Narcissistic Mothers Divide and Conquer

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.


44 thoughts on “Narcissistic Mothers Divide and Conquer”

  1. I don’t even know where or how to begin that process. My mother continues to destroy my life as she cuts me out of the family.unfortunately my fathet suffers the same personality disorder and so makes matters worse. This past weekend I visited my parents home for the first time since last August as my siblings all came together in the occasion of the announcement of my closest sister’s engagement and a meal out together to mark it. I’m traumatised after 2 night’s and two days and my energy is very very low today. I discovered that she had taken some of my clothes out of the bedroom I’ve used there since childhood for herself and left them lying around the living room. She kicked and shoved at the family pet dog several times because he was in her way. She sulked her way through having to cater food and reminded us all several times that she had m.s. she has it since I was 4 and I am now 41. She told me as a child that if it wasn’t for her pregnancy with me that she wouldn’t have developed it in her system at all and that it was my fault she had to suffer all her life. She really hates me , always has and has no problem showing it amongst close family and that I am there to serve her needs and look after her now. she treayed me as a family servant and babysitter and housekeeper growing up and meted out diffetent treatment to my other siblings.

    The golden child from our childhood, my closest sister in age suffered severe body dysmorpia, bulimia, and couldn’t wait to leave for uni in another country. When she left, my younger sister became her golden haired child but she disapppointed her because she asserted her independence and rebelliousnes too young and liked to drink and socialise a lot. She went to uni to study actuary and is high flying in her career today. Because she’s the family’s top earner she has reverted to thegolden haired my closest sister had a massive fancy elaborate wedding that was the talk of our home for years but sadly ended in divorce after ten years. This sister has now found her longterm life partner and has chosen to marry him quietly and privately in a few months time with no family present. She told us this over the weekend. I really feel badly for her as she has suffered so much from our dysfunctional childhood and I didn’t know how to protect her from the harsh abuse we suffered at the hands of our so called parents. I truly am very lost myself. My health has failed a few years ago, I’m unemployed long term over 3:years and I don’t have the confidence to do a job interview without bursting into years and getting very emotional about everything in life as I get incredibly overwhelmed.

  2. All I can say is despite the fact that I was the SG for 51 years before finally going NC with my FOO, I’m still glad that I was the SG because I finally understood the sick, twisted games these non-mothers engage in and have finally removed myself permanently from the pack.
    The ones that I feel sorry for are the GC who are still pawns in her sadistic games and truly believe that they are loved when they’re just being used and abused.
    One out of 6 children has awakened and left the vortex – and that’s good enough for me. Like you said in your article, it’s every child for himself. True… true.

  3. I recently -six months ago – went NC with my NM and my golden child sister so this post rings so true to me. My mother used to tell me how much my sister loved me, as if I had no love for my sister and she was the virtuos one. This claim was always made when I complained to NM about something my sister did to me. Never, ever would she acknowledge that my sister’s behavior was rude, selfish,etc. I was of course always wrong and too sensitive. Once I learned that my mother is a narcissist and all of what that entails I saw my sister in a new light. I know now that my mother doesn’t love her anymore than she loves me but that she uses my sister in her twisted games. At any rate I had to go NC with my sister too as those two stick together like glue always working against me. I am grateful for having stumbled upon my mother’s disorder even though it didn’t happen until 59 years of age. While knowledge is power it still can’t take away the pain but it does surely help in coping with it and finally understanding that I am not the problem and never was. Thank you for this post.

  4. So sad but true. Thankfully, I was the one that got away, but the wounds are deep. When the golden child (or mirror image of the NM) tells you how awful you are because you have chosen no contact (out of self preservation) you must stick to your guns and stay away for sanity’s sake.

  5. Cheers to you Elizabeth. It can be done and are and have taken big steps. Don’t ignore the hurtful feelings, they have or they can and will be healed as you know because you are on the road to less suffering …not an easy path, and there are maybe cliffs ahead to climb.

    In my experience it wasn’t until my mother died that I began to see the truth of the dynamics of our family much like Dr. Linda Martinez-Lewi describes. Under all that pain is a real-true-self that has been obliterated and wants to and will blossom …getting on the on-ramp of a meaningful and fulfilling life …learning what real love really is and how it feels and interacts with other beings.

  6. Dr. Martinez-Lewi has opened a proverbial “can-of-worms” of my memory-history. Before I

    begin, I greatly enjoy reading the responses of you kind responders who have suffered so

    much and/or who have the courage to share your experiences or observations with us. I

    would greatly appreciate any references that are abbreviated, such as “SG”, “NC”, or “FOO”,

    be exposed for the benefit of us who are still learning about the references that you use so we

    might understand each other, better. Thank you.

    I have done considerable reading over the past several years about NPD (“Narcissist

    Personality Disorder”), which includes many newsletters from Dr. Martinez-Lewi.

    Though Dr. Martinez-Lewi is obviously a schooled authority, the kind of motivation and

    detailed assessment of narcissist behavior and character, I believe, is likely generated from

    personal experience. Victims are those of us who readily identify the consistency of the

    characteristics associated with Dr. Linda’s expertise and disclosures. Due to her expertise

    and narcissistic descriptions, we victims are able to bond together and shake our heads at the

    psychological trauma that we’ve observed and/or endured, and now know is so identifiable.

    Basically, “If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck…” Well, you know the rest.

    For anyone just tuning in, my assessment of the “NM” (“Narcissistic Mother”) can be

    associated by a possible victim answering “Yes” to the following questions. (Please know that

    I understand many of these same questions might relate with other narcissistic characters):

    Did, or does your mother try to control your decision-making?

    Did/do you feel that your input or decisions never seemed to measure up to her expectations?

    Were you constantly blamed for the failures of your mother’s decisions or suggestions?

    Did/do you mostly have to wear clothes to be the image she wanted/wants you to be?

    Did you often feel embarrassed by your mother’s embellishments of your activities or

    achievements? (It’s normal for mothers to want to brag some about their children, but

    did/do you feel ashamed that the bragging went far beyond reality and you were afraid to

    speak the truth, so you became shy and/or reclusive?)

    Did/does your mother base her expectations of you from other family members or friends?

    Did/do you often catch your mother lying?

    Was your mother highly emotional — fluctuating toward extreme high’s and extreme low’s to

    the point you never knew what to expect — making you feel like you’re “walking on egg


    Did/does your mother often become so enraged that doors would/will slam or you could hear

    her coming your way by the stomping of her feet?

    Did/does she like to yell to get her point across?

