Narcissistic Mother

Narcissistic mothers cause pain, but there’s much you can do to reclaim your life and thrive despite having one.

As a psychotherapist in private practice, I’m often asked, “What can you do when you have a narcissistic mother?”

It is a poignant question because we’re all an extension of our mother in some way or another. You, for instance, may have similar physical features or personality characteristics that make people realize you are a product of your mom.

But, how do you protect yourself when your narcissistic mother, the very woman who gave you life or raised you, demands you provide her with the unconditional, one-way love that she feels entitled to…no matter how she treats you?

When this is the case, your narcissistic mother may see you as something that she created with the hope to have a copy of herself for her own amusement. Or, she may see you as an object, like a piece of luggage that should serve her when she needs it and be out of the away when she does not.

If so, you may have been treated with such disrespect and abuse that makes it difficult for you to develop any sort of real relationship with your mother, let alone feel the love towards your mom that she expects you to give. To the outside world, everything may have appeared perfect, but behind closed doors? That’s where the horror was released.

Many a narcissistic mother is aware of her demanding ways and believes everyone should treat her in the fantastical way that she sees herself. She may live in their own little world where her accomplishments, real or fake, are of grand proportions that no one else can live up to.

To this day, her expectations of you may be ever-changing and not truly attainable.  If you have a narcissistic mother, you may feel you are never good enough, or that you must compete with your siblings for her approval or affection. And, no matter how much you achieve or strive to accommodate her, you will not measure up to her unrealistic expectations.

Why do narcissistic moms have children?

When a narcissist has a child, it is not for the same reason that others procreate. She does so because she wants that child to satisfy her unmet needs.

These can vary from the need to feel like she will always be loved by you, or the hope she’ll be more bonded to her husband by providing a child, or the belief she’ll never be alone, or to have the illusion of another chance at life and so on.

Some narcissistic mothers essentially want a real-life extension of themselves, only to be deeply upset about the fact that they did not receive that “mini-me” from you. If, due to being a child, you could not meet her needs, your mother may have withdrawn from you or have become demeaning, critical, and manipulative. In short, it wasn’t acceptable for you to be a child because a child is, by its very nature, needy and “perfectly imperfect.”

The narcissistic mother’s love is typically volatile and conditional.   Below are three common roles in which the sons and daughters of narcissistic mothers often find themselves cast.

The roles can be projected by the narcissist onto one sibling then the next and the roles can last for moments or years.  Even more confusing, you may have been cast in different roles at different time in your childhood.  Read below to try to recall what roles you played and when you were cast.

Lost Child

This role involves a great deal of neglect.  Your narcissistic mother was simply not aware of, or interested in, your needs.  You could be sent to school with clothing too big or small, dirty, or unmatched.

You may have been teased by other kids because you did not have enough positive attention paid to you at home to know what was socially acceptable behavior. You often felt unlovable or unworthy because you were not treated as inherently valuable.

Scapegoated Child

Nothing you did was ever good enough. What may have satisfied your narcissistic mother one day could disappoint her the next.

If you expressed you felt your mother treated you unfairly, she might have led you to believe that you were crazy and ungrateful.  The “love” and “thoughtfulness” she gave you through her constant criticism was to be treasured.

If you did something of value and worth, you may have been cut down and made to believe that your accomplishments had no meaning in your narcissistic mother’s eyes.   Or, you could have been elevated and bragged about to the point of objectification.  (See Chosen, Hero or Golden child below.)

Chosen, Hero or Golden Child

To be the Chosen, Hero or Golden child of a narcissistic mother is usually the complete opposite of the scapegoat child. You are worshipped and idolized by your mother from the moment you are born.

You are the one person in her life that can do nothing wrong and every accomplishment, no matter how small, deserves a parade in her eyes. You’re a representation of the best of her, the golden child.

You may become even more important than her spouse in a sometimes provocative and psychologically seductive way.

Lost Child, Scapegoat & Chosen, Hero or Golden Child in a Narcissistic Family System:

Many times, there’s a golden child and a scapegoat in the narcissistic family. The golden child is a “favorite” of the mother’s choosing. Then there’s the scapegoat, the one who gets the blame for everything, the one who can never be as good as the mother or the golden child.

The scapegoat never measures up in the mother’s eyes. She can win awards, get good grades, get into a great school, but it goes unnoticed or unacknowledged.

If it’s noted, it’s usually done so in a way that makes the mother look good, saying that everything the child has learned is because of the mother’s parenting efforts.

The Lost Child will sometimes be relieved to hide from the narcissistic mother and at other times be pulled into more attention getting roles.

Why Don’t Narcissistic Mothers Change?

Narcissistic moms blame everyone else, and too often their children, for the consequences their own self absorbed choices have caused. It often falls to friends and family members to point out the extreme oddity of the narcissistic mother’s ways and recommend treatment. Even when offered help, a narcissist is more likely to be offended than to seek treatment.

Ironically, though the people around the narcissistic mother can identify the source of their suffering, the narcissist does not believe she is the one who should change.

Therefore, it is unlikely your mother sought treatment for narcissism.  In contrast, she may have put you in treatment with the hope that you would become easier to deal with.

Children and spouses are the ones who often suffer most, not the narcissist themselves, because the narcissist doesn’t feel that their chronically self-absorbed behavior is just that. Quite the opposite, actually. The narcissistic mother feels that everyone else is at fault when things go wrong.

As a child, you had to learn from very early on how to please your mother enough to survive. You may have grown up to think that nothing you ever do is good enough and that you are not worthy of the love you desire.

Narcissism, at its extreme, is a mental disorder called Narcissistic Personality Disorder, (NPD), characterized by exaggerated feelings of self-importance, fantasies of success, power, and physical attractiveness that the person may or may not possess, a constant need for attention and admiration, and obsessive self-interest. These are the obvious symptoms that people think of when they think of the term “narcissism.”

