Narcissistic Parents

Several months of recent correspondence, as well as occasional visits during this time, have given me a very good understanding of who Ed is today; the same man he has always been – a child abuser, coward, rapist.  He is also, in my informed opinion, a narcissist who suffers from cognitive dissonance and self-aggrandizing delusions.  He has not changed, but he has become adept at hiding who he really is, rendering him capable of surviving among the good and decent people in his life today.  He, in some ways, is the luckiest man alive; the Teflon-Man nothing ever sticks to, and he is so good at selling himself; there is a different version of Ed for every man, woman and child in his world – past and present.

On the other hand, I haven’t seen or spoken to Pat since early 1983; she attended my wedding in 1986, but the only exchange we had that day was her telling me that she approved of the new me – whatever that meant.  I  kept my distance; I didn’t want to know her anymore.

There was a time when I knew her far better than anyone else, and despite our lack of communication for more than three decades, this, I have found, is still true.  In fact, I actually know her – I don’t think many other people do …

Kind, thinking, good people assume we all share basic values, and our understanding of mothers comes from the precept that all mothers love their children.  We believe that every mother is dedicated to nurturing and guiding her young children, and is desirous of a solid, affectionate relationship with her children when they are grown.  Mothers who do not reflect this archetype are virtually inconceivable to the rest of us.

When my aunt contacted me after decades of estrangement, she was excited to share with her sister that I had responded to her message wishing me a happy birthday.  My aunt thought my mother would be happy and excited too – she thought perhaps this might give my mother hope that one day I would speak to her as well.

My aunt didn’t understand then that my mother is the antitheses of the mother archetype.  She didn’t love and nurture when I was little, and she damn sure didn’t want a relationship with her grown up son who had lived the truth she had lied about for almost three decades.

When my aunt came back into my life, Pat simply shut her sister out of her life.

I may not have recent personal communication with my mother to offer as support, but the evidence is pretty compelling; she is the same abusive, narcissistic drama queen she has always been.

I used to wonder how Pat could possibly be happy, given everyone she has hurt, but now I understand that she never cared to begin with.  She put on a passable face, said the right things for a time, behaved like people she knew who actually did love and care for their family, but it was never real for her – and her love  was never, ever genuine.  It’s easy to be happy, despite the pain and damage you have caused, when you never cared about anyone other than yourself to begin with.














There was a time when I hated my parents.

Then, for the longest time, I was indifferent.

Now, all I feel for them is pity …

and a great deal of nothing.

In recent email with Ed concerning my sister’s current crisis, I have realized a few things – and when I say realized, I mean not only a certain recognition, but also a deep understanding …

He has no idea how to be a father.

I don’t even think he knows what it means to be a father.

He does things – always the wrong things, that would never even occur to me … or anyone else who has even the most basic idea of how this, I am a parent, thing works.

When Rhonda emailed him several years ago, during my emotional breakdown, to let him know not only that I was very sick, but that it was all his fault (along with Pat) I was sick, he did not respond in any way; no call, no visit, no email reply.  Nothing.

When told Elizabeth was ill, his response has been two fold;  “I hope Pat does something to help her.”  was his first response …

and it was followed by his telling me that if she is a threat to herself or others, I can call Adult Protective Services.  He then explained that because he has had no contact with his daughter himself, he cannot make this call.

Seriously, I just had to shake my head.

His child is sick, and in crisis, and he knows exactly why she is sick … knows and acknowledges that his abuse (along with Pat’s) when she was a child is to blame for her state of mental health, and what does he do?

He sends her an email!  He hasn’t seen her in more that thirty five years, she is mentally ill and in crisis, and he emails her!

When I pointed out that this might not have been the best way to approach her, he agreed with me.

If it weren’t so damn tragic, it would be funny.  How can anyone be this daft?

It is his mess.

She is his child.

And still he does not take responsibility …

still he refuses to fix, or even attempt to fix, what he broke.

He lives in a world where nothing that happened prior to his marrying Marie matters;

nothing before 1985 is relevant:

Ed did not abuse his children.

Ed did not rape his daughter’s fourteen year old friend.

Ed did not fail to live up to even the most basic of obligations to his children.

He has hidden and lied for so long he actually believes he is good.

His children create cognitive dissonance – we are a stark, cold reality – a reminder that he isn’t who and what he believes himself to be.

I get it.  I do.

As sick as he made his children …

he has made himself even sicker.









Psychological Profile: Narcissistic Parents

narcissistic parents

Traits of a Narcissistic Parent – list was given to me in therapy:


Authoritarian – prone to rage, anger and/or outbursts

Uses physical punishment



Never culpable or blameworthy of anything

Highly critical of their children, family, spouse, others

Secretive, cunning, conniving, manipulative

Exploitative, stingy and ungrateful

Liar, or at least twists the truth to their benefit



Deaf to the opinions of others



Lacks empathy

Plays favorites, but favorites themselves do not always remain constant

No boundaries

Excels at making children feel guilty

No loyalty to anyone even children or spouse

Lacks sense of humor about self

Sarcastic and often passive aggressive

Unhappy person who sucks the life out of those around them, especially their children

Five traits from the list were needed to assign the psychological profile of Narcissistic Parent to Ed and Pat – whereas I had no problem assigning five to either of them, I can assign them all to Pat.  There isn’t a single one that doesn’t apply in one way or another.

When my parents divorced, she made it her life’s mission to make my sister and I hate Ed.  It was a constant barrage of insults, negative commentary and character assassination.  Whether or not what she said was true (some was, some wasn’t) isn’t relevant to the point; no one should do this to their children; she wasn’t hurting Ed, she was hurting us.

I took a neutral position – which infuriated her.  If my neutrality bothered Ed, he never told me it did.   I tried not to listen to her, tried not be be influenced by what she said, but I’m sure I wasn’t 100% successful … some of that negativity had to have left its mark.

I didn’t even care that they got a divorce – by the time this occurred she was so bitter and intolerant, so intensely vindictive she would sit on the couch at night and drink cheap wine from the bottle through a straw — something she made damn sure I knew she had to do to be able to face going to bed with Ed.  She was miserable and didn’t care who else was.  I thought when Ed left, things with her would get better – but they didn’t.

Her focus didn’t change – she didn’t set out to become happy, she was on a mission to obliterate Ed from our lives.

She really could have saved us all the drama, by that point Ed had already hurt me so deeply I was destined to exit his life of my own accord based solely on who he had been to me.

All she accomplished was hurting her children …

Of course that never mattered to her either.