Adult Children of Narcissists

by Michelle Piper

Adult Children of Narcissists (ACON’s) sometime fear that narcissism breeds narcissism.

While this may hold true in a minority of cases, it is not always what happens, especially when a child grows to realize that the family he or she was brought up in is not the norm. You may realize and that your childhood experiences are not something you want to replicate in the new life you are making for yourself.

Narcissistic parents are incredibly jealous and envious of their children when they see them grow and develop into an independent self. As you may know, they will do anything in their power to keep you with them as long as possible, to keep stroking their thirsty but fragile egos.

What happens when you grow up, venture out onto your own (reluctantly allowed to do so by your narcissistic parent) and realize that life outside of that narcissistic bubble isn’t what real life is about? It is enough to make anybody’s head reel from the contradictions of what “love” was when you were growing up, to what “love” actually is.

When you, an adult child of narcissistic parents, grows up, you may feel something is wrong but cannot necessarily identify what that is. You may have always associated love and appreciation with conforming to the demands of your parents and therefore assume that is how it all works.

You were “parentified” as a kid, taking on the role of a parent to be emotionally and psychologically responsible for the well-being of your narcissistic parent, when it really should have been the other way around.

You may not have realized the stigmatizing effects that this has had on you until you grew up into your own person. It takes a toll on the self-esteem, self-concept, self-worth, and altogether life satisfaction. During childhood, siblings often mistake “parentification” as favoritism and resent or compete with you.  Quite the burden, I’d say.

There are typically two types of responses displayed by parentified children. Let me know if these sound familiar.

You have the compliant response and the siege response.

The compliant response is much what it sounds like, complacency reigns supreme in your adult life. You may spend a great deal of time caring for others (much like you had to do growing up), always trying to please those around you, and do whatever it takes to maintain a harmonious atmosphere, which usually means that your needs are put on the back burner. This may have caused you to be self-deprecating, feeling that you can give and give, but it will never be good enough.

Then there is the siege response, the complete opposite of the compliant adult child of a narcissist. If this is/was you, then you were probably defiant and rebellious, protecting yourself by becoming less sensitive or walled off and extremely independent.

You would do whatever you had to do to manipulate others and treat them as if they are the parents who wanted you to meet their every expectation. This is more or less a passive-aggressive attack on your parents through other people, doing to others what you wish you could’ve done to your narcissistic parent.

The fear of abandonment is a common theme among children with a narcissistic parent, as you may know. Always having to earn love from them and knowing that it can be taken away if the needs of your parent are not met is a heavy load for any child to carry, especially when you are the one that needs to be nurtured, shown empathy, and be taken care of.

This can carry on into adulthood, feeling that you need to perform to the standards set by your spouse or significant other. You might feel that you are only there to serve your counterpart, always feeling less skilled and deserving than the other, and doing whatever is needed to prove yourself in the relationship.

In many families with a narcissistic parent, children are used as pawns and played off one another for the amusement of the parent. If you have brothers and/or sisters this may be familiar to you. There is typically a golden child and one or more scapegoats. Usually, the daughters of narcissistic mothers are chosen as the scapegoats, while the son(s) are chosen as the golden child(ren).

Your narcissistic mother may have cast you in all of these roles, abruptly changing your purpose when it suited her needs. This sudden demotion or promotion can be enraging or devastating to a child. Which role or roles did you play?

The golden child is the extension of the narcissistic parent, the perfect child that can do no wrong and is mirrored as a replication of the parent’s wonderfulness. Proper boundaries are not made between the golden child and the narcissistic parent, giving a sense of oneness between the two that leaves little or no room for the child to develop his or her own identity. As this adult child of a narcissist grows, he or she feels entitled to this same treatment, expecting others to act in the same way the parent did. Sound familiar?

Then there is the scapegoat, the outcast, the family member or members that take the blame for anything and everything that goes wrong. This child can never measure up to the golden child, even if he or she has greater accomplishments or does better in their life than the puppet of the parent.

Scapegoats are always seeking approval only to be turned down and made to feel inadequate for even attempting to outshine the golden child. This can cause a major rift between siblings, always competing with one another in a lose-lose situation where the referee is not fairly judging the players. Does that hit close to home?

As the scapegoat grows and ventures out into the world of freedom, they have a firmer grasp on their independence than the golden child does, as that child has never been allowed to be independent in their life.

I guess you can say that, retrospectively, the scapegoat is the lucky one. You may or may not agree. Typically, scapegoats can break free from the twisted and distorted dynamics of their dysfunctional family, and break the ties binding them to the abusive life that they were forced to lead. They have more of an opportunity to create a healthy life outside of their family.

However, the burdens they carried from childhood can still play a role in their adult lives. In the workplace, the scapegoat has a tendency to be overworked and underpaid even if their work is superior to others. They can be marginalized and never have the sense that they fit in comfortably with those around them, much like how they felt during childhood.

Scapegoats often do realize that this is a problem and are more apt to seek out professional help and psychotherapy than their other family members. If you happened to be the scapegoat in your family and have taken the steps to recover, you may have sought support from many different sources including meditation, spirituality, and truly loving relationships. What things have helped you to heal and have a better life? I would greatly appreciate your feedback.

With your narcissistic parent, you were most likely devalued and extremely under-appreciated. In the larger world away from the old narcissistic family system, you have the opportunity to be valued for your opinions, values and needs.

You find you can find others who allow you to express yourself and give a nurturing response to your own beliefs and needs. It can help you to recognize that you are an adequate human with positive attributes and skills to share with the world.

You learn that it is not your fault that your parent did not love you or show any empathy towards you, which is something that you really need—to be rid of the guilt and weight you have borne for so long.

I think The Beatles had it right: all you need is love.  And, for those who had narcissistic parents, sometimes it takes awhile to figure out what love is.

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{ 57 comments… read them below or add one }

lucy January 28, 2015 at 9:45 am

I’m 77 years old and realized at this late age that my mother was narcissistic. She made me the “golden child”, and I helped in the house and practically raised my younger brother, who is 10 years my junior. My older sister (by 4 years) was the scapegoat and is also narcissistic, dishonest and an hysteric. Similar to my mother, but mother was honest. This sister tried to kill me more times than I like to remember. Mother told me of incidents that I was too young to remember. My sister always threatened me not to tell, and I don’t remember if I did or not, as I was always afraid of her. We haven’t spoken for 4 years and I plan to keep it this way. My mother treated me like I didn’t exist except to criticize me for anything she could.

As a result of my upbringing I am a giver and doer for everyone but myself, essentially a people pleaser. My masters degree was in social work and I know I really didn’t reach my potential, wishing I had realized about my mother much sooner. My father was a better parent, but he didn’t protect me either from my abusive sister. I believe he cared about me, but wouldn’t dare interfere with my mother’s emotional neglect. Naturally, both parents are dead.

I’ve had serious sleeping problems, and depression for most of my adult life. My hope is that realizing now about my mother will help solve some of these issues as well as others.

Thank you for listening to my story and others’. It’s validating to read similar stories and that I’m not alone.

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molly May 12, 2015 at 11:42 am

Your scapegoat may not be as dishonest as your honest mother led you to believe. Narcissists are known liars much of the time

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Maria January 28, 2015 at 2:28 pm

Your blog has helped me so much…thank you! I found therapy and reading books helped me a ton. Also choosing different friendships and relationships than the ones I used to choose. I am still learning how to ‘mother’ myself, and it is not always easy. But I try…and my self-compassion is growing. Today, I managed to tell my mother that the issues she confronted me with might be something she can discuss with a therapist or a trusted friend of her age, not me as her CHILD. As always with her, I am anticipating a delayed, passive-aggressive criticizing response. At best, I will be ignored – like I have been mostly during my life if I dared to speak up for myself.

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C February 12, 2015 at 12:36 pm

Your blog and emails have been an amazing discovery for me, thank you.

I think I am the Scapegoat child, because I was always determined to break away and have a happy life, plus I was always the “difficult” one or “less intelligent” than my brother (despite being in the end the one to get the best grades). So to answer your question “what things have helped you to heal and have a better life?”…

Luckily for me, at 13 I had the opportunity to go to boarding school. So I spent a lot of time age 13-18, living away from my mother. Of course we still had a lot of contact; she wasn’t too far away so would visit, and we spoke a lot on the phone/ wrote letters, and I was home for the holidays. But it did give me some early independence and then critically, I made some amazing friends during those years that I am still close to now (we did live together a lot of the time, after all)…

I then went to uni, and then moved to the city after that for my first job… so I was able to be a bit separate from my NM again. It wasn’t easy – she was always ‘there’, calling me/ texting me/ emailing me/ arranging visits etc. and i’ve been sucked in so so many times over the last 10 years… but that space I did have gave me some perspective, and my amazing friends who have just given so much fun and support over the years, have saved me. And then meeting my now husband, having my own child, reading books, travelling, learning how to exercise and feed myself well… everything outside of my NM just gets better and better so I have a lot to enjoy and be thankful for. I always feel a bit sad that she’s the one missing chink, but at the same time, grateful i’ve been able to make a life for myself, get away, do some good for those I care about, and be happy/ spread a bit of happiness.

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Ruud February 17, 2015 at 4:34 am

Dear all,

Thanks for sharing all your experiences, I’m impressed when reading your stories, and cannot stop reading these stories over and over again.

