1) "Narcissism" is a cycle of abuse.
2) Although the cycle is undiagnosed (and it may be years before "science" catches up and is willing to diagnose it) the NCA has been revealed to be engaged in by thousands upon thousands of abusers around the globe. Because of this pattern, it is likely that Narcissism is pathological and has a spectrum of it's own like autism or alcoholism.
3) For parents who engage in the NCA towards their children, their pathological condition contributes to them viewing their children as objects to be throttled, minimized, managed and controlled instead of the innocent, dependent, living, growing, human beings full of potential that they are.
4) Familial, local and regional cultures contribute to the NCA going on undetected from generation to generation. Abusers often believe it is just the way they do things. However, this couldn't be further from the truth.
5) Abusers who engage in the NCA may not be capable of recognizing it as they intentionally (or unintentionally) inflict it upon their victims, especially child victims. Either way it is abuse.
6) Abuse can take the form of invisible strings abusers attach to everything in their victims lives. The invisible strings can be attached as conditions, negative comments, comparisons, irrational expectations and worse. Avoiding these destructive strings without knowing why they are happening can contribute to a victim experiencing terrifying challenges. Awareness is critical.
7) Victims around the globe are using online forums to discover ways anticipate the cyclic pattern of an abusers behavior, "self-rescue" from the abuse and share their stories with other victims (and abusers).
8) The film "Into The Wild" is a heart wrenching case study about a family suffering from the tragic effects of generations of the NCA.
There are many ways the NCA can be identified. One critical way is when necessities required to be provided by the "parent" to the dependent child are provided to the child as if they are a gift with silent strings attached for the child to honor. This is why the cycle is also sometimes described as an invisible tether or an invisible leash that the abuser emotionally attaches to the targeted victim and becomes addicted to yanking and releasing to satisfy pathological triggers.
These invisible strings are usually attached to basic everyday necessities that a dependent child needs for survival. Necessities like food, clean clothing, a bed, school supplies and other basics that are usually "hidden in plain site". These strings from the Narcisstic Parent ("NParent") also go beyond the basics and attach to anything that might contribute to a momentary happy mood for the child like a gift from a friend or neighbor, an activity the child likes to do, a place the child likes to go or even a friend the child may be allowed to have. The abuser's untreated pathological condition compels them to attach invisible strings to all of it and to yank on those strings as the undiagnosed NCA dictates.
These destructive components of the NCA towards a targeted victim go far beyond these strings though and also include generations of criminal acts, rage, physical abuse, sabotage, undermining, guilting, shaming, projecting, gaslighting, attention mongering, manipulating others, orchestrating tribalism against the victim with other narcissists, denial of the abuse, blaming the victim, claims of supernatural abilities (especially towards a child victim), mocking awareness, mocking "self-rescue", mocking therapy and self-destructively mislabeling healing as weakness.
To avoid detection of their behaviors, the NParent may also directly or indirectly suggest the child commit suicide, murder the child, attempt murder of the child or drug the child with alcohol or other substances. It's important to note that as extreme as these behaviors may sound they are not as uncommon as we would hope. In an effort to raise your own awareness, consider reviewing a sobering report by CNN titled "Filicide: 500 Children Killed By Parents Each Year". You also don't have to look far to find a person or report that indicates how generations of certain cultures have perpetuated the secret drugging of children with alcohol or other substances as a way to put them to bed or otherwise manage them. These are all substances that when given to a child without the child's knowing may result in ongoing, silent, terrifying experiences for the child. These are all substances that could have temporary or permanent effects on a child lasting years and years. When it comes to substance abuse, know that some NCA abusers may purposely do things that triggers a victim to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs. This is so the abuser can blame the abuse on the victim. Because of this, when it comes to "self-medicating" don't let it get in the way of "self-rescue".
