Narcissistic Mother

As a psychotherapist in private practice, I’m often asked, “What can you do when you have a narcissistic mother?”

It is a poignant question because we’re all an extension of our mother in some way or another. You, for instance, may have similar physical features or personality characteristics that make people realize you are a product of your mom.

But, how do you protect yourself when your narcissistic mother, the very woman who gave you life or raised you, demands you provide her with the unconditional, one-way love that she feels entitled to…no matter how she treats you?

When this is the case, your narcissistic mother may see you as something that she created with the hope to have a copy of herself for her own amusement. Or, she may see you as an object, like a piece of luggage that should serve her when she needs it and be out of the away when she does not.

If so, you may have been treated with such disrespect and abuse that makes it difficult for you to develop any sort of real relationship with your mother, let alone feel the love towards your mom that she expects you to give. To the outside world, everything may have appeared perfect, but behind closed doors? That’s where the horror was released.

Many a narcissistic mother is aware of her demanding ways and believes everyone should treat her in the fantastical way that she sees herself. She may live in their own little world where her accomplishments, real or fake, are of grand proportions that no one else can live up to.

To this day, her expectations of you may be ever-changing and not truly attainable.  If you have a narcissistic mother, you may feel you are never good enough, or that you must compete with your siblings for her approval or affection. And, no matter how much you achieve or strive to accommodate her, you will not measure up to her unrealistic expectations.

Why do narcissistic moms have children?

When a narcissist has a child, it is not for the same reason that others procreate. She does so because she wants that child to satisfy her unmet needs.

These can vary from the need to feel like she will always be loved by you, or the hope she’ll be more bonded to her husband by providing a child, or the belief she’ll never be alone, or to have the illusion of another chance at life and so on.

Some narcissistic mothers essentially want a real-life extension of themselves, only to be deeply upset about the fact that they did not receive that “mini-me” from you. If, due to being a child, you could not meet her needs, your mother may have withdrawn from you or have become demeaning, critical, and manipulative. In short, it wasn’t acceptable for you to be a child because a child is, by its very nature, needy and “perfectly imperfect.”

The narcissistic mother’s love is typically volatile and conditional.   Below are three common roles in which the sons and daughters of narcissistic mothers often find themselves cast.

The roles can be projected by the narcissist onto one sibling then the next and the roles can last for moments or years.  Even more confusing, you may have been cast in different roles at different time in your childhood.  Read below to try to recall what roles you played and when you were cast.

Lost Child

This role involves a great deal of neglect.  Your narcissistic mother was simply not aware of, or interested in, your needs.  You could be sent to school with clothing too big or small, dirty, or unmatched.

You may have been teased by other kids because you did not have enough positive attention paid to you at home to know what was socially acceptable behavior. You often felt unlovable or unworthy because you were not treated as inherently valuable.

Scapegoated Child

Nothing you did was ever good enough. What may have satisfied your narcissistic mother one day could disappoint her the next.

If you expressed you felt your mother treated you unfairly, she might have led you to believe that you were crazy and ungrateful.  The “love” and “thoughtfulness” she gave you through her constant criticism was to be treasured.

If you did something of value and worth, you may have been cut down and made to believe that your accomplishments had no meaning in your narcissistic mother’s eyes.   Or, you could have been elevated and bragged about to the point of objectification.  (See Chosen, Hero or Golden child below.)

Chosen, Hero or Golden Child

To be the Chosen, Hero or Golden child of a narcissistic mother is usually the complete opposite of the scapegoat child. You are worshipped and idolized by your mother from the moment you are born.

You are the one person in her life that can do nothing wrong and every accomplishment, no matter how small, deserves a parade in her eyes. You’re a representation of the best of her, the golden child.

You may become even more important than her spouse in a sometimes provocative and psychologically seductive way.

Lost Child, Scapegoat & Chosen, Hero or Golden Child in a Narcissistic Family System:

Many times, there’s a golden child and a scapegoat in the narcissistic family. The golden child is a “favorite” of the mother’s choosing. Then there’s the scapegoat, the one who gets the blame for everything, the one who can never be as good as the mother or the golden child.

The scapegoat never measures up in the mother’s eyes. She can win awards, get good grades, get into a great school, but it goes unnoticed or unacknowledged.

If it’s noted, it’s usually done so in a way that makes the mother look good, saying that everything the child has learned is because of the mother’s parenting efforts.

The Lost Child will sometimes be relieved to hide from the narcissistic mother and at other times be pulled into more attention getting roles.

Why Don’t Narcissistic Mothers Change?

Narcissistic moms blame everyone else, and too often their children, for the consequences their own self absorbed choices have caused. It often falls to friends and family members to point out the extreme oddity of the narcissistic mother’s ways and recommend treatment. Even when offered help, a narcissist is more likely to be offended than to seek treatment.

Ironically, though the people around the narcissistic mother can identify the source of their suffering, the narcissist does not believe she is the one who should change.

Therefore, it is unlikely your mother sought treatment for narcissism.  In contrast, she may have put you in treatment with the hope that you would become easier to deal with.

Children and spouses are the ones who often suffer most, not the narcissist themselves, because the narcissist doesn’t feel that their chronically self-absorbed behavior is just that. Quite the opposite, actually. The narcissistic mother feels that everyone else is at fault when things go wrong.

As a child, you had to learn from very early on how to please your mother enough to survive. You may have grown up to think that nothing you ever do is good enough and that you are not worthy of the love you desire.

Narcissism, at its extreme, is a mental disorder called Narcissistic Personality Disorder, (NPD), characterized by exaggerated feelings of self-importance, fantasies of success, power, and physical attractiveness that the person may or may not possess, a constant need for attention and admiration, and obsessive self-interest. These are the obvious symptoms that people think of when they think of the term “narcissism.”

There are a cluster of personality disorders, including NPD, that are on the narcissistic spectrum described by the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) and they include Borderline Personality Disorder as well as Histrionic Personality Disorder.

These disorders describe different chronic behavioral patterns often exhibited by a narcissistic mother who may not even be aware of how she is treating you.

In sum, the first step in dealing with a narcissist is to identify the repetitive hurtful behaviors rooted in how you were cast in the roles identified above.  Accept that your narcissistic mother is highly resistant to change.  Then, learn how to best respond to her negative behaviors in order to protect your happiness.

Why Narcissists Have Children

Why do narcissists even have kids in the first place?

I’m going to cut straight to the chase on this one. Narcissists do not have children for the same reason that emotionally healthy people do.

They have them because they need more mirrors, more images to remind themselves of how great they are and how they brought someone into the world that is like them.

Unfortunately for the narcissistic parent, this isn’t the case 99.9% of the time because as children age, they develop their own sense of self and their own personality apart from their parents. Then they become more of a burden than a blessing on their narcissistic parent.

Some narcissists become parents out of accident or because of an ill-thought out plan they created to have someone there to love and admire them without having to give it back in return.

They’re looking for the narcissistic supply which they try to obtain from anyone and everyone. They believe that having a child will give them an endless supply because their child must love them and has to be a part of their lives, while they’re young at least.

Narcissists see their kids as someone they can put their name on, a product that they can put out into the world with their branding all over it. They use their children to gain self-esteem and as someone they can easily walk all over. They want their children to take care of them and reverse the roles of how parent-child interactions should be.

Narcissistic parents try to control their children in every facet of their lives.

They try to keep their children from growing up and gaining their own identity, fearing it will lead their children to leave them and go on to live their own lives.

Narcissistic parents try to control their children in four different ways:

  1. Guilt-driven: They make their children feel guilty and making them feel like a burden on the narcissistic parent. They say things like, “I sacrificed my life, my body, for you…”
  2. Dependence-driven: The narcissistic parent makes their child feel that they could not go on living without their child in their life. They tell their kids that they need them and that they cannot take care of themselves, their lives, and their well-being by themselves.
  3. Goal-driven: I like to call this the Tiger Mom Effect. This means that the narcissistic parent, not necessarily the mother (although it usually is), is always striving or making their child strive to be the best no matter what and no matter if the child is truly interested in the goal or not. They live vicariously through their child and ride on the coattails of their achievements. They may say things like, “We have a goal we need to achieve…”
  4. Explicit: This type of control is based on negative repercussions if their child does not do what they want or say. They withhold rewards and give excessive punishment if they do not get their way. This can be very draining on the child because they feel that they can never do anything right.


Most narcissistic mothers see motherhood as a burden and like to let it be known how much work it is. They do not take into account that children are not merely mirrors of themselves and that they are actual human beings with wants, needs, and feelings different than their own.

They often pick a favorite, or a golden child, who can do no wrong and grows up with unrealistic expectations of praise and worth. They also have children that are the scapegoats, the ones who all the blame is put on and are never worthy enough no matter how great their achievements may be.

They play the children off of each other for their own amusement, which causes riffs between the siblings that may not be mended easily. The narcissistic parent is always comparing the children and blaming them for his or her shortcomings.

Narcissistic parents treat their children in different ways. They either try to control them, ignore them completely, or engulf them and make it so they cannot develop into their own self.

A narcissistic mother fails to treat her child as an authentic person with wants and needs which may not match up with hers. She is completely self-centered and needs the attention to be all about her no matter what. If her child’s accomplishment is something to be admired, she’ll take all the credit for it while at the same time telling their child that they could’ve done better.

Parenthood is never about anyone else but them. For most people, having a child means having someone to take care of and love, not the other way around. A narcissist cares about no one but themselves and not even having a child can change their mindset.

Narcissistic Types

There are many faces of narcissism. Some of these may not be scientific or politically correct terms, but I feel that if you have a narcissistic mother in your life, you may be able to recognize some of these and nod your head in agreement.

