Tactics of a Narcissistic Mother by Gail Meyers

Narcissistic Abuse and Your Anger

Antonio de Pereda, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Anger from Narcissistic Abuse

© by Gail Meyers
Whether the relationship with a narcissistic personality disordered individual you are recovering from is with a parent, spouse or another person in your life, anger is part of the healing process.

The trip out of the narcissist's rabbit hole and back to reality usual begins with realizations. The narcissist's pretend world is often called a rabbit hole, because black is called white, up is called down and charades are called reality.

As the realizations begin to break through the denial, the natural response is to become angry about the abuse and injustice of it all.  Not only do narcissists use, abuse and manipulate, they also project their negative traits onto others and feel no remorse or empathy. So as you may be trying to process your anger by getting some kind of validation, empathy or remorse from the narcissist, the narcissist may very well be projecting their negative traits onto you with accusations. 

Expecting validation, empathy or true remorse from a narcissist for the abuse they have inflicted is fighting a losing battle in my experience.  My narcissistic personality disordered mother did not even apologize before she died after being terminally ill for two years.  However, she did continue to use, abuse, lie and manipulate.

The responses of projecting their negative traits onto you and feeling no empathy or remorse, can serve to deepen the anger of the survivor of a relationship with a narcissist. So what does one do with all of this anger?  There seems to be a whole lot confusion about anger. 

If we are not careful, some of our attitudes and beliefs about anger can leave us stalled in the recovery process. Some men may have this issue, but I have especially noticed it with us women and with Christians. In general, my guess is men receive more social signals that it is okay for them to be angry.  However, no matter the relationship, a narcissist gives strong responses that it is not okay to be angry toward them.

Then to top it off, many of us have the idea that anger is wrong. We receive the message many times in our lives that it is unbecoming, unattractive or unacceptable to be angry. Many Christians also seem to believe anger is wrong, that it is somehow ungodly or not very Christian-like.

Holding and acting on these beliefs about anger during recovery can easily result in stuffing the anger, which in turn can lead to depression. We are often told by even well-meaning family and friends, who truly can not even fathom the nature of the situation, that it is over and to just move on.

Some of us may not want to burden anyone with our anger, so we deny it instead. We deny it and stuff it, hoping it will go away. However, the more reality we face about our relationship with the narcissistic personality disordered person in our lives, the more angry we become.

During the course of recovery you may also find yourself so angry it is frightening.  I would say enraged more closely described my emotions when the realizations flooded in, shattering the denial that had been in place for many years. 

At this point in my recovery, my therapist at the time told me when it is all said and done I will truly pity my mother. Quite honestly, I thought she was either crazy or giving me way too much credit. I did not believe there was any way in the world I would ever again feel anything but rage toward my narcissistic personality disordered mother. The anger was so deep and so consuming, it felt as if it would blaze out of control forever.  It didn't.  It was a lifetime of anger, so it did take some time to process it, but it also subsided.

Is Anger Wrong?

Anger, like any other emotion, is not right or wrong.  It just is.  Honor your emotions without judging yourself.  It is not the anger that is right or wrong, it is what you do with the anger that can make it positive or negative. It helped me to think of anger much like the oil light coming on in the car. It is a signal that something is wrong. I could pretend not to see the oil light come on, but that is ultimately going to make the situation worse by denying and pretending.

Many of the things we were taught as children by our narcissistic personality disordered parents do not serve us well. That is because the beliefs are usually instilled by the narcissist, with the narcissist in mind, not us. So we have to go back and challenge many of these beliefs.

As previously mentioned, I was one who was beaten half to death with the Bible by my narcissistic personality disordered mother and step-father. My step-father was a deacon in the dysfunctional church, as well as an alcoholic pedophile. I never recall either of them ever actually reading the Bible, only quoting Scripture for control or to induce guilt for manipulation. Neither of the two were actually Christians in the biblical sense of the word, but they both masqueraded as such.

