“Imagine the infant who one day cries and gets fed, and the next day cries and goes hungry. One day smiles and is kissed and hugged. The next day smiles and is ignored. This is what psychologists called ‘preoccupied or unresolved attachment’ with the primary caregiver–usually the mother. There was love one minute and disdain the next. Affection that was given in abundance for no reason and then taken away without cause. The child has no ability to predict or influence the behavior of the parent. The narcissist loves a child only as an extension of herself at first, and then as a loyal subject. So she will tend to the child only when it makes her feel good.”
One of the best sources for growing up with a narcissist is from Marty writing at PTSD-A Way Out: I was a thing to my Narcissist dad:
I often wonder why my PTSD has been so destructive.
My dad exerted so much energy, a 24/7 constant obsession of grooming me for baseball stardom. I was more of an it to him, a thing, not a separate life, not an autonomous person with desires and needs.
That’s how a narcissist owns things, uses things (people) for their pleasure. Their empathy centers do not work correctly.
Whether at school, home or on a field of competition, he controlled my every move, reviewed every play of every game and performance at school, then punished any actions that deviated from his master plan.
I guess it was to replace his lost childhood from early pregnancy at 16 and subsequent end of his high school career.
He wanted to control every part of my life, even micromanage my thoughts. He stole my childhood, my life for his own sick narcissistic pleasure.
There was no opportunity for me to be me, in fact being me would get beat for insolence.
From How a Narcissist Will Manipulate Their Relationships:
#3. They seek power as a means of control
Whether it’s in their work or personal life a narcissist wants to gain power so that they are able to have full control over the people in every area of their lives.
“Some narcissists purposely select professional endeavors where they can be regularly admired and/or feared. In this case, a major reason for the narcissist’s choice is simply to be “superior,” “important,” and “special,” rather than sincerely desiring to make a contribution for the greater good.” –Psychology Today
A few years ago I had a narcissistic boss that did everything he could to make me fear him. From the first day I started, he told me that he “fired whenever he felt like it” and he saw himself as superior to all of his subordinates.
Meetings weren’t about what was good for the company, they were about what we could do to make our boss look good to his leadership.
From 10 Signs Your Mother is a Narcissist:
6. She thinks she is above the rules.
Narcissists prefer not to have to follow the rules that apply to us lesser mortals. The sense of entitlement that accompanies narcissism can manifest in expectations of special treatment. She might try to get out of a parking ticket through manipulation or flirtatious behavior, then she gets angry. She can embarrass you in the takeaway line at your favorite coffee shop. If she is not allowed to jump the coffee queue or secure her favorite table at a popular restaurant, she may become disproportionately angry.
7. She is unpredictable.
Narcissists often wax and wane in terms of their attention and availability. She may shower you with affection and attention (love-bombing) when she wants something from you and ignore you when she is going OK. Her ability to care about you is dependent on her own needs rather than any genuine commitment to you as a separate and autonomous being.