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Is "No Contact" a Brainwashing of Masses of Adult Children to Hurt Their Parents?

In this post I take up the challenge that the incredible rise of estrangements by adult children are to hurt their parents (I don't believe that is true in the high majority of cases and I explain why, and I also do not believe that it is brainwashing either). I also talk towards the end of the post about how parents can greatly minimize the risks of becoming estranged from their children.

Here is the post to click on where parents complain that their adult children are being brainwashed into going "no contact" with parents: The Brainwashing Behind Going No Contact (981 Posts)

It is true that there is an overwhelming number (compared to past decades) of adult children who are permanently estranged from their parents. The claim is that children "think" they have parents who have Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Antisocial Personality Disorder, and because of that, are going "no contact" in record numbers. They claim that survivors are gathering together on forums pressing other adult children to go "no contact" to join forces, and to help one another through the "no contact" challenges that arise from not having the support of parents.

The main poster ends it by saying, "Google 'Going No Contact'. You will find pages and pages of groups and instructions that will not surprisingly match exactly what our kids are doing. I think this information can be very helpful. We can learn what they want us to do, so we can do the opposite." -- as if retaliatory parenting is going to help or change their situation, or any other parent's situation. In forums for child abuse survivors it is those last few phrases that hurt the posters' argument (with a shot in the foot) and shows the lack of empathy that so many child abuse survivors AND therapists talk about being a major sign of Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Antisocial Personality Disorder.

But aside from that, can it be true that so many adult children are being brainwashed by each other to go "no contact"? And by the way,, as one of the posters said a lot of the "no contact" discussions are taking place, is a site I have not seen. I have only seen "no contact" discussions in child abuse forums.

Next is where I refute the claims, in large part, although I am open to "research-based and evidence-based" discussion.

From all I have read, Narcissistic Personality Disorder is on a dramatic rise. Google that too. I have heard many self-proclaimed narcissists say that it is "evolution at work". I would beg to differ. When you see posts like this (from a survivor of spousal abuse), where is the evolution here?:

I go to dry my hair and my hair dryer is in peices. I went upstairs to use his and it was gone. I just called him and he said he was mad at me for finding naked pictures of another girl on his phone and accusing him of cheating so he broke my hair dryer and hid his to get me back ... 
... I turned on my hair dryer not knowing its busted and it went crazy and pieces started flying out of it cutting my arm..
Getting me back for his infidelity ... really
(poster inserted pictures of two crying people here) so you just destroy me more.

This isn't a "one off unusual experience", but a very, very common experience for someone dealing with narcissistic abuse, something you see every day on survivor forums, often with different tools than a hairdryer, but overwhelmingly what it is like to live with someone like this, including a parent whose main strategy for working out differences is retaliation for real or imagined (yes, imagined) slights or aspects of a relationship they don't like.

So, the question is, should she go "no contact", especially if he refuses to go to therapy? Note:  refusal to go to therapy to work out differences is extremely common for narcissists. A refusal to go to therapy also seems very much like a red flag to someone who is living in this situation as it points to the other person "not wanting to work out differences" but "to keep the status quo of terrorizing, breaking hearts, breaking things, dominating and destroying property when he is getting caught at unethical behavior." There is nothing 50/50 here.

He is putting 100 percent of the blame on her for "seeing the photos" on his phone rather than for his own infidelity (blame-shifting is so common for narcissists that it is a given, including not taking any accountability for what happened). Also when narcissists are found out, they retaliate - very common. The violent act of destroying something that belonged to her points to a danger of physical abuse, a type of narcissistic abuse that tends to escalate much more quickly into a life threatening situation than other types of abuse -- generally. All of these actions by him lead to trauma in his partner. It may not be that traumatic if it is a "one off", but narcissists who engage in this kind of behavior usually repeat it, and make it worse as time goes on, so the traumatic experiences multiply. Not only that, but if she starts backing away, he is likely to terrorize her further, and to tell many others that he is the victim in the situation.  

So what happens in these situations? What is a girl to do? He won't talk about the situation in any kind of rational or compassionate way; the abuse is escalating which it always does; the best that he can do for their relationship is to keep pressuring her to take all of the responsibility and all of the blame on her shoulders for what happened between them. Let us say that she goes to visit the domestic violence center eventually where they strongly urge her to get out of the situation (and work on the brainwashing that has been done to her -- brainwashing is extremely rare for survivors of abuse to engage in, but very common for abusers). In effect, the domestic violence center is trying to lead her into "no contact".

If she goes to a therapist, especially one who is at all trained in domestic violence issues, she will also be urged to go "no contact."

Generally, the strong push to go "no contact" comes from therapists, NOT other survivors. Other survivors may help newbies in group therapy situations understand what they endured in the escalation process of abuse, and to help fellow survivors stay on the "no contact" track. Fellow survivors may also be encouraged to attain a "new family" which consists of other survivors. 

Note also that real survivors of abuse (not the perpetrators who pretend to be victims) overwhelmingly go to therapy. You will find that to be true if you are familiar with forums. Real survivors of abuse also give themselves away in first meetings in therapy with these kinds of questions: "What did I do? Why am I being given the silent treatment and punished?" and for this survivor it might be: "He broke my hairdryer on me because I caught him cheating. It was someone we both know, not just pornography. Even if it was pornography, it still hurts me. He won't acknowledge any of it, and puts all of the blame on me. He expects me to share everything with him, but then says he has a right to privacy? How is that fair? Why is this happening? Tell me how to fix this so that we can get back to the loving relationship we had when we first met. Tell me how to get this woman to leave us alone. Why is he breaking things and blaming me for them being broken? We have kids! It would break their hearts! Please help me fix this!"

In other words, it is "What did I do, how did I deserve this, and what do I do now?" -- that is the  overwhelming way survivors describe their situation.  

That's a typical first meeting. 

If the perpetrator says he is willing to go to therapy, which he isn't normally, but let us say he goes once (which some are willing to do -- just once), it tends to be along these lines: "She was nosy! She was looking at pictures on MY phone. I don't think she has a right to look at my phone. Call me 'old fashioned', but I have a right to privacy. Then she accused me of infidelity! I don't deserve to be criticized or told that looking at naked women is infidelity. Every man does it, or is at least interested in doing it, let's face it. It's true I cheated before, but she has no evidence that it is going on now. She infuriated me. As far as I'm concerned, she got me so angry with her reactions that I went crazy. So her hairdryer got broke. Big deal! I blame her for creating this horrible situation between us. She's crazy for having looked at my phone. I'm not dealing with 'crazy'."

