narcissists can survive

Her hysterical sobbing made it difficult for me to make out what she was saying. Finally, she said, ”My mother just informed me that she is wearing a white dress to my wedding. She has already purchased it and when I asked her to at least add a navy sash and jacket, she refused and told me how ashamed she was of me for being such an ungrateful and selfish daughter.” 

Above is an actual story of a former client who is the daughter of a narcissistic mother.

Does your mother guilt trip you or emotionally blackmail you? Does she act competitively with you or take credit for your talent or accomplishments?

These are all behavioral patterns of the narcissistic mother.

I promise you, if you have one, you know it, even if you haven’t had the correct language to describe it. It is an incredibly painful experience to be the child of a mother with this personality disorder, and particularly painful for daughters.

In this week’s Real Love Revolution video, I will be tackling the topic of how to survive and thrive from this experience. I’ll be covering:

  • Two types of narcissistic mothers
  • The behavior these mothers display
  • How to heal from having a narcissistic mother
  • Steps to take to prioritize your own health and happiness


There are two different types of narcissistic mothers.

The engulfing narcissist who sees their daughter as an extension of themselves. This mother takes credit for any achievements or talents the child displays as her own.

The second type is the ignoring narcissist. She has little interest in her daughter’s life and takes minimal care of her while growing up. This mother continues to focus most of her energy and attention on herself.

This experience can be counterintuitive because in American culture, mothers are idolized as all nurturing, forgiving, self-sacrificing angels.

Therefore, speaking ill of your mother is considered almost sacrilegious and carries shame. The insidious emotional abuse in this experience can be devastating and isolating because it leaves no physical evidence but the destruction of a child’s sense of self and safety in the world is undeniable.

If you have experienced the very conditional love of a narcissistic mother, it is time to focus on how you can move from surviving to thriving. The first step is to draw solid boundaries to limit contact, which will help to prevent further damage. Another step toward healing is to find support, whether through a group or in individual therapy, or both. This type of abuse is very specific, and learning more about narcissistic mothers while connecting with other women who have gone through the same experience can accelerate your healing. To learn more about the two types of narcissistic mothers, the behaviors they display, and how to survive it, download the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers Survival Guide now! 

It is possible for you to heal from this experience. You deserve to be seen and loved for who you are.

Drop me a comment here on the blog and let me know what resonated with you after watching.

And ladies, if you haven’t yet joined the Real Love Revolution waiting list to gain immediate access to our private FB group and receive a bundle of FREE gifts from me please click here to join us!

Thanks for watching, reading, and sharing!
And as always, take care of YOU.

Terri Cole

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. I’m so glad I seen your video on YouTube. Unfortunately my mom is in every single category. I grew up with a very angry mother who did everything in her power to get rid of me and my sister. She shipped me to live with my dad at 15 then put me in a group home she put my sister in a psych Ward at 12 years old. She had everyone thinking that we were mentally retarded and had disabilities to collect money. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized I am perfectly capable of working and I do not have any disabilities I’m 35 now. I got my 1st job after my son was born she called CPS on me and i lost my son and my job. My mom has put everyone against me she lies I never knew she was narcissistic until recently she is very good at what she does. 7 years ago I gave her custody of my children because I needed help I trusted her she took that and ran with it and I have been fighting her ever since. She does not want me to see them I’m paying thousands of dollars for attorneys why does she get away with this? she is supposed to be my mom. Watching your video has opened my eyes to so much thank you!

    1. I am so sorry you are going through this. I hear you and I am witnessing you with compassion. It is ok to mourn the mother you wish you had but you also must accept that she is not capable of being that person. I am sending you strength and protection.

  2. Thanks for this video. My mother was quite narcissistic and I spent all of my life trying to earn her love. My sister was golden and so like her but I never measured up. I went straight from my mother’s house to my own and immediately gave birth to a daughter. My daughter was diagnosed with narcissism while young. My mother passed away but I still feel like she has a hold over me and I am stuck and can’t seem to find myself. Plus, I have a daughter that I find it hard to have a relationship with because I’m not good enough and everything is all on her terms. I long for a normal mother-daughter relationship but I doubt that will be possible. Do you have any information or videos about dealing with narcissistic daughters?

  3. My mother has always been overprotective and controlling of me and shes always saying if it wasn’t for her. Or she will help my husband and I out then complain later on about it or she’s always gossiping and just negative. It always about her feelings and when I speak up I’m being disrespectful. I don’t know how to break free from her she watches my youngest son while I’m at work she disagrees about me putting my son in daycare but I know later on in the future she’s going to throw in my face how she helped babysit while I worked. Any of my weakness I tell her when we agrue she will throw it against me. I have a car that’s in her name I’m still paying her so I can get it paid off and in my name The reason I had her help me her a car was due to bad credit now I’m establishing better credit how do I break free from her control and negatively

    1. I’m witnessing your situation with compassion Jennifer, and thank you for sharing your story here. I would suggest setting boundaries with her. What is ok and not ok with you? I have lots of videos about boundaries, here is one to start with:
      You can also search “boundaries” on my website and many resources will be available to you. I’m sending you strength and protection.

  4. Dear Terri,

    Thank you so much doing this for so many people including myself. All I ever wanted was for my Mom to love me and be proud and happy. This is hard but your words are getting me through this. I think there is more to life than being broken… so, Thank you.

    1. You’re welcome Mallory. You’re right, you can live a full and happy life. Keep choosing you. Keep giving yourself the love you crave. Sending you strength through your journey, mama.