At this point in time I’m not sure if I have an Narc mother or father. I (a man) do know that I have a dangerous and abusive wife, who is definitely a Narc! On this moment I’m asking the court to get a divorce, but this is taking time, because I have two children, and these children have a Narc mother. They are too young to read all your comments in English. My daughter is 14 years, and my son is 11 years old. There Narc mom treated these beautiful children exactly like the people describe here about their moms.
Yesterday I have read the first time about enabling fathers, I felt very guilty, because I realized that have been one of those enabling fathers. Although I started realizing a while ago that I was helping my wife to abuse the kids, it felt so bad…… I cried…. Last summer, when my wife threatened the children, myself with a ax, and destroyed my car with the ax, and my wife blamed me for it, and demanded excuses from me……….. Luckily I was holding a video camera, and I was able to tape the whole incident on video! When she found out I had to destroy the tape, she almost killed me because I refused. I was able to save the file, made a copy before destroying it. Afterwards I asked the court to remove my wife from the house, and the court ordered her to leave the house immediately, that is now 3 weeks ago.
What I see happening is that there is a lot of hate between my daughter (the scapegoat) and my son (the golden child), I know I have to go to a therapist with my children, but to do so I need a signature from my wife, or the court has to give me full custody over the children, since that is going to take several month. I really would like to get some advice how I can bring my children closer to each other? Besides that I see that my son is so demanding to me and other people, because he could do anything without being corrected by his narc mom in the past, and he is only 11 years old. There is so much anger between my daughter and my son, who has experienced almost everything that was described by other participants on this side. What can I do (besides fighting to get custody) , I feel guilty because I have seen it happen, but I was unable to do anything about it, besides that nobody believed me that my wife was abusive, until the moment I caught here on tape. I feel guilty that I didn’t ran away earlier with my children, but please do understand that although I knew something was wrong, I already wanted to run away for a long time, but I stayed because I wanted to be there, I wanted to protect my children. Although I was there, I was not able to prevent all the abuse, but may be it would have been worse for them if I had leave earlier.
Now I’m really breaking my head how I can raise the children, and how I can help them to grow into adult hood, and into balanced loving and self loving people? How can I prevent that they turn into narcs them self. How can I prevent them from narc relationships in the future.
Hopefully people that have survived a narc mother can give me some ideas on how I have to deal with my lovely children.
Any advise is welcome.
Love to everybody.

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John February 18, 2015 at 11:00 pm

Ruud,
Your doing good, it took me 21 yrs to get out of my abusive marriage.
Two books “Stop Walking on Eggshells- Taking your life back when someone you Love Has Boarderline Personality Disorder” “Tears and Healing-A journey to the light after an abusive relationship”
Also Al-Anon 12 step has been a great blessing. Beatty’s book on 12 steps for codependants is good too.
Lots more. Be good to yourself and your kids.
Blessing,
John

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John February 18, 2015 at 11:16 pm

Youtube : John Bradshaw. His books are great also.
It will take time with your kids. First, I believe they will have to learn the difference between Mom & Dad. Teach them Love & Forgiveness & that they don’t have to accept unacceptable behavior. Ask for help from healthy people.
Get healthy yourself, abuse leaves damage.
Abusers minimalize their behavior and marginalize their victims.
Stay close to God!

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Jacaue November 4, 2015 at 12:43 am

Amen. I was married to a narcissist and thank God he just left me and my sons one day.

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Margot February 11, 2016 at 10:01 pm

Dear Ruud,
What a horrendous experience you have had! Please don’t blame yourself for being an “enabler” of your wife’s abuse. You didn’t have the knowledge at the time to do anything else. Congratulations on getting out and starting the healing process for yourself and your children. Although you cannot at present get therapy for yourself and your children together, I would strongly urge you to begin by finding a source of support and therapy for yourself. As you go through that journey you will learn more and more about what was going on, and you will be better able to help your kids, whether or not there is approval for you to take them to therapy.
I wish you strength and all best wishes.
Margot

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Claudia February 25, 2015 at 7:51 am

Ruud,
You are on the healing path and doing great!
You have come to the awareness and are being pro-active in trying to better the future of your children and yourself.
That’s already a lot of good work. Keep at it!

I can relate to your journey, how painful and confusing it is. I believe the worst is over since you’ve been able to escape the clutches of a tyrant and what lies ahead can only be better.
Therapy is very important to help heal towards creating a life filled with love and serenity.

All the best to you and your children in this journey!
Claudia

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Theresa March 2, 2015 at 4:39 pm

I was adopted into a family who of course at age 6 didn’t know what Narcissist Was. All i remember was “I’ve got a Daddy and a Mommy”. As i got older i remember understanding that what Mom said to me was not right,the blame was always on me,she always set high standards that i could never reach etc. Always put me down when it came to What do you want to be when you grow up? What type of Man do you want to Marry? Her response was always along the line of “Why do you think that they’d want you,with all your problems. What make’s you think you’d achieve being a Famous Actress or Whatever i wanted to be when i was little. It always changed what i wanted to be when i grew up. She’d also Laugh and say That’s Never going to happen etc. I remember around age 7-9 i was learning to make my own bed. She proceeded to show me how to do it and then had me do it. In my young mind i was proud of making my bed to what i thought was really good and exactly the way she showed me…………..Her response was It’s not Good Enough, Do It Again while pulling all the sheets and blankets off and standing their commenting on my every move. It happened repeatedly until i guess she tired of the repitition. I always knew what she was doing was wrong and the blame she placed on me. Her favorite was “I don’t have any problems,You have all the problems. Like she was Absolutely Flawless and Perfect. I have since stopped communicating with her. I speak with my Dad but even that is strained to where i’m probably going to end it with him as well. I left home at 16 and never looked back. Although i have thought about my past upbringing etc. Being on my own is what i like.

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Mimi April 8, 2015 at 4:06 pm

Thank you for this blog,

This has been a major source of enlightenment & healing for me. I am 23 years old, the eldest daughter of six children, and I think that I have a narcissistic mother. My sister and I are only 13 months apart, I also have four other siblings that are 15, 12, 10, and 6 years old. Growing up, I thought I had a pretty normal life. My dad works in chemical engineering so he was out of the country a lot, and I thought that I had a pretty “healthy” relationship with my mother. I don’t know if my mother’s behavior became more prevalent as grew older or just that I started to notice things were different in my friends’ families.

In the home, I’d say that our roles changed to fit whoever she could manipulate the easiest, and it wasn’t uncommon for her to use the other siblings as bullies (I feel quite guilty of the things I said and did to my sisters and brothers to protect my mom’s feelings). My mother was very demanding of us, even in the most minimal tasks (i.e. we would be called upstairs to hand her a remote or drink that sat just out of her reach) and our presentation outside of the home was considered a direct reflection on her.

Her general concern for us kids, was quite minimal. My sister and I would be left alone for 4-8 hours almost daily with our siblings (we were home schooled), sometimes with little to no food in the house. Our schooling, though it started out as a great experience, developed into a burden on her and she would only teach us when it made her look good. She often received praise for being so “sacrificial of her own needs”. She also would make a huge ordeal out the most simple of illnesses, taking us to the ER, calling family down to watch the other kids, and constantly gaining sympathy for herself.

As I grew into a teenager, she grew jealous of my sister and I spending time away from her. She would sabotage our relationships with friends or boys we liked by adding them on social media and harassing them. She constantly tried to dress sexier, prettier, and younger to compete with us. Once she put my dad’s account $700+ in the red just to buy jewelry. Her behavior became more controlling and manipulating, anytime we would disagree with her she would burst into tears and act like she was the victim. She became a hypochondriac going from doctor to doctor to get on tons of narcotic pills, then she would post statues on Facebook complaining about every ailment she had.

Once I graduated high school and went to college, I started to recognize the unhealthy behaviors she had. I slowly started trying to distance myself, and this made things worse. It was about 3 years ago, that my sister and I finally moved out along with my now husband (who she hates).

Today, my mother talks to me only when she thinks she can gain attention. My successful position, my family, my happiness mean nothing to her. I am mostly concerned about the environment of my 4 siblings left at home. If anyone has advice on how I can help them, or advice on narcissistic mothers and grandchildren, I would greatly appreciate your insight. Thank you.

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Sharon April 13, 2015 at 10:54 am

I hate my mother! Looking at a picture of her brings about a boulder feeling in my chest. I have often asked the golden child (my sister) for help. She sides with her mother even if she knows her mother is wrong. She believes that it is better to protect her mother’s feelings than to protect her sister’s feelings. I have cut off ALL contact with the mother, and I feel a horrendous strain in my love for my sister. My brother was the golden child when we were growing up, but now that he no longer lives near us, my sister is the golden child. I am managed to maintain my position of scape goat, dog, pig, whatever you want to call it. If I sound bitter, you’d better believe I am! What I wouldn’t give to be in a safe room with her for a two-hour or more session. I WOULD DESTROY HER!!!!!!!

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Irina April 24, 2015 at 2:03 pm

Thank u for the blog. I’m the 2 child from 13 children in the family and our mother is crazy narcissistically grew up all confused about why we are how we are and you’re web helped a lot I’m 28 and the youngest in our family is 12 years old. We are recovering from our mom and we have long way to go

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Lux May 25, 2015 at 2:26 am

Thank you for this. I’m 24 years old and I can say I’m a golden child right now at least. She kept switching rolls on me and my brother. And as I said above I’m the golden child right now. I graduated college last year with an art degree from the college/uni my parents went too. My dad got his in industrial arts and my mom got hers as a history and art teacher (my mom never used hers shocker she didn’t lil kids too much & my dad is the carpenter at said college).
Now at younge age I was found out to have aspergers ( and later realized I was trans. Make to female). Anyhow I can’t drive because after I got my learning pernit my parents were to critical when teaching me. So as of now I unemployed looking for s job living in my parents basement meanwhile my younger brother by 3 years escaped to the next town over going to college there (she joked about going to the school she did ) but he escaped. But any time we go on trip together they lay in thick harsh words and criticize him. Mostly because of s stiff neck he aquired from staying on the computer for long hours. (Which I believe was his escape from the environment around him.)
Needless to say I know now my parents esp my mother was a narcissistic parent who was emotionally abusive. There is more but I dint wanna prattle on. (By the way idk if it matters but I have tons of empathy fur people ) any how thanks for the wonderful article!

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Heather May 25, 2015 at 10:16 am

I spent my teen years being pulled into arguments and fights that lasted several hours at a time, into the night, even if I had to be at school the next day, usually as the result of something simple, like having a clean room, not doing homework, stuff like that. The knock down drag out fights usually ended with us being emotionally exhausted, her crying, me feeling guilty about things I’d say to her and with me hating her. the fights would escalate because instead of me feeling sympathy for her or pity like she was asking, I would call her out on her terrible behavior. I have memories of her making what were supposed to be good times and events tension filled and horrible, usually because she was having issues in her own head that she would take out on us. We walked on eggshells growing up so much, that in my own family as an adult now, it took me a little while to get used to not feeling that way, and having a home where screaming and yelling and crying and throwing fits was not the mainstay. I think I had to accept in the last few years that my childhood was not normal and not healthy and finally had to accept that nothing I would do with my mother would make her change, even if I changed, it wouldn’t do any good because no matter what, I will always be a disappointment. She has always had such high expectations and will punish you if you don’t meet them, but they are always “unspoken” because she loves to say, “I never expect ANYTHING out of you, I never ask anything of you.” She does, just in her own, passive aggressive way. I think the biggest thing that’s helping me heal has been this week, when I finally put my finger on what it was that caused my mom to be like that for so many years – narcissistic personality disorder. While identifying this will do nothing for my mother, she will never understand she even is that way or that they way she is is wrong, it helps me understand what I want my relationship to be like with her going forward and it helps me to be OK with losing the hope that my mom will never change but it doesn’t mean I have to still be a party to the unhealthy cycle we’ve created for the rest of my life. It’s a work in progress and I have a lot of healing to do, but just knowing that this is a “thing” and that other people have experienced it makes me feel less alone and that my feelings I’ve had all of these years have merit and are not completely in my head.

