Narcissistic Mother

Narcissistic mothers cause pain, but there’s much you can do to reclaim your life and thrive despite having one.

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!

If you found this article helpful, I encourage you to read my free eBook The 7 Steps to Recovering from a Narcissistic Mother.

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Elissa January 12, 2017 at 7:57 am

Hello,
I am reaching out to ask for help, wisdom, advice….and perspective. I am the only child of an *extremely* narcissistic mother; I am 53, she is 81. Together, we have forged a lifetime of misery – she, because she is capable of nothing else; she is a soul-sucker who believes that her lot in life (no money, all smoke and mirrors, former model and tv singer) is thanks to her two (dead) husbands who were simply not enough “man” to take care of her needs both emotional and financial; and I, because I have let her. It was simply too hard to do anything else. I did manage to break away and move out of state, and marry; we have no children because, I have realized, that I already HAD a child: my mother. Still, we support her, paying many of her bills at the end of each month, often before our own, as a way to keep her at bay. When she turned 65 back in 2000, she chose not to carry a Medicare card because people would know how old she is. Instead, she signed up with a crappy Medicare HMO, thinking that she would simply live forever. She also did this because it was cheap, and, we discovered recently, was enabling her makeup addiction (32 tubes of lipstick in her medicine cabinet; 15 containers of powder in her vanity). On 12/3, she fell and broke one ankle and her other foot and had 2 surgeries and is now in rehab near my house. She gave me POA and we are moving all of her money into a pooled income trust so that she can get Medicaid when she gets home. Since her accident, I am sleeping 3 hours a night. I can’t eat without getting ill. I’ve lost weight (yay). My hands tremble. I am now her primary caregiver because she has no money and no one else to step in. Help. Any ideas, greatly appreciated. I’m utterly exhausted.

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Tanja January 17, 2017 at 4:35 pm

Dear Elissa,

Thank you for sharing your problem here. It is very interesting to read about a totally different type of narcissist to the ones I met so far – among which one, my mother.
You told us you did not get a child b/c you already had your mother… still being a child. In a way narcissists are always a bit like a child, merely by all those abilities missing most people are just simply blessed with when born. Your mother however seems to be even much more a child. I can imagine your choice and I’m sorry for you having had to decide this way b/c of your mother. Myself, I also did chose to not get a child. I did so for another reason which was clear to me already in my early 20s happily. I was highly afraid of my mother’s DNA in terms of personality might be resembled in my child. What would I have done to the child then? How would I have coped with two of such nasty people so close to me? What would it have done psychologically to me still going through all the drama’s my mother created and went on creating (and still) and at the same time having to feed up a child showing similar of pretty much the same character?… I was too afraid that my child would be pretty much like my mother and therefore did not get one. Unfortunately – and happily at the same time. Happily b/c recently I did realize that her father, my grandfather, was a narcissist, too. The same holds for the mother of my father. So, among parents and grandparents out of 6 people 3 were/are narcissistic. On my mother’s side out of three beside her there is another sibling with at least quite some strong narcissistic traits. On my father’s side half of the children of his partens are suffering from narcissism. So,… I’m quite happy my mother lost her second child while up to my about 16th birthday I wished so much I would not be on my own… and I am very happy I never took the chance myself to eventually help another narcissist into this world. So, we both chose for the same, because of the same problem (a narcissistic mother), merely for different reasons within the spectrum of problems. You ask for ideas b/c you are ‘utterly exhausted’. You are functioning as her primary caregiver now.

