How to deal with narcissistic son

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Acacia, Feb 25, 2018.

  1. Acacia

    Acacia Active Member

    I having been reading and posting on this site for two years now, and it has helped me immeasurably. Still I am struggling.

    Right now I need help to overcome my fears and do the right thing.

    Quick backstory on one of my difficult children: son 32, malignant narcissist, in jail numerous times, due to be released this spring. Years of hell, threatened both my husband and me when active drug user 10 years ago and has never made amends. He is intimidating and bullying although he has been the victim of violence more than the perpetrator. Always says how awful I am despite my continued support. Have set more and more boundaries though, which is progress.

    Has 2 year old with ex, who is an addict. Child is foster care for second time. Heartbreaking details of abuse and neglect from mother. Son believes he will be ideal parent when he get outs this spring and is petitioning the court although he has no money, no home, no transportation, etc. Asked me to take child, wants to use my address. I won't do either because of how difficult he is. He is extremely manipulative, we live in the same town, and I am afraid of his anger. My husband won't have anything to do with him because of my son's lies, irrationality, and delusions about himself and has concerns about safety.

    Here's the problem. I find myself unable to be honest with him about how unrealistic he is or that I believe he is in no position to parent. I feel it is not my job to tell him, but he takes my silence as support. I don't visit him, but he keeps calling and talking about how he appreciates that I am supporting him in trying to get custody of his daughter. I did copy papers for him and go to the court date, but I didn't say anything. I am a nervous wreck.

    Any advice is appreciated about what and what not to do in regards to dealing with extreme narcissism - everyone is to blame except him.
  2. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Hi Acacia, I know how you are feeling. My son is also narcissistic and manipulative.
    Your son is grooming you with his manipulation when he calls you and telling you how much he appreciates you supporting him trying to get custody of his daughter. He thinks you are supporting him because you went to a court date and copied papers for him.
    If it were me, I would not do any more for him. The more you do for him the more he will expect from you and the bigger the blow up will be when it doesn't happen.
    I know in dealing with my son I am very vague with responses and answers because he is narcissistic I have found this is my best defense. I don't think it's so much that you are afraid to tell your son the truth in that when dealing with a narcissistic personality they will believe what they want regardless of the truth. The more you try and tell them why something won't work for them the more they will argue why it will.
    You might want to consider writing some answers/responses down for when your son calls. Also, just because he calls does not mean you have to answer or accept the charges.
    Some examples:
    Son: Mom I really need you to do "whatever he asks"
    You: I'm sorry but I'm not going to be able to that.
    Son: Why not?
    You: As I said, I'm sorry but I'm not going to be able to do that. The key here is to keep repeating the same answer.
    Son: If you cared about me you would help me.
    You: As I said, I'm sorry but I'm not going to be able to do that. You do not want to engage in a debate - you do not owe him any kind of reason for why you won't help.
    When you have had enough, these lines are perfect.
    Someone's at the door, gotta go, love you bye! then just hang up
    The potatoes are boiling over, gotta go, love you bye! then just hang up
    I'm late for an appointment, gotta go, love you bye! then just hang up
    If he asks your opinion about something be very careful here. Again, having some standard go to replies is very helpful. Some examples.
    I'm not sure, what do you think you should do?
    I have no doubt that you can figure something out.

    Something that has really helped me to truly detach from my son is to accept and understand that I do not owe him anything. You see, we have raised our children. They are adults now, they need to be taking care of themselves and dealing with their own issues and those issues are more often than not of their own making.
    In the latest letters I've received from my son in jail, he has said all the right things. Of course I hope he is sincere but I've been down this road too many times. I have my guard up. I look at it that he is grooming me to try and manipulate me. I know that when he is released he will most likely want something from me, probably money. My answer will be "I'm sorry but I'm not going to be able to do that"
    I will no longer put myself in a position to be manipulated by my son.

    Stay strong Acacia!!!
  3. Leana

    Leana New Member

    My son has cluster B which includes being a narcissist. He is very intelligent and I' the type of person who looks for the best in people. The way they manipulate a story,
    especially if they did something wrong is
    really confusing. I also struggle when I see
    the funny, nice son because I' like to think he
    has changed his ways but I just don't know.
    I'm always on guard these days, liking watching a movie. I think my son wants to see his son because he thinks it is what a normal person would want. Yet, he is missing
    something. I think they want a new minion, or
    some new supply they can manipulate. I'm not sure they are capable of love. Pray I'm wrong. My ex daughter in law is a wonderful mother, who will not talk to my son because she doesn't want to deal with him or fearful
    she will fall into his trap. There is not foster care but if she was a drug addict and my son wanted to raise my grandson, I know it would be me raising him. You have to think of the granddaughter and what would be best for her. Put yourself in the granddaughters shoes. What kind of love is her father going
    to provide? My situation is more stable, but
    I still worry about my grandson. Love and prayers to keep you strong and clear headed.
    My grandson is also 2 years old.
  4. Acacia

    Acacia Active Member

    Thanks for the great advice Tanya and Leana. I will write down a script. I need everything I can to keep me strong, and I do realize that by going to the court date and copying papers, he takes that as agreement. Thanks again.
  5. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    This is a very hard situation. There is a young child who needs and deserves protection. The child's needs should be the focus. Sadly, you know that won't be the case with your son. It just won't be.

    You also know that telling him that you don't support him having custody will bring about a blowup. Right now he seems to be in custody. If that is so, it might be the very place to tell him you won't help him, if you are going to tell him that. Why? Because his outburst will be controlled and won't be able to be aimed at you or at his child. I am just not sure he would even hear or remember what you said. WHy waste your breathe, your time or your energy?

    Tanya's advice is well tested. Having those stock phrases that you can say to him are often the key to interacting with him. You don't owe him any explanation, ever. He wouldn't understand the words that you said anyway, not any directed at him. He would just try to use them to upset you and to get what you want. Post those phrases near the phone. Keep a copy where you sit when you talk on the phone. Keep a copy in your purse. Heck, have them come up as the background on your phone if he calls on your cell phone.

    Don't fall for his nice routine. It means he wants something from you, that is all. It does not mean he has changed.

    I am sorry your grandchild was abused and neglected. That is very hard to handle.
  6. Acacia

    Acacia Active Member

    Yes, knowing that a innocent child has been abused is the hardest part. It feels awful not to be saving her. I am not out of the woods yet. I see where I fall down, but I am working hard not to change. Not there yet, but on my way. Difficult son always starts out nice then turns on me. I still get sucked in. Never dreamed this would be my life. Every word I read here helps me.