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Allunga May 26, 2015 at 5:17 pm

I am 38 years old this year and I have a 2 and 2 month old baby girls and a wonderful caring husband. I finally found out what was really wrong with my upbringing and the messed up resentful/hateful dynamics between myself and my siblings and now know I can blame my narcissistic mother for that. However I’ve only recently discovered this information and doing a lot of reading on the subject and want so desperately to learn more about it for my children’s sake.

Where do I start!!! As a daughter of a narcissistic single mother with 3 boys and 2 girls (I was 2nd child), I was bullied into cleaning, baby sitting, shopping and even sent to ask family and friends for money loans because most of the time we had none and no food. My eldest brother is the scapegoat as well as the brother after me, my youngest brother is the golden child and is still living at home with the control freak because she has convinced him he has a disability. my sister did run away when she was younger but her relationship was abusive and ended after 2 years and had one son. Sadly She is back being controlled by mum again (I cringe when calling her mum because now I know that’s not how healthy mums are, now that I have a beautiful mother in-law).

Also I feel bad for my sister having to go back to our mother for support as mum loves to see our relationships fail and always says “well you should have listened to me” or “I told you so”. Also when I was in my teens my mother didn’t pay for the gas and our hot water got turned off and it stayed like that for five years so for five years us kids bathed in cold water, my mothers excuse was well you kids can’t always have everything you are all too spoiled and said she had to boil water to bath when she was a child so can we!

I have only recently decided to end contact with my family for good, because as always they have given me the silent treatment because I hurt my mothers feelings or something along those lines I could never figure it out because she never tells us just makes us feel that we are wrong and she is always right. I have realised my family is not healthy and I don’t want my husband and daughters near them anymore.

My family haven’t even met my new baby girl because of my mothers stupid silent treatments and arrogance and my sisters little son was so excited to meet his new little cousin and now he can’t because his narcissistic grandmother dictates when her children can contact each other. That’s just too messed up for me to handle anymore now that I know what’s really going on here, and that I’m not the one whose to blame or the one who has the problem as my mother always says.

Thank you so much for the enlightenment and everyone for sharing your stories as well.

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NoMoreTears May 31, 2015 at 8:46 pm

Respectfully to All NM Recoverees (hopefully…),

Thanks for all your fascinating stories of your dysfunctional childhoods/adulthoods w/the NM’s. You guys are so inspiring and strong individuals to share so honestly. Many thanks, too to Ms. Piper for sponsoring this extremely helpful site. Your work is invaluable to me.

After reading several articles on the net concerning our mutual concerns, I almost cannot believe how widespread and systemic the narcissistic behavioral patterns are. At age 56, my mother still attempts to enmesh me into her web of control and neediness. I’m presuming that I fall into the scapegoat role… as I seem to never be able to please my mother at all. Yes, even when I will falsely accept blame for any emotional negatives that occurs in our relationship – she will somehow twist things around to an insinuation or outright claim that I’m patronizing her – I can never bond, win favor, nor make things right by her in any capacity. My mother is now 82 years old, and my brother (the golden one) is 55. He, of course can do no wrong by her.

I’m so plagued with insomnia that I couldn’t help but try to discover on the web in the wee hours when I’m wide awake (about 2:30 AM) just what the heck is her pathos. She has even tried many times playing my sweet and docile husband against me… much as she’s ALWAYS done with my brother. It’s so frustrating and has caused numerous conflicts with my husband and friends until lately; when these articles have started to make a great deal of sense to me. I’m off to the bookstore tomorrow to find a few books concerning this impossible personality issue. Her debilitating disorder has definitely had a backlash effect on my own personality; as it stands I definitely think I may have issues with pistanthrophobia at this stage of my life. But I’m learning to trust others more every day.

Talking with many therapists over the years has made me well aware that she has almost never been a support system for me since age 13. But none of the therapists ever hinted around that her disease was so integral in my constant feelings of inadequacy and self-deprecation. Now that I’m helping myself to the joy in life that I realize now totally surrounds me, it’s easier to read between the lines of her cruelties and accept that I must keep developing a thicker skin and not to feed into her addiction. I don’t do the enabling things I used to do… and I cannot beat myself up anymore about her unhappiness. It’s O.K. to love myself – and I will make fully sure I never let her hear that I do… or else!

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C June 8, 2015 at 1:51 am

Heather… I could have written what you wrote about my childhood, especially teenage years. The long draining fights, the special occasions she ruined (my last day of school, my graduation, even to some extent – ie. she tried but I’d put methods in place to prevent! – my wedding day). I sympathise with you, knowing I also went through it and have come out (sort of) the other end and now have this knowledge of what she is. x

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NMT(short f/NoMoreTears) June 20, 2015 at 11:13 pm

Hello Everyone,
I just want to say I read these letters to Michelle Piper and how can I say that… well you are ALL such and inspiration and I feel such a close bond to everyone here! Because you are all on a terrific and astoundingly virtuous path to healing yourselves. I’m sure that many of us are just about completely healed when we consider the source of our mutual cause of pain/disease. Thank you, thank you, thank you forever Michelle for having such a supportive blog that brings so many of us together with this dilemma.

I wrote in about a month ago under the pseudonym: NoMoreTears. Since then I’ve started reading books from Michelle’s list on this site; the reading is a HUGE Godsend. I’ve contacted two of my aunts since then also…both of whom are wholly supportive and concur with me and both have great experience and resignation in dealings with my mother. My older aunt just told me how selfish and self-centered my mother has always been… and how all the while in her relationship my with NM she’s had to “walk on eggshells” to simply relate to her on a remote acquaintance-style manner. By the way, another great book that is very applicable to this topic is: “Stop Walking on Eggshells”, by Paul T. Mason and Randi Kreger.

I see that now I’m already feeling so much more confident in my everyday life. It’s a hard habit to break, but I’m remembering to affirm to myself to stop beating myself up when she ignores me constantly; or showers me with attention just to slip a sentence or two in the “good times” that lets me know passive-aggressively that she’s still in charge of my life (or as she secretly hopes: My LACK of life).

When reading your letters above, in so many cases I feel as if I’m reading bits of my life written down psychically by you all! You’re all so beautiful and purely honest to share here and make us all feel like we’re NOT alone in this world… and you guys are the bravest people to realize that it’s a sin unto yourselves to keep believing that y’all will never measure up – The REAL sinner is ANYONE who’d tell you NOT to believe in yourselves…or that you’ll NEVER be good enough. At this critical juncture in my life I certainly am learning to leave ALL naysayers alone to stew in their own juices. I have absolutely NO more time for any people without regard or empathy for others.

“Children of the Self-Absorbed” by Nina W. Brown is a great book…it’s sort of workbook style where you take these multiple choice quizzes that enable you to add up scores which really enable you in understanding and assessing just how unnecessarily and needlessly insecure you may have been conditioned as a child to become as an adult. Take your time in reading this… you may need breaks to fully comprehend and process the pain it brings up sometimes from your past; nevertheless, you’ll gain a much keener insight into why you may relate to people in the fashion that you do. That stuff we internalize never quite goes completely away…but we can fortify and strengthen ourselves with the knowledge that endless and infinite love and joy surrounds us whatever we endeavor! Peace and infinite blessings to all my brothers and sisters here – XXXOOOO

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Wiser now June 24, 2015 at 11:48 pm

Being able to say to my mother after 43 that she is sick and that she won’t get help and so I’m cutting her off because of the devastation she has caused me was hard to do. It has been harder than I thought because the initial relief that I felt knowing that I wasn’t going to pretend anymore that nothing was wrong with her, or keep ignoring her lies, stealing, manipulation and general craziness, has been replaced by sorrow that she never loved me. I loved her deeply, I’d do anything for her to try and make her happy and I loved spending time with her when she was in a good mood. Now all that is gone and she doesn’t care. Apart from texting me over and over again that she did nurture me and she did love me she, not surprisingly she hasn’t said sorry or acknowledged the truth of what I said. I am trying not to slip into depression knowing that I have to let go and grieve and deal with the anger and be strong. I’m scared that I’ll regret my decision, but when I recall her narcissistic rages, lies, crazy behaviour, stealing, manipulation and put-downs I realise it’s all worth it. I’m not going to tolerate falseness anymore in my life. This means I’m also not tolerating other narcissists in my life. So many people are manipulative and deceptive!!!! It’s crazy to realise this and I’m angry that I’ve tolerated and even allowed it from people.
I have to relearn how to live my life!!!!
This is completely new for me because I have for so long been the complacent enabling one who does everything for others giving them the benefit of the doubt and neglecting herself and her own needs. I don’t even really know who I am and what I like to do!!! I guess this is the time to find out now!!!

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HC July 19, 2015 at 11:12 am

This was very helpful. I am 49 and grew up the youngest, the only female, and the scapegoat to my oldest half-brother. He was a child molester (I found out myself a few times when he attempted it with me), a drug abuser and a criminal but Mom thought it was never his fault. I however was never good enough, she shot me down every time I did something good, and I was never in trouble and never did drugs. She also always called me a liar about his abuse, yet she slept in my room til I was about 10 or so to “prevent” abuse she knew he was capable of, then turned around again and always called me crazy for trying to tell her what he did. She also blamed her life on me and threatened to cut me up once. She died in 1993 and I still regret never telling her off or confronting her, why would I confront a perpetually sick woman? I am angry at myself for not telling her off and still have dreams about it, and her, she is always angry at me even in dreams. I was married to an abuser, and fell I don’t know how to be happy. I have an eating disorder (binge craving) and have never liked myself. I am in therapy now so maybe one day I’ll get over the anger and appreciate myself.

