Keep Narcissistic Grandparents Away From Your Kids

You’ve come to the realization that one or both of your parents have narcissistic personality disorder. Perhaps Narcissistic grandparent scowls at not being able to get at grandkids for narcissistic supplyyou have established boundaries with you parents. Or maybe you’re just starting to. But there’s one set of boundaries you need to establish fast. And there can be no giving in on them.

What boundaries are these?

The ones around your kids.

The Danger of Narcissistic Grandparents

Do you remember the emotional abuse that your narcissistic parent heaped on you as a child? On top of that, think back to all the manipulations, criticisms, and blame that your parent laid on you.

Do you really want your parent spending time with your children knowing their potential for harm?

Do you want the same person that abused you to have a shot at your children?

Your narcissistic parent will not be warm and supportive of your parenting. Why would he? Your narcissistic parent has never supported you—unless it served his ends.

Your sweet little innocent children are all too tempting targets for your narcissistic parent. Children, especially young ones, are trusting of grandmas and grandpas. They’ll listen to the lies your parent tells them about you. Lies about how terrible you’ve been to them. Your parent will weave tales about what a horrible child you were and how they gave you nothing but love while sacrificing their own welfare for you.

What he will do is turn your children against you.

But that is not all the danger. Children learn by watching and listening to the adults in their lives. Your child will learn from their narcissistic grandparent how to be manipulative, deceitful, and selfish.

And, unless you’re present every minute your parent is with your kids, you will not know it’s going on. Not until your children start to defy you and call you the same names your parents called you as a child, that is.

You should consider your parent to be a well of toxicity. Just as you would protect your children from a toxic spill, you should shelter them from your parent.

And you should feel no guilt. It’s purely good parenting.

What A Narcissistic Grandparent gets from Your Child

You know your parent. They never do anything unless there’s something in it for them. So why, you may be wondering, do they want to spend time with your kids?

One reason—as detailed above—is to get at you. By manipulating your children, your parent can carry on the emotional abuse that he has pummeled you with all your life. What better abuse than to turn the children you love so much against you?

Young children who have been turned against you will not understand your efforts to rationalize with them about how grandpa lied to them. Grandpa already told the children that you would say he lied. You’ll be playing into his hand. Getting your children’s minds back could take a lot of time and effort.

There’s a second reason your parents are interested in your kids. Kids adore and love grandparents—even narcissistic ones. The love kids tend to have for grandparents makes them never ending sources of narcissistic supply.

Narcissistic supply is the attention, love, admiration, or even fear and hatred that non-narcissists show towards them. A narcissistic individual needs narcissistic supply to keep their false self in place. See here for more information on the false self.

Narcissists pick unwitting individuals to guzzle narcissistic supply from. Young children are wonderful sources of narcissistic supply. Ensuring a good source of narcissistic supply is the main reason narcissists have children. They are not looking to start a loving family. The love in their family will only flow from the children to the parent.

The narcissistic parent is like a vampire that keeps a victim on hand so he can draw blood from her each day. Similarly, narcissistic parents draw narcissistic supply from their children daily. With guilt, rage, and sudden, short-lived shows of kindness, they manipulate their children to show appreciation, love, or tearful apologies toward their narcissistic parent.

The narcissistic parent drinks this in and has their false sense of grandiosity, greatness, and admiration fortified.

This is what your parent wants your kids for.

Don’t let it happen.

What You Need With All Narcissists—Boundaries

Many adult children of narcissists struggle with erecting boundaries with their parents. Feelings from fear to guilt prevent them from putting a firm barrier between them and their parent.

However, you cannot let such feelings prevent you from putting an invisible fence around your children. You have a responsibility to prevent them from being emotionally abused. And you have a moral imperative to keep their grandparent from feeding off their innocent expressions of love.

The ideal is to prevent your parent from having any contact with your children. Tell your parent they aren’t allowed to spend time with your child. You may have to deal with their rage, but at least your kids are safe.

If you don’t want to tell the parent no, this can be done without telling your parent he can’t see the children. My mother used to ask to take my kids out. I always said I’d email her some dates and then not do so. After a while—years—she stopped asking.

If you are unable to say no, then be present in the same room the entire time your children and narcissistic parent are together. Should the parent want to take your kids out, say, “We’d be glad to accompany you. What time are you picking us up?” This is the strategy my wife used before I understood that my parents were narcissists every time my mother wanted to take the kids out.