  5. Hi Terry,

    I haven’t listened to your video as yet but I will tonight. Reading all these comments breaks my heart but I also feel a sense of relief knowing I’m not alone…
    I’m 35 and it has taken me my whole life to work out I have a narcissistic mother. Two years ago she was diagnosed with terminal cancer and it’s been the hardest time of my life. Before that she was in remission from her initial breast cancer and when it came back I knew what I was in for emotionally. Not only this, but I’m certain she has borderline personality disorder or dissociation/dissociative disorder disorder…(both un-diagnosed).

    We all love her and provide as much support as we can, but she has become extremely competitive with me with narc behavior. Any time I mention a movie or music I like she literally responds with “well I was into that first” or “you got that from me, that’s MY music or that’s MY movie”. I can’t even have a conversation with her about a book I have read without her competing with me or not acknowledging me. What makes this so difficult is I love and miss her but literally cannot stand to be around her. She also doesn’t have the ability to self-reflect, which means any time I try to open up an honest conversation, she throws acid my way. I walk on egg shells and I’ve learned to be ‘safe’ smile and nod and not engage in things I know will trigger her. Or the past, I can’t bring up anything that reflect her in a negative way about the past.

    How do I deal with a sick narcissistic mother?

    It’s utterly exhausting and I feel as though I’ve had to grieve the mother I once had.

  6. I watched your awesome video and would like to thank you for your validation of this terrible problem. I am the daughter of a mother who had Narcissistic Personality Disorder. This woman passed away 15 years ago and left me with a lifetime of baggage that has been filled with incredible hurt and pain. Two years ago I went into weekly therapy and it is the best thing I have ever done for myself. When I began therapy and the therapist informed me that I had a mother with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, I looked at him with a blank face. Then I started to read about it–books, articles on the Internet, anything I could get my hands on. It was all such a revelation and I had been too naive to see and understand what was wrong with her while she was alive. I just knew that something was wrong–very wrong, but I hung in there until her end in the hopes of receiving love from her. I would like to strongly encourage any woman who is out there and thinks or knows that her mother is a narcissist to either go no contact or have very limited contact. Believe me, I feel like I missed the boat in taking that step with my own mother. It breaks my heart to know that there are many other women out there who are just like me and have suffered greatly at the hands of these women who gave birth to us. Ladies, be brave and know that you are definitely doing the right thing by ending or limiting contact. The main thing that I learned about having a mother like that is that no matter what you do, how perfect you try to be, how much time you give yourself to her in the hopes that she will love and approve of you, IT WILL NOT HAPPEN. These women are completely incapable of giving love to others, especially their daughters.

    1. Mary,
      I am witnessing your growth with so much compassion and understanding. Thank you for sharing your insights and experience here with us. Know that you are not alone and I have no doubt that your honest share here will help others in need. I am glad you are here with us and on your healing journey 😉

  7. I am 35 years old. I need to know if I’m dealing with a narc or a bipolar person. My mother and I get along. We live in the same house. If I try to help with anything she wants me to help with, she will say it’s not good enough. I dont do to her standards. I find myself doing things over and over again. I look at myself and I feel like I’m horrible. I moved in to get away from an bad relationship with my husband. Only to get told every week after trying to find a job that I had to please my own mother. She wants me to find a job where she wants me to find one. I go back and forth with trying to do so and nothing I’ve done makes her happy. I filed for child support and she complained about that. Even after I put in paperwork. I am trying to better myself for me and my children. She doesn’t let up on me. She continues to pick at what I’ve done and what I haven’t so much so til my head just swells. She loves me. My parents have opened up their home to me and mine. There also is this things of I’m stressing her out. I am not trying to get a job. Constantly I told her of jobs that I had a interview with. She’d shut it down and thought that I was trying to plan her day out for her. I feel like I’m a horrible daughter. I feel like I cause her more problems every day that goes by. Nothing I do will never be good enough for her and if I get the job she wants me to get, buy my own and everything, then I’m still never going to please her. If she could of picked my husband for me, im sure she would of. It’s just that deep. I dont know what else to do. She acts like no one helps her and that she does everything by herself. She says things like you dont want to help me. And that I dont care to…..its an unending story with her. Any advice?

    1. Stop trying so hard. Learn that she won’t change. Step back from her and stop seeking her approval. If she says you don’t want to help me, you can say, “I’m not having this same conversation, mom. We both know it isn’t true.” Do you best to save money once you have a job so you can move out on your own-which will most likely make your relationship with her better because you will have physical distance. I am sending you so much strength to protect yourself xo

  8. I’m almost 40 and I have carried so much anger towards my mother my whole life. I thought I was such an awful person for it. I could never get over it no matter how much I meditate or process. She has always proclaimed intense unconditional love for me, but then flips out when I say something hurt me and says I’m delusional and selfish and that everything is all about me, then she won’t speak to me sometimes for days. She’s always cut me off in mid argument or hangs up the phone etc, but goes on and on about how she’s the best communicator she knows. Every time I’m hurt by something it turns it no a cry fest and I have to coddle her even though I’m the one in pain. I’ve never really wanted to live because I’ve always felt that the reason she had me was to fill a void in her. I never realised I was being abused because she always talks about how much she loves me. The gaslighting and emotional blackmail are constant. When im having a bad day, somehow it turns into how i dont love her enougbWhenever i want to do something without her she says, okay thats fine, im always alone anyway, im used to it. Now her atory jas become mine. She has no extended family and neither do i because she’s poisoned us. There’s so much more. I should stop. Now i finally see it. It’s so sick. I’m so sad. After watching your video though I’m so clear. None of it is me. I’m not the crazy one, and there’s nothing I can ever do to please her.