In many cases, these generational, destructive, projecting behaviors engaged in by the abuser towards a victim are actually veiled confessions. Because "fixation" for anyone may be a sign of trauma from anything, and because the NCA is a type of fixation, a person who engages in the NCA may also be hiding trauma or pain that for one reason or another they have not acknowledged, explored, accepted and healed from. While there are many visible examples of this for any victim of anything, especially hidden trauma, an example of this may be a "gay" or "transgender" person who at an early age was incorrectly led to believe that it is "wrong" for them to have those gender related feelings and in burying those feelings instead of exploring them when appropriate they have been challenged with more confusing, overwhelming feelings that may include false shame, false guilt and worse.
For what it's worth, self-destructive fixation that may be indicative of hidden trauma can also be linked to other orientation related topics like politics, religion, etc...
It's tough enough being a living, growing person without burying the things that concern us, scare us, hurt us or make us uncomfortable. This is why it is critical for all victims, regardless of generation or culture, to openly, proudly and loudly pursue self-rescue from the NCA spectrum. Without pursuing self-rescue victims risk hiding, hauling and heaping destructive feelings onto others or worse like engaging in the NCA and perpetuating it for generations.
This is also another critical reason why an NCA abuse victim should know the abuse is not their fault. It is also why they should not believe it is their responsibility to heal an NCA abuser as the NCA abuser will compel them to believe. As a victim pursues self-rescue, eventually there may be an appropriate time for the victim to invite the NCA abuser to pursue self-rescue, healing, growth and progress for themselves. Depending whereabouts on the NCA spectrum an abuser is though, it is likely the invitation will go unacknowledged, mocked or be responded to with more NCA behaviors.
In the pursuit of self-rescue, with or without inviting the abuser to pursue their own self-rescue, the victim may sometimes feel like the abuser is a "wall". If this is the case, the victim may benefit from visualizing the abuser not as a "wall of abuse" but instead as a sad clown wearing a "cone-of-shame" because that's what is really happening. Rather than an immovable "wall" that needs to be acknowledged, respected, feared, overcome or toppled, a "cone-of-shame" can be moved, navigated around or cleverly managed until it is taken off and the abusers own self-rescue begins. (Just try not to laugh too hard next time an NCA abuser engages in the predictable cycle of abuse and you imagine them with a ridiculous painted sad clown face and a cone-of-shame on top of their head).
Now that we've talked about the components of the Narcissistic Cycle of Abuse, the invisible strings they attach to victims, the self-destructive tethers and leashes it spawns in an abuser, the traits of generational abuse it breeds and the suffocating, sticky web that it all feeds on it is critical that we recognize that for an innocent, dependent child suffering from the ongoing, unpredictable, excruciating, psychological effects of those "invisible strings", the child's mind can be expected to search for safety in ways that eradicate or minimize those strings. However, in many cases, this desperate, automatic, human survival mechanism can become maladaptive and leads to tragic results. (See Dr. Nadine Burke Harris' presentation about long term effects of undiagnosed toxic childhood stress).
Examples of these tragic results include:
1) Rather than have the invisible strings stuck to them that a pathological NParent may attach from "new" or replacement items like clothes, shoes, school supplies, a bed, furniture, a car, etc...the child might find more safety in not using those items. This will contribute to the child wearing the same dirty clothes everyday, sleeping on the floor instead of in the bed, not being "at ease" in the house around furniture, etc...
2) Rather than have the invisible strings stuck to them that a pathological NParent may attach to food paid for by the Nparent at the house or school, the child might find more safety in not eating whatever is "bought" by Nparent.
3) Rather than have the invisible strings stuck to them that a pathological NParent may attach to the child experiencing the kind of moments that should be inherent to childhood, like a happy mood, happy event, happy occasion or happy moment, the child might publicly and privately throttle or minimize capabilities, talents, moods or other emotions when an Nparent is around. This would especially manifest itself in sports or other competitive or progressive activities where a child excels when alone but feels overwhelmed when an Nabuser (of any generation) is present.
