How Sick Parents Destroy You (or Why I Am Childless)

Uploaded 10/1/2023, approx. 37 minute read

Damaged, broken, hurting, depressed, anxious, obsessive, can't let go, dysfunctional.

Who are you going to blame?

Your parents!

It's like the Ghostbusters.

But is it justified to blame the parents?

Let's start with the simple answer.

Absolutely, yes. Absolutely, yes, I will repeat this.

And what I'm saying is backed by decades of research, well over 100 years actually, including massive studies such as ACE, the Adverse Childhood Experiences Studies.

Parents, the environment they create, nurture, are by far the most decisive and dominant factor in who you're going to become and how happy you're going to go through life.

And so yeah, your parents are to blame and to take the credit if you turn down to be a wholesome, relatively healthy, normal functioning person.

Now there's a qualifier here.

There are mental health issues, disorders, which have a pronounced hereditary or genetic component, for example, borderline personality disorder, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, antisocial personality disorder, especially psychopathy. These disorders are heritable to some extent.

If you have relatives with these disorders, you're far more likely to develop it later in life.

Similarly, neurobiological problems, brain abnormalities, structural and functional, lead to the development and manifestation of certain mental health disorders.

No one is disputing this.

However, genetics is a predisposition.

Genetics is a potential.

Your parents have the key to unlock this potential.

If you are genetically predisposed to develop a mental illness, it is your parents' behavior or misbehavior, the environment that they have created, which are conducive to the development of this mental illness.

They kind of activate your genes. They express them.

So all in all, the answer is a resounding and overwhelming yes, parents are responsible for the mental health of their children.

Up to age 36 months, it's the mother's role and she is the dominant and she decides, she makes the decisions and the choices which shape the child to become later an adult with attachment disorders, personality disorders, you name it.

At age 36 months, the father takes over until six or nine years old.

So it's a collaboration. It's a joint venture between mother and father at different stages of development and they make you who you are.

And this is precisely why abuse and trauma and mental illness are intergenerationally transmissible. They're transmitted from one generation to the next.

There's a transmission mechanism here. This transmission mechanism is also known as parenting.

This is a topic of today's video.

My name is Sam Vaknin. I'm the author of Malignant Cefal, Narcissism Revisited, a former visiting professor of psychology and currently on the faculty of CEOPS in Canada, United Kingdom and Nigeria.

Let us delve right in.

But before we go there, I'm sorry, before we go there, allow me to answer two questions that you've asked repeatedly.

Number one, you asked me, narcissists are triggered by films.

These questions have to do with previous videos that I've posted.

Narcissists are triggered by films.

What about music?

Music triggers the narcissist, but the triggering here is of a much more primitive kind.

Music reminds the narcissist of his early childhood, entraining by, yes, the mother.

So music resonates with the mother's voice, which in early childhood has entrained the narcissist, deformed his mind or her mind and made the narcissist to what he is.

So this is the first question.

And the second question had to do with my video on three ways to navigate your life, spaces and so on.

The thesis in that video is that the brain perceives physical space, social space, your biographical space, your life, your biography and your inner internal space.

The brain perceives all of these as spaces and all of these are tackled by a structure in the brain known as the hippocampus.

And the hippocampus can't tell the difference between the physical space, a real space and imaginary space, a paracosm, a fantasy, your life, etc.

And the hippocampus uses memories the same way we use landmarks, physical landmarks in a foreign city, as tourists, for example.

So the hippocampus uses memories as landmarks, as signposts and navigates using these memories in order to create a coherent space.

Now the self, for example, is this kind of space.

Your identity is this kind of space because it is composed of memories within a narrative, narrative that is perceived by the hippocampus as spatial and temporal.

The hippocampus navigates time itself as a kind of territory, as a kind of space.

And for more, go back to the video and listen again, watch it again and I hope this time it will make some sense.

And from the hippocampus to your parents.

Now I have several videos on this channel which deal with good parenting, good enough mothers, for example, and bad parenting.

One of the videos is titled Tongue in Cheek, How to Create a Narcissist.

