Besides the lack of authentic bonding, suspicions are commonplace among members. Members are afraid of each other and each other’s intentions, members show a lot of signs of stress, feeling “unseen” and “unheard”, and these families can graduate into alcoholic families, authoritarian families and crime families. “People pleasing” is often a major focus and “an either/or” too: you are going to totally please the narcissist or sociopath or you aren’t; you are going to do all that you are told to do or you will be rejected entirely; you are going to become all that the narcissist or sociopath dreamed of in a child (idealized) or you are going to be rejected altogether (scapegoated); you are going to become the ultimate spouse and do what the narcissistic or sociopathic partner tells you to do or to think, or you will be rejected entirely.
Narcissists especially tend to use black and white thinking, “It is all or nothing”, “You agree totally with me or you don’t agree with me at all”, “You are for me or against me”, “I am all good and you are all bad”, “You are always at fault and I am never at fault” (called splitting
in psychology terms).
If you do not, you become invisible to them, and they complete the invalidation by rejecting you. This is where the silent treatments come in, the ghosting, the shunning, the ostracizing, the marginalizing, the incredible lack of empathy.
There are exceptions to this, of course, and that is where their paranoia comes in. They actually do not want you to show or to tell anyone that they invalidated you (rejected you) because they have decided what you are feeling, thinking and experiencing, so they have to vilify you with even more lies. Lies pile on top of lies and graduate to smear campaigns:
“(My target) is a liar.”
“(My target) is crazy.” – called gaslighting.
“(My target) has an agenda.”
To you: “I know you better than you know yourself” – common, and a sign of narcissism (and psychopathy).