In my first blog on this subject, I discussed how Narcissists use their children as pawns in the Narcissist’s game of payback against the target. Narcissists hate us that much that they will do what it takes to turn the children against us.
Since I wrote that blog, I have learned so much more regarding Narcissists and how they use children against us. I wanted to dive further into what can happen when the children born of the relationship are exposed to continuous negativity that the Narcissists spew out.
Deflection and Absorption
In my first blog, Children As Pawns, I mentioned how my NX deflected his own bad behavior onto my daughter. She was only 6 years old at the time. Narcissists do not take any responsibility and will blame anyone and everyone.
Children will also absorb many of the Narcissist's traits. I find this to be a very insidious form of abuse, towards both the children and us. Why? Because when the children absorb the Narcissist’s traits and behaviors, then express those traits and behaviors in our presence, it is exactly like the Narcissists are in the room with us.
I remember one summer a few years ago when I had a visit with my children, my daughter was evidently displaying some of that absorption I mentioned. We were set to do something, but it didn’t happen the way I had initially thought it would. She said, “Daddy’s right. You’re a liar.” She was only 7 years old at the time. I had said to her, “No sweetheart. I am not a liar. What I said would happen, still happened. It just happened in a different way.”
I recently read Co-Parenting with a Toxic Ex by Amy JL Baker and she discussed what she termed a loyalty conflict. This is when the toxic parent pressures the children into choosing them and rejecting you. They essentially badmouth you to the children, so the children will learn to see you as the bad guy. This, in turn, could lead to the children disrespecting you (as my daughter did to me that summer) and change the way they view you.
“When children do give in to the pressure to choose a side, this can lead to problems for them both in the short run and over the course of their lives. For one thing, they have lost a relationship with someone who can provide them with unique and valuable benefits.”
Baker goes on to say that the children will end up losing because to choose one parent (the NX) over the other (you), means losing out on knowing and being loved by you. The more the Narcissists talk bad about us to the children, the more the children will begin to see us in a bad light and turn more towards the Narcissists.
I truly feel that my NX created a loyalty conflict within my children, particularly my daughter. Lately, she has shown subtle signs of conflicted feelings. There are times (like in December when I saw her over Skype) that she seemed to be more interested in other things (like the gifts I gave the kids for the holiday) than talking to me. Other times, like when I recently talked to the children over the phone, they were happy to talk to me. My daughter even opened up to me a little about something that happened at school.
However, for the most part, I do not talk to my children. I truly feel like this is because he has ingrained into them that Mommy needs to call them. In fact, the NX has told me on more than one occasion that it’s my responsibility to always do the calling.
Not in the best interest of the children
When the Narcissists do something, they claim it’s in the best interest of the children. My NX has moved so many times since my discard, claiming it’s for employment opportunities. However, all of that moving around has caused a severe lack of stability in my daughter’s educational life. She has just completed her SEVENTH school in 6 years!
Furthermore, the Narcissists will claim that being in constant contact with the other parent will cause the children to “miss them” more or feel confused. My NX has told me many times over that the children do not call me or leave messages often because that will make them miss me more. And as recently as a few months ago, he said that since the children will be having a new stepmother soon, that I had better step up and be a better mother to the children. He claimed that the children have what they need and want in a mother from the NS.
No, it is not in the best interest of the children to purposely keep them away from the other parent. Communication between parent and child goes both ways. I can call them, yes. But my daughter knows my phone number. She can easily pick up the phone, too, and dial my number. Once again though, it boils down to the loyalty conflict that Baker talked about in her book. My NX shows the children such a grand time with him (taking them places he knows I never could) that the children have no choice but to stay loyal to him, and choose him over me.
“A good father does not abuse his children’s mother. A man’s abuse of a mother proves in itself that he is not thinking or caring adequately about what is good for the children.”
As I stated in my first blog on this, the best thing you can do for your children is to always be there for them. Be there in whatever way you can. For me, it’s writing them letters, staying in touch with their school teachers, listening to them when I do talk to them on the phone or see them on Skype.
The more you are there for them, the more they will see it. They will see your consistency. Show them that there will always be one parent who won’t judge, criticize, put down, demean or belittle them. The more you treat your children with love, understanding, and patience, the more they will see the differences between you and the Narcissist.
What are your thoughts about Narcissists using children as pawns? Comment below. And as always, I appreciate you for sharing your stories with me.
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Greetings, my warrior survivor friends! Welcome to my blog. I'm Julianna, the owner and creator of this site. Check out the My Story section to read about why I started this blog. Thanks for stopping in. And feel free to comment on any post, share your own thoughts and stories. I would love to hear from you!
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The content of this site is told from the blog author/owner's personal experience of dealing with a male Narcissist. Narcissists, psychopaths and sociopaths are both male and female, and come from all walks of life. Furthermore, the content contained herein is not intended to be a replacement for medical or legal counsel. This blog's sole purpose is to provide support to those who have endured Narcissistic and Emotional Abuse.