It is difficult to deal with a narcissist when you are a grown, independent, fully functioning adult. The children of narcissists have an especially difficult burden, for they lack the knowledge, power, and resources to deal with their narcissistic parents without becoming their victims. Whether cast into the role of Scapegoat or Golden Child, the Narcissist's Child never truly receives that to which all children are entitled: a parent's unconditional love. Start by reading the 46 memories--it all began there.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

She is never wrong: Characteristics of Narcissistic Mothers Pt 20

The black text is a shortened version of an original work by Chris, The Harpy’s Child. Original at Copyright 2007, all rights reserved
[There are two basic types of narcissistic mothers, the ignoring type and the engulfing type. These may—and often do—overlap but most NMs have a basic style and will be primarily one or the other. Some of the following points may not apply to your NM simply because they describe an engulfing characteristic when your NM is an ignoring type—or vice versa. But our mothers are not the only narcissists we will encounter in our lives. In fact, being raised by a narcissistic parent actually sets us up to be prey for more of the self-centred emotional vampires as we go out into the world, from girlfriends who are anything but friends to lovers who love themselves best to husbands who are the mirror image of dear old mom. So, whether something looks like it applies to your NM or not, read and consider it carefully—it may give you the awareness necessary to avoid the predator lurking around the next bend. As ever, my comments are shown in violet. -V]

It's about secret things. The Destructive Narcissistic Parent creates a child that only exists to be an extension of her self. It's about body language. It's about disapproving glances. It's about vocal tone. It's very intimate. And it's very powerful. It's part of who the child is. ~ Chris


Part 20. She is never wrong about anything.

This is more than just crazy-making—this is a situation that can be devastating to a young child’s ability to learn to think critically and make accurate assessments of the world around him. Having a mother who will tell a child is he wrong in order to make herself right skews a child’s perceptions and sets up a cognitive dissonance in the child. Cognitive dissonance makes people uncomfortable, even children, and so the child is placed in the position of having to find a way to resolve that uncomfortable dissonance. The basic choice open to someone in this position is to either stick with one’s own perception or adopt the alternate perception. When the alternate perception comes from the person upon whom you depend for your food and shelter and protection, a young child is not be blamed for accepting that person’s “reality” over her own.

What happens now, however, is that the child begins to doubt her own perceptions and over time loses confidence her ability to make decisions or accurately perceive what goes on around her. She becomes accustomed to adopting NM’s beliefs, perceptions, and opinions as reality and when dissonance arises she automatically resolves it by discounting anything that runs contrary to NM.

Some children don’t succumb. They either outwardly dispute the difference in perceptions or they pretend to accept NMs views while silently holding their own. Either way, they don’t learn that their mothers are rational, trustworthy people, nor do they have a model for rational observation and thinking.

No matter what she’s done, she won’t ever genuinely apologize for anything.

This assumes, of course, that she can be brought to an apology. My NM died when I was 52 and I cannot, over all of those years, ever recall a single apology from her, ever. Not to anyone for anything. Not even a perfunctory “sorry” when she bumped someone or stepped on their feet: it was their fault for being in her way, why should she apologize to them? She once punished me for something my GCBro did and later found out he had actually done it and then punished him for it as well. I waited for her to apologize and when it didn’t happen, I screwed up my courage and asked her about it. Her response? “Consider it punishment for something you did do that I didn’t catch you at.” Even when she knew she was wrong, no apology ever escaped her lips.

Instead, any time she feels she is being made to apologize she will sulk and pout, issue an insulting apology or negate the apology she has just made with justifications, qualifications or self pity: “I’m sorry you felt that I humiliated you” “I’m sorry if I made you feel bad” “If I did that it was wrong” “I’m sorry, but I there’s nothing I can do about it” “I’m sorry I made you feel clumsy, stupid and disgusting”…

Many of my DoNM friends call this a “fauxpology.” And that is exactly what it is: a false apology.

My NM might have made these comments, but they would be made in an exaggerated, condescending, and sarcastic tone. She was never really sorry for anything because she was never wrong. Children of such a mother learn that apologizing is undesirable, even bad, and something to be avoided...but something to be extracted from others as a punishment or humiliation. The last thing they learn is remorse and the cleansing nature of genuine apology: instead they learn to rationalize, lie, and blame others. My NM might say something like “Well, Miss Priss, I am soooooo sorry that I hurt your little feelings. I’ll be sure to be more careful around them next time,” in a tone just oozing sarcasm, but she would never say anything that could be construed as a genuine apology.

