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What kind of parents cause narcissism?
My Grandparents. Gerorge and Mildred created an environmental formula for Narcissism. Personally, I didn’t even know what Narcissism really was. I thought it was loving oneself a little too much. Conceited. When really, a Narcissist doesn’t love themselves or anyone else in the true sense of the word. It wasn’t until my mom insisted there was “something wrong with me” and that I was “crazy” that I decided to see a psychotherapist. My mom actually agreed to pay for my therapy, which made me feel maybe she was right and there is something horribly wrong with me-due to the fact my mom is an Irish German American who brings thrifty/cheap to a whole new level. She can squeeze a penny until it screams.
My therapist listened to my stories, asked questions about further family background and ultimately said
“you’re not crazy”
Me: “ are you sure, cause my mother really thinks so!”
“you’re mom fucked You up, but you’re not crazy”
Hmmmm. I was deep in the Narcissistic abuse, I thought maybe my therapist was crazy. Narcissist? What is this guy talking about?! My mom barely takes care of herself. She cuts her own hair always has, wears no makeup, her clothes are always too tight, she’s always carrying at least 20 extra pounds, but more like 50, she’s not the tidiest person- I could go on- my therapist wasn’t really getting through to me on this…I actually thought my mom might be autistic, she seemed so SIMPLE minded in my formative years; she acted so helpless like she couldn’t understand things and NEEDED me to explain things to her, do them for her, go places with her, and understand that she couldn’t go places with me-like the dr- cause she was tired, she didn’t like the bus, she didn’t like the waiting room, it was too much time and money… I had a ready defense for any criticism the therapist threw my mothers way. He would say, in a condescending manner “you’re really very sweet.” I knew I was missing something, he was clearly talking down to me with that sweet stuff .
But, then I discovered this forum. Once I began reading how narcissistic parents effected(affected?) their children…and some of the behaviors these children of Narcissist’s engaged in- uh oh-I could suddenly see my life through their experiences.
It was like a lightbulb went off.
Suddenly I could a little bit, maybe, sort of, kinda, understand why my therapist’s favorite line was “you have to move out.” This was horribly frustrating. I had been having a series of surgeries, spinal for CSF leaks, Brain for hydrocephalus, abdominal for many reasons, etc, and had to suddenly retire from teaching at a young age due to illness, I’m in dire financial straits currently and I’m still very sick(but may finally be on a treatment that will help with a paralyzing autoimmune disease CIDP.)
Anyway! Reading more and more about Narcissistic Parents I’m starting to understand why my mom never believed I was sick as a kid-simply because she didn’t want me to be and it was inconvenient. Me being sick didn’t live up to the image she had of me and could affect my usefulness. My mom did try to beat the sickness out of me, but it didn’t take. She tried to shame me into not being sick, it didn’t take. The one thing she didn’t try to do was to take me to Drs and help establish I was sick, what it was and get me help. I was not allowed to ask what I had or anything about my condition growing up, eventually I forgot I had a spinal issue. I was born with spina biffida, which was a HUGE CLUE as to what my issue was, there was NO follow up on it or even routine physical therapy. I was so upset, but still unsure, maybe she just didn’t know and the medical knowledge was rare at the time, there was no internet…so I hunted down and bought medical texts and books from the 70’s lol. Yes I did! I was not giving up on my mom easily. Ugh. The facts were there, even back then; a child born with Spina Biffida should have been followed by a neurologist and needed regular physical therapy. None of which I received. I was treated like a physically able child, made to walk everywhere even though I could NOT keep up. I was in sports. I excelled, when my body couldn’t take it any more in High School I was SHAMED by parent. I ALWAYS had to be in first place and now that I wasn’t, I was nothing. I was a student with 100% attendance and all A’s-but it was more logical in her mind that I was defiant then that I was actually sick as I began to miss days of school.
