Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers—Stop Feeling Guilty–It Wasn’t Your Fault

I hear and read many life stories of adult daughters of narcissistic mothers who suffered horrible psychological deprivation and verbal and emotional abuse at the hands of their exceedingly cruel narcissistic mothers. They were as the great psychoanalyst Alice Miller said: “Prisoners of Childhood”. That is a profound phrase that sums up the horrific experience of life with a narcissistic mother. This woman never wanted you and if she did it was her plan that you reflected her perfection. She needed to mold you into a mini-me child. When you objected to that, she punished you with terror, threats, violent rages and betrayals. She went down the list of her children until she found the one who was most like her and whom she could mold. Very likely that child became a narcissist and was the bane of your existence. No only did you have mother breathing down your neck you had to be wary of your sibling at all times. The other children cowered in the presence of these two and became shadows and echoes of mom. You were the stand out child–the one who knew that there was something very wrong and dark in the family.

Along the way you carried a lot of guilt about not loving your narcissistic mother. That’s the rub. Now that you are well into adulthood, ask yourself: How is it possible to blame myself and feel guilty over something I could never control? I was a small child and had to survive. She was the one who punished me constantly, terrorized me within an inch of my life, had night raids when the greatest punishments even tortures took place.

Take a long look at yourself and your life. I know those who hold on the guilt and they are still suffering. You can and will let go of this haunting from the past. You deserve so much more. Believe this with all of your heart. I know that you can heal. You have so much of yourself to activate. Learn self care–yes for the first time in your life–put yourself first. Rest, sleep, enjoy your spontaneous self, become immersed in what you love to do, learn to laugh out loud–even if people are looking at you funny. That’s the best of all. Not giving a damn about what others think!!! Go for it all the way. Feel the joy of letting loose like a child dancing wildly to a great tune. Flow with your creativity–Feel your lovely heart open. Fly, Soar, Transcend!

Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.

BooK: Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life

Gaining Strength and Wholeness After Narcissistic Abuse

When we have been raised by a narcissistic parent or been married to a narcissistic spouse, it takes time and effort to first recognize the truth about what we have suffered. So many individuals blame themselves for narcissistic parents who controlled, manipulated and projected great cruelties upon them throughout their lives. Those who are married to narcissists are often in denial about the true nature of their spouse. They make the assumption that they don’t deserve to be treated kindly, respectfully and with empathy. Abused spouses and children of narcissists go along to get along. They are in survival mode. Quite often, those who grew up in a home surrounded by narcissists tend to marry one. How dreadful is that! I know many of these individuals through my email and blog. There is a tendency to repeat with the choice of a narcissistic spouse what we experienced as children. There is a lack of entitlement to peace of mind and being valued for one’s authenticity, creative gifts and precious individuality. The first step is to stop blaming yourself. The next is to learn everything you can about the narcissistic personality. This gives you the control and power to psychologically separate from the narcissist in your family of origin or your narcissistic spouse or both.

After you know the truth and are holding fast to it, your healing proceeds with learning to take very good care of yourself. Healing is a process that we work on all of our lives. Many of us don’t know how it feels to be calm. We have lived in the Fight or Flight mode since before we can remember. It is “normal” for us. There is another way of being inside and in the world. That is the calming part of the nervous system–the parasympathetic nervous. In this place inside we feel safe, protected, grounded and free. This is your true nature and you deserve to feel this way. Your body/mind is inclined to put you in this state when you practice self care. This requires discipline and routine and a lot of patience and perseverance.

There are many avenues to the calming part of the nervous system. You will find your own that work for you in s special way. I will mention a few. One of the finest is acupuncture—ancient and powerful intervention that puts the patient in the parasympathetic mode of relaxation, inner safety and feelings of expandedness  and well being. Another is using yoga with the breath to focus on basic poses that lead to calm and the acquiring of body strength and excellent mental focus. Listening to your special music that you find calming is another way to access this part of the nervous system. Go deep into the music–let it take you to a lovely place. Be spontaneous with it. Music is magical in its power to heal. Some people find that writing spontaneously frees them up to express anything that is in their mind and heart. Some people find great peace in Nature–gardening is a refuge to many, cooking is another one that brings joy and relaxation.

Find what you love and do it regularly.

The healing is waiting for you to activate it inside yourself. Remember, you deserve this. Wishing you a lovely voyage along the road to your inner  peace, creativity and discovering beautiful mysteries that lie within you.


