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by Stephanie Kriesberg

Worryland:  Familiar Territory for Women with Narcissistic Parents: Caroline’s diamond solitaire glitters on her clenched left hand.  She’s engaged to Ryan, a man she truly loves.  However, Caroline’s happiness comes with a warning:  her mother, Trudy.  Already Trudy has told Caroline that if she invites her future mother-in-law to go wedding dress shopping with them, then Trudy is not coming.  She’s the mother, and it’s her day.  Worry keeps Caroline awake at night. Maybe she and Ryan should just elope.

If you’re a woman who has a parent with narcissistic personality disorder or narcissistic traits, then Caroline’s story  might feel familiar.

Why do women with narcissistic parents often feel so anxious? Second guess themselves?  Why do they disregard their own needs?

The Emotional Inheritance for Women with Narcissistic Parents

Parents with narcissistic traits have difficulty understanding and accepting their children’s feelings.  Research has found that people with narcissistic traits have difficulty handling their own emotions.  They become anxious, depressed, or angry when they feel rejected or even slightly criticized. On top of it, narcissistic parents lack self-awareness and can’t take responsibility for how their behavior impacts their children. Their children stand guard, reading their parents’ emotional temperatures.  Growing up like vigilant, undercover CIA agents, it’s not surprising that children of narcissistic parents become anxious adults.

But it doesn’t have to stay that way.  When you learn to set boundaries with your narcissistic parent, over time your worry will start to diminish.  This is not an easy process!  It takes practice, patience, and courage.  With the right tools, learning to set boundaries with your narcissistic parent is like establishing other healthy habits, such as exercise and getting enough sleep.


The Beauty of Boundaries

What is a boundary, anyway?  Simply put, a boundary is an acknowledgement of what you want and don’t want, and how you are willing to be treated and not treated. 

Setting boundaries can be very anxiety-producing for women with narcissistic parents, especially when they are setting those boundaries with their parents.

Here are the steps:

1. Identify what you want. This step might be easier said than done, since putting other people’s needs before your own could be your default setting.

Remember Caroline?  Caroline wanted to enjoy wedding dress shopping.  She wanted to include her fiancé’s mother.  Caroline decided to write down how she felt and what she wanted.  This helped her see that what she felt and wanted was reasonable and understandable.  

2. Identify the feelings that come up when you identify what you want.

Core feelings for women with narcissistic parents are often guilt, anger, and shame. Remind yourself that no matter how you feel-- FEELINGS PASS.  To most people, happy moments feel fleeting; negative moments feel interminable.  

When negative feelings come up, notice where you feel them in your body.  Your knotted neck?  Your sour stomach?  Your hot hands?  In your mind’s eye, find a color that is soothing to you. Breathe that color into those parts of your body. Next,  allow the negative feelings to flow away, using an image that works for you-- waves flowing out to sea, clouds drifting away in the sky, a bird soaring in the sky.

3. Decide what the boundary is.

Caroline told her mother when she was going wedding dress shopping with her future mother-in-law.  She told her she was welcome to join them. She also told her mother how she expected her to behave and that she would have to leave if she violated Caroline’s code of conduct.

It’s hard to try out new behaviors, especially ones that make us feel anxious.  It can help to remember that anxiety is actually a very predictable process.  It tells us change is too hard.  Something terrible will happen.  And worst of all, we certainly don’t have the capacity to deal with whatever that terrible thing is.  

The goal is to change your relationship with worry. The relationship is no longer “me versus worry”-- a relationship with a winner and a loser.  Instead,  as you accept your feelings and know what you want, worry becomes something you can face and handle.  

Dr. Stephanie Kriesberg In The News: 


About the Author

Stephanie Kriesberg_0.jpgDr. Stephanie Kriesberg is a licensed psychologist with twenty-five years’ experience treating children, teens, and adults. She has a private practice in Concord, Massachusetts. She is an expert in treating adults with narcissistic parents.

Dr. Kriesberg provides individual therapy and family guidance, and offers workshops on issues related to narcissism.

Good for you! It has been six months since I’ve gone No Contact with my narcissistic mother. Feel that I am now on the path to true healing! :)

For as far as i can remeber my mother was very abusive..i was scared of her...now tries cutting her off but i feel a sense of loss..I go and we end up at the place that made me go away in the 1st place. I finally have to stay away...I see that now...but along with that she has taken my sister n brother cos she made them take their side. I feel all alone in gutted...I feel weak n i cry all the time. It's bad.

