In many families some children get away with everything. They have a kind of power, a magnetic almost magic ability to control their parents. Other siblings are treated differently. They must tow the line or else. Or they are dismissed and neglected. They never get any attention unless it is negative. This emotional and psychological inequality is flagrant in narcissistic families.
If mother is the narcissistic matriarch, she may be inclined to choose a daughter to act as a mirror of her perfection. Sometimes it is the eldest daughter if she makes the cut--meaning she must be very attractive, even beautiful, extroverted and highly confident, bright and full of herself. Mother hand picks this child and molds her into a perfect replica of herself. The two of them are inseparable. The narcissistic mother continually praises the older daughter and belittles the other children to the point of telling them outright that they are inferior. "What can't you be more like ------? She's the one I am proud of. She's beautiful, popular, gets all A's. What's the matter with you?" Day by day and year by year this mother is hand crafting a narcissistic personality disorder like herself or even worse. As the budding narcissistic daughter grows she becomes the "holy terror" of the household. She is purposely cruel to her siblings. She makes up lies about them so that they are punished. She scares them constantly because she has become sadistic and obsessed with controlling others. The narcisssitic mother is always on her favorite daughter's side. She can do no wrong. There is no one to defend any of the siblings since often the father has abandoned the family psychologically and stays in the marriage for image purposes alone. The matriarch keeps her husband to protect her lifestyle.
I have heard life stories of children raised with a narcissistic older sister that are hair raising. Vignettes in which the sister and her friends put siblings in closets for hours, held them down and spat on them, threatened them physically and even worse are too common. The non-narcissistic siblings were too terrified to speak a word about this torture. They suffered unrelenting cruelty. They had no where to go for rescue. They simply had to keep quiet to survive.
The Queen Bee Older Narcissistic Sister goes on to the best university, marries a man from the right family with all the finest connections. They move forward to have perfect children---some of whom will be molded into another narcissistic generation.
The non-narcissistic siblings are left on their own to fend for their own educations. They go to school and work many hours a week just to survive. The narcissistic mother is happy to get rid of her "inferior children."
She only speaks to her friends about her Queen Bee Daughters.
Children who survive this psychological gulag experience tremendous emotional pain. Many have learned to deep freeze their emotions to cope. It is wise for them to sever contact with the narcissistic mother and her queen bee daughter. They are venomous. To this narcissistic duo, they represent a shameful embarrassment. They are poor relations at best. Some siblings find that alcohol and drugs ease their pain for the moment and go down this treacherous rode. Others marry and re-marry or go from one abusive relationship to the next.
Others survive and through skillful psychotherapy, the use of their mental and creative gifts and their spiritual journey, find ways to reclaim their authentic selves. It isn't easy going ---there are many bumps, ruts and detours. I have heard victorious stories of those who will not give up. They grow, deepen and expand as human beings, always learning that they can continue this endless process of becoming authentic, steady and strong. To learn about every facet of the narcissistic personality disorder, visit my website: www.thenarcissistinyourlife.com
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
Telephone Consultation: United States and International
Book: Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life
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