WHY YOUR KID? WHAT SUPPLY ARE THEY??
To understand this, it will help to break it down and look at the big picture: what is the supply your child offers to the narcissist? This helps to better recognize ‘the why’ your child was targeted.
- Money, assets, & security
- Good education, job, & potential
- Social status
- Family status or wealth
- Quality parenting genes (i.e., they will make a great mother)
- Arm candy (that family picture with everyone in khakis and blue shirts will look good behind their desk)
- Empathic souls make a good supply because the narc tells victim stories and empaths believe the excuses
- Spiritual – church-going people tend to be more forgiving and believe in the sacred vows of marriage so they try harder, forgive quicker, and trust more easily
CYCLE OF ABUSE AND HOW IT GETS DEPLOYED
Idealize – By now, you accept the fact that the narcissist love bombed your child to get them hooked. At this point, the narcissist is their drug. Your child believes they are in love and that “they have never been loved like this before.” Why do they believe this? Because the narcissist TELLS them that this is the case every day. This is the first dose of venom and it gets injected deeply inside of them. This is a stepping stone towards loyalty that will be used against them later. Your child will search the rest of their lives for the person they believed their narcissist was in this love bombing stage, just like any addict does for the next high. This is one of the reasons they stay.
What you might not yet realize is that you were also love bombed.
You welcomed them into your home: they were sweet as pie, strong, and appeared to have a secure future. Most importantly, they seemed to clearly love your child. Then and there, you unwittingly made a deal with the devil.
You may have vacationed together or just spent quite a bit of time with them, and you saw, firsthand, how much they loved your son or daughter. The time spent with your family was an investment strategy designed to reassure you that they were family-oriented and that it will always be perfect like this once they join your family.
You fell in love with an illusion, just as your child did. It is not uncommon. Parents often learn later of the suffering their child endured during those times together after-the-fact. Perhaps the narcissist perceived they were not supportive or loving enough to build the narrative properly or they were injured over some other viewed slight. It may have been subtle at first, but it was a test of the familial bond is to determine where your child’s loyalty lies. Keep your eyes open for this type of behavior and establish open lines of communication with your child but the frightening thing about it is they might not even consider it abusive. Thats when the knowledge hits that this is a very dangerous individual.
You were love bombed into giving your approval. They are slick and even if you think you were in charge, believe me it was always them. If they are still around, things are progressing exactly according to their plan. They rarely drop their masks early in the game. Note: Once you give your approval and pay for the wedding, they no longer need you. This is when the abuse and control amplify to a deafening level.
Devalue – At this point, the narcissist will start to find issues with the relationship you have with your child. They begin to nitpick and create alternate reality stories. All along, the narc has been planting false narratives in your kid’s mind about you and now is the time they become vocal about it.
How does the truth get manipulated in the devalue stage?
Example: You help your child financially (as a nice thing), but it will be spun as ‘you are trying to control them’ by the narc (yet they still expect/accept your money).
Example: You are helpful and babysit – that would be spun as controlling them and your grandchildren. You will be accused of everything from unsatisfactory parenting styles to abuse. The parenting of your own child will be pulled into the conversation.
Example: Your daughter-in-law never does laundry so while you are there babysitting, and the baby is sleeping, you do it in an effort to help out. This immediately makes you “controlling and judging their lifestyle.”
Example: Both work so you babysit to alleviate some of the pressure. You decide to do them a favor by picking up groceries or making dinner … this often gets spun as “controlling and you don’t think they do anything right.”
Example: Your narcissistic son-in-law can’t/won’t take care of the house/property, so you offer your help to fix a screen or mow the lawn … “control and judgement.”
These gaslighting and brainwashing tactics begin to occur as the relationship enters the devalue stage. These transplanted narratives always turn them into ‘the victim’ of you and make them into ‘the hero’ for trying to save your adult child from their evil parent(s).
Discard – Once your child is sufficiently hooked and they have successfully put distance between you, the discard process begins. Prepare to get tossed aside, ghosted, and blocked.
