A narcissist will do everything and anything in order to preserve the False Self, even at the expense of the people who are supposed to be important to them and loved by them. If you know anything about NPD, then you already know that they are incapable of loving. Therefore, that first statement I made about the people they loved is not quite right.
What I’m trying to say is that people who do know how to love and actually love and care for other people, they would never dare do something detrimental to those they hold dear, especially their children.
But narcissists cannot bond and do not know how to love and since they feel no empathy or compassion, people for them are nothing else than an extension of themselves, a possession (like a piece of furniture or an appliance, something to use when needed and discard when not or they no longer have a use for them,) and most especially, an instrument for boosting their egos, to constantly adore them, provide undivided attention, and not question them.
They will lie, cheat, deceive, and do whatever it takes to preserve that false image they project to the world. They’ll do this at their coworkers’ expense, partners’ expense, their spouse’s expense, parents, even their children. Yes, their children. And that includes babies and toddlers.
My husband forcefully took our 2-year old daughter to his parents’ for dinner a few days ago. Our daughter doesn’t like going there. I can’t blame her. They give her overwhelming attention for the initial 10 to 15 minutes and then they don’t even seem to remember she’s there. They won’t feed her, clean her, change her diapers, nothing.
While my in-laws may not be obligated to do any of this, my daughter’s father should and he doesn’t, either. Once he’s there, he wants to be the center of attention and he’ll try to take over all the conversations. I think that when they were growing up, my mother-in-law might have not paid too much attention to him since she was fully devoted to my brother-in-law. My brother-in-law moved out of state many years ago. Basically, his wife gave him an ultimatum: He had to choose between her and their daughters, or his mother (my mother-in-law) who was constantly getting in their lives. As a result, they moved many states away. The funny thing is that my mother-in-law can still control his son from miles away. She has even showed up unannounced. Yes, you read that right. She and her husband (my father-in-law) have driven to “surprise” them. I might post more about that in a future post since it can show how narcissists can be.
Going back to my husband taking our daughter to my in-laws’, when he finally got back (later than what he said he would, which put our daughter’s bedtime routine upside-down, I could tell our daughter was still distressed. She came running to me and got glued to my leg for the rest of the evening, not wanting me to get out of her sight.
As soon as my husband crossed the door with her, he started to give me an endless description of the evening. He proceeded to say how well she behaved, how she didn’t cry, how she ate everything, how she had been playing and running around, and how she had put her shoes on by herself. (By the way, the shoes were in the wrong foot. At first, I thought he had put the shoes on since he hardly ever pays attention and has put the wrong shoe in the wrong foot more than once. Whether he helped her to put her shoes on or she did on her own, he failed once again to check if they were in the right foot. But I wasn’t surprised.)
The one thing that ended up upsetting me the most, but it wasn’t until the following day, was the fact that he was so eager to tell me how much she had eaten. I had my doubts because she never wants to eat her grandmother’s food. (I can’t blame her. I don’t like her cooking, either. And I had gotten sick with my mother-in-law’s food more than once.) That night, my daughter woke up a few times clearly hungry. I gave her some milk and that helped. The following day, she was not in the best of moods. My daughter is an easy-going child. I can’t complain. If she cries and complains, she’s clearly in pain or something is going on.
My mother called me at some point at work and told me that my daughter had been distressed and not happy until my mom decided to give her an early lunch. By early lunch I mean 9:30 AM. She ate as much as she usually does for lunch. After that, she started to resemble her usual self a little more. However, she kept on going to the kitchen and wanting to get in her chair. So my mother decided to give her lunch again around 11:00 AM. Not only she ate all her food, but my mom had to give her some snacks, crackers, and other things. In short, my daughter spent most of the day eating.
This proved to me that my husband had lied. When my daughter doesn’t have a proper dinner, she tends to get grumpy and eats more during the morning. The day before, my daughter had not eaten as much. Add to that the fact that she didn’t have dinner, no doubt she was that hungry.
That night, I mentioned on the fly that our daughter had been eating more than usual and that both my mom and I were surprised. At this point, I asked my husband directly and with not beating at the bush whether she had eaten anything at all. Guess what happened: My husband changed his recount of the night before.
These narcs cannot even stick to their own lies and stories. He started to tell me how he had said to me that our daughter had not eaten. I clearly remembered that he had made a point to let me know how much she had eaten the night before.
There is nothing that will stop these narcs from preserving this image of themselves that they have created. People do everything for their children. We’ve seen it through history. They even give their lives so their children can live. But not a narc. Unless there’s something in it for them.
Why would anybody lie about something like that? At his own daughter’s expense. I’m still outraged while writing this because if he would lie about her eating, what else is he going to lie about? Especially now that our daughter cannot communicate properly, he might think it’s easy to hide the truth. But our daughter will eventually start to share her experiences, or at least that’s what I hope. Until then, I have to keep my antennas on so I can pick up any clues when it comes to our daughter. I shouldn’t have to do that. No parent should have to do that. Normal parents will let the other parent know if the child is okay or needs anything. They worry, even if their marriage is no longer so. Many divorced parents will still report to the other parent because they may not love their children’s parent anymore, but they still love their children and they would go to the end of the world for them. We cannot expect such thing from a narcissist.
