Narcissistic mothers have a lot in common but as individuals they have unique ways of psychologically poisoning their children. Some mothers choose a daughter (or son) who is beautiful, has natural charm, is very bright to groom to become a perfect image of themselves. Narcissistic mothers have severe boundary issues and do not respect and honor their child’s individuality. They impose on the daughter how she should feel, act and think. This is a form of brainwashing that starts very early. Some of these children become narcissistic if the mother gives them free rein without any limits.
Having a perfect child provides these mothers with a powerful living narcissistic supply. Children growing up in these circumstances are not allowed to be themselves. They are controlled and molded in mother’s image of what they should be rather than who they really are. If this child refuses to go along with mother, she is cast out and often becomes the family scapegoat. The narcissistic mother moves on to choose one of her other children as the favorite.
The scapegoated child has to deal with the psychological poison ejected by the mother: emotional coldness, devastating criticisms, personal psychological attacks, humiliations in front of the other children. She is made to feel different and unacceptable. Sometimes the narcissistic mother labels her as “crazy.”
In normal psychological development the baby, infant and young child is treated with warmth and love. Of course no mother is perfect and the child goes through various frustrations as a result. This is part of the growing process for the child to learn to deal with circumstances in which his needs are not met perfectly.
The narcissistic mother fulfills her own needs not her child’s. She owns her golden child like a possession that cannot be wrenched from her hands. She exploits the qualities of this child that make her look very important. She has huge bragging rights as her little darling excels at school work and athletics and is a social standout.
In some instances these children believe that they are this perfect being and that their peers are inferior. This is the beginning of the budding narcissist.
Whether you are the chosen child, the scapegoat or the one who is forgotten or invisible, the narcissistic mother has had her hand in having a profound negative effect on her children. In some cases the father is strong and loving enough to have a strong connection with his children. Often the narcissistic mother has chosen a man who is weak and incapable of bucking her and who fears her recriminations. He is in many ways one of her victimized children.
Despite this horrendous childhood there are many children victimized by narcissistic mothers who survive this treatment. They don’t know what is wrong but they understand intuitively that something is very wrong with mother and to stay out of her way. They find ways to keep a distance. Some of them find solace alone in their own company. They develop friendships and spend time at their homes. They find enjoyment in the world of books and the uses of their imaginations. Some of these children leave the narcissistic home very early and find their way to freedom They are determined to leave and be free from this noxious environment.
The effects of the narcissistic mother’s psychological poison can be prolonged. However, I have found that many of these victimized daughters, through their research discover that mother is a narcissist who is not going to change, that what happened to them was not their fault and that they are very sane—not crazy. Mother is the one with the severe psychopathology that is not going to change. The work of healing and evolving occurs throughout our lives. We also become free by helping others to see through the delusion of the narcissistic personality. Visit my website:thenarcissistinyyourlife.com
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
Telephone Consultation: United States and International
Book: Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life