I am struggling at the moment. My mum is elderly and i am autistic. There has been so much that has gone on past and present i am trying to end it. I sent her a letter but she is constantly trying to ring me. I have had enough its actually making me feel very ill inside. I know i need to finish things or at least have a break. I don't know what to do she has my sister who is her golden child but she won't leave me alone. I know how you feel,

I really can relate to your feelings. I went back to the well my whole life time after time hoping to fill the bucket from my mom's approval but one step out of line and she would be cruel and hurt me to the core. It took many years for me to truly realize and ACCEPT that my mother could not be what I wanted. I was able to accept that and find peace with the acknowledgement that I had always only wanted to be safe with my mom and tried hard to feel loved. I loved her after all. I believe we carry shame and guilt from being handled so cruelly. What the heck is wrong with me.....etc. My mom died a few years back. I have peace knowing that I loved her and have no blame in her having the problems she had being mother to all her children. You may think your sibs have a magical link to her that you do not but she is the same mom to them she is to you. A healthy mom loves her children with empathy and NEVER wants to weaken the chain they have with other sibs. That is a bad sign. Do your work friend, read and seek counsel if you need it. Find your peace. You deserve it. blessings

i feel guilty just writing this. I always thought our relationship downfalls were my fault..like at my first wedding she actually whispered in my ear "I'll never forgive you for this, never" and from then on I felt guilty about being married. Of course she never said what she was really mad about. As a child I would cry and once she said "do you want me to put you in an insane asylum?". Other people, especially my youngest brother who is her obvious favoutie, doo not believe me because she says these things in private...to most others she is oh so sweet and kind. but she will always tell about the kind thinkgs she does. Am I crazy? Am i in the wrong?

Laura, did we share the same Mom? My mother once said "I will never forgive you" for buying (with my own money) a dress that she didn't like. She iced me out for about 9 months until I apologized to her. On the other hand, she is as sweet as honey to her friends. They actually used to tell me how lucky I was to have a mother like her.

I eventually went no-contact with her after she sided with my physically abusive husband. She sent me back to someone who gave me a brain injury because she didn't want me to embarrass her by leaving him.
Eventually, when I reached a breaking point in my abusive relationship, I left my husband and started going for therapy. This is when I realized that for my own health, I had to go no-contact with my mom. It was very lonely at first but I was able to work through it with my therapist and now has become so very freeing. I feel so much more capable, stronger and am building friendships with people who truly care about me and don't see me as an embarrassing monster but who value me as I value them. No-contact has been one of the best decisions I made. Does that mean that it is set in stone. I don't know. Maybe one day when I am stronger at making good boundaries, we can engage in a relationship, maybe not. For the first time in my life, the choice is entirely up to me and it feels good.

Sadly there can never be boundaries because that resumes contact, slowly and insidiously you might try setting boundaries but you would then be pitting yourself against your master nemesis and breaking boundaries is their game not yours, or you and me too could have been able to do it before getting to NO CONTACT at all. The truth is I have tried every version of setting boundaries but it never works because we have been groomed to comply, to appease, to ameliorate, to compensate, to make happy and in doing all that, your walls crumble and the terror of your life is back in your life, it takes years to try again, believe me, they also punish you for daring to try as well and the guilt piles up and you end up feeling like the scourge of the earth for upsetting them, see, I am truly trying to make you see your good intentions will backfire and you will be back under the clutches of that emotionally draining, happiness sucking narcissistic monster once again, please don't go there.

If you want your life then guarding it from them is part and parcel of the process, cut off every avenue they might have to contact you. Tell your new friends to keep your facebook etc guarded and don't share, so she doesn't get wind of someone who has access, befriend them to get to you, truly they do this, its horrible but there isn't any depth they won't go to in order to bring you back under control because that is what it is all about to narcissists, control, manipulation, mind games, just soul destroying crap, please keep clear and live your life with real genuinely honest caring friends, your mum isn't your friend, mine isn't my friend either. When I started to make friends I was kind of amazed that some people wanted ME as their friend, I had so little self worth or confidence I wondered what they saw in me and they all said how funny I am, I enjoy their company because they are genuine, never had that before now. But the humour is actually my go to defence mechanism, as a child if I could get my mum to laugh then it could stop the rows and instead of being a nasty drunk, she might just fall asleep and make life a little easier on my dad. who I realised was her enabler and he didn't protect me from Pandora, he actually was the weak man who opened the box and let her out, he then never did manage to put her back in it either. The difference was apart from the times when he was heavy handed towards me, I enjoyed spending time with him, we would have laughs. They wanted a boy, so I have laid two drive ways, one of which was a horseshoe and took days, I know how to wall paper and paint etc, so although I knew they wanted a boy and not a girl, I am glad I learned to do those things from my dad and I can accept his shortfalls and I did love him, my mum I have loved more than all others, but not anymore, now I am glad to have my freedom and I am never giving over control of my life to anyone ever again, I have fought and still am, for far too long for that. I also love my son so much and am grateful to God that he in his way has made me confront my demons and stop being bullied and scared of my mum, I probably sound pathetic and that's OK too, because I know I am stronger now and I actually have real friends, my son is happy and so am I, I will heel completely eventually, but I am getting there and every day it starts to get a bit easier, so please don't give up your freedom, your mum isn't worth having back in your life, you wouldn't stick your hand in a snake pit twice would you?, just to get bitten again, we learn, albeit slowly in my case, but I got there, all the best to you, take care. I am so hugely grateful to have fallen on this site so I can read, realise, empathise and relate so clearly to all what each of you is saying, its like a club that we all wish we weren't part of but there is strength in numbers.My therapist actually told me it was my mother who needed therapy and that I had good emotional awareness, I can be hurt so I know I can care still, after all that manipulation and mind games over a lifetime, I can still care, so who is really the strongest, it is all of us because we can care and we can empathise, they can't narcissists can care about anyone, so they have already lost, then they get older and they reap the loneliness they served up to all of us our whole lives, karma, what goes round comes round and their the ones left lonely, they bring it on themselves by wearing out the only person who really did care (past tense) for them and love them once. Take care and good luck to you, stay strong, own your life.

