Healing from Narcissistic Mothers

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.

Telephone Consultation

3 thoughts on “Healing from Narcissistic Mothers”

  1. Having grown up with a narc older sister, I can see, that it destroys families, wether they be a parent, or a sibling.My sister fought with my Dad,she is very volatile,as she didn’t like the fact that Dad was the head of the family.She has always been jealous of me,never been happy for me, in fact, she is incapable of that.
    My Dad died, last year, she lived with my folks, now, she thinks she is the boss of my parents home.She didn’t give me any support, whilst recently having treatment for breast Cancer.She was jealous of any time or support my parents gave me,am a sole parent…
    A big problem is, she is a clever manipulator, whilst my son and I were away, she convinced my Mum to bury Dads ashes in the garden, without us…she constantly does these hurtful things, trying to get a fight out of us, so, she can blow off steam…
    All my life, I have lived with a jealous, bossy, conniving, manipulative older sister, who would never let me have my opinion, as long as I agreed with her, I felt safe…walking on eggshells.
    The best thing I can do, is keep away.I have tried so many ways of having a relationship with her, and it always ends with her blowing up.Its like trying to be friends with a volcano.Ironic thing is, she thinks she is a healing Guru and Jesus is talking to her, which I know is part of her mental illness, but some peeps are desperate enough to get sucked in by her charisma.
    I would advise peeps in my position, to keep away.Make your own lives, destress, meditate, pray, exercise, love those whom you can have healthy ratio ships with, but keep away from the narcs.My girlfriends are my sisters.My blood sister, is a narc.

  2. I have been healing myself for a while now. In a conversation with my husband he made a suggestion which initially made me defensive and annoyed. However, I began to think outside my box and consider the possibilities. I would LOVE to be able to rid myself or at least control the anger and frustration that my NPD mother to this day brings out in me. She put it there in the first place and I really suffer because of it. It is a horrible feeling that I very rarely ever get unless I’m with her being abused one way or another. The anger is there, I picture it as a small white ball in my solar plexus, shining and undulating but dormant until it is awoken by barbed comments, criticism, cruelty, demands, her anger etc etc. Is it ever possible to somehow lose it? I don’t know. when my husband suggested it, I likened it to an unenlightened person saying to a chronic, shaking alcoholic “Can’t you just stop drinking?” or “Why don’t you just stop?” It is not that simple or that easy. However, it can be done. I wonder if it’s the same with this deep, lifelong anger?

  3. My narcissistic mother died recently. Getting through the visitation & funeral was extremely difficult as I listened to many portray her as warm, loving, empathetic, kind, and even comforting to them. These are qualities she never gave me. Further she allowed and encouraged my older brother to violently physically abuse me. (By virtue of her neglect and her amusement at certain abusive behaviors.) She also let me know she was much tougher than I as a child. Told me “He wouldn’t do it if you didn’t cry.”

    That abuse happened daily, several times a day from my earliest memories until shortly before he left for college. He clearly hated me. And although he also abused neighbor kids he was never seriously disciplined. Yelling was the extent of it. No withholding privileges (of which he had many) or taking away favored possessions or the many guns he had access to from age 10. I lived in terror and still suffer from the trauma. He has asked for forgiveness. And I do forgive him. But like some one who lost a leg in childhood: I still can’t walk normally.

    Some days I am so terribly angry when I think of all my mother took from me in childhood. I decided I must be defective or she would have protected me. I took to always expecting the worst in every situation so I could be happy if it wasn’t quite that bad. She was never a nurturing mother or one I could depend on.

    My mother was also abusive in other more insidious ways in my adulthood. Far from missing my mother, now I feel free to truly experience feel the feelings in my gut: Anger, sorrow, confusion, despair, amazement!

    Once afew years ago she scolded me for not having a close relationship with my brother. I reminded her of his abuse. She denied it ever happened although friends and a relative have substantiated it. Finally she said, “Well IF that happened we should have gotten HIM counseling.”

    With the help of a good counselor, meditation, prayer, writing and music I am finding my way out of the forest. But I still carry a lot of anger — more obvious since her death. Now I am finally free to feel all the feelings without the internal filter of her judgement. Recently I am expressing my anger with a hammer and tin cans. Feels like good therapy.

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