Rediscover Your Own Life–Go NC with Narcissistic Mother

Children of narcissistic mothers have the hardest life path. The person whom they turned to and counted on, walked away from them, punished them, humiliated them and threw them away. These words are painful to write but so much more painful to live.

I have spoken to many of these dispossessed children and their stories are chilling. They speak of ongoing repetitive cruelties that were designed to make them obedient and submissive and, yes, even to break them. I believe you absolutely and so to those who come to this site and these posts—You are not alone with the Truth!

You had to pretend you had a real mom and even convinced yourself this was the case. You told other kids that your mom was just fine. All the while you had to live a lie. You had to normalize the image of your mother to others for survival purposes. Early on you learned to put on a an inscrutable face, even a convincing cheery one to throw people off of the truth. There was no where you could go to tell the real story.  It felt too dangerous to reveal. At night you lay in bed and wept so quietly that not even a sibling in the same room could hear you.

Some children who grow up under these conditions keep believing that mom can and will change. This belief emerged when mother was in a good mood (a very rare occasion) and made promises to you–empty ones– that you believed. She would smile at you and you thought: “This time she really means it. I know she cares about me and will start to treat me like her real daughter (or son) rather than as an outcast.”

Now you finally know that this woman wasn’t a real mother–She is a narcissistic personality and incapable of true love or emotional intimacy or psychological attachment. That is disturbing and sad but true.

I hear from many daughters and sons of narcissistic mothers who have suffered for decades. They finally recognized that they could not change their mother, that she is a narcissistic personality and that the goal now is to focus your attention on the quality of your life–Start putting yourself first and pay attention to self care and your well being. This begins for many by going NC with your narcissistic mother.  Each child of a narcissistic mother does this his or her own way. For some there is a clear clean break–a reckoning has occurred, too much emotional and psychological injury has been sustained and the adult children of the narcissist now know that they will renew their lives and become whole and healed. They find other individuals whom they can trust and in a sense form a new family. This is not an easy or smooth process but it can be done.

There are some adult children that rediscover dormant creativity inside of themselves that awakens in them and blossoms. Others find comfort, connection, inspiration and peace in beginning a spiritual practice. This is defined specifically by the individual. Working with the body/mind through practices like gentle hatha yoga help us move into the restorative, quieting part of the nervous system, the parasympathetic. Acupuncture when provided by an excellent practitioner who is highly empathic can be very effective in moving the patient from the sympathetic fight or flight mode to the parasympathetic, calming nervous system.

There are so many ways that you will find to continue your course of evolving your true self. This is a lifelong process that you deserve to experience. And let’s always remember Beauty–It is with us every day. We forget about Beauty when we are suffering. The smallest moment holds Beauty when we are receptive to it: a grin, an encouraging look into our eyes, a recognition of our humanity, an idea that takes flight and grows in our minds like magic, a sweet memory that we have tucked away and is suddenly revealed, a revelation that comes out of our unconscious through a dream, a scent that takes us beyond thought into a mysterious inner world. These moments of beauty are unique to each person and universal at the same time. I want to share an experience that I have had for the last two years that speaks of pure beauty and is natural but has a miraculous quality. I planted a few milkweed plants in a small space. I made sure that they had not been sprayed with pesticides. They grew quickly. One day a few weeks later I noticed to my great surprise and wonderment, green and yellow caterpillars were devouring these plants. After total gorging as they grew larger and larger, they affixed themselves to a place on a wall or ledge and went into a dormant state that is a pupus of jade green with a horizontal band. After a while, I am not sure how long, I could see the butterfly through the pupus which had become transparent. Then one day I saw a perfectly formed gorgeous monarch, drying his wings on a wall. The greatest thrill is watching them practice their flying. They are the living jewels of the butterfly world. What a gift of astounding beauty.


