When You Love Your Narcissistic Mother

Recently, I was watching an episode of “The Walking Dead.”  I’m not sure if any of you who follow my work are also fans, but if not, you still might find this interesting.

In this particular episode, Neegan was talking to the daughter of a woman he had killed.  Alpha was a horrible woman & was basically a cult leader in my opinion.  Anyway, the daughter was calm at first, realizing he killed her because it was necessary.  He kept saying she needed to get her feelings out though.  It wasn’t healthy to hold them in.  The girl insisted she was ok.  Eventually, the young woman broke down though.  When she did, she said something interesting.  “I want to hate her but I can’t!”

This really hit home with me.  I think many of us with narcissistic mothers feel the same way.  I realize not everyone does.  Some dislike or even hate their narcissistic mother.  I truly hope this post doesn’t make you feel something is wrong with you.  Everyone is different!  I’m simply writing this to help those who feel like I do.

It’s a very strange feeling when you know your mother did the most horrific & unspeakable things to you, destroyed your self esteem, destroyed your identity even, yet on some level, you still love her.  It makes no sense at all to the logical mind to feel that way.  If anyone else did these things to you, chances are excellent you wouldn’t feel any love for this person at all.  Why feel differently towards your mother?  She’s the one person in the world that never should intentionally hurt you, yet she did.  Over & over again in fact.

The one year anniversary of my mother’s death is fast approaching & I’m realizing I feel the same way.  I want to hate my mother, but I can’t.  I’ve been thinking about this & this episode of “The Walking Dead” got me thinking about it more.  I thought I’d share some thoughts as to why this happens sometimes.

Many children of narcissistic parents are naturally loving & kind.  They aren’t people who hate easily & often not at all.

Many narcissistic mothers were the engulfing type.  Children grow up feeling as if she is the only safe place for them because their mothers make them feel that way.  Hating that safety net of sorts feels impossible.

Often, there were some good times, too, not only bad.  Very few abusers are abusive 100% of the time.  They are nice & loving periodically to bond their victim to them.  This trauma bond can be extremely confusing!  You want to hate the abuser, but you also know that they can be very kind & loving at the same time.  It feels impossible to hate someone kind & loving even when you know that they are capable of unimaginable cruelty.

The nature of relationship is another factor.  You only get one mother.  You shared her body with her for nine months.  This can’t be said of any other human being on the planet.  This naturally makes a child share a unique & exceptionally close bond with her mother, no matter what kind of mother she was.  Hating one’s mother is unnatural.  Of course it is possible & many people do feel that way, but not everyone is capable of hating their mother.

If you feel like there is something wrong with you because in spite of it all, you still love your narcissistic mother, please know there is nothing wrong with you.  When it comes to surviving narcissistic abuse, there are no one size fits all solutions.  Everyone is different.  Everyone processes emotions differently.  Everyone also had different experiences.  I really don’t think there is anything wrong with how anyone feels who survived a narcissistic mother.  The only wrong that I’m aware of is when someone repeats the pattern with their own children, & continues the cycle.

11 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

11 responses to “When You Love Your Narcissistic Mother

  1. I find your posts insightful and moving. Thank you for sharing your experiences. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. annealcroft

    When the one year anniversary of my mother’s death approached, the reality of her death emphasized the end of our physical relationship yet the beginning of our continued spiritual bond.

    Cynthia writes: “It’s a very strange feeling when you know your mother did the most horrific & unspeakable things to you, destroyed your self esteem, destroyed your identity even, yet on some level, you still love her. It makes no sense at all to the logical mind to feel that way.”

    In spite of it all, though even today, 12 years after her passing, I have moments of genuine despair when a trigger sends me back to a time that my mother betrayed me, there are more good triggers that evoke times when I so deeply grieve her death that the tears wash clean the abuses that seem unforgivable.

    It may be that in our lifetime we are not able to completely process our relationship with our mother. Because we are compassionate, it is difficult to understand why she was willing to hurt us. It wasn’t until the last few weeks of her life that my mother really began to see how compassionate I was and how much I loved and cared about her. At times I think I loved her far more than she deserved to be loved, and it is at those times that God reminds me of all the things I did to my mother that would have given her more than good reason to disown me! Sure, what came first, the chicken or the egg. If she hadn’t destroyed me self-esteem, I may not have done some of the things I did. True. But when we put our hand to the plow, we are told not to look back. Or as a wise elderly lady once advised, “Don’t look back unless you’re going that way.”

