After putting up my post yesterday, I did more reading on the subject of being a child of a narcissistic parent because there was something in my experience that wasn’t quite sitting right with me and didn’t seem to “fit” the typical narcissistic parent/child relationship: the fact that my mother sometimes praised me effusively rather than using me as a scapegoat. Although usually these compliments were about innate qualities (such as my appearance or intelligence), there were a few occasions when I did get a genuine compliment on something I’d accomplished. It didn’t happen often, but it did happen. I wasn’t sure how to explain the anomaly.
In further research after publishing my post, I came across this article that made it crystal clear why my situation was somewhat different than a scapegoated child who had siblings. Although I had older half-siblings on both parents’ sides, in THAT marriage I was the only child. Only children are under a lot of pressure to be all things to the narcissistic mother/father: scapegoat, Golden Child, comrade, worshipful subject, whipping post. While usually I was treated as a scapegoat (especially when my mother had the opportunity to triangulate against me or gaslight me with the help of her flying monkeys) because I was so sensitive (and they HATE that), there were times she was nice to me, even loving. But as a narcissist, she couldn’t truly love, so that “love” was fake and always shortlived. She usually employed this tactic when she was needy–in between her lovers, say, or when her pride had been hurt on the job or by another person. Sometimes she used it after we’d had a huge argument and she wanted to get me back into her good graces. Of course, she never SAID she was needy at these times, but she was needy because her source of narcissistic supply was threatened. So her false front of sweetness was a handy trick to get what she needed.
Most of the time, she only showed this sweet side to others, not to me. I was most convenient to her as a target of her rage because I had what she did not (high sensitivity and intuition) and she was terrified this quality might be her undoing–the thing that might cause me to “out” her one day, which is exactly what I’m doing but couldn’t until I went No Contact (I’ve been No Contact for several years actually). My high sensitivity was why I was usually a scapegoat although for my mother, I sometimes filled those other roles too when it was convenient.
It’s the narcissist’s fear of being “outed” that’s the real reason why they target and bully the most sensitive among us. It’s a shocking realization, but I really think that is what’s behind the narcissist’s hatred of “weakness.” This type of “weakness” they abhor and denigrate is a gift they were not endowed with, a gift they envy because of its power, and one they fear because they know it can hone in one the narcissist’s lies and pretenses like a laser beam and expose them for the monsters they really are, and that possibility scares the shit out of them. And I’ll go out on a limb here and say it’s exactly why powerful narcissists in big government, big religion and big business so often demonize critical thinking, art, science, and spirituality (as opposed to dogmatic religion)–because these things are about TRUTH and thereby shed their light on the narcissists, exposing them and their lies. It’s also why they demonize the vulnerable among us (the poor, the homeless, the sick, the mentally ill, as well as LGBT and non-white minorities)–because the ugly consequences of psychopathic hatred and psychopathic policies can be best seen among these vulnerable groups who are unjustly blamed for their own condition.