Surviving extreme toxic parenting in childhood and adulthood
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Growing up the child of a Dark Tetrad or Dark Triad Power Couple

Just a heads up that this article is likely to trigger a very small handful of people. We say that because growing up the child of a Narcissist or Toxic parent is fairly common… but growing up the child of two Dark Tetrad or Dark Triad power couple is not.

Children of high power couples face many difficulties. Even when and if one or both of the parents is functionally normal (from a personality disorder perspective), there is typically enormous pressure on children, teens, and young adults to do “better”.

No matter how happy you are with your current level of success in life on a day to day basis, something — in their eyes — will always be wrong with it. There is no happy medium or peaceful resting ground.

Stopping to smell the proverbial roses in life will not be tolerated.

Such is the tragedy of growing up under the moral tutelage of competitive (rather than collaborative) humans; someone must always be winning at the expense of another person or group of people pigeonholed into the designated social assignment place of losing.

Charlie Sheen himself is likely to have fallen victim to the stress of toxic parents promoting socially achieving “family” success. He and brother Emilio Esteves followed father Martin Sheen into the entertainment industry. Sheen, likely to be a traumatized empath substantively victimized during his own childhood to the point that all that charisma, intelligence, and brutally self-indulgent rage turned him into the classic poster boy for NPD turned Narcopath turned Machiavellian Dark Triad against his former wife Denise Richards when they finally decided to divorce and “co-parent” the kiddies.

After divorcing Denise Richards, Charlie Sheen drug Miss Brooke Mueller into the family’s life. Bringing such a complex personality home and forcing all the friends, family, and children to have to deal with her is the height of passive-aggressive retaliation.

Knowing full well his family was likely to hate her – not because they are trying to be mean or snide but because Brooke Mueller truly is such an obviously toxic and deplorable mother or step-mother figure — he entered her into the family dynamic. Not only did he date her, he actually knocked her up with twins. The couple’s brief marriage produced plenty of fireworks and plenty of police assists when the celebrity couple’s arguing transitioned from the typical back-biting verbal jousting all Ns are known to do to actual, credible, criminal threats of violence and some hands on domestic abuse, too.

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The point of using such a high profile figure to discuss what life for kids of double Dark Triads must be like is this…

Charlie Sheen did not become the way he is without having shown signs of developing Oppositional Defiant Disorder as a kid.

In homes around the world, Co-Narcissist couples are raising mini-me Narcissists. We get that. The ultimate goal of any narcissistic or toxic parent is to raise children who are just like themselves, replicas complete with identical social and political values of the parent.

Children who act more like Stepford Wives times ten, afflicted with Stockholm Syndrome.

Children held hostage to their parent’s toxic values.

Children, trapped in the Narcissistic Cycle of Abuse with no hope of exit.

Short of toxic parents being killed simultaneously in a plane crash or car accident (a common fantasy for most children of co-Narcissists or Dark Triads), there is truly no way out. Mommy Dearest interjects herself in the classroom and dominates the PTA in order to convince teachers and casual acquaintances who have no idea she’s toxic and incredibly situationally abusive she’s the perfect mother. Enabling Henchmen fathers do whatever they want to in their free time, including cheating, lying, stealing or conning, scamming people, drinking, driving like a maniac jacked up on road rage endorphins, drug themselves out of their gourd, whatever… but when their mate bellows to summon them, somehow punishing or micro-managing Gitmo style torture routines on the child or children of the couple will be gleefully enacted based on her whim and behest.

Grades typically will mean a great deal to a Dark Triad power couple, but only if the kids are striving to be like the parents. If a narcissistic peer group encourages the parents to educate themselves, the toxic adults will have attended all the best schools and achieved academic distinction. But if they are from a family that has failed to see value in educational attainment, a child who reads with ease and can make decent grades in school with little to no help tutoring or with homework? That child’s life is likely to be made into a living hell.

Children’s grades do reflect (at least in part) their home life interaction. Grades are a reflection of student achievement. One can love a class, learn a great deal, and still tank a class grade by doing things like failing to turn homework assignments or projects in to teachers in a timely manner.

