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This is in honor of my late brother, the son of a
narcissistic personality disordered mother. It is in honor of his memory, as well as
to inform those who so easily dismiss sons of narcissistic mothers as not enduring the wrath of a narcissist
mother as severely as daughters do. I beg to differ with you.
My brother had a heart of gold and deeply loved his family. He was the kind of man who would give you the shirt off of his back if you needed it. He was known for his heart of gold. It was his biggest asset. It may also have been his biggest downfall, second only to his own mother.
My late brother was taken from us only months after our narcissistic mother died. Their deaths stand in as stark of contrast as their hearts. She was completely self-centered, immature, manipulative and dishonest, but masqueraded as a selfless saint. He was known for his heart of gold, but ostracized and disrespected by his entire extended family of origins based on her slander.
She was terminally ill, surrounded by family and friends the last years of her life. In true narcissist style, she demanded 24/7 care from her adult daughters while refusing to allow the assistance of hospice. When he attempted to visit his dying mother, her flying monkey relatives harassed him. Some so ignorant or deceived as to actually say to a man watching his mother die that his tears must be because he is consumed with guilt over the way he treated her.* Only weeks before her death, his own mother told him to go home if he was going to cry at her bedside. He died a few months later in extreme emotional torment, ostracized as a result of her slander.
A few months after her death his marriage of more than a decade ended. He was not invited to what would be his last family Thanksgiving because the golden child youngest son would not attend if he attended. I am sure I do not need to explain to anyone reading this blog how that came about between two sons of a narcissistic mother - a scapegoat older brother who stood up to his mother's deceit and a golden child younger brother who has no idea he lives in the narcissist's rabbit hole.
She went to extraordinary lengths to divide her five adult children between the oldest scapegoat children who had sought therapy and saw through her and the younger children who still believed the facade. Of course, the younger adult sons and daughters believe it is all the older scapegoated siblings and would certainly never entertain the idea that their mother was mentally ill.
He would also confront her when she was rude to his wife, caught her in a lie, etc. She
literally spent the next 20 years, right up until her death, taking him down. She never physically
harmed him. She destroyed him with invalidation, gaslighting,
slanderous gossip -
playing the victim while vilifying the true victim. By the time she died she had everyone
in the entire extended family believing she was trying to help him but he was crazy and treated
her so badly. He treated her so badly, but she hung in there because
that's just the kind of selfless, martyred mother she was! Nothing could be further from the truth.
The mother may not be jealous of the son, physically comparing him to herself as she might
a daughter. Just don't let that fool you into thinking the sons necessarily have it easier.
A narcissistic mother has many, many other things to be jealous of or enraged about besides just physical
looks as compared to her daughter, jealousy regarding the father-daughter relationship, etc.
In addition, be it societal norms or a stereotype, overall it still seems to me that it is more difficult for a man to reach out for help than it is a woman. I certainly would not want a son of a narcissistic mother to attempt to reach out only to be met with the attitude that he has not really suffered as much as his sisters!
Posted by Gail Meyers at 2:59 PM
AnonymousJanuary 1, 2014 at 4:37 AM
Every flying monkey I have ever known was/is abusers themselves. These weak characters have spent enough time with the MN to know what they do. They are collaborators, living in the MN world of "let's pretend".