  9. I just stumbled upon your YouTube video for daughters with narcissistic mothers and I openly wept because it resonated so deeply with me. I am embarrassed to admit that even though I know my mother checks off every red flag on your list, I have suppressed a majority of the things I have gone through. Very close friends and my husband have even witnessed some of the abuse, but even when they try to remind me, I can’t remember. Memories come in fragments even if abuse or conflict happened hours before. My brother is the same way as me, but he still lives with my parents and needs this as a coping mechanism. How do I even begin to unpack this?

  10. Many thanks. I was a daughter raised by narcissistic mother (the smothering kind) so I’m glad to have found a video I can use as reference so people won’t think I’m crazy or delusional or mean to a deceased person when I speak about her. I understand where they come from; you don’t usually need to be a parent to your parent from young age, or are emotionally manipulated by her in all the possible ways until you grow up believing the outside world is dangerous, nobody is trustworthy except her, and you yourself are not worth much and not worth loving unless you do what she wants. She’s been gone for over six years now but I’m still finding behaviors leftover from growing up that I’m not happy about and trying to correct. It’s already helped ruin one relationship for me; no need to let it fester and go on any longer.

  11. Hi Terri

    This is a letter that I wrote to my mum, but didn’t sent as I realised it was a pointless exercise. Getting my thoughts down on paper did help me somewhat.

    Dear Mum

    I started this letter after a phone call from you when Jack first go sick last year, it was just before he started his treatment. I think it was June or July 2017. I often write letters that I don’t send to clear my thoughts or to rid myself of emotional hurt. The process of writing down my feelings seems to help rid me of the emotional harm those feelings cause.

    Whilst I never thought I would send such a letter as I truly believed we would be reconciled, it is clear to me now that a reconciliation is never going to happen. I have spent a lot of time thinking about you over the past couple of years trying to find reasons for your behaviour towards me, trying to manage our interactions and not allow them to escalate to no avail.

    Instead, as there is no chance of reconciliation, I have decided to let you know how your behaviour has affected me over the years. One of my earliest memories is of you leaving me alone to look after the boys, it was winter and I was probably 6 or 7 minding a 4 and a 2 year old. I don’t know how long you were gone for but it was cold and the fire needed more coal. So I tipped the coal bag up to shake the coals into the fire and of course it caught alight. I remember running next door to get Mrs Daly in the next flat to help put the fire out. You were angry when you came back and I got a good slapping for being so irresponsible. However, you were the one that was irresponsible for leaving a small child alone with two younger siblings.

    When we moved to Australia, it was a regular occurrence to leave me alone at night with the boys whilst you and dad went out. You thought nothing of leaving me to babysit from the age of 9, waving your finger at me and telling the boys that I was not allowed to hit them, followed with they were to tell you anything that happened when you got home. So there I was with responsibility for them, yet no control. Or you would take us with you and leave me in the car to look after them. I would hide us under blankets as I was embarrassed by people walking past the car tutt tutting about how terrible it was to leave children in the car whilst the parents were inside drinking. I was required to look after the boys before and after school, put the dinner on, do the shopping and clean from an early age, whilst nothing was expected of them. Yet you sit at the Christmas table each and every year telling the same stories; waxing lyrical about Garry and Finbarr and your only stories about me are that I was selfish because I bought fried rice with my first pay and didn’t share it. It would have been nice to hear just once that I was a good kid, or that I was a great help to you growing up, but you can’t because no female is allowed to take any of your sparkle. Instead, you rob me of my memories by either denying them or taking them as your own. Your selfish story about me each year is usually followed up with you telling everyone that you brought your brothers and sisters up. How can this be true? You went live with Granny Doyle when you were 12, so how could you have brought your brothers and sisters up? Your mother was at home anyway.

    You constantly lie and think nothing of it, even though you claim to hate liars. Claiming to be a life saver in Galway Bay, yet you couldn’t swim; cheating in the City to Surf, yet you display the trophy on the cabinet at home. Constantly lying to me and denying my recollections of conversations, events, just to suit your own skewed view of history. Your denial of certain events and conversations has been so vehement that it has had me thinking I was mad at various times. Only when I have contacted my brothers in hysterics asking them to recite the event to me have I been able to have confidence in my memories, because they remember what I remember, not the lies you tell about things.

    It is time to clear the air, so I have decided to send it. You may not like what you read, and I am quite happy to receive a similar letter by return. Maybe when we have explained our actions to each other, we might be able to move on, or not. I do think it is important for you to know how I feel without you shutting me down on the phone. The letter is without malice and an expression of how I have felt over the years and may give you some understanding as to my reactions to certain things. I really do hope you read it. I am sure there is plenty you have to say to me and please do so by return mail. As you read the letter please know that I love you and because of this, we need to clear the air and behave like a loving mother and daughter as I want a relationship with you. Please respond, write if it is too hard to phone, but please understand that I love you.

    It is now 19 months since our argument before Christmas and 20 months since Greg died. I was more than a little surprised that you brought it up again especially considering Jack’s health at the moment. I rang you to express my sorrow over Jack’s test results after receiving a call that morning from Finbarr. I was also a little bemused by the tone of the conversation as we had a normal phone call the previous day.

    You say I owe you an apology for the way I spoke to you that Christmas. I rang you unprompted the next morning and apologised for my behavior. In fact, my exact words were that the way I spoke to you was unforgivable and I am really sorry. Your response was that was yesterday, so are you coming for Christmas? I said no and you said well I’ll see you when I see you. The fact that I did not obey you and come is why you stopped talking to me. I sent you flowers for your birthday and again this year with a note expressing how much I had missed you. You followed up with a phone call thanking me, in particular for my note. Stating that I have never apologised and that I haven’t sent you flowers is simply not true. I honestly don’t understand why you deny this as you and I both know it is true. You call my sisters’ in law horrible names and then deny that as well. Why? You know you said it, you know you’ve said it to me, so why lie about it. Over the years you have denied certain things to the point where I thought I was going mad, that I had imagined them. My poor brothers have had to deal with hysterical phone calls from me asking them to tell me about certain events, only to find that my recollections were true and that you were telling lies. Why would you want to harm me this way, would you prefer that I believed I was mad rather than accept the truth?