My wife would tell my mother that our children felt better if she went along. Usually the excursion was to some place to eat. My mother demanded a photo of the kids eating. She forced them to smile wider and wider until they wore maniacal grins. My wife’s presence ensured that the kids were not abused or became sources of narcissistic supply.

Whatever method you choose, just keep your kids away from their narcissistic grandparents. Ensure that your children only have relationships with healthy adults. While healthy grandparents can enrich your child’s life, your parents—narcissistic or healthy—are not essential to your children’s development.

Your child will not feel an emptiness if your parent is he not part of his or her life. On the contrary, having your parent in their life may induce the presence of emotional pain.

Your narcissistic parent can only harm your child. By keeping your parents away from your kids, you have the opportunity to break the cycle of narcissistic abuse that injured you.

Set the boundaries and protect your child like you wish someone protected you when you were a kid.

In protecting your child, I wish that the pain burning within you is healed. May the actions you take part of on behalf of the ones you treasure empower you to set boundaries around yourself as well.

May the spirit of peace cradle you in her arms.

What most scares you about a narcissistic parent being alone with your children?

Tell us in the comments below.

15 thoughts on “Keep Narcissistic Grandparents Away From Your Kids

  1. I have a question about this topic. My son is 15 years old. It took me 34 years to realize that my mother is narcissistic. I didn’t learn about it until one of my therapists gave me a book called Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Daughters of narcissistic mothers. I read the whole thing. I couldn’t believe how much it was my mother. My parents are controlling my mother is the narcissistic one and my dad is her flying monkey. I also noticed that my aunt her sister is the same. I have no contact for 6 months now, but the biggest problem is they have been in my son’s life since he was born we even lived with them a few times. A month ago I quit letting them see my son along with my sister aunt any of them. Then my son had this breakdown about being worried about my dad and even though he knows how I feel and he’s in therapy he cried, said he felt like I wanted him to hate them which I didn’t mean for him to think that. I just wanted him to see what I realized. After his breakdown I told him I would try to come to some kind of median but I was definitely not going back to being apart of their abuse towards me. They have no understanding of boundaries especially with my parenting and my husband’s. I sent my mother a very simple message explaining that my son shouldn’t be in this and we need to come to a median. Her response was exactly what I expected she said that my words cut her deep this time and they are getting to old for my crap. They don’t want to talk to me which is just fine but they still want a relationship with my son. Oh and mother dearest said that I ripped my son away from them and they can only see him when I allow it. Once again trying to make me feel bad which it didn’t it just made me mad. So instead of trying to come to a logical resolution between my son she wanted to abuse me more. I am literally out of ideas they don’t want me around, my son can’t handle not having them in his life. Is it too late for me to once again say no he can’t see them???

    • Melissa,

      It is never too late to tell your parents they can’t see your son. I think it’s a good idea if you do. I have heard from parents who let the narcissistic grandparents spend time with their kids and the grandparents did emotional damage to the children.

      If you let the grandparents see your son you can expect them to denigrate you and try to turn your child against you. They will lay guilt trips on him and manipulate his feelings and actions. All the stuff they did to you as a child.

      Allowing a relationship with your son also opens the door into your life. You can expect boundary violations again. You can expect her to try to guilt you too.

      Your best bet is no contact with your extended family. Have courage. You can do it.

      Your son’s in therapy but are you? If not I highly encourage you to start. You have so many wounds in you that need attention so you can feel whole again.

      I wish peace and joy for your family, Melissa. Please let us know what happens.


    • Don’t do it. I have 5 children and a narcissistic mother. Like you, it took me a long time to realize what I was dealing with. When my oldest child was approximately 17 I was frantic as my mother lied to her how I was incompetent as a parent, as a human! I realized I had to breakaway from the continued abuse. Now she was using my oldest child as a “tool” against me.
      To make a long story short ,,,,, My daughter is now an adult and after decades of my mother demeaning me, undermining me as a parent, and making up horrific lies about me and my husband, my daughter no longer will speak to us. My narcissistic mother has taken what I love so much and has hurt us terrible as a family. Thankfully we kept the other 4 away. I cannot undue the damage that has been done. I wish I could go back…….. Even putting up boundaries they keep changing them. Keep him safe. I wish you well.

  2. I totally agree that narcissistic grandparents need to be kept away from children,

    In our situation, my in-laws scoffed at our boundaries, viewing them as a challenge!!

    The less information we told the toxic grandparents, the clinger they became:
    1) They joined our church even though it is miles away from their parish church. 2) They followed us to our kids’ activities or asked other parents and started showing up uninvited to games in public parks!! 3) Popping up uninvited on school property so our kids can see them, sometimes holding up signs declaring their love.

