Deuteronomy 5:16 (KJV) King James Version: ‘Honour thy father and thy mother as the LORD hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.’
This opinion piece is written in honour of the religiously indoctrinated scapegoat adult child of a narcissist; or any family scapegoat who cannot seem to relinquish the tremendous amount of guilt they feel because they cannot be in contact with their emotionally dangerous parent; a psychological abuser whose intention is to destroy their adult child’s reputation within the family unit through the use of pathological lying and projection. This parent does not love their child. Instead they love the negative effect they have on their adult child, and the chaos they can create through them.
It is often simply too emotionally dangerous for a scapegoat child, or scapegoat children (there is often more than one) in a narcissistic family unit to spend any time with their narcissistic parent. Even five minutes is too long. Any attempt at contact; one minute or five, is an opportunity for the narcissist to project their disowned parts onto the targeted adult child, or children.
In the narcissist’s mind the family scapegoat truly is a bad person. This child has been given a gift. They are the more emotionally sensitive child, which is why they have the ability to see straight through the narcissist. This makes them a prime target for dangerous narcissistic projections. The child has challenged the hyper-sensitive narcissists authority, which immediately makes them bad in their parent’s eyes. All of the narcissist’s disowned inadequacies now belong to the child that dared to see through them. The narcissist will now manipulate the rest of the family into taking on their skewed perception of the scapegoat.
If the narcissist has an anger management problem, they will label the scapegoat child as a child with an anger management problem. If the narcissistic mother or father has a habit of being ruthless, hard, and cruel, than this is how he or she will view their scapegoat child. If the narcissist is a thief, the child is a thief. If the narcissist is an alcoholic; the child may be told that they are destined for alcoholism themselves. If the narcissist is promiscuous, the scapegoat will most likely be accused of being promiscuous in adulthood. If the narcissist has stolen their friend’s husband or wife, they may accuse an adult child of doing the same thing, even though it’s an outright lie (I’ve witnessed this doozy).
If the child catches the narcissist out in a lie and exposes it, the narcissist may claim that the child is a pathological liar (I’ve witnessed this one too). This narcissist will now disown that part of him or herself and make this a part of the child’s personality. If they can convince themselves and everyone around them that the child is the liar and not them, than they can feel ok about themselves and avoid a narcissistic injury.
Ultimately, once a parent sees you as all bad, it is never ever going to stop. A narcissistic parent will continue to disown their badness and project it onto the scapegoat all the way up until their last breath. So, in a lot of cases, ‘No Contact’ is the only way out of this mess for a family scapegoat.
The narcissist couldn’t care less about this child. They don’t care if projecting onto the child destroys their child’s reputation, friendships, or life. As long as they can relinquish ownership of their stuff, and make it their child’s, so they don’t have to face it, they couldn’t care less about the ramifications. If the child dies of toxic shame; well, so be it.
The problem with the fourth commandment, ‘honour thy mother and father’ is that there is no exception to the rule; no clause explaining the conditions of the commandment, or other options applied in brackets for special circumstances. It is plain as day. In biblical terms you must honour your mother and father, and that is that.
Even though it is also made quite clear in the bible that we should under no circumstances affiliate with toxic people, the fundamentalist Christians still insist that a child, no matter how abused they have been, have some form of contact with an abusive parent – even if its very minor.
‘If you can’t go over to your parents house without police involvement, well just send them flowers or a birthday card’ (I don’t think so).
The Christian narcissist, who pretends to do the will of God loves this commandment. They pull this one out of the bag at any given opportunity; all while behaving abusively towards their children day in day out. There will be no reaping what you sow in the Christian narcissist’s mind. They’re far too entitled for consequences.
The Christian narcissist knows all too well that by misinterpreting this commandment, and instilling their thwarted views in the minds of their children, that the fear of God will force them into the role of dutiful child. This of course will surely make sure that the Christian narcissist has a lifetime of narcissistic supply, and ongoing sources of chaos; these sources being their adult children, who by this stage are too scared not to honour their dangerous parent, through fear that God will most definitely get them for disobeying him.
