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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{ 621 comments… read them below or add one }

Dora December 24, 2014 at 12:24 pm

First of all, my friends on this site are very much in my thoughts and prayers this Holiday season. I am so grateful to all of you (welcome new friends!) for the wisdom and support these past few months. Honestly, it’s been a true lifeline. Hey, children of narcissists are awesome!!

I want to share a Christmas miracle story for this time of year. It’s an incredible story!

My father is deceased. He was a sociopath, narcissist (to the very extremest degree), and a borderline personality. He was extremely smart, and his life was a never-ending web of deception and destruction. Of course, he was very active is his Church. Narcissists often are….it’s part of the con.

My mother is also a narcissist. My father was 10x smarter than her, so her narcissism morphed into she’s great and perfect because he’s great and perfect. She might have had a little stockholm syndrome as well.

Anyway, my father got pancreatic cancer a few years ago, and lived for 6 months. During this illness, he had a bleeding episode where he lost over 50% of his blood. He was intubated, unconscious, etc. Well, when he recovered from this crisis episode he told me and me alone (because he had tried everything possible to destroy me and my husband) that God gave him a vision of his ENTIRE LIFE…EVERY MINUTE during this unconscious episode. My father said, “EVERY MINUTE WAS BAD”. Yes, I’m not kidding! A narcissist admitting that!

Every minute WAS bad, because Mr. Charming always had an evil agenda when he was being nice, kind, interested in others. Usually, he was rewarding a person for being on his “team” trying to destroy some chosen victim.

My father spent the rest of his illness like a true saint. Never a complaint, truly interested in others, truly grateful for everything anyone did. You could not find a more extreme contrast to the way he lived his life.

Here’s my take-away. First, it’s almost funny that God chose this way for my father to repent from his evil life. What other way could He reach a narcissist? Second, how much must God love each and every soul to go to those extremes? I don’t know if any of you have read, “The Great Divorce” by CS Lewis…but it’s an incredible book about Heaven and Hell. I always saw my father in this book….proudly sending himself off to hell (without even realizing it…). God saved my Dad through extreme measures. Wow, I still can’t believe this story. It inspires me to realize how much God loves everyone!

Anyway, I know that the hardest thing for all of us is to NOT keep hoping for a conversion, and NOT keep hoping for an apology. I don’t want to feed that hope! However, we can pray for these poor people, and we can hope for their eternal salvation WITHOUT enabling/ feeding/ supporting their evil ways. My precious priest told me, “Stop enabling these people!” when I agonized over going NC.

I pray a lot for my NM, but I don’t use her name. I have a weird neutral term to pray for my NM and my siblings (some very cruel). I do this because if I think of them specifically I fall down the rabbit hole of anger, disgust, obsessive thinking.

Again, I thank each and every one of you and wish you PEACE, HEALING, AND HOPE this Holy Season.


Molly December 27, 2014 at 8:04 pm

What a wonderful thing to happen. What a gift for you both.


Renee December 29, 2014 at 10:00 am

WOW! That is truly a miracle and definitely one that we seldomly even hear. I sincerely hope that it brings you peace and I adore your insightful ‘take aways’. A gift you will always cherish …. I’m so glad for you!


Anonymous January 11, 2015 at 4:32 pm

I also have a testimony that there is still room for God to work in even the most malignant narcissist. I feel that has been the case with my NM. Having to truly reflect on the abuse and callousness of a lifetime must be very hard.

My mother 78, recently had a close brush with death. Since I was unaware of all of these dynamics…..I have only been days into researching this…..I was taken into an emotionally traumatizing roller coaster. I want to believe God is good.

During the event, while I was actually having a PTSD reactions, she told me the most surprising thing. She said “I knew I was being mean to you, and I did it on purpose. I have no excuse except that. I was sick.” She also told me she knew God cared about all that she had done, and that she would be meeting him soon to discuss it.

She has been very mellow and contrite as she becomes weaker. This confuses and sometimes irritates me. I think, after all of the years of abuse, is it just OK that she gets all zen and ready for the meeting of her maker. Or is she just manipulating still and or just too tired to fight?

All of these conflicts have lead me here.


Velene Allen December 27, 2014 at 2:08 pm

I have felt so much pain because of the narcissistic personality of my daughter-in-law. She can abuse me but I feel for her children my grandchildren. I can’t save them from their Mother. She is very mean and they have sad children. They love coming to our house but she limits any happiness they have. How do I deal with her , other than stay away I have lost all respect and yet my heart is heavy seeing the uncertainty of all her children’s lives. It affects our whole family. The rest of us are close and have happy times until she appears. It’s miserable because those kids need our influence and love. What she wants she gets I see bitterness and no hope settling into their lives. I’ve heard her children say “I Hate My Mother” how sad is that? Give me some advice if that’s possible. She ruins most holidays as much as she possibly can. We call her on things but then it really gets ugly. HELP!


Dora December 28, 2014 at 8:19 am

Velene, I had a psychiatrist who knew both of my parents well tell me 22 years ago, “There is only one way to deal with a narcissist…FLATTERY”.

I know that must sound strange to so many on this site who are finally going NC after years of abuse. It certainly isn’t my “theme” right now as I glory in NC! However, I think this might be the perfect tool for you. It’s a tragedy for you, of course, to have this situation. However, you don’t have the psychological destruction of a parent treating you like this so you can maintain some detachment.

You will be the salvation of those children! I think you must…at all costs…keep your relationship with this family. I had a grandmother who loved me, and was a noble and good person. I saw her only one week a year, and yet she was the model of my life. I was four years old when I decided I would be like her, and NOT like my parents.

My gut instinct is don’t get too complicated. You don’t have to solve the problem, or even let them know about the problem (because it would backfire potentially). Just love them, and show them an example of virtue and selflessness and you will SAVE THEM. If you challenge this sick woman, she will cut you out of their life for sure. Somehow, make her feel like you are on “her team”. Friends on this site….I’m open to correction and other views here!

I’m very sorry you have this sad situation in your life. I would definitely explain this situation to the kids when they’re 18+.


Karl December 28, 2014 at 11:56 am

To what Dora wrote (all good advice, in my opinion) I’d add a thought from Molly’s post below: help your grand kids learn to love and trust each other. Encourage that. Easier said than done! Some thoughts on how to do that: Play games with them and teach them to compliment and appreciate each other. Ask them what they like about their siblings. “What’s the best thing….” Tell them how much you loved them when they were tiny beings so that they have the sense that they really were loved back then. Make your house their haven of love. Ask them about how they feel about things and validate those feelings. Good luck!


Dora December 29, 2014 at 6:35 am

That is a beautiful, concrete and powerful idea! I would have never thought of it……perfect! Everyone is so right….the NM robs siblings of trust and true love (people are “useful”/ “not-useful”). Great idea Karl. Good luck Velene…..those kids are so blessed to have you in their life.


Renee December 29, 2014 at 10:02 am

I concur.


Joy January 1, 2015 at 2:49 pm

Velene, When the children say they hate their mother, yes, it’s sad, but also hopeful, because they see something not right. They are definitely confused, but naturally egocentric at their young age, and will continue to absorb positive messages from you. Read as much as you can about this disorder, so you can manage the mother and maintain being a healthy influence in your grand children’s lives. When they are not minors any longer, you can chose NC with the mother, and adult children can heal with knowledge and support…especially having had a grandmother showing unconditional love for them. You may have to swallow your pride at times, but later on your grandchildren will need validation from you, so read, read, read.


Lisa January 2, 2015 at 1:37 pm

I agree with what everyone else has said in reply to your comment. I am new to this website and am so glad I found it. I am struggling with my NM now and at age 44 finally considering going no contact. What saved me growing up were my grandparents. My mother would never admit this, but they were the ones who truly cared for me and gave me the emotional and physical support I needed. Just loving your grandchildren, doing your best to be part of their lives even in the smallest ways that she will allow, it will all be remembered dearly by your grandkids. Don’t speak badly about their mother. They still love her and depend on her for their lives. They will have their own path to follow someday, in regards to her, but with you they need to feel your love at all times. It WILL save them.


Dani Glasson January 14, 2015 at 10:03 pm

My mother is a very violent Narcissist, I was her Golden Child, my brother her Scapegoat. It was hell for both of us in different ways. My Grandmother found a way to move in with us, even though my mother claimed she was hated by her own mother. If she hadn’t moved in with us, my brother or I would probably be dead by now. Try to find your way into the home before it’s too late.
People say the GC suffers less abuse, it’s not true, we both received beatings that lasted until my mother got tired. She used me like a pimp, I had the blond hair and grey eyes that she didn’t, she put me into dance classes, and even thought I loved it, I was always made to understand she had married my stepfather for me, so I could have the life she never had. I covered up her numerous affairs because she was so miserable and only endured her marriage for me. I was told at an early age she never wanted my brother and that since she only had him to keep my stepfather happy, he was my responsibility and I had to look after him, all the while doing her best to make him jealous of me.
She tried to get me into the sex industry as soon as I was legal, since in her warped mind I could meet a rich man and look after her, because in her words, I owed her for my wonderful life. I tried more than once to kill myself and ended up with an eating disorder, and doing anything she wanted, so that I could send her the money I made. She disapproved of anyone I went out with, but would flirt outrageously with them. I was an extremely messed up young adult, but managed to maintain a normal face to the world.
Breaking free was a nightmare and she tried everything from physical assault to cutting me off financially.
I finally managed to turn my life around and break free of her, (I have put a continent between us) now that I am in my 40’s. My brother is now the Golden Child, but even though he sees a therapist, he still lives with her and she will never let him go. He is also in his 40’s and has never had a proper relationship.

My advice to you would be to get into those children’s lives by any means possible, use her own weapons against her, lie you arse off, but help them, make her think it is all her idea and that you are doing it all for her, because you can obviously see that she needs more time to persue all the things she is so wonderfully good at.

I have only touchd on the tip of the iceberg, with what it was like growing up with an NMother, I hope this helps you a bit? I am here today because my Granny came to live with a woman who hated her in order to keep us safe (Gone but not forgotten Granny Chick) X


Molly December 27, 2014 at 8:01 pm

My NM died nearly 5 years ago. I met up with several siblings in early December and gave my oldest sister a printed copy of Michelle’s Recovery Handbook, asking her to read it and call me to discuss it if she wanted. Although I felt closest to her, we had a competitive relationship throughout our youth. This sister assisted me in caring for mom as she died and we formed a compatriotship through the struggle. By giving her the handbook, I was looking for validation of what I experienced growing up. We had a WONDERFUL conversation that was very helpful and affirming to both of us. Her experience with mom was similar, but with striking differences I never saw. We both agreed that we had never been able to trust our siblings, as mom has always pointed us at each other. This year, I decided to simply give my siblings the love they deserved. It was lovely.


Dora December 28, 2014 at 8:20 am

Beautiful Molly! I’m so happy to hear this story.


Karl December 28, 2014 at 11:49 am

Yes! I agree, Molly. Heartwarming. The line that resonated for me (with five siblings) was this one: “We both agreed that we had never been able to trust our siblings, as mom has always pointed us at each other.” NMs destroy the trust of siblings, and most of us don’t seem to realize that, just feel its effect, and blame each other. “Pointed us at each other” captures it perfectly.


