In my previous article Extreme BPD / NPD Behaviors Are Internally Triggered , I discussed the puzzling ways in which normal circumstances seem to trigger abusive behaviors from Borderlines, Narcissists, and other personality disordered abusers. My advice to those who can do so is to get away and stay away from these people as they are a serious danger to your own mental health, even your freedom and your life, if you continue to have anything to do with them.
Unfortunately, not everybody can easily extricate themselves from the abuse without severe consequences. This is particularly true for parents of children whose other parent is a Borderline or Narcissist. Staying in the children’s lives means staying in the line of fire of the abuser. Leaving is likely to subject the children to even more abuse. Often the abuser has focused most of her or his rage against their former partner or spouse. But if that parent leaves, the rages, abuses, and emotional manipulations are not going to stop. They will probably be redirected at somebody else close to the abuser as loved-ones are the tops targets for these sick people. The children are a likely target for even more abuse than they have already received. This chronic abuse with no escape (as the healthy parent has disappeared) is likely to create severe psychological damage, even personality disorders, in these children as they have even less means to defend themselves against one of these sociopaths than an adult does.
To fully understand how horrible the impact of Borderline or Narcissist parent can be on a child, you’ll have to do some more reading as the topic is way too broad to cover in a couple thousand word article. One of the best books on the topic is Dr. Christine Lawson’s book Understanding the Borderline Mother: Helping Her Children Transcend the Intense, Unpredictable, and Volatile Relationship . I first read this a few years ago and have yet to find a book on the subject that more thoroughly explains the destruction that Borderlines cause in the lives of their children. Dr. Lawson has created a fairy-tale model of Borderlines to help understand their behaviors. She groups them into hermits, waifs, queens, and witches. Many Borderlines exhibit traits of more than one of these groups, but they tend to have a primary behavior pattern and understanding it can help the reader figure out what motivates these sociopaths and what sort of abuses they are likely to inflict upon their children.
Preventing Worst Outcomes In Children Of Sociopathic Parents
The best chance for preventing the children of a Borderline, Narcissist, or similarly abusive parent probably rests with ensuring the children have continuing and frequent contact with healthy relatives, particularly their other parent. Unfortunately, it is common for personality disordered abusers to get sole custody of children. This combined with the court’s inability to do its job at determining the truth are perhaps two of the strongest reasons why sole custody is a huge mistake. Far too many children are placed into situations in which the sole or primary caretaker is an abuser and they have little experience with non-abusive family relationships as a result. These children would be far better off if they spent 50% of the time with the abusive parent and 50% with the non-abusive parent.
Even if the children do get to see their non-abusive parent, the children also need support systems including a therapist or counselor with experience treating abused children and dealing with the abusers even when they are in control over nearly everything in the children’s lives as so often happens.
A parent who makes the sacrifice of staying in the line of fire of the sociopath for the benefit of the children may literally be permitting themselves to be subjected to decades of abuse, harassment, false allegations, false imprisonment, theft and slavery (consider their incomes and assets will be funneled into pocketbooks of the divorce industry and the abusive ex-spouse), and even murder for the sake of the children. This may sound alarmist, but truly even murder is a very real possibility as is shown by this story of a narcissistic New York mom Susan Williams who allegedly hired a hit man to kill her ex-husband Peter Williams:
A Long Island woman was arrested in March for putting a hit out on her husband of 21 years. Susan and Peter Williams were in the middle of a divorce. In an effort to ensure she would walk away with their million dollar residence and other assets, she tried to have him bumped off and couldn’t believe the great price she got.
The slavery part of this typical pattern of abuse is also illustrated in the same story. The murderous narcissistic mom managed to gain the cooperation of an abusive and incompetent judge to order astronomical child support of $11,000 per month to be paid by the abused father of the children and, pursuing the parental alienation so common with these monsters, also managed to alienate their four children from him.
(from Long Island mom got a cheap ‘hit’ )
Dreeben admits Peter has failed to pay court-ordered monthly child support of $11,000 because he can’t afford it.
She also said that sky-high amount was set by a judge after Susan lied about the couple’s finances.
