Coping With A Narcissistic Mother

Good morning, Dear Readers!

Yesterday, I got an email from a lady looking for advice in dealing with her narcissistic mother.  It turns out she was unaware of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, NPD, until she found my website.  Reading about it gave her the answers she was seeking for many years, I am happy to say!  She also asked me for some ways to deal with her mother.  I thought it’d be a good idea to share some tips here, too..

  • Keep in mind how a narcissist thinks.  Appearances are everything.  If you look more successful, attractive, etc. than the narcissist, she is going to be upset.  Narcissistic mothers also can’t handle if you get attention, & they don’t.  If either of these things happen, you will pay.  They will do their best to make you feel bad about yourself & your accomplishments, or undermine that complement someone just gave you.  Lying is a way of life for the narcissistic mother- she will recreate the past, to make herself look good, & you look bad, as frustrating as that is.  Constantly remembering how the narcissist thinks helps you not to be surprised when she does hurtful & abusive things, which will enable you to handle the situation to the best of your ability.  
  • Stay calm.  If you get upset, she can act like a victim.  She’ll act like you are crazy, wrong, evil, mean, etc. for daring to be upset.  It doesn’t matter she was out to hurt you- you have no right to be upset, in her mind.  So, when your narcissistic mother is hateful to you, stay calm.  Maintain your composure, & be reasonable.  It will frustrate her to no end!  Then, once you are away from her, you can cry or rant to your friend or whatever you need to do to feel better.
  • Have & enforce healthy, strict boundaries.  Know what you will & will not tolerate from your mother, & stand by it.  If you give in, even only a little, she will see it as a sign of weakness, & push you further & further.
  • Sometimes there is no right answer, only less wrong answers.  Yes, this is maddening, but that doesn’t make it any less true.  When dealing with your narcissistic mother, do what is right (or less wrong in some cases) for you.  You aren’t going to please her anyway!
  • Remember, you have every right to take care of yourself!  If things get too painful, take a break from your mother.  You don’t owe it to her to be at her beck & call.  
  • Remember what it means to honor your parents.  Nowhere in the Bible does it say that honoring your parents means tolerating abuse.  There is no honor in that!  To give them honor means to respect their place as your parent.  Honoring also means loving someone.  Loving God’s way, not man’s way.  Part of loving God’s way means wanting the best for others, whether it is comfortable or not.  And sometimes, love must be tough- tough for you & for your narcissistic mother.  Not allowing her to mistreat you is actually a very loving, honorable thing.  It protects you from abuse, & it encourages her to improve her behavior.  She may or may not change, but even if she doesn’t change, you can rest assured that you’re doing the right thing by both you & her.  Honoring your mother isn’t easy when she is abusive.  God only asks you to do your best.  I know I’m not a very good daughter in some ways- I never volunteer to spend time with my parents.  I don’t call them often. I offer help when need be, as they are in their 70’s now & have some health problems.  I used to beat myself up because of not being a better daughter.  When praying about it at one point, God told me, “You’re doing your best- that is all I ask of you.  And, if they had done better by you, you would be more willing & able to do more with & for them.”  I encourage you to keep that in mind.
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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health, Narcissism

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