What We Are Teaching Our Children By Example

I received this comment yesterday and I am making it into a stand alone post because I think it is so vitally important for everyone, even people without children. Here is the comment from Martina.

damaged children

“It’s crazy how similar everyone’s story is. Mine crashed two vehicles withing a one month span. One there was a “bee” in the car and the other he thinks he dropped his smoke … I say he’s full of shit. He had no license so no insurance was paid. We also had two cars “stolen”. It a life full of problems with an N. I’m trying so hard to get out … it’s the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to face but coming has been a great help. Right now he lives in our dinning room on an inflatable matress … his choice. He doesn’t seem to care that his two little girls are suffering through this. They tell me, “Mommy if you just say sorry everything will be OK” but they don’t understand that I have done nothing to be sorry for … other than stand my ground. Sorry … I’m rambling.”

And my reply.

Martina, first I want to thank you for commenting and say I am so sorry you are going through this, I know first hand how painful and difficult it is AND never apologize for rambling, there is no such thing here. That is what this blog is for, for people to come and share their pain and confusion and hopefully get the strength and answers to change their lives for the better. We have all been where you are; some of us are still there, many are at some point between where you are and finding happiness and some who have discovered their power and are living lives worth living because they are living true to themselves.

What stood out to me about your comment was this statement.

“Mommy if you just say sorry everything will be OK”

That breaks my heart. Not because they don’t understand that you have done nothing to be sorry for, but because they think it is the woman’s role to make the man happy. They believe if you sacrifice your happiness everything will be ok. That their feelings don’t matter and that they feel they are responsibility for their own abuse because if they “just said sorry” the abuse would stop.

What hope do they have of ever having a healthy, loving and respectful relationship with a man? They will either be doormats, turning themselves inside out in order to get and keep a man or they will be a closed off bitch who has built a wall around herself in order to avoid the vulnerability of true love.

I know you are not solely to blame for this, there are two parents raising these girls; unfortunately their father is getting exactly what he wants, his girls thinking that his happiness supercedes anything else and they are ganging up on you to “just comply” and everything would be alright.

Think about what you want for your daughters, if you saw them in a relationship like yours what would you say to them?

If they believe now that saying sorry will fix everything, imagine how warped their view of loving relationships will be by the time they are in their 20’s.


But all is not lost!! Although you have no control over the kind of person your husband is and you had no idea when you got pregnant what he was going to be like as a father; you didn’t even know evil people like this existed. You have spent how ever many years trying to save your marriage and long before you picked up on the fact that you were even being abused he has been whittling away at your self confidence and taking away your control. But now that you know what you are dealing with you have control over what you allow into your life and how your children grow up.

It is a scary prospect to take back control of your life but I can think of no better motivation than knowing you are teaching your daughters how to be a strong, independent women and that their feelings DO matter and they DO deserve respect and they DO have choices, and the right to say NO.  Love never hurts, love doesn’t require one person to sacrifice all for the happiness of the other person.

I read a long time ago that we teach people how to treat us and it is the truth, as hard as that is to accept; because it sounds like I am blaming the victim, but I’m not, not totally anyway. In the case of a narcissist none of us knew what we were getting into and at first they treated us very well and we felt it only fair to compromise on issues and give the benefit of doubt because they had (appeared) to love us unconditionally and we wanted to reciprocate. We didn’t realize it was the start of a slow and methodical plot to destroy our self worth and uniqueness. For the first time in our lives we felt loved for exactly who we were, when in truth he despised or was jealous of who we were and wanted to exploit it. By the time we realized we had lost our power we were in too deep to just walk away. It is hard to extricate ourselves and unfortunately we are not the only one’s who suffer damage, it’s everyone in our lives, including children.

The children of a narcissist have a tough road in life at the best of times but when they are raised with the N in the home it invariably causes major emotions scars and they end up with a lifetime legacy if they don’t get help. They don’t even have to get involved with a narcissist, they just have no idea how to give without giving away their identity. The victims that have the hardest time pulling away from the narcissist and dealing with the rejection of the N are the people who were raised by a narcissist, either mother or father. Having an N for a parent is perfect training for ending up in an abusive relationship later in life.