When perpetrators go to therapy their one time, the overwhelming way they describe their situation is through blaming and gaslighting, minimizing their tempers, minimizing breaking things, minimizing the hurt she is going through, trying to get the therapist to be a go-between and tell their partner (or child) what they expect of them, and that they are not dealing with a crazy woman (or man, or child). Notice the statement at the end: it is a typical phrase to see if the perpetrator can recruit the therapist in putting their partner back into the role of accepting all blame including accepting "the crazy label" in the relationship. A good therapist will never be manipulated into that, and in fact, will insist on a healthy resolution that is satisfying for ALL parties, plus on-going therapy to break patterns which have lead to estrangement or abuse. Perpetrators don't like that proposal because they want the same old patterns, and if they can't have those same patterns, they want someone else who can step into those patterns for them instead (called searching for narcissistic supply).

Most perpetrators are in relationships to dominate and control, period. A healthy close personal relationship is about sharing the power and responsibility equally, especially between adults, and it is not something that most perpetrators of abuse are willing to do, or want. A close personal relationship is parent and child, spouses, step parent and child, siblings, close friends, grandparents and grandchildren, uncles and aunts with adult children. Power and control in these kinds of relationships are totally damaging and inappropriate. Most of us know this anyway, and if you don't know it, ask any domestic violence therapist.

Which is to say that no relationship can work, be happy for all, be healthy for all, when one person dominates and wants to control another person (close personal relationships in particular). In order for close personal relationships to be something that all members want to be part of, a balance has to be created to get the family out of toxic ways of relating, out of hurting its members, or a member. Unfortunately, by the time your child becomes estranged from you, especially if your child is hanging up the phone or "disappearing", it is most likely too late. Which is to say, that after awhile your child won't believe the patterns will be able to be broken. He won't believe his heart and psyche can mend through the relationship he is in with you.

Most survivors who are in therapy will usually be willing and wanting to go to therapy with you to work out your differences. If you refuse the therapy, your child will probably lose the initiative to fix anything. That is because therapists know that the hurtful patterns your child is enduring will continue, and probably even get worse for him, without the therapy. That is usually the point at which your estrangement with your child begins to become permanent.

Note: the huge majority of parents are usually overwhelmingly willing to go to therapy, especially if their child is in pain. Most parents hate the idea that they caused their child so much pain that the child sees no other resolution than separating. So since therapists are well aware that narcissists and sociopaths are extremely resistant to therapy, and that they continue with the unethical and unjust practice of assigning all blame to their child, they know that such practices will continue to damage your child (I talk about why it damages your child further in this post). Since "health" and safety are the goals of therapists, a therapist is likely to strongly urge "no contact" in that kind of situation.

Fixing should be done before the estrangement happens, or just when it starts. That is particularly true for relationships that have any abuse in them at all. For what constitutes abuse, go to this post.

As you can tell, perpetrators have relationships that are overwhelmingly on their terms. So it means that they are willing, to a large degree, to have relationships that are tenuous. It is more like "a work-related relationship":  the boss tells the worker what to do, and if if the worker doesn't want to do it, he either quits and finds another job, or he gets fired. Should a parent-adult child relationship really resemble that? I think we know the answer to that. If you only want power and control over your adult child, and for your adult child to be obedient to your every command, the risk of your adult child being estranged from you is very, very high.

There is also a big difference in what perpetrators and real victims want in their relationships. Victims can be over-willing to fix things in the relationship, and narcissists can be under-willing and want their victims to do all of the fixing. However, the desire in victims to "fix" will continue to wane as they become more dominated and hurt, and the desire to terrorize and shame the victim into taking all blame and responsibility will continue to grow in most narcissists. Then the relationship really does become un-fixable. At some point, victims are willing to walk away from everything, and I mean everything, in order not to be in this kind of hurtful relationship, just as a worker will sometimes quit a highly stressful 80,000 dollar a year job to be in a peaceful 30,000 dollar a year job. 

If you want a relationship with your adult child, and you can give up on roles that are hurting your child, then, by all means, let a therapist in to help you both. Give up on the urge to blame and dominate. Why? Blame is only so good as being willing to dish out what you can take. If you blame your child constantly, be willing to take as much blame as you dish out (even if your child is not blaming you directly, he may be blaming you for using the blaming tactic -- these kinds of knots are common in toxic relationships). Likewise if you are rejecting of your child, be willing to accept as much rejection as you dish out (that is because parental rejection of your child leads to PTSD in your child, and the PTSD will be triggered when he is around you). In other words, if you want your child to be accepting of you, blaming him will send the message that he is not acceptable, therefor on the "about-to-be-fired" rejection pile.

A new order of balance and compassion on both sides has to be achieved in order for it to get out of this kind of realm of habitual toxicity and into the realm of a healthy loving relationship. A relationship where one person is pressured to share everything and the other gives short answers to questions and keeps their information private, is not a relationship in any real sense of the word. All toxic relationships have extreme imbalances. Mutual satisfaction and balance has to be reached, otherwise the relationship will eventually fail, and will hurt your child, then deeply traumatize him, and eventually kill or destroy him, especially if he does not get help including the help of other survivors (I explain why in a short version further in the post -- it takes a much longer post than I'm willing to write in this present post to fully delve into the dynamics of why, but it will give you an idea).

Do therapists make diagnoses of Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Antisocial Personality Disorder about parents who refuse to go to therapy? No, but yes in a way. Let me explain.

In the process of recovery, the victim (or target of the abuser) is urged to keep a record. There are usually texts, e-mails, letters, phone calls, and sometimes even face-to-face encounters between adult child and parent. A therapist trained in domestic violence can tell a lot from just those alone, or even a few of them which I'll get to soon. 

So let us use an example. Let us say that a parent tells her family about her daughter, "I'm not going to be forced to go to therapy! She isn't telling me what to do! She's the crazy one because every time we have a problem, she runs to a therapist! Like we are so horrible to her and she's so traumatized that she needs therapy for every little thing we say to her! What a lot of phooey! What about the fact that we brought her up and helped her with the down payment on her house? Is that all discounted and washed away? What about how we sat in the audience through one of her insufferably boring plays, but did it just for her? She forgets all of that too?!? We'll see how long she lasts in the cold world without her family before she comes groveling back! We'll show her we don't need or want her either! I'll just spend all of my time with her sibling and see how she likes that! Grand vacations, lots of presents, holidays, cruises! She'll get it for ignoring what we did for her! Well there is a reason we play favorites! Oh, no, I call b$@llsh*t on this little tirade of hers! If she treats us like this, I hope she ends up in the gutter homeless, and she can see how she likes not having a parent!" -- Do you see how well we know a lot of you? But I bet you that you couldn't write about what we are going through at all, especially if you think in this manner (let's face it: there is a lot of talk like this in your forums).