Deborah December 31, 2014 at 6:06 pm

Gosh Molly,
That sounds so wonderful for the healing of u and your sister.
My NM is dying, I was visiting her every weekend & one weekend this September my “golden brother “. Bullied, intimidated and finally hauled off and hit me. At 57 he lives with my mom and becoming increasingly agitated with my visits. I went to the ER three days later since the numbness in my face had not subsided. Domestic violence is a manditory reportable offence. And the ER called the police. I signed a complaint to secure an order of protection knowing he would be arrested, but he had threatened to kill me. Deep down I KNEW this was going to cost me, clearly a lose lose situation.
I never would have imagined that my mom would offer to testify that I hit him when she wasn’t even in the room.
I nursed my mom back to life a year ago in my home for 6 months and she as well as the rest of the family threw me under the bus. The montra being “look what Debbie is doing to june)
I’m being punished by no contact, no updates on her condition & now I’m supposed to pick up a Christmas present & jewlery from her via my brother in law.
I’m so happy I ran across this website, everything in my 61 years is beginning to make sense.
Thank you


Martha December 28, 2014 at 6:54 pm

I am happy to have found this site! I have struggled my whole adult life with conflicting feelings about my mother. To make this shorter… My father died about 1 1/2 years ago and this tendency just soared to the forefront in my mother. I had never recognized until my fathers death. Mom became so very self absorbed! At first I gave her the space thinking she will get better.. It is just her way of dealing with daddy’s death. But no! Now I see it! I do not think she is on the worst end of this … But definitely has some issues. She has told me for years that she thinks she is perfect and reminds me of this regularly. She has always been an attractive woman and even at 85 she is attractive…. And she knows it. Her value system is linked to her beauty, possessions and wealth. I have just spent 24 hours at her home with my brother and his family… And I just don’t ever want to go back! It is so fresh. She tears me down.. So subtlety . It always takes me days to recover after I’ve been with her. I am never at peace whn I am there. But the question.. Now that I know what I am dealing with, how do I proceed? We do live in different towns… But she is still my mother. How do I deal with her?


barb December 28, 2014 at 11:24 pm

Hi Martha – i can related. My mom never acknowledges that her children lost their father when my dad died, only her grief mattters. I have worked very hard at letting go of my mom while remaining in her life with boundaries clearly established. A grieving process to grieve the mother i never had and heal the deep primordial abandonment pain that feels so awful. To heal the past and to fully acknowledge that she (and because of the handing down aspect of this thing me as well) carry deep seated fear that manifests in dumping “crazy” on a “willing” victim. I say crazy because it cannot be challenged as it is so subtle and just crazy making in denial and on and on as you know and we are there taking it so I say willing (we long for love we still hope we can get and afraid we are really not enough just like she implies). So…i have been able to heal the pain in me so i can see her pain and not take it personally (see i am enough) i do not permit her to remain unaware of what she is saying. It must be handled in a firm way but not over reacted to (i think over reactingis a sign of the pain in you which you must learn to feel and grieve). It is a delicate balance. I say things like – I know you are feeling afraid but if you will not stop talking about this subject I will be leaving. then do it with love in your heart for you AND her. Dealing with her has very litle to do with her and more to do with you loving you and sitting with the pain. Its hard and it hurts but it heals. i joined buddhist centre, listen to eckhart tolle, krishnamurti, thich nhat hahn, meditate, cry lots, nature, learn to be whole and she (and any other people that need to hurt others) will not be able to hurt you because the hurt is not there for them to touch AND you can love them (not in a co-dep way tho) sometimes from afar…best wishes for 2015


Karl December 29, 2014 at 6:42 am

Martha and barb, your stories resonate so much with me. My NM is the stealth type that mostly gets away with it because she is a master at flying under the radar. She too flaunts her beauty and energy at age 81. She is always doing things for other people, and reporting each and every thing she does. I wish I could take barb’s Buddhist approach, but I just can’t. The whirlpool around my NM is just too toxic for me. (Or my Catholic software is like Internet Explorer: cannot be deleted.) I have elected to go NC for now, perhaps forever, I don’ t know. What I know is that is has been a slow-growing blessing to have control of my relationship with my NM these last two months. So I think, Martha, the answer to your final question is one that you will need to come up with, and whatever that answer is, whatever feels right to you, IS right. NC or LC with strict boundaries or something else. (And if the approach you take isn’t quite right, revise and try something else, and know that that will be the right approach, too. Whatever call you make to restore and keep your sanity is the right call. You will get a lot of support here for that, but I wouldn’t expect much anywhere else, where “she’s old, she’s grieving, she doesn’t have much time” would likely be the general response. (Siblings, friends, other family just tend not to “get” it–even when they are on your side–that’s been my experience.) The bottom line is that getting your life back from a narcissistic parent who has had possession of it for decades is enough of a blessing all by itself. Go for it. You deserve it. Whatever positive steps you take in this direction will be worth it. I doubt you’ll regret a single one.

Here’s to the changes large and small that all of us need in 2015!

Happier New Year everyone.


Anonymous December 31, 2014 at 7:39 am

Karl, you are so intuitive. Your reply to me is so right on target. Mom is so subtle that I am sure no one would ever guess what my life has been like. I have had many of her friends say to me, ” your mother is so wonderful, so thoughtful, so kind! You are so lucky to have her!” Even one of my sisters believes mom is the best.. So generous and wonderful. This has not been my experience at all. So when it comes to support I appreciate your council that I will not find it out there! But on this site. Thank you for that. I am contemplating seeing a therapist that I saw shortly after dad died and I dealt with these feeling about my mom then. It has been like layers peeling away as I have come to understand and see who and what my mother is . Now to move forward. I will be Martha D. Thanks


Renee December 31, 2014 at 8:50 am

Martha D~

Welcome to a new world where you are valid, understood, and cared for. I firmly believe survivors of NMs are some of the most compassionate folks that walk the earth.

Good luck on your journey. Recovery can be wonderful, tiring, depressing, elating, and just about every adjective one can think of …… and sometimes it’s all of these in a single thought.

I have come to learn that narcissism is sometimes not a strong point with therapists, unless they have specialized training and emphasis (like Michelle). Because the NM views that nothing is wrong with them, it is everyone who needs help and there the soup thickens. How can you really study and dissect this disorder when you don’t have a patient?

During a sexual harassment issue at work that I was in counseling for (as the unwanting victim), this issue came up. While the therapist was understanding of my feelings, she had little to no clue really what this disorder is. My suggestion, if I may be so bold, (and not sure where you are in the world), is to seek a therapist that specializes in this area. It’s hard to be the patient and the ‘educator’!

Good luck to you. You are welcome and safe here.


Anonymous January 14, 2015 at 5:59 am

Excellent post! Thank you.


Anonymous January 14, 2015 at 6:00 am

Karl, excellent post. Thank you.


Anonymous January 28, 2015 at 8:39 pm

At 63 I’m just figuring out what happened to me. Classic NM mother. Your post is helpful. Thank you.


martha (different from above) December 29, 2014 at 3:11 am

Hi. Thanks for all the painful sharing that you have done. This is my first time writing on any site (even though I’ve been reading these for a while) about this, but I’m feeling beaten down. I’m forty years old and my mother (who qualifies for everything on this list except those that are sex related, since sex is dirty) has just been diagnosed with cancer, and is running me ragged. She’s going in for surgery in the morning but she picked a fight two days ago and won’t speak to me. No, I’m not drowning in guilt but I do expect that I will be receiving many phone calls telling me what a horrible daughter I am. To the list above I would like to add the saboteur. Does anyone else have a mother who has attempted sabotage of their professional and personal lives so that they can offer you help and then threaten you (with actual starvation)if there is ever an argument? Please don’t ask how this happened. The story is long., but those who have experienced something like it may be able to imagine. I’m braced for war and since she is seeing this as her final performance things are about to get ugly. Full on character assassination is the least of my worries. I’m feeling both isolated and desperate, and while I have no belief in my mother’s ability to change, it would have been nice to find just one thing to love about her and remember well. Blessings on you all


Karl December 29, 2014 at 6:57 am

Love seems very hard to imagine conjuring in a situation as you describe, martha. What about empathy? Can you see your NM as you might see an angry child or a dog whose fear makes it aggressive? It seems to me that mothers like ours operate in the unconscious realm pretty much all the time. It’s a very crazy world they inhabit. We can’t change that and many of us finally eject out of that world, and choose to watch from afar, as sad and lonely as this world is to inhabit (even if they proclaim otherwise). Maybe it would help to find rituals that are meaningful to you (such as intentionally interacting with strangers and staff at the hospital) to keep you grounded throughout the final performance, so in the end the empathetic chords in your soul are touched and your boundaries aren’t shredded, as so much NM behavior tends to do. I hope this helps!


marttha December 29, 2014 at 1:44 pm

I have both a dog and an occasionally angry child. I’m very fond of both. They are able to display empathy :)


Renee December 31, 2014 at 9:01 am


Each post here barely scratches the surface of what we all have endured with our NM; the threats, the triangulation, the sabotage, the silent treatment, the sheer meanness (did I spell that right?) from someone who should give the ultimate love.

Your feelings are spot on and you are already ahead in the game if you understand that your NM does NOT have the ability to change. And with that, set aside the fear and ‘bracing’ and call one happy memory with your NM. Just one …. it’s all you need and that’s what you can hold onto.

Martha, it takes two to battle. Don’t allow yourself to listen to her rants. Perhaps taking a calm approach (as if she’s a tantruming 2 year old) and when she steps over the line ~ and they’ll do that super quick), clearly state, ‘mother, you are not to talk to me in that tone/words/etc, and if you continue I must end the call.’ Now this is going to rocket her to the moon but this is the start for your ‘line in the sand’.

Time to stand up for yourself Martha. You can do it. Each time it gets easier. Each time you dis-empower them, you gain power and momentum and confidence. NM behavior will worsen and increase ……… know that. That’s a signal they are losing their grip on you.

Hug your sweet dog.


Brandy December 29, 2014 at 7:09 am

I have a narcissistic mother. I am her only child, so I just can’t wrap my head around why she’s done the evil things to me. Up to and including taking my baby when I was 17. It’s always been about control for her. I have spent my life asking why? I also thought that if my own mother can’t love me who can? I am just now at a point in life where I eealize I’m ok. I’m a great person. Im a good mother, though I struggle at times. It is constant work to pre think everything I say and do with my girls. I will probably always feel shame and guilt for losing my oldest daughter to my mother. I will for evermore be in her debt for letting that woman manipulate an threaten me into letting my baby go. I really wonder if I can ever recover. But honestly I feel I deserve to feel so horrible. I deserve it because I subjected my baby to the tyrant. There is nothing more heart wrenching than your 2 year old begging you to not take her back. “Mommy I don’t belong to her I belong to you” those words will haunt me for life.


marttha December 29, 2014 at 1:54 pm

Brandy, I’m also an only child, and it is both better and worse. You are the only source and therefore the golden child, ignored child, and scapegoat (sometimes all in the same day). Your only mistake was to hope (that it would get better, and that she might change). That’s human, and you did this because you are an empathic and sensitive human being. I am so sorry that your child became involved. I can offer you no other comfort but that you are not alone. I have made similar mistakes. Don’t lose all hope with your daughter. Hoping for the best for you.


Sandy January 17, 2015 at 9:44 pm

Marttha, do you have advice on being the only child – its a burden I’m getting SO tired of dealing with.. almost 53 and still dealing with relatives who think I’m just spoiled and lazy.
I found out 2 weeks ago thank God about this NM stuff – man has life changed for the better since.. all those questions since toddlerhood.
Two years, then again a year ago I tried to talk to a cousin about some of the frustrations around mom – a health care professional, she still didn’t get it.
I see now I was just venting, and searching for answers — all the “why”s – I’ve found stories on this blog I could’ve written myself — and seeing how silly it was talking to my cousin. The cousins and their families are mom’s golden children.
My MN is ultra super-defensive – any talk of boundaries is met with backlash – at the time and then the worse retributions that come some times weeks later..
– is my only way out to lie and say I have a job?
– quit my job 5 yrs ago to try and enjoy some time with her in her latter years – newly translated as I was trying to be as golden as I could to see if I could finally get my mom to love me… turns out all I did I think was drag myself ft into her bag of needs and wants, and bring out the extreme of her N behaviour. woops
– thought I’d be taking time for myself as needed or wanted– she hates that – I didn’t know how much, or that famous “but why??”
– gotta wear the actor’s mask: any pointers?
– she’s getting crazy-odd about money, too… 93 yrs.. bright, perky, lives on her own, likes to brag about it but getting weaker…
The best to everyone in dealing with this– and it looks like there are so many of us.
– looks good on the outside – nobody wants to see my insides…


marttha January 21, 2015 at 10:25 pm

Hi Sandy.
I won’t give you advice because there is no winning. I will tell you what I am doing but that does not make it right for everyone. There is no judgment here, we all do what we must to get through it. A great quote that I read once has inspired me a lot (in all of it’s bitterness) “The best way to defeat an enemy is to outlive them”. Since your mom is 93, hopefully you won’t have too long to wait. Sometimes this seems like no comfort, because I swear that these women live on their own spite. I have hit the point where I do not share relationships with my mother, neither with family, nor with friends. She has engaged in so much character assassination that I have no close family left and I have been forced to distance myself from family friends. This way she can not triangulate and release the flying monkeys. This takes away a lot of her power. I have gauged the number of times I can speak to her in a given amount of time without a blow out, after which point my phone is mysteriously on the fritz again. She can no longer just show up because the adorable shelter dog that I just adopted is an eighty pound Tamascan, whose vigorous loving is too hard on her old bones (Coincidence?). During all of my interactions I remind myself that she does not and cannot love, and this will never change even on her death bed. Then I smile and say “what can I do for you today?”, and expect nothing in return, that I will be insulted, infantilized etc. Never show fear. Best of luck and stay strong.


Dora December 30, 2014 at 5:41 am

Brandy, your story breaks my heart and I hope you can forgive yourself.

Marttha is so right…we’ve all done similar. The scars of growing up with a NM produces many sad twists and turns in all of our lives.

Also, I’m convinced that there is a syndrome of NM’s taking away children from their children. It makes perfect sense…cruelty, control, complete self-centeredness. You were a baby yourself…and you gave this child life. Not easy, and it took a lot of courage! When your daughter reaches age 17, she will be amazed at what you did for her. I had a friend who worked at a crisis pregnancy center tell me that there was a weird phenomenon that the workers all observed. A mother would bring in her pregnant teen…and it was clear that she had actually wanted this situation, and wanted “another chance” to raise a child.

I think all of us on this site understand that an apology….even in your 50’s would be embraced and would be trans-formative. You’ve sent that message to your daughter her whole life!