    You see, they don’t accept boundaries. They stomp all over boundaries. Because they have to prove at all times they are in the dominant role.

    Failure to give up your children means that the parent is withholding, and using our children as pawns. This is the “pity us, we are the victims, join us in our vindictive campaign to villify the parents who are using their children as a weapon to hurt us.” Yep, this happened to us.

    They love the drama!! My husband has been disowned in writing, banished formally from his extended family, demeaned horribly and we have both been stalked!

    Yes, my mother-in-law has even physically assaulted me in from of my children and our friends and neighbors because, as she told the police, she couldn’t take the abuse any longer!

    My advice: keep calm as they want to bait you so they can keep playing the victim.

    Also, No Contact, no contact.

    When possible, call the police and file a report.

    Keep in mind that many people don’t want to get involved and may not cooperate as witnesses. Plus the toxic grandparents love lawyers and legal fights–they have nothing to lose but time and often have money to burn.

    These controlling parents tried to intimidate me but they underestimated me!!!! I will fight for my kids, my marriage, my family, my name.

    The truth always comes out sooner or later. Don’t protect them with your silence. Roaches run in the light.

    • Well said Sunny.

      The stalking is the creepy part. My family and I have been at public events and I could feel my mother’s presence. Sure enough, letters in the mail to my kids reveal photos she took of them. But you get the stalking and the public “look at me” appearances.

      I wish a life separate from your in-laws for you.

  3. You are doing exactly the right thing. I know this from experience. If you were to allow your son to visit his grandparents now, after they know you were trying to keep your son away from them, they absolutely WILL emotionally abuse your son by talking badly about you. They will tell him how horrible you are for keeping them apart, that they should not have done that, that you are a terrible parent, and then they will stream into his ears all sorts of lies and bullsh*t about you as a child. Essentially, they will try to poison your son against you. It is guaranteed.

    It may be that the relationship your parents had with your son was just fine or it wasn’t. You won’t know because any bad behavior they pulled would have been behind your back with your son. If your son enjoyed his time with them and didn’t seem to have an issue, it may have been an okay relationship (rare), but it could have been. If that were the case, it may explain why your son is so upset now. Regardless, the cat is out of the bag, and you can’t go back and you cannot trust them. My advice is to continue or get your son in counseling so that he understands why you are doing this, explaining to him what they will likely do and say to him were they ever to get him back in their life. He needs to learn about this and be forewarned, and realize that they will try to manipulate him against you. Why is this so important?? Because in 3 years he will be an adult and will be able to see them with or without your blessing. Best he go armed with knowledge, than be bamboozled by a narcissist who will surely poison the well.

    Good luck. You are in a tough spot.

  4. When divorcing my ex husband, my narcissists mom and brother got lawyers for my ex, supported him, and did everything they could to turn my two children against me. Slander was their best weapon. 16 years later the relationship with my daughter is still very damaged. Neither child is the best they can be. They were used like pawns. It was to hurt me for getting away but instead they hurt my kids. I pray everyday for some way to fix all the damage. I never thought they would go so far and learned about Narcissists later in life. I wish I knew then what I know now.

    • Carole,
      I’m so sorry you had to go through this and that it continues to haunt you. Narcissists are relentless. Since they feel no empathy they feel free to wreck other people’s life. Is there any way to educate your daughter on what happened. Maybe family therapy for the two of you?

      I wish you healing and a fresh start with your daughter.

  5. It is very sneaky and underhanded. When getting a divorce my ex took the kids to see grandmom and see did his dirty work
    My children were used as pawns to hurt me and many years later are still unaware of it.

    • When my daughter was born we called my parents and they were mean. We could care less about you. No one cared that a beautiful experience of child birth was hurt. I watched the door at my daughters christing and my parents and whole family did a no show while I fought back tears. Year after year of this behavior continued, ruining every holiday. My ex insisted they visit because he felt bad for my dad and mom’s abuse he took however he did not care about me. Every visit was a bad experience. They do not mean it everyone said and did nothing to help with mom while I cried most nights because of the abuse. When I left everyone was so shocked and blame me to this day. This is why my family helped my ex who allowed abuse for years. He just wanted a family and did not care about all the dysfunction. No one wanted to stand up to mom but judged do hardly when I left. They did everything possible to gang up on me and hurt me. My adult children still suffer and see not the best they can be. No one wants to address the abuse