So…why was my mom this way?? What was the deal with my grandparents? I had to know. George and Mildred Schneider. This was a dour couple(see wedding pic)
From my understanding there are two major influences leading to The formulation of Narcissist Personality: Coddling and Neglect/Abuse. My grandparents used a combination of both when raising their kids. With their first son Gary it’s safe to say he was coddled by Mildred, she called him her “little prince” she dressed him in a little sailors suit, took him to photographers all over NYC for glamour shots, head shots, she was CONVINCED he should be in the movies. She also named all her children after actors or characters: Gary James, Gary Cooper/James Cagney, Janet Virginia, Janet Leigh/Virginia Lee, Gerard Vincent(I forget which actors he’s named for sorry.) she took them all for headshots. My grandmother loved the movies, she loved glamour, she wanted her kids in movies and to live a more glamorous lifestyle. Grandma was most persistent with my uncle Gary, her Golden Child, who my grandfather began to make fun of as a sissy and Nancy Boy for the way my grandmother dressed and coddled him. My mom was only allowed to wear dresses and had her hair in fat sausage curls like Shirley Temple, this was hard for her as she really was a Tom boy-but not allowed to be one. Her mothers image of who she wanted her to be was more important than my mothers individual personality and esteem needs. My mom was dressed like a little princess but said she was not treated like one? It was her job from an early age to clean the house, make everyone’s bed, do laundry, no one taught her, she learned on her own and still makes unusual laundry mistakes from how she taught herself to do it at such a young age. In fact, you can never help my mom with anything really, she can NEVER be corrected. If she is doing something? Then that’s the right way to do it, and the only way-even If it is incorrect. It was also mom’s job to take care of her little brother Gerry. Gerry did need looking after and more care than the average child may have needed. Gerry was born with a cleft palette and no soft palette, he required several blood transfusions when he was born. The tragically sick part of this, is my uncle Gary had been born with the same condition in a hospital and received immediate medical attention. For UNKNOWN(but we can all speculate) REASONS my grandmother chose to have home births after my uncle Gary who in their right mind would start having home births after having a child with serious medical issues? Why take such a risk???!!! My Grandmother was not right. I have never heard a good story about my grandmother EVER being told by anyone. Not family. Not neighbors.
My uncle Gerry never learned how to take care of himself. He was my grandfathers Golden Child, they had similar interests in sports, women and drinking. Uncle Gerry had everything done for him until he was in his 20’s. His parents, although they never verbally expressed so, likely did feel guilt for his situation and decided to make it worse by never putting any limits on him. Then one day my grandmother decided to cut him off. It was a huge fight. And he was really not equipped to take care of himself. He lead a very hard life. He was an adult, who had never bought a pair of underwear, or done laundry. He did buy his own clothes eventually, but never did laundry; he just piled up all his dirty clothes and bought new ones for the next 50 years. Never cleaned. Had to be told to shower repeatedly. And yet, he worked on Wall Street, if he learned a number or statistic he had it memorized for life. He was a mathematical genius, but he was also the most lost person I have ever known. People would ask my if my uncle was a Vietnam Vet; he was similar to a Veteran of foreign wars, only his war was fought at home and in his head. ***their parents belittle my mom as his caretaker, she was his primary caretaker but he was taught not to listen to her over time and disrespect her in the same manner their parents did. When they were much older, she would only acknowledge him to yell at him and I noticed she stood out of arms reach, we can guess what happened, but the result was she never went physically close to him again. She was all he had, and the parents built a wedge between them. It was very sick and very sad. He desperately wanted connections and relationships but did not know how to form healthy ones. He had a tremendous need to be admired. To the point he gave away a lot of money. If he needed a ride to the subway, he would need to give something away for the favor, he gave his friend a signed Willie Mayes bat for a car ride. He gave a woman he didn’t really know 30,000 to go to law school with the promise she would always take care of him- never heard from the woman again. He always made grand gestures to strangers, it was so desperately sad to me. He led with his wallet trying to buy love.
***promisary note from one of his attempts to connect or even love bomb who knows?
I noticed over the years that my grandparents didn’t want their children to get along. How hideous!!! Sadly. My mom adopted this tactic to some degree. My mom calls my Brother and I “YOU TWO” and feels we “gang up on her” she complained she often felt “outnumbered” by us. She did use divide and conquer tactics while raising us. She didn’t want us to be united-against her. I never understood why she thought we were against her. We were her greatest supporters as kids. From my perspective. I helped out around the house. I did resent overhearing her speaking to her friends in a bragging manner about all she “gets me to do for her without complaint.” For my allowance of $20 a week I was expected to cook dinner on week nights, clean the house, keep an eye on my brother, feed the cats, and a few other this and that’s. My mom took us both to get jobs once we turned 12 and I still maintained my chores. I became a babysitter and mother’s helper for $3 an hour(when I was older I resented that my mom had set my prices and so low! Most kids charged $5 an hour. God forbid I have too much money I might leave lol.) I do think narcissistic parents instill fear and anxiety in their kids so they are less likely to leave them, she didn’t need to keep me at the poverty level in my opinion. My brother? Maybe lol, the minute he had money together he moved out and distanced himself. It was a smart move. He had to do it secretly, she was livid for a long time after he moved out. The day he moved out she threw out anything he left behind in his room she was so mad. She would rage for months after he moved out, calling him an ingrate. It was a normal growing up process. Me I didn’t really commit to moving out, I was a coward. I let her think I was still living here while sleeping elsewhere and coming “home” at 6 am getting dressed for work and leaving before anyone else. I was a puss puss afraid to rock the crazy boat.