Brandy, I’m glad you’re on this site. I hope it helps you as much as it’s helped me.


Marc Bahn December 30, 2014 at 4:47 pm

Not really comfortable getting into women’s conversations but I’ve been reading a lot about narcissistic mom’s, out of necessity, and I thank you for the above piece. I believe you left out “Vicious Moms”.

I am a man and I live with and take care of my mother who is almost 90 yo. This has been going on for 2 years. She’s behaved like a lunatic for all of my life. I have a brother, her golden child. I ignored her for almost 20 years. Her golden child visits her for about 3 hours per year. I am going insane. I am now drinking like my father did and I’m not happy with that but can’t help it. It is the only escape I can find.

Now that she is old and pitiful looking she is lauded over and pitied by everyone she meets, which isn’t very much. She says terrible things about me. She lies, brazenly. She has had me arrested and thrown in jail, only to have the charges dropped once her history comes out.

How does one deal with a mother like that, whom you do not want to abandon?

My own children are grown and gone and I am divorced. What’s left?


martha December 30, 2014 at 5:54 pm

Hi Marc!
I’m new here too and from what I can see this is not a women’s site by any means. You are not the only guy here whose mother is intolerable and you certainly don’t need girl parts to comment or to feel this pain. I wish there was a manual for dealing that didn’t involve withdrawing. I’ve discovered that ascribing human emotion to my mother is a form of animism. If yours is similar, there is no good way to deal. But you can sooth yourself a little by not describing your own actions as abandonment. That’s your guilt showing and protecting yourself is self preservation. I hope you can be as forgiving to yourself as you are to your mother.


Carol December 31, 2014 at 7:02 am

Hi Marc,

She is still working on you. Is an assisted living or nursing home a possibility? I suggest you do it. Good luck and wishing you the best.


Karl December 31, 2014 at 8:06 am

Wow, Marc, this sounds tough. I’m really sorry to hear what you have to face everyday. This is abuse. I agree with Carol’s suggestion about finding a way to get out of the role of active caretaker. You’ve done two years. Isn’t it time for the GC to step in? Plus, get some good counseling. It will help. I get the reason why you are drinking like your father did (that’s in my family, too) , but it won’t help. In fact, quite the opposite. Good luck to you.


Molly December 31, 2014 at 9:45 am

Wow! I hear and feel your pain. Marc. You sound trapped. My experience was so similar to yours that I am feeling some PTSD symptoms just reading your post. And the drinking … after a long day ‘caring’ for mom and trying my best to keep her from burning down the house, I would inhale a bottle of wine. Major depression was my outcome, and I’m still climbing out 5 years later.

I would be very happy to share what helped me during a similar time. You can contact me at hickman reg at g mail dot com.


Renee December 31, 2014 at 9:11 am

Hi Marc~

Welcome. And as you look back, there are lots of guys who have checked in over this entire site. Glad you took that scary first step.

I agree with the group, this one is a toughie. This is a no-win situation so I vote for YOU! As Carol said, is there a nursing home she can finish her days in? If you are being arrested at her hand, that’s a deal-breaker. Don’t mean to sound bossy, but run like the wind Marc. You owe her nothing. Now is the time to start your recovery.

Best wishes.


Chris December 31, 2014 at 10:59 pm

My mother seems to have a combination of NPD and Munchausen : throughout my 50-year life she has been sick with every disease and disorder known to medicine. This has been a tremendous drain on my (and my sisters) spirit, as it was impossible to have any kind of “normal” life, growing up, and it became apparent to me, as I became an adult, that we didn’t receive the kind of emotional and cognitive support needed to provide the kind of foundation necessary to thrive in our adult lives. Her constant (and chronic) illnesses (always life-threatening) serve to keep the attention on herself. It is impossible for me to feel sympathetic anymore, as I now see very clearly that her announcements of new illnesses (always self-diagnosed) are just manipulating, ways to evoke an emotional response in others and to subsequently receive attention and sympathy. Seriously, it is worse than I can explain. Yet, for being the sickest person in the world, she is a CHAIN SMOKER!!! She has always played my sisters and me against one another, where we have gone decades without talking to one another (because of a lack of trust). I could go on and on. Have any of you experienced this type of NPD/Munchausen combination?
I wish you all the best for the coming new year, and in dealing with your NMs.


Dora January 2, 2015 at 7:03 pm

Chris, I’m sorry about everything you’ve been through. It’s not my personal experience (the hypochondria), but it sounds like CLASSIC narcissist behavior. I’m glad you’re on this site, and I hope it helps you as much as it’s helped me. I’ve had to go NC with my entire large family because the rest of them are tightly enmeshed in my sick, dysfunctional family. Being the “scapegoat”, I’ve always had a much greater awareness of the sickness (and cruelty). Have you looked at the “roles”….Golden Child, Scapegoat, etc? That’s really been helpful for me. Good luck in navigating new freedom in 2015 Chris!


LA January 13, 2015 at 4:02 pm

I can relate to the Munchausen. For my mom, it’s Munchausen by Proxy. She’s targeted my brother as the Golden Child but only b/c she became obsessed with his health after he was misdiagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis at a young age. He’s never had a normal life and is now 40 and living with her. I’ m 5 years older and moved across the country to get away from the dynamic. (Our father died 15 years ago and it added another layer to the NM). I feel like an orphan sometimes but that’s better than having to live under her thumb. We speak occasionally on the phone and I sometimes hold the phone at arm’s length, I just don’t believe or care anything she has to say. I don’t have kids or a husband, what a surprise. I wasn’t groomed to have normal relationships so I live in crazy town LA and it suits me just fine. The key is to really, really not give a shit. For me, it’s a form of self-preservation. Might not work for everyone (with a heart).


Molly January 1, 2015 at 10:09 pm

Well, this is random. I just remembered a rhyme my NM would recite: “Fatty Fatty two by four, couldn’t get through the bathroom door …”

I was always uncomfortable with that. There were other things she would say that were crude and rude. I felt they were being directed at me. She was such a gossip, too. Always putting down other people. And she centered herself around her ‘things.’ One story involved her grandmother, who had a train pass that allowed her to visit a sister at the beach. She would come home (she lived with her daughter and my mother, her granddaughter) and they all gathered round while she unpacked her round black patent leather travel case. It was full of antiques that she took from her sister’s boarding house. Mom thought that was great, and she (and her mother) cherished that loot. No boundaries, no integrity.

After mom died, I had her ‘things’ appraised for the estate. They were worth very little. But to my NM, they were worth more than her children.


ASB January 2, 2015 at 12:35 pm

Found this site and it made my new year! My Mom is a time hostage, downer, assessor, jealous, passive/aggressive, character assassinator, wounded, needy, time sucker, hypochrondriac, financially challenged and NEGATIVE human being I know… I am 43 and she is in her mid 60s. Basically the way I handle the relationship is to ignore her most of the time but it’s difficult as I am an only child. My husband and children can’t stand her either. She seriously has no redeeming qualities and she has always treated me horribly. Despite this upbringing I have created a remarkably successful and extremely happy life for myself. And she can’t stand it. It makes me sick thinking that someone can be so ugly… And the worst part is that she brings out ugliness in me. It’s the one manipulation that I can’t seem to free myself from. It’s easier for me to ignore her most of the time and then just brush off the indignation… But I thinking of cutting her out completely to safeguard my sanity. Any thoughts on that?


Joy January 2, 2015 at 10:40 pm

Hi ABS. Just found this site too…Happy New Year. I’m early 50’s and have an N mother and sister. I have gone NC with my sister for 1 and 1/2 years now, and slowly backing away from my mother. After arming myself with knowledge, and going through the grieving process, I am able to label my mother’s tricks and set boundaries. This is empowering for me, careful to show no emotion, other than my happiness that she cannot penetrate. I am not hopeful that my new found strength will change her, but she is learning that I cannot be manipulated or controlled in any way. She is starting to back away from me, I guess out of fear of exposure, or not getting any “feed”, who knows, and I have learned not to care. My sister is much more vengeful. Although each situation is different, I want to stress the need to be your strongest before going NC, if possible. My sister was relentless and cunning when I chose NC with her. From obsessively emailing from different accounts, voicemail from various phones, exploiting my nephews, attempting to split me from my other siblings, and most recently this Christmas, attempting to humiliate me through lies with extended family (I chose not to attend the gathering). I don’t know when this will end, or where it’s going, but never taking the bait has given me the control I need. I wish you all the strength you need if you chose NC with your mother. It was very tough for me to realize that she truly has no compassion for me, and I was born for her selfish gain. I am beating this with knowledge, a supportive and validating husband and mother-in-law, and having had a loving, although burned out Dad (now deceased). Take care of yourself, protect and let your happiness shine. Read a great quote about inner peace that I keep running through my head ” I have no interest in interpreting the actions of others”. Stay strong, it gets easier and easier.


Louisa January 2, 2015 at 11:19 pm

I’ve always knows something wasn’t right with my mother, but it’s only recently that I figured out and researched the label; narcissism. Mostly I thought it was paranoid delusions, and yet she could behave normally when she chose to and knew perfectly well what she was doing. Like a lot of the others on this page, she was big in the church when my brothers and I were young and delighted in sniffing out witches and demons, often becoming obsessed with particular people and claiming they were out to get her.
It was like we were raised in a hostage situation and often had to move town and change schools. Maintaining friends was hard, adjusting to new places was hard, having the threat of an explosion at home was hard.
She would chop and change her tactics as well, she was never consistent.
When I was small and only just started school she would leave me waiting for up to an hour to get picked up. Every other child would have gone as well as the teachers and a six, or seven or eight year old kid would be sitting alone on the street. If I got a lift with a friend I would be punished for making her look bad when I got home.
Later on, I wouldn’t be able to get away from her. Some nights she would make my brother and I (our oldest brother left home at 14) stand and listen to her rant for as long as six hours. It would take all night and be well after midnight before she was done with us. These rants usually consisted of how much we never appreciated her, what would happen to us if she wasn’t around, how our father didn’t want us either and how much we were just like our “arsehole father”. I was no more than 4 when this started (or at least I can’t remember before that). If we proved inattentive during the rant we would be slapped. My bother and I developed a technique for simultaneously listening and escaping within our own heads at the same time. This way we could somewhat ignore her but if she snapped a question at us we could respond appropriately.
When I was in high school I almost failed my last year and barely passed. I never got any peace to study because my mother would park herself in my room and talk incessantly about whatever her latest obsession was. My life (since my brothers had both left) was completely controlled by her and the only space I had which was mine was my own head. She resented the fact that she didn’t have complete access to that too and was constantly trying to guess what I might be thinking or would “tell” me what I was thinking.
Needless to say, I left home as soon as I could. Unfortunately when I tried moving states to get away from her, she followed me. She even once rented the apartment next door to me at one time, but due to her chaotic nature and inability to get along with anyone, ended up moving. Leaving home was the start of more stability than I had ever experienced before. I didn’t have to uproot my life unless I chose to. I could hold down jobs and relationships without the poisoning effects of my mother around. I could go to university and do well.
Recovery has not been easy but having the support of my brothers and my partner has helped. My brothers and I sometimes swap stories like a bunch of veterans. We’re the only people who can completely understand one another. I’ve stared talking to my Dad about it more. It’s helping him too, which is nice, since he had no idea what he did wrong or what he could have done differently.
None of us can do anything more than what we did. In the end, it was always her choice. No one forced her to waste money moving numerous times and long distances, or feeling isolated because she believes everyone is evil and out to get her.
She’s so paranoid and delusional these days that she now says when an aircraft flies over her house that they’re doing it because she moved her mobile phone from one room to another and the cops are keeping tabs on her. Yes, she is that crazy.
We still have contact with her, partly out of the ingrained guilt (which is reducing over time) and partly because she’s our mother (unfortunately). However, there have been times and probably will continue to be times, when we cut contact and refuse her invasions and tantrums. She has no power in our adult lives but at times we need to harshly remind her of it and put her back in her place.
For example, she threw a tantrum at Christmas because my brother went interstate for a family reunion. She likes throwing tantrums at Christmas, it has maximum impact. These days we couldn’t care less so she’s losing her power and becoming whiny and pathetic over it.
She’ll never change and she’ll probably end up alone, but it’s not our responsibility to raise our mother anymore and I have no sympathy for her behaviour (you might be able to tell…)
She’s coming nowhere near my children when I have them. I won’t even let my partner engage in an argument with her. I’m familiar with the losing battle and he is not, plus if he engages then he becomes “the enemy” and I know she’ll try and destroy him. She once threatened to tell my boss that I was a druggie to get me fired because I had cut contact. I told her to do her worst because I could prove she was lying.
Bottom line for anyone out there; put up with it if you have no choice, but always have an escape plan and once you’re out be prepared to fight for your freedom and give them no quarter.