    However! There are things my mother did to me that without a doubt were downright sadistic. I remember the nickname she gave me as a very little girl, still a baby, really, so small she was till giving me my bath in the kitchen sink! Her nickname for me was “Binny Never Been.” She claimed that Binny Never Been was a character from the comic strip L’il Abner. In all my research I’ve yet to find any evidence, anywhere, of a character by this name. Think of it: “Never been!” What was that supposed to mean? Did she make that up? If so, why?

    It is true that the damage our narcissistic mothers did to us, especially as daughters, cuts very deeply into our lifespan and even robs us of a great deal. Once when I told my mother our family was dysfunctional she said, “The only one who can’t function is you.” Yet I was the person she unloaded upon — I was her caretaker, and the same for my father. I was the repository for their frustrations. Yet I was the only one willing to take responsibility for myself in terms of therapy because their game was to make me believe there was something radically wrong with me! “Take a look at her! She’s nuts!” If we were to attempt to explain any of this to them, there’s no need to even guess at where we’d end up with them because we know. We would be completely negated in some way because the narcissist is never wrong.

    But still, here we are. We love them anyway, no matter what they do to us. “Forgive them, Father. They know now what they do.”

    So right you are, Cynthia, when you say “it makes no sense at all to the logical mind to feel that way.”

    Cynthia writes: “The nature of relationship is another factor. You only get one mother. You shared her body with her for nine months. This can’t be said of any other human being on the planet. This naturally makes a child share a unique & exceptionally close bond with her mother, no matter what kind of mother she was. Hating one’s mother is unnatural.”

    It truly is unnatural to hate our mother. Oddly, I am realizing now that my older golden child sister, who is a covert narcissist, truly hated my mother. There is no other explanation for her perverted, overtly disrespectful behavior toward all that represents the memory of my mother. Though I realize there are reasons beyond what I know and understand for her profound, vehement disrespect of my mother’s memory, your example of Neegan and her proclamation, “I want to hate her but I can’t” emphasizes how disproportionate my sister’s hatred of my mother is to how unreasonably demanding she actually was of my mother and how, over the years, my mother would literally do anything my sister asked of her. It was amazing. Never did she refuse her any of her demands. Never. But to me, in her own way, my mother would complain about how demanding my sister was.

    *Sigh* My sister and I both shared the same body with my mother — our mother, and she is the only mother we had. Not only did she give us life, but through Christian Baptism, she also gave us the keys to Life Eternal.* For this gift I am eternally grateful and will always thank God that no matter how difficult she was.

    In spite of my mother’s narcissism which we must see as a horrible mental illness and affliction that is a hardwired personality disorder, she was a wonderful mother. I love her more and more as time passes and pray to see her again someday though her presence is so often with me now.

    Each time the pain of abuse becomes unbearable it is Christ Who can shoulder the weight of the wheel better than I am able to. By giving Him the pain and anguish, no matter how indelible it seems, it becomes easier to forgive.

    *I kept my Baptismal Keys, though my sister has turned away from Christ to yoga and Buddhism, which is very dangerous for a narcissist who is already extremely “self-centered.” The healing power of Jesus Christ crucified on His Cross is what we, as Christians relate to and provides us with our well of compassion.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Through the years, I have run through the gamut of emotions with regards to my momster. But for the past couple of years, since my last attempt to reach out to her went so badly, I have felt comfortably numb whenever I think of her. I guess you could say that I have reached the place of accepting the fact that I never really had a mother.

    I do have hope, though, that someday I may meet her in heaven, where all her brokenness and all my brokenness will be no more. Then, I will get to know her as the woman God created her to be, and she will finally get to know me, without her projecting glasses.

    Changing the subject: I don’t know if you saw on my blog that my granddaughter and her husband tested positive for covid-19? They live in New York state. Please say a prayer for them if you will. Thank you. I hope you are keeping safe.

    Liked by 2 people

    • annealcroft

      ” I guess you could say that I have reached the place of accepting the fact that I never really had a mother.”

