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.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

She’s envious: Characteristics of Narcissistic Mothers Pt 7

 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

7. She's envious.

Any time you get something nice she’s angry and envious and her envy will be apparent when she admires whatever it is. She’ll try to get it from you, spoil it for you, or get the same or better for herself.

When I was a child and my parents were divorced, my father lived out of state for a couple of years. One year at Christmas, NM handed me a package that was wrapped in the same paper as the rest of the presents under the tree, an uncharacteristically large box. When I opened it, I found a beautiful bathrobe and slippers…a blue gingham quilted robe with a ruffled neck and button placket and matching slippers. I should have tipped to something being “off” when I saw the ruffles and blue satin ribbons as she maintained I did not look good in ruffles and lace and ribbons and refused to buy them for me. I remember the look of sly satisfaction on her face when I thanked her and hugged her but, being a child, I thought she was feeling good that I liked her present.

My mother had abysmal taste. Cheap, flashy, tacky—her taste ran in that direction. She was always bad-mouthing my stepmother who, actually, had pretty refined, upscale tastes. And I was always pleased with gifts selected by my stepmother because they took my tastes into account, unlike my mother’s gifts which were selected according to hers. A year or more after receiving the robe and slippers I had occasion to find out that my stepmother had selected it and she and my father had sent it to me for Christmas that year. NM had intercepted the package, removed the cards and re-wrapped it and given it to me as if she had chosen it. I had always thought NM to be envious of my stepmother—she called her a lot of unflattering names and acted as if she were the “other woman” when, in fact, NM initiated the divorce and they didn’t meet until after my parents were separated. NM even cancelled the divorce and asked my father to move back in with us in order to get him away from Patsy. She didn’t really want him, but it galled her that a woman like Patsy, who came from an upper middle-class family and had a private school and college education, would be attracted to my father (they were ultimately married more than 50 years). NM was jealous on so many fronts and this hijacking of their Christmas gift and getting the love and gratitude I would have harboured for them, was just one manifestation.

On another occasion, my grandmother sent me a deep red plush pullover top for Christmas. Before I had a chance to wear it, NM “borrowed” it (after I was asleep) and went out bar-hopping. On the way home she wrecked the car and in the process, bled all over my new top and tore the sleeve. No apology was ever offered, nor restitution. She wore it, she ruined it, I didn’t even get to wear it once. What was hers was hers—and what was mine was hers, also.

She’s always working on ways to get what other people have.

My NM was the epitome of the phrase “keeping up with the Joneses.” If the neighbour got a new car, she had to have one. The man she and Dad bought their first house from, Frank, was married to a much-younger woman, Marti, who had trashy tastes like my NM, but expensive trashy tastes. A newly popular—and pricey—shoe, the Springolator, had caught Marti’s eye and she bought a wardrobe of them. Immediately my NM was on the hunt for a pair for herself. When Frank and his wife split up, Marti left a lot of personal items behind, including those shoes which mysteriously ended up my NM’s closet.

At a time when most mothers stayed home and families lived on the husband’s income, NM had a job. The proceeds of her job plus my father’s went to fund our upwardly mobile lifestyle, something unheard of in the 1950s. Because she managed the household accounts and all of his pay went into the joint bank account, in order to have any money in his pockets, my father took a second job working evenings part time as a mechanic at a nearby garage. For reasons unfathomable, he didn’t put his pay in a separate bank account, he hid the cash high on a closet shelf—he was saving money for a new hunting rifle (we mostly ate venison instead of beef, meaning NM didn’t have to spend so much at the market on meat).

Well, the inevitable happened: somebody she knew got new furniture and, of course, NM had to get new furniture as well. The next thing you know, Dad’s stash of cash is missing from the closet shelf and we were having a hideous new deep turquoise bouclé sectional sofa, a bright pink bouclé side chair and a couple of trendy blonde low tables delivered. Dad must have had quite a stash because NM had enough money left over to hire a neighbour to paint the living room walls the same deep turquoise and deep pink as the furniture. With an open beam knotty pine ceiling and a cheap brown cotton looped carpet and cheap fibreglass draperies with a rust-and-lime green print on them, the effect was overwhelmingly awful. But she was happy—she had trumped the neighbours not only by getting new furniture but by having the interior of the house painted professionally as well!

