Our Boundary conversation continues! This week’s episode topic is, unfortunately, a popular one about how to draw boundaries and protect yourself from a narcissistic mother. I’m providing four tips that you can put into play in your life right now to protect your own happiness. First, I’ll break down some of the tell-tale signs and behaviors of maternal narcissism so you can gain clarity before we move onto the next steps you can take to get empowered in your relationship.
What are the different kinds of narcissism?
Some people exhibit narcissistic traits or tendencies and other have a diagnosable personality disorder. There are two kinds of maternal narcissists; the engulfing narcissist, who is smothering and works to dominate and control all aspects of the child’s life. To the outside world, this type can present as an attentive parent but in this case, looks are deceiving. The other type is the ignoring or more neglectful maternal narcissist. These mothers under function when it comes to providing attention, guidance, and care. Both types lack the most important attribute of healthy mothering, the capacity to exhibit compassion and empathy.
Other possible indications of maternal narcissism are being in competition with the child, pitting the siblings against each other by choosing a “golden child” who serves as the narcissistic reflection of the mother and a “scapegoat” who is used to take the blame for anything that goes wrong or not according to the mothers plan. The scapegoat role can be shared between the non-golden child siblings or it can be the permanent role for one. The family agrees that now that the mother has designated that person, the scapegoat, that all the family’s problems are because of that person.
Narcissists will also tell lies to make their point, exaggerate their accomplishments or elevate their importance. They are incredibly thin-skinned, super ego-driven, and vengeful. They keep a running tally of every perceived slight and have a desire to make someone pay for it. Having a narcissistic mother means that everything is about them. Your wedding can become about them, your relationship can become about them, sometimes they will befriend your friends because they want to take everything you have if they think it is of value just to prove they can. Your accomplishments also become theirs. Every talent you have is something they got from you. They are actually jealous of their own children.
If any of this sounds familiar, let’s move onto the 4 tips that you can use to protect yourself and your happiness.
The first tip for you to build any kind of protection is that you have to be in acceptance of what you down deep know is true because you can’t fix what you can’t accept. The child in you may want to remain hopeful but if the facts provide evidence that your mother is a narcissist, it is time to save yourself.
The second tip is to build your knowledge about this mental illness. If you think you have a narcissistic mother there are many books out there on the subject and there are a plethora of real experts for you to learn from. Try to spend a little less time on Netflix and more on becoming well versed in the ways of maternal narcissism so you can learn specifically about the type that your parent may have, and make online connections with other people who’re experiencing the same thing right now.
The third tip is to draw boundaries. You have to take action towards the person that you fear the most despite the fear. When it comes to narc mothers it may look like limiting contact, stepping back, not picking up the phone or giving yourself permission to take a break. If the situation is extremely toxic and/or includes abuse of any kind you may choose to go No Contact. You do not deserve to be abused by anyone and it is your job to protect yourself. And if that means going to no contact, then do it.
If you can’t go no contact or don’t want to you can try to use The Gray Rock Method which I have talked about in other episodes, where you basically make yourself incredibly uninteresting because narcissists hate bland and boring and the hope is that they will lose interest in you and move onto the next shiny object.
The fourth & final tip I have for you in this episode is to focus on you. Put all of your energy into your own healing. Join a group. Get into therapy. Get educated, as I said, is one of the other tips, but focus on you because you deserve your own love and attention and focusing on you also means building healthy relationships with other people. You can find other mother figures, women who are older, who are decent, who are actually good moms to their kids or find a mentor, someone whose energy attracts you that you feel would be kind, compassionate, empathic, and build those relationships.
I talk about this topic in my video which you can watch HERE. I hope that you found this episode helpful and if you did, please share it on your social media platforms. As you know, we’re in Boundary Bootcamp season so keep your eyes open for my Wednesday Wisdom livestreams each week at 3pm EST on my Facebook business page, which is Terri Cole, LCSW, and in my all female FB group, which is called Real Love Revolution.
Pop along to the group to see the past Wednesday Wisdom where I dived deeper into this topic and then coming up in September, we’ve got the Big, Beautiful Boundary Challenge happening in September. Stay tuned for details…
Thank you so much for watching, listening and sharing. Have an amazing week and as always, take care of you.
Terri Cole is a licensed psychotherapist, transformation coach, and an expert at turning fear into freedom. Sign up for Terri’s weekly Newsletter, check out her blog and follow her on Twitter.