But my main point is that this way of thinking won't end your estrangement with your adult child. Not in today's world, with today's therapists who are trying to end child abuse and domestic violence, get new laws passed, end their clients' suffering, end the scourge of PTSD of which three quarters of sufferers are child abuse victims (and is also increasing alarmingly), and yes, even trying to correct a world that is increasingly narcissistic and sociopathic.

So how do therapists talk to clients about Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Antisocial Personality Disorder?

Say that a client says that her parent is giving her the silent treatment. A therapist might answer back: "Silent treatments are the realm of people who have Narcissistic Personality Disorder, especially if they go on for weeks or months. It's an abusive technique to get you to give into what ever demand they are making. It's a blackmail techique."

Say that a client tells the therapist that her father is cruel to animals, hyper critical, is insufferably insulting, is awkward socially, does not seem to enjoy other people, and you give the therapist instances and evidences where he is threatening you, enjoying being sadistic, enjoying trying to take people away from you, delights in your suffering or enjoys the idea of you suffering more at his hands, feels that he has a right to tell you what your experiences and thoughts are about, and is saying that you deserve to be punished by him (when you are an adult). The therapist might say, "These are all traits of Antisocial Personality Disorder. I'm sorry to say it. I can't give a diagnosis without him here, obviously, but what I am hearing from you is not good news. These people are usually not safe to be around even when they are parents."

So why does child abuse destroy your child? In short explanation, it has to do with PTSD which all children of chronic emotional abuse will go through (again, see the list of emotional abuses HERE). Emotional abuse is actually more damaging long term than physical abuse because emotional abuse makes your child much more susceptible to PTSD (usually C-PTSD).

There is a lot of chatter on the internet lately among psychologists and psychiatrists about what part of child abuse is the worst offender in terms of your child contracting long term chronic and severe PTSD. What is being said is that the main culprit in child abuse cases is splitting - the psychology term for it (the link takes you to a Wikipedia article about it, or you can read my own article about it here). In other words, being the target of Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde behaviors, a private face and a public face, "I love you and then I hate you" behaviors, black and white thinking about people and events, making a promise and then following it with a betrayal. Some examples are:
* "You're the best thing that ever happened to me" followed by "I can't stand the ground you walk on and you mean nothing to me!"
* "You are so important to me" followed by "You think you are so important! Well, you're nothing!"
* "Your sibling is all good and you are all bad" or any other kind of black and white thinking when comparing two people you are in a close personal relationship with
* "What you say is important and I'm interested in all you have to say" followed by six months of the silent treatment.
* Promising your child you have changed, that you won't ever be estranged again, that you have seen the light and want to work things out, and then when you don't get your way over something you want, you stop answering the phone when your child calls, or when he writes, and discard him again
* Writing your child a love letter filled with memories and accolades in the middle of a silent treatment that you initiated as though nothing has changed between you, and expecting your child to accommodate you, to forgive and forget (not too likely)

In effect, it is this kind of cycle of abuse (and yes, it is abuse) that causes PTSD in your child, the cycle of idealize, devalue, discard (or replace discard with destroy).

The parents who practice this the most frequently, have children who are estranged much sooner. Survivor stories make it clear that adult children cannot endure this kind of relationship no matter what is at stake. If the parent has a private face where she seethes at you and wished you would die, and then a public face where she tells everyone that you are the best thing that ever happened to her, from all I have seen and heard, these children attempt to get away from their parent as soon as they possibly can, usually at the very onset of adulthood. These children would also be your run-aways.

If you are "splitting", never think that your children are causing this in you. Ever. If you are a true narcissist, what I said will make you very, very angry, and you will still want to blame your child 100 percent, and not want to read any more. If you are not a narcissist, you will be able to withstand it to read on:

"Splitting" is not normal thinking or behavior at all, and you should be seeking help for it. Likewise if you have the urge to hurt your children, or even to seek revenge if you feel slighted by them (and yet have no hard evidence that you are), get help - it is narcissistic behavior. If you find that you are feeling jealousy and envy over your child, this is aberrant. Seek help. If you find that you have a strong desire to give your child the silent treatment for a few weeks, or months, or years, and you think your child deserves it, and that this will create a better child-parent relationship, this is not normal and will cause estrangement. Get help before you act on it.

A couple of words about acting on the silent treatment:

One quarter of all children (all ages) will commit suicide over a parental silent treatment that goes on for a long length of time. Any child at any age does not have a psychological or biological tolerance for parental silent treatments. And that is just the silent treatment, not the myriad of other abuses that usually go along with the silent treatment. Add in "splitting" with the silent treatment and it's sure to destroy your relationship with your child, and effect his will to live, his psyche, his endocrine system, his heart (physical), and cause estrangement. If you add in other kinds of emotional abuse (deliberate traumatizing), your child will not be able to handle being around you in any situation.

If you give your child the silent treatment, you are guilty of abuse, and if your child dies because of it, you are partly responsible for his death as well. Just don't do it.

Being vengeful will just add to your child's PTSD.

Even if you don't care about what your child is going through (which isn't normal either and also points to narcissism), you will also suffer from the fallout of it for the rest of your life, even if it might not seem so at the time.

In conclusion, PTSD symptoms are horrific to live with, and most people with PTSD isolate themselves from people who hurt them and want to control and dominate them, including members of their own family. Anyone who has a cruel, cutting way of talking can trigger your child, including you, the parent.

Domestic violence therapists know it too. In fact, they are more likely to press for "no contact" before your adult child comes to that conclusion, knowing the dangers. The way to make your child's PTSD much, much worse is exposure to more trauma.

Ending up homeless in a gutter will not end the estrangement either, and even if your child becomes desperate enough to come "groveling back", he will almost always find that he is so uncomfortable in your presence that he wants to leave as soon as he arrived, as you will trigger his PTSD. It is a rare child abuse survivor who isn't triggered by their parents' company. He will equate your presence on earth as "someone who does not love me, has not loved me since birth, or cares about what happens to me." Wanting him to sleep in a gutter so that he will appreciate you more will do the opposite of appreciating you (a high majority of the homeless have PTSD, one quarter of them are veterans of wars and the other three quarters are victims of child abuse).