Gail MeyersJanuary 1, 2014 at 9:54 AM
Anonymous, it seems to be a rare case that a flying monkey does so completely in ignorance, but it does happen. However, the opinion you expressed lines up with my experience the vast majority of the time. It sounds like you learned it the hard way, too. Thank you for reading and expressing your thoughts.Delete
StrugglingJanuary 15, 2014 at 7:29 PM
Thank you for writing this. My husband is the scapegoat son of a NM. We are in our 60's now, and
10-12 years ago began to limit contact, once our kids were grown and on their own. His mother recently
had a short terminal illness and died. Right before her death his sister asked him as if scripted,
"Is there something I have done? Why won't you stay at their house?" This after 10 or more years
of us staying in a hotel. His answer: "They are in their 90's and we don't want to cause them extra
work." The brother asked "Did I do something? Why did you stop getting together with me? Why didn't
you answer my emails?" My husband initiated ALL contact with him and invited him to do things, footing
the bill EVERY time. Thirteen years ago the brother declined the invitation, and my husband quit
asking. There was one email, and it did not require a response, since it was informational. He did
tell his brother (golden child) that he did not appreciate that his mother had always celebrated
GC's child's birthday (even on her deathbed) but never once remembered our kids' birthdays and that
we felt like outsiders. The excuses and attempts to turn the tables began, including "but you didn't
Now she is dead, the father has dementia (he was an accessory to the emotional, physical, and mental abuse), and the family home must be dealt with. The siblings are in charge, letting their brother know nothing, and today we got an email from an attorney to "X family member"! They want a form notarized and signed to change the executor from the sister to the brother. No heads up, no communication but the attorney email, not even acknowledging who it is to.
We know that things will never change and that everything is exacerbated by the death of the all-controlling matriarch. I don't know if they are deceived or just N's themselves and think that is the way to be, but other than (maybe) attending the funeral for the father, we will be no contact. The flying monkeys are doubling down now. It is incredibly painful to experience.
Thanks for a place to vent!
AnonymousDecember 1, 2014 at 7:49 PM
Thanks for sharing this. If you have children, and a spouse then please focus only on them and know that you never had a family. You had people who were too damaged to be a family. Make yourself whole. Enjoy your life. Make new friends. I read about how to make friends, how to choose friends, as if I were a child with a learning disability. They need to be shown how to choose the right friends and so do I. I am planning to distance myself for ever from both my parents. My sisters and their husbands and children will not even know I am gone. They don't care. I am the first born too. Golden child has been made power of attorney. She will retaliate on me once my parents are gone so I want to become as strong and self-confident and happy in who I am and what I do in my life. I am 52 and unmarried with no children but finally making friends who are emotionally supportive and reciprocate and my family by blood never could nor will. So be it. This Christmas, I will be alone....and my parent "Ms Osage County" will never learn how to be a mother, so why bring myself to give to her what she will never reciprocate.Delete
StrugglingMay 18, 2015 at 10:13 AM
Thanks for the reply. It's been a while, and the father has died, leaving the GC in charge of the estate. We have received a partial settlement and don't expect anything else to come our way. Once probate is closed, we will be no contact unless the nieces/nephews get in touch with us. Interestingly, in the midst of everything, an old college friend has reconnected who is more of a brother to my husband than the bio brother ever was. This has been a great encouragement, along with an older than us couple who are becoming new friends, so your words are timely. The anger is hard to handle at times, but there is a process to get through with God's help. I wish for you much joy as you establish your own family of friends.Delete
AnonymousMay 2, 2014 at 9:28 AM
Choosing to take a stand for morality and right relationship can be extremely painful. It definitely is a lonely suffering but it is always the right and only choice because then there is no need then to ever have to defend your position to those who simply do not care. You care, those who love you care. Those that do the hurting do not.Delete
AnonymousMay 30, 2014 at 12:36 PM
Thank you for posting this... I am a son of a NM and just starting therapy. It has been frustrating and demoralizing reading all of the mother daughter stuff on line... It's good to know others see what I know to be true.Delete
AnonymousJune 4, 2014 at 8:59 AM
Thank you, Gail, for remembering us boys. I use the term because it's what many of us have struggled
to overcome on our way to being men. I'll add, fwiw, one thing that has helped me in that journey
is recognizing my NM's unending anger towards strong men who rejected her: my father, my stepfather
(her second husband),...and me. Yes, I was able to add myself to the list of strong men, the men
I respected as I grew up. In ways too numerous to list here, they were men of character. Simply,
we walked away from her and her unceasing demands.
