21 comments on “The Diaper Humiliation

  1. That is so sadistic and cruel; robbing a child’s dignity like that as ‘punishment’ for an unavoidable medical problem is extremely sick. I was also treated that way for wetting the bed. And I feel for you, as I too had to rip out (and burn) several pictures from the family album when I moved away, pictures of humiliating scenes that were placed in there so that the rest of my family could laugh at my childhood pain in perpetuity. You’re right that a monstrous amount of dedication and effort would have gone into developing and placing those pictures; but this kind of abuser doesn’t change their mind once a moment of anger passes. Thanks for sharing this.

    • Thank you for your kind words, Caden. I feel for you that you had to endure similar (if not worse) experiences. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, never mind a young child who has little ability to cope with such abuse. The history of abuse is part of who I am, and I’m thankful that a lifetime of abuse did not turn me into an abuser as happens with so many others that are forced to endure abuse.

  2. Pingback: This Boy | The Narcissist's Son

  3. I feel your pain I was not a bed wetter but suffered from encopresis and spent a good deal of time in diapers from 9 till just over 13 with 3 sisters and some of their friends often seeing me get changed

    • How horribly humiliating, Rick. I’m sorry you had to endure such treatment. Unfortunately, narcissist parents see their children as objects and have no respect for them as people. If you’re parents were like my mother, they probably blamed you for your condition and the fact that they had to make accommodations for you.

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting.


      • Yes it was very humiliating and I was blamed for it mom kept telling me I either did it on purpose or was just lazy I was never taken to a Dr to see if there was something wrong often heard ” if your going to act like a baby I’ll treat you like one ” I learned quick to do what I was told or got it worse and your right I was a object that she had no respect for my feelings unfortunately with that came no respect from my sisters as they were aloud to treat me as mom did

      • Hi Rick,

        I can completely empathize with what you went through. It’s essentially the same thing that I went through. I was a tool to be used to glorify my family. When I didn’t do what I was supposed to do to bring glory to the family (per my mother’s definition), I was humiliated and punished. If I was humiliated and punished, my mother could save face, because she was ‘doing all she could’ to ‘help’ me and yet I refused to listen. It was my problem that I had these issues, and ‘poor mom’ had such a ‘terrible’ plight having to deal with my ‘issues’. If I wasn’t going to bring glory to the family through my ‘successes’, I could bring sympathy to my mother for my ‘failings’. Either way, it was all about her.

        The part regarding your sisters is also truly textbook narcissistic family behavior. One thought I’d like to add here: What choice did your sisters have? What would have happened to them if they stood up for you in the face of your mother? Had they dared to disagree with her? Would she not have punished and humiliated them even worse than she did you? In order to survive, they did what they had to, and that was to join your mother in your humiliation. I have found that many people from abusive environments see themselves as the only victim. (i.e, the wife with 3 kids and the NPD husband, the scapegoat in the narcissistic family). The truth is that everyone exposed to a dysfunctional environment is affected. All parties have been taught to normalize abuse, and will struggle setting boundaries with abusive behavior in the future.

        Best wishes on your continued healing journey, Rick.


      • Thanks Stephen I never looked at it that way I guess I can see how my sisters would have been afraid to act anyway but how they did I never thought of them as victims too now I feel sorry for them for some of the things they were required to do,, guess I used the word aloud to before but now that you said that at the start of it all they were told to maybe that is why my little sister was the worst she didn’t understand
        My 2 older sisters I think felt a bit of compassion

      • Hi again Stephen as I reread your message I see how much our moms were alike as she was (helping) me with my problem trying to teach me that I was doing something wrong and for a long time I did blame myself but the lasting affects have left me with low self asteam and very submissive even though I run my own business I feel idk how to say it unworthy

