Archive for the ‘personality disorders’ Category
“The child’s misidentification of authentic sadness is being created by the pathology of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent. The child’s authentic sadness and grief are being transformed by the manipulative pathology of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent into “anger and resentment, loaded with revengeful wishes.” Dr Childress
I am working as hard and as fast as I can to bring this nightmare of “parental alienation” to an end – for all children and for all families. My next blog post will be significant in moving our fight for your children forward. In the meantime, I was asked by a targeted parent if I could write a letter to the children explaining things to them. So I did.
For a variety of reasons, I can’t actually write a specific letter to your specific child in your specific family. But I can write a general letter to a general child in a general family. And this is what I did.
I wanted to speak directly to the child (an adolescent between the ages of 13-17), so I had to make four versions of the letter, one for a daughter who is rejecting her mom (A Letter to Mary) and one for a son who is rejecting his mom (A Letter to Jason), one for a daughter who is rejecting her dad (A Letter to Jessica), and one for a son who is rejecting his dad (A Letter to John). They’re all the same, but it simplifies the use of pronouns. I think of this as my “Letter to Mary” series, since this is the one I started with.
Until we can protect your children we cannot ask them to reveal their authenticity. They have to survive in the psychologically dangerous upside-down world of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent, where night is day, and black is white, where truth and reality shift with the needs of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent.
Fundamentally, though, the problem for the child is a misidentified and unprocessed grief response (the famed attachment theorist, John Bowlby, referred to it as “disordered mourning”). The child’s misidentification of authentic sadness is being created by the pathology of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent. The child’s authentic sadness and grief are being transformed by the manipulative pathology of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent into “anger and resentment, loaded with revengeful wishes.”
From Kernberg (1975): “The [narcissist’s] need to control the idealized objects, to use them in attempts to manipulate and exploit the environment and to “destroy potential enemies,” is linked with inordinate pride in the “possession” of these perfect objects totally dedicated to the patient.” (p. 33)
From Kernberg (1975) “They [narcissists] are especially deficient in genuine feelings of sadness and mournful longing; their incapacity for experiencing depressive reactions is a basic feature of their personalities. When abandoned or disappointed by other people they may show what on the surface looks like depression, but which on further examination emerges as anger and resentment, loaded with revengeful wishes, rather than real sadness for the loss of a person whom they appreciated.” (p. 229)
In normal-range divorces, parents help their children understand and process the children’s sadness and grief surrounding the divorce. This is what parents are supposed to do. But the pathology of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent has no empathy for the child, and instead manipulates the child’s authentic sadness into anger, into blaming and resentment toward the other parent in order to exploit the child’s anger as a weapon against the other parent.
About the only thing I might be able to do for the child caught in the loyalty conflict imposed by a narcissistic/(borderline) parent is to do for the child what a normal-range parent should do, help the child understand his or her authentic hurt, and sadness, and grief beneath the anger and blaming. So that’s what I tried to do in these letters to the children. It may not be successful and it may not help. But it’s the most I can do until we are able to protect the children from the psychopathology of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent.
The four versions of the letter are up on my website, down at the very bottom. Direct links are:
A Letter to Mary (mother/daughter):
A Letter to Jason (mother/son):
A Letter to Jessica (father/daughter):
A Letter to John (father/son):
Craig Childress, Psy.D.
Clinical Psychologist, PSY 18857
Kernberg, O.F. (1975). Borderline conditions and pathological narcissism. New York: Aronson.
Taking its name from the 1944 film The Gaslight,
gas-lighting is a form of mental abuse in which false information
is continuously presented to a survivor in order to make them doubt their memory, perception, and sanity
You know you’ve really got it bad when decades later,
shadows in your apartment flicker after the sky is baptized in lightning,
and you hear his voice instead of thunder telling you, “There is no storm”
You don’t need to close the windows
That is not water pouring in sheets onto the rooftops,
flooding your bedroom until the mattress weeps under your weight
It’s just an accident
Probably you did it, little girl
Why are you making such a scene?
