If you are the daughter of a narcissistic mother, you had a non-mother. This woman was not capable psychologically or emotionally of being a “good enough” mother as D.W. Winnicott, the great psychoanalyst said so many years ago. This is the mother that we all yearn for. She doesn’t have to be perfect but good enough.
Narcissists are very cruel beings. I am discovering endless varieties of their horrid treacheries all the time. It is incredible that they continue to wreck havoc in the lives that they touch and in some cases, destroy. Their projections are meant to be mortal, kicking the air out of your spirit, making you doubt yourself or psychologically throwing you into deep humiliation.
Narcissists are masters of total control over others at all times. Whether they are in the preliminary stages and intoxicating you with their magnetism or intimidating you with their veiled threats or disposing of you when you are at your lowest ebb, the narcissistic personality is a highly predictable human. You are his/her possession. He will manipulate and mold you into the perfect replica of a living narcissistic supply who will be a perpetual source of adulation, praise, even worship.
Narcissists hurt us deeply when we are unable to identify them and psychologically fuse with them. Some of those who become involved with narcissists continue to return for more punishment, thinking that they can change these individuals or believing that they are the ones to blame for the relationship not working. Over and over again their victims blame themselves and return–each time becoming more distressed and feeling lost, confused and depleted.
Once you know that you are dealing with a narcissist—spouse, mother, father, sibling, etc., do your research and learn everything you can about this personality disorder that is growing exponentially within our population.
Be kind to yourself about your self blame, your returning for more pain, your thinking that there is something the matter with you. Let go of any guilt that you are carrying. You will find your burden lifting.
Begin to take good care of yourself: physically, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually. Sleep, rest, enjoy your own company and that of friends who are empathic and understanding and who know how to listen and to give and receive.
Think about your many gifts–those that you know about and others that have remained in the background while the narcissist took center stage and stood in your light.
Feel your individual power—your healthy narcissism—a deep respect for yourself. Be grateful for the life that you have and the one that is ahead of you. Cry when you need to–without shame or holding back. Sing when you feel the tunes coming through you–write freely without editing—go inside the music that you love and sing tunes that you create on the spot. Do this and so much more–Use your imagination–let it fly!
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
Narcissists are parasitic. Using this word makes be feel nauseated but it aptly describes their process of feeding off of your life. When we live with a narcissist–mother, father, spouse, sibling or are involved with them, our psychological energy is continually sapped. Some victims of narcissists describe this process as trying to destroy and annihilate them, taking what is most precious inside away with their cruelties, chronic deceptions, hidden agendas, humiliations, threats and ambushes.
The narcissist steals your creative ideas and spins them into his own. He or she gains power over you psychologically by hitting you below the belt on the issues where you are most vulnerable. This is especially destructive if you are a highly sensitive individual by nature. Although the narcissist has no true insight, he/she is exceedingly cunning and knows just how to make you feel hopeless and helpless. Narcissists are bottom feeders.
They play dirty and catch you by surprise, using the shock factor. They initiate contact that appears to be friendly and innocuous. This is the opposite of their intent. Their “communications” are designed to show their superiority over you, to make you feel like a failure who is seriously flawed. All the while they are innocent and pretend like they didn’t lay a hand on your psyche. That’s how dirty and nasty they play it. They spread lies about you to your family and friends, pointing out that you are unstable, that you have a defective character, selecting lies that will harm you the most. This is despicable behavior but narcissists can be very convincing to others who remain ignorant of their true natures.
Study and learn to identify the narcissistic personality. It is worth doing the research on this character disorder. The woods are crawling with them. Once you have made the identification, spend as little time or no time with them if that is possible. If you have to interact, make it brief and do not engage them in a personal manner. I recommend that you try not to be alone with a narcissist since these are the occasions when they project forcefully on to you or other victims of their wrath.
Practice self care with guided meditation, getting the sleep that you need, doing practices like gentle hatha yoga, tai chi and activities that activate the calming part of the nervous system. Learn how to set boundaries with these individuals and stick to them. You can never please them so don’t make a fruitless effort. Remember, the narcissist is constantly projecting his unconscious rage on to others.Deep down he/she feels psychologically empty and worthless.
Get in touch with your creative gifts and learn to appreciate yourself as a unique individual who is capable of empathy, compassion, emotional intimacy and authenticity.
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
Whether it is your narcissistic mother, narcissistic father, narcissistic spouse, narcissistic sister or narcissistic brother or an entire narcissistic family, you have been through Hell with this dreadful life experience. As a young child you endured too much and too little at the same time. There was no emotional and psychological nurturing, no one to wipe your tears so you learned not to cry or laugh or even feel. You internalized what was real and alive inside of you so that you would not be punished and shamed and humiliated even more.