Your responsibility as a mother is to model how a woman should expect to be treated and not accept less. It will be hard at first because they have been influenced by their father their whole life. I would recommend you and the girls find a good family therapist who has dealt with narcissists (they HAVE to be familiar with narcissists, otherwise you are wasting your time and money) and you go without your husband with the purpose of leaving. I would not tell your husband what your plan is because then he will put on the “I’ve changed” act and it will be even more confusing for the girls.

I don’t envy you the position you are in because it is hard enough to leave a narcissist let alone I am sure you are afraid that if you leave their father your girls will turn against you and believe me, he will try to turn them against you and has been already planting seeds in their heads about how life would be perfect if you weren’t so difficult.

It may seem you are between a rock and a hard place, if you leave you take the chance of your children taking his side and turning against you or you live a life of jumping through hoops, having your feelings ignored and being treated with disrespect while your daughters watch and learn. What you choose to do is your decision alone.

You know it isn’t healthy for your daughters, your husband doesn’t care and never will care; right now, by sleeping in the dining room he is getting exactly what he wants, he is literally the centre of the whole family. (hard to ignore someone’s temper tantrum and pouting when they are laying in the middle of the dining room table, at least you won’t have to pass the turkey this Thanksgiving, it’s already on the table) Sorry, I am sure he isn’t sleeping on the table, I just had this visual of him playing the victim and everyone trying to eat dinner while he pouts and throws a hissy fit about how mean you are.

Like I said I don’t know how old your girls are but depending on their ages I would explain to them that you have nothing to be sorry about and no one should ever allow themselves to be bullied into doing or saying anything. You can NOT take the advice of your children on how to deal with your marriage, but they should not be in the position of feeling they need to give advice. They are children, they should be concerned with Barbie’s, baby dolls, bed time stories and tea parties and not how to make daddy and mommy happy. Children are always happier and healthier in a home with one happy and self confident parent than in a home with constant fighting and discord. Statistics show that children from abusive homes are more likely to drop out of school, get pregnant, get into drugs, alcohol, and have more illness and lower grades and that doesn’t take into account the baggage they pack into adulthood and their relationships. I am not meaning to place this all on your shoulders because it is largely your husband’s fault, but he doesn’t care, so it has to fall on you.

No matter what you choose to do, please; find a good therapist for your girls.

Good luck and I will pray for you and your girls. You are welcome to rant/ramble any time you like, there are a lot of people in here more than willing to offer words of advice or just provide a shoulder to cry on.



6 thoughts on “What We Are Teaching Our Children By Example

  1. msfreeandretired

    This story speak volume to me, I was 13 years old when I meet my son father I was 16 years old when I had my son I left my ex when I was 18 years old he ia a sick s.o.b he envy his son so much that I would never leave my son with him one day I was playing with my son. And my son scream and turn around and my ex had his army knife going to my back that day my 2 years old son save my life, but the fear my son had in eyes break my heart and swear I would never let him back into our life again thats day my ex die as person. But thats day I begin to live on my 21 birthday I was swear in as NYC police officer and 3 months later I found new born baby who mother who was on drugs I adopted him now have 2 great son. But my ex hangs around my block with his now wife he stalks me but he does it very sneaky way he talks about me to anybody who listen, and he lives 4 blocks from me and I see him and he will look at me with those eyes that pops out of his head stare right through me like he could kill me. And he thinks he can scare me I look at him and ignore him and he got very mad. All because he thought I never have peace or love I thank god every day for the life I live with my children its always hope I did not contect without even know what it was or him now I know that he was dignosed by the army when they kick him out as maligant narsissistic with a touch of sociopath.


  2. Martina

    Thank you Carrie!! I appreciate honesty and I do understand what you are saying. I have made arrangements to see a therapist and if necessary (which I’m sure it will be) they will go as well. I don’t know if he is an N as I’m not a doctor but he does display many of the traits.
    My kids just want peace not change just peace … my oldest said she would rather have fighting than two homes. I use examples from their lives (friends who are mean, comment trolls) to explain how he makes me feel so I’m pretty sure they know and it’s his voice they hear screaming, not mine. Regardless they still want a family, but they’re kids and this is their world so I get it. I will do the right thing because I don’t have a choice.


