For as long as I can remember, there was something “different” about my mother. She wasn’t like other mothers I knew.
By the time I was middle school aged, I’d met a lot of moms, and I’d witnessed their interactions with their kids – at parks, the public pool, in stores, at the playground, fast food places, school events, and in their homes. My mom didn’t act like them; she didn’t relate to me the way they did with their kids. She didn’t hug or kiss me. She didn’t smile at, spend time with, or play with me. She didn’t seem happy to see me. She didn’t ask about my school day, and she wasn’t interested in knowing my friends. She seemed to have no interest in me or anything that I did.
There were no boundaries in our home. I stayed up as late as I wanted. I wasn’t required to do chores, though I was shamed for not doing them. I was expected to care for my younger siblings, and I was blamed and sometimes punished for their misbehavior.
My mom called me hurtful names and obscenities, and at times she completely ignored me and didn’t speak to me for days, weeks, and even months.
I was not allowed to openly express emotions, ask questions, show initiative or curiosity. My feelings were discounted, minimized or invalidated. Asking questions or taking action meant that I was challenging her, or distrusting her. She continually re-wrote my memories and experiences. All the while, I was expected to listen, obey, and stay quiet.
In dysfunctional families, there’s an unspoken rule: don’t talk, don’t trust, don’t feel. At some point, as an adult, I decided I was done living by those rules, and eventually, I started an ongoing journey to find healing and peace.
If any part of this sounds like your mother, or your relationship with her, you’re not alone. If there’s a pattern of manipulation, ongoing power struggles, or cruelty in your relationship, this book can help. If you find yourself second-guessing your memory, doubting your judgment, or sanity, or you’re continually seeking your mother’s withheld affection, attention, or approval, this book can explain why.
Your mother doesn’t need a formal “diagnosis” in order for you to determine that your relationship with her is unhealthy. If it is, you can do something about it.
Until now, you had two choices: live on her terms (focusing on her and chasing after her love and support) or go “no contact.” I suggest that you have a third option: allow me to walk with you through the chaos and confusion that is maternal narcissism. I’ll show you how to decode the crazy-making behavior, heal the damage, take back your personal power, and move forward to live your best life.
I’m committed to the study of, and writing about, toxic people, relationships, healing and recovery. Learn more on my blog, The Toolbox.
The contents of this site are intended for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional therapy.