In order not to let PTSD completely take over your child's psyche and put him on the list of the dysfunctional homeless or another suicide statistic (which are spiking alarmingly for teens), your child is encouraged to be part of a "supportive family" of choice to replace the one she (or he) no longer has. A therapist usually will make the determination that you (the parent of the adult child) are unfit to care about your child in a way that promotes his mental and emotional health, as victims are often brainwashed to think of themselves as "less than". They are confused, and suffering from cognitive dissonance when they first start therapy. Groups of survivors who can help one another are generally where a survivor's first recommendation of where to connect with others in safety comes from.

A therapist's job is to help mitigate PTSD symptoms, and that means getting your child distracted from you and your agendas, and any other triggers (which are usually in the form of demanding, authoritative situations or people, especially people in a family who use threats to get what they want). It is about putting your child in contact with others who can help him and are welcoming, a community that psychiatrists and psychologists are often involved with and listening to.

The reason your child's therapist may have chosen survivors and survivor groups is that generally fellow survivors are the least likely to trigger your child. They have all gone through very similar circumstances. The high majority of survivors have more empathy than people in the general population, and try to be helpful to others, and they act opposite than people who put them through cycles of abuse, and "splitting". The most important kindness for a survivor of abuse and/or PTSD is consistency, especially when it comes to caring. And that is true even if they don't show that side to you. Trauma victims usually feel they cannot show kindness to you, because they feel it is another open door for you to abuse them. It is very, very hard for them to resist their compassionate natures when it comes to you, but they resist because of the will to survive and thrive.

Does this mean all forums are full of real victims? Does it mean that all forum members are helpful? Of course not. A small number of them may very well be narcissists who are posing as victims, but they are juxtaposed by therapists, a lot of adults who have been through horrendous experiences of abuse, or moderators on the forums. 

Look at your forum. Are they all members whose children want to purposely hurt their parents by being estranged? Of course not. Very few I would bet, in fact. 

Please be aware of this: it is very, very painful for the high majority of adult children to be estranged from their parent, at least for the first few years or so, sometimes for much longer if they cannot afford help, or are not getting the help they need, or if they are not trying to find a new community, or are homeless. "No contact" is a last resort, and is overwhelmingly a health-move, a move away from the horrors of "splitting" kinds of situations (yes, most children are horrified by it, especially children who have experienced any kind of "discard" more than once in the cycle of abuse, and most have). Whether your adult child is going "no contact" to protect themselves, or to protect a new generation, it is being done to prevent further trauma, and to keep the PTSD symptoms from escalating. 

If you have instigated a silent treatment with your adult child, and there is an estrangement that follows it, you have initiated "no contact", not your child. Accept the blame for this as it would be hypocritical of you to do otherwise.


If you don't want to become estranged from your child, heed these warnings from the outset:

1. Do not practice tit-for-tat or vengeful parenting ever, no matter what the circumstances. If you need to remove yourself from your adult child, tell him calmly that you are removing yourself, and then  give a certain date and place when you will be able to discuss things. In that way, it is not destructive, or the abusive silent treatment.

2. If you do talk over issues, resist the urge to blame. In any relationship that will set off defenses. Do you really want your child on the defensive in your relationship? Does it make sense? Figure out whether it is to anyone's benefit to hear defenses. Clue: if too much blaming is instigated by you, your child's mind will shut it off because constant blaming and never being able to self reflect on your part, is always unreasonable: he won't hear or respect you after awhile. It's a little like "the boy who cried wolf". Your child will also start not to trust you if you are blaming him all of the time. If you do decide to blame, or put all of the blame on your child, it will cause PTSD symptoms to start budding in your child. While there are many symptoms of PTSD, one of the ones is the mind going elsewhere. If you see your child rolling his eyes, he is signaling, most likely, that he cannot listen to it and wants it to stop -- and this is just one reason out of many why domination, control, and shaming are not appropriate to close personal relationships. If you want to communicate in a fashion he will hear, use "I" statements instead of "You are" statements. Children will respect parents who self reflect than parents who think they are right all of the time. Be aware that children who are blamed often blame their parent too in "see monkey do" fashion. Do not think you are entitled to a life without blame if you are blaming others.   

3. Avoid "always and never" phrasing. It is part and parcel of the "splitting" (black and white thinking, in this case) which will cause your child to go into PTSD mode.

4. Resist the urge to tell your child what he is experiencing, feeling and thinking (often referred to as perspecticide), especially if it is done in a reprimanding way. You never know what he is experiencing, thinking or feeling, ever, no matter how much you think you may know. And besides it points to arrogance that you think you can tell (arrogance will turn your child off too).
     If you tell him that he is feeling such and such and he tells you that he is not, and then you respond that he is lying, that's just plain wrong. There is total communication break-down in that case. Your child sees no point in communicating with you if you make up your mind about him with your own opinions, which is one way into a life of "no contact".
     Most children know that perspecticide is a tactic, even small children, and do not want to participate in it. The other thing about trying to force your opinions on what children are going through intellectually and emotionally is that it is an open door to do injustices to your child. Injustices that pile up also traumatize all children, under age as well as adult children. This puts another additive on to the PTSD.

5. Do not reject your child, ever. If your child is a criminal or murderer and he is trying to break down your door you have a right to protect yourself obviously, but rejecting a child to teach him a lesson will not work, especially if it is a lesson about how to treat you. In fact, just the opposite will happen: children will learn that "rejecting is normal" (parents are supposed to set the "normalizing standards", at least in an underage child's world: you are the teacher). Do you want a rejecting child? Then you should not reject. Practice what you preach. If you reject your child, you have already paved the road to estrangement and you will get there faster than you might have intended.

6. Do not lecture or try to teach adult children lessons. Attempt to see them as equals. Lectures are meant for students in a classroom, and underage children, not for discourse between grown adult family members.
     If you feel strongly about an issue, remember to use "I" instead of "You should" statements. Don't make them feel they have to earn grades and brownie points to keep in your good graces or you will turn them off and they will only see arrogance in you, and not what you are saying.
     Start to practice "not giving lessons" as soon as you can after your children pass the age of 18. If all that you do is lecture them, they will not take you very seriously, and you may even get rolling eyes. And yes, this is normal. It is also normal for them to disagree with you. They are not puppets -- they have brains and feelings and experiences which are separate from yours.