Back to the Narc maker, My grandmother had a lot of “quirks” I have heard stories of her wanting things, being told NO and her then deciding to steal these things. She always wanted things. She was obsessed with living a certain way. We have designer clothes and hats that were hers and are preserved in plastic-she loved Maiden Lane in nyc, she filled her house with items from Tiffany’s, she had elaborate furniture that barely fits in the rooms they are in, there are no less than 8 tea sets, she was obsessed with items for entertainment. She was always putting on a grand show, but my mom tells me they used to have to scramble through draws looking for loose change at times cause my grandmother never budgeted(my mom is horrendously thrifty to this day, sometimes she will eat spoiled food rather than throw it away.) My grandmother was not very kind to my mom in particular. She used to sabotage her. She would speak poorly of my mom in order to be seen in a better light or gain greater sympathy, sympathy was like a drug to this woman she craved it like it was her next fix of heroin. God forbid you deny her a fix, she would turn on you viciously. I found one of my moms old report cards in a draw-no one ever throws anything out between my uncles and mom- in the parents comments she said something like “Janet likes to keep her brain shiny and new like the day she got it.” Omg. Wow. Telling the teacher your kid doesn’t like to use their brain…? As a teacher myself, I ALWAYS hated parents like this, the kid instantly won my sympathy when I saw this type of sabotaging behavior. My grandmother experienced some type of early dementia. Things were not good. Of course she didn’t go to Drs, and no one took her to one once she was mentally declining. This family was so indoctrinated on keeping their secrets, especially the abusive secrets.
Once my grandmother began having episodes of dementia, she would slip out of the house. My neighbor told me a particularly sad story of finding my grandmother in front of her home appearing very scared begging for help stating “he’s going to hurt me, please, help me” repeating a litanty of those pleas. The neighbor walked her back home *facepalm* to “him.”
My grandfather was a customs inspector. He worked the Brooklyn Docks. George always said you can tell who is trying to smuggle something into the country because they will leave their dirty underwear on top trying to discourage your search-look for the dirty underwear in plain sight. People always try to hide what they are ashamed of, when people act contrary to their nature, pay attention.” My grandfather was a tall man for his era, at 6’3” he towered over most people. He was also a vicious drunk. I can’t imagine the things they went through when he was young. Strong and drunk. As kids, when my grandfather would get smashed and fall and not be able to get back up, he would lay for hours where he fell and curse and sometimes sing sea shanties. My brother and I would lay in bed and giggle at all the bad words. He probably was not much fun my mom and uncles growing up. They give all the indications that they don’t have true empathy, I imagine it was something along the lines of “thank god it’s not MY TURN tonight” they have learned to ignore others suffering to an alarming degree. A young child’s survival method might be to pretend what’s happening is not really happening. IF my mom has a superpower it might just be her powers of denial. This woman has pretended many things are just not happening, still does. These are the things that make me hate her. As a young child you could tell her how afraid you were of a certain adult and she would pretend like she didn’t know what you were taking about. If you had the balls to bring it up again and ask for help, she would ACT like it was the first time she was hearing about it and once again pretend it didn’t happen or was discussed.
I feel I may have slipped in and out of the past a bit too much telling this one. Sorry for any confusion. Basically, there are certain parental types leading to narcissistic children/adults. They are neglectful, or abusive, often overly domineering and suppress natural independent inclinations in their children. They overly coddle in some cases, they do so much for a child that the child doesn’t see the parent as a person just a delivery system and there is a real loss of empathy. IN the case of my family, there are other issues in addition to narcissism, such as, sociopathy and even one psychopath. These people never saw therapists. They think there is NOTHING wrong with them. My therapist scared the piss out of me by stating my brother is raising one of his children with sociopathic tendencies. The worst part of narcissistic parents are the lasting mental health gifts they bestow on their children. For me. I’m now an extremely anxious person, with PTSD. Sucks. I’m working on getting stronger and back to who I was before moving back home full time.
**I will be adding the report card pic as well.