  6. I am a survivor of narcissistic-abusive parents. I have been diognised with PTSD and have been in therapy for a long time. Despite this, I have done everything possible to become a loving husband and father of three wonderful kids. After being unable to contain their toxic behavior, I have been in no contact mode with my parents for almost two years (not the first time, but this time I am definitely not going back — I feel great, I have raised insurmountable boundaries — at least I thought so). My wife is aware of everything, I have no secrets, and she has also witnessed some verbal/emotional abuse and a couple of times she even feared for her own safety (my mother attempted to beat her up while pregnant). To keep my own kids safe, I asked my wife to respect my will to keep our kids away from and avoid any contact with my toxic parents. She says this issue is a “deal breaker” for her and for our relationship, because she believes my parents can be loving grandparents despite all of their defects, and she doesn’t want to deprive our kids from the joy of having loving grandparents. I tried everything to calmly explain to her that my parents are really dangerous and will do everything in their power to use the kids and turn them against me, sooner or later. I just found out that she sometime allows my kids to see my parents on skype or talk to them on the phone (we live overseas — yes, I put an ocean between me, my kids and “them”). My wife wants to visit our country of origin and she firmly stated that she will allow my parents to see my kids, even if I disagree. What can I do to protect me and my kids from my narcissistic/abusive parents? What can I do If I cannot talk my wife into respecting my decision? What can I do if, despite the evidence and explanations I provided, despite she even speaks with my therapist, my wife keeps telling me that she “will not respect my decision” since she has equal rights to decide what is best for our kids, and my decision to go no contact with my parents should not be extended to our kids, since they may have a great relationship with their “loving” grandparents who constantly send cards, gifts, money (which I refuse, but she gladly accept)? Since I cannot talk any good sense into her, what else can I do to defend my kids from a toxic and certainly damaging relationship with my parents? Is there any law that would allow me to really protect my kids? Please help! A desperate, loving father who wants to break the chain of family abuse… Thank you.

    • Dear Loving Father,

      First let me commend you on your healing and efforts to protect your children.

      Then let me sympathize with you for the difficult situation you are in. I can’t help but wonder why your wife is so dead set on the kids seeing your parents. Is she angry with you for something? I know she has talked to your therapist, but have you tried couples therapy to try to resolve this?

      I don’t know of any laws in the US that would help you, if that is where the parents are located. But if I remember right, grandparents don’t have a right to contact with the kids in the US. But that doesn’t help you as your wife wants to take the kids to see them.

      I only have two suggestions. The first is couples therapy to get at why your wife wants this so badly, even if it means hurting you and the kids.

      The second thing you can do, and this is a last resort, is educate your kids as to why grandma and grandpa cant be trusted, if the kids are old enough. I have done this with two of my three kids in case they run into my parents out and about town.

      I’m so sorry that I wasn’t more of a help. I feel your pain and wish I could do something.

      Best of luck,

      • I would be bothered greatly if my partner did not respect me enough to do as I had asked. It’s an awful situation you are in.
        I divorced myself and my son from my mother and step-father and it lasted 8 years until I made a mad mistake and called her up to re-kindle the relationship. They’ve managed to ruin my son’s education (because they don’t believe in education let alone university) and now my 18 year old is still at home not having finished his education and basically “flippin’ burgers” for a humble living. He treats me like dirt and is constantly abusive as a result of my mother and step-father divulging information about me that my son has no business knowing. As a result, he couldn’t handle the information and continues to suffer as a result – obviously, I am left picking up the pieces.
        It seems to me that your wife simply does not have a handle on the situation and the consequences which may follow. It is true that even paeodophiles have a right to see their own children here in the UK but if your parents are so awful (and I don’t doubt it from what you say) then your wife should step up, wake up or she might face a whole lot of unwanted troubles and regret not listening to you. If this was my situation and my partner chose not to support me on this vital issue, I may well move on, but NOT without my kids. Good Luck

    • Your poor man, my heart goes out to you. After all your suffering I find it shocking that your wife is not supporting you and protecting the children. She must understand that by being compassionate towards the grandparents she is placing the children (and you) in an impossible situation. I really do feel her behaviour is a ‘deal breaker’ -you need to stand ground and make it crystal that contact will not happen. So many people judge us for our apparent cold stance on NOC, its incredibly hard not to be believed, like a never ending nightmare. I have educated my husband on Narcissistic families to try and help.him understand and he is now seeing that Narcissistic Sociopath Grandad and his flying monkey are incredibly manipulative and will fuck up the kids without them realising it, just like they did with me. Please don’t give in to her, I know this is a big test for you but you must stay strong, and the sooner the better before the kids become even more enmeshed with your parents x

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