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HC July 19, 2015 at 11:18 am

I need to clarify one spelling error. I FEEL (not fell) that I am inadequate and undeserving of anything. I also did divorce the abuser and have a good husband now. Older step-brother was the Golden Child. He was always in trouble but she enabled him, even had him selling her medications to his seedy friends for extra cash. He used a handicap (blindness in one eye) to excuse himself for not working, not going to school etc and she fully enabled this. I however was the first in the family to go to college and I was not acknowledged for it, and any goals I had were shot down. “That’ll be the day when YOU do anything” was a typical response. Dad was out of the loop, when he wasn’t working full time (Mom did too) Dad was off with his girlfriend he had on the side. when they were both home they just fought all the time. There was no alcoholism, just foul words and sometimes furniture flying.

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Sarah August 3, 2015 at 3:57 pm

Thank all of you for your insightful comments. I just went through a very emotionally traumatic incident which was and still is very draining. Having grown up in a home I call the Temple of Narcissism during the 1950s and 1960s in which I was the scapegoat and my sister 3 years older was the Golden One (translated Mommy’s Perfect Little Darling) I could so relate to every one of your stories.

The lies and sabotage went on for years and years and still remains fixed in my sister MPLD. I finally parted company with her about 3 years ago and plan to stay away permanently as I simply couldn’t take it anymore. I kept going back time and again because I kept trying to have a better relationship with her, failing to see that simply could not ever happen until I finally woke up after our mother died in 2008.

Some years ago I saw the Narcissism Issue fairly clearly and actually shared some of my information and insight with her (MPLD) which she was open to and we had some very good talks. But it was to no avail, and she just reverted back to her past manipulation and con artist ways before long. It’s interesting that her husband of 45 years who is 11 years older than she is has also been in this dysfunctional system coming from a wealthy family of rip-roaring alcoholics and will not “allow” us to have time to try and work this out.

My life has been blessed in many ways with some lifelong loyal friends but has also been filled with failures, frustrations, feelings of total inadequacy, lack of direction, feelings of abandonment, and inability to have a functional marriage despite a true heartfelt desire to have that. I’ve been blessed with an unwavering faith in a loving God and a healthy spirituality. But the failures and frustrations of loneliness, ongoing financial issues, many of which were truly not my doing, and some were, mostly emerging from my childhood need to feel “taken care of” by someone else, which of course never really happened.

O, it goes on and on, and I’m so grateful to find help, understanding and resources here from so many kindred spirits. Many thanks to all of you for opening your lives and sharing your stories.

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KatNineLives August 8, 2015 at 9:24 pm

My mother is just so toxic.

I am the second of four children, my sisters and I born 3-4 years apart and then my brother came along later, when I was 17. We have two golden children, my older sister, and my kid brother. My younger sister and I are the two scapegoats, although we can be teased with the empty promise of “golden” status at the whim of my NPD mother. She has never been diagnosed, and she has never been wrong. Heaven forbid you should challenge her thoughts, beliefs or demands. I am in my 40’s and never had children; I have trouble maintaining relationships and I think I feared having a child, thinking perhaps I would turn into my mother. After nearly a decade of therapy and thanks to my faith in God and regular meditation, I am proud to say I have learned to establish and maintain healthy boundaries with family members, friends, bosses, coworkers, and acquaintances. I have learned to say “NO,” speak up and not be passive aggressive, and have stopped allowing people to walk all over me. What I should say is, I have learned to try to, every day, and to stop wallowing in self-pity and not really living my life, like I was when these narcissistic wounds hurled me into a corner and I was terrified to move from there. I was in a prison, and I have finally realized that I was keeping myself there, although it was designed by whomever the controlling narcissist was in my life – first my mother, then my ex-husband, then toxic “friends,” you get the picture.

I am writing tonight because I was recently in a sporting accident and suffered two fractures. My mother gave me a helping hand, but there was a lot of backlash involved. First, her “get well” gifts were recycled items that I gave to my father while he was ill. (We lost Dad to cancer within the last year.) This was so hurtful and gut-wrenching, and she has done similar things like this in the past, given me gifts that are meant to hurt or that show very little effort or thought on her part. She then told me she was glad I had run my errands for her before I got injured, an attempt to devalue me and hurl guilt at me for getting hurt, all in one shot. I just laugh inside at this now, realizing how absurd her illness truly is. But I feel like my insides have been shot full of holes and I feel awkward getting close to my boyfriend. Our relationship is a struggle because he is the golden child of an NPD mother and we both have intimacy issues.

He last phone call to me was not to see how I was feeling, but to get into a whole tirade about some issues she is having with her car, although she keeps going back to the same mechanic who is clearly ripping her off. I feel like she always does this to me. During my divorce, she magnified the issues she was going through with my father. It’s so tempting to fall into her little trap and shrug off my injuries and feelings as unimportant. But I refuse to.

There are items piling up outside my apartment that I need to ask my next-door neighbor to move. I am finally focusing on my career in a strong manner, and if I do not get the promotion I have deserved for over a decade, I plan to leave and not look back. If this relationship with my boyfriend doesn’t have a healthy growth soon, I’m going to leave that as well. These are all the big, big changes I am making, but there have been many smaller ones. I have some physical limitation right now, but I have become a lion on the inside.

Thank you so much for this site and for all your insights. I could not have grown to this place without all the help available. I also recommend CODA and Al-Anon, if applicable to you.

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Michelle October 8, 2015 at 8:33 am

At 62 years old, I have realized with the help of this website and reading books, I am the daughter of a NM. I knew something was not quite right growing up, but at that young age blamed myself. My NM was very abusive physically and mentally and unfortunately my Father (RIP) was an enabler; not wanting to suffer the wrath of his wife. I left home at the age of 17, became very independent, still am. My 85 year old NM lives with me, which is probably the worst thing I could have done, or maybe it’s a blessing in disguise. I probably would have never explored my childhood if I were not in close proximity to her again. I would probably continue to have failed relationships. I was the scapegoat my younger brother the golden child. My younger sister the abandoned child (adopted after I left home, and my NM renamed her “Michelle”). My brother is a narcissist and we have not spoken in many years. He has not spoken to our NM in years either (she pines for him). I’ve had two failed marriages, the first I was unable to assimilate into marriage relationship. Then an 11 year relationship with a man who did not want marriage and cheated about 4 years into the relationship. I broke it off with him after 11 years as we were more like roommates. My second marriage was to a sociopath which lasted 1 year. I waited two years after that before dating and began a relationship with a man whose Father and Mother were narcissists (unknown to me when we met). I broke that off after one year as I was on the back burner, not a priority to him. My NM has picked up right where she left off when I was a child. Everything is “we”, she expects me to entertain her and answer to her for everything. She does not respect boundaries. She gives me unsolicited advice. She truly believes the world revolves around her and is entitled to know my whereabouts at all times. She wants my work schedule posted on the fridge and complains about my hours. Like I said earlier, I’m figuring this out, but need help with responses to her. I still get defensive and dread coming home sometimes because of her behavior. She is not physically abusive, but she gets her verbal digs in daily. I ignore and try not to respond, but it isn’t easy. I wind up going to the library or going for a walk to get away.

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Denise November 12, 2015 at 2:26 pm

Thank you truly for illustrating exactly the sort of home I grew up in. I always felt that we were “different” than other families, but was told that “we don’t air our dirty laundry” and that it wasn’t “right to compare ourselves to others.” With those platitudes and others, I failed to believe, until long into adulthood, that the problematic relationship with my narcissistic mom was anything but my fault. I’m highly aware that, after all, it wasn’t me who created the drama or incessantly in need of attention / affection; it was in fact my mom. Anyhow, my early adult life played out at you describe: Delving in the same kinds of relationships I’d been in at home (trying to be perfect at everything, feeling less than any of my peers, feeling often hopeless that I’d ever be happy) and somewhat self-destructive (when being near perfect still wasn’t good enough, I’d fall into depression and let every single thing go while I sat in a pity pot). At around 35, after several more ups and downs, I was succeeding at college and seeing how much more balanced my parenting style was than I had experienced (vowing to not raise my children as I had been raised), when I was faced with a failing marriage (cheating husband who also lied for years about money), I could actually voice my own independence and self-worth. He’d try put downs and they wouldn’t work. He’d try lies to family and friends; I didn’t care, knowing deep down who I was and what our relationship problems were.
Since then, I’ve rarely spoken to my mother and problem never will unless she initiates it. I’m glad to know I’m “ok”. Truly. Not perfect, but not a failure either. Very worthy of both love and respect. Thanks for reiterating how important it is to strive to that balance.

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narcdaughter November 30, 2015 at 3:29 pm

the fact that I won’t use my real name is probably already a testament to how much of a coward I am when it comes to my mom. As someone recovering from this (or at least trying to), I’ve experienced so much guilt. It feels like it’s consuming me. And for what? For not being there for her? For not trying hard enough or showing enough affection? And now it’s for refusing to make a speech at her third wedding. There’s a song she used to sing to me (a joke … of course) that sums it all up in my mind: make coffee for your mom [insert any request here] if you want to be loved. Thanks mom. Unconditional always.

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Sharon December 3, 2015 at 10:31 am

I have just turned 50 and have only just realised (or think i`m correct) that my Mother was Narcisstic! I have always been frightened of both my parents but my mother more so and often wondered why? I`m an Only Child but as i grew up and went to work, i dreaded coming home as fearing what sort of mood my mother was in and knowing that it would be my fault! She used to bang kitchen doors, slam around the house and make me feel shakey and nervous as she`d be cross with me. Both of them NEVER apologised, if i didn`t apologise i would be ignored for days so it was always me saying “sorry!” I had to be the one to wake my mother up in the morning and bring her tea in bed. If i was late, i`d dread waking her up as she would be so mad at me. When i had a friend around for the day, she`d act so sweet to me and my friend but when the friend went home, as soon as the door shut my mum would have a go at me for saying or acting wrongly and would go back to her old ways again! She used to remind me of Joan Collins on Dynasty – Alexis?! She could be extremely bitchy and sarcastic too. I grew up with a Stutter and had to go to Speech Therapy as a kid. Didn`t help.

Now, i`m happily married with a lovely man who has helped me alot. When we first met, i used to take things/words literally because my parents actually `meant` what they said! Whereas he didn`t! He`s restored my love in people and loves me for myself not for what i do ( I had to earn a cuddle or kiss by doing a job for my parents!) My Mother took a dislike to my husband and she got thrown out of the Maternity Ward by the Nurses because she made me cry and wanted a row with me-after 1 day giving birth! I told her not to contact me, write to me or visit (as everytime she did, she would upset me by means or another) and i haven`t heard from her since?!!

It has been 12 years now that i haven`t seen my mother and my Speech is nearly normal now and i feel much more confident and less nervous!

