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Monthly Archives: February 2017

Co-parenting with a malignant narcissist

Malignant narcissists’ come in all shapes and sizes, and are malignant in their narcissism to varying degrees. Sociopaths’ and psychopaths’ are the most malignant of narcissists’ to exist. Not all narcissists’ are psychopaths’, but all psychopaths’ are narcissistic.

Malignant narcissism destroys families, friendships, and relationships between siblings. Malignant narcissists’ are extreme trouble makers who will stop at nothing to create drama and havoc. They can be loud, or quiet, charismatic, or aloof. Some of the most dangerous malignant narcissist’s appear to have incredible emotional control, while other malignant narcissists make it very obvious to others that they have next to nil emotional control.

Children of narcissists’ live in a psychological war zone of the narcissist’s making. Not one child in the narcissistic family system will come out unscathed. Each child, whether golden, or scapegoated will come out the other side of their childhood with deeply ingrained emotional wounds, which can lead to all sorts of mental health problems, poor self esteem, low-confidence, anxiety disorders and even severe symptoms of Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Malignant narcissists’ engulf their victims’ to the point of emotional suffocation, could be described as parasitical, and live and breathe to cause destruction between family members.

Victims’ of narcissistic abuse are prone to psychotic breakdowns, and often walk out of the narcissist’s home emotionally destroyed.

The co-parenting relationship with a narcissist

Leaving a narcissist has severe ramifications. Once the narcissist’s partner leaves them, the narcissist will do everything within their power to drain their ex-partner’s resources, and to ruin their relationships with the children. They will also smear their victim’s name to friends’, and family. Nothing can ever be the narcissist’s fault, and everything must always be the victim’s fault.

The most extreme of narcissists’ fight to win, even if it means cutting their nose off to spite their face.

How trying can parenting with a narcissist be?

Co-parenting with a narcissist is extremely trying for the non-narcissistic parent, and can lead to extreme psychological damage, with victims’ often being diagnosed with Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or Panic Disorder. The debilitating triggers which arise from having Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can leave victims’ feeling catatonic for weeks at a time.

The non-narcissistic parent spends a significant amount of time wondering what the narcissist will do next. Every time they begin to move on with their life, the narcissist tends to drop an emotional bomb on them. This makes it very difficult for a victim of narcissistic abuse to move on, because the narcissist (especially those of the psychopathic kind) just will not stop taunting their prey.

Narcissist’s need to be in control of their environment, and do not want to have to stick to routines unless their is something in it for them, like a wage at the end of the week. Picking their children up for the same number of days per week, or per fortnight all year round cramps their style. Instead, the narcissist wants to be able to come and go as they please, cancel arrangements with the children so as they can work, if work comes their way, and ultimately drop the children back home to the non-narcissistic parent if something better to do comes up.

If the non-narcissistic parent isn’t careful they will have the narcissist turning up to their home to visit the children whenever they want to, not sticking to a routine, and constantly asking to chop and change visitation routines.

The non-narcissistic parent constantly feels as though they need to plug up all the holes in the boat.

Example: The narcissist breaks a boundary, and the non-narcissistic parent puts a strategy in place to make sure that the same boundary cannot be broken next time.

A pathological situation

The more malignant the narcissist, the more the individual will find it difficult to leave the non-narcissistic parent alone. These types (normally sociopathic or psychopathic) will often continue to try to push their way back into their victim’s life, or to provoke big emotions within the victim, in the hope that the victim will have a big emotional reaction.

The psychopathic malignant narcissist

The psychopathic narcissist is the most dangerous of the malignant narcissists’, and the most relentless. This narcissist will taunt the non- narcissistic parent for the entire duration of the co-parenting experience. Depending on how sneaky the psychopath is, the non-narcissistic parent most likely will not be able to prove to the authorities that they are being stalked, played with emotionally, and taunted. The psychopathic malignant narcissist plays dangerous mind games with the non- narcissistic parent, and often leaves this parent in a state of constant fear.

Some psychopaths are very obvious in their treatment of the victim, and use violence to overpower the non- narcissistic parent. However, some psychopaths are purely manipulative, psychologically dangerous, and will constantly taunt their ex-partner like a lion to a mouse.

Psychopathic narcissists’ are very rarely actually interested in their children. However, they are interested in what they can get from their children, and will often use the children as tools to get back into the non- narcissistic parent’s life, for the soul purpose of stalking, harassing and provoking the non- narcissistic parent. The psychopath wants one thing, and one thing only; to make the non-narcissistic parent’s life a living hell.

Co-parenting with a psychopathic malignant narcissist can be dangerous for the non-narcissistic parent, who often feels unsafe when handing the children over to the malignant narcissist for visitation. Sometimes the only option left after unsuccessfully trying to change over out the front of the non-narcissistic parent’s home, is to change over at the police station.

However, psychopathic narcissists’ are so pathological in their behaviour that they may even try to goad, humiliate, and intimidate the non-narcissistic parent while inside of the police station, when they think the police officer isn’t watching.

The psychopath’s favourite line is:

‘But you have no evidence.’

The co-parenting situation

A narcissist with full custody of the children will unfortunately have more power over the children than a narcissist who only sees the children on weekends. The narcissist as the main custodial parent will most likely parentally alienate the non- narcissistic parent to extreme degrees, play all sorts of nasty mind games, and be down right unfair.

A non-narcissistic primary caregiver who refuses to give into the narcissist’s unrealistic demands, and does everything within their power to keep their children safe from their emotionally dangerous narcissistic ex – partner will be victimised, stripped of their reputation, and accused of parentally alienating the narcissist from the children.

