Relationships

7 long-term consequences of being raised by a narcissistic mother

photo of Eva, the daughter of a narcissistic mother portrayed in the movie 'Autumn sonata'

You know that feeling you get when you’re visiting your mother for holidays, you bring her gifts and all she says to you is ‘I don’t really know if this shirt will fit me. Couldn’t you get me something else?’ Then, you help her set the dinner table and she controls your every move-you should use these plates and not those or this set of forks, they’re new.

This is how it was for me to be around my mother. Even though, I love her, our relationship was turbulent, much like the one between Charlotte and Eva, the two protagonists in the 1978 movie, ‘Autumn sonata‘.

Charlotte is a renowned concert pianist who comes to visit her daughter, Eva, after a seven-year absence. During the visit, she discovers that her second daughter, Helena is slowly fading from a degenerative disease, while Eva is torn between loving and hating her.

My mother focused more on the family comparing to the famous pianist in Bergman’s movie. Nevertheless, I still felt alone. She was physically present, doing her duties as a mother but, she felt cut off emotionally from everyone around her. It was eerie to see Charlotte’s cold behavior in the movie and her lack of empathy towards her daughter’s pain. It reminded me of my mom.

However, even though the effects of being brought up by a narcissistic parent are long-lasting, it is possible to handle the anxiety that comes from such experience. Here are seven ways on how narcissism impacts adult children negatively:

1. People-pleasing behavior

It is common for an adult child of a narcissistic mother to become a people pleaser. The explanation of why this happens is this: when the child is raised by a mother whose main concern is her unresolved issues and pain, the child becomes enmeshed with her.

He would often ask himself what is wrong with him for making his mother so upset. He’ll think that, if he will extend himself to his mother, then he’ll receive the love he yearns from her. For more about people pleasing and how to deal with it, check out my post ‘How toxic parents can turn you into a people pleaser’.

2. Low self-esteem

Very often, children of narcissistic parents grow up feeling not good enough in everything they do. This is because they were corrected since young age and told that they always do the wrong things. I would often hear from my mother how I do things the ‘wrong’ way. For example, she would show me how to fold clothes and if I did it wrong, she’d say that she rather do it herself because, I can’t do it the way she wants me to. A narcissistic mother is never pleased with how others are doing things.

She sets high standards for herself that only few people can reach. That’s why, the child will feel like he’s lacking something. After years of being told that he’s doing things wrongly, he ends up thinking that it must be something wrong with him. He’ll not feel comfortable in relationships and will try to make others love him by ‘performing’ for them.

At one point in ‘Autumn Sonata‘, Eva performs for her mother a piece of classical music. Due to the fact that playing piano was not her forte but writing was, the daughter’s interpretation sounded bland.

But, instead of letting this go, her mother Charlotte took the spotlight and showed her how to play Chopin like a pro. She didn’t need to say anything to Eva so she would feel inferior and unworthy. Her hurtful actions were enough to show her daughter how she is not good enough. For a narcissistic mother, being competitive is a way of life. She wants to be better than everyone else, to win at all times, even during arguments.

You can watch the piano scene bellow.

3. Lack of a sense of self and direction

When you are raised by a narcissistic mother, you might realize you have no self. During childhood, even though your mother might have tried to give you attention and care, there wasn’t any opportunity for you to express yourself. The narcissistic mother needs to live through her children, thus, the children are not allowed to have different thoughts, values and dreams. If they show signs of being different, they are made to feel guilty. Thus, the child needs to be what the mother wants him to be. That’s how he ends up denying his own self.

4. Lack of boundaries

A narcissistic mother makes you become enmeshed with her, much like how Eva was enmeshed with her famous mom. She had no idea who she was, why did she learn piano at an early age, why was she trying to impress Charlotte by playing Chopin for her.

There is no clear distinction between you and your mother, you have the same needs and aspirations. That is why, the child grows up thinking that everybody can ask anything from him and he will have to comply. The adult child will be upset with other people’s boundaries and feel insecure about his own abilities to support strong and healthy relationships.

5. Anxiety, panic attacks, addiction or depression

Because there is no sense of self in the adult child of narcissists, the adult will often ask himself what does he want to do with his life. Is it OK to do say this and that? Is it allowed to feel like this? This insecurity becomes stressful in time. He can’t trust himself, thus, it will be difficult to trust others, as well.

