I recently turned 21 and cannot believe that my parents are still fighting over their Divorce. I have read many posts on Divorce Angels but never from the perspective of a child going through it. Sadly, I have come to the realization that both my parents are Narcissists.
I don’t use that term lightly, I have spent a lot of time trying to understand this personality disorder, both through my therapist and my own research.
Narcissistic parents are all about themselves, all the time. When I look back at my childhood, there were times where I felt invisible and unimportant to my parents. Their careers, their social status and their materialistic needs always came first before their children and family time.
My parents were married for 20 years. When I turned 18 they decided it was time to call it quits. They never had the perfect marriage and my siblings and I often considered Divorce to be a very real option for them. They never hid their fights, their selfishness and their verbal and emotional abuse — as children we lived and experienced the ups and downs of their marriage. Secretively, we all hoped for Divorce so that there would be peace.
Peace never happened for any of us. Our parent’s behavior, ego and narcissism seemed to get worse as we all moved through the process of their divorce.
I am saddened and embarrassed by what has gone on. They have had no concern for their children throughout the battle of their divorce. They both played the victim and are determined to make the other one pay. Somehow they have lost sight that there is still a family unit in place with kids who have feelings and all they care about is “winning”. The saddest part is that my siblings and I are the real victims in all of this.
They argue through their lawyers and send costly legal letters back and forth. My mother says my father is trying to “screw her” out of what is rightfully hers and my father says my mother is trying to “screw him” for wanting his freedom. And they say this in front of us. They each have hired lawyers with massive egos, and in my opinion they have added gasoline to both their fires.
They continuously bad mouth the other and don’t care when we ask them to stop. Both my parents look to their children to acknowledge their pain. As true narcissist, they want their kids to supply them with the ego boosting assurance they require.
My siblings and I are 3 years into this with no end in sight. I have done my best to come to terms with this behavior through therapy. But for me, it is has been a roller coaster of emotions – sadness and anger, and at times depression.
The saddest part of all is that narcissistic parents refuse to listen to others – including their own children. I have begged my parents to stop and to let the healing process begin for all of us. But still 3 years later — it falls on deaf ears and their egos still rule.
As a victim of narcissistic parents and the endless divorce battle that ensues, all I can say is parents really need to take into consideration the long terms effects and scars their battle leaves on their children and find a way to Divorce with Grace.
I’m sorry to hear about your experience. Unfortunately, I can relate and have spent since the age of 12 dealing with the same nonsense you describe. I wish I could tell you it got better. I’m now 40 and my parents have been divorced longer than they were married (18yrs) and still find ways to put each other down and hate on each other. It’s been very difficult over the years. Ive had to work very hard at dealing with my own relationships in healthy ways after the kind of behaviour I was exposed to while growing up. The good news is with hard work I have been successful in creating better relationships than my parents demonstrated. I also try hard to let my children be children and not let them hear about problems I am dealing with as an adult. It’s important that kids are not tormented by their parents’ problems. I hope things get better for you! God Bless!
Is it possible for children of Narcissistic parents to not learn to become narcissistic themselves in their own relationships? How have you accomplished this? My ex is a socio-path, and after years of divorce will not let us go. I see the pain that you described in my children. I see him manipulating them to his advantage never caring about what is best for them. It is the saddest thing, yet I see my son adopting his narcissistic patterns, and my daughter somewhat estranged from normal human compassion. My helpless heart breaks for them and for you. How have you saved your soul/your spirit/ your essence from destruction?
Sorry to hear this LK, my parents divorce (both narcissist) like yours was on the cards forever (first realise at age 4 and i guess thats when you start making memories, I’m now 33 and the official proceedings with solicitors etc have gone on for the best part of 10 years with no end in site) and we secretly hoped it would bring peace, but it never came and even if it does I realise now it never will. I hate to tell you this, but you need to stop all contact with them now, unless you want this destructive phase of their to ruin the most important part of your life as it could lead you to illness, relationship turmoil of your own and even death as you may just want to give up. Its time to focus on yourself, block emails, change mobile number and basically cut off all contact, it sounds severe, but it will save you years of emotional abuse as you are going to be used and abused and if you do the on again off again thing where you maintain some contact it is likely that they may go for you, try to ruin your reputation and ultimately your life and feel they have the right to do so as you are teasing them with your ‘narcississtic supply’. Sounds harsh, but cut the weeds off before they grab on wrap themselves around you, feed off you and leave you for dead. You are the most important person, whatever bit of ‘parenting’ they had to offer you, bad or good, it is done now, you don’t need them to function anymore, thats a good thing for you and you are stronger for it. Just be very careful as anything you do say can and will be used against you so just say nothing and just cut them off completely they are too easily antagonised and you dont want to go there. Go and start your new and peaceful life, you are a great age to do it with lots of opportunities to get away to study, travel etc. if you dont fancy that you dont have to as long as you can stop them contacting you. If you stay at home and they come looking for you at home, work, wherever they think they can get access to you, get a restraining order, they are easier to get than you think, and stick to it yourself of course. Good luck!
The Institute of Child and Parental Rights
I’m sorry for what you are going though, a possible stragety to hush their mouths is to point out how obsessed with the other they seem to be. I mean, after all these years they are still consumed with the other.
To the Institute of Child and Parental Rights: Asking a narcissist, much less two, to self-reflect is like asking a crocodile to become a kitten. It’s impossible. Please do not ask the victim of a narcissist to try and change the abusive behavior. Why is it the victim’s responsibility?? Would you tell the victim of constant physical abuse to ask the abuser to self-reflect?
My advice to LK is to set up boundaries and put as much distance between you and your parents as possible. Your parents have an emotional disorder that you will never change. Good luck.