Adult Children with Cluster B personalities hurt parents and families. That is the simplest and most direct way to explain the challenges faced by parents of offspring who grow up to have full-blown Cluster B personalities.
Whether a child suffered trauma or neglect as a youngster stops mattering so much or being an excuse for bad behavior the moment the child is old enough to know better and has the psychological and physical wherewithal to do better.
Sadly, in the case of many narcissistic people who self-aggrandize, failure to take personal responsibility for their lifestyle choices, habits, and mannerisms goes part and parcel with a personality disorder diagnosis.
There are four distinct Cluster B personality types that are/were/have been clinically recognized in the DSMV edition of the standard diagnosis book used by mental health professionals worldwide while diagnosing. They include the following personality disorders — meaning personality types, not “mental illness” diagnoses (per se) — as follows:
- Narcissistic Personality Disorder
- Anti-Social Personality Disorder
- Histrionic Personality Disorder
- Borderline Personality Disorder
Noting that at the present time, there is no known “cure” for simply having a personality that is (for lack of a better term) toxic, scientists and behavioral therapists are finally for the first time in human history starting to work to both understand and devise helpful therapy techniques to help love interests, friends, and family members of such people learn how to cope as well as to heal. This includes late-in-life help for parents of children who typically from a young age have always shown signs of emergent Cluster B.
When a child under the age of 18 shows bad behavior and makes poor lifestyle choices, it’s easy to blame toxic parents or toxic family experiences for a child acting out. If one parent is abusive and the other either enables (by refusing to leave) or participates actively as a co-narcissist abusing the child, it’s easy for the “victim” of child abuse to hold grudges against both parents for failing to protect or provide for their best interests as an adolescent, psychologically or physically.
Sadly for many great people who are kind and loving, the profoundly complex influence of their own Baby Boomer or WWII Generation parents and grandparents left them feeling like they were damned if they did or damned if they didn’t stay in a relationship with a toxic personality. Many an unhappy marriage produced one parent who became the family scapegoat and “glue”, used and abused by other family members and even their own children relentlessly and without an ounce of compassion or mercy for their kind hearts ever shown.
If a person married in the 20th century, conventional social ethics in most civilized countries were that you make a marriage work or try to stay together “for the sake of the kids”. Hindsight has proven from a psychiatric standpoint that no worse advice could have been taught or given — especially to mothers, as human beings who happen to be disempowered women.
Raised with toxic shame as a guiding force, many women with abusive husbands and limited career potentials themselves stayed on with nasty and abusive marriages. Why? Because everyone who was raised to overlook and enable abusers for their own selfish ends conversationally shamed and completely sabotaged them.
Weak Narcissists are happy to stay in abusive marriages with stronger predators because it made their fiscal and social lives easier are to blame for teaching their sons and daughters that if they tried to leave a dysfunctional family or abusive marriage that not only would they fail to thrive, their own children would be directly harmed by the loss of money, social support, and (in essence) being able to brag about their own bloodline. Family reputation was supposed to be preserved at all costs, especially to protect the Abuser from having his or her name defamed.
It was a time-honored tradition to keep domestic violence and abuse secret. If a child or family member was being bullied and had boo to say about it, the friends and family would gleefully engage in the act of mobbing the emotional person. No one thought twice about hurting another person to “toughen them up” — something that helped Western Civilization members learn how to industrialize nations and win wars but left the moral, intellectual, and emotional nature of some of the world’s brightest minds absolutely crippled socially and emotionally, suffering through a lifetime of heartbreaking confusion and shame.
If a woman left an abusive husband, she was clearly told she was being stupid and selfish. If a man wanted to leave a woman who was abusing him verbally, physically, sexually, financially, psychologically, or emotionally? He would have absolutely and without question have been considered unmanly or without a backbone.
Those forced to stay in unhappy and socially toxic unions as parents — whether due to societal pressure or because they truly in their heart believed they were doing the right thing to stay — let their children down. This proclivity to believe moral lessons to stay and endure abuse “for the sake of the kids” is and remains the most difficult social distortions of right thinking in every modernized culture today.
It also is directly the cause for many Cluster B personality types to claim they have a right to treat their own parents abusively — noting that most prefer to abuse the loving parent while keeping the strongest and most malevolent family matriarchs and patriarchs in a position the copycat or conformist personality type offspring lauds rather than eschews as a role model for behavior. Such is the danger of staying in a marriage to a person who is known to be abusive. The longer a person who is kind by nature stays, the less love and familial support they are likely to enjoy when and if they have kids who mature.