Narcissistic Mothers Conceal Severe Abuse of Their Children

Narcissistic mothers fool most people who are living outside the home, even their close relatives and friends. I hear very sad, tragic life stories from daughters and sons of narcissistic mothers recounting in detail the horrors of their childhoods. In some cases the fathers of the abused children were kept in the dark about the full extent of the chronic abuse. Some dads simply turned the child raising over to his wife and became completely caught up in his career. In some cases the father was suspicious but turned a blind eye to the mental and psychological abuse perpetrated by his narcissistic wife. Like Pontius Pilate, he washed his hands of the whole matter.

No one knew that the NM was highly disturbed, chronically abusive and severely neglectful. Close relatives didn’t see through the attractive convincing masks that the narcissistic mother wore. For her this was “Show and Tell” time—an opportunity to brag about her perfect children. The phony act was presented as a direct reflection of her love and devotion to her kids.

Some adult children subjected to this treatment describe their terror state as that of a prisoner in a far off gulag. No matter how they repeatedly tried to deal with mother–begging her that they would do everything to live up to her expectations, asking her for forgiveness for crying or politely requesting that their basic needs for regular meals and sleep be fulfilled. Screaming, even raising your voice was responded to with multiple slaps in the face, out of control spanking and repeated threats of abandonment. This horrid torture treatment began when these children were very small. Victims recollect to me that by the age of three they lived in constant terror–some fearful that they could not tolerate another second.

Outside the house these mothers are worthy of Oscar winning performances. As a career woman the narcissistic mother takes advantage of every kudo she can get from her fellow business associates. She shows photographs of her children, chirping about them with great enthusiasm and pride. Everyone believes her–why not? NM is a consummate actress who will not be denied playing her star role to the hilt.

I want to express my respect, warmth, affection and gratitude for those who contact me and others who have not who lived through this nightmare every young day of their lives. You deserve great credit. You survived with your integrity and your true self. I am not for a moment disregarding your suffering. It was insurmountable.

I celebrate the unique human being that you are and will always be. May you continue to heal, to create, to feel peace inside and know that you are deeply loved.

Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.


Not a Narcissist–He/She is a Sociopath

You don’t have to purposely cause physical harm to another human being to be a sociopath. No,  a person can do it the “clean” way by taking your life apart, piece by piece. This includes the final cruelty of leaving you psychologically broken and financially ruined. I have heard too many of these life stories and it is vital that we understand how this happens and to reach out to those who have been left behind with unbearable traumas and sorrows that wound the heart. I know of sociopaths who took their own children away from a loving mother just for revenge. They didn’t love these kids—they are incapable of love by definition. They are vengeful and yes, evil.

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Narcissistic Older Sister Torments Her Younger Sibling

Standing in the shadow of a narcissistic older sister is a very difficult and painful role. We didn’t ask to be placed in our birth order. Often there are rivalries among siblings but when you are the younger one who must answer to an impossible older sister, you live in a state of anxious suspension. Some younger sisters look up to the elder one, viewing her extreme self confidence and feelings of entitlement as something to be  admired and emulated. When her mood shifts darkly the narcissistic older sister turns very ugly. The narcissist views her sister as inferior, defective, inept and unattractive. In fact she is ashamed of her younger sibling. In reality the opposite is true. The younger sister(s) is often quite bright, creative, considerate of others and appealing. In fact it is older sister who is so envious that she seethes with a rage that boils within her and at times erupts in uncontrollable verbal attacks and recriminations. Alone with the narcissist, the younger one is humiliated and screamed at, told she is worthless, that mother never wanted her and she is the favorite. “You were an afterthought, an accident of fate.”

These cruelties continue throughout childhood and often beyond. Many younger sisters believe these horrendous projections and internalize them. They view themselves as “less than”, “not enough”.  When the mother is emotionally unavailable or a narcissist herself, it is impossible for the child who has been emotionally hurt to find a safe personal alliance, a loving person to whom she can go and seek refuge. The younger daughter feels lost and alone. Some younger daughters hide their deep hurt feelings and numb themselves so that they can perform in school, make an effort to have friends and dismiss the innumerable cruelties dispensed by the older sister whom they once loved and admired. Some sisters are so desperate that they continue their search for love and acceptance, finding other narcissists who end up disposing of and hurting them all over again. Some younger sisters follow this destructive pattern through marriage to a narcissistic man. It can take them a long time to recognize that they are repeating a familiar pattern that hurts them and eclipses their lives.

There is a time of reckoning that occurs to many victims of narcissistic overbearing, cold, cruel older sisters. They search and find the answer. They realize that they have been playing the role of victim all of this time. They research the narcissistic personality, see their life pattern clearly and decide to stop the cycle of abuse.

