The Narcissist Keeps It In The Family


The narcissistic dynamic and the effects of our kind are all-pervasive. Nobody is untouched by us in their lives. Whether it is the stranger we smile at in the lift and receive a smile in return, thus gaining a dollop of fuel, the doggedly loyal friend who is in awe of us and does whatever we want or the smitten and confused discarded primary source, we are everywhere. You find us walking down the street, in your workplace, at the bar, in the hospital, in your bed and also in your family.

Much of what is written about our kind appertains to the romantic ensnarement of an unwitting victim who falls madly and deeply in love with us, suffers the cruelty of devaluation and then is tossed aside with no explanation before being hoovered back in and the process begins once more. This is the case because this type of narcissistic dynamic is amongst the most devastating owing to the strength of feeling, the close proximity between narcissist and victim and the period of exposure. The targeting of somebody to be our intimate partner primary source is regarded as the most obvious engagement with our kind and fits the standard model of seduction, devaluation, discard and hoover.

Of course, as I have shown, there is much more than this standard model, with the targeting period, the initial seduction and then the seduction golden period, the stranger zone, the respite periods and so on. Furthermore, there are variances for those who are intimate partner secondary sources or those who find themselves the dirty secret intimate partner secondary source. There is also the situation with inner and outer circle friends who are secondary non-intimate sources who enjoy elongated golden periods and those who a tertiary sources who may experience a short blast of seduction and no golden period or the malice of a malign hoover from the very beginning. Whilst the methodology of our kind has many similarities, there are also many variations dependent on the nature of the source which we are entangled with and this is equally applicable to the family.

Family members are nearly always secondary sources to the narcissist. The majority are non-intimate but in certain instances there are family members who are intimate secondary sources.

Occasionally there may be a situation where a family member is a primary source. These are rarer but certainly not unheard of. Again, these are mainly non-intimate but there are also intimate examples too. If the family member is a primary source, there is a greater likelihood of intimacy than as a secondary source.

The family instance is varied. You may have a narcissistic parent or grandparent, a sibling may be the narcissist, a cousin or your child or children may be narcissists. Blended families may also bring in a step-relative who is a narcissist. The issue of a family member being narcissistic is a wide one, with a variety of permutations and in this article I will be addressing some of the key aspects of the narcissist in a family sense, providing an introductory overview, with later articles focussing on individual areas of this whole dynamic.

There is no seduction when there is a non-intimate relationship between a narcissist and a blood family member. This is because the familial relationship has already created a bond and a sense of obligation which seduction would otherwise create. The narcissist does not need to establish a connection. In all other dynamics with a narcissist, the victim starts out as a remote stranger or a stranger. They may remain in that place and are seduced purely for the provision of a one-off or repeated bursts of fuel. Think the stranger in the lift or somebody who a narcissist flirts with online. This individual may become a secondary source by becoming a friend or a colleague and then be promoted to a primary source thereafter. The promotions may be swift but in order to draw the individual to them to begin with there must be a seduction. This does not happen with the family member

  • You know the narcissist as your parent or grand-parent and you have an established connection with them from birth;
  • You know the narcissist as your child and you have an established connection from their birth;
  • You know the narcissist as a sibling or a cousin and you have an established connection from your birth or theirs, dependent on who is the elder.

This connection creates a sense of obligation.

  • As a parent you are obliged to look after your child;
  • As a child you are obliged to be under the control of your parent;
  • As a sibling or a cousin, you are obliged to be connected to them by reason of blood

Thus the narcissist does not need to seduce the family member to create the bond. The bond has already been established by reason of being a family member. This saves the narcissist considerable work.

The exception to this is where the narcissist wishes to ‘elevate’ the source to an intimate secondary source or an intimate primary source, namely through the commission of incest and invariably it is abusive in nature. For this to happen, the narcissist must engage in seduction to bring about the intimacy. This will involve manipulations to bring about this coercion, isolation from other family members and external influences and the clear use of incentives and more over threats to ensure that the incestuous activity is kept hidden.

