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why abusers and narcissists say it is all your fault every time something goes wrong

If you have been around abusers, you know that they blame a lot. They blame their co-workers, they blame their bosses, they blame their parents, they blame their family, and if you have any issues with them, they blame you too. In fact, the first thing they do if an issue arises is to start blaming you.

Most abusers have personality disorders, notably Cluster B personality disorders.

A trait that most narcissists, sociopaths and abusers in all facets have in common is that they tell you, others and themselves that you are 100 percent at fault for what goes wrong between you.

The exceptions are these: if they have just met you, they will be love bombing you, and in order to draw you in, they may make some exceptions to your being 100 percent at fault for issues that rise between you. The other exception is when they are trying to hoover you back in. I have yet to do a post on hoovering, but the premise is that it is part of the make-up stage in the cycle of abuse: idealize, devalue, destroy (or replace destroy with discard). They are trying to win you back into another phase of the cycle. In order to win you back, they might feel they have to apologize, or admit to as little of the blame as possible. The other exception is if they have become very educated about the Cluster B personality disorders, and are trying to avoid detection.

Other than these three incidences, if they are not attempting to put all of the blame on you, then they are not full blown narcissists or sociopaths. They may have some narcissistic or sociopathic traits if they are doing otherwise, but they aren't full blown narcissists unless you are deemed to be 100 percent at fault, and you are gaslighted (called crazy).

The fact that they never see themselves at fault, should convince you that they are incapable of self reflection. If you are always at fault, while they never are (in their eyes), it should also convince you that they don't know you, or anyone else. The fact that they are incapable of knowing you should also convince you that how they see you is projection.

Have you ever tried to argue with a narcissist or sociopath? If you have, it becomes clear that they are very aggressive, and that they think they are always right and that you are always wrong. They get haughty and they lecture you. It isn't a normal conversation or debate between two mature adults. In fact, during the debate process, they usually resort to "the low blow" of attacking your character instead of "keeping it on the subject." They also don't take a step back and say, "You know, you have a good point there. I hadn't thought of that before." They are hell-bent on winning the argument and talking you into their way of thinking and trying to corral you to think the way that they think (so they can get you under control, and doubting your own experiences and ways of thinking). Their self absorption is wrapped up in their own perspectives and feelings at all times. They try to think of come-backs when another person is talking rather than ruminating on what is being said. Most narcissists and sociopaths also interrupt, discount, get into your personal space, and refuse to listen to you as well.

You also know, if you have been on the outside of an abusive family, that the great majority of mature adults don't act this way: they don't go around telling someone else that they are 100 percent right, and that the other person is 100 percent at fault. Mature adults know how to reflect, and to think about what each person may be going through, why they have the perspectives they do, why the situation ended up in the way that it did, and so on. The rush to criticism, judgement and fault-finding are very narcissistic and sociopathic traits, and also one they practice even as they don't like it practiced upon them (hypocrisy and entitlement). They especially practice it on their own children (narcissists and sociopaths often have at least one estranged child eventually, if not more).

So why are they like this? How did they get like this?

Narcissists and sociopaths grow up in abusive, often authoritarian homes. There is evidence that narcissists have some brain abnormalities too (lack of gray matter in the left anterior insula which compromises empathy). With sociopaths, there is evidence that their brains are wired differently and thus react differently than the rest of the population in terms of stimulus. There is also evidence that severe child abuse can cause brain damage. So, some of this is on a physical level.

But most psychologists and psychiatrists believe that environmental and childhood factors play the largest role. The overwhelming number of abusers and batterers come from abusive homes and families. When a parent is an abuser, roughly 30 percent of his or her children will be abusive too (they will carry on the tradition of child abuse, and spousal abuse if the parent exhibited spousal abuse).

The fact that narcissists and sociopaths can lie, trick, slander and hurt others with impunity, and then "play innocent", also means that brain damage cannot be used as excuse for the wrongs they commit towards others and their constant desire to manipulate others to do as they say, think as they think, have the same opinions that they have, and so on. They also are fully aware that they are envious, retaliatory, vengeful and arrogant, but many who have woken up to the fact that they are narcissists admit they also like being this way, that it works for them as a pre-emptive defense mechanism. Most narcissists do not seek therapy, so that would seem to say that they like a defense mechanism that hurts others. So they definitely have a consciousness when it comes to how they treat others, and they know when they have hurt others.

Most will admit they don't care if they hurt you, but they are fully aware that they have.


Abusive families (families who have abusers in them) have several characteristics:

1. They lecture one another
2. They don't listen to one another (they often talk over one another, or interrupt, or talk loudly and hurriedly to get their point across -- in general, there is a lot of interruption of speech). Often there are accusations and defensive speech as well
3. There are estranged family members in the greater family: often there is a trend like it's the girls who are estranged, or the empaths who are estranged (very common), or the most successful ... in other words, the family decides to scapegoat members who have some similar characteristics
4. They use the drama phrase: like "So and so creates drama" -- they also use that phrase to excuse their scapegoating or ostracizing of a member (the drama phrase is a great tip-off to the lack of empathy residing in family attitudes, and lack of empathy is both a narcissistic and sociopathic trait).
5. Opinions are talked about more than facts
6. When children are hurt, the biologicals (i.e. not the inlaws) react to the children being hurt in several ways: "Toughen up! Stop crying!", or "You brought this upon yourself", "Fix your own problems", or "The bandaids are upstairs. Help yourself", "I can't be bothered now". Children are thought of as being so low in stature that their feelings, thoughts and experiences don't matter very much. The responses to pain are about ignoring, diminishing, making the child responsible for self-soothing, or putting the blame on the child. Children who go through pain are sometimes labeled "crazy" or "disturbed" as well (another tactic to take the blame off of themselves and put it onto a child). There is the expectation that family members should suppress, repress and bottle up feelings.
7. Money, power and politics are talked about the most. Competitive games are more of a family pastime than, say, music jams, writing a group letter to Aunt Agatha who couldn't make it, making a quilt together, getting the family plot ready to plant food, and other co-operative pastimes.
8. Someone in the family is deemed to have authority and a higher status than other family members (i.e. that their opinions, likes and dislikes, and what they want comes first, at all times, before all others in the family - the sign of an authoritarian family). This extends to Last Wills and Testaments where one child gets a great deal more from a parent, and the others either get a minimal amount or nothing at all.
9. Money and guilt-trips about money are talked about as an excuse for estranged family members. Also the "punishment phrase" is used (note that adult-to-adult punishments are always characterized as abuse, especially between family members). In other words, excuses and blaming are used to describe the estrangement and there is very little thought or discussion given to how estrangement effects the estranged person.
10. There is often a "ganging up" mentality, where one person is singled out for bullying (scapegoating). Typical phrases are, when the person tries to defend themselves from accusations being made against them: "We don't care how you feel," "We have heard enough", "We don't care to listen to what you have to say", "Don't listen to (scapegoat); there isn't anything worthwhile to hear" and so on. It is an isolation tactic common to all abusers (conform or be cast out: only two choices are given).
11. The attitudes about abuse are lax, and most often include pressuring a victim to apologize to an abuser, or turning the other cheek, or putting up with abuse to keep the family unit together. Most of the time this does not work, no matter how much pressure, shaming, consequences and ostracism is put on the family victims. If family victims do go back after they have been ostracized, they often leave again (abuse always gets worse, and escalates; it does not get better without an intervention).
12. Abusive elders assign roles and hierarchies to children and grandchildren. The child who is the most conforming, pleasing and fawning is given a higher stature (whether the child really means it or not -- note that conforming and fawning can be a defense mechanism against being abused, so it can be disingenuous). Favoritism, and the blatant expression of favoritism is a given in abusive families.

It is through hierarchy and favoritism that can determine whether a child will grow up to be abusive.

The golden child:
* The golden child is the favorite one, and grows up being taught that he is more important than his brothers and sisters. The golden child is often given praise while the brothers and sisters are not. This can, and often does, translate in his mind to him being more important than other people. This is a lot of the reason why abusers are so arrogant. They were groomed as children that they are higher in stature than others, and are rewarded for it as well.
* He grows up being taught that he can do no wrong. This would account for why they cannot tolerate the thought that they are wrong about anything, and why another person is 100 percent at fault. A person who has been taught that he can do or say no wrong in childhood feels that his ways of thinking, his experiences, and his ambitions are more important than what others think, experience and dream about, and that the people who are in his life must conform to it, or be cast out. A person who was able to abuse a sibling in childhood, feels that he can abuse others without feeling that he isn't doing anything wrong. This is because there were no repercussions in childhood for the sibling abuse. In most abusive families, victims are told to apologize to family abusers, or to keep quiet about the abuse. In fact, many golden children keep their status by continually blaming another sibling when things go wrong. If it works, he will use it in his other relationships.
If he can't totally convince, he can lie or exaggerate. This would account for why abusers lie more than others in the general population.
Sometimes a sibling abuser is rewarded for lying about and bullying the family scapegoat (all abusive families have a scapegoat that either gets picked on relentlessly and grows up with different rules of conduct than other family members, and is either derided as being crazy, or is ostracized, or isolated).
* He grows up feeling that he deserves and is entitled to deserve so long as he plays "the fawning game" with his parent, telling them sweet-nothings, or makes excuses for falling off the "fawning bandwagon"; i.e. that he made a mistake in not supporting his parent 100 percent. If a parent believes the excuses, this would account for why your abuser uses excuses, and believes that excuses will work in winning you back.
Fawning over an abusive parent is a lot of the reason why grown up abusers love bomb, flatter, tell you that you are a soul mate and ingratiate so strongly in the beginning of their adult peer relationships. They flatter you so much because they grew up with a parent who required flattery constantly (translation: narcissistic supply). In fact, flattery was the panacea to everything that went wrong. "Flatter or be treated as a scapegoat" is the underlying message. In his grown up relationships, he will think it is fine if he abuses a partner so long as he can make excuses for it or blame his victim (as he did in childhood: he got away with excuses and blame-shifting in childhood, so he figures he will do it in adulthood too).
If his parent or parents put 100 percent of the blame for abuse or separation on his spouse, this will further the idea that he can be rewarded for blaming others and not be accountable for hurting others.
* He grows up being rewarded for mirroring his abusive parent. This is the same as flattery, except he takes on the qualities and personality of his parent. He flatters by showing, "See? I am so much like you! You have to accept me because I have all of your qualities. To reject me would be like rejecting yourself!" Narcissists especially enjoy children who are like them, so this works as a strategy for avoiding abuse, and for getting the parent to abuse the one least like himself or herself. This is why abusers try to mirror you in the beginning of a relationship, pretending to have the same thoughts, experiences and interests when they are love bombing you. If they can convince you that you are their soul mate (as they did with their parent), then they feel they have "hooked you in."
* If a mother treats her son like a god, and abuses her daughters, a boy can learn that women are to be looked at as objects for abuse (sexism). If the girls aren't listened to, he will learn that women his own age aren't to be listened to or taken seriously. If he learns that he never has to apologize to his sisters, and they have to apologize to him instead (which is what favoritism by a parent means), then he will grow up with the attitude that his wife or partner always has to do the apologizing. If he learns that it is okay to verbally abuse his sisters, he will most likely verbally abuse his wife or wives (unless, they too, have learned how to mirror to avoid abuse).
* The scapegoats of abusive families often tend to be sensitive, empathetic and creative. This translates into his learning to look at sensitive, empathetic and creative people as being lower in stature, of being worthy of scapegoating, rejection and abuse.
* Golden children, more than the other children in the family, learn to have a false self. They feel they have to mirror and conform to their parent to feel safe from the abuse and threats that the parent lobs at the other children (or scapegoat child). This would account for the public self and private self that abusers often have (Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde).
* If the parent describes the scapegoat as crazy (which just about all of them do), they might eventually take the scapegoat to therapy. If the golden child hears the parent continually using the "crazy" label and that the scapegoat "needs therapy", the golden child is likely to be resistant to therapy themselves. Just about all narcissists and sociopaths are resistant to therapy and working out their relationships. They blame instead. Grooming a child to think of an emotional, sensitive, artistic child as crazy, while he is not, has a lot to do with why abusers don't go to therapy unless they are required by law to do so.
* In conclusion, golden children can end up as grandiose narcissists who feel on top of the world, as though they can exploit or lie to anyone and get away with it, who feel they are always right (because of their higher status in the family, which gets translated into "higher status in the world" for many of them), who feel they don't need to listen to others, who feel they always deserve (entitlement), who feel that they will never be accountable for anything, any behavior, any wrong-doing towards others. Their parent has taught them that they are special. That would explain why they never feel accountable, and why they put 100 percent of the blame on someone else's shoulders, yours (if you are their spouse), for instance.