  1. The Time Hostage: Your mom gets mad at you when you need to reschedule but assumes you will reschedule with her and/or repeatedly cancels on you last minute.
  2. The Quietly Self-Absorbed Narcissist: She’s socially withdrawn and odd thinking, with morose self-doubts and a relentless search for power and has fantasies of great achievements.
  3. The Nice Narcissist: She’s nice. She just needs you to agree with her at all times or she won’t like you.
  4. The Victim: She is unable to take accountability for her choices.  She looks at a problem and blames it on something out of her control instead of searching for anything in the situation she can change.
  5. The Attacker: She comes at you with attacks to see if you admit to anything or, as a way of expressing her fears.
  6. The Downer: She is so busy talking about why everything is lacking that she isn’t emotionally present to you.
  7. The Assessor: It is her job to critique how you measure up and point out anything you could improve on, not to give at least equal time to telling you what you do right.
  8. The Credit Taker: She takes credit for everything, whether she deserves it or not. She passes the blame onto others, whether justified or not. She’s always right, never wrong.
  9. The Jealous Narcissist: If you have it, she wants it or will strive to make it seem worth less than it is and devalue it.
  10. The Competitor: She lets you know you may be good but she is better, or prettier, or smarter, or more accomplished than you’ll ever be.
  11. The Operator: She work’s her own agenda at all times. She’s walled off in her plans for you and everyone else whether you agree with her or not.
  12. The Fading Beauty: She is not handling the aging process well and looks at your comparable youth as an affront.
  13. The Beauty Queen: She identifies herself strongly with her attractiveness and may have been the homecoming queen, the best dressed, or known for her beauty.  She’s especially bothered if you don’t try to make the most of your looks.
  14. The Innocent Narcissist: She’s highly defensive and extremely hostile but masks it behind a “poor me” facade of vulnerability.
  15. The Enraged Narcissist: She screams to get her needs met and projects rage without a filter, not caring who sees it. She doesn’t apologize for her actions.
  16. The Vengeful Narcissist: She enjoys inflicting pain on others and getting back at them if she does not get her way.
  17. The Passive Aggressive Narcissist: She sulks and gives the silent treatment and plots how to punish those who don’t give her what she wants. She is vindictive and capable of becoming a stalker.
  18. The Stealth Narcissist: She fakes an interest in other people and their needs and knows that acting concerned with get her what she wants.
  19. The Cruel Narcissist: She is never fair and her discipline shows that. She knowingly causes you pain and enjoys knowing that you are miserable.
  20. The Character Assassinator: She is always trying to tarnish your reputation by lying, exaggerating, or manipulating the facts to make you look bad and to make her look good.
  21. The Stingy Narcissist: Gifts, compliments, advice and money are given, but look out when you inevitably fail.
  22. The Wounded Narcissist: She feels victimized and the world is against her. She needs you to take care of her and aid in her every want and need.
  23. The Disdainful Narcissist: You are treated as though you are less than what she expected, a disappointment or failure.
  24. The Scapegoating Narcissist: Her life would be better if you were better, or whoever she’s choosing to scapegoat was better. And it will not be better until this person changes.
  25. The User Narcissist: She takes advantage of you and treats you as more of an employee than anything else. She uses you to get ahead in her own life.
  26. The Boundary-less Narcissist: There is no difference between you and her, you are an extension of her and therefore she has no limits. She intrudes on your space and looks through your personal belongings. She embarrasses you constantly.
  27. The Amnesia Narcissist: No matter what healthy requests you’ve made, it is as if you have to repeat yourself every time. For example, “Please don’t hug me or kiss me, it makes me feel uncomfortable,” is ignored.
  28. The Needy Narcissist: “You don’t give me enough calls” or attention. She wants more from you than anyone could deliver.
  29. The Time-Sucker Narcissist: You could spend every minute with this person and they would still feel neglected.
  30. The Mind-Reader Narcissist: You didn’t say it, you didn’t think it, and yet they have read into something and insist it is true.
  31. The Clairvoyant Narcissist: You didn’t say it, you didn’t think it, but once they have said it you realize it’s true and it’s usually something negative about them (can cause identity confusion for you).
  32. The Touchy-Feely Narcissist: You are expected to tolerate her touching you however and whenever they want.
  33. The Holiday Narcissist: You don’t exist unless it is their birthday or a holiday where she feels the need for family time.
  34. The Glamour Narcissist: She is all about making herself look good. She buys the most expensive clothes, gets her hair and nails done, and doesn’t care about the amount of money she spends.
  35. The Rockstar Narcissist: She believes that she is the center of attention and it should always be that way. She’s the main attraction and wants everyone to idolize her, even if she really has no talents or reason to be in the limelight.
  36. The World Traveler Narcissist: She brags about places she’s been and makes up stories about the places she hasn’t been, but tells people she has. She has grandiose fantasies about how worldly she is.
  37. The Professor/Elite Intellectual Narcissist: She is brainy and seeks admiration for her intelligence. She uses her intellect to put others down and make them feel stupid.
  38. The Stage Mom/The Promoter: She lives her fantasies through you. She makes you do the things she wish she could [still] do and believes your achievements are her own.
  39. The Fashionista: She tells you how to dress and what not to wear—often when you’re already wearing it!
  40. Miss Manners: She still meticulously points out your etiquette failures– from how you eat to what family events you should attend.
  41. The Publicist: She brags about you to others but is excessively critical of you when you are alone.
  42. The Dr. Jekyl/Mr. Hyde Narcissist: She is nice in public, but mean under her breath or when alone.
  43. The Forever Young Narcissist: When did you become more mature than your mother? How old is she, really, emotionally?
  44. The Hot Mama Narcissist: Sexualized and distracted.
  45. The Lovesick Narcissist: Always chasing that ideal mate or trying to win the affection of her partner.
  46.  The Enabler Mom: She is too distracted with your rebel siblings’ problems or her partner’s addictive behaviors and seems to get a bit of a rush or power out of rescuing.
  47. The Social Butterfly: Everyone in town loves her, she is a generous host, but she can’t be bothered to make time for you.
  48. The Hypochondriac Narcissist: She believes something’s physically wrong with her, you should be checking in on her. And, if you don’t, as luck would have it, she unfortunately has something real going on every once in awhile. Or, it’s nothing a reputable doctor will confirm but she’s fighting off her cancer, leprosy, etc. with special treatments she’s managed to find through her own sheer will to survive.
  49. The Financially-Challenged Narcissistic: She just needs a little bit of help for this umpteenth self created crisis and she’s sorry she hasn’t paid you back yet for the last time you lent her money.
  50. The Martyr Narcissist: Her refrain is “How Can You Do This to Me?”  She tells you that you make her miserable, suicidal, isolated, or some other negative emotion. You are told that, in one way or another, you control her emotions and that if you would just do what she wanted she would be fine.
  51. The BFF (Best Friends Forever) Narcissist: You are her best friend, she doesn’t know what she would do without you, unless she had a better offer, in that case you’ll just have to wait until the next time she’s lonely. You are brought out like a doll when she wants attention then ignored when she doesn’t need it (but seriously, when doesn’t she need it?). This is also a description of what is experienced when someone is another’s “narcissistic supply.”
  52. The Expensive Narcissist: She has ruined your credit through manipulation to use your credit.
  53. The Criminal Narcissist: Some narcissists exploit their children or others through identity theft, mismanagement of trust funds, and fraudulent financial dealings. You may or may not have been the target of her crime, but she doesn’t see the rule of law applies to her. She may have Antisocial Personality Disorder, which is a pattern of manipulating, exploiting, or violating the rights of others. As if the narcissism wasn’t enough!

Do you have any types to share?

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{ 144 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous May 2, 2014 at 3:25 pm

As I have been reading and absorbing other’s journeys in experience, discovery, and conclusions, I firmly have a few of my own.

Buried, buried, buried, I knew something was out of place. The trick was that I was not led but dragged by the throat to accept that it was me and not my NM or dad. Before this NM discovery, I humorously characterized myself as being the ‘black sheep of the family’ … literally. It felt right but was ‘off’. I just didn’t fit, or more so, I wasn’t allowed to fit.

I just remembered when I was finally out on my own (just after college), I bought a pink t-shirt that had white sheep all over it and one black sheep. Wow. Still unaware.

Each week my life falls ‘into’ place. Out of the blue I’ll recollect something that my NM or dad said and then realize, ‘oh, that’s what it is.’ ‘I was spot-on with my feelings and undermined each and every time’ in the name of trying to set me straight.

This Mother’s Day I find that while I’m a teeny bit sad that I didn’t have a mom like everyone else did, there is huge relief I’m not standing in the Hallmark aisle combing and combing through the cards gushing with, To The Best Mother Any Daughter Could Have.

My NM’s birthday and mother’s day was the most dreaded ‘buy a card’ events. Attempting to compose myself while tears just streamed down my face and literally blinded me as I searched for the card with the most fitting ‘temperature’. I just couldn’t buy a gushing card. It was too transparent. And I felt like I was selling myself out, giving her what she wanted after she inflicted so much upon me.

I remember being told that I was to watch out for my sister and all the neighborhood kids, that I was in charge. One time I asked my NM, ‘who watches out for me?’ I was told that I could take care of myself. Again, the message not making sense to me and being a dumb, little kid in the 60′s, I just shrugged my shoulders and skipped off.

Turning it all around, I am relieved to say that while I’m the farthest version of a June Cleaver mother, I tried to give my children the mother I wanted to have; someone who always had my back, a mother that my friends wanted as their mother, one that would come to the games that I cheered at in high school and college (both my NM and dad made about 2 or 3 games in those 4 years), one that would send me care packages when I was in college ‘just because’, one that wanted to meet for lunch and not have me come to her house so she could ‘feed’ me what she wanted, one that let me order my own food and drink and not ‘split’ something, someone who would encourage me to do something and then NOT pull the rug out from under me when I did, on and on and on. A lifetime. Except for the last year (smile face).

My husband encouraged me to destroy all of the nasty, devastating letters my mother would write me. Horrid, horrid stuff. He thought it would be better not to dwell on these things. Today, I am GLAD that I kept them. By and in her own hands, it validates this insanity. Someone can actually see that she wrote them.

And in re-reading them, the sting is so much less because the responsibility and illness is truly hers. I actually feel pity for her as she cries out about situations she grew up with; illnesses, fighting parents, abandonment by her sister, lived with her grandmother while the family started a new business in another town/state. And then she’ll throw in some tv/talk show psychobabble and conclude with a few warning rants from the bible. I read all these letters, even the threatening, mean letter she wrote to my lovely daughter for her 16th birthday on holiday Santa paper (really!!) a week after my dad moved forward (passed away), and it is a milestone to show me where I was and where I am now.

I don’t view all those years as ‘wasted time’ but a long, long learning curve ….. and I think I’ve finally learned and get it. And better for my family and me and the generations of us to come.

Peace, healing & comfort


Dianne May 11, 2014 at 4:30 am

I too was raised as the scapegoat of a NM, and through conditioning, her GC and the Enabler – my father. I was not a difficult child by any means. The scapegoat learns very early to lay low and wait for it. It always came.

I lived decades of my life knowing that I never measured up or was loved as the GC was. Surprisingly, I was the one with the better grades, the outside accomplishments, and the one who strived to please. But, the GC was anointed before I came along. So, too bad. I was the one beaten for their mistakes, denied love, and saw to it I was an outcast – not only at home but anywhere they went.

I didn’t know what being loved was and probably still don’t as I’ve floundered from relationship to relationship being abused. I developed a high tolerance for abuse through childhood. No, it didn’t feel good. But, it was my normal. You can’t explain the color blue to a blind person. It’s pretty much the same. You have an idea of what love is. But, having never seen it, or experienced it truly, how do you know it? Love, acceptance and caring was something that I was not exposed to. I fell for those who pretended to and married one. I have one daughter.

My NHusband abandoned my daughter and I to move on to other pastures. He didn’t want to be married to ” a mother”. I raised my little girl on my own. Now, I knew, without any doubt what love was. My little girl was the world to me. But, I was aware not to spoil her as an only child with no father involved. I thought I raised a bright, intelligent, caring daughter. I thought we were close. Big surprise!

I went No Contact with my mother, and eventually the rest of the family spies, when my daughter was 16. When she was 22, I explained the full story behind it. Big Mistake.
She looked up NM on the web and decided I was a N. She took my story, word for word, and assigned it to herself to others. Why? Well, she went off to grad school and I couldn’t afford to bankroll her anymore after financing her undergrad degree. She had a full-time job and I was very proud of her. But, money was the object. She demanded I give her half the value of my home and half of anything I had saved ( 401K, savings). When I refused, she began a smear campaign against me, with her as the victim, to gain sympathy ( and money) from others. She told people she had to go No Contact with me because “I abused her as a child and into adulthood” and I was a Narcissist.

Just as I was coming to terms with my own situation, and dealing with the fallout of my own No Contact situation, she did this to me. I haven’t seen or heard from her in 5 years; my calls are not received; my letters go unanswered. I was not invited to her graduation or her wedding. She read the criteria for NC well. Yes, she’s bright, alright!