It’s a quiet night, a leaky bathtub upstairs,
there is nothing to protect yourself or anyone else from, darling
Everyone is happy
Maybe you should try it
Are you trying hard enough to have some better, more attractive feelings?
Show me your winner’s smile
No, not like that, all bare teeth
Close your mouth, and pull until it stings
Who’s going to love that gap, yeah?
Who do you think you’re fooling with all this sky is falling bullshit?
It’s a party, and the sad girl in the darkened room stays sad her whole life
Her bottomless sorrow transforms all of the beautiful people into monsters,
or else just makes them leave
She only has herself to blame
It goes on like this for hours
Even though you know it’s raining, it’s a hurricane
The walls are peeling from their studs
The floor is floating in the flood
You live on a raft now, tearing itself apart as it is being sucked out to see
You find yourself apologizing to a voice no one else can hear
I’m sorry for this act of God we’re living through
Sorry about this flesh wound I keep walking around with, staining all your furniture
I’m sorry I can’t seem to start crying
You know, I guess somebody died, and it’s stupid
I realize, but not over it
I guess maybe something happened that gutted me
like a carp you hack apart to catch worthier fish
I guess I haven’t slept in months because silly me,
the roof tore off,
and I have swallowed so much rain lying on my back
You probably don’t mean to hear this messy grief girl who can’t keep her mouth shut
It’s just the way it always is, yeah? My fault.
You know it’s bad when you can’t actually remember what he sounds like
The only version of his voice is rooms away, roaring between the book shelves
as he pulls them crashing to the floor,
and you wonder how it is that he still lives here
How every creak and rumble in your new apartment belongs to him somehow
How you keep waking up feeling guilty for being lazy and such a mess, even at 7 AM
Your books still in their boxes, you realize, it isn’t him you’re hearing,
but the muscle memory of what he made you feel
It’s not so bad. It’s not so bad. You’ve got to get up, and get over it
Are you sure you even remember it right?
It’s your hand on the light switch now, flickering, and cursing your eyes for their perfect sight
Chronic Lying is a Signature Trait of the Narcissistic Personality/Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life By Linda Martinez-Lewi PHD
Chronic Lying is a Signature Trait of the Narcissistic Personality
(This refers to male and female narcissists).
“Lies roll off the tongue of a narcissist as smoothly as butter melting on hot bread…A lie is a handy tool the narcissist uses to enhance and protect the image he has so painstakingly built…He (the narcissist) knows that he can lie and get away with it….Lying for him is a shortcut on a crowded highway. It is a free ride in the fast lane (of life)… (From: Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life)
How Narcissists lie:
During divorce wars they always hide the financial assets and tell you they have nothing.
Narcissistic mothers tell their scapegoated child that she/he is ugly, stupid and will never succeed.
Narcissistic siblings lie, cheat and steal to get the family inheritance.
Narcissists always lie when they have innumerable others throughout a marriage and pretend that they have sterling characters. .
Narcissists lie to judges and lawyers during divorce proceedings.
Narcissists get others to lie for them whenever it is convenient and more lucrative for them.
Narcissistic mothers lie to their other children about the scapegoated child and turn one sibling against the other.
Narcissists always lie about money–how much they have, don’t have, where it is hidden, from whom they “borrowed” it.
Narcissists lie about their educations and degrees to maintain and build their perfect image.
Narcissistic parents never tell the truth to their children and cause tremendous psychological and emotional pain.
Narcissistic co-workers lie about your good character and turn others against you.
I welcome your adding to this very long list. The more that we know and understand about the true nature of the narcissistic personality, the more we are empowered to maintain our separateness, integrity, psychological and emotional well being as individuals.
The below article was originally posted on: dating a sociopath ( link below)
Did you feel like you were going crazy? You were losing your mind? This is all part of the sociopath’s crazy making behaviour.
