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The Narcissistic Mother

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Re: The Narcissistic Mother

Postby BlueFlower » Wed Sep 16, 2015 1:17 am

Wow; what heartbreaking posts here.

I've been NC for 6 glorious years now...and I've never regretted that decision. It's hard the first few weeks/months, but it was necessary for my own sanity. Once you stop drinking the poison, your health returns with a clarity so beautiful I cannot describe it. Try it and you will see!

In Progress: I feel your pain. My advice would be to make an escape plan...then DO it. While you are saving every penny for your departure, DO NOT let any hurtful comments or weird behaviors veer you off track. Detach as much as possible, then work towards your goal of independence. If you don't, your health will suffer; trust me. Get a timeline together and make small steps towards your goal. You can do it!
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Re: The Narcissistic Mother

Postby livingnlearing2 » Wed Sep 16, 2015 1:28 am

InProgress wrote:I'm a 23 year old who moved back home after college. It's been 1.5 years and I've reached a breaking point. I can't even begin to list my mothers grievances because I am not in the right state of mind right now.

Right this moment, I am attempting to leave my home. I am extremely lost, and not sure where to go from here. I am not independent enough to completely break free and I live in an area where rent is extremely high. How am I to keep my job if I can't afford the rent and also don't have transportation? Sorry if I sound like I'm rambling; I just feel so lost right now


You can do it. Can you afford to rent a room? I was pretty much abandoned at that age. i did get some money from my family but it was nothing really. I had no car. nothing. I survived. You just have to do it... find a room to rent, a work/exchange situation... Can you find some free counseling? I found some, sliding scale type help. I did it and at the time, never realized how wrong it was that I was so utterly on my own. I thought it was expected of me and so I just did it. It's only now, looking back, that I realized how indifferent and uncaring my parents were then. No one gave a sh*t about how I was doing. I just thought that was how life was.

Alot of grief in me for not realizing at the time who my mother was. What she was. You are lucky to know but you need help. I am barely functioning now facing who my mother is and what she did.
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Re: The Narcissistic Mother

Postby Eight » Thu Sep 17, 2015 4:48 am

I'm always a bit surprised when this thread resurrects and I skim through it again, and read the latest posts. It's good to remember how I felt when I posted the OP and what those times were like -- it is good to not forget.. and to see that profound changes can come when constructive action is taken to claim oneself for oneself.

Someone elsewhere mentioned the mother in the film Ordinary People (actress: Mary Tyler Moore). I agree that she portrays a narcissistic mother, though perhaps not as malignant as my mother was. It is a movie worth watching for those who are trying to see if their memories resonate with the type of narcissism that is portrayed in this movie, as well as described in the OP.

Another movie/book that resonated with me was the mother in White Oleander. The movie did not give as clear a portrayal of the narcissism of the mother as did the book. I sat in stunned silence, turning page after page, as I recognized my mother in the protagonist's mother.
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Re: The Narcissistic Mother

Postby Truth too late » Thu Sep 17, 2015 6:49 am

Eight wrote:Someone elsewhere mentioned the mother in the film Ordinary People (actress: Mary Tyler Moore). I agree that she portrays a narcissistic mother, though perhaps not as malignant as my mother was.

I wonder what that role would have looked like if it were cast into a more middle-class family instead of affluent, country-club'ish. In some ways it wasn't as dysfunctional because MTM could remain "above it all" through hired help, a fat bank account and a social circle of haughty women such as herself (but not pathological.). Her haughtiness wasn't out of place for the movie.

I think a middle-class setting with more opportunities for black/white splitting, raging, would have looked more typical. But, it might have looked satirical. To blend the pathology into an affluent mother makes it more hidden, then you see it in rare moments where it's pathological (couched/buried in affluence.).