Sadly I can relate to you, it is scary how much... I really did love her more than anyone else. And yes DID. To finally step out of the denial she never truly did, and she only loved herself through me, the extension of her ego. I went no contact since I quit drinking. Now that I am sober, I realise that I was numbing myself to remain in this illusion of being loved by a narcissist. It's not easy, and you can't change the past, but now, we can relax, because we cannot guilt rip ad vitam aeternam for someone who gives you nothing but ailment, that won't happen anymore. And it is sad in a way when you become conscious that the only person on the planet who was meant to love you unconditionally, actually didn't. But on the other hand it's also a great new: now you know where all this darkness comes from, and how to recognise it in people around you. Because what happens, is, subconsciously we are still looking for her, in other toxic people. So the real pattern to break there is to develop our radar to run away from the phoney lovely. That's the past. All the best now.

Wow. The insane asylum comment. I have been institutionalized multiple times, three times in my adulthood. It was all a ploy to destroy me. My mother wanted me drugged. In all truth, I believe she may have been drugging me or had someone else do it. A normal person will not experience the level of pyschosis that I did under her care which wasnt care but control. My brother her little puppet, her obeying mind control slave, is under her conservatorship. He is pumped full of drugs and has schizophrenia now. Coincidence? I think not. The narcissists are psychopaths who hide in plain sight. Charming, bible loving abusers. It was when I stopped believing in God when I was last hospitalized. Both of my parents were so abusive and worthless, I honestly believe I was adopted. I cant think of any other ragionale other than that since they are such manipulative, cunning, lying human beings. When they could not mind control me with religion they tried to play the financial controling game. I saw through that too. I am grateful they are aging out. Now that they are weaker they can no longer use me as an emotional dumping ground like they did for almost my entire life.

I too had to leave the church before I saw the truth.
I am still living at home because I didn't have the strength to leave straight away.
I have to save and I still have to get my drivers license.
My father( I hate calling him that because he doesn't deserve that title) is a piece of crap.
He makes everything about him. There is no room for anyone else. My mother doesn't exist. The house is a mess. He is a hoarder and doesn't care that it affects me and my sisters.
It's hard. I don't know how to be sTring for myself and my sisters. I feel like I've somehow let them down. I finished my degree but I was so mentally exhausted that I couldn't go straight into a job.
While studying I still had to attend church duties which took almost all of my extra time.
Then when I was donever studying I was burnt out. I thought I would end up in a mental health clinic.
Now I have student debt to also worry about.
When corona hit it was the worst because my sister became sick and had to go to hospital. He anxiety levels became so bad she couldn't walk.
But it was him, my narcissistic father, it was his anxieties that he was taking out on us that caused her to feel so helpless.
And the saddest thing is he doesn't even have to do anything. We are so sentitive to his feelings that we know how he feels before he does. It's horrible. I think I hate him.

You are so not alone with this. My mother used to tell me all the time I was a hypochondriac. Finally after nine years of extreme pain a doctor figured out part of my medical condition. She also would pull me aside and say things to me gat no one else could hear. For decades I blamed myself for everything. I stopped talking to her because I just couldn’t handle it anymore, felt like the worst person in the world for two years after. Because of her and my bio father both being narcissistic I fell in love with a narcissist man. I still love him and all he wants to know about is how much money I have. We never stayed together, but being treated the way he treated me was something I grew up with. Now that I’m a lot older I still blame myself for everything that goes wrong in life. I’m trying to get past the depression but it’s really hard.

My mom pulled something similar with crying. She would shove my face into a mirror and say horrible things making it worse. I can now cry soundlessly with few tears. My brother was the favorite until he joined the army and ran away from her. She now bad mouths him to me as she does everyone. But to their faces she is sweet as pie. And everyone always wondered why I was so miserable.

As she got older she forgets to behave and thank God her cousin has witnessed her abuse and jumped down her throat. I wish just one of my many therapists would have said you need to save every penny and go no contact. But no it was always me pushing my failings onto the bitch as a scape goat.