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For some children, not doing their homework on time is all the power in life they feel they have. Educators failing to make the connection between stress at home and a child with poor skills in the classroom commonly do stupid, foolish, abusive things like reporting to parents and higher administration staff that kids with C-PTSD have ADD or ADHD and insist they be medicated.

Such assertions about kids who come to school in the morning and stare vacantly out a window, who “forget” to do homework, or who have a tough time handing projects in on time are at-risk. Educators who compound the problem with their lack of empathetic insight into the mind or spirit of a child do as much or more damage to a child’s self-esteem than most toxic parents ever did.

Kids whose parents are not academics might be bright but have to hide their intellect.

Kids whose parents are fighting might not have been able to even focus last night on doing homework because mommy and daddy were at it again.

Kids who are themselves being physically tortured, neglected, or punished on a regular basis might not have had the emotional or physical wherewithal to give a  rats arse about answering stupid, mind-numbingly redundant questions like why did Jimmy buy 48 watermelons in Poughkeepsie when 23 in Albuquerque would do.

A kid coming home to rape, daily shaming rituals, and body-blow beatings to hide the broken bones, burn marks, and bruises is not that likely to put Miss Sandy’s sentence writing for spelling practice high on their agenda to do.

A child who comes home to a dysfunctional parent or parents with drug or alcohol abuse issues has an entirely different set of complex emotional challenges to navigate when he or she gets home. Thinking about their own physical safety is all they are likely to do.

Kids who have toxic or abusive siblings or housemates who have Cluster B personality disorder issues AND toxic parents oftentimes end up emotional disasters in adulthood. Many of them end up to be People Pleasers of some sort, but lacking proper role models and social guidance they tend to gravitate toward narcissistic, fringey drug and alcohol use-promoting friends.

Adding drugs of alcohol to any person with a Cluster B personality disorder is likely to make their physical sensation of the world more exciting to them, but the reduction in inhibition makes changes to their personality that leaves every person they come in contact with a likely target for some sort of Narcissistic Abuse. A Dark Triad with a drug or alcohol problem is likely to lie, steal, manufacture chaos, verbally abuse, stalk, cyber bully, and worse.

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Educators who bother to take the time to figure out the gist of what’s going on in each of their student’s home and personal life are few and far between. But seriously, they are an abused child’s ONLY line of defense and self-protection against toxic parents.

Smart kids with a strong nature typically move out (if they can) during their early teen years. Those who are not allowed to leave without being punished end up doing things like getting married young in pursuit of legal emancipation. Such children are typically seen as having a rebellious nature or “difficult temperament”; they tend to be gifted in both intellect and with HSP — meaning they have a high degree of intellectual IQ with an EQ to match (no matter how skewed their limited world vision at the ripe old age of 16 or 17 tends to be.

Children who strive to escape or make a change in the family dynamic by seeking out professional counseling and reading self-help literature are very different from those who strive to conform. Conformist children tend to stick around a parent and enable them to abuse others. The game conformist kids play is that while helping their toxic parent abuse someone else, they themselves are not being targeted. What’s more, they are likely to inherit the cars, the boats, the waterfront estates, and the ski villa in Tahoe when and if they have the opportunity to do away with a sick or dying parent.

Brutal in-fighting between children taught sibling rivalry is common as toxic parents age. It’s even an issue for grandchildren of toxic grandparents, noting that greed is a strong motivator for any person who is narcissistic. As N or Narcopath grandparents age, they tend to all get more Machiavellian and overtly narcissistic in their behavior.

Children who are young and impressionable should absolutely have limited to no contact with toxic grandparents. There’s a reason why most successful families that stay together tend to separate themselves from those relatives who are con-artists, antagonists, or bullies by nature.

Normal kids tend to develop People Pleaser personalities. They also tend to present with massive C-PTSD and trauma symptoms.

Grandchildren impressed by Grandma or Grandpa’s financial prestige or air of success are commonly triangulated against the Adult Children of Narcissistic People who are their parents. If the grandchild was heavily socially influenced or traumatized by them at an early age, as they grow up, those who tend to go narcy or anti-social themselves as a response are likely to jockey themselves into the role of “Golden Child”.