Blaming “bad parents” for why adult children treat their own spouses, friends, co-workers, family members, children, romantic interests, and even strangers is par for the course as a generic excuse most Cluster B people throw out there to see when and if a prospective Flying Monkey or new Narcissistic Supply Source can be hooked. Loving and insightful people tend to know to their core without ever having been “told” that they are responsible for their own behavior.
Regardless of how bad any child was neglected or abused, by the time they reach the age of biological maturity they are responsible for the lifestyle choices they make at the very least regarding their own attitude. No parent makes their child do things like lie, cheat, steal, have a bad temper, forces them to have a poor work ethic, or compels them to actively abuse others except in the sickest and most extreme form of cult-like families teaching things like religious zealotry actively in their home as a means of bonding the family while aligning spiritually and morally with aggressive behavior.
Yet, the Cluster B adult child will — each time caught or confronted lovingly with constructive criticism by one of their abuse victims or a therapist — pull out the “poor me card”. Waving it in the air like a metaphoric hall pass that will enable to pass through the pearly gates of Saint Peter, the toxic adult child of a loving parent will throw guilt and shame producing shade at any and every parent, family member, friend, or person of romantic interest in order to avoid taking personal responsibility for the root cause and effect of their own abusive behaviors.
Such is the plight of the narcissistic personality type, meaning those who are egocentric and responsibility-avoidant by nature. The adult with a Cluster B personality type will target those who show them the most love and care for blame in order to manufacture an excuse to continue their own selfish, dysfunctional, and toxic behaviors.
Pretending the person who loves them most is wholly to blame for having a childhood they did not like or appreciate is the default calling card left by an adult child who themselves is an abuser of other human beings. Seldom is the truly toxic parent or a grandparent set blamed for orchestrating harm to a family unit or targeted scapegoat mark.
If a parent was loving but constantly undermined by the people around them, children watching learned not only how to abuse but also to resent the person who (as a role model adult) allowed themselves to be constantly victimized. If the child showed early signs of following in an aggressor’s footsteps, by the time they reach the age of legal maturity it’s likely that rather than noticing on their own with compassion that one parent was targeted for abuse while their partner and the rest of a toxic family unit abused them for fun and sport with glee that they themselves continue the time-honored tradition of picking on the person they consider to be emotionally, fiscally, or most psychologically “weak”.
If you are the parent of such a child, don’t be surprised to hear them brag about how much they love, enjoy, and respect people who are socially toxic and the most sadistic of covert situational abusers.
Yes, hearing that a child turned adult grew to an age where they are intelligent enough to have insight but lack the empathy to connect the proper social dots is overwhelmingly heartbreaking — just in case anybody reading this post on Flying Monkeys Denied here today was wondering. No pain for a parent with an ethical, kind, and empathetic moral center could be greater or more disheartening to be forced to bear than realizing no matter how much of their own life and heart space they sacrificed trying to provide the best life possible for their child was all for naught… meaning not only will the parent be denied the comfort of having a loving family to grow old interacting with but knowing in their gut the unbearable suffering their own offspring is likely to cause their own lover(s) and children throughout the coming years.
Such is the pain of being in a no-win situation with a toxic spouse, lover, parent, or child. If the people in question have a Cluster B personality type, they are bound by their own nature to constantly gaslight, pathologically lie, to create no-win situations for anyone trying to please or interact with them in a loving way, and to engage in ridiculous indulgences of psychological behavior tactics that any rational or sane person tends to describe within minutes of witnessing it as nothing less than crazy-making.
That’s when tough love of self and others can and should kick in in the mind and heart of parents of such children. Even if it is an adult’s fault that a child was traumatized, felt neglected in some way, or simply did not like their life, it’s absolutely no excuse for that person who felt or was abused to use it as an excuse to behave badly.
Bottom line, it’s no longer 1982. Nor is it any moment in life other than the now.
Abuse and trauma witnessed or endured as children and throughout adulthood shapes every human personality type without exception. Some folks use hardship and overcoming obstacles throughout life to make themselves stronger, and healthy families tend to show one another empathy for situational ethics as well as a historical context with regard to (literally) social position.
A mother of young children has far more opportunities today as a single parent than the generation before, and a massive social and financial advantage over that of her grandmother and great-grandmother. Failing to examine family challenges in the light of historical context is one-way people who fail to introspect with a sense of realism trick themselves into thinking blame scenarios that both punish a person who they feel could have done better as well as excuse their own toxic proclivities happen psychologically.
The tough part is as parents of Cluster B children, many folks elect to cut their kids entirely too much slack in the pity party area. Were our marriages and family lives as kids or while raising our own children perfect? Not likely. Does that give us a right to fail to post, “fail to launch”, or act abusively in the now moment because somewhere back in time, based on an entirely different set of situational ethics, someone encouraged us to make a different choice or we simply failed at the time to connect empathetically and know better?
