You might have a narcissistic mother if she invites you over for Christmas, then informs you that her place will be “a kid free zone” that day (you have five kids).
I always thought my mom was just controlling, or mean, or attention seeking, or manipulative… Whenever I tried to explain my mother to my friends or partners they would say, “Oh it’s not that bad!… But she’s your mother!…She means well…” and this would leave me to feel like *I* was the crazy one. In the years since I first left home at 17, I have tried countless ways to distance myself from her. But – there she would appear, with money. Throwing money at me for my children’s clothes, school supplies, and just generally cash gifts at times. She would make sure I knew how much money she gave my sister. She would prepare my taxes, so she would have a complete picture of my financial history over the past year.
At first I just thought she was buying her way out of guilt over past events from my childhood.
But no. She’s never seemed less repentant than ever before.
No, the money is partly her way of maintaining some sense of control in my life. And it is partly her way of exhibiting even more narcissistic behavioral traits. It’s the, “Oh look at how important I am” bullshit all over again. Or sometimes the money represents, “Look at all the nice things I do for you…” No mother, giving money and doing kind things are NOT the same.
Then dad died.
You might have a narcissistic mother if she plans your father’s funeral (and they have been divorced 21 years).
Mom called me that morning and told me he died. I didn’t cry. I didn’t say anything except, “Okay.” Because if I show her any emotion at all, I know from experience it will only be used again later for her own personal gain.
I hung up and over the next few hours it sank in. I immediately wanted to be with my sister. She told me she was at our mother’s house. Even though I don’t go to my mother’s house for social calls, I drove over, not thinking of the emotional repercussions this may have. It felt good to be with my sister. I needed to see her. I needed to feel her. I needed to hear her voice. Fuck texting.
But there was mom. In all her important glory. Taking phone calls from insurance agents (we checked into life insurance already?) and making appointments with the funeral home. It felt surreal. It felt like something only portrayed in the movies. I asked who was going to the funeral home that afternoon to plan the services (because it seemed like my mom had it all under control and I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to go). Mom explained to me that my step brothers would be there; I should put my differences behind me for my dad’s sake.
You might have a narcissistic mother if she refers to years of sexual abuse as a difference of opinion.
I sat in my mother’s living room while she talked on the phone and my sister texted and I never felt so alone. I was there, we were all there, but none of us were present. For the remainder of the afternoon all I could think about was how this is finally the time I stick up for myself. And I did. I explained that I would be at my dad’s services, but not for him, and not for her, and not for my step-brothers. I let her know that what happened was more than a difference of opinion and that once again she has demeaned, demoralized, and trivialized myself and my childhood.
She replied, “I didn’t mean it like that. I didn’t even think about it.”
That’s just it mom, NO one thinks about it anymore – except me.
You might have a narcissistic mother if she is never wrong about anything ever.
I could go on. Literally on and on. Like possibly write a memoir about growing up with a narcissistic mother and consequently trying to save my own kids from similar treachery. But instead I write this blog. If this post has made you wonder more about your own mother, check out this website. It’s been extremely affirming for me and at least one other friend I have. Or email me. Let’s discuss. Because I swear – you are not crazy.