The dynamic between a familial narcissist and his or her victim will fall into one of these categories:-

  • An elongated golden period where the victim is always treated well, akin to an inner circle secondary source. This is where the familial victim is treated as a secondary source. This individual will be accorded golden or favoured status. Thus a sibling will be the favourite, the child will be the golden child, a parent will be favoured over the other, a cousin will be seen as a favourite. The position of being golden or favourite is not an exclusive one. It is entirely permissible for the narcissist to have two cousins who are favoured, two siblings who are favoured or a parent to have two golden children. What there must always be when there is one or more relative who is favoured or golden, there has to be a scapegoat relative as well who is of equivalent ‘rank’. Thus with the golden child or children, there will be one child who is the scapegoat, a narcissistic child may favour his or her biological parents and scapegoat the step-parent and so on. This is necessary because the narcissist needs somebody to compare against to create the favouritism. Remember, we always want to deploy contrasts (think being placed on the pedestal and then thrown to the ground, the provision of great sex which is then removed etc) because contrast is the catalyst for better drama, greater emotional output and thus more potent fuel.
  • Where the familial victim is installed as a primary source, they will experience the similar pattern to that of a non-familial primary source, namely a golden period to begin with but then devaluation will follow in due course.
  • An elongated devaluation period which is punctuated by Respite Periods. This is akin to the recognised pattern of behaviour between a narcissist and the primary source. Here the familial victim is subjected to the denigrating manipulations of the narcissist and every so often will experience relief from this state by receiving a Respite Period where a golden period is visited on the victim. The distinction here however is that the familial victim does not experience a golden period to begin with. There is no need for one since there was no need for seduction, this already occurred through the familial bond which exists. This is where the individual is treated as a familial secondary source. The victim is cast as a scapegoat and then favoured. In this scenario there will be vacillation between two sources. Source A is the golden child. Source B is the scapegoat. Source A is then made the scapegoat and Source B becomes the golden child before it changes again.
  • An elongated devaluation period which does not have any respite periods, but the victim gains some relief from the devaluation because they are a secondary source and therefore the narcissist does not call on them with the same frequency for fuel. During those periods when the narcissist is not drawing fuel, the victim is left alone. There is however no positive behaviour towards the victim (as there is when there is Respite Period). This typically occurs between the adult narcissist and adult familial victim because they do not live together and because the victim is a secondary source, so the narcissist is not making daily demands for negative fuel against the victim. However, whenever there is an interaction between the narcissist and the victim it is always negative in nature, the victim is cast as the perpetual black sheep of the family, always the scapegoat.

A familial primary source is rarely discarded but would be demoted to a secondary source, when the narcissist secures a non-familial primary source instead.

A familial secondary source is rarely discarded. If the familial secondary source engages in behaviour which is regarded as traitorous and treacherous by the narcissist, rather than discard the individual (which is less likely because of the familial bond) they will maintain that individual as a perpetual scapegoat instead.

If a familial primary or secondary source tries to escape the narcissist then there will be hoovers using the familial dynamic (other family members will readily become compliant as Lieutenants) in order to draw the individual back under the narcissists control. Escape is usually much harder for the victim because the existing familial bond is especially burdensome to the victim in terms of guilt, wanting to help and having a sense of obligation towards their relative.

Narcissists utilise familial Lieutenants regularly and it is very rare to find a narcissist without one. This might be the other parent where the child is a narcissist or if one of the parents is a narcissist, it may well be a sibling (especially if they are afforded golden child status) who is used and triangulated with the scapegoated victim.

Family members are almost always significant members of the façade. This is because they are in denial as to the behaviour of the member of the family, unable to accept that a blood relation would act in such a manner, preferring not to confront the behaviour, to dilute its effect and minimise it instead.

These are just some of the key elements of a familial narcissistic dynamic and various elements and strands of this will be detailed and focused on in due course.