So I have dealt with these topics before, but today I'm going to go a bit deeper.

I'm going to demonstrate to you how the parents' mental illness or mental health problems are reflected in the emerging personality or self or ego, whatever you want to call it, of the child.

How there's a resonance of pathologies.

This resonance creates the child.

The child is formed out of the resonance with his parents' character, temperament, personality, and unfortunately in many cases, mental illness or mental health pathologies.

So let's start with the issue of boundaries, breach of boundaries.

There are two ways to bridge the child's emerging nascent boundaries.

One way is via brute force, aggression of some kind. It could be physical aggression, could be sexual aggression, could be verbal aggression. These are the classical forms, psychological abuse. These are all bridges of boundaries.

The parent does not allow the child to develop firm, communicated, non-bridgeable, non-permeable boundaries.

The boundaries that later define the perimeter of the integrated or constellated self.

So the parents annexes the child, appropriates the child, objectifies the child, treats the child as an extension or a tool. These are all classical forms of bridging boundaries.

But there's another way to bridge boundaries, to neglect the child, to abandon the child, to be absent, to don't mind the child. Andrei Green called it "dead mother".

When you don't pay attention to the child, you don't provide the child with a kind of feedback or pushback that allows the child to realize where he stops and you begin. Communicating your own boundaries to the child, paying attention to the child.

Hovering around the child, hovering around the child, being present for the child, these are all critical in boundary formation because the child says, "Here's Mummy. She is here and this is where she stops and I begin."

But what if Mummy is never there? What if she is depressed or selfish or sick or physically absent or emotionally absent and so on?

The child is unable to develop boundaries because his boundaries are endless. They're not limited by anything. They become infinite.

Yes, you're right. This is known as psychosis or narcissism. Narcissism is the flip side of psychosis.

In both psychosis and narcissism, there is an egregious breakdown of boundaries and consequently a total confusion between internal and external objects.

Now, the child who is exposed to bad parenting can adopt one of two strategies, appeasement or rebellion.

If the child regards the parental figures as godlike, he would expect the wrath of the gods. He would expect their aggression, their rage, their punitive measures.

What he would do, he would try to appease them the same way Chamberlain tried to appease Adolf Hitler in 1938.

The child would negotiate and compromise with the parent by actually minimizing himself or herself. The child would vanish gradually, would disappear into the parent, would merge and fuse with the parent as a form of ultimate appeasement.

"Mummy, I don't exist anymore. You don't need to be angry at me. You don't need to worry about me."

So this is appeasement.

The rebellion strategy is also a form of merging and fusing with the parent via a mechanism known as internalization in rejection.

The child identifies with the parent with the abusive, traumatizing, absent parent and incorporates her into himself.

Rather than becoming a part of mummy, this kind of child makes mummy a part of him.

It's reverse appeasement if you want.

So it's rebellion.

The child is the locus of the merger and the fusion.

While in the appeasement strategy, which is typical of people pleasers and co-dependence, in the appeasement strategy, the child vanishes and reappears inside the mother or the father later in the rebellion strategy.

The child annihilates mother and father in his own mind and absorbs them, becomes one with them.

Because of this stratagem, he also becomes infallible, omnipotent and initiate like mummy and daddy.

By absorbing mummy and daddy, he becomes a god.

It's a process of apotheosis.

So this is typical of children who go on to become in adulthood antisocial psychopaths or narcissists.

These are the two strategies.

Parents who are mentally ill or mentally dysfunctional, mentally unwell, this kind of parents react to the child's strategy, whether the child appeases them or rebels against them, they're likely to react because they're not well.

They don't have their own boundaries. They are unbounded. They don't have impulse control. They are defiant.

These parents are defiant. They're reckless. They act out. They are dysregulated. They're not well.

So and they themselves, these kind of parents are usually highly immature.

Essentially they are children as well.

So there is a battle, battle of the galaxies.

There's a war that starts within the household and the parents deploy this kind of parents, deploy a host of primitive infantile defense mechanisms against the child.

The child never mind how precautious, never mind how intelligent, never mind how well developed, the child is defenseless against the parents defenses.