4) Without awareness, for the dependent, innocent child, the suffering experienced from the invisible "strings attached" to anything may progress in exponentially worse ways. Because of this, in the child's mind, it's common for these invisible strings to emotionally metastasize and eventually hijack everything involving anything or anybody. This can contribute to the child engaging in or inadvertently experiencing worse maladaptive behaviors. As terrifying as suffering from eating disorders, being unkempt, smelling stinky and being exhausted as a maladaptive way of controlling the strings they feel is, the child may also demonstrate peculiar obsessions with anything offered by Nparent, anything offered by anyone else, the child isolating, the child intentionally engaging in social embarrassment, the child developing extreme supernatural or religious inclinations, the child engaging in injurious or dangerous obsessive compulsive behaviors, the child projecting (onto others and/or objects) verbally or physically, the child experiencing terrors, the child experiencing temporary loss of control of bodily functions, the child developing an inability to consciously account for time, the child self-harming, the child pursuing homelessness, the child developing substance addiction, the child attempting suicide and the child committing suicide.
These horrifying maladaptive behaviors are just a few of the critical indications that a child (of any age) is violently and silently suffering from the tragedies of the NCA inflicted upon them by an Nparent. Don't initially expect a child victim to be able to admit or even recognize that their ongoing suffering comes from invisible "strings" attached to everything or them being a victim of the NCA. Because it is common for an Nparent to also be "superficial" in regards to many things, it's likely no one will ever suspect the debilitating NCA being inflicted upon the child by an Nparent. It's common for an Nparent to perpetuate a "Perfect Parent" image to other adults or other children or for an Nparent's behaviors to be minimized by others as saying the Nparent is "just strict" or that they "buy there kid everything". An Nparent is also likely to behave as as if the child's challenges are the child's fault. In regards to any public indications of the child's suffering (including suicide), an Nparent is likely to write off, marginalize, minimize, rationalize or vocalize anecdotes ("one liners") about the child ("they just didn't get it", "they just couldn't see the light", "they were just ungrateful", etc...) Aside from the horrors listed, a non-Nparent refrains from this insufferable, petulant behavior towards innocent children and naturally understands it is the responsibility and opportunity for the parent/adult to be the bigger person, not the child's.
Tragically, as a victim grows, it's common for the victim to maladaptively interpret the abusive components of the NCA as "love" or "affection" towards them and to naively pursue these destructive behaviors in romantic partners, spouses, associates, friends, organizations and other pursuits (especially religions). Without awareness and intervention, this contributes to generation after generation of abuse.
It can be expected that without awareness and intervention the NCA will continue to trigger against the child indefinitely regardless of the child's growth into adulthood (if the child survives childhood). Note that while the CNN report reveals that 500 children die each year from "filicide", another unconscionable fact would be that each year many more filicides are attempted but the child miraculously survives. This means that every year there are many thousands of people who grow to become adult survivors of a filicide attempt upon them that occurred when they were a child but they have no idea the incident(s) happened (or continue to happen).
Do not make the mistake of minimizing or marginalizing the NCA in your family, neighborhood or regional culture. Do not pass it off as ignorantly believing it is "just the way our family does things". Be mindful of ways the traits of the NCA are passed from generation to generation in intentional and inadvertent ways. Watch yourself. Do you give freely or do you find yourself giving with "strings attached"? If you give with "strings attached" this could be indicative of much worse and that your responsibility and opportunity is waiting for YOU.
To identify a suspected Narcisstic Cycle of Abuse upon a child or another person, simple questions to the suspected Nparent or the suspected victim about "gifting" in the family for birthday's, holidays or any occasion as well as questions in regards to the normal, simple necessities needed to sustain life for a dependent child can reveal indications of silent suffering from the NCA.
For example, an Nparent will seem to lose their mind at the simple suggestion of "giving" or allowing their child anything without conditions, without "strings attached". Watch closely for this. In many cultures, like some of those that are prominent in Utah (where I am located), the NCA can also be disguised as a cultural tradition or a "pioneer" heritage where generation after generation ignorantly believes that anything, given to a child without strings attached runs the risk of spoiling the child. This is wrong. This is tragic. This is an indication of the silent horrors that might go along with silent suffering of a child victim. Negative comments, comparisons, irrational expectations and worse are often also indicative of the components of the NCA and where the abuser is on the spectrum.