22 thoughts on “The Narcissist Keeps It In The Family

  1. WokeAF says:

    ”-who enjoy elongated golden periods and those who a tertiary sources who may experience a short blast of seduction and no golden period or the malice of a malign hoover from the very beginning-“

    Embarrassing to admit but with my narcoholic (who’s either a LMR or ML ) there WAS no seduction or golden period. He had his mom as his on / off NIPS , with alcohol probably providing the biggest fuel pump …and drinking buddies , and a shelf IPSS as well.
    I replaced the shelf IPSS but was promoted to share the role of IPPS with the liquor ( as his Mom had just died when I went from small town / fb tertiary to intimate whatever )
    (This is the best I can figure it)

    The only bronze period I saw was after 4 years of on again off again – he hoovered after a 7 month escape and almost fucked it right up by cheating before I was embedded so he rolled out a brief bronze period.

    In the beginning there was a very short seduction blast and then straight to malign hoovers and abuse.

    Surely the very low functioning lessers or lmr’s can start and maintain a IPPS or IPSS situation with -short seduction blast /-no golden period -and even a malign Hoover ? Not just for family?

  2. MB says:

    I watched an episode of ‘Evil Lives Here’ last night about Theresa Knorr. A MatriNarc and psychopath that tortured all of her six children and killed two of them. Her now grown son is interviewed and gives his account.

    An extreme example of the behaviors that we learn about here. I’ll be disturbed for quite some time. But one question I’ll never have to ask again is, “why”? HG told me why. It’s so different watching shows of this nature now.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Indeed and thus you are applying logic and avoiding the quagmire of being misled, euphemism and incorrect information.

      1. MB says:

        I can’t thank you enough for the knowledge you share, HG. I was lucky to find you. I don’t want anybody else to have to rely on “luck”. I’m looking forward to the day when people observe these behaviors, they think HG Tudor. Knowing The Narcissist. Weaponize the world.

        1. HG Tudor says:

          You are welcome. Watch how you go.

    2. Lisa says:

      Yes MB I agree, I watch a lot of these real crime programs and it is so different watching them when you have an understanding. I’ve recently been watching one about women that have been murdered by someone they dated from the Internet. All the signs were there in the lead up to the murders. Psychologists commenting never mention narcissism or even psychopaths.

      1. MB says:

        You’re correct Lisa, they rarely label the behavior. I am still troubled by seeing these shows, but it’s more like a case study to me now. The truth seeker in me is sated. I obviously don’t agree with the behavior, but understanding it gives me more peace. I don’t have the gut wrenching why, why, why anxious response anymore with my mind going in circles. HGs work is life changing in so many ways.

        1. Lisa says:

          If they do occasionally mention it on these various real life crimes it’s just mentioned in a casual way, not actually explaining anything to people. Yes I’m long past the why’s etc as well. I think you have to go through all the stages of understanding. I do still find it frustrating though that I have no one to talk to about this as nobody understands it and I feel sometimes when I’ve tried to talk to a couple of friends or one or 2 family members not many at all, they don’t get it and I feel like they think I’m a bit crazy or something .

          1. MB says:

            Lisa, talk to us here on the blog. We will always get you!

          2. NarcAngel says:

            I understand your frustration. It’s like people don’t want to identify the behaviours (of narcissism) with a name. They just want to go on believing that it’s rare, “some people are just like that”, and that it only happens to people On 60 Minutes, but certainly not them or anyone they know.

          3. FoolMe1Time says:

            As NA and MB have already told you, there is always someone on the blog that will listen and understand exactly what you are talking about. On here you are among people who have and still are in the same situation as you are, there are many who thought they had no one to talk to for fear of being labeled crazy, or who had shut everyone else out ( either knowingly or unknowingly) when they were with a narcissist, giving them are undivided attention. Welcome to the blog Lisa, ask questions, ask for help, read as many of HGs books as you possibly can, consult with HG, and I promise you will find the answers and peace of mind that you are looking for. Take care of yourself.