If it had been middle class, abandoning family, petty battles at work, etc. I wonder how that would have looked as a movie. The title of the movie was misleading. Or, the title was the parody.
I never seen you looking so bad my funky one / You tell me that your superfine mind has come undone (Steely Dan, Any Major Dude)
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Re: The Narcissistic Mother

Postby Ladywith3cats » Fri Sep 18, 2015 2:47 am

The article posted by the OP is unbelievably triggering. I almost wish I hadn't read it. It was like reliving the trauma of being my mother's child all over again. She did many or most of the things on the list, but this one stands out to me:

23. She blames. She’ll blame you for everything that isn’t right in her life or for what other people do or for whatever has happened. Always, she’ll blame you for her abuse of you. You made her do it. If only you weren’t so difficult. You upset her so much that she can’t think straight. Things were hard for her and your backtalk pushed her over the brink. This blaming is often so subtle that all you know is that you thought you were wronged but now you feel guilty. You may find yourself telling her time and time, “I’m sorry” and not quite knowing what you are apologizing for. Your brother beats you and her response is to bemoan how uncivilized children are. Your boyfriend dumped you, but she can understand – after all, she herself has seen how difficult you are to love. She’ll do something egregiously exploitative to you, and when confronted will screech at you that she can’t believe you were so selfish as to upset her over such a trivial thing. She’ll also blame you for your reaction to her selfish, cruel and exploitative behavior. She can’t believe you are so petty, so small, and so childish as to object to her giving your favorite dress to her friend. She thought you would be happy to let her do something nice for someone else.

No matter what happened to me, it was ALWAYS somehow my fault. :(
I've spent my ENTIRE LIFE feeling like I have to apologize for my existence. I always felt like a 5 year old mentally retarded child in her presence even into midlife. She had that kind of power over me. That's why I went no contact with her.
It makes me sad I have no family, no roots. Because she got everyone in the extended family to take her side by telling everyone how mentally unstable and crazy I am, what a "loser" I am.
She infected me with the wuss version of her own ######6 disorder.
I could go on and on about the things she did and the cruel games she played, but I'm too tired to do that right now and it would take way too long... I probably will soon though.
BPD/AvPD; PTSD; Dysthymia; GAD; NPD (fragile/covert type); Seasonal Affective Disorder; Myers-Briggs INFJ (I know the rainbow colors make me look like an HPD. Deal with it).
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Re: The Narcissistic Mother

Postby livingnlearing2 » Fri Sep 18, 2015 7:11 pm

Truth too late wrote:
Eight wrote:Someone elsewhere mentioned the mother in the film Ordinary People (actress: Mary Tyler Moore). I agree that she portrays a narcissistic mother, though perhaps not as malignant as my mother was.

I wonder what that role would have looked like if it were cast into a more middle-class family instead of affluent, country-club'ish. In some ways it wasn't as dysfunctional because MTM could remain "above it all" through hired help, a fat bank account and a social circle of haughty women such as herself (but not pathological.). Her haughtiness wasn't out of place for the movie.

I think a middle-class setting with more opportunities for black/white splitting, raging, would have looked more typical. But, it might have looked satirical. To blend the pathology into an affluent mother makes it more hidden, then you see it in rare moments where it's pathological (couched/buried in affluence.).

If it had been middle class, abandoning family, petty battles at work, etc. I wonder how that would have looked as a movie. The title of the movie was misleading. Or, the title was the parody.


I think that's a misconception... :( It actually is worse...

I had that all in a way. I lived in countries where there was hired help. I had a cook, housekeeper, yard person. We belonged to the 'elite' just by virtue of where we lived and why we were there even though we were not super wealthy. I had serious privileges that were not normal... My grandparents (mother's parents) were very image conscience and very financially secure in the US. The phrase my grandmother often used was "don't tell people your business". See, I thought that meant that we were more special than 'others', in line with all that other special way I lived. We didn't bother with petty gossip and trivia. I didn't get it that she was actually reinforcing to not tell anyone about the abuse.


That life created a rather permanent sort of gaslighting for me if I can describe it that way. I see it now... painfully after my ex friend showed me it all in that mirror way. Every parenting decision she made was backed up by "what other parents would do", not what she might as an individual human being with her own ideas. She worked outside in the real world maybe only for a few years of her whole life. She has zero idea of what its like to survive on her own and therefore, has zero understanding or compassion for the fate she put me in.

I was lucky in a hard, very hard sort of way. I was cast out of that privileged life and on my own. It was sink or swim. I had to deal with every privileged and entitled frame of reference I had gotten used to in order to survive as I had no real money (just a small allowance from them for a while), was suddenly without any of that old social support and completely cast into a society where I was not part of that elite world.

