I hear from sons and daughters of narcissistic mothers. Their psychological pain is particularly poignant. As children they feel inadequate and confused, returning many times to mother for the love and contact she is incapable of giving. They don’t understand that a narcissistic mother lives for herself alone. Even as very small children mother is emotionally distanced. I have communicated with many children of narcissistic mothers who remember that mother was always unavailable—night and day. She was a very “busy” woman. Some of these children were raised by nannies or put in day care when they were tiny infants. Mother couldn’t wait to take them off of her hands. With friends mother bragged about her wonderful children. In family pictures and during holidays there were public displays of the “happy family”, the “loving mother” and her beautiful children. This is the image that mother insisted on presenting to her friends and the world. Image replaces reality for the narcissist.
Within the walls of their home, mother treated these children with coldness, dismissiveness, constant criticisms. Often she would fly into volcanic rage over the smallest issue. If mother got stirred up she projected her venom on to her children. Narcissistic mothers often pit one child against the other. These enmities between siblings can last a lifetime. If the narcissistic mother chooses a favorite child who is a psychological twin, the rest of the children are treated as inferior and worthless. The narcissistic mother colludes with the golden child, providing him/her with every educational opportunity. He/she is the recipient of all the praise, entitlement and raised to a position of prominence in the family. I have heard of homes that were filled with trophies or certificates earned by the golden child throughout the years. His/her siblings were required to look up to this chosen child and to obey them. These situations can turn very ugly. The chosen child can inflict severe psychological damage on his siblings. They are often threatened and intimidated and treated with severe humiliation.
Healing begins with the recognition that your mother was/is a narcissist. This is not your fault; you are a victim of narcissistic abuse. You cannot change this mother. Her personality structure is fixed and rigid. You can change you understanding and perception of her and yourself. Be kind to yourself. Recognize that you were strong enough to survive maternal narcissistic abuse. That is an incredible achievement. Be patient with yourself. You will heal. Give yourself the space and time to do this. You will find others who have suffered this mother wound. Some find comfort and understanding in support groups or find close friends who share similar backgrounds. In some cases psychotherapy is helpful in dealing with these issues. Be sure that the therapist has a deep understanding of the narcissistic personality disorder. Practice calming the mind and body through gentle yoga with emphasis on calming breath, various forms of meditation including guided meditation and other healing modalities. Know that you will reclaim your life. There is a powerful force inside of you that has been waiting all of this time to reclaim your individuality and the inner peace that you deserve. Visit my website: www.thenarcissistinyourlife.com
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
Telephone Consultation: United States and International
Book: Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life
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