    You don’t seem to realise that the loss of a partner is a traumatic event in itself let alone the circumstances of Greg’s last few months. I had looked after Greg for 8 years with the last year being particularly horrendous. In the space of a month I had lost my purpose, Greg was gone and uni had finished. After my graduation I went into a deep depression which was exacerbated by you excluding me from family events. The first few months after Greg died I was woken night after night smelling death all over the house, then the rest of the night was spent scrubbing and spraying to get rid of the imagined smell. After months of counselling, I finally started to feel normal again in July 2016.

    I had not intended on celebrating Christmas at all that year and was only coming down to Sydney as you had expressed how it was becoming difficult for you to cater for everyone and needed help. I was coming for you, not for me, just you.

    So why was I so upset. You may recall that you asked me weeks earlier whether you should invite David for Christmas, I thought this strange as he had not been invited for Christmas before and said no, he spends Christmas with his own family. I have checked with him and he confirms that was the first Christmas he was invited to. He was horrified when he learned that I was supposed to be going too and totally understood why I would be so upset, offering to make an excuse and not go. He had assumed that I wasn’t going. On the day in question, you may recall I rang you as I was about to leave, having packed the car. I asked you to ring me on my way down with a list of anything you may have forgotten to buy. You then said that Jack wanted to speak to me. Jack was quite het up when he got on the phone and rather than his normal greeting of “Hello love” he went straight into I’ve invited David for Christmas and I don’t want any arguments. I was shocked, I went quiet, then said Ok and hung up, I didn’t know what to say, I felt sick. I thought about it for a few minutes and then rang back. You answered the phone and I asked to speak to Jack. I said to Jack, did he realise that it was only a month since Greg had died (I did not raise my voice) he said that I should just get over it. Wow, shock number two, I was dumbfounded. I also said that David has never been for Christmas before and he then told me I couldn’t tell him who he could invite to his house (he was becoming more agitated). I responded with that is correct (again I did not raise my voice but was sniveling and becoming tearful) however I did say well I won’t be coming.

    I hung up and burst into tears, stunned for the lack of compassion and empathy towards me when you both had full knowledge of the terrible time I had been through. I then realised that if I hadn’t rung, I would have been shanghaied on Christmas day with the arrival of David. I unpacked the car and then you rang back, initially explaining that Jack was very old and that he may not have many Christmases left. I told you I wasn’t going as I didn’t want to spend Christmas day with my ex-husband a month after my partner had died. To which you replied, “How could I be so cruel” and that is when I lost it, because it was the two of you who were being cruel. So yes, I am sorry for my language and the way I spoke to you, and I’m also sorry that I mean so little to you that you could do that to your daughter. I live 3.5 to 4 hours from you. It takes longer for me to get to your house than it takes for Fin to fly down. On the few occasions that I get to Sydney, I believe I’m entitled to enjoy the company of my family without my ex-husband who lives a mere train ride away and can see you anytime. You have since denied saying “How could I be so cruel” stating that you don’t use language like that. You and I both know you said it. Another instance of an inconvenient truth.

    It is not just me who is uncomfortable when David and I are together, he is uncomfortable in my presence as well. Neither of us is able to relax or act naturally in the other person’s company. Yes, we are polite and cordial with each other, but we are not grand friends. We attend weddings and funerals together, support each other when required, get together occasionally when Elyse is home to make it easier for her and occasionally the kids birthdays, but that is it. If given the choice, neither of us would choose to spend Christmas together.

    You said yesterday that you hoped my children would never speak to me the way I did with you. I hope so too, however if that were to occur, I would realise that something was terribly wrong. I have enough self-awareness to examine whether I had caused the response and then also if I still thought the response was over the top to check to see if my daughter was OK considering the circumstances. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen with us. I was just cut off and left to flounder. You demand loyalty and respect, but there is none in return. Where was the loyalty to me? Loyalty and respect are a two-way street, an ethic that I have fostered in my children. This means they can tell me when I am wrong without fear or argument, I take on board what they have to say, as they do with me. They may be my children, but they are adults and treated as such.

    You also said that David had been very good to you, but he wasn’t to me. He chose not to work for the last 5 years of our marriage and then worked minimally for the previous 5. Jack often commented on how terrible it was. Then when he finally got a job, not one red cent went into the house, he kept it all for himself. I paid for everything. Then he stayed in the house when I moved out and sent the bills for me to pay, even though he had a job earning $100K a year. After the house was sold, I got nothing out of the settlement proceeds, I can show the accounts if you like and David got the balance of settlement monies whilst I was left with the bills. He never paid a cent in maintenance for Reilly or Elyse after we separated, I did that on my own as well. His only contribution was to take them out for dinner once a week and Reilly living with him for the final year of school. I had paid for everything, school fees, everything for the previous 7 years. Then he sued me for $150,000, but that was just him being passive aggressive. After I had spent $10,000 on legal fees he withdrew his claim the day before the hearing. And where was I getting the $150K from anyway, I was living in rented accommodation struggling to make ends meet and working 7 days a week which I had done for years. Despite all of this I have never bad mouthed him to my children and have worked hard to have a cordial relationship. I don’t think it is unreasonable to expect my family’s loyalty to me under the circumstances. You were well aware of all of this at the time, yet you have so little respect for me that you embrace David to my exclusion. I would never do that to my daughter. You even insisted on inviting David to Jack’s 80th birthday, Joan was here at the time, David and I had only recently split up. I was made to sit there and play happy families whilst he was suing me and then to make matters worse, you got up and introduced your family, children, David, your grandchildren etc and forgot one person, yup me. I was just the skivvy running around making sure everyone had drinks and was comfortable. Another example of how little I mean to you, just so easy to forget. You of course will deny this, but it is true.