The scapegoat:
Note: most scapegoats are sensitive, empathetic, artistic and whistleblowers. Most of them can't stand the false faces, the parade of false flatteries, the lies and inauthenticity. So they speak loudly about it. This gets them punished (because others in the family are trying to keep the false image intact so that they don't get attacked). Because they find themselves punished, derided, isolated, abused, rejected and outside the family so often, and for erroneous reasons, they are the least likely to carry on the tradition of abuse. However, a small number of them still do as a way to never let what happened to them in childhood happen to them in adulthood. They sometimes compensate for their low self esteem, and being the object of bullying by being aggressive and bullying themselves in their adult relationships.
* They learn that they cannot be heard within their family, so they make a point of being heard in adult peer relationships. Sometimes this goes overboard, to the point where they interrupt, talk over, shout over others who are trying to talk.
* They have the attitude that most people are lying and inauthentic, so they can accuse others of lying and being inauthentic. If their narcissistic or sociopathic parent cheated (common), they think others cheat too, including their present partner. This would explain the accusatory nature of some abusers who are sure, for instance, that their partners are cheating on them, or will cheat on them, when they are not, or won't.
* An abusive parent will try to sabotage a scapegoat. The sabotage can be far-reaching and extend from emotional damage, to sabotaging the relationship their child has with other family members through smear campaigns, to sabotaging their work (by the parent trying to become enmeshed with their child, or by telling them they won't amount to anything, or conversely micro-managing their careers and infiltrating, to jealous revenge if their child succeeds). It tends to be multi-faceted. Scapegoating means not being loved by your parent, and it means being bullied by your parent, and by your siblings too. So scapegoats can be justifiably afraid that others are trying to infiltrate their lives to control them and to sabotage them too. Many scapegoats will not want to commit to others, including their family members and those outside their family, and will not want to be controlled in any manner (they become allergic to any kind of authoritarianism to the point where the drive to be independent of authority is overwhelming). So even a mild suggestion can set off the alarm bells that someone is trying to control them (with all of the brainwashing and sabotage that comes with being controlled) that they can go ballistic over an insignificant experience that puts them in a helpless position again. Over-reacting to being told what to do is the outcome. If your abuser was severely abused as a child, he (or she) may be losing their temper in order not to be controlled, bossed, sabotaged or hurt again.
*  Child abuse often extends into their personal belongings where the parent uses a child's belongings and toys as weapons. If their toys constantly came up missing, or were given away, or broken in a rage, or sold or given away without permission, or where a more favored child was granted their toys, the scapegoat grows up with the feeling that his or her possessions and money are "never safe" (common). Toys and belongings are exploited or used to express rage and disapproval. In addition, scapegoats are often stolen from by their siblings (especially a golden child who feels he is entitled to what the scapegoat has, who feels as though "he deserves it" by virtue of his higher status with his parent, who feels that if he doesn't get what his sibling has or wants, he will no longer have anything to do with his parent or his sibling). Most scapegoats have experienced this to a great or lesser extent.
This can mean that scapegoats often feel that others want to steal from them, or to sabotage them when it comes to money and possessions. The first place they look in adulthood is at the partner. The accusatory remarks are directed at the partner because they know nothing else other than being stolen from, their things being broken or missing, their things being used for nefarious purposes. They can be paranoid where personal property is concerned. Scapegoats can get to the point where their family is no longer welcome in their homes. They can also get extremely overwrought and accusatory when it comes to things and money going missing.
     Many abusive parents and bully goldens keep toying with scapegoats in terms of money and possessions long after childhood, and they can still be stolen from and threatened when it comes to money and possessions, because child abuse never ends, even when the scapegoat becomes a full adult. He is still punished, and there is ample evidence that 70 year old children are still being punished by parents in their 90s.
* Scapegoats often learn they are hated by their parent, no matter what they do or say, and even when they are kind, so they stop trying to please. Most abusive parents do not celebrate their scapegoats' birthdays, and awards and successes. If the labors of their work are destroyed by the parent (common), then they are especially likely to give up. To many, pleasing and fawning are sickeningly phony anyway, especially if they have a fawning pathological liar sibling. And while many scapegoats take the attitude that they will be authentic to juxtapose the phony family image and the lying, being overly truthful can hurt others too. Some bully scapegoats have no problem talking about their spouse's weight, attractiveness, talents, and other things which they find lacking, and are hurtful. They can attack in a way their parent attacked them (by attacking, and looking threatening, some scapegoats who become resentful loners hope others will not dare to mess with them again). In fact some of them try to micro-manage others in a way that they would never be able to tolerate themselves. While this isn't common (because scapegoats themselves are often micro-managed on steroids and are groomed to feel they should always listen to others and not themselves), if they get to a tipping point where they are punished over too many unjust episodes, where they believe they won't be liked or loved even when they are kind, they can experiment with bullying themselves.
     Because they feel they won't be loved or liked anyway, they can have the attitude that "why care what effect it has on others; they won't like me anyway whether I'm nice to them or not" -- because most scapegoats are still hated and marginalized no matter how many good things they do. They are heard the least amount in the abusive family system. When they are blamed 100 percent, it is usually made up and erroneous, such as making up the thoughts and feelings of the scapegoat -- referred to as perspecticide. Since abusive parents cannot admit to fault, they scapegoat a member instead. Isolating a child, making them feel they are a freak, making them feel unwanted, making them feel 100 percent "at fault", can sometimes mean an explosive dangerous suicidal bully (see Lyle and Erik Menendez whose parents were verbally, emotionally, psychologically and sexually abusive towards them)
* Since a parent who scapegoats, often judges his or her child to be 100 percent at fault for what goes wrong in the family, if it is particularly unjust, cruel and abusive, the child can judge his parent to be 100 percent at fault as well. There begins to be a rift, a permanent enmity between parent and child. There also begins to be "blaming sessions" on both sides, with neither side listening. The child will not listen to the parent because of the blame shifting the parent is likely to do, and the parent will not listen to the child because they are dead-set on scapegoating the child. The child is not loved by the parent, and the child can no longer respect or love his cruel parent either. Scapegoating usually produces a broken relationship. Not only that, but many scapegoats find that they are so embarrassed by their parent, and sometimes by their entire family, that they don't want them around. Putting up with interruptions, crazy-making lectures made for 7 year olds instead of grown adults, being punished over a look on your face or a feeling they decide is egregious, is not palatable or desirable for scapegoats, especially in front of one's spouse, children and inlaws. For some scapegoats, the inlaws become much more important than their own blood family. Imagine being bullied, lectured and blamed over erroneous made up things by your parent in front of your own children or your spouse, or your mother-in-law. This is a boundary most scapegoats will not allow their parent or a bully sibling to cross. Trying to keep the toxic family and their ways of coping (like blaming 100 percent) away from them, their children and spouse is why most scapegoats go "no contact" with abusive parents. Sometimes these parents are derided, ridiculed, and laughed at, just as they laughed at their scapegoat - while common, it is also a continuation of the family tradition of blaming, even if out of sight, though it is heaped on the parent who instigated it in the first place.
     For some scapegoats who haven't worked through their feelings about their parent, or haven't sought out a healthy resolution to the problem of being constantly blamed, continuing the family tradition of blaming can be the result. If you are in a relationship with someone who constantly blames you and feels like you are finding fault with him and victimizing him, and is on the defensive a lot, unresolved childhood scapegoating can be the reason why.
     Fortunately most scapegoats seek therapy, and through therapy they learn they have an abusive parent. Instead of the blaming going outwards into future relationships, and poisoning those new relationships, a therapist can help a scapegoat get out of the role of being blamed, and having to defend himself from real or imagined attacks. Additionally, most therapists strongly suggest scapegoats go "no contact" with abusive parents in order to heal and live in harmony with a "family of choice".
Without working through the feelings of injustice, grief and anger in a healthy way, some scapegoats hang on to these feelings for a long time. In a forum for scapegoats who are estranged from their parent, a question was asked that if your parent would listen to one thing what would you want to tell him or her? Hundreds responded, and roughly 50 percent had something to say that had anger in it. "I hate you b**ch", "You became nothing to me just as I was always nothing to you", "Let your golden child lock you away in a nursing home and throw away the key. You deserve it", "I won't cry when you die. In fact, I may go out dancing" and other angry phrases were written. The other half said things like "I have no desire to talk to my parent. I left that a long time ago", "It's a cruel fantasy to think that they would listen to anything we would have to say. No, I have nothing to say to my parent", "I have nothing to say to that woman. I like my life now. I have accepted that we're done."
     Anger is part of the grieving process and is somewhere in the middle. Acceptance is at the end of the grieving process. While every scapegoat will go through the grieving process differently, it is my opinion that being stuck at the anger phase does not help you heal. It will also not help you in your present and future relationships. You are stuck at the point where you were blamed unjustly, and while it is human to seek justice and a fairy tale ending, scapegoating usually does not produce a fairy tale ending with the person who hurt you. Parents who abuse their kids do not feel good unless their children feel bad -- that's just a fact of life that one has to accept. You can get the fairy tale ending via a healthy loving relationship with a "family of choice" and abide by the quote that "the best revenge is living well", but the huge majority of abusive parents will not wake up; they will not seek help; they will still want to hurt you; they will still want to dominate you and punish you at all ages; they will still spend a lot of their time in blaming and rejection activities; you won't change them into loving non-retaliatory types of human beings, because, to reiterate, they don't feel good unless you feel bad.
     If they are a narcissist or a sociopath, they will still want to blame you 100 percent no matter how much evidence and reason you throw at them. They are heavily, heavily invested in scapegoating and there isn't anything you can do about it, at least in the United States under present laws.
     Some narcissists and sociopaths may try to trick you into thinking of them as changed human beings, but realize it is extremely rare and takes a great deal of steps at rehabilitation, much as addicts have to do to stay on track (which I will discuss in another post). Their pronouncements of enlightenment and change are likely to be a hoovering maneuver, so be careful.
     In order for a scapegoat to be healthy to his partner, and his children, counter-blaming and feeling like an eternal victim has to be given up eventually to move on with your life. In order to be happy with a partner and children, and to reach a point where you can "dare to trust" others, an abusive parent should be let go of (and often scapegoats are rejected anyway), or at the very least put on the extreme sidelines of your life. Please note that most scapegoats find that "sidelining" a parent does not work because abusive parents toy with and test boundaries.

