74 thoughts on “The Narcissistic Mother: One of the Most Frightening of All Personalities

  • January 15, 2020 at 12:42 pm

    Oh my…this article is so accurate that it sounds like you’ve described my mother to a T.
    I had no idea until last year after seeing a Clinical Psychologist, that my mother was a full blown narcissist, and that she had systematically, emotionally abused me throughout my life.

    It’s no wonder that I’ve struggled so much in my relationships, both friendships and marriages…..two divorce!. I’ve married narcissists and had friends who are the same and I the perfect people pleaser. Not good! It all makes perfect sense now and mother’s affects on me made me feel so unworthy and unlovable to the extent that I felt flawed as a human being because of her treatment of me.

    Thank you so much for the article.

    Reply
    • January 18, 2020 at 4:55 pm

      Hi Sally.

      Awareness and education is the first steps to healing your heavily injured child-self. Realizing you’ve been “nurtured” to believe the distorted self-image reflected back to you is not true can be quite overwhelming. The good news is, these types of conditioning is not in your DNA and can be successfully corrected with the help of a good mental/emotional professional and consistent self-work. Sending you my best!

      ~ Carmen

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      • June 6, 2020 at 12:39 pm

        Ohmygoodness. It’s like reading a profile of my mother. And yes, true to form I feel so very guilty and disloyal saying that. My situation is difficult. I have cancer and have had 2 major operations so after 15 very independent years, I’ve had to move back in with my parents. My cancer is just another way that I have disappointed her which is heart breaking and my father and brother do nothing to defend or support me emotionally. Life is pretty challenging these days so thank you, truly, for this article.

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      • July 4, 2020 at 9:41 am

        Never give up!
        I guess I am here because I deal with the same issues as every daughter with a narcissistic mother. When I read your comment, it moved me to tears. Although I do not have cancer, I do have health problems; and, yes she blames me for that. Not genetics. So, I have heart disease, my dad passed at age 42, thirty-five years ago. I am afraid to tell her my condition, because, one she would now have to worry about me. Two, she keeps telling me how to live a healthy lifestyle, and I don’t follow her example. She had a triple bypass and blamed her heart problems on stressed caused by me & siblings. Not the fact that her arteries were blocked.

        My mother finds a way to blame everything on everyone. An example would be, she burns almost everything she cooks, because she puts something on the stove and leaves to go into family room and watch tv. (She has a tv in the kitchen soooooo) Anyhow, once I dozed off on the couch, woke up to the smoke alarm going off. The burning pan was my fault, because I should have known she was going to cook, therefore, I should have never fallen asleep.
        I’d like to move so far away, that traveling would be unreasonable. I envy people that have. I don’t know how to end this & sorry to say so much! I guess I related with your story and wanted you to hear from someone that can relate 100% to what you are going through. Stay strong! Be well & you fight!

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  • January 16, 2020 at 6:04 am

    Bravo, Bravo, Bravo! So many nails, so many heads you’ve hit. At last, someone has written about this in which, I consider a brutal and honest style. I had such hard times getting anyone to believe my side of the story until I was getting counseling for drug and alcohol issues. I was so lucky to get a woman who was the first person, ever (I was 45ish), to say she was so sorry that, that happened to me. I really did hear it, but I didn’t feel it yet. I had a long relationship with the counselor and she helped me so much.
    I’m so very grateful that this subject is getting out there, that these nasty, pervasive women are being exposed. They do lifetime lasting damage.
    Thank you so much for being the loudest voice I’ve heard so far.

    Reply
    • January 18, 2020 at 5:14 pm

      Hi Kim,

      I’ve witnessed this countless times. Adult children of narcissist mothers turn to friends, family and even online groups for support – only to be told “A mother cannot hate their child!” or worse, “Your mom has always been so warm and supportive, my entire family adores her!” – confirming all the horrible feelings and thoughts that’s been haunting this person about him/herself. This absolute invalidation broke my heart.

      Yes! Understanding the disorder and accepting that this isn’t your fault is crucial. Self-work and seeing help from a therapist and other reliable mental health professionals to navigate out of the foggy, suffocating, and confusing maze will help with the breakthrough.

      I’m happy to know you’ve found your way out! Thank you for reading.

      ~ Carmen

      Reply
      • May 27, 2020 at 11:14 am

        Let me tell you about a mother who really, deeply can hate her child and tries to destroy him.
        She yelled at me at the top of her lungs when I was 7 years old, she wished I never was born.
        I remember I looked up at her, for I was still very small ofcourse, straight into her eyes totally overwhelmed. Then she started yelling; ‘Look at that kid! He’s got the Devil in his eyes!’
        We were in the kitchen and mij father was in the livingroom. I kept staring at her in a frozen state. She then yelled to my father (who enabled her abuse by keeping distance from home normally); ‘You loser why don’t you do a thing about this kid!’.
        He got fed-up, burts into the kitchen and hit me full-fist in the face. Both leaving me bleeding from my nose on the kitchen floor.
        My father turned up within seconds telling me he was so very sorry.
        My mother never did. After this event she repeated even more cruel acts when my father (and other withnesses) were not around.
        She also abused my father relentlessly in the years after. Till he committed suicide age 48.
        These people ar full of hate and evil. They are monsters. She’s long gone now. She passed before I became fully aware.
        May the bitch burn in Hell forever and ever.

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      • June 25, 2020 at 11:43 pm

        Oh my gosh, we share similar stories , Ge, both in abuse and in father committing suicide . I send you heart hugs .

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      • August 24, 2020 at 3:45 am

        Hi Carmen, I too have been at the hands of a narcissistic mother my whole life, i am still dealing with her abuse at 36. She has her hooks so deep in my children i feel as though she will ruin their relationship with me if i don’t do something. She talks badly about me too them, and undermines me constantly in front of them. I have put boundaries in place with her in the past and she physically assaulted me, and then lied to everyone saying i gave myself the injury and called the police on her to frame her. I was 32 at the time.

        How do i recover from this? who do i go to?? What qualifications do i look out for and what should i ask them? i want someone who can really help me heal. I have terrible self esteem and its effecting me in so many ways. I feel as though so many people don’t truly understand narcissism, how can i be sure i get someone who can really help?

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    • July 2, 2020 at 3:10 am

      My mother ruined my life. She was nice to everyone and to me a controlling demanding woman and if I fail to meet her demands she was angry at me if I wanted to do something to have fun I was doing something wrong to her and get everybody thought she was the best thing and the nicest person I was so confused I am an only child a daughter my father was my life the day he died I lost both my mother and father I was only 34 he was 67 and my mother is 91 and I’m still dealing with this bullshit and I’m 61 now I don’t like her I don’t even know if I love her she is a toxic woman I am embarrassed to say this because it is my mother am I wrong to say these things. I don’t even wanna live anymore she makes me sick I am such a good person I care about everyone but her and I look like an evil person to everyone I need help she’s so nasty she is so controlling she doesn’t want me to be happy every time I try to tell her how she makes me feel she turns it around and makes it my fault I am not good enough I am not worthy my first husband left because of her please help me

      Reply
  • January 16, 2020 at 5:39 pm

    I left home way too young because of this very thing. I managed to make a good marriage (41years) and treat my daughters with respect. Now at 63, I have full time care of my mother. She is still all about herself (she is now 86). Her health is not good and she wants to be sick. I feel like I’m being punished for something. Did I mention that my mother in law lives in my home? She is 91.
    Thank you for writing about this.

    Reply
    • January 18, 2020 at 5:26 pm

      Hi Kym,

      Your determination to succeed in your marriage and treat your daughters differently than how you were raised is to be commended.

