How Narcissists Abuse Children During Divorce

Posted on May 30, 2014. Filed under: Parental Alienation Syndrome | Tags: , , , |

Narcissists often use children as pawns during and after divorce. Learn to identify this emotional abuse of children caught in the middle.
The emotional abuse by a narcissist is pervasive and insidious. It impacts not only the narcissist’s spouse but his or her children as well. Once divorce proceedings begin, the narcissist’s abuse will likely escalate. Narcissists will use any means possible to gain control of the situation or to make themselves look better. Children become perfect pawns for narcissistic parents to use against their spouses. Identifying how narcissistic parents abuse their children is the first step to devising strategies to minimize abuse and help children cope. 

Using Children as Pawns in Divorce

Narcissistic parents will often seek custody of children during a divorce even if previously they were not involved parents. It’s important to them to appear to be the better parent. Also, if they have custody of the children, it gives them another way to continue to control and abuse their spouse.

If narcissists don’t get custody of the children, after divorce, they may use visitation as a means of control and harassment. They may ask for many changes to visitation schedules to accommodate optional work, social and vacation events. Most often these requests will be to not to have the children when they are scheduled to. Narcissists may refuse to accommodate the spouse’s requests even when the requests are made for the benefit of the children.

Narcissists may also be late in picking up the children for visitation or not picking them up at all. They may make last minute changes and expect to be accommodated. When they are not, they will cite this as an example of how unreasonable their spouse is. Narcissists may also take advantage of third parties such as school, daycare or friends and family who don’t know the agreements made with the other parent. It’s important to note that all of these tactics by the narcissist have nothing to do with the best interest of the children. It’s simply a way for the narcissist to play games and have control.

Emotional Abuse by a Narcissistic Parent

Narcissists will use people in whatever way in necessary to get what they want. This world view also applies to their children. They will abuse their children regardless whether they stay married to the other parent or not. During and after divorce, a narcissist’s emotional abuse of his or her children may seem more direct or blatant. Quite often, this is simply another tactic employed by narcissists to further control their former spouse. Unfortunately, the children pay the price for the narcissist’s games.

Narcissists are masters of lying. They will lie to their children and distort reality the same as they do to everyone else. Often, narcissists will sacrifice their children’s well-being in an attempt to save face. This leaves the children feeling confused and unsure of their own reality and judgment. Narcissists will ask their children to lie for them, keep secrets and to spy on the other parent.

Narcissistic parents do not respect their children’s desires. They may make promises to the children in order to gain compliance from the child, then refuse to honor the promises. Children may miss out on birthday parties, sporting events or other activities important to them in order to accommodate the narcissistic parent’s wishes. The children soon learn that what they want is not important when with the narcissistic parent.

Coping with a Narcissistic Parent

It’s important to understand that it’s impossible to control a narcissist’s behavior. Neither the narcissist’s spouse nor children are responsible for his or her behavior. Narcissists are who they are. The best the other parent can do for their children and themselves is to separate themselves as much as possible from the narcissist.

First and foremost, former spouses of narcissists need to seek professional support for themselves and their children. It’s important that both children and spouses of narcissists have someone outside the situation to support and validate their feelings and reality while trying to cope with a crazy-making narcissist.

Spouses also need to hire a lawyer who understands narcissism and how to best deal with it in court. It’s often best for abused spouses to seek full custody of the children. They should, however, be prepared to offer reasonable visitation. In addition, spouses of narcissists will do well to put as many negotiation points about the children as they can think of in the divorce decree. These include visitation, pick-up times, phone calls, school activities and vacations. It may seem excessive or restraining but in the long run these written agreements will often be easier than constantly renegotiating with an unreliable and emotionally abusive former spouse.

Divorce is never easy on children. Coping with a narcissistic parent makes a stressful situation even more difficult. Learning to identify the games narcissists play can help parents to minimize the emotional abuse children suffer at the hands of a narcissistic parent.


Bancroft, Lundy. When Dad Hurts Mom: Helping Your Children Heal the Wounds of Witnessing Abuse. New York: Berkley Books, 2004.

Hotchkiss, Sandy. Why is is Always About You? The Seven Deadly Sins of Narcissism. New York: Free Press, 2002.

Skerritt, Richard. Surviving the Storm: Strategies and Realities for Divorcing a Narcissist. Kennett Square, PA: Dalkeith Press, 2009.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 4 so far )

66,807 child abuse cases reported in fiscal 2012

Posted on July 27, 2013. Filed under: Abuse Neglect Death | Tags: , |

CRIME JUL. 26, 2013 – TOKYO —

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare says that reported cases of child abuse rose again last year for the 22nd consecutive year.

