Narcissistic Parents Lack Self Awareness....a falsehood that's damaging

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LSK1999

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Hi all I have some things I want to share with you that for me have been a powerful awakening to how my beliefs about NPD and my NM's abuse have been wrong and oftentimes more damaging to me, they have led to further victimization and I KNOW they are for all of you. I will start by saying if you haven't read George Simon's book In Sheep's Clothing about people that are character disordered and manipulative abusive people you should. Simon tells us in his book written now over 20 years ago, what research is increasingly showing us today. Before I go on I must tell you I am speaking of NPD and cannot testify to other PD's. Simon ( A doctor that has been treating the character disordered for more than 20 years) says these people know exactly what they are doing and do not in anyway lack self awareness. They know what they do and they choose to do it, because it gets them what they want control, power, and their own way.


One of the best examples of my experience that I can highlight this proof of my NM's awareness was when she was diagnosed with cancer, I was desperately wanting to be there for her but I could barely be next to her because my bodies reaction was so bad. My anxiety would go through the roof (my body knew what I couldn't see) I tried desperately to make her see how she treated me and how badly it was effecting me...I gently tried to tell her one day while driving her to a radiation appointment "Mom you are really mean, and it hurts me and it hurts other people" I was hoping at least for a M that said "I"m sorry I didn't realize" instead she looked me dead in the eye with eyes cold as ice and snapped "I KNOW I AM". That was telling and it took me a year to realize the gravity of what she had said to me and what that really meant to her supposed "lack of self-awareness".

A youtuber I follow that grew up with NP's and dedicated his life to helping others that are victims of Narcissistic abuse talks often about the lie that these people don't know what they are doing and how damaging it is. One of his analogies that absolutely resonated with me that was offered about how psychology and traditional therapists want us to believe we should have empathy and compassion for the N despite the fact they have zero for anyone else. He said that telling a person to have empathy and compassion for a N is like telling them to put on a meat suit when they go in the cage to feed the tiger....lol.....yeah and I think he has this right people.

As good, normal, kind people with a conscience we have a really really hard time believing that people could possibly act this way just because it's how they choose to be.

 God Bless and love and hugs to all of you  :)
« Last Edit: September 10, 2018, 12:48:47 PM by coyote »

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Coyote23

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Re: Narcissistic Parents Lack Self Awareness....a falsehood that's damaging
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2018, 12:12:13 PM »
Hey friend,
I agree with everything youíre saying, except it raises a philosophical question for me.

Does it really matter if someone knows what they are doing or not in order for you to take care of yourself?

Letís say they donít know. They are still a meat-eating tiger, and you still need to stay out of their cage.

Letís say you do have empathy and compassion for them. Empathy and compassion do not mandate that you put up with or excuse bad behavior.

Jesus of Nazareth might have said ďforgive them, because they know not what they do.Ē
They still did it.

If itís helpful and useful to remember they are aware of their ways, as a scholar or a survivor, then good. But you deserve to get the hell out of the tiger cage either way!

Have a wonderful weekend.

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Yael924

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Re: Narcissistic Parents Lack Self Awareness....a falsehood that's damaging
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2018, 12:30:32 PM »
Thank you for writing this. I've wondered this for many years..
If it is totally beyond their control, why do PDs never throw tantrums/abuse/fits/your descriptor here  during
Church events
Parent teacher conferences
In line at the grocery store
?????
You get my drift. The very fact that these episodes only happen in the home or in private with their most vulnerable family members, means that they have control over their actions.

If anyone here has an anecdote where a public display of abuse verbal or physical, please let me know and I will revise my hypothesis.

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all4peace

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Re: Narcissistic Parents Lack Self Awareness....a falsehood that's damaging
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2018, 12:35:31 PM »
I posted pretty much what coyote23 said but lost it somehow. I think we're allowed to protect ourselves regardless of a harmful person's intentions.

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RoseWater

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Re: Narcissistic Parents Lack Self Awareness....a falsehood that's damaging
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2018, 01:05:09 PM »
Thank you for posting this. I agree completely. It personally took me year to get that my compassion, sensitivity and empathy was the tool of my FOO to further abuse. Great post.

