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.
49 thoughts on “Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers–Rage-Grief-Healing”
Comment: From Stacie
Thank you so much for all of your insight and wisdom on this subject. After reading your article, I felt inside that you were speaking directly to me. I am almost 38 years old and I am the daughter of a Narcissistic Mother. I have recently just begun to research this subject more in depth so that I can finally start to heal and live a meaningful life. It required a lot of steady self-reflection but, I concluded my healing can only begin by going ‘no contact’ with my mother. This may not necessarily be the right decision for every adult child of a narcissist, however this is the right choice for me. For years, my mother emotionally tormented and intimidated me in front of family, friends and especially behind closed doors. Nothing I ever accomplished on my own was ever to her standards. Any success I did have became her success and not my own. Taking ownership of my own personal mistakes and failures meant recognizing that I had tarnished her pristine image and bruised her ego. Over the past 9 years, she has twisted my own hardships around so that the spotlight would shine on her. She accomplished this by developing the attitude of “How could you do this to ME” and “Look what you’ve done to ME.” Throughout my entire life she has not only made me feel unworthy of her love, but also the love of others. She thrived on the energy (narcissistic supply) she would get by demeaning me and belittling me in front of boyfriends, including my ex-husband and his family. She hates her own mother, as well as any other woman besides herself. My entire life has always revolved around a delusional competition she created in her head between us. I’ve learned over time that she truly is a very very sick, pathetic woman that has never had any maternal instincts whatsoever. Empathy for another human being is essentially void in her life. Common courtesies such as “please, thank you or I’m sorry” are as foreign to her as learning a second language. Over the past several months, I have been experiencing a wide range of conflicting emotions which concern my mother. All stemming from an unparalleled grief/loss to maddening rage/hatred. I understand that this is normal for an adult child of a narcissist and I’m okay with that. I am more motivated than ever to heal the emotional pain and abuse my mother inflicted upon me for 38 years. I am eternally grateful that I have 2 teenage boys that I live my life for today. I express my love to them each and every day through kind words and actions. My boyfriend of 2 years has been a rock for me to lean on during my rollercoaster of emotions. He has lovingly opened his arms up for my children and I with an immeasurable amount of patience, empathy and understanding. Despite my mother living in her own distorted reality, I am the one that will prevail gracefully with my children and boyfriend beside me.
Thank you again for all of your articles on this subject. Reading them has given me my confidence back.
Comment: From Valda
Hi Dr. Martinez-Lewi, It is astounding that you describe the destructive childhood that I endured. I thought it was normal at the time, but now I know differently. Thank you for your support. It means so much to me! For so long I have never been good enough and now I am. That feels so good. Better late than never! Warmly, Valda
Thank you!! Just to have these feelings acknowledged as real is helpful. My last therapist said, ” Forgive. I don’t believe in labels, you are anxious. There are so many of us, so much suffering, you need to forgive. Every thing God creates is perfect.” I’m trying to forgive but I’m so angry. My mother and sister have formed a dark bond, and my brothers are also figuring it out. Finally. I’m the oldest and moved to a despicable part of town to get away from my mother, who continuallymoved literally next door to me or me and my husband whenever we moved. When I moved somewhere her pride and snobbery couldn’t allow her to follow, she bought the property next door to my sister- across the country. So I was ridiculed and did go down to the level of the area I lived in. I almost died. Everything eventually went to pieces and I threw myself out and to a place I’d never lived. True about dreams–anyway thanks again.
Thank you Dr. Martinez-Lewis! I too am the daughter of a narcissistic mother. She has tormented me off and on for 41 years now. I was given away to my grandparents from infancy to childhood and blamed when my aging grandparents gave me back because they were too old to care for a child. My mother has single handedly ruined every special day in my life, including my wedding, and manipulated everyone into feeling sorry for her. All in all, being her daughter has left me with more scars than I can count. I finally realized today, after reading your articles and all of the comments from the other daughters, that these women masquerading as mothers don’t deserve our love. We give, they take, they hurt us, and, like abused puppies, we come back for more always hoping that the next time will be better. It never is. I am still angry and very hurt. I am also disgusted with the rest of the family for always taking her side; for witnessing the abuse and supporting her as she acts out. Like many of the other daughters, I’ve chosen to walk away and stay away because this last time my mother attacked my children for being mine; for loving me. With their support, I can stay away. I realized that my job is to be the best mom that I can be, not the daughter of a mother who disdains her. Focusing on being a good, loving, supportive mom is helping me to process my feelings about my mother while also building close relationships with my kids. Maybe that can help those other daughters with children of their own as well.
Thank you for your deeply moving comment about your life as the daughter of a narcissistic mother. I am so proud of you, Cas. I honor what you have been through and the way you are leading your life. You deserve complete respect as a wonderful individual who is prevailing every day despite your painful history. I wish that I could make it all go away and that it had never happened. What I can offer you is my heart that is full of love for you and for all of those daughters of narcissistic mothers that you mention. I carry you with me and hold you close.
You are an incredible mother. Your children know how much you love them and are bonded and attached to you in a beautiful way that is forever.
Remember to take very good care of yourself. Self care comes first–sleep, downtime, music that you love, lots of hugs, Nature, being silly, having time to let you mind and imagination flow and find beauty even in the smallest things, listening to your wise intuition.
From my heart, Linda
“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.”
~I completely identify with this paragraph, I am struggling with how to cope with the Mother I have, and grieve the Mother I didn’t have. Any advise is welcomed.
~I was not physically abused. I was ignored.
My much older brother was and still is the golden child, I was and still am the scapegoat. I am isolated from my family thanks to my mom. I have never been able to have a relationship with my brother, or my Dad. I have learned that she used “triangulation”, to keep me at odds with my brother. We are not allowed to speak directly to each other. Throughout My entire life my Dad has not been allowed to show affection to me or even buy me presents from himself. Presents have to be given in secret. My Christmas presents would have to be exactly the same as my sister-n-law, but that has changed… She now gets more presents and more expensive ones. Last year my mom gave me an old worn table that she had just spray painted; but it was given to me before my sister-n-law showed up, for some reason.
