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Dr. Olsen
Dr. Olsen, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2336
Experience:  PsyD Psychologist
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We are dealing with Narcissistic Grandparents and it is a total

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We are dealing with Narcissistic Grandparents and it is a total nightmare. The manipulations and lies and destruction are worthy of paramount study. I knew there were emotional health issues but had no idea the extent until we were blessed with our firstborn. It has been a fifteen year power struggle that really would most accurately be described as narcissistic on their part. The degree and extent is what completely floors me. We are talking about people who put their sense of pride even before the well -being of babies and children. ( Refusal to wipe front to back when changing baby girl's diapers, unwillingness to stay away when ill, no babyproofing or supervision of very young children) Then they voice their very negative expectations because we put our children's safety first and did our best to do what 21st century parents do---not 1960 Bohemian parenting. (I think they even jump to the conclusion that our children won't particpate in sports because we babyproofed) Extended others, even while they MUST know better, keep quiet, don't stand up or even side with this ignorance. God only knows what they are going to come up with next. They control the entire extended family somehow with land or approval or something. We have steadily distanced ourselves. The lies have become bigger and bigger until they are absolutely ridiculous. Should we even attempt to honor them with a few hours visit over the holidays? They have used every visit to degrade, belittle, humiliate etc. instead of using that time to enjoy our company or build some sort of relationship. At one point, they treated us like we didn't even know how to take care of our dog. We just try to ignore it all and can't wait to leave. My husband tried talking to them and of course that didn't help either. Other siblings and their families cater to them like you would not believe. Some don't even take a summer vacation anywhere so they can visit grandparents all the time. Another sibling and their family has totally spent their life there. Gparents bought land thinking they bought us. Should we confront or contiue to ignore such destructive behavior??
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Olsen replied 4 years ago.
Hello & Welcome to JustAnswer. I am sorry to hear your situation. Let me ask you a question before I offer an answer. Do other siblings complain of your parents too?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Yes. One couple almost divorced because it was so enmeshed, etc. Another complains but complies. Others happily serve and are favored for it. One sibling used to have major panic attacks. Now that she married her spouse seems to have issues with the grandparents as well. (limiting sugar intake for baby, same stuff, etc.)

Expert:  Dr. Olsen replied 4 years ago.
Hi, Thanks for additional info. This is a tough situation. Let me work on my answer. Feel free to post any new info. Please wait.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I think the situation may be progressingand I just don't know what to expect. My mother passed this last April. The first thing she said to me was that she was glad I was able to see my mother at Easter. We had gone back to our hometowns to get an extended family photon taken with and for them and their 50th Anniversary(planned by codependant siblings)and spent some of Saturday with them including dinner out. Sunday, we visited my mom. However, the fact that we didn't spend both days there has always been viewed as a rejection to them. I believe she said what she said at my mother's funeral with double meaning and also meant that we do not value "family" as much as we should etc. I think she lacks empathy and has zero qualms about using anyone or anything to her advantage. I know we are not going back for Thanksgiving but we usually visit around Christmas sometime and this year, I am not sure I feel like going the extra mile, no pun intended. There have been countless attacks over the years that I have just tried to ignore. As a Christian, I have tried to deal with it in a dignified manner. However, it has started to affect my self esteem and with the loss of my mother, I am not sure I want to extend myself that way this year. But, it may fan the flame if we don't show at all. What do you think? Maybe we should let it come to a head. If it doesit may mean estrangement or further hurt on boht sides. If we don't it will just be a low level misery. Which do you think is preferable?

Expert:  Dr. Olsen replied 4 years ago.

I'm sorry to hear about what you've gone through. It sounds like the grandparents may be self-preoccupied, narcissistic, and disrespectful to you. Her behavior or words to you at your mother's funeral may indicate her lack of empathy and self-preoccupation.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a serious illness. In mental health, people with NPD is very difficult to work with because they have low or no motivation for change or correct their behavior. NPD is characterized by grandiosity, need for admiration, and a lack of empathy.

I am not surprised that some of your relatives may have ended up having panic attacks, developed a co-dependent relationship, and jut gave in their requests as their illnesses are severe and their behavior negatively influence others' self-esteem and emotions.

People with NPD want only empathy, support and praise without any criticism. If you show slightest criticism, they may verbally attack you. They may be highly manipulative even in conversation. They may have distorted sense of reality in order to defend themselves. Their behaviors and words that I read here are "disrespectful" to you. If your husband and you agree on this matter, you may tell them that their behaviors and words were disrespectful and hurtful to you and your husband next time when they show such a behavior towards you. You may need to keep some distance from them or make minimum contacts with them as they may not change their behavior in the near future.

Please do let me know if you have additional questions or clarifications.

Warm regards,
Dr. Olsen, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2336
Experience: PsyD Psychologist
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