In reality, the Good Book actually condemned their behavior. Of course, nothing of the kind was ever quoted or even mentioned. After becoming so angry and frustrated with God and the church, I walked away as a result of their misrepresentations, abuse and manipulation. After reading it for myself and researching many verses in the original languages, I actually discovered the Bible contains a great deal of healthy, accurate psychology. Biblical psychology actually liberates victims from abusers.

First of all, anger is a God-given emotion. There are those who want to imitate godliness and believe this includes never being angry. Anger makes us uncomfortable. It just may not seem very godly to us, but challenge that belief if you hold it because there are many scenarios in the Bible in which God is portrayed as being angry. One could actually take that a step further and say if you are attempting to imitate God, there may also be times you will become angry.

Secondly, there is a distinction between unrighteous and righteous anger or righteous indignation in the Bible. Wikipedia defined righteous indignation as "a reactive emotion of anger over a perceived injustice, insult or malice." It is righteous indignation to become angry when someone hurts us or someone we love in a sinful manner.

God is angered with the mistreatment of the helpless, orphans, widows and strangers in Exodus 22:21-24. Jesus was clearly angry when he cleared the temple in John 2:13-22. Righteous men in the Bible were also angered by unrighteousness. Most of Galatians is Paul expressing anger toward false teachings. These are expressions of righteous indignation. It is not vigilante justice or out of control rage. It is always under control, slowly provoked and expressed legally.

A person with narcissistic personality disorder is completely self-centered, thinks the world should revolve around them and believes other people are objects to be used to make him or her look good. They feel entitled, think they should be in control and that no problem is their fault. A person with narcissistic personality disorder may get angry several times a day if they do not get their way in every situation.  Just as it is with many things when dealing with narcissists, they have a different set of rules for themselves.

Boats on the Ocean with Bible Verse amd Gail Meyers Quote

Dealing with Anger

Ephesians 4:26 says, "Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger and do not give the devil an opportunity." This is the epitome of the Biblical instructions for dealing with anger. It does not say do not be angry. It says, be angry, sin not and deal with it quickly. It is so simply stated it would be easy to overlook the significance of these instructions.
  1. Be angry. Feel your God given emotions in response to injustice without denying, burying and stuffing the anger;
  2. Deal with the anger in healthy ways;
  3. Deal with the anger quickly.
  4. Hanging onto anger allowing it to become bitterness that can open the door for many other problems.

Depression is often known as anger turned inward. What I did early on, and I have seen many others do, is become depressed. If the depression continues long enough it leads to all sorts of other problems from appetite to sleep issues. When it becomes such an issue, we go to the doctor and get on antidepressants. Medications can help restore the depleted chemicals in our brains if we have had our anger turned inward or been angry with others or God for a long period of time. However, the root issue remains. 

So the key is finding healthy ways to process our anger.  Keeping a journal can be a great way to not only get in touch with your anger, but help process it.  Exercise is another great way to process anger and help you feel better.  Punch a pillow, go for a drive, pray, but find healthy ways to acknowledge and process the anger.  Then you can be free of it instead of carrying it around forever.

Photo at top of page - Antonio de Pereda, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons.


  1. Hate to be the fizzer, but not recognizing at first as an adult how much I was suppressing the anger and then discovering it, can make you, as you said, not angry but enraged! It can spill out in the most inappropriate ways, to the wrong people. Especially if you had the only advice being turn the other cheek, honor thy mother, etc. One can be fobbed off, not only by the narcissist and flying monkeys, but by others who should know better, dont really want to understand that pain. It's all

    too uncomfortable... Move on, not really understanding... People can generally understand the
    pain of a narcissist partner, but surely a mother couldn't be THAT bad. You're exaggerating, etc.
    Wow, I'm angry now thinking about the denial of others!! It's like motherhood is sacrosanct. Don't
    go there! Get over it. I guess what really hurts is I had to do all the healing work, still obviously in the process, by myself, no healthy relatives, friends that partially understand why it's so difficult to properly heal. I have found another woman with similar mothering who like me is still struggling yet has come so far and done so much work to move on... It's life long work, and one hopes it's not passed on to children... I just wish the general population understood it more. I'm not being my usual succinct self, sorry, I'm just so... angry!!