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Danden

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Re: Narcissistic Parents Lack Self Awareness....a falsehood that's damaging
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2018, 01:25:09 PM »
Jesus said "forgive them they know not what they do"  When he said this he was on the cross and talking to God.  When Jesus spoke to men on earth he said "forgive those who repent".  This  helps me to distinguish what can be expected of humans and what is in God's hands. 

I do think though, that some people, exceptionally good people, are in fact, truly able to forgive those who "know not what they do".  This is a forgiveness without resentment or anger, a truly compassionate and fully formed forgiveness.  I, unfortunately, am not that good of a person.   I think those people are very few.

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BunnyLover

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Re: Narcissistic Parents Lack Self Awareness....a falsehood that's damaging
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2018, 01:49:18 PM »
Don't forget: you can forgive someone and still recognize that they will choose to continue to hurt you if you allow them access. NC isn't meant as punishment, it is chosen as an unfortunately necessary way to protect yourself. You don't need to feel guilty for protecting yourself.

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LSK1999

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Re: Narcissistic Parents Lack Self Awareness....a falsehood that's damaging
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2018, 05:31:56 PM »
Thanks for your responses everyone....I totally understand what you guys say when you say I need to get out of the cage regardless. For me this difference is huge though....I have to believe it's that way for others to. To me there is a HUGE difference in not knowing and knowing what they do...to me the intention to harm takes things to a whole new level....If you harm me because you can't see how you are harming me, I can forgive and accept. But to realize you are harming me and it's intentional is a whole new ball game. I deeply believe that this mindset "They know not what they do" is harmful because many of us truly believe this...I hear it in posts all the time here and in many other places where people are talking about these issue. So here I come OOTF and start realizing my mother is a N and has been harming me all my life....everything I read tells me she can't help it......many books say don't blame her......you see where I'm going with this. Then I'm stuck in the lie that this was just a horribly tragedy of life and N's can't help it. This wrong belief is how they are able to victimize so many in their lifetimes without ever being called out.......because they can't help it.,...for me this is HUGE...and a HUGE slap in the face that invokes anger and rage and brings me to a place of truth. For me the fact that it's intentional, known, takes it to a whole new level of evil that I hadn't even fathomed human beings were capable of...it changes the landscape of of everything for me and it empowers me to know the true campaign against me from birth. It motivates me to fight with righteous anger for myself and my child within.....my journey OOTF started as a search for truth and understanding the truth of how it really is matters to me and yes it's partially because my abuse and programming goes so deeply that I still live with feelings of shame, fear, and obligation.....and for what??

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all4peace

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Re: Narcissistic Parents Lack Self Awareness....a falsehood that's damaging
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2018, 05:35:49 PM »
I get it. Maybe it's easier to get freed from O and G if we believe its intentional.

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carrots

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Re: Narcissistic Parents Lack Self Awareness....a falsehood that's damaging
« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2018, 06:19:16 PM »
For me this difference is huge though....I have to believe it's that way for others to. To me there is a HUGE difference in not knowing and knowing what they do...to me the intention to harm takes things to a whole new level 

I think I understand what you mean here. My uBPDM (witch/queen) knew she was hurting people, like me as a child, and she did it anyway. She found some justification always. She has been described by a few therapists of mine in the past as sadistic. She enjoys getting angry, she freely admitted that quite a number of times when I was a child. She seems to like hurting people too or at least thinks it's perfectly OK so long as she can express her rage, hurt or whatever.

She actually was capable of having an anger fit in the grocery store lineup but she'd turn it on one of us children typically and just emotionally/verbally in public. But I'm sure she could have controlled it, at least better anyway, if she'd wanted to and tried to.

Same with B1 who used to have a go at me in public whether inside the home - with parents around rather than totally in secret - or outside the home. They enabled his raging behaviour towards me. They encouraged it, they let it happen. And as others have since pointed out to me, I didn't behave that way to B2 who is younger than me. Not because it was forbidden but because I didn't want to. Yes, there were typical sibling fights between us (physical and verbal) but it wasn't a vendetta against him and there had to be a reason in my mind (he'd annoyed me, taken my stuff etc etc).  It wasn't just because I'd had a 'bad day' or just 'felt like it'. He did it back too. I never did anything seriously dangerous either, never pushed him down the stairs or into the stove or the road the way B2 did to me.

