It isn't always bad with a narcissist parent. They have times when they seem normal, which makes identifying them as narcissists all the more confusing. What is really happening during these times is the child may have been moved from one role to another. As I said in the previous blog the three roles the narcissist assigns to their children are golden child, enabler & scapegoat. Any one of these can be shifted to another role, so a scapegoat can be shifted to golden child & enabler at any time. But know the role will NOT last. This is where the confusion comes into play.
When roles are shifted what is really happening with the narcissist is a supply line has dried up and new supply is needed. The parent will seem to have "settled down" in their rhetoric, the child will relax and think time has healed a person who has been awful in the past. Nope. You've just been assigned a new role for a period of time. Scapegoats are a now golden child or enabler. This switch can be very confusing to the scapegoat who has tried for years to have a connection to the parent on a normal level.
It may be a crisis of some sort has surfaced where the narcissist parent can step in with false compassion & empathy. They will appear to be caring, helpful & "normal". Let me tell you there is nothing normal going on! The narcissist has a low supply banked on the child and needs ammo. The other children may have taken a backseat out of the picture because the parent has told them of your "crisis" and they need to "help" you. Another scenario, maybe the narcissist has had a crisis, either health related or environment related, like a spouse dying. And you step up to help. Remember they have appeared to "calm down".
The real golden child & enabler are still in their roles, it's the scapegoat who is usually sucked into this disaster as they are the compassionate one. It will not matter the time, effort or caring bestowed upon the narcissist parent if the scapegoat has reappeared to help. It is all a smoke & mirrors. The narcissist parent is getting information from the scapegoat the whole time. They like to ask a lot of questions about YOU. While you are trying to handle a situation, the narcissist is banking information you tell them, to be used at a much later date. Personally, this cunning behavior is so unbelievable, it must be very exhausting to the narcissist to operate on such a low level. But they enjoy every minute of it. The supply is low and they need gossip.
So while you are either getting false help or giving needed help the parent will show some caring attributes that makes us put our guard down. If we had only known about THEM we could have seen the warning signs. They were showing up, we didn't see them. Here's a few signs to know you are being set-up.
#1 If you offer sound advice to the narcissist to better their situation and they IGNORE it, RUN-don't walk.
This first warning sign can be easily brushed off especially if they are having health issues. Don't ignore it, it's them showing their true self.
#2 They offer to help you with a crisis but then give minimal effort once the help is needed.
Oh, they are so clever when they put on their sheep suit! But they cannot hold up the goodie show for long! The fangs of the wolf will show as growls, make sure you see them before they turn into full bites!
#3 They will make sure the real golden child & enabler are thrown in your face during a seemingly uneventful moment.
LISTEN TO WHAT THEY SAY! Once you suspect your parent of being a narcissist, seeing the signs gets easier, but you have to really listen. Example: They are going to make the golden child the power of attorney or how the enabler took them somewhere special. Listen, listen, listen! Words matter with these monsters!
Thinking back to childhood, maybe they had a special event for a birthday party. I'm talking over the top. Very unusual for the narcissist parent. Trust me when I tell you, this was done for their benefit only. They were somehow trying to show off to either a potential new spouse, to dispel true rumors of abuse or appear as a loving parent. They need good light to shine on them because the evil darkness has been exposed somewhere. It's these moments which confuse the scapegoat, they are used to keep you under control with the illusion they love you. They don't love themselves, how the hell can they love anybody else?
The only way to heal from them is to go no contact. If you must have contact, never reveal anything about your life. Talk about the weather and THEM. Keeping the focus on them will be hard because they need information about you and will be constantly shifting it back to you. It's exhausting!
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