If you had a narcissistic mother, did your father protect you?

Where was Daddy?
The family with a narcissistic mother operates according to an unspoken set of rules. Children learn to live with those rules, but they never stop being confused and pained by them, for these rules block children’s emotional access to their parents. They are basically invisible—not heard, seen, and nurtured. Tragically conversely, this set of rules allows the parents to have no boundaries with the children and to use and abuse them as they see fit. Sounds awful, doesn’t it?

One of my clients, puts it aptly: “Daddy, why didn’t you protect me? Where were you when I needed you? Why did you always have to stick up for Mom? What about me?”

From my research and clinical experience, the answer is clear. Father is revolving around Mother like a planet around the sun. The narcissist needs to be married to a spouse who will allow her to be at the center of all the action. That is how it has to be if the marriage is to survive. In the family drama, the narcissist is the star and her spouse takes the bit role.

A man gets himself into this situation for many reasons, but for our discussion the most pertinent point is that he is the kind of person who accepts this behavior from his spouse and, most of the time, enables her. Perhaps he doesn't always want to, but he does, because he has learned over time, that this is what works with her.

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