It’s Narcissist Friday!

Loyalty. Devotion. Subservience. Adoration. Service. Reverence. Deference. Faithfulness. Worship.

Yes, I know these are all things we should give to God, but these are the things the narcissist wants from you. You are supposed to give all these things to the narcissist. It might be your mom or dad. It might be your husband or wife. It might be your friend, or your boss, or your pastor. You are supposed to give unequivocal allegiance to the narcissist.

Looking from another angle, if you are not for your narcissist, you are certainly against him/her. The narcissist rarely sees anything between love and hate. You either love your narcissist and submit, or you hate your narcissist and must be removed. There is no middle or neutral position. Not for the narcissist.

You see, most of us don’t think like this. We certainly don’t expect everyone to like us, and those who do like us don’t have to be our devoted servants to prove it. We respect others and think of ourselves as regular people. We don’t expect devotion or service or reverence. Loyalty might be nice, but we understand that people change.

For the narcissist, this kind of control is necessary. Because the narcissist doubts himself and fears others, he demands loyalty. Those who are not submissive are against him. Those who do not bow to him are plotting against him. You are either loyal or disloyal.

Now, suppose you are growing up in a family with a narcissist parent. Eventually, the marriage breaks up. You are the child. Which side of the divorce do you support? Most children would like very much to stay out of their parents’ troubles. They withdraw so that the venom doesn’t hit them. They try to be kind to both sides. Most kids love both parents.

That isn’t enough for the narcissist. The narcissist doesn’t want to share the love. So, the stories begin. The lies, the twisting, the insinuations. All to divide you from the other parent. The special gifts, the extra privileges, the friendly connections—all to make the narcissist look better. All to make the child choose.

But listen: the push toward devotion didn’t just start when the divorce happened. No, the narcissist plans these things. The kids have always had to make this choice. They have always been stuck between loyalties. And it has affected them. Their connection to their parents has always had this strange pressure, and they have never really understood. So, they find ways to protect themselves. They disconnect in whatever ways are possible.

And the non-narcissist parent loses her/his children. Why? Because they don’t know what to do in all this mess. It doesn’t involve them, that’s what the parents try to say, but it does. So, they withdraw.

Or they choose. They might hate the need to choose, but do it to have some sense of peace. Losing one parent might be preferable to keeping both with all the stress. Whatever it takes to be out of the line of fire.

Is it really this bad? Let me just say that it’s a story I have heard over and over. It might not be all the kids. Some don’t play the game. Some seem immune or insensitive to the pressures. But the pressure to choose loyalties is heavy in all their lives. It is there, and it destroys families.

Now, if you are the non-narcissist parent, you probably feel like your family has been ripped away from your heart. You might have had stresses, but now you have almost nothing. You grieve the loss of your kids. You miss them. But they are distant, almost uncaring.

What do you do? Pray for them. Be patient. Love them. You went through your struggle and it hurt a lot. Don’t forget they went through theirs as well. They were hurt also. You might have tried or wanted to go no contact with your narcissist. They tried or wanted to do the same, but with the whole package. Their lack of understanding or caring may be a way to survive. This is the reality of a narcissistic marriage, the potential loss of the family.

Be patient. I can’t say that they will come around to your side. They probably hate the idea of sides. But they will mellow and understand more as they get older. The narcissist can still affect their feelings, still demand, even as you try to reduce your pressures on them. This may take a long time.

Pray. Pray that they would shed the fear and pain. Pray that they would find good and healthy relationships for themselves. Pray that they would find the Lord’s love and grace.

I won’t tell you to let them go. I can’t imagine doing that in any real sense. A loving parent will never let go of their kids, even if they never get to see them or have a good relationship with them. But you can still love them from a distance. You can rejoice in their joys, grieve with their sorrows, and hope for their futures. Maybe someday they will understand that you loved them enough to give them time and space.

Each family is different and each child is different. I know a mom who writes letters to her kids. Not judgmental, not pleading or desperate, no pressure, just love. She supports them and encourages them. She doesn’t even know for sure that they read (or receive) her letters. But this is her heart expressing her love. Her goal is to add no further burden to them, just to let them know they are loved.