With the help of high quality psychotherapy in some cases, finding friends whom they trust and know that appreciate them as unique and valuable, spending solitary time quieting the mind and learning to calm the nervous system, these sisters come into their own. They assert themselves. They are proud of who they are and own their true identities. The narcissistic familial thicket of thorns has been left behind. The pathway to a renewed life has begun.

Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.


Narcissistic Women Making Mincemeat of Their Paramours

There are narcissistic women who are particularly skilled at finding male paramours whom they can completely control. They have no limitations to their wants and needs. The illicit lover is the best catch. After all, he is married and tied up in a legal bond (until he breaks it) This provides this narcissistic conniver with plenty of time for adventures with other men. Narcissistic women of this ilk make sure that they have a spare man or two around just in case the current affair gets too bumpy or even goes off the tracks. The partner is in an altered adoring state over his beloved. What this fellow doesn’t know is that he is being taken for a wild ride.These she-devils are takers only. They love bling, expensive clothes, ongoing spa treatments, and jewelry that is heavy on the fingers. NW acquire cold cash, investments even property that have been spirited away by the love to make his gal happy and beaming.

For men uninitiated in these practices, be sure to learn about the narcissistic personality in-depth. You don’t want to get yourself into this psychological, emotional and financial quicksand. Don’t wait ’til you are up to your neck and being pulled under. Narcissistic women of this kind are plotters and planners. They know exactly what they are doing. They use their beauty and sex to play every man that suits their fancy. Their lists of broken male hearts are exceedingly long. Watch for the NPD characteristics: complete lack of empathy, chronic lying (hard to detect but use your intuition and you will identify it), constant manipulations, empty promises, duplicity, exploitation and outbursts of volcanic rage. When the first red flags are waving in the wind about this gorgeous woman, pay close attention—-She is a narcissistic personality disorder who is not going to change. Why should she? She is perfect. You have the flaws. She is wonderful and will replace you with someone else.

Above all, take care of yourself. When you feel that intense chemistry coming from a NPD , take a flyer. It’s worth getting away. These dramas have very unhappy endings for the male paramour.

Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.

You are Wiser than Narcissistic Spouse–Sever the Cord

Narcissists are clever at attempting to make us doubt our inner wisdom. They intimidate and tempt us at the same time. Those with narcissists are in a state of chronic apprehension. “What will he/she do next?” “What have I done wrong?” “Am I as stupid as he/she keeps telling me?”On the other side of the coin are what the narcissist brings to the table and offers us. For some there are financial benefits and lifestyle perks connected with being the spouse of a narcissist. He has no ambition limits (nor does the narcissistic  woman) . He knows exactly how to climb, with whom to become indispensable and whom he must get rid of that blocks his ruthless path.  The narcissist throws anyone overboard to attain his grandiose ambitions, including his so-called friends. These can be individuals whom he has known for years. He has no loyalty to anyone, including you.

Always remember, you are wiser than your narcissistic spouse. You will see many red flags and ignore a lot of them. You will hear the clear voice of intuition, telling you the truth about your narcissistic spouse. Pay attention to what you hear. It is telling you the truth. Don’t allow yourself to be pulled back in with his/her seductive offerings. They are designed to make you more dependent on him and to keep you from achieving your full personal and professional potential.

Once you know who this man/woman really is, create a step by step plan to extricate yourself from the relationship. Cut the cord. If you wait too long, you will become more entangled in his lies, insidious psychological traps and mind bending.

Acknowledge and own your wisdom. This is the key along with your intuition—the ace that you have been hiding at the bottom of your deck. Use it now and for the rest of your life. The more that you activate these gifts the more powerful they become. The narcissist is a weak coward, a false grandiose self, “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”  Develop a practice of stilling the mind. This can take any form that works for you. Make an effort each day. If you miss a day or weeks, return to your practice. This can be formal meditation, sitting and walking, writing each day spontaneously, working with plants in a garden or small space, sketching, painting, walking in a quiet place, doing gentle yoga movements with emphasis on breathing through the nose which calms the nervous system.

Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.

Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers Suffer Maternal Deprivation

Maternal deprivation is the absence of care, lack of affection, holding, looking into your child’s eyes giving the message: “I love you do much”,  listening intently to your daughter’s messages, verbal and nonverbal.  The narcissistic non mother removes all the joy from her daughter’s life. Narcissistic mothers live for themselves alone. Often they are envious of their daughter’s beauty, talents, intelligence, exuberant personality. They hate their child’s spontaneity and pick away with their nasty criticisms. Some daughters learn to conceal their true feelings. Others become emotionally numb. Some harbor a deep mother rage inside that they turn on themselves and becomes self loathing. 

Daughters of narcissistic mothers have difficult life struggles, learning to fully love their unique selves and celebrating it. 