Dear Elissa, please STOP with the roles turned around by her from about the begining. YOU are the child of her not vice versa. Foremost b/c YOU should be the most important to yourself, especially/even more b/c she as a narcissist never put you forward as you deserved. You ‘ve done all you can… even more… b/c now you are utterly exhausted. That means you already started to use up your basic battery quite well which never should happen. You know… this holds for every caretaker… you cannot take care of anyone else when you are not feeling well/being healthy yourself. First things first. YOU are first and then you’ve got a husband. You won’t do well if you go on sleeping that little. You might get even seriously ill. I do know quite some people for example who got a heart or brain infarction by too much stress, pressure, worries and also especially lack of sleep. If I were you I would let the revalidation clinic as well as your mother know that you are utterly exhausted and for the reasons I mentioned, that this way you cannot be of any help now, you first and only need to put attention to yourself… put the problem aside, it is not your problem… she is now in care there… let them look for a solution. You are ‘not fit to help’ at the moment. While recovering you might gain some distance to her and I’d wish for you that you will not go on the next years the way you did during the last years seemingly. Please take good care of yourself! Don’t go on treating yourself as you were treated by her. You do have a choice now. Why should you demand so much from yourself? You are just a human being, you got your own needs and at the moment you really showed here that your situation of health is alarming. You really need to react to that. I wish you all the best and hopefully you will soon feel better, stronger, sleep longer and… after regaining your health I do hope you’ll go on more distance with her. You might start with paying your own bills first before paying hers… ? 😉 YOU are important. You really need to be a bit egoistic now/thinking of yourself first and foremost. All the best!

(PS: I’ve so far only read your post – not one of the reactions you already got)

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Bertie January 13, 2017 at 9:25 am

Hello Elissa,
My mom is now 90. I am one of five siblings, one deceased. The first four were born one year apart and then 8 years later, me. So, I felt like the only child most of the time. We have a NM with a lot of problems and a long, awful history with her as our mother. She has had health problems in the past, has made one of us POA in the past, is now living on limited social security right now, and depends on any or all of us to do things for her, constantly. And she is downright awful, as a human being, and especially as a mother.
Having said that, i do have some advice for you:
Don’t let her move in with you.
Call the “social services” agency within your county. Tell them your dilemma. I assume your mom is from a different state? I assume she would qualify for benefits only if she were to relocate to your state?
Your mom would qualify for some sort of housing based on her income. In my state, we have elderly apartment complexes (and they are nice!), nearby the hospital and nursing home. The normal rent would be something like $3000 a month for the “services” they provide. A dining room with their main meals prepared each day! A oven located on each floor (just one!). They don’t want baking/cooking done in the apartments. Someone is on staff 24/7 in case there are problems. Someone comes in and picks up their laundry once a week and returns it clean. We looked into this recently for our mother (who turned it flat down because she is still living in her home with us doing things for her). But the place would have simply taken her “checks” that she gets each month (social security and I don’t know what else … but it totaled about $1200. In turn, they would give her this apartment, she’d be getting meals, someone to check on her, living near health care, etc.). My mom would have been given $75 for the month (for incidentals). There were also buses that would have picked her up and brought her places (in town) for a very small fee. So, she’d have still “gotten around”. What else can you do? She can’t live with you.
You deserve to have a nice life! I realize you are “on the hook” with her. But it’s not fair for her life to ruin yours. If she lived in an apartment setting, she could visit with the other older folks and they’d have activities too. I think you should try to look out for yourselves as much as possible!! And I also understand how you are not eating/sleeping right now. I wouldn’t be either. I feel for you. You will probably be on edge until you find a solution for where she goes.

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Bertie January 13, 2017 at 9:54 am

One last point: Our mom was in the ER this summer. The doctor asked if she was still living at home. Then he said to her … “You are looking down the barrel of living in an assisted-living facility. I would advise you move now … take the things you love with you… have some power over your future. If you get hurt, you are going to end up in a nursing home, for the rest of your life”.

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Jane January 14, 2017 at 9:09 pm

Elissa, I’m not an expert but suggest checking with your mom’s doctor regarding her treatment plan and for referrals to community resources to help you and your Mom plan for long term care, if needed, as well as check with Medicaid for what they will or not will cover. Good luck and get some sleep!

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Hilda January 19, 2017 at 11:06 pm

Hi, first of all let me tell you how much I appreciate that there is a website like this and you are doing an amazing work Michelle! Thank you. It’s people like you who give me hope.