Other toxic roles:
There are other toxic roles in abusive families other than the golden child and the scapegoat, and these include the lost child and the mascot.
     With mascots who turn abusive, the weapons of choice can be making a laughing stock out of their victims, taunting, goading, prodding, poking fun at, deriding in a humorous way, saying passive aggressive things which make their victims look stupid or crazy.
     With lost children who turn abusive, the weapons of choice can be ghosting, avoiding, dodging, deflecting, balking at talking about certain subjects, frustrating, stonewalling, retreating when confronted, stopping the conversation short, and a general over-all inability to discuss emotionally-laid issues in any depth.
     The point is that abusers started out as child abuse victims first. They either adopted abusing as a defense mechanism, or they adopted abuse to make sure they retained a dominant position at all times.
     The worse type of abuser feels above everyone else and is entitled, that they deserve to be in charge and call the shots at all times and under every circumstance. They are more likely to be an abuser who is a golden child who could do no wrong in a parent's eyes, and will reject many people throughout life because they are on a quest to find the perfect sycophant or servant, someone who will put them on a pedestal just as the parent did. Let them reject you unless you like walking on eggshells, taking constant commands, dealing with lectures meant for small children, being reprimanded and/or replaced if you don't live up to the command. Otherwise, move on with your dreams.
     When children grow up in abusive families, they are either going to be fawning, fighting, avoiding, joining in on the bullying or trying to get away as these are the only responses available to children who are hostage to seeing, hearing and/or experiencing abuse.


Most abusers are going to be fault-finding constantly in order that you work harder for them. This is why they want your self esteem to be compromised: to do what they say, think what they want you to think, and feel what they want you to feel. The worst abusers manipulate people around them constantly, with every word that comes out of their mouths. They also enlist and engage flying monkeys to do their bidding.

When they want everything that goes wrong to be 100 percent your fault, they will be telling you that you had it coming, that you brought it on yourself somehow. The selfish label is also used (however, always pay attention to hypocrisies because abusers are notorious hypocrites). These people feel entitled to abuse because they see you as needing to put them way ahead of yourself and other people in your life. They see you as needing to be 100 percent loyal to them at all times (even though most of them are extremely disloyal themselves).

They see you as a child in need of a commander, rescuer and reprimand-er. It is probably projection on their part that they see you as a child.

In order to get you to let them be in command, they gaslight you (i.e. try to get you to believe that you are too stupid or crazy to be able to handle your own life and affairs). All victims of abuse experience gaslighting from their abusers because it is the most common tactic used among all of them.

Whether you believe in their gaslighting (their propensity to tell you that you are confused, crazy or stupid) largely depends on how supportive your family is, how grown up your family is, whether you are educated in the gaslighting tactic, and how much you really believe in what they say. If you catch on that they are gaslighting you, and they are controlling in a way that it is for their best interests, then you are more likely not to believe in what they say, so in order to not be detected, they do try to convince you that everything they do is for you, and you alone.

Other ways you can become vulnerable to gaslighting is if you were gaslit by a parent as a child. Also, it can be easier to ignore the gaslighting if you are trauma-bonded to your abuser, financially dependent on your abuser, or if you have Stockholm Syndrome.

Children, by far and away, are most vulnerable to being talked into gaslighting by abusive parents, and vulnerable to more gaslighting from school bullies and mates later on. They are also, by far and away, the most damaged from gaslighting. In fact, it is so effective at making children feel they are crazy, confused, powerless, voiceless, incompetent, stupid, wrong, flawed, unlovable and not valuable that they become vulnerable to other abusers, and thus evermore gaslighted. I would venture to say that when children under the age of 18 who commit suicide over abuse and bullying, do so because of gaslighting. Gaslighting will destroy your child.

The only reason that you can accept something as being 100 percent your fault is by being gaslit effectively, by being talked into it, and believing in the results of the gaslighting, otherwise you can't. Being 100 percent at fault is not reasonable, or adult, or emotionally mature, and, as I have said before, is a major sign of a narcissist or a sociopath. The 99 percent of the population with normal empathetic constitutions do not talk that way, or even think that way. They self reflect and try to understand all of the dynamics at play in situations, they ask a lot of questions, try to gain an understanding of why, what and where, and they don't have temper tantrums over their lack of control over other people, where as abusers think in black and white terms: i.e. "I am 100 percent innocent and wake up as a saint every morning and you are 100 percent at fault and are evil for not letting me take command over your life and allowing me to tell you what to do, how to think, and how to feel, and how to perceive yourself in the way that I do: as someone who is flawed in every possible way."

The important thing to remember is that labeling you as "100 percent at fault" is seven year old behavior; it is how very young children experience the world, in good and evil terms. Narcissists and sociopaths also see the world in good and evil terms (black and white thinking). That is why cartoons and "The Wizard of Oz" appeal to children. It plays to their growing sense that there is good and evil, and they have to decide which road they will take. It is normal in very young children to think in black and white terms, i.e. to say someone is 100 percent at fault, and not normal in grown adults at all.

The proclamations of labeling you 100 percent at fault are also very self serving for them. They are letting you know with that statement that they are not doing what is best for you; they are doing what is best for themselves. If you are 100 percent at fault, they do not even think about your issues. They want you to think the way they do, and be concerned for them only (while not showing you the same kind of concern in return). They want you to take the entire burden of fault on to your own shoulders, so that they do not have to be burdened themselves with thinking about the situation, feeling anything about the situation. They just want their entitlements and fantasies met, and they don't want to be inconvenienced with perspectives, differing viewpoints, thinking about how they are effecting other people, being concerned with other people's feelings, and they will do just about anything destructive to get their needs and wants met.

They will try to talk you into as much as they can towards what they want and how they perceive things, and if you don't cave in, they start with the threats and terrorizing: "You won't have my love", "You won't go with me to the office party", "You won't be part of the family", "You won't get any more money", "I'll go find someone else", "I'll abandon you," "I'll make your life miserable", "I'll take away the kids", "If you get sick, you are on your own," "You won't get any inheritance", "Other women want me", and so on. If they use the silent treatment on you, there is usually blame behind it, and often the end to the silent treatment is about allowing them to blame you 100 percent. The threats are aimed where they think you are most vulnerable. If you are having medical problems they will threaten not to care or help you, if you are financially dependent, they'll threaten to take away money or make you homeless, if you are disabled and dependent on a seeing eye dog, they'll threaten to take away your dog. They will "hold out" in many cases for years and years until you bend to their will by telling them they are 100 percent right and that you are 100 percent wrong (and in most cases, they will accept lies about this if they are the words they want to hear).

If you are a child, you can see why this is extremely damaging: you are taught that lies are acceptable to make them feel better; you are expected to see yourself as flawed (100 percent at fault, even when you aren't) to be considered worthy by them at all.

If you are aware that you have been abused as a child and that it continues into adulthood, you will probably not want to be part of your parent's horrendous game of "It's all your fault all of the time". You can go to this post to determine if you are the victim of child abuse.

Constant injustice (which is what being 100 percent at fault is) will cause PTSD. PTSD gets worse every time you are around your parents because they trigger you, which gets your brain in PTSD mode again. PTSD is caused by being bullied (or emotionally abused, or physically abused, or by being in a violent situation, or by being traumatized by something catastrophic, or by being threatened) coupled with feeling helpless and hopeless. PTSD symptoms get worse every time you are traumatized. PTSD can become so extremely debilitating and difficult to live with, and the worse part is that narcissists and sociopaths can't and won't care or try to make things better for you in that department. If anything, they want it to get worse, much worse, so that they can talk you and their friends into looking at you as crazy. Your PTSD works for them because they see it as an avenue for shaming, manipulation and control, for more enmeshment, infantilization, parentification, isolation from real love, and co-dependency. They will always make your PTSD worse. As psychologist Dr. Judy Rosenberg has reiterated many times "They only feel better if you feel worse."

Being triggered by bad parents who cannot take any responsibilities for their own part, or their own actions, and cannot love you without constantly strong-arming you into making their fantasies come true at your expense, are why a lot of child abuse victims separate from their parents.

I will talk about PTSD and abusive parents in another post, but suffice it to say that if a commander was telling you to go into battle in never-winning-forever-losing battles with heavy casualties, you couldn't do it after awhile. The reasoning, the commands, the demands, the sacrifice, shouting, punishments, reprimanding -- you could no longer get talked into it. You would probably be willing to be court-martialed.

You can't get talked into any more with abusive parents either after awhile. It gets to the same point as it does with soldiers who are constantly in defense mode, constantly traumatized by the tactics and surprises of the enemy, and constantly retreating from attack. If the casualties are covered up or lied about, or soldiers are slandered and shamed, it will quicken and deepen the PTSD. Likewise if you have parents who attack you, who constantly put you on the defensive, who demand you explain your actions and motives (and then give you the feedback that your actions and motives are all wrong most of the time), who talk you into them being in charge of your self perception and well being when it is obvious they don't care about you or love you at all, who slander you and get others to bully you, you will develop PTSD after awhile, and it will get worse every time you are in their company. It will especially get worse if you experienced a lot of abuse in childhood too. The more abusive your childhood is, the less you will be able to withstand their fault-finding, walking on eggshells and arm twistings (i.e. the PTSD that results from it).

In other words, it will get to a point where leaving them is your only option if you are to live a fulfilled life without abuse and without getting constantly traumatized and triggered. The most triggered child abuse victims will feel sick to their stomachs, will have heart issues, will sometimes dissociate, will sometimes have weight issues whether that is anorexia, bulimia or obesity, and will be extremely distraught around their parents, and also around their siblings if the siblings took part in any scapegoating.