      Having full-time care of both mothers – with one having NPD – must be quite a challenge. It would be of great help if you had family, friends, or other organizations to assist in lightening that weight off your plate. If none is available, a social worker or other mental-health professional familiar with narcissistic/emotional abuse should be able to help you create/defend boundaries and give you advice and feedback to take care of your well-being.

      Thank you for reading.

      ~ Carmen

      Reply
  • January 16, 2020 at 8:03 pm

    What if you are the golden child? So much of this fits my mother, and my father has some of the traits too, but mostly he is her enabler. I have difficulty processing the fact that I am the golden child. She constantly finds fault with everything I do but that doesnt compare to the way my brother, a successful accomplished man, is looked down upon. My husband and I set firm boundaries when our kids were born, an act that was met with the temper tantrum of all temper tantrums. Now I’ve called from grace of course, but despite my brother taking care of all their needs he is still criticized and belittled.

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    • January 26, 2020 at 5:07 am

      Hi Sarah,

      What I’ve personally observed is that the narcissistic mother affects the sef-esteem and worth of both the “golden child” and “scapegoat.” While the scapegoat is perpetually left wondering why they are never good enough, the golden child is groomed to behave in a way to gain the narcissistic parent’s approval – stunting their growth as an independently thinking/feeling individual. There are also cases when all children take the role of scapegoat (no golden child) and if there is only one child, that child can be bounced back and forth between golden child / scapegoat.

      I commend you and your husband for setting and enforcing boundaries despite their temper tantrums! As far as the continued criticizm and belittlement of your brother, narcissists will treat horribly, anyone who poses a threat to their ego – no matter how well that person takes care of them. The very act of treating him poorly could be providing them with narcissistic supply as well (you may be accomplished, but I’ll put you in your place).

      I’ve seen adult siblings on both ends (golden child / scapegoat) help each other through, after becoming independent from the narcissist.

      ~ Carmen

      Reply
      • March 1, 2020 at 6:12 pm

        I like your last sentence…it resonates with me. After many years my golden child brother is letting me know how he really feels about our mother. I feel we have all suffered in some way.

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  • January 17, 2020 at 10:10 am

    You are so right on Carmen. It really helps to have an understanding of this because I have struggled with so much lack of knowing what I feel, want etc – and all other characteristics of a Narciss Mom. Effected by whole life. Now she is 89 and in Florida with flaming red hair, an active widow – I have made my amends – she could only admit so much. I do not see her much and send money when I can. I act as if a lot and take care of myself first. I have been in therapy and other self help programs for most of my life and at 61 found Gestalt therapy which helped immensely. Peace and love to all….

    Reply
    • January 26, 2020 at 5:14 am

      Hi Myndie,

      Yes, the most effective route to recovery is self-care and getting proper therapy. You may not be able to fix the narcissist since their ego is so fragile, they refuse to see any fault in themselves, but understanding their disorder helps in breaking the cognitive dissonance. Even moms can be very, very wrong. I wish you continued recovery and strength! Thank you for reading and sharing your experience.

      ~ Carmen

      Reply
  • January 19, 2020 at 8:37 am

    Great article! I think it’s important to note that there are variations of this narcissistic mother. I finally realized my mom was one, but she inherited this trait from her father. We pass on these behaviors, whether it’s a man or a woman. If I were to really look at it, I would say my mom was probably bipolar. It wasn’t until recently that I realized some of her behaviors were not what most would call normal or healthy. We had no boundaries.

    This article should prompt us to immediately examines our OWN parenting behaviors. This trait gets passed from generation to generation. I see myself and a lot of my friends in these descriptions. I’m sure most moms would never want to admit this, but this forces you to take a long hard look at yourself.

    Reply
    • January 26, 2020 at 5:26 am

      Hi Kathryn,

      Yes, this trait can be passed on from one generation to another – absolutely. The deal with children (specifically daughters) of narcissistic mothers is that they have the tendency to become not only narcissistic, but codependent (lacking boundaries), have severe internalized shame, emotional unavailablity, suffer from depression, repeatedly fall into toxic relationships… among many other unhealthy consequences.

      Once you’ve identified that you have a mother with narcissistic personality disorder, it really is important to look closely at your relationship/behaviors with your own children. I’ll be covering this very issue in the next article being published this week.

      I appreciate you and wish you continued healing!

      ~ Carmen

      Reply
  • January 20, 2020 at 10:40 am

    Hi Carmen,
    This article (The Narcissistic Mother) was sent to me by a friend. I asked them to also post it on a small Narcissism Recovery Group that I lead on FB. I enjoyed this article and your writing so much that I wanted to know if you have a FB Page or other online Resources that I could get more of your writing(s) from? Thank you for your response and Happy New Year!

    Thankfully,
    K. Terry Klein

    Reply
    • January 26, 2020 at 5:32 am

      Hi Terry,

      Yes, I have a podcast that focus on recovering from narcissistic abuse as well as articles on my website, Thrive Global, Thought Catalog, etc. and mini-courses. I see you found my FB page so I will get in touch with you there shortly. Thank you for reaching out and here’s to a healthy and happy 2020!

      ~ Carmen

      Reply
  • January 20, 2020 at 1:19 pm

    I was crying reading this, I can identify with every woman/scenario you mentioned, my mother was exactly the same when my kids were born, I breastfed them, I had a lot of problems with let down, I’d be standing in the middle of a room, and the next thing I knew I had a wet shirt and puddles at my feet, I asked my mother to call before she came by, so I wasn’t topless or in a wet t-shirt contest when she did, of course, this was turned into “don’t come over”!

    Reply
    • January 24, 2020 at 1:17 pm

      This is exactly what my mother would do. Any little request that didn’t suit her exact ideal would be blown into a worst case scenario. The year my son was born, right before Christmas, I suffered terrible PPD and we decided we would just do a nuclear family holiday. This became the martyred cry of ‘we aren’t allowed to spend Christmas with the grandchildren anymore’. Ironically, they haven’t seen us since, at their own choosing, but our fault of course.

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      • February 25, 2020 at 9:20 pm

        My first child was stillborn at full term. When I became pregnant again, my mother told people she hoped we both died this time.

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      • June 7, 2020 at 6:45 am

        Hi Karen. I am so very sorry for your loss & for the inexcusable cruel treatment you received from your mother during such a devastatingly difficult time, when you needed love & support more than ever. I had a similar experience with my mother, except it was my husband that I lost. He (36 years old) was killed, a year & a half ago, in an ambulance accident while working as a paramedic. About 6 months after the accident my mother came to my house yelling at screaming at me about something (I honestly don’t even remember what it was about, but it was something ridiculous, as it usually is with her). I asked her to leave because I didn’t want to fight with her, but she refused to leave. Trying to avoid a screaming match, I just carried on with what I was doing & didn’t speak to her. Well that just made her even angrier & then she started attacking me verbally. First she said that I was ungrateful & hateful and that that’s why God took my husband from me. Of course it really hurt to hear her say something like that, but I still just tried to ignore it . Well I guess since that comment didn’t get me upset enough for her, she decided to attack again by saying that I should have died instead of my husband. I already knew at this point in time that she was a narcissist, my husband was actually the one who had finally helped me to see her for who she was & all the damage she had done to me over the years, but even though I know this about her it still hurts so very bad when she says hateful things like that. And now that my husband is gone, I can feel her slowly trying to gain control over me & my life again, but I’m determined not to ever let that happen again, even if my kids & I have to move to another city or state to get away & cut her out of our lives forever. It makes me so sad to see all these comments of others dealing with narcissistic parents also. It is no way to grow up or live & I wouldn’t wish it on even my worst enemy! 🙁

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    • January 26, 2020 at 5:41 am

      /lisa & Sarah,

      My heart goes out to you both. What a horrible experience – especially after welcoming a new child. This is when daughters need their mothers’ love and support the most! A good counselor/therapist familiar with narcissistic/borderline personality disorder can gently and successfully help you navigate through this pain and fog. Refuse to allow the cycle to continue. Create and enforce strong boundaries to protect yourself and your children!

