We didn’t make a request to have our particular mother. She was bestowed on us by a complex act of fate. Small children may sense that there is something fundamentally wrong with mother. She doesn’t hug them or give them kisses. Her body is stiff when she is near; her gaze is hard and at times menacing. We are afraid of her but know that on some deep level that we must survive this person. Often these mothers are exceedingly strict and cruel. Some are completely disinterested in their kids and palm them off on babysitters and other caretakers so that “mother can lead her own life.” “She is entitled after all.” The child cannot give this behavior a name but it doesn’t matter because her/his emotional and psychological needs are not being met. Yes, mother makes sure that the child is fed (not always–there are children of narcissistic mothers who have to fend for themselves in the hunger department and are severely deprived) and clothed and sent to school but there is no real communication. Mother is always distracted with how she looks and feels. Her moods are often erratic. Narcissistic mothers are known for their sudden fits of rage that are projected on to their children and spouses. Some children witness dreadful scenes between their parents of verbal abuse and in some cases, physical assault. The ugly arguments and vicious scenes are traumatizing to a small child. The narcissistic mother always wins, degrades the father, leaving him feeling worthless. The child does not have a strong father on whom he can depend. Some fathers are workaholics and spend most of their time away from the house. They are not involved in the raising of their children. They escape into their work, other women, alcohol, anything that will remove them from this she-devil of a wife.
It can take decades to find out that your mother is a narcissistic personality. You do research and dig for the truth about this person who has made your life so unbearable. Finally you know the disorder. Some children have been blaming themselves or thinking they were crazy all of this time. Other siblings may not have the powers of observation or objectivity to recognize who mother really is. In fact some of them are psychologically fused with her and will defend her to the end. These mothers enjoy turning one child against the other in defense of her. You may be the only one in the family who knows the truth about this woman.
If you are a truthseeker and acknowledge that you can no longer lead your life tied to non mother who has only brought you psychological pain, then you make the decision to sever the relationship. This is a rough road if you siblings and other family members are standing in her court. But you value yourself and the life that you want to lead. At this moment your healing begins. You have untied yourself from the toxic knots that have bound you to a narcissistic mother. You now swim freely in the ocean of life. You can be yourself fully. You have respite, rest and the capacity to dream and create–unencumbered. Your nervous system switches from fight or flight to relaxation mode. Your creativity soars. You keenly feel your capacity to give and receive love. Along the way you will meet other daughters and sons of narcissistic mothers and your words and empathy will help them to begin the healing process.
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D
Telephone Consultation: United States and International
Book: Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life
14 thoughts on “Severing Relationship with Narcissistic Mother Your Healing Begins”
Wow, this is an amazing post. Thank you so much. Like taking medicine. Thank you
This description is so close to what I experienced with my mother it is uncanny. I always knew things weren’t right in my home, and from a very early age I loved my mother and despised her at the same time.
But as it turned out I despised myself much much more.
As an adult I fell in love with and married a narcissistic man — a very charming and charismatic ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing.’ I had no idea that I was being subjected to psychological abuse from day one of our relationship. After 20 years I finally left him just 5 months ago. I am finding the process of recovery I am currently in to be exceedingly long and excruciatingly painful. Progress is slow and there are many setbacks. I still often am simply stunned and confused by these life events.
I don’t know if I would have made it through my despair this far if it weren’t for the resources to educate myself about narcissistic parents and spouses. It gives me some hope that there are avenues for healing recovery that may eventually lead me to a real path toward happiness.
I had not thought of my mother as a narcissist until a month ago. I knew she was different from other moms even when i was a toddler…i remember feeling perplexed and stressed but did not have the knowledge or vocabulary to articulate what I saw and felt. As the scapegoat I grew up doubting my perceptions and being afraid to assert myself because of fhe brutal reprisals and bullying that would follow. It is tremendously healing to find validation on this site…validation that what I experienced was warped and not a figment of my imagination. Finally i know that im not alone or crazy or terrible….and the person I suppressed for so long is actually pretty amazing when allowed to see the sun.
Wow, this article is a breath of fresh air. My mother-in-law is a total narcissist. She pits her older son against his much younger sister all time. At the age of 43, my husband is now understanding that he cannot have a normal and healthy relationship with his mother, who basically resents him and is basically jealous of him.
He has recently severed all communication with her and frankly he appears so much happier.
The thing I find the hardest is finding others (in person) who have been through this. Most people don’t have a name for what they’re going through, but once you learn, it’s a relief and a burden at the same time. Wishing you peace and healing, Elizabeth.
Comment:From “This is Me”
It’s like this was written about me, my Nm died this year, and my sister and i were the scapegoats and found this on the Internet, I was like WoW!
This info has been a real eye-opener. I tried not to believe it, but my experiences with my mother r just about everything discussed concerning NM. I’m tired of the drama and the pain frankly. Didn’t realize this was the problem all along until I began looking at other m/d relationships and seeking to understand my fear and brokeness. Wow! My relationship with my kids is one of laughter, openness, and growth. Unfortunately, her control and erratic behavior is effecting them ad well. Time to get away before my kids are emotionally and mentally hurt for years to come, as I have struggled all of my adult life.