    1. ellie2013


      I am perplexed. Have your children questioned their Dad? His screaming? Or do they see him as entitled to do that? Having fighting is NOT having “peace”. Sounds to me they are so used to the fighting and have assigned the blame for it to you that whatever you do right now is going to end up being your fault anyways. SO, if you are going to get blamed might as well be blames for getting yourself and them out of the situation completely. It really does not matter if he is an N and most doctors will not give that as a diagnosis anyways. Abuse, whether it be mental , verbal, physical , doesn’t matter, is NOT ok, ever. You should NEVER have to explain to a child how he makes you feel. YOU are the adult. They are the children There are more dynamics going on here than I think you realize. N’s use children to manipulate. MOST children want the fighting to stop. Ask any child that has been witness to their parents fighting. Ask anyone who has cowered in bed at night , praying that the fighting would just stop, that someone would just leave. I think you owe it to yourself what is really going on..


    2. Carrie Reimer Post author

      Martina, you still haven’t mentioned the age of the girls. But all kids want their parents to stay together, they just want to them to stop fighting but if one of the parents is not trying unfortunately, they do not get their wish. We all want our marriage to work and we all want our kids to have a happy home, but if our partner is not cooperating we are left the no choice.
      Him sleeping in the dining room shows how invested he is in the marriage and right there, that is just not normal and kids always feel the tension in the house even if they don’t hear the yelling.
      I remember laying in bed listening to my parents fight and I used to just pray they would either split and get it over with or shut up. I had ulcers at 9, migraines, and I know it left scars. How can it not??
      We are all a product of our life experiences and children are absorbing information at an alarming rate at that stage in their lives.
      they are little sponges and they don’t have all the life experience or knowledge to figure things out for themselves, they only have their very limited experience to go on when they try to figure out what is happening in their lives.
      I remember putting my toothbrush down the bathroom sink drain when I was about 3-4 and it got stuck. We moved shortly after that and I remember I was convinced we had to move because my toothbrush was stuck in the drain. At one point I believed my dad was a doctor because he made some joke about Dr xxxxxxx to the rescue.
      You don’t know what is going on in their little heads. That’s why so many kids blame themselves for their mom and dad fighting, their world is so small and isolated. I strongly recommend you not wait to get them into some sort of counseling, there is no way they are NOT damaged by what they are experiencing. They might not even realize it until they have a string of unsuccessful relationships and are in their 40’s but it will rear it’s ugly head at some point. We are all made up of the good and bad things that happened to us, we have no other frame of reference. I know after the N I had to do a lot of soul searching and I found a lot of beliefs about myself that I have packed for years that were not mine to pack. I wish I would have had the opportunity to deal with it when it happened and not gone half my life believing things about myself that weren’t true.
      A parent should never have to explain the marriage to the children, it invariably ends up sounding like they have to make a choice between the two parents and no matter how horrible the other parent is the children (under a certain age, like teen years) should never be in the position of having to choose who is right and who is wrong. They can’t, the guilt will tear them apart, they love both parents and they are far to young to understand the dynamics of an adult relationship.
      All they need to know is that both parents love them and it is not healthy for them to be in a home with a lot of fighting. You want them to be happy and you need to be happy. You don’t like the fighting either. If mommy and daddy live apart they won’t fight any more and when they are with daddy it will be quality time and same with you. That they just have to trust that you know what is best for them and for you. They need to be reassured that their daddy will still be in their lives and if he chooses to not be then they will learn to deal with that. He has to be responsible for his actions and you can’t make up for his lack as a parent. You can only be the best mom you can be and give them the best start in life you can.
      Yes, a happy little family with the white picket fence is the ideal and in a perfect world all children would grow up with two loving parents but that is not reality so you have to pick the next best thing.
      I think once they are out of the house and the constant tension and walking on egg shells waiting for the next fight you will see totally different kids. You don’t know the toll it is taking on them because they have never known anything different.
      As for him being a narcissist or not. It doesn’t matter. He is not happy and he is making your and your children’s lives hell. He is not concerned about the damage it is doing to the children and from the sounds of it not interested in working on the marriage, he just wants you to comply with his demands. YOU have to change to please him, but no matter what you do it will never be enough.
      However you label that it comes down to one fact, Unhealthy home for you and the children. I am sure you have tried many things to make it work, one person can not make a relationship by themselves. You are not responsible for making him happy.
      Good luck and let us know how you are doing.
      Oh and if you aren’t already, I suggest you start to journal every day.
      big hugs



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