      • Hi Rick,

        Yes, your sisters were victims of a dysfunctional environment, too. It can be hard to look at the big picture when still emotionally attached to the situation and see how everyone was affected. I’m not saying that your sisters couldn’t have behaved differently, it’s that they had little choice other than to behave the way they did. Yes, it’s horrible, but they were required to fulfill a role as defined by your mother. I have a post on my blog called “Know Your Role (https://thenarcissistsson.wordpress.com/2013/11/11/know-your-role/)” that explores this dynamic a bit. In a narcissistic family, the roles of all family members are very clearly defined by the needs of the narcissist, and all family members will make great attempts to restore a particular family member to their assigned role if for some reason that family member decides to abdicate their role. Do your sisters deserve your sympathy? Possibly. Have they ever apologized for how you were treated? In my situation, my brothers were so well conditioned by my mother that I was a failure that they continued to carry that belief with them into adulthood. Their refusal to even consider my viewpoint is why I am now no contact with my entire family of origin.

        From my experience with my narcissistic family and others, they all pretty much function the same way. All family members are required to put the needs of the narcissist in the family first, and all family members are assigned roles by the narcissist to generate narcissistic supply for the narcissist. In my family, I generated narcissistic supply through my ‘failures’ that my mother would use to gain sympathy from others. I could never do anything right, no matter how good it was.

        I can completely empathize with your feelings of unworthiness. This is your family programming at work. After a lifetime of being told that you are unworthy, you have adopted this paradigm and continue to believe it. It’s great that you run your own business! That’s wonderful! You should be proud! I’m sure you have many other positive attributes as well, but because you have had a lifetime of having all your successes marginalized by your narcissistic mother, you don’t see the true value of your accomplishments. If you’re like me, you also struggle mightily with being able to forgive yourself when you do make a mistake. This again is your family programming at work. I was never forgiven for my failures. In fact, most often, my failures were held over my head as proof that I was a failure. What this taught me was for me to hold my own failures over my own head as an adult and never be able to forgive myself for my mistakes. Undoing the programming that I was subjected to in my narcissistic family has taken the majority of my adult life, and is still a work in progress and always will be.

        Best wishes with your healing journey, Rick.


  4. I’m sorry you had to endure having a mother like that. To be treated so callously & then to have a permanent reminder in your baby book is awful. I just found your blog today, Stephen , as I am going through a divorce with a man I am now certain has NPD. My heart breaks for my children, especially my son who is 16. I’m sad that he has such a crappy role model but I’m also grateful my ex is not around to influence my son with all the negativity of NPD. Thank you for all the information.

    • Hi Marianne,

      Thank you for your kind words. For years, I found that I had looked at some of the events that had happened when I was a child as if they had happened to another person. Gaining a new perspective on those events has helped to truly understand the dysfunction that was present.

      I’m sorry to hear that you are going through a divorce with an NPD husband. I know how difficult it can be to extract yourself from a situation like yours, and I can truly empathize with you. I also know how difficult it is to make the decision to break up your family. It sucks. And yes, it’s for the best. You are right, having a poor role model as a father and a highly dysfunctional environment at home can do significant damage to how children perceive relationships in the future. Separating from your husband shows them that when a relationship is highly dysfunctional, it’s necessary to end that relationship. Staying and allowing yourself and your children to continue to be subjected to a dysfunctional environment teaches them that you stay in a relationship at all costs, no matter how dysfunctional and detrimental it is to all concerned parties.

      If I may, I’d like to make a suggestion. Talk to your son. Listen to him. Provide an alternate frame of reference to what his father provides. Create an environment where his feelings are validated. You understand the damage the his father does, but it’s unlikely that he truly understands. I know that, for me, if I had an alternate frame of reference growing up, it may not have taken me nearly as long to fully understand how dysfunctional my childhood was.

      I’m humbled that you find the information here helpful. If sharing my story helps others, it is definitely a positive outcome of my life’s experiences.

      If you would like to contact me directly, please feel free to email me through the email address that can be obtained by clicking on my picture on this page.

      Best wishes with you and your family’s healing journey, Marianne.