    I am well respected and liked in my career, at uni and amongst my friends and the rest of the family, however you have no respect for or loyalty towards me. For some reason you have chosen to demonise me for most of my life, never good enough, never pretty enough, not a good enough mother, just plain not enough. I blame myself for the situation we are currently in, because if I had stood up to you in my twenties maybe this attitude towards me would have stopped. I introduce you to male friends, and I mean friends and you ask me what they want with me. Mark, Hap, Father Steve, “What do they want with me?” what exactly does that mean? Does it mean that there is nothing about me that someone would like, that my company is not something that people seek, because I’m just unlikeable? Or are you implying something else? Even when Tim came out to Australia all those years ago, specifically to meet you and Jack, you couldn’t bear it that someone would love me so much. You had to tell me he was only using me and that my children hated him. So, because I’d been so conditioned by you into believing how worthless I was, I gave him up. He was devastated, and I convinced myself that you were right, what could he possibly want with me. However, he kept in contact over the years and we were able to continue our friendship whilst never discussing our love. Imagine my shock when we saw each other after 12 years and finding that the love was still there, he had known that Greg was ill and that his initial prognosis was 2 years. Tim waited, hoping that we would be together one day and now we are. Whilst I would like you to accept him, I don’t really care either way as I now realise that my validation comes from within and not from my mother. Tim’s only concern is for my happiness, he even offered to write to you and fly out specifically to see you, because he knows how much our estrangement upsets me.

    I recall a time when you and I were sitting in the garden at Kurnell and Elyse skipped past us. I was smiling at her and commented on how gorgeous she was, you asked me if it made me sad. I was bemused and wondered what you meant so I asked why it would make me sad. You responded that it made you really sad when I was that age as you realised that you were no longer the only woman in the house. I was gobsmacked but gained some understanding as to why you behaved the way you did towards me.

    Every Christmas when we sit around telling stories, you wax lyrical about Garry and Finbarr, but the only stories about me which are repeated year after year, are that I was really selfish because I bought fried rice or you ridicule me by saying my only talent was to roll my belly and I can’t sing because I have a tin ear. I sit there and smile or get up and leave the table with my stomach in knots. Seriously, can’t you find anything nice about me? Then you go on to say how you brought your brothers and sisters up! How is that so, when you lived with Granny Doyle from age 12, a story you have told me, and your mother was at home looking after children anyway. Has it ever occurred to you that you have confused your childhood with mine. I was the one that was looking after Garry and Finbarr from the age of 9. Before and after school, at night when you and Dad went out, cooking and cleaning, rarely being allowed out to play after school because I had to look after my brothers. And then get slapped because the house wasn’t tidy enough when you got home. It would have been nice to hear you say just once, how much you depended on me back then, but no, I was just selfish.

    Do you realise that I am nearly 60 and have only hosted Christmas 3 or 4 times in my life whilst having my own family for more than 30 years, because it must be at your house. That’s fine, but I have no input whatsoever. Its not a shared thing, it’s your Christmas and you decide what we eat, when we eat etc. I have never been allowed to even assist with the menu, my only role is to fetch, follow your orders and clean up. So, I am practically an old woman who has never been able to put Christmas on for my own family bar the occasions mentioned above. And now my family is grown and they host Christmas.

    My earliest memory of not being good enough for you is when I came first in handwriting in 5th class. I was so excited that you would be proud of me for getting the award. But you took me outside and slapped the legs off me for embarrassing you with my messy hair. You were never proud of my school reports, 4 or 5 A’s meant nothing, I would be brow beaten over a single B or C. It got to the point where I would take the reports out of the mail box and throw them in the garbage, you didn’t notice.

    I would arrive with the children to visit you and your comments to me would be “Can’t you try and make yourself look a little bit pretty” and my all time favourite is one Christmas when I was in my 40’s, we had all the family at the table including Joan and Trevor. Joan paid me a complement say how beautiful my curls were and you retorted, for goodness sake Karen, stand up straight and pull your stomach in! Everyone at the table was dumbfounded, I was mortified, embarrassed and devastated, I spun on my heel to hide my tears with Elyse running after me apologizing on your behalf for your meanness. Constantly being told that I had “the Lordan conk” another snipe at my outward appearance, ensuring that I would never feel confident in my looks. I don’t please you, as you believe I don’t try and make myself look pretty to use your words, and then I don’t please you if I do look pretty, it seems if I get a compliment in your presence you have to hurt me. What I can be thankful for is that this attitude towards me has ensured that I developed a fairly decent personality, as my outward appearance just didn’t cut it.

    The kids knew how stressful our visits to you were and we would all try and make a joke out of it in the car. The kids would tell me to put my lipstick on so I would look pretty, Elyse would comb her hair so she wouldn’t be messy, and Reilly would try to eat properly at the table. But sure enough, we would walk in the door and you would ask Elyse to go and get your comb (implication hair is messy) even though it had been combed minutes before and Reilly would be repeatedly reprimanded throughout the meal. I would try and defend them, but the Implication was I’m not good enough and neither are my children.

