3 questions to ask yourself if you raised kids in a dysfunctional home.

Nobody’s perfect, and that goes for parents too.  There’s no such thing as a perfect parent. There’s something called a “good enough” parent though, which means that you are going to make mistakes raising your kids, no matter how much talent you have for the task or how well adjusted you are.  Children don’t come with instruction manuals, and some of the mistakes you make might even be pretty bad ones.    But overall, you’re “good enough” if your kids know you love them no matter what mistakes you made, and they turn out to be functioning, reasonably happy adults.

But for survivors of narcissistic abuse, things are a little more dire.   Because many of us suffer from mental disorders caused by abuse–C-PTSD, BPD, OCD, anxiety, depression, and a host of other mental maladies–we probably entered parenthood with less of a sense of ourselves and our place in the world than the “normals” who had “good enough” parents.  Our narcissistic parents were not “good enough” and we were emotionally handicapped because of that.  Even if we aren’t narcissists ourselves, our children still suffered the fallout of our own abuse.    This could have manifested in many ways:

— we may have “parentified” our children (looked up to them as parental figures and shared things with them that should not be shared with children)

— we may have neglected them more than we should have, or put our own needs first

— we may have been unfaithful to our spouses or had affairs

— we may have overindulged in alcohol or drugs to ease our pain

— we may have had health problems due to trauma that interfered with our ability to be there for our children

— we may even have assigned the “scapegoat” or “golden child” role to our kids, albeit with less intensity than narcissist parents would have

— we may have been hospitalized for mental illness, which took time away from us being able to be there for our kids

— we may have been emotionally unstable, clinically depressed, always angry or quick to lose patience

— we may have been too permissive with our kids, in a misguided attempt to make up for our own miserable childhood, if our parents were very strict and controlling.

— we may have slept our days away out of depression, ignoring the needs of our kids

—  there may have been constant arguing and fighting in the home

— we may have stayed with an abuser, knowing the danger to the children

— we may have failed to protect our kids from an abusive spouse

I wasn’t guilty of everything on this list, but I was guilty of some of them.   I have a lot of guilt and regret over that, of course.   I beat myself up a lot over what I should have done differently.   And of course, I should have, but I was also at the time in a highly codependent marriage to an emotionally abusive malignant narcissist who gaslighted me and projected every bad thing he could onto me every chance he got. He was slowly but effectively driving me insane, and he tried to turn our kids against me too (in the end, he did not succeed).


Somehow, my kids turned out alright.  Sure, they have problems.  But so does everyone.     Neither has NPD that I can tell.   I worry about them constantly though, frequently “seeing” pathology in them that in reality doesn’t exist.  I think it’s my guilt over my less than ideal parenting that makes me do this.  Because I was unintentionally under-protective of my kids when they were very young, sometimes I think I’m trying to “make up” for that now, when they are young adults and over-protectiveness is no longer appropriate or even healthy.

If you know you were a less than ideal parent due to our own trauma, ask yourself the following three questions:

  1. Do you have a good relationship with your children today?
  2. Are they functioning adequately in the world for their age group and mental ability?
  3. Do they have the capacity for empathy, friendship and love?

If the answers to these questions is “Yes,” then in spite of how bad a parent you think you were, you were “good enough” under the circumstances of simply not having the emotional tools that would have made your job as a parent easier.

If you know your parenting left a lot to be desired, encourage your adult child to talk to you honestly about what it felt like to be raised by you.  Listen to what they tell you, without interrupting, judging, or criticizing, even if what they tell you isn’t what you want to hear.  Chances are, even if your relationship with them has been damaged, allowing them to open up to you this way without fear of judgment is a step toward healing your relationship and building a healthier, more loving one.

Why are we all so old?


It seems that most of us who have finally left their narcissistic abusers, blog about it, or have finally gone No Contact with their narcissistic FOO’s (family of origin) are not spring chickens. Most of us seem to range from our 40s to 60s.

We are just now finding out, late in life perhaps (but never too late), what WE are really all about and the way we wasted so many years staying with our abusers or allowing them to continue to control us, even from a long distance. Many of us remain terrified of our parents or siblings until a very late age. We unconsciously revert back to our childhood roles when forced to deal with them.

It hurts to realize that our younger years were wasted on being narcissistic supply to someone else, instead of becoming the productive, happy people God meant for us to be. There’s a lot of guilt when we realize how we cheated ourselves out of happiness. We neglected our abilities, abandoned our interests, never developed our minds and talents, and became vulnerable to mental illness, generally dismal self esteem, poverty and even chronic illness due to the abuse we endured. This is the way our narcs wanted us, because a weakened person is not a threat. A weakened person is obedient and won’t leave the narcissist. Most of us were trained from an early age to be supply for other narcissists.

While it’s natural to feel regret for all that we missed out on when we were younger, we need to forgive ourselves. What happened to us wasn’t our fault. It happened because we are nurturers by nature and attract narcissists who see us as easy marks. They are also pathologically envious of the qualities (such as empathy and love) we have that they will never possess. They want what we have but will slowly (or not so slowly) kill us to get it. But those qualities they envy and want so badly will always elude them, because they must come from inside themselves, not from others they have recruited to be their victims. Inside, they are emotional vacuums that are essentially empty but devour the life force from others.

It’s never too late for us to change, but I wonder why it is that you rarely sees narcissistic abuse bloggers who are much younger than their 40’s. Does it really take that long for us to wake up from our delusions that by only pleasing our narc that we will live happily ever after? And WHY does it take that long?

It’s amazing how much I have learned about myself in one short year. I never believed people when they used to tell me I would be so much happier and more confident without my needy malignant narcissist ex-husband feeding off of my patience, my finances, my emotional stability, and even my sanity. I thought this shit was normal. I was accustomed to it. Now I know it was anything but normal. Seriously, you’d have to take a gun and shoot me in the head before I’d go back to living the way I did until just over a year ago.

On abused men.


I also sometimes wonder how many men have been victimized by narcissistic/psychopathic women (or other men). I know they exist but there seem to be very few men blogging or writing about their abuse. That’s probably because men have a harder time talking about their feelings, especially on a public blog or forum. To admit having been abused by a woman probably is seen by men as an admission of weakness, even though it’s really anything but.

I think men’s fear of being seen as weak or vulnerable puts them at a huge disadvantage and makes it less likely that they will ever be able to repair the damage done to their minds and emotions. Men are also less likely to enter therapy than women. They may finally leave their abuser, but they continue to suffer alone instead of sharing their pain and journey to wellness with others who have similar stories. I think that’s so sad.