"Forgive them they know not what they do" - now that would have been good if M could have thought that sometimes about children such as me making mistakes children typically make while growing up. I mean really basic things like choosing the wrong size of jar or maybe even breaking something by mistake. It would have been helpful if she had forgiven because children don't arrive in the world automatically knowing which jar to buy...

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carrots

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Re: Narcissistic Parents Lack Self Awareness....a falsehood that's damaging
« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2018, 08:13:58 PM »
I never did anything seriously dangerous either, never pushed him down the stairs or into the stove or the road the way B2 did to me.

Oops, typo. "... the way B1 did to me."

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DamagedLeech

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Re: Narcissistic Parents Lack Self Awareness....a falsehood that's damaging
« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2018, 03:03:44 AM »
Thanks for this post - it is really something that I hadn't considered before... or even considered possible.  But then, there is a certain amount of denial to be had, trying to fathom that your mother doesn't really love you etc.

I have read so many books that say something along the lines of "hug the inner child of your parent" - And while this gave me extra empathy about why she may be the way she is, it just kind of added to the hurt that no matter how much effort I make to make exceptions for her, she will continue to treat me the same way.

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Serendipity12

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Re: Narcissistic Parents Lack Self Awareness....a falsehood that's damaging
« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2018, 05:59:35 AM »
I agree that this is huge. No, it doesnít necessarily affect the fact that we need to get out of toxic relationships whether or not Pds know they are abusive, but it makes it more likely that on some level they also know why we left.
My mother is not some confused elderly waif who has been abandoned for reasons she will never understand.  She knows damn well, despite layers of denial, what she did and what she no doubt continues to do to the people she should have loved all her life.

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serenity now

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Re: Narcissistic Parents Lack Self Awareness....a falsehood that's damaging
« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2018, 07:54:39 AM »
I think the fact that narcissists are not self-reflective and do not seek to improve themselves (e.g. via therapy) is another huge sign that they don't care about how their behaviour affects other, and they don't want to change. I don't see why it's necessary to have empathy for a destructive person who makes no effort to do better.

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practical

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Re: Narcissistic Parents Lack Self Awareness....a falsehood that's damaging
« Reply #14 on: September 09, 2018, 08:27:05 AM »
Thanks for sharing this.

I gently tried to tell her one day while driving her to a radiation appointment "Mom you are really mean, and it hurts me and it hurts other people" I was hoping at least for a M that said "I"m sorry I didn't realize" instead she looked me dead in the eye with eyes cold as ice and snapped "I KNOW I AM". That was telling and it took me a year to realize the gravity of what she had said to me and what that really meant to her supposed "lack of self-awareness".
F said "only those volunteer to take a beating who can take it" when challenged on his emotionally abusive treatment. Apparently to him, B and me trying to help him, loving him was a tacit agreement that it was okay for him to abuse us, a self-justification with the added subtext that we were idiots for sticking around. I took a Time Out after that comment and then went VVVVLC, now I'm NC.

I agree with coyote23 and all4peace, for me it doesn't matter anymore whether he does or doesn't know what he is doing, the important part for me is to protect myself.
ďIf Iím not towards myself, who is towards myself? And when Iím only towards myself, what am I? And if not now, when?Ē (Rabbi Hillel)

"I can forgive, but I cannot afford to forget." (Moglow)

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LSK1999

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Re: Narcissistic Parents Lack Self Awareness....a falsehood that's damaging
« Reply #15 on: September 09, 2018, 11:07:58 AM »
I agree that this is huge. No, it doesnít necessarily affect the fact that we need to get out of toxic relationships whether or not Pds know they are abusive, but it makes it more likely that on some level they also know why we left.
My mother is not some confused elderly waif who has been abandoned for reasons she will never understand.  She knows damn well, despite layers of denial, what she did and what she no doubt continues to do to the people she should have loved all her life.