      2. Tappi Tikarrass says:

        Do you have Netflix and have you watched Mindhunter? It makes the connection to narcissism constantly. Apparently, narcissism is an underlying theme to the series. In my humble opinion, it’s an excellent show.

        I’m not a true crime watcher or reader, I saw silence of the lambs and read the red dragon in the noughties and that was enough for me. Fantastic film though. Don’t watch cop/law shows either.

  3. Stella SHELF Unmaskers says:

    My narc lives with his mum, that divorced from his father when he was about 10-11. He has never had an IPPS, but only IPSSs, almost all of them were already married or engaged. During our relationship he often said to me that he couldn’t afford a girlfriend because his mum was too controlling (he defined her with the equivalent Italian word of bulky). He said that since his grandmother’s death his mother used to sleep in the sitting room on the sofa and to keep her bedroom locked. After having discovered his insane style of life with several women and that he lied to everyone, I and other IPSS are wondering if he and his mother are having also sexual intercourse. It seems their relation is too overpowering for a relation between mother and adult son. Furthermore once he told me that during an argument he hit his mum in an eye (unintentionally, as he stated) and he was concerned that if she didn’t manage to heal that wound she would bother him till the end of time. Now reconsidering what he said I suspect he was deploying several manipulations against his mum to draw negative fuel from her as primary source, pointing out he never behaved in this way with any other IPSS, so I think he doesn’t need negative fuel from us, but only from the primary source (his mum). Is it possible this?

    1. Anm says:

      My son’s father is a Cerebral Narc. His mother is often his NIPPS. It’s not sexual, but odd. They are overly close and enmeshed with one another, and when they fight it becomes verbally abusive. When I was in a relationship with my sons father, I remember his mother being really cruel and evil. I told her she was not “mother of the year, and she needs to back off.” They ended up having a “meeting” behind my back about what to do about me. He discarded me, and moved in with his mother for a while. It took him 8 years to get a new IPPS again. His mother doesn’t mind me now. But I am glad I escaped that situation. I never talk down about them to my son, but I do tell him, “if anyone in your dad’s family fights with one another, dont get involved or pick sides. Let them hash it out on their own.”

      1. Stella SHELF Unmaskers says:

        But your narc had even an IPPS (you), so his mother wasn’t his primary source. However, having read what HG writes in his work, all the people around the narc are sources, from the barman when the narc goes out in the morning and has breakfast (low amount of fuel), to a perfect stranger that crosses his path and says hello! (Minimum amount of fuel). About my narc, he never had a primary source, and as he said to all his friend and college, and also to me, he had no intention to have a wife, so his mother is the IPPS

        1. Stella SHELF Unmaskers says:

          Anm now I read better your comment. Do you think he embedded his mother as IPPS during the aftermath of your disengagement?

          1. anm says:

            I believe his mother was his non-intimate primary source. He is cerebral. When I was his primary source, sex was used only to draw me into the relationship. He has an IPPS now, who isn’t his mother. But I believe he will turn off the sex after she moves in with him and is trapped.

          2. Anm says:

            I have found, that whatever you think the lowest of the low that your narcissist will achieve, they will go there, and even a but further. So I wouldnt put it past him, and don’t feel crazy for thinking it. Go with your gut

  4. anm says:

    I was most definitely the scapegoat/black sheep in my family. I put it all behind me though. I don’t think much about it. My siblings love to occasionally point it out though when they feel insecure. Like it makes them feel better if they remind me that I was the odd one. However, my sibling who was the Golden Child, mentioned on FB the other day that I was the Golden Child. I was like ‘yeah right’. It really threw me off, and I am trying to put myself in her shoes. I remember you saying that you were the golden child.

    Why would the Golden Child label the scapegoat as the Golden Child?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      It would depend on whether the Golden Child is a narcissist or not.

      1. Stella SHELF Unmaskers says:

        So also my sister could be a narcissist, because she’s always stating I was the favourite one by our parents when it’s always been her…

  5. Emextraordinaire says:

    Very informative. So close to home the sibling & mom dynamic. Interesting to see how far this entanglement extends within a family.

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