Non- narcissistic parents often feel as though the only way they can keep their children safe from the narcissist’s psychologically abusive attacks on the children, and endless bouts of irresponsible behaviour, is to limit the narcissist’s time spent with the children.

All narcissists’ are emotionally dangerous to the people around them. However, a lot of narcissists’ are responsible, and can look after children. As much as they are difficult to co-parent with, not all narcissist’s go to the lengths that some malignant narcissists’ go to in order to destroy the non-narcissistic parent. Some narcissistic parents’ are even quite happy to walk away from the co-parenting situation, and to move on to greener pastures where the narcissistic supply is more accomodating.

Than there is the narcissist who cuts the ex partner off entirely, and refuses to talk to the parent ever again, even in changeover.  This narcissist sees their children religiously weekend after weekend, without fail, and taunts the ex-partner indirectly through the children, and their other minions.

Who’s telling the truth?

The co-parenting situation between the narcissist and the non- narcissist becomes tricky when the narcissistic parent as villain claims to be the victim of narcissistic abuse from the non-narcissistic parent. The malignant narcissist as the creator of what can sometimes become a down right nightmare for the non- narcissistic parent and their children, will project their misdeeds onto the non- narcissistic parent and claim that the non-narcissistic parent is actually doing to them, what they are  actually doing to non-narcissistic parent.

When the non- narcissistic parent fights tooth and nail for the children’s mental health in court, the narcissist will feign victimhood, claim that the non-narcissistic parent is parentally alienating them (when the opposite is true) and will pretend to be the victim of an insidious narcissist with behavioural issues, and a severe anger management problem.

This inability to take responsibility for their behaviour, and to pathologically lie or deny all is why malignant narcissists’ often end up losing rights to their children. Malignant narcissists’ to this degree can end up with limited visitation in a contact centre. The arrogance of the malignant narcissist and the desire to psychologically take out their victim often leads them to shooting themselves in the foot.

The smear campaign

The smear campaign against the non-narcissistic parent is relentless. The narcissist will distort events, tell half truths, and may even spread deranged rumours about the non-narcissistic parent. The non-narcissistic parent’s reactions to the narcissist’s abuse will be talked about all over town, while the narcissist’s behaviour will always be hidden, and never mentioned.

Things really become difficult for the non-narcissistic parent in the co-parenting situation with the narcissist when the narcissist makes claims to all of their friends and family that the non-narcissistic parent is doing to them what they are actually doing to the non-narcissistic parent.

For example: narcissistic parent tells everybody,

‘I try to see my children regularly. I call them every week, and she won’t let me speak to them. I just want to be a good dad who gets to see my child play soccer on the weekends. But she’s dropped my contact to once every couple of weeks. I don’t know why she is so angry with me. She needs psychological help. ‘

What the narcissist hasn’t told their friends’ and family is that they have been stalking the non- narcissistic parent, contacting them relentlessly, ringing them to pick an argument, telling lies to the child about the non-narcissistic parent, refusing to stick to a routine, turning up at the home unannounced, and has been taunting the non-narcissistic parent with vile emails, and  hundreds of phone calls at a time.

What the personality disordered parent doesn’t tell their family or friends’ is that they have stood the children up too many times to count, often drops the children back to the non-narcissistic parent five hours too early, refuses to turn up if the surf is good, and is actually subjecting the children to mind control tactics, and other forms of psychological abuse such as mind games, and game playing on the weekends when this parent does have the children.

This is not somebody that wants close relationships with their children.

The narcissist’s co-parenting tool box of tricks

Tit for tat

The narcissist is a very sensitive person. Any perceived slight towards them will bring out in the narcissist vindictive, nasty behaviours, which are meant to deem the non-narcissistic parent as unworthy. Narcissists’ are also very calculated and are no stranger to holding grudges. If the non- narcissistic parent deeply offends them, they will take this parent for everything, including assets, the relationships they have with their children, and their emotional well-being.

Narcissists’ can be very cruel if they don’t get what they want. They don’t have any empathy, and can only think of their own distress.

How far can tit for tat go?

Child support

The malignant psychopath does not stop, must win at all costs, and desires to have complete control over their victims’. It is not unusual for a child support paying ex to change his or her child support estimates of yearly income regularly to cause angst and unease in his or her non narcissistic ex – partner. The good news is that the child support collecting parent can put a stop to this.

In Australia, incorrect income estimates can lead to a child support debt for the narcissistic parent, and a Centrelink debt for the non-narcissistic parent. The debt for the non- narcissistic parent will most likely be half of the amount of the child support paying parent’s debt.

A narcissist’s debt to an agency such as child support or Centrelink doesn’t matter to the narcissist. They don’t care, because they know that by law they are only required to pay back as much as they can afford to pay back through fortnightly instalments.

The non-narcissistic parent will also need to pay their debt back to Centrelink in fortnightly payments. However, any lump sums or reconciliation payments that they are entitled to at the end of the financial year will be withheld from Centrelink and used to pay off the debt.

If a child support receiving parent suspects that their ex is a narcissist, than they may need to consider getting child support to collect for them, and may need to look into changing their child support assessment in order to prevent the narcissist from getting them into debt in the first place.

Debts incurred while in a private collect situation cannot be retrieved by child support, because the debt is not on the Child Support Agencies record.

To recover the money owed to the child support receiving parent, the parent may need to obtain legal advice. Asking for money owed to the non-narcissistic parent from the narcissist often leads to mind games, more psychological abuse and taunting towards the non- narcissistic parent, from the narcissist.