    1. I liked George Carlin's re-interpretation of the Ten Commandments, especially "Honor Thy Parents". He thought it should be "Honor Thy Children"...

      Think about it...if children were honored they would continue the "Honor Code" to the next generation, and we would have people who learned to truly love and respect each other.

  2. The last post was so spot on about the denial of others. Even in confession when the subject comes up, I've had priests brush me off or seem to get offended that I could claim a mother was abusive. They didn't contradict it, but simply refused to acknowledge it. Now if I said something about my husband, they get more offended that I would, and are quick to say I needn't put up with any sort of such rubbish. People just don't want to entertain the thought of bad mothers.

  3. Anonymous, I can very much relate to the frustrate you have articulated. The sacred role of mother definitely plays against the daughter of an abusive narcissistic personality disordered mother. I know the routine well - mostly because I heard it over and over for decades. I thought my anger would never end. It took quite some time and effort, but it has subsided. I hope that is an encouragement. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and experiences.

  4. Anger is so difficult for me as a female, mother and spouse. No one in my family wants to take responsibility for their own emotions and any time I react in any way that is the perceived as positive, I am "tarred and feathered". Consequently, I try to deal with my own emotions, supress them, or whatever I have to do not to rock the boat. Even when I have a legitimate beef, as in this Christmas when my husband was so preoccupied with his elderly, disfunctional, narcissistic parents who Have to be moved into assisted living because they are no long safe at home, so preoccupied that he did not get me a Christmas gift, card, etc. I have gotten my own gift, tried to take care of my own needs so far as I was able and yet I am left with rage that these nasty people have once again ruined Christmas.

  5. Magdelena, I have experienced that exact same reaction. It is as if it is breaking a social norm, even when you are speaking the truth.

  6. Naturalfiberandcolor, I think processing the anger is such a big part of the healing process. Yet, it is also so easy to get stuck in for various reasons. I think we have to deal with our anger or it ends up dealing with us by coming out in some other way.

    That is a difficult situation to have a sick or elderly parent. I hope he gets the support he needs and is able to maintain a better balance in the marriage.

    Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts. I hope the rest of your Christmas went better and you were able to spend some time together.

  7. Thank you for all of responses above. You have helped validate my feelings. That validation is the crucial piece of my emotional upbringing I missed and have suffered so badly from. My mother had me believing I was an object and I had no idea why I thought that until I started recovery by attending Al-Anon meetings, and ACOA meetings in particular. They were a wonderful way to start to separate myself from my narcissist mother's control over me. So many years later and I still struggle with my self-identity little by little working to understand my perceptions and how wrong they are. I have never been so happy to be wrong. Wrong that I thought people didn't like me, stuck in the message they were seeing me as the bad guy, all the baggage I acquired as my mother used my older brother to bully me, to lower my self-esteem so I would cater to her wants. A counselor is now taking me through the process of examining my perceptions. My beliefs have been based on this article's very astute description of how my narcissistic mother manipulated me. I am grateful to be letting these misperceptions go but the anger feels like it will never leave. Struggling this morning with not wanting to forgive, not wanting to let her and cohorts off the hook, but this article has helped me see that working on letting go of the anger is for me. Doing those activities that will help me - can't think of a word/brain freeze/when so potent/so old/a thought that seems impossible to conceive - can't find a word that means the anger would go, be part of my past. Thank you for helping me want to take another step in the right direction toward wellness because you help me see I am not still the bad guy and other names I was called. My pain is not something to hang on to. My anger and frustration are a result of my experiences long ago when I didn't have the ability to figure out what was going on around me. I can see and feel this through your understanding. With your acceptance I can accept me just a little more. I can build my brain to have a little more positive view of myself.
    We need each other is what I'm learning. I want to be alone to avoid getting hurt anymore. I still feel very vulnerable and yet so grateful when it is so clear that we need each other and others are reaching out. I need a group of safe, caring people. Thanks for being here.

