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Gary W
Reply with quote  #1 
Why is their a golden child or children in each family, who can never do wrong?
They make the once a week phone call, and they are considered the good ones.
Then there are us care givers who give and give, even give our health so our parent(s)
can stay at home or get the best treatment in our power, but the golden kids don't give a darn and they are the good ones.  At one time I thought a lot of it was resentment because of the role reversals, but their must be more to it then that.  Just wondering what others think?

Reply with quote  #2 
It's a rude awakening when you realize that your parents aren't fully-formed mature adults and capable empathetic parents.  Some parents are; Other parents never are.  Many of our parents are still display childlike emotions, even as they exercise their parental discipline, control, and decision-making in harmful ways.   Narcissistic parents favor the child who reminds them most of themselves, in birth order, appearance or spirit, etc.  Narcissistic parents also quickly understand how far they can "push" people, including their children.  "Dutiful daughters" are often passive, obedient, and obviously dutiful towards their narcissistic parent, no matter how painful or self-harming.  "Golden child" typically is far more feisty and self-centered, and will readily push back at narcissistic parent, whether creating a self-protective emotional distance, or currying favor for special treatment and financial benefit from that narcissistic parent.  Note that n-parent will treat his children very differently, favoring one while abusing another, even as those children become adults. There are only two adult-children in my family, I'm the "dutiful daughter" expected to sacrifice while my "golden child" sister still receives many extra financial benefits (despite her high household income) and emotional coddling.  N-mom still tells me that I "don't do enough" for "golden child", and "golden child" only calls me when she needs something from me.  So the pattern continues.
Reply with quote  #3 

I agree with Amien on this. Also, what the parent doesn't realize is that they are actually hurting the Golden Child in the long run by alienating them from their siblings who will still be there when N Parent is gone. The Golden grows up to think the world owes them adoration and special privilege and eventually suffers because if it.  I have noticed that many Golden children become alcoholic, chronic spenders, skip from job to job and spouse to spouse while trying to maintain this "golden" status.

Reply with quote  #4 
in my opinion, part of it is a huge denial on the part of the elderly parent. And they want to avoid feeling hurt.

So they make all kinds of excuses for the non-participating siblings. Oh, their job is so stressful and they are so busy! Oh, they are raising THREE children! This, that, and the other excuse. So when a duty phone call arrives, three times a year, or a short duty visit once a year, they are thrilled. "They care about me! They love me!" Really, I think that is what it is, a lot of times. They sure do not want to admit that maybe, the golden children just do not CARE about them.

In my situation, my mom waffled back and forth both ways. At times, she knew (and stated) exactly how much my brothers and their wives cared about her: not much. Then at other times, she would make excuses for them. Really, I think it was because she did not want to allow the hurt she felt.

I still smile about this -- whenever Mom would be in her denial "they are so busy, but they care" stage, I would reply "Right."  Then Mom would say "You are right. They don't care!"  Bingo.

I totally understand how my brothers and their families had to set their boundaries, and limit their interaction with Mom. And yes, since I am a "problem solver" type, I did jump in and help Mom when she needed it, thereby relieving them of any and all responsibility. However -- what still really irks me is that they knew it affected MY life, my sanity - and yet, did not care. As long as their lives were uninterrupted and unstressful, great!

It is a very gray area and one I struggled with while Mom was alive, and I still struggle with it.  There is no closure.  I can dwell on it, which I do at times. And other times, I shrug it off, and do not miss the interaction with them. How could I relate to such people? I cannot I guess.

If Mom had constantly sung their praises, I fear I would not have helped her as much. I would have told her to get Golden Brother 1 or 2 to help her for a change! But then, I have a temper.


Reply with quote  #5 

I'm not a psychologist, so all I can tell you is what I've read on the subject. To answer your question, "Why is it that the Golden Child can do no wrong?" one has to understand that narcissists do not view people as people, but rather as objects. The N's children are not little people with feelings and their own ideas, they are mere extensions of the narcissist. Think of them as prosthetic limbs, that the N can put on or take off at will, depending on their usefulness.

Underneath the N's bullying and blustering exterior is a person with extremely low self-esteem. The N is terrified that others will find out that they are worthless (in their eyes) individuals, and so they create a pretend world, sort of a protective cocoon in which they reside. They hide inside this pretend world, but it is a very fragile world and can crack easily, like an egg. It must be handled with extreme care. Very high maintenance. 