Adult Children with Cluster B personality types can come from a family with two great parents, no parents, or one parent who is the family rescuer. Some are born with a thinning in the area of the brain that renders them unable to process empathy. Others have neurochemical imbalances likely to be able to be treated with neuro medicines in the coming two decades, clinically speaking. Others are traumatized directly, either having been abused themselves or forced to witness chronic abuse (such as in the case where one parent is consistently abusive and the other is left trying to fill in the role of mom-dad while struggling to endure being abused directly by a partner and their own children simultaneously). Even more are suspected of having become less empathetic by nature due to things like sports-related head injuries. Some, like autistic children, only have limited capacities for experiencing the emotional empathy on a biological level [1 in 68 ] or are (due to health reasons) egocentric by nature in response to their own compromised genetics.
Whatever the root cause or origin of the formation of a Cluster B personality, then, becomes a wholly separate yet still inextricable element influencing parents and any related family member to the type. So mom failed to buy that pony you wanted and daddy was never there. Clearly, road-raging over who is blocking traffic is correlated and just cause for a person with a nasty temperament to rant and rave like a lunatic while reckless driving and displaying extreme levels of hostile and aggressive anti-social behavior.
[Yes, we are kidding, and yes, we are trying to make a salient point about Cluster B adult children here.]
This is the point parents need to grasp in order to truly become more effective role models and “adultier” adults…
No matter how wonderful or horrible you were as a parent, if you give a shit about their life and needs more than your own, understand that your willingness to self-sacrifice actually promoted and encouraged them to develop at the very least strong symptoms of Cluster B egocentric and entitlement-based thinking, non-empathetic behavior.
Wait… say what?
We did say it, we’ll say it again, and absolutely promise that no matter how much pulling off that intellectual mindset bandage stings that there’s an absolutely necessary reason to say such an immediate guilt-producing and truly toxic shaming thing.
Parents — did any adult you ever knew growing up tell you to put your own needs above that of your children? If they did, chances are that person had some sort of a toxic, Anti-Social or Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
Parents — did any adult you ever knew growing up encourage you to overlook or endure abuse, to stay in an unhappy marriage, or to continue taking social and emotional abuse from a toxic family member or person abusing you? Then get this, and get it to the core. THAT person was actively a Covert Narcissist teaching toxic shame values and “enabling” morals to you… seldom if ever for your own good but almost always provably in the best interest of themselves, first.
Yeah. Read and re-read that as many times as you need. No kind, loving, or thoughtful person who has your best interest at heart (rather than their own) would ever in a million years knowingly give you bad advice like that. It simply is never done by truly empathetic and psychologically healthy people, encouraging other people to follow a less godly path so they can keep material gains or improve their own image with regard to social status.
A decent parent or religious organization would never in a million years encourage family members or parishioners to self-elevate by abusing other human beings or lying, for example. Honoring thy mother and thy father was intended to be a socially compelling statement for humans to do their best in life, improving their behavior individually and generationally — not used as an excuse for Cluster B parents and church elders to use that hall pass to abuse.
There’s also no commandment that pronounces parents are required by moral law to lie for, excuse, and enable their own children to abuse society, friends, family members, lovers (once they are adults), or to help them abuse their own children.
Moreover, there is NO moral law that states a parent should ever allow themselves to be abused by or unjustly be treated disrespectfully by a teenager, young adult, or grown adult child. Yet, parents of abusive kids tend to take it time and time again on the proverbial chin from their offspring in the hopes that someday they will “come around”. But here’s the trouble with wishful thinking…
Every time a parent of an unruly teen or young adult overlooks or excuses Cluster B behavior, the child is likely to have the proclivity to act abusively towards others calcify as something that by nature and nurture they fully habitualize. Neurons tend to calcify personality type the hardest between birth to age four (when most traits are formed at the core) then again between the ages of 18 and 28.
If your adult child is 18 or 19, still socially is immature, and runs with an immature or toxic crowd, they are likely to act like their friendship circle lauds. But if they turn 21, are employed, and have completed school — or at the very least are old enough to have read a self-help or psychology book about overcoming toxic parenting — and they still are willfully and obstinately choosing to act abusively toward parents or disrespectfully civilly?
Then, there is more than likely a serious personality disorder at best emerging.
Jumping in to save a teen or an adult child from their own bad behavior while allowing them to treat poorly those striving to help and emotionally connect with them to foster a loving and supporting family atmosphere is likely to calcify their neuroplasticity into toxic thinking patterns deeper, not lesser. Overlooking adult children failing to show even the simplest forms of human decency when speaking to you (as their parent) is enabling them to abuse.