    Did/does she often get into the business of others and try to advise them of what to do?

    Would you describe her as someone who typically wants her way and will manipulate others

    to get her way?

    Did/does your mother have to be “center of attention” with her friends, family members, or

    even your friends?

    Did/do you often feel afraid to offer your input, make a suggestion, or attempt to communicate

    with her because you fear you will be put down or cause a retaliatory rage by upsetting her?

    Were you given family gifts or heirlooms only to discover them missing, later?

    Did/do you find that your belongings were/are given to others without consulting you?

    Did/do you feel you could trust her, only to find out she was telling others what you had offered

    in confidence?

    Speaking as a layman, I would like to read about the commonness of the above questions

    compared with the traits that Dr. Linda has diagnosed to be associated with NPD. I’ll also

    hope to read how these questions match other responders. Thank you, Dr. Linda, for this


  7. Oops, didn’t realize my post would be double-spaced automatically. Hope Dr. Linda can fix the spacing above and void this entry. Sorry, Folks.

  8. (Stan’s questions, continued, I forgot to add:)

    Does your mother have to have everything done right away, and almost always, her way?

    Is everything an emergency?

    Does your mother have difficulty comprehending life’s priorities? Is life all about her and her needs?

    Does your mother skip apologizing, or does she let time heal any bad vibes, statements or happenings?

    Does your mother have a hard time showing empathy? (Perhaps she sounds sympathetic on the phone with others, but she might run over the neighbor’s cat on the way to store and think, “Oh, well”.)

    Does she have to be talking all the time? Does she consume you in her dialogue or just leave you out, entirely? Does she try to talk over you or others, constantly interrupting?

    Does she have difficulty comprehending the consequences of her actions and statements?

    Does she have a problem seeing reality?

    (That should do it, for now. Hopefully, I have the spacing right, this time. Sure would be nice to have an “Edit” option… hint, hint.)

  9. “I feel your pain”, MNF… One trait I left out in my questions is the characteristic of “back-stabbing” or retaliation for not complying to the narcissist’s demands. Actually, I came to the conclusion that the NPD mother has a love-hate attitude with her children, or certain ones.

    I would even go so far to say that I believe that such a mother wishes that the child, being constantly targeted, hadn’t been born — or the child is a scapegoat for some other issue in her past, likely linked to some kind of abuse or bad memory.

    You’re absolutely “spot-on” feeling “targeted” for some unknown reason. It’s a terrible feeling to always mistrust her (or any narc’s) intentions because we are dumbfounded to see other kids treated with warmth and understanding, and we get the “cold-shoulder”, “taken-for-granted” side, or painful comments behind the scenes.

    She puts on a front to others, or while your friends are around, but on the phone, the gossip can be another story and it’s gut-wrenching, if and when we overhear. We are the main character in a real-life Cinderella/Cinderfella story.

    You truly have my sympathy as “back-stabbing” in today’s world seems to be the norm.

    Take care, and thanks for your post. Chin up! You’re appreciated here!

  10. Another thought came to mind as I recalled my situation… Being that my parents (both narcissists) were always after me to get good grades and excel at everything I attempted, but it always seemed that my family members wanted to make sure I struggled to gain my achievement, as if, deep down they really didn’t want me to succeed. I got the feeling (I later associated their raising me with what I learned about gambling) that the odds were often, intentionally, seemingly stacked against me. Maybe it was that they feared I would show them up in some way or they feared I would get enough credit as to “take charge” of my own destiny or decisions.

    This happened so often, I began to conclude that they were jealous of me in some way, or that they wanted to make sure that I didn’t make them look inferior in any way. I got the message that they always wanted to be regarded as “King (or Queen) of the Mountain” — always wanting to be in control.

    Being a religious fellow, I always believed I should obey my parents and “honor thy father and mother”, so I continued my effort to always try to “push the right buttons”and go along with their direction. Much of their advice was excellent, for which I’m grateful to this day. On the other hand, I now regard my upbringing as I did my military service — some good experiences, but I’m not sure I’d want to repeat it. They all had a lust for money which became the family god. I believe that attitude, however, was prevalent of many families who had suffered in The Great Depression.

    As I said, there were many plusses for which I’m grateful for, but I question if I was raised by my parents, or the love and generosity of others. I will say this — had I not become a Christian and learned my value as a child of God, odds are, I would have been a dead man by now. Thanks to Dr. LInda and the Bible, I now know that many of the burdens that I’ve been carrying, now rest with the sources of the abuses that I’ve endured. The key importance to me about my Christian understanding, it is written that I’m forgiven for my mistakes… The narcissist, on the other hand, seldom becomes humble enough to admit or apologize for any of his or her imperfections or blunders. They remain gods unto themselves — always sounding “self-righteous”, “self-glorifying” and/or “self-justifying”… “Self, self, self — all revolves around “the self”.

    Christians, on the other hand, learn to accept their God by “dying to the self”. Please know I’m not trying to preach, here, or sound like a “thumper”, I’m just trying to correlate and explain the difference in attitudes, thus, character traits.

    For the record, we know that there are people who claim to be religious, right down to the leaders, but they, too, can be narcissistic, capable of inflicting as much, if not more harm and pain, than a true believer. A true believer of Christianity is humble and trusts God will show the way — the narcs are imposters, believing that their way is the only way, and it is up to them to manipulate and control that way (even your way) to their liking, and to their end.

  11. I grew up in a Narc family where my mother and all 3 of my siblings are narcs, in addition to my grandmother, and a lot of my extended family members. I’ve been the SG for most of my life and I decided to go NC with them by not talking to any of them on the phone. I thought that it was ok to have text communication with some family, but I see that I can’t even do that because they take any opportunity to spew their narc venom at me because they are angry that I’ve broken free from their bondage. I come from a family where a lot of the narcs use religion as a way to manipulate, which turned me off from religion and made me focus on spirtuality instead. Thankfully, by the grace of God, I was taken on a recent spiritual awakening where I realized that I was on a path of self destructiion due to all the hurt and pain I was dealing with from narc abuse, among other traumatic life events. God showed me that He loves me, by showing me the truth, and that I was numbing my pain which wasn’t good. I started to read the Bible more and I have begun to see for myself the many ways my narc family members have manipulated God’s word for their own benefit, which is to control me and others. Understanding the truth about God’s word has been helping me to distinguish between the truth and lies. I now see that it’s not wise for me to communicate with any narc family members at all, no matter what. I’ve learned that forgiveness doesn’t mean that I have to respond to them or talk to them at all. I can forgive and still keep my firm boundaries, which I didn’t understand before. Forgiveness doesn’t mean letting Narcs continue to trample over you like they will continue to do as long as you let them. I am grateful to God for taking me on this journey of healing, by showing me that I don’t need to be stuck with toxic FOO.