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In making such a bold lateral move followed by a vertical upward thrust, the grandchild of a narcissist converted to Flying Monkey becomes an abuser by proxy to their own parent(s) without ever even needing to realize or have any conception of the very real harm and brutal emotional damage their betrayal has done.

Siblings who jockey for position of inheriting the most routinely backstab. All appear to be able to lie or twist a story at will without conscience or remorse in order to socially devalue a person they are competing with for financial and social control of the toxic family as a whole.

Bottom line, any Adult Child of a Narcissist or Dark Triad who is not an abuser or conformist but stays in the game runs the greatest chance of dying from a stress-related illness like cancer or high blood pressure that leads them to have a heart attack or stroke long before the last breath of air leaves Mommy Dearest or her Enabling Henchman’s proverbial throat.

Children of Dark Triad (or Dark Tetrad) parents face inevitable stress. Whether they are 8, 18, 28, 38, 48, or 58, they will be treated as if they don’t have a brain in their head. What’s more, everyday GITMO style behavior management techniques that support brainwashing and mind control will be used against them.

The result?

Grown adults slaving away striving to meet the unmet psychological, physical, and social needs of a parent who is — by medical and technical definition — likely to be unpleasable. Adult children of the most egocentric generation of humans to have ever walked the planet, those born to the WWII GENERATION or the BABY BOOMER generation.

Millennials who are role modeling after toxic grandparents and brutal socially malevolent great grandparents see Narcissism, overt rudeness, and a callous disregard for anyone’s needs but their own as something impressive. People Pleasing Adult Children of such MONSTERS tend to report being left feeling baffled, noting that after all the years of striving to teach them empathy and ethics that their own parents could undermine and triangulate the relationship between themselves and their offspring… it sickens Empaths to the core to see the youth embrace such incredibly short-sighted, egocentric thinking.

Dividing the family, fostering sibling rivalry, and kicking non-conformist children to the curb at as young of an age as is legally possible seems to be the goal of most toxic parents. Children that are the preferred Golden Children or promoted-to-sibling-status-grandchildren (used to replace the scapegoat parent in the Machiavellian grand scheme of the toxic grandmother or toxic grandfather’s hands) will be lovingly included in every family gathering. They will be showered with gifts, given special permissions, and lavished with attention — all the while being pampered and indulged not for the sake of the grandchild but to twist the proverbial knife in the back of that child’s truly loving parent.

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If a toxic grandparent can take legal custody and control of a grandchild before the age of 18, it’s their ultimate victory over their own offspring. Such a bold social move moves the grandparent vertically into having a competitive advantage over the child’s bio-parent, one that allows them to control the life of all those younger than them while they rule their kingdom with an iron fist.

Displease Grandma? No child visitation for you. Make Grandpa have to do something socially he does not want to do — like pretend to be nice to a group of people for an afternoon? There is going to be hell to pay later for sure. Either way, Grandma and Grandpa are likely to pervasively manufacture chaos in the lives of their own adult children while striving to alienate them from the grandchildren.

The goal for them is control… but if they can control a grandchild intellectually and emotionally while making them feel shame or disrespect towards their bio parent? That’s not quite as good as getting face time with the child when they are under 18, but it’s as close as you can get to pulling off a staged coup.

Dark Triad parents who back each other up hide all the neglect and situational abuse of their own offspring from friends, the school system, church or synagogue congregations, people who they work with, those they “volunteer” with and for, etcetera. For them, everything is a grand con — pretending that everything is so marvelous at home that literally their family unit must be better than everyone’s.

Vain, selfish, and feeling entitled to the core, Dark Triad parents who did unspeakable horrors to their own children when they were new parents themselves will do all they can to sweep domestic abuse and family violence issues under the rug. If children, adult children, or even Golden Grandchildren dare to talk, look out.

Dark Triads are the original inventors of the mental abuse tactics called writing revisionist history, invalidating, victim shaming, blame shifting, and gaslighting. They are also masterful at the art of poisoning the well against their own kids and seem to love nothing more than riding the high they feel when duping their friends and authority figures who could have legitimately helped their child while smear campaigning.