There are a cluster of personality disorders, including NPD, that are on the narcissistic spectrum described by the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) and they include Borderline Personality Disorder as well as Histrionic Personality Disorder.

These disorders describe different chronic behavioral patterns often exhibited by a narcissistic mother who may not even be aware of how she is treating you.

In sum, the first step in dealing with a narcissist is to identify the repetitive hurtful behaviors rooted in how you were cast in the roles identified above.  Accept that your narcissistic mother is highly resistant to change.  Then, learn how to best respond to her negative behaviors in order to protect your happiness.

Why Narcissists Have Children

Why do narcissists even have kids in the first place?

I’m going to cut straight to the chase on this one. Narcissists do not have children for the same reason that emotionally healthy people do.

They have them because they need more mirrors, more images to remind themselves of how great they are and how they brought someone into the world that is like them.

Unfortunately for the narcissistic parent, this isn’t the case 99.9% of the time because as children age, they develop their own sense of self and their own personality apart from their parents. Then they become more of a burden than a blessing on their narcissistic parent.

Some narcissists become parents out of accident or because of an ill-thought out plan they created to have someone there to love and admire them without having to give it back in return.

They’re looking for the narcissistic supply which they try to obtain from anyone and everyone. They believe that having a child will give them an endless supply because their child must love them and has to be a part of their lives, while they’re young at least.

Narcissists see their kids as someone they can put their name on, a product that they can put out into the world with their branding all over it. They use their children to gain self-esteem and as someone they can easily walk all over. They want their children to take care of them and reverse the roles of how parent-child interactions should be.

Narcissistic parents try to control their children in every facet of their lives.

They try to keep their children from growing up and gaining their own identity, fearing it will lead their children to leave them and go on to live their own lives.

Narcissistic parents try to control their children in four different ways:

  1. Guilt-driven: They make their children feel guilty and making them feel like a burden on the narcissistic parent. They say things like, “I sacrificed my life, my body, for you…”
  2. Dependence-driven: The narcissistic parent makes their child feel that they could not go on living without their child in their life. They tell their kids that they need them and that they cannot take care of themselves, their lives, and their well-being by themselves.
  3. Goal-driven: I like to call this the Tiger Mom Effect. This means that the narcissistic parent, not necessarily the mother (although it usually is), is always striving or making their child strive to be the best no matter what and no matter if the child is truly interested in the goal or not. They live vicariously through their child and ride on the coattails of their achievements. They may say things like, “We have a goal we need to achieve…”
  4. Explicit: This type of control is based on negative repercussions if their child does not do what they want or say. They withhold rewards and give excessive punishment if they do not get their way. This can be very draining on the child because they feel that they can never do anything right.


Most narcissistic mothers see motherhood as a burden and like to let it be known how much work it is. They do not take into account that children are not merely mirrors of themselves and that they are actual human beings with wants, needs, and feelings different than their own.

They often pick a favorite, or a golden child, who can do no wrong and grows up with unrealistic expectations of praise and worth. They also have children that are the scapegoats, the ones who all the blame is put on and are never worthy enough no matter how great their achievements may be.

They play the children off of each other for their own amusement, which causes riffs between the siblings that may not be mended easily. The narcissistic parent is always comparing the children and blaming them for his or her shortcomings.

Narcissistic parents treat their children in different ways. They either try to control them, ignore them completely, or engulf them and make it so they cannot develop into their own self.

A narcissistic mother fails to treat her child as an authentic person with wants and needs which may not match up with hers. She is completely self-centered and needs the attention to be all about her no matter what. If her child’s accomplishment is something to be admired, she’ll take all the credit for it while at the same time telling their child that they could’ve done better.

Parenthood is never about anyone else but them. For most people, having a child means having someone to take care of and love, not the other way around. A narcissist cares about no one but themselves and not even having a child can change their mindset.

Narcissistic Types

There are many faces of narcissism. Some of these may not be scientific or politically correct terms, but I feel that if you have a narcissistic mother in your life, you may be able to recognize some of these and nod your head in agreement.