The child doesn't have the life experience and doesn't have the mental structure. The child doesn't even have the brain.

The brain continues to develop up to age 25.

So the child, there's a power asymmetry here and parents who are mentally ill are going to take advantage of this power asymmetry to smother and suppress the child, mold the child, sculpt the child, shapeshift the child, render the child into exactly how they want him or her to be.

There's so much party in their hands.

And one of the major, perhaps the main defense mechanism used by parents against their children is splitting.

By misbehaving, by mistreating the child, abusing the child and traumatizing the child.

The child is faced with a dilemma.

The child can say, my mother is evil. My father is sick.

But then this is terrifying because the child is dependent on mommy.

Child is dependent on daddy for food, for shelter. And child can't just say, mommy is bad because if mommy is bad, the child is going to die. Mommy is not going to feed the child. Mommy is not going to shelter the child. Mommy is not going to protect the child. Mommy is not going to help the child.

And the child, the child will die.

So the child can never say, can never attribute badness, can never say, mommy is evil.

Instead what the child does, he splits the parental figures.

He splits mommy.

This is an all bad mommy and all good mommy.

And the child internalizes the all bad mommy, the all bad part.

The child becomes a bad object.

This mommy remains all good. The child becomes all bad.

It's a defense against acknowledging and realizing that it is mommy that is bad or at least that there is a part of mommy that is frustrating and withholding and avoiding and absent and bad.

Child cannot admit this, cannot accept this.

So the child would rather say, I'm all bad. It's all my fault. I'm unworthy. I'm ugly. I'm stupid. I'm provocative. I'm the one who is responsible for what's being done to me.

Of course, when the child uses the splitting defense mechanism, which essentially is imported from his parents, the child assumes his parents splitting mechanism.

He is kind of infected by his contagion of splitting.

So when the child does this, he is unable to integrate. He is unable to integrate people because he is used to seeing mommy as all good and himself as all bad.

He's going to continue throughout life dividing people to all good and all bad, dividing situations to all good and all bad, catastrophizing. The future is all bad. The past is all good.

Splitting takes over.

This kind of child grows up to be an adult who is not integrated and in extreme cases disintegrate because of the splitting constant, splitting defense.

Bad parents also use projection.

Every human being has parts of himself or of herself, traits, behaviors, thoughts, emotions, qualities that we are ashamed of, that we would rather not admit, that we deny, that we refrain. Parts of us that are embedded in some kind of self-justifying or self-victimizing narrative.

I'm a victim. All of us have these parts that we wish to discard. We think we would be much better people without these parts.

One of the main infantile defense, early childhood defense mechanisms is known as projection.

We project these parts. We attribute them to other people.

If I'm weak, I would say that you are weak. If I'm abusive, I would blame you for being abusive. I'm projecting everything that I am and that I'm ashamed of and that I wish I weren't. I'm projecting onto you. I'm attributing to you. I'm blaming you.

So this is known as projection.

But here's something very important that all the scholars have missed because I've read everyone and they all miss this.

Projection in childhood, when the child is subjected to projection, it always becomes projective identification.

People never experience projection. They always experience projective identification.

To remind you, what is projective identification?

Projective identification is when I project my shameful parts, the parts that are rejecting me, I project them onto you and you collude with me. You collaborate with me. You embrace these parts of me that I've projected onto you.

You develop the self-belief that you are what I say you are.

So if I'm actually a weak person, I would accuse you of being weak and in projective identification, you would accept it. You would say, yes, I'm weak.

This applies to many, many fields of life. For example, homophobia. If I'm a latent homosexual, latent gay, and I'm ashamed of it for some reason because of my upbringing or whatever, I would say that you are gay.

And in the process of projective identification, you would accept it and you would say, yes, I'm gay.

The child is so helpless, so defenseless. There's such a massive power of symmetry. There's such dependency that the child always accepts the parents' projections.

The parents are perceived as godlike, infallible. They never make mistakes.

And so when the parents project onto the child rejected parts, parts that they're ashamed of, traits and behaviors and thoughts and emotions that they would like to disown, they project them onto the child. They throw them at the child.

