Being raised by a narcissistic mother gives rise to a belief throughout our lives that we are just not “good enough” despite everything we try and bending over backwards to please others.
And it damages your boundaries, which are the invisible barriers between you and your outside systems that regulate the flow of information and input between you and these systems.
This video will help you to identify whether you own mother was a narcissist and listen to others questions about their narcissistic mothers (knowing you are not alone can really help with feeling validated).
Long Lasting Damage
She destroys your relationships. Narcissistic mothers are like tornadoes
Wherever they touch down, families are torn down and wounds are inflicted
Unfortunately the damage to your self esteem is long lasting and can impact every area of your adult life. Here are just some of the ways adult children of narcissist mothers are impacted:
- Never good enough or valuable enough
- Deeply afraid to speak up confidently or challenge others
- Very attuned (to an almost uncanny degree) to what everyone around them is feeling, because they have a hyper-sensitivity to what others are experiencing (they had to have this in order to survive being raised by a narcissist). This can lead to their inability to protect themselves from others’ emotions.
- Chronically unsure of themselves, and overly-worried about what others think of them
- Deeply insecure, because they never experienced unconditional love. Any love or care that was given was done so under certain challenging conditions that made them feel inauthentic and fake.
- That the relationships they’ve form (either at work or in personal life) are deeply challenging and unsatisfying (and even toxic and frightening). When they step back and look at these relationships honestly, they see narcissism all around them and they have no idea what to do.
- Finally, they feel used and beaten up by their work, by their bosses and their colleagues, and can’t understand why their careers are so challenged and difficult.
Recovering from being the child of a narcissistic mother is a long process because their behaviour has shaped your internal working model and therefore view of yourself and the world. But recovery is possible.
Two of the methods I use are writing letters and role playing.
This is also known as Transactional Writing, the guiding principle of of which is to become conscious of another’s perspective. A defining characteristic of Transactional Writing is to communicate a message. Don’t let a concern for conventions become your immediate or primary focus. Instead, concentrate on communicating your thoughts, feelings, beliefs, opinions, and judgments to another. You are encouraged to write as many drafts of your letter as you wish, so don’t worry about writing a perfect first draft.
Remember that these letters are for YOU and no-one else so be open and honest. It is your choice whether you send them to others or not. The process itself is the therapeutic part, not the response from another.
Role playing allows for you to take on the role of others in your experience. So for example, you could play the narcissistic mother and express her feelings towards you. Putting yourself in another’s shoes can really help to understand different perspectives, much like transactional writing. It can provide a very accessible bridge between inner and outer realities and allow for a dialogue between the two.
These are just two ways which I have found work well but others including educating yourself, group support and one:one and group therapy. For more help with transactional writing or role playing or indeed any aspect of dealing with a narcissistic mother, please do get in touch