I would love to meet an Expert and tell me in person that this is what my Mother was ….but reading this has helped me alot to understand that she must have been Narcisstic? Thank you so much for helping me understand!

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Claire December 6, 2015 at 2:51 pm

I literally just now realized that I’ve been living with a narcissistic mother after reading this and a few other articles today. I’m 34 years old and I have a 4 year old daughter. I had a pretty bad childhood, although my father was sweet and caring, my mother was never satisfied with me or anything about me. I made very good grades, went to a performing arts High School for painting, and played sports, but I was still constantly told I wasn’t good enough and my accomplishments were ignored by my mother. My dad tried to over compensate I think, and he was always telling me how smart, talented, and pretty I was. This made my mom very angry and she would mock me and my dad’s relationship. She didn’t hdie the fact that she was jealous and bitter towards me, but being a child/teenager I was very confused about that and thought I must have been doing something wrong. My brother was, and still is, the absolute golden child. My grades were better than his yet he was smarter. I had more friends and more of a social life but that was because I was wild and my friends weren’t all that spectacular anyway. He dropped out of college and I was the only one to complete college but he was depressed and I only attended an art school so it wasn’t that much of an accomplishment. My mom didn’t want to come to my graduation (my father had passed away a few months prior) and didn’t send my invitations out to family because she didn’t like how they looked. I started using Marijuana and drinking at age 14 and prescription drugs at 15, I guess to hide my pain. After a big fight with my mom I overdosed and almost died (which was what I wanted to happen) and I am still made to feel guilty and ashamed about the incident by my mother and brother. I left home when I was 18 and moved halfway across the country for college to get away from her. I was SO much happier, even though I still would get upset everytime she visited or called. I finally was allowed to hang out with friends whenever I wanted and make my own decisions. My drug usage and drinking decreased a lot. I got engaged to a man old enough to be my father who had a lot of money. Now that I look back, I think I was wanting a parental figure that was sweet and kind to me. I missed my dad’s company and friendship, but I had to talk to or be around my mother to see or talk to my dad, so I believe I was trying to replace him. My father passed away in his sleep my senior year, and I was devastated. Of course my mother had to make me feel terrible for not calling or visiting enough even though he died unexpectedly. After he died my mom went thru his room (they had separate bedrooms) and found a letter I had written him the first Christmas I came home from college to visit. He was so miserable with my mom and I felt like they were just staying married for my sake (I was the youngest child). I let him know that if they got divorced I would not be mad at either one of them and that I was sorry he was so unhappy and that I couldn’t be there. My mom still brings this letter up. It was private, and I understand that it hurt her I guess, but it was not meant to be seen by her and I honestly didn’t think he would keep it. After that I got married and had a child. My husband was emotionally and sometimes physically abusive to me. I had nothing in my own name so when I finally left him I had no choice but to move back in with my mom. At first everything was fine, she had a job and I stayed home with my daughter and worked on artwork. Then she was fired and I had to go back to work as a bartender. I had only planned to stay long enough to get on my feet but she constantly told me I could never make it on my own and that if I was a good mother I would stay. Now she is keeping my daughter while I work and it’s a disaster. My daughter has no structure while she isn’t with me and my mother does not respect my wishes about how to take care of her. I had my daughter potty trained before we moved in, and my mom started putting her back in diapers (now I have her re trained but it took a lot of work). My daughter never used pacifiers and my mom started giving them to her at age 3. I just now got her to stop. My mom never wants to take my daughter anywhere or be around other people. I just recently enrolled her in preschool and my mother got so angry. She encourages my daughter to be mean to me (although my daughter doesn’t usually do it) and my mom talks to me like I’m an idiot and a failure all the time. She constantly says that I would be homeless if it wasn’t for her “taking me in”(She BEGGED me to move in with her). I don’t know what to do. I am in therapy but she always makes a huge deal about me going to my appointments and tries to sabotage me going. I have no social life or romantic life. She refuses to watch my daughter if I want to go out on dates but won’t let me have a friend watch her. I am still in court over child support but once I start to receive it I’m going to not tell her and start saving my money so I can take my daughter and leave. When I’ve mentioned leaving during fights she has told me that she will commit suicide I’d I take my daughter away from her. She tells me that I can leave but I can’t take my daughter. I am so stressed right now that it’s unbearable and I don’t know what to do. Sorry this was so long…but now that I have read all this info and I see what’s going on I am both relieved and heartbroken. Now I know that it will never get better between her and I and I really only can be happy if I cut her out of me and my daughter’s life. I’m just scared to death that she will kill herself and that I will have to live with the guilt.

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Anna December 26, 2015 at 2:10 am

Claire, is there any way you could move out of there with your daughter, say a house-share with a friend or something? Come to an arrangement with other parents who work re sharing childcare? Not knowing your options I don’t know what is possible for you but I hear your distress. You are not what she says you are. You are not to blame. Have a look in the Forum at the top of the page and maybe seek support in there, there is much more traffic there, they have been wonderful to me.

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J December 12, 2015 at 10:16 am

I am 55 years old now and come from an extremely damaged family as a result of very inadequate parents. I am one of nine children and the only one who had the capacity to seek professional help; it’s taking years to work through the mess I come from. I am the “middle” child also. I have six very sick sisters and sociopath brother.

In psychotherapy, which initially, scared the wits out of me, I quickly discovered my “normal” was anything but normal. I actually had the need to protect and defend my parents as my therapist would try to get me to recognize the TRUTH…..oh, how that hurts! I can now say, with no doubt, my mother was seriously mentally ill; both parents were.

I have been the golden, scapegoat and very lost child throughout my life; I can become invisible in an instant. My mother was immensely calculating, manipulating and conniving. She was a master. Very charming and a massive liar.The gas lighting was crushing as I would not know what hit me from the crap she would pull, absolutely devastating. It is not until now, three years after her death, things are becoming crystal clear. The damage she caused is profound. My therapist thinks she was a sociopath on top of it. She called me three times the week before she died and I could not bring myself to call her back; she lived 800 miles from me. I saved the messages for a while, then pressed the delete button one day. I’m still not sure if I did not care to talk with her or was it revenge; my way of saying “screw you!” Either way, it hurt. She was always crying “wolf” and one never know what was real and what was not…the games, the tricks, the conditions. That was so difficult for me because I really loved her and she meant the world to me, yet, I meant nothing to her. The one person in the world who we think should be the ultimate nurturer and protector.

My heart is broken as I have to grieve, mourn and accept she really did not care about me at all. The mess she left behind was carefully constructed years ago and will/has trickled down to the grandchildren and will continue forever; just like she planned. Destruction was her game; she thrived on chaos and drama sitting back and watching the pain. Don’t dare call her on her behavior for you will experience her wrath and be cut off.

It is now apparent she did not want any of her children to succeed in life or thrive. My sick sister’s have turned on me as I am trying to recover. They are repeating the patterns my parents taught them very well as there lives are a serious mess. Some of them are diabolical. I have to grieve the loss of all my siblings too as I give up the wish and fantasy I clung so tightly to that “one day” things would come together and we would all get along; never going to happen.

I am trying so very hard to externalize all she imprinted in me as it feels like it’s actually woven into the fiber’s of my body. I was her “favorite”. She really had me fooled. It was all a lie as I recall the day she kicked me to the curb when I attempted to question one of her ploys.

Therapy is really hard work but I will never give up and my therapist said he will never give up on me either. Believe me, I’ve tried every trick in the book to get him to get rid of me. The man is a treasure and I believe he has shown me what love is. I always thought love was a two-sentence definition….it’s not. It cannot be defined and it is different for everyone.

That little kid inside me is so terrified, damaged, angry and lost; never knowing what love was. Just trying to survive and she is a very strong force and often takes over. Then, adolescence was spent wanting to die. Telling our stories is very important. Being heard and really listened to is the beginning of healing. Validation and support are important as growing up was nothing short of traumatic. Trust is a real hurdle. Trying to feel valuable, vulnerable, worthy and deserving are real issues too. Being raised in a Catholic family, a mountain of shame was bestowed upon me; in Catholic school and in Church too; huge issue to work through…yep, I was real garbage because they told me so.

Being kind to myself is really difficult and the self-criticism is powerful; yet keeps the narcissistic mother alive and kicking inside me….I’m working on updating my operating system and internalizing my therapist and our work together.

Awareness is fantastic but it is only the first step. I believe this process will be a work in progress for the rest of my life. Trauma never goes away, but learning to understand trauma helps to cope and ameliorate (smooth out) the experience. I hope this helps and thanks for allowing me to share a bit of my story.

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J December 20, 2015 at 4:41 am

I understand how you feel. I am 49 years old I am now convinced I was raised by a NM. its a painful realization that my mother has been my enemy my whole life and hasn’t never loved me. I never knew or understood why I wanted to kill myself at age 16 but now I do. It was the abusive attacks, lying & manipulation that led me to this. I am oldest of 5 kids and mom has convinced everyone that I’m crazy. I have decided to cut her out of my life completely. My fiancé has been waiting for me to see this about my mom and when I told him of my realization that she was NM he hugged me and said I was healing. It was his love that helped me break free. I now understand intellectually. I am just now going through the emotional and psychological hurdles. Thank you for this website and that I am able to read and share my story.

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J December 26, 2015 at 1:27 pm

No contact is the only way to go. It may be painful, but I believe it is essential to recovery. Good for you. The loss is akin to a death, so be good to yourself as you work this through. Your fiance sounds like a keeper. I spent my adolescence wanting to kill myself from the emotional deprivation and isolation. Denial is the most powerful defense. In my case, it’s probably what saved my life. I was terrified of my father from day one, but….I needed a parent and she was the only one left, so I saw her as all perfect for so many years. Coming out of denial is really, really painful. Last week I decided to make the decision to own this fact of being raised by a NM and not to get stuck in the pit of what SHE wanted me to be. I will not let her define the rest of my life. This is freeing for me and scary at the same time because it was like being brainwashed and now I have to discover what’s real and what’s not. It’s kind of like “the day I met myself”. I could not have come this far without solid professional help because I was in way too deep. Clarity is empowering.