  5. I am so sorry that you had to experience this Stephen. When I read this story I gasped because you are not alone. I am the scapegoat of a NPD mother and as a little girl, I witnessed my mother do this exact thing (except she used a towel) to my brother at age 6. I was 8 at the time. Every time I thought of this I felt his humiliation. He will never be able to heal from this these experiences. He was diagnosed NPD with anti-social tendencies 20 years ago. I haven’t seen or spoken to him in over 13 years. He can’t hold a job, can’t get along with others. He is permanently damaged. When this happened he pretended that he was Tarzan and tried to make a joke out of it as that was his way of dealing with such a horrendous act. Thank you for providing me a place to share his story too. I wish you the best on your healing journey. I have spent most of my life trying to heal from a narcissistic mother too.

    • Hi Lisa, and welcome!

      Thank you for your kind words. I’m sorry you had to grow up with a narcissistic mother. It’s a horrible way to grow up that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. The damage that is done is severe and affects a person for their entire life.

      That is truly amazing that your mother did the same thing to your brother that my mother did to me! You’re the first person to share a similar story with me. It’s amazing that you can still feel his pain and his humiliation. When I had a discussion with my golden child brother some 22 months ago about what I had learned about our family, this is one of the stories I shared with him. He acted like it was “no big deal” and I needed to “just get over it”. He didn’t even see it as abusive, he was so normalized to my mother’s abuse. Had I had a sibling like you that could truly empathize with my plight, I may still have a relationship with him today. Your story makes me thankful that I didn’t go down the path of of being NPD myself, because I very easily could have (as is the case with your brother).

      I’m sorry your brother and you no longer have a relationship. I can certainly understand why you choose not to speak to him. Good reasons don’t make it any less painful. You’re right, he never will be able to heal from these experiences. His chosen path was to block them out and pretend that they didn’t bother him. This was true even as a young boy when he chose to pretend he was Tarzan in his diaper. I just swallowed it all. Dealing with such things emotionally as a young child are impossible, because a child is not so equipped. The only option we have is to blindly accept it or pretend it never happened or it wasn’t really that bad. None are healthy, but we don’t know any better as children.

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting, Lisa, and best wishes on your healing journey!


  6. I am so sorry this happened to you, Stephen. As a pediatrician I’ve seen all kinds of horrible things done to children who wet the bed. And, as I discovered with horror, not only to children. When my father lost control over his bladder because of spinal stenosis and wet the bed nightly, my narcissist mother berated, screamed, belittled, taunted in public, humiliated him in every way she could. I was so glad when he went into a nursing home where he was treated with kindness and dignity. Oh and yes, she also sent me my baby book. She had lovingly velcro’d my baby shoes on the cover! Now isn’t that a sweet doting mother? I wish I could gather all of us who have been tormented and broken by our patents. We could dance around a bonfire and throw in all their evil photos, poison pen letters (my mother’s specialty), destructive sayings, and every other horrible memory. Then, with all that dirt burned away, we could help each other reconstruct our tattered egos, learn to heal, learn to live as whole people instead of “less-than-nothing,” as my “loving” mother used to calmly observe. Blessings… Laura

    • Hi Laura, and welcome!

      Thank you for your kind sentiments. I certainly appreciate them! I’m sorry you had to grow up with an N-mom, too. It’s a horrible way to grow up that I wouldn’t wish on anyone!

      I’m sure you see many horrible things in your practice as a pediatrician. It must be very hard at times. Yes, there are laws about physical abuse which permits you to do something about it, but with emotional abuse, there is little you can do. I’m not sure how long you’ve been practicing, but I would surmise that you can see the effects of the parents approach to their children as those children become older. That has to be very hard to watch, especially when you personally know how damaging such parental behavior can be.

      That’s truly horrible how your mother treated your father with his issue. Incredible! It’s amazing that he’s better off in a nursing home than at home with your mother. Most times it’s the other way around, where family complains that a nursing home isn’t treating their loved one with respect and dignity. One question: Does your father see your mother’s ways, or is he oblivious and just accepting of her insanity?