NM considered spending a lot of money on a quality piece of furniture (or anything, for that matter) was stupid, especially if you could get a gtreater volume of cheap stuff for the same money—had she been able to find knock-off Springolators at a better price, she would have bought them instead of the real Springolators and then complained about them when they wore out or broke. She considered buying antiques the height of folly: “Pay that for a piece of second hand old junk? Do I look stupid?” and she couldn’t understand why people would pay for virgin wool instead of reclaimed wool. She was cheap, cheap, cheap but considered herself superior to her neighbours because she could get more for a dollar than they could…envious of the neighbours but superior to them all in one go.

This had a profound effect on me. For years I shopped for everything at low price stores like K-Mart—Sears or Montgomery Ward or JC Penney were “up market” venues for me—and I wouldn’t even set foot in a Macy’s. I bought cheap furniture, cheap clothes, cheap cosmetics, all the while knowing that better quality goods were actually a better buy, but unable to bring myself to actually spend up. It took years for me to come to the point where I could not only quietly believed NM was wrong but to create and implement my own spending philosophy. The advantages of changing took a while to materialize, but whereas NM had to replace things regularly because they broke or wore out or just gave way to entropy and their poor construction, I have antiques more than 100 years old that are fully functioning household items, a 20 year old dining set of solid wood, a 35 year old kitchen set of solid maple that just improves with age, a cherry wood bedroom set that will last for several generations…yes, they were expensive to buy but no more so than constantly replacing the cheap stuff like I used to have to do. But I am not envious of my neighbours, so I don’t have to replace my stuff with every new trend that comes along…

The envy of narcissistic mothers often includes competing sexually with their daughters or daughters-in-law. They’ll attempt to forbid their daughters to wear makeup, to groom themselves in an age-appropriate way or to date.

Now this came as a complete surprise to me. It was not until I was an adult and my stepmother pointed out that she thought NM was jealous of me that her rationalizations for this behaviour began to focus in my mind.

I was not allowed to shave my legs and underarms nor was I allowed to tweeze my bushy eyebrows when all the girls in my class were doing the same. She did not buy me a bra until my breasts were as big as hers. As I began to develop, instead of buying me clothes that fit properly and reflected my maturing, NM took my little girl dresses and let them out at the seams and let the hems down—she even sewed a band of forbidden lace at the bottom of some of them to make them long enough. I was the laughing stock of the seventh grade with my babyish dresses and childish undershirts instead of a bra. And shoes!! Ugly,ugly saddle oxfords with arch supports and cotton socks, no matter what I wanted.

It wasn’t until the 10th grade that I was allowed to begin my transition to young lady, and this was done under the auspices of my stepmother, for I was living with my father that year. When I returned to live with my NM again, she had married Frank and my improved wardrobe and grooming practices merely gave her a wider variety of clothing and personal products to choose from.

They will criticize the appearance of their daughters and daughters-in-law.

My GCBro’s wife wouldn’t win any beauty contests. She is also not the sharpest knife in the drawer and nobody in the family is in any kind of hurry to give her any awards for her domestic or mothering skills either. I heard a lot about her before I met her and it was all so bad I suspected a demonizing job at work, so I determined to take her strictly on her own terms, having been the victim of a familial smear campaign myself.

Unfortunately, I found that the criticisms against here were more understated than overstated, but what got me far more than her slovenly personal habits was her slavish, sycophantic devotion to my N GCBro. It was as if she did not have an independent thought in her head, everything was “Pete says,” or “Pete thinks,” or “Pete believes…” She was so devoted to my brother (and my brother to himself) that their only child was seriously neglected, at least with regard to appropriate behaviours: he hit on my daughter (his cousin!) at my grandmother’s funeral and, according to the family grapevine, has since been in prison at least twice.

NM, however, showed no care or concern for the emotional and moral neglect shown her grandson. Nope—her focus? Melinda’s looks. “She’s ugly,” NM said. “Pete could have done much better than that.”

NM was different—but no better—with me. Once I returned from the year at my father’s and was ordinarily groomed and dressed like my peers, the criticism started. “Stand up straight, you look like you’re three months pregnant,” Or “What did you do to your hair?” Or I would find clothes missing from my room, like my bathing suits (two piece suits that cover a great deal more than suits today). She did not want me to look good, if I did she would tell me I looked like a “two bit whore”—actually, she didn’t want me to look competitive. I cannot once recall her telling me I looked “good” or “pretty.” No, I got silence or criticism—nothing in between.

This kind of thing is bad for a kid’s self esteem. That your mother views you as a rival cannot do good things to your psyche. Either you become inappropriately sexualized or you withdraw and try to hold adolescence at bay. To know that your own mother views you not as her beloved, growing child but as a bitter competitor for the attention of men is painful and confusing. And if your mother hits on your boyfriends, it is even more unnerving.