  12. Hi Stan, thanks for your list of questions to ask, and helpful for my own discernment about the who and what characteristics one is dealing with.

    I also struggle with the many abbreviations used in our new style of writing, so I’ve worked these out and will share them.
    SG – scapegoat, NC – no contact, FOO – family of origin, GC – golden child

    God bless you.

  13. Well I knew my father was a Narcissist of the worst kind however I have only just realised my mother is one, plus my sister and two brothers. All the members of my family! When I was say about 10 I detached myself emotionally from my father, I knew then there was something wrong with him. So I clung to my mother who was kind however you had to do as she said. I had a big fear of rejection from her. I complied, it was easy for me to be good. I grew up with low self esteem, however was told “Oh you are beautiful, smart etc” I didn’t feel it inside. I had double meanings going on, positive input and then held down on the other hand. I couldn’t wait to leave home and wanted to find love. I am 59 now and when I was about 40 I finally became free of the fear of my father and finally too had a voice. My family think there is something wrong with me, Ive been called sick, unbalanced etc. They dont like the new me. Recently through more drama with my family I have made a decision I dont want to see them. I get nothing much out of any of our relationships. At family gathering you would be dragged into an argument. Every vieing to be right! Noone listening to anyone. Im just over it. I have recenlty remarried and look forward to positive people in my life who uplift me are easy to be with. I dont need them anymore. Ive had cancer twice, chemo, radiation my sister never called me, visited me or my brother or father either. My mother was kind to me however still the same things dont every wrong me or you will pay for it. It makes me sad however I cant do anything about it except move on and have a free at peace life, knowing that I am a survivor. I feel said for them and pray for them, forgive them.

  14. Thanks for your reply, Hazelnut! Somehow, I don’t think that’s your real name, but you remind me of those chocolate covered hazelnuts that put me into Heaven. Wow, am I tempted to go to the store or what?

    I guess many of us use Dr. Linda’s blog-threads to vent our pains and deal with our hindsights, so we can realize that we’re not the crazy ones seeing all we’ve seen. Hate to say this, but it’s like a “therapy-pool” for those of us who have been mentally and physically raped and tortured.

    There’s validity in numbers and common experiences. While I’m grateful to Dr. Linda, I’m also grateful to hear from others, as yourself, who have experienced similar perplexing circumstances. I continue to be absolutely amazed at what human beings do to one another. (I confess to not being perfect, either, but I keep some retrospect and try to correct my faults.)

    I often wonder if the aggressive oppressors in this world would display/possess the same characteristics and attitudes if they would take time to view our planet from one of those distant photos of Earth that NASA often shows from Voyager. Here we all are, stuck on this tiny little planet out in the middle of space, and these idiots have to use ways that self-destruct — and they try to use and take others down their paths on their distorted journeys… as if life isn’t tough enough. It reminds me of following Elmer Fudd to hunt Bugs Bunny. (We’re on Bug’s side. More accurately, we’re all dealing with the Wylie Coyote’s! [Now you know where I’ve received healing other than Dr. Linda’s writings!])

    Lastly for now, thanks very much for kindly sharing the abbreviations. I would not have guessed three out the four, for sure. Writing helps me vent so I don’t keep everything inside. I’m hopeful that what I say may give someone else something useful to consider. Dealing with narcs is nothing short of baffling, which I didn’t know was actually diagnosed until I questioned why I was repeating my same choices, with like results. A friend put me onto a DVD which replayed a Christian radio program about narcissism, and the term stuck with me until I saw the pattern to my decision-making, and asked why. You didn’t ask for all this… I just felt like writing tonight. (Please pardon me.)

    Thanks, again, “Hazelnut”. (You have to have a sense of humor.)

    Blessings to you, as well.

  15. A couple of weeks ago I had an epiphany that I have a narcisstic mother I am SC and my sister is GC. That same week I received more books from Amazon dealing with improving myself. One called something like Doormat, all my life trying to fix that “thing” inside of me, that I could never quite put my finger on. Now after finding this site, every word applies to my mother. You would believe the quagmire I am in. In your wildest imagination you would never guess. My life is like an Alfred Hithcock movie. My old firmed said this is a book or a movie. No one believes me. Funny thing about me is, I am like Pinocio, I cannot tell a lie. Funnier yet, everyone thinks am delusional because “who would do this?” Or “It makes no sense.” Or, “It’s not logical, you are such a liar.” Where that comes from I have no idea whatsoever. I just want to say to everyone who is being lied to by the evil ones, is “would judge Judy listen to just the plaintiffs and make a decisions?” Everyone is really showing how short sighted and stupid they are. To that end, my doctor says the stress has started to hurt my body and it has to stop. I guess the only thing for me to do is to disappear.

  16. Thanks all for sharing. I am the SG in the family. My sister the GC. I have gone NC for about three years now and it is absolutely wonderful. But it was a grieving process too. My mother is 87 and when she dies one day, I will cry because I did not have a real mother.

    I am the eldest the one who spilled the beans about narcissism and moved on with my life. The rest of the family is slowly following suit including my two daughters. Nobody wanted to believe me, but now that I am out of the way and my NM cannot touch me any more, she is targeting my children for her daily narcissistic kick. Thank God they are smart enough to fend for themselves. My eldest has also gone NC.

    Both my sister and I went through every possible eating disorder you can think of. I thought there was something wrong with us. The answer is . . . something wrong with our MOTHER!!! She poisoned the relationship between us. It is all so terribly sad. Fortunately I have a younger brother whom I adore and who understands.

    I believe in God and has prayed for this so many times. Fortunately He does not expect us to stay in any abusive relationship and we have ALL the right to put a distance between us and the narcissist.

    Thank you Dr Martinez-Lewi for all your sensitive and kind advice. It is helping me a lot.

    I have read somewhere that our biggest “revenge” is to live a victorious life!
    God bless you all.

    Carla J

  17. Omg! I have known for quite some time that something was massively wrong. But this… this just explains everything. Well, some things.

    In our younger years, my brothers and I were thick as thieves. It started as a vague curiosity and love for my younger brothers. I can’t describe it, they were just my people and I loved them. Some time later my father just left one day, and though we visited him regularly, we never saw him again after about a year.