Those who are surviving without pursuing self-rescue need to know that the longer the NCA is allowed to go on, the longer an Nabuser will internalize the abuse as "normal" for them to do and they will continue to engage in it and perpetuate it in horrifying, unimaginable ways. Too many Nabusers have gotten away with far too much for far too long. When the time is right, remind them that it is not just "their way". Remind them that even though they have done it for years (or generations) it is not the way it's supposed to be. Remind them that it is a predictable, tragic, cycle engaged in by other abusers in cultures around the globe and that you will continue to anticipate their self-destructive components of the NCA.
Without awareness and action in your familial, local and regional cultures, tragedy after tragedy from the NCA will continue to pile up. Children from all walks of life will continue suffering. Children from all walks of life will continue dying. Families, neighborhoods and communities will continue suffering. This simply isn't the way it's supposed to be.
Those who are suffering (or surviving) should know that acknowledging the components of the NCA within themselves, an "Nparent", a friend, a spouse, etc...may sound scary at first but acknowledging it is far better than the generations of tragedy that denying it will bring. Because the NCA is a predictable "cycle", a victim being aware of it truly can be like having a crystal ball. It can help identify and heal from hidden abuses of the past, ongoing abuses of the present and to anticipate and prevent abuses in the future. The "cone-of-shame" can be taken off forever.
As you bravely identify the NCA, pursue "self-rescue" and step forward in places like public grade schools, universities, therapy groups and in your own HOME, it is critical that you continue to educate others around you, including your own children, so that as a familial, local and regional culture the tragic, destructive, intentional and unintentional behaviors of the NCA can eventually be vanquished entirely.
"The State of Utah", where I am located, with 3.2 million people, leads the way at hosting horrifying examples of the imposters the NCA can spawn. Contributing to this is that Utah hosts generation after generation of strings-attached-pioneer-heritage and cultural rationalization as well as the highest rates of severe effects of the NCA spectrum that include mental illness, teen suicide, adult suicide and child abuse (1). Perhaps it is because I believe the people of Utah deserve so much more and the opportunity I have to interact with families inside and outside of Utah that I share this message in this way?
As awareness of the NCA continues, this is truly an amazing opportunity for all of us as a growing local, regional and global community. How brave and inspiring the numbers and efforts continue to be! Be unashamed to pursue self-rescue loudly, proudly and relentlessly and to share that with others!
In closing, I would like to share that although I have never been challenged with "alcoholism", I once picked up a copy of the "anonymously written", 571 page, 1976 Edition of the "Alcoholics Anonymous" "Big Book". I have read it many times since and become familiar with the group's history. Regardless of the years the edition was published or who contributed to it (doctors, stockbrokers, murderers, degenerates, teachers and so many more from all walks of life) it is a book that is on the list of 88 books that shaped America. While I look forward to updating it myself one day and replacing it's many references to "God" and "Him" with simply "The Creator" the authors of the book maintains that as informative as it is, it is intended to only be "suggestive". Because of that, whether you are a "narcissist" or not, an "alcoholic" or not, if you are simply "human", it is a book that shares in an undeniable way that as humans, it is our duty to search, discover, acknowledge, self-rescue, reinvent, progress and transform. It is a marvelous example of a community of millions of people who thrive on these concepts today and how it all started nearly 100 years ago with one man sharing a simple message with another as a way to help himself, then they carried that message to others and each did the same.
Another thought provoking example of the NCA and a superficial family suffering from many complicated components of generations of the severe, undiagnosed, pathological, narcissistic abuse spectrum is the heart wrenching story of brave Christopher McCandless as portrayed in the movie "Into The Wild". It presents the NCA's dark invisible strings, the self-destructive emotionally hijacking tethers the abusers rely on and some of the most severe components of the spectrum. Although it likely wasn't apparent at the time the tragedies happened or when the film was made, it would make a thought provoking modern day case study of the undiagnosed NCA if presented in this context as part of the curriculum in Universities and schools around the globe.