The child adopts these parts, adopts these behaviors and traits and emotions and cognitions. Child makes these his own.

He identifies with them. He becomes these parts of his parents that his parents have rejected.

Every projection in childhood is automatically and exclusively projective identification.

The child trusts the parents, believes the parents, regards the parents as all good, all knowing.

And so if the parent tells the child you're weak, the child has no resistance and he is likely to adopt this view of himself and then behave this way, behave as a weak person.

If the parent tells the child you're stupid, the child is no defense against this.

The child is going to adopt this view of himself as stupid or ugly or worthless or bad or evil. Child is going to adopt these parts of the parents that they projected onto him or her. Child is going to adopt these parts and become these parts.

In childhood all projection is projective identification.

In these parts, these traits, these cognitions, these emotions that the child had adopted from the parents remain with him or with her for life, well into adulthood.

So this is the second mechanism that bad parents use against their children.

Now it's not premeditated. There's no cunning or skimming here.

"Oh, wonderful, I have a child. I'm going to destroy it now."


People, I told you, these parents are dysregulated, they're mentally evil. They can't help it.

Many of these defense mechanisms are actually unconscious.

The next form of damage that such a parent does, a bad mother or a bad father, is social isolation, isolating the child, preventing the child from interacting with peers, with role models, with the external environment, with reality itself.

Social isolation is also denying the child the friction with reality, which is the main engine of growth, personal growth, personal development.

Reality provides very crucial feedback in childhood and it is a feedback of boundaries. It's the feedback of being right and wrong, trial and error, being in touch with reality without any cosseting or over-protection or smothering or spoiling or pampering or idolizing or pedestalizing.

Being in touch with reality without any of these abusive tactics is very important.

But bad parents isolate their children and they create in a child what I call self-referential isolation.

Because the child has no access to reality, to other peers, to role models, to teachers, to families sometimes, to the neighbourhood, to… He doesn't have any access to any kind of feedback or input from the environment.

The child becomes his own referent. He becomes his own frame of reference and point of reference.

So the child begins to consult himself. The child talks to himself. The child becomes his own or her own friend.

But remember, when the parents are mentally ill or unwell, the child has a bad object.

So when the child keeps referring to himself, he is actually interacting with and consulting with a bad object.

And this negative, this bad object is inflated.

So there is a problem here. The child cannot access reality or society or his peers because his parents isolate him. They don't allow him, very often physically, don't allow him to exit home, for example.

So this kind of child would withdraw inwards.

In negative self-referential isolation, the child would consult or consort with or befriend his own bad object and would become worse and worse. The bad object would become inflated.

The child's energies, cathects, would be inwardly directed and imbue the bad object with powers and qualities that would allow the bad object to take over the child.

And this is psychopathy and narcissism.

Similarly, another type of child that is socially isolated, subjected to splitting and projection and bad parenting, another type of child may interact with, befriend, associate with his ego ideal, his impossibly inflated and grandiose self-image. This kind of child is pampered and smothered and feels entitled.

So he becomes associated with his false self, grandiose false self, in order to merge and fuse with the false self.

But here's the thing, the expectations, the demands of the ego ideal, the script of the scenario of this kind of child is subjected to, the unrealistic expectations, the crazy demands set up the child for failure.

So the ego ideal, the false object, also becomes a bad object, owing to constant defeat, collapse and failure.

Now this segment is complicated even for me.

I want to explain it again.

When the child is socially isolated, the child cannot interact with peers, with role models, grandpa, grandmother, child is isolated.

So the child begins to interact with himself.

He cannot interact with anyone out there, so he is interacting with himself.

But inside such a child, there is an object.

The object could be a bad object.

You're unworthy, you're stupid, you're ugly, you're failure. You will never amount to much.

One group of children have a bad object inside.

And by interacting with the bad object, they are empowering the bad object.

They are inflating the bad object.

They become narcissists and psychopaths.

Another group of children, they don't have a bad object.