She prefers weaker men such as her third husband of 40 years - I could always see the pain, discomfort and awkwardness in his face - who was fortunately spared knowing the indignity that she was out shopping for tennis shoes while he lay dying in a hospital. Fortunately, my step-sister, a survivor of spousal abuse herself, recognizes this woman's dynamic. I can't say the same for her brother or my drunk maternal cousin, both of whom I'd characterize as the flying monkeys.
If you recall the movie, "Leave Her to Heaven" - whether physical murder or murder of a soul - that's my mantra about this NM.
Joan SJuly 1, 2014 at 8:11 PM
Its been a week now since I have awakened. So, I called my brother to tell him of what I know
now. He told me 6 months ago that mother hated him.
I called him and told him mother doesn't hate him anymore than she hates anyone else. She just can't get narcissistic supply from him. He's not about drama never was. So I don't know if she even affected him. She won't see him or talk to him.
Only my sister she is in contact now. My mentally handicapped sister, who is an emotional wreck now. She also gets supply from the few people she shares a walk with the Heart and Stroke. She told me they can't do without her, or the walk will stop. Everyone turns to her for advice, she says. She has a godlike feeling about herself.
She was smirky at my other brothers funeral some years ago. I remember that, but I didn't pick up the cues at that time.
I spent years in counselling trying to get a handle on what was wrong with me. Sick to my stomach, panic attacks, nearly suicidal, couldn't eat, sleep, or work. I was victimized at work all the time. I couldn't hold a job.
So now I told my brother that I want everyone to leave her alone, and for her to attend counselling, leave her alone and in the hands of God. Lets stop everyone from giving her narcisstic supply. He said good luck with that.
He believes that she likes negativity. That's all.
AnonymousSeptember 20, 2014 at 2:35 PM
Great article. Thank you for the honor for your brother. Your article inspired me, and I sent it to my brother. I too, endured sexual abuse. Except I called my mom out on it and I saw through her first, he still doesn't so I hope this article will help him. Cause deep down he has a big heart. God Bless, M.Delete
AnonymousSeptember 27, 2014 at 1:05 AM
I am a 37 year old man who had a narcissist mother. Saying she destroyed me is an understatement. I have never known love and don't expect to.Delete
AnonymousOctober 6, 2014 at 10:45 PM
I feel your pain. I was trapped with my NM for decades. She was disabled at an early age and I was the youngest. The older siblings were all gone by the time I was 9. For the next 28 years, my mother abused me and belittled me even as she forced me to be the parent, to cook and clean and do everything to her exacting standards. Of course nothing was ever good enough. I wasn't allowed to date or go to parties. I had to take care of her and only her. I was trapped. Since she was disabled, it was easy to get everyone on her side. If I tried to stand up for myself I was being the cruel one, yelling at a poor, helpless woman. She turned everyone against me. She destroyed my confidence and my self respect. She tried to twist my hopes and dreams to suit her own, trying to use my desire to write as a way to use me to write her stories and publish them for her so she could make money. It was the one time I stood up to her and she nearly destroyed me for it with years of psychological and emotional abuse. The rest of my family were her flying monkeys. Nobody could say anything wrong about her to them. They never stood up for me. I was alone and still am. I've never known love or had a girlfriend or even a real date. I'm almost 42 years old with less life experience and confidence than most 18-year-olds. Like you, I can't imagine ever knowing love. But I want everyone to know the damage that a narcissistic mother can do to any child's life - son or daughter. I didn't even realize that's what my mom was until earlier this year when someone I met on another site told me about this. I started researching and realized the reason I always hated myself, the reason I never felt worthy. People don't understand because, like many NM's, my mom could appear to be a saint in public. It was only when we were alone that her true nature was revealed. I wish more people knew about this abuse that goes on every day for decades. It may not leave physical scars, but the damage it causes is lifelong and insidious. We are becoming a world of empty, broken people. We need to find a way to stop this from happening. I was abused for nearly 30 years. It's probably too late for me to find love or confidence or happiness. But I hope someone else reads this who is still young, who will recognize their situation in my words, and be able to find help before they end up broken and alone too.Delete
AnonymousMarch 7, 2015 at 5:39 PM
Never ever give up! Its never late to build yourself up! Never...even when you seem stranger
to your own self...you dont even need partner to make yourself feel loved. Love starts when you
start loving, respecting and taking care of yourself.