I have a narcissistic mother, why else would I be here right? I have two older brothers too and all of us have been emotionally, verbally and mentally tortured by her. My brothers, now grown up – Eldest & the only other Good person who was like my parent, 32 managed to move out of the country *Dec 2016* at this stage of his life because she had financially crippled him and didn’t let him study/ build his career; my 2nd brother is the Golden Child, he is almost the exact same copy of her and so they get along far better but have ego clashes every other day.
Whereas for me, since I am 17 and under 18, with no income of my own or the means to get a part-time job, I am dependent on her absolutely. Our father is half paralysed and well, a vegetable (sorry but while he was okay he was very abusive too) and he doesn’t care about what’s going on. We live in a part of the world where the authorities won’t do anything, that is, Child Services or Abuse Centres are non-existent. I can’t depend on my eldest brother yet who is trying his hardest to make something of himself along with his wife & help me — obviously that’s going to take time.
I have a lot of patience and endurance power, believe me but she has been getting too much these days. At the smallest mistake from me, if I forgot something or wasn’t there at her beck and call, she makes a humongous deal out of it and threatens me that she won’t send me to school or take away the computer/ my phone/ room — something or the other and she actually does that from time to time.
I know the only way through this would have to be by being tactful but I am a teen for Heaven’s sake! I have no emotional attachment to her whatsoever because I realised, alone at 11 years old, that she is a narcissistic mother and it would be detrimental for me to be attached to her but what can I do now???

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Hilda January 19, 2017 at 11:14 pm

I wanted to add that I love school, however it may be and whatever stupid classmates I may have, but it is my only safe haven. I love it there, I can be myself and I am way happier and feel like I could be somebody someday. I along with my eldest bro had hoped to do our best and just become independent so we can break off from her but it is so darn difficult…
I can’t stay in school forever, can I? In the afternoon, each day, I have to return to this place called ‘home’. I am probably one of the very few people who hate holidays, Sundays and the like. I have hopes and dreams and I know, however much she may put me down, that I have talent. I want to be a poet, painter and songwriter and be there for people who are in parts of the world where they can’t get help and just simply, be Me.

Thank you once again. I feel a tad bit better after typing all that.

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Leticia Wampler January 31, 2017 at 11:45 am

Hilda

I am sorry that you are having to go through this. I truly hope things change for you. I looked this page up because my daughter told me I was a narcissistic mother. Because I sometimes tell her that I won’t take her somewhere if she doesn’t do what I say. But I love both of my girls the same. I want both of them to go to college and succeed. Maybe get married and have children if they choose that. I wish I could help you. What country do live in that doesn’t have child protective services? Hope you are having a better day.

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C February 1, 2017 at 10:00 am

Hi Hilda,
I do feel for you. I remember being your age and feeling so utterly trapped at home & by the invisible hold my mother had over me. It is very hard when you are financially dependent on her. But there is some good news…
The first good news is that many people aren’t aware what their narc mother is until much later in life. For me I was about 31. So I wasted a lot of time in my 20s trying to keep a relationship going with her, making plenty of effort only for it to end in hurt, frustration, anger & tears because I didn’t understand why with all my efforts slammed back in my face she couldn’t “just be normal”. Knowing what you know now will give you an upper hand over your own life from this point on.
Secondly again your age, the good news is you have years ahead of you! A life to really build & start. It can feel utterly impossible to see the path forward at your age however take it from me… there are paths and I recommend you start plotting your escape.
Can you speak to someone at school – teacher/ career councillor? Try to find a job placement or university/ college far away from your mother. Something fun where you will meet great new people. Failing that do some research online & speak to friend/ call people up. There are charities that will pay for you to go teach in another country for a year… Whatever you fancy there will be something that gets you away and leads to new experiences.
Once you end up wherever (and please don’t get your first job & live at home) don’t fee pressure to come home much, even for Christmas etc. I spent all my 20s going home for Xmas and they were miserable and I am now in a position where I have to see her every Xmas. Had I cut off ties 10 years ago I think it would have been much easier now. Maybe instead go travelling, see the sea/ mountains & learn to meditate. Spend time with people you love. Find happiness & joy elsewhere and learn to follow your heart.
Finally, it’s great you have talent & I encourage you to nurture that. At the same time I know from experience that without immense parental support & £ it can be hard to fund being a post/ painter so I am going to tell you what I wouldn’t tell someone with a normal & supportive family…I don’t want you to try to follow your passions & struggle to escape. Instead I recommend being quite ruthless in your persuit of money. Maybe try get a job in the financial centre of a city; you could be a lawyer or something big, or an office assistant or whatever. Be ruthless in asking for big salaries & payrises & bonuses for the next ten years and this will enable you to have the financial independence you need to have your own life & buy your own place, holidays, nice clothes etc. this will also provide you the money to peruse your passions on the side and perhaps when you reach 30 you will be in a good place to peruse them full time.
Don’t let anyone tel you you can’t, or convince yourself you can’t. Anything is possible & you deserve success & happiness!
I am just telling you what I would tell my 16/17 year old self if I could!
Good luck x