19 thoughts on “Rediscover Your Own Life–Go NC with Narcissistic Mother”

  1. Thank you, what you write is soo true and always at the right time for me..60 years I have to regain, 60 years of my life, I am almost 61 and I realised about 9 months ago just what my mother was like, it had a name and I was not going to put up with her antics any more. I have since lost 25 kg, gained a promotion at work, discarded people in my life who have been hurtful and using of me, travelled, say yes to all new experiences..I am loving life….my mother asked me the other day…. “What is wrong with you..why are you like you are” I just smirked to my self…and said, well I must go now, and walked out….she’s almost 90, the most joyless person I have met, to others she is just so wonderful…great,,take her, she is all yours…..what you have said is so true, the image I tried to portray of a mother to others, the false smile, the crying myself to sleep too hiding under my bed for hours when I was small…..uugghh..I have a life to live. Thank you for your help Linda.

  2. Ten years ago when I discovered NPD was the reason my mother was trying to smother me, to steal my life, to keep me front and centre, I was fortunate to have been far away by then. The original reason for going was her lack of boundaries, her constant put downs as I strove to be my real self – something that really annoyed her after her years of trying to create a clone of herself in me.
    When I did discover the reason she was who she was I had to share with my friends the shock about what I had found. What a big mistake! They could not accept the truth of my discovery. The common response was “oh a mother would not do that” or “you must have done something to make her treat you that way”.
    Years down the track I began therapy and my therapist truly listened and explained my feelings to me. She helped me find my identity when it had been virtually stolen from me as NMother would make me invisible if I showed any independence at all. For so many years I had taken the course she set and so with therapy I began to find the real me. A bit too late to follow the career path I would have chosen, sadly, but at least I escaped and created a loving family of my own.
    I can only surmise that so-called “friends” were uncomfortable with talking about mothers in any negative light. Or perhaps they had mothers like that too? The taboo around mothers has only hurt daughters who have suffered so much already.
    I am in my 60’s and look with comfort that this information is out there now so that younger women can learn and grow in the face of an insidious personality.
    Thankyou Linda.

  3. As always, I never stop needing the reminders you give. That I can learn to care for myself. And as I write this I realize I can emulate those I know who know how and do it well. Also the reminder of beauty. What an incredible story. Thank you Linda

  4. Yes, I recall all the times that my mother * zapped away* my moment, and started interjecting her story, completely ignoring me. Or should I say not listening to a word I was saying….. Growing up, I always wondered why she did not like me.. Now I know that she had and has NPD. It’s exhausting. Correction: She’s exhausting.

  5. Now I am reading p. 129 of your book Linda.

    If you are “not great”, “not fine”….it makes them squirm psychologically….Your unfineness makes them feel so ill at ease and embarrassed that they must remove themselves from this melodramatic, over-the-top spectacle. They are so numb that their sole reaction is one of acute avoidance and annoyance, often seasoned with ragged edges of disgust…”

    You mention of psychological barriers of long standing being reinforced by not encountering their own “stuff”. I see that my declarations of truths do indeed make others uncomfortable and have eliminated a lot of opportunities for support I might have expected.

    How sad it is !

  6. I think the poster girl for that would be the infamous Joan Crawford as described in Christina Crawford’s book, “Mommie Dearest.” They were adopted for publicity purposes and after they lost their cuteness Joan warehoused them in boarding schools and didn’t even bother to let them come home for Christmas. Anyone with an interest in this who hasn’t read that book should consider doing it.

  7. Wow, i am amazed To read Tbis. ThankYou so much. I am 54, just discovering narc.mother Myself wirh helps of my psychotherpist. I Share those Ingredienz Cruel expereinces and Worse ones ( you die not mention i am shure:/) but its Great To read, you Do Promotion with 60, and begin To be free… I was Artist, before Cancer and cfs/ ME stroke me down for 12 years… No read, no People, no Walk, no life Left.. Just learning, it is also due To this narcissm terror childhood. Always thought, i am Crazy, not she…( or them)..
    Unfortunately my Health still needs her Financial Support – so i try To grow strong undercover until i can leave ..and live okay on my Own. I would be glad for Inspiration . I Do Raw Green Food, psychoanalysis, breathhing, EFT. But it is Slow. I feel still Guilty in Taking her Money when i am n o t devoted To be how she Wants me: rather dead then Even a bit more alive – just enough alive To serve As Minor and thus making her feel clean and good..iscokay.. .and so on.. But i started also Research for a Promotion and my First Essay After years and coming back into Arts – slooooow … But hiding it from her…Necessary… ….slowly But its coming: Spring Starts Blooming..! :))))))))