Since most abusive parents do not have the slightest understanding of PTSD, they keep thinking that if they punish their children harshly enough, if they devalue their children enough, if they sanction their children enough, their children will come running back and bend to their will, when just the opposite will happen. The longer the parents hold out, the more it proves to the children that the parents are unloving and cruel. Also the children will get triggered to the point where they will not even want to see their parents. They will also be criticizing their parents more and more, just the opposite of what the parents want. That is because child abuse has a planned obsolescence in its victims. As it escalates (which it will if there is no intervention), the "punishments" become more and more unreasonable and severe. If abusive parents can isolate their kids enough, they will turn into Turpin-style parents, with false imprisonments and terrorizing their children for more and more erroneous reasons (like the Turpin parents did). These kinds of parents live to disable and isolate their children, even adult children. The less these kinds of parents feel they are in control of their children, the worse the child abuse gets (and that goes for adult children too). Everything that isn't nailed down into rules and regulations will get nailed down, or used for reprimanding. That is why they micro-manage, and why the micro-management gets ever more rage-ful and severe. Abusive parents are never satisfied with the level of control and persuasion they already have. They want more, and more, and more, down to punishing your facial expressions and it even escalates to Turpin-style reprimanding and punishments: how much water is on your wrists, for instance ...

Asking children with PTSD to go through yet another shaming session with their parents is like asking a child who is starving and disabled from starvation to get up and do a marathon dance for food. It isn't going to happen.

The reason why abusive parents will insist that you are one hundred percent at fault has to do with their parents expecting perfectionism: they either saw their siblings being reprimanded or experienced it themselves, often over "little things" like spilled milk, leaving peas on the plate, not caring enough about their feelings (when they show they could care less about their children's feelings), to the point of micro-managing everything you do so that you reach their expectations of perfectionism in manner, dress, in the words you say, in the feelings you express, and in the duties you perform for them.

While it is good to teach children to be aware of the feelings of adults and how much food they are leaving behind on their plate, reprimanding them constantly has the opposite effect that parents want. Children who go around feeling guilty that they are not perfect, and who never questioned whether the insistence on being perfect was a good or bad thing, can, and do, sometimes reprimand their own children for not being 100 percent perfect too. It is not a very big jump to go from "my child is not being 100 percent perfect and co-operative for me" to "my child is 100 percent at fault."

Narcissists absolutely believe (especially if they are constantly surrounded by fawners and worshipers) that they are 100 percent perfect. That is why they have no tolerance for people who want them to take some part of the blame, who are criticizing them or shaming them, even if they dish out plenty of it to others, which most of them do. So since the belief that they are perfect is pretty rigid (unchanging), they also believe that just about everyone around them is imperfect, and needs their lessons on how to be perfect. That is where the lectures come in. Lecturing and haughtiness is a sign of an abuser (before you get hurt).

If you fail at learning their lessons on how to be perfect, you are punished, even as an adult.

So the progression goes like this: you are deemed to be perfect for a little while (at least long enough for some initial love bombing and mirroring) until you do something they don't like. When you do something that they don't like, which you will, they will lecture you, gaslight you and tell you how flawed you are, then if you put up any resistance or do not follow their prescriptions of how to be perfect, how to perceive yourself as flawed, how to live your life up to their standards of what they believe about you, they then devalue you and threaten you. From there, they either discard you or try to destroy you. After that, they try to run smear campaigns either about your character, your sanity, your intelligence or they try to paint you out as a bad person. They are forceful about their opinions of you and usually if people outwardly nod their heads in agreement with them, the narcissists and sociopaths take the nod at face value, rather than as a nod with some suspicion and questioning behind it. That is because narcissists and sociopaths cannot see or believe in nuances: they are, as I have said before, plagued with black and white thinking, even when it comes to being flattered (or getting narcissistic supply).

A lot of why they discard and destroy is that they feel entitled to get what they want, and if you cannot give them what they want, they feel they have the inalienable right to devalue you or destroy you, and claim that you are 100 percent at fault for it.

One reason they want very badly to believe that you are 100 percent at fault is because they feel completely vulnerable, like shattered unprotected little children if they do not lay all of the blame on yours or someone else's shoulders. It is totally Halloween scary for them to entertain the idea that they are as imperfect as other human beings, that they have the same flaws that they announce other people have (they don't want flaws so they give them to other people, in other words, leading to hypocrisy). They are also very afraid of not having control and power over others, of being looked upon as anything other than an authority, which is why they threaten people so often.

The problem, for them, comes in trying to convince others that you are 100 percent to blame. First of all, it is not the way most people talk or think about things. They actually raise suspicion when they talk in that way. This is especially true if they say it about their own child (because they brought up their child). If they seem to have a pattern of getting remarried and divorced on a regular basis, or are in one relationship after another, or there are a lot of children in the greater extended family who are estranged from their parents, if they always lay blame on their former lovers and spouses (and those former lovers and spouses have similar stories) they also raise suspicion. If they are known to have affairs or to bankrupt their exes with frivolous lawsuits, it raises even more suspicion. They will do anything to keep those suspicions out of people's minds with word salad and lectures and elaborate explanations and excuses, but it still doesn't work because laying 100 percent of the blame on someone else is not an adult response to issues.

If they say you are crazy and that they can't "take it any more" -- most people know that normal parents do not abandon children who have mental health issues. With former lovers and spouses, they can get away with calling them crazy for a time, but not if they leave a bunch of victims behind with the same stories (they tend to label all of their exes as crazy).

So from suspicion and not believing in the stories that narcissists and sociopaths tell, there arises the problem of narcissistic supply depletion for them (which can cause tremendous depression in them as the one thing they count on is that they will be forever young, forever looked up to, forever entitled to receive special treatment and status from everyone around them, forever telling people what to do, and being first place). If all of that is crumbling away, they are pitiful in a way that others aren't, because most of us are not like them: we don't live by the fantasy that we are rulers and infallible. We don't think that we deserve high praise for discarding important people in our lives, but they do. They want the praise even if they discard their own children and spouses for erroneous reasons. In fact, most of us don't discard unless we are dealing with outright criminals or child molesters, and we tend to do a lot of self reflection, even in the company of others. We are not so arrogant to think that 100 percent of the blame should always be on someone else's shoulders. In fact normal people are not all that focused on blame; they are focused on experiences, the nuances of experiences, the feelings that are generated from experiences, and the re-telling of experiences in honest terms.

Narcissists are turned off by the open discussion of experiences, preferring to believe in their own fantasies and distortions of experiences in order to fit their world view or their opinions about other people. They also cannot tolerate feelings about those experiences. They spend more time trying to shut people up than dealing with the experiences that people have.

Narcissists and sociopaths spend their entire lives "jockeying", in smear campaigns, and in blaming others, shutting people up, and in either lying about others or in fantasizing about others as either all good or all bad. It seems that is their number one job and career in life. They spend inordinate amounts of energy on these kinds of narcissistic supply issues at the expense of other important things, that when they get older, they get worse because they think all of their tactics and tricks will still work even when their victims are long burnt out. As psychologist, Dr. Judy Rosenberg has also reiterated, "Most narcissists and sociopaths die alone." This would be the reason why.

Many years ago when I first went to a domestic violence counselor, I told him that a narcissist in my life loved hurting me, that they lived to do that. "I disagree", he responded. "They live to control you, and only hurt you when they feel out of control. But people in our profession know that they feel out of control often, and that they keep testing new avenues for power and control. That's why they escalate abuse. They are never satisfied with the power and control they already have; they want more, an amount that is never attainable. It doesn't mean that you should let them control you so that they can feel normal again, and get back on the throne that they think they deserve. (This person) is not happy at all, let me tell you. They feel extremely hurt, depressed and paranoid when their self-entitlements to control others are being taken away."

In the next two segments I show what it sounds like. The first segment shows some examples of how a narcissistic parent tries to convince her child that she is 100 percent to blame, and the second shows how a narcissistic spouse tries to convince his wife that she is 100 percent to blame.


Warning: if you are a survivor, the following instances may trigger you. Please take precautions.

These examples came from forums for adult children of narcissistic parents (to get advice and support).

The names have been changed to protect the guilty.

In the following illustration, Stephanie is happily married to John and has two children. Jason is 2 years old, and Emily is 4 years old. Stephanie complains that her stepfather, Alan, has a horrendous temper and is blaming her for feeling and thinking certain ways (perspecticide). Her stepfather also tries to discipline Stephanie's children by locking each in an empty separate room in a basement with nothing to play with for an hour. After the hour is up, Jason is found playing in his own feces, and her daughter is so traumatized by the experience that she screams in terror and then is unresponsive for days afterward. Her stepfather tries to keep Stephanie from her children during the "learning lessons" that the "punishments provide". She is seen as a bad mother by her parents for trying to intervene on her children's behalf.

Her mother, however puts the blame entirely on Stephanie's shoulders for her step father's rage and for her children not being able to cope with "the punishments". Stephanie is backing away from her mother and stepfather to protect her own children, and the mother is retaliating with threats. Stephanie reports to the forum members that she feels guilty for abandoning her mother, but feels she has no choice, that she has to put her own children first, and keep them from being damaged the way she was damaged by her parents.

The conversations were all from texts and e-mails and my own notes are in red:

The issue was about Stephanie wanting Emily to have a birthday party at her own home, with 4 year old peers, and the mothers of the 4 year old peers. The mother has just found out about the party through the grapevine and invites herself and her husband: 

mother: We can come to the party after 3. Alan has his pool match, and nothing can deter him from that. 

Stephanie: This is really a party for 4 year olds and the mothers of 4 year olds. No parents, and no one your age will be there. You won't enjoy this party.

mother: Alan is enough companionship. I don't need people there my age. That's funny that you think I need to be entertained by people my own age! In fact it is interesting that you think I won't enjoy this party, as if I don't have a say in this matter.

Stephanie: Mom, I'm asking you kindly. This is my child's birthday. Please respect that. I need this party to be about my kids. 

mother: You forget that I'm her grandmother somehow. How convenient of you to think that you are the only person who is in their lives and loves them. 

Stephanie: You can send them a present if you like. They'd enjoy that. I just want my kids to be happy. I don't want them to be upset like the last time.

mother: How dare you insinuate that I'm not a good grandmother and that Alan made them upset! Your kids are out of control and you've never disciplined them. Alan is just trying to teach you from his years of experience. Notice how she automatically assumes that she is a wonderful grandmother and that her daughter is a bad parent. It's stated as a fact. Narcissists are so sure they are wonderful and 100 percent in the right, that they rarely, if ever, consider anything different.  

Stephanie: Mom, they are upset every time they are at your house. I can't have Alan screaming at me again, then shutting away my kids when they get upset that their mama is being screamed at. John and I work really hard at creating a loving, calm environment for our kids, and Alan can't seem to respect that.

mother: It's interesting that you see Alan's discipline and calling a spade a spade as screaming. It's also interesting that you attribute his discipline as being upsetting for kids who you are allowing to be out of control. Family is family. You need to learn to accept that Alan is family because that will never change. You also need to respect that everyone has a different way of expressing themselves, and Alan has some legitimate points. Notice the lecturing here: "You need to learn" is very, very common. Narcissists still treat adult children as 10 year olds who need to learn lessons. Also note how the mother is trying to put her husband's and her own disciplining of the children above her own daughter's. She is not letting her daughter decide on how her children are to be treated.