Now, I see what happened to me. I figured out how to survive. But some of the things I did were very destructive to me. Horribly so. And it's been very, very hard to pinpoint what was always so wrong because after all, I supposedly had it all. I was told that, too. Imagine if I had just lived in this country (US) and lived a life like my aunt said my mother. Basically, making that aunt sound like an uneducated peasant woman. But that aunt was an extremely kind hearted, caring person who once saved my life. Qualities totally lost on my mother who put wealth, status and privilege above the love and care of her children. She never sacrificed a thing for us. We made the sacrifices.

It is only pure luck that I found someone just last year who helped me to really face that my mother is a cold, hearted b*tch that no amount of designer clothes, fine lawn furniture and fancy European vacations can erase. And that split causes a very painful split in my head and in my facing reality. And left me quite ripe for abuse by more than a few N's. The last one took the cake.
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Re: The Narcissistic Mother

Postby Après L Orage » Fri Sep 18, 2015 7:31 pm

livingnlearing2,

I can totally relate...Your different interpretations up above ⇧ sound horribly accurate. My mother was very controlling. And when I decided to leave at 18, I did not know how to fend for myself and I found my newfound freedom very disorienting. A bit like leaving North Korea for South Korea. As unpleasant as my mother's dictatorship was, it was familiar! I felt like a mollusk without a shell!!
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Re: The Narcissistic Mother

Postby livingnlearing2 » Fri Sep 18, 2015 8:03 pm

Ladywith3cats wrote:The article posted by the OP is unbelievably triggering. I almost wish I hadn't read it. It was like reliving the trauma of being my mother's child all over again. She did many or most of the things on the list, but this one stands out to me:

[b]23. She blames. She’ll blame you for everything that isn’t right in her life or for what other people do or for whatever has happened.


I hear echos of phrases my mother used as I find them coming out of my mouth around my daughter. Weird ones too. I am pretty sure she called me her problem child, that I would be the death of her, and lots of other things said jokingly but they never seemed like jokes in a way. I wish that the echo of what wants to come out of my mouth towards my daughter were positive phrases, adoration, admiration and so on.... I do on my own, but not cause I am mirroring my mother's parenting.

But one phrase, as I was crawling on the ground in pain from the ex N friend, popped into my head... in my Senior year of high school, something happened and to that she told me that "You are not going to ruin your life like I did". I was worried about being pregnant. She yelled it at me with the utmost angery and contempt almost...

And it shocked me. Deeply. And the message she MEANT to say, was that her having her children.. ME, US... ruined her life.

Can't get any more clear than that. Talk about blame. Here she was, had left my father, had her new 'loving' husband and she still thought her life had been ruined. She got to leave the man she thought also ruined it and start a new life and it did not even change the thought that her life had been ruined by us.

And her other favorite.. using looks to control us... and threats of spankings. Well, I think she delivered those threats in extreme ways because she told me once that her verbal threats never got me to do what she wanted and that "I could have beaten you black and blue and you would not have obeyed"... nice, huh?
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Re: The Narcissistic Mother

Postby Ladywith3cats » Sat Sep 19, 2015 2:33 pm

My mother always made it known to me how much she hated raising children (me, since I was raised as an only child) and how she thought it was something only a woman with no other options would do (even though she had 3 herself and almost a 4th with a married man she was having an affair with). She always made snide remarks about pregnant women being "fat" or "slovenly" or why would any intelligent woman want another child?

She was obsessed with social class. While we did have money for a short time when my father was made vice president of the electronics firm he worked for (until he was fired for excessive drunkenness) she made sure we presented an image of an upper middle class family--membership at the "best" country club, designer clothing, proper upper crust manners, etc. She looked down on the families of my friends where the parents had middle class jobs and always made it a point to let me know we were "better" than them (which was fantasy because in many cases those other families were actually more well off than we were).