The sociopath will always accuse you of doing the very thing that they are guilty of themselves. They do this to deflect the attention from them.
Examples of this are
Accusing you of cheating
Accusing you of being dishonest or lying
Accusing you of talking about them
Accusing you of doing whatever it is that they are guilty of themselves
The sociopath has a bizarre ability to be able to make YOU feel guilty and feel like you have defend yourself… for things that he has done.
You see the sociopath, is actually fairly intelligent. He knows that whilst you are busy defending yourself, and proving your innocence, you will be confused, and will forget about the real issue, the truth that you are close to uncovering about the sociopath.
It’s all a game to the sociopath. Life is a game. With little inside themselves they spend most of their life playing stupid mind games.
Accusing you of things that they have done themselves, is something that they will do over and over again. The result for you, the victim is
Likely he will also say ‘everyone thinks, or says….’ – so you feel isolated too
Afterwards, after wasted hours, protesting your innocence, you think
How did that happen?
The truth is right there, you are relieved that the constant questions and accusations have stopped. There is peace again.
Once again, the sociopath has managed to manipulate the situation, and deflect blame back onto you. You have spent another few hours of your time, stressed, anxious and defending your corner.
You feel that yet again there was yet another problem that didn’t need to be there. Some other issue, that didn’t need to be there.
But for the sociopath, it isn’t like that. He is playing a game. Playing a game with your mind and your heart. There are two things that are important to the sociopath
If you were to catch him out in a lie, he would neither win, or be in control. So he will do anything that he can do, to win the game, and control the game.
That is all that it is.
The sociopath probably doesn’t even realise the effect that this has on you. After all, he never thinks about your needs, and this is in terms of both good and bad things. He, like always is thinking about himself, not about you, your welfare or your needs.
It is all just a game. A stupid, mindless game. That could continue for the rest of your life if you let it.
Isn’t it time to move forward? To stop playing the stupid game with the sociopath, who could play forever. If you let him. The sociopath doesn’t feel too much, but he does feel satisfaction from
Being in control
Maybe right now it is time to stop playing the game. To finish the game. Stop playing. It is now time to focus on you. On your needs and your welfare. After all when you were with the sociopath, so much of your time and energy was wasted, defending yourself, and playing pointless mind games, nobody was taking care of your needs.
Endless stress and endless drama. that is the relationship with the sociopath. There comes a time, when the only thing to do, is to put in place no contact rules, stick to them, and focus on you, and loving yourself and creating your own beautiful world. A world where there isn’t someone constantly trying to pull you apart.
You deserve so much better 🙂
Copyright datingasociopath.com 2013
Originally posted November 11, 2013, on Ostara Gets A Divorce
“You’re evil, you’re evil, you’re evil”, Muppet sings while hugging, kissing and frolicking with her big sister while I’m setting the table for dinner. I smile; her words and actions are clearly contradictory, so she is not aware of the meaning. Such a sweet little toddler.
Time to have the discussion about certain words we don’t use, I think to myself.
While I’m serving dinner, I start out “There are certain words that are not nice to say to people, and I don’t want you to use them. We don’t say ‘people are evil’, we don’t use the word ‘stupid’. I want you to respect others and show respect in the words you use.”
“But Dad tells Kelly, my sister and me that you are evil. That we get the flea bites at your house and that you give Muppet the booty rash.” Sweet Bee says.
RIP. MY. HEART. OUT.
How many target parents have heard similar words? How many target parents have felt the same feelings that were going through me?
Countless, but even 1 person having to go through this is too many, even 1 child having to be subjected to this is too many.
And it is not like I had not heard it before. During trial we entered into evidence and email from Ex to me where he calls my mother ‘the Devil’, because my mother held him accountable for not taking good emotional, physical and financial care of me and the kids. The pattern is only repeating itself, but now with me who is to be eliminated.