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Amie April 10, 2016 at 3:15 am

Good for you, I have dealt with the same issues from my NM throughout my whole life, and realizing that I’m never going to get what I’ve spent about 30 years trying to get is sad, but it’s been so exhausting and defeating that I’m actually excited that I can have a name for what’s wrong, and know truly that is her and not something so wrong with me that I will never have normal relationships with anyone…I am and have always been the scapegoat, and it enraged my NM so much that I would rebel that we would have horrible fights. It wasn’t until I came home from the military when I was 25 and started a divorce process from my NH did she really “get me” she not only turned my step dad against me but also my(then) 2 year old son became her golden child. I had so much going on I just suffered through it and became this “bad person” she made me out to be I turned to drugs and another narcissistic man only to make all my problems that much worse for myself, but I did it very loud and attention seeking so I could have it be about me, instead of her, well, that really backfired, mainly because I subjected myself to that world and those type of people, thinking I was like them and I was far from it so I found myself becoming a victim to all the abuse and wrong doings one would receive in the streets from others that didn’t understand why I was there. I would rather be with strangers abusing me than with my mom and have to just watch her try to manipulate him into seeing me that way as well. I ended up pregnant with my second son and in March of 2011 my bf and sons dad overdosed. With his mom crying in my lap, I called my NM to make amends (we we’re in huge fight cause I had moved to the next town away) just to tell her I loves her and nothing was that important cause it could have been me that passed. She said she was sorry my friend died but I couldn’t go there ( her house) that was never my intentions I just wanted to make up with her and have her empathy. I never got it then, and now my youngest is 4 and my oldest is 14 and we still go through major issues and I take her abuse still, instead of fighting in front of my boys. She will tell them things like mommy’s crazy, and whatever else she feels like lying to them about. I’ve gotten so beat up from it lately and 3 days after Christmas I started having major pains and they found an 8 cm mass on my right ovary. She screams that she had shit to do, and that I couldn’t do this to HER?? I was so upset and this was being projected at me so much since March when my step dad passed away that I told her I hated her. She never appilogized of course and made herself the victim telling my gm and aunt first chance she got how she does everything for me and I told her I hate her. Luckily I’ve shown a lot of growth and strength the last few years so my family didn’t just believe her, now after taking two weeks off work and schoolgoing (instead of 6) from having my ovary and mass removed, I’m back full force and going to graduate in May with an associates in Psychology and an associates in sociology, I’ve been accepted to a university and although I will be 38 at the end of this month, I feel like I am finally getting a chance to be me, and break free from the constant blame and shame game she plays so well. I decided after that time, I wasn’t ty going to subject me or my boys to that anymore. I just now found out about narcissistic parents and never knew that I wasn’t alone until now. T uh and you thank you thank you for your story it might have saved my life

Watch her the way she is with my son. I finally went to rehab when 1 was 31 because that’s what she thought I should do, I never did anyone wrong or stole or sold my body or drugs, but I did mess up my son by having to leave him for 3 months when he was 7. I ended up getting kicked out on purpose and went right back to where I came from because in my mind it was still better than being at my moms house. I was arrested for a paraphernalia charge I’m 2008 and she tried to go uh nd me at 32. I ended up leaving and she showed up at court screaming at me in front of everyone. She just got mad at me the o

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Pauline February 27, 2016 at 1:46 am

I wish you love always – I don’t know you but I do know you – people who have mothers like ours are bonded together – people who don’t will never understand – how can you explain it – but with us you don’t have to – my mum is so sick and evil at the same time – my Dad who died a long time ago was sick alcoholic and enabling – my brothers and sisters are alcoholic but some in recovery for which I am grateful – I send out hugs to you every day from today – I hope you can feel them and know you are not alone with this pain but be good to yourself and gentle on your damaged heart and soul always xx

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Sarah December 23, 2015 at 4:03 am

Thanks for this. I am 25 and have recently realized what I went thru as a child was not normal. I was the scapegoat my brother being the Golden child. No matter what I did it didn’t matter. I was always brought down and told it wasn’t good enough. She used to tell me to stop crying and pitying myself growing up so I thought I was just over sensitive until just recently another extended family member took me aside and said that they couldn’t believe the way she had always treated me. The saddest thing is she doesn’t realize she is doing it/ did it. She actually believes what she says , she tried to tell me the other day she never laid her hands on me ever. I can recall her slapping me in the face at least 7 different occasions, or kicking my legs out from under me once when I didn’t turn up in time for dinner (in front of my friend I had over). It is affecting my relationships as an adult, I have a child and if I take her to visit she will undermine every decision I make for that child saying I am being unkind and telling my child not to listen to me. I watched a home video recently where i was maybe 5 and the golden child 4 and I was trying to tell her something and she just looked at me and told me to shut up. It’s making me realize why I am the way I am. Whenever she used to hurt me I would go to my room and cry and then she would come in with a treat and act like nothing had happened, like marshmallows or something and just say oh would u like these I was just thinking u might like some. And now I’m 24 and I can’t have a normal relationship. Every night guy I have met I have left because I don’t know how to react to being treated like that yet I stay with guys who are awful to me – I know phycologicaly I need help, I am on anti depressants, I don’t have a single friend. I doubt every decision I make in life , she loves to treat me like a child even now. She invited me to dinner for the first time all year this week, turns out she only asked me so I would get dinner and take it there because she couldn’t be bothered driving to get food herself. Sorry for the rambling just wanted to say I really related to this

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Scapegoatdaughter December 26, 2015 at 10:42 am

Thanks to all of you who wrote. I’ve read everyone of them. I am 64 and just this year, identified my mother as a NM. It’s opened up a lot of insights but at the same time, I feel angrier. I think that’s okay to go through an angry phase. I do plan to deal with it. Right now, so much of what is written here, applies to me and my GC and LC siblings. I used to feel guilty that even looking at her photo, I got the dry heaves. I also feel a horrible strain, as one writer said, in my love for my GC sister. Both my GC and LC siblings (and their adult children, my nieces) treat her like the N Queen she thinks she is. Because I don’t, I feel ostracized. Funnily enough, my niece who is developmentally challenged and is 30, refuses to ever see her N Grandma. This is because of an incident or two where my NM shouted at her! So my developmentally challenged niece knows how to protect herself. She and I are the only ones in the family who agree we just can’t be around my NM’s angry, hurtful ways.

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donjeta December 30, 2015 at 12:56 pm

im 23 now, and u cant believe how hard was for to not fit in the world, i have never been in relationship because i was so insecure. everything that ur saying fit to my family. I’m studing psychology and im recorvering my self.

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donjeta December 30, 2015 at 12:57 pm

i know how hard is until u realize where the problem is

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Missy January 2, 2016 at 11:10 am

This has been a very helpful site and it’s encouraging to read the other comments. For years, I was the “golden” child who was used to inform on my siblings and to parent/police siblings behavior (“Go smell your brother’s breath. If he’s been smoking, I’m going to beat him. If I smell smoke on his breath, I’ll know you lied and I’ll beat you”, said my father. My mother stood beside him nodding her head). This has caused so much resentment that it’s bled over to our adult relationships.

I have one brother that is also narcissistic and verbally abusive who has a lot of hate and anger towards me – his role was the child “scapegoat”. Now our roles are reversed. I refuse to play my role and side with my mother effectively ending the policing and my brother, once the Scapegoat, can now do no wrong. His abuse is overlooked (throws things, screams insults, calls me the “C-word”, etc.) and tolerated because “he just learned that from his father”. On some level I think my mother enjoys these issues as when people fight it makes her feel superior….and maybe even needed.

As an adult I have repeatedly apoligized to my siblings for my part in becoming a third parent and still feel guilty for not standing up more to my parents. The only defense I have is that, at the time, I didn’t know my behavior was wrong and I thought that I was a good daughter.

It’s been 27years since I left home at the age of 21. My father died a decade ago and his death was a relief for the entire family. I still have anxiety when I’m forced to see my mother. She pits grandchildren against one another (“let me tell you what she/he said about you”), stirs problems among her children, chooses sides in family and even neighbor squabbles and frequently confuses her own childhood memories with ours. As a mother myself, I cannot imagine how the latter can happen. My father was vicious,y Jean, controlling, verbally and physically abusive while my mother assumed the Princess role always expecting to be catered to and simply ignored the abuse. Even when she’d catch him with his hand stroking my breasts she would ignore it as she was afraid he’d act on his never-ending threats and ultimately leave us. She also admitted in recent years that she was afraid he’d turn the verbal and physical abuse on her and she didn’t know how to handle it, in affect sacrificing her children for her own well-being.

As Im moving towards my 50th year, I’m attempting to heal myself. Sick of finding myself in the same kind relationships and same time scared of being in relationships. I’m simply trying to make myself a better person and teach my children to identify meaningful, and HEALTHY, relationships.

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Bobbi January 5, 2016 at 10:54 am

It all came to a head in 2007 when my disordered mothers decided her last g big accomplishment in life was going to be my destruction or at least she was going to try her best. Oh and she did a really good job, 8 years later I’m still in shock. But worse than they- I guess; it’s all very bad- she took out all of my relationships. In April 2007 I had relationships with all of my nieces, my nephew and my sister’s oh and my father. By July 2007 they were gone. I maybe have a chance with my living families but my father died spring of this year. Thanks sick freak mom, there’s no.fixing that one. And my mother really destroyed me to him because the day before he died he said to 2 of my sister’s
it’s.all “her”fault”. He couldn’t even say my name. And in case you haven’t figured it out, my mother made me the scapegoat. And she went full scale on it, complete with telling their local police that I was mentally ill- I was run over by drunk driver, no head injury- but she told the police I was mentally ill because of that accident. How ultimately sick is that. I have to live forever with my mother in name only doing that to me. So mother tried giving me a police record which backfired because I don’t do illegal things. Oh, and have never been in a mental hospital or had any doctor in all my years tell me I needed psychiatric care!
Here’s the ultimate kicker. The stunner. My brother has been incarcerated twice in federal prison. Twice in state prison. Had numerous stints in county jails. Been arrested in excess of 30.Times. Was put in juvie as a youth and a “special” high school and told our mother for years he needs psych care and tried suicide twice.
Me. Nothing. Joined bible club. Was a candy striper. Entered school contests. Have you guess I’m the
scapegoat. So big time.
I have one sister left I didn’t mention, our mom couldn’t turn her against me because she knows our mother is sick. But…that sister is going to loose me because she thinks I should be ove (the utter devastation of my life-im alone, single, no family) and she ignores when I try to talk about it.
I didn’t mention that my parents tried to set me up to be murdered. Oh yes. I still have the recording of the person threatening to kill me.
I had to get this out after 8 years.