Understanding that the more you willingly allow them to speak to you disrespectfully or treat you as a non-human as their parent, the more damage they are doing to themselves as well as you is the only real way to help them as well as you.
We know that’s a lot of YOU YOU YOUSE right there to process. It’s a hard pill to swallow, thinking about having to — for their own best interest as well as yours — disengage socially and emotionally from a child who as an adult person “gets off” feeling powerful, in control of a conversation or social interaction, and actually takes great pride in sadistically striving to abuse. But, it’s a necessary leap of faith, to trust the universe to bring the right lessons to the adult child about life and the real world to help them socially and emotionally mature.
Some parents live to be 80, 90, or 100 years old and take inordinate amounts of grief or crap from their rude, abusive, and self-centered children willingly, thinking they are being good parents for staying in abusive relationships with their own toxic children. Actually, in such circumstances, many who elect to endure abuse do so based on toxic thinking and shame beliefs they themselves were taught as young children.
Staying in an abusive marriage is dumb and always, ALWAYS to the social and emotional detriment of the children. So is staying in a toxic family environment where a parent or grandparent abuses younger generations or the younger generation abuses siblings or a targeted parent or parents.
Bottom line, in any human relationship, reciprocity and civility with empathetic understanding is key to forming enduring and healthy connections between humans that bond generationally.
Kids with loving parents who have their back benefit from always having a kind and loving ear at the ready. Parents with loving children get the chance to enjoy spending time with their offspring, including with their chosen partners and grandchildren.
Those who have the cycle of healthy function interrupted or sabotaged by even one toxic thinker in a family all suffer unimaginable losses, for why? So some asshole can toot their own horn the loudest while making sure they pee in the proverbial gene pool for everybody?
Whether one parent, both parents, a grandparent, the Tooth Fairy, Bill Clinton, or the Easter Bunny caused an adult child trauma early in life, if that person shows up, validates their emotional claim, and strives to make things right they should be applauded for no other reason than their willingness to try. But if that same person who failed to care properly for a child denies, lies, scapegoats, avoids accepting any personal responsibility, shows zero care, consideration, or remorse for family falling outs or bad behavior, or simply continues to undermine, bully, and triangulate relentlessly it does not matter if it’s a parent, adult, or child.
If a person — child or not — has a Cluster B personality disorder, they are social and emotional terrorists.
They are going to be attention hogging, egocentric, irrational, and morally lazy. But worse — they are likely to blame and scapegoat everyone around them… most especially the most loving and emotionally sensitive of their parents.
If your child grew up to become a person that you would walk across the street to avoid if you knew about their lifestyle habits, letting them be a part of your life (as their parent and as a grown adult human being with your own lifestyle preferences and needs for emotional health as well as physical security) is… questionable at best with regard to pragmatic logic.
Did you divorce the co-parent for exhibiting the same traits? Guess what — no matter how loving you are, the child might simply have challenges behaving in a socially healthful way in part due to both your nurturing but also because of their own genetics. You don’t have to hate them any more than you have to hate their bio-parent.
Actually, it’s quite simple to unconditionally love them. The tricky part as parents of Cluster B kids in Narcissistic Abuse recovery after spending at least the first 28 years of a child’s life being traumatized by THEM while striving to act like a decent human being and be a good parent is learning how to love them unconditionally in such a way that allows you to set and forgive yourself for ever having to set or enforce practical, “abuse opportunity preventing” boundaries.
Failure to set healthy lifestyle boundaries as parents has a negative impact on the healthiest and most normal of kids. When a bio-child has a proclivity to use and abuse other people as part of their nature by personality type?
Yikes is all we’re actually saying.
Why are we saying it? Because people who spend years trying to recover from bad romantic relationships only to suffer decades of the most mean-spirited, caustic, and cruel of abuses at the hands of their own children tend to feel helpless, hopeless, and literally die from the intense pain of social and emotional abuse.
Fortunes are given away trying to support non-appreciative spouses or horrific self-promoting Cluster B parents…
The best and most productive of age-years spent wasted parenting ungrateful and unruly children… followed by being treated like a person entitled to less human rights than someone like Charles Manson…
Truly, the existential gripping horror of those who grew up during the second half of the 20th century only to find that in the 21st century that not only did their attempts to please toxic parents as caregiving adult children failed but now their own children — having been over-indulged and taught they were psychologically “more important” as humans than their caregiving parents ever were or will be…
That oppressive feeling of failing as the child of a toxic parent and subsequently as a loving parent who inadvertently raised a toxic child is almost too much to bear, even for the most stalwart of “Gray Rock” recovery advocates. The pain of losing a relationship with your own child because they grow up errantly thinking that people with empathy are weak, stupid, losers who deserve to be unrelentingly abused at their whim for no crime other than striving to show other humans (especially their own family and children) hospitality at all times has got to be one of the most gut-wrenching and humiliating spiritual and psychological tortures to endure for any man or woman at any time.