Back to the N's children. The N sees the world in terms of black and white-- there is no grey. One child is selected as the "good" child and one child is selected as the "bad" child. Often, the good, or Golden Child, is selected because of physical beauty or some talent that the N can have bragging rights to. The N lives their life vicariously through these children. Also, in the case of many children, there may be more than one Scapegoat or Golden Child.

In the pretend world of the N, the Golden Child is the good extension of the N and is always right. If the N were to admit otherwise, they would be admitting that they, the narcissist, were imperfect and this cannot be. The N will go to great lengths to defend the superior status of the Golden Child, lying and denying to prop up their pretend world.

On the flip side is the Scapegoat. This is the "bad" extension of the narcissist. All anger, fear and uncomfortable feelings the narcissist has must be projected onto this "bad" child who is the opposite of the Golden Child and can do no right.  By using the Scapegoat as a recepticle for all the "bad," the N can rid themselves of any uncomfortable feelings and maintain their perfect cocoon world. 

Narcissists are very rigid in their thinking and reality doesn't enter into the picture. So even if the Golden Child is, in the "normal" real world, we'll say a total wreck-- maybe a criminal or drug addict-- it matters not to the N. They will always be the "good" one and, in the N's pretend world, a shining star, a prince, a fairy princess.

In order to receive this elevated status, the Golden Child need only "be," as long as they perform. That is, the Golden Child must do what the N says, or their status will be threatened and it is possible they the N will discard them and make another child Golden. At any rate, it's vital for the N to be in control of their child "extensions." Control is paramount.

Oftentimes the Golden Child becomes a narcissist themselves. That is the case with my sister. It's really sad the way my N-mother props up her pretend world, in which my Golden sister can do no wrong. In reality, my Golden sister has made a mess of her life. But in the pretend world of my N-mother, she's still The Little Princess. My Golden sister has learned to tell my N-mother what my N-mother wants to here-- that is, that my Golden sister is a star. So my Golden sister lies and spins and in both their little pretend worlds, all is good and right and everything that goes wrong is my fault. FWU

Reply with quote  #6 
I would like to point out that even non-narcissist parents can have their "golden child" moments. Such as my mom!

You do not even have to have narcissism in the equation, to have a golden child/sibling situation arise.

Some parents, like my Mom, simply did not want to accept the fact that one of their sons or daughters could care less about their situation.

and yes, there was fault on both sides, definitely.


Reply with quote  #7 

my situation is closer to beth's: my mom isn't an N, but my brother is, and he is in many ways the Golden Boy.  He can certainly do no wrong in his own eyes, and for the most part in my mother's eyes as well.  he has hurt me very many times over the years, and last year reading about narcissism on this board, I was finally able to make sense of his behavior.  for my mother, i believe her denial about his true nature is somewhat akin to that of beth's mom:  she just doesn't want to believe that her precious boy can really have that cruelty and selfishness in him.  Last year when brother REALLY crossed a line with me and she found out, she got a typical excuse from him, "I didn't mean it that way, she misunderstood, etc."  She called me and asked me, almost pleadingly, "don't you think that's true?"  but for once I could not stand to make peace at my own expense, AGAIN, to maintain the happy family facade.  I told her that I was moving on and wouldn't let this incident interfere with our holiday together, but NO, I did NOT misunderstand, he said VERY specific hurtful things with no room for interpretation.  Her mournful reply was "I guess he thinks he can say anything to his sister."  I agreed grimly and moved onto other topics.  That may not sound like a red letter day, but it really was a breakthrought day for me.

Reply with quote  #8 
I am not a pshycholgist, but I have some theories as to why N's single out one or two to be the golden child: It may be the N wants to score brownie points (look good) to another relative who is close to that child. My n-mom's sister was always close to my older sister. So that was a way for n-mom to look good to auntie and to older sister.

It may be that the N is projecting an imagined trait or quality onto the golden child. When younger sis was little, she was golded---dressed in the best clothes and shoes, given the best toys. Why? N-mom said that youngest sis looked just like n-mom at the same age.

Golden children as adults are usually singled out as such because they are better off financially, or have better jobs or better "connections" or can potentially be more USEFUL to the N. The N feels more important and special by associating with the childwith the most....most money, most clout, most ability to serve the N.

At least, that has been my experience.
Reply with quote  #9 
I haven't read all the posts, but I agree that they don't have to be an N to be this way.

I remember an old, and I mean OLD, boss who said his favorite son was the recovered drug-addict son!  over his quite successful son.  He said that the drug addict overcame so much.  UGH, what about the poor kid who never got into trouble in the first place.  I guess those who seek the most attention, get it.

and yes, it's upsetting, no matter what.
Reply with quote  #10 
They may not have to be Ns to do this but it is dysfunctional to favor one child over another not to mention mean and damaging. 