They have an ideal object, a crazily good object, impossibly good, with expectations and demands that are impossible to fulfill and to meet.

And so they fail.

These kind of children measure themselves against the ego ideal, against this inflated internal object, which is ideal, perfect, brilliant, amazing, handsome and so on.

They can never measure up to this kind of internal object.

So this internal object also becomes a bad object because it becomes associated with failure, defeat and collapse.

To cut a long story short, children of mentally unwell parents, who are also, consequently, bad parents, always end up with a bad object.

Either it is a bad object which is antisocial in many ways because it's bad, you know, or antisocial, evil even. Or it's a bad object that is a failure, a defeat, a collapse, because the child can never measure up to the expectations and demands and wishes and dreams of this internalized ideal object that was implanted in him by the parents.

In both cases, there is a bad object.

The end point is always a bad object.

Another outcome of social isolation, so the first outcome is self-referential isolation.

But another outcome is an impaired reality testing.

It's a muscle.

Use it or lose it.

If you are not allowed to interact with reality in an unfiltered, unprotected manner, if you are always isolated, accosted, over-protected, not allowed to engage in any intercourse and discourse with anyone ever, either because you are superior to everyone or because you are inferior to everyone, bad object or inflated, fantastic ego ideal for self, for both reasons, doesn't matter.

The end result is you gain no experience with reality, and so you begin to misjudge reality.

You begin to misevaluate reality.

You get it wrong constantly, and this is known as impaired reality testing.

As these children become adults, they begin to rely on other people for reality testing.

They can't do it themselves. They don't have this capacity.

The muscle of reality is a trophy. It's never been put to good use or any use in childhood, so they have to rely on other people to inform them, to give them information about reality, reality testing.

So the borderline, for example, would use her intimate partner for the ego function of reality testing. She would ask the intimate partner, "Do you think it's real? Do you believe that? Do you trust him?"

She would use her intimate partner as a reference point, as an encyclopedia, as Wikipedia, as a source of, "If I want to get a grasp of reality, if I want to be certain that what I'm seeing, what I'm hearing is accurate and correct, I will ask my intimate partner."

The narcissist on the other hand needs other people to tell him that his false self is not false, that his shared fantasy is not a fantasy.

It's reality.

His false self is real.

It's absolutely him.

He is not misrepresenting himself. He is not grandiose. He is not inflated. He is not fantastic.

So he also needs other people, the narcissist also needs other people for reality testing. He wants them to lie to him, and this is known as narcissistic supply, but it's about reality. He wants them to restore his trust in his internal reality as the false self. He wants them to convert his fantasies into elements of reality.

So he is also dependent on other people for reality testing.

The situation is even much more complicated.

If the parents, the mentally unwell, mentally dysfunctional, disordered parents, have more than one child because they encourage sibling hierarchies and sibling competition in an extremely unhealthy way.

They have favourites, the golden child. They have scapegoats. They have fixers and healers. They have geniuses. They assign roles, emergent roles.

So these kinds of parents engage in a theatre production. This is known as role theory, and I have a video dedicated to role theory, by the way.

So they engage in a theatre production where every one of the children has his own role assigned to him. It's a rigid role. It's a fixed role, and there's no way to ignore it or to avoid it or to correct it or to amend it or to somehow mitigate it or ameliorate it.


You can't do anything.

Once the role has been assigned to you by the bad mentally unwell parents, that's it. You're stuck and you're fedded.

So there's a lot of rivalry, competition, bed blood between the siblings.

The parents encourage it in a kind of divided rule by establishing hierarchies which are not merit based. They're arbitrary. They reflect the pathologies of the parents.

So they're also ever shifting.

Today you're on top, tomorrow you are the underdog.

This enhances the parents' power.

It's only that parent can allocate roles and only that the parent can decide at any given moment whether you're on top or whether you are trampled at the bottom by other siblings.

They abuse their children, leverage them, make use of them as battering rams, as instruments against each other. They encourage internecine turf warfare between the children.

In this way, they gradually create a cult.

One in the household is a member of the cult and the parents are the cult leaders. Often one of them is a cult leader. It's known as folie à deux or at the time it used to be known as shared psychotic disorder.