I’m going to risk sounding arrogant or condescending in the next paragraph, but I need to get it out of my system. I’ve come to the conclusion that I will have to do most of the parenting because, unfortunately, my husband is a child himself and you can’t expect an immature child to take care of another child responsibly. Well, it’s not a child’s job to take care of another child or a parent anyway. And that’s another thing that I started to think about lately: Will my daughter have to play parent to her own father? She shouldn’t have to. It’s not her job. No child should be doing the parenting his or her grandparents failed to do concerning the child’s own parent. Same way a spouse should not have to parent a partner because his or her parent-in-law failed to do so. It’s not fair.
That’s how I hope I can raise my own child. Whether she gets married or not it’s out of my control and only God knows if that’s going to happen to her. I want to raise her in full knowledge that, whatever I fail to teach her and parent her about, her partner will be stuck having to deal with the consequences and that’s not fair towards said partner. But even if she doesn’t get married, her bosses, coworkers, friends, etc., should not have to do the parenting that I may fail to do. That’s not their jobs or responsibility. That’s my responsibility.
I’ve lived through the consequences of my mother-in-law not parenting my husband. The narcissism is part of it, but there are and were so many other things that added up to the overall result. And that’s why I’m trying to learn as much as I can about NPD because I do not want my daughter to make the same mistakes I made and I want to be a good model for her so she doesn’t fall prey to people who would want to use her, take advantage of her, or worse, abuse her. And if I can’t see my own shortcomings, how am I going to be able to teach her and give her the necessary tools to protect herself?
The dinner incident of the other day also gave me a small glimpse of what is going to happen once the divorce is final. I won’t be there to protect my daughter, to comfort her, to help her. The saddest thing is that her father won’t be there, either. He will be there physically, but he won’t be present. And I don’t know what is worse: A parent that is there but is not there, or a parent who is completely out of your life. I personally believe the latter is better. I grew up without a father and I didn’t have to go back and forth between homes. While it was hard for me while growing up to understand why I didn’t have a father, in retrospect, I’m glad that’s the way it was for me.
I will also have to have faith that God will protect her and show me the way to better provide for her. I’m still struggling with my faith. I many times doubt God after what has happened to me. I sometimes ask myself why did He allow for all of this to happen to me, to my mother—because she’s also been badly affected by what happened to me, as well as the things my husband has done to her—and whatever He’ll allow for my daughter to face. My daughter: Why would He even allow for her to be born. Yes, I must confess that I sometimes wonder and ask myself that question. Do not get me wrong: I love my daughter more than my own life. My point is why did He allow for a child to have to go through this. I understand that He uses people as His instruments. But is it fair for that child?
Like my best friend told me a couple of days after I got served the divorce papers: Sometimes God brings two people together only for the purpose of creating life and bringing a beautiful child to the world. I think my friend is right. But is it fair for the child to have to grow up with two parents who hate each other? Who don’t want to talk to each other? Who would probably not deal with each other hadn’t it been for the fact that they share a child?
All I want for my daughter is that she feels protected and cared for. I do not want her to be hurt by my husband’s and my own shortcomings. Of course, you can’t and shouldn’t protect your child to the point that they will not be capable of taking care of themselves as adults. But my point is that no child should be used as an instrument for a narc’s devious, immature, selfish purposes.
There’s a saying in Spanish, as follows,
La mentira tiene patas cortas
The literal translation for that is that lies have short legs. What happens when something or someone has short legs? Their pace is shorter. Shorter paces take you shorter distances. In other or English words, lies won’t take you too far. Eventually, the truth prevails and comes out. Just like it happened with my husband’s lies about our daughter having eaten. She got hungry. That’s out of his control. And just like with that, other things start to come up sooner or later. There’s so much time the narcissist can keep his or her stories straight. The mask will fall at one or another point and you will see the truth. Light beats darkness. Darkness does not survive in the light. Narcissists are like darkness and, as soon as you shed light on them, they go into narcissistic rage. You saw through their act and the image they have created needs to be protected at all cost.
Anyway, while going through the divorce, I sometimes doubt he will get what he deserves. But he will in the long run. And so will do all the narcissists out there. We reap what we sow. With the way narcissists reap, they are bound to sow everything they fear the most, things such as abandonment, rejection, shame, being ignored, disrespected, exposed, unsuccessful, and losing power and control. The latter is the reason why they end up discarding us: Because they can no longer control us. That’s what I keep praying to God about: That He grants my daughter the strength of character that I never had so she can stand up for herself, even to her own father, as well as His protection, so she doesn’t get harm and grows up to be a happy, responsible, and complete human being who respects herself and those around her, something that her father doesn’t know how to do.