Aging Narcissistic Mothers: Elinor’s Last Stand

We have looked at Elinor’s story in two separate articles as she fought to regain control of her life against her narcissistic mother. Today’s article is about what happened when Elinor gave her mother the greatest gift of all and was rejected in a cruel and vindictive way. As we read earlier (see articles below) Elinor spent decades of her life devoting herself to trying to please her mother. She didn’t realize her mother suffered from Narcissistic Personality Disorder and so kept trying to win her love and approval, hoping that one day her mother would literally “wake up to … Continue reading

Why Don’t Significant Life Events Change Narcissists?

This article was prompted by one of my readers who noted that even after a brush with cancer, her narcissistic mother did not use that opportunity to change her life. This is a typical situation that clearly outlines the absolute and global effect of narcissistic personality disorder on the individual. For many people, having a life threatening illness such as cancer changes that individual. Even for those who don’t survive, there is often a change in the way they lkook at life because they have to evaluate what is important and what is unimportant in the real scheme of things. … Continue reading

The Aging Narcissist: What Happened to Elinor?

Some time ago I wrote an article of what life was like for Elinor, the middle aged daughter of an elderly narcissistic mother. This article has spawned countless comments and private correspondences, as well as an introductory to therapy for many people. The story has never been concluded formally but I have had many requests for what happened to Elinor. How did she fair with her mother who had berated her as a child and made increasing demands on her as an adult? Well, Elinor went into counseling and slowly learned the mechanics of how a narcissist thinks and operates. … Continue reading

Having a Sibling with Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Although nowhere near as emotionally harmful as having a parent with this disorder, growing up with a sibling with narcissistic personality disorder can be an extremely painful experience, particularly if that sibling is older than you are. Let’s look at the case of Lisa and Margo. Margo was 12 years Lisa’s senior and therefore was in a position to almost be a second mother to her baby sister. But Margo was so overcome by jealousy at the birth of the cute new interloper that she never really recovered from that trauma. Any motherly attributes that Margo may have possessed were … Continue reading

The Relative Effects of Family Members with Narcissistic Personality Disorder

In addition to looking at what is narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) and the diagnostic criteria required for a diagnosis of the condition (see links below), today we are going to look at the damage caused by different family members who suffer from the disorder and the relative effects on the rest of the family. The most devastating situation exists when the mother suffers from NPD. This makes sense because, despite changes in our society over recent decades, it is still the mother who is, and is expected to be, the primary source of love, caring and attention. This situation in … Continue reading

Why Is Narcissistic Personality Disorder So Little Known? (2)

In our last article, we looked at how a lack of knowledge about narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) keeps the children and the adult children of the narcissist in the dark as to the true nature of what is going on in the households in which they grew up. Clients often ask me why this condition is not well known and why it took them so long to discover that they were dealing with a particularly intractable problem with their parents. The answer is twofold: Mental illness of any sort is still largely a topic of taboo despite numerous campaigns to … Continue reading

Denying the Father’s Role when Mother is a Narcissist

One of the more painful aspects of detaching from a narcissist mother is acknowledging the role that the father plays in the family dynamic. I have had many clients who, once they have identified their mothers as suffering from narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), have to then look at the unpleasant truth of the role their father played in maintaining the status quo. Often my clients proclaim that their father was “wonderful”, “warm and “loving” and he may well have been all these things. But the truth is, he allowed his wife to systematically erode the budding egos and personalities of … Continue reading

Narcissistic Parents and Rape

If there is ever a time when a female needs the support of her parents, in particular her mother, it is when she has been raped or in some way sexually abused. Parents react in a variety of ways to this trauma, but for the adult child of a narcissist, the pain caused by the narcissistic parent can often be worse than the trauma of the rape itself. Let’s look at the case of Jenny. Jenny was raped by a family friend at the age of 24 but did not tell either of her parents immediately. She knew from past … Continue reading

Why Did You Have a Baby?

Women have babies for lots of different reasons. Some women have wanted babies since they were quite young children themselves. Others have no interest at all in having children, but as time progresses they decide that they do want a child of their own. Some people deliberately choose to have a child and plan the birth accordingly. Others find themselves pregnant through a mistake or have a baby at a time that they haven’t quite planned. Some babies are wanted and others aren’t. I recently encountered a 39-year-old woman who told me the she was desperate to have a child. … Continue reading

Mental Health Week in Review: August 24-31

Men have a bad reputation for being commitment phobic, but is it really always them who are at fault? In Is Your Man Really Commitment Phobic? (1) we looked at the possibility whereby women who continually date men who “ won’t commit”, actually have a problem with commitment themselves. You can read about the story of Melissa and her problems with commitment phobic men in the above link, and how she faced the reality of her own commitment problem in Is Your Man Really Commitment Phobic? (2). We also had a five part series on the Empty Nest Syndrome. This … Continue reading