So households with mentally ill parents resemble cults. They have cult dynamics and require interventions which resemble very much cult deprogramming.

The cult structure enhances all the parental defenses.

For example, the cult allows the parent to split the world. We are all good. Everyone out there is all bad. Other people are wrong. They're the enemies. They will never understand us. They're evil. We must protect our secrets. They behave in ways which are morally superior to everyone else.

So this is a form of splitting. All the defenses that I've mentioned are amplified a hundredfold by the structure of the cult in which the child finds himself embedded.

The child consequently is instrumentalized.

Now sometimes the child is instrumentalized by being idolized and adulated and smothered and pampered and pedestalized. It's a form of abuse as it converts the child into a tool, an object subject to expectations that are so unrealistic that the child is always in a state of failure and collapse and defeat.

And this is accomplished by the instrumentalization and objectification of the child are accomplished via coercive snapshotting.

To remind you what is coercive snapshotting, mentally ill parents, especially narcissistic parents, borderline parents, they take a snapshot of other people. They continue to interact with the snapshot. They Photoshop the snapshot. They convert the snapshot into an idealized snapshot. And then they force you to conform to the snapshot.

If you dare to diverge from the snapshot, deviate from the snapshot, contradict the snapshot, disagree with the snapshot, you're penalized.

Same with the children.

Children of mentally ill parents are being snapshotted.

The parents create an internal object of the child.

And then they continue to interact with the internal object. The internal object is perfect, is ideal, is amazing because the parent is perfect and ideal and amazing.

There's no way an ideal and amazing and perfect parent can have a less than ideal, imperfect child.

So the child is forced to conform, coerce, shoe-borne, being punished if he fails to conform to the snapshot.

And the child feels like he's dying. He's not treated as a separate human being.

Mentally ill parents don't do separateness. These kind of parents usually failed in their own childhood to separate from their own parents. So they never experience separation and individuation. And they don't allow their children to separate and individuate as well.

They don't recognize their children as separate from them.

And so the child gradually dies because his external separate existence is not recognized via the parental gaze.

That's precisely why the child creates the false self.

Sometimes this kind of child, because it is so idealized, the child is so idealized and is conceived of or rendered perfect and godlike in the eyes of the adulating parents.

This kind of child would be expected to behave as the parents do.

Allow me to explain this, because these are really sick mind games.

The parents are mentally ill.

So they would normally, in the vast majority of mental illnesses, they would have an unrealistic view of themselves. They would often consider themselves as ideal or perfect or fantastical, amazing or whatever.

So they would expect the child to be like them. They would expect the child to also be amazing and fantastic and fascinating and incredible and unique and so on.

These expectations would be communicated to the child all the time.

And so the message the child would receive is, "I'm your mother and you need to be like me because I'm perfect and I'm brilliant and I'm drop dead gorgeous and I'm super intelligent and I'm unique and you need to be like me."

But the child is a child.

So what the message the child is receiving is, "You need to be a mother."

If the child receives a message from mommy, "You need to be like me," the child interprets this message, actually misinterprets this message, "You need to be a mother to me."

And this is known as parentification.

Parentified children, when they grow up, they feel that they are never good enough because a parentified child is still a child. A parentified child is bound to fail as a parent. Nevermind how hard the child tries, he's bound to fail as a parent.

So the parental role of the child, the parentification of a child is intimately and intricately linked to failure and the pain of failure, the hurt of failure.

So these people grow up and as adults, they feel that they are failing. They feel constantly that they are never good enough. They should aspire and strive to do better. They're driven not by ambition, but by a sense of inadequacy, a sense of vulnerability. And they also feel that they are responsible for other people's welfare, the same way they have been held responsible for the welfare of their own parents.

Now, ironically, parentification guarantees that a child will never grow up, will never mature because again, the message the child is receiving is, "You are perfect as you are.

I'm your mommy and I'm perfect and you should be like me.

So you should become a mommy also. You should parentify yourself, but you should parentify yourself, my child, as you are.