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Educators who miss the social and forensic psychology clues young children are being abused are greatly at fault for the ongoing allowance and perpetuation of child abuse. But the Abuser is the catalyst who pushes the first domino. Flying Monkeys who abuse by proxy intentionally are truly toxic characters… but those who pot stir, sit on the sidelines, and rubber neck while watching a child growing up abused and doing or saying nothing about it other than to complain their classroom behavior is a problem for you? Honestly, a quick re-read of Dante’s Inferno will let you know there is a special kind of hell reserved for those fine educators, church pastors, counselors, psychologists, and therapists who choose to Enable and by proxy abuse.

Children of Dark Triads are all abused in the most creative and unusual of ways. Not only are they deprived of the right to life, they are neglected in all ways that matter.

They are ridiculed daily and undermined in any endeavor not approved of or insisted on by the toxic parent(s).

Toxic shame is used to manipulate and control.

Siblings will be pitted against one another, creating sibling rivalry as both competition and torture. The Golden Child can do no wrong — and anyone victimized or traumatized by them will be shamed into not only not being allowed to have a voice or an opinion about having been traumatized, the innocent party will be told they have to apologize to their Abuser and continue to both tolerate and overlook any and all socially, emotionally, psychologically, or physically abusive behaviors.

Enabling Dark Triad parents who were successful in creating Mini-Me conformists play a constant game battling their own abusive children for power and control of the family unit. If the key family figure is a Mommy Dearest, expect gross manipulation, guilt trips that go on for years, and abject divisiveness to be hallmarks of a family run by a Dark Triad matriarch. If the father figure is in control, expect everyone in the family to duck when and if the Enabling Henchman breaks his typical stonewalling technique and starts to bellow.

Cuts, bruises, broken bones, bladder infections, hunger or food allergy related pains… all are obvious symptoms of having witnessed or endured trauma in adults as well as in children. Less obvious signs a child or adult you know has been recently traumatized might include things like a person turning up with a chronic illness, a spaced-out nature that resembles ADD, or a hyperactive “nervous” physical affectation that resembles ADHD but is more like watching a person who simply has no way to get comfortable with themselves, socially, or in their own skin.

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Medicating such symptoms of shock and trauma with anti-depressants rather than using anxiety-relieving medications is medical abuse. Noting many people with ASPD, who are Narcissists themselves, or who have a sadistic streak tend to go into medical or mental health professions, knowing exactly the kind of doctor or therapist you are seeking advice from as a human being is crucial for Narcissistic Abuse recovery.

Totally abusive Dark Triad parents will seek out the most brutal of mental health advocates for their kids. Those with extreme passive-aggressive streaks and a desire to dominate tend to medicate their kids with reckless abandon, using pharmaceuticals as an effective behavior management technique that acts as both control agent and as punishment.

The worst will do bodily and sexual harm to their kids, then cover it up. Spending a lifetime poisoning the public’s impression of their offspring’s character and mental acuity, while they heap on abuse the most toxic, clueless, and themselves abusive of their friends will egg them on. Their thrill in meddling and being included in gossip trumps moral decency. The ultimate Flying Monkeys, those who fall hook, line, and sinker for the gaslighting con of a Dark Triad damage the children and adult children of the Abuser most… by proving the world is an unkind, unjust, and unloving place — just like their toxic parent always promised them.

For that reason alone, before you jump in to support or defend ANY person who is actively smear campaigning against the credibility of a child who was in their care, stop and think.

What motive or agenda would an adult child have for coming forward about childhood abuse — when doing so socially, financially, and emotionally costs them EVERYTHING?

Breaking the silence about child abuse or domestic abuse in a toxic family places a massive bullseye target on an already traumatized victim’s forehead. It tends to lose them friends, devastate them socially and emotionally, as well as cost them their inheritance (regardless of how big or how small, noting that to emotionally sensitive kids losing the items of sentimental import is far more soul-crushing than any money or residential property they have psychically and physically “stolen” from them).  As such, before leaping to the defense of a narcy elder, do a little research.