  1. The Time Hostage: Your mom gets mad at you when you need to reschedule but assumes you will reschedule with her and/or repeatedly cancels on you last minute.
  2. The Quietly Self-Absorbed Narcissist: She’s socially withdrawn and odd thinking, with morose self-doubts and a relentless search for power and has fantasies of great achievements.
  3. The Nice Narcissist: She’s nice. She just needs you to agree with her at all times or she won’t like you.
  4. The Victim: She is unable to take accountability for her choices.  She looks at a problem and blames it on something out of her control instead of searching for anything in the situation she can change.
  5. The Attacker: She comes at you with attacks to see if you admit to anything or, as a way of expressing her fears.
  6. The Downer: She is so busy talking about why everything is lacking that she isn’t emotionally present to you.
  7. The Assessor: It is her job to critique how you measure up and point out anything you could improve on, not to give at least equal time to telling you what you do right.
  8. The Credit Taker: She takes credit for everything, whether she deserves it or not. She passes the blame onto others, whether justified or not. She’s always right, never wrong.
  9. The Jealous Narcissist: If you have it, she wants it or will strive to make it seem worth less than it is and devalue it.
  10. The Competitor: She lets you know you may be good but she is better, or prettier, or smarter, or more accomplished than you’ll ever be.
  11. The Operator: She work’s her own agenda at all times. She’s walled off in her plans for you and everyone else whether you agree with her or not.
  12. The Fading Beauty: She is not handling the aging process well and looks at your comparable youth as an affront.
  13. The Beauty Queen: She identifies herself strongly with her attractiveness and may have been the homecoming queen, the best dressed, or known for her beauty.  She’s especially bothered if you don’t try to make the most of your looks.
  14. The Innocent Narcissist: She’s highly defensive and extremely hostile but masks it behind a “poor me” facade of vulnerability.
  15. The Enraged Narcissist: She screams to get her needs met and projects rage without a filter, not caring who sees it. She doesn’t apologize for her actions.
  16. The Vengeful Narcissist: She enjoys inflicting pain on others and getting back at them if she does not get her way.
  17. The Passive Aggressive Narcissist: She sulks and gives the silent treatment and plots how to punish those who don’t give her what she wants. She is vindictive and capable of becoming a stalker.
  18. The Stealth Narcissist: She fakes an interest in other people and their needs and knows that acting concerned with get her what she wants.
  19. The Cruel Narcissist: She is never fair and her discipline shows that. She knowingly causes you pain and enjoys knowing that you are miserable.
  20. The Character Assassinator: She is always trying to tarnish your reputation by lying, exaggerating, or manipulating the facts to make you look bad and to make her look good.
  21. The Stingy Narcissist: Gifts, compliments, advice and money are given, but look out when you inevitably fail.
  22. The Wounded Narcissist: She feels victimized and the world is against her. She needs you to take care of her and aid in her every want and need.
  23. The Disdainful Narcissist: You are treated as though you are less than what she expected, a disappointment or failure.
  24. The Scapegoating Narcissist: Her life would be better if you were better, or whoever she’s choosing to scapegoat was better. And it will not be better until this person changes.
  25. The User Narcissist: She takes advantage of you and treats you as more of an employee than anything else. She uses you to get ahead in her own life.
  26. The Boundary-less Narcissist: There is no difference between you and her, you are an extension of her and therefore she has no limits. She intrudes on your space and looks through your personal belongings. She embarrasses you constantly.
  27. The Amnesia Narcissist: No matter what healthy requests you’ve made, it is as if you have to repeat yourself every time. For example, “Please don’t hug me or kiss me, it makes me feel uncomfortable,” is ignored.
  28. The Needy Narcissist: “You don’t give me enough calls” or attention. She wants more from you than anyone could deliver.
  29. The Time-Sucker Narcissist: You could spend every minute with this person and they would still feel neglected.
  30. The Mind-Reader Narcissist: You didn’t say it, you didn’t think it, and yet they have read into something and insist it is true.
  31. The Clairvoyant Narcissist: You didn’t say it, you didn’t think it, but once they have said it you realize it’s true and it’s usually something negative about them (can cause identity confusion for you).
  32. The Touchy-Feely Narcissist: You are expected to tolerate her touching you however and whenever they want.
  33. The Holiday Narcissist: You don’t exist unless it is their birthday or a holiday where she feels the need for family time.
  34. The Glamour Narcissist: She is all about making herself look good. She buys the most expensive clothes, gets her hair and nails done, and doesn’t care about the amount of money she spends.
  35. The Rockstar Narcissist: She believes that she is the center of attention and it should always be that way. She’s the main attraction and wants everyone to idolize her, even if she really has no talents or reason to be in the limelight.
  36. The World Traveler Narcissist: She brags about places she’s been and makes up stories about the places she hasn’t been, but tells people she has. She has grandiose fantasies about how worldly she is.
  37. The Professor/Elite Intellectual Narcissist: She is brainy and seeks admiration for her intelligence. She uses her intellect to put others down and make them feel stupid.
  38. The Stage Mom/The Promoter: She lives her fantasies through you. She makes you do the things she wish she could [still] do and believes your achievements are her own.
  39. The Fashionista: She tells you how to dress and what not to wear—often when you’re already wearing it!
  40. Miss Manners: She still meticulously points out your etiquette failures– from how you eat to what family events you should attend.
  41. The Publicist: She brags about you to others but is excessively critical of you when you are alone.
  42. The Dr. Jekyl/Mr. Hyde Narcissist: She is nice in public, but mean under her breath or when alone.
  43. The Forever Young Narcissist: When did you become more mature than your mother? How old is she, really, emotionally?
  44. The Hot Mama Narcissist: Sexualized and distracted.
  45. The Lovesick Narcissist: Always chasing that ideal mate or trying to win the affection of her partner.
  46.  The Enabler Mom: She is too distracted with your rebel siblings’ problems or her partner’s addictive behaviors and seems to get a bit of a rush or power out of rescuing.
  47. The Social Butterfly: Everyone in town loves her, she is a generous host, but she can’t be bothered to make time for you.
  48. The Hypochondriac Narcissist: She believes something’s physically wrong with her, you should be checking in on her. And, if you don’t, as luck would have it, she unfortunately has something real going on every once in awhile. Or, it’s nothing a reputable doctor will confirm but she’s fighting off her cancer, leprosy, etc. with special treatments she’s managed to find through her own sheer will to survive.
  49. The Financially-Challenged Narcissistic: She just needs a little bit of help for this umpteenth self created crisis and she’s sorry she hasn’t paid you back yet for the last time you lent her money.
  50. The Martyr Narcissist: Her refrain is “How Can You Do This to Me?”  She tells you that you make her miserable, suicidal, isolated, or some other negative emotion. You are told that, in one way or another, you control her emotions and that if you would just do what she wanted she would be fine.
  51. The BFF (Best Friends Forever) Narcissist: You are her best friend, she doesn’t know what she would do without you, unless she had a better offer, in that case you’ll just have to wait until the next time she’s lonely. You are brought out like a doll when she wants attention then ignored when she doesn’t need it (but seriously, when doesn’t she need it?). This is also a description of what is experienced when someone is another’s “narcissistic supply.”
  52. The Expensive Narcissist: She has ruined your credit through manipulation to use your credit.
  53. The Criminal Narcissist: Some narcissists exploit their children or others through identity theft, mismanagement of trust funds, and fraudulent financial dealings. You may or may not have been the target of her crime, but she doesn’t see the rule of law applies to her. She may have Antisocial Personality Disorder, which is a pattern of manipulating, exploiting, or violating the rights of others. As if the narcissism wasn’t enough!