      ~ Carmen

      Reply
      • January 27, 2020 at 12:21 pm

        Carmen,
        Thanks for response to both of my posts. I sought counseling and prescription help to deal with the PPD and my parent’s behavior. My husband, my brother and his partner, and myself, all share an understanding of my parent’s behavior and each other’s reactions to it, but it is a team effort to help them as they age, each other and maintain healthy boundaries for our kids. We have certainly learned more self awareness through this experience, a tool that we hope will help us end the cycle and be healthier parents to our children.

        Reply
  • January 21, 2020 at 12:19 pm

    Yes. All of this. My step-kid’s mother is a full blown narcissist, and then some. She’ll have little to no relationship with them when they’re adults. Thank you for sharing this.

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  • January 21, 2020 at 5:14 pm

    Had I possessed the words, I could have written nearly every detail of this article about my own incredibly stressful experience. I was suicidal by high school, and have been since. The rest of the family humors her in order to bond with her and to avoid her wrath being turned upon themselves. My adult daughters learned from her to never afford me the slightest respect. I’m essentially estranged from them and have been for 15+ years. It’s all completely unnecessary and the rejection is hurtful beyond description. I see a psychiatrist for med management, but need to muster the energy to find a therapist. I’m so grateful to have found you as a resource.

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  • January 22, 2020 at 1:21 am

    I was in love with someone once with a narcissistic mother. She raised him like the family was a cult. He must always be her child even as a grown man, take care of her and serve her kingdom as if he was the protective knight. She didn’t want him to grow up. He has no backbone and won’t stand up to her so he tricks women into believing he loves them all so he can get revenge on these clueless women all because he can’t stand up to his own mother. He secretly resents her but was raised to be the peacekeeper. Ever wonder where all these sheltered spoiled video game and porn obsessed males are coming from? The selfish mothers that don’t want their sons to grow up. The missing fathers are to blame too.

    Most of these 40 year old virgins are white males never taught to have courage and they blame women for refusing to settle for them.

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    • January 23, 2020 at 10:39 pm

      Thank you! Echos my sentiments.

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  • January 22, 2020 at 12:58 pm

    So I write as an adoptive Mom, who’s adult daughter suffered these problems from her birth Mom (she came to us as a foster child at 10, and we adopted her at 13). My question is … now that our daughter has children of her own, how likely or unlikely is it that she, too, will become a narcissistic mother?

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  • January 23, 2020 at 12:47 am

    Having consumed countless explanations of narcissistic (….and I’ll raise you one – borderline) personality disorder(s), this is one that struck me like a heat-seeking missile. I lost count tallying the number of irrefutable truths revealed through each heartbreaking story. I hope it helps those of us lucky enough to just not get it. We could all benefit from listening with empathy rather than invalidating the sufferers of this horrific childhood.

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  • January 24, 2020 at 11:22 am

    Carmen,
    Very well written. Is it possible to write an article about what healthy and whole mother’s do? It would be very wonderful to know what and how they raise their children. The assumption is that we know and understand this. I have often asked people, that say I should write a book about my life, to write about their wonderful upbringing. Some of us who had this kind of mother don’t necessarily understand what a good mother does with her children since we have not experienced it.

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    • June 11, 2020 at 9:29 pm

      That made me sad to read your words. I ached for one normal day when I was a kid, and would love to hear how normal mom’s care for their offspring to. I identify with everything here. Let me tell you these Vampire women are going to hell. Mean as a snake, I experienced everything the author opined about. Scapegoat. Dad left that witch when I was 5. My dad moved close by. What really blows my mind is how my hateful unqualified mother was given custody of 2 boys, and she got the house which is probably the ONLY REASON she fought for custody. My Dad was awesome we had a fantastic relationship and that burned my mother all my life. Until my father was killed in a car accident when I was 30.
      Day after his funeral I went to my mom’s house, first time she saw me since he was killed, 3 days later. She pulled me into the garage as soon as I walked into the house and uttered the words I will never forget “I bet you wish it was me who was killed and not your father” smh. That snake still slithering around I will leave it at that. These are the most destructive beings on the planet. God Bless 🙏

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  • January 24, 2020 at 3:43 pm

    My narcissist mother was hard to realize as such; she hid behind victim status. She did have real struggles to overcome, but she was guilty of making sure her 5 children paid the price of her suffering.

    We suffered mental and physical abuse but then somehow end up having to comfort HER.

    I’m finally finding my peace in life by being able to set my own boundaries with her. She’s 83 now and I feel nothing more than duty towards her.

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  • January 24, 2020 at 5:08 pm

    Very well written! So many articles about NPD are written without the clear-cut, easy to understand flow of your writing. It need not be so difficult to understand (e.g. getting into the object relations, constancy, permanence…Ugg!). The NPD mother is simply an extremely toxic person who “should” have absolutely no right to raise children. Sadly, I don’t see a way around it because kids present the perfect opportunity to indulge in the NPD drama–the invalidation and devaluation of other to perpetuate the false self you spoke of. Narcissism is everywhere, individually and culturally. It simply means getting one’s self-esteem strokes by crushing the spirit of another, by person or by group. I can’t say why, it perplexes me, but I’ve been working on rather severe codependency for some time now, something I’ve always been told, because of stereotypes, is “not a man’s problem.” I don’t know if I had NPD parenting. I think I would know. My mom, however, is terrified of intimacy and closeness, her and dad are hopelessly enmeshed, and her anxiety, the protective mechanism, whenever a moment of authentic closeness was developing, she would find a way to shut down or otherwise escape. It’s weird, I have no concept or even the barest relationship with either of them as individuals, they are only one, amorphous blob. They never devalued though, just taught me me emotions were terrifying for them, in turn making me not trust my inner experience at all, and the self-doubt etc. you speak of. Don’t know what to make of it. If I’m around them too long I get depressed, but they say nothing specific to make me so. What do you think?

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  • January 26, 2020 at 7:56 am

    My God…that was my mother but I was kept away from anyone, family 👪 or friends, who might have helped. My father was a fleet street journalist and only came home infrequently, although he must have known what she was like. The old bitch was like Ariston…on and on and on, but finally did me the favour of dying at 92. I am married for the third time, but my husband never knows why or when I might explode. All my life has been filled with anger and hatred, although I did manage to get 250 miles away from her, and had a very hedonistic life. Unfortunately women like her know how to pull the string to jerk you back into her version of hell. I am sure the old bitch was trying to outlive me…her final failure!

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  • January 26, 2020 at 3:46 pm

    Hi Carmen,
    Reading your article was such a light-bulb moment. I knew I was emotionally abused as a child – repeatedly told I wasn’t good enough, no one would ever like me, I would never have any friends – just because I was me. You know how that plays out: crippling self-doubt; unnecessary overachieving; self-loathing. I always felt this was just my father, then came to see my mother as an enabler, but having read your article, it is clear she also had NPD. One of my 3 brothers was the golden child, but neither of the other 2 were treated like me. Both of my parents told me many times they
    never wanted a daughter and they decided when I was born that they would never spoil me. Somehow, that decision turned into ongoing emotional abuse. Ironically, I nursed both of them through the long years of their decline and deaths.
    I have had a long and happy marriage and we have raised three strong, independent – and loved – young adults. I know my CEN and
    my parents’ NPD has had a crippling effect on my life at times. I am so happy that I can begin to let this go now at 58 because I totally understand what was done to me. Thank you so much for this articulate explanation.
    Kim

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  • January 26, 2020 at 4:59 pm

    Well written! It’s still unbelievable to me that these narcissistic monsters get away with almost everything, just because they’re moms. I found out about my mother’s NPD in 2017 when I had just turned 13. This article hit many nails on the head for me, almost everything is 100% accurate. My parents divorced after the discovery. Actually, my mother sued my dad for money and they’ve been involved in a lawsuit for 2 years. Thank you for this support, I know that recovery isn’t linear as trauma hits me in the face every now and then.