You are still licking your wounds and finding other crevices of open sore memory traces of emotional and psychological pain.
There are times now after your hard fought inner work on your psyche and soul when you perceive and appreciate what you survived. Be kind to that small child inside of you. Give him or her comfort and reassurance and validation. What an individual you are! Healing ourselves is a life process.
Practice self care–You deserve to sleep quietly at night, rest when you are weary, write without editing, freely using your unconscious without effort but ease, digest your dreams from the unconscious, meditate or pray, use your creative juices and let them flow with interruption, feel the cool air coming through your nostrils on the inhalation and the warmed air from you body at the exhalation–notice that you feel calmer.
You deserve to lead life in the full color spectrum of your psyche and soul. With Love to You.
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
“In narcissistic personalities the experience of emptiness is most intense and almost constant…” (Otto Kernberg, Md. clinical expert on the narcissistic personality). “The narcissist’s experience of emotional emptiness is beyond sadness. It is a severe and intractable wounding, a pain…savage and deep. The psychological (inner) landscape of the narcissist is bleak.” (From: Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life). This is the narcissist’s unconscious experience of himself. (I use the male pronoun “he” in this post to represent male and female narcissists). As a result the narcissist is a very restless human being, always surveying his external environment for narcissistic supplies: adulation, praise, self indulgence, the company of highly attractive men and women, sexual escapes, the pursuit of material possessions, seeking raw power to control others, manipulation of those whom they experience as competitors.
“The successful narcissist creates an intricate system of positive feedback in the form of friends, associates, partners, spouses—who perpetually fulfill his endless needs.” (From Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life) The narcissist is incapable of having a real relationship with another person. He doesn’t have a relationship with himself. Everything in his life is externalized and the most prized possession of all is the elaborate golden image that he creates and perpetuates all of his life.
Beneath the surface, in the unconscious, molten rage is bubbling. This fury is projected on to others, especially spouses, children, siblings, business associates, etc. The narcissist cannot perceive that this rage is completely inappropriate and harmful to others. He simply spits it out or vomits it forth in a projectile that is highly disturbing and hurtful to its recipients. This is the narcissist’s extreme self loathing in action. The narcissist cannot own any of these unconscious feelings and therefore they are ejected out on to his victims.
When you learn about the dynamics of the narcissistic personality, you have gained knowledge and power. Now you understand what makes them tick, why they react with such venom and why they are constantly searching for narcissistic supplies to fill up the bottomless pit of their psychological emptiness. Learn to detach from the narcissist. Keep your physical distance (if possible since they are very unpleasant to say the least) and maintain your psychological boundaries. You are entitled to respect. You are a separate human being who has intrinsic value, integrity and dignity.
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
Like an eclipse of the sun at mid-day when the earth is darkened, your life married to a narcissist diminishes your creativity, your physical health, your peace of mind, your dreams, your sense of hope. Maybe you think that you are compromising with this spouse of yours but that is never the case with a narcissistic personality. When the marriage gets ugly and the word divorce is floating through the atmosphere, you suggest marital counseling. This can be helpful to many couples but with narcissists the process is different. Narcissists are great actors. They can easily pretend that they are cooperating as clients. Sometimes, they win over the therapist who then finds that you are the one at fault.
Some of those married to narcissists don’t feel sufficiently entitled to lead the life that they deserve. As children they didn’t feel good enough or smart enough or equal to a brother or sister who was “golden.” Parents were highly critical and demanding and often one of them was narcissistic. One would think that if you were raised by a narcissistic mother you would not seek out a man or woman who was a narcissist. But there is a tendency to repeat painful behavioral and psychological patterns that hurt us the most in childhood with our relationships as adults.
As the years being married to a narcissist create a profound burden on you and eclipse the core of your individual life, a reckoning has come. Learn everything you can about the true nature of the narcissistic personality. This is empowering and will enlighten your perceptions of your spouse. No longer will you be able to make excuses for this person who is making your life a living hell and thwarting your opportunities to use all of your talents and energies, to feel free to express yourself authentically.
You will learn to feel entitled to a full life, a free one that is deep, meaningful, spontaneous, filled with some special people who love you and you, them. Explore your creative gifts and discover your unique talents. Spend time in peace and solitude for the first time in your life. Sleep more deeply and dream in every color of the rainbow. Access the healing power of the parasympathetic nervous system which is like moving along the gentle waves of an endless sea of peace.
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
“The narcissist is a tyrant who controls the world that he/she creates…The iron grip of the narcissist’s control extends to all the significant people in his life: spouses, partners, children, ex-spouses, siblings…Those under his control are not free to lead their own lives, to make decisions and mistakes, to use their talents and energies, to have their own dreams.” (From: Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life).
