So a Child Might Grow

I have been caught up recently on a big job I committed to which will pay for my kids dance tuition and so just recently I have not had much of a chance to continue with my verbal abuse series.

I will get back to it soon but today for something a little different I am sharing the words from a pretty wall picture that my mother gave me as a gift last weekend.

This is very sentimental to me because it was given to her by the hospital when I was born.

I will share what it says (by and unknown author) with you in a moment, but the other interesting thing about this picture (which is really an ad for Baby Magic products) is that right at the bottom it says 85% of US children never own a portrait photo of both of their parents.

Now if you have read The Love Safety Net Workbook, you might know our feelings about this and why it is important. Giving photos of ourselves to loved ones is an attachment ritual that is as effective at encouraging attachment with our children as it is with our spouse.

I have pictures of all of my family around my desk and looking at their faces through the day really does remind me of my love for them. I have given all my kids pictures of us too (for their wallets) but I don't think I have given one to Steve for his desk yet, but as he sees me all day now he might laugh if I did that. I have given him a nice picture of us both together for his wallet however.

So maybe you would like to think about having a nice picture taken of yourself and have a few framed to give to your family members, as well as a wallet sized version to give them as well.

OK so here are the words of wisdom given to my mother by the hospital when I was born ...


So a Child Might Grow

Love begins when acceptance is present
Patience thrives were tolerance exists
Confidence grows when encouragement smiles
That Apprehension shows where ever fear abounds
That Condemnation follows where criticism has ruled
That Appreciation is an award shown by praise
That Recognition is given when goals are met
That Aggression cannot live without hostility
That Education is a way of overcoming ignorance
That Moderation is the safety valve of indulgence
That Discipline is a series of sound investments in character
That Truth is ever present where honesty lives
That Faith in oneself and others starts with security
That Justice has a way of finding it's foundation of fairness
That Forgiveness is a privilege extended to all but enjoyed by few
That Kindliness is a priceless commodity found in abundance among all peoples
That Friendliness is a boundless freedom offered by the world in which we live

We Learn from Living


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There is certainly food for reflection in the words above but I would add that discipline is much better understood as the concept of good daily habits than it is as harsh punishment. There surely needs to be natural consequences allowed to exist without cushioning our families from the results of their own misdeeds but we certainly learn much better from encouragement than we do from criticism.

Have you asked your kids some open ended questions lately and just let them talk? A great trick is to repeat the last few word of their sentence as a question and watch as the words start to pour out ...

EG.

- "How was school today?"

"It was OK".

- "Just OK?"

"Well yeah, it did rain at lunch time so we had to stay inside."

- "You had to stay inside?"

"Yes it was OK though because our new teacher got us laughing
with a movie he showed us."

- "A movie?"

And then watch as the whole story unfolds.

Spending this kind of time with your kids is priceless.

I better go talk to mine ...

Hang in there!

Kim Cooper
http://www.narcissismcured.com

13 comments:

  1. I really liked the poem and really liked the how to talk to your kids, perfect as mine are now teenagers and often just get a grunt, great advice. I wont be able to chat to you much now as my teenagers will be talking to me all the time soon.,......
    Margaret
    ChildrenAreEverything.com.au

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  2. Dear Kim and Steve,

    Your site and the information has been an absolute inspiration for me and enabled me to focus on my own behaviour and have a new perception my husbands NPD and my co-dependancy.
    After having read Kims story I identified strongly with her and went on to read all your material and purchase your ebooks. I am now happier with myself and can self sooth. I am less critial of my husband and have put some of your suggestions in place- the scissors one is essential for me. Also the bank account and approaching conversation with more awareness.
    I am a great supporter of your approach to NPD and the co-dependant as I have done much therapy, 12 step and other work over the years.
    I will keep refering your site to others when the opportunity arises
    Best wishes
    Christine

