For the engulfing narcissistic mother, creating anxiety and fear in her child is a very common practice. An anxious child is a child who clings to her mother above and beyond what is normal and healthy. This works out well for this type of mother, because she can control her child easily if she or he is afraid of everything. Narcissistic mothers love being able to control their children, because they can shape that child into whatever they want the child to be while making her look like a wonderful, doting mother.
For the child, however, this is a nightmare. He or she can grow up extremely anxious, possibly having an anxiety disorder, and needing medication. The child may live with many phobias, or possibly even be afraid to leave his or her own home.
When you were growing up with your narcissistic mother…
- was she highly critical, leaving you feeling as if you could not do anything right?
- did she make you feel ashamed of who you are? Did she shame your tastes in anything (music, movies, hobbies, etc) saying things like no one with any taste would like what you do?
- did she hover over you constantly, making you afraid to be without her, such as when you started school?
- did she tell you all about her own fears and phobias, possibly even saying things like, “I just don’t understand what is wrong with people who like to swim. I’m terrified of drowning!”?
- did she have to know everything about you, even going through your bedroom, pockets or purse?
- Does your narcissistic mother still try to create anxiety in you as an adult? For example – telling you about the high crime rate in your neighborhood constantly, or when you lose some weight, telling you that you must be sick and you don’t look so well…
A child with a parent who created anxiety in her turns into a very anxious adult. I should know – I have been anxious my entire life, most likely due to my mother creating as much anxiety and shame in me as possible while I was growing up.
I am still working on overcoming my anxiety, and honestly, I do not have all the answers on this one. However, I believe that if you listen to God, He will show you creative ways to deal with your anxiety. There are a few other things you can do, too.
- Work with the anxiety as best you can. Know what you can and cannot handle. Push yourself to do those things that frighten you when you feel strong enough. Other times, you will not feel strong, and that is fine. Do not beat yourself up over that! Just remember that the more times you successfully do the thing you fear, the less of a grip fear will have on you.
- Remember, just because your mother said something does NOT make it true! If you have doubts, ask God about what she said. He will give you the answers you need, and He will help you see things clearer.
- If you need medication to deal with your anxiety, there is no shame in that. There are many to choose from in either prescription form or herbal form. I like valerian root, lemon balm, and chamomile for anxiety. Valerian can be found in pill form quite cheaply and easily. I have lemon balm and chamomile plants in my yard. They are very easy to grow, and make yummy teas. Also, I have found if you make the lemon balm tea strong, it helps with insomnia too.
- When you feel anxious or even have an anxiety or panic attack, stop. Breathe deeply a few times. Why are you afraid? Is there something here that can hurt you? If not, remind yourself that feelings are there because they were put in you for the selfish reasons of another, not because you need to feel them at this point.