I am scapegoat myself, and hurt and confusion is totally mysterious to people who dont know this pain...I am still learning how to love myself, how to treat myself right...how to trust people, and stop awful critical voice in my own head from stopping me to love my life...you are going to find partner as soon as you start enjoying who you are, liberated from the prison you were forced into...scapegoats are probably the strongest characters out there, you should fear nothing, as outside world seems so innocent compared to nightmare you were brought up by...you survived that youŽll survive outside world...
AnonymousSeptember 28, 2014 at 11:27 AM
I'm 37 too (female) with husband and kids. I experience tons of love on a daily basis but still feel extremely unsecure. I used to lay on my bed (as a teenager) and fantasize about a "happy ending" for me. Like as if my life was a movie. The hero (me) had to go through an incredible adventure and then.....happy forever after! I mean I did everything but never made it to the sun. Nothing could fill that big hole within my soul. I'm still working on it but had come to the conclusion that some of our emotions are our enemies. My mom did not wish nothing less than my death. i still can't believe it even though I felt it and knew it and had to run for my life. I must tell myself that i have to love myself though she hated me. I still can't believe it. there is no valuable reason you never experience love. Get rid of those toxic thoughts! The most valuable however is the one you owe to yourself. My own little family saved my life but that's very personal and not necessary. love you!
AnonymousOctober 1, 2014 at 9:27 PM
I have been trying to educate myself on NM since my husband recently suffered a nervous breakdown. I made the mistake of crossing his mother and sister (the golden child). The punishment started and apologies from me only exacerbated the situation. In fact, my apology was more like my giving permission to keep the punishment flowing. They both started a war against me. Had he divorced me, they would have been fine. In reading, I recognized all the classic traits: the guilt/manipulation, her martyrdom and being the victim. Her inability to humble herself, apologize or possibly see any wrongdoing on her part. The remaining family are all siding with her against my husband and me. They are giving the narcissistic supply that she needs. My husband has diminished from the "pedestal" (since he used to be the servant) to the gutter. I'm praying as he learns to recognize the impossibility of reconciliation that he will be able to leave this family without having a second nervous breakdown.Delete
AnonymousMarch 7, 2015 at 5:47 PM
Classical narcissistic totally unempathetic that your husband had nervous breakdown...and again its all about her...spotlight on her suffering...Delete
AnonymousJanuary 6, 2016 at 10:13 PM
I am the one who wrote the Anonymous on Oct 1,2014. Just to update all of you on the recent developments. After developing bleeding ulcers, my husband also became an alcoholic. After completing 6 weeks of rehab he received a Christmas card from his mother which was his excuse to go back to the bottle (after 3 weeks of sobriety after rehab). I enforced my boundaries that I would not continue to live like this and he attempted suicide. The morning of the suicide attempt he told me that he wished he could adjust and be happy without his family of origin but it was impossible for him. I am in a very hard place and want to let go of the nightmare. The sad part is he is such a sweet man. Now he has no sense of humor and is miserable.Delete
George GrundNovember 27, 2014 at 11:12 PM
she woke up and found the pan I had forgot to wash. After I had washed her dishes. And told me that I should leave dirty dishes in the sink. I usually don't. But this is hardly an isolated incident. I've lost everything and when I look at it she always comes up. She is dying now drinking herself to death is it really my role to watch her. I don''t need to be here. I could go. I've done all I could. It's been almost two years now. I just need some peace in my life now.Delete
Grace LynchNovember 29, 2014 at 10:15 PM
Thank you for your article. I am just starting therapy for my child abuse issues. I didn't know what had happened to me, but I had to end contact with my whole family out of self-defense. I didn't know why my life and sanity were in danger. Thank you so much for providing this article and giving me peace. I am a 49 year old male, eldest son of a narcissistic mother. Now I can have some peace. Oh my God, thank you, Gail.Delete
AnonymousDecember 4, 2014 at 9:16 PM
I have 3 younger brothers. One was diagnosed as NPD, the other is the GC (he literally coddles
and protects the NM), and the youngest one goes between both. I was hoping that one of them would
at least question my mothers behavior but it seems they are in denial at some level. I'm the scapegoat
and I've been in NC and will continue in that status. It angers me to no end that my NPD mother pretends
to be a Christian and victim, lies, uses others to do things for her, and seemingly gets away with
it usually at my expense, and if not me she is always devaluing someone behind their back.