Parental alienation

A malignant narcissist will turn the children against the alienated parent. They have no concern for the effect this will have on their children’s relationship with the alienated parent, the affect it will have on their mental health, or what is in the best interests of the child. They can only think of their own distress.

Malignant narcissists’ will use mind control tactics, and severe brainwashing strategies to destroy the children’s opinion of the parent. The malignant narcissist’s goal is to instil into their children the belief that they, the children, need to protect the alienating parent from the alienated parent.

Taunting

Malignant narcissists’ are very jealous people. If the narcissist finds out the children have a lot of fun with the non- narcissistic parent, than they will most likely punish the other parent by bagging them out, telling lies about them, or by trying to take something away from the parent that they enjoy, such as their relationship with the child.

Changeovers with a narcissistic parent can be horrendous. The parent may taunt the non- narcissistic parent by being abusive to them, laughing at them, publicly humiliating them, or by even encouraging the children to be abusive to the non-narcissistic parent.

Psychopaths, the most malignant narcissists’ of all will taunt their victims for years, just like a mouse to a cat.

A lack of consistency

Narcissists’ tend to see their children as a burden, and will only want to see the children if, and when they can fit it in. To have a routine means that they lose their control. Instead of keeping the children for the weekend, two hours may be enough for the narcissist. They will call and call until the non-narcissistic parent answers the phone, and agrees to take the children home early.

Crying babies often get brought back to the mother’s door step because the narcissistic father doesn’t want to know about it. The narcissistic parent is the fun parent, the funny parent, and loves to play kind, understanding parent for the limited time they have the children. However, if the child is sick, or in hospital, the narcissist may suddenly be nowhere to be seen.

Narcissists’ can also drop off the face of the earth without explanation, forfeit arrangements without notice, turn up late because they slept in, turn up late to wherever they go, or they may simply take off if something more interesting comes up.

Can’t take no for answer

Narcissists’ have poor boundary function and cannot take no for an answer. During visits the narcissist may make plans with the children weekly, outside of the usual routine, against the non-narcissistic parent’s wishes. This could happen for the entire duration of the co – parenting experience with the narcissist.

For example: the narcissist makes plans with the children to come and get them at a date and time that suits them, without discussing the plans with the non-narcissistic parent first. Upon return of the children the narcissist tells the non-narcissistic parent in front of the children that he or she will see the children in a few days. Of course the non-narcissistic parent says no, again. Than they end up looking like the bad guy when the time comes to tell the children.

Comes to the house without permission

Malignant narcissists’ don’t have any boundaries, and they have no problem with simply turning up at the family home without permission, happily inviting themselves in.

Stalking and harassment

Narcissists’ and psychopaths‘ are well known for their harassing and stalking type behaviours. During changeovers, the narcissist may consistently badger the parent, ask to spend time with the parent, and may not be able to handle that the other parent has moved on.

Extreme malignant narcissist’s will use changeovers to quiz the parent about their lifestyle, who they are seeing, what they are doing, and will even use the opportunity to torment the parent about their personal inadequacies.

What to do?

  • Limited contact: Do not contact the narcissist unless it involves the children. Do not expect to have a rational conversation with a narcissist. All contact should be done through email if possible, to create an email trail, which will hopefully expose some of the narcissist’s traits.
  • Relationship amnesia: Train yourself to accept that this person will never be who you need them to be. Be aware of relationship amnesia, which can happen when the narcissist is trying to hoover, love bomb, and manipulate to ensnare you, just so as they can play out the idealise, devalue, and discard routine.
  • Educate yourself on narcissism: Accept that when dealing with a narcissist you are dealing with a false self, somebody who can’t change. None of their personas are real, and they can’t be trusted. Their pretend kindness is a means to an end. 
  • Go grey rock: Become boring, refrain from being reactive, send boring responses to emails or texts, and refrain from engagement as much as possible.
  • Do everything through lawyers: If limited contact becomes too difficult to maintain, ask your lawyer to act as a go between.
  • Contact the police: Every time you are stalked or harassed, call the police. If the narcissist comes to your home uninvited, don’t answer the door, and call the police.
  • Keep a diary: Keep a diary with dates, times, and descriptions of concerning events which have taken place.
  • Move: If the narcissist makes you feel unsafe, don’t stick around. Move!

 

 

 

 

 

Please don’t upset the onlookers – no breastfeeding in public here

Research suggests that the benefits of breastfeeding are numerous, and benefit the child well into adult hood. Breast fed babies’ are reportedly protected from ear infections, often prove to have strong immunity to infection, and are less likely to be affected by infant sudden death syndrome. In 2015, Sarah Bosley, Health Editor from the Guardian reported that Brazilian researchers had recently conducted a study which concluded that there is a correlation between breast feeding and IQ.

Brazilian researcher’s followed 6000 babies from birth, for three decades. Thirty years later, approximately 3500 of the 6000 babies accepted to be interviewed by the original researchers, and agreed to sit an IQ test to support the original study. The children whom had been lucky enough to have a mother fortunate enough to breastfeed (not everybody is able to) proved to have high intelligence, had spent longer at school, and were earning higher incomes than those not breastfed.

Of course, this evidence could be disputed or debated. However, the above evidence is why a lot of mothers, ones like myself decide to feed their babies’ for as long as possible.

Chair of the Royal College of Peadiatrics and Child’s Health and Nutrition Committee, Dr Collin Michie, reiterated that everybody must ensure that mothers’ are properly supported to continue to breastfeed for long as they are able to.