There is supposed to be a line drawn between teens and their parents, a boundary. And it is the parent’s responsibility to draw and maintain that boundary. Certainly teens and parents can share things—my teens and I shared a love of heavy metal and classic rock music, for example—but parents need to create and enforce boundaries with their kids if the kids are ever to be able to create and enforce boundaries of their own. How many kids, girls in particular, would find their friendships and romantic relationships easier to navigate if they simply knew how (and felt entitled) to set and maintain a boundary that demands nothing less than respect? When we blur the line between parent and child, when your mother sees you as a rival in her adult world, the daughter’s ability to set and maintain a healthy, appropriate boundary is impinged. And like Ns everywhere, my NM’s boundaries were one-way only: she could raid my closet, snoop through my possessions, take what she wanted from me and speak disparagingly and disrespectfully to me, but let me even look like I was going to reciprocate and the shit hit the fan. A narcissist will see her growing daughter as competition and will do her level best to squash that competition by any means at hand.

This envy extends to relationships. Narcissistic mothers infamously attempt to damage their children’s marriages and interfere in the upbringing of their grandchildren.

This is a hard one for me to talk about. In 1964, if you had an unmarried, pregnant daughter, the normal parent wanted to marry her off as quickly as possible.

Not my NM. First she wanted me to have an abortion (illegal at the time) then she insisted that I give the baby up for adoption. She adamantly opposed my marrying (although she gave no reasons) and I was able to get married only after my father (who did not have custody) took us all to court and got a judge’s permission for me to wed.

This truly pissed her off—she had been thwarted by two people she held in utter contempt: my father and me. I can’t prove it, of course, but I suspect that was the when she decided on vengeance for the unpardonable sin of standing up to her.

When I was the 22 year old mother of two preschoolers, I was on welfare and lived in a bad part of town. What do other parents do in such a situation, if they have the means to help? They help, right? Not my NM.  She and Frank owned four businesses—do you think she would offer me a job? They owned four houses and 21 apartments—do you think she would offer me a safer place to raise her only grandchildren? I couldn’t work because I couldn’t find childcare that I could afford—don’t other grandmothers watch their grandchildren under similar circumstances? But no—she had told me when I got married “You made your bed, you lie in it. Don’t come to me when you need help because there won’t be any.” And there wasn’t.

Instead, she discovered that her favourite brother and his wife were unable to have children and had failed the home study in their home state so they couldn’t adopt. And she hatched a plan that would take two years and the courts in three states and some serious lying—including a restraining order against her own mother to keep her from telling me what was going on—to come to fruition. She stole my children, hid them from me, and told a court in another state that I had abandoned them and she wanted a permanent guardianship.

Since I was never notified of the court hearing (or was the father), I didn’t appear in court and her motion was granted. My parental rights were terminated and she took them and her permanent guardianship off to her brother’s home state where she told the court she was an old woman (she was 44) and she couldn’t take care of the kids and if her brother couldn’t adopt them, she was going to have to dump them on the state’s already overburdened foster care system. And so my children were adopted without my knowledge or consent.

The entire family was NC with me. She had portrayed me as a drug-addicted prostitute who endangered the well-being of my children and after years of her painting me black to them (and then I played into her hands by getting pregnant), she was believed and I was shut out. My son had a brain injury due to spinal meningitis in infancy and was on medication, which she conveniently neglected to tell my uncle and aunt, and by the time he was 12 they couldn’t handle him any more. A melodramatic phone call to me late at night started the ball rolling to my regaining my kids after eight years of deafening silence.

I wish I could say it was a happy ending, but it wasn’t. The children had been told I abandoned them and my daughter decided to believe it even after I told her the truth of what happened. “Why would Grammi tell such a lie about her own daughter?” she asked. Indeed—why does a narcissist lie about anything?

My daughter cut off communication with me when I first published the 46 Memories, claiming them all to be lies. An interesting accusation considering that she hadn’t been born when most of the chronicled events occurred and my NM was long dead, so she couldn’t go to her for verification. But her self-serving partnership with my NM that saw both me and all of NM's other grandchildren disinherited in her favour. Then my daughter's lies to her brothers about her grandmother’s will began to pry my eyes open with respect to her behaviour and, after a couple of years of reluctantly remembering and honestly facing some of my daughter’s behaviours over the years since my aunt and uncle gave her back to me (more than 30 years now), I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that she is more a clone of her grandmother than an acorn off this old oak.