My NM was diagnosed by proxy as a Sociopathic Malignant Narcissist. I was diagnosed with PTSD (Thanks Mom). Unfortunately, it appears as if my daughter picked up in the sociopathic gene. I can’t tell anyone how deeply the pain of rejection was from both of these women. I say “was” because after a lifetime of dealing with this horrid disorder from those closest to me, I came to the conclusion that I was not going to please, placate, or bow to the painful agenda either of them had for me anymore. They don’t love me, or anyone, because they don’t have the capacity. Conversations are not truthful. They lie so easily about things there’s no need to lie about. It’s constant.

My daughter has done this to me because I wouldn’t put myself in a financially destitute situation for her benefit. I gave her an (expensive) education and she has an above average job. Not good enough. As “punishment” for my not obeying her orders, she turned my situation on to herself and against me. There is nothing crueler than what she did to me.


Anon May 27, 2014 at 12:32 pm

I don’t know Dianne – its only a few paragraphs of course – but you are sounding like you could be pretty narcissistic yourself. Eg “my little girl was the world to me”, “now I knew what real love was” – all sounding like you were wanting your daughter to fulfil your emotional needs. And it sounds like you have pretty much dismissed your daughter’s point of view on the grounds that she is a “sociopath”. Pretty extreme (and narcissistic) to consider that if your daughter is not happy with you it is because she is a sociopath…And the martyrdom of “there is nothing crueler than what she did to me” and the sense of entitlement of what she “owes you” because you gave her an expensive education (that was your choice to give – and should be given unconditionally). As I said – who can tell from a few paragraphs. But it might be helpful for you (and your relationship with your daughter) if you consider whether there might at least be some narcissistic traits to your behaviour – they could well be learned traits, which of course can always be unlearnt.


Anonymous June 21, 2014 at 7:46 am

Sorry Anon, I disagree. My saying my little girl was the world to me meant just that. She was my child, I was responsible for her well-being, and yes, I loved her dearly. My love for her was unconditional and I knew what it was to be a mother who teaches, forgives, encouages and disiplines with love. I followed my heart and my own spirit – not the model of “motherhood” shown by my NM. Was I perfect? No. But, no parent is and I learned, as all of us did, as I went along.

No where in my statement did I say she owed me becasue I gave her an education; and making a child the center of a mothers world is certainly not a narcissistic characteristic. Mothering is just that : Mothering. I was employed and wore many hats as a single parent during the course of the day. However, being her mother was certainly my favorite.

You have taken my statements and turn them to an accusatory theme . Manipulation is also the harkmark of a narcissit. You mention nothing about her entitlement to my property, her constant lying to gain attention, and taking my situation as the family scapegoat and turning that to her advantage as well. In additon, my daughter would steal from me constantly and pretend she know nothing about it when confronted. The last time was the last Christmas she came home – as if what she was given as gifts wasn’t good enough – she took things that she knew were my favorites. Jewelry, glass objects, clothes, tableware,even my favorite belt! Some were expensive, some were not. But, she obviously had a checklist in her head. She continued to use and manipulate money from who ever she was dating and when they got wise to her, she dropped them and slandered them. But, the lying was the worst which included taking other peoples ( friends, classmates, family members) unfortunate situations and applying them to herself for others attention. She created a band of flying monkeys – still another hallmark.

No, I did not “use” my daughter to fill my emotional needs. I did not have a child to “love me”. I had a child to watch her grow, guide and encourage, hopefully develop into a moral individual, and have an adult family relationship with. (Tell me where that being self-centered and narcissitic for thinking so.) Sadly, as with all those with severe personality disorders, that was not the case. Futhermore, reasearch on sociopathy is now shown to be hereditary. Her father and his mother were affected as was my mother and her son.

BTW- I was in therapy to address PTSD, the cause of which was rooted firmly in my family of origin and a marriage to a sociopath. One of the things that ACON are terrified of is that they may be an S or N too. I can assure you, that was firmly dismissed by a sociologist and a psychologist in additon to my new husband who is a Director of Behavorial Health – who saw the patterns in her as well. My daughter knew I was in therapy, was going through a time of depression and discovery, and used that to her advantage and against me. Being an ANON, as you indentify yourself as ( and I question), you wouldnt question the motives of cruelty of your adult child, or anyone for that matter, taking advantage of you while knowing you were in that process of healing from trauma as ACONS have or are trying to.

No… your “diagnosis” is way off base. I suggest you research more, and not be so accusatory and passive-aggressive. There are many ANONS that have been caught between a SN-mother and an SN-child. ANONs, by nature, are very empathetic individuals and I see none of that in your reply. It may be you are still dealing with underlying anger and rage. A good therapist can help with that.


christine July 11, 2014 at 7:31 pm

I agree with Anon. It is text book. cycle continues from mother to daughter, sad


empathy July 22, 2014 at 8:59 am

Every relationship has so much involved it is inappropriate to label her as a [N}. If you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all. It actually hurts to read people attacking this person pouring their heart out. I believe what this woman has to say about her life and think it is very sad. I hope that she can find comfort in her life and heal the pain of what has happened.


Johnd333 May 13, 2014 at 4:58 am

I like this post, enjoyed this one regards for posting. He removes the greatest ornament of friendship, who takes away from it respect. by Cicero. daagkkaeadec


Renee May 13, 2014 at 9:59 am


My heart aches for you. I can’t even begin to fathom how it feels to have your flesh and blood and heart pick up where your NM left off. Your feelings are valid and your wounds are unfathomable. I’ll have you in thought, as well as all of the rest of us, in days to come.


Renee May 14, 2014 at 12:29 pm

I thought I had this thing in a good place. I was finding my balance and peace with this whole sick scenario. I was welcoming a mother’s day without having to deal with my mother ….. and then it unexpectedly hit me. Deep, extreme sadness. Deep.

I don’t have a mother, one to celebrate. Yes, I have a mother in the flesh but not one of emotion for me. While liberation from her illness has been sweet, this was so sour. I feel like an orphan, willingly tossed up and out because I have no purpose to serve my NM’s sickness.

The market is where it hit me. The hundreds of balloons shouting the accolades of mothers. The flowers that sing and color their calling of selfless dedication to their children. It was as if someone threw a blanket over my head and covered me in darkness and I was alone, on a perimeter.

I watched as people carefully picked out their flowers, arrangements, and balloons with excitement and smiles ~ that they were so anxious for their mom to have this appreciative gift. Their happiness just caused me to feel so much more sad because what I don’t have …… and not at my doing.

I struggled with the grief for a few days and then vowed to stay out of the market until after the glorious day.

My children were so lovely to me on MD. They hand-made me a paper with lots of pictures of them through the years and the sweetest, humblest note of thanks (and that sometimes they are eggheads). They didn’t give one thought to their grandmother and they didn’t feel one regret about it. I admire them because they are so strong and confident and do not put up with being treated poorly, even if it is their grandmother. They are my inspiration.

It’s 3 days since MD. I did think about my NM. It did take some of my energy and spirit but I guess that just makes me human. Not wanting to sound wishy-washy but I hope she had a nice day.

It’s been 13 months that she has initiated a ‘no contact’ with me (even though she sent me a birthday card ….. another twist of her pretzel). I’m resuming my healing ….. to be a better me.


Anonymous June 28, 2014 at 2:33 pm

Renee I can totally appreciate your sadness on Mother’s Day, it is grief for the loss of the mother you wished you had. What has helped me is to form close relationships with women of my mothers generation. I am lucky to have a terrific mother in law who I can turn to for the advise and emotional support my mother is incapable of giving. That wise woman often tells me not to take my mothers lack of interest to heart as she is not capable of doing otherwise. Sounds like you are a great mom yourself.


Kim May 14, 2014 at 8:00 pm

This was my first Mother’s Day without my mother since she decided to leave our relationship. I was worried that it would be awful, but to my surprise, it was the best I’ve ever had! There was only one time I got a little choked up, when I was in church, but it was a fleeting moment and I was SO happy that it was a fun and upbeat holiday for me. She did send me a card for Easter that I did not open, but put away. I’ve pretty much decided that I will never open anything she sends because this is the way I feel about her: there is not one more word I have to say to her, and there is not one more word I want to hear from her mouth. It took me such a long time to get to this point, to be completely done with her.


Barbara May 20, 2014 at 7:37 am

How does someone know if there mother is a narcissist for certain unless they are a psychologist,psychiatrist. Are we all sudden qualified, like magic to make diagnosis of psychological disorders and if so, can I hang out a sign and earn some money at it. I mean, according to some denizens of the internet I’m qualified.

And what’s up with the explosion of female narcissist when in fact far MORE males are diagnosed as being ither full blown or having narcissistic tendencies. When you fact in that males are less likely to seek any type of therapy, that bit of information takes on greater significance. So why are we all ranting on about female female narcissism? Because narcissism is evil and anything evil-come on, we all know it-gets blame laid on females for. We embody all that’s bad. Dudes are HEroes.

Having said that, both of my parents have some sort of psychological disturbance and they both hurt me-devastated me equally. Of the two though, I’d have to say my father is more self absorbed.

Narcissus was a male and it is from him that the theory of narcissism evolved.



a survivor May 29, 2014 at 9:15 am


First, I am so sorry about the hurt you experienced from your parents. It’s a tough thing to wrap one’s head around that a parent could allow this to happen to a child; knowingly or unknowingly. I hope that you are finding support to move you forward.

I’ve read your post several times and I find it uncomfortable. When I first came across this site, I was relieved to learn that I wasn’t the only one on the planet to be experiencing this oddity. Everyone’s experience was similar and it felt like a cathartic healing process. We support, are empathetic, self-review, are patient and kind.

Ms. Piper has laid ground work with terminology and examples to assist in putting pieces of this puzzle together and finding common ground to heal and move forward. I can say that I am an expert (40+ years) in identifying my own family’s manipulations and ails because I painfully lived it. It is horrific to carry such burdens. And I am educated in the psychology field and sometimes even the best swimmers can drown in a riptide.

In reading through 95% of this entire website, the name of the site is accurate; Narcissistic Mothers and addresses this issue. There are references to fathers, husbands, males, siblings, but this site is dedicated to addressing issues pertaining to the mother figure with this disorder. People have stories to tell. Some stories are short and some are longer but the pain is raw, true, and valid.

I don’t believe narcissism is evil. That would be saying that a personality disorder or mental illness is evil. It is a human ailment that needs to be attended to. Sometimes this means a victim of someone who is ill may need to detach themselves from the situation or set firm boundaries in order to heal. It is hard and scary but crossing that threshold can lead to a more peaceful existence. No one asks to be narcissistic just as no one asks to be a victim of it. The good element is that we can all ask for help and support and this is what this site has been built for.

This disorder affects both genders and because of the nature of the disorder, narcissists (male and female) don’t believe there is anything wrong with them so there is no need to seek treatment. Reading through the stories of survivors, it is the victims and survivors who ultimately must initiate change. Rare is the narcissist who would even consider the change should come from them.

A healthy review and exchange of ideas, and we can agree to disagree, can be good and enlightening. Importantly, if not presented thoughtfully or compassionately, few will benefit.


sam July 28, 2014 at 8:30 am

yes Narcussus was male but narcissism can also be found in women too. my mother is extremely narcissist and has emotionally tortured me so much. Narcissistic mothers are truly demons. you don’t have to be a psychologist or mental health practitioner to understand if your mother or father is a narcissist. you can easily feel and understand their abnormal behaviour that has caused extreme psychological damage to you and others who live with them. you must move out and live separate if you wish to maintain your sanity. you can never change them. all i know is that when my mother dies, i will never miss her.