The most prominent alienation strategy was denigration of the targeted parent, informally referred to as “bad-mouthing.” — Baker, Amy J. L. “Adult Children of Parental Alienation Syndrome: Breaking the Ties That Bind”
Bad-mouthing the other parent seemed to serve the same function as bad-mouthing the “outside world” has for cults: promotion of dependency. — Baker, Amy J. L. ” Adult Children of Parental Alienation Syndrome: Breaking the Ties That Bind”
Parental Alienation is depriving a child from a valid loving relationship. It is about creating dependency on the alienating parent, not based on the truth and reality, but based upon subjectivity and persuasion.
Drama replaces reason.
And that is the ‘hook’ Reunification Therapists take a hold of. They work with the child to teach them to ‘figure it out’, to learn to discern between fact/reality and subjective distortion. The Reunification Therapist works to improve mental functioning by working on reality testing and mitigate the trauma by weighing evidence.
Most parents don’t know what a therapist does, but that doesn’t mean a parent can not do ‘supportive’ work while the therapist is not available. It is hard and can be difficult, but the parent has to calmly, objectively and non-emotionally clarify the reality which the child themselves can test.
So what is the evidence in the statement of Sweet Bee? Ex has a ‘rat problem’, rats carry fleas. The kids return from access with numerous bites, documented by 3rd party. I have dogs who are religiously treated with K9 Advantix. The kids leave without flea bites. Muppet has been returned from access with a (bleeding) diaper rash multiple times, diagnosed and treated within hours by dr.’s.
“Are you itchy right now?” I ask. “No” they answer. “Do you have any bug bites right now?” I continue. “No” they answer again. “When you are itchy and have bug bites where are you then?” “We’re at Dad’s, and he has no bug bite lotion” is the answer. They emphasize the lack of bug bite lotion. While that seems trivial, it is not. It means they (unconsciously) did a reality check. They had been looking or asking for bug bite lotion while at Dad’s.
I didn’t lash out and said Ex was a liar to the children. I calmly did a reality check. While dealing with the bug bites was ‘easy’, internally I was trying to figure out how to bring up the diaper rash. The dr.’s diagnosed it as being the result of prolonged exposure to urine and it extends down her leg(s). It is not normal for a 3-year-old to have this when she is fully potty trained. The last episode likely had to do with the fact that Ex left the children unattended in a car for periods of time without supervision, access to food/water or bathroom. ‘Inadequate guardianship’ is what CPS supervisor called it.
“Where does your booty hurt the most?” I ask Muppet. “In the front” she replies. Ok, good point, a good factual statement for a 3 ½ year old. “But when you are with Mom or with Dad?” I try to probe a little further. “Both” she innocently replies. And she is right, it is not like it is instantly over, and how am I going to explain to a toddler that it takes time to heal? How do I explain the cause and effect; prolonged exposure to urine = diaper rash?
And this is why parental alienation takes ground with younger children so much easier than older kids, teenagers or adults. Younger kids don’t have the same conception of reality, developmentally they are not ready yet. They still believe in Santa. They’ll believe anything a parent tells them.
Distorting reality for a child this young and depriving them from the other parents’ love, making them question the validity of this love is devastating and has long-lasting effects. It is cruel to the child.
But parents with this attitude do not solve problems by being rational. They have no internal conflict, it doesn’t bother them they are hurting the child. If a problem arises, it is always someone else’s fault.
There is no protocol to fix the alienating parent—not legally, not therapeutically, and not by reasoning with them. It is also unlikely that they will ever stop trying to perpetuate the alienation, because it has become a gut-wrenching survival issue to them! — Douglas Darnell, 2000
Courts are supposed to uphold the statue of Best Interest of the Child. It should protect the child from the harmful effects of Parental Alienation, which is considered psychological child abuse in the DSM 5. Fighting parental alienation is not about a mother’s right, it is not about a father’s right, it is about the children’s right. They are not 2nd class citizens.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” — Declaration of Independence July 4, 1776