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The Narcissistic Mother

One of the most difficult personality disorders to deal with is Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  It becomes even more difficult when the person who has this disorder is your own mother. Trust me on this- my mother has this disorder, so I have plenty of experience.

The narcissistic mother is selfish to the max.  She must be the center of attention, even if that means hurting others (including her own child) or making herself look foolish.  If she is not the center of attention, she gets anxious or irritable.  She says the cruelest things imaginable to her own children.  She completely lacks empathy.  She acts as though she thinks she is much more important than she really is- she comes across as extremely arrogant although the fact is that she is very insecure inside.   This sense of grandiosity makes her very concerned with appearances- she may act foolish, but so long as she has the right car, lives in the right neighborhood, wears the right clothes, or people think what she wants them to think about her, all is fine with her.  She lacks the ability to feel guilt, so she is capable of extreme cruelty.  She is very manipulative- she believes people are here to meet her needs.  Possibly the worst feature of this personality disorder is the lack of ability to see that she has a problem.  The narcissist believes everyone else has a problem, and she is fine.  This lack of seeing a problem means she will not get the psychological help she needs, or even simply change her behavior.

Narcissistic mothers come in two varieties- engulfing or ignoring.  Engulfing narcissistic mothers hover over their child.   They control their child's every move, and everything the child does needs to be known by the mother.   Ignoring narcissistic mothers are the opposite- they could not care less about their child.  What she does, who her friends are, her grades, none of this means anything to her mother.

Many narcissistic mothers go back and forth between engulfing and ignoring.

Unfortunately, dealing with a narcissistic mother is very difficult.  She is most likely not going to change (since she fails to see any problems with her behavior), and your first step in dealing with her is accepting that fact.  If you understand this, then you will stop expecting your mother to change, to be loving, to be supportive or to be a "normal" mom.  Few things are more painful than thinking, "This time, she has to know that I need her, and she will be different!"  However, instead, she proves this time is just like every other time- your mother crushes your spirit with her lack of empathy or cruel words.  This type of event does not need to crush you!  If you understand that this is how your mother functions, then you will release your expectations that your mother will be normal.  Releasing the expectations frees you- you accept her as she is, and when she is cruel to you, it no longer devastates you.  It is rather hard to be devastated by what you see coming!

To protect your mental health, limit your contact with your mother.  Why should you put yourself in a position to be frustrated or hurt constantly?  Yes, she is your mother, but there is no need to speak with her daily if you cannot handle this.  You must protect your mental health.

Refuse to acknowledge her games- if she is pouting, let her.  If she is using guilt in an attempt to force you to do something, do not give in. Read the page on The Controlling/Manipulative Mother for more tips.

Learn and enforce healthy boundaries.

You may end up needing to sever contact with your mother.  I did- for seven years, I refused to speak to my mother.  Her stealing my inheritance from her mother was too much (not that she admitted to doing this)- I could not deal with her caring more for money than me.  I used that seven years to get angry at her, to cry, then to work through the anger and heal.   One day, just after she had heart surgery, she called me.  I prayed, and felt as if I could handle it, thinking maybe God wanted us to reconcile our relationship.   I did allow it, although very grudgingly.  Our relationship is painful  sometimes still, but it is better than it used to be because of that seven years period of healing and learning. I cannot advise you to do the same- only you know in your heart what is right to do.

You may find more information on Narcissistic Personality Disorder at this link: Narcissistic Personality Disorder

There is more information yet at this link:  The Narcissist's Arsenal   Here, I describe many of the weapons narcissists use to hurt their victims, and some ways to cope.
Be strong- God does not give us any more than we can handle, even though it may feel that way sometimes.  You can learn either ways to deal with your narcissistic mother or you can gather the strength to go no contact with her.  God will help you if you let Him!

When you are trying to heal from a narcissistic mother's abuse, you are going to have some very bad days sometimes, especially if the abused caused you to have C-PTSD.  Those bad days, as awful as they are, are very normal.  Please read this link for more information:   Bad Days

On the road to recovery, I personally found my relationship with God to be my greatest help.  He helped me to heal, and to learn ways to deal with my dysfunctional mother.  Prayer and meditating on His word, the Bible, helped so much.  Learning who the Bible says I am as a child of God is not only inspiring and comforting, but helpful in the healing process.  If you do not have a personal relationship with God, please read the page
for more information.


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