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Growing up with a narcissistic mother
BlueRose Views: 30,093
Published: 15 years ago

Growing up with a narcissistic mother

I've read with interest threads about adults in relationships with narcissistic partners. As an adult, one has the choice to walk away and end the relationship. However, it's different when it's a child growing with a narcissistic parent. A child can't just walk away.

My mother was narcissistic and manipulative. She always had to have things her way. When the rest of the family would want to go somewhere, we couldn't go if she didn't want to. Once, as a kid, I told her we all agreed to go, except her, so the majority wins. Her typical reaction to this situation would be to sulk for a while until finally she would scream at us and tell us how selfish we all were. We only cared about ourselves and didn't care how she felt. At this point, she would usually burst into tears. My father never stood up to her, he would just tell us that because she didn't want to go, then none of us could.

On the rare ocasions that she would agree to let us go out with our father while she stayed home, she would do everything to sabotage it. Once for my birthday, my father said he'd take me to a baseball game. It meant that I couldn't do the dishes that night. My mother screamed at us both--we were so selfish because she would have to do the dishes that night!

I could go on and on with more examples. On top of that, strangers saw her as a very nice and charming person. When I would tell people of her behavior plus how verbally, emotionally and sometimes physically abusive she was, they would never believe me. Worse yet, she would call up relatives and tell them that I was lazy and didn't do any housework while she did it all. In reality, I was treated as an indentured servant. Often relatives would call and ask to speak to me. They would yell at me and ask why I wasn't helping my mother. As a kid, I was raised never to contradict elders or argue with them. The most I could (would) do is tell them that I indeed did help her. Then I would be asked to list just exactly what I did around the house. After giving them the list, the stock answer would be "well, obviously, you're not doing enough". I never knew how to respond to that when I was very young.

My mother passed away over 8 years ago and still she negatively impacts our lives. She had one symptom that is often found in narcissistic personalities--she would get insanely jealous of any woman my father mentioned. If he had a co-worker and he told my mother of an innocent workplace conversation, in no time at all, she would be convinced that he was having an affair. About 25 years ago, she left him because she was convinced he was having an affair with a young woman he was mentoring at work. She moved in with my aunt (her sister) and uncle for a few months. I decided that I wouldn't get into the middle of this and would only talk to my parents or visit them if they called me. That way, I thought (naively) that no one would be keeping score ("you called him more than you called me"). Was I wrong! My aunt really turned on my husband and me. I can only imagine what my mother must have said (all lies). Even after my parents got together again, my aunt was still mean to me. She defends--to this day--all my mother's actions. My mother was an alcoholic and I pointed this out to my aunt, who yelled at me and said "be careful what you say!" To which I said I had to live with her and that's how it was. Of course, she had a ready excuse--your mother went through a lot in her life. Okay--fine, whatever...

My father remarried a year after she died. He rushed into a bad marriage and now is getting divorced. Even after he remarried, he always kept telling me that he missed my mother! Honestly, I don't know why!

So...what can a child do when s/he has to live with a narcissistic parent, especially one that is so manipulative? Tell another adult? If the adult has met the parent, no one believes the child. Plus, the child is brainwashed to think that nothing is the parent's fault so...if I tried harder, she'll be happier. And, of course, the narcissist never is happy.

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