There simply is not enough support from the general public to make breastfeeding a comfortable, stigma free, humiliation free experience. From what I have observed, there are those people and organisations that welcome breastfeeding mothers’ with open arms, and will even go so far as to place in their shop windows, the familiar sign, ‘Breastfeeding mothers welcome here.’ Than there are those people and organisations who behave in a very unwelcoming manner towards breastfeeding women. Unfortunately stigma is still very much attached to breastfeeding – even in 2017.

The baby’s view on breastfeeding

For my children, my breasts have meant more to them than milk, breakfast, lunch or dinner. Instead, the breast itself has officially represented to my children a place of comfort, of nurture, and complete peace and solidarity. My attachment to my children has grown and developed while breastfeeding. My children have fallen asleep while feeding, snuggling deeply into my skin. They have stopped crying with such immediacy, and relinquished all of their fears while breast feeding; and when all else has failed, my children have crawled onto my tummy and lay down for a feed.

Breastfeeding was a time in my life where I felt so much comfort while nursing my children. It was our special time. A time when their distress would suddenly just stop, and comfort, and relief would instantaneously result.

In the mind of a newborn baby, milk will save the day; and a good feed will conquer all. However, the stigma attached to breastfeeding often prevents a newborn baby from comfortably accessing their primary source of food, when in public spaces.

What stigma?

Breastfeeding is often considered by the more rigid, or conservative human beings in society, (women included) as an act which should be hidden, covered up by a shawl, done behind closed doors, in another room, or out of public viewing, so as not to make others feel uncomfortable.

In the eyes of many, breastfeeding is a form of nudity, or indecent exposure, rather than a human right, and an absolute necessity for a newborn baby. Many people simply do not understand the difficulties which can arise for women, and their babies if a woman feels uncomfortable about feeding in public. If a baby wants food, they want it now, and they will not stop crying until their tummy is full.

This is exactly why it is so disheartening when individuals not in favour of breastfeeding consider their needs above those of the baby or the mother – who is under a considerable amount of pressure from her baby to provide regular feeds, regardless of whether or not she is at the supermarket, in a cafe, or at home. The people who make the mother’s breastfeeding experience difficult do not have the empathy enough to put themselves in the shoes of a breastfeeding mother, or her baby. These people knowingly increase the stigma already attached to breastfeeding.

A mother who attaches her baby in public, and refuses to take adequate steps to cover her breasts while feeding is often seen as a female without boundaries, a problem, and a rude woman because she refuses to cover up.

Oh the stigma

When I first began to breast feed I somehow felt that it was expected of me to cover up while breast feeding my children. I took a shawl wherever I went; and if I accidentally forgot the shawl I would feel terribly uncomfortable breastfeeding my children in public. I knew that there would almost always be somebody in my surroundings who didn’t particularly like me breastfeeding.

I’ll never forget the day I went to the nursing home to visit my grandma. I was sitting down in the dining room having a chat to her, when my son started to cry, and to reach out for my top. I immediately attached him to my breast, only to have an elderly man go out of his way to have a perve, and to say something highly inappropriate.

Dementia meant that my grandma had lost control of her tongue long ago. She sang out across the room, ‘you dirty old pervert.’ Than she told me to go out into the corridor and breast feed in private. She was the authority – so I laughed it off, was grateful that she had stuck up for me, and I did as she requested.

However, when I think back to that day, I still wonder why the nurses didn’t intervene, and try to make me feel comfortable and supported in this instance. Instead, because of the lack of support from nursing staff, whom of course were well aware of the comment, my grandmother decided that it was better that I leave, to save me from further embarrassment.

The second incident wasn’t as light hearted.

In April of 2011 my son and I became a victim of breastfeeding stigma

It was April of 2011. My dad had suddenly become ill, was placed in an induced coma, and was rushed off to a suburban hospital to the intensive care unit. I thought she was going to die.

The Intensive Care Unit was quiet, and all walks of life walked in and out of the unit daily. My daughter often became quite irritable while in ICU, and desperately wanted to feed. He would pull at my top, and nestle in and suckle. From time to time I would simply forget to bring a shawl, or some form of cover to the hospital – not that I should have needed one anyway.

I had unwanted attention, and I was desperately trying to cover myself up by pulling my top up even higher over my breasts as my son suckled away. I could feel the disapproval from those around me. However, I honestly thought my feelings of discomfort were all in my head. So I shrugged these feelings off, believed in the hospital system to nurture the rights of breastfeeding women, put it out of my mind, walked out of the hospital with my head held high, and travelled home.

On the next visit to the hospital I was publicly humiliated for breastfeeding in a public hospital by a nurse, who had purposefully kept a baby wrap underneath the counter for me, for when I came in next to visit my friend.

Half an hour into my visit I pulled down my top, attached my son for a feed, and tried to cover my self up as best as I could. Almost immediately a nurse walked over to me with a baby wrap in hand, and told me I had been complained about for breastfeeding in the Intensive Care Unit.

The nurse handed me a white baby wrap, and told me that I needed to cover up while I fed my child. At this point I felt publicly humiliated. I immediately stood up, and was about to complain about this disgusting action, and act of public humiliation which had just taken place, when my dad, who still couldn’t speak at the time, shook his head, and signalled for me to let it go. I sat back back down completely stunned.

I remember thinking to myself, ‘but I don’t want to let it go! I shouldn’t have to let it go. Why do I have to let this go?’

Should we say something? Or should women just give up, and accept the unacceptable? 

A lot of women like myself can feel pushed into accepting the stigma attached to breastfeeding, even by well meaning family members who just want to keep the peace. I applaud the women who let their breasts show, and feed their baby their mid day meal without a second thought. I only wish I could have been that brave. In both of the above incidences the people around me, who just so happened to be my family, had also accepted the stigma attached to breastfeeding, and preferred that I breastfeed either outside, or covered up – just to avoid the confrontation.