      From time to time I too feel the same way as you do about my mother, especially when I realize that it was because she damaged if not destroyed my self esteem that I didn’t think enough of myself to avoid some of the choices I made that cost me dearly. Not a day goes by when I don’t reflect upon when I first remember feeling broken, hurt, betrayed, and realize that at that same time in my little life, I was already feeling responsible for my family. I couldn’t have been more than 3 years old.

      One night around supper time, it wasn’t yet dark out, and right around this time of year, the old combination wood stove in our kitchen caught on fire. It was terrifying not just because of the fire, but because my parents erupted in what seemed to me then in a scenario completely out of control.

      We lived in the center of town, right next door to the general store. I still don’t know how I managed to unbolt and unlock the massive hardware on the front door, but I did, and I went out screaming in our front yard, “Help, help, our house is on fire.”

      Thinking back, perhaps the store was just closing, but nobody was around to hear me. Nobody came to help. There I was, a little three year old girl, screaming for help because my house was on fire.

      Ironically, years later, one Christmas morning at my parents house, my niece, who was then about 4 or 5 years old, sneaked to the telephone upstairs and dialed nine one one. Nobody knew she did that until the police showed up at the front door.

      Thanks to my older sister golden child narcissist, after she had her daughter Christmas became a fiasco the likes of which would take me too long to describe here. My mother would put on a Christmas fit for royalty because each year my sister demanded of my mother to “put on” Christmas for her, her unorthodox Jewish husband, and their daughter. All they did was eat, sleep, drink, and talk, and later, all my sister could do was criticize my mother; either the gifts weren’t to her liking, it took her too long to put food on the table, or she didn’t agree with something my mother said. And after all of this, the day after Christmas, my sister, her husband, and daughter, would leave high and dry, never offering to help my mother with anything, and take off for Europe for their vacation.

      This is the sister who is a yoga Buddhist who demanded a Christmas celebration (so long as it was secular) who tells me that I am “delusional.”

      I’m still trying to figure out who the woman is that God really created my mother to be, though she is becoming more familiar with time. I am only able to grasp what love truly means by contemplating Jesus Christ crucified and how he was able to persevere until His mission was finished, all for His love of God and mankind. This love was not wasted on my mother; she knew what that meant. She just had an odd way of showing it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Wow, that memory of you running out of the house at the age of three is intense. How terrified you must have been!

        I did a similar thing, I ran screaming out of the house for help, when I thought the house was on fire. Only I was six years old when that happened. I got in trouble for it, because I embarrassed my parents by doing that. The house wasn’t actually on fire, but I was badly burned all over my chest and belly, which is why I ran screaming for help. My mother had left me home alone with dinner cooking on the stove, while she went to get my dad from work. While she was gone, the simmering pot on the stove boiled over. It made a loud sound and huge clouds of steam rolled out of the pot. I thought it was on fire, so I ran into the kitchen and took the pot off the hot stove, intending to set it in the sink. But the big pot full of whole potatoes and boiling water was too heavy for me, and I spilled it all over my bare chest and belly. (I was wearing nothing but underpants because it was a hot summer, we had no air conditioning, and my mom made me wear nothing but panties, which I HATED!!)

        The unbelievable PAIN of boiling water and hot potatoes pouring all over my bare skin, sent me running and screaming out the back door. A neighbor, who happened to be married to my dad’s boss, heard me and brought me into her kitchen and put a cold wash cloth on my burns, and then some burn ointment. After my parents were home, she took me over and told them what had happened. When she was gone, my parents yelled at me for being so stupid and embarrassing them. “It was just boiling water, it couldn’t have burned the house down! That was a stupid thing to do, trying to take it off the stove, and then running to the neighbors when you were almost naked!” Yeah, zero empathy for the little first grader who had tried to save the house from catching on fire, and was now covered with deep, blistering, painful burns.

        Like you, Anne, my memories of narcissistic abuse begin when I was still a toddler. Not yet three, in my earliest memories. After a lifetime of abuse, the last time my elderly mother verbally abused me, I was sixty-five years old. That was almost two years ago. So yeah, I am done. Numb, and done.

        Liked by 1 person

        • annealcroft

          Linda, your memory of your little body being burned by boiling water is astonishing. When I read your words all I could say aloud was “O, Dear God!” More astonishing was your mother’s response to what was a heroic deed on your part. Thank God for your kind neighbor who was there to care for you.

