We all know how important the role of parents is, in shaping the lives of their children. There are children who have to deal with narcissistic mothers and the going can be really tough if they are not advised or counseled on how to deal with the situation. Narcissism is a serious personality disorder in which a person gives more importance to his personal interests than the interests of others. A narcissistic mother could be totally insensitive to her child's feelings and fail to understand his or her needs.
- A narcissistic mother can be verbally and physically abusive without considering the state of mind of her child.
- She may criticize or insult the child in public by giving no importance to his/her achievements.
- She may seek opportunities to find mistakes in the child's behavior.
- She may constantly compare the child with someone else and tell the child how inferior he or she is.
- She won't guide/support the child wholeheartedly, even when she knows that the child needs her the most.
Dealing with Her
Acceptance and Grief
In many cases, your mother might have been the child of a narcissistic parent herself. It's possible that she never really grew up in the true sense of the term; she never realized that the world isn't just about her. The important thing to remember is that it is her problem, not yours. Accept that your mother is the way she is, and there is nothing anyone can do about it. Wondering what it might have been like with a different mother will make the acceptance stage more difficult and painful. Many recommend going through a grieving process. Let go of the possibility that your mother will ever become the kind of person you want her to be. Understand that she may never be reasonable, balanced, or care for anyone but herself. Allow yourself to grieve about this. Letting go of the false hope of a better relationship with her will be a relief for you.
Don't Try to Change Her or Yourself
Confronting her on her behavior will not help achieve the results you are looking for. Your mother believes that the whole world revolves around her. She lives in a bubble where she can do no wrong. She is not capable of self-reflection. Don't confront her, and do not try to change the way she is. Many times, children of narcissists may believe that if they were better (for example, at school, work, or life in general), they would be able to gain their mother's love and she would finally be proud of them. However, this strategy never works. A narcissist cannot see your achievements. It is important to remember that you have done nothing wrong, despite what you may have been led to believe. Do not try to go out of your way to please her. Remind yourself that you are good just the way you are even when your mother is rejecting you.
Get a Strong Support System
Surround yourself with people who genuinely care about your well-being. Friends and family that love and care about you is a good place to start. A non-biased person who is not associated with your mother can give you an objective view on the situation you are dealing with. There are many online forums where you may find people who can relate with your problem and help you. Try going to a therapist; sometimes, professional therapy might be required to undo the years of emotional damage.
Low Contact or No Contact
You need to distance yourself from your mother. Distance is extremely important for your mental well-being.
Low Contact: Avoid getting close as much as possible. Limit the amount of time you spend with her. Ensure that you are making contact on your own terms, and be very firm about your boundaries. If you are minor and cannot move out just yet, try to keep conversations to a minimum. Withdraw emotionally; physically seeing her does not mean you have to share yourself with her.
No Contact: In some cases, moving away and not contacting her might be the only way you can heal. Despite how difficult it may be, remember not to feel guilty. It's about healing yourself and moving on with your life.
The most important thing to remember is to stay calm. Don't buy into her behavior. Remember that she's a patient of a serious disorder, and she can't help it. It is extremely difficult to cut off all contact with someone as important as your mother. Some recommend providing financial support without getting emotionally involved. This way, you know she's being taken care of and all her needs are being met. You need to accept the reality and move on.