John Gassaway May 29, 2014 at 9:48 pm

My mother sort of fits this picture , I was born with a case of Bilateral club foot & the doctors told my parents that I might never walk m but then I also was cursed to have a disorder called Klinesfelters syndrome & all it manly dose is the male XY – can be ( XXY ) any way my body dose not produce the male hormones right & causes bone deformity’s. The Hormones given to me when I was little were not done as they should have been in a small amount over a period of weeks . Instead I was given a full adult males dose of testosterone & it made me go off the wall , angry out bursts was the result of the treatment . My father loved me unconditionally & he talked me up . took me with him every where he went , but after I lost him in December 22,1973 . My world got very gray & extremely lonely . I just hid in side my self & after my mother got re hitched after not even a year after my Dads death . Her new husband got mad at me if I even mentioned my fathers name . I loved my Dad so much I use to wish for a way out of this life when I was a teen . I was the invisible kid & my step brothers & sisters got the full treatment like bran new Fuji bikes & I had to just work for a second hand bike that was left over . Work mind you , nothing I ever got was just because . I was my fathers son & they even tried to stamp out my Dads name by having my step father adopt me so he could right me off for tax reasons, Not for a Care or unconditional love that just was not their for me . hell he use to tell me over & over that kids don’t have any rights & they are just stupid & in the way . i am sorry but I can’t right any more of this it just hurts too much . I am 49 years old now & my mother still to this day treats me like I am not equal to her , Or in front of her friends she will try to finish my sentences . Or treat me like I am stupid . she has know respect of any kind for me as an adult . I am married & living with my wife for 22 years now . she has been a real problem for me & has tried to get my wife to leave me by playing games . I lost my right leg after a accident with a fork lift . Well she tried to say to my wife that he a cripple & We will understand if you want to leave him , I am a leper to my mother who is really sick mentally I think . I want to get some help so I can deal with this . I am tired of her almost causing me to loose respect of peers & my place in society . I just know it is not me that is the problem heer


John Gassaway May 29, 2014 at 10:20 pm

I left out something in my comments , I love my mother & I would go to the end of the world & back for her . I think she would do the same as long as her friends didn’t see that her son was born with a sever foot disability . I said the other day to her that I was born with my feet on backwards & my mother had a friend over , my mother told me to be quiet because I was embarrassing her . she was embarrassed because her son was born crippled at birth , she has been really stupid about excepting me as I am . I am very smart but all she sees is the deformity . & judges me because of it . I am just not treated as an equal to any of the other family members & that really hurts . just because I am missing my right foot dose not mean I am stupid , & this is what they use to shoot me down. I suffer from severe Phantom pain & take medicine for it . but because I sometimes fall asleep do to the prescribed medication effects I wanted to attend a concert that my mother was playing at & she told my wife that may be it would be better if I didn’t go . because I might embarrasses her in front of her friends . I think if she had a way she would put me in a room & say that I am not related to her ,


sam July 28, 2014 at 8:38 am

you love your mom because you feel guilty if you don’t . there is a self help book written by a psychologist whose both parents were narcissistic ” trapped in the mirror” by elan golomb”. it can help you heal to some extent.


Anonymous June 2, 2014 at 6:12 pm

John, There is NOTHING wrong with you. She’s the one with the problem.


Renee June 3, 2014 at 12:13 pm


Anonymous said it succinctly and gets it …. as many of us do. It’s not you.

You mentioned that you have a wife of 22 years …… I hope that you can see that you are capable of maintaining a valuable, healthy relationship and that your wife rebuffs and deflects the arrows of pain and deceit from your NM. Sounds to me like you made a wise and true choice in selecting a life-mate! Congrats to you!! And wouldn’t you think that if you were such a mess, as most of our unbalanced NMs claim that we all are, that it would be virtually impossible for all of us survivors to have chosen healthy mates to live our lives with (some for decades!)?

With as many times my NM has blown the roof off of my current family’s home and thrown us into tizzy after tizzy, I thank my divine stars that my husband saw that I was worth his choice and that we have managed to raise two incredibly kind, intelligent, balanced daughters.

Get this, my NM told my husband and I that we are “C” parents. LOL! Well, we have tried our best and our children have never been in trouble. Both are Principal List/4.0 students. One is a double academic Varsity athlete (since her freshman year) and a homecoming princess, soon on her way to college. The other is 1 of 60 students nation-wide to be accepted into a professional ballet company’s Summer Intensive. We have agreed that our children’s needs come before us (and our animals too ~ smilie-face) because all too soon they will confidently fly on their own. But remember, we’re “C” parents!

John, a physical challenge in no way, shape, or form does not mitigate your intelligence, compassion, loyalty ….. all of the great things that you are. The fact that you have made it this far in life and not “thrown in the towel” ( as some victims cannot handle the pressure and escape through demise) is a testament to your resolve that are VALID. Letting go of association with your NM’s disorder/illness is scary and hard and I will tell you it was one of my biggest fears for decades; to be disowned by my parents. And I can share that going NO CONTACT has been one of the biggest gains, best gift I ever gave myself ….. the okey dokey that I’m worth more than my parent’s clearly distorted, untruthful, mean, spiteful, jealous views and opinions. Our family is happier, holidays are more enjoyable, there are no explosions from the destructive rockets discharged by my NM. No one misses my NM or her drama. Even our pets are calmer!

You are a gift. This is a great site to read about other’s experiences and really know that you have a lot in common with many of us. You are a survivor and didn’t ask for this unfair life. Invest in yourself. Maybe bring your wife some flowers and a big smooch for courageously standing by your side (hope I’m not being too forward!).

The best to you. Take care of pain and I wish you the best in your path of healing.


Anonimiss June 16, 2014 at 6:43 am

Great post! I was raised by a mother and father with npd and they are still extreamly abusive now not just to me but they also do this to my husband. I was the scapgoat child and still am


Ken Goodman June 19, 2014 at 8:44 am

I was pleased to have found this website. I finally have the answers to my horrific upbringing as a child and teen, that lasted well into my adult years until I finally cut off my mother when I turned 40. Out of the 53 types listed above, my mom is 34 of them!! Being the eldest of 4 boys, I was definitely scape-goated as were 2 of the 3 other brothers in our home. The youngest was hailed as the “golden child” and he still is to this very day, now that he’s 42 years old. After having suffered with suicidal thoughts, panic disorder and major depressive disorder, I battled most of my adult life to rid myself of those negative ideations that I was brought up with and finally broke off contact with my parents. My life since then, has taken off in directions that I never knew existed before and since reading the information on this website, I can honestly say that my soul has finally broken free from the last of her many demons that she thrusted upon me as a very young child! I can’t thank you enough for starting and sharing this website! It was truly a HUGE eye-opener for me and I can finally lay to rest the idea that maybe somehow my relationship with her can still be repaired before either one of us goes to our graves. My conscience can finally rest and be at peace!! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us!!!


Renee June 20, 2014 at 9:46 am

One of the most difficult, twisted elements of having an NM is that when I’ve shared my experiences with others, more often than not, my NM is defended and I’m left feeling victimized again (like once isn’t enough, eh?). I’m questioned; ‘Are you sure?’, ‘Maybe it’s you’, ‘Your mother loves you, maybe you misunderstood her.’

I hear myself relaying the interactions of my NM and I’m aware of how crazy they sound. They really sound crazy. The mother-role is so very sacred and holy and to even introduce the fact that one’s mother falls short or is psychologically abusive is not tolerated.

My co-workers of 10+ years have watched me, my family, my children go through these waves with my NM …… and I’m just relieved to say that they finally ‘got it’. 10+ looooong years but they see it. They know how very ill my NM is, confirm that she has a psychological disorder, and she is the one who needs assistance and treatment. And they are kind about it, as I would like them to be.

And when we chat amongst ourselves, dialogue that includes, ‘her mother is ill’ or ‘you know your mother is not well’ is just such a soft place to land. There is a peaceful comfort in validation from others.

Another stride in my recovery is that my medical doctor ‘gets it’. I provided her with Parrish Miller’s article because narcissism is not clearly understood as a disorder. I felt in order for her to help me she has to know what I have lived in (and somehow survived without hanging myself) the last 50 years of my life. It was another defining moment when, in a recent office visit, that she acknowledged my childhood/adulthood relationship with my parents was abusive. Wow. Sad. Validated. bummer.

While I’m having better days, I’m now struggling with recurring dreams of my NM. In her typical style, she’ll accuse me of the most insane things and that I’m to blame for everything that has gone wrong in her life, her health, her sadness, depression, etc. My deceased dad is now in on the dreams too ……. as he did when he was alive, supporting her and being on her side. The up-side about these dreams is that, unlike real life, I’ve mustered up courage by calling them out, firmly and confidently disaffirming and disarming their accusations, not having it, and succinctly telling them that they are ridiculous and their mess is their own burden. I’m defending myself because I’m worth being and I’m worth my life. Yet I can’t figure out what the dreams are for. bummer.

The journey of recovery continues. bummer.


juliette June 22, 2014 at 5:14 am

i was a pretty much for the most part a happy kid. but out of nowhere when i was ten my mother started taking me to therapy. i remember going and never having nothing to talk to him about until my mom would bring somthing up and then o would think about it and think maybe yeah thats true. through out the years i started to seey brother get everythig he wanted while she wouldnt bother to buy me what i needed. she minuplated me into thinking i had mental problems. telling the docotors i was talking to voices and sleeping all the time. isolated. eating to much. but i didnt talk to voices or see things . but i was ten she told me to tell them that anyways. from there i remember she became mean and telling me to “go kill myself” im fat and “ugly. “your just jealous cuss i have two kids your brother whose perfect and you the fucking eetard” she tormented me with such unbelieveably cold words that still stick with me.
but if i ever bring them up she denys them or has an excuss and or reasonable explationation fpr it or ahe tells me its apart of my dissorder “where i make shit up.” sooni found out she did all that tprment so she could get a s.s.i check for me for being crazy.. she convinced all her friends i was crazy and to not listen to me. she toldey check got cancled two weeks later i find out she used the money to send david to football camp. she put me in mental home after mental home since age 12.. for year i let it bother me to the point of trying to comit suivide until the last time she put me in aental home and she came there and tried to tell me i througj boiling water all over her and she was scared. i said omg what are you talking about that never happened ahe goes “julie you dont remember” from that moment i kept calm and just shook my head. after being released i left my moms house and havent seen her since. she was so controlling that at age 20 she tried to threat me saying if i moved out she wohld have me placed in an adult home becuss she cant deal with me and i cant take care of myself. even though she took off three months befor my high school graduation in 2010 the worst part is she went to my brothers graduation 2009. i walked across that stage alone. honeslty shes most of the faces on the example list. i dont talk to her becuss she is the queen of finding someway to put you down or make you feel worthless..


juliette June 22, 2014 at 5:26 am

oh i forgot to mention . she would treat my brothers girlfriends as if they were her daughters . she would tell me she liles them more becuase their girlie and like shopping and take her advice. i was talking about amanda o ne of his girlfriends who lived with us even though she could take care of the people in the house already .i was talking about how she trated her better then me and she started to talk aboht how amandas step dad was touching them or somthing but when i was foheteen i was picked up while walkk g home and raped and ahe told me three days later i wanted it and laughed at me about it. we had no food in the house she came back from taco bell with enough food for ever one but me .she handed me three bucks and said walk to the atore. at age 17 she had mw put in jail for assult when i never put a hand on her .i was sentence to one year probation and 700 fine 15 daya befor i was suppost to get off probation she had me put back in there again for assult. each time i never put a hand on her. shes the nariccist who cried wolf. when you tell the truth about aomthing ahes lied about ahe gets defensive and starts to throw things at your door or when u go in the livingroom she will say shes using that .dont touch that. dont eat my food. thats not yours. she will call you names start going on and on. to thia day she will never admit jtand my brother and me do not get along becuase our entire lives he got everything and i sat and watched through the window becuase i wasnt even aloud to be around the happieness


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cherie July 24, 2014 at 1:00 pm

Dear Juliette – how awful – but I so understand what you went through. My mother thinks I need therapy for the rest of my life. When I was 6 years old, and taken to school from our farm on a Monday morning – rushing not to be late – a retarded, but loving African lady, carrying a bucket of boiling water on her shoulders – bumped into me and spilled the boiling water over my shoulder. My mother was just sitting in the car and I was crying. She dropped me off at school in town – and for the rest of the day I was in pain. Later that afternoon after school, the woman I was staying with during the week, and who did not really wanted me to be there there, because my parents were too lazy to take me to school in the mornings, took me to the doctor. I had third degree burns. What mother can care so little about her child?