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C February 1, 2017 at 10:09 am

Ps. The way she threatens to take things away from you like your computer etc. is so typical of a narc mother as a way of exercising control. Mine would do stuff like that too when I was younger. You defo need to escape. Can you confide in your eldest brother? If he’s gone out into the world and has a good job he can probably advise you how to do the same & may want to help you do so.

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Mel February 18, 2017 at 6:17 pm

Dear Hilda, I assume your mother actually needs the physical help for herself and your father? Is there anyone else in the family who is making sure their needs are met? Or can she afford hired help? Would your nice brother consider letting you live with him, and have you looked into options for education and work in that situation? Best wishes.

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Hilda February 20, 2017 at 8:22 am

Hi… I wasn’t expecting anything after posting that you know, I have been so used to feeling invisible but thank you all so so much for making me feel like my voice is relevant!
In the country I live in, like I said Child Services are negligible because they are so hard to access plus it would be a tremendously hard job convincing them of my situation, you see society and family are very close knitted here and a ‘mother’ is supposed to be like a God who knows what’s best for her child and this & that utter bullshit. (Sorry) And I am really frustrated by this and hope to grow independent to be able to come back here to help other children going through this….
Thank you C, Mel, and Leticia! I wish you all well and hope everything is at peace with your families.
To C- I have tried talking to teachers at school but I’ve never felt comfortable telling them this because they just don’t really get it… They end up advising me that *I* am the one who should change and bend as much as I can to my mother’s wishes, after all she’s my mother……ugh. And can you believe this? There are no councilors at school.
I have been ~dreaming~ about escaping since I was 13 but of course the practical dream is to go away for college, the deal happens to be that she is so much more than just a narcissistic mother! She knows that sending me away for college means losing control, and it’s so horrendous and horrifying for me, the conversations we’ve had about my college – where she’d start by simply suggesting I go somewhere local, then after I stare at her in bewilderment and shock, I have got to suggest someplace where we have relatives because she is just not okay with the possibility that I might stay in a dorm. But that’s not enough either, she tells me she’ll move wherever it is that I am gonna stay at!
I really understand the need to completely break off from her, yes and plan on doing that once I can afford a life of my own. I’m so sorry you still have to deal with your mother! Though I find solace hoping you know by now, to not take anything she says seriously.
Thanks again, for the advice and I am definitely to set myself on that path.
To Mel- Unfortunately no, there’s no one else in the family ready to tolerate any of the two…. except of course my second brother, the Golden Child. Believe me I’ve been planning my escape since so long and trying to convince my eldest bro to do the same that we both have become quite determined to leave the past behind. The Golden Child shall get what he may after I’m gone. Just one hired helper is present for my father but as of late he actually needs two hands now…. It’s getting difficult day by day but ah, the one thing everyone of us can agree on is that he needs to be moved to a nursing home or something like that. It’s something to appear in the next half of this year, hopefully.
My eldest bro is really all I have, he’s been looking for a job since Jan, and he is getting quite nervous truly because he still hasn’t got one, like I mentioned you know with his minimum qualifications and skills, it’s difficult but thank God, my sister in law’s father understands and is letting them stay at their place but damn it is a bit embarrassing is it not? He’s done some interviews by now and enrolled in a few courses to become updated and capable you know. Things will work out, I am sure and I continue to pray so.
Thank you all so much once again! It means a tremendous lot!

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June January 22, 2017 at 10:13 am

I am so thankful to have found thissite. Things make so much sense now. I have spent my entire life trying to please my mother and never succeeding. I now know why I could never plese her and never live up to her expectations. The light bulb has finally come on! Thank you!!!