Jill January 3, 2015 at 3:32 pm

I absolutely despise my MIL. It’s gotten to the point that I have asked my husband for a respite from her contact. But now she she mainly emails his work so she can continue her manipulation without my knowledge. The worst is my husband is blind to her ways. If only he was aware of her toxicity and would arm himself against her relentless attacks maybe our marriage wouldn’t be in the trouble it is. He sees my frustration as a result of misguided choices he made in trying to include me in his dysfunctional family. And I’m afraid that if he doesn’t see that it is her manipulation tiger is no way forward for me. My husband is one of two children and he is the golden child co-dependant on her approval his brother is a nasty narsisstic clone of the mother. They use her age and the fact that he has two nieces to constantly guilt him into spending time with them. I can’t stand the whole works of them. I constantly mimic her now and when she tries her games with me I throw them right back at her in a sarcastic way that make me the devil. I’m a hard working woman who gives far to much to give the crazies a second of my time. I do however fear that if he dose not see the truth I’m going to go through hell when she finally takes her dirt nap.


Karl January 4, 2015 at 5:16 am


I know your story well. It’s my SIL’s too. She and I talk some, partly because I don’t think that my brother (her husband) is willing to go NC with our NM, and she won’t go NC without him. (He’s the scapegoat, not the GC. He is LC with our mother.) The way I see it, both of them have an unhealthy relationship with my NM, and both need to figure out what they want to change. Maybe they will come to same place, but maybe not. (Esp if my brother doesn’t want to change things, and my SIL does.)

It must be really difficult to live with someone who doesn’t see the narcissistic reality that you see. (I’m lucky in that my wife and I are one the same page, though I would add that I don’t think a spouse can really understand the damage of a NM. The biggest reason I am on this wonderful site is to keep sorting that question out.) As with my SIL, I can feel your anger in your words. It must be awful to be so angry–not unlike the horror forever remaining a child looking for love from a NM. I worry about my SIL’s anger as she doesn’t seem to think it is something she has control over, that she must just bear up with it, that it is inevitable, that it won’t go away unless my brother does something to change his life with our NM.

What would your husband say if you decided to go NC with you MIL? That might be a start. Have you and your husband ever talked to a therapist about this? If not, you might try that. It might be especially to have someone mediate a conversation between the two of your about why you can no longer participate in his family’s life. A good therapist might help him understand narcissism. But, a warning. The full realization of the impact of my NM on me hit like a ton of bricks. And it hit in our therapist’s office and I don’t think he handled that moment particularly well. For me, it was the sudden realization that I had never been loved by my mother, and the confusion between being unloved and feeling that that meant I was unloveable. It took me some time to sort that out, but that week after the realization hit was dark indeed. I has led to much better places, but I wish the therapist had been more help. Good luck with your journey!


Dora January 4, 2015 at 1:39 pm

Jill, I really appreciate Karl’s words and wisdom.

I can’t imagine being in my husbands shoes. It’s been horrible being the SG child of narcissistic parents…but my husband has put up with horrific abusive behavior from them (they were very jealous of him), AND he had to endure my 24/7 devastation from their latest attacks on me. That said…I think I would have had a nervous breakdown if he’d pushed me to go NC before I came to that decision on my own (25+ into the marriage).

I don’t envy you….seeing the situation clearly and not being able to reach your husband. I would have never had the patience!

I’m smart and very strong-willed…and yet I was a pathetic, groveling fool desperately trying to be worthy of their love until I was almost 50. The problem is that the desire to be loved by your mother (secondarily father) is the strongest basic need there is. Most of the people on this site going NC are in their late 40’s and early 50’s. It takes a really long time to give up!

Karl’s so right about finding the right therapist. The sooner your husband can “give up”, the sooner he can be free and happy (I think). I wish you the best Jill!


Mea January 4, 2015 at 3:50 pm

Hi all,

I have recently gone NC with my NM after a number of years of bad behaviour from her. I have grown up as the Golden Child of both parents (my father is also a high-functioning narcissist), but am now experiencing my time in the shadows as my NM has decided I am the scapegoat.

Both of my parents are (on the outside) nice, gregarious, intelligent, high-functioning – and completely unaware of (or defended against) their own toxic behaviour. My father is more of a secret narcissist – exemplary on the surface but has a dark underbelly. I have contact with him, just with strong boundaries, which suits us both. My mother is about 10 of the narcissistic types listed above, as she has been in a tailspin since my parents divorced about 5 years ago. She has a select group of people who support and supply her, but everyone else is pretty wised up to her toxic behaviour. However, I am the only one who is NC with her as my sisters still maintain contact with her for their own reasons, despite openly acknowledging that she is “crazy”.

All of this I am coming to terms with, and I’m no longer especially bothered about not talking to my NM. I have a bit of a lingering complex, however, that I am an insightless narcissist, being the child of two narcissistic parents. My NM’s catch-cry throughout my life has been that I am just “projecting” my own negative traits onto other people, if I challenged her bad behaviour or the bad behaviour of someone that she liked. So although I know it may be irrational, I am worried that I have these traits but am not aware of them.

I have two small children and love them dearly, but have noticed of late that I might be turning off my affection for my two year old as punishment for naughty behaviour. I hope that the realisation that I am doing this will help me to change, but am worried that developing more narcissistic traits is inevitable.

Does anyone else think this way? I’m driving myself a bit crazy!


sarah January 5, 2015 at 7:07 am

Hi mea the fact you question your reactions is, I think, a good sign you are not following in their footsteps. Awareness is the key. My girls are 5 and 2 and I worry all the time of the effect of my emotions on them. I have only recently realized what my mother is having known for years things were very wrong. It is my greatest fear I will become my mother. The other contributors on this site will have better words of reassurance for you as they are further along the road and have older kids too…


Dora January 5, 2015 at 8:12 am

Hi Mea. I agree with Sarah completely. If you have that humility to strive to do better, and honestly assess your parenting YOU ARE NOT A NARCISSIST! I think many of us have found that we’ve had to work very hard at learning how to parent. First, we’ve rejected our own parenting. Second, we’ve had to find/ learn/ educate ourselves how to parent. For me, studying very hard at “respect based” parenting techniques has been a God-send. I’ve actually dedicated my life to promoting this…and it really heals me to think of helping people parent their children with love and respect. We’ve been blessed with Montessori schools for our six kids. However, there are lots of parenting programs and books that promote wonderful respect-based parenting. I needed to learn everything. I mean everything! Using consequences vs. punishments. Learning ways to encourage vs. praise (praise teaches dependence on adult approval), etc., etc. I desperately needed practical tips and techniques that reflected respect-based parenting. My favorite book is Taking Charge by Nordling. Good luck Mea. You sound like a great mom to me!


Joy January 5, 2015 at 9:53 am

Hi Mea,
I agree with Sarah and Dora. Self awareness and proper parenting skills is all you really need.
Promote compassion, truth, and humour with your child. Hearing your child’s true “belly” laugh is the sweetest music, and infectious. Seek it, together, whether it be watching funny videos, or reading comic books. Take back all that time sucking mental energy, and use it to develop your own happy, healthy family. Above all, never use withdrawal of love as a consequence, and find little ways to show that they are valued as a member of the family.


Renee January 5, 2015 at 10:40 am

Happy, Healthy, Empowered New Year to everyone!!!

It’s a very long road we are on; re-defining ourselves, acknowledging our parent(s) are psychologically disturbed, re-navigating the world, learning to trust again, learning to love the ‘right way’, so much for innocent, well-deserving, courageous folks to face. And we ROCK!

There has been some progress I’d like to share. As you all know, it is practically impossible to get people to believe how manipulative, deceptive, and wicked our NMs (and enabling family members) can be. Sadly, not only do we carry the burden of NMs actions but then we’re also saddled with guilt gifted by others about being ungrateful, or ‘your poor mother, she only just wants to love you ……………’. It can shove us deeper into the hole of despair.

And then comes the break-throughs. After a decade+ of sharing incidents of my NM, people at work ‘get it’ and it is so liberating! It’s as if half of the battle is over ~ I’m finally believed!

My dear husband’s mother somehow enjoys stirring up pots and then stands back while it bubbles or blows the lid off. I care for her very much and we are always there when she needs us ~ I wouldn’t have it any other way. She has always been an advocate that our children ‘make up to grandma’, ‘she’s so sick’, ‘she doesn’t have much time’, etc., even after I have asked her many times to not do this. Rarely has stood up for the children when my NM would do tricky, mean things to them. This is a new year and a firmer me.

A few weeks back my ‘mil’ said she ‘accidentally’ dialed my NM (yeah, right!). Of course my NM explained she’s close to the end and my mil fell for it ~ the drama, and my NM asked if my mil would pick up a letter and ‘gifts’ (a letter for one and a gift for my other daughter ….. more games). My mil called me last Friday and said she had picked up the items from my NM and can she bring them over. Yep, I was miffed but held my cool and told her to drop them off at the gate. The conversation ended with her snipping, ‘Well, I guess I should just take everything back to your mother” and I told her that would be best. Usually I’m accommodating but, again, a new ME. I think it surprised her that I didn’t give in and I’m not giving in any more to assaults on my children.

I texted her later in the day; “Yes, please return items to Barbara. She can figure out another delivery method n not use you. Sorry this is happening on ur birthday.” Didn’t hear another word from her that day.

The next day I texted her; ‘ In following up to protect my family, were the items you said you would return, and I agreed, returned? In this new year, I will not tolerate my mother’s games of meanness with the children. Please let me know you have followed through.’ Still nothing.

When my husband came home, I told him about my email. He said that he had talked to his mother earlier in the day (I didn’t know this), called her on her antics, told her she’ll need to decide which family she prefers (us or my NM), and described how I had left a photo gift for my NM (in the holiday spirit), despite everything, and that my NM didn’t have the courtesy to respond or acknowledge the gift. He said his mother quietly said, ‘oh, I didn’t know that’. The next day my husband received a text, ‘tell (me) that I took the items back to Barbara.’ YAHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

It may take years, decades, most of a lifetime, but I do believe eventually narcassists reveal themselves. Their ego must be stroked how intelligent they are, how spiritual, how giving and loving and all-knowing. They can’t not toot their own horn but lies start to cross, stories aren’t completely revealed.

I encourage all to hold your ground. Believe in yourself. Of course we all question if we will unintentionally treat our children as we have been treated. If I don’t question and review my relationship with my children, how will I know if I’m on track?

And as great as this experience was, bottom line, it’s tragic.


Dora January 6, 2015 at 4:16 am

Renee, I’m energized by your 2015 resolve and confidence!!! Awesome!! Also, super-awesome about hubby standing firm with MIL.
I got a call last night from my long-lost former SIL (who dumped my GC brother and their 3 beautiful kids for her HS boyfriend!) telling me I needed to forgive. I started laughing. It was a turn I didn’t expect from her! Anyway, I told her I was not trying to be mean by laughing. The issue was self-protection, not forgiveness (as if anyone has apologized). She told me she got it, that my brother was a narcissist, and my whole family was narcissistic, and that is why she left my brother. (I didn’t bring up narcissism at all!). I didn’t go into anything with her….it can all be used against me. It did make me very sad for my brother though. A psychiatrist told me 20+ years ago that the scapegoats are the lucky ones…we are often the only ones who are capable of breaking the pattern. My hat goes off to the GC who still had the ability to see the dysfunction and chose a different path.
Anyway, go Renee! Thanks for the update!


J January 6, 2015 at 9:09 am

I’m a scapegoated adult. I’m trying not to be constantly angry with my Mom anymore focus on blaming her for everything wrong in my life.


Karl January 7, 2015 at 5:42 am

Anger at an NM I know too well. Would it help to see your anger as a foreign language you should work to decode? There’s a message in anger (and in all of one’s emotions). A message from you to you.


Molly January 9, 2015 at 9:48 pm

For most of my life I wasn’t allowed to be angry with my mom, even though I was actually VERY angry, frustrated, scared, etc. My anger was denied, refuted, questioned … my NM was a skilled gas-lighter and my dad didn’t protect me (or any of my siblings) from mom’s tyranny. The lesson I learned was that we (her kids) were the ones making her crazy.

Identifying my mother as a narcissist allowed me to give my childhood anger legitimacy. I was able to place the blame on her crazy-making squarely on her – not on me. As a kid, I never blamed mom for things that were wrong in my life – I wasn’t allowed to blame her. But, I’m an adult now. I can pass the crap right back to her (even though she’s dead) and go on with my life. I look for those areas where her crazy-making influence still has a hold on me. When I do, I pass that right back to her, It’s hers, not mine.


Renee January 6, 2015 at 1:16 pm

Thank for your support Dora. This is the place where we find the pseudo-parental support we weren’t afforded.

Welcome J. Baby steps.

It amazes me what compassionate beings we are. We pine, desire, are so willing to try, one more time, a million more times, one last time. In typical scapegoat fashion, I re-evaluated my recent actions with my NM. I doubted myself. Maybe I took it too far, was too firm, maybe that was not the time to drop the hammer. Argh!!!!