According to a report released by the ministry, the number of reported child abuse cases requiring intervention by child consultation centers was 66,807, an increase of 11.5% over fiscal 2011, TBS reported Friday. The ministry added that this was the highest number since records began in 1990.

The ministry said it believes the increase is due to continued efforts to raise awareness of child welfare issues and to encourage members of the public to report suspected abuses.

The ministry added that its new system to allow for suspension of parental authority, introduced in April 2012, has so far resulted in 15 suspensions out of 27 cases brought before family courts, TBS reported.

By prefecture, Osaka had the highest number with 9,875, followed by Kanagawa at 8,324 and Saitama at 4,853, the ministry report said. 

Japan Today

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Child abuse cases hit record in Jan.-June

Posted on September 11, 2012. Filed under: Abuse Neglect Death | Tags: , , |

Jiji Press
A record 248 child abuse cases were recorded by police in the nation in the first six months of the year, up 62.1 percent from a year before, National Police Agency data showed Thursday.

The number of abused children increased 55.6 percent to 252, also the highest since comparable data became available in 2000.

Meanwhile, 12 children died from abuse in the first half of the year, accounting for a record low of 4.8 percent of the total abuse cases.

An NPA official said increasing reports from neighbors helped alert the authorities to abuse and enabled prompt action to avert further damage.

The number of physically abused children totaled 178, accounting for 70 percent of the total. Sexually abused children amounted to 69, while five were victims of neglect.

Police reported 7,271 children, an increase of 37.7 percent, to child welfare consultation centers as being suspected abuse victims.

The rise came after the NPA instructed prefectural police departments in April to better coordinate with child welfare centers in order to better deal with increasing child abuse cases.

Nearly half of the children reported to welfare centers were victims of psychological, including verbal, abuse. Some of them witnessed domestic violence.

The NPA also reported the number of child pornography cases hit a record high of 764, up 19.9 percent from a year earlier. The number of offenders rose 37.2 percent to 612, also a record high.

The number of child pornography victims reached 596. As many as 319, or 53.5 percent of the total, are believed to be of primary school age or younger.

(Sep. 7, 2012)

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

In Japan, Child-Abusing Parents Retain Parental Rights

Posted on August 13, 2012. Filed under: Abuse Neglect Death, Human Rights | Tags: , , |

By   /   August 6, 2012  /

Several facts stood out to me from the recent report on the record-high number of child abuse cases in Japan in 2010. One was that in the previous three months, only seven petitions to temporarily suspend parental rights were presented to the court. And of those, only one was granted. Realize that these were not petitions to end parental rights, just to suspend them for up to two years.


It is extremely difficult to terminate parental rights against the will of the parents in Japan. For example, in 2007, out of 40,639 cases of child abuse handled by Child Welfare, staff members appealed to the family court for termination of parental rights in only four cases, and only one case was approved.1 This is the norm. As a college professor said ironically, “It is easier for judges to give someone the death penalty than for them to forcibly sever parental rights in Japan.”

Secondly, over 84% of the 51 children who died due to child abuse were age three or under; most were under age one. I have been watching a situation up close that almost contributed to this statistic. In 2010, a father, the boyfriend of someone I know, almost killed his son, who was about one year old at the time. That child remains in the child orphanage system almost a year later. The father’s rights have not been severed, nor has he been charged with a crime. The child is in limbo where he may remain until he is 18 years of age.2

Of course, there is no reason to work to sever the father’s rights if the goal of the government is just to keep the child safe in an orphanage . The primary reason that parental rights would need to be severed is so that the child could get adopted. Sadly, that is not the goal. And especially in cases where the child is still so young, how much more sense it would make to push as quickly as possible to a clear conclusion for the good of the child.

As it is, though the government doesn’t sever parental rights, the parents in abuse cases can be legally deprived of their child for long periods of time. The main right they retain is to keep the child from going to a loving family. By bringing the case to a clear conclusion as soon as possible, perhaps extended family members would step up and offer to become legal guardians. Or maybe mothers would get serious about leaving abusive husbands/boyfriends to keep their parental rights. The way things are, children are left waiting while the wheels of the system grind slowly and their childhood slips away.

I asked my professor friend why Japan prefers this approach. A gross oversimplification of what he said is that Japan had long been a theocracy with the Emperor as father/god, and the Japanese as children. Families were/are also considered small theocracies where the parents have the divine right to do whatever is necessary to keep the family under control. Thus, the system works in favor of the parents, and he said parental rights are very unlikely to be severed more often in the future.

Another way to understand this and other things in Japan is to recognize the value placed on form over substance. Keeping parental rights in tack and placing children in orphanages protects the form of the blood-line family. Cutting parental rights and adopting children to unrelated parents wrecks the form and makes the situation “abnormal.” The substance of family love and life-long support is not the main consideration.