  8. Just when you start feeling good about yourself, they try to go over back in.
    My covert N sister contacts my best friend to tell her she is sorry and changed. Why isn’t she contacting me? Of course, she has to use her bag of magic tricks and work on my friend by crying. She is triangaling and creating drama (again), also claiming that I need to visit my Super N Mother who is in a nursing home before she forgets who I am. Please forget me, because I’ve been trying to forget you!

    No contact has been a wonderful thing. I’ve moved, got a PO Box, and looking forward to creating my new life without the ball and chain of their insults, jealousy, envy, laziness, leaching, and every other horrible attribute that Satin gives them.

    My home is a place of peace. They shall never enter the front door.

    I received a letter from her forwarded to the po box. I’m not even opening it.
    Nothing they say has any merit or contribution to my life. Done. Never again. I’m 55, and wasted 19 years with my N mother, then 30 years with an N Husband. 5 plus years trying to recover, OK I get it, you all want to kill me. I’m staying away.

  9. I am a 38 year old man that has been damaged by a sick and twisted “mother”. I have given up hope as I will never be able to fix myself. In reality I am at a disadvantage emotionally and tired of having to explain to others why I am so messed up (yes it’s that obvious). I am sick of being told to “get over it, think positive, listen to more Tony Robbins”. If I could, I would! I am a very disturbed man and every single day of my life is an emotional struggle (never a moments rest). A life-time of therapy and positive affirmations hasn’t worked. My life is a train wreck, the woman that called herself my mother used to threaten to throw me out of the house when I was 8. She constantly told me I would become homeless and a loser. Just recently I lost my 18 year career and now will be homeless next month. All the emotions pain of my childhood came flooding back

    These are me demons. Rest assured everyone, I never got married or had any children of my own.

  10. What cruel and insensitive people there are who tell damaged people “to get over it” Martin. It’s like the quote above, these people are uncomfortable with your discomfort because you are causing them to look at their own stuff I have learned from Linda’s work.

    I was determined that the person known as my mother would not win the game. And she didn’t. If she said I would be something, become something I then went to great trouble to prove her wrong. Then I found out the truth of her condition and left. Becoming her victim was the worst possible outcome.

    Linda pointed me to the Honest Guys meditations on Youtube and the one on there about negativity is a very helpful and restorative one. I recommend it for you.

  11. Likewise, currently I’m jobless & living with NPD mother. You can tell, constant emotional abuse, depression, anxiety & apathy. I don’t even know where I should go or what I want anymore. I’m single so I don’t have anybody to turn into. Relatives are being fooled by the NPD. Friends are busy with their life. Being apathy can overcome these in a nutshell. But don’t ever fall into depression. Don’t ever.

  12. You are at a low point and have the right to feel sorry for yourself. But
    A) Stop apologising for being an emotional train wreck. Believe you will be able to fix yourself, even if you don’t feel its possible right this minute. Believe that you have that in you. Apply TLC and nothing else.
    B) Positive affirmations without practical steps in place are like magical thinking, they sometime aggravate the problem, when improvement is not forthcoming you feel that you are obviously not doing something right.

    Your mother is not a fortune teller, sometimes we unconsciously comply with our parents ‘wishes so we are loved anyhow. It seems she thought little of you, and in anger hoped you would turn up a loser and homeless. You have it in yourself to deny her right to ruin your live.

    Do not despair.