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  • January 27, 2020 at 9:17 pm

    Omg this article just Rocked my world! Do you know my mother? You would have to know her to write this article! You have explained my exact life growing up with this kind of treatment from my narcissistic mother.
    At 39 I recieved my 1st felony ever for drugs and what was supposed to take 12 months or one year took 17 months because I was having troubles coping after my second failed marriage, living in her house while drugs were readily available by her. But I’m the one that’s too blame for scarring the family name. I’m very interested in reading all of your other articles as well as anything to do with children therapy. I’m having issues finding the right therapist for my 10 year old daughter who cant deal with a narcissistic father and grandmother!
    Thanks again,
    Meg from northern Indiana

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  • January 29, 2020 at 9:52 am

    I have learned so much from this blog @ narcissistic mothers- realizing the origin of my lifespan of ptsd-c; anxiety & depression. I also continue to connect the dots while further reading these related blog posts. Most recently, I concluded & read affirmation that my cen/narcissistic parenting resulted in my estrangement from my twin sister- who is bipolar & bpd and created a big part in my ptsd-c. I was under abuse double threat without any protection from either one. My mother passed 10 yr. ago and I got permanently off sis’s hamster wheel 5 yr. ago. Wish I’d done it decades ago!

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  • January 30, 2020 at 12:29 am

    It wasnt until I was 25 and found out I was adopted that everything started to come to light… I never understood the line of thinking the family had and why nobody would or could see my point of view. Everything was my fault and during my teen years were the worst. Countless nights of “family meetings” at the kitchen table which was nothing more than my Dad sitting quiet and my Mom standing over me screaming, “I hate you, where did you come frrom?, I wish I could send you back”. I went no contact in 2015 when my Grandma died and my Mom left the morning after the funeral for a 21 day cruise and left me to grieve alone. Now, 5 years later, my husband passed away Christmas day 2019 and i find myself truly needing my mother…sorry, needing “A mother”. I’ve tried to reach her via email but she won’t respond. Am i setting myself up if she ever responds or should i just “grieve alone” as I’ve had to do many times over while dealing with her….makes me wonder, why the heck did you even adopt me?

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    • February 3, 2020 at 8:52 am

      Amelia, I’m sorry to hear that you’ve lost your husband and that your grief and lack of support, are leading you to consider returning to an unhealthy situation. I believe there are support groups out there for those in similar situations, and I’m hoping you can find one to provide the support that you need. I’d also like to urge you to seek out a professional counselor. Someone who can not only help you with the grieving process but also strengthen you concerning the situation with your family. After what you’ve experienced during your childhood, and now losing your husband, your love and support, I can only imagine how difficult things currently are for you. Although I’m not someone working in this field, it’s a scary thought to think that without some support and professional help you could find yourself experiencing even further pain and frustration.

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  • January 31, 2020 at 4:18 pm

    WOW! I knew something was wrong with mother, but I didn’t know what to call it! My dad died when I was young, so I learned to deal with the feelings during my teens, I tried to kill the pain with drugs and alcohol, I became pregnant as a teen which she turned around and told everyone I did it on purpose. Behind closed doors she would say I’d be unmarried and have five kids and living on welfare. From this article; it’s true that when I would be dating she would try to flirt with my date, I thought that was really sick. She passed in 1992. I was so fed up with her demeaning me, and anything I did was never good enough or I’d never be as smart as my brother. Or, after I divorced, she would say no man wants a woman with kids. She was so hateful to me. I knew in my heart I was not what she tried to say I was. I waited until she passed to pursue my goals, and I am accomplishing them. I now have people in my life who encourage and support me. A total opposite then what she did for me.

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  • February 1, 2020 at 9:22 am

    Further to my first comments:

    After reading everyone’s comments… I can identify with and see parts of my own life in others’ situations. There is one thing that we are all united in, and that is, that our childhoods and our lives and how we functioned, were deeply affected by our Narcissistic parent. Our self esteem and our sense of worth was made null and void but, in most cases if not all, our sense of who we are has left us with a pervasive, ongoing sense of being ‘A Mr. or Mrs. Nobody’ in this world and feeling flawed as a human being. The truth is there is no such thing!!! All babies are innocent, precious little beings whom, like flower buds are just waiting to blossom under loves gaze.

    What is so clear to me is that the offending parent has stolen the most vital and central part of our being, from us. It’s that’ Spark’ that comes out in every child that feels loved and wanted and makes us ‘Shine’ for the beautiful little being that we have come to be. I’ve come to realize that the damage caused by those blood sucking narcs is much, much more than making us feel bad, in fact, it metaphorically rips the very heart out of us. It has robbed us of a clear sense of who we are as vital, functioning people. It has hit us at the very core of our being and affected our Spirituality on a deep level. In essence, it’s ‘Soul Murder.’ It’s a crime against a growing boy or girl who deserved nothing less than to be treated with gentle kindness, love and nurturing to bring out the very best within us thus, developing into confident adults who would have known at the very core of us that we were just as worthy and deserving as the next person. No better than but, certainly ‘not less than,’ as I believe that we were ALL created equal. Equal in terms of human worth, respect and dignity.

    How is any child supposed to make it in this world when we’ve been emotionally mugged and cruelly treated by the very woman who has given us life… the very breath that we take…. and, the very person whom we were utterly, and helplessly dependent on for our ‘Soul Growth.’ Without all the positive mirroring from our mother we wilt like flowers without water but, we don’t die a physical death it is rather, a soul death.

    As I reflect back on my childhood, I remember my maternal grandfather whom I loved with all my heart and with every fibre of my being and he loved me back equally. He was the light of my young live and when he died, when I was nine years old, I was grief stricken! However, I did know what it felt like to be loved and wanted. Grandad made me feel so good about being just ME. ME was good enough, and….that is where our narcissistic mother failed us miserably, on a grand scale. But, WE are Good Enough!!!

    I’m in my seventieth year now and my life has been filled with such heartbreak, betrayals, cruelty and emotional abuse. However, in spite of everything I’ve soldiered on and found that there are lots of loving and kind people in this world. Seek them out and always, always be kind to others, and when someone isn’t kind to you please remember that he or she is lacking in some way and never take anything personally. WE each have our own story to tell and we were meant to be in this world enjoying all the good things that life has to offer us.

    God Bless All of You my unmet friends. Lovingly, Sally x

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  • February 4, 2020 at 11:15 am

    Your article is my step-daughter, you nailed it. I realized early on in our marriage that she had severe issues. It took a few years (almost a divorce) for my enabling husband to see what she really was. She is an alcoholic with many DUI’s, smokes marijuana, has three children with three now divorced husbands (she left all of them after 1-2 years without notice), served time in jail twice once when she was eight months pregnant, has not been employed in seven years, lives in her ex-husband’s basement and it goes on and on. She has attacked me with crazy texts and yelling at me. I put up with it for my husband and grandchildren. The situation came to a halt last year and we severed ties with her. We miss our grandchildren but we can not live our lives with her lies, hate, and dysfunction. She thinks I have a problem and she is fine.

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  • February 5, 2020 at 2:20 am

    Well I think that I might be the narcissistic stepmother😔.
    How can I change this? As this is not the person I was or ever intended to be.