      I love your bonfire idea! That would truly be a wonderful way to literally burn the past and leave it all behind so we can better pick up the reigns on our bright futures! I often think how supportive and meaningful it might be if many of the contributors to my blog were able to get together and ‘talk shop’. No one understands what it’s like to be subjected to narcissistic abuse until they’ve been exposed to it AND let go of their denial regarding that abuse.

      My mother was also amazing with the poison pen letters. When I was in my 20’s, I would receive a letter from her nearly once a month, written in her own handwriting, that was full of vitriol for how I was living my life, pointing out my each and every failure. It was very hard to manage emotionally. Looking back, I can now see that since I had left home and joined the Navy, she felt that she no longer had adequate control over her scapegoat son, and needed to make sure I still knew where I stood. I had made attempts to abdicate my scapegoat role, and she was left without anyone to project her shame / humiliation / guilt onto since that was always my assigned role, so she picked up the almighty pen when she was feeling bad about herself and dumped all her shame / humiliation / guilt onto me. I once replied to one of her letters that was particularly hurtful. She sent it back with red pen all over it, highlighting the areas where I was ‘wrong’ and literally crossing out areas where she didn’t want to read what I had to say.

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting, Laura, and best wishes with your practice and with your healing journey!


      • OMG, she actually scribbled all over your letter??? I wrote one back one time, and it came back “return to sender.”. Unopened.

        For a long time at the end of his life Dad had Stockholm Syndrome and defended my mother, but as he became more and more helpless, he started opening up to me and telling me what she was doing to him. It reminded me of ” whatever happened to Baby Jane? “. I spoke with the Hospice social worker about getting him removed but she felt it would be too traumatic. I guess being dropped repeatedly as the narc refused to use a mechanical lift to get him into bed/toilet/chair, ending up with countless trips to the ER for concussions, broken bones etc, but she is a hero in the eyes of the community so it couldn’t POSSIBLY have been abuse. One time I planned a trip abroad, but at the airport I had an intense bad feeling so I turned around and went back–she was just trying to make him get out of the car on his own, she had taken him out of the nursing home the minute I left! It was only a week until she dealt him the blow that would lead to his death and deliverance. I miss him terribly, but I’m glad he’s free.

  7. I wet the bed repeatedly as a boy, until 10 or 11 years old. I was scolded, smacked and made to feel humiliated. None of my siblings had the same problem. I was a total scapegoat. I often covered it up, slept like a banana around the wet patch, rather than admit to it. Once my NPD mum put the mattress outside, on a day my friends came back after school. She waited until we were all there, and then said “mind the mattress, J wet the bed last night”. Nice. We had an old creaky house too, and my room was at the top, in the attic. The bathroom was the furthest room away, at the bottom. I had to walk through the living room, where my parents usually watched TV. I would be in trouble, of course…so I used to take a cup and sometimes fill it up… and then pour it out the window! Once I didn’t dispose of it, and my mother found it. She asked me “what is it? and then tried to make me drink it … physically. It was the first time I reacted to the abuse and caught her arms and fought back. It was also the last time she physically attacked me, but I was made to suffer on many other levels. I have only just discovered the NPD issue and made the connection. I have since moved away to another country and married, have two wonderful children. My son, age 11, still has bladder issues, and we are helping put strategies in place, and managing well, together. I recently discovered, at my uncle’s 80th, that my father also had the same issues, and he was, in 1940s Yorkshire, also abused for it. Yet he never helped me; his way of enabling my mother was to be away at work all the time. But he could have let me know it was ok, it was normal, that it could be helped. Anyway, thanks for the post, feels good to share.

  8. It is sad to hear of all the experiences one had growing up. I do remember friends in my neighborhood growing up that had wetting problems in the late 1950’s and early 60’s. At the time there was not much medical theory’s out or the study of causes for bed wetting. Parents thought it was just a lazy problem and embarrassed them for motivation to stop. I remember a few boys being put back in diapers and made to wear them during the day. In those days no goodnites so it was cloth diapers and rubber pants over them so they were very bulky and could be easily seen pouting through their pants. I can’t imagine the humiliation they went through having to wear them.

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