Not everyone has the option of going no contact with a narcissistic mother for various reasons. Everyone tells you to run away as fast as you can but for some of it’s much more complicated.
Narcissism is on a spectrum so it’s possible that sometimes setting firm boundaries can work and at least make the relationship bearable.
We are all taught this ever-elusive unconditional love and what most people don’t understand is that for a narcissist unconditional does not compute.
Conditional love is the only kind of love a narcissist understands.
When you give unconditional love to a narcissist, they will use it to destroy you. They consume and demand all the love and joy around them, yet they’re miserable because none of it can get in.
A good example is to think of it as a narcissist is always empty and they are constantly seeking outside sources to make them feel better, but no matter how much they get, it’s never enough. This means when you give them all this unconditional love they waste it and that leaves you emotionally drained and empty too.
I know how this sounds but the best way to protect yourself from a narcissistic parent that’s still in your life is to know your limits, set your conditions, and don’t budge.
If you educate yourself on how narcissistic abuse works and practice how to not react to their personality disorder, then some of these alternative tactics could work well for you.
Going low contact with a narcissistic mother isn’t about holding a grudge; it’s a life choice.
You don’t just wake up one day and decide you’re going no contact with your narcissistic parent (okay, well actually that does happen but) any normal, feeling, emotional human being would have to take a pause and think this all through..
It’s not an easy decision to make, and it’s not easy to do.
Here’s the deal.
You have to be convinced your mother is, in fact, a narcissist, and then you have to believe it, and then you begin to understand what’s been done to you. It’s almost like once you see it, everything starts to unravel, and your mind takes all the pieces and puts them back together again.
You start with learning to observe the narcissist’s behavior, and we’re going to get into that next. Eventually, the truth about your situation can’t be denied.
At what point do you consider going no contact?
I went no contact before I knew my mother was a narcissist. As the story goes, it’s more of a natural progression. It was a natural and instinctual response that came from deep within ladies; you know what I’m talking about.
It’s called survival.
I had to save myself.
Eventually, the relationship gets too hard:
- the dramatic scenes
- the silent treatments
- subtle insults
- blatant insults
- the backstabbing
- longer recovery time after being in contact
- the disrespect and continuously having your boundaries violated
This is not normal behavior; 99 % of people don’t act this way in any relationship. Much less a mother with her child.
So now you’re asking yourself, would it be better to go no contact?
Can you survive out there on your own with no family?
More often than not, if you do decide to go no contact, you also risk losing your entire family. She’s already been making the rounds and destroying your credibility with her lies and manipulation.
I have a narcissistic mother, and she turned everyone against me. She’ll stand up in church and tell a room full of strangers everything about my life and how I just can’t get right
It’s not just my entire family; it’s half the town.
- she’ll tell whatever believable lie she can about you
- she makes herself out to be either the suffering victim or troubled hero
- she will take no responsibility, and she won’t accept any blame
- a narcissistic parent will blame everything on you
Most people don’t understand no contact or low contact with a narcissistic mother.
You have to stop listening to people who mean well but have no idea how to relate. You’ll get the generic ‘oh, love your mother; she’s all you have’ rhetoric, (like, if I could barf every time I heard that I’d be thin as a rail).
They don’t know what they’re saying, which means we have to find people who actually understand what we’ve been through.
If you do decide to go low contact with a narcissistic mother there are a few things you should know:
- Prepare for it to get worse before it gets better because when you change the game she’ll notice she’s lost control.
- When you go in prepared and educated on what to expect, you’ll have a much better chance at success.
- You’re going to feel lonely, but I promise you’ll start to enjoy it.
- Things may seem eerily quiet, which you’re not used to.
As your body starts to physically relax, it releases some of those heavy emotions you’ve kept bottled up your entire life. These bursts of release can come out in the most inappropriate places and can feel more like a panic attack.
You’ll deal with the guilt from listening to what society teaches us about family. However, those societal rules don’t apply to children with narcissistic mothers. In my experience, the guilt isn’t half as powerful as the rage.
Once the anger hits, the guilt will quickly dissipate.
The anger stayed with me for a very long time, and the reason I didn’t speak to her is because I couldn’t. There’s nothing to say when you’re in this state.
I wasn’t aware of how deep the anger was, but I knew I didn’t want her to see it. Turning into a screaming, raging mess is exactly what she wants. I decide to do the exact opposite of what she wants and refused to respond in any way, shape, or form.
Anger is a great motivator.
Low contact with a narcissistic mother is the first step to setting boundaries and sticking to them.
When you start setting boundaries, the narcissist goes into a rage herself. Narcissists don’t mind leaving, but they hate to be left. This is a new experience for her, and she doesn’t have full access to abuse you anymore.
She’ll be running low on supply, and if she doesn’t get you back, then she’ll have to find a new target.
This is where the love-bombing begins.
Narcissists are inherently charming and convincing when they want something. She’ll try to woo you back and say all the right things, but if you’re paying attention, you’ll notice everything she says is disingenuous. This is called hoovering or love-bombing.
She has no intention of changing her ways. The change has to come from you and how you choose to respond. You already know the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result.
You can’t continue to react to the abuse, so you’re going to do the opposite.
You choose not to react.
Not reacting is a reaction, and I doubt she’ll see that coming. And just to make sure, she’ll try even harder to get a rise out of you.
Stop reacting, take a breath, and observe the insanity. Once you become aware of what’s happening, you’ll begin to see how none of this is actually about you.