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Beth January 26, 2017 at 11:31 pm

Thank you for making a site on this, this is like finding the perfect counselor. I am in a predicament that prevents me to The effects from this sort of secretly hiding this unimaginable evil abuse, is not an easy thing to get over, especially when my healing survival method was to pretend it didn’t happen, stay as busy not to think about how it makes you feel as a person, as well as how the world sees you. Making more unbelievable to describe. (Not that is a comfortable thing to bring up, or prepared to disgust. ) This has happened in my family, a very tragic ending for our only Brother. So much makes sense to me. I feel a sense of healing, as I find learning to establish a self worth after all the damage from an EXTREME NARCISSISTIC mom, you guessed it, I was the unlovable “scapegoat ” , we lost “The Golden Child” 6 years ago, & trying to understand why we were not close. It never made sense. Now I have some healing closure from this.

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Ada February 2, 2017 at 2:03 am

Thank you for this. I have been in such fear and confusion my entire life because of this. It all makes sense. My mom whom I love dearly is a narcissist. I was scapegoated ever since I can remember. I have a sister 3 years older than myself and a brother 9 years younger. I remember always wondering what was wrong with me. Why was I such a bad person, why can’t I do anything right?. To this day, I still dont know why my mother doesn’t love me. My sister & brother usually switch roles , my sister was the hero&golden child for most of my life. Still is to this day. My younger brother is sometimes the lost child depending on what’s going on. My mom was emotionally unavailable, lacked empathy & extremely selfish in certain cases. She also strongly disliked me & made it known to everyone in our family. My grandmother was the same, held my sister to a high standard, while I did everything wrong. My sister told me that my mom said that my grandma was always unavailable to my mother. She was always partying or working & had a lot of different boyfriends. My mom was alone a lot of the time & the youngest of 6 with older siblings. Well as a kid my sister was the smart ,charming ,polite one & I was the rough around the edges , “mischievous” ,tomboy. I would get blamed for things I didn’t do. Everyone accused me of lying and losing things. My sister would do anything to look good to the adults so she would make up things to get me in trouble when she needed attention. Or talk me into doing things she knew I would get in trouble for. My sister could ask for something and get it but if I asked for the same thing I would get yelled at and sent out. I was just a burden to my grandma and her husband. At home when chores weren’t done correctly I would get whopped and screamed at and my sister would just get yelled at and would just have to finish after school the next day. But I would have to finish before school because I had volleyball practice and my mom would love to make me late and miss games over little things. She physically beat me until I was 17 years old. She disrespected me constantly and never showed me love or affection while living for my sister and brother in my face. During puberty I remember wishing she never had me. They would all be happier and be able to afford a bigger house. I have extremely low self-esteem & self worth. In Jr. High I had terrible friends that teased me and treated me badly but I never stood up for myself or told anyone about it cus I was so humiliated. Caused me to have terrible intimate relationships. I can’t believe I’ve never seen this before ,this is the beginning of my journey of healing & self love so I could finally find myself & be the person I was meant to be. ❤

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Rachel February 14, 2017 at 3:59 am

I have been in a relationship with the golden child of a narcissist ( a narc himself) for over 3 years. It has been a very painful relationship, however, things truly got bad when his narc mother found out we were having a baby! She cried and shouted that she was not ready to be a grandmother and totally ruined my pregnancy and the happiness I felt. My partner changed when his mother showed dissaproval and he was more hostile with me during our two pregnancies. I can say it was one of the hardest periods of my life. Other half has no empathy nor does his mother. Things got so bad one Christmas he left me home alone and went to his mother’s with the children… when we go there together, she is unfair towards me and he shows me up in front of everyone. I can never say anything she does to me to him as he gets extremely defensive and excuses her behaviour or worse tells me I am lying. There is a lot of emotional abuse and I feel very lonely.

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Gail February 19, 2017 at 12:09 pm

Thank you for sharing this article! I hope everyone who has been abused by a narcissistic parent will take action to get to help you need to become the healthy individual which is your birth right! I have 2 children of my own now and I’m making effort day by day to be emotional connected to them…something that was denied to me. Because of the abuse I endured I have indulged in drugs, toxic co dependent relationships, & even thoughts of suicide. I have made a commitment to let go the pains of the past & lift the veils of illusion! Today, I make a choice to change my life! To anyone who reads this remember—You are enough just as you are! You are worthy of love with flaws and all!! I love you!

