Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Sad and sick to my stomach

My "father" came over yesterday evening. We hadn't seen him in weeks and he'd missed us, he said.

Then my kids ate a Kinder Surprise egg I'd bought them and the toy inside was a paintbrush with a tiny amount of watercolors.

My older daughter loves this toy.

But, apparently, so does her "grandpa". So he just takes her notebook and her paintbrush and her watercolors and starts painting with them!

"Don't take that from her!" I tell him.

"That's all right, Mom. I let Grandpa N paint with them." My beautiful, kind 5-year-old says.

"There's very little color there", I insist. "Give it back to her before you spend it all."

"It's OK, I let him." My daughter is persistent.

He doesn't react at all. He's acting like an engrossed toddler.

"Grandpa, let me paint now", she says when he's finally done.

"You can't", he says. "There's no paint left."

She's visibly sad, but says "Never mind."

My heart breaks. But I don't know what to do.

Could I have prevented it? Should I have?

I told her later she never has to give grandpa N anything that belongs to her if she doesn't want to. She repeated that she wanted to.

I'm buying her a real set of watercolors today. Can't shake the overwhelming feeling of sadness about this relatively small incident all day. Like something very important is irretrievably lost and nothing can ever replace it.

Like something died.


  1. What can you do? To take it from him would be to risk his rage in front of your child. You may have lost a Kodak moment, but your child may have learned a lesson about boundaries. And especially enforcing them with him.

  2. Maybe the sadness is the child inside you who acted the way your daughter did in this situation, who said it was what she wanted, insisted it was what she wanted, only to find years later that it was just survival. Molding onself to ruffle no feathers, sacrificing desire to "keep the peace," going along to get along. He ignored your request to give her back the paints, and kids aren't dumb. She saw that even her mommy couldn't tell grandpa what to do so she acted like she gave it to him. Maybe it cuts just a little too close to the bone to see your daughter smooth things over for him - I know it cut close to mine. Especially when I got to the part where she said "let me paint now" and by then the paint was gone. Big engrossed toddler is right.

    This small incident speaks to the unmanageable obstacle of navigating these interactions and coming out clean. Seems like being around them at all leaves us with all our paint used up.


    1. Well-said, Upsi ... So sad but true.

  3. :(

    Remember who he is, PA. Just because he has a grandchild, it does not mean that he is going to change. He is not going to be sweeter, more understanding, more loving, more thoughtful, more anything with her. If anything, he will be very much the same ... or even more so because narcissists get worse with time.

    They groom the grandchildren, just liked they groomed the parents.

    At the risk of sounding like a pain in the ass, I want to say, please, be careful in how you deal with this. Narcissistic parents become narcissistic grandparents and the abuse continues onto the next generation if not stopped by the awakened, aware parent.

    It gets worse. Some children are naturally sweet and generous, and an Narcissism will milk them for all they can get. I learned this with Becky (my oldest daughter), who was trying so hard to please her grandmother for a long time, whose generosity and kindness and respect was exploited by her grandmother. And then my mother was slowly starting to poison my mind towards one of my sons by always criticizing him to me. And both my parents completely dismissed two other sons. And they wanted to make another boy the Golden Child.

    I cried often about how they were being with my children. They had started sweet when the kids were babies, and it just got so bad... but sneakily bad, slyly terrible.

    Then I read this article and it made me see things differently:

    It's a hard, multi-Kleenex read, but she spells it out how it is far better than I can.

    I'm truly sorry if I overstepped my bounds in sharing all that. I really, really am. And all that I say I am saying from my heart and from my desire for you and your family of choice to be safe and in peace.


  4. Seeing history repeat itself is painful. A healthy grand parent would see the child's interest and offer, with your permission, to get her more paints. You said it exactly that they act like toddlers absorbed in getting what they want at the cost of everyone else. Hugs to you.

  5. Just wow. You'd think, having an Nparent of my own and an Ngrandparent, too, I wouldn't be surprised by things like this any more. But I am. Every time I see or hear about an adult acting with such a lack of empathy for a child, it blows me away. Who the hell does stuff like this? A pretty messed-up adult, that's who.

    Hugs for you and for your daughter. I know the opportunity for her to learn to set and protect boundaries is a gift, but I wish you and she could have the much greater gift of a healthy father/grandfather. :(

  6. I have perused your site. You, my dear, are also an N. Fully and completely. Notice how you only talk about your own reaction to things. Not others, and whether they did what's right for them. Not even your own daughter. Only your reaction.

    The good news is that everyone has some N qualities or we would just let the lions eat us, rather than killing them to protect our children and ourselves. It's a survival instinct to act in your own best interest.