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Stan January 7, 2016 at 11:10 am

Wow. All of the red flags that have gone off in my head while reading this information is mind blowing. I have been married to my wife for 28 years. I grew up in a very loving home and didn’t really understand my wives behavior. It is all so clear now. I had heard stories over the years about her mother and her fathers behavior (dad enabling moms behavior) it was hard for me to absorb. We dated 5 years, married and had children 5 years after marriage. Once we had children, my wives behavior changed and not for the good. When her mother would call to see how the baby was, my wife would whip her mother the bird, motioning toward there home a mile away, then answer the phone. I had not seen that before and was totally lost. She told me about having nightmares of her mother being a wicked witch. The reason I am researching this is because my wife seems to be more agitated now than ever, saying things to me that should not be said after being with someone for 33 years. Can’t talk to her, she puts the hand up, figuratively speaking. After we married I would get the wall/silent treatment for 2-3 days at a time when she got mad at me. I laughed it off under my breath thinking what a waist of time, she’ll be back to normal in no time. My wife was the golden child and her sister, 4 years younger was definitely the scapegoat. To this day they talk about the manipulation and lack of love. Her sister has a masters in Phycology. One time when my wife was in college, she received a call from home that her sister had cut herself, we all know what that means. She arrived home in a panic after a two and a half hour drive because she couldn’t trust her mother to be a mother to her sister. Her mothers first words to my wife were ” I cant deal with this”. She was very protective of her baby sister. She felt like the mom to her sister at a young age. I think it was for her sisters protection. Over the years I have wondered why she didn’t bond with our sons like my mother and I bonded. All of the singular talk my this, my that, when it has always been our this, our that. It is all so clear now. I am struggling to understand why she acts like she does to this day. I am trying to educate myself on what the heck is going on, I have been very depressed lately and visited a Dr. because of it. I have decided to talk to a therapist in order to figure out my situation and my future. No one to talk to, mom (my best friend) and dad are deceased and talking to my wife does not work. We have talked in the past and she will acknowledge that she has issues but never does anything to try and correct it. I did minor in Sociology in college, so human behavior has always been very interesting to me. I am now studying for the biggest and most important test of my life. Had to vent. Stan

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j January 8, 2016 at 10:48 am

I would like to chime in again. It’s been about three weeks since I discovered there was an actual “name” for what my mother/parents were. Since then I’ve read an enormous amount of material on narcissism and mothers. That word is tossed around in conversations very casually as if it means someone is just conceited or full of themselves. Being raised from infancy by a NM robbed me of knowing who the real me is. The emotional abuse is insidious because you don’t even know it is happening.The anger and deep sadness are surfacing yet I know this is good and will allow me to begin to process the emotions. This stuff is super-difficult but I want everyone to know it is possible to begin to thrive and not just survive. For me, this will be a work in progress for the rest of my life and will be respected as such. It is a decision and a choice we make to discover who we really are. She is NOT taking my soul. I think I’m starting to like myself. I’ve also been remembering all these instances when she did bizarre things such as wear a very similar dress to my wedding as my dress, not tell my father I had the baby as he never came to the hospital and I never knew why until 20 years later. She actually joined a twelve-step program and was not addicted yet became the savior to so many in the program and was showered with adoration. She never did the steps and used and was also very used by the group; the attention was utterly intoxicating for her so she went to TWO meetings every day for years and years. So many things are falling into place. Years ago she sent all her children a professionally done “self” portrait. She framed it elaborately and sent it to all of us to display in our homes…..jeepers…so I displayed it like a good little daughter should. I plucked it off the wall a month ago to throw the picture in the trash. The damn thing was DUCT TAPED into the frame and I could not get it out…who does that!! Then, I found (in the back of the closet) another large frame she sent to all with not one, but THREE professionally taken, incredibly fake poses of herself….nauseating and frightening at the same time. That was sent to all her little offspring too for all the world to view. It blew me away to see that because right then the reality struck the deepest part of my core, my soul, of what and who she was. This clarity is very scary for me but I plan on finding and reclaiming that very lost human being who has so much to give and actually is very deserving and worthy. I just really needed to vent. Thank you.

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Maxine March 28, 2016 at 7:36 am

I’m so sorry for your struggles. Please know that you’re not alone. These relationships can be crazy-making. The amount of endless manipulation is mind-numbing. My narc MIL was so enmeshed with her daughter and granddaughter she would do almost anything to rub it in my husband’s face and try to shame him. She took her daughter and granddaughter to a photography studio and had her picture made with them. The 3 of them, three generations of narcissistic women. I walked in and said, “Wow! What a great picture, three generations of daughters.” I then said, “You should do that do that for your son, grandson and Pawpaw too.” She sheepishly looked at me, shrugged her shoulders and sort of noncommitally shook her head as if to say, “Yes”. However, this never even came close to happening. It wasn’t even brought up by anyone…ever. She proudly displayed the GOLDEN GIRLS. It was another subtle sign to her son of mommy dearests long lists of narc behaviors. Time after time she would demean and devalue him, me, or our children. After keeping a journal and documenting all the little actions and behaviors the patterns of her sociopathic behaviors emerged like a sick masterpiece of woven of scar tissue, blood, and tears from anxiety ridden children enmeshed by emotionally molested parents from toxic childhoods.

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Annie January 17, 2016 at 10:47 am

Thank you posting this info on NM. Well my story is about the same as every post here and countless other websites on narcissists. The NM has taken away from me my friends, my freedom, my choices and gas-lighted my reality as I knew it. I am now a writer of human relationships (Romances) I find it far more enjoyable watching my stories unfold than the family life I have and continue to hear about, in that I don’t have time to sit hearing her waffle about how life didn’t treat her well or the endless gossip that often spews forth from a narcissist’s mouth, the constant criticism directed at me. It has helped me to stop depending on her or anyone else for any type affection or companionship- or normality. Sure I have regrets but now I use those storylines to better my finances. I have tried to get therapy but the therapists on the NHS are mostly narcissistic themselves and for some reason advocate your parent’s treatment of you as they don’t SEE the reality of your situation with your NM. Free advice to children and adults of NM/NF/NS try to move on with your life, in the best way YOU KNOW HOW regardless of what others tell you- what you FEEL is your reality and not what you are told by anyone.
God bless your thoughts and give peace and I hope you will find love…by loving yourselves!

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Tina January 20, 2016 at 12:10 pm

I am in mourning. When I was a teenager I seriously thought about some sort of legal divorce from my mother. That never happened. Her life has taken a turn for the worse and although I have done my best to help her while maintaining a healthy dose of detachment, she has found a reason to blame me for hurting her. To an outsider, it could sound like a valid reason but every single person who knows the situation crinkles their nose as to why she would take the position she has. I am 52 years old and so tired of working at this. It is like my life’s work is to figure this out to stop the hurt that is deep inside since childhood. I am afraid to post this but I don’t want to feel alone. I am feeling that I must let go and it is so hard. My chemistry is naturally fighting my intellect which tells me to look at reality and take measures to protect myself and my family. I have good days and bad. I have to remind myself to seek comfort and not be too hard on myself. I can’t believe it has taken me this long to find this site! I am a little bit surprised at how many adult children have suffered because of this. It is a serious issue. I recently read a book called Disarming the Narcissist which I found very helpful. Not sure any of the techniques are open to me at this point but I have gained a lot of insight. I am doing my best to live in the present and not try to predict the future. I am confronting my discomfort in the here and now, allowing myself to feel what I feel and then moving on in my day. What else can I do? I do not want to be caught in the trap of blaming and complaining – the very things the N loves to do. For a long time I felt bad that she was clearly suffering to act the way she has. Either I am naturally an empath or turned into one because of my experiences. There is only so much emotional pain I can absorb. Thank you for “listening” and being such a strong tribe of survivors.

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MOwl January 30, 2016 at 6:59 pm

Thanks to everyone for sharing their stories and to the author for inspiring this very necessary conversation. I think we all heal through connecting with others who have experienced this and it’s very powerful.

My experience has mainly been that of a scapegoat while my older brother has been the golden child. I often felt like I couldn’t do enough, I wasn’t good enough, nor smart enough, and that most things were somehow my fault. NM is still a master manipulator, and seemingly the sweetest person on earth, so to get people to understand the abuse she was inflicting was near impossible…even for myself. She was/is very competitive with me, I remember her getting angry when my father complimented me or showed support. Then dad just dealt by complete abandonment and ignoring me. So, she was in a great position to control me as she was the only one who was interacting with me in the family. The golden child was my older brother, who eventually moved away but still seems under complete control of the family in a lot of ways.

Often she would make me into the parent and place ridiculous pressure on me, like when I went to college she moved into my apartment complex and had me teach her to drive. Which of course she fought the whole time and never actually got her license.

I finally moved out of there to southern CA and you bet she laid the guilt on me, but at least I didn’t let that stop me. Now, 10 years later, she’s trying to do the same thing with where I’m living now but I’m setting limits.

Recently, despite my efforts to set boundaries and detatch, I’ve been feeling so sad about the whole thing. I suppose that’s normal. She visited this weekend and actually flirted with my husband the whole time, she’s very competitive with me. As a child, she would get angry when my father would compliment me or support me. She wouldn’t comb my hair, wear make up or let me wear good clothes. She also called me heavy, fat and such. And now she’s transferred the golden child attitude unto my husband and I just want to scream. But it just means that I have her in my life less. Unfortunately I’m also dealing with an alcoholic husband so my energy and capacity for additional burdens is basically zero.

Another observation is that she somehow has all these people doing errands for her constantly. In fact it seems disgusting to me but I suppose others need to make up their own minds. Every time we visit someone is dropping off groceries, or an expensive item or giving her a ride somewhere (which, hello, is why I offered to help her learn to drive in the first place). God forbid she do anything to compromise her victim status. Plus, these people who visit look bewildered when they meet us, I get the feeling she downplays or ignores any help we extend to her, which is plenty (and more than she deserves frankly). She’s just one big crying child that gets people to try to help over and over again. And no, she has no long term friendships because people eventually get wise to the BS.

Basically, I just want to recoup my life, sanity and confidence. I do very much want to move on, but if my story helps anyone then I’m happy to tell it. I think the diagnosis of NM is so helpful because it allows us to separate and realize that there isn’t ANYTHING we can do to cause change. Acceptance, detachment, living our own life, moving on. Living our lives the best we can, we deserve it after all!

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TAT February 8, 2016 at 2:23 pm

As the child of an extremely narcissistic mother, I can relate to almost all of the anecdotes and feelings expressed here.