If you found this article helpful, I encourage you to read my free eBook The 7 Steps to Recovering from a Narcissistic Mother.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Renee October 6, 2017 at 11:55 am

Thanks for asking Sandy. I’m doing very well. There were no services, per barb, and I’m fine with that.

Funny, I don’t feel like I’m grieving but I’ve been told I’ve been in grief for years because of the lack of having a loving, accepting mother. The great up-side is that any set-backs only linger for a day and don’t put me in bed with crippling anxiety for days and then weeks of emotional torture in the depths of hell.

Yes, the house brought back memories that I hadn’t expected to relive and had suppressed. Better out than in!! My sister, the golden child, dropped off a bunch of items from the house after I had clearly told her I wanted nothing from the house. But she dumped it off anyway. I texted her to come and take the items away and she wouldn’t!! I told her not to leave any more items at our house. All of it is tainted energy and I want nothing to do with it.

As it is for all of us, it’s a very long road to finding balance, healing and peace but I’m more on the ‘up’ side than the ‘down’ side and I’m appreciative for the progress I’ve made ~ with the help from my husband, children, and this site.

A component to healing is sharing what worked and what didn’t during this journey with those who are just starting, in it deeply, or wrapping it up. As those who guided me before, I am able to share the gift of compassion, understanding, and encouragement for those in their quest.

The best to you Sandy!!


Kim October 29, 2017 at 8:26 am

I have downloaded the ebook, but have not read it yet.
Your article ‘The Narcissistic Mother’, makes me feel like I am reading my life story with my mother. I feel physically ill and vindicated at the same time.
I was disowned by my mother for 15 years after developing a mild case of MS. She is also the matriarch and strong influencer in my family unit. She convinced them that I was mentally ill and abusive, due to the fact that we were fragmented. I now understand the level of manipulation and scapegoating by her.
After a few months of seeing her, she became highly critical and demeaning toward me again. I ignored the insults and derogatory comments because she is a senior, and I was there to love and help her.
I went on a vacation with my brother, (the Golden Child, and whom she was upset with for seeing me again), and she disowned me again on return. She tried to indicate by an email that she doesn’t need ‘this’ in her life-meaning me. She tried to make it seem as if I was being mean to her. She forwards these emails to my sister, who I’ve been told, hates me. There has been so much triangulation by her throughout the years, and it makes me sad. I realized from your article how destructive her behaviour has been and how I was robbed of a healthy family life and loving sibling relationships.
There is so much more but I do not want to re-live this. I look forward to reading the e-book and improving my self esteem, for the second or third time. I am the youngest child and her banishment makes me feel about 5 years old again.
Thank you for your work. I believe this will begin my healing.


Blanca November 4, 2017 at 10:51 am

Good article!
My mother is a martyr, mind-reader, character-assassinator narcissistic. She speaks behind my back when she has the opportunity to do it. I have tell her a lot of times that it hurts me, but she keeps doing it anyway. She also seems to not be able to handle me when I’m sad. If I just tell her that I’m sad and I would rather be alone in my room, she gets angry at me for no reason and tells me that if I’m not feeling ok it’s just because I want to and that I don’t care about her… she seems unable to give me real support or love but she seems to constantly seek it from me. I told her that I wanted to live somewhere else but she wouldn’t let me…
I hope I can learn more about narcissistic mothers in your web-site!


Gloria November 13, 2017 at 5:24 am

Hi Kim,

Welcome to the site.
You’re so not alone.My mother also convinced the whole world that am mentally ill and I was shunned by all.
Luckily I was able to leave the country, so am well on my journey to balance and healing.
Good luck to you. Hope you manage to deal with that toxic environment.

Hi Renee. Good to hear from you .Keep the inspiration coming. Your brilliant insight has helped me a lot.

Peace all..


Meil November 14, 2017 at 3:49 pm

Yes welcome Kim and Blanca. This is site is vital to remembering that the tragedy in your life is not your fault. You deserve(d) a nurturing mother.


Lynn November 21, 2017 at 7:42 am

It’s only took me forty years to work out what my mother was, I am now having hypnosis to deal with hurt and pain, putting me up to pull me down.
I am not mad after all…. glad I kept fighting.
Shame I had to google… why does my mother hate me to figure out what a narcissist was, but better late than never…. I feel free now, leaving her and any guilt behind.
Looking forward to life wIth my wonderful little family her lose entirely xxx


Deb November 21, 2017 at 5:01 pm

I am 62 and just now understand my mother’s behaviors. She is 86 and still strong in the behaviors of a passive-aggressive-narcissist. I am hopeful that with the information you provided, I will become more understanding and be able to find an appropriate relationship with her. She will never be the mother I still want to have had, but knowing why will help, I believe.

Thank you for your interest and knowledge in this area and your willingness to share with us.


Sand November 27, 2017 at 10:25 am

Deb — thank you for your post! I too, am 62 and just now learning to understand my mother’s behaviors. She is an able-bodied 86 year old. I’ve two male siblings – one of whom is a Golden Child (60), and the other has a no-nonsense/business fact-minded approach (55). Triangulation occurs between by my golden-child brother, his wife, my mom and me. Other triangulation/quad-rangulation was between my mom, daughter (24), x-husband who was also NPD, and me.

So my Mom had been really nice . . .for six months. She moved, and I did most of the heavy-lifting – emotionally, moving, driving, cleaning, time off from work, etc. Three weeks ago, she told me she was moving in with me. With backbone, I told her that she had to have other social activities: bridge, swimming, movies, with the senior center in our community. She said she would not – but she still said she was moving in with me. I said you can’t move in with me – – and tell me what to do, you need a social avenue. Well — out of the blue – – Narcissistic Rage! If I call her she hangs up on me. My Golden Child sibling and his wife are now part of the triangulation/quad-rangulation – and I’m the scape-goat, once again. The theft rumors of me taking her money, her 6 glasses, standing up for my daughter, etc. – – are endless.