    My mom would try small tactics to pull myself and my brothers apart but they never really worked. I never resented my brothers, just her. I saw what she was when I was young. I just never knew there was a name for it, and I didn’t know there were so many people like her. I remember my teenage years as her slave. I did all of the cooking, all of the cleaning, the baby sitting, baths, homework, all of it. She was too busy out with her boyfriends and getting drunk. Some nights she wouldn’t even come home. Sometimes it was weeks. When she was home she was always screaming at me. The bathtub wasn’t clean enough, clean it again. My room was a mess, get in there and re-clean the whole thing. My grades are down, what’s wrong with you?! You’re so lazy! You have no friends, you never go out and do anything. Why are you so weird?

    I was never allowed to have friends or a boyfriend. I had them anyways, but they were always taken away eventually. She would lie to them and tell them I talked behind their backs, that I was a liar, that I was seeing other people on the side. Whatever it took for that other person to go away. I used to sneak out of the house at night just to have friends. When I got caught I was grounded for 6 months. Everything was taken from my room but my bed, one pair of pants, and three shirts. I missed the first 6 months of socializing, dances, games, etc in my first 6 months of high school. Which basically doomed me to have no friends the entire year.

    During this whole time, my mother went out of her way to make sure one of my brothers had as many friends and opportunities as possible. She tried to get him involved in anything and everything she could. He skipped school, oh well. Got caught doing drugs, he’s just a teenager. Gets arrested, obviously needs more help and attention. Tells her to basically go f**k herself, that’s just him. My other brother didn’t even exist to her. He was a non-person. I was the punching bag, the one brother was her special boy, the other just nothing.

    Over the years we lived like this, and we all new the score. And we all took the benefits and the horrors like champs. Always together against her.

    But then I became an adult. I was finally leaving and all hell broke loose. She rented me and my golden brother an apartment. By then he was so out of control with drinking, and drugs, and partying that she must have known that he would sink any possibility of me having a normal life. And he did. My relationship at the time became a shell of what it was, my health went to absolute hell, I lost 2 jobs, I ruined my credit, everything went sideways for me. My brother had parties all night long, every night, he never went to work, never paid a single bill. So many times I told my mom I didn’t want this any more. All she would say was, “Well you can put your brother out in the street if you want. I’m not taking him, so if you want him be homeless because of you then whatever.” She knew the guilt I would feel. I was always my brothers protectors. Hell, I raised them for years. I would makes excuses for my brother. He’s in a bad place because of her. He needs help. If we can both just get away and be normal, we’ll both be okay. I even had dreams of us being normal and living like normal people and rescuing our other brother when we did.

    That never happened. I hadn’t realized the whole time that he was the favorite because he was just like her. He never cared when I came out of my room crying at 4 am because his parties were keeping me up all night and I had to go to work at 6 am with no sleep. He didn’t care that my boyfriend was going to leave me because of the constant stress. He didn’t care that he wrecked the apartment every night and I had to clean it every day. He didn’t care that I was struggling to pay all of the bills while he paid nothing. But again, I made excuses. This how he was raised. He doesn’t know any better. I can show him how this is supposed to be. It never worked, and after 2 years I made him go.

    But it was too late. I was flat broke, I had landed a terrible job after losing the two good ones, and I was sick. Very very sick. I was suffering from severe malnutrition and dehydration, depression, anxiety attacks every day, ulcers, and for some reason my digestive system just stopped working. I was a miserable wreck. I had no insurance and ended up in the ER at least once a month. Then regular doctors, then specialists. Something was very wrong with me, but no matter what these doctors did, I was not getting any better. I was just getting worse.

    At the end of my rope, I asked my mom for help. The answer was no. She didn’t have the money. I was not really sick, just looking for attention. I was a hypochondriac. I was using this as an excuse for being lazy and a loser. She threw every nasty thing at me. She turned my brothers, step-dad, and even my boyfriend against me. She would have private conversations with them about how she was concerned about my mental stability. How my boyfriend should just leave me because I do things like this for attention. How I will destroy his life with drama if he stays with me. She would make fun of me behind my back to my brothers. I would give my mom an update about my doctors and health stuff because she would ask. Then she would turn around and say, oh geez here she goes again with her crazy stories.

    Because of her I went through 3 of the most terrifying years of my life completely alone. I was dying and I had nobody. Somehow she had gotten my boyfriend to believe her and although he didn’t leave, he just tried to help me with my mental problems, which made everything worse when I fought back and stood my ground that I did not have a mental issue.

    Again, during this time, my golden brother got everything. Remember how I said she had no money to help me? Well, she made $90,000 a year without my step-dad. She went to $300 dinners 3 nights a week, got $90 haircuts, paid all of my brothers bills and gave him money to go out to the bars. She paid off 2 cars during that time, sent my golden brother to Europe for 2 months, offered to help him go to college, and those were just the things I heard about. I was drowning in medical debt, losing my hair, turning a sick pale bluish color, lost my job because I physically could do it anymore, and yes… eventually actually started losing my mind when the ramifications of actual starvation started setting in. I was losing my eye sight.

    I asked for help again, weeks away from dropping dead. And the sneer on her face. I will never forget that. The glee, the hatred, the sickness in her. Thank god I was not the only one that saw it. My boyfriend saw it too. The absolute power in her face as I begged for my life. And the sickening reply to my pleas. I don’t even know what it was. I just remember that look, singeing a hole through my brain, burned in my memory forever.

    After that, things started to change. My boyfriend called everyone he knew trying to get references to doctors. We searched the internet high and low for the best people to help me. He got two jobs to pay for my medical care and made me stay home and take care of myself. And I let go of the hope that my mother would ever love me. I started getting better. But the whole thing ripped my brothers away from me forever. The one, still to this day, thinks I’m a psychotic freak, a loser, and weak. The invisible one still likes me, but he left our family entirely because of her. I never see him and I miss him so much. I hate that she stole everything from me. All those years before, my brothers were all I had. And after my triumph over death, I have no family and no friends. I have a boyfriend to die for, he’s the only one left.

    I’m sorry this is so long. But I’ve never told anyone this, not a soul. Through anger and tears this poured out of me, because if anyone else is going through this your not alone. And don’t ever be ashamed to call a suicide hotline either. I was so alone and so terrified and so angry at the time, that I had to call one once. They saved my life.