Renee June 24, 2014 at 2:46 pm

It’s the oddest thing ……. I find myself with nothing left to say about this entire unsolicited, unwarranted, dwindling nightmare and I’m very sleepy. I feel like I haven’t slept in decades. There are hundreds of more snippets that I could share and that I somehow managed to navigate through them, and now I feel like I just don’t have another thing to say.

Have I come full circle? I finally discovered the diagnosis and wicked characteristics of this raging, misunderstood disorder. I educated myself about it. I’ve shared it with others. There is no contact with my NM nor my golden child sister. I don’t hate them or wish them ill but for them to just be on their way without me. My husband nailed it 20+ years ago. My children see and understand it. My co-workers acknowledge and understand. Even my personal physician has acknowledged that this experience is full-fledged child/adult abuse. (exhale)

And where to go from here …… because I feel …… um ……. not sure of the adjective. There were times I was elated when someone else ‘got it’. I was clearly aware I was on the road to recovery. And now I feel like a sea shell, there is purpose but not occupied at the moment. Does that make sense to anyone? Time eventually reveals. In the mean time, I’ll sleep.


Jennifer July 7, 2014 at 8:34 am

Renee- I think this is a process. Only realizing this site a few days ago, I am confused, depressed, sleepless, happy, sad, and angry. We don’t deserve to feel this way. No person ever should. Life is hard enough, but then to feel betrayed or mistreated by the person or persons you should be able to trust the most? Well, that is the biggest bummer of them all. I don’t have any answers for you or myself, but just know that you are understood. Completely understood.


Kim July 3, 2014 at 9:26 pm

The Religious Narcissist: She has a halo above her head and a bible in her hand, she is a Sunday School Teacher, and she will quote bible scripture to you all, day, long. She believes she is closer to God than anyone else and she is trying to prove to everyone that she is THE perfect Christian.

Only she is a liar, and a narcissistic abuser to her children and she is my mother. I am the youngest and the scapegoat. I have an older sister, a brother (the golden child) and I don’t speak to them or my mother anymore. My siblings still talk to my mother, but not to each other in 20 years. The Religious Narcissist is one of the most dangerous kinds because everyone believes them to be so sweet and kind and wholesome, no one that thinks they know her would ever believe how cruel she is and insidious.

I will give you a few examples: My sister and brother both threw me out of their lives because I would not agree with them or go along with what they wanted (separate incidents), and then my mother stopped taking my calls, it was her way of trying to browbeat me into allowing them to continue the abuse. Then my mother sent me an email asking me “are you going to throw me out of your life too?” With one question, she turned it all around and made me their abusers and made all of them my victims. It was really kind of genius in a sinister, devious way.

They all walked away from me, I just decided it was going to be for the last time, so I locked the door. My entire life, they have all treated me like I was inferior and was supposed to put their wants and needs, no matter how ridiculous or outrageous, above my own. Once my mother figured out I was not coming back this time, she sent me this syrupy sweet email, telling me that I need psychiatric help and I don’t have to worry about the cost because she will pay for it even if she has to sell her house. To an outsider, it sounded like a letter from a mom that was really worried about her daughter and loves her so much. But to me, the daughter that has been taking her abuse and living her lies, it said “you’d better listen to me young lady, you’re not going anywhere, and if you do, then I’m going to begin a smear campaign against you and tell everyone we know, all my friends and our extended family, that you are CRAZY!!!” Again, genius. The words were sweet and full of love and concern, but behind the words were threats, bullying, and slander. But that’s okay, I think God has a special place for those that hide behind the veil of religion and do evil things.

It was 6 months ago when all this happened, and I’m still kind of shell shocked, that my mother the religious fanatic, is such a bad person, and she doesn’t even seem to know it.


Jennifer July 7, 2014 at 8:23 am

I stumbled on this website when I “Googled” something about my mother’s controlling behavior. Her behavior became unbearable approximately 7 years ago. I paid her to care for my youngest son while I worked, which I now understand, was fueling the fire. She overstepped her boundaries countless times, getting his haircut without my permission, changing his clothes everyday into clothes she purchased telling him “you look like an orphan”. I promise you, my children never look like orphans. She would leave the house about an hour before I would pick him up just to keep him from me longer, as if an entire work day was not long enough. We lived in the same neighborhood. I have left my home and moved 15 miles away about 2 years ago, which infuriated her. She is currently looking into moving near me. She has been separated from my father for 20 years- he has moved on and has had a partner for the past 17. Any time spent with them results in her lashing out at me, insulting me, twisting facts and stories, accusations. I am palpitating as I type. I was with my father this past weekend, and woke to a private Facebook message “Why am I not worth a weekend? What did I do? I’d like to have the same benefits. How can I earn them? Figured that’s why you didn’t answer my call.” My concern is of course for my own well being. Mostly I am concerned for my 10 year old son, to whom she makes statements “I am only happy when you are with me. I don’t like being alone. I never get to see you anymore. I wish you didn’t move”…etc. He is very sensitive, and has a lot of sympathy for her. I do as well, I am not completely heartless, but it is so difficult to get beyond the hurt of many events throughout my entire life. I feel panic when I see her name on caller ID. I have instinctively went into low contact mode about 7 years ago- having never known about this site or condition. I fell less alone having found this forum, but confused about how to handle things moving forward. I am the scapegoat and am carrying a lot of guilt.


Carly July 7, 2014 at 11:20 am

Jennifer – I am in a similar position, only recently becoming aware of NPD, explaining my mother’s behaviour. It’s funny you said you instinctively went low contact, I felt a tremendous urge to protect myself, since having my children, 4 & 19 months, becoming a mother, gave me clarity; I started to remember how she’d behaved towards me and my brother as children and how she’s behaved towards me since becoming a new mother – I started to feel anxious, I think because before it was just me she could manipulate and hurt but now I feel I have a duty to protect my children and hubby too. Low contact is seriously hard as my little girl adores her (which is perfect for my mother), similarly my mother is a martyr, passive aggressive and I feel extremely guilty and concerned for her welfare which is obviously what she wants and part of me feels like if I just say I’m sorry and that I miss and love her, and start afresh (for the millionth time) my anxiety will go away, she will predictably be very lovely towards me at first …. Then the cycle will start again. I suppose what I am trying to say is that I know low contact is the best option, just finding the strength to sustain it, particularly when she sends things for my children (manipulation) and my little girl wants to call her…

I am her scapegoat, my brother & I are very close, he is the golden child in my eyes although I think my mother re-casts us to each other. I live at the other end of the country to them. It’s important to me to have a loving relationship with my brother but how do I achieve any of this?


Jennifer July 8, 2014 at 6:34 am

Carly- Strange how similar we are. I too, have a younger brother, the golden child, though he did move away- went to college and never came back. I, the scapegoat, stayed close. I was the underachiever, and he the overachiever. That is where our roles are not exactly matching the textbook definition. It is possible that my brother sees me as the golden child, as my mother is very close to my kids. Due to logistics, she is not close with his. My mother caused a lot of upsetment in our household when we were young with extramarital affairs, which were, of course, my father’s fault as he did not give her the attention she deserved. Much of my suffering today is a direct result of the consequences of her infidelity. We had a very scary environment to live in with yelling, door slamming, cursing, name calling, and domestic violence. At different times, either parent would pack a car and drive away. Through adult eyes, these were tactics, though through children’s eyes, these events were life altering. Oprah has said many, many times “When you fight in front of your children, you change who they are”. Truer words have never been spoken. The impact this environment and these events had on me is overwhelming. This began when I was approximately 10. Later on, as an early teen, suffering from anxiety and depression, it was my mother’s suggestion that I “get over it”. I have always been close with my brother. He is very successful and has a life admired by most. I am very proud of him and his accomplishments- he worked hard and earned all that he has. I do not have any jealousy towards him. The one thing I do envy is his distance. My brother and I have not discussed our past in a long time. From time to time, we both have to deal with my mother’s behavior, but for the most part I have to deal alone. You are fortunate to have distance. At least you do not have surprise visits or self-invites. Does your brother have the same opinions as you? Does he know what you have to deal with?


Kay July 8, 2014 at 3:03 pm

I am the middle child of an NM and it has been a rocky road. I developed a strong attachment to her that I still have today and functioned as her enabler for most of my life to keep the peace. I’ve spent my life trying to please her-organizing elaborate celebrations for her birthday or Mother’s Day, spending all the money I had (even as a child) to purchase expensive gifts, and thanking her for “our” graduation when I completed college. My mother rewarded me by launching into violent rages and storming out on holidays, making every situation about her.

Now that I am in my mid-twenties and my NM looks down the barrel of her midlife crisis, she has gone from a controlling and “publicist” mother to neglecting and scapegoating me. Last year, she manipulated me into writing my brother’s college papers. Though she paid me, my younger brother was uncooperative, refusing to answer my calls and texts or give me his books and assignments. He was COMPLETELY right to want to do his own work (even though he was failing) and he handles the situation in a way that was best for him, but I was blamed for his failure by our entire family (except for my previously estranged older sister). For the first time in my life, I found myself screaming at my mother over the phone and calling her out on how unfair it was that I was blamed for not getting my brother the grades he didn’t deserve. To this day, she and my grandmother still consider my brother’s grades MY responsibility.

After weeks of crying spells and calling a suicide hotline (God bless those people), I sought therapy. I could tell that my needs were not being met. I was diagnosed with PTSD, most likely from childhood abuse from my father. I struggled to find work and lived off of savings with no help from my family, paying for my therapy myself with no insurance while my mother spent a fortune taking a six month vacation to Europe where she leased and apartment. She would call me for hours to talk about how funny and amazing and beautiful and brilliant everyone she met in Europe found her, toying with a man who was already in a relationship. I was also diagnosed with severe depression and could only get my mother to talk about what was going on in my life for 3-5 minutes, just long enough for her to make it about her again. The ONE conversation where she addressed my treatment came about when I emailed her my diagnosis (because she refused to talk about my therapy). She called me when I was FINALLY with a new friend to make sure the therapist didn’t think she was a bad mother. I told her “mom, you are making my diagnosis and my treatment about you” which she laughed off and demanded reassurance that she was a good mother. My mother believes in therapy. She wanted my dad to go when he was abusing her (and me) and she sent my older sister to psychiatrists on and off throughout her adolescence. She just doesn’t care about my problems.