YES!! This is very true, and they do know what they do and they do know that they deserve to be hated by us. They know their treatment of us was awful....THEY DON"T CARE. You are 100% right that they do know why we left too. I have heard many talk about this......I have seen evidence of it now in my relationship with my own mother. She gaslighted me for years saying things like "I know you hate me", "I"m scared your going to realize you hate me" like really odd comments at many different points in life. I realize now it's because she KNOWS that I should, that I have every right to. Also denial is something these people do not engage in, they are FULLY AWARE. Dr. George Simon give a fabulous talk on youtube about denial. Denial is a defense mechanism and it is employed unconsciously (like for all of us) when trauma and emotional pain becomes too unbearable......THIS IS NOT THE PD....NO...NOOOO...lol. Sorry I'm pretty passionate about this...they are not denying their behavior or their past because it's too traumatic for them to see....Denial for them is just another tool in their manipulation arsenal to NEVER take responsibility for their own actions. If you question this watch this video....it's eye opening and done by a man that KNOWS what he is talking about.

For me probably because reality was always distorted...I have always since I was little wanted to understand the why of everything. I have  to understand how things work, why they work that way, etc. When coming OOTF I made a promise to myself to seek the truth...the whole truth and nothing but the truth. You see I do believe that there is truth...some people will tell you there is no such thing as absolute truth....I say BS....there is truth. I don't want to believe things because they make me feel better....let me say that again...lol...I don't want to believe things because they make me feel better....I want to know the truth. I want it, I crave it, even if it's ugly. It all began with me on a journey of truth when I accepted Jesus Christ into my life and asked him to show me the truth about why my anxiety and mental health were so bad....almost immediately after I began my journey OOTF. I am still on that journey...and it's been traumatic, agonizing, and the truth has been very ugly to face. Things I had been taught about PD's and the why and how they work was just not lining up with what I was seeing.

So as much as I truly care for everyone on here and I do...this thread for me is about truth. I know there are many people that will not be able to get past the cognitive dissonance surrounding this ugly truth. As normal and good people many of us cannot wrap our mind around the fact that a human being could be so cruel without good reason to be or while being aware of it. This is just not the case...these people act willfully and maliciously and will stop at nothing to have things their way and if you don't go along with the rules they choose and decide, they will destroy you. They will do so with smear campaigns, gaslighting, etc....they refuse to submit to the rules or to other people ever...everything is a struggle for power (even over their poor helpless children). One of the most eye opening things for me is they refuse to submit to anyone and especially God...my NM breaks the 10 commandments on a probably hourly basis  :stars: Then she'll tell you she only did so because you forced her too..... :blink: People do not control entire families with FOG for decades because they lack self awareness...they control and damage because they are MASTER's of the craft of manipulation, brainwashing, and changing reality  all around them. Do these sound like the actions of poor wounded person just in denial?????????? These disorders are on the rise and will continue to be because we deny the truth of what they really are...Okay I need a break....Thanks for your comments all and love and hugs to all of you  :)

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Psuedonym

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Re: Narcissistic Parents Lack Self Awareness....a falsehood that's damaging
« Reply #16 on: September 09, 2018, 09:57:55 PM »
Hey LSK1999,

I have long felt the lack of awareness is bullshit, mainly for the reason that others have pointed out: they're very careful about who sees them at their worst/truest selves. The only people whoever saw it with my uBPD possibly N M were me and my F. Whenever mine tells me not to bring my bf with me, I know its because she intends to go into whiny, leechy, angry victim mode, and she's embarrassed to do it in front of him. (I also make sure to bring him with me when she does that, or course). She's also very careful about selectively forgetting things and then bringing them up later when it suits her. I think in their heads they justify their actions, but at least in my Ms case, she is absolutely aware of what her behavior looks and sounds like.

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StayWithMe

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Re: Narcissistic Parents Lack Self Awareness....a falsehood that's damaging
« Reply #17 on: September 09, 2018, 10:56:10 PM »
Thank you for writing this. I've wondered this for many years..
If it is totally beyond their control, why do PDs never throw tantrums/abuse/fits/your descriptor here  during
Church events
Parent teacher conferences
In line at the grocery store
?????
You get my drift. The very fact that these episodes only happen in the home or in private with their most vulnerable family members, means that they have control over their actions.

If anyone here has an anecdote where a public display of abuse verbal or physical, please let me know and I will revise my hypothesis.

The irony that I find is that if my mother does try some out in public and I resist --effectively threatening to make a scene --, then she'll switch gears.  And quite often won't try it again.

