Narcissistic mothers are one woman armies of human destruction. They
are an elite team of ninja killers of the psyches of their children. One
narcissistic mother does more psychological damage than you can
imagine. I read and hear life stories every day about those who have
survived the narcissistic battles of childhood. One of NM’s cruelest
tactics is turning one child against the other. She will assure her son
that he is the special one and then tell the older daughter that she has
been chosen. After all, she is gorgeous, bright and talented. She pits one child against the other. This highly dysfunctional family is in a state of endless psychological war.
The narcissistic mother ties her psychological twin to herself like an appendage. These children have special privileges, no psychological boundaries, no empathy, no developed conscience. They are sent to the finest schools, showered with praise and adulation, never questioned about their brutal sadistic behavior toward their siblings. Even when “mother” is a witness to these treacheries, she turns a blind eye. For her, the chosen one is the ultimate narcissistic supply.
The golden child learns from mom to taunt and terrorize the other children.
Between the two of them, it is a sinister game—a sadistic one.
In these families it is every child for himself. The brother or sister who
is savvy and has the opportunity, escapes as early as possible. Some
children find other adults whom they trust and help them to move, get
jobs, training, go to college, etc.
As the years go by, hatred between the siblings grows and hardens. The narcissistic
mother remains Ruler of the dissembling process.
You are entitled to rescue yourself from this psychological gulag. Study the narcissistic personality in-depth. Get in touch with your true self, that part of you that that is authentic, genuine and creative. You are entitled to lead your life with grace, inner peace, the full use of your creative gifts.
Before I begin this post I want to state that most men are not misogynists. There are female narcissists who cause great psychological harm to men and women. There are many individuals who are not narcissistic personalities and lead their lives with integrity, empathy and compassion.
There is a kind of male narcissist who is highly misogynistic. He appears to be above reproach. On the outside his image is sterling. He is perceived as a person of integrity and compassion. He can be highly successful in the world or not.
Misogynistic narcissists do their damage to you in secret when you are alone with them or no one else is paying attention. Being married to a misogynistic narcissistic spouse is one of the most difficult and painful human experiences. In some cases it is a form of torture.
The other intolerable situations have to do with children of narcissistic parents who had to endure cruel ongoing punishments when they were small, helpless and dependent. Another is siblings of sadistic narcissistic brothers or sisters who terrorized them throughout childhood and who to this day strike fear inside of them.
Often there is a Dr. Jekyll/Mr Hyde aspect to this personality. On the surface, pure gold charm is pouring forth on to you. The narcissist appears to be polite and engaged with fine manners. No one would suspect that he is a misogynist who chronically hurts women.
The most powerful and significant events that weigh heavily on the psyche during our lives often occur in secret. As children we are threatened if we reveal the truth about our parents or other adult family members.
You never know when a misogynistic narcissist is going to appear in your life. If you get intuitions, red flags flying high, gut reactions—pay very close attention–It’s about to happen.
I recall a small important business dinner event. I was required to be there as a result of a commitment I had made. People were greeting one another. I was introduced to the individual who was hosting the event. This man acknowledged me and he placed his hand out to shake mine. His grasp of my hand tightened very quickly and became a deep painful unrelenting grip. I thought he was going to stop but he didn’t. I said: “That hurts.” He didn’t let go right away. I said: “No one has done that to me before.” He released my hand and made an excuse by saying that he was very strong. He seemed proud of that statement. I was shocked about his complete disregard over what he had done to me. My hand was throbbing and the pain did not go away for some time. No one saw what he did or heard the verbal exchange between the two of us. He was scot-free. I could not make a scene during this business meeting. I was trapped with a man who was capable of causing physical pain and I believe great psychological pain as well. This is a very small example of the way that a misogynistic narcissist can operate with impunity.
I have heard and read many life stories of women who have been victims of narcissistic men who are misogynists. Their lives are filled with perpetrated cruelties, degradations and humiliations. Many of them have broken free from their narcissistic husbands, begun the process of healing and recovering their true selves to lead their own separate lives in freedom and inner peace.
A matriarch is “a mother who is head and ruler of her family and descendants.” When you have a narcissistic matriarch in charge, everyone is going to suffer psychologically and emotionally, except those who are chosen as “Golden” and often become narcissistic personalities. Generations of narcissistic matriarchs run through some families.
I hear personal stories of those who have had to survive under the absolute control, manipulation, deceit and chronic criticisms of their narcissistic mothers. After years of horrendous pain they have finally discovered that growing up they were molded by a very pathological mother/matriarch who expected perfection from them. Not once in their lives were they hugged, given positive attention, recognized as valued individuals, given compliments, etc. Their lives were pure hell all the time. Other family members bent under the iron fist of “Mother, the Most Feared.”
