It is very difficult, painful and complex for children of narcissistic mothers to heal their psychological and emotional wounds. One of the hardest parts of this process is in the recognition that your mother is a narcissistic personality. When we grow up we learn to survive and cope with the circumstances and roles that we are given. Small children cannot know that their mother, the person whom they are entitled to trust the most, is incapable of this sacred maternal bond. Some small children know early that mother didn’t love or care deeply about them. They could feel it, see it in their mother’s eyes, hear her shrill voice, watch her walk away from them, punish them in frightening, alarming ways for no reason except their very existence.
The time of knowing that your mother is a narcissist will come. It dawns often in the process of healing from this non-parent. Yet each time we are awakened to this truth, there is a tendency for this painful knowledge to fade, for the child to make excuses for the parent or to think he or she is unworthy, defective even bad.
You have been through a series of hells with your narcissistic mother. You have gone back and forth with the No Contact, Minimal Contact modes. Other family members put pressure on you to see your mother. They don’t understand your perspective or life experience with her. This is the case because narcissistic mothers are consummate actors. They fool everyone but you. Even your brothers and sisters think there is something intrinsically the matter with you since “mom” is such a wonderful person. You are often the odd person out–You hold the truth; everyone around you does not.
To heal you cannot wait for your family members and others to come to the realization that your mother is a narcissist who has treated you coldly, cruelly and dismissively.
Give yourself time and space to heal. This is a long complex process worth the passage–the recovery of your true self, the person you were always meant to be.
Begin the practice of putting yourself first. Make sure that you learn to take very good care of your total being: physical, mental, emotional, psychological, spiritual. There are many pathways to healing. They begin with activating the calming part of your nervous system, the parasympathetic, the restorative that brings your inner peace and belongs to you.
Seek relationships that nurture you. Pay attention to getting the sleep that you need and deserve. Exercise your way. Listen to great music, enjoy the beauty of art in every form, merge with Nature, the Great Healer that restores, calms and revives our life force. Develop a practice of quieting the mind in a regular way that works for you. This can be guided meditation, readings that inspire you, yoga poses that open your heart and heal you and finding creative activities that speak to you personally. Make an effort to find other individuals who are warm and compassionate, who understand you, are loyal and whom you can count on and trust. It is surprising when we find these great people. We see it in their eyes and feel their warm, loving hearts.
Be kind and patient with yourself as you move through your sacred healing.
13 thoughts on “Healing from Your Narcissistic Mother Begins Now”
I was routinely discouraged and criticized for showing love and kindness to others. Doing so did, and still does, exact some healing onto myself
When I married my wife, I did not realize how controlling the in-laws would be. Married 18 years now, and the problems started after our 2 kids were born. As they got to toddler age, my wife and I had different perspectives on how to raise children. She and the in-laws spoiled the kids, even when they did wrong. Her two brothers, who are married don’t live in the area, as they know how controlling the in-laws can be. My wife is 54 and still calls her parents Mommy and Daddy. My wife could not work with me on finances, such as telling or giving me spending receipts. My FIL “graciously” said he would help, however he has taken over all our accounts. I have no pocket cash, but he makes sure that my wife carries $500 or more. I am the bread winner, but the in-laws pay for all the fun things. Inlaws are retired and I work a lot. The inlaws and my wife are procrastinators. The house is so cluttered, each time I ask the kids now, as teens, they ignore me. They all say I am mean, but after 10 months we still have Christmas toys on our fireplace. The inlaws, at first, bought our groceries to help out when the kids were first born. Now my wife has accepted them buying our food. I did have a reduction in pay in 2008, and since then they hold buying the food over our heads. The inlaws hate public schools, so they hold paying tuition over my head. I recently had triple bypass surgery, and my wife, daughter, and MIL, left me without food, bed ridden, and not helping with my medications. When I lost my job in 2008, I was called a bum. When I strongly urged my wife, daughter and son to have a decluttering “party”, and I did yell at times, she embellished the situation, and took the kids to hide someplace in the house…all an overexaggeration. Now my wife and extended family, went out for a dinner, and my MIL, said I wasn’t invited. There is more, but I will wait for a reply. Jim
To Linda and everyone who posts or reads on this wonderful site,
Firstly, thank you for this site and all the input to it from so many survivors. It’s an immense help to me and I read it often. I first found out about narcissism after being separated from my wife for 6months (4 yrs ago). I was home in bed at lunchtime from work taking my regular 20-30 minute meditation/siesta that was crucial to get me through the rest of the day when I final realized that there was something pathologically wrong with the way my wife behaves. It was amazing when the lightbulb went off and I immediately rushed back to my computer at work and quickly jammed three words into Google; ‘complaining, envious, lazy’. It lead me to the Halcyon site on Narcissism and from that day forward for about three months all I did was research Narcissism. What an amazing discovery. I have been reading fairly steadily since.