7. Do not play favorites with your children. Playing favorites is also destructive, and very narcissistic, and you are doing it for you, and what you want, not for the interest of your children. While it might gain you power and control over one of your children (the favorite one), you will be alienating the others.
     Also, more than half of favoritized children will indulge in sibling abuse. If you are always taking sides with the favorite, it will traumatize the siblings who are on the end of the sibling abuse even more. Not only that, but the abuse may be escalating to dangerous proportions because you are not making an attempt to stop it. By rewarding your golden for "disciplining" your other children, you are part of adding to the trauma your disfavored children are already going through, and trauma is the road to estrangement.
     Your other children will look at the two of you as a team, and that they are the odd men out. While it may feel good to reward a child who is supporting every decision you make, and flattering you, it will eventually be a nightmare for you because golden children who are abusive, their main goal is to be like you, especially if you show them that being uncaring is working in your favor, or their favor. He will adopt an unempathetic point of view, or fake empathy to get what he wants. If your other children are estranged from you, and you are having trouble with your golden child, counting on the grandchildren (of the golden) saving you, be aware that your golden will probably be estranged from his children like you were to yours, and will be trying to control every move they make, and also have one favorite child. He will not want to give up the total control he has over you, or them, regardless. If you unwittingly criticize a narcissistic golden child or slight him while under his care, he is likely to punish you for it at some point when you are vulnerable (thus leading to rejection and/or neglect of you -- if you read our forums, you know that this happens quite a bit too).
     In families that are not toxic, the children (after 40 years of age) are actually closer to one another than they are to the parent. If your children are estranged from one another, or one is abusive and dominating towards the other, something went seriously wrong in the upbringing -- overwhelmingly it is about a parent playing favorites, or playing children against each other.

8. If you are jealous of your child's relationship with his other parent, get help. If you feel you are in competition with their other parent, get help. If you feel that your child should be loyal to only you and renounce the other parent, get help. Do not take it out on your child because all children love both parents (unless one is highly abusive towards them). It will traumatize a child if you use threats, silent treatments, blackmail, beatings, a slap across the face, insults, or other damaging kinds of abuse. Do not make up stories or tell derisive stories about their other parent. Some children might go along with you to be accepted by you and show you that they love you and care about you (because they know it is a sign of your insecurity), but just don't do it in the first place. Accept that your child loves you both and don't try to change his mind about it.
     If you see his other parent as all bad and communicate that to your child, then you are engaging in "splitting" and unreasonable black and white thinking again. You also may be breaking the law as parental alienation syndrome laws are gaining more traction. Your child should not have to feel guilty or that he is doing something wrong by loving the other parent. He should not be expected to be loyal only to you, and exclude or reject his other parent. If you give up your child because he isn't loyal enough for your liking, then you are again, paving the road to estrangement.
     Take your concerns and vent with a therapist or a friend, not to your child (or grandchild).
     Parental alienation syndrome is about what you want, and about what will make you feel more secure in your child's love, not about what is best for your child. Just don't do it.

9. Do not talk to your child in a derisive, mocking and arrogant tone. Do not use insults to describe his character. If you tell him that you love him, and then at other times insult him when he isn't doing what you want, and on a consistent basis, you are "splitting" yet again. Your child will be confused about his identity, your intentions, your ability to describe anything without an agenda behind it, your stability, your trustworthiness, and even your ability to judge people and situations correctly. His mind may turn off when you talk (for these reasons). Most children will figure out that parental insults are about the parent wanting to break the self esteem of the child.
     If you are talking to your child in this manner, he will find you embarrassing, and may try to keep his friends, inlaws, children and co-workers away from you.
     Narcissists will feel slighted by being excluded, but the best thing to do to keep from being slighted is not to engage in this behavior in the first place. There is no place for verbal abuse in a close personal relationship.
     If you think that talking derisively about your child and telling others that your child is to blame for everything happening to you, think again. Most people are turned off by hearing a parent talk negatively and derisively about their own children except other people who have grown up in toxic environments where children are blamed carte blanche for everything that goes wrong in a family.

10. Do not threaten, blackmail or punish adult children. Do not arm-twist them about who to marry. If you tell them that you love them, and then do this, they will know that you don't love them. There is no love in any of it, not even a bit.
     Once children know they aren't loved they will begin to separate from you. The parent is not safe to be around and many parents who indulge in micro-managing their children's lives through threats, blackmail and punishments escalate it, hoping the child will submit to the pressure. 
     PTSD symptoms that arise in your adult children from threats, punishments and blackmail manifest as hypervigilence, nausea (sometimes vomiting), isolating, headaches, sleep disturbances or inability to sleep, fight-or-flight reactions, anxiety and nightmares.
     Most adult children cannot deal with threats, blackmail or punishments from a parent, and if it goes on for any length of time, your child WILL separate from you. Count on it.
     Vengeful parenting is a sign of narcissistic and sociopathic parenting. A therapist will find one way or another to communicate that to your child as well.