In relationships, he won’t know how to express his own needs and feelings. Due to this frustration, he might resort to drinking, gambling, eating, obsessing or panicking in order to cope.

6. Difficulty in establishing healthy relationships

The adult child of a narcissistic mother would be afraid of being abandoned or rejected by the person he loves. Although we’re all afraid to be left by our partner with whom we share so many great things, the adult child of narcissists is constantly terrified of saying or doing something wrong. He believes that, if he does something wrong, his partner will pack the bags and hit the road without them.

Seth Meyers, psychologist and writer for Psychology Today blog believes that the adult child of narcissists would be attracted to emotionally unavailable partners or highly critical of others. If he enters a relationship with someone who offers him unconditional love, he would feel anxious and undeserving. The adult child also feels that he needs to keep the partner happy and fulfilled, even if this means to ignore his own needs.

I would often ignore my needs in relationships with friends and significant others. It would be an automatic behavior, as if I wasn’t conscious of putting everyone first. However, due to therapy, I started learning how to acknowledge my needs and look at relationships as being two-sided. Both partners should give and have a chance to express themselves, without judgment.

7. Narcissistic personality disorder

Therapists say that, if you can’t fight a parent while growing up, you will choose to become like them. Why? Because that is the easiest and most convenient option. For a child to survive in an abusive environment, he needs to become similar to the people around them. It’s like a defense mechanism.

We will imitate the narcissistic parent and often find ourselves manipulating others or putting them down. If we don’t question our actions and seek therapy, we might develop an unhealthy type of narcissism that will hurt those around us.

N.B: We must remember that we all have a narcissistic side in us. It is important to have it so we can develop a healthy self-esteem. However, there are two other types of narcissism that are not helpful.

According to Dr. Craig Malkin, extreme narcissism is found in people who are likely to manipulate others to get what they want. They are approval-seeking and depend on the need to feel special. These people like to provoke negative reactions in others and use them to fulfill their needs.

Another type of narcissism that is less discussed in the media is ‘echoism’. Echoism manifests through people pleasing behaviors and a poor sense of self. People with high levels of echoism put others first and think more of how to make others happy than how they feel. If you’re interested in checking your level of narcissism, take the narcissism test made by Craig Malkin. You can find it here.

What can you do?

There are some things to consider if you were raised by a narcissist. First and foremost, seek therapy or counseling. It will help you discover how the world really is, how relationships should function, what is unconditional love, how to self-soothe and create better opportunities for yourself.

Secondly, do your research. The more you read and talk about narcissism with others, the clearer the subject will become. It is not an easy topic, I know. Start with blogs like narcissistsupport.com, outofthefog.website, daughtersofnarcissisticmothers.com.  Continue with books like ‘Will I ever be good enough?‘ by Karyl McBride, ‘Toxic parents‘ by Susan Forward or ‘Rethinking narcissism by Dr. Craig Malkin.

If you’re dealing with the psychological consequences of being raised by narcissistic parents, I want to tell you that you’re not alone. Therapy will help you accept that you weren’t given the love that you deserved and move forward, towards healing. If therapy is not an option, consider reaching out to online support groups on the subject. From personal experience, I can say that these groups are really helpful. They can give great advises about your own situation which encourages you to want to get better.

If you have anything to add to this post, please leave a comment. Thank you for reading!

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28 thoughts on “7 long-term consequences of being raised by a narcissistic mother

  1. I believe that my husband’s mother is a narcissist. So many issues have come up in our marriage because of her, but I’m just now (10 years in) starting to understand that her behavior has a name, and how it has affected my husband.
    I have a question though. One of his most frustrating traits is a total lack of emotion, or inappropriate emotional expression. For example, when one of our children falls and hurts themselves, he will laugh. Or if I or someone were to be joyful or excited over some happy news, he will say nothing and will not even smile. Could this emotional detachment have been caused by the abuse he endured from his narcissist mother? How can I help him?

