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.