life difficult in many ways, but it didn’t change me inside.

          I would say from my own experience, be open and honest with your children. They’re adults. Make sure they know you did your best and how much you love them. My kids all know exactly how I’m broken and why. They were alive to witness my interactions with both their granny and certainly their father and our home life. I have hidden nothing from them. My Pretzel’s family is very open and hides nothing either (the opposite of my birth family! Lol!). Openness is not a perfect way, but I personally believe it is the best way.

          Keep sharing, questioning and commenting here. We will all respond back with questions and examples from our own experience when we think it might help. That is how we all learn. ❤️

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