  18. My mother destroyed me, I am a multiple. I was born perfect and pretty. She turned a blind eye to the sexual abuse of the golden boy. She is a monster, my son’s are legally my brothers now, she stole everything I have loved. I call myself humpty dumpty, and it continues to this day, her horrible life I’m imprisoned in. She won’t die cancer 4 times, she will out live me. My babies call me names they degrade me they hate me and I never got a chance to know them. She took everyone, everything and left me 52 and homeless for 20+ years now. Why are these people allowed to have children, and take their grandchildren to screw up too? I hope she’s happy and there is a GOD.

  19. I am 44 years old and moved cross country to be away from the need for control from my mother. I speak to both my parents only couple times a year and find myself turning to wine in order to make that call.But what I didn’t realise was the man who saved me from my toxic relationship and moved me across country with my 3 kids was a spitting image of my narcistic mother…..and actually put her narc tendencies to shame. I can’t even express the separation and lack of trust our family is going through. I feel I have lost my youngest son completely. I confronted my husband about something that he was keeping from me …….he got so upset by the confrontation he packed his stuff and is living in his car. The next day the Landlord said we had 2 days to leave…..he said he told my husband weeks ago. My husband never told me we had to go. Now he is hiding out and I have to clean up this mess while he tells my kids he is tired of being yelled at all the time….when I had a problem to confront him with, I would pray for days to explain it to him in a way he might not get mad…..but I always had consequences for any kind of confrontation…The last 3 years I stopped asking about finances, money, responsibilities etc…..I have been dealing with this personality disorder since I was a toddler……I question myself now because at times I have had to respond in ways that I am ashamed to protect myself. And they have not or ever will be forgotten. I am the one to blame now if he is caught lying or doing something that he knows is wrong….now he has a sense of entitlement…I left,so now I am untrustworthy. I don’t have any shelter to stay at and he says he is proving a point for judging him …….and he had my youngest son tell me that….I am so alone and don’t know who to trust at this point because I will pay somehow if I speak out….he will bring every situation and put the blame on me…….tells his parole officer I distract him so he can’t go to meetings, tells his boss he drank her wine during work cuz we were having problems….tells my kids I am a who’re, etc…..has my boys believing it……there so much more….but how to I break this cycle. I really don’t know what healthy is….

  20. Ash – I’m so sorry that you’ve gone through so much! Our stories are similar in many ways. My only advice is to share what you’ve found about narcissistic personality disorder with “the invisible one” and then give him time. You grew up in the same house so hopefully he’ll realize the truth. The golden child will never admit it, even if deep down he knows it’s true. She’s his gravy train and since he’s a narcissist too….well, it’s NEVER them that’s the problem.
    Try to salvage a relationship with your brother even though he’s left the family. Visit each other or take a trip together next time there’s a milestone or a big birthday to celebrate.
    (I took my brother to Vegas to celebrate his 40th birthday)!

    I’m glad that you’ve come so far! Letting go of the hope that your mother will love you like she is supposed to can be very freeing. Over time, you will let those snide comments and her rudeness just roll off your back. I roll my eyes and laugh when my mother throws a fit. I refuse to play into it because that’s exactly what she wants. I stopped caring what she or other people think. I don’t live for them, I live for me. It takes a long time to get there…..just take each day as it comes.

  21. Here’s my story. It’s long but I’m needing some advice…..
    I am the youngest of 3 children. My mother was married and had 2 sons (one adopted after a miscarriage) and one biologically. They divorced and then she met my dad. A hardworking man who accepted her and her two sons. They married within 6 months of meeting as my dad was preparing to move from Texas to Colorado for work. 8 months later, I was born. My dad said if she was pregnant when they got married, he didn’t know about it.
    Growing up, I didn’t necessarily notice that things were wrong. My brothers are 8 & 10 years older than me so I didn’t have much of a relationship with them since I was so much younger. I barely remember the one that’s 10 years older even living in the same house. He’s the golden child. Adopted. Literally “the chosen one”. I’ll call him “A”. I have no memories of him from my early childhood except when my parents found his drugs. He called my parents the night before he married his girlfriend and said they could be at the “wedding” if they wanted to be there. He was 18 and she was 15. Then he got arrested for domestic violence when I was in 5th grade. Not his fault….she lied to the police (according to my mother).
    My other brother “M” is dyslexic and struggled in school. How great my mother was at helping him (if you hear it from her) but what a pain in the @$$ it was. Poor her having to stay up late and type a paper for him. My dad, the most patient of all people on the planet (you’d have to be to still be married to the crazy lady) would help my brother with math for hours on end, even after working 12+ hours.
    Here’s my early childhood as I remember it. On Saturday my brothers and I would clean the house together and then we’d go to the grocery store with my mom to help her. My cat was my best friend. I hid in a cabinet my dad built to be a laundry hamper with my cat and a radio. My dad had Sunday and Monday off of work and he would often call me in to school on Monday and we would hang out together. We’d go to movies, play golf, run errands, just spending quality time together. Those Mondays always came with a consequence though. My mother would punish me the rest of the week. We went to church ALL the time. My mother became a church secretary when I was about 10. I was there 5 days a week usually. That was my social life.
    I became pregnant after I finished high school – right before I left for an out of state Baptist college. Days after having my daughter, I overheard my mother telling “M” that she would end up raising my daughter because I was useless. That ate away at me for years. Did I have my parents babysit? Yes. It’s their granddaughter. Did they raise her or support her financially? No. Did my mother spend the next 18 years undermining every decision I made? Yes. I can’t even begin that story…..
    4 weeks ago, my dad had to have quadruple bypass surgery. The day before, she typed up a document for my dad to sign saying if he didn’t make it, she got EVERYTHING. (My dad told me when he came out of surgery). She was adamant about me helping to get their taxes filed before his surgery. During the surgery, she threw a temper tantrum in the waiting room when the OR called me with updates rather than her. “M” called her out about her always playing the victim and the golden child. All of which fell on deaf ears.
    I figured out years ago that my mother is jealous of the relationship my dad and I have. She never wanted more kids (me). She hates any time that my dad and I spend together and does her best to intervene when we do.
    Here’s where I need advice…. My mother has taken things to a whole new level. Now that my dad is recovering from surgery, she has decided that he should retire. His response? They can’t live on their social security. She said they should sell the house since the market is doing well. His response? Anywhere else around here will cost us the same. Her solution? Let’s move out of state where it’s cheaper. The ultimate “F you”. Taking him as far away from me and his granddaughters as she can. The golden child “A” is encouraging it. He’s 47 and lives in their basement. He wants to move to Texas. Mother’s suggestion? Texas. Convenient. I can’t move because my ex-husband will have me in court fighting custody which I can’t afford.
    My dad and I take father / daughter trips twice a year to Vegas. My plan while we’re there in a few weeks is to talk to him one on one about all of this; the will, the moving, her behavior. About how she always gets what she wants at any cost. And to find out if that’s what he really wants. Any advice?