Narcissists tend to be smart. They are calculating and know exactly what they want and how to get it. They are expert manipulators and have control tactic techniques unlike any other. I have seen one scenario in particular quite frequently as of late and it is very frightening to parents, for good reason.
THE APOLOGY HOSTAGE SCENARIO
Remember the narcissist’s goal is to isolate your child. There are many ways to go about it, both in public and in private, but this is one way it can happen behind closed doors. The narrative your child hears daily is slowly poisoning their mind against you, their siblings, grandparents, and their friends. Your child is ultimately forced to choose between you and their narc or suffer more verbal (and more) abuse.
STEP 1: A dramatic event is created and then unrealistic expectations are made of you, the parent(s). Demands are made that you drop everything to help them “this minute!” When/if you are unable/unwilling to walk away from your job or commitments and get sucked into this false emergency, the narcissist will get wounded. They are wounded because the need to control you is real and you didn’t jump fast or high enough.
This is one test you will never win. Even if you do show up, it’s never adequate. They need to control the way you show up.
This theatrical situation with its interwoven and distorted chronicle is designed to triangulate you and your child. As with any narcissist, these concocted fictions usually hold only a spec of truth – and that is simply to make it more believable.
STEP 2: The narc son or daughter-in-law will blow up and manipulate this conflict to show your child how you don’t really care about them or attempts to convince them that…
“Your parents are trying to spilt us up.”
“Your parents don’t like me.”
“Your parents never gave me a fair chance.”
“Don’t you see, they are never there for you, EVER!”
“I am your real family. You must choose. It’s either me or them! I can’t deal with them.”
As it escalates, the divorce card will usually get played as a threat – possibly compounded with, “You will never see your children again, is that what you want? Do you even care about them?”
I am sorry but in this situation, your child is being abused. Not all abuse has physical signs but the emotional trauma can be devastating.
STEP 3: With the long list of infractions mounting against you, the narcissist tires of trying to explain. When your child attempts to justify how you helped so much by fixing the screen door, they are met with anger and verbal abuse. Maybe this time they will only be forced to sleep on the sofa for not agreeing and taking their narc’s side in the disagreement, but the level of abuse will be cranked up with each infraction.
Behind the scenes, you are oblivious of these arguments about how unhelpful/controlling/judgmental you are, so you keep reaching out. Your desire to see them gets spun into control; this is how brainwashing works. Be aware that part of the narcissist’s game is to mix the crazy with loving sweet behavior. This creates a true trauma bond where your child is no longer in command of their own emotions.
STEP 4: Then it happens – the ransom offer gets thrown out: If you apologize for all of the terrible things you have done, then you can see the grandkids (or, in some cases, your own child).
I have actually seen ransom letters, drafted by the narc, with all the false allegations meticulously listed, almost like they were keeping score. In other situations, you will be expected to inherently know the terrible things you have done. Sadly, if you don’t or are unable to divulge a long detailed list off the top of your head, you are not taking responsibility and that will get twisted and used against you.
You can never win!!
I have had some clients who wanted to see their grandchildren so bad that they agreed to meet, and apologize. Did they know what they were apologizing for? Not really. It may work that one time, but will you get to see the grandkids again? No! Why? Because your apology was insincere or it wasn’t your idea or you looked at the narc funny… whatever the circumstance, according to the narc, it couldn’t possibly be accepted with a clear conscience. Out of frustration, you get up to take a break and hear the narc-in-law say, “See, didn’t I tell you not to trust them!” As you pick your heart up off the floor and leave, you will feel even more hopeless. You sense more doors have been closed. You sucked up pride and took responsibility for things you never did… now what!?
STEP 5: Once you’re gone, your child will be verbally abused about your insincerity. At the same time, the fact that you apologized is now masterfully being used against them as well.
“Didn’t you see how your <mother or father> admitted they did these terrible things?! We can never see them again!”
Your child might not agree but they are effectively trapped to choose between their past (you) and the future with their spouse (and children).
This is just one scam I have seen but there are many others. I hope this will help you compare the patterns to whatever is happening in your family.