Episode 27: Narcissistic Mother.
Miriam is doing a Family Dynamics Series and the second episode is about the Narcissistic Mother. Enmeshed family bonds are those that lack boundaries between family members.
- What is a narcissistic mother?
- The traits of a narcissistic mother
- Manipulation techniques that she uses
- How the child develops themselves in relationship to the narcissistic mother
- The golden child and the black sheep
- My own experience
- Consequences of growing up with a narcissistic mother
- How to heal yourself
- And more…
Self-trust, self-love, and self-knowledge can be taught to a daughter only by a mother who possesses those qualities herself. – Dr. Karyl McBride, from Will I Ever Be Good Enough
Will I ever be good enough, Karyl McBride
ABOUT THE HOST
Miriam is a Certified Trauma Informed Coach, an African, a mom of three daughters, a blogger and writer. After graduating from the London School of Economics, she built her international career in the fields of banking and international development, working for organisations such as the World Economic Forum, Lombard Odier Private Bank, JP Morgan, the Mastercard Foundation and the United Nations. She now uses her passion for psychology and dedicates her time to coaching others to free themselves from the burden of childhood trauma. Her wish to help other women connect to their inner wisdom, love themselves and follow their passion. In her effort to destigmatize mental health and normalize mental health conversations in black communities, she wrote her memoir about surviving childhood and finding her worth.
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Hello dear listeners, this is Miriam Njoku, your host at the overcoming your story podcast. Today in the second episode of the family dynamic series, I will talk about the narcissistic mother. Initially I wanted to talk about the narcissistic parent but I think I would just focus on the narcissistic mother but I guess it's these are traits you can also use for the father and narcissistic parent can be defined as someone who lives through their child and who is possessive of their child. And also who is engaging in engages in marginalizing their child where they criticize put down their child. Typically they this kind of parent perceives the independence of their child as a threat. And they forced their child to exist only in their own shadow with unreasonable expectations. In a narcissistic parenting relationship. The child is not loved only for the person that they are, they are made to feel that the person that they are is not enough. It's conditional love is not unconditional love. Before we go deeper into this episode, I just want to preface by saying that
all what you will hear in this episode doesn't mean that you have to go and start hating or blaming your your parent, if if they fit what we're describing here. They did what they could. That's the reality of it.
They're doing what they can with the tools that they received. And if they are like that, it certainly that they didn't go through a loving, safe warm childhood themselves. And that's how they came out of it. So the goal is not to blame as usual. But for us to to understand the dynamics to hear from them.
So that we find freedom, inner peace, if we are parents, we maybe we we learn the tools to bring other things to our children, right. So after that, we start with a quote.
And this quote comes from the book, Will I ever be good enough by Dr. courier McBride, I will put it in the show notes. So the quote is self trust, self love, and self knowledge can be taught to a daughter only by a mother who possesses those qualities herself. self trust, self love, and self knowledge can be taught to a daughter only by a mother who possesses those qualities herself. But let's dive deeper into the the traits of the narcissistic mother. So the narcissistic mother, most of the time, she thinks she's perfect. She in her mind, she's the perfect mother, there is no better. She shows this image where she wants people to believe she's perfect. For the narcissistic mother, the image is everything. The image is stronger than everything the image is the prisoner she is in an in what she holds her children. There are two sides to them. There is what they really are, and what they want the world to believe. So they want to project this image to the world. And so that people believe that they grandiose, magnificent and so in that sense, they want to use their kids as a way to both started this public image right.
They want their kids to get straight A's in school so that people we praise them all your kids are so wonderful. They want to help in the cafeteria coach, the baseball team so that people say how great they are and stuff so it's really about the image. And where it becomes tricky for the children is that at home they get the other side it's like
I wouldn't say Dr. Jekyll Mr. Hyde but at home It's not like that at home. When when the cameras are gone and the show is off. The show is not going anymore well. The narcissistic mother can required this done and even code is not interested in the nitty gritty of parenting.
They want the big day you know the day of the price but they don't want to do
what it takes
you know to nurture the child
To get there, they're more interested in the celebration than frying all the above par for the celebration if I might speak like that, it's always all about them. It's about how they people praise them. Their kids are an extension of themselves so they don't see their kids as whole human beings they see their kids as an extension of themselves they even believe that their kids belong to them and they can do whatever they want with their children so they have very high expectations for their children my my child you a go to Oxford and they you we go to Harvard and that's all and if you don't do it, I will cut you off, you're not my child, you have to uphold the family name, you have to make your family proud.