I am a 43 year old male that has a covert NMomster and although I have been separated for 4 yrs from my covert Nwife of 13 years still not divorced. So many of the posts on this site I can relate to and so many more are really horrific. Again, thanks to everyone for sharing. This is the first time I have shared anything online in any way but I feel that it might be helpful for those that have been struggling to keep moving forward (as I am daily) and those that have dealt with a covert NMomster and/or Npartner. There’s a lot more behind all of this that I could relay to you but what I thought might be more helpful is a letter I wrote to my brother earlier today. My brother has been my main support and is not the golden child of our family and very closely relate to where I am at but hasn’t been affected to the same degree as me.
Here is what I weepily wrote him this afternoon:
Here is a website that I have been reading a lot of:
I’m passing this along to you because it has some answers to a question you had back a few month’s ago, ‘I’m trying to figure out how your (me) childhood experiences were different than mine.’ I also brought this subject up with the psychiatrist when we met discussed that maybe just because I was mistake can be reason enough to have more of the malice directed at me. Anyway, we will never know the reasons why for sure but it is at least an explanation for me. This website gives me a lot of validation which I am in constant need of. Unfortunately I have to read it constantly sometimes because the validation can be wiped clean in a simple stroke of a invalidating thought or action by someone close to me. My capacity to retain the energy from any validation is a bit like a cheap battery (doesn’t last long – think Eveready). Whereas most people are operating with a permanently recharging battery or at least a Duracell. The effect is that when I can’t validate my thoughts myself I feel faulty and defective, which is how I felt most of my life. It’s important to me that I pass this along to you and not so I can have you validate my thoughts but more so that there is a record of how I feel and at least someone might understand why I am the way I am.
Don’t feel that you need to read this right away at all but when you do pay attention to the concept of the ‘scapegoat’ and golden child. As is always with Narcissism each situation is unique in how it is manifested based on the personalities and life experiences of those involved. You will notice there are a lot of horrific stories from people that post comments that have had experiences with ‘overt’ abuse. From my perspective it’s important to try and understand how the ‘covert’ abuse differs. It’s much more subtle and probably as much or more so toxic. There are a lot of examples of both in all the posts.
Even though I have been reading about this stuff for four years I am still struggling with how it has shaped me and it is still very important for me to keep reading to try and understand – it helps a lot. I am only realizing lately how deeply affected I am by it all. You may have not been able to tell, but I have been very depressed the last few weeks and I summon all my energy to be strong for the periods of time I have the kids. There is not much in the tank to begin with and when I am done being dad it’s a struggle to get the smallest things accomplished. I realize now that it’s been like this for a long time – a constant battle to have the energy to be strong enough for family and friends so they don’t worry about me and when I am alone I just want to block it all out. This is not meant to make you worry and I know it probably will but I have also had some very good days along the way. I think it is just part of the journey and I am still taking steps forward and will continue to do so. I am also very appreciative of everybody in my corner and helping me out along the way – without that I don’t know if I could do it. There are probably lots of people thinking, why can’t he get going, he’s just feeling bad for himself, he’s drinking too much, etc… I understand that people might think that way but to me it feels like I have been fighting to do the right things for a long long time and I have been beaten down to the ground so many times it’s hard to get up.