The year before that she gave me her old lawn furniture that she spray painted.. At the time I was grateful, but now I am like WTH??
I never thought it was my fault, I would stand up for myself for the most part, but I have always been confused by her and her actions. I cannot make sense of her, but now I know why, she is not only has borderline personality disorder she has narcissistic personality disorder… Yeah, a lot of fun.. NOT!
I appreciate the stories and raw feelings that are shared on this blog, we are helping each other heal.
Be kind to yourself,
My narcissistic mother is now helping me out financially, at my brother’s urgings–since I’ve lost my job and so I won’t lose my house. Those two are close, whereas I am on low contact with her. And she seems to listen to what he says and do what he suggests generally, not always of course.
Whereas no matter what I say–she will say that I’m wrong, or she’ll simply state the complete opposite, even if it makes her sound stupid and irrational.
According to my brother, I am supposed to feel very grateful for her financial help–even though the life-time narcissistic abuse still continues, even on the few occasions I see her–and to not “pay attention” to anything else.
I think that in his heart of hearts, he figures that I might as well get something from her–financially–since emotionally it was mostly torment veiled under the mask of a caring mother who’s just “worried about you”. I think this is why he never had any problems about accepting inheritance/financial gifts from our parents.
I think that the inheritance/money always came with strings attached–namely that we had to accept the abuse and call it love–or else we were undeserving and ungrateful.
He thinks that whether we accepted the family inheritance and/or money—they would still abuse as much as they wanted, so we might as well take the inheritance and money.
My anger is out of control these days—I have zero patience with her and cannot listen to the life-long insanity and pathological lying without blowing my top. At the same time, I feel very guilty for being like this with such an old woman—I feel very guilty for taking the money, for losing my temper, for really hating her, for not being able to pretend, like my brother does. For acknowledging anything except the financial support.
I feel like I am morally wrong and that somehow I am just as bad as her for feeling all these things while I take the money.
I’m tired of feeling so angry and so bad about myself. Both my parents have always made me feel this way—one way or another—even though I rarely saw them in the past and was always independent financially after college.
How am I going to get past all this anger, this hatred—both of her and myself for hating her? I feel very stuck.
OMG, you’ve nailed it. Only this last Sunday my mother and I came to blows. AGAIN. I’ve realised every word you described above described my life to a tee. I’m 45 yrs old and have only just realised its not me. It’s the fact she began the cycle on my kids. Unbelievable. The harsh criticism, the belittling, the berating. Never being good enough. It doesn’t end!
Well as of today, I’m breaking this cycle and becoming the woman I am meant to be. However long it takes. I, too am cutting ties. At last. Even planning on disinheriting myself. Not sure how to do it legally but I’ll find out!
I just spent 4 days in an out of state hospital with my mother after knee replacement surgery. She is a narcissis of grand scale . I have suffered beatings, blackmail, lies, abondment, fincial abuse, physicological abuse, negelic, and more. I left home at 16 to get away from her. I have struggled for 50 years to put boundaries on our relationship. It has not worked. After spending those 4 days with her, I wanted to jump from the roof of the hospital, just to get away from her. Instead I took her to an aunts house, drove home, then cried in the arms of my husband and daughter for hours. I can no longer subject myself, my loving husband, and wonderful daughter to this woman or my brother (the golden child) any longer. It is very unfortunate, I come from a large close extended family, who I will loose (for years my relationships with them has waivered back and forth because of her lies not matching up to what they see of me), but this must be done. My husband got a therapist. My daughter and I have a therapist. With their help and each other we will get through this. I have so much to live for and so much I want to do! But my mother is not going to be there. I want to live life my way. I don’t want to pass this on to m family any longer. I want to be free. I want to be happy.
Thank you for this blog post and especially the last couple of paragraphs. I have done exactly what you talked about there. I have a meditation and yoga practice that has been integral to my healing and recovery. I have come a very long way. I’m finally at 37 becoming the woman I truly am and it is such an amazing feeling. The thing I am feeling least hopeful about right now is how to learn to tolerate being in her presence. I am not ok with no contact but I am low contact. I am having trouble when I actually see her! It brings so much back. The triggers STINK! I’m working on it. I know it will be a process. But it feels so unfair that it’s STILL hard. I believe in the beauty of my authentic self though. And I live for me and my husband and children now. I am finding peace. Thank you again for your words of affirmation.
My mother’s narc rage blows me away everytime! She uses insensitive nasty underhand comments to bring me down everytime i’m happy or my life is in order. Her behaviour gives me anxiety and grief. With a mother like this who needs enemies? In her jealousy she uses other family members to attack me too. I stood up to her today to show her i’m not that scared little girl. But i’m still sad i never had a loving mother to protect me and guide me. I love watching programmes of mother daughter interactions on tv and imagining what it would have been like!
I think i isolate myself just because she has wounded my self esteem and my trust.
God bless all those children going through this pain, somewhere there is light at the end of the tunnel when u learn to let go….
My NPD mother died yesterday. I find that I do not feel much grief, mostly an overwhelming sense of relief. She was elderly and had dementia for at least her final 5 years, probably even longer the doctors said. It got very bad between us once the paranoia of the dementia became very strong. She turned a great deal of it onto me, her scapegoat child. The golden child lives thousands of miles away.
She ended up “promoting” one of my two children into the Golden Child position. This has ended up in a severe disruption of the relationship between me and that child. Unfortunately, this child has suffered some of his own emotional problems in life and got caught up hook, line and sinker into grandma’s “martyr” position, becoming her “hero” and her “protector”.
Between the NPD and the dementia, the situation became untenable and as a matter of self preservation I elected to have no contact over a year ago. I knew my mother was safe and cared for and I just could take no more. This was an extremely difficult decision for me. I wish I had been able to do some reading here, that would have helped me. At the time I did not even know what NPD was. So, I came to my decision the hard way – alone.
The reading on being the daughter of an NPD mother has been eye-opening for me. Thank you all for sharing!