Frankly, this topic is heartbreaking. Take the long view. God works over the years. Trust Him. Be at peace knowing that He loves your children more than you do. The real goal of a loving parent is that her/his kids are happy and healthy. If that is true, the distance hurts less. Find your love and affirmation, everything you need, in Jesus.


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8 responses to “Children

  1. Carlita

    Thank you for writing on this particular topic. I look forward to and read everyone of your messages and this one in particular came to my inbox when I needed it most. 🙏

  2. Jeff

    Yesterday I spoke with my “mother” and from out of nowhere, she said, “I don’t know which one of us is going to go first” regarding death. I’m 58 and my “mother” is 90. This statement came from the author of a lifetime of suffering for me and a totally broken and dysfunctional family. She has successfully used the divide and conquer strategy where no one talks to each other anymore while supposedly worshipping her. She has said her sister (who I have inly met twice since she lives in Germany) worships the ground she walks on and would kiss her feet.

    I truly hope there is a place called hell for some who chose to put others thru hell in this life. A place of no forgiveness, A place where prices will finally be paid. One can only hope this place called hell will be there to accept those who truly belong there. A don’t tell me about forgiveness. I’ll forgive them when they are in hell.

    On that uplifting note, let’s all try and have a good day…

  3. Nia

    Thanks so much for this article. I had a heartbreaking weekend concerning an adult child and have been trying to sort it out…this helped..thank you.

  4. Connie

    This is the worst, most heart-breaking part of all. I have 10 children. Three won’t talk to me at all. One is very distant and has written me some very scathing letters. The others, well, let’s say they treat me like I’m a bit addled. The younger ones not as much, but their dad taught them to talk about me behind my back as if I’m too dumb to figure things out. Last summer most of us got together (they live all over the world so this was a big deal). They spent 3 hours with me and 3 days with him. I keep praying for God to open their eyes because if I try to explain, that makes it worse.

    • Connie, I have 3 adult children. I can relate to the 3 hours with me and 3 days with him 😦 I have been labeled a controller; that it was me who forced the family into Home education. The man that I married totally felt secure in demanding I not speak to him when he realized the children and their spouses favoured him. Favouring him because he chose to forsake Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
      I ache. I don’t even have siblings to share with as they are also toxic.
      I cried this afternoon being invited to watch one of the grandchildren at a sporting event. They hardly talked to me. I believe they do this to cause me more pain. 😦
      Praying for all who are in this painful situation.

  5. beautiful swan

    The narcissist I knew used his children. He used them as scapegoats just as he did his spouse. Everything, always somebody else’s fault, and in the time span I knew him it always went back to being his family’s fault. Particularly his spouse. He involved his children in partying by the time they were teens because he wanted them to think he was cool. He had no boundaries and did not see hanging out with his children and their friends as “off.” He thrived on their friends all thinking he was “cool” and acting “young.” He involved his children in his “follies” with other women, while simultaneously degrading their mother. Especially his son, but the daughter had to know about and see things. Both children did not receive the nurturing and attention they needed. When older, they were described by him as a burden because he had “given and given and given.” When actually he had set them up to fail and to be dependent on him. He enabled an contributed to delinquencies, covering up when he could, and only getting them enough help to show that he did something. These children are both in the graveyard now. I believe that children are a gift from God and God entrusts us to love, nurture, and guide a life to the best potential; walking with the Lord. Most, if not all of us make mistakes as parents. But this was such a repeated theme, blatant, without apology, living through his children as an extension of himself and at the same time “look at all I have done for you” “I’ve got to have something for me” “I own this.” I believe that God was walking with these children and brought them home to a heavenly Father that would never forsake them. I pray that former spouse receives the help she needs and know that the Lord covers her and pray for transforming her life.

  6. Miesha McDade

    My husband has decided to divorce me. This is my biggest fear is that he is going to manipulate our son to turn away from me. I have stayed in this marriage to avoid this.
    I pray he doesn’t but if he dies. This post will help me process indeed.
    Thank you.
    On Fri, Jan 24, 2020, 8:01 AM Grace for my Heart wrote:
    > graceformyheart posted: ” It’s Narcissist Friday! Loyalty. Devotion. > Subservience. Adoration. Service. Reverence. Deference. Faithfulness. > Worship. Yes, I know these are all things we should give to God, but these > are the things the narcissist wants from you. Y” >

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