I hear from individuals who are married to narcissists–They can’t win. They are too afraid to divorce their captor and in the other case, terrorized through each day, year, decade of confinement. Some spouses have identified with the aggressor and told themselves that they have it “good” with the lifestyle and all of the entitlements that come with it.
Children of narcissists are savagely trapped, especially when they are young. Where can they go? They are surrounded by the enemy–the narcissistic parent. Often the mother or father married to this person will not psychologically and emotionally support the child due to intimidation. The non narcissistic spouse caves in and “abandons” the child out of fear and denial.
The controlling narcissist will do whatever it takes to remain in charge. He/she will lie, threaten, verbally, psychologically and emotional abuse whoever is standing in his way. Retribution is sought and paid if you defy a narcissist and even think and share your own thoughts. Narcissists squelch any joy or feeling of comfort in the home environment. It is living in a war zone or being in captivity behind enemy lines and the military forces are not coming to save you.
The need to control on the part of narcissists speaks of their unconscious fears of losing power and influence. At their core beneath the steel defenses they feel worthless and empty.
When you recognize and identify the true nature of the narcissist, you are further along toward liberating yourself from their iron grip. Remember, you deserve to lead a separate life and experience inner peace, the full use and enjoyment of your creative gifts and energies. Take charge of your life and your entitlement to lead a good one that is unfettered by fear, intimidation, control, deceit or tyranny. Move into the zone of freedom where you belong.
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
T.S. Eliot, the great prescient poet wrote in “The Hollow Men”: We are the hollow men, We are the stuffed men, leaning together…Our dried voices, when we whisper together are…meaningless…”
Eliot intuited the ascendance of the narcissistic personality in our society. That time is now and has been coming, growing to epidemic proportions.
I am in communication with many individuals who are suffering from the rampaging of narcissistic personalities in their lives: daughters and sons of narcissistic mothers and narcissistic fathers, narcissistic siblings, those married to narcissistic spouses. Their pain is deep and continuous as long as they are in contact with and part of the narcissist’s life. They are living too close to an individual who is empty and “hollow” inside and who lives in a way that has no meaning, warmth, empathy or truth.
Narcissists trample on our feelings. They make every effort to destroy what is deep inside of us and gives us meaning. They have overwhelming personalities that are forceful, manipulative and cruel. They constantly lie and exploit those closest to them.
Being the child of a narcissistic mother or father is one of the most painful fates. The narcissistic mother hates genuine feelings, even in her infant. When the child cries she ignores her/him, makes the little one feel ashamed, screams and threatens the child if he does not “shut up.”
Those married to narcissists are continuously gaslighted–told that they are crazy, especially if they express deep feelings of sadness, fear, joy, anger, etc. No feelings are allowed in this household–except for the narcissist who bubbles with constant fire hot rage. Day after day–rage after rage—the spouse takes this abuse and feels herself getting weaker. She tells herself that she needs to be more understanding, that she is the one at fault, that there is something intrinsically the matter with her. NO! That is not the case if you are married to a narcissistic personality. Yes, you are imperfect. You are the frequent recipient of the narcissist’s insidious projections that wound deeply and leave scars.
Your narcissistic sibling is the king or queen of the family–the special one chosen. There are no rules for this child from the beginning. You are treated by your parent(s) with strictness. You are often criticized and demeaned but the chosen, budding narcissist can treat you like dirt and the parent will not defend you.
God help you if you cry–that is a serious sin in this kind of family. Often the mother or father in this constellation is a narcissist. You become the scapegoat, the one everyone targets for cruel comments especially when you show feelings.
Expressing feelings –all of them is part of being an authentic human being. I don’t trust anyone who is incapable of expressing feeling–genuine ones. I know that many are taught very early that showing feelings is a sign of weakness. The opposite is true. Being comfortable with our feelings is essential to evolving and growing as an individual. This doesn’t mean we make out of control public displays. We learn to have good manners and to be considerate of others.
Remember that the narcissist is a Hollow Man, a dry, empty, personless being who can neither give nor receive love, compassion or empathy. This personality disorder is fixed and does not change. Hollow men are made of stone. I always look and feel into the eyes of others. I know them by the expression in their eyes and the energy that I feel from them. When we look deeply into the eyes of a narcissist we experience what Eliot saw in The Hollow Men: “The eyes are not here, There are no eyes here in this valley of dying stars….”
Feel your authenticity, celebrate the real self within you that continues to evolve, learn, create and, always, Feel.