Now at 52. Broken from narcissistic managers at work and my mother. And flat broke. I'm trying to get enough funds together to go into hiding. I can't stress enough run don't stay it's not worth your mental health and lack of a life. (I had to move in with her 5 years ago and that's how I found out just how truly unstable she is)

No, you’re not in the wrong. That devious behind-everyone’s-back tactic is their modus operandi. A narcissistic mother will go out of her way to make you feel bad, embarrassed, ugly, dumb, fat...you name it. It is a hectic personality disorder that not only robs the narcissistic person from a decent life but also the ones closest to them. When you are raised by one of them, you have to make sure YOU are ok in the first place. Your mother will never be a decent person towards you so give up trying to build a normal relationship with her ASAP. She will continue to hurt you. This sounds all rather harsh but I come from a place of experience. It is impossible to have a normal chat to them. You cannot explain what they put you through as they always accuse you of concocting stories. They will rewrite history and turn lies into true stories. They will not let you have/voice an opinion or feelings as they will mock you. I gave up a year ago, I do feel for her in a way coz she is the one suffering the most by not allowing anyone to love her even though she does not see it that way. I am the kind of person that would do everything for my mother; she is convinced I will be the one hitting her when she’s old and weak. These thoughts are figments of her imagination but it still hurts as it’s an attack on the core of me. The fact these ppl are our parents makes it difficult to say hasta la vista baby but it is very necessary to cut them out of your life if they keep hurting you as they will not stop coz you turned 30 or 40 or ....
Stop feeling guilty Laura. You are dealing with a mentally diseased person. Normal folk are not wired to deal with their mess. It’s too much, too painful, too destructive to put time and energy in them; the sooner you realise this, the sooner you can start to heal from this terrible ordeal.

Same here I am on the outer, my sister's need my parents money. I am on a roller coaster emotional ride, I back my decision but feel guilt, shame and loose. Enjoying the moment is very hard

Dear, teary eyes while reading your story ss I feel like i am reading mine...I miss my late Dad who was totally opposite my very black hearted mom. Please know I am thinking of you, and sending all my positive energy whenever I think and read your story. The pain of being treated by a narcistic mother who supposed to be the source of love, warmth, is excruciating...I pray for us....

Hi Khabi, I feel the same. It would be great to perhaps reach out to each other and share our experiences of the past and our journey’s moving forward.

You are not weak. I know what you mean as I do too but with psy chemotherapy ove learnt it's their intention to break u down. Itll ways be there as an ingrained after we have automatically. Soul destroying. My mum and her mum are narcissists to the core and utter devastation theyve causes is beyond belief. I'm glad I broke the chain with my daughter. We never really break free but we are strong coz we challenge it when we can. I've got 1 down and 1 to go but the guilt trip overruled presently. Hard work but I've learnt my sanity and impact on my husband and close loved ones is too much of a sacrifice.

We have the the exact same situation and I would like to know how you are dealing with it

Yes I truly understand you. It’s been 3 yrs since I completely isolated myself from. Y mother. And it’s so much better. It may sound harsh but it’s such a relieve!! It’s only was hurting me and causing problems with my own family.

I took care of my narcissistic mother since I was 7 years until I was 49 years old, I am now 54 and I tried all different coping skills and boundaries but that didn't work, that just made her very angry. I had to break up all ties and this is the first time in my life that I am now taking care of myself which is hard because I'm just learning how to love and care of myself for once in my life. But my life is now a lot less stressful. I just wish I had the energy I had when I took care of her cuz she is exhausted me of that, I was her Cinderella.

My father I feel has narcissistic traits. Growing up he always has so much contempt, aggression, and arrogance towards me b/c I always saw through his rage attacks and fake personality he'd display to the outside world. I always knew something was wrong but wasn't until my late 30s after I had moved away from my family and a lifetime of dating abusive men was I able to connect the dots and learn about narcissistic abuse. Sadly my mom is a lost cause and totally trauma bonded to my father and acts as his enabler. They play the victim card that I don't talk to them and gaslight my siblings into taking their side. It's been a process as I've pretty much gone no contact with my entire family. While I do feel better and safer, I've been working past the grief of all of this and from time to time my siblings who rear their heads and be flying monkeys to get information or smear campaign against me which is beyond taxing and am wondering now to block everyone and really have a true no contact. Does it ever get easier?

I tried this as well. Both of my parents were/are narcissistic and very abusive. They laughed at my attempt to set and keep healthy boundaries. They did not respect them at all. No contact was the only choice and it has caused me so much sorrow...

I realized after my divorce that I married my mother. She was a narcissist and so is my ex. I think since I grew up in that atmosphere, it felt “normal” and somewhat “comfortable”. Would you agree?