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  • February 10, 2020 at 11:03 am

    Thank you! I thought my particular Hell was unique. In its perversity,severity and the unfairness of the it all. So many times,I tried to explain what I have gone through,and fell so short. Now, I realize there was nothing special,just a textbook case of of Narc mom. And, I, the self destructive victim. The banality of evil. Today I begin therapy for this. God help me,she is still very much inmeshed in my life. I pray for the day i can walk away from her,and NEVER look back. Thank you for validating these scars, I will forever deal with…

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  • February 12, 2020 at 10:18 pm

    Another person here who can relate to your article. My mother was physically abusive and emotionally dismissive. Luckily, I went into therapy in my early 20’s and I give that therapist credit for emotionally “reparenting” me. Unfortunately I ended up marrying and then divorcing a high level narcissist but not before having 3 children who are all narcissistic to one level or another. It has left me with a life where I now feel very lonely as I have set boundaries and lowered my relationship expectations for all of them. Therapy gave me awareness and coping tools but this lifelong process has left me exhausted, sad and alone.

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  • February 20, 2020 at 12:23 pm

    Sally thank you for this article. My mom passed a few years ago and I am just now starting to see that she was in fact a narc. It’s really hard for me to grasp but the writing was always on te wall. She ws abused from childhood into her adult life by various people, she was always the victim, I was made to be her counselor/confidant as early as well as her living vicariously thru me, she was a functional alcoholic, she would get in druken stupors and wake us up in the wee hours of the morning on school nights and make us sit at the piano with her while she palyed hymns, I was always criticized and never praised, unless it made her look good. As in telling people how smart I was. We were isolated from our father(who lived with us) and any relatives. She also refused to tell me until her dying day who my biological father was/is. I know it sounds crazy but I believe that even in death, she is still pulling those strings. This is so hard for me to even write because it’s my mother and I can feel her anger and disappoinment with me for speaking about this.

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  • February 28, 2020 at 8:25 am

    I used to talk with my mother twice a day. We had a great relationship; however, five years ago she accused me of wanting to murder her in her sleep (which is very hurtful!). I am not a doctor, but clearly there is mental health at play. She does not think there is a problem with herself.

    As I think about it, I think she always struggled with mental health. I remember when my son Liam was born, I asked her if she wanted to hold him, and she responded, “Why would I?” On Mother’s Day, as a teenager, I remember her saying, “I am going to hide in the woods, so my other kids can’t find me.” I wish I could take my children to visit her today, but it gets awkward and she manipulates etc. Is it best to keep away? I wish I could visit 🙁

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  • February 28, 2020 at 4:36 pm

    Thankyou

    I have to say I always am surprised by my mothers ability to be flexible for extra she might allow us opinions about things that didn’t matter to her but if it does one must ” tow the party line” and and also told me ” I decided never to come between you and ( my daughter ) she didn’t much …but this was actually really big of her she came between me and everyone else as a matter of course …but she’s so covert and there is so little you can point a finger at

    But thanks for this info

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  • March 3, 2020 at 2:26 am

    I just wanted to thank you for this article as it really helps to validate my struggles as I begin the process of working through a new CPTSD diagnosis – primarily rooted in such parents.

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  • May 12, 2020 at 5:36 pm

    WOW , like others have said , you know my Mother! I am 44 years old and just finallly starting a path to make my life better and happier. I am trying not to feel guilty like my Mother has made my brother and I feel out whole life. If we didn’t do what she wanted we didn’t love her . It Never- Ever mattered how we felt , only how she felt and we had to hear it as a family for hours , her screaming , crying for hours and hours. My dad had to sit there quietly to or else. My Father never was able to escape from her torture and he took his own life a couple years ago 🙁 He was the sweetest man you could ever meet and my Mother was so verbally abusive to him, he basically was a robot at the end! So heart breaking. I have a 24 yr old son and I have always made sure that I would never make him feel the way that I felt my whole life. Thank you So much for your blog and your support- it makes me feel like I am not alone in this world! Thanks again 🙂

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  • May 24, 2020 at 2:26 pm

    I could have written this. To the day my mother died I tried to get her to say
    ‘I love you’ just once. Just once I wanted her to hug me. Just once…
    Then she died and my life spiraled out of control because I knew she took the only things I truly wanted with her to the grave. If I had not loved her with my whole heart it would have been easier on me. The only consolation(if you can call it that) she did the same to my sisters, my brothers no. I cannot forgive her nor forget what she did but her treatment made me strong and made me a survivor. The greatest thing I have learned over the years, I am no longer a victim.

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  • May 29, 2020 at 5:39 am

    this was really helpfull for me bcuz i spend my childhood listening to my other telling me i should lose some weight and insulting me infront of my relatives but at first it didnt affect me much but it was developing a feeling of insecurity inside me now i am 14 and am insecure and i becoming a narcissist and tell people i love myself when i actually hate everything about me .first i always blamed my self for not being good enough and couldnt live up to there expectations .but now i am realizing it is not my fault.

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  • May 30, 2020 at 9:11 pm

    I am sitting here with tears welling up in my eyes and I can hardly see what I am typing. I am 75 years of age and it is only in the last few years I finally found out what was wrong with my mother, my father and my sister. My mother was a full blown narcissist and one comment above really resonated with me…the one about someone meeting her mother’s friend and the friend not knowing there was another daughter. That identical situation happened to me. The rest of the article also hit home. Jealousy of her daughters, flirting with boyfriends etc.

    Unfortunately my sister turned into my mother and….a nasty person…and I have cut her out of my life for 12 years since my father passed on. She was the golden child but my father finally saw her for what she was, a manipulative, selfish, money grabber who cared only for herself and the funny thing is her job was as a carer in a nursing home. Even got a diploma in it. Says on her facebook page she loves the elderly and loves caring for people. Yet she did some disgraceful things re my father. Eventually he said to me a week before he died…I do not care if I ever see your sister again.

    My father was no saint either…he would ridicule and pass nasty comments. and think it was funny. I left home or should I say I was forced out of the home into a job my father had got for me but I had to live in a big city in a boarding house all on my own at 15 years of age. Fortunately there were decent people living there in their early 20’s who took me under their wing and looked after me.

    Being raised in this household had a marked effect on me my whole life; I suffered low self esteem and could have married a wonderful man but I did not think I was good enough and left the country and came home. I was living in London at the time. I chose never to have children and have had two marriages….only the second was the right one. If I had had different caring parents I believe my life would have been so much happier.

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    • June 2, 2020 at 1:47 pm

      Oh Dear, if I could, I’ll put an arm around you and try to comfort you to sooth all the abuse and sadness you’ve endured. I’ve been there too and still am, although I left them all behind ~12 years ago.
      The abuse and neglect afterwards never quite heal don’t they. You’re left a foster-child but even harder. If they only left you on a doorstep to be taken by anyone would have been better. But they chose to keep you. Spilling all their self hate and disgust on to you. A child. The cowards, the evil, those wicked monsters.
      We know now. And it’s hard we tried so hard to please them to be accepted.
      But we didn’t knew anything about Narcissism/Psycopathy/Sociopathy.
      So were not prepared to any of this. Especially those who grow up with those dissordered people.
      Dear Rehandra, you’re 75, you’re still struggeling with all the abuse you endured.
      I understand in my way, for I endured a same story like yours. And I’m 60 now.
      In your words I read a loving, wonderfull woman.
      Big hug dear.

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    • August 5, 2020 at 3:43 pm

      Oh my, your story resonated so much with me. I just came back from inviting my mother to come for lunch and see my garden. She is “too busy”, but can’t say doing what. My narc sister has told her she is not to see me. This all goes back to when I was about 12, when I wouldn’t let enabler dad touch me. I’m 56 years now, and of course had narc partners, which turns into disaster which just fuels the stereotyping of the scapegoat. I am a good person and respected in the community. There are so many lies that have been told about me and people are now finding out the truth. But really, the last 40 some years have just been one big hell for me. I don’t even have sisters I can call- my youngest sister didn’t tell her boyfriend for TWO years that she has siblings. It is indeed the most lonely and isolating existence, and it’s a constant battle just staying alive.