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  3. I had really given up hope of saving my marriage of 14 years. I too have been co dependant but I realized the implications of my actions and have spent the last two years changing that( I find that each day is a new day to learn and the learning never stops). Improvemnet was made in my relationship only to slip away again and again. I have decided that I need to have my own home one where peace and harmony can exsist. I do not believe in divorce but the anger and verbal abuse has spilled over into my children's lives. I am fearful of the lasting implications on them. I do not feel I am being a responsible parent by allowing this environment to influence my children to follow bad behaviour. Up until now the only view I had was one of no hope. I do not like to cause others discomfort or pain so my reading of getting help through legal means and RCMP memebers made me uncomfortable.... But I am now seeing the benefit for my family, consequences are for everyone and abusers no matter who they are need consequences too.My decision as of now is to continue to move to my own home. This will not be a fast move as financially I am unable to manage on my own yet. I am working The Love Safety Net while I prepare. I have not made the statement that I will not go. I will not ask for nor seek a divorce. I am not interested in having another relationship I was maried before this marriage and we had an awesome marriage, he passed away. I carry my own baggage and as directed I will begin to sort through my own stuff and become stronger in my self and my own values. I am not a young woman and I was raised to have a strong belief in my self. Where I became lost I am uncertain but I need to find my self again. I thank you for this new door and I will exhaust it in every direction before I make the final decision to leave. I need to keep my children safe.

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  4. Hi LeAnne,

    Thanks for sharing and you hang in there! If you don't have "Back from the Looking Glass" please make sure you get it as it has the information you urgently need.

    Kim Cooper
    http://www.narcissismcured.com

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  5. I admire you, LeAnne, for mustering the courage to do what's best for your kids. I was married to a very narcisstic man for 20 years, and he took most of his aggression out on our children. I had 10 children with him, due to our religious beliefs and he was the one who left me when he turned 40 to move to L.A., CA, to pursue acting after having an affair with a 25 year old. I have since divorced him, as I needed to in order to protect myself financially, and my children are all doing so much better as time goes on. I have two that are in college and they and the rest are finally able to be the people they were meant to be, not the perfect robots he tried to make them into. I have not regretted splitting from him, as we now have peace in our lives. I admire those who work with their spouse to help them overcome their sickness, but I was so beat down by him that I needed this split in order to heal and let my kids do the same. I have been raising my kids on my own for four years now and have no debt, a full-time job I love, and I'm closing on my first home in two weeks. It is possible to make through and come out to shining skies. The one book that I have recently got that Kim mentioned on this website was "You Might Be a Narcissist If..." and it really explains in very simple reading of how these people become like they are. The therapists writing the book even admit to having the disorder themselves, I believe two out of the three do, and it really gives you a good perspective on things from an clinical standpoint, too.

    Just hang in there, LeAnne, and know that people like me are there cheering for you and showing that it can be done, to move forward and live a good life again!!

    Take Care
    Becky

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  6. What if your child ( my 16 1/2 teen ... and NO, it isn't "just being a teen" it has been ongoing since childhood & escalating as the years go on) is the narcissist? How can I help her? Did I spoil this child too much ? Why are none of the others like this? Honestly I worry about her sanity ...she is so unhappy ...so angry, so judgemental, so ...HATEFUL ... threatening suicide when things don't go her way ... a simple "no" can set her off for hours. She chooses emotionally unavailable boys to be around, then is heart broke ... I can't seem to get through to her about much of anything anymore ... terrified she'll ruin her life.