The latest issue I’ve been dealing with is that I have struggled with Stockholm syndrome for my NM. I’ve defended her against my sister and everyone in our family who has pointed out her over dramatic sensitivity and refusal to be ignored and I have made myself terribly ill to the point of hospitalization pushing myself to stay awake for up to 6 days at a time so that I could get good grades and make her happy because then she could brag about how great a mother she is to her family that hates her. My Stockholm syndrome really stems from the fact that my NM has a racist family. I don’t know my father’s African American family because he stopped talking to them before I was born, so I have grown up feeling like my NM was my only defense against my father’s abuse and her family’s racism. My mother divorced my father because he started beating me when I was 4 and her racist family alienated us (in part) because my siblings and I are half black so I always thought that her unhappiness was my fault and that I had to fix it.

She keeps threatening to “cut me off” because I’m in my 20s and need a job even though I live on my own in another state and haven’t received money from her in 7 months…even the $1000 she owes me for buying and booking her flight back into the country. She always has some “emergency”on the rare occasions when I’m with friends and occupies my time over the phone with elaborate stories about how perfect she is when I’m laying sick in bed, struggling with depression, or unable to afford groceries. She tells me about how she gets her hair and nails done every week in Europe when I had to fire my psychiatrist because I couldn’t afford him anymore. I’m also going to be taking out loans to go to graduate school in something I don’t want to do because I have a scholarship in that area of study. She told me (in my 3 minutes if our 2 hour convo) not to go to grad school and to just keep applying to jobs but that I need a job already because she won’t support me. I have not stopped applying to jobs and I don’t feel entitled to her money, but she is still supported by her own parents and has been calling me because she is being offered a staff job at a company she’s worked for for over 10 years and doesn’t want to be “trapped” by a full time position when she’d rather be in Europe. I’m also insulted because I’m not taking money from anyone and she acts as if she is still sacrificing her life for me when she checked out years ago. I won all the money for my undergraduate education, went to a top school, and am putting my career dreams aside for something more practical and in the same breath she is telling me that I shouldn’t go to graduate school and that she won’t support me otherwise. It’s a paradox with no way of making her happy.

I just don’t know how to deal with her. We have a boundless relationship where she feels entitled to everything I have and think without reciprocity. She expects the world, doesn’t get me anything for Christmas, and makes the holidays or my feelings about her, forcing me to reassure her that everything is fine and she’s a great mother when she isn’t. She talks about her amazing cooking (that involved garlic and onion powder on everything and that’s it) but hasn’t made my family a meal in nearly 15 years. I cooked every dinner for the family from the time I was in middle school and if my younger brother hadn’t eaten (not that he’d ask for food) or if food went bad, it was my fault for not cooking it even though she only worked a couple of days a week and I was 12 years old. Please help me start my life and depend less on her approval. I know it will never happen and that I shouldn’t need it but I still want it and don’t have enough going on in my life to distract myself from her emotional abuse. I’ve never had a boyfriend or a job or enough friends in the state I’ve lived in for almost a year. I appreciate any advice or guidance you could offer.


Kay July 8, 2014 at 3:12 pm

To clarify, I have had jobs and am currently freelance so I make money sporadically and save. But I’ve never had a boyfriend or even a second date.


Grit July 17, 2014 at 9:34 am

I read your story and it’s very important that you understand that your situation is really bad. My mother was NPD and she is now dead. She was a very obvious case, so much so that an ‘expert’ psychiatrist has deemed that she had no ‘testamentary capacity’ – so the wills she wrote are invalid because of her NPD (and her relationship to me). But I don’t think my situation was as bad as yours sounds. You really need to try not to expect anything from her and I know not having a boyfriend or a second date is hard, but it might be because you’ve got your mother in your head. You need money, obviously, but not because your mother tells you you need it. I’d really think about avoiding her. It might feel like you’ve got no one and it will be terribly lonely, but it couldn’t be lonelier than waiting for your mother’s approval and having to listen to her and pander to her. NPD mothers are parasites. She’s going to suck on your life until there’s nothing left.
Read nearly everyone else – we’re usually in our forties or older when we work out what’s wrong with our mothers. You have a great advantage here. Don’t let her keep ruining your life, because it sounds like you’ve got great potential. The more success you do have, beware your mother. She does not want you to succeed. Unfortunately, these mothers are not ‘individuals’ they all seem to be variations on the same theme, as if they are robotically programmed – that’s why I’m making such strong comments. It will take you time, but you have time on your side – but crucial decisions to make.
Be brave and best of luck.


Kay July 26, 2014 at 5:15 pm

Thank you so much for your reply. I think like a lot of people here, I’ve denied the severity of my situation. I half expected my post to be dismissed as the ramblings of an immature adolescent. I have had a really hard time developing my own life and identity outside of my mother and the worst part is that every time I come to some big realization, all I want to do is call her.

I think the biggest obstacle that all of us face as the children of flawed, let alone N mothers is that we have been trained to value them no matter what. Motherhood is valued so highly in our social programming that a woman doesn’t even have to raise her child to be seen as a good mother–we validate women putting their children up for adoption because they had the strength to surrender their child and the wisdom to know that she couldn’t raise them. I’m not saying that women who do give their children up are bad or good people, but humans instinctively look at any action taken by their mother as the right one so when the woman who raised us is NOT a good parent, it’s difficult for us to say that the basic care she took to ensure our survival doesn’t outweigh the psychological or physical abuse she enflicted upon us.

The hardest sentence I’ll ever write is the following: My mother is not a good mother. Unfortunately, I don’t have a good (or really even better) model for motherhood or parenting since my father beat me to the point where I lost teeth and he lost visitation and the only family I know is racist and has alienated me my entire life and I am the only one being held accountable.

In the coming years, I will do my best to build a life for myself but it hasn’t been easy and it’s so hard when I’m basically a hostage in my own family with no other support system. I lean on 3 male friends a lot and they have been really great over the phone and we visit each other every couple months but without a stable income or social ties in my area, I end up feeling alone and like I need or want my mother. It’s infantile, I know, but it’s as if television has given me amnesia and I think she will turn into the mother who will give me the unconditional love and attention that makes me strong enough to deal with the world’s bullshit. I’m at a rocky point in life and I know that it isn’t her responsibility or her fault and that it can be annoying to hear about, but on the rare occasions where I’m given a chance to talk about my troubles, my mother acts like I’m blaming all of my problems on her when really there must be something wrong with me and I just end up feeling worse.

I’m hoping that once I sort out a new place to live, get my student loans, and start school, things will turn around. Maybe I’ll make more friends and get a job in a year when I finish school and won’t be such a victim anymore because I’ll have my own life.

Thank you for taking the time to read and respond to my posts. You guys have no idea what you’ve done for me.


Renee July 9, 2014 at 2:25 pm


Thanks so much for understanding …. because you truly do.

You are right, that this is a process. For the longest time everything was the same and nothing changed except the depth of anguish from desperately trying to keep a relationship afloat when it should’ve sank.

And of the 40+ years, the most progress (about 1,000%) has been made in the last couple of years. To my surprise, I just have nothing more to say about my experience. As much as I direly want to lead others out of the chasm of torture and my heart aches, I’m just worn down to a nub ….. a numb nub. I guess that’s part of the process; true absorption, a sad calm.

My children, husband, and sweet bowsers are my comfort, pride & joy. I am a lucky gal.

Please continue to reach out. We all need each other and are a tremendous source of centering and balance. I have found this site to be one of my best healing sources. Funny, I just thought about my dad. He repeatedly shared that some of the most tastiest tomatoes grew right outside of the family’s outhouse. Hmmmmmmmmmmm


Carly July 9, 2014 at 3:18 pm

Hi Jenifer, it’s amazing to read how far people come in understanding their past. You have such good insight. I think part of the beginning of healing ourselves is recognising how we were treated and actually admitting it; I personally always felt much more comfortable feeling it was all my fault and a problem with me. I actually feel guilty realising the true blame lies with my mother, I feel I am betraying her even reading up on NPD and posting on this site. I am genuinely sorry that your environment was so turbulent, my family life was too and I feel sympathy for the child that I was as you probably do/we all do for the child we once were.

My mother is a saint. Tremendous social conscience, possesses the highest attitudes towards moral and civic responsibility, prides herself on being a really, really, really good person. My mum went back to work when I was six weeks old. My dad and paternal grandmother did all of the caring for me until my brother came along two years later. My mother blamed me for not breast feeding my brother and took me to the doctor when I was 2 wondering what was wrong with me as I was so jealous of my brother. My mum worked in the evenings from then on, my dad and Nanna cooking dinner and putting us to bed. My dad literally did everything for us, I have no memories of my mum as a small child. My mum never cuddled or showed us any affection and my brother was openly and obviously for all to see – her ‘favourite’. My dad had an affair and left my mum when I was 11, I think he just needed something back; I remember she would put him down a lot and was eternally passive aggressive. I never saw my dad for 15 years. This was when the shit really hit the fan.

We were a team, not a family, my mother was not a mother, we were a team. We all had to chip in to get everything done. My mother couldn’t and still can’t cook, so at age 12 I learned and that became my ‘job’. I was cast in the role of her partner, I believe now I was parentified. My brother was engulfed by her in his role as golden child, but so misplaced. He has dramatically underachieved and never recieved any discipline, was in to drugs, trouble with police, kicked out of school etc but my mother provided him with a huge safety net, falsely empowering him. This makes me feel so sad as he could’ve achieved so much more. He still behaves like a spoilt child even now but has two beautiful children & wonderful partner and I can see he is starting to really see my mother.

Meanwhile I was out to work at 13 to literally pay for my school uniform. I was completely left to get on with my life without any guidance. I can’t go in to all of the name calling and the ganging up on me that my mum & brother did to me as I’m not strong enough yet to rake through it all. I over-achieved, felt entirely sorry for all aspects of my mum’s abandoned situation as a single parent, I continually tried to over-compensate for my father leaving & my brothers behaviour – he stole cars/money/drugs etc I always tried to make her life easier, tried to make her happy, cleaning, cooking, money, DIY, listening to her constant woes, constantly giving her approval, praise, thanks, reassurance – in return she treated me how she had previously treated my father – unobtainable expectations, which always shifted. She would ignore me, give me the silent treatment, put me down, compare me constantly to my brother and always pit us against each other, blame me for things I hadn’t done, use me to make her look good as I went off to university, moved to London, good job, travelled etc

I only realised how she was towards me wasn’t right when I got married and had my babies, I could see clearly for the first time – as now my priority was no longer her – she was/is completely jealous of my life, my marriage, my relationship with my children and husband. My husband is the one who has opened my eyes, by showing me true unconditional love, through our love I have realised how toxic my mother has been in my life. Through my grown adult eyes I see how entirely inappropriate she has behaved my whole life. Since having my babies my mother has literally got 100 times worse, I know I was her scapegoat and can only surmise that since my family has beautifully taken my whole heart, naturally shifting from my mother, the narcissistic supply she received constantly from me has ceased and even my brother is starting to see her for who she is. My sister-in-law and I are very close and she ‘gets it’ and she is feeling the affect of being ‘married’ to my mothers golden child. She knows i am here to support her & my brother too.

From reading this site I realise that I am actually very angry with my mother, I’ve been on anti-depressants for 12 years, I think I have mis-placed anger and that is something I am going to try and heal. I remember crying and pleading and screaming to my mother “what happened? What did I do? Am I really yours? Why do you hate me so much? What’s wrong with me?”. She replied “I’m not talking to you while you’re like this, you are hyper-sensitive and you really do need to seek professional help”. I was 17.