I'm not saying that the sentences are always manipulative, and narcissistic. But you know, it can be the narcissistic mother can be very manipulative, can use can manipulate people to get to her to get things out of them, manipulate her children, people outside, they tend to they can also be very charming. And they can be very controlling over their children. When we talk about love for a child where there is unconditional love, he doesn't so there's vulnerability there's tenderness and all those things. I think these parents they grew up they don't have that because what they know is power right because as a parent you're the authority figure but authority is different from power right authority you know you're the grown up You're the responsive you're responsible for your children by doesn't mean that you have to put the dynamic of domination over your children so this kind of this parent puts
this dynamic of domination over their child where their child has no voice, no space. So the narcissistic mother controls the narrative they control what you use, so you see reality and they tell you what that reality what reality you should be seeing. That's not what you're seeing. So it's actually gaslighting. So you're refused your feelings you don't you see something and they tell you you're not seeing it you see it's blue the day it's green, so and there's no space for you to say but actually that's not what I see if you say that they feel threatened they will they can beat you up and things like that. So it's very damaging. They make themselves really very, very small in order to accommodate the parent. Sometimes when the kid dares to confront them, they can even call like family members to tell everybody what a bad kid you are and then yeah, it can backfire really bad. So they for trade that and this kind of mother can have is that they can present themselves as victims you know,
it's always about them poor them since they were born things have been so hard on them no one ever helps them.
They're all alone people are out to get them they are so mean people are jealous of them. Parenting is so hard nobody's having me in this house. Since I was a child I have been suffering there's never been anybody for me when this kind of parent goes to their child to complain like this
the child gets really overwhelmed because children love their parents so the child wants to have their parent they feel guilty that they cannot have the make the parent feel better even though it's not their role. Let's just say that they're so they feel really guilty but then again it's a very ambivalent because at the same time they feel angry. They feel angry that it's always about the parent how the parent feels how hard it was for the parent they had to walk eight kilometers to go to school with no water no food at all it's always about the parent and it's never about the child like the child is never seen so there's even though the baby most of the time it's not expressed it's like hidden guilt
and shame right? and anger you know for never feeling seen. And then this kind of parent to my mind want to get validation for all the good things that they do. They there's this
the narcissistic mother might be the type to go out and help so many people and is and then and then they just are You're so lucky you Your mother is so amazing. Look how she, she fundraise for kids at the other end of the world and then
I don't know maybe you need a pullover and then your mom
has been putting off bringing you to the store to get the pullover you know, and that's your reality and you cannot tell anyone because if you tell anyone you're the liar she's controlled the narrative so much everybody sees the word she's manipulated everyone so well that you cannot go out and actually say that it's not true. So these kids they often suffer in silence because when the doors are closed the parent they get can be cold can be distant when they people pray praising them or not they're around to look they can they can really show themselves to be very different to their children. Especially when sometimes they see their children as as an inconvenience some of them even hold grudges against their children that
it's because their children turn down they will say really cruel things like you ruin my life, it will just be it was not because of if it was not you, if you were not in my life, I would have married off and gone with this person, he didn't want children and things like that. My youth My beauty is gone. Because of you some there sometimes it can get really,
really horrible. And then also they can have a really very strong judgment of use of others, like very critical of other people, rigid judgmental views. But when they meet people that they are critical of ironically, in public, they will laugh put up face look very charming and sweet. And once they get home, they're they're very, you know, they seem to have like so high and no one does anything, right? They are very special. They've got it all right, and other people don't understand anything that they criticize how other people live their lives, and what does it show the kid. So these negative rigid worldviews can also be passed on to the child, number one, and number two, it shows the kid that if you don't follow the rules, you can be ostracized, you can lose, your mom would take away the love, because you know, you're not up to their standard. So just some manipulative techniques that a narcissistic mother can use. So they can guilt trip, their children, have done everything for you, and you're so ungrateful. I sacrifice my life for you.
You know, these words, there are so many moms who do that they will even start crying, I give everything for you to to have the opportunities you have today. You know, they want so they want to be glorified, for even just feeding their children, children they chose to bring into the world, but you know it as if
the child has to build a shrine to everyday play, pray and glorify the mother. So they also blame, it's your fault that I'm not happy? Is it because I had to raise who that I didn't, I don't know, go take that flight attendant job and have the best life.
They also shame you failed at school, again, you an embarrassment to to, to their family, they will negatively compare children. Why can't you be as good as your brother? Why can to be as good as the child down the road? your mates are building houses, what are you doing here. So it's always this comparison that leaves the child feeling really not worthy, and they can put so much pressure
up, you will go to Oxford and have that degree If not,
we cut you out on something you know, and they can also use punishment and reward. If you don't graduate from x college, I will cut off your support so
you're not my daughter if you do this or if you don't do that. So it's really all conditional love. And also the narcissistic mother can create a very dependent relationship with their child where they want their child to depend on them to hear from them to because they need someone to manipulate they need someone to look up to them as if they were a god. And what better than a small child to to do that to groom to teach how to be like that. So
So this reminds me too that most of the times this Mother's Day, they will divide the their kids into two groups you have to you have what they call the black sheep. And then the golden child. So the black sheep is the child that gets all the blame gets all the whatever. And then you have the golden child. It's like
the child that does it. All right, that has the favor of the narc
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