Heather Gray, LICSW
Narcissistic Abuse Recovery for Daughters of Mothers with NPD
It’s not really about your mother; it’s about who you are, what you believe to be true about yourself, and how you can create better relationships with yourself and others going forward. That’s how healing happens.
Are you ready to start dealing with your mother but not sure how?
You already know that dealing with narcissists means setting boundaries. You know, too, that there’s no changing your mother. You can only change how you respond to her. You also know this isn’t easy. If it were, you wouldn’t be here.
Here’s what I know to be true:
When it comes to dealing with narcissists, there’s no such thing as “just” setting a boundary.
Everyone makes this sound so easy and simple. It’s not. Setting a boundary is telling someone: This is where you end and I begin.
Saying this to your mother might feel like you’re betraying her. Setting boundaries is often accompanied by loss.
You might start counting off the seconds until she steps right over said boundary and tests you.
You might also know that setting a boundary means setting her off and you might fear the repercussions, escalation, and drama that she will create. All of this is valid and why it’s a good idea to get expert help as you find your way through.
Your mom is never going to understand or validate your feelings but it’s important that you do.
You’ve spent a lifetime considering your mother, changing your words to suit her reactions, and skipping over your feelings to keep the peace. It’s likely that as a result, you feel disconnected from yourself. You might not know who you are or what you want.
Depression, anxiety, and overwhelm may be clouding your view. Sitting with all of this can feel vulnerable and intimidating.
Tackling this pile doesn’t have to be some big excavation. I’m not going to let you drown in your feelings. We just need to understand them so we can help you decide what’s next.
As you try to heal, your mother will feel threatened and may act out or try to manipulate you. That is not a reason not to heal but it is a reason why this kind of work is so hard.
When you’re caught in the web of a narcissist, it’s like being held hostage. You know it’s your job to escape but you also know that escaping comes with the threat of retaliation.
Narcissists use that threat as a way of keeping you still but you actually disarm narcissists by getting out from under their thumb and not allowing their manipulations to work.
It’s ok that you’re not sure how. That’s why you’re here and what I’m good at.
Trying to please your mother was never going to work.
Your mother’s never going to let you be perfect. If you were, her gig would be up.
She’s always going to pick something. That’s why it’s on you to make peace with that and find your path forward.
However, after a lifetime of people pleasing, you’re likely doing it on automatic pilot. It’s likely become so ingrained in you to make yourself the answer to any problem that you don’t even realize you’re doing it. Breaking a habit like that can be hard and deserves support.
It can be hard for friends and other family members to understand your struggle in putting yourself first, especially if it comes more naturally to them. This is why you need a trained professional to help. Your girlfriends get it and they have your back but this is bigger than them.
Until you deal with your mother, you’ll keep attracting people like her.
Being treated like crap can start to feel familiar. Because it’s all you’ve ever known, it’s easy to start thinking that it’s all you deserve. As a result, you might find that your mother isn’t the only narcissist in your life.
This pattern changes once you start to change. This kind of change is possible and it doesn’t have to take forever.
There are two ways of dealing with a narcissist:
Letting them win and playing by their rules or changing the game.
I can’t help you with the first one but I’d sure as hell like to help you with the second.