Those who have awakened recognize their narcissistic mother’s true nature-her dark cruelty, her capacity to inflict lingering terror in the nervous system. As children they went to other family members for help and were scorned and turned away since aunts, uncles, siblings, etc. didn’t believe them. In fact, children who exposed the truth were savagely punished.
Now as adults many children of narcissistic matriarchs are breaking the bonds of the iron hold of this reign of terror. I hear from those who are in the process of self healing. They have started putting themselves first, to insist that they be treated with respect, that they are entitled to feel calm, to use their many creative gifts and to spread the word that you can be free of your narcissistic matriarch and lead the life that you deserve.
Linda Martine-Lewi, Ph.D.
By definition sabotage is a “treacherous series of actions. ” Treachery when perpetrated upon a family member means destruction and annihilation. It is beyond ruthlessness.
Growing up in a narcissistic family is like being in the middle of a deadly fire fight twenty four hours a day. The child who survives these skirmishes and all out wars is truly remarkable. I hear and read life stories of those who found survival techniques. Many of them hid in their own hoes, spent time with friends to keep out of the war zone, slipped their minds away into books, video games, drawing, writing, other creative activities. Some children were fortunate to have a grand parent who would give them times of respite.
Some children who have this experience are in a constant state of anxiety–fight or flight syndrome.The narcissist–mother or father or both rule the household. Screams and demands–slaps and threats can be heard and experienced frequently in these homes. The narcissist lives for himself (herself) alone. Narcissists don’t love their children. They use them to prop up their egos if they perceive that a particular child can add to their perfect image. In this case the child is indulged. The rest of the kids are cast aside and neglected or treated abysmally. Some of these children find ingenious ways to save their sacred flame, to camouflage their creative gifts but continue to use them and to keep the inner fire of a sense of self burning brightly. I have known individuals who have been able to accomplish this despite all of the narcissistic pathology of their mother or father or both parents.
Adult children heal through a combination of pathways that they discover work best for them as individuals. There is no one way, given the trauma ridden childhoods that they sustain. Psychotherapy with highly empathic trained psychotherapists is one aspect of this healing for some. Bring the body/mind into balance is essential to this process. This takes many forms including the practice of gentle yoga, meditation, support groups, the re-awakening of your creativity, finding relationships of trust and respect, learning to put yourself first and to practice self love and self care. Learning how to received the affection that others have for you is all part of this healing phase. Healing is a lifetime process, an evolution of the self that takes as many forms as there are individuals.
If you are the daughter of a narcissistic mother, you have worn yourself out, trying to make her different. She suffers from a severe, fixed personality disorder that does not change. Her lies, the terror that she inflicts, her psychological and emotional blows upon you are unconscious projections of her self hatred. This is not about you; it’s about her psychopathology.
Stop blaming yourself, if that’s what you have been doing since you were a child. Free yourself of guilt. If a brother or sister of yours has been treated since birth as a prince or princess, that’s because mother chose them to mirror her belief that she she is perfect. She aspired to create a clone of herself. Having a chosen brother or sister in the family makes life more painful. You were always compared with the perfect one and of course came up short. None of this is true but how could you have known when you were a smallchild. Now you know that this sibling is a full fledged narcissistic personality—another person you want to avoid and who has a complete lack of empathy.
We can heal and change our attitudes toward ourselves. We must develop self mercy and look at the small child inside of us who has suffered so much and soothe and give love to this little one. Great healing takes place by going into the calming mode in the nervous system. This is done in a variety of ways. Gentle yoga with emphasis on breathing through the nostrils brings a feeling of deep relaxation into the body/mind. Cardiovascular exercise (what works for you) removes obsessive thinking and brings us to a state of peace. Some people benefit from working with an excellent acupuncturist who facilitates your dropping down into the most restful state. Listening to calming music, sketching, journaling are all ways to switch us back to where you belong–in a state of rest and peace.
Daughters of narcissistic mothers have a particularly difficult life road to travel. From childhood they have had to contend with mothers who were cold, distracted, self-absorbed, coercive, dismissive, manipulative, highly critical and psychologically destructive. Many daughters of narcissistic mothers remain in denial about their mother’s true nature. They blame themselves for manufactured short comings and flaws that were the product of the projections of a delusional narcissistic mother. These mothers live for themselves. They come in as many shapes and sizes and styles as there are plants on the planet. But when we look at the essential realities of their natures they are the same. Narcissistic mothers have a severe personality disorder that is not going to change. Their children are at their mercy and whim. Their daughters are a continuing source of narcissistic supply. If they are intelligent, have special talents, athletic abilities, are attractive—the narcissistic mother uses these qualities of her child to pump up her ego and grandiose image. The child doesn’t matter to her—only the perfect performance that will impress those in her circle of social or professional influence. Narcissistic mothers test two daughters to see which one will be the standout. One will be favored over the other and this will become painfully obvious to the daughter who is not chosen. Often the narcissistic mother and the budding narcissistic daughter form a dark alliance designed to psychologically immobilize and even decimate the rejected child.