  22. Ash – I’m so sorry that you’ve gone through so much! Our stories are similar in many ways. My only advice is to share what you’ve found about narcissistic personality disorder with “the invisible one” and then give him time. You grew up in the same house so hopefully he’ll realize the truth. The golden child will never admit it, even if deep down he knows it’s true. She’s his gravy train and since he’s a narcissist too….well, it’s NEVER them that’s the problem.
    Try to salvage a relationship with your brother even though he’s left the family. Visit each other or take a trip together next time there’s a milestone or a big birthday to celebrate.
    (I took my brother to Vegas to celebrate his 40th birthday)!

    I’m glad that you’ve come so far! Letting go of the hope that your mother will love you like she is supposed to can be very freeing. Over time, you will let those snide comments and her rudeness just roll off your back. I roll my eyes and laugh when my mother throws a fit. I refuse to play into it because that’s exactly what she wants. I stopped caring what she or other people think. I don’t live for them, I live for me. It takes a long time to get there…..just take each day as it comes.

  23. Whew! There is a book titled “Say goodbye to Your PDI”. So many of us VICTIMS are wait too long to cut ties. It is not easy to leave your birth family. I’m glad you survived. God bless. (I always get choked up at baby christianings when I see a child being blessed and held up to God because I was cursed and rejected from the womb. My horror stories are the same) )

  24. Hi, I just wanted to let you know that I think I have been dating a Narc and was a sort-of Golden Child, but without any sort of stability whatsoever, like, not even feigned attempts for stability. My mother was bipolar and, undiagnosed, schizophrenic – I would walk into the kitchen and catch her in full trances, with finger gesticulation and lip movement, talking to something she called God which later killed her because this – being – told her that chemo and mastectomies were mutilating her body in “His eyes”.

    Because my parents both passed very early – my mother right before I graduated HS at 16, father at 14 – I started my own path of self-destruction to age 22, I’m almost 23 now. I had a huge realization and started facing my idealized self, my idealized view of my childhood and what I see looking back, taking responsibility for my own actions without shrouds of dishonesty. I think my viewpoint is very, very clear because it was somewhat of a ‘religious’ experience for me. That’s my only word for it.

    I have just started a blog called ‘The Real Perspective’ because I want other deeply damaged people, who wear the mask of normality, to know that, at a certain point, you are only how good you affect other people – those sums of your actions are what define your self-worth and that self-value has no point if it cannot be used in the economy of social relationships.

    At the moment, I am facing a lot of challenge, but I am going through a process of, kind of, rebirth of what I feel is valuable inside of my own sphere of influence.

  25. Ash-

    I have no doubt that my mother didn’t want me. She already had two kids, two ex-husbands, and when she got her hooks into my damaged F, the last thing she wanted was another kid. She wanted another paycheck. I guess she was just trying to survive, but she was just a user.

    Meet a man, get knocked up, and he had to marry her. Man #1 got her away from her mother (also a N), but Man #1’s family paid more attention to the baby than to her. So she left in a huff with the baby. When the baby cramped her style, she sent it away, back to Man #1’s family. Man #2, same story. Knocked up to get married and get free of her mother, who she had gone back to. Man #2 must have realized what he was dealing with because he got on a plane one day and flew across the country, leaving her high and dry. He didn’t contact her for years. Her mother was too busy bar hopping to baby sit. Too bad she didn’t have anywhere to ship baby #2 to–she was stuck with him.

    Then comes Man #3, the sap. After years, she gave in and had me. I wonder how many abortions she had that F didn’t know about. F was as sick as she was, but in a different way. And yes, they fought like hell. They pitted baby #2 against baby #3 (me). We never got a chance to be siblings. We were opponents. I never really knew baby #1. Neither did my mother, but she despises him for sticking with his F’s family. I don’t even know his phone number. Divide and conquer.

    Now, ages later, all 3 husbands are dead. Baby #2 is dead. Baby #1 is NC. I’m the all-purpose N’s child–the Golden Child, the Scapegoat, the Narc Supply, just depends on the day.

    I’ve got my mental health back, but it almost killed me to do it.

    I cannot wait for her to drop dead so I can finally start to live.

  26. Dear Hazelnut,
    My narcissistic mother has been “deathly ill” now for the last 30 years! It’s highly doubtful it will be today…or tomorrow, but I am thinking about the day she does die. I do not want to attend the funeral. I am a doctorally-prepared professional and have worked my tail off for what I have. In 2007, having just been physically thrown out of my own home by my ex-husband, I went to stay with my NM and enabling step-father. She had just started taking Oxycontin because of her “rare” disorder, dystonia, that causes her “insurmountable pain.” While doped up on a cocktail of drugs, she started screaming at me one night. I felt like I was in an Alfred Hitchcock movie because the next thing I knew I was being arrested and taken away for domestic violence. She told my step-father to call the police so I could be arrested. And I was. Right there in my pajamas, no bra, no shoes, and with white stuff all over my face! She threw her fists up to hit me and I pushed her hand away. I did not strike her. After spending the night in jail, I had to walk home 5 miles looking like that. My case could have been dismissed, but my mother continued to play the victim, and refused to reconcile the situation out between us. My step-father admitted to me he saw “nothing,” but didn’t want to rock the boat so he made a statement that backed up me “attacking” her. When this happened I was 40 years old! She wanted to “punish” me so that I would have to forever rely on her (so then she could berate me for it! Ingenious.). Instead, I dug my heels in and went back to school, earned two master’s degrees and got accepted into my doctorate program. Except for a few times, I haven’t spoken to her since July 18, 2007. I just wanted to ask you if you attended your mother’s funeral? If you can’t tell, I have NO intention of attending mine. This is going to be an issue for me at some point, and I was curious as to your opinion having lived it. My second question: does the hatred ever stop?

    Warm regards,

    P.S. I also wanted to warn others on the lengths that NMs will go to to control their daughters. I now have a non-public criminal record. It’s no joke: Narcissistic mothers are vindictive and malicious! NO CONTACT. EVER.