One other thing to think about when you are reading things from the website, try and think back to what it was like in our house growing up and compare it to what it’s like in our homes now. Someone could easily brush it away with, ‘the time are different’, but I don’t buy into that so much because I have a hard time imagining that I would be much different a few years ago than I am now.
It’s very therapeutic for me to write this stuff to you and I may do so more along the way. Please don’t feel that you need to rush to read about what’s there, I fully understand that no one can fully appreciate my experiences because they are just that. Just writing this down and having a record of it is very helpful for me.
Yes! Everything in this post hits home with me. I’m learning to pull away from her and keep contact to a minimum, but it’s hard since I do have one young sibling. In order to keep in touch with him, I have to go through her.
My narcissistic Mother decided that the best way to get “back” at her children was to commit suicide yesterday. She had gone off the rails in the last few months, and most of us couldn’t take anymore and stepped away from her. Oh the evil that she spewed. She was found, yesterday, in her car in the garage. With a note (I don’t know what it says). She did the ultimate payback. Or at least tried to. None of us are broken hearted, it is actually a relief. For her to take her own life for SPITE, says how sick she really was. I am seeing similar patterns in my older sister and I am convinced that my youngest daughter has narcissism. We are all adults, Mother was 90. My biggest problem is that I am going back to see my siblings and daughter (if she lets me) and I cannot handle any more guilt trip drama. It’s happening so fast…..what can I do to get through this?
I became estranged from my mother out of necessity in order to survive, at the age of 59. My recently bereaved mother doesn’t mind it at all and has strengthened her relationship with my children. It is impossible to heal. I now feel periphery to my own lovely family who can’t understand the subtle abuse towards me she is delivering. Impossible.
A good psychotherapist is helping but it is a bit like trying to build on sand. I know I need better self care but that too is like building on sand. Sympathy to anyone else going through this lifetime hell. There is so much more I could do with my life if I didn’t have these shackles.
You definitely understand my pain. I’m 57 and I’ve been dealing with my mother way too many years. My family members feel I am the bad person and I’m not. I’m trying very hard to deal with all of this and I’m thankful to have my youngest daughter who see’s the truth. We are very blessed to be so strong when we only have each other.
I was also in a narcistic relationship after my divorce (of 23 years) with another man for 12 years before I finally got out. I feel so embarrassed and ashamed that it’s taken me years to acknowledge the truth and accept it. My life’s been such a turmoil, losing communication with my older two kids as well. I’m a strong person and yes a positive person. I feel so blessed in many ways.
I can’t thank you enough for understanding my pain.
I think my mom might be narcissistic. I turned 30 last year and had a odd discovery. I had a brother pass away in 2012. And my mother still talks about him as if he is alive. Tries to raise my child, undermines my authority and parenting, guilt trips me, manipulates me. I was reading online earlier this year and realized that I was emotionally and verbally abused my entire life. For 30 years! When I was younger, my dad cheated on my mom. My mom used me for her own emotional support and told me everything my dad did. It was terrible. My brother was in sports and he was the greatest thing that lived (according to her). They would basically go to his sporting events and leave me home with someone else.Then I was about to get married, and my only request was that she did NOT wear white to my wedding. She comes home the next day with a white dress and wears it to my wedding and never thought about my feelings or respected my wishes. My brother was then diagnosed with cancer, and I took care of him most of the time. But didn’t get any credit from her for doing so. All I hear is about how she didn’t work so that she could take care of him. He passed away in 2012. And my mother still goats on him and how great he is and how I am “just a book worm.” She’s extremely materialistic and judges everyone. She claims to be a Christian. I attempted to go no contact with her and I kept getting messages about how I’m all she has left and how she moved out of state to be closer to me. She’s tried to ruin my marriage before. My husband and I have been married for almost 10 years and I finally realized that a lot of our marriage issues is because of her. I’m getting ready to start therapy so I can break free from this terrible horrible feeling! I have issues. I can never make a decision and feel comfortable because I was never allowed. I feel like I can’t be a parent to my kid because my parents think they are his parents and try to raise them like he is my brother. Always comparing my son to my brother. I always feel like I have to cater to everyone else and never make time for myself. I’m a mess right now! For 30 years I’ve been played and miserable and now I have to break this cycle. I will not be abused any longer by her!