Adult daughters of narcissistic mothers have to contend with the multiple cruelties perpetrated by these mothers from hell. Rage is often the first reaction of the wounded daughter. She hates her mother. She is furious about this woman who was mother in name only and tried to destroy the life of her own child. Beneath the rage is a gnawing grief—a pervasive feeling of loss over what the daughter never had–a loving protective mother who accepted and nurtured her child as a separate individual with no strings attached.
Some daughters of narcissistic mothers find that working with a highly skilled psychotherapist helpful in working through the narcissistic mother rage and grief. Those inclined to go in this direction must make sure that they choose a therapist very wisely.There are excellent ones but it takes research and the full use of your intuition and powers of observation to pick the right therapist for you.
The next step is healing and wholeness. We are designed to be whole, complete, separate, thriving individuals. When you have worked through the rage and grieving, you discover that the deep authentic parts of you are there ready to be activated. This is a complex process. Some daughters of narcissistic mothers move in a spiritual direction (in the personal way that you define this). They develop a consistent meditation practice that works for them. Many practice gentle forms of yoga that put emphasis on the breath and calm the nervous system. Many do daily journaling and keep track of their dreams. Dreams are gifts of the unconscious that are given to us every night. Become familiar with this part of yourself—It is found gold.
The daughter of a narcissistic mother is very special—–She is a survivor, a beautiful human being who has survived the psychological gulags of childhood to emerge as a vibrant, loving, creative individual.
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.
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.
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.
I have had conversations spoken and written with a number of daughters of narcissistic mothers. It has been eye-opening to meet so many women “raised” by exc narcissistic “mothers’ who are highly empathic.
They suffered so much growing up with a mother who was cold, distant, often emotionally abusive and for some, physically cruel. Often the narcissistic mother was extremely jealous of her daughter and created psychological ambushes for her child. Constant criticisms and humiliations were part of the daily fare for these daughters. Many of them grew up thinking that there was something fundamentally wrong with them, even that they were intrinsically bad human beings. Time after time they were blamed for simply being born and making an effort to be an individual. What the narcissistic mother demanded could never be achieved because it was always a set-up, a trap, a road to nowhere.
These daughters grew up, often raising themselves and helping with their younger siblings. Another source of psychological pain was the brother or sister who was “golden”, chosen by the narcissistic mother as the absolute favorite who would fulfill mother’s need to have a living facsimile of her “perfection.”
Growing up with a narcissistic mother and golden narcissistic sibling is exceeding difficult and that is an understatement.
Some narcissistic daughters report that they learned to keep their heads down from oncoming fire meted out by the cruelties and deprivations projected on to them. Some of these women describe creating entire worlds of the imagination in which they lived. Some escaped into books. Many hid in plain sight and became very quiet to hide and deflect from the frequent bursts of psychological venom projected by mother on to
For many of these daughters there comes a time of reckoning, of knowing that they can and will no longer take the maternal narcissistic abuse. They decide that they must be free to lead their own lives. This can involve a complete no contact break with the narcissistic mother. Other family members who have no understanding of the cruelties sustained by these daughters will often interfere and criticize them for their decision to separate from mother and become free to lead life on their terms. Relatives of this kind will never comprehend what these daughters have decided to do to reclaim their lives and this is none of their business and they deserve no explanation. Besides many of these relatives are incapable of seeing through the delusion, the false mask of their narcissistic relative.
As you experience the breath of freedom and feel your nervous system quieting for the first time, think about what you have done. You have survived despite all of the pain and deprivation, as a unique bright talented kind and compassionate individual. This is huge! Now move forward with self care and compassion directed to yourself. Love that little child within you that kept faith with herself. Talk to her and cherish her loveliness and beauty. Take time to be with yourself each day to quiet the mind in any way that works for you. It can be prayer, guided meditation, going into Nature. Follow your intuition as you allow yourself downtime, sleep, food that nourishes you and that you can savor, being around people that appreciate you and where there is a genuine exchange and warmth. Your creative gifts will move within and you will be surprised by their abundance. Feel the ease and grace within you and the inward smile that warms your lovely heart.