So beware the Narcissistic Mother: when she wants something, if she wants it bad enough, nothing— not family ties, ethics, morals...not even the law...will stand in her way. Yours may not go to the same extremes mine did, but she can and will undermine your authority, defy your rules regarding your children’s eating, sleeping, TV or movie watching, video game and computer use. They always “know what is best” and will make sure your children prefer her over you. Everything is a competition with her, even raising your children. And she has no intention of letting you win.

Next: Part 8. She's a liar in too many ways to count.


  1. Omg I remember my mother shouting and calling me names for wearing tops that where abit low but I was late teens then surprisingly she did say to me once I was pretty but followed it with 'well even the pretty ones stil get assholes' regarding men . And she would criticise every woman's looks I kno everyone has different ideas of pretty but to think EVERYONe u see is ugly ?!! Jealousy defiantly !! And she once said to a for or flame hu she used to do that he cud get better than he woman he had settled down with by then she was wih her bf for bout 10 years ! He never trusted her and with good reason !! She ended up cheating on him and dragging me and my siblings to live with him ontop of that he had been married to a friend of hers hu threw a baby shower when she was pregnant !!

    1. Sounds like she was not only envious but shameless as well!

      It might be interesting to look backwards up your family tree and find out what kind of mother SHE had. She certainly sets a bad (and very selfish) example for her own daughters, it makes me kind of wonder what kind of example was set for her!

      But even if your grandmother was the NM from Hell, it doesn't excuse your NM--YOU have a terrible N for a mother and you have chosen NOT to follow in her footsteps, and that is what it is all about--choice. Narcissists know right from wrong and they choose wrong out of selfishness, so I have no sympathy for them, even if they had terrible Ns for mothers themselves. You are living proof that having an N mother does not mean you are condemned to being an N yourself!

  2. Omg she took your kids !! I only wish she had died at your hands I wud hav killed her with my bare hands if she did that sorry fur u

    1. Believe me, if I had known where she was, I would have done so!

      It wouldn't have been the smartest thing to do, however...I would have ended up in jail and STILL not had my kids. But it revealed a level of treachery and a lack of love for me so deep that I finally opened my eyes to who and what she really was. And I no longer felt even the tiniest shred of guilt for my feelings about her...quite the opposite in fact. It was one of those "I KNEW I was right about her...I was right all along!" moments.

  3. Where is your blog archive ?

    1. The blog archive is to the right of the main body of the blog. Go to the top of the page and scroll down one or two screens.

  4. My mom was so envious of my wedding that just a week later she had a party for her 50th birthday where she rented a hall, had the same number of guests, had us all do speeches where we were explicitly told to say great things (even though at my wedding I never asked people to do that they just spontaneously did it)' cut the cake with my father, had a first dance and said for days before and after that it wasn't as fancy as my wedding. She also upgraded her engagement ring so that it was worth slightly more than mine. Oh I could tell stories of envy that have actually entertained me and my friends for years....

    1. WOW! That is really an archetypal example, isn't it? And her false humility--"and said for days before and after that it wasn't as fancy as my wedding"--couldn't you just gag??

      Mine was more subtle than that, most times, but when they are as blatant as your NM, I can see the humour value in it. Viewing her behaviour with humour is also a healthy way to deal with it. Maybe you should write a blog and entertain the world with your NM stories?

      I find it difficult to grasp, however, that they cannot see how pathetic they are when they do such things...

  5. Yep I have laughed at it so long that my husband and I take bets after any renovation how many days until she does a renovation similar or of the same scale. We have to do ours usually out of necessity but for some reason she gets envious anyway and does one. Or we takr bets what treats she'll bring me if I've lost some weight. We laugh about but it's only this year that I realized how hurtful it is too. That when I had a baby and mentioned it was exciting having our first child, she said "don't rub it in". I was so confused til I realized the fact that I was admitting it was mine not hers was rubbing it in. Now I see how deeply sad it is that she couldn't have been happy for us. I realise that she doesn't know how to be happy for me. All she knows is envy and how to covet

    1. That is SO typical of an NM...or of Ns in general. If you have an NSis or NDaughter, you will see the same thing: observing whatever you do or have and making sure she does one better.

      This is pure competitiveness and a need to always win, always be better, always be one up. In my mind, you don't compete with the people you love, you collaborate and cooperate with them. Anyone's triumph or gain is to be shared and celebrated, not trumped with something bigger or better or more "impressive."