“I’m sorry but it was just a joke. You’re so over-sensitive”

I was often accused of not having a sense of humour as a kid. My stepfather, Frank, liked to tease me and I invariably took him seriously. NM labelled me gullible, but I had grown up in an environment in which it was downright dangerous to mistake something NM said as a jest. It was always safer to err on the side of seriousness. Often I would hear “Oh, for Chrissakes, it was a joke! What is wrong with you?”

I never knew where I stood with her. When I was about 16, I was in the kitchen with her one evening, wearing a skirt I often wore to school and a long pull over sweater. She smacked mein the stomach with the back of her hand saying “pull your stomach in! you look like you are 3 months pregnant!” I don’t (and didn’t even then) particularly like very tight clothes but if wearing the comfortably loose things I preferred made her suspect I was pregnant, then I probably needed to snug a few things up a bit. I took a dress that had been given to me by my stepmother and took it in a little, enough to show off my figure a bit more but still loose enough to sit comfortably. NM had a screaming fit, accusing me of being a slut and a whore and trolling for customers! It did not occur to me until years later that the dress made it plain that I had a much better shape than she did and the whole meltdown was because of jealousy—I just thought that I had misinterpreted, mis-read what she wanted from me yet again.

It was not until years later I could look back and see how capricious she was, and how insensitive. She regularly called me “hypersensitive” and if one of her cruel remarks hurt me, I had better not let her see it. For one thing, if she saw my nose go red or my eyes start to smart, she would get angrier at me…and further cruel and disdainful. “Oh, for god’s sake,” she would say, “not the water works again!” Or “Don’t you start that damned blubbering again,” or the classic “If you want to cry, I’ll really give you something to cry about!” Secondly—and perhaps most important—was that if I let her know what upset me, it gave her a weapon to use against me again and again.

I was hypersensitive and she was never, ever wrong, therefore my tears weren’t genuine, they were “crocodile tears” designed to play on her sympathy.

“I’m sorry that my own child feels she has to upset me and make me feel bad.” The last insulting apology is also an example of projection.

This is a very manipulative kind of thing to say. And it is passive aggressive. And self-pitying. You, who have been wronged and are owed an apology, get from her a fauxpology that makes her the victim and you the bad guy. How’s that for neatly turning the tables and twisting the truth? And what does this do to children growing up under this kind of influence? Depending on whether you are a scapegoat or a GC, you could learn that everything…or nothing…is your fault; that apologies are not for soothing hurt feelings and making amends, they are weapons to be used to humiliate your victims either by extracting them from those who do not owe them, or by twisting the ones truly owed to victimize the victim even further.

My own NM went to her death having convinced herself that her lies, from little ones to whoppers than changed the lives of other people, were true. By rationalizing and justifying her lies and her nefarious deeds, she could believe herself right and justified in everything she did, even reversing herself and remaining right both in her original deed and in the undoing of it—a neat trick, if you ask me. For example, she married my father and later divorced him…but she would never say that marrying my father was a mistake because she was always right—she didn’t make mistakes. Her rationalization was that marrying him was the only way she could get away from her oppressive Old World father, therefore it was the right thing to do. That she was 16 and her father was no more oppressive than the fathers of other 16-year-old girl of that era was not material: she wanted to run her own life and marrying my father was an immediate and certain way to do that. So, even though she divorced him later, she did not consider marrying my father a mistake: it was merely an means to an end, he served his purpose and then she got rid of him. Without remorse, without regret, without any thought for the feelings of the people who would be hurt by her actions.

And not an apology in sight because you only apologize when you are wrong and, of course, she was never, ever that!

Next: Part 21. She seems to have no awareness that other people even have feelings


  1. Reading my MNM's obituary was absolutely beyond belief: She must have pulled a helluva con job as I had been totally NC for 18 yrs. prior to her death despite her best nastiness to provoke a response from me.
    Too bad they don't Fact Check obits-or better yet, allow the Adult Children write them.

    1. I never saw my NM's obit but it wouldn't surprise me to learn that I was left out of it. I was left out of my father's...she had managed to pretty much poison both side of the family against me, even though she divorced him when I was only 10.

      Fact-checking would have turned up the mother of some of the grandchildren and great-grandchildren mentioned in his obit, you know?