What I would prefer to be doing is giving comfort to my mother, sitting with her, keeping her company and have a nice conversation, reading to her while she sits with her oxygen tank. I’m sure she’s lonely, it’s sad. But I can’t do those things because she is psychologically ill and we both suffer at her hand. In a perfect world ……………………

And then I have to catch myself ~~ I can’t because she won’t and therefore, I AM and AM proactive. I did the right thing for my children and family and I am affirmed to continue to strive and act to do the right thing.

Compassion is very much alive in each and every one of us, even if we are in NC. I have always felt I am compassionate and sincerely. With this recent evaluation of myself, I know I am. I know we all are.


Karl January 7, 2015 at 5:37 am

So well said, Renee. I find this space invaluable, and thank Dr. Piper for providing it. I hope folks who want professional help are seeking from her. From all I have read, she clearly has the wisdom we all need.

I woke up this morning realizing that I am seeking equilibrium. I just want to have two feet on the ground and my head clear enough to hear and process what goes on around me–to be at the center of my own universe, rather than at the end of a rope that is swinging around someone else’s head. My decision to go NC has helped immensely, but there have been repercussions with my siblings. Change is unsettling, and I’ve had trouble just accepting that. I don’t know what my NM is saying to them (nor do I want to know), but when you stop triangulating in your conversations with family members it can seem at first like there is nothing to say, and therefore nothing holding you together. That’s where I am right now. I am trying not to get freaked out by this sense of aloneness, but just live with it, and hope that a new dynamic will slowly emerge. It feels as if the sun (my NM) is dimming, no longer providing the heat (in a twisted way) that kept us all alive (like chickens in tiny cages), and I haven’t yet learned that I am sun, too. (We all are–that’s what parenting should have taught us, but didn’t. But doing the right thing for myself and my family makes me that sun, and the tiny sense of accomplishment in realizing that bring more joy than I have ever felt with regard to my NM. Boy, do I wish she would suddenly wake up a changed person, and boy do I know that it won’t happen.

Today’s goal is to stay present with thought of how far I have come in the past months, more than all the years I’ve lived.

Take care, everyone!


Molly January 9, 2015 at 9:53 pm

“I haven’t yet learned that I am sun, too. (We all are–that’s what parenting should have taught us, but didn’t.”

Lovely! Thank you.


Rebecca Fellows January 11, 2015 at 1:14 pm

I identify with the part where the siblings do not seem to know how to interact, or what to say if they are not triangulating.


Renee January 7, 2015 at 9:00 am


You nailed it! Spot on! I kinda think your sense of aloneness is the realization that you were really abandoned (emotionally) for decades. I remember feeling like that. Orphaned emotionally. Freak out …… get it out. Recall that I mentioned that I threw up for months and years? This pain toxin in deep within; tissues, organs, brain, stomach, and there is need to rid the body of it in whatever way you need to.

It is a process, a long one. Sometimes I feel like I’m taking baby steps and then I’m leaping through the air and making great strides, only to then find myself feeling like I’m taking a step backwards. The psychology of the entire process is really one for the books!

You are the sun (and perhaps your NM was a black hole!). The knowledge that your are the parent you wanted but the gift of giving your family a REAL, PRESENT parent is greater than everything. I’ve always felt and said, ‘better me than my children’. AND I don’t believe that this is a tiny accomplishment ~ this is HUGE. Each first step, because there will be many along the way, it epic. EPIC. Look back on the posts ……. I posted glib about ‘Wishing’.

I join you in your goal, staying present. Thank you for your post. I feel the strength of this community linking arms and playing ‘Red Rover’. Our NMs will charge into our line of force but will not break through our bond. They will run with all their might, push and perhaps bend our alliance. We stay strong and hold onto each other and ultimately the NMs bounce backwards in defeat.

Hope everyone has a great day today, staying present, taking care of ourselves and healing.


help January 9, 2015 at 2:42 pm

help don’t know where to turn, 3yrs ago ppl I worked wanted to destroy me and they have. I lost my career, have no job, no car no money and no ins. I had to move to parents and my step father and mother are messing with me, I now realize so much with all these posts..

don’t know where to turn to get my life back. I don’t know any one in this state…


Anonymous January 27, 2015 at 6:46 pm

I don’t know how to help you but I am to the point where I feel broken beyond repair too. I am 27 and haven’t ever been able to hold a full time job for more than two months. Ever since being raped 6 years ago I can’t even hold a part time job. I also started self medicating with heroin too and now I’m on methadone. I have nothing. No money, no friends, no car, nothing. I live with my parents still and usually just stay in my room. I think about killing myself constantly. I am just now beginning to wonder if my narcissist mom is at the core. First I thought my problems was heroin. Nope. Then rape. Then PTSD. Now I’m wondering if it is my horrible childhood. From the outside my childhood looks great. It is all invisible abuse. My dad was physically abusive and my mom is just psycho. My dad has gotten much better. He at least isn’t threatening to send me to the homeless shelter in the middle of the night because my mom doesn’t want her loser daughter getting in the way! After I was forced to sleep out in the snow I went to their church for help and the bishop talked to my dad and he has made a 180 degree change. My mom has made none and I doubt she will ever. Anyway this isn’t about me but I have no idea what to do or where to go from here. Any help would be appreciated for me too. I just want you to know you’re not alone.


Rebecca Fellows January 11, 2015 at 12:58 pm

I am 52, and believe it or not, I have gone through this much of my life not knowing the explanation to why my life is what it is. I have casually used the world narcisisstic to describe my mother without really understanding what it meant, or the toxic family dynamic. I spent decades in forgive and forget mode, subconsciously thinking that if I was good enough I would be of value to my mother and truly be loved for who I am.

Just a few days ago I was directed to learn about this. My own daughter wanted me to get help. At the same time she was praising me for not following in my mothers footsteps. I did not understand any of this. I only knew I never did not love my own children….and I have spent my life being confused at how and why my mother did not love me the same way.

I was the classic scapegoat. Abuse was palpable, malignant and ongoing. My father was a facilitator, my sibling took their selected roles….golden child, mascot, hero. I became the household slave and general dumping ground for all dysfunction and guilt.

When I left home in early adulthood it was while escaping a violent attack. I began my journey of disassociating from my family and was demonized. I moved away for many years and became my own person. I got along with my family fine during those years. I was a source of bragging rights…whatever I accomplished was because I was “taught how” by my mother or inherited her genes. Things went fine that way for 15 years. I forgave and forgot. I wrote weekly letters and offered myself on a silver platter. I really thought I had moved into a new era. But I did not understand the real dynamic, or what was going on. And I walked right back into the toxic narcissitic mother playground about 8 years ago.

I wanted so much to not feel lonely and not have a family. I thought it was the distance and if I moved back I would have the family I never had.

I was wrong. The first few years it seemed I was redeemed. No, I was not the black sheep anymore. But over timeI began to notice, my efforts were bigger, my sacrifices larger, and my appreciation smaller than my other siblings. Once, my husband and I put up anormous amount of financial investment to help my parents….and my mother even told me “if you do this, I will not love you more….your siblings already have their place in my heart and nothing you do will make me love you (more). Why did I not hear that!!!!!!

What woke me up happened this year. My mother is nearing 80 and was in a major health crisis. Typical of the family slave I accepted all responsibility and care to earn my appreciation. The event was long arduous and broke my heart. I realized that no matter what I do, I am always the least, and no matter how little the current golden child did (and those did change over the years), he was always valued the most. I was affected financially, emotionally physically. I became extremely angry with my father realizing he was a part of the years of abuse. In the end, I was subtly, yet absolutely punished and demonized. I watched my parents for two full months…cooking cleaning caring…..wanting and needing help and appreciation. My brother did almost nothing but was clung to with near idolatry. And in the end he declared that I was “trying to tear up the family”.

All I really wanted was to be a loved member of the family.

Now I am going to hit this head on. And I am determined to heal so that I can protect myself with information.


Molly January 12, 2015 at 12:35 pm

It is very freeing to admit 1) that mom was/is a narcissist and 2) that no matter what you do, it will never be enough. I’m still working on fully accepting “it’s not me, it’s you (mom).”

I appreciate your characterization of your pain as a broken heart. I never thought of it that way – but the description fits.


Rebecca January 13, 2015 at 8:49 am



Rebecca January 13, 2015 at 9:06 am

I have been learning that sometimes the narcissist themselves identify their true natures and feelings. During the time my parents were in my home I was having PTSD. I became an emotional wreck. My mom said to me she felt I was called to take care of her by God so that she could show me she could be a nice person. But she was not being a nice person. She was being shallow, phony, and vulnerable with illness.

I sat on a chair across from her crying and told her I do not want her to BE anything. All I ever wanted was for her to know me, for me….want to listen to me and get to know me….without comparing me to someone else, competing, being jealous or taking credit for my accomplishments. She said “I thought it was a compliment to tell you that you learned things from me”.

And then she said, “you mean you want it to be all about you”? I meant only sometimes, not as a narcissist, but that is how she turned it around. I just wanted to be heard.

She thought for a second and calming said “I don’t think I can do that”.

I said that is all I want. That is what it will take for me to have what I need from you. For her to see me for me. She stiffened up, I think she resented being cornered emotionally, forced to love me on my terms maybe. So she said “I can’t”. I then quietly replied. ” Thank you for your honesty.”


Joy January 13, 2015 at 11:47 am

Hi Rebecca,
I have read all of your thoughts and appreciate Molly and Renee’s comments.
I hope my comments help.

A narcissistic mother’s actions can produce humility in you, as a child.
Humility is a virtue, and leads to wisdom.
Humility + wisdom + empathy + self awareness can produce the healthiest of parents/role model. This is a gift for your children, and your grandchildren, and all other children in your circle. So, enjoy and enhance the family that YOU have made through your experiences.

Grieve the loss of what could have been, knowing that many, many people own a tragedy. Be happy that you can now control yours.

But dealing with the day to day stuff….

The best we can do is try to teach them what emotions and boundaries are; especially to you. And with as little emotion as possible. (No drama). Quietly label the trick, and say no thanks to it. Take charge of the interaction. Change the topic. Offer conversation about things, current events, or ideas…not other people’s business. Perhaps even evoke a short burst of endorphins with a joke of the day. If they fuss, end the interaction, and be consistent with your quiet message when it happens again. It will get less often, and easier for you.

Siblings, unless N’s themselves, are victims too. Maintain consistent boundaries and truth and maybe, years down the road, siblings can trust each other. Stay true to your values and boundaries with all of your relationships.

In the meantime, continue to work on some of the other human virtues with the people that you choose to have in your life. Reap the benefits. Grow more than humble.

If you hesitate for any “inheritance” reasons, then own that, work it, or free yourself from it. Strive to inherit intrinsically.

Enjoy your adult life.

Rebecca Fellows January 11, 2015 at 1:08 pm

I just wanted to add. I believe my parents are the rare set that assume moral culpability. This is due to their religious beliefs. I have know true remorse from the…at least what I thought was real. But what I have come to understand is that begrudging, guilt ridden love still hurts. Being loved because someone is supposed to is strafe love…and maybe not love at all. I do not know how to deal with this. I do not aim to hurt anyone. And I have empathy also. How hard would it be to feel ashamed and guilty about feeling something you cannot?

I am so thankful I was not born with NPD.


Rebecca Fellows January 11, 2015 at 1:11 pm

That was a typo mess. Strange love. How hard it must be to feel shame and guilt for not feeling something you cannot feel.


Renee January 13, 2015 at 8:50 am


This will probably be one of the more profound events and acts in your life, to accept that there is psychological illness in your extended family, that you are not the cause of their actions, that you were born into this mess completely innocent, and that now is the time to become awaken, aware, and take action.

As you begin this journey, things will shake out. As with me, it was quite a process to go through so come to a balance and acceptance. And don’t think sliding back is failure ~ it is just your heart having hope. And it is an opportunity to learn to ‘catch’ yourself and not fall back into the actions that leave you empty, confused, lost, and lonely.

Read, read, read. This community is here. It is some of the most difficult work you will ever do …… and necessary for your sanity and well-being. We’ve all attempted to make sense of the senseless. We haven’t failed but we tried and tried and tried and tried valiantly and nobly each and every golly dog darn time. The common factor is that is boomerangs back to slap us upside the head and we stand there holding our ‘boo boo’ wondering, ‘what the heck happened’?

Stay with us, walk with us, talk with us. We are all in different stages of healing and growth. You are safe here and very understood.


Anonymous January 13, 2015 at 11:20 am

I will, thank you. :)


Renee January 13, 2015 at 8:52 am

Sorry, saw a few typos but hope the message is still clear.