      It is painful when the chief competitor in your life is your own mother...and you are right, she cannot be happy for you because in her way of thinking YOU are supposed to happy for HER each time she one-ups you. She deserves congratulations for being or doing better than you did--and she is incapable of seeing that what she is doing is neither appropriate nor does it generate the admiration she expects. When people catch on to what she is doing, they think she is pathetic.

      Such stories make good fodder for humour, though, and that's a healthy way for you to deal with it!

  6. Thanks, yeah it is so pathetic it's funny. I try to celebrate every achievement my son makes with him. To me there is so much joy in doing that. Thanks so much for your supportive omments. It helps.

  7. It is really sickening how jealous and envious they are of everybody but especially their own daughters. This also sounds like my husband's oldest child's mother. She's a classic description of a narcissistic baby-mama. We've been totally alienated out of our daughter's life for over twelve years now. The mother is jealous of her own daughter & the daughter has bought into & believes all of mommy's lies about why daddy is no longer in her life anymore & calls her stepdad-DAD. Our daughter acknowledges the sibling she has by her mother yet doesn't even acknowledge the two siblings she has by her father. My husband and I have tried for over twelve years to be in this young lady's life but she refuses our every effort-I have decided to disengage; he's decided that he's moving on and if she wants a relationship w/him later in life she will be the one who seeks him out. If not-we've accepted that possibility also. She may not ever come back to us. Our daughter's narcissistic mother has completely brainwashed her and has the help of two extended families to support her sadistic tactics of manipulation. We have hurt so much over this situation we can't hurt anymore. It's possible and I've come to that point. These type of women are common yet society continues to leave them unpunished and held accountable to the irreversible damage they're causing to their children. Truly sickening.

  8. That is very sad, but I think you are handling it in the right way. Give her a chance to come to you on her own, in her own time...just make sure the door is always open to you. You can send her birthday and Christmas cards that include your telephone number as well as your address and a note that says "We'd love to hear from you..." As long as you keep the lines of communication open for her, there is a chance she will take you up on it.

    And the move on. You cannot simply stop living your lives on the off-chance that another person will someday want to be a part of it. As long as you leave that door open for her to join you some day, you have done as much as you can...from there the ball is in her court and YOU have your own life to live.

    It is such a shame we don't have some kind of vaccine we can give kids that make them immune to the poisonous family members so many of them have to deal with...

    1. I'm glad you said the thing about the cards and the telephone number, but if the NM's like my NM, AND my NF (Narcissistic Father), then her mail MAY not reach her. I've had e-mails, snail mails, cell phone voice mails, AND ye old fashioned answering machine messages all...go missing, or mysteriously be re-directed to my NM's house when I lived at another address.

      You should see a documentary about a girl named Cyntoia Brown (PLEASE PROMISE me you'll see it!!!). Do NOT waste time reading about it, as the Interwebs has liars and what not (ESPECIALLY Wikipedia), but anyway, the filmmaker BRILLIANTLY showcased an NM to the "T!" Anyway, I saw the documentary MANY years back online for free, and in it the NM had told Cyntoia (adopted daughter of said MOMster) ALL of her life that her biological mom (a beautiful young woman) NEVER sent her mail, or letters, didn't care to, etc....then Cyntoia found them hidden in the attic one year and was very angry (but it was never spoken of that she was angry with NM--the saint or not, LOL, as it's ALWAYS dangerous to speak ill of such devils).

      But wow, the NM had Cynt trained--again--filmmaker showed this brilliantly, as a daughter (unfortunately) of two exceedingly wicked and exceedingly perverse and exceedingly Satanic narcissists, I kinda can identify the tell-tale signs of an abusive "parent" and of their children [read: victims]. Much love to you all!

      Lastly, lies, lies, and the spineless cowards who support them, encourage them, and beLIEve them for their own cowardly comfort.... As a woman wrote so eloquently about the DuPont heir who raped his 3 year old daughter, but served NO prison time because he "would not fare well [in prison]" according to the dog [read: paid off or/and child raping/molesting, bird-of-a-feather judge] who sentenced him; the enablers [read: family members who know "stuff" is going on, wrong, and or at LEAST suspect it] are just as guilty as the child abusers whom they enable.

      It seems that "adults" are just as afraid of not being in the cool crowd and standing up for the abused kid as school-age CHILDREN are, if not moreso. NO ONE that I know of who is currently an adult EVER stands up, steps in, or says SQUAT for the abused child, because it is more important for them to remain in illustrious favor with the devil [read: abusive parent] then dang victim [read: cursed-at-birth offspring]. THE END! Thanks for this website, and thanks for the chance to comment (reading other people's experiences, for some reason, helps). Then END...and this time I mean it :-) LOL!