  2. It 27 years and a trip to the psych ward against my will to finally understand that my moms behaviour was not normal. My mom has always been very critical of me....either I was too fat or thin and ugly. Being the "scapegoat" I've been the "victor" to immense amts of verbal sister wants to be an actress and dates sone high profile if course my NM loves telling everyone about her daughters famous ties...shes quite impressed by that. Im a 27 year old female whose mom refers to herself in the third person saying such things as "mommy wants to know when you're getting married so I can schedule my facelift"......she is extremely vain and has had several cosmetic procedures over the last few years. I'm finally able to put a label on her behaviour after a traumatizing event early January of this year. It was a Sunday morning and I was eating in the kitchen when my joyful mother came in and started picking me apart....calling me worn out looking....telling me that im a the degree where I finally snapped back and said you are just a jealous old hag...with my step dad listening to us he suddenly attacked me...punching and choking me while my NM watched and did nothing. I finally was able to free myself to call the police. I thought once they came I would be safe from them....but thats not how it went down. My mother put on her academy award winning perfornance....ran to the cops saying I attacked her poor husband and that I was diagnosed bipolar(not the least bit true ive been seeing a psychiatrist since I'm 16 and only suffer from anxiety disorder...she has always been a doctor self diagnosing everyone when she IS the problem. She told the cops that my step dad was only restaining me.....I was in a state of shock to see this unfolding right in front of my was two against one....the next thing I knew I was drugged and woke up tied down to a bed in the hospital psych took me 2 weeks to finally get out and i was heavily medicated on drugs for bipolar disorder before even speaking to a doctor in there.. I was given so many different medications I felt like a lab rat... I was told that i couldnt call my psychiatrist who would have helped .me After that horrific two weeks in there I finally got out....During my stay in "paradise" I lost my job and now had a domestic abuse report on file due to my moms lies to authority figures....I needed to see why my mom would lie so I recorded a convo that my dr listened to and told me about NPD. I simply said "why did you lie to the could you..." Her response still sends shivers down my spine..."Do you think I would risk having the people in this town know the truth that i'm married to an abusive man...I did what I had had it easy compared to step das was sexually abusive to me...consider yourself lucky."
    Not only was she turning my horrifying experience into one of her own...making herself the victim like always...but she brought up the fact that she was sexually abused as a kid...something she never spoke about prior to this conversation.. I spoke to some of my moms cousins and found that her story of sexual abuse had in fact happened. I lost my home...even my rights as a person are no longer something I'm comfortable with. I have been turned down by 2 employers because the background check shows the domestic abuse report which is all BS. My mom has threatened to have me put into the hospital again because I now have a record against me and nobody would listen to me. I see how my NM isnt capable of loving.. she cares more about her reputation than anyone or thing.

    1. I think you have assessed it correctly. I also think you might have a case for a lawsuit against the county, or at least the hospital, for wrongful imprisonment. Your regular therapist should have been consulted as soon as you were admitted, whereupon he could have told them you were not bi-polar and you would not, therefore, have been given the wrong drugs or even kept beyond the 72 hour hold. You may also have a case against your NM for slander/libel and making a false report to the police. You cannot fault the cops, however, because they had no way of knowing who was telling the truth and they were faced with an accuser and a "witness" who held you up as the perpetrator.

      You may not want to proceed with legal action but you can take comfort in knowing that you have that option. Furthermore, if it becomes appropriate, you can use is as leverage with your NM. Next time she tries something, tell her you recorded the conversation in which she admitted to lying to the police about you and tell her you haven't decided to turn it over to the DA for prosecution yet. See if that sets her back.

      In your position, however, I would simply turn my back on her and walk away, go NC without any comment, explanation, or remorse. Believe me, this is only the tip of her iceberg and she has her husband for an accomplice. I would disappear, change my name, and call myself an orphan. Some situations ar simply not resurrectable.

      with my heartfelt sympathies,


  3. Learning about NM during my first pregnancy right now. It's liberating to understand that all the bullshit actually wasn't my fault growing up. My mother pulled regular self center crap yesterday that caused me to look after my 15 year old brother for four days (would have been much longer has I not put my foot down) through awful pregnancy sickness (lasting all day and night) and then revoked her offer to drive me to my prenatal appointment. I lost it on her. Then found myself apologizing today, to be met by her saying " okay " and then I realized for the first time she has NEVER said sorry to anyone for anything! Just like this post said, she will bump into someone and wait for them to apologize because obviously they were in her way. How disgusting. I think I've hit my breaking point with this awful woman.

