When you are involved with a narcissist, the effects on you are bad enough, but when you have children with one, it is truly a sad situation. This is the case because the children will eventually suffer the same abuse that you do as soon as they develop their own thoughts and opinions on life. So if you decide stay involved in a relationship or marriage with a narcissist, you must become aware of the harsh reality that your children will become the sacrificial lambs.
Whilst they are still young, the narcissist views the children as little extensions of him or herself and their image. The children are a grand source of narcissistic supply because whilst young, they idolize that parent. During this stage, there is no difference in views or clash of opinions. However, as soon as they grow and become little independent thinkers, all bets are off! The narcissist parent pushes his or her views onto them and expects the children think and behave exactly they way he or she does. If the narcissist does not value a particular sport or activity, the child will not get to play or engage in it. If the narcissist has certain beliefs of what job that child should have someday, he or she expects the child to pursue no other career.
The narcissistic parent will often try to have the children team up with them to abuse the other parent. They put false notions into the children’s impressionable minds that the other parent is lacking in some way. In my case, my narcissist would try to make me out to be “no fun” to the children, which couldn’t be further from the truth. He would repeatedly try to make me out to be the “bad guy” so that the children would see him as the “good guy.” The burden of the disciplinarian was always put upon my shoulders. When I tried to have any kind of order, he found it hilarious to try to create chaos just to rattle me. Then he would turn around and blame me for the very chaos he cheerfully created. He hardly ever was on my side and usually let the kids get away with bad behavior because he wanted to be the “fun dad.” Then when I would try to get the kids to behave, he would say that I was being too harsh. He didn’t back me up, which is what good team parenting should always do.
The narcissist wants the children to “love them more” and to act as his or her minions. The narcissist is so insecure that s/he is desperate for validation and needs to feel like the children needs them more. However, the children frequently find themselves struggling to identify with that parent because of the strings-attached love.
I could see that my little ones often felt unheard and inconsequential, and tense in the presence of their narcissist father. My six-year-old son would try to tell his daddy something about his day and the narcissist would just say “Uh huh, that’s great” without actually hearing what my son was telling him. My narcissist would not even try to really listen to the children, then he would talk over them. He always interrupted them and me. I could never get a word in edge wise. It drove me to the brink daily. Finally, I just stopped trying to even talk anymore, because it was just easier not to.
While staying in a relationship with a narcissist, the children will inevitably pick up on the abuse you suffer even if they are not yet the targets. It is unavoidable that the children will notice subtle hints of your suffering, no matter how hard you attempt to hide it. They will witness you walking on eggshells, they will see how you strive to avoid conflicts with Daddy or Mommy. They will learn how to play the game. Those eager little learners will eventually observe how they have to “perform” in order to reduce the negative reactions of the narcissist parent. And even more tragically, they may also learn from the narcissist parent how to manipulate others to bow down to their will. Regardless, the result of staying in a narcissistic relationship has terrible consequences to the children. Either they will be taught how to become the perfect victim for narcissistic abuse or they will become narcissistic abusers themselves.
This was a big reason why I chose to leave. I had to save my children from being groomed to be future victims of narcissists, or becoming narcissists themselves. I realized that leaving my narcissist was the only option if I wanted to save my children. At least they will spend the majority of their time with healthy, unconditionally loving relationships, which will help make up for the little amount of time that they have to spend with their soul sucking, emotionally absent father.