In N families, the golden child or scapegoat can be anything, it just depends on what arrangement will best supply the N parent(s).  My own golden sib looks good on paper, but is quite soulless.  I am the scapegoat, and the feisty one, who has to fight to fix what the Ns sabotage by their selfishness and denial. 
Reply with quote  #11 
Quote from Gigi--
"They may not have to be Ns to do this but it is dysfunctional to favor one child over another not to mention mean and damaging." 

Quite true, Gigi.  I recently read a New York Times article about mothers who, if left up to them, would choose their "favorite" child to take care of them in their old age.  This article was written about normal families, that is, they had surveyed normal people.  So, the conclusion was that favortism abounded in normal families.  Normal mothers picked certain children as their favorite ones, to be praised and chosen as the ones they wanted to be their caregivers.

So my thoughts are, favortism of one child over the other can happen, even in the most normal of families. But as you say, it is dysfunctional.  If nothing else, it's not right.  My E-father always wanted to "even the playing field" by giving the same amount of money to me and my Golden sister every Christmas.  But there was never any fairness there.  My Golden sister always got the "best" from my N-mother-- my N-mother saw to that.  FWU
Reply with quote  #12 
I just wanted to give the original poster a big hug.  I do know the feeling.
My mom just passed away 5/1. 
Since I'm disabled, but was her caregiver and now am my father's, I live in their house. 
She and I never really got along as I was growing up, but thought in the last few years of living together, we had hashed things out. 
I was wrong.  Her journal had nothing good to say about me, but was always defending my brother. 
It's sad for me.  I thought of her as my best friend, as well as my mother.  Sadly, that wasn't true. 
BUT - I've learned to detach from the favoritism.  Sometimes I take it back, but for the most part, I've let it go.  I've had years to do so, which you may not have. 
If you don't expect anything from the GC, you can only be surprised in a pleasant manner. 
Know that you're not alone in the feeling.
Gary W
Reply with quote  #13 
Thank you for the hug Leslie, I have been my Moms caregiver for the last eight years. It just gets hard at times, when you know you have a worthless brother who calls once a week and Mom thinks that he is the greatest.
Reply with quote  #14 
Trust me, I know.
my brother is the GC. 
What's ironic is, when my parents befriended an elderly man, that man just gushed about his son, who never had time for him.  But it was 2 daughters who cared for him full time.  My parents would just rail against this son for hours - how awful he was for saying he didn't have time to even call once a week.
Well - that's my brother.  And I told them that.  They hated this man's son for doing the very thing they enabled their own son to do. 
It's hard.  No question. 
It was very hard discovering how much my mother disliked me, even for all the things I did to make her very difficult life more pleasant, and affordable. 
What I have is that I did my best and I was honorable, respectful and a fierce advocate - in other words - the stronger and better person.  Not done out of spite - but because it's the right thing. 
I still want to strangle my brother from time to time.  But mostly, he's just another person in this world.  Just because I happen to have close DNA ties to him doesn't mean anything. 
And the hug is literal.  I can't say enough about hugs.  They are a vital part of staying healthy.  Give and receive as many as possible!  Truly.
Reply with quote  #15 
I think half the battle is realizing that golden children do exist.

I have learned that there are also other 'goldens' as well as siblings, like neighbors, or SILs.

Often I found myself being unfavorably compared to them, when I knew that I had put in 100% more effort to support my parent emotionally and practically.

In my case it was just one of my mother's games. A game to make me feel worthless and jealous. I was the no.1 when we were 'best friends', then I would hear how I was 'the best'. However I always had to work hard at being good...otherwise she would press my buttons and tell me what a dismal failure I was compared to a or z.

My mother actually used the word 'favorite' are my favorite.

I reached breaking point about it, the worst feeling was one of jealousy and envy towards her 'goldens'. I did not like feeling this way. Neither did I want to bend over backwards to keep my position of 'Golden' over the others.

And how my mother spun her game. Forbidding any of her minions (me included) to converse with one another...keeping everyone apart and poisoning one against the other.

I wrote her a letter, telling her frankly that I no longer wanted to play 'mind games', that I did not want to be her favorite..or to play the game of favorites with others. I asked her to leave me alone.

I didn't hear from her for about 6 weeks, but I think the letter she is much more careful not to 'rock my boat.' I have gained the title of being 'highly strung'....even crazy...she tells others 'don't upset Susan'...perhaps a small victory !!!
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