I thought I worked through this…and now at this age – – I feel like I’m being treated like a child once again, disrespected, and cut out of the will. They say narcissist enjoy this infliction of pain – – I don’t’ feel guilt. I’ve a gigantic headache trying to put puzzle pieces together (again). One side of me says I should apologize for hurting her feelings; another tells me to run.

Writing this post has been cathartic! Maybe I need to take up journaling. Be well, all. We try to stay positive, “be present” – – and focus on what is important. Thank you for reading.


AmberJay November 28, 2017 at 9:54 pm

Hi Sand,
Wow! Been there, done that, got the T-shirt!
My advice:
1. Do not apologize…you are strong and wise for NOT letting her move in with you.
2. Right now, the rumors and word vomit from the others probably feels like an unstoppable stream of burning lava sliding down a mountain.
Your brain may be telling you to use words and explanations (like a normal adult) to resolve this situation…but you have to remember, you are not dealing with normal adults.
To change the course of the lava flow…you may have to resort to “mind games”.
By “mind games”….I mean….do exactly the opposite of what they expect you to do and say.
Such as…mailing a light-hearted friendly note to your Mom that says…”I’m so thankful for my brother and his wife, they always have your best interest at heart. It was such a burden on me helping you move 6 months ago. I know they enjoy spending extra time with you now.” (This vaguely implies that “they” can meet her narcissistic needs for awhile.)
Then…mail a light-hearted friendly note to your Sister-in-Law…a note that is vague and complimentary about her decision to protect your Mom…and add “you always want the best for my brother, that is something to be admired”. (This will give her a gigantic headache trying to put the puzzle pieces together!) She may even wonder, “what have I gotten myself into?!”
Smother them both with vague, kind words (frequently)…they will be so disturbed by it…they may even turn the lava flow on each other.
The point is: you didn’t turn on the lava, and you cannot turn it off…all you can do is try to gracefully change its path.
3. Do not offer or give up $1…or 1 oz….of anything. Do not offer/commit to help or assist or rescue any of them. If you are in an awkward spot, offer a flood of the vague, kind words and some complimentary comments….nothing else.
Write a list of them and keep them in your purse if necessary.
4. Take care of yourself…period.
BTW…I realize that you didn’t ask for my advice 🙂
Take care, AJ


zoe zhang December 1, 2017 at 9:10 pm

That is so nice and warm of you putting up the facts for us adult – child of narcissistic mom. I was suffering for 34 years already. I grow up feeling anxious and depressed all the time. I could never be truly happy, even with great achievement I made in my life and with the love from my friends . I do not know, I always blamed my father whom always fight with my mom. My mom always crying and blaming my dad for his bad temper. As a child, I really feel sorry for my mom and hated my dad for my mom’s accusation on him. Also, I want to be excellent and earn a good life for my mom, kind of save her out of the tears “ brought up “ by my dad. Also, not surprising, my mom never care about my need and feeling because she is too busy to fight with my dad as well as crying. Later, they got divorced , my dad left her. Since then, she start to blame me causing her divorce, things getting strange more. She blame on me everything I did and ruin all the happiness I earned and shared with her. I started getting mad and broken. Then I realise, my father is actuarially the victim, while my mom she is the real one who causing so many fighting and sadness in our family. That was hard for me, I mean, to facing all this and accept that my mom she is not able to love, not mentioning loving me, which I never doubt about. So sad. And it is even harder for me to escape. I am so deeply trapped by the guilty of leaving her and setting up boundary with her, and create my own life and happiness. She is crying everything when she saw me saying she is lonely, and no one cares her. Actually, everyone in the family scare of her craziness. I feel bad to “abonbdent her” but my coach was telling me , she would use the word of “ escape rather than abonbdent . Thank you Michelle Piper for all the information to this topic, with the deep knowledge, I could get true understanding of what is going on in my suffering life. No matter how hard I worked and how excellent I am, I am still deeply desperately sad and hopeless. I donot even know why. Give everything I suffered a name make me step away from hurt and grow my own life and health and happiness. Thank you so much for your kindness and generous help. Will share the information to more people in need. You really help me a lot !!! Great many many thanks to you and your care for us.


Anonymous December 3, 2017 at 1:38 pm

Oh I understand my mothers behavior alright ..and my fathers … Use my ex … And use connections to Garland pd … Have garland pd dect follow my ex to court .. Have him claim he hadn’t seen the kids in 3o days .. Have a full custodial parent thrown in jail chArged with interference . So my Nartistic mother and father can play let’s legally harras while she’s in jail come up with a diag that will help us in court take the kids .. Here we care and are so worried … We will stick the mom in a dark dangerous place until she complies to our wishes to take meds … In the mean time we need her sister to claim her ex hit her with in the eyes and locked her in the closet for three days and burnt the kids with cigs … And promise her a house for helping stealing her kids .. Because our daughter dosent desever kids … I according to them my sister deseves a house for helping them .. Because as this was unfolding guess who didn’t need that house and needed a 4 bedroom house in Denton ??? 1 room for them and 1 for each one of the our kids … My mother deseves jail time …. My mother would participate in any type of abuse to get what she wanted …


Anonymous December 3, 2017 at 2:25 pm

Cont …and here it is now I know Garland pd knows my father and he has had several I counters with his temper towards women ..and My ex will resort to abuse .. My mothers job is denial and go along claiming bipolar … That’s her functioning role … So in order for my ex…to not pick up the kids lie and claim he didn’t see them because of me have me thrown in jail .. And my parents to claim I need bipolar meds .. To get out .. And to give a house to my sister .. To spread stuff about Dan claiming I’m to bipolar to remember giving her a house .. Because they needed a 4 bedroom house in denton .. One bedroom for each of my kids … So what did both sides need … Graciously and volunteering a report for either side the dect wrote … CPS and pd were called for no reason by the mother …. Wasn’t that gracious of that detective to put a calling protection … Didn’t she accually know … If you write a report to take custody from the custodial parent … And have to include she called pd and CPS for no reason you know your giving the kids to abusive folks …


