What is Narcissistic Personality Disorder and how does it show up in a mother?
Disclaimer: I am not a mental health professional. Everything I talk about on my website is based entirely on my own personal research, therapy and exchange with other survivors of narcissistic abuse. I write from personal experience and try to inform the outside world, what growing up with narcissistic mother looks like and how damaging it is to an (even an adult) childs psyche.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of mental disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association associates the followint criteria wtih Narcissistic Personality Disorder:
A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:
1. Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements).
2. Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.
3. Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions).
4. Requires excessive admiration.
5. Has a sense of entitlement (i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations).
6. Is interpersonally exploitative (i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends).
7. Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others.
8. Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her.
9. Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes.
If you asked me, what the most problematic feature of a narcissistic mother is, I would say her self-centeredness. She can only think about herself. She views other peope through the lense of what they can do for her or what she can get out of them. She does not acknowldedge or care for the feelings of others.
I eventually stopped hoping for our relationship to improve and that was when I realized that she forgot that I was raped. She simply forgot about it. That was when I finally understood, that you cannot make someone care who simply doesn't.
I always knew that my family wasn't normal. I knew that mom constantly cheating on dad and then pretending nothing had happened wasn't normal. I knew that dad constantly bullying mom and me was dysfunctional. And yet, I still internalized the abuse. I still thought it was my fault. My narcissistic parents taught me that I was worthless. They almost never paid attention to me and if they did they told me that I wasn't good enough. I hated my father all my life. I hated my mother time and again. They made it see as though I was not worth being treated with kindness and compassion. Actually, I am still learning that I am a lovable human being. Thanks to therapy and self help groups!
While I do understand that these patterns are passed on from generation to generation, I decided that the abuse cycle is going to end with me. I made it my mission to clean up the psychological mess within myself and not to repeat this toxic cycle in any other relationship ever again.