This is about her behavior, not yours.
Going no contact is a bold move and low contact makes the transition easier.
The problem is abuse is like a drug, and before I went completely no contact, I had to ween myself off. Sometimes the guilt or the anger would be so overwhelming I would break down and contact her again for another dose.
When you’ve been abused your whole life, and suddenly the abuse stops, you almost feel empty. You feel like something is missing.
That’s not all that’s missing.
For the first time, you start to realize you were raised without the love of a mother. That’s what you’ve been missing your whole life.
Low contact with a narcissistic mother won’t work unless you’re armed and ready.
It takes practice and the number one rule is from now on you don’t go to her for emotional support.
- Don’t seek her approval: A narcissist relies on your need for their approval. You’ll never get it and they love using it to manipulate you.
- Take a break: This approach is less confrontational, and it’s how I gradually crossed over to no contact. I told her I needed a break and then slowly disappeared.
- Low contact: Making yourself unavailable, limit interactions as much as possible, and set boundaries. Start saying NO. It doesn’t matter what you do; you can’t make her happy, so you might as well say NO and refuse to give in to the guilt trips.
- The Grey Rock Method: Give her no information and only one-word responses. Don’t go to her for emotional support and pretend you’re a rock, no emotion, no opinion, and no reaction to any of her attempts to hurt you.
- Be the observer: One of the best ways to deal with a narcissist is to change your viewpoint. Instead of focusing on yourself and what you can change to please them, take a step back, and observe their behavior. Take a good look beyond the facade, and you’ll find reality.
Dr. Ramani Durvasula specializes in narcissism, and she suggests spending three to six months observing the narcissistic behaviors.
This video tells you how to handle a narcissist when you don’t have a choice.
Most likely, you’ve been trapped in an isolated world where your mother is always right.
When you become the observer, you stop looking at things through the eyes of the accused or the one to blame. The idea is to give yourself a chance to sort out the truth and not allow her to alter reality after the fact to paint herself in a better light.
This is called gaslighting and it’s psychological abuse. You don’t accept her judgment or her version of events. When you see what’s really happening, you stop doubting yourself, and you know, without a doubt, you are not to blame for this.
You have to believe you’re not the problem before the healing can begin, you know what happened, you know what you saw and what was said.
Believe your damn self!
There are different levels of narcissism, and if your mother is on the lower end of the spectrum, then setting these kinds of boundaries can work.
Going no contact with a narcissistic mother is a last resort.
Every narcissistic family is different, and some are much more severe than others. We have to exhaust every other possible solution before completely dissolving the relationship. Going no contact is a personal choice, and it’s really up to you.
What do YOU want?
What do YOU need?
Stop thinking about everyone else, and for the first time in your life, put your needs above all else. You should know how to do this since you’ve been raised by an expert in the ‘me, me, me, I, I, I’ department.
Yes, you feel the guilt at first, but you’ll learn to resist that emotion after getting burned a few more times. Eventually, it was as if my whole body, mind, and soul said, ” NO MORE, THAT’S IT, WE’RE DONE.’
I couldn’t take another broken heart, another disappointment, or add on anymore hurt. I was tapped out, and I had no more to give. It was strange like it was suddenly all used up. I don’t know how else to describe it, it was gone, every last drop.
What does it take for a mother to drain every last drop out of her child?
It takes a lot.
I couldn’t begin to heal until I stopped the abuse, and that’s when no contact became the only option.
Take a page out of her book and put yourself first.
I had to go no contact because I wasn’t able to heal anymore. The last major blowout took me a week to recover from the abuse.
It was so bad, and I was in such a daze I couldn’t pull myself together, I couldn’t get back up for a week. I couldn’t go on like that. What does it take for a child to turn their back on their own mother?
The child of a narcissistic parent knows the answer.
There’re stages of grief after going no contact.
I mourned my mother while she was still alive, or maybe I cried for myself when I realized I didn’t have a loving mother. I was finally in a safe place to let out my emotions and the pain I’d been holding onto for my entire life.
- First, the shock and denial.
- Then the guilt.
- Next, the rage hits, and the pure anger is deeper than anything I’ve experienced.
- Then more anger.
- A possible bout with depression.
- I still go numb sometimes because you can’t feel it all the time.
- At over two years no contact things are better than ever, but it never fully leaves you.
The process of restructuring and reprocessing everything went on for over a year. I thought my head would never stop spinning, but it did. I was starting to get worried, real worried that something was wrong with me (as usual, the go-to;) I was getting to the point where I was begging it to stop, for her voice to stop.
After about sixteen months, something changed or finished cycling through. It takes a long time to process a lifetime of abuse, so be extra gentle with yourself. I would say within a few days it was over after that, and suddenly I was relieved in more ways than I can put into words.
Once you stop the abuse and process what’s happened to you, the lies you’ve been told, and how you were being mistreated in a way that no human being deserves, it’s devastating.
Eventually, you get to a place of radical acceptance and you take full control over the situation and your life. A narcissistic mother will not like this change in you and that’s when you’ll know you’re doing it right.
When you go low contact you take back your power and make your own rules. You officially revoke her privileges to make decisions about your life, she doesn’t get a say and she doesn’t have a choice
It’s tough trying to recover from this and straighten it out on your own. That’s the hard way.
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Post like this and narcissistic support groups are no substitute for therapy.