Your mother may be different than others and exhibit toxic traits. You have a narcissistic mother, there are ways to deal with her and set healthy boundaries in your relationship.

From a personal standpoint, I didn’t have a narcissistic mother. Those traits came from my father. However, I do know many women who did have narcissistic mothers. So, with my knowledge of how my father treated us and how my friends endured their mother’s treatment, I think I got it covered.

But, maybe some of you never experienced a narcissistic person, or maybe you just didn’t know what it meant. I am about to open your mind.

What is a narcissist?

Okay, first of all, as I have always said, a bit of narcissism resides in all of us, some of it good and some bad. Narcissism actually lies along a spectrum between worshipping yourself and hating yourself. As a normal human being, we’re supposed to strive towards the middle or as close as we can get.

However, there is something called narcissistic disorder which puts us quite close to the self-worship end of the spectrum. This is what most people simply call a “narcissist”.

Narcissistic personality disorder – A state of being where a person has an inflated idea of themselves, little to no empathy, a record of troubled relationships, and a constant need for attention.

That’s the definition, but for finding the ways to deal with your narcissistic mother, that’s just scraping the bottom of the barrel. As most children of narcissistic mothers know, there are a few other toxic traits which vary.

How to deal with a narcissistic mother?

Yes, you can deal with your narcissistic mother, and you can limit her influence in your life. Learning how to do this may not be easy at first, but it does work.

The only way I could deal with my father, unfortunately, was to eventually leave home. It was just the last resort, and of course, I graduated and went to college which made it easier. But back to the topic at hand…let’s learn a few ways to deal with toxic mothers.

Ways to limit the damage of a narcissistic mother:

1. Learn about narcissistic personality disorder

Before you can deal with a narcissistic mother, you have to educate yourself on all there is to know about the problem. You must understand all the facets of this personality disorder before you can tackle the symptoms. And there are many symptoms of this too.

So, before rushing in with an uneducated strategy, learn all you need to know first.

2. Accept the non-approval of your mother

Narcissistic mothers never seem to approve of anything their children do. They rarely even notice achievements or appreciate their child’s budding beauty as they grow. This will leave a child feeling horribly rejected. During adulthood, the child’s craving for approval will continue. This is one of the things we, as children of the narcissist, must stop.

The fastest way to accept that our parents may never approve of us is to realize that they cannot give us what they don’t have…which is empathy or warmth. So, it’s best to understand that the problem is the mother’s lack of ability rather than the lack of the child. You have to learn that you are worthy and good enough.

3. Go ahead and set boundaries too

To deal with your narcissistic mother, you must set firm boundaries. These boundaries must be firm because if they’re not, your mother will pull them down and draw you back into her web.

Yes, it sounds like she’s a black widow spider, doesn’t it? Well, you’ve probably seen her that way before, I bet. Anyway, you must set limits on how long you’re around her and how many days a week you make contact.

When she starts to act in a narcissistic manner, you must leave her presence. This lets her know that you understand her motives and you’re not going to give in. This setting of boundaries will take time, but it can work in many cases.

4. Fear has to go

When you are ready to confront your mother about her actions, you cannot be afraid. If you let fear take hold, she will flip the situation around and make you apologize when you’ve done nothing wrong.

Narcissists sense fear and they play on that fear to get exactly what they want. If you conquer your fears, you can state your case and stand firm. This will also take some practice, and sometimes professional counseling.

5. Learn about your mother’s past

I used to meet mean or manipulative people and get mad at them and hate them. I didn’t think about the factors that caused them to become this way. While there are some truly “evil” people out there, most people who are mean or manipulative have been damaged in the past or during childhood.

If you have a narcissistic mother, you can possibly help her by learning about her past. Learn about her parents, her friends, and even about any traumatic events that have shaped her into who she is. When you understand these things, you can actually remind her of why she acts the way she does.

Forewarning: If you choose to connect your mother’s past to her behavior, beware, she could angry and defensive. I have seen people rage, throw tantrums and run from the room. You have to be careful when you’re helping someone remove the skeletons from their own closet.

6. If all else fails, end the relationship

Now, ending the relationship with a parent is the last resort. After all, they brought you into this world and they raised and cared for you, at least to some extent. Unfortunately, in the worst cases of narcissistic abuse, ending the relationship may be the only way to save your own life or sanity.

And sometimes, you may only have to do this temporarily until they get the message. You may have to leave and come back a few times. What’s important is that you protect yourself against the abuse.

Don’t let the toxins get on you either

One more thing…as you deal with your mother, don’t let those narcissistic toxins get on you. Sometimes behaviors are passed down from one generation to the next. In fact, it happens quite often.

I sincerely hope you find a way to deal with these issues and mend the relationship with your narcissistic mother. I left home without full closure, but before my father died, I forgave him. Not just for him but for me as well. Even though dealing with a narcissistic parent can be difficult, it can be healed.

I hope this is the case for any of you as well.

References:

  1. https://www.mayoclinic.org
  2. https://online.king.edu
Sherrie Hurd, A.A.

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This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Kinene

    Thanks very much, i have been dealing with the damage of a narcissistic mother, i i have learnt it

    1. Sherrie Hurd
      Sherrie Hurd

      I am sorry for what you’re going through Kinene. From what I hear from friends, you are not the only one. Keep trying to communicate and confront her with her behavior. Surprisingly, sometimes they learn and get better.

  2. Avatar
    Keri

    Thankyou. I allways felt like i was the only 1. I found as her child, she wasnt goung to listen to me (i was the problem according to her) just hav to put the happy mask on, tell her hardly anything exept wat she wants to hear and not se her more than once a month. She left me wen i was 3 biut dosnt stop her sense of entitlement to b grandmother, to constantly remind me of my shortcomings.
    I miss having a “mum”.