I know I’m still working it all out, I’d never heard of NPD until a few months ago and even though I’m shaking as I write what feels like a secret, I know deep in my heart I deserved better. We all did. My little girl will not be tarnished by this, I want her to be free.

Thank you x


christine July 11, 2014 at 7:30 pm

What’s so sad, is I can see how each comment here has become a product of their NM. And having such traits themselves. Im 40 and choose not to marry and have kids. I am fully aware of my mothers abuse, and she has nearly all the traits here. Took 35 years for me to break free and not feel the need for love from her – to be loved or attention, a simple hug or “good job”. Ive realized why she is how she is, the past is past though it has shaped all 3 of her kids negatively -
I was in childcare for 14 years because I always wanted to give love to children who might not have it at home and maybe because I never had it…but as I grew older I began to see my mother in me and went off to build my own business, not with kids.
I never married and never had kids because I knew these qualities would creep back and I NEVER wanted to ever have a child feel the way we kids did.

I read many of these posts, I am glad I didn’t as I see it here – the cycle – sad


Anonymous July 12, 2014 at 4:28 am

That’s really helpful, such a valuable point to have made to those of us that do have kids.


anonymous July 15, 2014 at 7:10 am

Dear Christine, you are lucky that you were aware what was going on at an early stage to make sensible life decisions for yourself. My eyes were only opened long after I had my children. In hindsight – as much as I love them – if I knew what was lying ahead, I would not have had children in order to spare them the pain that was lying ahead for me – and they feeling it too. I have been a single mother all through their child and teenage years – stuck with a narcissistic mother who could not give love and support. We went through very tough times. My advice to singles – think very carefully before you commit yourself to starting a family. See that there is enough money and tranquility and love in a stable relationship before you even begin to think of raising a family.


Anonymous July 12, 2014 at 5:19 am

I don’t know what it feels like to feel self-righteous, one of the pitfalls of my up-bringing, sounds like your mitigating attempts to end the cycle flummoxed as you sound pretty pleased with yourself Christine. I think having children should be neither self-less or selfish, its more beautiful and complex than personal choice. Preaching is also something I’m not comfortable with – maybe another ‘type’ would be the narcissist who knows the subject but denies themselves the title.


Anonymous July 12, 2014 at 7:38 pm

Christine, everyone that posts is just trying to gain some understanding about the abuse that they went through and that doesn’t make them narcissistic. You said that you didn’t have kids because “you knew those qualities would creep back and you never wanted your child to feel that way.” It’s good that you know yourself that well, but please don’t think that everyone else is exactly the same. I had two abusive parents and two abusive siblings, yet I am not abusive to my son in any way. I’ve made better choices, and my son knows he can tell me or his dad anything and we’re here to support him and help him. Some people prefer not to be parents, and that’s okay, there’s nothing wrong with that. If you had wanted to have kids, you could have overcome your bad parenting and chosen to be kind and loving to them.


cherie July 14, 2014 at 9:29 am

I will sacrifice myself to save my children. My mother will sacrifice her children to save herself. And that is the difference between us. Thank you Michelle for understanding and my compassion and sympathy to everybody else who is going through this narcissistic abuse. Thank God we are not alone. There is somebody out there who is going through the same trauma. I will light a candle for us all tonight.


Carly July 14, 2014 at 1:39 pm

Thank you Cherie, I feel exactly the same, I am always aware not to repeat the process, my reasons for wanting to heal are precisely that; my children. Love to you x


cherie July 15, 2014 at 5:49 am

Thank you dear Carly. You are still so young and I admire that you are so present in the moment. When I was your age, I expected my first child, totally unaware and unprepared for what was lying ahead for me! I only discovered that the problem lies with my mother, and not me, two years ago. She thinks there is something wrong with me and that I need lifelong therapy! She has been projecting all her stuff on me since I can remember. I am the scapegoat and my sister the blue eyed daughter who can’t do anything wrong. But in spite of everything, I have a childlike spirit and an unshakeable faith to keep me going. My situation is so complicated that I need time to unravel it all. I lack confidence. My father was a prominent writer and I have those genes too – but the courage to really put pen to paper myself, avoids me all the time. Hopefully when I have healed more, I will find the courage to do so. Keep strong Carly. I frequently light candles and send out good thoughts to people I care for and for those who are suffering under abuse of all kind. Love to you too. xx


Carly July 16, 2014 at 11:55 am

Thank you Cherie, please just write, see where it goes, no-one will see it but you…until you’re ready. Lack of confidence stems from worrying if your mum will disapprove (or approve as long as you follow her advice), what she will think, the comments that can drain your strength and cull your motivation. I feel like this even about what colour cushions I put on my sofa – my mums voice is in my ear! I don’t know how but you somehow have to view her opinion/POV as a novice voice in that field (writing), there are some things my mum has a valid opinion on but sifting through and deciding wether the opinion is authentic or just to pull you (personally) down; is exhausting. I understand why the emotional detachment needs to happen; that doesn’t prevent you knowing what your mum would say, what she would think etc as we definitely know our mothers…
Anyway don’t tell anyone just take your coffee into the garden, music, radio and write :-) see it as a little treat for you. Thank you for your lovely words, take care xx


cherie July 24, 2014 at 11:05 am

I like your idea not to tell anyone when you take care of yourself! It is paramount that we spoil ourselves – and indulge in things that makes us happy – without feeling guilty for a change! xx

Renee July 14, 2014 at 1:38 pm

Sadly, I think everyone’s childhood has had struggles with their parents. From this wonderful blog, I feel as though I have a community that understands and validates the horrors of attempting to be healthy and normal in a relationship that is anything but.

Perhaps some readers cannot relate, and that’s ok. On this road in recovery, I’m not the perfect mother. I try to be the mom that I didn’t get; one to come to my games, an open home that my friends would feel comfortable in, not shop for my wedding gown at garage sales, not wear paper on the bottom of my pageant shoes so she could return them after the show, one that brought snacks to a sport event, buy the good Halloween candy and not the cheap stuff that tastes bad, not ask the church why she has to pay for flowers for alter cups (a whole $20) when she pulls up in her new Cadillac, constantly prodding me to quit something when it got a little hard, on and on.

I can also say that I believe I have NEVER put myself in front of the needs of our children. I don’t live through them. Their accomplishments are theirs as earned and I get to watch and enjoy each success with them. I could have utilized the perverted tactics my NM used on me until I was in my 50′s but I chose to be aware and take action to put my children’s happiness/welfare first and foremost. No games, no manipulations, no threats, no need! To me, therein lies the power and the cycle ENDS. We’re not perfect but I’m pretty sure my family is happy for the most part.

It was disgusting. Just last week my oldest was at a dr. appt. that my NM just happened to be at too. My husband said that he could see my NM squirming in her chair as he and my oldest approached the door. After checking in, the two of them turned around and said to my NM “hi, how’s it goin?” in an upbeat and friendly tone. My NM couldn’t turn her back to them any more in the chair she sat in. She stared distantly at a blank wall and clutched her purse as if someone was going to rob her. She said nothing back to them. It was obvious now both my husband and daughter are dead to her, as she had told me I was dead to her about a year ago.

My husband, frankly amused by such ridiculous pettiness, especially coming from the woman who told us we are sinners, have bad behavior (whatever the heck that was), and that we are ungrateful for EVERYTHING she has ever done for us, said you’d never have known that this was an interaction between a ‘grandmother’ and 1 of 2 grandchildren she will ever have.

This disorder is sick, sick, sick. From the ashes of anger rises pity that my NM doesn’t know love, true love. Her bitterness and self-pity fuels her lame, meager attempts to ‘teach us valuable lessons’ she feels entitled to bestow (this means renigging on a 16th birthday car and college education ~ as promised for years & years, amongst so many other things). As a 76 year old widow with a small window of time left on the planet, one would think you’d embrace life with your grandchildren. She’d rather wallow in lonely isolation than take a step to make an amend and enjoy what is left to enjoy. She is self-righteous and pompous and can herself all to herself.

Just the other day my husband mentioned just how very peaceful our household is without contact with my NM.

To some this may sound like a “crab-fest” …… perhaps ~ but you had to live it and get through it to know this stuff is real and deeply disturbing.


Carly July 14, 2014 at 1:52 pm

Completely ‘get it’ love to you and thank you. I found this site and felt if found a safe haven. A space wherein which I could breathe easy amongst others similar to myself. I am 31 and just realising that my mum isn’t very well, I’m just trying to find the balance between being there for her in a healthy way (although predictably we’re currently not speaking) and keeping my real-life, my children/husband/home/life happy and functioning. I actually only think the real difficulties of having a NM become apparent when one does have ones own family; before that it was only me my NM affected and although I often felt shitty; at least her attitudes towards me didn’t affect anyone else….. I could ponder forever, but I’m dinging the real difficulty lies in moving forward with my life on the path that causes least turmoil. Anyway, thank you x


cherie July 24, 2014 at 11:00 am

Dear Renee and Carly, you are both so in tuned with what is going on in your lives. It is horrible, horrible what we have to endure. Just stay connected with that loving Higher Power within yourself. Take care. xx


devastatedmimi July 14, 2014 at 11:08 pm

My grandsons mother is a total narcssisist. She is dominating and manipulative. My son broke up with her and they share a son. We love him dearly and im concerned about his safety. Im she says things like, i had a dream that my baby was standing in a high up apartment and he suddenly fell out the window. Or says, i had another dream that somebody killed A_____y. I was so scared because hes my world. Whenever she came over she always had some dream of the baby being killed in some way. Im scared for him. She knows how much this child means to us but is witholding him from us, including his father. He couldnt find her for 3 days until we seen her going to the bank. We caught up with her and my son asked her where she was because he couldnt find her. She of course said ” why havent you come to get him. He then said again that he couldnt find her. He asked her to bring the baby over to us. We came to the house, waited for over an hour. He had to go get his paycheck, so he left. Of course, during this time, she decides to show up. She wanted to know where jesse was and i told her he had gone to get his paycheck. She then became rude and impatient. My grandson was in the backseat sleeping. I was so close, i coulve touched him. But she wouldnt let me take him out of the car. I asked her why, when this happens, do my husband and i end up in the middle of it. Just let me take him inside and you can wait for jesse out here for as long as you like. Refused. She wanted to wait unti jese got there. I told her she was a childish, whiny little bitch. She kept threatening me so finally she just drove away. I miss my little man so much that my heart aches. My son has an attoney appt in the morning. Hopefully she can help him get the ball rolling. Shes such a pretty girl but just as slimy as a snake out of the swamp. She has her family fooled too. ” C______ is a good girl. Not the C______ i know.