It is unfortunately very common for courts to side with the abuser. They seldom change their minds until the abuser continues to abuse, often for years, and eventually crosses some line such as physical assault, attempted murder, or actual murder. Many of these people are fundamentally criminals of the worst sort — criminals who have no remorse, guilt, or conscience and are incredibly devious and manipulative, often to a degree that places them beyond the means of even the few honest and ethical judges to detect their true nature.
Why does this happen? In my view, it’s largely because judges and the government often enable and encourage all of these crimes in their incompetent and/or corrupt quest to pick winners and losers and use children and families as a means to bolster their job security and incomes. Judges almost across the board are incompetent to be making these decisions between a lack of training in psychology and a lack of extended experience with the people involved. But the worst of these judges behave as if they have selfish reasons for their abusive decisions. It appears as if placing the children with the sociopathic abuser ensures more conflict and hence more profit and job security for these reprehensible individuals and their friends in the divorce industry. They do this at the expense of the children and their extended family who will be terrorized by the Borderline, Narcissist, or other sociopathic parent as a result.
Contact With Abuser Can Be Offset By Healthy Parent and Support System
On balance, with a propertly set up support system, even children who might have been placed solely with a non-abusive parent might be better off long-term by having some contact with the abusive parent. That’s because the children are more likely to learn to set boundaries, fight emotional manipulation, and avoid abusive relationships if they can see examples of both healthy and abusive families without being stranded entirely in an abusive family and get the benefit of a competent and objective therapist who can help teach them how to manage such abusive people. I realize this may be a very controversial statement, but consider that children have two parents and always have a curiosity and desire to know and understand their parents. It’s probably better for a child to experience how horrible a sociopathic parent is first-hand with people around who can help them cope before they find themselves at age 18, totally naive and gullible, contacting that parent only to be swallowed up in the parent’s web of lies, distortions, and manipulations.
Avoid Having Children With Borderlines, Narcissists, and Other Sociopaths
If you don’t have children yet but are in a relationship with one of these sociopaths, get out immediately before you conceive a child with one of them. Bringing children into a family like this is a very severe mistake that will hurt the children and many others for possibly multiple generations to come. That’s because many children of sociopaths are chronically abused and go on to develop personality disorders and become abusers themselves. The parent’s gender and the exact diagnosis as a Borderline, Narcissist, or some other kind of personality disordered abuser doesn’t change things much. The distinctions between diagnoses such as BPD and NPD, both in their behaviors and their abuse tactics, are often very subjective and blurry and distract from the essential ingredient of a sociopathic disregard for the well-being of others as Dr. Tara Palmatier recently described in her article Are the Diagnoses of Borderline, Narcissistic, Histrionic or Antisocial Personality Disorder Helpful or Harmful for Non’s? . It is also very clear that none of these diagnoses are exclusive to a particular gender, even though it is commonly believed that women are more likely to be Borderlines and men more likely to be Narcissists.
Recovering From A Sociopathic Parent
If you happen to know somebody, perhaps yourself, who was trapped as a child living with a Borderline, Narcissist, or similarly abusive or sociopathic parent, be aware that these people are at particular risk of prolonged psychological problems and really need a lot of assistance to become healthy, even if they are not abusive themselves. Those who do not become abusive often find themselves attracted to abusive people similar to their problem parent. Even if this does not occur, they may be left with lingering doubts about themselves, feeling they are unworthy of love, because of their abusive or neglectful childhoods.
While not everybody can afford therapy to help heal from psychological trauma, I’ve found that self-help psychology books can be very useful and inexpensive help for adult victims of personality disordered abusers and suspect that former abused children might find the same. Often understanding is the first step to healing. The best of these books can certainly help build understanding.
A couple of well-reviewed books written specifically for children of such parents are Surviving a Borderline Parent: How to Heal Your Childhood Wounds & Build Trust, Boundaries, and Self-Esteem  and Will I Ever Be Good Enough?: Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers . Click through the links to read customer reviews and find the “search inside this book” link (located below the book image on the upper left of the web page) to preview the first portions of each book to see if the books might be right for you or somebody you know.
Finally, if you’re aware of somebody who has experienced the parental alienation that is so common coming from the sociopathic parents discussed in this article, I’d strongly suggest you read my previous article Parental Alienation Can Happen to Adults and In Marriages . As the article’s title suggests, the sociopathic behaviors such as parental alienation often emerge long before a separation or divorce and can be so powerful that they adversely affect not just small children but even mature adults.