Stephanie: I disagree. My kids don't need to be locked in basement rooms. My son doesn't need to play with his own feces!

mother: That's your doing! Not Alan's. Let's put the blame where it belongs. It belongs to you. The fact that Jason played with his feces has everything to do with your parenting skills, not with us! He spends almost every waking minute with you, not with us! If you had disciplined your son, he wouldn't be playing with his feces! Did you ever consider that for one moment? No, because it's all about you. What child plays with their own feces and it's the grandparents fault! I guess we're your dumping ground for everything that goes wrong in your life and your kids life. You know, Stephanie, I've had quite enough of this.

Stephanie: He never played with his feces anywhere but your house, and I have to attribute it to being locked in a basement. It has happened twice now.

mother: I know a liar when I see one. You're not going to convince me of that. Good try, but I don't buy that for a second! It is common for narcissists to say that their children lie. It is just another way to deflect culpability. 

Stephanie: Why can't you see that this behavior hurts me? Why can't you see that this kind of discipline creates trauma for my kids? Why can't you see that this is not healthy for us? Believe me, they are not learning anything from these lessons other than that Alan is cruel. Children know the difference between cruelty and a learning lesson. Notice how Stephanie is trying to get her mother to recognize the pain that she and her children are going through. Narcissists spend so little time on how anyone feels, and how experiences effect others, that you can see that this passes right over the mother's head: 

mother: I really don't want to hear any more of this. This is so disrespectful. You WILL respect me. One way or another you will show respect for your elders. You might have to learn the hard way by not having parents. Is that what you want? We are certainly not going to take responsibility for how you feel or even how Jason and Emily feel. You have created this monster mother and monster stepfather. Interesting. Did it ever occur to you that you need to create monster parents to keep you from taking responsibility for how you feel and how your children feel? Notice how the mother is focusing on "respecting your elders", the card that most abusive parents play to get their children to comply and put up with parental rages and cruelty. Also notice how she is turning herself into the victim of her daughter. "You have fantasized a monster mother" is used to deflect away from her daughter being in pain, and the grandchildren being traumatized by the experience of being locked in a basement. Trying to make the daughter responsible for her own feelings, and the children for their own feelings, despite what is happening, instead of "looking at the discipline of locking children in a basement as a possible folly that might produce undesirable results" is a common manipulative tactic. 

Stephanie: I need respect to be a two-way street. John and I are bringing up our children in a certain way, not your way. I'm asking you to back away from these disciplinary lessons, and let us be in control of that with our own kids. 

mother: And you continue to be disrespectful. You really are pushing me to the edge. Well I have a son. You're not the only child in my life. I don't need to be wasting my time talking to a brick wall.

Stephanie: Mom, I love you, but we disagree with your disciplinary measures. I don't want my kids locked in a basement again. Alan assured me that it would create good results, but it hasn't and won't.

mother: You didn't give it enough time. Children stop acting out after awhile. Don't you think we know something after all of these years? I've been a parent much longer than you have, and you need to understand that I have been at this job of parenting your whole entire life plus years before. I don't appreciate being treated as though I'm inept at this. "It takes a village to raise a child". 

Stephanie: He used to lock me up too. And let's be honest: Alan's kids come to see him once a year or once every other year. This is not what I want for my own family. It doesn't do the good that you think it is doing. I just don't want to talk about this any longer. You had your way of bringing up your kids. Now it is my way. 

mother: Interesting. You're not just going to fire your mother without a fight. I am those kids' grandparent. They love me, despite the monster you have told them that I am.

Stephanie: I didn't tell them you were a monster. They still love you. That hasn't changed.

mother: But you won't let us into their lives. You make it all sound like cookies and cream, but you are prejudicing them against Alan first, and then me. You're trying to convince them that Alan putting them in a basement room is cruel. It's not like it is solitary confinement. 

Stephanie: Well it is cruel. They were crying! And Emily was screaming! What don't you get about that? There is evidence that isolating children does more harm than good. 

mother: Children cry and scream. That's the nature of children. Yesterday coffee was bad for you, and now it is good for you. It toughens children up to isolate them and teach them a lesson. There has to be consequences for behavior. They were screaming, and crying and having a tantrum when Alan was trying to talk to you. Is that a way to behave in front of an elder? They need to learn to sit there quietly. They learn to self-care when they are left alone, and they learn to be disciplined and listen to the good advice of the people who love them. You'd rather read about crazy fad stories than your own mother. Interesting. 

Stephanie: Mom, I'm not going to be treating my children like their feelings don't matter. I don't wish to discuss this matter any more. "Empathy is more meaningful than discipline" is the message here. Often authoritarian families do not put stock in empathy because toughening up and obeying your parents comes first. This daughter of an authoritarian family is breaking with tradition and often when these kinds of  traditions are broken and not respected, ostracism of the daughter is the result. 

mother: Interesting that you're trying to shut me down and shut me up. I've had enough of this drama. Give my regards to my Emily and Jason. I won't come. And neither will Alan. Goodbye. Notice the very common "drama phrase" being used. 

The more the daughter tries to get her mother to focus on feelings, the more the mother shuts that part of the conversation down, and answers back that the daughter is not respecting her elders -- this is typical of authoritarian families. "Compliance over what ever pain you are feeling" is the rule reiterated over and over again. 

So parents like this will get rid of their child so that they don't have to look at or pay attention to the pain that the child or the grandchildren have. Even it is about unhealthy disciplinary tactics (i.e. abuse tactics). Since the parents no longer have to look at it, they no longer have to hear about it, they no longer have to talk about it, or consider that it might be wrong. To consider they "might" be culpable in hurting their own child or grandchild does not enter their minds. If it did, the response is: "It's good for them. It toughens them up" -- called normalizing abuse

The cartoon is: "Child acting out? Just put him in an empty basement room for an hour or two or three. How about for days when he's a teenager and has the audacity to wonder if you are doing the right thing? How about a life time when your daughter makes it known that locking humans in a basement is not a family tradition she will be carrying forth? If you can't lock her in a basement, why not reject her? That will teach her to respect how her elders do things!"

"Your feelings belong to you"; i.e. "You are responsible for your feelings no matter what" is also the other blame-shifting tactic at work here. 
    More people on the planet believe this phrase over the preceding narcissistic phrase: "Each one of us is responsible for how we effect others, and other beings on the planet. For every action, there is a reaction." 

Stephanie was ostracized by her family. There were two more short conversations after this that we all saw (messenger texts), but as is usual in these situations, it went downhill fast. 

Most of the conversations featured her mother saying things like, "You know what the matter with you is?", "Listen, Stephanie, I'm not going to go along with your crazy viewpoint" -- gaslighting"You know, you can't be a part of this family if you don't listen to and accept Alan. He's trying to do the best by you." "Family should come first over your own feelings" -- look at the hypocrisy and projection in this statement. 

Alan is made out to be a saint who is losing his temper because Stephanie is not listening to him. Meanwhile, Alan tells Stephanie that the way she feels about her mother is tearing the family apart (this is an assumption about Stephanie's feelings; it is not a question posed to Stephanie about her own feelings). It went so far as to telling Stephanie that Stephanie is jealous that her parents are giving more attention to the grandchildren instead of to Stephanie, and it is the "real reason" why Stephanie is trying to limit her parents contact with her children. 

In the end, everything that was said by Alan and everything that was said by the mother featured perspecticide. Perspecticide is about negating the feelings of others, or assuming that you know about the feelings of others, and replacing them with your opinions. It is, of course, an admittance that you think others lie about their feelings constantly. It is a tactic to put the other person on the defensive, and each defensive phrase iterated by the other person is used to create another attack. It is the most common abuse tactic there is.

You can assume that Stephanie was demonized at the end of it all, and "black-sheeped": seen as a foreigner, and scary, and of not acting "the way she is supposed to act", daring to disrespect the traditions of her elders (it's a tradition of child abuse that Stephanie does not want to pass down), and of not acting like one of them. At the end of it all, daughters like Stephanie are told they are either a "spawn of the devil" or "a serpent" or a "snake". She received the "spawn of the devil" label. 

Instead of dealing with the pain that Stephanie and her children are dealing with, and making Alan even a little responsible for his rages, it is all turned on the daughter.

By failing to act like "one of them" and "approving the disciplinary activities" of her parents, was the reason for the ostracism. Her mother, however, goes around saying that her daughter no longer wants to have a mother, which has created a situation where others approach Stephanie on the street and say, "How could you do that to your own mother?" -- which gives a narcissist a lot of narcissistic supply, "the pretend act of being a victim" of a recalcitrant daughter or spouse (translated: "I didn't get my way").

So how did the forum members react to all of this? 

Hundreds responded to each post that Stephanie put up. The overwhelming response was "Your mother and my mother are the exact same mother! All so word for word, and the only thing that has changed is the set of circumstances! Wow!" 

Most other responses were about their own stories (which I tell below) or ran along these lines:
"Stop talking to her! Run away!"
"So glad I left all of those kinds of conversations behind. Happy to be on my own and having normal conversations again."
"They want you to learn, while they can't learn a thing! So blind. It's wearying and triggering to look at this again. They are ALL alike, every single last one of them. I swear they went to narcissism school just to learn how to shift the blame off of themselves in all the same ways that every narcissist does."
"Look at how enamored she is of herself, at what she has to say! Narcissism at its finest."
"They will never hear what anyone has to say, at least not without putting it through a blaming filter, on top of a shaming filter, on top of a filter that says everyone lies all of the time, on top of another filter that says they are right all of the time, on top of another filter that says they can read people's minds and judge people's feelings accurately when it's just a lie they tell themselves, that how they do things is the best for everyone even when it isn't. How can you listen to a person who sees the world through all of these filters 24/7?"
"I wish people like your mother and my mother didn't exist. There isn't an ounce of love or understanding in anything she has to say. She's just strutting around like a peacock trying to peck you to death."
"How easy would it be for her to say, 'Okay. We'll try it your way.' No. 'Children MUST be locked in a basement and be miserable!' So absolutely bonkers!"
"They can't stand it that their parenting style might be abusive. Instead it is 'Get rid of the messenger, and fast!'"
"They think the world should pity them for you not following their abusive parenting style, instead of your children for being miserable in a basement for hours."
"They love to eat their own."
"Save your kids first, worry about the parents later."
"Maybe your step parent did this to try to get rid of you. Mine tried every tactic in the book, including anything cruel he could think of, lying about things I said, to get my mother to believe I was an evil child that should be gotten rid of."
"I bet she believes in a woman's right to vote. But she doesn't believe in a woman's right to bring up her own children in the way she wants."
"Here ye, here ye: how to put 100 percent of the blame on your child and ostracize him afterwards in three short conversations, in easy-to-follow steps that all narcissists use, and in no time flat."
"I couldn't even read this. Triggering after the first few phrases."