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  • May 30, 2020 at 10:06 pm

    I’ve only in recent months began to realize that my mother, now 89 and fit and very opinionated, is a narcassist. I knew her behaviour was strange, unreasonable etc but never tried to analyse it. For years she has manipulated me, scrounging from me whilst secretly stashing up her own money, which came to light recently. She has pleaded poverty for years and I have spent a fortune on her and her home. She is never satisfied with anything I do for her whether it’s cooking for her, taking her out for a meal, even the things I’ve bought her. She loves being argumentative, she’s always right and if I try to hit back she drags up something from my past that she knows will hurt me and she revels in it. When I got my degree in adult life, of no cost to her, I gave her a picture of myself in my cap and gown naturally smiling. She turned to my dad, now deceased who she humiliated and belittled no end, and said “if you ever want a laugh take a look at that photo”. Now she lives alone and I am all she has apart from several sisters who she praises and runs down at the same time. I phone her every day and I hate it, my anxiety is through the roof. I’ve been taking meals to her in lockdown and she even tells me to cut the potatoes and carrots smaller. She does own knives so what is the problem for goodness sake? I could go on but now I realise what she is I am learning to deal with it.

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  • June 8, 2020 at 5:18 am

    Is it similar when a child has a narcissistic father? And is it as important as mother, especially for boy’s development as a male role?

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  • June 10, 2020 at 8:55 pm

    You nailed my mother perfectly. Do they even know they are one? She called me one after my father passed away and the one thing my counselors never told me till recently..that she is one.. and even then i was not ready to see that..second guessing it.. i finally see the painful but liberating truth.i
    its not me.. and now i know there are so many hurt daughters out there..not just me.

    Is there any thing to communicate to her that she’s the very projection spewed onto me? she called me a snake in the grass..it was bring me in to her life..just to chase me off hurting..devastated numb and triggered.

    After the 40 emails of her stating my DSM manual traits ,*(,no examples just you are statements) i went no contact-LC for a couple years. she started blogging crazy stuff on my dads memorial blog..stuff she just made up..i didn’t see it untill recently to light his candles.. she called me petty (a word GC brother gabe her to use) after I brought it to her attention that everyone who knows us can read about her miserable daughter/grandkids. During that time i graduated and got my BS in Psychology May *(2017) she wrote a letter with 12 mostly nonspecific apologies. She actually put time into it.. and gifted me something for my birthday and graduating not usual to get gifts..

    Why did she put her time into nearly admitting..nearly.. that shes NPD. all her apologies..not specific were almost like im sorry for the moment.. because i responded reconnected..and 2 months later she’s all like the normal hypercritical cruel unempathect person she was before the letter. was it just bait?

    Recently I stood up for one of her flying monkeys who was accused of wanting her property..long story but GC brother was on a fishing trip to get his name in her will, but i said the rational truth.. Val *(not her real name) was reminding her of the promise because GC bro was asking everyone knowing shed progress out of ICU– then I became the target.. because i didnt agree with her ..eventually .. i was called a*(greedy female dog<~~)* she is COPD and almost died.. so I was reeled back in..before i broke the lc-nc something in my head said don't go to the hospital..turn around.. what are you doing.. and i needed to listen..in the end after the craziness…I asked to never be notified again.. hurt and emotionally beaten by GC brother and her.

    do they ever feel true remorse knowing thet are hurtful and wrong?

    After the last episode, i told her NC..and now 100% no contact and she happily agreed. she still sends me information on how I'm the narc daughter from psych central.. it hurts but i never show that..i just laugh it off.. my clinic director therapist of 9 years said she wasn't qualified to label me..and clarified thst i am not..a NArc ..hey.. i do believe him..yet the hurt is that she' seems to go out of her way to make sure i live in her shadow.

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  • June 27, 2020 at 1:05 am

    What a very good article, Carmen!! I applaud you. I have read many similar articles over the years, but this one hit the spot. Good on you!!

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  • July 24, 2020 at 3:21 pm

    Wow, this is spot on. My mother competes with me in everything. I had surgery two years ago and she had the same surgery 10 year before mine. Every time I told a nurse or doctor that I was in pain, as soon as they left, she would talk about how her pain so much more worse than mine. She even told me surgeon about her surgery while he was asking me how I was doing! My surgeon was dumbfounded. I’ve learned not to tell her to too much about any pain I’m going through because hers is so much worse. Everything I do or say, she always has some weird story for how hers is so much worse or better than mine.

    Everyday conversation is the worst. She can literally go up to 30 minutes on the phone rambling about everything concerning her. It was so bad at one point that I didn’t talk to her for a week because I was dealing with depression. She called me on day 5 to ask me, “When were you going to call and see if I was okay?” and “Why aren’t you talking to me?” and “Thanks for calling to see how I was doing. I’m doing great, thanks for asking.”. It took me another week to talk to her on the phone because of this.

    Today, she’s in the hospital with issues that could’ve been avoided if she had listened to my brother and I telling her to go to the hospital months ago. She got mad and screamed at my brother saying he was attacking her when he was only trying to understand how to all the medical issues come up now instead of awhile ago. I was silent while this whole exchange was going on. After she finished yelling at him, then she started on me because “you’re being quiet and not saying anything”. She accused my brother and I of turning our backs on her because we didn’t have an answer for a question she asked. Then she ignored both of us. Three hours later, she’s texting both of us.

    Also speaking of the hospital, I cannot go to the ER with her anymore. When the doctors and nurses are talking to her, she tells them she’s in pain while smiling like it’s a game. Supposedly the pain is so bad, but when one of them appears, she’s laughing and joking. She loves it when someone pays attention to her all the time.

    I used to get blamed for everything under the sun (and the sun, not lying) growing up. If something went missing, it was always my fault. If she put something down in plain sight and couldn’t see it, I took it. She constantly had it in her head that I was always doing something to her. My brother can attest to this. She still tries to do it even up to now. It doesn’t matter than I’m an adult now. She’s the reason why I don’t trust people at all.

    When I wasn’t even 18 yet, I was diagnosed with chronic depression (I know, that’s bad). My mother found a therapist for me. When we got there, while I was in the room, she made the therapist think that I was the worse person in the world. She talked bad about me to the therapist I was supposed to be seeing and she believed my mother! I wouldn’t speak to either one of them that day or any time we went back to her. I found another therapist and it took me awhile to talk to her because of what my mother did.

    I won’t even get started on what she did to my father…

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    • August 4, 2020 at 4:51 pm

      Thank you for sharing your story. I’m so sad to hear of your struggles, many of which I can relate to.

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  • August 9, 2020 at 2:54 am

    Best article on this theme I have ever read. If you need to do another one I can help with practical examples on each line. The abuse can be more severe and more subtle but the damage is incomensurable. Fortunately I decided to forgive her and completely forget her into my past, with no way of touching me with her toxicity and I am as good as I can be, and I am decided that, no matter what strings she tries to enter back into my life, to never ever let her do it. My children are better without grandparents than with such grandparents.