I realized years ago that my mother is a narcissist. It was very sad and difficult for me to accept. It does change all your other relationships. Personally, I developed serious trust issues and it almost made me lose faith in humanity. It also made me vulnerable to other narcissist, because being "raised and "loved " like that became the norm for me. The saddest part is realizing and accepting the fact narcissist are incapable of love. Being raised by a narcissistic parent gives you a warped sense and meaning of what love really is. Its confusing. Thanx to my therapist I'm picking up the pieces and making myself whole. Its extremely difficult and I sometimes get angry because it's so unfair that I have to fix myself not ever been whole, but I acknowledge those feelings and then I pick myself up and hope and pray that one day I will finally be whole

This is so true... i feel as ive written this... my mother is beyond evil to me... i hate her... she held a knife to my neck and forced me to marry a man of her choice...17 years on and im a messed up human- craving her love... knowing full well i wont ever get it... she gives me a little affection and then hits me with a ton of bricks... i cant exist anymore.

I had surgery on my breast today. My mother-in-law, who has acted in so many ways as a mother to be is away on vacation. I was told that after surgery I needed someone to stay with me for 24 hours. Reluctantly with no other options I asked my mom to watch my two toddler girls during surgery and then stay over as my person watching over me. My great luck decided that my girls would get the foot,hand and mouth virus 6 days prior to surgery. At this point I was already full of stress and anxiety. My mother randomly text me to tell me that if I had my kids were potty trained this wouldn't have happened. My three year old is which is why we likely got this from public toilets I didn't bother responding to the jab. Today before surgery she let me know that everything I do with my kids is wrong and pretty much implied I have to be mean to get my kids to get them to listen. She thinks she is a perfect mother who has all the answers and made my life miserable growing up.
Then after the surgery I came home to her telling me how well she cared for thr girls implying she does such a better job. I couldn't eat the dinner she cooked because the nurse told me I need to start eating slowly. I told her I'd eat it tomorrow because she was looking at me like I was crazy for listening to the nurse from the hospital and she made me soup. Then we sat down to eat and she whispered in my ear "You know I'm leaving tonight, right?" I heald back my tears like I have so many times in my life and said mom I need someone to he with me for 24 hours. She insisted I never asked her to stay for the two day but eventually agreed to staying. I have hid her horrible behaviour for SO MANY YEARS.

It's 10:45pm and I've been trying to sleep since 6:30 pm. My moms interaction almost always leave me like this. I have never received any sort of compassion from her. I had surgery today but I guess it didn't matter to her.

I came across this post and I have never shared things like this with anyone. The reason I am is because I am going to make it though this horrible relationship somehow. Just like I have with every horrible man I have been with (that's all of them). And I want every daughter of a mother like this to believe that they can too. You are worth love, respect and acceptance. Please don't give up on yourself. We are all worth it!

Thank you for your post. It has helped me to see what was there all along-guys who have mistreated me, my mother who hates me and I have always sought her love. I've been in denial, still fight it sometimes. My mother has Alzheimer's now and my dad (co-dependent at least) looks after her. I have mixed feelings about them. Feel guilty when i snap at them.
I'm not going to give up on what's healthy for me, lonely as it sometimes is.
I truly hope you recover well from surgery and find what you've been looking for. For me, it's good, trustworthy friends and partner.

Hi,
Just sending you a warm hug.. I completely understand how you must have felt.. I too have a narcissistic mother and have never felt her warmth or compassion anytime I needed it in my life. On the other hand she has always tried her best to hurt me with her words, wreck my marriage and has always backstabbed me..
Hang in there... we all have God who is our family and Karma my friend will never forget our pain and the one who caused it..
Take care of yourself and your family...

If I’ve been to Tenerife my mum has been to elevenerife. I’ve had multiple pregnancy losses and 2 were ectopics. My mother yelled at me to not be emotional “they were just late periods”. I feel like my core, my soul, my very being is being set on fire by this woman.
I had a good job, with a good wage, company car, iPad, work phone... my parents promised me the world “you’ll be on six figures within a year if you come and work for us” so I left a job I like and was good at. They matched my salary. Within 10 months they cut my wage by £8k. Illegal. But HR doesn’t apply in family businesses. The week I came out of surgery for my second ectopic I was told “this business is your baby you’re showing a lack of commitment to the business, I never earned as much as you did, even when I retired (before they set up their own company) we’re lowering your wage - you did this to yourself [my ectopic]” so I had had surgery on the Thursday night, been told on the Saturday I better be in work, then on Monday even though my stitches were so and my heart was already breaking I had my salary cut. Fast forward 3 years and now they want to get rid of my company car. Nothing I ever do is good enough. All of my ideas (from a good decade of industry experience) just get shoved under the carpet... I get spoke to like a child in front of other employees. I try my best “not to let them win” and to “suck it up” but it’s eating my soul alive. I now have no confidence to even go for another job because of all of their negative feedback.
My husband is abusive. I told my parents he punched me last month. The reply I got was “what did you do to annoy him?” I changed the locks and got him out of the house... my mother gave him a key and he moved straight back in. Me and my son have had to endure holes in walls, doors being kicked through, windows being broken, us both being name called. I literally do not sleep with him in the house. My parents speak to him like he is a saint. I literally feel like I have nobody in the world for support. I have no idea what to do or how to be free.