Absolutely no one said, "You need to go back to your parents and apologize" or "How cruel you are for not taking your parents advice about how your children should be treated." The therapists and psychologists who scan these kinds of sites reiterated that the parenting style was abusive and that Stephanie did the right thing by not exposing her children to this form of cruel discipline.

One reason I am bringing up this example is that this situation is exceptionally common for daughters of narcissistic mothers.

They tell their daughters that they are lousy mothers. This is so that they can go in for control of their daughters and of the grandchildren by teaching "parenting skills." They hope their daughter will believe in herself as "a lousy mother". If these narc mothers are not given the "okay" to control, they threaten their daughters instead, in the following way: you won't have a mother, you won't have support if you ask for financial help or help with the children, you won't be included in the Last Will and Testament, you won't have a family of cousins and aunts and uncles because no one will support you or like what you have done. So a daughter has to make up her mind whether she will cut her losses and live without the extended family, or whether she will allow her mother to infiltrate.

If she allows her mother to have control of the parenting and the kids, this is typically what happens:

The grandmother usually tries to talk the kids into her daughter being a lousy mother, that Grandma loves and cares about them while Stephanie does not. If Stephanie hears of it, she may say, "Mom, why are trying to tell my daughter that I don't love her?" And the mother usually responds, "I would NEVER say that! About my own daughter? Who do you take me to be?" -- which is the typical gaslighting phrase.

The grandmother tries to talk Stephanie into punishing Emily over telling lies that grandma said things about Stephanie that weren't true.

After Stephanie punishes her daughter, grandma tells her grand-daughter, "You poor thing! Your mother spanked you? Oh, come get comfort from Grandma! I'm so sorry your mother doesn't believe you or love you! But I do. You can always count on Grandma's love. If you aren't being treated well by your mommy, just come to grandma."

The grandmother, in effect, puts Stephanie on a string, as though she is a marionette, telling her how to treat her children at all turns. The grandmother is constantly making plans to divide and conquer the kids and Stephanie.

The other thing that happens is that the grandmother makes herself such an annoyance to Stephanie's husband, demanding enmeshment with her daughter, trying to get her daughter to talk about troubles in the marriage, that the husband ultimately makes an ultimatum: it is me or your mother.

So Stephanie, again, must choose. If she chooses to keep her mother in her life, husband and wife must divorce.

If there is a divorce, the next thing that happens is that grandma invites Stephanie and the kids to live with her and Alan. Since Alan is abusive to children, the children become traumatized, and then Grandma soothes the kids over the trauma, at least the kids who are following grandma's orders.

What happens in the end is that Stephanie becomes estranged from her own children (they take grandma's side and become abusive to her, with the abuse condoned by the grandmother). She also becomes estranged from her mother (ostracism -- "No one likes you, not even your own children"), from the entire extended family (because grandma has worked for many years at turning them against Stephanie too, little by little, by telling them that Stephanie is mentally ill, that Stephanie makes up stories, that Stephanie is a failure and a burden because of having to rely on the family financially, that Stephanie's ex-husband is a no-good louse and that Stephanie can't make good decisions about men, that she is doing most of the child-rearing while Stephanie goes around in a daze and is not a good mother, etc). The reason why the whole family might reject Stephanie is because they grew up with abuse and estranged family members too; abuse has been normalized within the entire family.

When the grandmother dies, she leaves all of her money to Alan and her grandchildren, making sure that Stephanie doesn't get a cent.

If you read survivor forums, you see this again and again. And many forum survivors tell their stories to get young mothers to see the insidious road to hell with a narcissistic mother who wants to control the grandchildren.

Not all survivors of narcissistic mothers know they are being abused, or know they have a narcissistic mother. They might not find out until they are completely alone without a family. If they are lucky enough, they will separate at the stage where they bring up their own children without grandma in the picture, or move far enough away where grandma cannot see them very often. If Stephanie has been told what to do by her mother her entire life, it will feel very foreign to Stephanie to make her own decisions, which is why daughters cave under their narcissistic mother's ultimatums.

For those survivors who did not have children, they said things like, "I always sensed that my mother would try to impoverish me and take over my children. It was just a gut feeling. Now I know why I felt reluctant to have children."

In the next segment I talk about what it sounds like for partners or spouses of abuse. The important thing to remember is that in this segment and in the next segment is that narcissists and sociopaths do not care about another person's feelings. You can talk about feelings, how hurt you are or how your children are, or your spouse is, for decades, but they will not listen or care. They show they don't care by insisting that you apologize to abusers (if the daughter, Stephanie, goes no contact, if she does come back her mother is highly likely to insist that Stephanie apologize to Alan). The most important thing to them is control, and the way they see themselves getting control is to blame, criticize, triangulate with the people in their targets' lives (including a target's children as in the Stephanie example), to strong-arm them into apologizing to abusers, create doubt and confusion through lies, brainwashing, smear campaigns and gaslighting.


In this segment, I talk about how the typical blaming tactic can sound between husband and wife. For the sake of convenience I will use a narcissistic husband who is blaming his wife.

A note here: The high majority of survivors who end up with abusive narcissists or sociopaths as mates came from abusive homes. The reasons are:
1. permeable boundaries (from growing up with abusers who demand apologies to abusers, who expect enmeshment and answers to constant interrogations and gossip)
2. not knowing how to set and keep a boundary (because abusive parents try to crash through the boundaries their children set -- see past example)
3. a poor understanding of what constitutes appropriate behavior (because abusers will always try to normalize abuse -- that there is something wrong with their victims for not being able to live with it, for not seeing the good in it, for not feeling anything but hurt by it
4. over-familiarity with narcissists and abusive people while growing up
5. feeling loved starved (abusive families make it a point that children aren't valued or loved unless they are controlled, accept that they are deeply flawed, and allow their parents to claim full authority over their children's lives
6. where normalization of abuse comes in the form of tenuous family membership, where victims of abuse are expected to apologize to abusive parents, siblings, aunts, uncles and grandparents. 

If you are from a normal family without abuse, I would suggest you read the prior example as it will explain the ultimatums and enmeshment that happen in abusive families, one that your abusive spouse or partner grew up in.

One reason your spouse or partner went in the direction of being a perpetrator of abuse as a child is:
1. to try to please an abusive Mom or Dad by being a "mini-me". Trying to mirror their parent in terms of having the same personality, views, feelings, thoughts and aggressive behavior is the highest form of flattery, and narcissistic parents make it known that they have to be flattered at all times, to be thought of as "the perfect parent", and will punish any child who criticizes them (while they feel they have the inalienable right to constantly criticize their children).
2. by being abusive, your partner or spouse feels they are defending themselves against attack, criticism, and feelings of shame. They don't want to feel shame, so they adopt grandiosity and a threatening demeanor instead -- i.e. that they are beyond reproach.
3. they are controlling as a defense mechanism against being controlled themselves. They grew up in a family where the members were either dominated or controlled, and where there was a hierarchy of who was allowed to dominate, and there were no other alternatives. If abusers can be in a position of controlling everyone around them, they feel relaxed, and good. When they don't feel in control, their anxiety is off the charts, their minds are either spinning like crazy to find out how they can manipulate their victims to gain control over them again (and this is where the threats and hoovers come in), or they simply do not want children in their lives whom they cannot control. As I've said before, abusers are in families with a lot of parent-child estrangements, or the children are neglected at the very least.
4. they shame you, blame you, take you for granted, gaslight you (tell you that you are crazy), and criticize what you do, what you say, make fun of your feelings, etc. because, most likely, they saw their own parents do it. They do it as a way to control you and keep you under their control. They figure if they can break your self esteem and your ambition to do things without their comments and meddling, that you will look up to them as an authority and do as they say. The reason why they get so angry when you criticize them is that they feel they cannot be an authority if you look at them as flawed, as having the same faults as you do, or as others do. It also has everything to do with why you are 100 percent at fault for what goes wrong in the relationship between you. If you are 100 percent flawed, and they are 100 percent perfect, they feel they have retained their control and their stature over you. It is only through being an authority that they feel at peace in the world. If their authority is challenged, and it touches their own self esteem, they can either feel hurtfully angry, or shattered to the point where they feel suicidal, or both. They try their best not to get to that point by discarding you, or imprisoning you, or beating you up when their authority is being challenged or threatened. This includes anyone else in the household as well, including any children. They feel they want and need total control over everyone, including who talks to whom, how people express themselves, what members say to others outside the household (it is why they comment on these things constantly) ... they feel that controlling others successfully means keeping themselves free of being dominated and shamed themselves.

Please note: it is perfectly natural to feel compassionate towards a partner or spouse with this kind of background, however it does not mean that you should allow them to call the shots, or to dominate you, or to isolate or imprison you, or slander you, or repeatedly shame you, or to micro-manage you, or to beat you up. They will not "get better" by you allowing them to completely dominate you and tell you what to do. In fact, they are known to get much, much worse. That is because when you give them what they want a little, they will keep chiseling away at other things they want, so that you are under their total control. That is why in the prior example Stephanie ended up with no children, no parents, no money, no dreams of her own.

They know that all of the things they are afraid of (being dominated, being abandoned, being criticized, being nitpicked, being lied to, being talked down to, being isolated, being controlled, being talked about disparagingly, being thought of as a pitiable lowly creature, being shouted at, being interrupted, being made a laughing stock, being hit, being made to feel 100 percent at fault, being financially destitute, leaving them without any familial support) is bad for them; however, they don't take even a second to think that it is bad for the people in their lives too. They are too self absorbed to think about it. They are so focused on what they want, what image they are projecting, what they are doing or not doing that is succeeding in getting people under their power and control, what come-backs they have to what other people are saying, that they don't have any empathy. They can't under those circumstances.

If you truly have empathy, you cannot control others or purposely hurt others. You are forced to deal with how other people are feeling. You are also forced to see people more for who they truly are rather than how they are living up to what you want or don't want. But narcissists don't want to feel empathetic. They don't like empathy. Most of them have the attitude that empathy is "inferior", because they see how they can trick and fool empaths, without realizing that without empaths, the whole world would be at war, with everyone out to dominate by the most forceful means possible, and no one would bother to help the wounded or dying in those wars. Empathy keeps the human race from destroying itself. Not wanting to feel empathy, or respecting empathy, is why they don't care when you are hurt by them. They especially make that clear when they cavort with your enemies, or try to turn other people against you.

Control and domination, and talking down to others, for them, always has to come first, even if they have to get rid of you or ignore you or make up wild stories about you in order not to hear any of your feelings.

If there is one thing all survivors have in common, it is being shut up.