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Mel February 19, 2017 at 1:10 pm

Hi Michelle. Thank you for your thoughts and experience! Any thoughts on elder NPD relatives’ care?

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cyn February 21, 2017 at 1:26 pm

My mother who I thought was on my side, had been turning all my family members against me for years. She in turn told me bad things on family members as well. Who knows if they are true or not, but I do know that all the family gets together but I’m not welcome. I only have one sister and my mother turned her against me. She made me need her at the same time that she was telling me I needed to do things for myself. I was never good enough. We’ve been No Contact since July 2016. That’s when I told her how I felt about her treatment of me.

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Tan February 22, 2017 at 9:27 am

I went NC with my NM coming up to 2 years ago this March and after 40 years have felt so much better and freeer. Slowly but surely my closest and dearest relatives have disappeared from my life to the extent that having not received a Christmas card from an old dear aunt I sent another card asking if she was ok.
A very short but curt letter came back saying that she cannot understand the way that ‘I have treated my mother’ . And is asking ‘What can have happened’. How can I respond without either providing too much ammunition to my NM but also to try and keep a relationship with my aunt ? I feel that through my own fault I have now opened up wounds again for myself (:

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Dan February 24, 2017 at 9:21 pm

I just wanted to say thank you for all of this information. I just realized through deep research and a major recent incident that both of my parents are very toxic and dangerous naracisstic abusers. I have come to a point of clarity about it for the first time in my life and it is such a relief to be able to put into words what they are and what they do. This whole time I thought I was crazy and couldn’t explain to people what they do to me or what I’ve gone through. Having this information is such a great first step in what I assume will be a long recovery period. But it’s a start to finding happiness within myself for the first time in my life and I want to thank you for the information.

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Anonymous February 25, 2017 at 2:29 am

Thank you Michelle,

I have been studying NPD for years but only you have made a distinction that I have seen no one else make and it has helped me immensely .

The Golden child /hero should not be written that way . They are very two and very distinct categories .

I thought I was a scapegoat but instead I was actually a hero…. a hero who would always fail no matter what and was punished accordingly .

It felt like I was the scapegoat because everything was blamed on me ….but because of you I now see the reason …. I was a “failed hero”.

A true golden child (my sister ) is spoiled and given everything regardless of what they do . My sister is a NPD herself and a complete loser in life and yet she is lavished and fussed over. This is what I feel is a “golden child”.

As you can see hero and golden child are very very different .

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Shera March 12, 2017 at 1:55 am

This is what I feel too.

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Alex March 10, 2017 at 4:48 am

Michelle, a thousand thanks to you for the valuable info on this site, the e-mails, and recovery e-book.
I only discovered that my mother has NPD this january, … it’s been like a light has switched on.
I have been going over events through my life and seeing things in a new way, a way that begins to explain and fit the pieces together.
I am the eldest of three brothers, and I have been cast in the role of hero child, lost child, and most recently scapegoat. My youngest brother has always been the golden child even though, or perhaps because, he has displayed psychotic behaviours, innapropriate sexual behaviours, and has other dangerous co-morbidities. He lives on welfare and does some volunteer work part-time, she thinks he is a saint. The middle borther is the lost child, he is disabled after a stroke, and is very needy of her.
I graduated in psychology and studied philosophy, however whatever I did was denigrated and devalued by her. She even asked me to quit my studies and go to France to work on her holiday home. I refused of course and gained a top qualification.
Being sent off to live with her mother at the age of 5, being threatened with being sent to an Orphanage if I did not wash up the dishes after a meal at the age of 7 or 8, constantly being told to “get lost” as a child….this is just the tip of the iceberg.
My NPD mother, I suspect, has psychopathic co-morbidity since her emotions are shallow and cold, she is deceptive, exploitative, and manipulative (married 4 times), has no empathy or remorse, and appears to relish using other people for her own ends.
I used to refer to her as “the tyrant”…She has always demanded adulation, unquestioning aceptance of her will, she is insanely defensive and will go on the attack if she senses any possible cricitism.
She lies like most people breathe, and when her lying is exposed she laughs about it and seems to think its a cute thing to do.
She has stolen our lives, none of us has children of our own, because speaking for myself I was made to feel worthless.
I have gone very low contact now,..a phone call once every six weeks, and feel much better for it.
I do feel sadness and anger for the terrible damage she has inflicted, but now is the time to heal and recover as much as is possible .
It really helps to express myself and to see that I am not alone.