Anonymous December 9, 2017 at 10:08 am

Serious family scapegoating … Is abuse that will someday lead you into a felony 2 court staring at a judge .. After you .. Are charged with Interfernce with Child Custody . With the complaints ..all on the prosecution side … Folks whom want custody .. But didn’t have it … Fron the family court … So decided to scapegoat on the full custodial parent … Charge her with interfernce with child custody … Witness the non custodial father .. Non custodial sister .. Whom turned in false claims prior to get custody .. And non custodial Grandparents … Whom decided to violate there daughters civil rights with claims she needed bipolar meds so the state would remove custody …
All parties hiding behind a wrongful inditement … With a 9 year olds name on it…
Now they all want to scapegoat on him … Transfer there crap to a 9 year old …
That’s the way these Nartictic scapegoaters work ….


Anonymous December 28, 2017 at 3:15 pm

Warning – this is long! It was written more for my own mental health than anything else. Proceed with caution!

It’s great to find your site! I’ve read a lot about the topic of narcissistic mothers, always trying to make some sense of my relationship with my own narcissistic mother so I am glad to have found you. I am 62 and my mother is now 84 – it’s been a long haul. We have been in and out of contact my entire adult life. I’ve been in therapy intermittently for as long. I have yet to figure out how to make a relationship with my mother work. Unfortunately my mother hates women so we were doomed from the beginning. She loves men though! Even my husband – my husband and I laugh that we are sure she thinks she will be his next wife if I die first. She was like this as far back as my high school dates – flirty and provocative with boys coming to take me out when I was 17! After our most recent estrangement of a a couple of years, I committed once again, three years ago, to make an effort for a reconciliation in order to ease the tension for my grown children. She had pointedly remained in contact with them when we were estranged, although she rarely has little interest in them, in order to continue to hurt me, and I had a lot of guilt at all they had to put up with from her – ongoing emails and calls from her about how all she wanted was to talk to her daughter and she is getting older and I was treating her so horribly by not being in her life, blah, blah, blah, poor pitiful me. At any suggestion from my kids that she should call me and offer an olive branch to make things right, she had a million excuses why she would not make that effort. Not once in my life have I heard her say that perhaps she has made some mistakes that contribute to our poor relationship. So as always happens, I swallowed my pride and against my better judgment, reached out to her to reconcile. I was committed to keeping firm boundaries this time in order to make it work, knowing that if I opened the door too wide, I would be asking for her to swoop in and hurt me. That worked for a couple of years and I felt amazingly content with the way things were going. We didn’t see each other more than once every couple of months, we talked on the phone every couple of weeks. She actually seemed to be respecting me and the boundaries I had set in place. Then her health began failing, she began to want more and more from me, my step-father – a great guy but her enabler – ended up in the hospital because of her manipulation to get attention (long but true, sad story.) So we began a year of working together to transition them from their huge two-story home to a retirement center. I spent hours and hours and many weekends viewing facilities, measuring furniture, returning calls to her most every day on my way home from work, attempting to find the right place for them and to keep up enough encouragement so that she wouldn’t change her mind about moving. It became my second job but I figured it would be much better to invest the time and effort in getting them into a place where she could live alone if my step-dad went first than wait for a crisis and possibly end up having her live with me. After a year, it finally came down to the week when my parents were to list their house and sign a lease on an apartment in a retirement complex. My mother had postponed having the real estate agent over to sign a listing agreement several times but said that she was finally ready to do it. I laid low for several days waiting to hear how things were progressing and with each passing day that she didn’t call, I began to understand that she had no intention of moving. After a year of constant conversation about this move and a week of hearing nothing from her, I received an email from her that simply said my stepdad did not want to make the move but he wanted to know if I would take care of her should something happen to him first. I knew this was utter b.s. as I’m close to my stepdad and he was emotionally and physically prepared to move out of the house. My husband said all along that she wouldn’t move because I am her old-age plan – it is her goal to move in with me. I responded to my mother’s email immediately and said I had never heard my step-dad say anything negative about moving so, “I would like to come talk to both of you about this as staying in your house until a crisis arrives is a serious mistake.” Of course, I also wanted to set the record straight and tell them both that should something happen to my stepdad first, my mother cannot move in with me. She didn’t respond to my email, of course. I then called her. My stepdad answered and I heard her tell him to tell me she was busy. After a few more days of silence, I emailed them both and asked if my husband and I could come visit, bring them dinner and talk about their decision to remain in their home. My mother didn’t respond but my stepdad, a gem of a guy, wrote that he would love to have us and we agreed on a time. When we arrived, dinner in hand, my mother was livid. She wouldn’t allow me to hug her, wouldn’t make eye contact and she had been drinking – a hobby she has only taken up in the last few years. She has also been addicted to pain pills for as long as I can remember so the combo of booze and pills makes her a very ugly drunk. She had ambushed the evening by getting loaded, prohibiting any serious conversations. And why was she so angry with me? Because I dared to point out that her excuse that it was my stepdad who wouldn’t move was b.s. Because of calling her out, she became so angry with me that she cast me aside just like that. She sees any iota of questioning her about anything – from the color she is painting her kitchen to more important decisions – as a serious personal attack. We suffered through an uncomfortable couple of hours that evening, tried ineffectively to talk to her about the need to move to a safer environment and told them both that they need to understand that my husband and I still work and we cannot take her into our home should something happen to my dad. I followed up with an email to my stepdad saying that she clearly doesn’t want to move so I will back off but if he can ever convince her, I’m here to help them. I also reiterated that she cannot ever move in with me so he needs to know that cannot be her plan. That was two months ago and it is as if I am dead to her now. My husband, a very sweet, peace-making kind of guy, says that the ball is in her court now and I need to let it lie as I did everything I could to help her. I received a Christmas card from her last week – it was unsigned. Her pettiness never takes a vacation. I emailed both my mom and stepdad and said i wondered if she intended not to sign the Christmas card. I also said that I’m always here if she would like to try again, all she has to do is call me. A few days later, a second Christmas card arrived. There was a note from my stepdad saying it was his fault the card wasn’t signed as he was supposed to have her inspect them before he mailed it – always her enabler. There was also a note from my mother saying “I love you and I look forward to talking to you soon I hope.” Just a little hocus pocus to put the ball back in my court because hell will freeze over before she makes any effort to rectify the relationship with her daughter. Oh yes and of her three children, she currently isn’t speaking to two of us. The third is the golden children who is the only heir – her choice – but he and his wife are pros at remaining passively unengaged as far as my aging parents’ care. I’m the only one of the three of us emotionally or intellectually capable of caring for anyone else and my mom knows it. It’s sad but I intend to stand my ground and I’ve put both my brothers on notice – I won’t take her in should she find herself a widow. And another merry Christmas with the narcissistic mother who is truly incapable of loving anyone more than herself. Thanks for a platform to vent. I actually feel much better and plan to have a glass of wine and enjoy my husband this evening! Tomorrow is another day for trying, and failing, to make sense of this mess.