The other reason why being controlled and dominated won't work for you is that as your abuser escalates the control and the abuse, the more likely you are to develop PTSD. PTSD is horrible to live with and there is no cure for it. Ask any soldier afflicted with it. If the PTSD gets severe enough, you won't be able to live with, or placate your abuser anyway. Everything he or she says will trigger your PTSD. You will feel like a chained up animal who can't sleep. Or you'll sleep with one eye open. Living in an environment with people you can't trust, and are purposely hurting you and controlling you will also make you hyper vigilant, like walking on eggshells. If you fight their control, your abuser will just try to control you more (whatever your abuser feels he must do to keep you doing what he or she wants you to do). When you are no longer useful to your abuser as you won't be if or when your PTSD becomes severe, he (or she) will usually discard you for someone else. The abusers' constant discards to find better, newer sources of narcissistic supply, all without caring how it effects you or anyone else around him (or her), should always be taken into consideration as you make plans for your life and future. Narcissists discard, sociopaths terrorize. It's just who they are.

Both also put the blame 100 percent on your shoulders as well, whether they are talking to you directly or trying to persuade others. That's also who they are.

If you are a survivor of abuse, and have been to therapy, I bet you walked into your therapist's office and asked, "What happened? What did I do wrong? Why am I being blamed? Why is he trying to turn our kids against me? Why did he run off with another woman and treat me like so much left over garbage? What just happened to me?" -- that's because you have been criticized and expect a critique on how imperfect you are, and what you didn't do right for him. You might even think you need to say something perfect, or look perfect to get him to treat you right. You might be trying to get advice on what you need to do in order to get him back to loving you again the way he did at the beginning of your relationship.

If the perpetrator hasn't discarded you yet, and they are willing to go to therapy with you, most of them will be criticizing you in the therapist's office, about what you don't do, and do. They will be focusing on what you do that upsets them and makes them angry, and they will be blaming you as much as they possibly think they can get away with, close to 100 percent if they can slip it by the therapist without detection or a reaction. They'll also see you as culpable for making the relationship a nightmare, and for creating an unhappy uncaring environment for the children -- that's how the majority of perpetrators approach marriage counseling. The majority don't go to therapy in the first place, because they don't want to be questioned. They just want a docile marionette. Because they don't like to "chance it" that they will be interrogated, cross-examined, that they will be put on the spot for their behavior. They may reluctantly go, but it often isn't their idea to go to work out the differences between you. They have deemed that to be your job, right? Most only go because they want to "win the argument." They will be feeling they have to win favor; they will have to win at the therapist agreeing with their perspective over their partner's; they will have to feel they are in the right and that their partner is in the wrong; they will have to feel that they can turn the therapist against their partner. Otherwise, they will quit.

That's a huge difference in approaches to therapy.

The reason I have spent so much time talking about what generally happens, is that looking at a conversation between an abuser and a partner is just a snippet in time, and doesn't show you all of the pitfalls.

But, as promised, here is a sense of what it sounds like (again names have been changed to protect the guilty, and the dialogue is taken from a hidden video). Heidi is married to Jack. They have three kids, a daughter, Breanna (9), another daughter, Tia (6) and Pete (3).

Warning: if you are a survivor, the following conversation may trigger you. Please take precautions.

Jack: (comes home from work): How come the house is a mess? Did you sit around all day or is there a good excuse as to why it looks like this? Notice he is ready to attack right away unless he's given an excuse that is up to his standard.

Heidi: I'll clean it up. Some of the neighbor kids came over and they were having a good time, and they threw things around a little.

Jack: And you didn't think to clean it up before I came home?

Heidi: I lost track of the time. Sorry about that.

Jack: What about the cleaners? Did you pick up my coats at the cleaners?

Heidi: Oh, my God, I forgot! The kids were --

Jack: (interrupting) What?! You didn't think to pick up my coats? I rely on those for work! When I tell you that they are ready to pick up, why in the hell can't you pick them up, god@%mit! I swear you are getting worse and worse! It's like no one exists --

Heidi: (interrupting) Jack these are our kids! Listen, I'm sorry I didn't pick them up! I'll pick them up first thing in the morning. You still have a bunch in the closet.

Jack: (getting louder) I need those coats! God@%mit, Heidi! What don't you get about my needing them for work! I work all day to keep everyone here fed, with a roof over their head and the kids in clothes, and you can't give me a second of your thoughts enough to pick up my coats! Notice the guilt trip here.

Heidi: Listen, Jack, I'm really, really sorry. I'd go down to the cleaners now except they are closed for the day. I don't know what else to say.

Jack: (mocking) You don't know what else to say. Ppppptttt!

Heidi: Please don't, Jack. The kids.

Jack: (shouting again) You make it sound like I'm a monster for the kids! Isn't that it? These are my kids too! You like to act like they are ALL your kids. Screw you! Like I'll corrupt them and make them into monsters because I'm upset with the god@%m coats! F#!k this, I'm getting a drink!" Notice the perspecticide here: he's making up what Heidi is thinking to both demonize her and guilt-trip her into getting her to never forget what he has asked her to do. Narcissists count on people doing what they tell them to do, and when they are disappointed they are usually infuriated.

Jack: (Jack goes into the kitchen to get a drink) "God@%m it, even the sink has dishes in it! Why do I always have to come home to this ja&%ass sh!t!"

Heidi: I got you some beer when I was out in case you wanted it. It's on the bottom shelf.

Jack: (comes back out to the livingroom without giving Heidi eye contact) Right now I just want some peace and quiet. Clean up these toys, will ya, so I don't have to look at them?

Pete comes in the room.

Pete: Hi Daddy! Look what I made!" Holds up a drawing of scribbles.

Jack: I betcha your Mom taught you how to do that. That's about where her artistic talent is at. Notice how he is putting his wife down in front of their children. 

Pete: Is Mom a good draw-er?

Jack: No, that's my point.

Pete: What about me?

Jack: I'd say you draw like your mother (flicks his middle finger at the drawing)

Pete: I'm going to draw another one. (sits down with some crayons and when he's done, shows it to Jack). How about now? I made a bear like the one you liked, Daddy. Is this how you draw?

Jack: Better. Better than your Mom can draw.

Heidi: Why do you have to put me down over a drawing? Why can't you just say that Pete's drawing is better, without comparing it to the way I draw? I feel like I can't do anything right any more.

Jack: That's because you can't!

Pete: (sounding distressed) Don't yell at Mommy! I promise to do another drawing that is better than this. Daddy? I promise. I promise. Daddy?

Jack: Listen, Pete. You're doing fine. The drawing is fine. Can I talk to your mother right now? Can you go up to your room?

Pete: Maybe I should draw like Mommy AND Daddy. Mommy and Daddy. Mommy and Daddy. (Pete runs off with his paper and crayons)

Jack: If you dare to talk to me like that in front of Pete again, I'm warning you! Notice how Jack is escalating it. He's also flipping the tale, so that Heidi seems like the perpetrator and the trouble-maker and not himself. 

Heidi: (stays quiet, and then whispers) Warning me about what?

Jack: (shouting) What do you think? You are trying to prejudice my boy against me! That's what I mean! I'm working all day long, and the one time I get to see my boy you are saying that I treat you bad! He's all worked up about it, and you made him worry needlessly! Just wake up already! Who put this T.V. in front of us? Who paid for the couch we are sitting on? Who paid for the car in the garage that your ass sits on? And by the way, your ass is getting too fat. You need to take off some pounds. Notice the projection here. He is calling Pete his boy, but he accused his wife earlier of thinking they were just her children.  

Heidi: It's interesting that you say "my boy" right after you have accused me of thinking they are all my kids. Well, they aren't all mine. But growing up in a peaceful environment where they can be all that they can be without the shouting and swearing is my big concern. These children have feelings, and you are always brushing that aside.

Jack: (rolls his eyes) You make me sick. Translation: "I'm not going to look at that" thrown in with an insult. He's saying that he doesn't want to be concerned over other people's feelings, even as he expects her to care about his feelings. The insult, I believe, is also a distraction away from thinking about other people's feelings, so that he and Heidi can talk about the insult instead of the children's feelings.

Heidi: God, I'm sorry I make you sick. mocking: That's a nice thing to say to your wife.

Jack: Just look at you! You get more spacey and self centered by the day. You are turning into a fat cow too. You aren't who I thought I married. You had all of this energy, and self assured-ness, and now you're just defending your spacey-ness and your god@$m self-righteousness. mocking: "Oh, I care so much about the kids!" Bullshit! You are the one who is not tuned into their feelings! You're making me sick with your accusations!

Heidi: Wait, wait, wait. What did I accuse you of?

Jack: I'm not going to sit here and dredge up every part of this stupid conversation! We've been through it a million times! Notice the exaggeration.

Heidi: No, I really don't know what I did to offend --

Jack: (looking arrogant with his head up, avoiding eye contact with Heidi) You always offend. Every day, Heidi. Every single f#cking day. Over and over and over and over. I'm just sick to death of your bu//sh$t.

Heidi: I still don't understand.

Jack: That's you. You don't understand. You. Don't. Understand. Notice the repeat here, as though he is talking to a child who can't hear. (takes a swig of his drink and says quietly) F#ck you for trying to turn Pete against me. Just f#ck you.

The next video is days later (and it is in the middle of Jack's tirade - he is in the garage past the doorway and she is in the kitchen. He appears to be handling some tools):

Jack: F#ck you, Heidi! F#ck you!

Heidi: Now what did I do? What is this about?

Jack: You know what this is f#cking about!

Heidi: I really don't know what I've done to upset you other than that you didn't like the lunch.

Jack: You know I like meat! But you never think about what I like!

Heidi: I do. I just didn't have any more left. Breanna got in the fridge this morning and ate your meat. She's 9 years old. Please stop this!

Jack: You should take control of this situation and enforce it! Why do I have to eat left over pasta and salad on the days I'm home from work? Why isn't there enough meat in the refrigerator?

Heidi: I'll try to make sure there's enough next weekend. I thought I purchased enough, and Breanna simply did not know she was eating the last slice. Can we drop this now?

Jack: No, we can't drop this now! Who made you queen of the conversation? I've had enough, Heidi! There's always some excuse! It's either the kids' fault, or you have an excuse as to why the kids did or didn't do something, or you didn't think about me, your own husband who keeps this all going around here! You're too damned spacey to take care of things! What the hell is wrong with you? It's like you don't have a brain any more! Note: PTSD can make you spacey and forgetful. If severe, it can make you blank out when people are shouting or demanding in a forceful way. The way he is treating her is not going to make her less spacey; it is going to make her more spacey. Also note how he is inserting blame into the situation, that it is Heidi's responsibility for being thoughtless about him (all the while he is thoughtless about her by throwing her insults and deeming himself to be an authority on her weight, and on her capabilities of being a wife and mother to their children). 

Heidi: One thing I don't get is why is it my responsibility to keep the kids from eating meat. Why don't you tell them?

Jack: Don't give me that! Don't you dare shift your incompetence on to me! You're in charge of the grocery shopping. I put you in charge and you're not doing a good job. If you were my worker, I'd fire you!

Heidi: That's screwed up! Looking at me as your worker.