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Ugly Hammer March 11, 2017 at 2:12 pm

I have recently started researching about narcissism because of how my mother in law treats my husband. She uses every opportunity she get to tell the world how he does not love her and that he Is not a good son. She told me that if she was a woman looking for a husband she would not want one like her son (how mean can one get!) Then she told my husband (before we got married) that he was not yet ready for marriage. Also, my husband has some unusual behaviours that I didn’t notice during courtship (I think he hid them from me out of fear). He has severe panic attacks, ignores his needs while fulfilling the needs of others and is not able to complete tasks that means a lot to him because of his inherent need to solve the problems of others. He also seems to be unaware of his own “self.” If I ask him to suggest a date night venue he always asks me to decide. He always has difficulty talking about himself. He is brilliant but an under achiever. I have discovered that my husband is thenchild of a narcissistic mother (He is an only child). He lived with her up to age 39. She manipulates him into doing whatever she wants whenever she wants by running guilt trips on him, punishments and constant nagging. She ensured that he never went to college and she neglected his emotional needs as a child. He was never allowed to ask questions, always told to shut up and literally groomed to believe that being at home with his mother was the safest bet for him. They started a home based business together which later failed. His mother was never married and his father lives in another country with his wife. My husband does not want children. Luckily, I have a son so I can live with that. One peculiar trait about my husband is that he apologizes for EVERYTHING. We are stuck in traffic and I get a little miserable and he says “I am so sorry Hon!” The line is too long at the supermarket and he apologizes.
I recently found this book online (Complex PTSD From Surviving To Thriving by Pete Walker) which helped me understand why he apologizes so much among the other traits that he exhibits. It is a real eye opener and points to childhood abuse. My husband is a FAWN and I am having challenges inspiring him just to read the book. He is afraid of what he will learn. It is quite frustrating watching someone you love just waste away living at the call of another without realizing his own true potential. I hope that one day he will realize that there is so much more to life than being someone else’s slave. Any advise on how to help him would be welcome.

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Eyesopen March 11, 2017 at 2:56 pm

Hi I found another website recommending this site and amazed to find so many people awaking to the same realisations I am that my mother is a narcissist to the extreme! I’m an only daughter now in my 40s and my childhood is coming back to haunt me. My father left my mum remarried a cold man and was my main parental influence but I recently discovered that it’s very likely she was and still is a full on swinger. Shocking though this is to a daughter it’s not my business about her private life but as I was so neglected I am terrified what may have happened to me as a child from all her “friends” as most of my childhood was miserable or a big blank in my memory! Not sure where to go to next for advice but wondered if others had similar concerns? The nightmare for me is getting worse as she is determined to grow old disgracefully and I’m suffering from the past and need to discover the truth. She has every other sign of narcissism too and is jealous of me and flirts with my husband! Help x

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vm March 20, 2017 at 5:46 pm

Her Kind

I have gone out, a possessed witch,
haunting the black air, braver at night;
dreaming evil, I have done my hitch
over the plain houses, light by light:
lonely thing, twelve-fingered, out of mind.
A woman like that is not a woman, quite.
I have been her kind.

I have found the warm caves in the woods,
filled them with skillets, carvings, shelves,
closets, silks, innumerable goods;
fixed the suppers for the worms and the elves:
whining, rearranging the disaligned.
A woman like that is misunderstood.
I have been her kind.

I have ridden in your cart, driver,
waved my nude arms at villages going by,
learning the last bright routes, survivor
where your flames still bite my thigh
and my ribs crack where your wheels wind.
A woman like that is not ashamed to die.
I have been her kind.

Anne Sexton

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