If we as women keep letting it go when other people feel uncomfortable by what has always been a natural act, than breastfeeding will always be seen as that one natural act with stigma attached to it. When in fact, the only honest way to address the stigma attached to breastfeeding is to question the rigid values and perceptions surrounding breastfeeding.

I look back on that day in the hospital often, and I still wish that I had’ve rejected that baby wrap. I look back on that day and I wish I had’ve asked that nurse for a complaint form. I look back on that day, and I so desperately wish that I had’ve told that nurse that she was in fact responsible for standing up for myself, and my son – his right to feed in public, and my right to attach her in public, without being looked down upon, or approached.

When instances such as this one occur, the breast feeding woman often can’t help but feel that she must have done something wrong – when in fact, it is society’s rigid values that are wrong, incorrect, and way outdated. It amazes me how rigid some people still are, even in 2017.

 

This post has been written to support a project organised by honest.com designed with the aim of reducing stigma around breastfeeding, and feeding choices.

 

 

 

 

 

Middle child syndrome

From first hand experience at being a middle child, I honestly can tell you that middle child syndrome is very real. To what extreme is completely reliant on family dynamics, family function, or dysfunction.

It is claimed by researchers and child psychologists that birth order has a profound effect on how children develop psychologically as they grow into adults.

Alfred Adler, theorist, and middle child himself argued that birth order can leave a major impression on an individual’s lifestyle in relation to how they behave in friendships, work situations, and intimate relationships.

Alfred Adler believed that the second child within a family where there are three children may feel squeezed out of a position of privilege.

This child feels as though they don’t belong. They fight with their siblings for attention from the parents’ because they feel ignored – which leads to feelings of insecurity. This insecurity will most likely affect their relationships for a life time.

The roles:

  • Typically the oldest sibling is controlling,  a high achiever, more like the parents in personality, and tends to be responsible.
  • The middle child is the peace maker, a natural mediator, can be rebellious, and often goes outside of the family for attention and valuable friendships.
  • It is often claimed that the baby of the family is fun loving, self-centred, manipulative, and an attention seeker.

Middle child syndrome: How does it happen?

The first child is given the best deal out of all of the siblings. They reign supreme, and are the centre of the parents’ attention, and supply of love, until of course the second child comes along. The oldest sibling is the only child to ever have the opportunity (even if it is only for a short time) to bask in both of their parents’ attention, without their other siblings constantly interrupting.

By the time the second child comes along the oldest sibling is well and truly the boss, and the only child his or her parents’ already have a secure bond with. This bond with the parents’ provides the oldest child with the opportunity to use their dominance, age, and fluency to maintain and strengthen their union with the parents’, while the middle child is unintentionally left at a loss.

Through no fault of the parents’, middle children lose what is meant to be a time in their life where they are doted on and adored without interruption, to their older sibling, who is more equiped than their younger sibling to secure a strong relationship with their parents.

It often becomes a case of:

‘Well I was here first.’

The oldest child often dominates the middle child, bosses them around, and competes with them for attention. The introduction of a second child means that the oldest sibling now needs to learn how to share, may feel as though they have been thrust off their pedestal, and must now learn how to negotiate.

The middle child often feels as though they walk along in their older sibling’s shadow, ranking at second best.

The arrival of the baby

When the baby comes along, everyone, including the middle child, flocks to this child, dotes on, and adores them, even well into adult hood. The baby is pandered to, adored, and treated like royalty. By the time the baby is born, which is often years down the track, mum and dad have mellowed, and tend to let a lot of things slide, especially when it comes to discipline.

The baby of the family doesn’t need to impress the parents’ or siblings’. Instead they can just be, while love is thrown at them without question.

How does the middle child feel?

The middle child feels pushed out of the way by both the oldest sibling and the youngest; all the way over to sidelines, where they often learn to become dependent on themselves for their own happiness.

Middle child syndrome is a very real phenomenon, and can be the cause of feelings of rejection, low confidence, isolation, and feelings of unworthiness.

What is a middle child to do?

Little Miss or Mr middle sits in the background wondering when it will be their turn. As a result of this family conundrum, this child often wanders outside of the family for attention. Over time, they tend to quit relying on the family dynamic for their supply of attention, unlike their siblings’.

All of that time spent alone in the bedroom, or curled up in a ball wondering why they aren’t as important as their younger or older siblings’ makes middle children independent, innovative, and not afraid of being alone.

In some ways this feeling of emptiness, or accidental emotional neglect goes the other way for the second child, and they tend to use it to their advantage. This more empathetic, caring, and nurturing individual is renowned for having a big social life, and may even become a humanitarian, fairness or justice fighter.

Famous middle children include Nelson Mandella, Abraham Lincoln, Anne Hathaway, Jennifer Lopaz, and Martin Luther King.

 

 

Cholestasis of pregnancy – a personal account

 

In 2009, a few months after my first child had been born, I bumped into my friend Rachel in the supermarket. The conversation immediately turned to Rachel’s current, quite far along pregnancy; which was proving to be difficult for her after having been recently diagnosed with the rare liver condition, cholestasis of pregnancy. While discussing this condition, Rachel quickly shoved her intended purchases underneath her arm, and scratched anxiously in between her fingers.

She continued to tell me about the scratch marks all over her arms, the nights spent scratching her feet to bits at odd hours, and the itchiness in her ear drums. Her feet were covered in welts, her fingers were covered in scratch marks, and Rachel was in the supermarket searching for a cold pack to ease the itch when it worsened later that night.