Jack: Oh, yea? Well maybe I just won't fucking work for you any more either! What if I just refused to bring in money to this house? What if I just refused to contribute any more grocery money?

Heidi: Even if you divorced me, you'd still be responsible for feeding the kids.

Jack: Divorce, huh? We'll see who is going to get a divorce! (throws a wrench at her)

Heidi: (looking at where the wrench hit her: in the leg ... she is silent while she looks herself over, then she starts crying) Now you're throwing tools at me?? (dumbfounded) Really? You want me to care about your meat, but obviously you don't care if you cause me bodily harm? Physical abuse should always be a sign of danger. That is because, like all forms of abuse, physical violence escalates. Husbands who do not show enough respect to keep that part of their anger in check, will not necessarily respect a life. He has already devalued her ("You're too fat", "I'd fire you if you were my worker"). After devaluation comes a discard or escalation. She is especially in danger if he puts his hands around her throat, or tries to choke her. See this post.

Jack: You're making a big deal out of nothing! It's just a little scratch! Minimizing is very typical of abusers.

Heidi (walks away).

There are more videos, but this gives you a sense of how blaming is used, and how it escalates to blaming 100 percent. Heidi, in this case, is blamed for everything that goes wrong between herself and Jack. He is in the dominant position, and she is in the submissive position. By the way, a marriage should not have, nor does it need, roles where there is a dominator and someone who takes orders.

If this situation continues, their mutual children can also be blaming Heidi for any relationship issues between them as well. Children will learn this to keep on their father's good side.

Heidi is getting a divorce the last time I heard. Her husband is fighting for sole custody of the children. The videos of him throwing things at her were useful in assessing the breakdown of the marriage, as well as how safe she is, and how well he deals with conflict.


Narcissists make it known that they have to have their way, and that you have to agree with their perspectives at all times. They also make it known that if you complain or have excuses (which they deem as overlooking them), then they will escalate it so that you do think about them at all times. They escalate it so that you will think about them first (via fear and anxiety: "fear, obligation, guilt" is the term domestic violence counselors use). They also become more and more demanding in a relationship, especially if there are finances involved or something they want (like controlling the actions and words of everyone in the family).

By making you responsible for what goes right and wrong, it sets you up in a situation where you are blamed when things go wrong. The constant blaming and criticizing are their way of trying to get you motivated, and of grooming you to take orders from them. It is also their way of breaking your self esteem, and of breaking your free spirit, much the way someone "breaks a horse". If they feel they can groom you to take orders, they will invariably feel that they can groom you to take the blame when their orders aren't met or seriously considered by you. The grandmother's order is that Stephanie let her mother take control of the grandchildren, and to let Alan discipline them harshly (from the first example). Jack's order (from the second example) is that Heidi become sensitive to her husband's needs and wants at all times, and to agree to let him be an authority figure over her.  

If you are not agreeable to letting a parent be an authority figure (and in his or her mind he/she feels entitled to be the authority), the result is often a parent-child estrangement. 

If you are not agreeable to letting a spouse or partner be an authority figure (and in his or her mind he/she feels entitled to be the authority), often the result is a divorce or permanent separation.

If you are met with these kinds of situations, you have a choice, and although it often is a choice that does not give you justice (because of present laws and attitudes about abuse, which in the UK are better than the USA), it allows you be free of abuse. "Cut your losses", and "give up on a fairy tale ending" are often the phrases used. 

Some of these situations become so horrific, and often you can't tell how far your abuser will go, which is why "cutting your losses" can be the best bet. Abusers often escalate abuse when you are going through the worst period in your life, when you've been diagnosed with a terminal illness, when your "other" parent dies or when your child dies.

If they can hurt you in all of these ways, what more are they capable of? That should always be the question you carry around with you: "What more are they capable of?" It should always trump what ever feelings of love or compassion you have for them. Most abusers destroy their victims if their victims allow themselves to be controlled, interrogated, insulted, told what their feelings and thoughts are, talked down to, given the silent treatment, and all of the other things abusers do (found in the right column of this page).

In reading the story of Stacey Castor, who killed both of her husbands and then tried to kill and frame her daughter for the murders, one can sense narcissistic qualities in her. She is described as a psychopath, but psychopaths use all of the same tactics as narcissists, but they kill people to extort what they want, in this case it was life insurance and the estate.

In Stacey Castor's case, her first husband was allegedly having an affair and argued extensively with Castor. Castor was also allegedly having an affair. What infuriates narcissists the most? Being argued with and someone having an affair on them (even when they are having an affair themselves).

Her second husband also argued with her. Rather than risk losing him, whereby she would also lose his estate, she decided, apparently, to kill him.

If you look at this case, it is evident that there is rampant favoritism in this family, another big sign of a toxic family.

When the police closed in on the case, Castor didn't want to be blamed (because narcissists will invariably choose someone else to be blamed other than themselves). She chose her daughter to be framed for the murders instead, because narcissists have no empathy, and they blame-shift, even when it comes to their own offspring (look at forums for adult children who have been abused or ostracized by their own parents; it is very obvious that these kinds of parents frame their own children for all kinds of things).

It is remarkable that Castor chose her golden child to be framed, but the reason she did probably had more to do with her golden being the most convenient one to use, the one whose story might be most believable to prosecutors and police.

Do I think that any narcissist can go in this direction?

That is a hard question to answer. Castor's daughter didn't know her mother was capable of it, for instance. My own belief is that if they are displaying a number of these signs, yes:
1. they are framing you to be 100 percent at fault or they are scapegoating you
2. if they have treated you horrendously during a traumatic point in your life
3. if they show they blame-shift for just about everything, and will take no accountability (that's the main one)
4. they insist that you apologize to people who have egregiously abused you
5. they have very little concern for your feelings and welfare when you say you have been hurt by them
6. they try to exert a lot of power and control over you, and they interrogate you and intimidate you for information
7. you are an adult and they tell you that they will punish you
8. threats to hurt you or others
9. they have made you the fall guy or the scapegoat for wrongs committed by themselves or others
10. you are adequately concerned enough to call the police on them (or you have been told by a domestic violence counselor to call the police on them) and they call the police on you in retaliation to make you look like the aggressor instead

Remember, when dealing with abusers, always ask yourself, "If they are capable of doing this to me, what else are they capable of?" Force yourself to think it every time you think you might be missing them, or if you think you might like to be in a relationship with them again.

For victims of child abuse, I suggest you do the same, though I understand it is harder to do. In fact, if you are a victim of child abuse, you will know how egregious they are after they have abused you or discarded you.

A normal parent will grieve A LOT over the loss of his or her offspring, even if it is an estrangement. He or she will grieve for years, be distracted, unable to focus, feel sad, often withdraw from society, try to get some perspectives and advice on what went wrong and how to end the estrangement.

However, if they are taking up a lot of time right afterward going on exotic vacations, running smear campaigns against you which put all of the blame on your shoulders, spoiling their golden child, that is a major sign of a narcissist at the very least, or a sociopath, or psychopath at the very most. Do you want to hang around with them to see which ones they are? Again the warning: sociopaths and psychopaths have the same traits as narcissists, but they plan ways to extort, manipulate and hurt others, often in silence, without anyone knowing. You won't know if they have plans for you until you are in the thick of it with them. That is why, when so many domestic violence counselors see or hear of the signs that point to them being a narcissist or sociopath, they tell their clients to get free, to get themselves out of the relationship. The escalation of abuse, and not knowing how far your abuser is planning to go, is not worth the risk. If, in addition to all of the signs of the narcissist, they blame you and frame you for things you did not do to make themselves look better, they have already taken that step into the realm of the sociopath and psychopath.   


Blame - from Wikipedia

Narcissistic Personality Disorder: Rethinking What We Know - by Giancarlo Dimaggio, MD for Psychiatric Times
NPD manifests as anger triggered by feelings of social rejection and tendencies to derogate those who give negative feedback. Persons with NPD often feel hampered in pursuing goals and blame others for being inept, incompetent, or hostile.

*recommended: Why Survivors Of Malignant Narcissists Don’t Get The Justice They Deserve - by Shahida Arabi

*recommended: 5 Types of Narcissistic Blame Shifting - by Jackson McKenzie

20 Ways Manipulative Narcissists Silence You: Part I ... Learn the ways some abusers with mental illness negate responsibility for their choices - by Shahida Arabi

Ways Manipulative Narcissists Silence You: Part II ... Does your abuser shift blame, change the subject, name-call or nitpick?by Shahida Arabi

The Verbal Vomit of the Psychological Abuser: Projection and Blame-Shifting - by Andrea Schneider, MSW, LCSW for Psych Central

What is Narcissistic Projection ?: A Blame-Shifting Tactic of the Extreme Narcissist - by Andrea Schneider, MSW, LCSW

Narcissists and Blame Shifting: Are you a built-in scapegoat? - by Angela Atkinson

Are You a Target of Blame for a Narcissist? Here are 7 tips for getting out of their crosshairs - by Bill Eddy, LCSW, JD for Psychology Today

The Blame Game and A Daughter’s Trust in Herself - by Peg Streep, for Psych Central, and author of "Daughter Detox: Recovering From An Unloving Mother and Reclaiming Your Life" and "Mean Mothers: Overcoming the Legacy of Hurt"

Victim Blaming - by Sharie Stines, Psy.D for Psych Central

Fall guy - from Wikipedia

The 8 Most Common Narc-Sadistic Conversation Control Tactics - by Bree Bonchay, LCSW

Ten Rules Found in Narcissistic Homes - by Sharie Stines, Psy.D

Narcissistic Personality Disorder and the Antisocial Personality Disorder -- A Lot in Common: There is little difference between the antisocial individual and the narcissist -  by Stanton E. Samenow Ph.D. for Psychology Today

Warning Signs of Deadly Abuse - by Christine Hammond, MS, LMHC for Psych Central

12 Ways Narcissists or Sociopaths Reveal a Pathological Intent to Harm - by Athena Staik, Ph.D. for Psych Central

5 Ways Narcissists Project and Attack You - by Darius Cikanavicius, Author, Certified Coach for Psych Central

12 Ways Narcissists Behave Like Children by Dan Neuharth, Ph.D., MFT

Statements Frequently Made by Abusers, Narcissists, or other such Psychopaths - by Sharie Stines, Psy.D

Research Finds That Narcissists Try To Remain Friends With Their Exes For Darker Reasons - Shahida Arabi, M.A. for Psych Central

Are You a Narcissist? 6 Sure Signs of Narcissism - by Susan Heitler, PhD for Psychology Today

Two pertinent videos from psychologist, Dr. Judy Rosenberg:
"Blaming/Shaming: A Defense Mechanism Against Owning Your Own Stuff"
with Yitz Epstein, Life Coach

"Guilting and Shaming as a Narcissistic Control Tactic" 
by Yitz Epstein, Life Coach with Dr. Judy Rosenberg's Healing Center:
from narcandempath (found on facebook):