I feel that the reason I probably am not feeling much grief (I “properly” grieved my father’s death, I “properly” grieved my husband’s death) is that I have already grieved this loss so many times already over the course of my life. Plus, she was really old.
All I can say is they don’t change. Ever. And when dementia sets in it gets even worse!
Thank you for the ability to identify with others in this position. Forever I thought it was me and my own extreme dysfunction. But, as my children got older I started to wonder why my mother would do/say things to me that I would never dream of doing/saying to my own children.
I was throwing away a third marriage because my Mom convinced me of how terrible things were. But, praise God my little sister had the guts to get in my face and ask me how long I was going to let my Mom ruin my life. It was a profound moment for me.
As the case was with Deeana she enlisted one of my daughters to make horrible accusations leading to sad and devastating consequences. Due to all of this I lost several years with my two youngest daughters. I have completely severed relations with my mother and brother (golden child) and feel such relief. I am astounded that I do not miss the woman I considered “my best friend” for 45 years, and I find such peace not having to continue fostering/owning the dysfunctional relationship.
My family is slowly healing. My youngest daughter and I are still paying a heavy price for my allowing my mother to dictate every aspect of my life. This all sounds like such an excuse to those that don’t understand the incredible power a narcissistic mother can have upon our lives.
Thank you for this article and the ability for each of us to share and know we are not alone.
As Angie said, “be kind to YOURSELF”,
I am happy to have found this website, and read all the moving stories. I ,myself, am struggling, recovering from a narcissistic mother and an egocentric younger sister. Half a year ago, I went to a psychotherapist because of another failed relationship with a ‘wrong man’. I thought I had problems with bonding and relations…. I ended up talking about my mother..
Bits by bits I am discovering the real story behind my youth and young adulthood. My mother never acted in my (or my sisters) best interest. Worse, she did damaging things, now I see… I was a quiet, compliant child and she made sure she was always in charge of me. Made me feel I was less in everything then her. She is a clever, highly educated woman from a wealthy family, who can verbally express herself very well. She is flamboyant and charismatic. She is a teacher. She comes from a family of actors and artists. Most people who meet her admirer and are impressed by her. But she is also manipulative. She makes you (and everyone around you) feel she is a victim and that she has made so many sacrifices for her children. Now I am reconstructing my youth again, I see all those things different. She never was really interested in me as a person. My mother was a single mother and was always praised by the rest of the world for how strong she was and how much she had done for her children…. I used to feel about my mother in that way too… But now I think differently. That hurts me maybe the most. To know that I am almost the only one who thinks differently. I feel alone in this. Knowing she is in fact a very egocentric mother. She has no real compassion and is no way empathic. And her behavior has colored my life intensively. I have just discovered all this I am and having difficulties with all this new information.
A lot of anger (and sometimes I don’t know exactly why) and a lot of crying. I know this grief is temporarily, but sometimes I am afraid this anger and grief will take forever. The people around me want me to move on with my life…. How do other people deal with this ?
anger and grief?
I’ve noticed I feel best around very empathic friends at this moment… I do not feel strong enough now to face my mother or my sister.
Thanks everyone, I am happy to read all your stories. It helps a lot..
So good to know I am not alone. Wish I knew what ‘be kind to YOURSELF” meant. I am an only child, age 61 of a mother who (as I’ve started to understand over the past 5 years or so) has always been narcissistic. Most of my life I thought I was a bad person due to shaming and guilt-inducing techniques she has long used to control me. Getting away from her helped me to see logically that I’m a good person; but the shame and guilt are kind of sticky — though I’m trying to escape! But now, I’m the only child, and she is elderly and losing her memory. And I want to help; I know she is only that way because of how she was hurt and fear. But I am not strong enough to help because it is like trying to help a hurricane — a hurricane that is targeting my already-hurt spots. I would feel horrible if I did not try to help, because I feel that helping is the right thing to do. But sometimes I feel that she would be better off without me. Without me she would not feel compelled to stew over how I am failing her and to strike at me meanly to force me to do her will. Without me she would be focused on getting others to do her will and she would realize she must be nice to them for that to happen, so she will focus on how to be nice and maybe that will help her life change.
Thank you for helping see I’m not alone.
-38, realization (1 month ago)
Thank you to all above for sharing.
I think one of the hardest things for me, having lived through a narcissist mother, golden younger brother and enabling father, is how to treat extended family gatherings. My mother died two years ago after several years of serious illnesses. The final year included pancreatic cancer and a terrible death (I was her caretaker, medical advocate… it took a tremendous toll on me but I was the only one close enough to help, and my father is also sick). I’d really had enough of my brother and his adult children, who were very little help to me. Without going into a long story, I think most of the scenes were predictable.
So. My cousins and other extended family do not understand the distance between myself and my brother. He does, but he tells them it’s because there is something wrong with me. I made the mistake of trying to explain the situation to two of my cousins. Since my brother is Mr. Personality and Sociability, they look at me sideways.
I love my cousins very much. They were fortunate to be raised without personality disordered parents and seem to me to be loving and balanced persons. Their families are intact and loving toward each other.
They do not understand that I keep Christmas with my immediate family and won’t join the others. They don’t understand why I am distant with my brother when he says he loves and misses me. They feel sorry because they believe I am hurting my brother.
This makes me feel a little nuts. But trying to get closer to my brother makes me feel even worse. And like I said, trying to explain the situation to people who haven’t lived through something like this is futile. Add to that the paranoia that my mother infused into my taught “social skills” makes any kind of gathering, whether with family or friends feel overwhelming to me. I tend to arrive late and leave early.
I am close to my (fourth) husband and my grown children. I have about three close friends. But I’m pretty solitary and not a party-thrower. At nearly 60 years old, will I get comfortable with myself the way I am, or will I always feel haunted by failed relationships? I know I’m in a good and safe place now, but the melancholy gets me sometimes. Is that normal? I wish I knew what kinds of heebie jeebies work themselves out with time and what kinds benefit from therapy. I completed about three years of that three years ago. I felt “ready to fly” when my counselor moved out of state.