Ken December 31, 2017 at 7:07 pm

After 40 years of putting up with my own NM, I decided it was best to finally go no contact.
The guilt overwhelmed me at times, wondering to myself, “How could I turn my back on the very person who had given me life? And how would I reconcile my religious faith with the decision I had made?” I’d already been in and out of therapy and on and off medications for depression and panic disorder. However, the therapy was much-needed to help me deal with the many years of abuse while growing up as well as having it continue well into my adult years.

It took about 2 or 3 years to finally put to rest the feelings of guilt and to reconcile my spiritual faith with the choice I’d made. However, anger set in for a couple more years. The anger arose out of realization that I would never have the relationship with my parents that ALL children SHOULD have! I was also angry with myself for having bought all her lies and manipulative behaviors for so many years, and also angry because my relationship with my youngest brother (golden child) is forever lost due to her lies and manipulation and making him believe that I was the one responsible for trying to tear apart the family unit. But after I got through this stage…..something wonderful happened.

I came across this blog and read all the stories from all the others who’ve written in to share their experiences. It was the missing piece I’d been waiting for! I finally had a reason and a name for the reason why NM is the way that she is! It brought me closure. And it helped to read the stories from so many others….it made me feel less alone and to realize that this must be a world-wide issue that transcends cultural lines.

In short, I’ve healed. So much so, that I have chosen to forgive my mother for what she’s done. I realize that she herself must’ve been abused and neglected as a child too! But it really isn’t a good excuse to unleash hell upon her children, spouse, friends, neighbors, etc. We are all responsible and accountable for our own actions, after all! I’m still no contact with her, except at the rare family functions…weddings, funerals, graduations. And even during those functions, the contact is very brief and I give her no details of my life whatsoever. To keep her forgiven, it must remain this way. I do love her, but I can only do so if we remain apart. The hell she must live with inside her own mind!! The amount of energy she expends dreaming up her lies and schemes!! All the different behind-the-scenes scenarios that she carefully plans out while puppeteering everyone else….it must be totally exhausting and drain every ounce of her spirit. But I’m not the one to answer for that…she is! I have my own flaws to deal with.

My life has gone well since I learned to heal and went no-contact. I like it this way. It’s much better this way. I no longer am a representation of all that was wrong with her. I am no longer a representation of her bad parenting. I feel sorry for her for another reason as well….because when she dies, I am suspecting that there won’t be many people attending her funeral. And for those who do, I suspect half of them will feel a sense of relief, rather than feeling a loss. To think someone could live out an entire lifetime and have it end that way….it truly is a very sad situation! She could’ve been so much more that she is/was. Life was meant to be lived with love and happiness and acquiring wisdom along the way and becoming more mellow with age and enjoying children and grandchildren. But for her, the total opposite is true. It’s a sad way to end a lifetime, don’t you think?


Michelle January 3, 2018 at 5:31 pm

My father enabled by mother s narcissistic behavior and deeply resented me and my twin brother as a result . My brother was the golden child- he hates that phrase – but I now realize it was a Golden noose and ironically I am the less conflicted sibling. When our dad died we went to counseling to try and create some bonds as we have not had any real communication for 41 years ( from college on) I have forgiven my mother – she is who she is- but my brother is still very angry at her . Not healthy.

My mother screwed up a lot of decades of my life interfering in it but I was able to break free and for the last 20 years I am happy and remarried to a balanced person. My first husband was very much like my mother – brilliant, cold, manipulative and only when I had a break down did I dig myself out of this hole to
A better life.