    However, healthy people form self interested groups, striving for a common goal, like a soccer team. They don't whine about how the other player scored the goal when they could have passed it to "me" so I could score. That the goal was scored is the objective. Something you don't see, making you an N too.

  7. This comment from anonymous (too chicken to stand by who you are?) makes no sense. It is very clear to me that Pronoia has taken her daughter's point of view to heart.

    Anonymous has an agenda and has targeted this blog to try to fix her own problems. You know what, Anonymous? Go start your own blog where you can whine about how no one listens to your point of view. And learn how to use analogies in a way that makes some sense. You just manage to make yourself look stupid.

  8. Hey, Sweet Stuff/aka "Anon." "You, my dear" are a complete and un-adultrated asshole. Crawl back into your other hole-the Troll Hole from whence you came. You are incapable of "perusing" anything besides your own hatred of your own AC. It's just so muuch easier to sling your "venom" and "hatred" at a proxy for your own estranged (and likely damn glad they did) AC.
    You "My Dear" are old enough to know better but your ignorance gives you away: A classic Narc EP trying to play with the normal folks. Your phrasing and content gives you away. If you spent more time "perusing" the huge problems with your own kids, you wouldn't be where you are now: Alone and PISSED. Yes, there ARE Stalking Laws, Aggravated Harassment and other legal repercussions that ACs are now using. Save your money for bail and your shit for your own outhouse.

  9. HEY DEAR,

  10. Your Father is a selfish prat, what a stupid glib answer he gave. You should have sent him to a 24 hour store to replace it.

    Anon, your language style sucks. Perused? (I use fancy superior words, because I AM superior)
    You, my dear ( I condescend, because I operate on a high elite plane)

    Interestingly Anon, you refer to Narcissists as Lions. That's a bit positive and majestic for my likes.

    However, healthy people (implies you're not healthy), Narcs love to cast self doubt.

    Lastly, healthy people would form self interest groups and not whine. A good example of negative gaslighting. Actually this is a form of self interest group, where the author can get stuff of her chest and others with similar experiences can agree, offer advice and relate the stories to their own situations. Even disagree in a helpful manner.

    How do you feel now Anon? Shamed? I doubt that. Frustrated, vengeful? Very possibly.

  11. Another comment about the anon's stupid analogies -- the lion one is idiotic as well. One, lions equivalent to narcissists? Hardly. And you know what, I don't see a lot of narcissist or lion shooting going on in the world. We can leave the lions alone -- they are hardly evil beasts out stalking our children. But I'd love me some narcissist hunting. Narcissists favorite victims are their own children.

    I have to wonder wtf the anon thinks the common goal of this self-interest group ought to be. My thought is that we are supporting each other. I'm not sure where anon thinks we are failing at this or that Pronoia is somehow taking this goal from the rest of us. If our goal is to escape the clutches of narcissistic parents, I'd say she's doing a fine job adding to the cause.

    Anon is a moron who can't convince her own wayward child to fall in line, nevermind anyone else with eyes to see a self-serving narcissist when we see one. No wonder since she can't put together an argument containing any logic. Where's a moron-eating lion when you need one?

  12. Hi Vic

    You are absolutely right. The lion thing did it for me. All victims of Narcs refer to them as blood suckers, rats, monsters etc. Her referral to something bad as a majestic ruler tells me that she doesn't have the courage to admit she may be something low, sneaky or evil.
    Also how she mentioned as good news that we all have Narc qualities strikes me as saying we are all Narcissists but she is just a far better one. Is she grandiose or what?

  13. I've just about had it with the naysayers that plague the entire internet. My mother may suck but she did teach me the value of keeping unsolicited snarky comments to myself particuarly in matters that do not pertain to me in the least. To voluntarily visit a strangers blog, read about their stugggles and publically tear into their sensitive underbelly is far more telling of you than any wisdom or clever observations contained in your post. My mother is available to enlighten you further on this issue should degradation lose its appeal.

  14. I'm sure this incident was horrible for you while it was happening - having to watch your daughter being invalidated - from your point of view - while the way you were treated as a child repeated itself.

    However, looking at it from your daughter's point of view, this incident might not have been particularly traumatic, and in fact might actually be good for her in the long run. For one thing, the fact that she felt sad about grandpa selfishly taking all the paints shows that she understands what a crazy, childish thing it was for him to do. This will help her enforce boundaries later should something more insidious happen, as she will already have realized that anything he does to upset her comes from his own problems, and that she should never blame herself.

    Secondly, the fact that she got slightly sad, rather than angry or frustrated, is telling. 5-year-old children who think they are being permanently robbed of something they fundamentally want rarely react so mildly. It's pretty conclusive evidence that she feels safe, and was sure that mommy would fix it all by taking her side and replacing the paints later - which of course, as a good parent, is exactly what you did.


I encourage comments!!!