My mum too made my wedding about her. She told me I was a spoilt little bitch and denied me of a bridal shop experience and bullied me into wearing a $98 dollar dress she had ordered online from China. I went and got a backbone and bought my own wedding dress and she went MENTAL and basically bullied me into walking down the aisle in the $98 dress.
They don’t help me with childcare or with them house, or even with any form of emotional support. I look on at women older than me with mother’s accompanying them to hospital apt’s and I’m so jealous. Not really jealous, it just gives me this pang in my stomach. I feel the absence of a mother figure everyday of my life. My mum knocks me down. Points out all of the bad things and never the good. Today she told me that my husband wouldn’t need antidepressants if it wasn’t for me. I was having an ok day until then. She told me off for not eating food like I was a child? I’m 38. Her passive aggression is off the chart. I wish I had the strength to get a new job, I think I’d cry all through an interview if someone was nice to me though... I haven’t even gone into detail about how she is day to day but it’s constant eggshells. She seems to be able to control my mood and how I feel about myself and my life and I truly feel like suicide is the only escape for me most days. If my son wasn’t settled in school with good friends I would try to move hours away. She says my “tiny house” makes her feel claustrophobic. She aims to make me feel rubbish about every aspect of my life. To the point where I consciously don’t dare appear to be happy in front of her as this is a trigger for her. My son even said to me “did you see how angry Gran was when you were smiling at me she stood up and snapped I’m going indoors and glared at you” my son is only 10. It’s a comfort that someone else can see it but equally very sad that it’s my child that sees me being treated like that by the adults around me.

I found this page when I typed into google “I feel so alone like I have nobody - narcissistic parents”.

Obviously when I work for them I can’t go no contact... I know if I stopped working for them, that would be it. They’ve done too many hurtful things. Unforgivable things. I feel like my whole 38 years on this earth have been for them. I only chose partners they approved of. I work in an industry they told me to. Honestly I feel like my life has been hijacked and I don’t know how to make it stop of how to get out of this current life.

It’s lonely, it’s emptiness, it’s grieving the absent maternal figure, it’s sleepless nights, it’s building yourself up only to find yourself crying again. It’s praying someone is going to come along and save you but realising that you have to save yourself, even though you feel SO weak, and SO tired and drained from assessing your mother’s mood and tone and then negating your own feelings or problems to dance around hers. It’s torture. It’s misery.

If anyone else finds the way out please let me know the directions. Good luck ladies. Breaks my heart to know anyone else feels as cut up by their mothers or fathers like I do. Quite clear they wanted a boy. Nothing I’ve ever done has been right, and they let me know it. How could someone like me not feel suicidal?

Thank you for being strong and giving me the motivation to be!

Kate x

Hi Kate
The things we could tell one another about our parents is enough to make your blood run cold isn't it. My heart goes out to you that they have robbed you of almost everything that makes you an individual and such a caring mum, 100% opposite of your own crazy faced witch of a mum.
You know why she gets angry, she exists to torture you emotionally and especially mentally because she hasn't got your strength, you can care, you can be hurt, that means your heart and your humanity is in tact and your son loves you so much clearly. Just pack up you stuff, go to a shelter and never see them again. Your son is being exposed to seeing you hurt, down, depressed every day and he hurts for you like my own son has for me, it has affected him and I never wanted him to get hurt, and yet yours is only 10 years old but he sees it too because he loves you but he is helpless to help you other than giving you all his love. So you have two good reasons to walk away, you and your son, when things are this bad and so toxic, suicide is not an option for you Kate, no way, your son loves you and needs you. Otherwise your nasty husband and your parents might get to raise him and screw him up too, so you are his saviour here in this scenario, he needs you to protect him in a way that your parents sadly never protected you and neither did your husband.Smarten yourself up, so you feel presentable if you aren't already, go to the shelter and speak to them, or go stay with a friend in another town, have no more contact with your twisted mother. Give yourself and your son time to take a breath, don't take the car, leave it, its just an object, take a taxi, but not the normal company you might use, you have to be a bit secret service OK, this is your escape to a happier life.
You've still got so much life to live, 38, wow, I wish I was 38 and not in my 60's, why don't you try mustering up all the strength you have and make the decision to live the rest of your life for yourself and your son, my God he will thank you later for being so brave and by example you will show him he and you deserve a better life, a happier one.There is no schooling right now, so this is a perfect time to shoot through, use you car stealthily to move sme stuff to a friends or wherever, things can be replaced so don't fuss of stuff it isn't worth it, just take clothing and whatever you both hhave to have and go. Then bring the car back, get in the taxi, around the corner and go.