Karl January 14, 2015 at 6:27 am

Crystal clear, Renee. Right on the mark. I had a thought walking yesterday that opened my eyes to what is so hard about dealing with my NM. Her mission is simple: to use me to feel better about herself, ie to suck the life out of me. Mine is more complicated, but it helps to see the two tasks as separate. First task is to avoid the inevitable mugging she will deliver. (If this were an actual mugging, I would be smart enough to quit walking down dangerous streets!) To take take of myself, the very first thing I have do is to make the mugging stop. Get out of her reach. Second thing is deal with the anger and grief–to fully understand that, though it feels like this is about me, it isn’t: it’s all about her and the life she has led that did not deal with the shit from her own childhood. It’s too bad for all of us that she didn’t, but she didn’t, and there is nothing I can do but deal with the fallout in my own life. There’s no room for her in my life anymore.

Both of these things involve the same person, but they are entirely different journeys.


Molly January 20, 2015 at 11:49 pm

Yes. You don’t have to play the semantics game here. I hear you and understand what you are saying. Isn’t that a relief? My mom was a diligent semantics games player. If I didn’t say it ‘just right,’ she didn’t ‘understand’ me. And it wamy fault because I didn’t say whatever I was trying to get across in a manner she could understand. I want to throttle her, but she’s dead.


Maxine January 13, 2015 at 10:24 am

My mother has a lot of these characteristics, but then some she doesn’t. She does the victim thing, where any time I try to express my feelings, it somehow hurts her and then she plays that card until there’s an apology, although she never apologizes herself. The main thing though is that she’s taken over my son. From the time I had him, and I was a teenager mother, she’s undermined my authority, even laughing and telling me I didn’t have any. She laughed in the delivery room at my pain saying that hopefully I would remember and not get pregnant again. I had her put out of the room. I have two other children who I’ve kept away from her because of what has happened with my son. She threatened to call Children’s Services on me if she felt like I had done something to them. I have no idea why she did that. I never did anything to them like that. It did nothing but terrify me as a young parent.

She over indulged my son. He became spoiled, lazy, insolent and entitled. She defends everything he does including when he is disrespectful to her. If I tell her not to buy him something or not to do something, she makes a point to do it. Out of spite. She purchased him a car at 17 even though I knew he wasn’t ready for the responsibility. Sure enough, he trashed the car. She paid for everything. Paid for his tuition to college and he just partied his way into academic suspension. I feel as though our relationship is destroyed (mine and my son’s) because of the way she’s taken over. Money is a way for her to control everything. As I’m reading here, it just make me sad to recognize some of these traits, but also I feel like at least there’s a name for this thing I’ve been feeling all my life!

She has always denigrated me in front of people. Just…there would be no reason for it, but she’s just say something embarrassing or hurtful out of the blue. My ex once told me that when she called me, my body would tense up. I never noticed it before he said that. But I realized that when she is around, for a family gathering or holiday or something, I’m miserable. Always waiting for something to be said, always tiptoeing around her. She didn’t attend our Christmas thing this year (something else she does is refuse to go to anything until someone, usually my sister who she sometimes adores, convinces her to come. I think she likes the attention) and I felt great. I felt incredibly guilty about it, but I felt great not to have her there. I could be myself and not be worried about some snarky comment coming from out of the blue.

There is just so much that comes up as I sift through my memories of my life. It’s like, why did this happen. My most important thing is I don’t want to be like this with my children. I don’t want to become a grandmother like she is. I hate how she has done me. I don’t talk to certain family members because of her. I barely talk to my own child, although he lives with me. For years, so told me that I didn’t like my daughter and was mistreating her, which wasn’t true. I made the mistake of naming my daughter after my grandmother. My grandmother had a sad life and I feel like my mother projects her sadness about my grandmother onto my child. I actually started pulling away (emotionally) from my daughter because I was always being accused of not liking her and not treating her right. But it was all a lie, just something that’s in my mother’s head. My child is not my grandmother. I love her. That’s when I started keeping them away from her, but my son succumbed to the spoiling and now it’s too late for him.

My mother is older now and even though she has four other children, I’m the only one in the area. She stopped driving, so I’m basically her slave. If I buy her something that’s not the brand she wants, she won’t accept it. She refused the bottled water I brought because neither of the two kinds I got was the right one. Then a few days later, she was talking about how she needed water and she would take one of the ones I’d already gotten even though it’s wrong. This is exhausting. I have teenagers. I’m only one person. I don’t think I’ve ever measured up in her eyes. Ever, no matter what I’ve done. I’ve made the decision to move out of state with my teenage daughters. I’m leaving my mother and my son here. I need PEACE.


Rebecca January 13, 2015 at 11:36 am

I can relate to you in the sense that they try to take your children. My mom has a story she repeats frequently about the delivery of my daughter. “I am the one who held you first”.

Thank God I left the state when my daughter was a toddler. It helped me a lot. But because I did not know the facts, I came right back into the bondage many years later. It has quieted, the overt narcissism……mom is on meds and has learned behavioral restraint. But things still felt array, the subtle rejection was still there.

I remember many years ago when we were watching The movie ‘Steel Magnolias’ together. As I have two daughters, I was weeping about the mother having to let her daughter go (in the death scene). And my mom told me she identified most with the scene where the grandson was running to grandma after the daughters death.

It seemed odd and hit a subconscious message inside me. Now I understand why. So many strange things she has said over the years make sense now.

When you face a crisis, it rears up to the old format. And then you realize the only thing you can do is change your own health. Not even moving away will change it all. That is why I am going to try to get well now.


Colin January 18, 2015 at 4:01 pm

Hi everyone

Its great to read all the stories from people that have had similar upbringings to myself. What we all have in common is that we never received the unconditional love that most normal emotionally healthy parents give their children.
I am 35 years old and have had the light bulb moment in the past few months while searching online i came across this subject of “Narcissism” and was shocked initially to find there an actual clinical disorder called NPD.
I have had struggles with my parents both Narcs by the way for years and have been caught in the middle of a family feud between them and one of my older brothers who has been scapegoated for years. My other two brothers have had run ins with my parents too but have been convinced by them to take their side of the argument with my brother and use them both as flying monkeys doing the dirty work for them. Things changed for me a few years ago when i became a father myself for the first time and also cant imagine ever wanting to fight with my own flesh and blood. I have been the go between my older brother and them in trying to resolve the dispute the last few years. We have both spoken to them numerous times over the past few years to try and sort things out but they never will accept responsibility and always point the finger +of blame to my older brothers wife who they blame for causing this rift in the family. They also have a son who is 8 this year but they have no relationship with him because my brother rightly so has kept him away from their toxic behavior. Things came to a head a few months ago when my youngest brother the GC didn’t invite my brother to his wedding but it was my parents who are to blame for the whole thing in the first place.
After reading lots of post on websites and forums the past few months i have come to realize that i have been being raised by two complete narcissists who always put themselves first. I have always had an awful lot of anxiety growing up and a touch of ADD and now i finally know why i have been feeling this way. I am considering going to see a therapist also to try to resolve some of my own issues which i have because of my parents. I have an awful lot of anger at times and often fight with my wife as a result. I am still talking to them for the moment but may cut off contact in the future like my other brother has already. These people have torn my family apart!


Karl January 20, 2015 at 5:16 am

Colin, Welcome! I know what you speak of when you talk about anger. Anger was where I went for the longest time in an attempt to deal with any unhappiness that I didn’t understand. As the child of a NM, I realize that I was “played” my whole life. I lived for the most part in an unconscious state of being who I was supposed to be, not just for her, but with my siblings, friends, and my wife and kids, too. (In my family there was jokey, deflecting (often mean-spirited) humor and anger to push people who you fear might violate your boundaries away.) It sucks to live that way and it sucks to wake up from that, too. But once you do wake up, the anger loses its immense power and becomes easier to manage. I try to sit with angry feelings as they arise–see them as mine, something I have created–and just look at them like clouds passing by in the sky, and trying to figure out what they are really about. Often, for me, it’s some buried sense of shame. As soon as I am able to name that, the anger loses some of its power. My kids used to watch a TV called the Big Comfy Couch. The punchline at the end of every show, when the big couch was strewn with books and toys, spoken by the host, a women dressed as a kid and talking in a kid voice was: “Who made this mess????….. Oh, I did.”

Take care!


Colin January 22, 2015 at 12:30 pm

Thanks for the reply and words of wisdom Karl. Something you mentioned which really struck a chord in me was that you said you were “played” your whole life. I actually feel like i was too by my parents growing up as well as my brothers. When i look back at certain times in my life i feel like i was manipulated by them. Even at 35 years of age now my they are still trying to control me but at least now i am wise to their tactics so i cant respond appropriately and not put up with their BS!


Renee January 20, 2015 at 9:45 am

Hi Colin ~

Reaching out into this community will be one of the best acts of love you will give yourself. It can be a little daunting to put yourself out there but I believe you will find the support you’ve been looking for all of your life.

Everyone has their feelings and their own processes. As I was driving along the beautiful west coast, overlooking the ocean taking my daughter to her dance training, it dawned on me that the process of accepting and understanding NM is similar to Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’ process of death and dying and the different stages both the individual and family and friends go through. There are no ‘rules’ as to which one you have to go through first or last and knowing that you may be in several of the stages simultaneously can bring relief that it isn’t you ….. its the process.

For me, I wasn’t angry but confused why I couldn’t meet my parent’s expectations, especially when I achieved some pretty epic things. They always managed to tell me how I fell short or what I could have done better. And now for me as a parent, and conscious work to not fall into the nm trap, I am certain that my children know their efforts are 100% appreciated and acknowledged, and that as long as they tried their best, it is wonderful.

And as capable as I was, I pined for their acknowledgement. To just once hear them say, ‘you did great’ would have made my heart sing. But NPs can’t give what they don’t have within them ~~ or if they think they are giving up their personal power.

I think I’m babbling but the short of it all is feel how you feel, it is what it is, the turmoil is valid. I think you are in steep growth, kinda climbing a mountain blind-folded, and we are here beside you. The process and journey doesn’t end, just that we all find a way that we can live with it and love ourselves and our family.

Have a lovely day.


Colin January 22, 2015 at 12:18 pm

Thanks for the reply and words of encouragement Renee. Its great to be able to relate to others that are dealing with the same issues as i am.

I actually cant pin point where the anger is coming from directly. I just find myself getting mad at times and want to put my fist through the wall or even worse through my mother and fathers faces! Dont get me wrong im not an aggressive person by any means and wouldnt be the type to go out and pick a fight with somebody. Its probably just the slow realization of the type of parents ive had to grow up with and obviously alot of pent up frustration from not being able to express myself properly or given the proper attention while i was growing up.One of the biggest things my parents do is try to buy me. Last Christmas they bought me over the top expensive gift vouchers and clothes and only recently tried to bring myself and my wife out for dinner with my other siblings and their wives with meal vouchers they had received for xmas presents themselves. Talk about trying to guilt trip me by buying me stuff. Only problem is they would happily go out with all the family except for my scapegoated older brother and his wife who they blame for everything. Nice to way to treat your own flesh and blood!


Dora January 22, 2015 at 7:33 pm

Colin, God bless you for recognizing the way your parents treat the scapegoat. You are one-in-a-million. Your abuse is just as bad….but so much more difficult to recognize. I’m so glad you’re on this site, and I hope you find it as helpful as it has helped me.

My GC brother was constantly bribed as well. He ended up getting divorced. I think it’s because my N parents required so much from him…all the time. Because of the bribes and the entanglement, he could never see their truly selfish goals.

All our stories are different….BUT SO SIMILAR! I will say that when I finally went NC, my anger was gone. Incredible sadness and grief…yes. But anger gone.

Thank you to all my friends on this site. I read everything, and every single word helps me in some way. You all are my lifeline…and I’m very grateful


Renee January 21, 2015 at 3:32 pm

Hi Everyone,

Like a naughty pet, so are our NMs!!

You may recall several posts back that I stood up to my mother-in-law about delivering packages to my children for the holidays. Not a peep from my NM since ….. until yesterday.

My youngest received a handwritten letter from my NM, telling her that she is on oxygen and literally housebound, in really bad condition. My NM had to throw in statements that she just doesn’t understand why I am so difficult to allow the children to receive packages. My NM also specifically instructed that either my husband or my older daughter can contact grandma (my NM) to arrange for a time to pick up the items. Awwwwwwwwwww H-E-DOUBLE TOOTHPICKS ….. NO!

No one but me was going to place that call. She is no one to direct or dictate how we handle our family. I wrote down my bullet points so I would stay focused on the call.

My heart raced as I dialed her number. Could she be civil or blow her top or just hang up on me. She answered the phone. I was pleasant and so was she. I hit my points and she sounded unphased that I had defied her instructions. She even attempted to sound considerate about taking my time to go over to her place. Now to get there.

Promptly at her appointed time, a friend went with and I swiftly picked up the items for the children, jumped back in the car and got the heck outta there. Witness, we need witnesses just in case.

Here’s the kicker ……… after the note of her failing health and the story to my in-laws of her oxygen and heart surgeries, an hour just after I picked up the stuff my NM passed me in my dad’s car!! She was styled up; make-up, hair done, necklace, earrings (it’s amazing what you can see in 2 seconds!!), and no oxygen canula on her face. Yeah, she’s near death.

Shame on her. And there’s no shame in my game. Game ON!