As a teenager, having been beaten down over and over again, physically and emotionally, by a lifetime of yelling, screaming, hitting, name-calling and put-downs, I was completely detached from all things social. I came to learn that, no matter what I said or did, I could never change my mother, so I stopped trying. Instead, I tried to figure out a way of changing my circumstances.

For me, the only light at the end of the tunnel was the prospect of leaving, for good. No one in my family had ever gone to college, let alone entertained the thought. With no aspirations for the future and no help or support of any kind, college for me wasn’t about education as much as it was about a way out. Everything I did from that point on was geared toward escape. I worked hard at school and held multiple jobs. I had no way of visiting schools, but it didn’t matter because all I was looking for was a way out. By the grace of God, I ended up in a good place. I made a few friends, which as we all know, isn’t easy when you’re stripped of your ability to trust.

That was THE turning point of my life. I can’t change the past, so the abuse will always be there, but at least it’s behind me. Nowadays, I try and live every day with meaning and purpose, and I don’t focus on the rear view mirror. Most importantly, as I keep my eyes on the road ahead, I try and live UNLIKE my mother.

My main point here is that the circle of abuse isn’t necessary perpetual.

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Misty February 9, 2016 at 6:30 pm

This is amazing, as i read some of these stories i can’t believe how much i identify .When i was a small child i had to earn my mother’s affection with my good deeds and even that didn’t always work. I usually had to walk on eggshells around her because i would get slapped in the face often for being annoying, during my teen years my mother was a bully, i wasn’t over weight but i was called fat constantly, if i tried to lose weight she would tempt me with junk food, i was called a slut for liking a boy, she read my diary and grounded me because she didn’t like what i wrote about her in there. She would pit my siblings against each other by favoring one and scapegoating the other, when we became adults she would lie and tell me my sister said something about me she didn’t say, and when confronted she would deny she told me anything and i was a liar trying to start trouble, then she’d start going on about her high blood pressure and how the stress WE’RE causing is literally killing her. Eventually i ended up moving to another state and going extremely low contact with my mother because she loves to pick fights with me so as of now i might talk to my mom once or twice a year, if she calls me more than that i won’t answer the phone. I think the most frustrating thing about having a Narcissist for a mom is that people who don’t really know her act as if it’s my job to take whatever my mom dishes out simply because she’s my mother.

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Lemon February 11, 2016 at 10:30 am

Reading all these comments, I feel so sad. For all the confused, wounded children of narcissistic parents, myself included. It’s an atrocious, twisted way to exist. My mother was an addict, and the scapegoat daughter of a narcissist mother. At age 6, I witnessed her entire family, with the exception of my silently complicit grandfather in a nearby room, circle Mom like wolves, and each take turns verbally assaulting her in my grandparents’ kitchen. I’m 41 today and still remember every awful word, and the sound of my mother sobbing in agony. It still kills me today how completely helpless she felt with them, that she sat there for hours of abuse with several doors of escape just feet away. That was the day I became my mother’s protector. I’m still untangling the mess of it all, and setting down the sword I’ve carried for her most of my life. And her death was 20 years ago. I knew though, even as that young girl, that my mom was not only an innocent victim of her family. She was also a perpetrator against me. She was just the lesser of the evils. But certainly her own type of neglectful, chaotic, unstable self absorbed. I’m an only child, and my experience was something I don’t find much written about (if you know of some resource I’d love to know of it). Sometimes I was her golden girl. Other times her whipping girl, blamed for all her misery. Often I was just invisible…orphaned. So…all the roles of dysfunction. I danced the dance and was, at times all these things: the perfect people pleaser, overachiever and social butterfly, the enraged running rebel and the girl hiding out in the wallpaper. Like we do, I developed no identity of my own. I’m still discovering who I am, and many days, feel more like a teenager than a grown woman. I’ve struggled with food, codependency, money, career and intimacy. I marvel at other people my age, who are living lives that feel so beyond my reach, despite all the growing and healing I’ve done. Will I ever catch up? Is it appropriate to even expect that I could? I’ve made many life choices aligned with that growth and my health, sometimes at great cost to our society’s idea of success. Yet, the peace, love, people and other successes of my life are real, not illusions, and they are 100% of my choosing and making. I no longer feel like life is living me. I am finally living life. And even it it’s small right now, it can grow. It’s been hard, still is, living in narcissism’s shadow. But it does bring many surprising gifts. Like compassion, understanding, seeing the unseen, resourcefulness, resilience and creativity. There’s hope for me. There’s hope for us all. I have to believe that. The alternative would be giving up, lying down to let the wolves devour me, and continuing my family legacy. I refuse to be a victim. I will tell a new story.

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S-J March 24, 2016 at 5:51 pm

Overwhelmed I have been unloved all my life wow now I understand my mother has her own issues we have never cuddled

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Anonymous March 28, 2016 at 12:58 pm

I had just written a 4 paragraph statement on how my NM negatively affected my brothers, sisters and I. It brought out many bad memories and feelings. NM has scarred all of us with her behavior. Yet, I felt bad and deleted all of what I had written. I think that shows how strong the influence has been on me. At least I can say that the cycle will not be continued into my new family. I will only allow her in to my new life at arms length. I will not subject my wife and children to her projections and needy behavior. I will teach my children the things it took me 32 years to learn.

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Anonymous March 28, 2016 at 1:03 pm

I had just written a 4 paragraph statement on how my NM negatively affected my brothers, sisters and I. It brought out many bad memories and feelings. NM has scarred all of us with her behavior. Yet, I felt bad and deleted all of what I had written. I think that shows how strong the influence has been on me. At least I can say that the cycle will not be continued into my new family. I will only allow her in to my new life at arms length. I will not subject my wife and children to her projections and needy behavior. I will teach my children the things it took me 32 years to learn.

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Sharolyn April 14, 2016 at 10:12 pm

I was four or five and remember her telling me she wasn’t my mom, over and over till I started to cry, then she would laugh at me for being a crybaby.
I remember her telling me as a child “Daddy just doesnt love you as much as he loves your brother.” She said she felt sorry for me and since my brother was daddy’s favorite, she chose me to be her favorite.
I got older, my brother went to live with dad, I was accused of caring more for my father -even though he didn’t want me.
When I told her that I didn’t like the way my much older step brother looked at me I was told to put on a robe, I was 12.
As I tried to cuddle with her she said ” it’s not my week for girls” I was 14.
She flirted with my boyfriends.
She set me up for failure, I became a wild teenager. Never in serious trouble, but lots of sex, drugs and rock and roll. At the age of 18 she had me pack my clothes and she drove me to my father’s at midnight.
I moved away, far away.
I made the mistake of not asking to speak to mom when I called my little sister on her birthday. My step father called and told me to never call again if I couldn’t talk to my mother.
I didn’t. For years.
Somehow fences mended and we were on good terms, her terms.
When my step father was ill I came, when she had surgery I came, when he died I came. But wasn’t it nice my brother sent flowers.
When my husband hit bottom I was with my mom, she worried I was using up all her minutes.
When I had spinal surgery she said “I guess I should have come”. She didn’t.
When my 12 year old son was in the hospital with a bone infection she didn’t come.
I was 50 when the the lights came on. During an argument, my mom turned to my 10 year old niece and said that I didn’t care for her. That I was only pretending to care so my sister would think I was “a good person”. She then called a taxi and left. We were babysitting at the time.
I thought about that for a long time. It’s been six years since we’ve spoken.
She’s dying, small cell lung cancer. I booked a ticket, non refundable. She took a turn for the worse, I booked an earlier ticket, non refundable. On the phone she threatens to leave the hospital if I come. I lose both tickets.
She decides she doesn’t want a home health nurse, could I come?

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Free to be me April 15, 2016 at 10:19 pm

My heart and prayers go out you each of us, me included. Those who we love so much, yet seem intent on hurting and harming us. How to keep the relationship bridge without compromising self respect? I know Christ can heal all wounds, make the lame walk, blind see, even raise the dead – I know he can heal my heart and life, but how? This site has been a blessing to help me see clearer what’s going on – maybe all your comments/ this site is part of an answer to my prayers and pleadings? Helping me to no longer be blind! Actually, I’m speaking a different language to my mother now, “I don’t like the way you feel comfortable treating me. This isn’t a healthy relationship. I think we need distance.” I have never spoken like that before. I feel excited to be walking a new direction! There is hope!! I’ve been praying to understand the dark and confusing feelings that inevitably accompany interactions with my NM, light & clarity & strength are coming.
I have done some ’emotion code’ type healing which has been hugely beneficial. Also Kundalini yoga meditation (as taught by Felice Austin) which has also brought peace, strength and helped me be centered. I feel God’s hand in these healing modalities too.
I’m the 3rd child of 12. I’m 41, have 7 children of my own. I still adore my mother, but can see the damage that happens when she is with me or my family. My eldest children are aware of her cruelty, but have not seen it since they were very small. She wants to appear kind and loving. Her unkindness is mostly done spoken with a fake smile on her face (which only her offspring know is fake) or in nasty letters & emails. There’s the meanness, then the gifts to draw you back again. Bizarre indeed, yet oh so common in my mother’s family. No more though. I have one life to live. I worked hard to get to this point. I want my life to be joyful, my children to be happy. Free to be me!!
I believe the bible “with God nothing is impossible”. I know there is much peace and joy to be had in spite of our undesirable emotional start! I love my mother for giving me life and thank God for her teaching me the good she taught. The rest, well I can learn what not to do and ask God to keep helping me see clearer I guess. I know her upbringing was less than ideal too- that will help me forgive. I once heard a wise lady say that in order to love some people, you need to keep your distance from them. I moved country 4 years ago. Even a whole country away she manages to hurt at times, but I’m so grateful to have less of her games and the freedom to learn more of how I would like to respond, rather than react to her. Learning!!
Here’s to us and our emotional freedom!!!

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Arik April 22, 2016 at 8:14 am

I am the scapegoat of a very narcsistic mother, father and grand father.30 years old now.overcome many many problems only to be a functional citizen of the society.

My problem is making an intimate relationship, as I tend to duplicate my parent relations. For example when I date a girls I fell great anxiety if she is not giving me attention, If she orders something a bit exensive I fell she want to take advantage of me, if she is not answering my call I feel she abandoned me. Another typicall responce is feeling like I need to extreamly satisfy my date. Both this made for me almost impossible to make intimate relationship, and I feel very very lonely and not satisfied from life.

Finally I will go to therapy next week to deal with this issue. But I would like to get advice about what to do to change my feelings in a date.

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