We have all been bullied by narcissists, what my son said to me was that I tell him to always stand up to bullies because really they are cowards and he replied, good advice mum, why don't you try taking your own advice and stop letting nanny bully you?? wow I thought, that was a real oh wow aha moment for me and I thought I have to stop being the flipping victim and I have to stand up for my life and his. There is no point trying to talk to your mum or dad by the sounds of it, as narcissists they aren't capable of understanding their short comings, their lack of understanding is only matched by their lack of empathy. My mum also told me in Oct last year that her and dad wanted a boy, I thought that's nice, so I just said to her, I'm so sorry you felt disappointed, I feel great though. Then if she rang me I would always be short but upbeat and happy, cos that slacked her off and it kind a made my day actually, sad to do that I know, but I am not a saint. That was when I was needing to attack a bit, then I realised that too was all wasted on them, they aren't worth expending all your energy on losers, spend it making your life and your sons change for the good.
Your so down, really down and I recognise that feeling, but I also sense that you are strong inside, you're loving, caring and kind hearted, great emotions for a narcissistic parent/s to exploit. You are better than all of them, God wants you to help yourself, so get up please, seek help for you and your son wherever that may be, just not with them, or your husband or anyone that makes you feel sad and down, no drugs, your a mum, no booze, it truly never helps, your a mum, you need a clear head to make this work and your son needs you to be able to take control and help him make this change OK, to start to make a better and happier future for the two of you that doesn't involve them. You both deserve to start over, if you don't then they win and you seem stronger than that to me and you are stronger than them. We are all damaged in weird ways because of parents like you've got and which I have, my mum is in her 80's and my dad passed recently, but he was the enabler, in our house it was her way or the highway. Now I am happier than I have been in ages by just not seeing or speaking to her anymore. My son is happier and so am I, but most importantly Kate, you can be happier too, but it isn't easy to make that change, gotta be determined girl, let the love you have for you lovely son be your strength and your driving force towards succeeding. Sending hugs, albeit socially distanced, of course, all the very best sweetie pie, don't give up and don't give in, just get going to a new life for you both and never speak or get in touch with THEM ever again, block them on your phone, social media, block any avenue they could use to reach you. Move states if necessary, but make that move, God be with you, take care and stay strong, please.
Annie xxx

Hi Kate, i know how you feel except I don’t have kids. My mom is so awful and angry at me everyday and I see her everyday because she has cancer and I try to help her and take her to doctor appointments or bring her groceries yet she still says I’m the worst daughter and she wishes someone else was around to take care of her. I’m not suicidal but the thought of killing myself just so I don’t have to endure her everyday has crossed my mind today.

Your story sounds so much like mine, it’s mind blowing. Besides the ectopic pregnancy which I’m so sorry for hun. I Had a job I loved then got hurt at work and my parents told me to work for them. At first I got paid here and there and the back I don’t get paid anymore. Living with them is my Form of payment. I get put down constantly. Can’t date unless they approve. They’ve changed the locks on me and it’s a constant fight all the time. I feel alone and suicidal because of it all. If you ever feel alone I understand and will always lend an ear.