My father is not well, I look after him in his own home, and I want his last years to be happy. He likes these occasional gatherings, and although he does not demand my attendance, he definitely enjoys everyone together. He’s free from Mom’s tyranny as well, but it’s way too late to change the family dynamic.
I wish I could be at peace with this.
Thank you so much for putting this out there….I have had trouble my whole life dealing with my narcissist mother. I always knew something was up with her and I knew she wasn’t like the other mothers of my friends. Many of who have already written on here have described a lot of what I have gone through….Up until a few years ago I didn’t know what to think of her, what was she, how can she?…after so much torcher I finally did some research about her. I didn’t know though just how many people deal with this until now. Thank you all for coming out and expressing your life and it’s a challenge even saying anything in the first place, even for me. The mental abuse that was in my life has haunted me in my dreams today. There were times in my life I didn’t know how to escape her emotional vampirism, but I was always a rebel….I fight back with her own actions and I don’t let her feed on my emotions. I center myself spiritually and have moved myself to a place where I know she can’t stand, but where I am absolutely in peace! It’s not our fault. It’s hers and she will never be satisfied, so don’t bother letting her feed…the key is to know their weaknesses and use them to keep yourself free cause she won’t trouble herself with it. Be one with yourself and keep your spirit high! Listen to yourself and your intuition, because they are telling you where to go to be safe. I have also learned strange but tactical, is I always do opposite from what she says, cause she’ll tell me to do things that make me look bad and the wrong decisions, that I have learned the hard way, but now pulling massive positive relieve, since I am myself and I am happy. It is better be a wolf for a day then a sheep all your life! I am with the spirit of the wolf and I run my own path….making your own path will lead you to your freedom…oh and telling her nothing keeps her at away cause she has nothing to feed on, lol! I wish you all peace and peace with yourself cause it makes a difference to your children!
So sad reading all this and identifying with almost all of it. My earliest memories were wondering why my mother didn’t love me. I could see other mothers loving their daughters, but I knew it was not what I had. I was definitely the scapegoat. I was made to feel ugly, stupid, a sinner, etc. I left home at 17 because I couldn’t cope. I lived wherever I could just to get by. I finally put myself through college and got decent jobs, but I never felt like I was any good. I have no relationships with extended family because they all think it’s me. I am terrible in relationships. It is heartbreaking. she died today and I feel so sorry for all the wasted years and sadness .
It is hard to know what to think. It is hard when a family can’t function, and you see and are aware of so many symptoms in yourself, to know what to do next. When your mother is sweet, but determined, insisting on things being a way you in which just can’t cope. (I have a younger brother in and out of prison, divorced, with alienated children and violent engagement, and a youngest sister who, when it comes to me, demands, and takes, when I really need the time for self and family). I am lied to about the state of things, primarily at conflict with my mother because she does not understand my efforts to protect myself and my children from the unfortunate situation. My efforts to be open and honest, only generate more drama as my expressions about my need to protect myself and children, are rejected. Like infant crying to be heard, I have felt like at times. When I refer to past events, to explain my reasons for concern, the accusation of grudge holding, lack of forgiveness, and trying to make mother responsible for or blaming her for, the outcome of her children’s adult lives and personalities, is sign posted. Grow up. Move on. I want to, but I can only do this by somehow breaking free of the demand that I include siblings that frighten me, in my life. I wonder, how can I ever be free? Even walking away, there is that pervasive question in every day conversation . . . Do you have siblings? What do they do? So although I can protect my daughters as long as I stay stable, I don’t think I can ever be free within. Is my wish to walk away from shame, fear, and feel safe from my own family narcissism? I have wondered, is this an ego issue? It becomes hard to know who the real clinical narcissist among my parents, self, and siblings. Perhaps all members, myself included. I do not think I could keep my own fear and panic under control if not for medication. So far, thankfully, my children seem free of damage, removed from my childhood drama. How do you assure a healthy sense of self and boundaries in your children, when your own internal life is one of constant fear and panic? Breathing. Routine. Loving words. Trying not to burden them with your own internal pain. This is definitely one condition where a conscious parent avoids, passing it on.
This was familiar. Borderline. This inconsistent conflicting view and input from mother. Maybe it was not narcissism there, although holding self accountable for the possibility both exist in me. Please consider writing a book to help those of us why want to change. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-intelligent-divorce/201406/the-borderlinenarcissistic-mother
I have had no contact in over 2 yrs with my mother. Then my uncle dies. I dread going because I know I will have to see her. Sure enough she’s there and everyone is babying her and she’s the center of attention even though my poor uncle just died and her sister can’t even grieve because she’s catering to my mother!! And NO ONE but me notices! So of course my anger flares up inside of me and there’s nothing I can do because it’s a completely inappropriate time and place. This woman instantly disgusts me from my toenails to the hair on my head! So she sees me and then the waterworks come, she throws herself into hugging me and says loud enough everyone can hear, I’m so glad you came I really do love you!! Now I am trying not to vomit and I’ve only been there 2 minutes!! This is the woman who would come into my room and beat me for no reason, kick me in my stomach and tell me she hoped I could never have babies, I have to explain to my kids why my toes turn under because she would never buy me shoes that fit… IT WAS THEN I REALIZED THE GOLDEN CHILD WASN’T THERE, so she just wanted to use me as her wingman to make her look good. I just decided right there to keep calm and respect my family and myself and not let her win. So I said, oh mom you know how much I love you too, now we better take our seats and be quiet before they kick us out!
I am so pissed at myself because after more than 2 yrs without contact with this soulless bottomless pit excuse of a mother, I let her make me want to punch her out, get so angry my stomach was a huge ball of knots, and not be able to think of anything else the whole day— IN LESS THAN 2 MINUTES!
I had believed I had come to some kind of piece with my past and in 2 minutes ALL the anger came rushing back. It has been a few days now and I’m still fuming over it. I realize this is letting her win because she isn’t suffering I am. Will this anger ever truly be gone? I have a great life now and there’s NO place for my past or that anger here.