11. Do not try to arm twist or make your child apologize to an abuser, whether the abuser is a family member or not, or to be around an abuser if he (or she) has made a decision to separate from their abuser in order to be safe or to heal. Be aware that therapists often strongly advise their clients to separate from abusers as well.
     If the abuser that you want your child to apologize to is a child molester, understand that your child may be separating to keep their own children safe, not to make your life miserable. If you are insisting on an apology or that your child continue in a relationship with this other person, you are doing it for your benefit, not theirs, or your grandchildren. Be aware that expecting your child to apologize to a sex abuser will normalize sexual abuse in your family, and create family attitudes about sexual abuse, and eventually may contribute to a national crisis of exploited and sexually abused children as well.
     If the abuser is your spouse or one of your children, I realize that the urge to scapegoat the abused is really strong, particularly if you are experiencing the abuser in a different way than your child is. A lot of abusers are very, very charming, and they also appear to be much more fawning and ingratiating than victims are (especially victims who go around in a daze, or get upset because they can't get simple things done right like balance a checkbook, who seem withdrawn in social situations -- common PTSD symptoms). You can disagree that the person is not an abuser until you are worn out from talking, but it will not change what they went through. In other words, don't try to brainwash adult children out of it -- it is immoral anyway for you to do so.
     Denial that abuse is happening traumatizes victims more, and also adds to estrangement.
     When a question was asked in a survivor forum what was their worst experience with their narcissistic mother, the overwhelming response was: "She did not protect me from abuse." Who were the people their mother did not protect them from? Sex abusers were first on the list, whether that was family or non-family -- and that comprised of roughly over one quarter of the people their mother did not protect them from. As far as the type of person who their mother did not protect them from, it was overwhelmingly a stepfather. Some stepfathers were insulting, some were rejecting, some played favorites with their own children and excluded them, some stepfathers were sex abusers, and some were all of these. It turns out that blended families have a lot of abuse in them in general. With statistics so high for abuse in blended families, perhaps it is better to count on the fact that abuse will arise, rather than deny that it is happening.
     If you think it will help your reputation as a parent to reject your child (black sheep him) over these kinds of incidences, or tell him that he is crazy in order to save your reputation as a parent, realize that this is a narcissistic trait -- being more concerned about how you appear to others as a parent than what your child is going through.
     Hoping that black-sheeping him into submitting to your altered version of the truth is not likely to work either.
     Telling him that he is doing it to create drama in your life will not work.
     If you want to prevent a permanent estrangement, do some research by asking a lot of people how the alleged abuser acts around others, many, many others, and go to a domestic violence therapist with the adult child who is alleging the abuse. It does not mean that you have to separate with your adult child's abuser, but it does mean that you will have experiences with your adult child that don't include the other person, and visa versa.
     If you have ever been divorced or estranged from a mate and you made it clear to your child that you refused to talk to your ex, and that you were not going to be coerced into dealing with your ex by your child, you should be very, very understanding, exceptionally so, especially if you are not narcissistic and expect that everything will go your way.
     If you jump to conclusions and decide that you are going to be siding with your child's abuser against your child, any rational person is going to understand why their adult child is not coming back.
12. If your child has been diagnosed with PTSD, do not try to traumatize him further with all of the above. Also, if your child has just gone through more of the things that cause PTSD like a rape, a bank robbery involving hostages, bullying at the office, coming home from a war, being held at gunpoint, being in a horrible accident, being in a violent domestic abuse relationship, being a victim of a violent crime, do not expect your child to get over it, "forgive and forget", be happy, go through life as though nothing happened to him, compartmentalize it, be living up to every single command you have, or conversely be okay with dealing with insults and derision and punishments from family members. It is likely to set off more of a flight reaction than a fawning reaction; i.e. create more distance in your relationship. If your child has severe PTSD, he or she will be dissociating to some degree. They will be trying to manage their symptoms and not be spending much of their time on relationship issues. So do not expect them to deal well with what you want at all times. A word of note here: PTSD is not insanity; it is a normal response to traumatic experiences. It can happen to anyone, and the accumulation of traumatic experiences will make the PTSD worse.

13. Do not threaten your children when it comes to your will, estate, trusts or about money, in general. If you have read our survivor forums, you will know that our parents threaten us about money constantly, and you also know that most scapegoats are disinherited from wills, trusts and estates no matter how much fawning, apologizing, and round-the-clock comfort they give their parent, and how much the golden child is disappearing. While children should not be motivated by money in taking care of their parent, the fact remains that when a parent is constantly making threats about money, wills and estates, and you are their child, you are going to have to make it your priority of keeping yourself, your spouse, and children financially afloat, so it means that the priority in time, attention and energy has to be taken away from your parent so that when disinherited, you aren't getting foreclosed on, getting your car re-possessed, your child is going without college tuition and so on. I think many of us know actual people in our own lives who have taken care of a parent, even gave up their own lives to "live in" with them for years, and who were homeless right after the parent died, while the golden child inherited the house and all of the money. I certainly saw it with my own eyes in my own neighborhood, so for me it is a cautionary tale. You also know that you cannot trust a parent who makes promises about her estate who lives a life of love bombing followed by discarding her children at a moment's notice. Which is to say that if you are love bombing and discarding, get help for it and do not expect your children to be doing the adjustments to accommodate this behavior in their lives.

If you follow all of these steps, estrangement from your child is highly unlikely. However, there is still some chance even if very, very low. These are some:
1. Your child has an active drug addiction where he blames you as the cause for his addiction and is estranged from you because you are not giving him money for his addiction.
2. Criminal activities (where a child is estranged because you didn't bail him out of jail or hire an expensive attorney, or defend his criminal activities, or where you called police when he was stealing something out of your house)
3. Huge differences in values (he is estranged from you because you won't accept his lover, for instance).

Increasingly political differences are also causing rifts between parents and youth these days. If you want to mitigate the risks of dividing over political issues, try to resist the urge to lecture, keep your mind open, and most of all don't insult. Remember that political parties are not authorities: you do not have to be loyal to them, or say the things they espouse. You are allowed to question some of things they do or allow your child to question them. Insulting your child is verbal abuse. Likewise if your child insults you during a political discussion, end the conversation and agree to disagree. Very few minds are being changed in political discussions these days no matter what is said. That is very clear if you spend any time on Facebook looking at what your friends are saying in political discussions.


Yes. Both are on the rise. I saw somewhere that narcissism used to comprise one percent of the population. In the past decade it is now around 4 - 5 percent of the population. Antisocial Personality rates have risen too from one quarter of one percent to a full one percent.

If the shoe fits ...