  13. Martin, I feel your pain. Sh1t isnt it?
    Have you discovered the website? I know you are a son of one, but truly this is an AWESOME site. I too am 38 and i am battling with my own anxiety, depression and feeling ‘broken’. I have bought The Healing Club membership which is only a dollar for first 7 days and the Emmotional Freedom Technique videos are to the point and they work. I am not affiliated to this site or anything, just reaching out. Hope this helps and good luck. The EFT video most relevant to me at the moment is healing from feeling of being ‘born broken’ which is what NpD mothers do to us. I have 2 young boys and it is a daily battle to keep myself in check that I am not being like her whilst dealing with how to deal with anger & kids. If i’d known how challenging this would be…..

  14. Ive just realized that she will never change. I’ve given her so much of my positive energy but all she does is coming up new horrid ways of trying to break me down. Things id never even dream of saying to my worst enemy, and that contradicts who I am on every level. She has always told me how evil and selfish I was, projecting me with an endless stream of destructive lies. I was fooled. Again. But I sensed behind those fake laughs and smiles it was coming. She cannot hold it in for too long. Accusing me of wanting my fathers inheritance and threatening me with selling all her assets (she doesn’t have much and really needs it ) when Ive been independent and never asked her for a cent ever since I moved out at 20 (I’m now 29). All I’ve talked about is helping her financially when she is retiring (I’m a student at the moment) . Ive never asked her for money or help and Ive always told her not to bring me “gifts” when she visits which she always does since she wants something, or shall I say everything and more back. Dad did try to protect me form her but when he couldn’t stand it he took out his frustration on me, may he rest in peace. I just cannot see how I can live a happy life with her in it anymore. Ive invited her to it and worked for years on my self esteem and now really have a life full of good honest friends (which ididnt have in my childhood/teens) a loving fiancé and I live well. Yet I have neck pains and back pains that come from the pressure of always being on guard with her and from repressed pain. And it is not even worth it. I give up, she has broken my heart too may times and assaulted me too many times. I know she’s my mother but I cannot see how my life will be if I continue letting her back in…

  15. Your writing is encouraging. I don’t believe narcissism is genetic. I think its learned behavior. As they know right and wrong. To say its genetic gives them more of a free pass to inflict their abuse. “Its not my fault. Its genetic. I can’t help it”. What a perfect way to again place blame somewhere else. Everything they do or say is aimed at manipulating to control you. Know that I see the light every word that fall from his mouth has an agenda on it. To watch his interactions whether social or with family he lies in all that he does. Its constant chaos. They literally try to possess you. Its evil. Truly evil. You have helped me so much. Thank you

  16. I first found Dr. Linda’s blog I believe more then a year ago. When I first read the description of a Narcissist it was familiar, but then I read about Covert Narcissists and it was the missing piece to my life. It was as if clouds parted and weights lifted. I couldn’t believe that Dr. Linda was able to so precisely describe my mother and at the same time start me on a path of making things right…for me. Over the next year I learned how to not let her manipulation, lies, calculating moves get to me. It wasn’t easy, but today she has absolutely no power, or control over me. I am able to be in the same room, listen to her and let it all roll off my back. She still can’t figure out why she can’t get to me any more, why her control over me is gone, why she can’t push every button to get to me and I doubt she ever will. I’ve told her why, how and what she is, but it’s beyond her to accept it. No matter, I’m living my own life now, not the one she used to control with masterful puppeteering. In just over a year I got my life back, the one she stole so very, very long ago. There is hope.

  17. My 91 year old mother died a little over a week ago, after suffering a massive stroke. She had long standing heart disease. I had not spoken to her in over a month before her death. See, I had the audacity to express my concern about her cutting back on her daily helper’s time, her stated intention to start driving again (she had totaled 3 cars in her later years) and made an offer to assist my step dad by showing the helper how to submit insurance claims.

    The message was sent via email because she is too deaf to talk coherently on the phone. Three days later my mother sent my step dad to deliver a horrible letter to me. My mother not only told me how much she resented me for telling her what to do and suggesting she didn’t follow her doctor’s orders (two “resents” in the letter), but told me I was running “rough shot” (she always mixed her metaphors or screwed up words – but would never admit it), over my stepdad’s “pride and ego.”