This bible verse really has been the bane of my ‘no contact’ journey, and still is to some degree. It is open to interpretation; which makes it somewhat dangerous in the hands of the wrong person.
Is the family scapegoat expected by God to still honour their abusive parent in such a way that debilitates them emotionally and reduces them to a sad, humiliated five-year old every-time they have contact with this dangerous person? Of course not! However, for an indoctrinated scapegoat, guilt over this commandment is often a given.
If somebody makes your body physically sick every time you have contact with them, than in my mind, that is God telling you to stay away. Should we really feel an obligation to adhere to biblical scripture if we honestly think that contact with our abusive parent has the potential to kill us? No, I do not think God would want this. However, some clarification would be nice.
I have spent many years wondering what God thinks of me. I have wondered often if he understands my situation, and actually understands the horror I’ve been put through because of narcissistic abuse. During my ‘no contact’ journey I’ve read the bible a lot in search of answers. It’s all I’ve had at times.
It is not the bible verses or commandments that floor me so much. Instead it is the expectations many fully indoctrinated, fundamentalist Christians who have never experienced narcissistic abuse, have of the abused adult children of their narcissistic friends. Nobody knows what goes on behind closed doors. Whatever happened to ‘thou shalt not judge.’
I refuse to spend any time with a parent that doesn’t love me, just to fulfil a biblical obligation which I believe is really referring to parents deserving of their adult child’s respect; the ones who have fulfilled their parental obligations. For those who haven’t. Well, they will reap what they sow.
Bible verses warning against toxic people
So what happens when all the above is your parent? The bible is openly telling us to stay away from anybody with the above qualities. Does this include parents?
Well according to Catholic Psychologist Dr Raymond Richmond, it does.
Dr Richmond writes ”So what really happens when parents don’t really want the good of their children? What happens when parents constantly criticise their children, abuse them, and essentially stifle any good that the children could achieve? In short, what happens in dysfunctional families when parents don’t really love their children but manipulate and control them? Well, parents such as this don’t love their children because they don’t love God either. These parents have broken the first commandment, and, to their children, that ,makes them enemies, not parents worthy of being honoured.’
Does God want us to honour dangerous parents in such a way that will directly affect our mental health? No! Patricia Jones (M.A) author for Dove Christian counselling states that Jesus openly tells us ‘to have nothing to do with wicked and toxic people.’ He tells us to ‘dust off our shoes and leave that town’ if we are not being treated with love and respect.
These are my beliefs too. Sometimes you have to cut contact with the old school Christians who feel that it is ok to judge you for a choice that wasn’t really your choice. It was your parent’s choice. They created this situation, not you.
Its heartbreaking to know that you cannot be there for a parent because of their skewed perception of you, and their desire to destroy you. The choice to go ‘no contact’ is never made lightly, and it hurts like hell.
”One of the hardest realities to come to terms with for the adult child of a narcissist is that their entire childhood was a lie; and all they were to their parent was narcissistic supply. An object to be toyed with, manipulated, goaded, and provoked.”
The wisdom of fairy tales
I often wonder if the author’s of ‘Snow White,’ ‘Hansel and Gretal’ and ‘Cinderella’ had once been victims’ of narcissism. As children, we are warned through folk tales, and fairy tales alike, about the cruelty of parents. What I have recently come to realise is that the simple children’s fairy tale, is actually many a child’s normal.
I applaud the author of ‘Snow White’ for planting a seed in the minds of our children, and forewarning little children about the cruelty of the world, and the most malignant of hoovers. ‘Hansel and Gretel’ is an eye opener for children with an enabling parent, and ‘Cinderella’s’ story describes a typical narcissistic setup – where siblings sell each other down the river for their narcissistic parent’s approval. Luckily for the reader, all fairytales have a happy ending.