          You’re right to feel “numb” about your mother at this point in your life.

          I guess I too feel numb at this point in my life and perhaps have gotten good at glossing my true feelings, largely because I now live in the house that my mother bought for me a few years before she died as part of my inheritance. Though I am very grateful for the house, it has baggage that I am certain profoundly affects me psychologically and spiritually. That’s a big discussion, really. Yes, I am grateful, very grateful for the house especially because over the years prior I found myself homeless several times. I am trying to find a strategy to sell this home and hopefully to find the peace somewhere that, having PTSD, I so desperately need in order to function. As it is, though I live in a rural community, is has become way too busy and one of my tasks today is to go pick up trash someone through over the bank on my property — a big bag of trash and what looks like a microwave oven. This sort of thing goes on constantly.

          A few weeks ago I read in one of your other posts that your mother committed you to an institution. I remember my mother threatening to do the same to me. “Look at her, she’s nuts. She’s absolutely nuts” I remember her saying. “She needs a psychiatrist.” As I began to develop during puberty, she became ruthlessly abusive and cruel and my sister was her flying monkey. Their abuse, teasing, criticism, was relentless. I was a “whore,” no good, stupid, and there was nothing I could possibly do, ever, to compare with my golden child narc sister who was then going to private elite schools and looking into the best of ivy league colleges. When I tried to do the same I remember a yard stick literally broken over my back. At a time that my interests should have been encouraged in order to shape a productive and happy future, every aspect of my development was sabotaged. When I look back on that period of my life it was only because of my horse that I was able to survive. That horse was my salvation.

          I am often surprised at the depths of love I have for my mother when I also often say to myself that I think I loved her far more than she deserved to be loved. And she squandered my love and affection and right up until the end, treated me poorly. But I still love her because she gave me life. Yes, she gave me life and then turned around and damaged that life, willfully destructive, hurtful, damaging. But I still love her anyway. And no matter how awful she was, nothing compares to the evil my father is capable of.

          Your loved ones affected by Corona are in my prayers. Your testimonial about their experience is sobering, to say the least. “Shock and awe” says it all. It gets more Orwellian by the day. We must remember God is in charge and pray for the salvation of the soul of our nation. It’s important for us to keep an eye on what’s happening locally, too.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Thank you so much, Anne, for your very kind, affirming words, and for your prayers for my granddaughter and her husband. If I didn’t know that God is in charge, I don’t know what I would do.

            I’m sorry that your father was even more abusive than your mother. My father was very abusive, too. But my mother was the worst. It’s so hard when you don’t have even one parent to love and protect you.

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    • I’m sorry.. I missed the post about your granddaughter & her husband. Been so busy I haven’t spent a lot of time online lately. They’re in my prayers!!

      Like

      • Thank you. My granddaughter is feeling better, she has a little more energy now, she says. Her husband was sick about four days before her symptoms began, and he is also doing better. He works at Harvard, where they met when they were both students about five years ago. There was a big outbreak of covid-19 in the Harvard area just before he was told to work from home, so I suspect that’s where he caught it. Their home is in Syracuse, which is a long commute from Harvard, about a 3 or 4 hour drive. But that’s where my granddaughter was accepted into a PhD program, and her husband did not want her to give up that opportunity. Syracuse university had already gone to having online classes only, when they both got sick.

        Here’s something I found interesting. The day after they got the phone call informing them that their test was positive for covid-19, the police left a warrant on their door, then went back and sat in their patrol car and called my granddaughter’s cell phone to tell her there was a warrant on her door which she had to retrieve. The officer stayed on the phone with her and watched her as she got the warrant and read it. It was a legal order telling them they had to remain quarantined inside their home for fourteen days. Of course, they had already been doing that, since they got sick.

        The officer was very nice, she said. And being told to stay in your home to prevent spreading this terrible virus is the right thing. But it all seems so surreal, don’t you think? And then, all the people who were affected by the 34 tornadoes that hit on Easter, so many losing their homes and some losing their lives — how terrible to have that happen, on top of this crazy coronavirus! It reminds me of what our military called a war strategy in 2003: Shock and Awe. Our world is definitely being shaken. I don’t know how anyone can stand it, if they don’t have faith in the Lord!

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