    1. Hi, Becca. Thank your for your comment!
      Narcissism is not an easy topic to approach and I know that it takes time to understand it. If your husband was raised by a narcissistic mother, he might have gotten narcissistic traits himself. But that doesn’t happen often. Those raised by narcissists can also become people pleasers and with very low self-esteem.
      Your husband seems to have narcissistic traits because he doesn’t respond with appropriate emotions to certain situations (but if he hasn’t been diagnosed by a professional, we can’t be 100% sure). One thing to do is to express how his lack of emotional response affects you. Try to have an open talk with him and say how you feel. If this doesn’t go well, seek out help from an online support group. Best!

    2. All of this is very true
      As I grew up I never felt good enough , anything I did wasn’t good enough and I still feel the same
      At an early age I would think ” why is my mom like this “( I was about 8-10 years old )
      From the age of 10 till now ( currently I’m 21)
      I’d go cry myself to sleep because I felt/feel like no one loved me nor cared about me .

      I’ve often thought about what it would have been like not to live at all ,at an early age I recal not wanting to live because I hated/hate myself
      So early on I felt depressed ,as I reached 15 years old I became very self abusive I’d cut my ankles, wrists,arms and sadly still do as a copping mechanism
      It would happen at school ,at home, while I was out skating and even to this very day

      I subconsciously pleas people
      Early on I’d try to help people out as much as I could even when they would stomp all over me , it was hard not to help, at work out of work
      It happening at home is the worse you know you grow up being thought ,being told that home is suppose to be a safe place you could always feels ok
      But to me it’s the worst place I can be

      The relationships I’ve made with people weren’t the best
      Ive made friends but it usually doesn’t last long
      The relationship I have with my mom , it’s horrible she calls me “crazy ” for dressing the way I want to , just because I have long hair and ripped clothes ( because of skateboarding )
      Makes me feel bad for getting myself stuff , gets mad because she isn’t wats on top of my priority list
      and I happen to be the middle child so with that said , most times neglected , almost forgot of

      Everyday it’s the same thing it’s like a never ending cycle
      It’s hard to live life , luckily I have a gf that’s as stood by my side for the last 4 years and a few great friends that’s I could always talk to

      1. Hi, CD-R. In response to your situation-would you consider joining an online support group for adult children of narcissistic parents? I found those groups very helpful (for me at least). You can ask there many questions and get some comforting advice. If you do want this, I can send you a private email with the name of the website. Cheers.

  2. Growing up, I didn’t understand what I was doing in this world, and why everyone seemed to think and act differently than me. I would go to school and not be able to socialize with my peers and struggled with academics (elementary school). I most likely had an undiagnosed learning disability, which my mother refused to acknowledge. Bullying followed and I would always be isolated. I started to develop anxiety and depression at the age of 8. I remember being scared of my mom screaming and her crazy driving. If my sister and I didn’t listen to her, she would beat us and stop her car in random areas and force us to listen to her. She would use clothing hangers, chairs, shoes to hit us and chase us everywhere in the house. It was a nightmare…My mother also neglected my health which wasn’t surprising as she didn’t know how to take care of herself as well. We would eat too much or too little and wouldn’t eat healthily. My desire to learn gymnastics and ballet were crushed by my mom as she believed that they would stop me from “growing taller”. I remember people telling my mother how pretty I looked and she would tell me how “she looked more pretty than me at my age”. I felt stunned and hurt. My father was working long hours and was rarely there to see her physically and emotionally abuse my sister and I. I was so blessed to have met two English teachers in high school who changed my life. The first English teacher I had taught me how to think for myself. Prior to meeting her, anything I thought or did was what my mother thought or did. I was merely an extension of her irrational thoughts and actions. The second English teacher I had, helped me to reflect and draw upon my past experiences, which enabled me to come to so many realizations. I realized that I had to have faith in my ability to overcome these internal challenges I was facing. I began to develop and value my own voice and wasn’t afraid of speaking my mind. This, of course, frightened my mother as she didn’t want me to think for myself and “disobey” her. She would start to interrogate me on a daily basis and would ask cruel questions: “Who taught you to say this to me? Is it your English teacher? Your friend? You don’t sound like my daughter!” Hearing all of this destroyed me as I felt like I was only being who I am. And there was nothing wrong in what I was trying to do. Now that I am 18 years old, I feel thankful that I’ve been able to understand that my mother has NPD and perhaps more undiagnosed illnesses and disabilities. Today, I suffer from anxiety, depression, and an eating disorder, which were caused by living and coping with my mom’s mental illness. I want to be set free from all of this pain and not have to carry the burden i’ve been shouldering for over a decade; yet, it seems impossible to alleviate the mental and emotional trauma I endured. Fortunately, I know that my friends and counsellor can help me through every step of my journey to recover from my childhood and ongoing abuse. As each day comes and goes, I find myself constantly reflecting and having to remind myself to remain positive in spite of the numerous difficulties I encounter. I hope that one day I’ll be able to inspire and help others to not only come to the same realization as me but to also understand how crucial it is to take care of one’s mental health.

