How does a parent with mental illness impact their children?
Also known as Sociopaths, have personality disorders, characterized by their use of charm, manipulation, deception, and lack of remorse for their continual vomiting of cruelty towards others. They tend to ruthlessly plow their way through life, leaving their playing field littered with massive chaos and destruction and they maintain a grandiose sense of entitlement. “They selfishly take what they want, and do as they please, violating social norms and expectations without the slightest sense of guilt or regret (Robert D. Hare, Ph.D.).”
Because Psychopaths are master manipulators and typically wear cloaks of deceit to mask their true identity, it is often difficult to recognize them, unless you have the great misfortune of living in their household. It is their immediate family members that are able to see the inside of their real world, however, it is the immediate family members who are manipulated the most; and their world of chaos soon becomes their norm.
THE TYPES OF PEOPLE THEY CHOOSE AS MATES OR POTENTIAL VICTIMS
They include: lonely (often rebounding from a hurtful relationship or not currently involved in a satisfying relationship), financially stable, have good credit, believe in the basic goodness of others, do not consider themselves very attractive or have a lower self-esteem, enjoy helping others, are not street-wise, are typically very nice people, and believe in honoring their commitments.
They choose people with these characteristics because they are easy to manipulate, thus the psychopath is able to more easily con them into both believing they are someone else and that they are less than they think they are. Before long, they are able to convince their mates that they need them in their lives; they classically will build them up and then start tearing them down.
CHILDREN ARE NEGATIVELY AFFECTED IN MANY WAYS
They experience the grave dysfunction from infancy, thus tend to believe that their home life is normal. Psychopaths tend to isolate their victims from normal and loving people, thus it becomes difficult for their children to understand that what they continually live with is far from normal.
Psychopaths tend to be very controlling and emotionally flat. They will only accept their own warped standards and will insist that everybody else live by them. When the family members resist, then the psychopath snaps, making their lives a living hell. Children become scapegoats and tend to believe that they are causing many of the problems in the household. In turn, they tend to grow up to have anxiety disorders and lower self-esteem.
Parents that are psychopaths are usually overly attached, viewing their kids as their personal objects and overly involved in their children’s lives. They are very controlling, and when the child begins resisting their overbearing control, the psycho parent will, in turn, make their lives a living hell, using harsh punishment in order to bring them back under their control.
The punishment will not fit the crime, as the crime is all conjured up in their sick mind. They cannot allow people to be “normal,” as they have a need to manipulate them and mold them into exactly whom they want them to be.
As a result of the constant abuse (whether it be emotional cruelty or cross over to physical abuse), approximately 25% of the children end up with mental illness themselves, at least to some degree (anxiety disorders, depression, or become psychopaths themselves). Many children of psychopaths become very angry, raging, and begin striking out at others or turn to self-injury (S. Van Volkingburgh, MSW, 2004).