My Mom Is A Narcissist
I’ve been wanting to write about my mom in a very long time. Those who have been friends with me for quite some time will know, as I often talk about my mom and how mentally abusive she is towards me. She’s still a living being, but I couldn’t stand her any longer.
My mom is never really diagnosed as a narcissistic by a psychiatrist. Like most narcissistic people, they don’t really go to therapist and get themselves diagnosed as all of them think that there’s nothing wrong with themselves. Narcissists never admit that they’re wrong. Never. But then, how can I claim her as a narcissist?
I’ve been going to therapist since I was still in uni. I went, my (late) sister went, my father went, basically everyone in the family but my mom. I’ve been complaining about her behavior since I was a kid. And when I went to my third therapist, I finally realized that my mom is never going to change as she seems to be having an acute NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder).
I first realized it when my therapist asked me to read the book called You’re Not Crazy — It’s Your Mother by Danu Morrigan. This book explains coherently about what narcissistic mothers do and how to handle them. I’m gonna put it right here, just in case you want to know (or if you feel like you’re also having one but you’re not sure about it):
- She is the centre of the universe and everything is about her
It’s not just the fact that my mom always talks about herself, she also never really listens to my story. I tested it several times, when I started to tell my story, I stopped in the middle of my story, and she would just start another topic forgetting that I was halfway in giving a narrative. Another example is when I told her about my achievement, she would just go on and talk about hers (like she doesn’t want me to beat her in anything) OR she would just start to say things like “yeah, you wouldn’t get that without my prayers” OR “see? I’m the one who taught you that” etc.
2. She has zero empathy
It just happened to me yesterday when I told her how disappointed I was because one of our relatives refused to help me for my wedding. Instead of empathizing me, she went on blaming me for not being a good daughter to her so that her siblings won’t help me with anything. Not to mention when I told her that I have an illness, instead of helping me through it, she chose to tell me that it is my karma for all the wrongdoings I did to her. Wow.
3. She needs to believe she is perfect and does no wrong, ever.
Other than the fact that she always brags about how smart and beautiful and kind she is, she never listens to feedback. Everytime I told her that what she said to other people are offensive, she’d say that I’m the only one who thinks that and my comment is not valid. Everytime I told her how devastated I was for what she did, she would blame me or others as justifications for her to do those wrongdoings. So yeah, basically, she never made mistake. Even if she did, it’s ok because she’s the victim of the event.
4. Everyone has to acknowledge that she is both the centre of the universe and perfect, and treat her accordingly
It’s not just once that she was furious at me for asking things that are not in her favor, e.g. “can I go out with my friends this weekend?”. She could just say no, yet she chose to be extra angry at me because she thinks that I don’t empathize her enough for asking such questions that would just upset her. And if I happen to prioritize other things than her needs, I’d be dead. No matter if it’s my fiancé’s important family event or it’s my dad’s relative’s funeral, if she needs me to be at home talking to her, no chance I can go.
Trust me, those are just a few from all of the nasty things that she has done to me in my whole life. And I’m more than fed up to have her claiming all of my achievements as hers, since all I wanted to do was the opposite of what she told me. I remember how she forbad me to join competitions when I was in highschool (even to the extend where she literally prayed for my lost), forbad me for joining organizations in uni (even my lecturer felt pity on me for this), to forced me to quit my job because my office was too far. All she wants is for me to stay at home, be with her 24/7. Meanwhile, all I did was to do whatever I could to be financially and emotionally independent to able to free myself from her. And so did I, be an overachiever to finally be able to stand on my own. Yet all I got afterwards is her claiming that all of my achievements are because of her good job in raising me AND that I’m being an ungrateful child if I want to abandon her (like Malin Kundang who forgets his mom after he becomes successful).
The irony is that in the book, the best way to heal from a narcissistic mother is to do no-contact with her. Like really, leave her, ignore her, don’t make any contact with her, act like a dead person to her. The problem is, we live in a society where religion is above everything. And in all religions, mom is like a mini God to the child.
Abu Huraira reported that a person said: “Allah’s Messenger, who amongst the people is most deserving of my good treatment? He said: Your mother, again your mother, again your mother, then your father, then your nearest relatives according to the order (of nearness).”
- Sahih Muslim, Book 32, Number 6181
“As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you.”
To support mother and father, to cherish wife and children, and to be engaged in peaceful occupation — this is the greatest blessing.
The teacher is more important than ten instructors; And the father more than a hundred teachers, but the mother more than a thousand fathers
-Manu Smriti 2–145
In Islam, we’re always taught to obey our mothers. We have to always be nice to them as it’s even a sin to say “ah” to them. And it’s not only in Islam, all religions say that as a child we need to be good to our mothers. It’s understandable as mothers endured so much pain in carrying, giving birth, and raising us. Yes, yes, she did. But does it really justify her for doing anything to the children, even when it’s abusive both emotionally and physically? I don’t think so.
Hence, because of most people beliefs, it’s almost impossible to do no-contact to a narcissistic mother without being perceived as sinful. And for a quite religious person like me, it’s even harder not to think that I’m being sinful for doing so. So it’s always a constant stressful situation inside my head, while in one hand I want to love her as a daughter yet at the same time I also want to kill her like a war opponent.
And very unfortunately, a narcissistic mother would never want to lose her child as she’s super dependent to them. Remember that her needs always needs to be met, she would do anything to get what she wants. Including by doing such manipulations: “if you don’t do ______, it means that you don’t love me”, “are you sure you want to do that? are you sure God will grant you a happy life if you upsets your mother like this?”, etc. So yeah, if I don’t feel bad for thinking of leaving her, my mother will surely do the job to make me feel guilty af.
Better yet, I did try to finally leave the house. It was the best decision in my life. I went to Bali without telling her when I’d be home. Of course she made a scene; she cried like a baby when I said good bye. It was not easy for me to leave her like that but I knew I had to. And in Bali, I was finally able to see myself, without any fear of being yelled at. There I realized that many of the beliefs that I had was not really mine. It was my mom who planted those inside my head for 26 years as I did not have the chance to have my own freewill. So I started to reparent myself. I taught myself what I actually can do: like say no, set boundaries, do things without asking for mom’s permission, make decision for myself, stop seeking validation from others, and focus on my own well-being. The party pooper was the fact that my mom played the “i’m sick” card, so I flew back home to check if she was okay. She was. And she used the fact that I left her alone for two months as the reason why her health was getting worse.
So what should I do now? Honestly up to this point, I still don’t know what to do. Even if I do, I really don’t know how. Based on the countless meditation and therapy sessions, I finally realized that my mom will never change, and I have no other choice than to accept her the way she is. Easier said than done. And to live a less stressful life, I also know that since my mom will not get any better (and will always be worst) so all I need to do is to nod and say “yes” to whatever she says (even when I won’t do what she tells me to do). Again, easier said than done. So at least for now, what I can do is to pray to God to be given an enormous patience. And if possible, to maintain less contact to my mom (I will try my best to move out from my house and bear the “anak durhaka” title from the whole family).
It feels good to finally be able to put it into writings. Hope anyone who face the same problem can get all the strengths and patience in life, and please remember that you’re not alone, we’re all in this together. Let me know if you want to share (or bitching out about your mom with me) as I’d be happy to.