Cholestasis of pregnancy presents itself in the last trimester of one’s pregnancy, and is so rare in fact, that only one in one thousand women will be unfortunate enough to suffer with this condition.

That conversation with my friend was a moment in time sent to me by the universe, a pure coincidence, and a conversation that would equip me with the knowledge to self – diagnose.

My story

In 2010, I fell pregnant again, this time, with a little boy. It was another difficult pregnancy, and one which would be endured again with hyperemesis Gravadarim – an illness which has been the bane of my pregnancies. This time though, for my second pregnancy, I would go to the naturopath to ease my symptoms. At the heart of this pregnancy illness, was a faulty gallbladder which was making me sick. My gallbladder simply couldn’t process bile quickly enough.

The naturopath advised me to go on what would be a very stringent diet; one which would eliminate all unnatural fats. The fact that all fats had to be natural is the very reason why I became so taken with sanitarium peanut butter. I craved peanut butter all day and all night. I ate jars of the stuff – and it was my absolute go to for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

At about 6.5 months pregnant I suddenly began to feel itchy almost everywhere.  I was itchy on my feet, my hands, in between my toes, fingers, all over my legs, and even inside of my ear drums. I was so terribly itchy that I often cried over the fact. Night-time was a time to scratch, and to scratch for hours at a time. I had scratch marks on my legs, all over my stomach, underneath my feet, in between my toes, on top of my toes, and all over my arms. My entire body was itchy. I spent my days scratching and clearing my throat to try to stop the itching inside of my eardrums – and I couldn’t stand it.

I would scratch for hours in between my fingers, in between my toes, and both on top of, and underneath my feet. I tried soothing the itching with bags of frozen peas, and cold packs; anything and everything to stop the itching.

I did everything I could to relieve this terrible condition. I even went in search of ocean air, and the deep blue sea, believing somehow that my chronically itchy skin would be deeply soothed once in the ocean. I travelled to Bondi Beach – and waddled in amongst all the beauties, round as a ball, all scratched up, and itchy as one can be. Refraining from scratching myself in public places was a difficult feat. I waddled onto the beach, and dipped my scratched up body into the ocean, hoping it would soothe my chronically itchy body. I looked like I had been five rounds in a boxing match, and nothing helped ease this problem.

What I didn’t realise at the time is that bile salts from my faulty gallbladder had spilled over from my liver into my bloodstream –  and I literally had salt penetrating into my skin. No wonder I was so itchy.

Five weeks before I was due to give birth, I went to the doctor for my monthly pregnancy checkup. The doctor confirmed that everything was fine. Just before I was due to leave, the doctor asked me if I had any worries or concerns. I was about to get up and leave; when it occurred to me that just maybe I should mention my never-ending itch, especially in consideration of the knowledge my friend had alerted me to that night in the supermarket. I proceeded to tell the doctor about this odd illness that I thought I knew I didn’t have. He immediately organised a blood test, and told me that my itching was a big concern.

Within one week it was confirmed that I was suffering from cholestasis of pregnancy. At 37 and a half weeks pregnant I was induced. The doctor’s were very concerned for my baby’s life.

What is cholestasis of pregnancy?

Cholestasis of pregnancy is a rare liver disease confined to pregnancy, which occurs in the last trimester of  pregnancy. The normal flow of bile in the gallbladder becomes affected by high levels of pregnancy hormones. Pregnancy hormones affect gallbladder function, resulting in these hormones either slowing down, or sometimes completely stopping the flow of bile. The gallbladder holds the bile originally produced in the liver. Bile is a requirement in the breakdown of fats during the digestion process. If bile flow either stops, or slows down, bile acids will build up in the liver. The consequences of bile build up in the liver, is that the bile will ultimately spill over into the bloodstream.

Bile salts will normally flow with ease from a person’s gallbladder into the digestive tract. During pregnancy, high levels of hormones often interrupt this natural process. The bile instead transfers too slowly, and the bile salts than build up in the liver and spill out into the bloodstream. Instead of these salts being directed to the gut, they will instead be deposited underneath the skin.

How will the baby be affected if the mother is diagnosed with cholestasis of pregnancy?

Cholestasis often increases the risks for fetal distress, premature birth, or stillbirth. An unborn baby relies heavily on their mother’s liver to remove bile acids from the blood. Heightened levels of bile spilling over from the mother’s liver into the mother’s bloodstream can cause stress on the baby’s liver. Women with cholestasis of pregnancy are usually monitored closely, and serious consideration is often given to inducing labor once the baby’s lungs have reached maturity.

What to do?

After a cholestasis diagnosis, it is highly likely that if you choose to become pregnant again, this rare liver disease will return in the third trimester if you don’t take precautions to eliminate the likelihood. For me personally, I am a big fan of the naturopath or homeopath; both of which have helped ease my gallbladder, and liver problems during pregnancy.

A good homeopath can tell you what will work exclusively for your body, and how to rid cholestasis symptoms. My homeopath gave me some very safe pregnancy advice, which enabled me to have a cholestasis free experience for my third pregnancy.

I personally was advised to drink a lot of dandelion tea. Dandelion tea is apparently very cleansing for the liver. I was also advised to stay away from peanut butter, to cook everything in olive oil, conduct a gallbladder cleanse with naturopathic herbs, to stay away from chips, sausage rolls, and savoury foods. These remedy’s kept me free of cholestasis symptoms. High fat content makes it very difficult for the gallbladder to process bile, which in turn leads to an overflow of bile salts into the liver itself.