My mother hates me; every part of me…..even the air I breathe. So devastating being the scapegoated daughter of a narcissistic mother. I have finally come to accept the heart wrenching reality that she couldn’t care if I lived or died. For three years I have been estranged from my N mother, N brother, N sister and older sister. Not one of them has ever stuck up for me, or called my mother on her behaviour. My father was her biggest enabler, before he died. My mother is a performer more or less; a performer who has ruined the lives of her many puppets.
Funny thing is in the three years I have been estranged from her, she hasn’t called, sent a card. Nothing!! A big fat nothing!!
Rage is definitely and low self esteem have been a constant pretty much my entire life. I am the middle child, I have an older sister and a younger brother. I was pretty much doted on until my brother was born when I was about 4 years old. I remember the feeling of being no longer loved now that there was finally a boy in the family. I felt invisible, my sister was always the goody goody and my brother was the only son. I remember being a very bubbly, happy child before he was born and the center of attention. That was immediately shattered once he came home. I didn’t know why a four year old doesn’t know why. My mom tells me I started acting out, I reverted to a younger age and started having bathroom accidents, and I one time bit my infant brother on the leg and of course he started crying. I remember being yelled at and punished. I started acting out in school as well, biting other kids and hitting. I think this was the time I started feeling extremely resentful of my mother and I even remember telling her I wish she wasn’t my mom. As I entered my teens verbal and physical fights were common. I felt extreme rage at being dismissed and ignored and would often trash the house. I’ve been in emotional pain most of my life. One time she and I got into a yelling match and I felt like attacking her, but instead I grabbed a knife and started cutting myself on my legs and arms…still no emotion or concern from her. I have told her how her dismissiveness and lack of concern to me has deeply deeply affected me. Her response has usually been more dismissiveness or deflection saying “Yes I’m the worst mother in the world” She has even told me on many different occasions that she wished I was never born. I have been married to a great, yet very troubled man himself, for 12 years now, and he is trying to be supportive of me and even urging me to seek professional or psychological help. I truly think it’s time to try and work things out and stop asking myself “WHY” she is the way she is and why she treats me the way she does. I am now 41 years old, and I think if I don’t work through all of these issues, I will never be able to move forward with my life. I have always had an interest in going into the medical field (medical assistant, or nurse) but I just don’t believe in myself enough to be able to complete these dreams of mine. I finally want to be happy.
Thank you for helping me to understand that I’m not alone as that is how I’ve felt for 40 years plus that I’m a terrible person. I’ve had disagreements with my Mother for years, kept quiet to her and family have laughed saying oh you’ve fell out again. It was only when she humiliated me in front of my partner that I decided enough was enough. I never considered her to be narcissistic however since reading your blog, books and websites I now know she is. Whilst she doesn’t often say nasty things to my face I’ve found out that she calls me and puts me down to anyone who will listen including my son. My son went living with his Dad aged 13 because she was poisoning him against me. Fortunately I clung to him accepting whatever scraps of time he would give me, making myself available to him night or day and showing him my utter love, every day I’d ring just to say I loved him and wanted to hear his voice. He is now 18 and can see what his Grandma is doing. I am so very lucky we are now very close.
I can now see how my Mother has ruined my marriage and consequent relationships by feeling ‘the need’ to tell my partners about my past and embellishing it with lies. To the extent one of them mentally abused me for years using information my Mother felt he needed to know. If it hadn’t been for my son I would have been dead by now. She has tried to turn my friends against me, fortunately they have known me since I was 11 and they don’t listen to her. My brother sees her out of duty but refuses to allow me to talk about how she has made me feel since being a small girl. He is very clever whereas I’m more creative so she leans more towards him even though it’s been me supporting her for years. Sadly I now know that she will never accept me and I’ll never be good enough for her.
She tells her neighbours that I neglect her and in the past they’ve verbally abused me. She has been to my home many times and just before Christmas told them she doesn’t know where I live to send a card.
I am very lucky as I have a close set of friends who’ve seen my Mother in action, my son, my brother, my Dad and Step Dad.
What I cannot work out yet is do I go no contact? I feel anger, grief for what I should have had, how she still tries to destroy me to other people and how I nearly lost my son. Yet she sends me a text saying she misses me and I nearly fall for it, then I find out she is still saying things are my fault when she has created them. She is always the victim, at her classes, the doctors, the hospital, in a restaurant in fact where ever she goes. It’s usually me who has to pick up the pieces.
I am so hurt, confused and bewildered as to what to do next now I know what she has done.
Thank you for listening and helping me feel less lonely.
It is so bewildering, confusing and life changing to finally figure out what has been going on all of your life. and that No one believe’s you, that is so Gaslighting!
Thank you for writing this article. I am the adult daughter of a narcissist mother and come from a “textbook” narcissist family of origin. I am also my mother’s least favorite child and the scapegoat, and while I have always loved her and have always understood her, I think about things very differently than she does. To make a long story short, a couple of years ago I decided to discuss childhood issues in therapy – in detail, and for the first time – and this was a real awakening, to say the least. And while this therapy was almost unbearable at times for me, it has ultimately helped me to realize that while I am flawed, I am actually a worthy person. But my getting stronger and healthier did not heal my relationship with my mother – quite the opposite. There then came a point where I fully realized that my mother was capable of emotionally destroying me to preserve herself. And she tried to – in ways that that still shock me, even now. I have accepted that she is unable to be accountable and honest, and I have accepted that she prefers to see me broken than emotionally healthy. Sadly, I’ve severed my relationship with my mother because it’s the only way I can continue to heal myself.
Can you give an example of what you mean about “know their weaknesses”? My mother has alot of stuff I could say are “weaknesses” but pointing them out is what put her in a “vindictive retaliation” mode. I just want her to leave me alone while I stay away from her. I know that may not be possible when she is dying one day.