  9. I am 42 and have a successful career, am happily married and have a teenage son. I left my home country 15 years ago. When I was growing up, I saw my mother showering attention on my younger sister (who was not so pretty) and my older brother, I was criticized for everything…including times when I topped my class (could 've done better), when I won awards (someone else's son won last year with better credentials), when I got into med school (could 've got into a better one). 10 years ago she made me and my husband pay her back all the expenses she made on me while I was growing up (has not asked my sister or brother to do that). My father is a silent spectator in all this. I live 5000 miles away from her (a blessing) and I visit my home country once in 5 years so our contact now is usually by phone. If I send her a gift, she criticizes the gift, if I send my sister a gift she criticizes that as well. If she sees a picture of me, she criticizes my face, I have stopped sending her gifts, I have stopped emailing our pictures and I have alienated myself from my siblings just to avoid her criticism. Whenever I call to talk to her, she criticizes me …I am too thin according to her (I eat well and exercise), I should look my age (I look younger). So, the outcome after all this is that I have minimal contact with her, I call maybe once a month and if she starts with her usual ways I ask to speak with Dad. While I was young, her behavior only made me stronger and more determined to become independent and successful. I admit I have difficulty making friends and hesitate to interact with relatives because I fear their criticism. I shower my son with love and support him in whatever he does. I am lucky that I have an amazing mother-in-law who has filled the gap of an absent mother in my life.

    1. You have done an excellent job of not only identifying your mother for what she is, but in not allowing her to hold you back from living a satisfying life.

      By now I am sure you realize that "living well is the best revenge," and that your NM is probably eaten alive inside with jealousy for what you have been able accomplish. This is the whole reason you will never "be good enough" in her eyes: she feels that your accomplishments diminish her. Crazy? Stupid? Jealous? Yes--but that's an N for you.

      You might find some help in therapy, specifically cognitive therapy, for your difficulty in making friends (from what you write, it looks like a trust issue is holding you back), or longer term therapy if you want to delve into the dusty cellars of your mind and root her out once and for all.

      Like you, I have an excellent mother-in-law and it DOES make a difference. So many others of us do not have that kind of support and my heart hurts for them, but it is lovely to hear from someone who does.

      Best of luck to you and thank you so much for writing!



  10. I, too, was blessed with in-laws who taught me what the word "family" really means. I also had grandparents and other relatives who helped me as a child. Although many experts claim narcissism is inherited, I don't think I could have survived my parents' abuse and neglect during my childhood without my grandmother's love.
    My mother is still living, but she no longer has an older daughter to entertain her envious, vindictive nature. After more than 50 years, I finally decided her chosen, youngest daughter can take care of her.

  11. This is exceptionally sad. I can't believe what you went through. I'm so sorry that your mother would really go that far to cause you pain, it breaks my heart.
    So much of your experience is similar to what I've lived through, and at this point (even before reading this) I'm too afraid to have children as the adult daughter of an N mother. I probably won't ever dare to do it. I experience a deep feeling of loss that my choices are limited because of my mother's behavior, and I've tried everything from attempting to please her (failure) to complete isolation from her (she finds me anyway, repeatedly, no matter how far away I move from her).
    I found your blog because I'm finally (in my 30's) getting married next week. I'm so afraid of what my N mother will do at the wedding, I'm in a total nervous panic. She's purchased numerous insanely expensive dresses for the event already, couldn't possibly care less about my dress (and hasn't seen it - doesn't care to, it's not important) and flies into endless, wild, unpredictable rages about the most inane details of the wedding. At this point we're not even speaking and my poor fiancee is doing the communicating with her to save me the grief.
    Thanks, everyone, for sharing stories about growing up with an N mother. I have spent 30 + years feeling humiliated that I can't have an adult relationship with my parents, and separated myself from nearly everyone because I can't get over my feelings of shame that I can't move on and grow up.
    It's a great support to so many people that you have the courage to write your experiences here. Thanks so much.

  12. From my own writing...I'm 42 divorced and doing well. Was even asked to model for magazine cover-I look much younger than my age. My mother has passed. I still go into my insecurities- they are very deep.

