One of the favorite tools of a narcissistic mother is to groom her child to believe the child is the problem. If the child wasn’t so difficult, the narcissistic mother wouldn’t have to “discipline her” (translation- abuse). The child is rebellious, ungrateful, or has mental problems. Communicating this message to the child ensures that she won’t question her narcissistic mother’s cruelty. She believes the abuse is all her fault. She also may try to please her narcissistic mother endlessly to make it up to her for being such a bad child.
Not only does the narcissistic mother communicate this message to her child, but to anyone else as well. This serves the narcissistic mother well, as people believe her, without question. The child is not believed by people who know her narcissistic mother, even as an adult, even by people who have known her for a long time.
Grooming her child & spreading her vile message to anyone who will listen, along with manipulating people pretty much guarantees the adult child of the narcissistic mother won’t be believed if she ever opts to reveal the dysfunction of her family.
This has happened to me. Most people I have discussed my relationship with my parents with who also know my parents don’t believe me. They think I’m exaggerating, things weren’t so bad, I’m oversensitive or I’m the problem with the relationship. I need to forgive & forget, just let it go- it’s in the past.
When this type of situation happens, it hurts & frustrates you badly. I have had moments where I wondered if the other person was right- was I really the problem? Were things as bad as I thought they were? These people were so adamant about what they believed, maybe they had a point, I thought. It took praying & remembering the horrible events of my past to realize that no, they weren’t right. I was not the problem, & I really was abused.
When evidence of your narcissistic mother’s grooming appears, you will know it immediately, as you will be invalidated & blamed while she is praised. Unfortunately, this will happen at some point. Who does it may surprise you, too. It won’t be only those friends & relatives of your narcissistic mother, but those who aren’t particularly close to her. Those you would think would be more objective. In my case, I have had two people who my mother hates & who hate her rush to my mother’s defense. One told me I was the one who needed to fix the relationship, & the other trivialized what I have been through, telling me I needed to get over it (never admitting “it” was abuse). Imagine my surprise when these two treated me this way!
You need to be very careful who you discuss your situation with. Even then though, sometimes this type of thing may happen anyway. When it does, all you can do is deal with the hurt & anger you feel & cling to the truth. Also, refuse to discuss this topic with that person again, even if they are the ones who bring it up.
Know that this may damage your relationship irreparably with that person. In my case, the love I had once felt for the two people I mentioned above died abruptly. Not that I wish them harm, of course. I just suddenly no longer felt warmly towards them. I’m quite sure that they feel the same towards me as well. One stopped speaking to me for several months after our discussion & was very cold the few times we’ve spoken since. The other became critical of anything & everything about me since. It’s amazing how devoted people can be to narcissists, even when they despise them!
If you have C-PTSD like I do, this can be an especially painful & frustrating experience. It triggers all kinds of awful feelings that you really don’t want to feel. Personally, I felt like I did as a teenager going through the worst of my mother’s abuse- alone, hopeless & like no one cared. It is vital to be especially good to yourself during times like this.
9 responses to “Grooming & The Narcissistic Mother”
You are singing my song. With a diminutive mom who looked like sweet Sally Field, who would ever believe that behind closed doors she was a critical tyrant and a physical bully who kicked and beat me, and who chopped off my hair in a fit of rage? I tried so hard to get people to believe me. She’d tell the principal I was a troubled child who lies to get attention. I finally had a breakdown in my teens and had to be hospitalized. Then she told everyone I was emotionally disturbed, so don’t believe me. Even my dad chose not to believe. I became anorexic – eating was the only thing I had control over in my life, I wanted to get thin enough to disappear. Then I leaped into my first marriage just to get away (bad idea!!). So I moved away during the night, disappearing and breaking all contact with her for 28 years until my uncle found me and reunited us. Even though she’s 84, she’s still a little old ‘Sally Field’ that everyone absolutely adores, and she went right back to picking on me. I moved away again, preferring anonymity. If she wants to say something, she can send a postcard.
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Wow.. that is such a heartbreaking story. I’m so sorry you went through so much! ((((hugs)))) After 28 years apart, she still couldn’t manage to be civil.. that is absolutely amazing. After 6 years apart, even mine could pretend to be mostly civil for a few months.
It’s amazing how some well-meaning relatives do more hard than good… Sometimes no contact is best.
Yes it is on both counts. 😦
The difficult part about the NM spreading vile lies about her child is the child not being aware of what the NM is doing, at least, that was the case in my situation. I didn’t realize what my NM had been doing until decades later, even though I knew my family was distant. I thought it was just me, but I sensed that I couldn’t trust my family on my mom’s side enough to tell them what was going on.
Decades later?! Wow! She is good at this, huh?
I never knew what mine said to either her or my father’s family about me, but it’s pretty obvious something has been said. Also to her friends when I was a teenager. These ladies who used to like me & who I liked suddenly wouldn’t even look me in the eye anymore or speak to me.
My NM was very good! I had no idea. This is one of the main reasons I refuse to have any contact with her.
That is probably a very good idea! Some narcissists you can deal with if you must, but some you just can’t. She sounds like she’s on the “just can’t” list