First, let me say, I’m SO sorry for your pain!! I know we all want what we can’t have but I’m in the midst of trying to leave my N mother. It’s been a year since I told her “she made me want to kill myself” and I then attempted too. Her response in a text was “if you say that again, I’ll have a constable at your door”. It was a TEXT! She has waited for me to “come around” for over a year. Now she’s “hoovering” and it scars the crap out of me! I didn’t know what was wrong with her until I was sent to the psyche ward. Now that I know, I live in paranoia that she will “get me” if I don’t go back and pretend she’s perfect. She is a covert N and is a master manipulator. She has money and thinks I care… LOL, let me see, dead? or alive with money? Please see this as a BLESSING!!
I can totally relate. I had a Mother that acted the same way. Finally after 57 yrs. I have decided to go No contact. At least you cut your losses sooner!!!
I too, have had to sever the relationship with my Mother because she wants to destroy me, my happiness, my self respect, and my relationships. I can now see through the lies, manipulations, and games. She can’t fool me anymore. My eyes are open and I realize she is not my friend she is an enemy. She doesn’t love me. She hates me. Out of self preservation I have written her out of my life
I am new to therapy with what I believe is a narcissistic mother but when I read things like this I only get more confused. My mother did not dress herself up rather I was raised to feel that getting my nails done was selfish as that money could now be spent on my own children. As a grown woman now, she will start her behavior with my children saying things like “I don’t like you since you went to college” or if my youngest doesn’t want to spend the night she gets “I wish you still loved grandma” or to my son “you will do everything I say because I am God”.
I am trying to establish boundaries but the more I do I am told by my brother that I am a bully and I should be more accepting of her since she is “emotionally weak”. It should be noted that she has never been the same with my brother and his children are never spoken to in the manner mine are so in their eyes I’m clearly wrong. And it’s not about being right, it’s about feeling like I have an ounce of say in my life as to how I’m allowed to feel.
Is it uncommon for a mother to be so different to two different children?
I’m really struggling and feel like I’m losing my family in an attempt to just be healthy and heal and to protect my children from ever feeling the way I did for my entire life .
As terrible as this may sound, there are days where I wish I could say she hit me or whatever at least then people would “agree” that I have the right to feel the way I feel. But because she was “good to me” then it must mean I am just ungrateful and mean.
She and my father have done a lot for me and for the years that I was a single mother they helped me on occasion financially and were the car pool for orthodontic appointments I couldn’t go to do to work, etc.
I don’t feel this way about my father. I can honestly say that my father helps because he loves me abd he loves my children. But my mother, well, there is always this sense of “how dare you be upset after everything I have done for you”. Maybe my brother is right. Maybe I am selfish or greedy. But yet there has to be a reason why my children will ask me ” how can grandma be so nice then so incredibly mean the next minute?”
I’m a bit scared and I feel very alone. Maybe I’m just looking for validation of my feelings. I don’t know.
I feel I am in a situation similar to yours. In addition to most of the characteristics mentioned above, my mother, rather than spending freely on herself, penny-pinches out of an intense fear of being perceived as what she deems a “bum”. Yet she envies neighbours as well as strangers all while living comfortably enough in a house whose mortgage was paid off by my father before he died. Imagine a woman fishing for compliments to the point where it looks obviously transparent…
She is intensely competitive but conversley loves to play the victim. She is a pitiful martyr. Her catchphrase would probably be “look at what Ive done for U! Now U owe me total obedience for life or else U are abusing me!” Thats right, her go-to complaint / insult is to call me a bully or claim I’m abusing her. Im a bully for not letting her control my every move or for standing up for myself when I can’t leave the room fast enough when she flies into a rage so bad the cat runs for the basement for cover.
Its both frustrating and hurtful dealing with my mother. I am beginning to think no contact is my only option.
I don’t know about this. I am creative, and thoughtful and empathetic. But I’m also manipulative too. And sometimes I am detached and distracted as a mother too. I’m so scared I’m going to raise a child like me.
I know I am miles ahead of her in many aspects. She could never admit fault. She could never recognize her flaws. But she had such a lasting effect on me, that even though she died last year, it’s like she’s still hovering around in her bleak nasty misery.
Wow! Stacie. This totally sums up my life. I couldn’t have wrote it or said it any better. Maybe we share the same mom. Lol. I had enough when I turned 40. You got 2 years on me there. I hate that it took me so long to come to the realization that her behavior was not my fault. Thank you so much for sharing. It really helps many people understand just by reading that this is common and a real disorder.
I have just sat and read back 2 years of everyone’s stories. I feel compelled to share. Much of what I have read is the same story as mine. I have 2 younger sisters. My dad passed away in November 2014. He was married to my mom for 41 years. He divorced mom 2 years before died. The divorce was a loving act of kindness to his 3 daughters. My mother married my dad with nothing and would tell me and my sisters that she married him cause she thought he had money. Money- no, land – yes. Dad was a self made man. He did well for himself and his family. Whatever she wanted, he provided somehow. She focused all of attention on him and paid us very little attention. If he was working, she called his job 20 times a day. She fought with him constantly. I can remember looking out the window one night while she screamed and cried, dad never saying a word. I can remember what did I do to cause my mom to be so unhappy. She would lock herself in her bedroom and cry for days at a time.
There was a particular incident when I was in first grade and was on homecoming court. Mom was so angry as she did my hair. I wanted to be happy but could not get excited. She ended up hitting me on the head with the hair brush and I cried all the way to the football game. What should have been a proud moment was one of my most miserable.
Growing up my whole life, my mom hated my dad and spoke horribly about him, only in an effort to shift pity on herself cause he never gave her the attention that she deserved.
I graduated pharmacy school and my sisters became nurses. I never was able to stay married for any length of time, a year or two at the most. I was very co-dependent on my mother after college. I called her everytime me and my husband had a disagreement. When the first child came along, the intensity grew. It’s like my child became her own. And every little argument between me and my spouse, mom strongly encouraged me to leave him and move home, which I did many times only to return to him.
My mom always had a weird fixation on female grandchildren and asserted heavy efforts to control by babysitting and however else she could. Now I see that she was much better at manipulating and controlling smaller children than adults.