  4. Saying they are sick implies they cannot help themselves because they have an illness. And that is not accurate. While they cannot stop having the urges that come with being a narcissist, they are perfectly capable of controlling those urges. They are not sick, they are selfish and don't care to be anything else. When it profits them to act kindly towards others, to appear normal and pleasant, they do it---as long as they perceive something in it for them. Image is more important than substance, though, so in any environment in which they don't profit from subduing their selfish behaviours, they won't bother. They aren't sick, they are selfish in the extreme.

  5. Mine is a long story.. My mother is a Narcissist. There I said it. I now have a label of what I have been controlled by for over 48 years. She has the typical symptoms - unable to apologize - unable to admit she's wrong, jealous, makes up anything that will make me look bad and her look good, absolutely NO affection - would 'tell' on me to my father over small things and make it look dramatically worse to get more punishment. I have an older brother that is the GC. That Golden Child sexually abused me starting at 6 years old to about 10 - he never was able to penetrate, thanks to an accident when I was 5, but that doesn't mean he didn't try on every level - manipulating me, gaslighting me, etc. Fast forward - I have a son, now 12, that is the only grandchild to my parents - brother and his wife didn't want children (thank GOD) - since I've gotten older, I have deleted any relationship with him. My parents have constantly tried to get he and I to be friends. I tried to tell them what was going on when I was younger and they didn't believe me. Brother can do no wrong you see. NOW..this is the main thing - I have chosen NC with them all now. My son would go over to my parents sometimes for the weekend and about 4 years ago, my son said "Mommy, Mee Maw won't leave my butt alone." At the time, I thought she was pinching it or something innocent - I blew it off until next time he went over there and he came back, he told me again "Did you talk to Mee Maw about my butt? She won't leave me alone." I then embarrassingly called her and asked her "What's this about you messing with DS's butt?" She replied "I can't believe he told you". (I found that kind of odd, but being scared of my NM, I didn't question, but told her "Well, stop it". She immediately changed the subject and then we hung up. A few months ago, my son and I were watching the news and they were talking about someone being caught being a child molester. He asked me "What's a child molester?" I told him the younger version of what it was and he replied with "So that is what Mee-Maw is" My heart skipped a beat and I said "Woah...that's pretty strong for someone that was just pinching your butt." He looked at me and said 'No. That's not what she did. I shakily asked him "Well what did she do?" He said "She'd come up to hug me and then she'd put her hand down the back of my pants, and she would make her fingers go down the crack of my butt and she would stick her finger in my butthole." I almost vomited. I composed myself quickly and didn't want to scare him. I said " often did she do this? Was this a one-time thing? "No - every time I went over there - it depended on how long I was over there - sometimes 2-3 times a day." Where was Paw-Paw? He said he was never around - it was either in the kitchen or the study - Paw Paw was in the living room either taking a nap or watching TV. This went on for about 6 months until I told her to stop. We had a very big confrontation about his and of COURSE she has admitted NOTHING. She has now said that I have brainwashed my son into saying these mean hateful things because I'm jealous of her and is now spreading vicious hateful things about me to anybody that will listen (I'm on drugs, and I am crazy because I took Chantix 7 years ago to quit smoking (had a little insomnia, but nothing weird). Now, all of my family will have nothing to do with me. Here recently, they sent a card with a gift card for Christmas to my son (which is extremely odd). DS did not want it and wanted me to return. I have returned it with a letter saying I think it would be best in everyone's interest if there is no more communication or contact.

    1. In your place I would 1) report it to the police 2) apologize to son for not taking it more seriously and investigating more thoroughly and 3) get a restraining order against her (that includes she cannot attempt contact through third parties). For all that you are a victim here, so is your son and he is still growing up and developing and he needs to see you as his champion and that you can admit to making a mistake and will apologize for it.

      I also made the mistake of allowing my mother to have access to my children. My mother spread similar lies about me--that I was on drugs, etc.--and she was able to parlay that into getting custody of my children. She gave them up for adoption to her brother without my knowledge and I didn't know where they were or what was going on with them for eight years. That is what happens when we allow our fear of our NMs to be greater than our obligation to protect our children. I didn't realize I had to protect them from my mother (which is stupid since I needed protection from her) and it turned out very badly for me.

      Don't let it happen to you.


I don't publish rudeness, so please keep your comments respectful, not only to me, but to those who comment as well. We are not all at the same point in our recovery.

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