    She told me I was not HER mother, but her daughter and that if I didn’t put up with she and my step dad, that my choice was to “be an orphan.” She also told me she was not yet in her “dotage.”

    That letter came during a period when I had opened three double yoke eggs in a row from the same carton of eggs, which is considered in some circles to be an omen of impending death. I opened a fourth double yoke egg from the same dozen a week before her stroke.

    I told my stepdad I was not going to read the letter because I knew what it said. Of course I did read it 48 hours later, and was pretty horrified at what she said to me. I chose not to respond but it was the fodder of many journal entries. I had found Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers some years ago, but had forgotten about it. I re-discovered it and had gone back to my therapist to start talking about how to heal from her, when she had the stroke. Ironically, the day before her stroke she had written to me, addressing the email “Dear Family,” where she talked about how great she was doing and invited me to take her out for Mother’s Day brunch.

    I replied that while I was happy she was feeling better I had made plans with my own child, and that perhaps one of her children that she did not resent for expressing concern about her health and well being, was available. I’ll never know if she read the email (until I call the psychic) but she was at her desk in front of her computer talking on the phone when she keeled over.

    My biggest problem right now is that I am the one who has to plan the memorial service, and deal with all of the condolences from my friends as well as hers. My siblings don’t get it. I can’t say a word to my stepdad. I was red hot mad the first week after her death, at every thing and every one. Now I am calmer but am having a real hard time working on the memorial service – a month away – and trying to figure out how to handle people telling me how sorry they are, or wanting to give me a hug. What can I do not to smirk when people tell me how wonderful she was, or how caring and loving, when I want to scream?!

  18. Great article!
    I actually stop telling my friends that my mother was my real mother and told them she was my ‘stepmother’ from about 9 years old. Her humiliations and verbal abuse was so bad in front of my friends that I felt that if I make an excuse (that she is my stepmother instead) it would not look so bad!

  19. Ellen: Sorry but narcissism IS genetic. Research repeatedly shows that psychopathy/sociopathy/narcisissm (Cluster B) does NOT have an environmental basis. This “Cluster B” defect is largely due to the nuerobiological structure of the patient’s brain, and is present from birth. In layman’s terms, they a born with a REPTILIAN (as in serpentine) amydila, which is the portion of the brain where the HUMAN conscience should be located. This has been proven via secular science (see Dr. Robert Hare) but the Bible also support this finding 100 %. A person with the best family in the world can still be a psychopath (narcissist/sociopath). Read Genesis 3:15 which says plainly that there are TWO SEEDLINES on the earth each at “enmity” (aka hatred) with one another. Also Psalm 58:3-5 and Isaiah 48:8 says plainly that there are those “born wicked from the womb” which is divine language for corrupt dna. Cain is the father of this corrupt bloodline whose father was the “Tree” (as in family tree) of KNowledge of good and evil (the Serpent). Eve’s “eating” of “forbidden fruit” was in actuality a divine metaphor for SEX, which is why Adam and Eve scambled to cover their lower parts when God entered the Garden afterwards.
    Should only take common sense to figure this out, yet this is not taught in “churches” because they’re mostly all run by and infested with narcopathic control freaks who have a vested interest in keeping the truth under wraps. And just because it is “genetic” doesn’t mean they are without excuse. God told Cain after he become “wroth” about his offering not being accepted by God that if he would just do what is RIGHT everything would be fine. Instead, he went to his HALF brother Abel and bashed is skull in with a rock and then HID his body (knowledge of right from wrong!) Thus, these people have the same FREE WILL and CHOICE to do what’s right or wrong as the rest of us. Nobody is holding a gun to their heads and making them do EVIL to others! They CHOOSE to do it and they know FULL WELL what they are doing is wrong otherwise they wouldnt go to such great lengths to hide it in front of those they use as pawns to uphold their goody two shoe self righteous mask while they SELECTIVELY seek to DEVOUR AND DESTROY their targets (such as a scapegoated daughter and enabling spouse). Perhaps some of the flying monkeys/Golden Children are not genetically narcissistic (Cluster Bs from the same corrupt Vine), but sear their consciences by going along with their evil schemes against the scapegoats (usually for filthy lucre such as the scapegoats portion of the inheritance). And while I’m commenting I’d also like to address Martin and his comment about his “mother” telling him at age 8 he would be “homeless and a loser.” What she did was known in the Bible as CURSING her child!! And it most DEFINATELY DOES have an effect!
    This is what Noah did to Ham after Ham made fun of him being uncovered in his tent. He cursed Ham’s offspring. Narcissists also come from the line of Ham and Esau (whom God “hated” see Romans 9:13). God loves the righteous, not the wicked. And that has nothing to do with “sin” because we are all sinners (Roms 3:23), it has to do with INIQUITY which is doing evil ON PURPOSE and IN SECRET while pretending to be righteous. The Bible calls narcissists “workers of iniquity.” Maybe narcopaths did have abusive childhoods. So did SCAPEGOATS of narcopathic parents! And we didn’t become abusers of mankind because of it. Narcs have the same free will to choose good or evil as the rest of us. They simply choose to do evil and are without excuse. They will manipulate, charm, use and hurt anyone they target for destruction, and they will NEVER feel any remorse. Don’t try to rationalize their behavior. It’s just PURE evil. It’s soulless. It’s conscienceless. It’s heartless. It’s empty and they deserve ZERO honor or respect! They deserve NOTHING except silence and avoidance from those they seek to destroy.