These dietary requirements worked for me and kept my baby safe. That being said, everybody’s body is different, and what may work for some people, may not work for others. What may be safe for one pregnant person may not be advised for another pregnant woman. Its always best to check with your own naturopath.

 

Parental alienation in the family home

Alienating one’s husband or wife inside of the family home is a huge breach of trust, and can have a potentially devastating effect on the alienated parent, and the children. To talk about the mother or father of your children negatively, to pathologise the alienated parent’s behaviour, or to turn your children against the alienated parent, and then deny having ever conversed with the children about the alienated parent in the first place, is crazy-making behaviour.

Psychopaths, narcissists, and sociopaths are dangerous people. They destroy entire families, and people in numbers. Put a psychopath in a harmonious situation, and people will suddenly begin to hate one another. Psychopaths, narcissists and sociopaths have absolutely no empathy, a lack of emotion, and will cross their husband or wife, children, cousins’, brothers’ and sisters’ at the drop of a hat.

How does the alienating parent think?

In the mind of an alienating parent with a severe personality disorder, their family members are merely extensions of themselves. This means that they must believe, do or say, as the narcissist, sociopath, or psychopath believes, does or says. Without complete control over the entire family unit, the severely personality disordered parent feels dumbfounded, confused, and disorientated.

Narcissists must have all of the attention in the room, endless amounts of sympathy, and constant adoration from their partner and children. These people have a deeply ingrained desire to divide and conquer, and to triangulate against anybody who challenges them. Divide and conquer will ensure that this parent remains the victim at all times.

Alienating parents’ cannot share attention and adoration. In the mind of an alienating parent, the alienated parent is their biggest threat and overall competition.

The alienated parent’s lack of awareness

A lot of alienated parents’ don’t understand the extent to which they have been alienated by the other parent until they leave the family home. They know deep down that something is up, and often feel as though they don’t have the alienating parent’s full support. However, it is unlikely that they are fully aware of just how much their children have been brainwashed right underneath their noses.

Some alienated parents’ are so fooled by the personality disordered parent’s false persona, that they may not find out the real reason why their children have been disrespecting them so badly for so many years, until one of the children decides to expose the alienating parent twenty years down the track.

Why does the personality disordered parent alienate the other parent?

The psychopathic, narcissistic or sociopathic parental alienator cannot handle any criticism from anybody, including the alienated parent. They can dish it out, but they can’t take it. As soon as someone says one thing to the alienating parent, they truly cannot handle it and will turn everybody against their new target. Psychopaths’ must have complete control over the people they have relationships with.

In marriage and partnerships with a psychopath, solving problems is very difficult. If you have a problem with a personality disordered individual, you often become the problem.

The alienating parent will not own any of their bad behaviours. Everything is everybody else’s fault. Every time the alienating parent is asked to accept responsibility for their own behaviour, they will turn the situation back around onto the alienated parent.

The simplest of criticisms or signs of discontent from the alienated parent will threaten the alienating parent’s sense of self. The smallest criticism will leave the alienated parent confused, and facing a serious narcissistic injury. This will drive the narcissistic parent to compete with the other parent to prove that they are more superior, grand, and far more deserving of all of the love and attention in the room, than their inferior spouse, who they now see as unfit, and in need of lessons on how to be a parent.

Boredom and the psychopath:

Psychopaths’ will alienate for a number of reasons. Some of them do it because they are bored. Simple as that! They must feed off others emotions, and must invoke strong emotions in others for their own pleasure and mental stimulation.

The drama they create amongst all of the family members will give them a role to play. This role may be healer, protector, or good guy who has come in to save the day and resolve all of the fighting (which they have set up through tactics such as divide and conquer) between siblings, or mother and child; when in fact the opposite is true.

The psychopath sees the children as objects to use to abuse the kinder parent.

The family unit is the perfect arena for a psychopath. In the eyes of the psychopath, a family is a perfect place to set up their stage, and to begin the performances. As the director of the play, they will choose the actors’, the roles the actors’ will play, and the role they will play. The psychopath will play the martyr, victim, abused mother or father and mistreated soul. From now on the psychopath will never be without emotional food.

This quest for drama will ensure that the psychopath will idealise, devalue, and discard the alienated parent over and over again. When they are done with the parent, they will then start on the children.

The effects of parental alienation on the alienated parent and their children:

Parental alienation is a severe form of abuse that destroys children internally for a lifetime, as well as the alienated parent. Children are manipulated by their parent into mistreating the kinder parent. Their childhood is filled with drama and mistrust. They are used as pawns in a game. They have been lied to about the parent that they love, and their relationship with this parent may remain severely impacted well into adulthood.

The parental alienator is a selfish pathological liar, who would cut the children loose at the drop of a hat; especially if they expose the psychopath. Destroying other people’s relationships is a game to this parent.

The psychopath as master of illusion:

Prior to the relationship with the alienated parent, the psychopath will have preened and polished a false persona to their liking, by emulating the qualities of many, in the hope of pulling the persona off and hiding the monster underneath.  With this new persona, they will delude their new target, and manipulate their way into the life of their soon to be, mother or father of the future children.

With an incredible amount of self-control, the psychopath will temporarily paint over the cracks, in true master of illusion style. The psychopath will mirror the victim, and will begin to copy the victim’s kind empathetic nature, as a way to manipulate, and hoover in their victim.

Once the psychopath is married, the cracks in the paintwork will begin to show, and the faulty foundation will begin to crumble. The cognitively dissonant partner will suddenly see the red flags everywhere. However, they will most likely continue on in the relationship hoping that the psychopath will make some changes in regard to some huge character floors.