An issue that often comes up when discussing orphanages and/or adoption here is the idea of taking responsibility. Parents must be made to take responsibility for their children at some level even if it hurts the children. I was not surprised to read that many of the 2010 abuse cases involved teenage mothers who didn’t know how to take care of their babies and had been ostracized by their local communities (Japan Today, 7/27/2012). Since these mothers didn’t do the responsible thing and get an abortion, they must be made to suffer the consequences. Probably no one around them suggested they choose adoption because that is considered “irresponsible.”

The truth is that unless Japan can wholeheartedly embrace adoption and foster care, there is nothing to do but continue placing abused children in the ever-expanding orphanage system where they are likely to be abused again. The unwillingness to cut parental rights is undergirded by the same thinking that leads to an aversion to adoption.

As I’ve written elsewhere, the government is beginning to promote adopting out newborns before they enter the system, so there is some hope. Of course, the women in those cases voluntarily give up their rights. That process began when a brave government worker started asking pregnant women in distress if they were interested in adoption.

I think the government should at least ask this same question to parents of young, abused children. Reluctant parents can be strongly encouraged by offers to drop criminal charges or reduce sentences, though bringing charges against abusive parents seems to be another weakness of the current system. It may be that especially young, single mothers of abused babies would quickly agree if only someone would ask and encourage them.

Stopping the abuse would, of course, be best, and I applaud the government’s call for more consultation services for at-risk pregnant women. But given the many adults who were themselves abused as children, the likelihood of a continued cycle of abuse is pretty high. I hope Japan will stop the cycle whenever possible by not only getting children away from abusive parents but by also getting them into loving families.

1. Sachiko Bamba and Wendy L. Haight, Child Welfare and Development: A Japanese Case Study (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), 180-81.

2. The government workers involved in this case have done a good job protecting this child. Without being able to forcibly cut parental rights, there’s not much else they can do.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 2 so far )

No. of reported child abuse cases hits record high 59,862 in fiscal 2011

Posted on July 27, 2012. Filed under: Abuse Neglect Death | Tags: , , |

Crime Jul. 27, 2012 – 07:00AM JST ( 8 )


The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said Thursday that a record 59,862 cases of reported child abuse were handled by child welfare centers in Japan in fiscal 2011.

The figure includes 51 deaths, of which 23 were children younger than 12 months, the ministry said.

A ministry spokesman said that growing public awareness of child abuse and greater cooperation between law enforcement officials, hospitals and welfare authorities contributed to the high number of cases coming to light, NTV reported.

The official said that many cases involved unwanted pregnancies and teenage mothers who did not know how to look after their babies and who were frequently ostracized by their local communities.

The ministry said it is studying countermeasures, including consulting with obstetricians to identify potential abusers among young mothers and offering them counseling and assistance at an early stage before their babies are born, NTV reported.

Japan Today

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Child abuse victim wins suspension of parental custody

Posted on July 23, 2012. Filed under: Child Custody and Visitation | Tags: , , |

More than 30 petitions have been filed with family courts mainly in the metropolitan and Kansai regions to seek suspension of parental custody due to child abuse since a revision of the Civil Code came into effect in April.

Of the total, three out of six petitions filed by heads of child consultation centers have been granted and two led to temporary injunction, the Mainichi Shimbun has learned.

Separately, a minor who has been taken into protective custody due to abuse from her parents filed a petition for suspension of parental custody and won a provisional injunction, representing the first case in which a child abuse victim has independently sought suspension of parental custody under the revised Civil Code and won a temporary injunction.

The Mainichi interviewed officials with child consultation centers and local governments in all of Japan’s 47 prefectures, 20 government-designated municipalities and two major urban cities and received responses from certain family courts in big cities.

Many of the petitioners are believed to be relatives of child abuse victims, but a girl in her late teens filed a petition with a family court in the Chubu region through her lawyer in mid-June and won a temporary injunction nine days later.

The girl was sexually victimized by her mother’s new partner and placed in protective custody at a children’s nursing home when she was a junior high school student. She pleaded her plight to her mother who allegedly turned a deaf ear to her plea. The girl repeatedly harmed herself even at the children’s nursing home due to her traumatic experience.

Assisted by a lawyer who was introduced to her by a support group and others, she graduated from high school, left the nursing home and went on studying while working. The nursing home chief acted as her guardian and helped her go on to study and secure a place to live as guarantor because her mother could not be located.

