My son is an an abusive relationship with a woman who has him completely in her thrall; so much so that she has alienated him from us, (his family), friends (one he used to call his brother), and she also emotionally abuses the children. Her manipulations of my son have recently led to him being beaten so badly that he needed to be hospitalised. I've tried everything I can think of to help him but his fear of losing her is greater than any talk or evidence of the truth. Anybody dealt with helping someone in a similar situation?
Thank you all for the helpful comments. The biggest problem now is that she has convinced him that my daughter and myself are bad people, and he has swallowed it. I can't say a word to him about this, because he is on her side. Never in my wildest dreams did I think my son would do this. He and is wife attack my character by telling me I'm 'negative', and a 'gossip', and that I always have to be right, which is pretty funny, since it's just projection. I would love to have all this go away, and just surrender to them for the kids, but if I do, everything will go back to the same drama. Something has to change here. I'm just so sad I can't see my kids. What am I supposed to do about the fact that they just don't like me? I'm not about to change for them, especially at the age of 68! I am their mom, for crying out loud. I would never have thought to criticize my parents for the way they were (we all have flaws, right?). I loved them unconditionally. I would have done nothing but hurt feelings, and wouldn't have done any good.
Not to that degree, but yes. My son is not the kid I raised. She has complete control of him and the kids, and has succeeded in fooling me for 11 years. She is hateful and vindictive, and always creating drama where there shouldn’t be any. I am so sad about it all, but nothing I can do but watch it unhappily unfold.
Avoid all talk of evidence or truth. Until he's away from the situation he will only see her truth. Praise him, value him and love him keep telling him how important he is to you and to the children. If maybe that he has no sense of self worth left and feels he deserves to be treated this way. Hard as it may be if it's possible cultivate a relationship with her, appeal to her ego, she'll love to talk about herself if she's properly narcissistic. But be very careful it will be hard to keep up with the lies. Don't let her isolate him wedge yourself in there somehow. Don't say anything negative about her, instead be positive towards him, build him up and hopefully he will have the strength to leave. If you think the children appeal to his protective side it may strengthen his resolve. It took 30 years before my dad finally left. I wish he'd left years before but he's happy now.
I have several extremely narcissisic family members and few exes - been there, done that. One tool I found extremely helpful was to learn NVC. NVC stands for Non-Violent Communication. It took me three tries to read the book to fully understand and be able to apply in real life with very difficult people. The point of NVC is that we must listen to people, then identify their hidden needs that they don't even know about. Then have them figure out what they need. When I applied to three very difficult people --- they all felt heard, and immediately their attitude and behavior changed. It's a whole different approach compared to how we're used to "communicating" with people. I am reading the new 3rd edition of NVC and it's even filled with more insights. Please study it and try applying it with your son when you converse with him. But practice a lot with everyday other people first to get used to it and tweak methods until it's perfected. [cnvc-bookstore.myshopify.com]
(Warning: in their site, the NVC 3rd edition is sold out - try Amazon perhaps). Best wishes with you and your son.
I feel deeply sorry for anyone in a relationship with or working for a narcissist. There is not much to do but walk away.
I have been a volunteer at an organization for about 20 years that now has a narcissist for a CEO, I no longer volunteer and I am actively campaigning for his removal.
My heart goes out to you. My mother is a narcissist. It is an extremely difficult thing to deal with. Mostly because the narcissist will never admitt they are wrong or even have a problem and they have a special way of making their victims doubt themselves and accept fault that isn’t theirs. I really wish there was a magic answer but the reality is that he has to admit the problem and make a clean break. Easier said than done, I know...
The key to control is lack of self esteem. Create pride and give ones self a path to victory, set responsibility goals that include the children. I don't know your son and these goals are difficult even with strong people. You would know better how to achieve this.
Having divorced a narcissist, I suggest finding a therapist who is experienced with personality disorders. They well be able to help you understand better the many layers of manipulation your son has been subjected to. I'm certain he's been threatened with harm to the children and never seeing then again were he to leave. It sounds like he has evidence of her willingness to execute such threats. You may also wish to contact local shelters for battered women to see what resources they can connect you with.
I have been in his situation, except for being beaten to the point of hospitalization. The problem with being in his situation is that it is like religion. There is such a deep emotional investment that any semblance of logic flies right out the window.
I am generally against the idea of taking antidepressants, but that was what helped me. I became almost entirely emotionless, but in that lack of emotion, I was able to start logically assessing my dire situation and find the strength to file for and pursue a divorce and custody of our son who was a toddler at the time.
I didn't fully appreciate just how bad the situation was until I was out of there and was documenting things for court. Things that I took as a matter of course or that I "deserved" when I was there became big, ugly textbook examples of blatant abuse, once I could see it from the outside. Right now he can't see it from the outside.
As a therapist I see this scenario way to often. It is confusing and frustrating for the people who really care about the person in an abusive relationship. I'm guessing the more you point out her characteristics to him the more he defends her. It's tough. Therapy could help if he's willing to go. Not couples counseling. Individual counseling. Even with therapy it's no guarantee, but I've had people who were able to get out of their "psychological entrapment" and leave. The chances of a narcissist changing is slim. You are in a tough position. It's hard to do a balancing act. If he does open up to you about his concerns with the relationship just listen. If you start agreeing too much with him he very well could "flip" and go back to defending her. I guess, as corny as it sounds, just be there for him if he decides to face his fears and get out. And take care of yourself. It's hard to be in such a powerless position, especially with a child and "grandchildren?". Good chance he will come around on his own time. If you can, talking to a therapist might help... wouldnt hurt. Take care