Narcissistic Parents–The Baby Who Could Not Stop Crying

A few weeks ago I was having dinner in a nearby restaurant. The environment was comfortable, well appointed and service oriented. I had been looking forward to this evening because I knew about their high quality food and Italian ambiance.  There was a large table of people a short distance away. It appeared to be an extended family situation. I heard a cry coming from a baby (less than two years of age)  sitting next to a man whom I believe was his father. The cry grew louder and I noticed that not one member of this group was paying any attention to this child. It was as if they were unable to hear his rising hysteria. There was no move or gesture toward this little fellow. He threw back his face and neck and screamed loudly for some time before his father turned without any emotion on his face and began to quickly scoop food into this child’s mouth. During this time none of the members of this group made a move or looked the baby’s way.

The crying grew louder and louder. The man whom I believe was the father turned away from the child and ignored him for at least five minutes. I was alarmed and wondered what the hell was going on. I thought about telling one of the waiters about what was in plain sight. I wanted to rush over a number of times and pick up the baby and soothe him and never give him back. The other restaurant guests appeared to be ignoring this horrible painful emotional meltdown. The cry became primal, like an animal that is pleading for its life and losing the battle. Finally after at least fifteen minutes the father or father surrogate picked up the baby. This procedure was done stiffly, without any emotional attachment or concern. It appeared that the dad realized that a scene was occurring and wanted to avoid a further public display. The baby stopped crying briefly. Soon dad put baby down and the screaming resumed–head and neck back with full throttled crying—endless waves of severe distress. The dinner guests at the table finished their meal and left with the crying baby. I do not know what happened to the baby after the party left the restaurant. I would not be surprised if they let him scream indefinitely until he got on their nerves so much that they put him in a room far away and let him cry himself to stupor and finally sleep. This scene is indelible in my mind. It was so real yet completely ignored as if it had never happened.

I am thinking about the cries of children of a narcissistic mother or father or both that are responded to with a slap,  a sneer, a snarl, a threat or a removal to a room where the child cannot be heard and therefore will not disturb or disrupt their needs. No thought is given by narcissistic parents to the emotional and psychological needs of their children. Children of these parents exist only as narcissistic supplies for them. They are not loved or valued for themselves. If they are chosen by the narcissistic parent it is because they are attractive, bright, talented, etc. and can be molded as their perfect mirrors. Some children of narcissistic parents are completely ignored and abandoned. They must fend for themselves to survive. 

“A narcissistic parent is incapable of empathy, the ability to understand or care about how someone else is feeling. The focus of the narcissist is selfish and insular. A life dedicated exclusively to self cannot encompass a genuine love of one’s children.”(From Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life)

 I hear from children of narcissistic parents through my blog and book. Their psychological pain and the abuse and deprivations they have endured are immense and often overwhelming. So many of them are healing from this painful legacy. They have great courage and are committed to a healing themselves and do this hard work each day. They are finding their true selves through many healing modalities. Excellent psychotherapy helps them to work through the pain of the past, release it and redefine themselves. The practice of some form of quieting the mind or meditation puts the individual into the calming part of the nervous system where all healing takes place. Others discover their unique creative talents in a form that works for them. They have courageously pushed the reset button on their lives.


6 thoughts on “Narcissistic Parents–The Baby Who Could Not Stop Crying”

  1. Comment: From Dheeraj
    Dear Dr Linda,

    I have read your book Freeing yourself from Narcissist. I have read couple of more good books, needless to say your book stands out among the best books I can ever read. I was surprised at your spiritual insights and your way of thinking of how compassionate you were in writing the book. You touched upon various topics to help people understand what it takes to heal and how spirituality can help. I admire you and your work profoundly and I read your posts regularly which comes in my inbox. I wish God gives you long life as you are indeed making big difference in people like me and many others who are struggling with this issue.
    Anyway thank you for inspiring the world

  2. Comment:From Rox
    I know how that baby must feel. My narcissistic mother proudly told stories of how she ignored my baby cries, because I was “annoying” her. As an adult, I recently had to come to terms with a narcissist best friend who also “ignored” my appeals when I was grabbed on campus. While I have learned to trust because my husband, friends, and supporters have shown great care and concern, I wonder if I will ever be completely free from narcissists who see me as someone to value, then ignore to get their narcissistic supply. God help us all.

  3. Comment:From Rsetta
    I remember the first time I saw my own blood. I was a toddler and fell onto the sidewalk scraping my knee. The sight of blood along with the trauma and pain caused me to cry. My mother stared at me with both scorn disdain saying, “If crying will make you feel better do it in your room”. I stopped crying instantaneously. Part of her punishment was to delay treating my wound until she felt I was deserving of care and a bandaid. This was indicative of how she address many of my emotional needs and crying was never tolerated. She’s cried often, because she is ill and sometimes unable to keep up the facade. Whatever the case, she will NEVER cause me to cry again…..

  4. Comment:From Pat
    I know of someone who has what I believe to be a N mother. He tends to protect her and defend her while his father who is a beaten down man gets criticized by the son. I do not understand this. The mother rarely acknowledges her sons needs unless to appear loving. She feigns empathy and concern but all conversation, problems, whims must revert back to the mother. She always gets her way but with her husband SEEMS to cave to his wishes at times. This does not makes sense the husband is a source of her NS. She is a covert N and a very good one. When she asks for thigns it is covert and only a trained professional would notice it but she will get her way with her son. To outsiders she seems a wife who may not seem very loving but adequate who rarely criticizes her husband and as I said bows to his wishes at times which does not fit the profile but in almost every other way she does fit the profile. She has tempered entitlement smart enough to know not to b too obvious, haughty, shocking at times, has N rages, avoids a lot of physical and emotional investment, will not get personal, very shallow, fantacises about her life and home being much more then it is Lives in a world of her own making. Has few god friends and no real hobbies always seeks comfort be it physical or emotional does not confront problems with people can’t b bothered. Expects all must come to her. Score keeper.

  5. Comment:From Sarah
    I have only now (age 50) came to the realization that my mom is a narccisst. I can share so many stories that now make sense, but I have one just like your sample or Rox’s above. My mom proudly says how when I was around 2-3 weeks old they had decided not to get up for when I cry during the night. They wouldn’t let my older sibling pick me up as well. I don’t know how many nights or hours it took for me to stop crying, but I did. I gave up. Then during my later childhood years I have developed a phobia of night and darkness. This is just the tip of the iceburg. Thank you !

  6. Sounds like my mum I have Asperger Syndrome and both parents have it but my mum also has severe narcissism and hates herself for the Aspergers so I alternated between being the golden child and the scapegoat (I was an only child) think the dog became the golden child! (I remember a counsellor asking me why I loved the dog that I should have been jealous and didn’t think of the answer at the time – the DOG loved me!) I remember her beating me for crying my most of my life. When I left home my mum decided I didn’t exist and I heard stories from my godmother that my dad warned my uncle not to mention me in front of my mum, another that my mum had said nasty things about me at a wedding and I wasn’t allowed to go to my grandmothers’ funeral- I only found out she cared about me from my godmother my mum had told me she hated me.

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