Schooled by a Narcissist

Source: Apple Dictionary/Thesaurus

his emotional development was hindered by his mother’s narcissism: vanity, self-love, self-admiration, self-absorption, self-obsession, conceit, self-centeredness, self-regard, egotism, egoism. ANTONYMS modesty.

Kindergarten through 2nd grade before and after school transitions were very rough for Zack. He was with Missy before, during, and after school, so when Sam entered this mother/son bubble for their father/son time, Zack displayed extreme anxiety at the exchange. Most days, he would be calm and laughing minutes after he and Sam left the parking lot, but nearly every PM pick-up was stressful.

During these years, Sam saw little of Zack’s paperwork or completed schoolwork except for the occasional spelling list, math paper, or drawing Missy would allow Zack to share with his dad. Sam asked Zack once if he had any “important papers,” in his take-home folder. Zack replied, “Mom takes out all my important papers.”

When Zack was in 3rd grade in a new school (not where Missy worked) and Sam and Melanie still lived out of his school district, they, plus Grandma Baker, moved mountains (modified work schedules, missed meetings, etc.) to get to Zack’s school to drop him off and pick him up on Sam’s parenting days. Missy wanted Zack to ride the PM bus to her first, then Sam could pick him up later. Missy also figured that if Sam couldn’t get Zack to school on the one school morning a week they had together, the Wednesday overnight would have to end. Sam had hopes that this school year would be better for Zack, and his stunted independence, without Missy as a daily intermediary. The average mileage on the days that involved BOTH a pick-up and a drop-off was approximately 170 miles round trip. If Zack had sports practices or school activities, that number was higher. Zack, understandably, sometimes complained about all the time spent in the car and likely saw Sam as the reason, even though Missy was the one who chose to move away. During one trip Zack and Melanie were driving home from Zack’s school and saw lots of houses for sale. They started acting like they were choosing one and would comment on the houses’ yards, curb appeal, etc. Zack stopped the game by saying, “It doesn’t really matter what house I’ll like because the girl will pick it anyway.”

That third grade year was a definite improvement, but Sam and Melanie concluded that a move to Zack’s school district, even though it was farther away from both of their jobs, was worth it for their vulnerable family. Zack could have school friends as neighbors at his dad’s, and he could ride the bus every day — sometimes to Mom, sometimes to Dad. Missy resisted again insisting that Zack was better off following the same bus schedule every day. Even though Zack did eventually stick to the alternating bus plan, at the beginning he complained about missing time with his friends on the other bus. A very familiar refrain continued from both mother and son, always with Sam as the cause of Zack’s hardships.

Now, after two years of uneventful and efficient transportation, there is a new school and another conflict, this one the worst so far. Although the bus routes and schedules are nearly the same, after an entire summer of contact denial, Zack has refused to ride the bus to his dad’s house on what should be their time together as a family.

Who can possibly be blind to this pattern of the neverending grasp for control?



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