She obsessed over my weight and her own. She was always thin, too thin actually. I was never fat (except for awhile in my 40s--and even then I wasn't morbidly obese, just overweight) She always reminded me how much weight I was gaining and even threatened to send me to a "fat girls camp" even though I was thin as a child and teenager. She always made comments about my "weight problem" if I wanted seconds of anything. It's a wonder I didn't develop an eating disorder.
I remember one time she had a birthday party for me at her house (where she made sure she invited all her friends but I was only allowed to bring 3 of mine). She made a big show out of the gift she gave me (a dark blue dress) and after I opened it, announced how it would help me "look slimmer." I wanted to sink through the floor.

She always embarrassed me when we went out in public by being rude to wait staff, service people, etc. I remember when my ex (then my husband) and I took a trip to Charleston, SC. She invited herself to join us. One day we went on a tour trip through the historical district and she spent the entire time loudly arguing with the tour guide about points he was making and she told him to "get his facts straight." People looked on in horror and I wanted to just disappear.

Her relationships were all unstable because of her unreasonable demands. I remember one man who was perfectly nice (and seemed to like me) she dumped because "he's just a peddler" (he was a salesman and therefore too "low class" for her). The man told me later that my mother was a child and he felt sorry for me having to be raised by her. She left her first husband (and two young daughters) to marry my father, without a second thought. They carry scars to this day because of that but now my older half sisters hate me because my mother now lives with one of them and has told them both lies about me (I found out through my son, who she does talk to). In the mid-'70s, she was having an intense affair with a married man with 3 daughters (they would shack up in our living room and I had to walk past them to get to the bathroom or kitchen). Even though he was still married, she told me she was trying to get pregnant to "make him leave his wife" and would abort if it wasn't a boy (she had 3 daughters and decided she wanted a son). Than God, she failed at this and never got pregnant. He eventually went back to his wife and she spent months railing on about what a selfish asshole he was.

When I turned 18 she basically decided she was no longer responsible for me and did not want to hear my problems or be a mother to me. I had to pay for my own way through college (neither of them would pay because they felt I needed to "be a responsible adult") even though having to work full time and go to school too was practically killing me and they could have afforded it. I was told to stop telling her my problems because she "couldn't deal" with me. As a child, I was punished for expressing my feelings and I was always expected to "smile." She always loved to tell me what an unpleasant personality I had and no wonder I had no friends.

If you take offense to her hurtful comments, she tells you, "I am not responsible for the way you feel" or "that's your problem, not mine." She has zero empathy. She always took the side of whoever was hurting me and told me I must have been doing something to deserve it. She NEVER gave me the benefit of the doubt.

She has always had a very affected, fake way of speaking (pretensions of being of a higher social class than she really is) and a fake smile on her face all the time, but behind that smile there is rage and hate.

She is a cold hearted b*tch just like the mother in Ordinary People, only worse because of her drunken rages. Oh, I could write a book about this.
BPD/AvPD; PTSD; Dysthymia; GAD; NPD (fragile/covert type); Seasonal Affective Disorder; Myers-Briggs INFJ (I know the rainbow colors make me look like an HPD. Deal with it).
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Re: The Narcissistic Mother

Postby rushdha-1987 » Mon Oct 12, 2015 6:10 pm

Sharing how much I have been hurt over the years is not easy. I'm turning 28 this year and up until now what I have gone through has been normalized that I don't trust people, I'm super introverted and constantly second guessing myself.
Reading through the threads here have shown me what I have been exposed to was nothing more than abuse, guised as care and affection.
My mother fits almost all of the characteristics highlighted here. My dad is highly co dependent on my mother. I love them and they have taken care of me over the years but I don't know of they really love me.
I'm the scapegoat, my sister is the golden child. As long as I can remember I have been told to my face that our family is a great family, a happy family and it was only because I choose to be difficult, misbehave, be infantile, the family is unhappy.
I was never allowed to take part in any activity that I could shine on my own right. She would take over my art projects so that I can gain better marks. I remember feeling ashamed for getting top marks on a project I didn't do.
Over and over again, it was drilled into me that mother was always right, I was a bad apple, only family will stand up for me and I will never have true friends. Any relationship I had with anyone was subject to constant scrutiny.
I remember feeling shocked when I hear that parents have fun, express their love and pride to their children. I never had that.
I'm thinking of having children and I pray that I never turn out like this. And I'm so thankful that I've been able to identify what was wrong with my life.
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