We didn't make a request to have our particular mother. She was bestowed on us by a complex act of fate. Small children may sense that there is something fundamentally wrong with mother. She doesn't hug them or give them kisses. Her body is stiff when she is near; her gaze is hard and at times menacing. We are afraid of her but know that on some deep level that we must survive this person. Often these mothers are exceedingly strict and cruel. Some are completely disinterested in their kids and palm them off on babysitters and other caretakers so that "mother can lead her own life." "She is entitled after all." The child cannot give this behavior a name but it doesn't matter because her/his emotional and psychological needs are not being met. Yes, mother makes sure that the child is fed (not always--there are children of narcissistic mothers who have to fend for themselves in the hunger department and are severely deprived) and clothed and sent to school but there is no real communication. Mother is always distracted with how she looks and feels. Her moods are often erratic. Narcissistic mothers are known for their sudden fits of rage that are projected on to their children and spouses. Some children witness dreadful scenes between their parents of verbal abuse and in some cases, physical assault. The ugly arguments and vicious scenes are traumatizing to a small child. The narcissistic mother always wins, degrades the father, leaving him feeling worthless. The child does not have a strong father on whom he can depend. Some fathers are workaholics and spend most of their time away from the house. They are not involved in the raising of their children. They escape into their work, other women, alcohol, anything that will remove them from this she-devil of a wife.
It can take decades to find out that your mother is a narcissistic personality. You do research and dig for the truth about this person who has made your life so unbearable. Finally you know the disorder. Some children have been blaming themselves or thinking they were crazy all of this time. Other siblings may not have the powers of observation or objectivity to recognize who mother really is. In fact some of them are psychologically fused with her and will defend her to the end. These mothers enjoy turning one child against the other in defense of her. You may be the only one in the family who knows the truth about this woman.
If you are a truthseeker and acknowledge that you can no longer lead your life tied to non mother who has only brought you psychological pain, then you make the decision to sever the relationship. This is a rough road if you siblings and other family members are standing in her court. But you value yourself and the life that you want to lead. At this moment your healing begins. You have untied yourself from the toxic knots that have bound you to a narcissistic mother. You now swim freely in the ocean of life. You can be yourself fully. You have respite, rest and the capacity to dream and create--unencumbered. Your nervous system switches from fight or flight to relaxation mode. Your creativity soars. You keenly feel your capacity to give and receive love. Along the way you will meet other daughters and sons of narcissistic mothers and your words and empathy will help them to begin the healing process.
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D
Telephone Consultation: United States and International
Book: Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life