    These “snake-people” murder a part of your soul then leave the scene of the crime and blame YOU for it. Narcissistic abuse is more like a slow growing terminal cancer that slowly eats away at your self-esteem. Often times, we don’t even know it’s happening until it’s progressed very far. On top of that, narcissists often engage in “impression management” with the sole intent of discrediting their victims- in case said victims choose to expose them in the future. (Oh, she’s “crazy” or “mentally unstable” or she “has issues” etc). They often do it under the guise of false concern.
    They victimize you with their abuse, then re-victimize you by discrediting you when you wake up to their evil schemes and society goes right along with it! It’s as if these people (society, extended relatives, “friends” etc) have no integrity or even EMPATHY whatsoever. Their only mission is to coddle the Abuser, and further crush the real victim. They have no idea that they are not Special to the Narcissist, but merely being used as one of her DUPED pawns. It’s actually rather pathetic. These people — objects, really — are useful as long as they remain in thrall to the narcissist and provide his magical mirror. If they can’t or won’t, they are tossed aside. We Scapegoats are taught that telling the truth is “good” and lying is wrong, but with the narcissist, we see that they get away with pathological lying while we are bullied (or merely shunned by our own extended families) for attempting to tell the TRUTH!! We desperately reached out for support and didn’t even get a “cup of cold water” in the name of the Truth. Nothing but silence. What I would’ve given just to get a card in the mail with a brief acknowledgment from a cousin, or an aunt or an uncle. Nobody in the Narc’s circle of existence cares about others’ suffering. Only themselves.

    “Many times they have persecuted me from my youth up; Yet they have not prevailed against me. The plowers plowed upon my back; (aka BACKSTABBERS) They made their furrows deep. (LIFELONG SMEAR CAMPAIGNS) The LORD is righteous; He has cut in two the cords of the wicked.…” (Waking up and going NO CONTACT). Psalm 128: 2-4 “Behold, these are the wicked; always at ease, they increase in riches.” (Usually by stealing the Scapegoat’s inheritance)….Psalm 73:12 “For they cannot sleep unless they do evil; And they are robbed of sleep unless they make someone stumble. Proverbs 4:16 Mat 7:17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a CORRUPT TREE (as in satanic dna) bringeth forth evil fruit.

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