    1. Hi there. I read your story and have to say it is really a brave thing to come to terms with your mother’s narcissism and abuse at only 18. You are one of few. Many people I meet online are past their 30’s or 40’s when they realize what their mothers are really like. I’m glad to hear you have a counselor who can help. If you feel the need to reach out to others in a forum as well, you can check the link that I’ve given above. Sorry to hear of all the horrible things your mother put you through. But you can heal, even though it will take a long time.

  3. Hi reading this makes me really feel like my husband did suffer so much at the hand of a Narsisstic mother.He is a great man very kind. But I can tell any time we meet new people or even friends he is not close with he gets very nervous and try so hard to fit in. He will do anything for anyone. He suffers a lot from anxiety as well and excessive worry about his mom. I never thought much of it till the day we got married and his mom was a florist at one point.
    She asked to do the flowers and I payed her for them. Quite a bit but she didn’t do what I asked.She had tried many times to tell me what colors she thought a fall wedding should be. When I confronted her about it in a very nice way. she told me I was ungrateful. she then spent the night before our wedding calling my husband over and over to yell at him and refused to come to the wedding.Over flowers.She only showed up at the brunch after our ceremony at the court house. I tried again to fix it and talk like a rational persons admit some worng to try to fix it and she just excepted my apologies and said to not worry about it that her family deals with things different. They get mad and yell and just move on.But she acted like nothing happened it was so odd.Since then things got worse were my husband had to intervine and set boundaries.She got very offended and would not call him for 2 weeks.When ever we do see her and it’s limited she likes to tell me how to do everything and I am 33 and this is my second marriage. She talked to me like I am 12 and has insulted my looks and tells his brother he got too fat infont of family.She has frequent emotional melt downs were she needs her boys to fix her problems.They now are backing away as it’s causing problems in both mine and my bother in laws.Is this Narsisstic behaviors ?
    I am afraid to approach my husband that I think his mom is a Narsisstic person. We are going to therapy together and I plan to bring it up to see if they think this could be the problem.
    My question is when ever I ask my husband his opinion or what he wants to do he always respond with I don’t know what do you want?He also will say a lot of times you really like xy or z don’t you, even if I have not said I do.Is that common for them to say those things having grown up in that environment? thank you Aurora

    1. Hi, Aurora. I’m sorry to hear how your husband’s mother behaved towards you and your husband. Yes, she might be narcissistic. It is really difficult to tell because I don’t have other details about your situation except what you just wrote here.
      Counseling/therapy is good but make sure the therapist knows how NPD (narcissistic disorder) works. It is an extremely difficult disorder because it’s hard to tell sometimes if someone is a true narcissist or not. They might be covert and that will make you hard to spot them.
      If you want additional help with this, I recommend an online support group that specializes in NPD. http://www.mdjunction.com/adult-children-of-narcissistic-parents
      Another thing to keep in mind: it is your husband’s decision and problem how he handles stuff with his mom. If he accepts her abuse, you can’t do much. When you are raised in an abusive family, you will grow up attached to your abuser, so much that, even if the abuser hits you, rape you, and does a lot of damage, you’re still gonna defend them or talk highly of them. (and worse, take care of them). I’ve seen many who did that.

        1. Thank you so much this artical was so helpful and response as well I will for sure look for a therapist that knows about this disorder.I didn’t know that there are covert Narsisstic as well. I am going to check out this group online.thank you keep up the great job of informing people about this!