But she had to get parental consent to be eligible for tuition reductions and exemptions and an application for school admission by summer this year. The girl refused to accept her mother as a parent, prompting her lawyer to find her mother and asking her to waive her parental rights. Her mother agreed to do so but was not contactable again, leading her daughter to file the petition to seek suspension of parental custody.

The lawyer said, “One should avoid filing a petition lightly, but minors cannot sign a contract to even buy a cell phone without parental consent. It is of great significance that the law revision has allowed her to file a petition by herself.”

Meanwhile, a family court in June granted suspension of parental custody in connection with a teenager who has been placed in protective custody at a child consultation center in the Kansai region. The center head filed the petition for fear that the child may not get a proper education and become independent due to protracted paperwork.

In other cases, family courts issued temporary injunctions because parents failed to help their children with necessary treatment.
Mainichi Shimbun

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Child abuse consultations top record high 50,000 in FY 2010

Posted on July 20, 2011. Filed under: Abuse Neglect Death | Tags: , , |

Child abuse cases handled by consultation offices in Japan hit a record 55,152 in fiscal 2010 that ended in March this year, rising for 20 straight years since statistics were first compiled in fiscal 1990, a government survey showed Wednesday.

The figure does not include those of Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures and Sendai city in Miyagi, which was hard hit by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami as they failed to gather data in the wake of the twin disaster, the government said.

Kyodo News

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

23-year-old man arrested over death of girlfriend’s 2-year-old daughter

Posted on April 24, 2011. Filed under: Abuse Neglect Death | Tags: , , , , |

A 23-year-old man from Satte in Saitama Prefecture, has been arrested over the death of the 2-year-old daughter of his 22-year-old girlfriend with whom he was living.

According to police, the suspect, identified as Yoshihito Nakazawa, allegedly committed several acts of assault on the infant, including punching her in the stomach on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the child lost consciousness in the bathroom and was rushed to hospital where she died a short time later.

Nakazawa was quoted by police as saying, “She wouldn’t listen to what I said, so I did it to try and teach her some discipline.”

An autopsy has been ordered to establish the exact cause of death.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Japan sees alarming rise in child abuse

Posted on February 15, 2011. Filed under: Abuse Neglect Death, Orphanages, Video | Tags: , , , |

By Kyung Lah          February 15, 2011 — Updated 1004 GMT (1804 HKT)

She is a precocious little girl, in pigtails and rainbow rimmed glasses, all spark and determination. The 11- year-old attacks origami with the mission to build a flying bird.

Creating an object of beauty contrasts with the ugliness this child has suffered at the hands of her own parents.

The director of Nonohana-No-ie orphanage nods at us, signaling this girl is one of the of abused children who reside at this protective facility. Seventy percent of the children here, between the ages of 2 and 18, are victims of abuse and neglect so severe the police removed them from their parents’ custody.

In the case of this 11-year-old, her parents beat her so severely on a daily basis that they’re no longer allowed to see her or even know her whereabouts. To reveal her identity, we’re told, would endanger her life.

This girl is part of an exploding population in Japan: victims of child abuse.

Figures from Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare show the cases of reported child abuse have quadrupled in 10 years and increased 40 fold in twenty years. In 1990, the ministry recorded 1,101 cases of abuse. In 1999, 11,631. In 2000, 17,725 cases. And in 2009, the numbers hit an all-time high of 44,211.

The causes behind the numbers are multifaceted. One reason is that abuse cases are being reported more accurately. In 2000, when the number of cases jumped, a national law went into effect mandating the reporting of child abuse and neglect cases.

But child advocates point to a number of other murky, societal factors, from Japan’s two-decade-long economic stagnation to the increasing numbers of divorces and lack of support and affordable child care for single mothers.

Misao Hanazaki, the director of Nonohana-No-ie, says regardless of the reasons for the jump in abuse cases, the result is Japan’s child welfare system is at the breaking point.

“We’re in trouble,” says Hanazaki. “Orphanages all across the country are full. There aren’t enough foster parents in Japan. We are truly in trouble.”

Hanazaki’s orphanage is home to 52 children. When one child leaves, another immediately follows. Japan’s culture is deeply rooted in the family and has historically not embraced adoption or foster care. Japan’s government says in cities like Tokyo, orphanages are at 100 percent capacity.

Yuki Okada, a child advocate, says part of the solution to Japan’s child abuse problem is educating families about abuse. Okada is an author and public speaker, who has written about how her mother abused her. Okada says she then abused her own son, continuing the cycle of child abuse.

“It’s going to get worse unless the public understands the pattern of child abuse and deals with abuse openly,” says Okada.

“The world’s image is that Japan is kind to its children,” says Hamazaki, pausing as she looks at the children around her. “But the image does not match reality.”

Click on the link to watch the video Child abuse video

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...