To break the yoke attached to the narcissistic mothers they must recognize that they bear no fault.

They are separate from the cold ungiving selfish self absorbed woman who didn’t raise them. These daughters do the hard work of healing themselves and emerging as strong, loving, gifted women. Many benefit from psychotherapy, nurturing relationships with friends who understand them, spiritual practices that create calmness deep within them,creative pursuits that are healing and transformative, giving their care and affection to others who feel unloved and unwanted. 

Daughters of narcissistic mothers can and do come fully into the own true identities. They can prevail over the past and live fully in the present, expanding and growing all of their potential.

Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.

Narcissistic Patriarchs Destroy Their Families

Wherever they go, narcissists are destroyers. Without conscience or psychological boundaries, they head straight for what they want, regardless of the people whom they hurt, wound or destroy. This is particularly painful for family  members. The patriarchal grandiose, ruthless narcissist in his role as father and spouse, turns family members against one another, plays favorites openly, is cruel to those who don’t measure up to his standards–meaning they must mirror him perfectly at all times. Narcissistic patriarchs rule with intimidation and threat. As a very young child the son or daughter of a patriarchal narcissist knows the sound of his/her father’s footsteps and terror courses throughout his small body. His mind is racing as he feverishly searches for a place to hide. “What have I done wrong this time?” the child asks himself. Some children of narcissistic parents internalize these feelings of always being wrong, of not being worthy, worthlessness–without value.

With their volcanic rage interrupting any possible peace in the home, the narcissistic patriarch holds on to his throne by instilling deep fear in his spouse and children.  Day and night his wife and children are in a state of flight. Their nervous systems are worn down by the constant stress hormones that race through their bodies and the obsessive thoughts that this time dad and husband will lose it completely and decimate all of them.

Surviving this childhood or marriage is truly miraculous. After you are free of the narcissistic patriarch and on your own, there is an essential time for healing, appreciating your true unique nature and acknowledging and using your special gifts. Some victims find that quality psychotherapy helps them to work through the painful legacy of those years of maximum ordeal. There are many practices that will teach you that you are entitled to and can feel safe, secure and calm within yourself.  Practicing deep breathing through the nose slows the nervous system and puts you in the parasympathetic mode. Be patient with yourself. Remember you are learning to shift your body from fear and intimidation to calmness, security and a deep feeling of well being.

Gentle yoga with emphasis of breathing through the nose an focusing on doing poses in the moment teaches us to concentrate on what is happening now. As your breath slows down, every system in your body begins to heal. Looking deep within  and discovering your special gifts is an essential part of your healing. By working each day on this new cycle in your life you will find yourself changing. Be patient with the pace of this shift in your new self perception. Pay close attention to your intuition. Don’t let the projections of others interfere with your insight. Move forward on your own path, appreciating the beauty of your personal transformation.

Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.

Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers–Give to Yourself

Daughters of narcissistic mothers have spent their lives as servants and even slaves. Never wanted, treated like dirt, the subject of physical and psychological abuse, being compared with other siblings and declared inferior, their moments every day have been filled with fear, humiliation and self degradation. Some adult daughters end up marrying the living nightmare of their mother—another narcissist who in his own style will pull all of the games and betrayals, and cruelties of her mother. This is a repetition of the past that often occurs.

As a daughter of a narcissistic mother, give yourself credit for surviving this hellish life experience. You got yourself through when no one was there to help you or even believe the dreadful things your NM did to you. Your siblings have remained silent and if they are narcissistic golden children they continue to blame and humiliate you. You are the one that is scorned. They learned very well from your NM. A time arrives when daughters of narcissistic mothers can no longer tolerate the abuse. They know they don’t deserve it and it is ruining their lives. Many of them go No Contact indefinitely in order to move toward self acceptance, inner peace, self appreciation and the full use of all of their gifts and talents.This reclamation of the self takes place day by day in treating yourself with kindness and expecting respect from those around you. You can fulfill the promise of inner peace and security to yourself. Create a routine that works with strengthening your body, mind and psyche each day. Begin the day with a practice of meditation or solitude that is quiet and private. Doing gentle yoga is very calming and stretches the muscles and activates the parasympathetic nervous system, that part of us that is calm and at ease. Learn to appreciate your own company. Spend time in Nature even it it is for a short time. Some people find great comfort with their pets. Journaling is a source of free expression that is creative and healing.  Learn to say “No” to those who would manipulate you, deceive you or make you feel small. Surround yourself with givers not takers.

You can heal from your NM. Keep the faith in yourself, do the work of healing each day and learn to feel entitled to use and enjoy all of your gifts and talents.