  27. Today was my first time checking out this website. I never knew that there was a name for my cruel, abusive mother. After reading through the comments(with tears pouring down my face) I can relate to everybody who has left a comment. Today being Mother’s Day seems like the perfect day to find this website and find answers.
    Thank-you Hazelnut for defining the abbreviations. I am the SG.
    Stan, I see myself in most of your questions.
    Up until recently, I tried so hard to make my mother happy and to gain her love. Me, being the oldest, was the most abused, my sister who was the second child was abused pretty close to as badly as I was. Our mother started out splitting us up at a young age. I didn’t have many toys as a kid but I remember having a doll I loved. When I was at kindergarten, she had my sister destroy it. A little latter in life when we were learning about the crucifixion of Christ, she had my sister spit in my face to show me what Jesus went through. When I was 9 my sister and I were in charge of cleaning the house and doing the dishes. She would deliberately leave the kitchen a filthy, greasy, disgusting mess so that we would have to clean it after school. She never taught us how to clean and we had to figure it out ourselves. She would wake us up in the middle of the night because it wasn’t to her liking and then dump out all of the drawers in the kitchen and our bedrooms and we couldn’t go back to bed until it was cleaned up, this was done on school nights. We weren’t taught hygiene and therefore had no friends in school with nicknames like Egor and Moldy. The only thing we were taught is that my mother was perfect.
    My parents had 6 kids. #3, 4 and 5 are replicas of my mother. My sister and I tried to show love to #4, 5 and 6.
    My sister recently died, after being on depression meds for 30 years, marrying a man like my mother and getting cancer and not thinking that her life was worth getting treatment for. She forgave my mother before she died, she said my mom was “stressed out”.
    My mother has duplicated herself in #3, 4, 5 and has taught them to hate me and treat me the same way she did. She has millions of dollars at her disposal and was able to buy their loyalty.
    My mother takes pride that she is invited to family functions while others are not. A wedding was held and a sister and her family was not invited. Christmas, birthdays, Easter and other family functions only partial family is invited to usually excluding only one person.
    My dad is now a shell of a man with no spine. She verbally, abused him in front of us kids for years. My sister who died and I were the only ones who treated him like he was human. The others take the money my dad earned from my my mother exchange for their their hatred of my dad and me.
    A couple years ago I got a hint that the problem wasn’t me when after watching my parents dog and house for a month, while my mother dragged my dad around the world, I went the extra mile and cleaned their house spotless to surprise them when the got home. #3 said to me “poor Lisa, still trying to get mom and dad’s approval after all these years” My mother didn’t even notice.
    Anyway, I’m glad I found this website.
    Thanks for letting me vent, I will read the books.

  28. do not disappear…i have been suffering at the hands of a npd mother for ever.. it is her that is mentally disturbed not you!!!!!

  29. Thanks, they make you feel terrible about yourself. You almost feel the presence of a legion of demons manifesting in the room when they around you.

    They cripple you spiritually, mentally and physically, stay away from them, theu hardly ever want to let go of the evil they carry.

  30. I felt the same, until I discovered that I was living my life and every decision based on their hatred and fears. You give them the control by obsessing and thinking about it constantly my body was malfunctioning as a result.

    Please please please know how insignificant they should be to you, its an emotional stronghold thats why you feel in such dispair. If you had to write an honest list of who or what is the most important in your life, they WILL be at the bottom, least important, based on that alone cut soul ties you are free live your new life healthy, happy and lovingly! There are healthy loving people out there. We just dont know who to trust because of the paranoia and anxiety caused by these very sick deluded dark people (they are very unhealthy and live in constant torture themselves and project this).

    Just know you are stronger and thank God you have gone through it to know what to avoid, you can live free now…take what you have been given and go make a beautiful happy life for yourself and others you care for and care for you. A narc hates you, no matter what you do it will not change that hate!

    They will use what they can to destroy you. Rebuke them in Jesus name and walk away. God will do the rest, you dont even have to think about it again (it will happen over time).

    Emotional blackmail makes you feel so low about yourself its the trick that keeps you going back for more trying to find out what you did wrong and why do dissapointed and fell short. Its a lie, they are sick, demented twisted minds.

    I feel sorry for them, throwing everything away for a game of soul crusifixion, they are throwing themselves into hell, better we stay away and pray for their souls to be released. May God forgive them, and may they recieve His mercy beforw its too late. They will be judged for this without stopping and turning to repentance.

  31. Unfortunately the narc base their lives and actions on lies, manipulations and talking their way out of anything. They keep the right people blinded to their ways (behind clised doors and leave no trace of their venom, so the blinded hardly ever know what you are talking about it the many years they have been together they have never seen the narc in narc toxic action- its one if the narcs tools in their sadistic game).

    The best is to thank God there is more and more distance between you and the narc and more boundaties and control set. Your narc is using your dad as a tool against you, to control you and your emotions.

    Your dad might not know all thats going on I would suggest just love him and enjoy him, dont let your narc steal more special, precious time, and fueding about someone who empowers themselves in fighting and dividing.

    My dad passed away 6 years ago, and I cry sometimes just wishing I could chat to him about life, love and God.

    Enjoy the time and moments you have, build memories that will last a lifetime, dont include that which doesnt belong to love.

  32. Thanks Stan for all your writing in your reply to me, as Dr. Linda says it’s part of our recovery and healing to write out our thoughts and feelings (and sometimes despair) Dealing with those in our life who have these narcissistic traits and characteristics requires of us a steady and solid base from within. I so appreciate all the advice and support I receive to build that. It makes me feel sane again and not so alone. Keep writing.

  33. Hi MIFNP, I’ve just noticed and figured out how to use the reply feature at the top. What you have gone through with your mother sounds horrific. Dealing with the painful emotion of what it feels like to have your mother not show love and caring is unbearably excruciating. After reading your story, I’m amazed at your resilience to accomplish your professional degrees.

    When my mother died I did travel across the country to the funeral. Mostly to support my sister who felt obligated and trapped into caring for her because she lived close. I had moved away from my family years ago in trying to manage my life while filled with so much confusion because I couldn’t make sense of why I felt so hated by my mother. For a long time I lived with so much guilty feeling for not being there to help my sister. Since learning about narcissism as described by Dr. Linda (and others) I now know there is not a way to make sense of it. I believe the hating behavior is motivated by self-hate in the mother. It has to find somewhere to land. I’m sorry it was us. As some say ..we are too sensitive, absorbed it, and soaked it up like a sponge – we keep going back – hoping. We become the scapegoat (such a funny word for such a painful experience) For me, I’m learning how to recognize where to find, in our sea of humanity and animals, where real love is and soaking that up.

