Recently, I have learned an effective way to help avoid some hurt when dealing with narcissistic parents: Always keep in the forefront of your mind that they are narcissists.
While this may sound simple & logical, it can be hard to do when you are in the midst of dealing with your narcissistic mother, & she is hurting you for the umpteenth time. I encourage you to do your best to remember it anyway.
If you can remember that simple fact, it really will help you not to be as hurt when your mother is acting up. It will be a reminder that her abuse isn’t as much a personal attack as it is a way for her to gain that supply she so desperately craves. It means there’s nothing wrong with you, but there is plenty wrong with her. In fact, there must be plenty right with you for her to try so actively to hurt you. She is obviously very jealous of you & wants to make you feel as badly about yourself as she does about herself. Narcissists typically focus on strong, caring, loving, generous & empathetic people.
Actively remembering your mother’s narcissism also will help you to avoid falling for her manipulation. You will know that if she tries to make you feel guilty for not spending more time with her, it isn’t because she enjoys your lovely companionship- it is because she wants to drain you of precious narcissistic supply. While yes, that knowledge stings, at least you won’t feel guilty for not spending time with her, or you won’t cave in, spending more time with her & being hurt.
Keeping your mother’s narcissistic ways in mind also will help you to keep a healthy perspective. When she attempts to make you feel like a bad daughter, you will know that it isn’t because you really are a bad daughter- it is because she is a narcissist & they gain self-esteem by hurting people. If she insists on regaling you with stories of how beautiful or talented she is, you’ll be able to maintain your level head because you know that is just how narcissists are- they love to brag about themselves.
Another way this can help you is when your narcissistic mother goes to her happy place, as I call it. Many narcissists have absolutely NO coping skills. Instead of admitting their own mistakes or admitting something bad happened, they reinvent the past or pretend bad things never happened. This is their happy place. My mother loves to share stories of what a great mother she’s been. When this first happened, it hurt me badly. Sometimes, I’d cry when she’d discuss this (only when she couldn’t see me, of course). In time though, I realized that this is how she copes with a guilty conscience. This reinventing things is her coping skill. As dysfunctional as it is, it’s what she wants to do, so have at it, is my philosophy, just don’t expect me to validate the delusions. (Which she does, & I flat out refuse to give her that validation).
Now that you see actively remembering your mother’s narcissism can help you, how do you do it?
For me, I’ve found reading about NPD to be very helpful. I about the experiences of other daughters of narcissistic mothers, I read anything I can about narcissism & its symptoms & I talk with my fans & friends about our experiences with narcissism. I also focus on my healing. Granted, having C-PTSD, the chances of healing are slim, but I’ve gotten better at managing symptoms. All of these activities help me to validate that my experiences were real & abusive, which is extremely helpful.
I do much more than that however- I refuse to let this insidious disorder take over my life. I take breaks where I flatly refuse to think about narcissism. I am determined to enjoy myself somehow & participate in enjoyable activities. Focusing too much on narcissism would be detrimental to mental health, I believe. It is such a terribly negative topic & it can be overwhelming with the evilness & insidiousness of it. Breaks are essential. As soon as I start to feel a bit overwhelmed, I mentally shift gears- I’ll watch a movie or talk to a friend about something not related to narcissism. Anything pleasant to distract myself for a while.