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Situational abusers are typically the most charming and well-liked members of their own social or professional circles. Why would a child raised by them dare to self-advocate for the community to validate their private experiences so badly related to child abuse or abuse of them that is continuing on throughout their adulthood?

Chances are it’s because they have Stockholm syndrome and are trying to help their parent. If they have Cognitive Dissonance coupled with a tendency to engage in acts of Reverse Projection, adult children of Dark Triads might even daydream that their parent — in their own way — loves or cares for them. In the hopes of someday being shown love or gratitude for selflessly spending a lifetime trying to please a ruthlessly self-promoting parent, they are socially shamed for being co-dependent and masochistic. All they are truly guilty of is being a “Problem Solver”, noting that is exactly the role of a People Pleaser.

In order for a People Pleaser to self-actualize, they feel compelled to help others. People Pleasers tends to selflessly set their own needs aside, not because they are masochists or because they are striving to “get” something for themselves. On the contrary, People Pleasers derive true pleasure from helping or pleasing other people.

As the ultimate problem solvers, People Pleasers don’t seek to change others as much as they strive to help folks who need it to get a leg up in life. For some, that might mean cooking their family all their favorite meal items at a holiday feast in spite of the fact the cook himself or herself has no taste or affection for any of the guests comfort food items. For others, it might mean betraying your best friend to please your father by forcing your buddy out of a business deal so that Daddy Dearest will be impressed and the nuclear family earns more chits representing financial success. For someone else, it might mean riding shotgun in Papa Bear’s truck while heading off to meet up with PaPaw at the local Klan rally.

The point is that whatever the lifestyle preference of the Dark Triad parent or toxic parents, the only way for their offspring to truly please them is to functionally think, behave, and socially act just like them.

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Simply figuring out who has an agenda to seek help, effect change, and “save” the family versus someone who is striving to avoid criminal liability is huge. Noting who hangs around to rubberneck or who shows up solely for financial gain can let you know who has a covert agenda to self-indulge or actively appropriate that which morally and/or ethically speaking they do not need or deserve can tell you more about who’s who in the proverbial toxic family zoo than even the most insightful of Narcissistic Abuse counselors can tell you.

Narcissistic Abuse is about power and control. It’s about humans who have a limited capacity for social and emotional insight striving to win — noting that in their mind to be considered a success, someone else must be crushed, shamed, humiliated, and physically told  face to face or in person all the many reasons why the more dominate party is both their victor and oppressor.

But here’s the deal. Only 12-15% of the human population truly believes in living life according to such bullshit rules of social structure. Life is not about 50 Shades of Gray, torturing your wife, husband, children, parents, siblings, neighbors, roommates, or extended family structures.

Life is not about bullying — or winning. In all reality, all it really is about (essentially) is deciding who you are then acting with mindful intent to be the kind of person of your choosing.

There’s a reason ants thrive in colonies while predator species who over-eat tend to die out. Social Darwinism, in the healthful sense, is the best rubric for looking back over the history of a family unit generationally, noting that families who teach their children empathy and collaboration skills (rather than coaching them to perform competitively) tend to promote the bloodline’s long-term satisfaction and success.

In a recent report finding, researchers at Harvard University concluded after 75 years of taking painstaking reports and medical samples that those men who had families that they trusted to have their back and make good decisions together as a team were happier and in better states of mental health. The 750 men they originally studied were from all walks of life including various socio-economic statuses by the end of their life but that one thing was constant — a good marriage and satisfying home life was what created a life of success.

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Those people who pursued money or fame or who “stayed together for the sake of the kids” did not make the cut. At the end of their lives, having a bigger house or more toys out in the garage or back yard tended to make them feel more stress and less pleasure in general than simply having been married to a kind person and raising kids as a family “team” project could have done.

That information certainly should give pause to any child of a Dark Triad who is currently spending their life in hot pursuit of what their toxic parent esteems most. Sorry, Greatest Generation — the American government needed to train factory workers, soldiers, and women who could effectively hold down the fort. It’s not your fault your values are corrupt — the public schools you were forced to attend after the nineteen teens back in the 20th century did you in substantially.

