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