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  7. I live with a narcissist who is the love of my life. He has a son who was eight years old when I entered his life. Over time, I have taught this child about boundaries, which he had trouble with when I first met him, but he does well now. His father is totally a narcissist with every symptom as listed. He is emotionally unavailable, does not like to be touched, will not tell you he loves you, doesn't like to kiss hello or goodbye or goodnight. Won't sleep in the bed, but prefers to be alone on the couch. I have explained to his son over the years about this behavior not being quiet normal and his son understands. He is almost 16 now, in the band at school, an avid church goes, in ROTC, and makes honor roll on every report card. But the most important thing is he has a heart and a conscience. I find it very important to teach a child about their conscience, as I find it not being done as much as when I was growing up. I am a social worker and work child abuse reports so I see a lot of the damage that comes from parents who don't take the time it takes to raise their children, either from their own narcissistic behaviors or other reasons. The man I'm with is an alcoholic and only when he is drunk will he express any emotions. He was abused as a child, himself, by parents who put beer in his baby bottle and he witnessed terrible domestic violence by his parents. All the blocks needed to build a hardcore narcissist are there. He can charm, which is how I got involved, but I really didn't recognize the signs until recently. I have attributed his issues to a bad childhood, but recently discovered through this website the true problem. I have been handling him different because I can't make him change, but I don't have to put up with all the awful behaviors of violence, unfaithfulness, secrets, and so on that are so typical of this type of individual. Now, I want to leave, but am somewhat concerned for the boy because he is at the age it could go either way, without proper guidance. Susan W., Child Abuse Investigator, LBSW

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  8. Hi Susan,

    Wow that is a really tough problem. You have done something wonderful for this boy and I understand that you deserve better. In the position you work in you do have considerable power that you can most probably use to change this man's behaviour if you get the courage. We all change in time what is different is just what stimulus it takes to promote that change.

    You do not have to stop loving someone to report them to the authorities.

    You have taught this boy boundary setting but perhaps life is pushing you to do an advanced course in this now.

    Steve appeared in court three times on the same charge (they kept telling him he wasn't prepared and he had to keep coming back) which he very nearly went to jail over and related to his behavior at home. I walked in and out of court with him each time and I didn't help him or protect him but I also remained standing by him and made it clear that it was his bad behavior and not him who had become my enemy.

    I swore to take down his bad behavior - to rescue him as much as to rescue us and I made this clear often.

    I also made it clear to the authorities that I was concerned about him and needed their help setting boundaries with him for his own sake as much as for ours. I made it very obvious that I wasn't looking for revenge and that helped a lot.

    Steve changed literally because it was that or jail and if there had been one crack left to slip through he would have found it but there wasn't. He is the first one to thank me for that now.

    That is my story and you must make your own choices but you are a strong and capable woman and I am sure you will choose wisely.

    If you haven't read "Back from the Looking Glass" yet I strongly urge you to get it and read it ASAP. The one or two bits of advice in it you haven't thought of may be very valuable.

    Kim Cooper
    http://www.fightbusters.com

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  9. Becky, I saw your post and have 9 kids and was married to a Religious Narsissist too.When I tried to get away he even kidnapped my kids for 2 years and now we are going to court for the 3rd time. He will not let go it is very hard as Ive had to be superwoman just to survive.Tammy

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  10. Kim, What about the issue of the child being a narcissist? My child is 27 and still living home. She hates that she is not on her own yet she is afraid of everything. I believe that I am her scapegoat. She does not accept responsibility for anything that does not make her happy. She does not like that I insist that she be accountable for her actions. I also see through her weaknesses and ask that she set goals and boundaries. She is always full of excuses. How will she ever learn to be independant? She is very immature, more like a twelve year old. She has come along way, but she still does not face anything in reasonable time periods. She has a terrible time with time constraints. She feels pressured and will freeze. Could there be other issues going on that are undermining her self confidence? If narcissism if fed by shame, how does someone begin to gain self confidence if they live in denial? Can they learn this on their own? I feel like as her mother it is still my responsibility to help her with this and that my job mothering is not done until she is an independent being? But is this right? This a problem in our family, and I have seen other parents turn their kids out thinking, they will learn on their own, and they have never become adult like in their behavior. In fact they have gotten more self centered when left to their on devices, not having to live within a family situation. Their relationships deadend and they just drift. What can I do to make sure that this does not happen to my daughter?

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  11. The best thing you can do is model healthy behavior for your daughter by working on your own emotional intelligence. The Love Safety Net Workbook would be a great place for you to start!

    Kim Cooper
    www.narcissismcured.com

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