However, for the child of the narcissist, there is no happy ending. Their parent cannot change, and will always play mind games with their child.
The malignant hoover as a unique design – and mental damage to a child’s psyche
A Child of a narcissist does not have the ability to realise that they are being love bombed, idealised, devalued and discarded over and over again. A little child gives their narcissistic parent all of their trust willingly, and with love – only to endure the most horrific psychological abuse one can suffer from. Kids don’t have the ability to comprehend why their narcissistic parent is kind, caring , loving, giving and supportive one minute – only to punish them moments later for reasons which don’t make sense.
Children living out the cycle of idealise, devalue, discard, come out of their childhoods believing that they are inherently bad, and deserve to be punished, discarded, and denounced over and over again. This pattern of abuse most likely will not be understood by the child of a narcissist until adulthood, if they make the choice to go in search of answers. The scapegoat will most likely be the first child to endeavour to look behind their parent’s false self.
The most mistreated child, the scapegoat, will most definitely be the first of the children to put two and two together.
The three stage phase
Common discards for children of narcissists
What does it mean to be hoovered?
The ‘hoover’ is a well- known tactic utilised by the narcissist after they have worked their way through each phase of a three stage process; idealisation, devalue and discard. After the discard stage has been utilised, and the victim retreats, the narcissist will than exercise a hoover of sorts to draw the person back into their life.
Idealisation, devaluation, and the discard are not phases of the three stage process just limited to adults. Small children go through these stages daily, only to be hoovered again shortly after.
Example hoovers for children
Discarding a small child – how is it done?
The narcissistic parent will deploy a number of techniques to distress their small children. Children as young as four will be idealised, devalued and discarded, as well as love bombed, all in a matter of hours.
Scenario: A child decides to go shopping with mummy instead of spending time with daddy and the other siblings. Daddy decides to buy the child that went with him, a toy – and deliberately decides not to buy the other child a toy. When the child comes home, they ask if daddy bought them a toy too. The narcissistic father informs the child that it is in fact their fault that they did not receive a toy, because they refused to spend time with their father.
The child will become momentarily dumbfounded and confused as they blubber away in the corner. However, the confusion will soon subside when the narcissist hoovers the child with a cupcake hours later.
Buying a child’s love
Narcissists’ love to buy children gifts, and to use their artistic talents, and abilities, to love bomb and hoover small children. To receive a gift from a narcissist, a home cooked meal, a batch of cookies, or a hand drawn get well card, signifies to the victim that they they have the narcissist’s approval. Children, in particular begin to think that these manipulative tactics are gestures of love, an apology, and an expression of accountability. The confusion is exhausting for the child, because their narcissistic parent is hot, cold, and calculating. They could lash out and initiate a mentally damaging payback at the smallest slight.
The wisdom of fairytales:
Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately (I am yet to come to either conclusion) I now know that fairytales are not tales about fortune; but rather misfortune, and the harsh realities about the cruelty of both parents, and step parents. Fairy tales are confirmation for small children that not all parents can be trusted, and not all parent’s will protect their children from abusive behaviour.
Narcissism brings out the worst in people, and shows the true colours of everybody around the narcissist. Siblings readily sell out the family scapegoat to stay in good rapport with the narcissistic mother or father, or to ensure their human right to a tidy sum once the narcissist dies. Enablers’ often choose the narcissist over the children a million times over; and the list of offences towards good human beings and small children goes on.
Lets take a look at poor Hansel and Gretel, shall we? Hansel and Gretel’s own father took Hansel and Gretel out into the woods, only to discard his children at the step mother’s request. Cinderella’s stepsisters sold her down the river, and triangulated against her time and time again to keep in favour of their vile mother, Cinderella’s stepmother – and Snow White was nearly murdered by her stepmother in the name of jealousy. Fairytales can teach us a lot about narcissism.