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LSK1999

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Re: Narcissistic Parents Lack Self Awareness....a falsehood that's damaging
« Reply #18 on: September 10, 2018, 10:41:56 AM »
Hey LSK1999,

I have long felt the lack of awareness is bullshit, mainly for the reason that others have pointed out: they're very careful about who sees them at their worst/truest selves. The only people whoever saw it with my uBPD possibly N M were me and my F. Whenever mine tells me not to bring my bf with me, I know its because she intends to go into whiny, leechy, angry victim mode, and she's embarrassed to do it in front of him. (I also make sure to bring him with me when she does that, or course). She's also very careful about selectively forgetting things and then bringing them up later when it suits her. I think in their heads they justify their actions, but at least in my Ms case, she is absolutely aware of what her behavior looks and sounds like.

Yes....YES...to all of this and for me I'm learning all their tactics and it's mind boggling to watch these people at work. They truly have mastered the art of manipulation. Whenever I brought up horrible things my NM had done to me she would blatantly deny ever saying them....one day I brought up a time when she called me fat in front of the entire family at a holiday dinner...my favorite is how they act appalled..."I would never say something like that." She knows damn well she said it...and the last time I brought up something cruel she had done she played the same fake innocence and I swear to you I'm not making this up....she gaslighted and denied said something to that effect..."NO I would NEVER say that about you". I glanced over as she was turning away and she had a small smile on her lips and a satisfied look on her face.....it felt like ice settled into my veins. I realized in that moment that I was not dealing with what I thought I was...I was dealing with someone that was beyond cold and was very calculating in what they did. I also believe that my NM takes great pleasure in the ability she has to overpower and control.

The funny thing is while N's are slippery as an eel and quite cunning in what they do, they actually totally give away the truth in the things they say and do, but when we are blind to the truth we will never see it. I would be willing to bet each and everyone of us has evidence staring them in the face of the truth about how calculated this all actually is, but refuses to accept it. Great examples are given here and thanks for all the comments about how they choose who to show their mask off side to, this very much speaks to the purposefulness of their behavior. For me my NM said things repeatedly that showed me she took joy in what she did and I was so caught up in the lies at the time I couldn't see them. Countless examples pop into my head but one that should have jarred me into the reality of it was one day and yes she actually said this...she told my fiance right in front of me that she could cause a rift in his and I relationship if she wanted to and she said this with a sick and perverted smile on her face. We were both confused at the time by this comment and it made us look at each other oddly, God Bless my fiance he said to her "There is nothing you could say to me about her that would make me stop loving her." She was clearly put off by his comments and angry, but she quickly changed topic.

The ugly truth....she knew she had control over me and she found pleasure in feeling like she could destroy it if she wanted. We both look back on that comment now flabbergasted at how telling it really was and what that really said about who she is and how she operates. I think it's too hard for any of us to accept the fact that people like this exist, let alone people we love. I'm here to tell you....if you have a N parent your being played like a fiddle...and they know exactly how to do it...and it's all in the name of power and control and winning and fooling. More sadistic types (my NM) actually enjoy this power to make you dance like a puppet. Not all N are sadistic....but they do all use people as a means of exploitation to get what they want and it's typically attention, attention, attention. They don't care if it's negative or positive, the just want it.  :stars:

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coyote

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Re: Narcissistic Parents Lack Self Awareness....a falsehood that's damaging
« Reply #19 on: September 10, 2018, 01:38:20 PM »
I understand the pain brought on by a Narcissistic person, especially a parent when the pain is inflicted on a helpless child. Short of mind reading though I don't think that we can know another's mind or intentions. A lot of people, including doctors, have opinions on whether or not PD's actually "know" and "choose" their behavior. I would put forth the possibility that no one would put themselves through the kind of hell PDs suffer of their own volition. Of course this is just my opinion. I would caution though against presenting opinions as facts.

As an adult I live by the creed that no one can hurt me unless I allow it. In this manner I take responsibility for myself. I take responsibility for my boundaries and enforcing consequences when they are violated. Of course this is just what works for me
How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.
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The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Do you understand?
Capt. Jack Sparrow

Choose not to be harmed and you wonít feel harmed. Donít feel harmed and you havenít been. -Marcus Aurelius