    If Finny’s boys were down and something got broken, Michael and Daniel would lie and you would blame Reilly. He is such a good kid, he would say to me, its OK mum, Nanna doesn’t see them very often so its easier to blame me. Such understanding in one so young.

    Have a look at your walls and the photos that decorate them, most are Garry, Finn and their boys. Elyse and Reilly and Alicia always called and visited unprompted, they always called and thanked you for their Christmas money, unprompted. How often did you hear from the other grandchildren? How often did they actually call and thank you or was it their parents? I would even call Finn and ask him to make sure the boys called you themselves, Fin would say that he thanked you and I would have to explain that it wasn’t good enough, the boys should do it. My children call and visit you because they love you and are well brought up by ME, yet the grandchildren that you fawn over are the others who you rarely heard from.

    Whenever you have needed someone to stand up for you, it has always been me, never the boys, yet I am the one you demonise and are most disloyal to.

    When Anett joined the family, Jack told me he was sorry for me because of the way that you fussed all over her and said he didn’t know how I wasn’t jealous. I told him it would wear off and mum would eventually find something to dislike about Anett. Which you did. I remember many phone calls with you complaining about Anett or Jodie, your favourite term to call them animals. Then of course you deny saying it, implication being, I must be mad. I tried to have a relationship with Anett, but you became jealous, so it was easier not to have a relationship with her than deal with sniping and suspicion from you. I have relationships with my nieces and nephews, my aunts, my cousins, but when they are mentioned by me, you react badly, so I have learnt not to mention them. Why wouldn’t you be pleased that I have a happy relationship with these people? It seems that unless you are the centre of the relationship, you act annoyed and treat it with suspicion.

    I have spent years trying to laugh off your scapegoating of me, sometimes successfully sometimes not. I am the family joke, whenever people arrive and I am there, they walk in the door asking me if I am in trouble yet. I make a joke of it too, as it is easier, but to be honest I just want to vomit.

    When I asked Fin to check with you if it was OK for me to visit on my return home, he thought that was a little strange, but I insisted he check. He told me you made it very clear that you didn’t want me anywhere near the house, that you had become hysterical. My letter to you with the flowers was tactful, but this is the truth. You didn’t want me anywhere near you. How can a mother have such hatred for her own daughter? That was pretty much the final slap, until I found the card you sent me all those years ago. You see I read that card and thought you must have loved me once, they were such strong sentiments in that card and it broke my heart to read it. Where were those sentiments that Christmas after Greg died? The time when I need them most.

    I will finish on the apology. I did apologise that Christmas and I sincerely meant it. I know you deny receiving this apology, but we both know I did apologise. I will not apologise again just because you demand it as it means nothing. I could say the words to keep the peace but it would be disingenuous. Has it ever occurred to you that you should apologise to me and believe me when I say there are many things you should apologise for. It has never happened. I tell myself that you can’t do it, that you are sorry but can’t express it. I have never withheld my love for lack of an apology?

    I may never see you again, which is sad but entirely out of my control and I have accepted that. I know I have done all I can to resolve the situation, I also accept that this letter may make things worse, or it may be the start of a reconciliation, I hope for the latter. I also accept either outcome. You miss out on so much by not embracing me for who I am, not taking joy in other people’s interest in what I do and my achievements, in just accepting me. I am a good person.

    I look at my own daughter and take so much delight in the adult she has become. She is an amazing mum, funny, gorgeous and so full of life. She is confident, a fantastic business woman and just wonderful to be around. It saddens me not to have a similar relationship with you.

    I will always love you mum, but will not tolerate your behaviour towards me any longer. You have my phone number, I will leave it up to you as to whether we speak.

    All my love

  12. I can’t believe I have been blessed enough to have found you! I was bouncing around on youtube and saw your video. OMGoodness! I can’t even express in words how I am feeling right now. I am headed to your site and absorb as much information as I can. 1 video and I feel I am on the right path. Blessings to you. Thank you.

    1. Jill,
      I am happy to have been found 😉 Welcome to the tribe- I am so excited to hear the video resonated with you and added value to your understanding in some way. Glad you are here with us!

  13. I watched your video on narcisstic mothers, I bawled. Its such a painful process that I’ve just begun. My eyes really opened up to her abuse when I had my daughter. She’s two now and I’m only just beginning to unravel myself from my mother. I’ve cut off all contact with her, shr would criticize me to my daughter too and much like you said about anger I stuffed it down not wanting to make a scene something she would always say to me. My personal and professional life has been largely affected by this. I worry constantly about repeating the cycle with my daughter and am currently doing EMDR to come to terms with it all. I love my daughter more than anything and want to see her go farther than I ever could. Your video was hugely resonating and inspirational to know that I can overcome this and be the woman and mother I’ve always wanted. Thank you X

    1. Right on, Laura! Your awareness tells me that it is unlikely that you will repeat this painful cycle. I am so happy the vid resonated with you and added value to your mental health journey. Thanks for being here and sharing with us. I am sending you strength and protection xo

  14. Hi my question is that my brother is treated way different then I was. He is a lot like my mom and I’m pretty sure a narcissist as well. She worships the ground he walks on. I have given and done everything right and she kicks me out for the smallest of things.

    1. I am sorry to hear about your painful situation, Kathryn. It is common for a narc parent to choose a ‘golden child’ and a ‘scapegoat.’ It has nothing to do with what you do or don’t do-so your job is to protect yourself from her and stop seeking her approval because she will most likely never give it to you. I am sending you strength and protection for your journey ahead.