  4. my mother and throw in a bit of Irish Roman Catholicism well you can imagine along with 6 siblings……l was the second eldest and my mother’s favourite so my siblings say.

    I have never married never had or wanted children just walked away from my siblings 4 years ago and distanced myself from my mother. My role was the doormat.  My mother told me as a toddler l had TP spend a night or so in hospital when my mother left and later greeted me the next day She said l never cried. I studied psychodynamic counselling but am  ot a clinsellor in my work with children my degree covered child development so when l heard this story about me as a toddler it rang alarms bells. I was aware l was very conscious of my mother’s needs from a young age and very self contained to make sure l made no demands on her. But l was probably and very self contained as a baby Bowlby and Winnicott come to mind.  

    I am in my 50’s a few years ago my mother said l used to feel suicidal which l do remember she used to tell me as a child. She did not remember this. She had the ECT treatment when l was younger and PND. What was absolutely gobsmacked was that whilst saying this it did not dawn on her one little bit the impact this may have had on her children. 

    Your article is excellent l can’t talk to my siblings about this article they would not understand what l was on about at all. You are SO right there is NO way l could approach my mother with her behaviour.  She would be in total denial and look at you like you were crazy if you challenged her on anything. So l just distance myself from her to keep my sanity. I should feel guilty but l don’t.  l gave her my childhood l can’t give anymore of me as pragmatically there is nothing left of me to give her. It’s as simple as that. The bit of energy l have left in me is taken up in my highly stressful l job. I do see her of course. Her life must be hello in reality and what personal growth has she explained perrin education has she grown and developed on a personal level? She hasn’t which is very sad. l visit her, we have a laugh thought the visit all depends on what mood she is in.  I could ignore her moods but thought after decades of this would l let a child be rude and disrespectful towards me? So l suppose l become passive aggressive in becoming quiet so letting her know her behaviour is unacceptable without discussing it, which l hate.  I then make an excuse for a quick exit.

    I would never have wanted children l always feared l would end up like my mother. l would have been a very anxious mother at best. There is no way l would want to inflict that on a child. My mother is not to blame she was not and is not aware of what she does and why. I am very aware so would never risk motherhood. I never had the maternal desire.

    1. Hi, Margo. Thank you for sharing your story here. From experience, I know it’s not easy to talk about these things (narcissistic parents and their ways). I understand when you say you never wanted children to not end up behaving like your mother. This is how I feel, too. The risk of treating the child like my mom treated me is low but what if it’s there? what if it’s gonna happen? Wouldn’t risk it, at least, not until I feel better about myself.
      Have you tried the grey rock method with your mother? This helps adult children who are still in contact with their N parent to cope. Take care.

  5. For some reason, at a very early age, i found a way to cope by embracing myself secretly. I squirreled away pictures of myself as a baby (that were being tossed out) and when I moved out I put them in beautiful frames. When I see my image of a smiling baby, not crying as i was told I always did, i feel a profound sense of love for her and it gives me a great deal of comfort. My moment of truth re my narcissistic mother came when I realized she was competing with me. Who does that with a child? A Narcicist!

    1. Hi, Cathy. I’m sorry to hear your mother competes with you. Yes, narcissists do that. About the photos with you as a baby, I think it’s a brave thing what you did. I noticed that narcissists don’t like to have photos with their kids in the house or don’t like photos with the whole family. Mine used to hide the family photos of us as children somewhere in a dark corner of a closet. Why in the world would you do that? So f-ed up.
      Thank you for your comment.

  6. I am married to a victim of a narcissistic mother and a physically abusive father. We have been marred for 20 yrs. She is a perfectionist and expects the same in others. I’m trying to get her into therapy but she refuses and says I need therapy. I’m glad I have been going, I just wish I could get her to go.
    Lately she has commented that she is having intense feelings of anger towards me, but blames it on pms. Any thoughts?