Linda January 4, 2018 at 9:10 pm

Me the Scapegoat – January 2018

A mother that never hugged me ever. A mother who handed me over to my Sister to mother and boss me. I was never allowed to be myself. A mother who wasn’t interested when I had nightmares after being verbally abused by a teacher at school. A mother who rejected me in the middle of the night, aged 15years, when I was petrified of dying. My sister had to teach me the therapy for getting rid of the shaking, which I experienced every night for quite a long time. A mother when we were playing a quiz on television and I got the maths question correct. I said I was good at maths at school, said to me my sister was the one good at maths. A mother who was jealous if her daughters/sons socialised without her (There were nine of us). She would use her children to divide and rule, it was horrible. A mother who never ever listened to what you had to say, if she did would follow up with one-up-man-ship. She always complained that we caused her to have heart palpitations (think Mrs Bennett, Pride and Prejudice), and she was always going to leave us. she is now 94 years old and takes pride in the fact that her doctor says she has a heart of a young woman.
My sister recently apologised for an incident that happened when we were very young. I was invited to be a flower girl in the Church parade for Easter, (I think I was about 7/8) I was so excited, but my Mum’s friend suggested that my sister would make a better flower girl, my mother agreed and told me she was going to do it and not me. My sister remembers that I cried for a week every night. My poor sister told me she had lived with that for years and I was able to reassure her that I had forgotten about it and it wasn’t her fault she was only a child. (I didn’t forget).
My mother told me that another friend of hers told her I was the ugliest baby, my mother said she defended me, But what I don’t understand is why my mother would tell me that story.
A mother who would goad my Dad to hit me and my sister for giggling. Dad used to come up and apologise after with a 3pence bit. I remember my dad hugging me. In the summer holidays I would be packed off with my Dad at work and I loved it.
When I lived overseas, my mother phoned me twice in 15 years, to tell me some bad news and how it had affected her and not because she wondered how I was. Come to think of it even in England, it was the only time she contacted me. I phoned her regularly.
I invited my mum and step dad to us for News Year’s Eve and she explained that they like to stay at home because others visited. I fully understood and said we would pop up. Then my sister who lived 5 minutes from me asked me to her house on New Year’s Eve and said that Mum and Fred were coming.
When I was staying with my mother, I had just separated from my second cheating husband and she told me I wasn’t the only one with problems. I only cried once in front of her and it was so awkward I never did it again. When I left her house she told me I should have opened up more. Hahahahaha
I went out with my brother and his wife and when he told her she reacted badly. My golden child sister had the cheek to ring my brother and say that mum was in tears because they took me out.
I rang my mother and she spoke to me with total disrespect and after our conversation I said Love you lots and she didn’t answer. I ignored it and rang again the next week, her voice was clipped and I let it go, but again I said Love you lots and she didn’t answer. When I rang back and confronted her, she told me I was childish and put the phone down on me. What a wonderful woman, always nasty to me when no one is there to witness it.
I keep quiet about my mother’s attitude and nastiness to me, (but I do have three siblings that acknowledge my mother is a narcissist and have suffered too), because she is an old women and the overwhelming feelings of most people is that mothers are always sweet and lovable, well I and a lot of other people I make contact with always know different. We know that it must be kept mainly to ourselves, but I love contacting them, because they understand and do not judge me.
On her birthday I sent a rose bush for her garden, I tracked the delivery and realised it was lost. The company apologised and I asked my brother to tell he what happened. The next day the rose bush was delivered, but she didn’t ring me. I rang her and she was very abrupt and said “We didn’t believe that anyone would send a single rose”,(we being my mother and my Golden child sister) I knew then that my sister was sticking the knife in with my mother and I had never run her down to my mother. I did provide proof of the non-delivery. Not even an apology.
I needed to heal properly from two broken marriages. I had therapy for two years which identified a lot in my life. I was able to look at the guilt I carried, especially for my children and I learnt that it was not my guilt to carry and to heal I must let it go.
In the last couple of weeks of NC, I feel like me again and I know I am strong. Although I will always worry about my adult children and I don’t burden them with my problems. They must sense something is wrong and I would never tell them the truth and hurt them.
I now see from a distance the Queen with all her minions arguing and fighting to gain her attention and I had forgotten how bad it has always been as she pitted each sibling against each other. Imagine having to compete with 8 siblings for some sort of attention, it was hell.
My bad childhood was not my fault and I do know that now. Everyone looks on my family as being great because we are so good at projecting my mother’s wish that she be seen as a sort of Wonder Woman. The truth is like a lot of families, there are lots of secrets and lies. I would be a whistle blower and a speaker of truths, therefore I am outside of the family and I have to admit I am now very proud of that fact. At least my integrity will remain intact.
My sister was determined to have a relationship with my daughter (she only had boys). She rang me once and thanked me for letting her have my daughter, I was so incensed. I was always made to feel inferior and it was narcissistic abuse and I fully recognise it now, a lot of gas lighting going on as I believed them. Even my daughter tells me how beautiful my sister was, but I now know beauty is not a talent, but a DNA lottery, beauty is within and because of what I suffered, I am strong and independent and I think that is a kind of earned beauty.
I have had two failed marriages, both cheated on me numerous times, I have a lousy instinct for choosing the right men, I must have been such a pushover, I always thought I didn’t deserve better.
I now know that I shall live and die alone, because I shall always have to protect myself and I am frightened I won’t recognise the narcissism again. I know I am basically a good person with lots of faults, but I would not intentionally hurt anyone. I should not have had such bad treatment in my life.
I have good friends who help me be me and enjoy my company for me alone. This is so important, as it gives me confidence. I still have friends from my childhood and from overseas, so I can’t be that bad a person.
Since first writing this, I did make contact with my mother again as she needed us to help her, as she had a fall. We had a schedule so it was only once a week. This was all fine until she didn’t need me anymore. This Christmas day, I rang her and my Golden child sister was with her as she was taking her out for dinner, although my brother invited her to his house. She found out he asked me and my son over for dinner and when I rang her she was very clipped in her replies to my Happy Christmas and my son was sitting next to me and witnessed my reaction. I was so hurt, we had taken lovely presents to her Christmas Eve and she didn’t even thank us for them. I have become the scape goat again. She needed help on Boxing Day with visitors, so I had an apology from her and helped her, but she was nasty to me again in front of my sister in law. I can’t stand the drama and feel I am on the rollercoaster again. I’m in two minds what to do next, I think NC is probably best, but the guilt is awful.


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