     If you are a narcissist, what I had to say in the previous section will probably make you feel infuriated. If you are not narcissistic, it won't: it will seem reasonable.
     Narcissists aren't comfortable unless they feel they are controlling everyone in their family, including deciding who should have a relationship with whom, who should be dis-invited to which event, who should show up to a family event and who should boycott it, which child should be groomed to hate which member, and so on. They have one golden child and one scapegoat among their children -- very, very common (you will know which is which because they will spend a lot more time with one child and be estranged from the other ... or if not estranged, they will talk derisively about their scapegoat, and at the very least call him or her crazy). They care more about their social reputation than people's feelings (in other words, their reputation comes first). They feel they have the inalienable right to criticize others (a lot), but feel they are above criticism themselves, and often lash out to the extreme if they are criticized. They spend an inordinate amount of time focused on the flaws and the things they don't like about others, and almost never admit to their own. If they are caught at something unethical, they will fire back many, many excuses.
     They feel that apologies should always be given by others.
     They feel they have an inalienable right to tell others what they are experiencing, feeling and thinking, but cannot stand it if they get it in return. They get angry if they are asked to self reflect. They expect others to do what they would never expect from themselves. They feel that if they get into an argument with another person, or the other person is perceived to be causing problems in their world and to their reputation, they will blame you 100 percent for what went wrong, and try to convince others of that too (not an easy thing for them as most people find the pursuit to blame an adult child 100 percent childish). They also feel they have to "win" arguments.
     They try to make someone they are close to (like a cold awkward socially mis-fit spouse) into a peacemaking, giving, loving, socially upstanding, person, when the truth is that they are narrow minded, abusive and cold -- it's all about "the image" that they are trying to project, in other words.
     They believe that relationship differences in the family will work in their favor if they use the silent treatment.
     Narcissists expect disclosure from you most of the time but feel they have the inalienable right to privacy and non-disclosure themselves. Most become infuriated with their spouse if they, themselves, are caught cheating (the image again) and not about what their spouse is going through. Not all of them cheat on their spouses, but about half of them do.
     They expect you to be almost 100 percent loyal to them, but they are incredibly disloyal themselves and are constantly looking for your replacement (i.e. on the hunt for narcissistic supply).
     They often accuse their mates of being unfaithful even when they have no proof. In fact, they accuse you of what they are guilty of (this comes with their inability to self reflect, which means they have to grab the accusation from somewhere, so it tends to come from their own character).
     Issues with narcissists never have closure.
     They lie much more often than the general population so their stories often have conflicts that cannot be easily explained or glossed over.
     They often get "dupers delight" if they feel they are lying effectively. They tend to be two-faced.
     They often have a public face and a private face. Their main goal in life is to be put on a pedestal, to be perceived as being more important than other people, to control what others do to make them feel comfortable and happy, and to have a parade of people waiting on them -- that is the most important agenda in their life. They reward people who are making this happen (including their own children), and punish those who aren't doing it (including their own children). They can be generous, but it is most often for an agenda. If the agenda is not reached by the other person, they resort to punishments, guilt trips and shaming (even of their own children). They often leave their estates only to people who are sycophants who they think will aggrandize them (usually the golden child, whether the golden really means it or not - see the previous section), and disinherit their other children - which is, again, vengeful parenting and just alienates the other children further.
     They have very little empathy, but pretend to when they feel it suits them. They are vengeful in close personal relationships and feel that things will go their way if they continue to be vengeful.
     They feel most comfortable with fawners, and feel most threatened around people who aren't.
     They are emotionally immature (emotionally they are around the age of six years old). They carry around a lot of jealousy in their systems and lash out at the objects of their jealousy when they feel their jealousy is getting overwhelming. They tend to be jealous of their own children (jealousy of a child is aberrant).
     They often refuse to go to therapy if it helps someone else. They will only go to therapy if they feel that the therapy gives them the accolades and an upper hand.
     They will divorce a spouse just because they perceive them as "being depressed" or "cramping their style." They get rid of their own children for the same reasons.
     Basically they live and die by hypocrisy.
     Narcissists will feel regret if they hurt other people, not because they are empathetic but because of what it does to their life and reputation. For more, go HERE as to how narcissists relate to children.

If you are a survivor reading this and are "no contact" with a parent who has the traits of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, help people who have some ability to be open to the survivor perspective understand why so many adult children are going "no contact". The main reason is probably because the parent rejected their adult child many, many times, or left them in dire straights, and went around saying that their adult child did it instead (a narcissistic parent will always pretend to be a victim). Thus the adult child has been forced to manage the parental discards, and actually begins, through therapy, to feel much better out of the cycle of abuse than in it. Also if PTSD symptoms become severe, it makes most sufferers dysfunctional. The adult child knows they need to be functional enough to take care of their own spouse and children, for instance, and they can't do it if they are being drawn in to endless cycles of love bombing and discards with their parent.

Please be aware that most narcissistic parents will tell people outside the family that they are miserable about the estrangement, that they have been sacrificed by their child to die alone, that their child is wicked for putting them in this position, while they tell their estranged children within that same day that they enjoy the estrangement, that they are happy without the drama (drama being their favorite phrase to describe an estrangement). Since narcissism is now at 4 percent of the population, it is always better to consider that this may be the real story behind the estrangement, rather than what you are hearing from the parent - this is the most common story among child abuse survivors anyway.

If the parent is really suffering from the estrangement they can tell their child at any time, and ask for help from their child, or agree to meet their child half way to end it, or agree to family counseling, but the fact is that their narcissism often gets in the way of them doing it. If the child can no longer endure the parent in their lives any more, the parent has the same choice that his or her child had: to get therapy.
     If you are a sociopath, or malignant narcissist, you will find great pleasure in what I have written about concerning your child's pain and your child's PTSD. What I wrote about in terms of what your child is going through should please you too, not distress you in the least. You could care less about what happens to your child, and if something bad happens to him or her, you will just convince them that they brought it on themselves, right? If your child ends up in the gutter homeless, you will also be pleased at the most, and not care at the very least.
    If you are a sociopath, and not a malignant narcissist, you like duping other people (a lot), and you like a spouse who covers up your delight in other people's suffering with praises and idealization. You like a spouse (and other children who are willing) to cover up your real character with what will seem like social respectability.
     You feel like you don't need children, really, for any reason, but for the sake of making other people comfortable, you might say that your wicked child is estranged from you just to get other people off-track in suspecting that you had anything to do with it. Most of the time you don't care what other people think, but then again, you live for "dupers delight", so you may play with people's perceptions to see if you can brainwash and "mold their minds."
    Your own agenda comes first before anything or anyone else, and you will do what ever is necessary to make it happen: even lie, steal, cheat, terrorize your children, what ever you feel is necessary. You do not have a range of feelings including empathy, and don't care to: feelings sound like a burden. You feel fearless most of the time, that nothing bad will happen to you, and if it does, you are sure you can handle it. You are sure you can vanquish any enemy, including a child who you think is your enemy, or stands in the way of what you want. You are used to getting your way in most situations, and feel that it is possible for it to continue indefinitely.
     You don't care to know what PTSD is about; it doesn't have any effect on your world, or on what you want. If your adult child has PTSD, your attitude is: "let him deal with it". If he tries to make you accountable for his PTSD, you will just threaten him and it will end the uncomfortable conversation once and for all.
    You are as equally dispassionate about human rights, abortion rights, right-to-life rights, animal rights, the right to vote, or the rights of anyone. As long as you are getting what you want, you could care less about what other people go through. You hate discussions about "rights". They are super boring unless they are about things that might directly effect your life for the better like getting out of paying taxes, getting out of paying the handyman his full due, getting rid of step children that take up your spouse's time, or getting out of paying child support. You might not like the rise of "children's rights" because you believe that you should have unmitigated authority over children, the right to punish, the right to disinherit, the right to ostracize, the right to imprison them, the right to child slavery, perhaps even the right to have sex with them, anything.
     If you are in a place of authority and you don't like someone because of the color of their skin, or what they wear, or their facial expression you feel you have the right to fire them, or if you are a teacher, to fail them. And that includes getting rid of any children who you deem to be worthless in your life too. If you don't like them, you feel you have a right to insult them and hurt them because you feel that insults are the best way to express your displeasure about them. You will deal with the consequences later, but let's face it; you feel that most people will not stand in your way, especially when it comes to how you treat children. You believe that you can outsmart any authority and be much more clever than the Turpins, for instance, if it ever comes to that.
     If you want to have an affair, or reject your child, or take some other person's position at work through unethical means, you will do it. Your attitude is that nothing will stand in your way. If your spouse wants a divorce, if your co-worker wants to sue you, if your your child tries to complain, you will just threaten them all or try to make their lives as miserable as you can. No one should think they can cross you, right?
     You don't believe in Karma. It sounds like hoodoo to you. Karma is just something made up by someone to keep people from doing bad things to other people.
     You feel the same way about religion that you think about karma. You'll talk about religion only if it suits you and keeps your enemies who believe in it from crossing you, especially the part in the Bible that says "Respect thy elders" when you are talking to your children, but for the most part it seems like a big fantasy that is only so good if you use it like a tool to manipulate others into doing things for you.
     For the most part, you do not enjoy the company of others. To you, most people sound insufferably stupid. Mostly you enjoy topics that make other people uncomfortable anyway. You like insulting politicians that other people are supporting. You like talking about hunting and trapping animals with a vegetarian. You like talking about the tastes of different wines in front of a teetotaler. You like talking about how many degrees you have in front of someone who could no longer afford to put himself through college. The more people squirm, the more you like it. It makes you feel good when other people feel bad or uncomfortable, right?
     You could care less how much injustice and hurt you inflict on other people, right? You'll just use the "life isn't fair" motto.
     Children aren't nearly as important to keep around as most people think -- that's your attitude, right? If they aren't doing anything for you, why are they necessary? If you want them to do something for you, then threaten and guilt-trip them, right? Make them feel that they always owe you something, right?
     As for other people looking in on this situation, you make sure you lie effectively about what is going on. You make sure you put on the charm in those circumstances as though it is "the best suit in your closet", and you tone down your arrogance (though I know it is hard for you to do so), and have them believe in your altered version, no matter what, right? Get people who have suspicions off your back and make sure they are brainwashed into believing that it's the child who is 100 percent at fault, right?
     Instead of referring to your estranged child as crazy like narcissists, you will call them evil instead. You actually believe everyone is evil, but they are especially evil when they are recalcitrant, right? 