    "as puberty hit I grew dark hair on my very white legs that was simply unsightly. She refused to let me shave them and even forced me to wear a skirt at 6th grade and I will never forget the horrified look I got from this doctor passing the street by a hospital-never. She didn't want me to look attractive and that was crystal clear. I began developing small breasts at 8th grade and she wouldn't let me get a bra-I was teased by some kids-it was humiliating again it was my grandmother & father who finally forced her to change her mind. Anytime I even showed that I had a womanly body I was called a "whore"

    I knew nothing of menstruation & when one day I began bleeding in the shower around age 14-I was terrified that I was going to die. In fear I rushed out in a towel and told my mom that I'm bleeding and I don't know why-she looked at me with so much disgust and then threw a box of feminine napkins on my bed. she said "use those and don't go swimming" that was the only thing ever discussed with me. I had no idea that I could get pregnant now or anything of the sort-I didn't even know about women having this. In 6th grade was when we had the first official dance at school & I didn't even bother asking if I could go because I knew the answer was no. We lived in a small town & somehow one of my friend's parents mentioned to my grandfather (I'm sure at the restaurant) about how excited I must be to be going to my first dance. He asked me about it later and was surprised at my lack of excitement. Not to mention that I didn't own 1 dress. I remember clearly when he marched over to my mom and asked her why couldn't I go to a school supervised dance. He told her that she was being unreasonable and that this was the age for me to start learning how to be a "lady". He scolded her for not taking interest in my development & since my mom wouldn't do it, he actually set a date & drove me all the way to downtown San Francisco so I could choose a dress at the big Macy's. He said whichever one I wanted. I was never allowed to choose what I wanted to wear. I was forced to wear many outfits that I detested because that's what my mom wanted. I chose a cute cotton royal blue dress with a skirt made of three layers that started at the hips. It sat right above my knees. Of course once again my mother refused to let me shave my legs-luckily I calculated that and got tights to go with the dress. When I she saw the dress on me she ignored me. She couldn't stand looking at me and eventually said something about me not having any taste in clothes and that the dress was ugly. Thank you Grandpa!"

  13. I'm 28 years old and am just now realizing my mother is a narcissist. I'm currently expecting and my mother is not concerned. This is the very first grandchild and you would think she would be excited. I miscarried last year and my mother never put herself aside to comfort me during that difficult time. A year later I'm pregnant. When I told my mom all she could say is that she isn't going to get her hopes up because what happened the first time. I do have a great support system that God has put before me because I have no relationship with my mom, dad, or sister. I've leaned on my mother in law and my husband and a couple of friends and they know what I'm going through. She put a lot of stress on me while I was pregnant. It is simply unfair the way she treats me and no matter how hard I try to do the right thing she wants complete control and doesn't respect me as an individual. If she doesn't respect me now she never will and I will not let her have any control over my child. I don't want to hear her gloat about her grandbaby that isn't even hers!! Its her new husbands daughters child! My mom has said recently she wants to have another baby and she is almost fifty years old! The only reason she is entertaining this is because I'm pregnant and she has to be in competition and it will never be about me. My moms new wedding ring looks like mine too! When I showed her an ultrasound picture of my baby she said look at OUR baby!! It's my baby last time I checked. On my wedding day she spoke negatively about one of my pictures in front of me and my mother in law. My mother in law could not believe she said that. My mother in law has been more of a mother to me than my own mother. I remember as a teenager how my mother would criticize me when I was dressed nice saying that I looked like a sleeze. She didn't want me to grow up and be pretty. She would always say that my sister was always the pretty one. You don't tell your kids that because that stirs up all kind of self esteem issues. She wouldn't show me how to shave my legs or let me wax my eyebrows when all the girls in class were. My pictures as a child were hideous! Its embarrassing that she didn't try to make me pretty. She would put these ugly pictures of me on facebook too! When we would all go shopping and I was trying on clothes my mom would act uninterested and go sit on a bench and act like she was ready to go. On my birthday I don't get birthday calls or do anything and don't get gifts. This last Christmas I received no gifts from my mom or dad but I got them something. I'm just leaning on the people that matter and who care about me. It's there loss and I'm blessed to finally realize my situation and its not my fault. It's in God's hands and he is in control. No matter how hard it gets I will get through this time.

    1. My grandfather used to tell me "God helps those who help themselves." I took this to mean that if I stood around and waited for God to fix things, it wasn't going to happen, I had to make plans and take action and THEN God would help me.

      When dealing with an NM, this is an important consideration. If you sit passively and and do nothing because "it is in God's hands," you may find yourself dealing not only with some bitter disappointments but some outright attacks. My grandfather believed that god helped us DO things, not that he did things for us so we could sit passively by and do nothing.

      So I urge you to make a plan for keeping your child safe from your NM. She probably won't try to kidnap him like mine did, but expect your parental authority...and even your child's love for be undermined by her. Make a plan, put it into service before your child is born, and enforce it ruthlessly. Your child's future depends on it.