Mom was a lot harder on me and the middle sister cause we were only 11 months apart. We stayed in the dorms our first year of college (just 20 miles up the road) just to get away. But since she had the car keys, there remained minimal constant. Everytime we saw her, she gave us ultimatums and said how she couldn’t believe how we had turned out as sluts and drunks AND how we embarrassed her. That was always key factor. I think that drinking helped cope to some degree and rebelling against her was obvious. I feel that I rebelled and did make her look bad on some level.
My dad finally divorced her because he was in bad health and she did not want to include me and my sisters in his will. She said that we deserved nothing that she was the one that had been there through all the years. She basically wanted everything. Dad divorced her and she got half of his land that he worked hard to farm and maintain. She started with nothing and ended up with a lot. She remarried 2 days ago at the age of 66. Me and my sister have not really spoken to her for about 3 years. I have always said that she is like an animal mother that would eat her young. I have read books on narcissism and bipolar disorder. But I still don’t understand. I have two daughters and so does my sister. We vowed to never treat our children in this manner. We have each other and our girls.
I know this comment is a year later, not sure if you will read but perhaps others will pass and read it to find it helpful.
All that you said, specifically your comments on the description of your mother, stuck with me the most. From being talented (she is an actress) to charismatic to cherished and looked up to by all…. to being single mom and praised for her strength. All those thoughts you had I have too. All the same. Most likely including the most desperate, sad, and craziest ones. And I felt alone too…..the fact that everyone sees her as a bright shining sun when in reality she is composed of hell. Excuse my language but its probably one of the biggest mind-f*cks in humankind – when a parent is a whole lie. And since a lot of our identity is formed when we are children, we also feel like our entire lives and our identities have been lies. And that’s when you start thinking you have gone mad. In reality, this couldn’t be farthest from what really is – everyone else is blind and you’re the only one who could see the truth.
Its been a year and a half since I’ve started my healing, full of weekly or daily therapy visits. I managed to find one very good psychoanalyst, and also another healer who uses a combination of meditation, massage, and psychoanalysis who was also the daughter of a narcissist mother. For me, personally, it is what helps the most. It’s expensive for sure, but I go so far as to cut down my budget on food and other items because my own mental stability is more important than anything. However, I still feel the rage and the grief, like two demons choking me all the time, and during therapy have realized that through my endured pain I have PTSD and the budding of a Split Personality Disorder (again, this is just me, but I mention it in case anyone else finds it helpful to relate). I’m not sure how much you’ve overcome since this post. Personally, when I start having an existential crisis, I just take a breath, remind myself I’m still alive, accept these emotions, and process every little thing, step by step, with as much time as I need and without pressure. It helps to write, draw, talk…some sort of documenting and processing relief. Its just important never to keep it all bottled to yourself, like you did for the past younger years of your life.
Jess, there are many steps we have to take to get over the biggest 360 degree flip in our lives. Its like climbing a mountain – I’m not sure where you are in this climb, but I know that always we need words of encouragement from others who truly understand all the dark, twisted, disgusting details of our abuse. Let’s remind ourselves we are not alone – Jess, and others, you are not alone. Just because we happened to have monsters as mothers doesn’t make us cursed forever. We just have to try as much as we can everyday do live with the hand of cards we were dealt with. Rather, if we survive this, we can possibly become some of the strongest and self-actualized people on this planet.
No matter how hard it is, lets not ever give up on finding our own freedoms.
Suzie, at least you cut your losses. I am a caregiver who sees daughters in their 60s and 70s still trying to please their NMs in their 90s, and looking so distressed and having no clue what’s wrong with them. I went NC with my FOO at 50 and will be 54 next month. One of the best moves I’ve ever made in my life. I just wish I would’ve been strong and courageous enough to have gone NC three decades ago. But I do remind myself that at least I did it and am finally healing and enjoying my life now.
Please see it for the blessing that it truly is – because if she were still in your life, you’d be filled with anger and anxiety. When I went NC with my non-mother, she waited about 2 weeks for Thanksgiving to come around. She then had the sheriff in my small town show up at my front door on Thanksgiving morning to do a welfare check on me. He said, “You need to call your mother.” I told him that she had NPD and I wouldn’t be calling her. I told him to tell her that I’m o.k. and would be going out with some friends later on. Never heard back from the witch again. All she was attempting to do was to hoover me back in so she could control me once again. Ain’t gonna happen. I don’t care what she tells the extended family about me, either, because I’ve lost respect for them as well. Good riddance to her and all of her minions.
I try hard to face my issues without vilifying her. I moved my family cross country to help her fight for her life with stage 4 cancer at age 84. I thought the cancer would weaken her enough to stop abusing me. I was wrong and am now contemplating the NO Contact I enjoyed while living 2500 miles away. I have always felt that the painful connection/disconnection can end only once one of us is gone. It is very confusing. She is also very Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde and I feel nothing but insane and distraught after a little time with her. I don’t want my children affected by her. I married someone similar to her. Divorced him after years of abuse and now they realigned against me with the fact same grievances—-my boundaries.
Thank you so much for this article.
The nice part about how creative and beautiful beings daughters of narcissist mothers helps me a lot. I needed to read that.
My mom is indeed Narcissist and also is BPD (borderline personnality disorder). I’m a single child, father left very early in my childhood, and I’m now 50 years old.
I went through many therapies, read a lot about daughters of narcissist mothers and about surviving borderline parents. I don’t have contact since 2010, and did, and still doing, my best at making sure the rest of family won’t manipulate me to get back to her. They sure did but I said no way. Now, they leave me alone with it.
Also, I don’t expect anything nice from her, I don’t expect anykind of apologies, not even on her deathbed. I thought I already went through all the greiving about everything I never had and never will have, about the spoiled part of my life, about dreams I never made reality (like having my own children), and so on. I thought I was fine with all that, including knowing I’d have to carry a special burden for the rest of my life. I can accept all that and I know somedays are harder but other days are a lot easier.
Now, one thing I have a hard time to understand: I’m greiving the hard way. My mom was recently diagnosed with a very agressive cancer. No one knows how long she will live but it sounds pretty bad. Since I know, I cry a lot and I don’t even understand what I cry. How come I find it so hard? I thought I already cried my heart out about not having a normal relationship with my mom. It’s been a long time now that I know there are many things I never had, including not feeling understood by close friends and family. I know now I’m darn strong and very resilient. So, how come then I cry so much? I know I’ll feel so liberated. I’m taken by surprise to cry that much.
So my question is: what the heck is so special in the greiving of a narcissist mother? If anyone has an answer, I’d appreciate very much. Thank you.
Wow! I feel like this could be me. I am going through the exact thing with my mother. I am contemplating going low contact versus no contact. I’m scared of her reaction to this, particularly to how she will try to manipulate my three young daughters now or in the future. Has your mom attempted contact with your sons since you went no contact? Thank you.
I can’t help but cry reading this. My mom almost died a few months ago and I had to ask myself why am I OK with her going. Why isn’t it painful like it should be if you lose someone that shows you love and cares for you. Then I realized I had no respect for her or compassion. I felt like I was an animal foe feeling this way. But how can you feel somethjng for someone who never truly showed you love but only discouragement and disrespect and manipulative behavior. Who yelled and screamed or hurt u pushing your head under water when your only five. I remember more hurt and rejection than anything. I was not allowed to speak. Not allowed to feel anything. But now I feel it all. I don’t want any regrets and pray for my mom every day. I believe it’s a controlling spirit that she needs to be delivered from.. The strong man. It’s so powerful i see it drains her. I feel for her cuz it must be tormenting for her to be like that.. I have prayed and ask god to help me to see the truth and that I never want to be her.. How miserable.. I need counseling still but I know that god has brought revelation to me showing me his truth and not their truth… Is there free counseling online for this? God bless you all. When we are weak he is strong when we pray out of needing god and nor self pity god hears us. Self pity only brings u down more. Pray in confidence and we will see his truth. I owe all I have learned to Jesus . He’s brought healing.
What a horrible situation. All I can say, from experience, is that you need to get financial independence from these people as soon as you possibly can.
Your brother is not on your side. He is teaming up with your narcissistic mother – he sounds like a golden child who has taken on the narcissist traits himself – to keep you in practical and emotional debt. This has the effect of trapping you in the family structure as a much-needed scapegoat to both of them. Financial dependence also allows them to constantly make you feel inadequate.
Get some independent financial advice – fast – and never take money from them again. It’s the ultimate trap.
After you’ve got that independence, you have to be strong and stop them from dragging you back in. They will be jealous and resentful that you no longer need their support, and there will be a reaction from them.
I haven’t taken any financial support from my malignant-narcissist mother for 10 years. Making that financial break was the beginning of my freedom, and it gave me the strength to, last year, break contact entirely.
Good luck. None of this is your fault xx
The sentence you wrote:
“Throughout my entire life she has not only made me feel unworthy of her love, but also the love of others.”
That one sentence struck a chord in me! Wow. That sentence sums up in a nutshell the biggest damage a narcissistic parent can inflict! That sense of complete and abject unworthiness. And no bruises to show for it. At least with bruises one has proof of their abuse.
And congratulations on taking care of yourself now, at such a young age. I am 57 and just realized what my Mom was just a couple of years ago. I finally am just beginning to realize that I AM worthy of love, from myself and others.
Although I am almost 50 years old, I still get horrific things said to me when my mother is angry. She says I don’t pay any bills when I do and generally blames me for anything that is not right. I also got hit very badly by someone in my family a few years ago and got no apology from that person or from her. She has even said to me that I should get hit by someone because I deserve it. I think she once even said that I should be killed. When I was younger, she often gave me nasty looks when I came home from work. Years and years of emotional abuse. Recently, she also said that no one will be around to bury you. How is that for an ugly way of speaking to a child. Finally, she tries to make me upset while I am working and I have been exhausted and unable to work well in many jobs as a result. I am currently looking for work yet again. I cannot tell you how many times, thousands, in my life she has given me the silent treatment. She also always says that I have ruined her life. I think I suffer from some kind of PTSD because for a long time I feel no joy in anything and have a lack of motivation. I will shed no tears when she is dead, believe me. My only consolation is the fact that I am not alone. Thank you.
My narcissistic mother died four years ago, and I still feel grief. She had such a huge hold on me that I feel bad for her that she died. How messed up is that? She had heart failure for years and then had a heart attack in which she was told she would need to enter hospice, and that she was at the end. I cried when I heard the news and she actually said that she was glad I was crying …. it was always about her.
Rachel: Even though I know this is a couple years old, your comment really resonated with me, since I chose not to go to my own dad’s (enabling dad’s) funeral. I had gone No Contact with my Narc Egg Donor and her “worshipers” exactly 9 months earlier. I really believe the witch went ahead and killed him Spider style (sucking the rest of the life out of him) in an effort to get me to break No Contact and go to the funeral thereby allowing her to “win” without having to apologize, repent or admit to any wrong doing, just as she always has done my entire life (never apologized for ANYTHING). My dad was nothing but a zombiefied shell of his original self the last time I saw him which as 3 months prior to going No Contact. He had drank himself silly in early years in an effort to escape her constant belitting and humilating him in front of his own family and that just gave her something to point out to others “look at him he is a DRUNK” to make herself look better by comparison. I told her just before I went No Contact that I didn’t blame him for drinking, that I would’ve drank too in order to escape from that Hell Hole, even if only temporarily. She managed to alientate him from all his family and friends just before the end, as well as get everyone to believe I (the Scapegoat) have “mental problems.” I think once we go No Contact with a narc parent, we must essentially cut ties with every person still connected to their False Script, including extended relatives. It’s hard but there really is no other way to avoid undoing all our efforts at healing ourselves. Now I fully understand the verse in the Bible where Jesus told His followers (followers of the Truth) to “let the dead bury their own dead and you follow Me.”
An evil parent you will know, when she treats you as her foe
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