  15. Recently, I realized I have a narcissistic mother. I have made the effort to try the low contact approach, and in typical form, my mother is now ignoring me and talking about me behind my back. I’m sure she is telling anyone who will listen that our problems are all my fault, never hers. How do I not allow her reaction to my low contact decision not keep my stomach in knots? Is this the same feelings of guilt that she has trained me to feel?

    1. Patti-
      Part of your process has to be to not care what she is doing when you are not around. If you have people in your life who are telling you about what she is saying – STOP THEM – before they tell you another thing. What she thinks about you is none of your business – you have to UNlearn the guilt response that has been ingrained in you and you can. Stick to your side of the street and continue to work on healing from having a narc mother. I am sending you strength to choose YOU!

  16. Thank you for posting this video. You named so many things I have felt .. and as you said I often doubted myself .. feeling guilty that my thinking was skewed. Her behavior is very insidious … even harder when she sugar coats everything with caring and love. Yet the underlying tones of toxicity feel very real.

    .. its been so confusing! whenever I have tried to lovingly communicate to heal (after years I’m giving that one up.) I am attacked, she is the victim and I have felt responsible for hurting her or she cleverly deflects onto her own past or how others have done abc.

    One of the hardest parts was when I shared how my brother sexually abused me as a toddler and she always made excuses for him and made out I should get over it .. then onto her own victim stories.

    Probably the hardest has been comparisons and undermining of other family members. Unknown to me for years, she got into my daughter’s head and this has ruptured the relationship between me and my daughter for many years.

    1. I am so sorry to hear about your painful situation, Mirella. It is almost impossible to heal a relationship with a true narc because they will never see your point of view or take responsibility for their actions. I am sending you strength to heal from the past and hoping you can reconcile with your daughter at some point xo

  17. Have a no to low contact with my own mother. Like some of the other comments here it has taken a while to heal certain areas in my life. I don’t know about anyone else, but my own abuse begin at three years old and I remember it clearly. I am thankful I have moved past most issues now. I went for help and hope others will as well either through Terri Cole or someone local. Praying for guidance helps!! :o) May you begin your journey of healing.

  18. Terri,

    Right now I am in a low to no contact with my own mother. Appreciate the YouTube video. I went and got help as well which cleared up lots!

    This one sentence is sad as I was going with my own mother to a point where she was abusing my own children as I felt so torn. I wanted to be loyal, yet wanted to protect my own family. Recently, I was thinking on the difference between my husband passing away, or my mother. I noticed I was upset suddenly with the thought about my husband as I love him dearly as my own life. With my mother however, not one tear, not one emotion, it was like a stranger I was thinking on. I felt it odd to feel that way, but looking back at least I don’t have such anger towards her. It feels like an unhinging. As I understand it, she is a prophet in her own land and I can not change how she feels or what she thinks of me.

    The best way in which I heard it explained was something I heard, and unfortunately I don’t know where from. More than likely, I was at a point where this was needed and would be accepted. The story starts…. Sometime in years past there was an experiment that was done on a group of puppies. There were three doors in which the puppies lived. Behind one door the lab assistance loved the puppies, nursed, and played with them. The second room the puppies were beaten, and treated cruelly. The third door the puppies were either love, or beaten. What was found out was that the puppies that were in the third room were more loyal to the lab assistance than the other two rooms. Why? It was because the puppies never knew WHAT they would receive once someone entered the room. I was that third room of puppies and boy did it hit home! It explained clearly what I did not understand for years!!

    I remember it starting when I was very young when she was inconvenienced in taking me to the bathroom at a church. I still remember the look on her face and remembered my confusion. She told me once I was done as she stood outside my stall with it open looking at me,” I know others who wipe themselves much better than YOU.” And all my small mind all I could think of is,”Who?” My best guess would be I was either three, or four as I was not in school yet.

    I had only told this story about the bathroom twice now. I know now this was not my fault, but my own mother’s upbringing as she was a child out of wedlock. I am sure ( from the few stories she has told) she no longer cared if her mother punished her. Which makes me wonder if she was relieved when her own mother passed away. I believe she only cried for show, but did not really care as she told most people that saw me upset that I was only crying because my boyfriend broke up with me which was only part true, but I see now how inappropriate it was as I was upset at the loss as well. It was like she was covering for herself because she could not feel the loss and always said negative things to me or about me including trying to use old classmates to contact me if she wanted to know what I was up to. Still does in 2017. Funny enough, I was a loner all through school and did not have many friends.

    I am glad I am not on any social media so she can watch me.

    I believe this Christmas my family and I will not be home so she can not stay. Her own grandchildren can not stand her which in my heart find sad, and yet she post tons of stuff on her fb account about her *golden child* aka my brother’s kids, him, or post other things people give to her on her birthday, yet never post anything that ever came from us. Sigh. I can let it go now. It really is not that important any more and when she passes I will go to her funeral, but more than likely not ever cry.

    Please don’t get me wrong. I do continue to pray for her as well as my brother, and other family members that have treat me badly. I have a happy life and I want to continue to move forward and think as Galatians says,”think on lovely things.”

    Thank you for reading. :o)

    1. Thank you for sharing your story of inspiration and resiliency here with us! So good to hear you have created your own life. The more you release the need to have any approval from her -the happier you will be. Save your time and energy for the family you have created for yourself my dear. Enjoy the Holidays and yes, think lovely things 😉

    2. L. Bailey,

      Swear you have described my mom to a t. 🙁 I am still working on gettin the courage to stand up for myself. She constantly undermines my parenting and I suspect she is trying to creat drama between my hubby & I. But theres always this feeling nagging at me that I shouldnt disrespect her. Before my father passed he would run interference and call her on her manipulative games. Since then, she is 10 times worse. Oh and I don’t have a “golden child” sibling – its actually my COUSIN who my mom adores and boasts about. I don’t know how to find peace without being a total b**** to her.

