- “The love of a mother and her child is like none other.” ~Vicki Reece
- “A daughter is just a little girl who grows up to be your best friend.”
- “The memories that a mother leaves are cherished forever.”
- “No matter how old you get, a mother’s love is still a real comfort.” ~Stephanie Linus
- “A mother’s love is the heart of a family.”
- “A mother’s love is instinctual, unconditional, and forever.” ~Revathi Sankaran
- “A mother is your first friend, your best friend, your forever friend.”
- “A mother’s love is endless.”
- “The love between a mother and daughter is forever.”
- “Being a mother doesn't mean being related to some
- one by blood. It means loving someone unconditionally and with your whole heart.”
- “A mother’s love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity. It dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path.” ~Agatha Christie
- “The love of a mother for her child is undeniably the strongest emotion in the soul.” ~Sandy Richards
- “Mother love is the fuel that enables a normal human being to do the impossible.” ~Marion C. Garretty
- “A mother’s love is patient and forgiving when all others are forsaking. It never fails or falters even though the heart is breaking.” ~Helen Steiner Rice
These sayings are true… except when they’re not. Unfortunately, for the children of narcissistic mothers, they’re often just myths, and reading quotes like these may just amplify a pain in their hearts for the loss they've experienced in life. They've never had the experience of having a truly loving and giving mother.
No mother is perfect: They’re all human. All mothers make mistakes. However, the issues that exist between narcissistic mothers and children, though, aren't simply matters of misunderstanding or parent-child conflict. They run far deeper. This is because people with narcissistic personality disorder are unable to love others in an unconditional way. Instead, their love is self-oriented: Narcissists see other people, including their children, as existing to meet their own needs. The narcissists simply don’t have the emotional ability to love others as they need and deserve to be loved.
The Dalai Lama has written, “Love is the absence of judgment.” For the children of narcissists, they may never have experienced true love. Instead, they’ve felt a painful and conditional set of demands from mothers who disrespect the children’s needs. As these children grow, their own relationships with their spouses will often suffer unless a great deal of personal growth and therapy is involved. Because the children have been involved in toxic parental relationships all their lives, they may not recognize what a healthy love looks like, and instead, they will marry or partner with others who will continue the judgmental pattern of “love” that began with narcissistic mothers in childhood.
As Mother’s Day approaches, the plethora of praise of mothers will be abundant in the social media world, and those words may add more pain to already deep wounds. For those who are seeking to heal their own wounds, I highly recommend the book Will I Ever Be Good Enough?: Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers by Karyl McBride, Ph.D. This work examines the toxic legacy of which narcissistic mothers create in their daughters. A great deal of the book is oriented towards those who are still in toxic relationships with their mothers or who want to maintain relationships with their mothers despite the emotional abuse they perpetrate. Only a small portion of the book acknowledges the option of ending a relationship with a narcissistic maternal abuser (as I personally chose to do). However, reading this book was an eye-opening experience for me, helping me realize that I wasn’t alone in the world of narcissistic abuse and how it influenced my life, my career, and my former marriage. I’ve since recommended the book to many other women who have narcissistic mothers, and most of them had the same response: “It’s not just me!”
This Mother’s Day, if you aren’t experiencing the love that our Judeo-Christian society dictates is necessary for children to feel for parents, remember that love is a two way street. In relationships with narcissistic abusers, you are under no obligation to praise those who may have hurt you. Finding peace with those abusers and with yourself for what you’ve experienced in life can go a long way towards a happier life. You never have to condone what the narcissists have done to you, but understanding how and why they treat(ed) you the way they do/did can make it easier to respond to them from a place of compassion. In turn, this will help you find a place of peace rather than living in a state of pain, fear or anger.
© 2015 Elizabeth Galen, Ph.D., Green Heart Guidance, LLC