I love that there is such a great and open community of children of narcissistic mothers. I grew up like so many others- knowing that something was wrong but not being able to explain it. I also had no self-esteem- my NM took it away from me and I went through my entire life up until my early 20’s thinking that I was “bad”. I’m getting married this year and the horrible treatment of my NM has helped me research her disorder, find others who also suffer and has helped me make the decision to go “no-contact” with her. Thank you Thank you Thank you for all the doctors, therapists and other victims who have put so much information out there and have encouraged us to no longer think that WE are the problem!
Comment: From VerCass
This is EXACTLY what i am going through and what i have been going through all my life! I am getting married next year and ever since it has been made official, my mother has been finding any excuse to treat me horribly, threaten me, criticize me, wish me the worst things under the sky and leering at me because she will not pay for any part of the wedding. I have never been allowed any friends in the house. I have always felt like I was an extension of herself, like I only served one purpose: to satisfy her emotional needs. I studied psychology and every time she has an issue (5 times a week) she would suck up my energy and drain it by victimizing herself about everything, from her friends to her job to her past. And if I so much as say that I am tired and I need some time alone, she would start shouting and guilt tripping me that I never listen, that I am a bad counsellor, that I am selfish. But when i try to confide in her, i always felt like she only listened, firstly whenever it suited her needs, and secondly to take pleasure out of my woes. So then she can compare my woes to hers and tell me that no one has had it as bad as her, NO ONE. omg and recently, after reading Toxic Parents (Susan Forward) it suddenly opened my mind and I researched egomaniac parents and va voom, narcissistic mothers came up and she ticked all the boxes… I am working hard not to be like her and once I get married I am seriously considering cutting the ties like my brother already did. I need a fresh new start.
Comment: From Camille
I recently lost my daughter to suicde, she was 13. I loved her and my son more than life itself. I tried to let them be who they wanted to be because all of my life the only thing that made me whole was watching them be happy. Niether of them had dads around so I worked hard to provide for them. My parents had a nasty divorce when I was 16. My mother stayed in contact…seldom and would show up with gifts when she felt the need. I never understood why until I realized why my daughter felt as alone as I did. Thank you for this insight.
Why is that naricisstic mothers don’t seem particularly charming – mine is not – but narcisstic guys often are?
I barely broke ties with my mother about 6 months ago and we have went through hell during that period. She called all our family and relatives and even threatened my boyfriend’s family that we were all going to go to court. She said terrible things that I was being abused and we were kidnapped. She has no idea where I live or my phone number but I still suffer anxiety when a car pulls up to my house. When I return home where my family is from all I hear is the new stories she has to tell about me and my family. My birthday was peaceful and we were all so happy. My daughter’s birthday was the same and we had decided to get married. The long term effects of being abuse by a NM is feeling guilty for everything you do. However our families were happy. We cried wondering why she could not be happy for me, we cried wondering why my daughter had to go through this. It has been so emotional but I keep continuing towards my goals of a family. I suffered a miscarriage because of all the stress and I felt so angry towards her that I could not move on with my life. It is true, if you cut ties you learn more about yourself and begin to appreciate who you are. In the end it is not about her anymore its now about my own little family. My father has joined her as her aggressor and has told the family that everything that happens with me has to go through him now. I am almost 30 years old and I still have a hard time understanding.
Wow! I am the son of a toxic, damaging, narcissistic mother who has been fantasizing about ending my relationship with her since I was a teenager (now 49.) I think it is time.
I the scapegoat moved away from the sick family system. From this I have learned, never argue with a narc, they will project the problem onto you. It is sad, their reality is dissociated and immature. The family triangulation is orchestrated by mom, my sister adores mom as mom can do no wrong. I am not wanting anything with mom and sis, but maintain a relationship with my niece, on facebook-superficial but sincere from my end. My niece notices how courageous I am to do some things and on my own, I am glad she can see this. Her mom is a user and codependent on her and her husband the narcissist. My niece is the golden child, the slave of her narc mom never feeling like she is good enough, she is an amazingly high achiever. Narcissistic mothers are sad creatures who cannot connect emotionally life is about objects just using people-a show. It is superficial and when the show is over, they are left alone on stage with the lights off-my sister had been suicidal. Can narcs close their eyes, do yoga, live and be alone ? They have no selves, they are hollow, I feel sad for them. There is no relationship with some narcs, they are too dissociated from their emotions, they hallucinate from reality-they are chemically unable to bond healthily. It is important to let it be, let it go, move on and to have good friends and healthy relationships unlike the family personality types ! While mom is 83 and near the end I talk on the phone, I do not care if I see her again, maybe or not depending on how I feel. My sister may not tell me if she passes, but my niece will. I may not be welcome to come up. My sister hates me, as my mom too are jealous I am on my own and successful, free and my true self, not dependent. Never married, never trusted and found children overwhelming and a burden from childhood. My life is very free. Therapy has been great for me.
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