Never say never, but I don't have much hope for my brothers. The GC has become just like her.
KasarijaDecember 5, 2014 at 3:32 AM
My oldest brother, Claude, was my mom's first scapegoat. He knew what she was...to some degree...and challenged her often as a teenager. She made his life a living hell. He had a good heart, too. She severely damaged him mentally and emotionally but she couldn't reach his heart. He died in a motorcycle accident in 1993 at the age of 37. I can hardly wait to see him again.Delete
AnonymousDecember 20, 2014 at 4:27 PM
Thank you for writing this. I have also noticed myself that some sites focus on adult children on narcissist in general, while others just focus on daughters of narcissists. I have been a member of AA for many years, and I have just started realizing we extent of the personality disorders that both my parents had. Wow I find the material very helpful, I notice that unlike AA, there seem to be no meetings. It would be helpful if there were meetings, plus in AA any meeting that excluded men or women would be considered a sick meeting. If adult children of narcissists groups do not accept that same philosophy I don't see how they can function fully. Narcissistic mothers hurt their sons as much as their daughters. Feminism should not be allowed to sabotage the recovery of the adult children of Narcissitic parents.Delete
AnonymousFebruary 10, 2015 at 12:41 PM
My spouse is the son of deeply narcissistic mother and most definitely the scapegoat. She died 2 and a half years ago and has NOT been the same since. He is TOTALLY different person from the one I had known for the prior 18 years. He's MUCH MUCH angrier, for one. Instead of substance abuse (of which he has none) he has a serious rage addiction -- but there are many other differences as well. I've gone to great lengths to support him -- and will continue to do so even if we split up, as he is a good man -- but this is becoming unbearable for me. Any advice you have to offer me, I'd greatly appreciate. His story reads very much like your brother's. May I ask what your brother died of?Delete
Gail MeyersFebruary 16, 2015 at 4:10 PM
I am not a therapist, but I can tell you from experience that after my mother died I was also flooded with anger. I continued to process it and it finally subsided. Perhaps a good therapist would be helpful. My brother died in an accident.Delete
AnonymousFebruary 15, 2015 at 3:58 PM
If there ever happens to be a monument for the sons and daughters of an extreme narcissistic parent,
this should be engraved in the stone (written by Anonymous December 1, 2014 at 5:49 PM),
"You had people who were too damaged to be a family."
AnonymousMarch 10, 2015 at 12:31 PM
I can so relate. Only I was/am the daughter. Actually, being ostracized by my family of origin
is a blessing. No sane person could want to be with them.
Mom did a great job at making me look bad, flaky, odd, stupid...you name it. However, I overcame it by spending time with her (like a good daughter) and the last thing we did together was to watch Laurel and Hardy in her nursing home bedroom. She laughed a lot through the whole thing.
The trick, as well, is to remember when she actually said good and positive things. And she did. She just could not sustain it (and probably never should have had six kids).