Lilly July 16, 2014 at 10:02 am

So, normal mothers still love you even if you reject the career that they picked out for you at age five, disagree with their political views, develop your own taste in music and clothes, get married at the ‘wrong’ age and refuse to agree with her at all times? Wow, I’ve been missing out for my entire life. I’ve always had a menagerie of pets and I just realized why. I’ve never experienced unconditional love from a human before. I thought that humans were incapable. This is depressing news. Well, it’s good to know that I’m a normal empathetic person and my mom is incapable of loving anyone but herself. I’ve secretly suspected this for many years.


nan July 16, 2014 at 5:57 pm

I knew I had a nm at the age of 5 the first time I was hugged by a female was my 1st grade teacher she told me I was smart. My mother was to busy chasing men, old, young some with no legs, have sex with the man at the laundromat for quarters, I remember the TV raising me, she had 6 kids with 3 different men she had a golden child who died she loved her more than God my other sister died she was jealous of her and to this day she hardly mentions her but always mentions the golden child. I’m the scapegoat the one who takes her for what she is Evil, I have cut off all contact with family because anyone with any God in them couldn’t stand to be around that foolishness, I have 3 other siblings and they deal with her because they can get money and favors I chose to use God as my provider, she says I think I’m better than everyone because I chose to stand on my own, I kissed her ass for years listening to people tell me u only get one mom and u need to pretty much let her continue to treat me like crap just because she gave birth to me, I say heck No I wouldn’t let anyone in the streets do it why would I allow her cause we share dna, the last straw with her was when the guy who had been stalking me she had been letting him come to her home and eat and bring her gifts, that was the biggest form of betryal……. I see her for wat she is Evil….. I have so many stories I would have to write a book.. This page isn’t long enough I gave 42 years if evidence………


Michael July 23, 2014 at 2:55 am

Huge thanks to everyone who has shared a story. I know the words and feelings you share are the results of years of abuse at the hands of a narcissistic mother (NM) – dating back to your birth. It is difficult to relive the moments when you instinctively know that something wasn’t right but keep blaming yourself because you couldn’t achieve balance in your life. Unfortunately, it’s not over.

I’m 50+ years old and didn’t even know about the condition “narcissist” until recently. I came upon the term while researching “my” problems. Taking stock of my life experiences, I have tremendous difficulties expressing emotions; I won’t hug and find it uncomfortable to be hugged and I have given up on relationships. Intimacy is alien to me. Therefore, I’m the narcissist and I was looking for ways to cure myself! Then I stumbled upon (Forgive me while I let out a few screams at this point)…

I now understand it better. I have two younger sisters who also suffer from NM and are in pain. It’s incredible to be 50+ years old and only very recently had a real conversation with one of my sisters about our mother. It’s all becoming clear now…

We grew up with no birthday celebrations; I thought because we were poor. Mother didn’t come to graduation because there must have been other things needing to be addressed. Later, when I lived on the West coast for five years, never once did she come to visit yet I would make trips back East at least twice a year (our reunions were “empty”). One of my sisters, divorced for 20+years, commented that Mother never took interest in her godchildren and would not visit, much less play with them. “It’s not normal”; my sister says. I believe my sister feels greater pain than I as she was the classic scapegoat described elsewhere. Whatever my sister did in our house (cleaning, cooking), it was never enough and had no value. No appreciation, no support.

A few Christmases ago, mom gave us gifts… it was a framed self-portrait of her. It’s a nice, professional portrait. In it, her elbow rests on a counter while her hand cups her chin. Her head is slightly turned as she faces the camera and smiles. “Wonderful”, I said when I opened my gift… I didn’t have a “good” picture of her to put on my fireplace mantle. I guess she felt my home lacked warmth without her picture for the two times she visited in the 10 years I’ve been living here (apologies for the sarcasm).

Mother’s sister, my aunt, is in palliative care. Any day now she will be passing. I feel a tremendous loss and it stirs many emotions just writing about it. She has Alzheimer and even though she is in a coma suffering ongoing brain hemorrhaging, I visited her three times last week and did manage to gather enough strength to say goodbye to her. Her daughters were by her side. I feel deeply for this family. As a child, what little nurturing I received, in part I got from this Aunt. She was one of my “proxy moms”. It is from her and other family’s care that I was able to realize a benchmark that what we lived in our house wasn’t normal but, of course, could never figure out until much later in life.

My mom was also at the hospital, unbelievably somehow trying to be the center of attention (without being obvious about it). First she stayed overnight (the hospital allows overnight guests for palliative care patients) and the next day gathered us all to share what happened during her night’s stay: my aunt awoke during the night and was making a sound, repeating this sound every few moments. Mom tells us the sound was the name of her dead husband; my aunt pleading for him to come and get her. Instant flood of tears from all of us… thank God mother stayed all night with her dying comatose sister so she could share that story with us. Later that day, while still in my Aunt’s hospital room, mom calls her hairdresser as she feels she’s overdue for another cut & style. The first thing she says while trying to schedule the appointment is that she’s with her dying sister – “any moment now”; she adds. She stated such so that the hairdresser realized how urgent the situation was and she better be flexible to accommodate mom’s schedule.

Looking back, mother is the incarnation of drama. But enough about mother!

It’s a sad trail for those who follow a narcissistic mother: feelings of guilt and disappointments for not living up to the expectations of being a good son or daughter. Ever!

One last anecdote: Of all the holidays, the one I dread the most is Mother’s Day. I can handle not celebrating my birthday and I don’t mind no family reunions at Christmas. Thanksgivings was never celebrated in our family so there is no way for me to miss it (I always found it odd watching Thanksgiving as portrayed on television). But Mother’s Day… you know you will be chastised for being a bad son if you don’t get her something. You must visit her. You must thank her for being such a wonderful mother. You must take some time for her. “It’s only one day out of the year”; they say. You cannot be that selfish or cruel to not make something of this very special day. There is something wrong with YOU if you don’t take a moment to celebrate your one & only mother. (Forgive me while I let out a few more screams…)

Her framed self-portrait is still on my mantle. I can’t take it down! Even though I understand better the toxicity of a NM, I know I will never entirely rid my system of its poison. My mom is not the villain; she has a disease called: Narcissism. When I look at her picture, it invokes great amounts of guilt. Why can I not be the good son and help my sick mother?

What a vicious, cancerous disorder.


cherie July 24, 2014 at 10:43 am

Dear Michael, what a vicious, cancerous disorder indeed. I so understand and feel for you.

For Xmas my NM gave me and my children (I am divorced from an alcoholic – why do I attract the wrong men in my life!?) DUSTBINS and wedding photographs of me and my ex (can you imagine how painful it was for me and my children – and that in front of the rest of the family?) – while her golden girl, my sister and her daughter – and my brother and his daughter – received expensive presents and books. When I told a therapist friends of mine this story, he told me to give her LOO PAPER for her birthday! We were quite hysterical with laughter. This is but one incident.

But it is indeed no laughing matter. It is so painful and it never stops. I have gone NC for some time, but also suffer form terrible guilt. It is OKAY to say NO to any form of abuse. Even to a NM! And yes – family and friends will not understand and they will think the problems lies with you. I experience that every day.

But take courage – if Corrie Ten Boom could survive the Holocaust – so can we. Our problem is – it is a life long abuse an torture and it never stops. I forgive her, but I will not allow her to project her crap (excuse my French – but that is what it is!) on me anymore. We are ALL precious in the eyes of GOD. I hope you find peace in all of this. And yes – there is somebody special out there for you – as I believe there is for me too. NEVER give up on hope and love. Regárdèz bien – take care Michael, and thanks for sharing your pain with us.


Michael July 26, 2014 at 12:59 pm

Hello Cherie,

Thanks for the note! I totally get you!!

I do use comedy, sometimes sarcasm, when describing NM anecdotes. It feels good to be able to laugh at them. I also know that the pain and damage underneath all those anecdotes is very real and that is no laughing matter.

I have since chatted with my sister (quoted above) and she agreed wholeheartedly about the diagnosis of our mother. It made me chuckle reading your note as my sister also is found of saying: “I’m not putting up with her crap”! “CRAP!”… it’s not a word I commonly use but it is so appropriate in this circumstance :)


Robin Powers July 26, 2014 at 1:28 am

I was the scapegoat as well. But I did it to myself. I yelled and fought with my Mom, because she took me away from my biological Dad. Thank God we are back together now! I think, in a way I may have been protecting my little brother too (in my mind). I try not to be mad at her, but there is just that oe thing I have such a hard time forgiving her for (the Dad thing). I really don’t like my Step-Dad that much, because he just allowed it all to happen. I guess I also fought with her because ‘ If it’s going to happen anyway, the I’m not going down without a fight!’ She could smack me, call me names, do whatever, and it was ALWAYS my fault, and I would apologize. Talk about messed up. Now I barely talk to her, because I feel aweful everytime I do. But I feel like I have to at least ‘pay my dues’ she’s my Mother. Though my Step -Mom is my Mom. My brother and I are starting to build up a relationship behind her back, hopefully she doesn’t find out, because then I really don’t wat to know what crap she will come up with. Oh and you want to know the funny thing? She is a counselor! She is supposed to help people, but here she is destroying her own daughter! With her around was it any wonder I tried to take myself to the moon a few too many times! Anyway, wish me luck on avoiding her crazy butt. I love her, but geez…


Robin Powers July 26, 2014 at 1:38 am

I really wish she woul just go and get help with her own problems. I do realize I have my own mental health problems. But if she could get help, then she wouldn’t be hurting so much. and if she wasn’t hurting, then she wouldn’t have to hurt anyone else and we could have a normal relationship. Is that too much to ask? I just want her to say ‘I love you,’ without wanting something out of it. I do it all the time. I always want the people I care about to know I love them. And I hate this trading thing. You do something for me, I do soemthing for you. Love is’t supposed to be that way. I ca’t keep giving until there is nothing left, cause I’m empty.


Michael July 26, 2014 at 2:03 pm

Hello Robin,

Like my sister says: “Don’t put up with her crap”!

Easier said than done, I know. The guilt feelings can really run a number on you. Even though we now understand the narcissistic disorder, read the research and know that she’s the cause of all this anguish… there’s still a little voice inside that says: “…But she’s still your mother”! ARGH!!

Getting closer to my sister has really helped a lot. I hope you experience the same with your relationship with your brother. Remember that you are not alone and what you are emotionally expecting is absolutely normal… it’s just that your mother can’t give you that – it’s not in her.


Crystal July 27, 2014 at 10:48 am

I recently discovered that I had a narcissistic mother. After I read this article I
Am pretty sure about it, and felt relief that I’m not the only one.
I was the scapegoat child and still am. My NM treats my sister’s boyfriend like her son while she kept on telling my cousins and relatives that my boyfriend is bad and blablabla.
I have been dating my bf for almost ten years, he was blamed and criticized that I became a bad girl after I started dating him.
My NM even said that I worshipped my bf as my GOD. Of course I didn’t listen to her nonsense. My bf discovered that I have VERY low self esteem which is not normal andhe tried to encourage me to do things that makes myself happy. Then I went study abroad and I finally started healing. I started to do things that I REaLly wanted to do.
However, my NM was not happy that I didn’t break up with my bf in the long distance relationship and started not to support my daily expenses except for the accommodation and school fee. And I was not able to obtain a working permission for part time jobs, ( she knew it)
At that time my sister was studying in the US and she never had Problem with money.
There are more details in it but it’s difficult to tell it here.
Then I returned to my hometown and got a job, and after the first day of my job, my mum asked me to pay her half of my salary to her as it is “responsibility” to her.
I don’t mind giving her money but not half of my salary.. I guess. I ended up not giving her Coz And she went to tell everyone she knew that I refused to give her my salary.

I’m still very angry and I do have very bad feeling on Mother’s or father’s Day and birthdays.
Unfortunately my father is a narcissistic father. And I’m both the lost child with my ftjer’s relationship.


Carly July 28, 2014 at 5:55 am

Has anyone ever had any experience of their NM realising their behaviour and changing? … I’m just hoping as we ae currently no contact (4 weeks) but do need to patch things up and develop a low contact (see earlier thread for background) relationship (which we have more or less had for the past 8 months) but this requires a conversation with my mum; some kind of reconciliation in order to move forward. What should I do? Address how her comments & behaviour make me feel? Mainly her lack of respect & consideration for me. Talk about the distant past? I tried to set boundaries last time but they were manipulated… Any advice welcome x


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