The challenges children and young adults face in the 21st century include zero privacy rights, international access to borderless information, and a need for the Tower of Babel curse to be broken by the implementation of English as a universal scientific, academic, and business language commences. The evolution of computers has left society with a massive group of populous who ridicule computer use and who functionally cannot comprehend how someone could feel legitimate social connection to a person they have never met but who they communicate with over the telephone, Skype, on instant messaging chats, or who they talk to daily using social media platforms to do it.

Promoting ant colony behavior while facing the social challenge of limiting the effects of personalities who have Cluster B is pragmatic in the utilitarian sense — but it’s also a function necessity for successful space colonization. Until human beings stop demanding me-me-me attention all the time and start to look to one another for support from a “We” perspective, terrorism is likely to continue to escalate faster than the rise in sea levels due to climate change.

Social terrorism — whether in workplace or domestic violence or schoolyard bullying — is bound to continue until women [yes, WOMEN] of at least three generations come together intellectually and emotionally to make a commitment to ending the creation of Cluster B personality types while engaging actively in running on the Narcissistic Cycle of Abuse “Power and Control Wheel” like it’s a freaking human-sized hamster treadmill.

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If you are an adult child of not just one but two Dark Triad or Dark Tetrad parents (noting the linguistic difference in SEO terms is negligible), understanding that you yourself are positioned in the ideal circumstance to take back sentient emotional power and make a change in the global dynamic by altering your personal and professional behaviors is key to preventing the perpetuation of the cycle. Be the change you want to see in the world. Question authority. But by all means so do lovingly and respectfully.

Thanks to our government’s need to manufacture five generations of Narcopaths who bow down to and revere the social hubris of Dark Triad figures, election 2016 is about to happen. Donald Trump is the perfect example of everything that is the by-product of narcopathic thinking promoted since long before the Civil War in American history by all our various social institutions.

His children are the children of double dipped Dark Triad parents.

Of the older children, look at their eyes. Really observe their body postures and facial expressions while they talk.

Trump’s father was a KKK supporter. Now Trump’s biggest fan base is not conservative, business-minded Republicans — it’s fucknuts.

Can Ivanka be saved? Probably someday, yes… but only if she wants. As for her two brothers, Frick and Fracking? They are both big game hunters. Machiavellian social and political “traits” are being cultivated and nurtured in them now, but the Narcopath narcissistic sociopath temperament is already in full swing.

It’s important to note that while our healthy grandparents might have referred to the Trump boys as “Passive Aggressive” that 21st-century mental health terminology would likely assign them to the category of Covert Narcissist. Such is the proper phrase to describe what is surely obfuscated agendas to gain approval from their dominant father while seeking to compete socially and financially for status and prestige accomplishments.

As brothers of toxic parents, they are likely to have the ultimate goal in mind of socially beating or defeating the other. As brothers of a Dark Triad union, they are likely to band together to help harm narcissistic rivals and preferred scapegoat targets while mobbing in clan-style wars against people from other high power families or those who work for competing corporations.

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Loyalty, to a Dark Triad, then, has nothing to do with true honor or respect. In a family riddled with Narcissistic Abuse and toxic behavior, loyalty gets improperly translated into something akin to ENABLE (rather than honor) thy mother and father to abuse.

About Plato's Stunt Double

DISCLOSURE: The author of this post is in no way offering professional advice or psychiatric counseling services. Please contact your local authorities IMMEDIATELY if you feel you are in danger. If you suspect your partner, a loved one, co-worker, or family member has a Cluster B personality disorder, contact your local victim's advocate or domestic violence shelter for more information about how to protect your rights legally and to discuss the potential benefits or dangers of electing to go "no contact" with your abuser(s). Due to the nature of this website's content, we prefer to keep our writer's names ANONYMOUS. Please contact flyingmonkeysdenied@gmail.com directly to discuss content posted on this website, make special requests, or share your confidential story about Narcissistic Abuse with our staff writers. All correspondence will be kept strictly confidential.