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  • August 11, 2020 at 7:14 am

    i to had a mother who was a narc and at 69 yrs old-it still hurts. i cannot relate at all to how it would be to have lived with a mother’s love and approval. it is like watching a movie to me..i was told every mean thing imaginable..cruelty was then norm and i was threatened constantly–if u tell your father u will hit the four walls, i have blocked out alot –better that way. went into therapy three times.. she would say things that were so cruel–as if u were offering a cup a coffee to someone. did not even have to be an argument going on and she would throw out a bomb. was told at 15 i could never go to a school dance-u r homely and will be laughed at.. tweezed my eyebrows forthefirst time–cause i looked like a gorilla..on wedding day-came into kitchen with beauty rep–told me she hated how i came out-wasted money..if i got preg. put head in stove and turn on the gas–she wanted nothing to do with this creature either. so many mean things..i hate mother’s day-it is soooo tough for me to hear and see the celebrations the commercials–no matter what is going on in my life…i mourn the mom i just never had. i have no idea why this happened to me and to all of the others–i wish i did..ty for this post

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    • August 15, 2020 at 6:19 pm

      Dear Nora,

      When I read your post I could almost feel the deep hurts and anger within you. I am 69 too and, for the last three decades I’ve been working on understanding what happened to me within my family of origin and, why was it that I was the Scapegoat. My sister was a nasty bully who was always hitting, kicking, biting and spitting at me and, mother did nothing to stop her. Not once did she hold her responsible for her appalling treatment of me even though I was much smaller than her. Sister was also the favoured one and grew into an entitled, selfish brat.

      I was the pregnancy that mother didn’t want and tried to get rid of me for the first five months of the pregnancy; I was only about five or six when she told me this. When I was a young adult she held me responsible for her being stuck with my dad.. it was a very toxic marriage. Not once did my mother acknowledge any of my achievements rather, she would wipe them out by comparing me to some person/s that she knew who could out dance me, out run me, knit better, sew better etc., etc., ….no matter what it was her refusal to embrace my successes left me feeling bereft and a failure too.

      When I was a teenager she competed with me on every level and according to her she was beautiful but, I was a plain Jane. Hence, she picked and picked at me like a hen pecking repeatedly at the ground… my nose was too big, my ears stuck out, I was too thin, too small, no hips etc., and no matter what I wore, she never gave me a compliment but, she never failed to tell me about all the lovely dresses that she had and how beautiful she was in them which was her way of saying that I looked like crap in my dresses.. It never ended… the insults, the judgements, the denigrating comments and the invalidations.

      They are sick mothers when they treat their daughters in such a cruel way and, I fully relate to your pain and the emotional and psychological affects that your mother had on you. The thing that I’ve found so very, very hard to accept is that the very person that is supposed to love and cherish her child, can be so cruel. Mother’s who hurt their daughter’s development, self esteem and confidence are unfit to be a mother in the first place. Trying to come to terms with the legacy of pain that was dumped on us, is no easy feat. However, I want you to know that there are many others who are struggling to love and fully embrace ourselves for the precious human beings that we are and, we are just as deserving of good things in life too.

      When you feel low and overwhelmed by those awful memories of the past that intrude into your thoughts, thus, disturbing your wellbeing, remember that it was She, the mother who lacked maternal instinct, empathy and humanity who not only robbed you but, also robbed herself of knowing You for the bright spirit that you were as a growing child and adult. Ultimately, she lost out on knowing the best of her child and it was much to her detriment too. Be kind and good to yourself, you deserve it!

      Reply
  • August 15, 2020 at 5:15 am

    I made the decision to cut off all contact from my mother only last week. Yesterday I came across the term narcissist. I knew what this meant, and two years ago I realised my mother had some sort of personality disorder… but yesterday I suddenly realised she had narcissistic PD. When I read the description, everything suddenly fell into place, and I realised my decision to walk away was the right one. This only came about after I nearly had a nervous breakdown, and I realised it was either destroy myself or halt all further contact with her. I let my brother know and he said, ‘I completely understand why’ and we had the most honest conversation we’ve had in years.

    Thank you for your blog/article, and for helping people in my situation see that we’re not alone, and that we’re not just being overly sensitive. I feel as if I’ve just been released from prison.

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  • August 20, 2020 at 10:12 pm

    While not a full-blown narcissist, my mother had plenty of narcissistic traits. (So, sadly, did my father, whom I loved dearly and was much closer to.) Being the oldest of four girls – and NOT her Golden Child – I bore the brunt of many of the mistakes first time mothers make that later children don’t suffer. Also, my personality was EXACTLY like my father’s – which was the polar opposite of my mother’s – so there was that additional distance between us. I can count three moments in my ENTIRE life when I felt any real bond with my mother. THREE MOMENTS. (I’m now 65, and she’s 91.) That’s not a lot.
    A lot of her narcissism was what I‘d call subacute and covert – behaviors often not so obvious, the verbal components perhaps unspoken but their meanings nevertheless QUITE clear – but it was absolutely there. The *Invalidation (I’m going off the “Weapons…” as listed in the article) was usually subtle, but quite clear. My mother has a number of good qualities, but empathy and compassion were NEVER among them. The *Shame and Fault Finding were also often on the subtler side, but were CONSTANT. (I often characterize one of my family’s unhealthy emotional M.O.’s as .”Shamin’ and Blamin’ “. It was a foundation of our family dynamics.) The *Triangulation and Comparison… were also constant – perhaps the most “solid” and entrenched emotional tactic. (And it remains so to this day, having worsened and intensified through the years). *The Child’s Thoughts and Feelings needing to align with the mother’s? I didn’t know until I was in my 30’s and had already been therapy for several years that it’s NOT the norm for a child’s thoughts, feelings, desires, aspirations, etc., to NOT be exactly like the mother’s.
    *Competing with her daughters was the one tactic on the list I can’t see in my mother’s behavior, although she absolutely DID crave the approval of her Golden Child. I’ve seen that sister reduce my mother to tears with her sharp tongue and the meanness of her comments, with my mother blaming HERSELF for being “too sensitive” to a level of nastiness that none of the rest of us would even have dreamed of exhibiting. *The Supermom/Terror dichotomy was also there, but toned down. If people could see “anonymous” videos of actual scenarios between my mother and other family members, they would decry as sick the woman they all love and adore, based on her public persona. I am ABSOLUTELY convinced there is an ability to know what behaviors to hide from “the public” hardwired into the brains of people with narcissistic traits. This ability has been constant and unwavering throughout my mother’s lifetime; it’s as innate to her breathing.
    *Forcing her Children to Walk on Eggshells has been the trait that has evolved in my mother late in life. And because it’s only exhibited towards the two of us who alternately occupy the family’s Black Sheep position – AND because it’s only emerged in the 15 years since my parents (now just my mother) moved to another state to live with/ be provided for in luxury fashion by the Golden Child and her second, multimillionaire husband – I included this trait with the above caveat. I’m pretty sure this type of inconsistent reaction is a result of my mother “channeling” my sister and her husband.
    *Total Disregard of the Child’s Boundaries? WHAT boundaries?? The recognition of emotional boundaries is another trait my mother has NEVER possessed – and one I don’t believe she has ever been capable of. Even her closest friends through the years have experienced this type of disregard from her, but of course nothing was ever said. I believe this is another example of what IS or ISN’T hardwired into the brains of people like her. She’s simply never had the ability to recognize that those emotional boundaries exist. And finally, *The Narcissistic Mother is Never at Fault – Never Wrong. Shall we emphasize the word NEVER here? I have NEVER heard my mother take responsibility for ANYTHING that would make her look bad. NEVER. NEVER. One sister spent YEARS on drugs and the streets – and by all rights shouldn’t be alive today – because my mother couldn’t accept the fact that one of HER children might be on drugs (because she’d been the designated Black Sheep almost from birth, another thing my mother could NEVER accept, despite being told of the situation by countless people). The FEW (read 3-4) times I’ve EVER seen my mother in a position where it was OBVIOUS she was wrong, her entire physical being COMPLETELY changed: her posture, the tone of her voice, her facial expression, her typical speech pattern, even her skin tone. And she made sure she NEVER put herself in that position again. She will go to her grave without the thought ever crossing her mind that she has EVER done anything wrong, or that there are things she needs to take responsibility for.