The psychopath’s carefully formulated false persona, their ability to change personalities quickly, and to temporarily emulate kindness, empathy, love, forgiveness and remorse, will keep this partner engaged in the relationship, and living in hope of change.

Common red flags of a severely personality disordered person: 

Narcissists sociopaths and psychopaths all have one thing in common. They must be superior to everybody in their company.

Nitpicking, bagging everybody out, raging, accusations that everyone else is crazy, no real relationships, and a long list of broken relationships is a dead give away that this person may one day be the same person who will portray their spouse as the primary problem in the family.

Psychopath as a pathological liar:

Every-time the alienated parent asks the psychopath if they have been talking about them to the children, they will deny the accusation. I have known of psychopaths who have stayed in denial even after one of their children has come forward and confirmed the alienated parent’s accusations.

Gas-lighting:

Gas-lighting is a form of manipulation through persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying in an attempt to destabilise the victim. Its intent is to sow seeds of doubt in the target hoping to make them question their own memory, perception, and sanity.

For example: The alienated parent will notice the considerable change in the children’s behaviour towards them, and may even sense that the alienating parent is causing trouble. However, they won’t be able to prove it, and may even begin to feel as though they are going crazy.

10 ways the alienating parent alienates the other parent?

Good cop, bad cop: Some psychopaths will play good cop, bad cop. They will want their children to see them as a good guy, the parent with no boundaries, the fun parent, and the parent who complains in front of the children that the alienated parent is too strict.

This parent will often pretend to be the more lenient, relaxed parent, who lets the children stay up late, doesn’t discipline the children, and doesn’t expect any respect from the children. This is all a part of the plan though and serves a purpose for when the psychopath decides to play the victim. This is when they will complain about what bad children they have, and just how out of control their children really are.

However, in the meantime, the children will be driven to think that the alienated parent is too strict, annoying, the problem in the family, and the reason they have rules and boundaries.

Swapping between ‘real self’ and ‘false self’ :

The psychopath’s false – self  comes out in front of the parent, and their real-self comes out in front of the children.

For example:  Psychopath tells alienated parent they are going to go into their teenager’s room to discuss the teenager’s disrespect of the alienated parent. Instead, the alienating parent goes into the bedroom and says:

‘You know your father has anger management issues, you need to learn to ignore him.’

It is through this form of parental alienation that the alienated parent will begin to feel as though they are going crazy.

By making the children feel sorry for them:

Severely personality disordered people want their children to feel sorry for them.

For example: If the alienated parent is upset with the psychopath for undermining them in front of their children, and speaks up about it in their own defence, the psychopath will suddenly feign victimhood, and put on a performance. Instead of apologising, resolving the problem, or taking any responsibility for their behaviour, they will use their body language to provoke a reaction from the children.

They may shrug their shoulders, or become silent and droopy. The psychopath will pull this trick out of the box daily; and in time the children will learn to interpret the alienating parent’s body language as the cue to intervene in the argument, and to stand up for the alienating parent.

Public humiliation in front of the children:

Example: Psychopath is about to get in the car and go surfing. Alienated parent asks the psychopath if they can look after the children instead, because the alienated parent has suddenly come down with a vomiting bug.

Parental alienator points at the parent and screams at the top of their lungs: ‘Look what your doing now. This is what you always do. You aren’t sick. Look kids, your mother isn’t sick.’ Looks around to make sure the kids are watching. ‘This is what your mother does when she doesn’t want me to go surfing. Are you watching kids? Take note.’ Psychopath rolls their eyes, and storms off, leaving the alienated parent to vomit for hours while the children are watching television.

Disagreeing with the alienated parent about issues to do with the children in front of the children:

Psychopathic types are renowned for starting arguments in front of the children, about the children. Instead of asking the alienated parent to come outside to discuss an issue which has arisen about the children, or a difference of opinion about the children, the parent will involve the child in the issue, or even defend the child’s inappropriate actions towards the alienated parent in front of the alienated parent.

 

Constant put downs of the alienated parent in front of the children:

‘You’re so paranoid.’

‘You really do have behavioural problems don’t you?’

‘Your anger is a number ten. You really do need to watch that.’

‘No wonder the children are frightened of you.’

‘Give you an inch and you’ll take a mile.’

‘Why do our children need to ask if they can eat some of your lollies?’

‘Why does she have to clean her room up now? Can’t you just relax?’

Shows the children personal messages from the other parent:

Parental alienators’ have no issue with showing the children private messages or emails between parents’, and they will deliberately leave the phone on speaker if the alienated parent is going to be slightly distressed on the phone.

Example: Alienated parent writes a text message to alienating parent:

‘Can you please hurry and come home. You said you would be  home in an hour, and that was three hours ago.’

The alienating parent will show the child the message, and claim that the alienated parent is being controlling and difficult.

Example: Alienated parent rings the alienating parent and is immediately placed on loud speaker so as the children can hear the conversation, unbeknown to the alienated parent.

Alienated parent says sternly: ‘I told you I have an appointment to go to and your running late. I have told you a thousand times over that i cannot be late.’

Alienating parent gets off the phone, rolls their eyes, looks really sad, and says to the children.

‘Did you hear how your father speaks to me.’

Alienated parent must not show any emotion: The alienated parent is picked to bits. They cannot raise their voice, cannot show anger, and is never allowed to be sad, hurt, or disgruntled about anything the psychopath does. If so, the alienating parent will inform the children that any emotion the alienated parent has is a sure sign of a character floored person. 

The behaviour of the child towards the alienated parent:

Children living in this environment often end up triangulating against the alienated parent, and will often claim that they have come to the conclusion on their own that there is something wrong with the alienated parent.