Seeing your adult child take on the “stupids” — meaning toxic thinking a logical person who is introspective and simply willing to do a few hours of research can find out is socially destructive to do — is heartbreaking. Seeing them pledge allegiance at the altar of fools, perpetuating the Narcissistic Cycle of Abuse with you (as their scapegoat “preferred target” parent) truly feels as if it kills part of you. You blame yourself as a parent for any moral failing of a child… that’s natural.
But that does not mean that letting it happen to you or allowing them to continue is something GOOD to do. It’s not in your best interest or theirs to remain in contact if they simply fail to appreciate you.
If they were a stranger who walked up to you on the street and spoke to you like that, would you be likely to welcome them with open arms into your life or invite them over to dinner? Would you hire them as an employee entrusted with caregiving or fiduciary responsibilities? Would you let them babysit themselves when they were little? If the answer to these questions is a resounding, “Oh hell no!” then you are already 42 steps ahead of the game as a person who is waking up to the reality that the generic advice we internalized as children about what it truly means to be a good person and loving parent was a load of absolute donkey poop.
Parents and kids don’t have to socialize. Neither do siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, in-laws, or any other extended family member. Genetics does not bond a parent to a child legally past the age of 18 or vice versa for good reason, namely some people are simply impossible, irrational, and ultimately emotionally or psychologically destructive personality types with whom to deal.
If your adult child steals, lies, speaks in ways that are abusive to you, or they go out of their way to keep you socially triangulated, consider the right advice to give yourself if they were a romantic interest instead of your child. Would you let some man or woman you were dating talk down to you, scream at you, insult you, steal from you, destroy your personal property, make fun of or openly ridicule you, or treat you with disdain emotionally? Would you jump for joy at the thought of them calling or showing up for a visit to actively manufacture chaos in your home environment, cause extreme duress for both you and your other “housemate” or housemates? Would you rush to enter into a lifelong marital contract with them or place them in a position of legal and physical responsibility for your medical caregiving?
One can only hope the answer to those questions is NO.
Thusly, the parent of an ADULT CHILD WITH A CLUSTER B PERSONALITY DISORDER must learn to detach, observe, and engage nothing less than their own sense and sensibilities. Don’t presume your child loves you and will care for you lovingly simply because you spend the first 20 plus years of their life dutifully sacrificing your life and time to providing for and striving to cover for them.
Do plan your own senior care responsibly as well as protect your own assets rather than giving away the proverbial farm to appease 20, 30, 40, or even 50-year old them.
Do plan to protect your living space from emotional or physical intrusion, including but not limited to protecting your own lifemate, “other” siblings, and family members from them to the best of your ability.
Know that there is only so much one human being can possibly do to help or encourage another and learn to set limits of your time and emotional availability resources.
But by all means, spend time every day reading and researching all you can about personality disorders, how to heal from Narcissistic Abuse, and how to avoid getting yourself entangled psychologically or emotionally with any domestic abuse or workplace bullying environment.
Because if your adult child ever does come around, the role model you set as a Narcissistic Abuse survivor who lives a healthy lifestyle positions you to become an advocate, not simply for them but for all others. If you get healthy and only care about doing so in order to win back the love and affection you wish was willingly offered by a toxic child, you are letting your own selfish needs to have them back trump your own right to be treated as a human being.
Be happy for you. Let them figure it out on their own why treating yourself and other people with reciprocal respect, kindness, and mutuality matters.
Let them do their own thing, understanding that if they are grown adults they have it within their power to do the very same forensic psychology research you have done in order to improve your life and THEIR world. If they don’t care enough about you, them, their spouses or mates, or their own children, friends, and family member’s life with regard to the impact their behavior has on them as a causal agent, then so be it.
All you can do as a healthy parent is make personal choices not to overlook abuse or live a life taking abuse from people who truly are more likely to celebrate the lack of your being and the promotion of themselves fiscally when and if you lay down and die.
There is absolutely nothing noble or “loving” about allowing a toxic adult child to scapegoat and blame you perpetually for their own socially toxic behavior. Abuse of a loving parent by an adult child treating them like a preferred target or scapegoat is truly one of the worst of all human social crimes.
It’s simply prudent if you are Skeletor’s mother or father to love him (or his twin sister) from a distance.