    1. Sherrie Hurd
      Sherrie Hurd

      I cannot imagine the pain you must be going through. I was fortunate to have my mother until I was 25. She was sweet. My father was more of the narcissistic personality, and I got to be with him until I was 32. They are both gone now. Even though my father was abusive, physically, verbally and emotionally, I still love and miss him. Although I don’t know everything about your situation, I hope you find a way to bridge the gap between the two of you before she is gone from your life as well.

  3. Avatar
    Shirley Townsend

    I confronted my mother when I was 19 years old during my parents’ divorce. My mother cut me entirely from her life. She then began a campaign of lies and false stories to discredit me. This resulted in me being ghosted by my grandparents, my brother, all her friends & most of her family, leaving me isolated & depressed for years.
    I had no idea about narcissists or their devastating behavior. I had trouble forming relationships because of trust issues.
    I eventually married a narcissist and had a very abusive relationship lasting 21 years.
    I was in my fifties & had developed a number of debilitating medical conditions & came to the realisation that if I did not end the marriage, I would not survive.
    I was still under the impression it was all my fault because of childhood programing from my mother.
    So I confronted my husband & he walked out on me. It was the best thing that has happened to me. I started divorce proceedings & started counseling with a phycologist, to discover I was suffering PTSD from prolonged abuse.
    My ex is still holding the house, as a form of control & has delayed settlement for over three years.
    I have not seen or spoken to my mother for forty-one years. It took me until my marriage broke up to deal with my narcissistic mother & all the trauma I have carried since childhood.

    1. Sherrie Hurd, A.A.

      Your story touches my heart. Sometimes, at 45, I think I have squandered my life because of all the abuse I endured and allowed to happen. But then I think about how naive and young I was, and then I forgive myself. I am happy you got away from your abusive ex-husband, but I am sorry about your home and the fact that your very own mother cannot be in your life. So, I propose this:

      Quiet your mind for a moment, and think of any good things in your life right now. Whatever they are, you go and build on those things. Family is sometimes blood, and sometimes it’s something and someone else. You do not need a mate to be happy, but you can if you want. The most important thing you need in your life is love for yourself and self-respect. You can try to make peace with your family, but if they reject you, then you will know that you did everything in your power to fix things and retain your dignity. It hurts my heart, it does, to see any family relationships dissolve, but it hurts more to hear about someone who is beautiful to let family destroy them. Don’t let this happen. And if you never get your home, which I hope you do, then you go and be strong and start a beautiful life to reflect who you are.

      I wish you well.

  4. Avatar
    artashka

    I have one, I just learned about her past when she decided to open up to me few days ago. She grew up with an abusive father (my grandpa) i think my mother has narcissistic disorder.

    When I tell her things that bothers me or weakens me.. some days she uses it to degrade me I try to laugh it off even if there’s nothing funny about it. If I start telling her my plans she will act like she supports me and then switch up the next. If I start doing something good for myself she will always be in a bad mood like it’s a taboo for me to talk about my future plans. she’ll tell things to demotivate me. When we argue she will always tell me things like no one loves me or no one will accept me for who I am or there’s no place for me to go (eventually I realized I have friends and I have relatives I can still contact. I guess she sees her words as a weapon to fight her daughter because it worked once because I was a sensitive hopeless 15 year old teenager) It’s always about what she says but not about how I feel. The worst part of her anger issues is that she will tell things like I can get out of her condo and live as a beggar or even get real with me telling things like she don’t give a fck whoever tries to rape or kill me in the streets. She even tried to punch me, pull my hair and kick me. but where do I go ? So in the end I have to patch things up between me and her because I’m still a working student. I always have to be the only one to understand, forgive and please her. well this was from way back 2014 I tried to leave her condo for 2 yrs and when she started contacting me again after months I thought we’re all good.. when I tried to come back she will tell me to give her sometime. It’s like her choices changes depending on her mood. I’m still living with her now, we just argued yesterday but I’m almost at my limit with her but It’s not on me to physically hurt anybody but she can? Sometimes I just plan by myself because If I include her with my future plans she will contradict, criticize and belittle my ambitions. It’s tough. people will be around saying I’m only her kid and she’s the mother. they will toss out the idea of her having a personality disorder that affects me mentally emotionally. It’s draining. I always forgive her because she’s not getting any younger and I haven’t repay all of her sacrifices. I’m still thinking if i should leave her after I graduate or stay with here and just leave to cool my head for a while every time she says mean things to me… Thank u for sharing this I kind of understand why she acts like that and how to deal with it .I’m asian.

    1. Sherrie Hurd, A.A.
      Sherrie Hurd, A.A.

      Hello,

      I am first going to try and take into account the fact that we may have cultural differences, which actually plays a part in whether it’s easy or hard to leave someone. I am American, and I can leave anytime I want. Both my parents are dead, but my father and I fought sometimes. I stopped living with him at the age of 19, however. I tried living with my parents for a year later on, but I left again.

      Now, looking at your situation, I will tell you my opinion as best I can from my standpoint. First of all, your mental health is more important than pacifying your mother. You love her, but you cannot let her decide how the rest of your life will be. Also, there’s the question of if she’s seeking help for her disorder, or if she always owns up to this. Seeking help, possibly therapy, or whatever is needed for her diagnosis can help you two get along. Without help, you will have to decide for yourself alone, and make the decision about where you want to live.

      Gosh, sometimes it’s so hard to just not give in to them, or be affected by their manipulation because I struggle with this now. But you are young and intelligent. There is a chance that maybe you can live near her, but not with her. This gives you an opportunity to check on her without being around her all the time. This space may be enough to lesson the frustration between you two. And any physical violence is not okay. Make sure you put a stop to this. Staying away when you sense this is best.

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