    And how has all that affected me? It has been devastating. It has changed my personality and my shredded my soul. It has DESTROYED me. I struggled with mild-moderate depression for years (as did my father and several members of his family) – a condition she has abhorred her entire life – but lived a pretty decent life, and has good/moderately good success controlling it with meds. But after my first psych hospitalization for it almost 20 years ago, the distance that had always existed between us became worse. Three years after that, she moved three states away to live with her Golden Child and her husband; and within five months of that move she was an entirely different person. An irrational, baseless hostility I’d never thought she was capable of emerged – directed solely at me – and has done nothing but increase since then. And while I believe that change occurred largely because of my sister and her husband, any normal, healthy mother wouldn’t have let herself be brainwashed like that.
    In the 15+ years since that move, my parents, & later my mother, have been back to this area COUNTLESS times to visit family and friends. They (meaning my mother) has been to visit me TWICE in those 15 years – one time because I’d just been diagnosed with a rare, often fatal disease, and for some reason she forced herself to come to my place. Her newfound ugliness reared its foul head during that visit in a way I still cannot fathom. I typically wasn’t told when she was in town. I received no phone calls or other attempts to make contact from her when she was here. There was a period of over three years after that move where we had ZERO contact; and in that time they all moved from what was to be their forever, dream place to a place almost 100 miles away – with no notification to me. I was about to drive almost 900 miles to the “old place” to TRY to make amends when I somehow found out they had moved. Imagine if I hadn’t found out, and had gone to where I THOUGHT they lived.
    I have begged her for AT LEAST 15 years to see a counselor with me; but of course she has refused, citing all sorts of ridiculous reasons not to. She apparently became upset with me (for what reason I STILL don’t know) when I was invited to visit the “new place” seven years ago – after my sixth and LAST psychiatric hospitalization – and I have been banned from the property ever since. I was not allowed to go there to visit my ailing father for the 3.5 years before he died; and when he DID die, she notified me 12 hours later via text to call her. “It’s about Dad” was all it said; and I thought he’d probably had a stroke. After calling her, I not only found out he had died 14 hours earlier, but that he’d been in hospice for almost 6 months. There are no words in the English language to describe what that did to me.
    About seven months later I received one of the ugliest emails ever from her, and THAT WAS IT. Something inside me snapped; it was an actual PHYSICAL feeling. Being the child of a mother (and the family) I was, I had learned to live with emotionally sick circumstances, and endure empty romantic relationships, for long periods of time. But that “last straw” would always come – it was usually something relatively minor – and in one moment, “it” was over. On June 30, 2017, when I received that ugliest of emails from her, THAT WAS IT. I say that’s the day I divorced my mother. It bothered her a good bit for about 6 months – probably that she could no longer “get to” me – and to a lesser degree for another few months after that. But after that, she became even uglier, and more irrationally hostile; and we’ve “spoken” via FaceTime exactly once since then. I was FINE for a while; I actually found some peace for the first time in YEARS. But then I became the victim of a sociopathic man – a man I let into my life after being contentedly single for almost 10 years, and who very nearly killed me one night. That incident, along with several others that have occurred since then, have shown me that I wasn’t NEARLY as healed from that relationship as I’d thought I was; and that at this point I never will be. My depression – made much worse through the years by abusive, unhealthy family relationships – is now considered “treatment resistant”. I have failed so many meds and other treatment modalities that there’s nothing left outside of investigational devices that even MIGHT be an effective treatment. Some of the meds I’ve been on have damaged the neurotransmitter receptors and neuronal networks in my brain, making improvement virtually impossible. There are other factors – medical, financial, situational – that also make improvement highly unlikely. I don’t consider it a stretch to say that narcissistic abuse has killed me, because I can’t survive in my current situation much longer.
    In May I wrote my mother an email, asking a few questions I’ve asked before (like “Please tell what I did the last time I was out there that upset you so much you caused me to be banned from the property”), and have wanted to know the answers to try TRY to gain some peace before my life ends. Her response – about as cold and cruel as it gets – was this:
    “ Nancy,
    I do not want to answer your questions now. Thanks for asking. Perhaps I will answer them and leave with my will.
    Mom”

    This comment was overly long. I apologize for that, but I sincerely thank any of you who actually read it. I said some things that I’ve never told anyone in real life, and that gives me a tiny bit of relief.

    Best wishes to all of you as you heal from what NONE of us deserved.

    Reply
  • August 27, 2020 at 4:18 am

    It recently was brought to my attention that maybe my husband is a narcissist and after watching a few videos, blogs and articles specifically addressing the common traits of a narcissist and how they affect their targets. I recognized the typical cycles of opinionated, never wrong, never apologetic when confronted, silent treatment, scapegoating, bread-crumbing, including the more covert traits if your abuser isn’t emotional explosive or lacks emotional & physical intimacy. Their ideal target is the people pleaser, codependent, empathic, lack boundaries and so on. Seeking approval from your primary parent figure especially, the dominant narcissist type that enjoys playing yo-yo with your eager to please training and even after we grow up and leave the house we will keep going back for more abuse in the hopes that the person we met, loved and trusted once upon a time may magically show up “this time.”
    Low self esteem and second guessing my decisions while not quite knowing what I wanted. I hadn’t learned to rely and trust my own judgements, experiences to make decisions or at least not the big decisions without telling myself I I need someone else’s opinion, a parent, a partner who I know will say something to reestablish who is in control and who is inferior out of jealousy but our dysfunctional dance is so predictable and as an adult I can handle whatever cruel rejection they can dig up just to get confirmation of what I already knew but hoped I would be wrong. Wanting love and approval is still my primary goal. I have an incurable hope that they will change. And having finally reached a point with my separation that left me exhausted and most of all isolated I asked my parents for a loan to get a cell phone in my own name, embarrassed already that I gave up my career and financial independence when we started a family which at the time I didn’t see him as bad as I knew my mother to be, left me beholden to him.

    I expected a level of disappointment possibly concern, not for me rather for themselves. However, I didn’t expect them to feel offended and least of all angry. As if my divorce was something I was doing to them. They behave like juveniles when I tell them that my husband is having me followed and installed a stalker-app on my cell phone. If that’s not enough to convince them I am in an abusive marriage they tried to scare me back to submission. They told me I would be poor, I would ruin my life and called me names, I‘m acting spoiled -he’s a good provider and they like him. Dad (enabler)doesn’t want to hear about it and generally disapproves of anything that may upset mom (bully) and divorcing my so called successful well liked husband would upset her optics. This was a highlight in my scapegoat highlight reel and helped me see the damage as not my doing or my fault. I didn’t bring any of this on myself knowingly and most of all their incessant disapproval of my commitment to live a happy life threatens the dysfunctional hierarchy of my family tree.
    Their unspoken code of conduct existed before I arrived and will continue now that I am limiting contact. I can’t say things are going smoothly for me and my nearly grown children since COVID19 self-quarantine, CA fires & displacement and constant interference attempting to disrupt my resolve has made me more aware that most of my pain and confusion had nothing to do with me and if it does it only reinforces the truth behind the lie. I saw things but was told I was wrong or to stop lying. Being the truth-teller and a scapegoat is possibly the greatest threat to a narcissistic controlling OCD parent but the satisfaction I have gotten in recent years from pursuing my truth has helped me trust the me I always knew existed. I am grateful for articles like these and the comments from other survivors who are telling their truths too. We will never get our mother’s love and approval we deserve from these types of NPD parents but we can give ourselves the love and approval we deserve and do better because we are not our parents. Hope everyone reading this being extra kind to themselves.
    Thanks for posting.

    Reply
 

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