So the child's message is, "I am perfect right now.

Any evolution, any growth, any development is going to make me less than perfect.

This is why narcissists, for example, are very resistant to treatment because any change is less, never more. Any change is for the worse, never for the better.

The narcissist's inception point, the narcissist's starting point, the narcissist's boundary condition is, "I'm perfect.

I'm 100%.

What can I be more than 100%?" No way.

So anything I do, for example, if I try to change myself, I'm likely to end up being 99%, 90%. God forbid 60%. I'm 100% as you stay as I am.

And this is the parentifying message.

The message is, "Listen, my child. You're a perfect ideal child.

Because you're perfect and ideal, you are like me.

I'm also perfect and ideal. I'm your mother and I'm also perfect and ideal.

We are both perfect and ideal.

This is the cult element.

So we don't need to change. I don't need to change as your mother because I'm perfect. I'm perfect and ideal.

And you don't need to change as a child because you're perfect and ideal.

And this leads, of course, to lifelong immaturity, regressive infantilism, imaginary friends such as the false self, paracosms, fantasies as virtual reality, not only a defense, but a substitute for reality, and then attempting to coerce other people into the fantasy to share it with them by transforming them into internal objects, obedient and submissive within the fantasy.

And everything I'm describing could be put in two words, ego failure, ego in the Freudian sense, not in the nonsense online.

The nonsense online is to have ego is to be proudful. To have ego is to be very glorious. To have an ego is to be arrogant and haughty.

This is online nonsense. Get over it.

This lecture and this channel are academic. We deal with scholarship, not with self-styled experts and coaches who have no idea what they're talking about.


So when I say ego failure, I'm referring to ego as it is defined in psychoanalytic and later psychodynamic and object relations literature.


Ego has multiple functions and I have a video here on this channel dedicated to ego functions.

So everything I've just described leads, results in ego failure.

There's no integrated or constellated self. They're just fragments. They're not even self states if you want to adopt my view or Philip Bromberg's view that there is no self. There's only an assemblage or a trope of self states.

The narcissist or children who grow up with severely mentally ill parents, they don't even have self states. They have shards and fragments in a kaleidoscope that is driving them literally insane.

This ego failure, this failure at ego formation renders the child who has been exposed to multiple adverse childhood experiences, renders this kind of child into a non-starter, a non-entity.

I'm sorry to say, definitely not fully human, not fully formed, not fully fledged, half-baked human.

Now this is politically incorrect. Many of you are furious at me when I say this. It happens to be the truth.

So this is the picture I've given you a deeper background as to what mentally ill or mentally unwell parents do to their children, even when they love them, even when they mean no harm, even when they think they're doing the right thing.

Their mental illness, their mental health problems, their mental health disorders are going to resonate with the child's emerging personality to the point that it would be deformed, dysfunctional and finally and ultimately dead.

And that is precisely the reason I don't have children.

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Narcissist Father: Save Your Child

Parents who are worried about their children becoming narcissists under the influence of a narcissistic parent should stop trying to insulate their children from the other parent's influence. Instead, they should make themselves available to their children and present themselves as a non-narcissistic role model. Narcissistic parents regard their children as a source of narcissistic supply and try to control their lives through guilt-driven, dependence-driven, goal-driven, and explicit mechanisms. The child is the ultimate secondary source of narcissistic supply, and the narcissistic parent tries to perpetuate the child's dependence using control mechanisms. The narcissistic parent tends to produce another narcissist in some of their children, but this outcome can be effectively countered by loving, empathic, predictable, just, and positive upbringing, which encourages a

Borderline Codependent: Clinging Child, Punitive Parent

Codependency in parents can lead to children who only receive conditional love based on their performance. This can result in a child who is objectified and treated as an extension of the parent. The child learns that to obtain affection, they must perform, leading to a lack of self-love. This can result in a psychopath, passive-aggressive personality disorder, masochistic adult, or an adult with depressive disorders. Codependents often experience extreme abandonment anxiety and swing between self-effacing and explosive behaviors due to divided loyalties between their partner and internalized parent.

Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers

Narcissistic mothers can have a significant impact on their adult daughters' relationships, with children of narcissistic parents being ill-adapted and prone to deploying psychological defense mechanisms. They can become co-dependent, needy, demanding, and submissive, fearing abandonment and displaying immature behaviors. Some children of narcissistic parents become inverted narcissists, craving relationships with narcissists, while others become counterdependent or even narcissists themselves. Narcissistic mothers micromanage their child's life and encourage dependent and infantile behaviors, emotionally blackmailing them and threatening to disinherit them if they do not comply with their wishes.

13 Signs Of Mentally Ill Family

The text discusses 13 signs of mentally ill families, including enmeshment, emphasis on appearances, selective interface between internal and external realities, enforced narrative, competitive hierarchies, emphasis on the ambient, emotional blackmail, wrongful intimacies, past or future orientation, reinforcement of negative effects, role reversals, egodystonic members, and reification of insecure attachment styles and mental health issues. The author suggests scoring one's own family and advises going no contact if the score is 10 or higher.

Daddy Issues: Daddy's Girl, Mama’s Boy, Father Complex

Daddy issues, a term often used to demean women, are actually more common in men and can be traced back to Sigmund Freud's father complex. These issues can arise from unhealthy close bonds or distant relationships with fathers, leading to a compulsive pursuit of male attention and gratification later in life. Men and women with daddy issues often display codependent and borderline behaviors, such as possessiveness, jealousy, and emotional blackmail. These issues can lead to drama and self-harming behaviors, as individuals seek to feel alive by teaming up with older men who represent impending death.

Overprotective Parents And Manipulative Helplessness

The text discusses the negative impact of overprotective parents on their children. It explains how overprotective parents prevent their children from experiencing reality, growth, and separation, leading to lifelong consequences. The text also delves into the behavior of narcissists and the dynamics of relationships between overprotective parents and their children as well as between dependent partners and primary partners. It highlights the detrimental effects of overprotection on the child's development and the perpetuation of dysfunctional behaviors in adulthood.

When the Narcissist's Parents Die

The death of a narcissist's parents can be a complicated experience. The narcissist has a mixed reaction to their passing, feeling both elation and grief. The parents are often the source of the narcissist's trauma and continue to haunt them long after they die. The death of the parents also represents a loss of a reliable source of narcissistic supply, which can lead to severe depression. Additionally, the narcissist's unfinished business with their parents can lead to unresolved conflicts and pressure that deforms their personality.

Narcissist: No Custody, No Children!

Parents diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder should be denied custody and granted only restricted rights of visitation and care under supervision, according to Professor Sam Vaknin. Narcissists regard children as sources of narcissistic supply and can be abusive, putting children at risk of emotional, physical and sexual abuse. Narcissistic parents can also use control mechanisms to sustain the illusion that the child is a part of them, which can be emotionally turbulent for the child. The child is the ultimate secondary source of narcissistic supply, and the narcissist's love is conditional upon the supply of narcissistic supply.

Fight Abandonment and Separation Anxiety

Codependent behaviors such as clinging and smothering are rooted in a deep fear of abandonment and separation. To overcome this, codependents must confront their anxieties through psychotherapy, medication, and self-help methods such as meditation and engaging in meaningful activities. Codependents should also adopt a scientific approach to their relationships, construct alternative hypotheses, and test them before making impulsive decisions. The longevity of long-term relationships lies in being transparent and expressing emotions and concerns honestly. Finally, codependents should prepare detailed contingency plans for every eventuality to reduce anxiety and gain control.

Children of Narcissist: Bad Mother's Voice

There is no such thing as a purely good mother, and the bad mother is always present. The good mother is predictable, reliable, and emotionally safe, while the bad mother is considered paranoid and controlling. The good mother provides unconditional love, while the bad mother provides transactional love. The good son or daughter justifies the bad mother's behavior, while every good quality of the good mother is rendered bad by the voice of the bad mother in the minds of children of narcissists.

Transcripts Copyright © Sam Vaknin 2010-2024, under license to William DeGraaf
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