Tuesday, July 3, 2012

My Mother the Covert Narcissist

When we are little we believe the family story. Many of us think that we had good parents, that our mother and father loved one another. So often this is not true. There is a secret agenda going on behind the scenes.
In private the young child hears the parents screaming at one another. The child cowers in bed or hides in the closet until silence finally arrives. 

Many children grow up with mothers who are covert narcissists. A young child is led to believe that mother is loving and caring person. Many of these women go about their duties to their children, making sure their basic needs are met. This doesn't include spending emotionally intimate time with her son or daughter. Being face to face with our children, giving our time and attention, listening and attuning to them lovingly, caring deeply when they are suffering and feeling bad. This is the real parental role.

The covert narcissistic mother is not grandiose or flashy. She has a facade of humility and self effacement. On the outside in the the world these mothers are considered to be fine people and excellent mothers. Their outward behaviors are dutiful.

In the privacy of the home a different darker drama is being played out. Covert narcissistic mothers do not put their children at the center of their lives. Like their grandiose sisters in psychopathology---every thing revolves around them.  The image that they create as mother is the narcissist's reality. The covert narcissistic mother is a master of injecting guilt into her child's psyche. She always feels inadequate and wrong---that she hasn't lived up to her mother's standards. No matter what she does it will not be sufficient to win mother's love and the daughter takes this on as her fault. Covert narcissistic mothers rule out of intimidation. They pit one child against the other. This causes chaos and suspicion within the household. When you are "raised by a covert narcissistic mother" you are on your own. If she has chosen a golden child boy or girl, then you are either given no attention at all or strictly the negative kind--you are always compared with the golden one and are labelled inferior.

Surviving this childhood is very difficult. Many children discover that their fertile imaginations provide them with a rich fantasy life. Many go to libraries and read hundreds of books. Others spend a lot of time at the homes of friends where they find respite from the wars at home. Many of these children grow up to become empathic, competent creative individuals.They do a lot of work on themselves, unravel their childhoods and come to understand the tremendous inadequacies of their pathological narcissistic mothers. Good psychotherapy and deep support from others along the way is often the key.

Always remember that you are not your covert narcissistic mother. You are a unique individual who deserves to lead a life of great meaning, creativity, the reciprocation of love and the spontaneous gift of living in this precious moment. To learn about the narcissistic personality in-depth, visit my website:thenarcissistinyourlife.com

Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.

Telephone Consultation: International
Book: Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life
Email:
lmlphd@thenarcissistinyourlife.com

8 comments:

  1. You just described my life to a T. T for Truth. I am the family scapegoat, recently uncovering the reason for my pain! In the past, I blew my mother off as "clueless", frustrated, anxious, and peeved that she never understood my perspective. Now I know her personality (disorder) dictated every manipulative statement. It hurts! How grateful I am to be smart enough to piece the clues together, even at this late age (43).

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    1. I echo completely what Barbie is saying and I , too, am the family scapegoat and it's been incredibly painful over all these years. I'm 45 now and it really wasn't til my early 40's that I really looked at this very much "head on", faced the real reality of everything and educated myself on NPD and covert narcissists (which is what my NM is) in particular. Grateful for the many resources online and also on YouTube that serve as educational and supportive places for us survivors of narcissistic mothers/parents//partners etc., to get more clarity and affirmation as to what we've gone through and that it's not our fault!

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    2. I echo completely what Barbie is saying and I , too, am the family scapegoat and it's been incredibly painful over all these years. I'm 45 now and it really wasn't til my early 40's that I really looked at this very much "head on", faced the real reality of everything and educated myself on NPD and covert narcissists (which is what my NM is) in particular. Grateful for the many resources online and also on YouTube that serve as educational and supportive places for us survivors of narcissistic mothers/parents//partners etc., to get more clarity and affirmation as to what we've gone through and that it's not our fault!

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  2. My personal experience of having a covert narc mother in animation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=isufXjED3_0

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  3. This is 100% accurate. I struggled to put my thoughts together into any meaningful kind of way and this explains it so well.

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  4. That was a very clear description of my mother, except as an only child and a boy, the roles of the scapegoat and golden 'child' was back and forth between me and my father. She destroyed him and she almost destroyed me. I am so happy I have finally found the key to unlocking my complex, it literally feels like I am draining and cleaning a septic wound in my mind as I become more and more conscious of the reality of what occurred. I literally feels like I am unraveling a ball of yarn as I am connecting the dots. It is a new lease on my life.

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    1. Thank you for sharing that. I relate so much to what you said. I am also an only child and was forced into both roles and actually just now, after reading your post, realized that my enabling father was also put into them. I know that she's destroyed him but sadly I know he will never realize it. I used to look at him as my savior, although he didn't condemn her bad behavior he would always step in when she took it too far, but then I hit puberty. I strived to be perfect because the only time that I felt any sense of pride or acceptance from her was when others would gush to her about how pretty or smart or talented I was. The irony of course is that when she was done reveling in their compliments of this "extension or her" she would take the first opportunity to point out my flaws. She would criticize me in a way that sounded like caring or she would make blatant jabs then insist she was kidding and that I'm too sensitive, she of course did this to remind me that anything good about me was all thanks to her and even my own looks weren't something that I had a right to take pride in (and I'm adopted btw so she didn't even have a part in that). Needless to say, her perceived competion with me crept into my relationship with my father and he slowly and subtly was forced to choose between me and her. He chose her. She continued to build that divide when I went away to college and now I feel completely disconnected from him. I am very recently unraveling all of this and I feel like I'm falling apart but realizing at the same time that I was never assembled properly. It makes me sick to know now what I always felt but didn't believe was possible; my mother doesn't love me, she never did. There's something empowering about that, I no longer crave her affection or acceptance because I know that no matter How much I deserve it she doesn't have it to give. I hate her but I also pity her. Now I have to try to forgive her. I now understand what game she's playing and I won't let her win.

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  5. I 've come to the realization that my mom is a covert narcissist. Whenever I am around her I feel this overwhelming guilt and never understood why until I read this article. Narc moms infuse their kids with guilt. I wonder why.

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