  19. Thank you Terri, I think the hardest thing for me as I learn more about the narcissist mother, is forgiving myself: I see that I’ve been somewhat narcissistIC myself. No wonder! What I learned in a home where I think both parents were narcissists. Is that possible? Power struggles were the norm. So I question what is real. Is her behavior deliberate? Is it so bad? If I’m to forgive my response to being born into that, I must forgive them. We are all doing the best we can. Divine Mother is holding me in Her arms. I’m a victim and a perpetrator. I want peace and forgiveness without self imposed guilt and shame. How can I tell my mother why I want reduced contact? I truly am stuck for words. My intention is not to punish, but to heal myself. Its still Silent Treatment.

    1. Thank you for sharing here, Doreen. I think stepping back and saying you are taking time to work on yourself or just simply making plans with her less with no explanation is a perfectly legit way to go. Keep up the great self reflection and healing.

  20. Terri, thank you! I’ve been on the healing trail for 3 decades. As I allowed the healing to occur very gradually, I’ve become more aware. I cried when I read this. What I could not articulate, you have so clearly validated. Words cannot express the gratitude I feel. Namaste

  21. All this happened to me! Yet I am sane, stable and resilient! I avoid my horrible mom who is so lovely with everybody else. She would steel my stuff to give to my brother or my sister in law! She bullies my kids. I am just worried abour me one day becoming her in the way I raise my daughter. I need tips please. Also, as I never felt I had a mother. I was looking for a mother in my mother in law. It was ok at the start till my sister in law refused to share her mom with me and started making problems. How can I heal from having such a horrible mom? I need to be loved by a mom…

    1. Thank you for sharing here. I am so sorry to hear of your painful situation. You are already a million times more aware mother to your daughter than yours was for you. You can advance your healing by building self love and self care. We ultimately become the good mothers to ourselves and we find appropriate mother figures as well. If you love your mother in law, you can have that relationship with her without your sister in law’s permission. Keep your relationship separate and also seek out caring and nurturing friends and mentors who are loving women. Be the mother to your daughter that yours never was to you and this will advance your own healing immensely. I am sending you soothing energy and wishing you the best on this journey xo

  22. Thank you for posting, I have a lump in my throat, this is so real to me… I was trying to download the sheet but it wouldn’t let me, the link on the video didn’t work, is there any other way I can get it?

    1. Hello Terri,
      Thank you so much for your valuable information. For years, I have suffered so much abuse from my mother. I am in my 50’s and I have gone no contact off and on. But this time it’s final. I had to come to the conclusion that she will never change. Are the mean ones possessed by some sort of demon? All I know is that I feel great when I am not around her and when she doesn’t know what is going on in my life. I have permanently gone no contact with her. Now, I feel that MY LIFE is just beginning. Again thank you for your help.

      1. You absolutely deserve to feel great in your own life! I’m cheering you on mama, and celebrating you for setting your boundaries!

  23. Hi Terri,
    Thank you so much for the hard work you put into your videos and creating a sense of validation for all the women who’ve been through this. Within the last year I’ve realized my mother is a narcissist and it has been very difficult to accept and cope with. I always find myself wondering why she is the way she is and wondering what I could do to make her not be so horrible. Your videos are helping me recover from the abuse and internal damage that for so long I’ve thought was just my own weakness and delusion. So thankful for your videos!

  24. just coming to grips about the narcissistic traits, and realizing i was raised by one. even though she passed away in 2009, her messages are still in my head….often among the negative thoughts i have to push away. i’m glad to find this, terri cole, and feel comforted already. very much enjoyed the way you present things. although i can journal about, it will be nice not to feel alone in this turmoil.

  25. I just encounterd ur video by chance and found out that im not alone! Im in my early 40s , married with children and stil under the control of my suffocating mom, her intentions are good to begin with , but her outbursts and being unstable make me question my own sanity, i just downloaded the survival guide and looking forward to start healing , thank you so much, you are a God send.

  26. What about daughters of narcissist father’s? He is so awful that my Mother was grateful when she was diagnosed as terminal. I am an only child and he makes want to kill myself sometimes. He’s just an awful, self involved person.

    1. I just filmed a vid for daughters of narcissistic fathers today my dear. It will be out in the next few weeks. Instead of considering harming yourself why don’t you limit or cut off contact with him? It is your right to protect yourself, even if you are an only child. Sending healing vibes your way. xo

  27. How can my mother be both types of narcissistic person. I listened to your video. Every single point you made resonates with me. I’ve downloaded your survival list. Terri, I can hardly wait for this painfully long love to be over and she’s gone from the planet. Such a deep sickness to cope with has been torture. My career and personal life have suffered for it. I’ll continue to follow your guidance. Thank you, Margie

    1. I’m the same as you Margie-
      To me..this swing from being engulfed to discarded over and over…I sum up as being up as being constantly hoovered; then Triangulated with other 3 siblings and it discarded. It has been he’ll with her in my head every single day. It Has brought me; however; Very close to God as I have been so alone and the way she(& n sister) finally wanted me-alone. But alone has made NC far easier and I Am starting heal after 2 years. Thank you Teri…your voice and manner is Extremely Healing and soothing & I feel less alone when I hear your sweet voice.

      1. I am so glad you are here with me and that this vid resonated with you. You are two years into your healing journey and it will only get better from here. Sending you strength and a big virtual hug!

    2. I went no contact with my mother for 30 years. She died two years ago, and nobody told me. I learned she had died only two month ago. It has been a tortute for me too. My career and personnal life had suffered too. I’m still struggling, even she is dead.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}