I am a 56 years old daughter of a NPD mother. She is now 78 but she has dementia. I don´t have many memories of my childhood, probably I decided not to, but the ones I have since my adolescent years to now are terrible regarding my relationship with my mother. We are only two sisters. My younger sister (50) is bipolar and I am a depressed woman. I have had two divorces, both husbands were similar to my mother. I used to joke with my psychoanalyst that in my case Freud was wrong with is Edipo Complex as I married two times with my mother.
Today it is still difficult for me to have a healthy relationship with men.
I really don´t know what to do, I have been in several types of therapy, I am a psychologist myself, I have read tons of material about NPD and borderline personality. My father, whom I loved very much and was a wonderful grandparent, NEVER defended myself, my sister or our kids against my mother attacks. Probably he was a sort of codependent personality. Now my sister and I are the ones to take care of my mother but neither of us live with her. The most terrifying thing in the present is that in her deliriums she is constantly “killing us” either with a gun or an illness. When is this going to end? I am kind of worried because I can understand she has been sick all her life, she still have power over me and my sister with her words and I do not feel I can forgive her about all the terrible things she did to us, to our father and to our sons.
Thank you for this inspiring post. I am still struggling to come to terms with my narcissistic family of origin and the narcissistic traits and habits I learned. Meditation has been very helpful, and I am trying to incorporate music, reading, nature, good diet and sobriety into my daily life.
To all those struggling with narcissistic relationships and their aftermath – healing is possible. Be kind to yourself and be patient. Small, consistent changes will create surprising and significant results.
I wish you love.
Jim, this sounds awful. I wish I had some advice but I don’t. It sounds like your in laws (and your wife?) have got you where they want you – under their control. I was so sad to read about their neglect when you were recovering from your surgery. Maybe your wife is a narcissist too? I wish you well.
As the only daughter of a Narcissistic Mother, with a deep vein of cruelty, extreme physical punishment, damaging invalidation, psychological torture and sadistic tricks and misinformation or no information at all, the silence that lasted for weeks and me a child. I have been learning about coping skills, retraining the broken messages, life long psychotherapy and medication. I’ve learned meditation, yoga, tantric meditation, the philosophies of loving kindness and compassion for forty years. I can not stop the flashbacks and extreme cruel messages and lifelong rejection from my mother invading my life on a daily basis. I have truly tried everything including becoming a Buddhist nun. I have periods of feeling safe and sense of self-love but then crushing flashbacks, phrases, traumas, the destruction of my family set me off into fugue state episodes filled with excruciating soul searing pain.
I just can’t tolerate it anymore. I was told this is the best it ever gets. But this isn’t living. This is a lifelong suffering that has isolated me, changed me to depression and anxiety, and cause dissociation for long periods of time.
I’ve been looking desperately for something new. The mDMA trials look promising. But they are only taking vets. If anyone can assist me in getting into one of these trials, I can’t tell you how much good you would be doing.
That maternal bond of unconditional love you can never replace. How can anyone exist without that primal, necessary bond with your mother? Suffering is inevitable. The path to no suffering is so difficult to find even with Eastern philosophy. I feel so in need of a kind word or direction. I think I need this therapy as soon as i could get it.
The world needs more love NOW.
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