If one out of a hundred people in America are people with Antisocial Personality (as is being reported these days, which is up from the previous figure of 1 in 500), they are going to breed ... especially since most people with Antisocial Personality Disorder breed with more than one person. They aren't loyal to anyone but themselves.

These are people who don't know how to love bomb like narcissists, and don't see the point in it regardless, since they really don't feel love for anyone. They may put on a "show" and pretend to love once in awhile, but that's all it is: a show, with the minimal amount of effort. Once they feel they are crossed, that they want their children out of their lives, they will do it no matter who it hurts, or what kinds of repercussions happen down the road. They will deal with the repercussions when they come up, or when they are ready. If they feel there are repercussions looming, threatening people is how they deal with it. If they receive apologies or excuses from their child, even a golden child, they don't particularly believe it (they think that everyone lies and has an agenda, even a golden child ... everyone one is "suspect").

Will they go around and tell people they are a victim too? Of course!! They have considerably less butterflies in telling why they are victims than narcissists do, of course, but they do it because it works for them in getting others to do things for them. The only difference is that they don't say they are victims in the "whimpering style" that narcissist do; they say it with insistence, with authority, without much "feeling".

If one percent of the population of the parents in this country have Antisocial Personality Disorder and four percent have Narcissistic Personality Disorder, that means at least 5 percent of parents are going around with fake victim statuses. That means the nation really needs to wake up about what is really happening in terms of the rising rates of parent - child estrangements. Don't just assume these parents are just "poor old folks with kids who could care less about them." Find out what is really going on in the bigger picture by talking to both parents AND children who are estranged from one another.

Also give up on the notion that all mothers are compassionate, caring, self sacrificing and sweet. They aren't, though a majority may be.

Also give up on the notion that all fathers want their children to succeed, that they will help them gain training for work, that they will pay for the wedding, that they have their child's best interest at heart at all times and are self sacrificing. They aren't, though a majority may be. 
"Why Narcissism is the 'Secondhand Smoke' of Mental Health"
a Med Circle video with Dr. Ramani Durvasula:

"The 4 Types of Narcissism You Need To Know"
a Med Circle video with Dr. Ramani Durvasula:

"Narcissist, Psychopath, or Sociopath: How to Spot the Differences"
a Med Circle video with Dr. Ramani Durvasula:

"ASPD: The Psychopath, Sociopath, & How to Spot Them"
a Med Circle video with Dr. Ramani Durvasula:

     Next up is Sam Vaknin's take on what is going on with the "splitting" of the narcissist. Sam Vaknin, an Israeli psychologist, has been diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (Malignant Narcissism, which has some of the traits of Antisocial Personality Disorder, in addition to Borderline Personality and Narcissistic Personality Disorder all wrapped into one, and he heavily researches all three personality disorders). He gets inside the head of the narcissist about what is really happening during "splitting". The thing to remember is that you can have all of the compassion for a person who is "splitting", as the cause for it is most likely being abused themselves as a child, but even with this knowledge, we, who have PTSD from it, do not have the tools to deal with it. Having PTSD and dealing with their splitting is like asking a man with only one leg to race with people who have two legs. It is much too difficult for most adult children to deal with even when they do not have PTSD. When they do have PTSD, it makes it impossible, thus the "no contact."
     Since there is also a lot of manipulation and danger behind their splitting (you know that it wreaks havoc on your life, re-shifts all of your relationships, is completely unhealthy for your own psyche, it escalates, and some psychologists believe that it can eventually cause splitting in yourself too as you deal with the constant "swapping": the cruel side then the nice side, and then back to the cruel side - of your parent). Leave this issue to a certified therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist who really understands narcissism, not to yourself, your spouse and certainly not to your children - my advice. If your parent does not want to go to into counseling over "splitting", he (or she) is telling you that he or she likes himself or herself in this way. The "splitting" is working for your parent, even if it does not work for the people around them. They will let you know when it is NOT working for them, but in the meantime they usually have other sources of narcissistic supply and fawners around who can take up the slack of their missing child: