I have a special place in my heart for daughters and sons of narcissistic mothers. When we are very young, we must survive the parents we were given–our mothers and fathers. Mother is the one we are told that we can always turn to for comfort, protection, empathy, kindness and appreciation of ourselves as unique individuals.
Narcissistic mothers are non-parents. They are incapable of emotional and psychological intimacy. They cannot attach and bond with their children appropriately. They use children as puppets to mirror them; they discard the child or scapegoat him or her. They are very cruel and dismissive and cause great pain to their children–even the youngest child.
At some point you know that your mother cannot and will not and did not fulfill your deepest needs. This is a time of reckoning where you know that you must act for yourself and learn to nourish and take care of yourself first. This is not selfish; it is essential.
This self healing begins with small steps. Make sure that you do the essentials: get the sleep that you need and deserve; food that keeps you healthy; surround yourself with individuals you trust and are present for you. If you have a spiritual practice, keep it going. If you don’t, define spiritual in the way that has meaning for you–Find peace in Nature; feel softness and respite in your solitude; listen and embrace the music you love; write spontaneously and let it flow naturally; grow small plants that you watch thrive; cook and use all of your senses to enjoy the beauties of this act; exercise in the way that works best for you.
Be patient with this process as a mother to yourself. Learn that you deserve the full freedom of being authentic, spontaneous, joyful, very funny and that you have access to all of creative gifts–They are boundless.
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.