  7. Hi, Dan. Thank you for your comment.
    From my learning and personal experience, victims of narcissistic abuse experience a lot of symptoms and, most of these symptoms create distress in their own relationships. Few symptoms:
    -perfectionism-like your wife, all the abuse victims I met have the need to please and be perfect. That’s because they had to be perfect as children to not anger the parent. If you were considered flawed (getting sick, crying, having personal problems or getting bad grades at school), then the hell broke loose on you. My own mother would ignore my illnesses because she expected me to be in.perfect health. What an inconvenience on her was my sicknesses..
    -no sense of self-because the abusive parent used the child to satisfy their own needs, the child was not given the needed attention so he-she grew up without an identity, not knowing who they are and what makes them happy (or sad). They will have a hard time in life realizing what they wanna do also taking decisions is a difficult task for them
    -extreme fear, phobias and anxiety
    -neediness, being desperate to get validation from their partners or friends, being desperate to be loved by others
    -extreme fears of failing or making mistakes-this is something I always struggled with but it gets better when I practice making mistakes on purpose it gets much better
    -concealing their true feelings for others and ESPECIALLY, being VERY ashamed if they have negative feelings for the loved ones.
    For example your wife has anger towards you. And maybe she feels ashamed of it or afraid to express it because she thinks it will damage your relationship. But she can learn to express anger the healthy way and it is important that you LET her express this negative feeling. The abuse victims are terrified to get angry on the loved ones because they think if they did, their loved ones will abandon them (that’s how the abusive parent did anyway). Tell her that she needs to work with this anger that she might still harbour towards her abusers and that once she works with it, it won’t affect you or your other family members.
    -projection -the abuse victims project their anger, the hate for their abusers and all their frustrations on their loved ones. This is terrible and unfair yes.
    But we were programmed to project because we saw how our abusers projected their unwanted feelings on us: for example the abusive parent will admonish the kid saying ‘You need to calm down now because it doesn’t do me well when you scream at me’ but the child barely raised his voice to the parent. The child doesn’t understand why he needs to calm down because he doesn’t feel angry. But the parent forces this emotion on him thus he learns that is good to take your negative emotion and throw it onto another person. He learns that if you dump this heavy feeling onto others you will feel calmer. But this is very wrong .

    All in all, your wife needs a lot of patience from you and I hope you can empathise with her. To be raised by an abuser is the worst thing that can happen to anyone so we need to be helped in navigating life carrying this heavy burden.
    I hope she agrees with you to start therapy (individual therapy nit couple’s therapy-this is important ) because she can’t deal with the narcissistic abuse syndrome on her own. It is extremely hellish to suffer from this so please support her and try to get her help.
    If she doesn’t want show her how therapy helps you and maybe she’ll get the idea.
    Ps-is she still in contact with her abusers?
    If yes, tell her to make use of the following website : http://www.outofthefog.net. It is very helpful.
    Best!
    Marlena

  8. I’m 40 and the youngest of three children. I grew up with a very nice father, although tough, and a mother who I believe is a narcissist. I’ve learnt to distance myself from her, and up until about 5 years years I go I constantly wanted to please her and connect with her, and was usually left disappointed. Disconnecting was the best thing I could do for myself to ease some of the pain. I live overseas now and only see her once a year. She never calls, so I have to make sure I fulfill my obligation by checking in on her every couple of weeks. There isn’t a lot to talk about, mostly daily drama in her life. When asking about my life, it’s more of an interrogation, rather than a healthy conversation. I often start to get agitated by the end. As a consequence, I often hear from my father, telling me that I must be better towards my mother, to stop getting angry with her in conversation, to talk better with her. He knows how difficult my relationship is with her, but somehow I am responsible for that. She has done some horrible, psychological things that have hurt me, not just during my child hood. It’s like mid games with her, that she seems to really enjoy. Not only that, she feeds my father negative stories about me, so he gets annoyed at me. She often tells me that people are jealous of me, which I find very awkward and unnecessary. I’m in a losing battle and it feels very, very uncomfortable.

    I’ve struggled in relationships in the past as I feel that any man I get involved with, will be conditional. That’s how my mother loves. I’ve become a lot braver though, and learnt to take more risks, and developed better coping mechanisms. I love unconditionally, but recognise not to stay with someone who is no good. These are things my mother never told me about….things about life I had to learn on my own. She would always tell me the most negative things about having boyfriends, and Ive never understood why. When I had met someone I was looking to marry, all she did was convince him that he could do better! I was shocked! The past few years I have never wanted children all because I’m worried that I might be like her. I couldn’t be that way to a child. It’s heartbreaking.