Moving forward in courage, honor, truth, integrity, balance, and love ………………………


Karl January 23, 2015 at 7:47 am

Renee, I’m curious why you are not NC with your NM. Have you ever tried it in the past? Are you considering it now? (Please excuse me if I have missed a post on this.)

Now that I am NC with my NM (three months) any thought I might have about going LC is met with a big WHY? (My life would be so much worse.) NC has caused strains with my siblings–and I sense is has caused strain within themselves, and in their families–but I am hopeful that all of those strains will get better over time, as the enmeshing threads are cut.

All of this written with great admiration. Just curious…well, nosy, perhaps!


renee January 26, 2015 at 9:29 am

Hi Karl ~

Great question and you are not nosy. I think that questions are good for clarity amongst all of us. It is good for me to think about it too.

I view myself in NC with my NM until it comes to my children or when she plays her games ….. as in her last letter to my daughter she wrote that only my husband or my other daughter can contact her. NOPE, not having it. She does not dictate to family and I will handle my family affairs. I saw it also as an opportunity to test my courage to face the beast. Actually my NM initiated NC with me, which makes it much easier, however she will not overstep my parenting when it comes to our children. This is a huge leap for me ~ and I’m not patting myself on the back. And when I see her in public (as we live in a very small town), I can be cordial and exhibit nice manners. It’s actually entertaining to see her respond ……………. she has no game on-the-fly.

Hope that helps. There’s no clear black-n-white, just using common sense, which NMs don’t seem to possess.

Thanks for asking Karl!!


Rebecca January 24, 2015 at 12:39 pm

My mother is the overt and classic narcissitic personality disordered mother. She is elderly and is the last months of life most likely, worsening daily. I am going through a lot, feeling manipulated from so many years that I feel robbed of the ability for true emotion. I feel a loss because I believe I should feel a certain way at the prospect of losing a mother. I do love her. And I have a belief, albeit possibly misguided, that she does love me “in her way”. I also feel compelled to meet responsibilities for aide on her behalf. I am not a deadbeat.

It is too late to cut her off and I have my siblings to consider. My younger sister, the hero child, is deeply intrenched in the codependency. She is no flying monkey, but a crippled empathizer who is unable to recognize her own needs and boundaries.

I have gotten caught up in protecting her. I know this cannot continue. I have to set boundaries with her now, trying to meets the needs of a dying mother who happens to be an emotional vampire is her choice, not mine. But I am getting caught up in doing things to help her achieve her illusion. She is my baby sister. Any thoughts?


Anonymous January 24, 2015 at 2:33 pm

I hear a lot of wisdom and compassion in your voice, Rebecca. Bravo. You sound like you will figure out what you will and will not do in the difficult days ahead. Take your time and make the best decisions you can make is the best advice I can give.

What sorts of things are you finding yourself doing to help your sister achieve her illusion? Can you keep an eye out for these things and have a mantra that you repeat to her instead? (Something like: “I’m sorry that I can’t do that for you right now.” Something that says “no” but doesn’t invite discussion.)

There is such a hunger (at least for me) for some glorious breakthrough with a NM–I can imagine that this hope would only grow stronger at the end of life. You can act with compassion AND great reserve, with your mother and your sister. I sense you already know that and probably are already doing that. Good luck!


Anonymous January 24, 2015 at 2:57 pm

Good advice. Thank you


anonymous 2 January 24, 2015 at 5:41 pm

Yes, thank you Rebecca and Anonymous…’ve helped me a lot too.


Angie January 25, 2015 at 11:02 am

I wish NM had a near death experience and God told her to wake up. I see deceased family members in my dreams. Usually this happens a week or 2 after they pass and I don’t see them again. They let me know they are OK and happy. It has been 4 months since NM passed and I haven’t seen her at all. That makes me think God is giving her the discipline she never got in life. She is being held accountable for all the pain and misery in the family. If this is true, she is so miserable.


Shelley Jo Graham January 25, 2015 at 2:21 pm

A friend on Elaine N. Aron group on Facebook shared this page with me. I am so thankful he did.
I am a Highly Sensitive person, 51 years old, whom have been abused by my Narcissistic mother and two Narcissistic sisters my whole life to this very day.. On the outside, everyone just loves my Mother, but they do not know how phony and hurtful she is to me and was to my Father. I have finally figured out that in order to heal, I must disconnect from all of them. Narcissists can be Devastating to Highly Sensitive Individuals, and I am such a mess of hurt from decades of abuse.
I have dis connected from my sisters, two plus yeas ago, and Have now disconnected with My Mother.
I can’t take the abuse anymore, it is tearing me to pieces.
I haven’t slept is days, and am not eating well, I am a foodie, yoga and health nut when happy, by when hurt and over whelmed I am done for.
Out of the 53 different types above, I see each and everyone within my Mother, my two sisters and my niece.
When I was 5 or 6 years old, I remember asking if I was adopted, and as I looked around at them for years, I said to my self, I do not want to be like any of you people.
I must heal, I just have to, because I have adult children and beautiful grandkids that need me to be present and teach them the love and compassion I have flowing through each and every part of my whole being!!!!
Thanks again!
Shelley Jo Graham


Dora January 25, 2015 at 3:11 pm

Welcome Shelley…I hope this site is as helpful to you as it’s been to me. One of God’s greatest gifts is connection and understanding…and this sure is the only place (with the exception of my wonderful husband) where I have found understanding about the devastating effects of tricky, manipulative, and destructive narcissistic parents (and often siblings). As a matter of fact, I’m resolved NOT to talk to anyone about my NC situation because people’s reaction is so painful (“can’t you just be charitable? can’t you just have SOME relationship with them? I’ve heard they are so incredibly hurt by your rejection of them”). When I’ve tried to talk to anyone, I get derailed (your exact description of yourself now) completely for weeks.
I also went NC with my mother and four siblings about 8 months ago because I realized that my first obligation was to myself (so that I could love my kids, husband, and grandkids). I was so consumed with serving them (hoping to finally be worthy of love) that I really neglected the treasures in front of me.
I’m a nice person, and honestly I liked making their life better. I know they’re suffering a lot right now…mostly because they’ve lost my six interesting, kind, and generous kids. That’s a huge blow to them. Strangely enough, thinking of their suffering causes me the most suffering. And, of course, I always (deep down) believe I’m to blame for everything.
I had an epiphany today. I was praying, and I was in complete agony about this whole hideous situation. I really felt like I rec’d a message, “they need to face themselves before they die…..this (NC) is an essential part of the process”. I did have my great priest tell me that to have a relationship with them without an apology and an assurance that their vicious (or passive-aggressive_ behavior would end would be ENABLING them.
My goal today (and boy is it a day-to-day struggle) is to be detached from the NOW, and have Faith that (NC) this is part of the plan for them. I can’t keep hoping for remorse or a conversion….that is what completely debilitates me. I need to let it go, believe this is working towards a good, and move on to love and enjoy the great people in my life.


Karl January 26, 2015 at 6:34 am

Great comment from your priest, Dora. (My NM found a printed homily to send to all of us from a priest who said basically that there were no dysfunctional families, just ungrateful children…thanks, Father!) This same lady just responded to 3 months of NC by leaving a message on my wife’s phone to ask if we were coming her way because we would be welcome to stay with her. DENY! DENY! ENABLE ME! ENABLE ME! (NMs are like opportunist burglars who circle the house and try every window and door to find one unlocked, and if none are unlocked they put a rag around their hand and bust in.)

Enough about me…. I feel your pain big time in this post, Dora. Am sending much good energy your way on this cold rainy morning. Your NM and siblings may or may not wake up before their time on this earth is over. You can’t help them do that…but you could encourage them to NOT wake up if you were to continue enabling them. I think your priest is dead right about that. May not be too strong say that enabling behavior, once understood, is something one must seek to avoid out of respect for other people. Not for you, for them.

You can’t have a real relationship with someone who is living their life asleep, acting unconsciously 24/7. I think this inability to connect is the great tragedy. They are right there, standing before you, and yet real connection remains impossible. It feels like it shouldn’t be impossible, but it always is. (A key to life, for me, has been to tell myself, over and over, to expect that nothing will change with my NM. New day, same mother.)

But connection is possible in so many other places. With family and friends, even with strangers you pass walking down the street. This site helps me stay grounded and staying grounded keeps me from sliding back into the unconscious behavior that defined WAY too much of life. Hope this day is awake, alive, and good for you, Dora!


Dora January 26, 2015 at 2:46 pm

Karl, I re-read this note 5 times. Every single word was “just what the doctor ordered”. Really….I appreciate it so much!
About that idiotic homily….don’t you just love the passage in the Bible, “they will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” Jesus made it very clear that seeking THE GOOD is above “family unity/ loyalty”…blah, blah, blah. I love it! It’s always my favorite reading at Mass all year!
I really like the way you encouraged detachment from their “waking up”….and instead encouraged focusing on the fact that I’m simply not enabling them. After all, it’s all I can do….free will!
And isn’t the lack of connection so sad? I remember being a toddler and thinking, “My mother never looks at me. The other kids have moms that look at them.”
Anyway, I sure am feeling those positive vibes Karl and I send them to you too!
Thank you friends!


Rachel January 25, 2015 at 8:05 pm

Hi there, iv been reading this site for a while but iv never posted, I’m a scapegoat child of a NM, my brother was and still is the golden child, but I don’t blame him, and I’m a really strong person so I have got over most of the obvious effects on myself, but I still have a lot of anger towards her and we barely talk except when I take my kids to see her, which of course she granny o the year to, but it’s important they have a relationship with there family, I love them more than I hate her, I take them to see her once or twice a month which she moans isn’t enough but whenever I offer to bring them she’s always busy or ill, so I don’t really care anymore if she likes it, I do my duty. The thing is, if swap one narcissist for another, my partners ex wife, and I see me and my brother in my step son and daughter and it breaks my heart, presently she has stopped me seeing them at all by forcing my step daughter to tell social workers I’m abusive and violent, and my partners contact has been cut down to 3 hrs once a fortnight, and from what my step daughter tells us thing have only got worse since she doesn’t have to worry about us interfering, my step daughter is the bad kid, she can’t do anything right, when she’s the sweetest, smart, caring kid if ever ment and I’m proud to call her one of my best friends in the world, my step son is the golden child, and he’s as fucked up as his sister because of it, and she’s recently had him diagnosed with autism after having him assets 5 times, because she has to explain why he doesn’t listen to her other than her failing as a parent so it much be there’s something wrong with him, again at ours he has non of the ‘apparent’ behaviours that she’s used to have him diagnosed, he’s sweet smart affectionate and has no temper at all but apparently he smashes up her house and can’t be controlled but he gets away with it cause it’s not his fault, ‘he has something wrong with him’ where as my step daughter can’t do anything right, and is treated like a second class citizen in her own home, and now I can’t even be her shoulder to cry on and tell her iv been there and look how I got through it, ever day the distance between brother and sister grows bigger and bigger and my partner tells me of a growing resentment in her towards her brother, I just wanna do something but I to am a victim of this woman’s bs by her lies and control keeping our family in half, I miss them so much and I’m probably the only person in there lives that knows what there going through, iv always felt I was sent to them to help them deal with her and not let it destroy them, and now I can’t do anything, it breaks my heart, sorry to go on and rant but I don’t really think even my partner really understands how it feels to see my childhood being inflicted on my own (step) kids and be powerless to stop it or even support him, I just need to vent xxx


renee January 26, 2015 at 9:39 am

What a lovely group of people we have on this site. It never ceases to amaze me that from the ashes of a near lifetime of hell; told we are unworthy, ungrateful, overly sensitive, delusional, badly behaving, horrible children that are so lucky to have loving parents, we are able to circle about, educate ourselves, come together, bring the energy of healing, compassion, and knowledge to begin and maintain the healing process.

I wonder what kind of person I would be if I hadn’t had this happen to me. Would I be less of a person, less of a mom? I’m not sure but I strive to be the kind of mom that I didn’t have …….

I’ll share later ~ but had a simple analogy come to me. A NM will take an event that is 12 inches long and only share 1 twisted inch of it, the inch that shows the miles of owed adornment she is so rightly entitled to. LOL!!


renee January 26, 2015 at 9:41 am

oh, the other 11 inches of truth are lies, delusion, twists of words, etc.


Dora January 26, 2015 at 3:15 pm

Yes, I’m laughing Renee!

Truth means nothing to narcissists (and narcissistic family structures). You see the frailty of the human mind throughout many horrors in human history (entire cultures embracing falsehood and evil)–and many of us see this in our own families.

Again, you sure have my sympathies living in the same small town with your NM. Torture!

I always love your posts Renee!


Renee January 27, 2015 at 12:18 pm


Thanks Doll!! I sometimes wonder if I go on a bit too much ……. but then I think maybe if I share, others too may find courage to conquer their dragons. Actually, the NM dragon seems like it rages fire but it is a hiccup of light smoke! LOLOL!!!


hanna January 26, 2015 at 10:34 am

My mom: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11, 14, 15, 17, 18, 19, 22, 23, 25, 26, 28, 40, 41, 42, 45, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53.