I know every word of what you are going through, I am now 65yrs old this year and I know that I no longer want to have contact with my mum. We are stronger than any narcissist mother once you realise how sad/insecure and vicious they are, my mum has only ever brought me drama drama drama, pause, drama drama,drama,drama,drama, pause, repeat, then the no talking to me bit when she gives you the silent treatment. How she covets everything you have while at the same time telling you you don't need these things, but she does,, I reckon my mum hasn't had to buy any new shoes for over 30 years, she repeatedly would try my shoes on, going into my bedroom un-invited and rummaging through my wardrobes, then when she had found a pair she wanted she'd go on and on about how comfortable they are on her poor feet which ache so much, for years (like a dummy) I would relent even if I had just got them and say, you have them then mum, which she did of course, then I would see my daughter (the golden one) wearing them a while later. She has systematically given away all the things I saved up to give her, jewellery, ornaments, clothes,I even bought her a sports car once, ok second hand but I wanted to please her, so when I sold my house after divorcing my narcissistic husband I bought her a Triumph Stag sports car, white with all red leather interior, dream car,but it was stolen within a month, that too was my fault I should have had better security put on the vehicle.Silly me, should have kept it for myself.
Other times we would go shopping, she would hold up a hanger with something nice on it, so I would take the bait and think, wow mum is trying to buy me something nice, when I said how much I liked it, she said yes it will suit (my daughter) who she stole from me when she was just 16 during my weak years when I was too scared of her back then My daughter who is 43 now and I never recovered our relationship because of my mum and not for lack of trying, mum would always wreck it in some way, haven't seen or spoken to my daughter for over a year now, I won;t I know that because I have had to accept she is the collateral damage, she is a victim too but doesn't know it. But I did save my son from her influence. My mum is fairly well off so everything I could afford she would buy better, if I bought a chain store suit for my daughter, she would take her to Karen Millen, because its classier.
Then the straw that has broken the camels back, because boy oh boy am I tired of the mind games, manipulation, aggravation, she is just a huge life wrecking ball, she never builds bridges to people, instead she blows them up, she doesn't want to share your life, she wants to own your life. I finally realised one day 3.5 months ago pre lock down here in the UK after I found out that she along with my own daughters cooperation both lied to me and mum told me she only had 6-12 months to live, the effect on me was profound and I felt such compassion to her, having her over at my house more and more, but then I happened to attend the meeting with the hospital consultant and when I asked about the 6-12 months left to live, he was furious and asked me who told me that, I said my mum did, he told her off big time, and in that moment I realised there is no depths to which a narcissistic mother won't go to to keep you under her thumb and controlled. Since then and even now when lock down has eased I don't call and I don't want to see or speak to her. Sad as it is in a way, I am sad for the loss of the relationship we could have had, all the good times we could have shared if she wasn't this twisted evil witch from hell that I had the misfortune of birth to be born into a dysfunctional family dynamic with an enabling father, who I loved so much, now recently deceased. She is 86 and I know now that I have been groomed like paedophiles groom their prey, we too have all been groomed to comply in keeping the narcissistic parent happy at all costs, even to our own detriment. But not anymore, I have wasted 65 yrs trying to PLEASE, now I feel such anger and resentment but I also know that will pass and although I am deeply hurt now, it has heralded a real change in how I feel towards her, I know I feel less but my humanity is in tact, I can at least feel and feel hurt, they can't, I can empathise, my son (1 of two children I have had) is a lawyer, he is kind and caring and tells me I am always the one he trusts with his feelings and that unlike my mum he doesn't need to watch his back for the dagger to the back, like I always have had to. He is relieved I am not seeing her and am closing the door on her because he said he was so upset everytime she upset me, but then I would let her back in the house and she would do it again he said he felt helpless, so unintentionally I have regrettably exposed my son to her crap through her treatment towards me, what have I been doing???Even so I can now recognise that he is hurt and we have talked about it and we will heal together. So sweetie, we are already stronger because we care, the only thing left for us to do is to care about those that genuinely care about us and in a healthy dual pathway of give and take, narcissists are just takers. So I say we should all be so glad to get to the point of NO CONTACT, EVER, EVER again. I am still tired right now, feel emotionally drained with nothing left, but I will rise above this because I won't allow her to make me a victim any longer. Whatever time I have left on this planet, I am going to live it the way I want, I choose to be a survivor.I was a victim of her for 65 yrs, but not anymore, she has wasted too much of my time and energy on her dramas. I just want some peace and quiet, not even a man, probably pick a narcissist anyway, done that before and got the t shirt, so not making that mistake again either, just closing the door to the trouble makers. My son and I are going to immigrate to Canada next year that's our plan, no forwarding address will be given, we are just going to sell up my house and leave the UK one day, looking forward to a new start, my life is mine from now on, my choices, my fun years. Love yourself sweetie and walk away from your parent, ultimately it is thee only way to FREEDOM, mentally, physically, emotionally, I haven't had that all my life, but I sure as heck want that from now on. I hope this out pouring of my experiences with my horrid mum helps you towards recovery, never done this before but today it felt right to share. Bigs hugs to all the survivors out there, because we are all the heroes, because we are still standing even after all that crap, so take heart everyone, there is a light but you must decide to want to own your own life, don't wait as long as I have to realise that I am entitled to my own life and so are you!!!

You are going to have to come to the understanding that she is incapable of loving you, it has nothing to do with you, she will never give you the love you need and deserve. You need to take care of yourself and love yourself because you matter, you have value and worth. My advice to you is to eliminate her out of your life completely, she will never change. You have to think of yourself and what's best for you. Find people that will love respect and care for you, you deserve it! I eliminated my narcissistic mother out of my life and my narcissistic husband and now I am very happy.

My mother never loved me and turned my father against me. The biggest challenge for me today is learning to love myself.

I agree with your comments and thoughts on having to essentially “fix” yourself from the damage a N mother inflicts. I am now middle aged and my elderly N mother is STILL playing games with my emotions and won’t ever change. I’ve been ignoring and a part of me actually feels bad but then I realize that I feel bad because unlike her, I actually have empathy, and also because I was raised to feel guilty all the time :-( Good luck with your healing process!

I totally would agree, I find myself a people pleaser and I enjoy making my abusive boyfriend happy with no expections of anyone doing anything for me. Yes I am used to it and feel comfortable there.

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