Those who have grown up with a narcissistic mother have endured the emotional and psychological pain of narcissistic abuse and neglect. The narcissistic parent may have provided the essentials for you to survive, even given you material advantages. But there were empty pockets devoid of love, affection, respect, or genuine attention. These were absent from your life.
You may have been the golden child, the one chosen to be groomed to reflect the perfection and delusional expectations of the narcissistic parent. You may have been the child that was emotionally discarded and neglected. You always had that feeling that mom wanted you to disappear and never come back. You were a burden to her because you were a child. How dreadful is that! Or you may have been the invisible child who lived under the radar in your own home. Narcissistic mom went about her business of being the only person on the face of the earth who had any value; you didn’t exist. You learned how to survive on your own early. In some instances siblings take pity on you and throw you a crumb or two. In many homes it is everyone for themselves–constant survival mode. In others some siblings bond together in order to deal with narcissistic mother’s unexpected onslaughts and incoming fire.
Even in adulthood the narcissistic mother will not stop interrupting your life in her devious and obstructive ways. She riddles you with guilt when you don’t call her. She criticizes your choice of marital partners, she wonders why you don’t have children, she doesn’t approve of your friends, etc., etc., etc.
Narcissistic mothers are clever at manipulating their adult children. They use guilt, threats of being removed from the family business or family trust, being shunned by the other family members if you don’t stay in line. She has endless arrows in her quiver and knows just where to plant them.
For many adult children of narcissistic mothers a time comes when they can no longer take the abuse. It is gone one too long, taken too much from their lives, caused perpetual undeserved suffering. This is your call to make. The narcissistic mother is not going to change. She may have the rest of the family convinced that she is a wonderful, even loving human being. (These people have never seen her style of low down guerrilla tactics behind closed doors.) You are the witness; the one that knows the truth. Even other siblings who grew up in the same home with you continue to make excuses for her corrosive, damaging outrageous behaviors.
Recognize that you are entitled to lead a life that is free of this abuse. You deserve inner peace, a sense of freedom within yourself and in your relationships. You have many creative gifts and dreams you want to fulfill. Some adult children of narcissistic mothers decide that they will no longer be exploited by their narcissistic non-mother. They are reclaiming their lives. You can start by initiating a No Contact policy with the narcissistic mother. Your concern is not what other relatives or your mother think or feel about this or how they are reacting. Remember this life belongs to you. Take the reins in your hands, listen to the messages of your heart that are telling you this is your time to restart your life. Some individuals find that excellent psychotherapy helps them through this transition. If you go this route, make sure that you interview several therapists and that they are clinically trained and very empathic, have no money motive and, of course, are not narcissistic personalities. And always—take very good care of yourself.
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life