I was so so angry when I read about these types. Boiling inside, which is good so I can take my power back. I go back and forth between feeling sorry for my mom and hating her guts. Strong words I know. Thank you for this great website.


Karl January 26, 2015 at 12:32 pm

Hanna–that characterization isn’t too strong at all. It’s just the truth. Good for you for naming it.


Dora January 26, 2015 at 3:01 pm

I second that!


Molly January 26, 2015 at 7:20 pm

Putting a name to mom’s bad behavior was wonderfully freeing for me, too.


Renee January 27, 2015 at 12:23 pm

Yep luv, get it out.


Renee January 27, 2015 at 12:20 pm

This so ROCKS ~ the energy of cathartic healing. I thank my heavenly stars for each and every one of you (and I’m sorry that we have shared this pain ….. but we are a family).


Gina January 27, 2015 at 6:14 pm

Im holding back my anger and tears right now,my motheris a narcissist, with bpd,8 years ago she used the concerned grandmother card,and manipulated Cps judges ect. and stole my children using the court system,i have nightmares, she been abusing them like she did me and my sister,im 44 years of age noone 8 years ago would believe me that she did it out of jelousy,greed and in her own words i did it to you to be vindictive. .my son was 11 months when this took place and my daughter just turned 10,after not talking to her for 4 years we reconnected, and i mived in with her,worst mistake of my life, Shes so abusive and cunning, it seems to me like shes dowb right evil, my daughtet cuts herself, my beautiful free spirited daughter is so damaged,noone will believe her and if they do,they say cps will take away her little brother if she pushes the issue of my moms abuses, what gets me is she married a dying man who had money lots of money,so when cps was called on me they just believed all her false accusations,i mean what living mother would say suxh horrible things about their own daughter unless she is truly a monster right, so she used the grammy to the rescue card,and everyone bought it,i dont know what to do she reeled me back in her life AGAIN, by using my son as bait,just so she can hurt all of us,shes gone and had false protection of abuse ordets agaunst me,shes done so much damage,all my kids were taken,noone will rent to me because of all this ..I ended up homeless and a heroin junkie, I know the physical and mental and emotional abuse she can inflict, ive seen her do it to new born infants that wouldnt stop crying,the evil ive seen her inflict is to horrific to write. ..Im afraid for my life as well as my children’s, I was a good mother a good wife,yes this broke apart my marriage as well..i had nightmares,wake up screaming,crying and begging god to save my children,i was never given a cps case,mine and my childrens civil rights were violated,My constitutional rights were violated,and i had a kangaroo court hearing once,nwver saw my kids again,until recently,my finance and i stayed with my mom two xmases ago,with a promise of a nice home cheap rent through one of her freinds only to leave our apt.the only one i was able to have someone rent to me in 6 years,just to find out thete was no home,we were trapped at my moms,my fiance was a witbess to my mother picking picking up my then 6 year ild son by his throat off the ground til his little sjinny kefs were twitching, just because he went to get food from the fridge,we called the police,they did nothing ..Mt mom lives in a small good ole boy town in Arizona…im sick to my stomache right now.Im not a wealthy women and because of her actions i look bad on paper, because of my reaction to cope by using drugs,instead if committing suicide,then going to rehab,and having numerous mental breakdowns and hospital visits over this quite a few over the last 6-7 years,and her being such a perfect narcisit no court would probably ever reteurb my children to me,im sad alot,wete i used to laugh have freinds was fairly happy always had a house full of kids cats dogs freinds,music,cooking. I dont know where to get help,my daughters had the same problem she recently attempted suicide just to get awzy from my mom, only to have no mental health worker believe her stories she ended up being sent back to my mom..I feel lost anymore dnt know how to save my children,just recently my mom through my daughter’s cat Angel over the brick wall in the back yard in front of my 7 year old son,this cat wad so scared of people it hid in my daughters room,and never came out,unless i came in her room then she started loving me up..that cat had lumps all over its head someone clearly abused it,my daughter loves cats and animals,we had a farm once when she was little, birds would come to her,anything wild in nature was drawn to her,now shes almost 18,looks angry and sad…if anyone knows what i can d do about my kids please i need suggestions. ..Im glad i found this site…by the way i scored 89 on the piper test


Dora January 27, 2015 at 8:47 pm

You’re in my prayers dear Gina! Good is stronger than evil. Hang in there!


Karl January 28, 2015 at 6:09 am

Yes, Gina, we all hear your cries. I am so sorry to know how much you are suffering. Please know that things can change, sometimes so slowly the change is hard to see. But still, yesterday, today, and tomorrow, and next Saturday are all different days. See any and every small change in your world and hold on to it. Would you write back once a day so that we can all be reminded to keep praying for you? Sending prayers your way today!

Thank you so much for writing.


Renee January 29, 2015 at 10:05 am

Dear Gina~

I am truly sad for all of the pain you are enduring at the hands of a severely psychologically impaired mother. I will keep you in thought. So sorry.


Catherine January 28, 2015 at 6:55 am

This is a great forum. Thanks for all the experiences. I don’t feel so alone. A few shares made me smile..for instance: stay strong it only gets better…don’t ever show fear..and don’t give a shit. All my life I have kept these at the forefront of my thinking. Now that my dad died…I placed her in assisted living and got my brother to find and next week hopefully place her in a nursing home. I found out a few very disturbing things about her now that she is isolated and can’t hide too well.
1. She was molested as a child 2. She had an affair with the cousin that molested her..and my brother is the product.
Sick..sick..sick…or is it evil….
my nm was a covert narcissist. She hid her true self and as a child I knew enough to stay away from her. My brother was the golden child. .and he of course had lots of physical problems…epilepsy..very poor eyesight…bad back…etc.
I on the other hand was saved by my grandparents who lived downstairs…we lived in brooklyn. My grandfather owned the building. She was afraid to show herself to them so on the surface she was sweet. However..she absolutely hated my father and me. Once when I was 7 she shaved all my hair off…when 11 she killed our pet rabbit and served it for easter dinner..after we ate she told me in front of all the guests it was our rabbit. (I knew at that time not to react in order to show strength).at 16 she destroyed my friendship with my best girlfriend who never spoke to me again…at 19 she worked behind the scenes to destroy all my relationships with my aunt and cousins whom I loved. All through college she tried to destroy my relationships with boyfriends…but at 27 when both her parents were dead…she threw me out of the house…at that point thank God my career had taken off and I was more than happy to get out.
When I married she worked to destroy my marriage by telling everyone my husband was a flirt and alcoholic… when my son was born she developed “parkinsons”.
When my father was dying she tried to destroy my relationship with him by saying I was going to steal his money . And then when I placed her in assisted living she told everyone there I was a terrible daughter and caused me to end my relationship with my brother.
I did leave out some childhood constants such as physical assault with belts shoes etc…but they were second to emotional assaults.
I am in charge of her financial assets and knew the trap was set by her to destroy me further by hoping I would steal her money and go to jail or something. So i was meticulous in handling everything. Now my brother her flying monkey is involved of constantly asking me if I took her assets as we apply for medicaid..for her nursing home. Of course everything is in perfect order as the attorney I hired is showing him.
My nm has been the hidden force behind all misfortune. But I was so startled to find this out in her twilight years that I started to look into astrology to see I see if it showed that in my birth chart. It showed even more than that. It seems as though this pattern was repeated from a prior life. …if you believe in this stuff.. and now I know how never to repeat seeing this monster in the next lifetime…..if there is one.
That is one way….detachment without anger. That is it. Simple…but difficult…but doable. Low contact with pity. …very hard….and letting go of her grip on my life. Good luck to all of us and God bless us for trying so hard all our lives to survive….Btw I left out my real strength all my life was my trust and faith in God. It was by His grace I survived and thrived…by His grace I was placed in charge of my own life…and by His grace will find the strength to see this through to the end….my son endured none of this because I kept her away as much as possible when he was a child…and my husband is wonderful supportive and helping me as he now validates my assessment of my nm .


Anonymous January 28, 2015 at 5:03 pm

Hi Catherine,
Thanks for sharing. What a strong child you were, even having your NM’s number by the time you were 11 years old. Yes, detachment without anger, and low contact with pity is the challenge. Hearing the ” long distance” phone ring (different from local call) can bring PTSD, cause I know she is calling to hate me yet again. Even after you have grieved the loss of not having a loving mother, she keeps haunting and haunting.
So glad to hear that you are thriving. I commend you on your honesty with her finances.
God is good, and yes, there is a Heaven, and I know we will all experience childhood all over again with an angel of a mother…will finally see what we could have been. Trust in the Lord with all of your heart…everything for a reason. Enjoy your adult life.


Joy January 28, 2015 at 5:22 pm

Hi Catherine,
Thanks for sharing. You were blessed with inner strength as a child, and a supportive husband. You are to be commended for your honesty with NM finances and protecting your child.
Detaching without anger, and LC with pity is challenging, for sure. Grieving the absence of a mother’s love is the easier part. It’s the repeated haunting of her calls/attempts at engaging just to hate/manipulate more and more that’s hard to take. I can have mini PTSD just hearing the long distance ring vs the local ring…wondering if its her.
But most of all, God is good, and we shall all have an angel of a mother in Heaven to show us what it was suppose to be like. I imagine reliving my childhood over in Heaven. Trust in The Lord with all of your heart.


Joy January 28, 2015 at 5:24 pm

Oops thought my post didn’t go thru, so wrote it twice. Sorry for that.


Renee January 29, 2015 at 10:08 am

Bravo Catherine!

It sickens me to hear of such things but humans can have a ‘twisted’ side to them. You sound very balanced in the wake of a lifetime of insanity …… great for you. Thank you so much for sharing. Many will read and know that there is hope for them, within their own grasp.


Kady January 30, 2015 at 12:53 am

I should have been dead in my twenties. In my opinion my mothers dream for me was to be in a mental institution or worse. I was warned by a Great Uncle Siggey Rothschild , who in my life did not speak 2 words to me. The only time he spoke to me he said “watch out for your mother”. I was to young to ask the right questions. But in my attempt to become healthy I dedicated a lot of time to therapy and reading. Only a month ago I fell upon an article. Adult survivor of Narsissistic Mothers . What I read served to drop the scales from my eyes . I read accounts of others who all I can say is spoke my language.
I still up until that point could did not know I was right there is something very wrong with my mother. Very Very wrong. I lived 42 years believing it was me . I will never get my life back . I will not be able to work and if I do it will probably kill me because I will not take one more minute of abuse. I can not begin to describe what it is like to work in corporate America. Behind the scenes bullying supervisors managers and Business owners. I have only met 1 women that I believe had what it takes to be an excellet supervisor and Her name is Mary Lee. I was scapegoated kept from promotions and degraded when in fact I should have been running the company. Her role for me follows me everywhere.
I am 52 I have lived a living hell and I would like what I earned and that is my Disibility Insurance. This system failed to protect me when I was a child. It failed me in therapy by giving my abuser what they needed which was to label me , when in fact they should be in mental hospitals and labeled for the crafty covert behavior they hide that makes me look sick. I never harmed a living soul. Not emotionally or Physically. But to look at my record you would never believe me. If you stood me next to them you would side with them. Looks are deceiving and I tell you they are treacherous and deceive many.
My son was taken from me by the court I had so much evidence but my XN a master. I let myself fall because now I had two on me not one friend or family member. My sister was also a NS very abusive and she ruined me a littler girl.
Now the man I am with for two years has helped me tremendously, has shown increasing signs of it too. My son has been given the torch and now believes against me too. I have to leave alone alone on a plane to got someplace I do not want to be. I am completely alone.
I raise my voice I get threatened by my fiancé but when he doesn’t listen I yell. They tell me I have PTSD since I was 8. I focus on PTSD , I still think Im faulty my own mother doesn’t love me. Now my fiancé see terrible things in me and says about me. My son is 14 he was here and he stole from his bank account close to $1000.00 and stays in his room here when I try t talk he doesn’t listen. He took pictures of have of us and tossed them like garbage. I made poor choice I got a DUI then another one. prior to 42 I never had any trouble boutght homes and lived nice life until my x husband began yelling degrading my work same thing. I had it and I lost it. My NM was play her now I know to be mind. I also had the best of them as an xhusband and since you know what that can mean. I was desperate for help and got taken by many . Now Im 52 with nothing . I even have to leave my belongings I carried around for 30 years. Again I loose . Im so tired now I have to leave and do it ovr agincgame the same time my father son


Miranda January 30, 2015 at 6:26 am

Thank you so much for this article! Thank you to everyone that has commented as well! I too grew up with a NM-hypochondriac. It is so great to know I am not alone! I have been setting boundaries with her, and I now know that is the right thing to do! I will no longer be her scapegoat! I know this awful woman will never change, but I have started to change how I react, if I react to her. She is always “dying” of something. Seems like she wants to. Sometimes I wish she would.


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