AnonymousApril 22, 2015 at 7:10 PM
interested to read this article and comments. I am concerned about my niece and nephew, especially my nephew at moment, his mother (my ex-sister in law) is a narcissistic sociopath, and he is struggling at moment with his temper, sense of entitlement and selfishness. He's 9, my family is very concerned how to help him. he spends 2 weeks with his mum and only 1 weekend every fortnight with his dad (& my extended family), so the greater influence is his mum. any advice how to help him and his sister be less influenced and affected by his mum would be appreciated. I live several hours away, I'd like to visit more and spend more time with the kids, but this would have to be in the weekend (once a fortnight) when my brother has the kids, so our actually family time allocation with them is limited, and I can't take time away from my brother's weekend. any suggestions?Delete
RobJune 14, 2015 at 10:31 AM
Thank-you for this blog as this has been very enlightening especially about the Flying Monkeys.
I spent 8 years with a Freudian analyst who never pointed out that my mother was narcissistic. Yet
everything I have read here and elsewhere shows that she was in fact almost as extreme as it is possible
to be (I was not subjected to overt sexual abuse). Yet all her friends thought she was great and
blamed me for her problems.
The real irony was it was me, the scapegoat son, who had to act as the support including nursing my mother through two bouts of cancer not my Golden Child sister. But the writer is correct: it is better to be the scapegoat and look for answers.
AnonymousOctober 23, 2015 at 12:14 AM
The message I pretty much get from others is that as long as I smile and give them what they want
everyone is happy.
So I always laugh and smile. I make no demands. I only help. I am respectful. But, the reality is that I have quit caring. My apathy towards this entire experience is so intense I don't mind anything anymore. It just seems ironic to me to even get mad.
They can have it all. What I want can never be attained by living. So, I will ask for nothing, act happy, and give them what they want. Then just, fade away. Like the sunset.
Our 20-year-old son has been involved in many self-defeating activities in the past, but recently the incidents have become so serious that his father and I sought out the assistance of a forensic psychologist hoping to get some answers as to why he behaves the way he does. Our son never showed up at the two sessions we scheduled. However, we decided to pursue counseling without him. Based upon the information we provided, the psychologist's preliminary diagnosis of our son is that he suffers from a narcissistic personality disorder. We understand that it is now up to our son to make productive changes in his life, including counseling. Could you please provide some information as to treatment for this disorder? Also, what role do the parents of an adolescent adult with this disorder take?
Treatment for Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is limited. NPD is a personality disorder, not a chemical imbalance, and does not typically respond to medications. Mental health professionals often encounter NPD patients but often only when depression, anxiety, or stress is also present. In short, we see them when they get into trouble or their self-defeating behavior has caused temporary emotional distress. Most treatment focuses on dealing with the ongoing crisis or with managing narcissistic behaviors that create problems. We have more success in training the NPD individual to control their behavior than to control their narcissistic attitudes and thoughts.
For concerned parents, a son with NPD can be very difficult. Adults with NPD rarely accept responsibility for their misbehavior and in fact, have a tremendous sense of entitlement. They are preoccupied with their selfish agenda and exhibit little concern for how their behavior can damage the family. NPD's can be the "spoiled brats" of the adult world.
As parents, we must love and support them at a safe distance. Over the next years, you'll be dealing with the consequences of his self-defeating behaviors. With each consequence, he will be looking to you to rescue him, only to return to the same behaviors immediately after the crisis is over. He will likely be highly manipulative and may place you in financial difficulty if you don't protect yourself. You must take a position of "tough love" and be supportive but not always a rescuer. Set limits to the extent you will help repair his self-defeating behaviors. Keep in mind, what we call a self-defeating behavior is probably a scheme that didn't work out the way he'd have liked.
There are support and discussion groups on the Internet for parents and friends of individuals with NPD. Participating in these groups will remind you that your situation is not unique. You may also obtain some guidance and helpful hints from the experience of other parents.
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Last modified: May, 28, 2020