    I truly hope that you have some recovery and healing from the horrible experiences of what your mother has done to you. If she is still living or when she dies, follow what is best for you for your own mental and emotional health. And do remember that we musn’t trust those who have proven themselves untrustworthy – not matter who it is.

  34. I understand and feel your pain. You must seek professional help. It will help you understand how to cope and maneuver through the ugly obstacle course that is your mother. You must understand that you are worth the highest praise.

  35. I feel your pain everyday, Sinead. I’m so sorry you’re in such agony. Sending tight cyberhugs that I wish could offer you comfort.

  36. I went NC with my NM in 1993…the same year I went NC with my sociopathic youngest brother (her creation, GC). I went NC with my other 2 siblings in 2011 after my father’s death. The amount of peace I have from not having to deal with them, be blamed by them for everything imaginable, etc., etc., is such a gift. My middle brother has recently been attempting contact, using other people to get to me and the anxiety I feel over that literally takes my breath away. I’m comfortable and peaceful about having no contact with that part of my family. I can’t go backwards, either. I felt sadness towards my brother’s plight, but felt tremendous relief at the growth I exhibited in remaining steadfast that there be NC, despite others telling me I should “put myself in his shoes” and give him another chance. I was able to remain unaffected by that advice because I know now – and fully understand – that unless someone has dealt directly with a narcissist at this level and with all the people within the web, they will never be able to fully grasp the danger inherent in those relationships. To go back would, for me, be the same as killing myself and that is something I’ll never do…thought about it, but chose to not give up.

    Still not giving up…

  37. Oh my, I have just gone non contact with my mother because I do not have a sister because my mother pitted us against each other our whole lives. I am so upset and reading this has brought me to tears. I have only known my parents and sister no other family is here and they are all I had growing up. My whole life has been a mess due to the toxic nature of my mother and family. My sister is the golden child and I am the scapegoat. I have had two marital breakdowns and the last one was violently abusive and I escaped with my youngest son. Since then I have given myself distance from my whole family and I can see clearly what has happened… I am the happiest I have ever been now a few years on and my family resented it, I didn’t play their game. I recently told my mother that I know that she pitted me and my sister against each other… she denied it of course. But she revels in the fact that my sister and I almost hate each other. I say almost because i don’t really hate her I do love her but the toxic abuse is just too much to bear any longer. I have my own adult children and one son at home they are my life and I love them all equally. We have had our issues but we all know how much we love each other and we don’t poke about each others lives we have a healthy respect for each other and ourselves. Anyway I just wanted to thank you for writing this…I have struggled with this no contact as my parents are older but I have tried and tried but the emotional abuse continues. You’ve reinstated within me that I am not crazy this does happen. Thank you so much.

  38. Stan, u seem to have the most knowledge on here! Do u have an email I can send questions to! I don’t want anyone reading my comments and questions on here! Maybe u can email me! Hope to hear from you!

  39. I don’t think I was ever actively ‘pitted’ against my sisters, but they definitely do resent me to an extent for being the ‘favourite’ (I’d rather have been the neglected one, to be honest), and I wasn’t the nicest younger brother.

    I was sent to the private school (sisters weren’t), my mother treated me as an appendage- like a smaller, male, version of her… I got told people were ‘jealous’ of me (and obvious false statement), etc etc.

    “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

    Rings very true. I sometimes refer to my mother as the ‘Destroyer of Worlds’… she gets involved in everything and ****s it up. My ‘true self’ pops out occasionally, but it’s a hard process.

  40. 🙂 Brave lady; stay safe away from the horror. There is no need for you to return to that, ever. Understand that your brother has to do what he deems best for himself.

  41. I have puzzled over my mother’s behaviour for years. She seems in so many ways to fit the narcissistic personality profile; but she also fits into the neglectful parent category. Reading these stories here which in many cases resemble horror stories akin to Mommy Dearest, I cannot totally correlate them with my own story of an emotionally absent mother. But do the stories of personality disordered mothers (or fathers) have to be melodramatic or are there lesser versions of NPD at the beginning of the spectrum?

    My mother basically ignored us for much of our childhood. We ‘knew’ not to talk at the dinner table, we never had conversations with her, she had little to no interest in our schooling or our lives at all, nor in our subsequent careers. She was the mistress of the silent stare and the put down. We were fed and watered so to speak, that was it.

    At family gatherings nobody would have guessed how she treated us at home. She was funny and charming and beautiful. It worsened when we became teenagers. I became the household skivvy and my older brother just stayed out of sight or if he argued would be thrown out of the house to sleep in a railway station. Things worsened dramatically when she remarried and had a new son: we were in the way. We were not invited to the wedding and came home to find the reception taking place in the living room. This was the eye opener for me.

    Like many of the posters I am sure, the incidents are just too numerous and sometimes too painful to recount. But what was very clear was that the young son was the golden child. He was coddled and nurtured; he eventually went to a prestigious university and made a good life for himself. He was always a lovable child and I did not resent him although it was much harder for my older brother to see the other male child being so favoured. But there is no question he is emotionally stunted despite presenting as Mr Bonhommie. I have no contact with him now due to his lack of empathy and the fact that quite simply he makes me feel uncomfortable because he refuses to acknowledge what happened.

    I moved far far away for a very long time from this woman who had so much disdain for me. It was the best move. When she fell seriously ill a few years ago she was a shadow of her former self and I was able to show compassion and treat her as a frail older lady. I felt very little in the way of daughterly feelings when she died, but I showed respect and I grieved for her lost potential and her deep unhappiness. I grieve for my brother and myself that we had so little in the way of maternal love and that she was unable to give it to us. I still marvel at people who have relatively normal parents and childhoods – they often don’t know how lucky they are.

    But I still cannot work out whether my mother actually was a narcissist or just a very neglectful parent. Two friends have narcissistic mothers and their stories seem to indicate more deliberate nastiness and manipulation than mine.

    BTW – I don’t let my absconding father off scot-free – simply, he wasn’t around to do so much emotional damage.

    One thing that strikes me here is that quite a few posters ask their narcissistic parents for financial or other help. There was absolutely no question growing up that I would ever ask for financial help and certainly none that it would be given however dire the straits – and they were dire at times. You fended for yourself. I think putting yourself into financial debt to a narcissist is to make yourself a hostage to fortune. Narcissism is a mental illness, these people cannot help themselves.

    The other observation is that a number of people advise putting trust in God. I think that is fine on a personal level if one believes in God. However many people have alternative belief systems and for them I imagine this advice could be quite alienating.

    Lastly thank you to everyone who has shared their story. It is great to air these horrors and see that others have experienced similar.

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