    1. Hi, Kerry. Your mother sounds like an ignoring narcissist. Maybe it’s better that way at least your are not stalked by her. Mom is engulfing narc with long periods when she is ignoring.
      Some moms are so suffocating that even after no contact years after their kids cuts them off they still stalk and threaten or worse hoover and abuse them through letters or cards.
      I guess my point is to relax because yours is not going to do that and you will be fine if you distance yourself from her.
      Mine was also not happy with my boyfriends trying to find fault in them all the time.
      I hope you read about narcissism and find some comfort in talking to people who went through the same experience.
      Hugs!

  9. I, too grew up with a narcissistic mother. I am now 37. I have a wonderful father but quite the silent type and he upholds me with my talents. My mother on the other hand, always tried to outshine me and my older brother with her achievements when we were young. Like when are in the dining table and I started talking about my grades or achievements, she would cut the conversation short and would start talking about her elementary school math whiz stint past. She never praised me with anything. She tried to control me with how I should look or friends to be with as she tends to be prejudice with some people like with wealth or town they are from. She never told me once that I was pretty though I know I am as people around me tell me that but I don’t know why it never really gets drilled in my head. She constantly fought with me when I was a teenager and told me that I am not going to go places and that I will never be happy with the way I think. I fought with her over the years as I knew she was judgemental and that she never really did anything for me except to make me feel unspecial or a daughter at all. When I had my 1st daughter, I changed the way I think. My mother love my daughter so I forgave her for the past sins. I started to send her money as monthly support and I did it with love. The issue actually is with how I relate with my husband. I am so unreasonably jealous and possessive that it drives him nuts. I also do not understand my trait and why I just can’t help myself. I am ruining myself and is afraid that will ruin my family as well if I don’t change soon. I feel jealous with my husband’s achievements as well which of course is very bad. I am in good terms with my mother so I really do not know if my possessiveness and jealousy is a bi-product of my upbringing. I am always suspicious of my husband and it’s tiring. I now feel that being alone is a much better option for me and everyone else. My husband is a wonderful man and he does not deserve the way I treat him. I am in a dark place but I also found God which is helpful for me. It’s just there are times that I struggle to shake off the negative thoughts in my head

    1. It might be possible that your jealousy and possessiveness are signs of past abuse and trauma. I don’t know you so I can’t say exactly what it is. But what I know for sure is that you can’t be in a healthy relationship with a partner and have jealousy issues or possessiveness. Maybe you are giving conditional love to your husband the way you were taught in your family (?).
      I’m sorry for how terribly your mom treated you. You deserve better!

  10. It took me a disastrous relationship with an undiagnosed NPD man to realise my mother also has NPD, most likely as a result of her own mother’s NPD behaviour. I am in a much healthier relationship with a fantastic man who is very patient with my on-going trust issues. I’m constantly second-guessing myself because I grew up believing that I was never good enough. Recently, I’ve been told by my mother, straight to my face, that she had long gave up hope of having a normal daughter, as if there was something abnormal in me. She has the perfect timing for coming up with her neediness when I’m busy or with other people in my life who care for me, either friends of my partner. She has dismissed my relationship, my work, and she’s constantly reminding me how ungrateful I am as a daughter and I’m not as nice and affectionate as my brother is, or someone else’s children are. I am an accomplished professional in my field with a successful career, a work that I love, I’m financially independent and I’ve finally met someone I really care deeply for. For the first time in my life I feel truly happy, I want to settle, so much efforts for so many years…now I feel happy. And what I get from my mother is nothing but criticism and jealousy, pettiness and resentment for being an independent woman (I’m 38 years old). If I share something positive in my life, I get some negative comment. If I don’t share anything, I get the “ungrateful and antisocial social” comment instead. There’s always something I do wrong. Some days I have more energy than others, but overall I’m emotionally tired of having to deal with this.

    1. Narcissists are devoid of any feelings. And, because they lack feelings, they need to provoke them in others, especially the negative ones-anger, fear, shame. They will never be happy (and they never were), that’s why they need partners in their unhappiness/tragic life. These partners can be their kids, husbands and so on.
      I used to feel the same way while in contact with mom.Never good enough for anything. Eventually I thought that, enough is enough.