      Hugs to you and congrats on your upcoming motherhood!


  14. Dear Violet

    Hope you are fine. Do you remember the post i wrote on my narcisstic gemini female boss. The person who used to envy my wife for being pretty when inadvertently she stumbled upon my wife. From then on my hikes went south. But i was least dependent on her job. Three months ago, when i interviewed a couple of young attractive and qualified girls for my department, they were subsequently rejected by the narcisstic boss and her HR stooge another aged old narcisstic woman. I wrote to her in no strong terms that it was nothing short of sexual jealousy that makes her reject young but qualifed girls. Guess what, i lost my job under the pretext of quality issues. She has her husband working as a owner of the sister concern but sleeps around. Perhaps they have a mutual agreement. But god has been kind to me, they day she tried to ambush me with a termination letter, i had attended another interview and was finalised. I wish to really see how these narcisstic mothers/bosses end up dying a starvation death as they wish others to starve. A favorite game of Ns is to render others off any livelihood and take pleasure in their starvation, NMs starve their daughters, N bosses starve employees. The gemini boss had a dirty habit of calling for morning meetings with a group of adoring ninnies read subordinates when in fact her main aim was to seek male admiration, i used to boycott these stupid attention whoring sessions. Her husband since he used to sleep around and bash her up, she was seeking the same from other males.

  15. I don't know what force pulled me to this mother pulled an exactly similar slight of hand five years ago and now has custody of my son for no good reason. I am forever googling "narcissistic mother blah blah" looking for someone, somewhere who's had a similar experience and here I land...I'm sorry. And I'm relieved. Its a terrible feeling.

    1. Oh my. I am so sorry. Our NM are evil beasts plain and simple! I pray justice is served and you get your son back. No level too low they won't stoop.

  16. They only care for themselves. My mother left me at home alone at age 8 alone to go on dates . She only worried about herself . Married her second husband after knowing him for 6 weeks and hated everything about him. It took me till I was 45 and in a new healthy marriage to see her malignant ways . Some genes and patterns never change . Sometimes you just need to let go. Face that some people just turn out bad . I had two narrsissistic parents and married my first husband who was a malignant narrsisitst . I had a fight in court. It’s a never ending cycle

    1. Actually, the cycle CAN be ended--but you have to do it yourself. Waiting for the narcissist to change won't do it but removing yourself from the narcissist's sphere and refusing to associate with anyone who supports the narcissist is where it ends. It's not easy but it can be done.

  17. Growing up in England, a classmate had a NM and had a miserable time as a teenager. She was treated as a little girl and was the only girl still wearing childish white pereline socks, with a on the knee pleated skirt in the fifth form (15/16 years old) and t-bar type shoes. Everyone else was wearing adult style skirts with nylon tights and fashionable shoes. Even outside school she always wore unfashionable dresses and skirts with socks, never tights.

    She never went to school discos and had to wear her school uniform on school trips and other non uniform days.

    Most teenagers back then (1980's) would get an allowance or pocket money off their parents of a few pounds per week. She was only given pennies for sweets.

    She wasn't allowed teenage magazines like "Jackie" which was popular at the time with her age group.

    Today such treatment would be classed as child abuse in the UK.

    1. Sounds like the UK version of my childhood...

  18. Thank you for posting about the girl I remember from my childhood with a NM. The memories of her came back when we were taking about narcissist parents and spotting the signs of this happening. The poor girl was clearly being infantized by her overbearing mother. Her mother must have felt threatened by her daughter reaching her teenage years and therefore her daughter’s desire to have more freedom and control on her life. As teenagers back then we didn’t understand the reality about the girl’s upbringing and the narcissist traits of her mother. We were probably guilty of presuming the girl’s physical appearance and her naivety was because of nature rather than nurture. She suffered from much bullying at school, especially with her appearance. Wearing white socks in her final school years were a constant source of ridicule, especially as girls who were much younger were in nylons.

    Outside school when she saw the girl with her NM mother, who on the other hand was fashionably dressed. The mother probably didn’t want her daughter upstaging her so kept her in these childish clothes. I understand a NM giving their children age inappropriate things such as clothing, presents and activities is another trait. When discussing about the girl, a friend recalled they had overheard the girl’s mother in town making a sarcastic rebuke back to her daughter after she had asked about getting her some age appropriate clothing.

    After she left school at 16 she went to the local technical college, and I believe ended up working in an office job. Hopefully she was able to free herself from her NM, but I guess they are like a terrier and difficult to let go.


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