Narcissistic mothers have always existed. Their styles fit certain eras. These days many narcissistic mothers are in highly competitive careers. I think that the rise of women to become prominent in many professions is exceedingly vital to every individual in the society. I am not talking about working women who become mothers, love their children and are very responsible raising them. I am speaking about the narcissistic mother who has her children specifically for the sake of her all important image which includes bragging rights and calculated displays of her perfect kids. Some narcissistic mothers insist on molding each child. She is like a puppet master, working the strings of her daughters and sons. She checks each one to see which she will choose to reflect and mirror her the best. The chosen child is often attractive, bright, talented in some way and athletic. This child is a standout in the family from the mother’s perspective. She knows this child’s destiny from the beginning. She showers this chosen one with undeserved praise and this son or daughter is given no limitations with regard to cruel behaviors toward brothers and sisters.
I have heard so many appalling life stories of children who grew up with a narcissistic mother and weren’t chosen to be the star of the family. These mothers are such hypocrites. In public they know exactly how to present themselves in the mothering role. That’s exactly what it is–a performance. Relatives, friends, even close ones believe that these mothers are extraordinary and that they genuinely love and care for their children.
The opposite is true. Narcissistic mothers are exceedingly critical, at times physically violent and psychologically horrifying with their children. Adult children of narcissistic mothers tell stories of terrifying punishments that they received even as very small children. Often they were subjected to hours of threats, told that they should never have been born but should have been aborted. Kids were forced to clean their rooms until they were spotless. Even when the chores were perfectly done, mother didn’t approve and picked the child apart, calling them names like “stupid”, “ugly”, “worthless”, “dumb”. These names coming from a narcissistic mother were deeply embedded into the children who received this abusive treatment. As adults, children of narcissistic mothers still can hear “mother’s” hateful raised voice shouting epithets at them.
Narcissistic mothers terrify their children by pitting one against the other, promising one daughter or son that he or she will be the favorite. All of this is a cruel game the narcissistic mother sadistically employs to control her children, to make them bend completely to her iron will.
These dark hidden punishments and chronic patterns of neglect are kept secret within the family. No one must ever say or even admit to himself or herself the truth about “mother.” That is the seal of secrecy that feels like a matter or life or death. These children feel so trapped. They know no one will believe them–not even other relatives or family friends. That is the essence of the narcissistic mother’s dark psychological and emotional treachery.
Some children of narcissistic mothers not only survive to tell the true tale of their lives but they heal and evolve and create. I have found that these adult children are among some of the most empathic human beings I have ever encountered.
Let your healing begin. It is a long pathway. Begin by knowing and accepting the truth about what happened to you. Next–Take hold of the truth about yourself and what a wonderful, unique human being you are. Remember your special gifts and if you don’t, ask that they will be revealed to you. Be receptive to your intuition as you move toward healing and wholeness. I am in your corner always. I have great faith in you. Honor your true self and you will grow with unbounded abundance and deep inner peace.
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
Intuition is a knowing of the truth that strikes faster than the speed of light. It comes through us automatically like the exhalation of a breath or the blowing of the wind or the crack of a branch of a tree in the forest. Intuition is part of our human nature although most people are unaware or not in touch with their intuition. Some individuals receive intuitive messages but discard them as irrational or strange.
I have known many daughters of narcissistic mothers who, despite all of the painful psychological and emotional issues associated with being the child of a narcissist, have access and use their intuitive gifts. For many it is what allowed them to survive a childhood of maternal deprivation and verbal abuse. Deep inside this small child knew that something was very wrong with her mother’s lack of feeling, cold non connection and cruel behaviors. Some of these daughters blame themselves and believe they are lacking when the psychopathology lies with the narcissistic mother.
Using one’s intuition is a gift that deepens and strengthens throughout life. Intuition communicates in a special form to each individual. Some of us get a gut feeling and know we have hit upon the truth. Others hear a voice that gives them messages of truth, warning, inspiration, creativity. Intuition can be activated by someone with whom we are strongly connected. Intuitions come through when we are in a peaceful state of relaxation, meditation or involved in a creative project. Intuitions are always coming through. They never stop making attempts to get our attention.
Intuition warns us about the narcissist we have just met. We sense this person and know instantly that he or she is not right for us. We feel the powerful sway of the narcissist’s irresistability like an errant tide that is pulling us out to sea. Yet there is a voice (nor our own) that is saying: “Stay away from this person. He/she will cause you pain and trouble. Step away now.”
Use your intuition to heal from your narcissistic mother. Intuition provides us with many ways of separating and individuating from the narcissistic non mother. Ask for healing and listen to the messages that lead you along a different path where you will find your true self more and more each day and through it deep inner peace and the use of your creative and spiritual gifts.
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.