    1. Anonymous, I am delighted to hear this has provided needed validation for you. I am also glad you reached out and found the support of a therapist and adult children of alcoholics group. My anger also felt overwhelming and as if it could not possibly ever end. It took time and effort to process it, but it did indeed subside. Thank you for taking the time to read and share your thoughts.

  8. I've been skimming your blog, but I can't find any information on the intention of the narcissist. My mother is what I think is malignant narcissist, she gaslights.

    What I'm reading so far, it seems the narcissist has no true soul, that it is a demonic spirit (Jezebel spirit).

    I had to trace back from my emotions what was going on with me. I thought I was going crazy. So I just felt my emotions, and my memories came in. She enjoys misery in me, she even told me that.

    When I was a teenager and had acne, and it bothered me, she would continually say the word pimple. Over and over and laugh. That is the least of what she did. When I became an adult and needed to use a foodbank, she told everyone and taunted me. These are the least of what she did. She used all the methods you are describing.

    So what I am asking is that if she was born this way, it is not her fault and I can't blame her for it. Sorry but you use the words insidious and evil. Maybe I'm having trouble accepting that my mother really was that cruel and it was my imagination. I used to think she did and said those things to help me (if that don't sound twisted)

    Maybe what I'm asking is what is in that body? A real person? I was thinking of asking my church, we really don't have a pastor and it would take someone to really know what narcissism is.

    Is my mother a human soul? I'm sorry if this sounds crazy, I'm sorry, I'm just having trouble with seeing her as evil.

  9. Joan, I am presenting the various views on this topic with the links to other blogs. Some believe it is spiritual. Some believe it is psychological. Some believe it is a combination of the two. So I attempted to present the links to the information in order for readers to draw their own conclusions. The assistance of a pastor and/or licensed mental health professional can be extremely beneficial.

  10. Thanks Gail, all the blogs are helping me. Now, its hard to describe what I feel right now, but it is essential that I recover. And recovery includes no contact. I've been remembering a lot more since I posted that, and I am less compassionate as I was then. I have lost everything in my life due to a person who doesn't have my best interest at heart. She is just a narc with a womb that is all.

    1. Joan, I understand your words completely.I have been on this path of recovery, and wish it had started many years ago. I feel I have lost precious healing time and that a therapist, a friend , a pastor...ANYONE had mentioned the words 'narcessistic mother' to me before. I too just don't understand the WHY? I am choosing no contact as well. Thank you Gail for all of your insight

  11. I lost my reply, and have had trouble adding my comments!
    I just want to say that sadly I can relate to all that's written on here but I'm thankful to have found the site.

  12. I am a Buddhist with a deep respect for the traditional Christian faith, and I am also happy to find this blog. My story is the same. My mother is a typical narc that has infiltrated every vulnerable portion of my soul in order to rob me of my God given gifts, and to poison all that is beautiful within me, leaving me with an empty shell of a life, full of fear and resentment and devoid of all joy and meaning.. She used all my virtues against me. My compassion for her was used to get me to forfeit my own life in countless ways. I was on the verge of breaking free when my boyfriend died from a drug overdose in college, and she used my grief and guilt to burrow her way deeper into my life than ever. My intellectual talents and stellar work ethic were used to get me to dig my own grave professionally. I entered a PhD program that was a terrible fit for me and imprisoned myself there for years, until head over heels in debt and burnt out to a crisp I finally left, only dive into the deepest part of the recession with no family support, no money, no marketable skills. I went "no contact" with her and my whole enabling family right before I left that program and it felt very liberating at the time, but i have stagnated since (this was 5 years ago). The anger is really debilitating. I keep waivering between furious anger and pity for her. It is constantly in the back of my mind eating away at me. And YES the worst part is that NO ONE understands except for people who have lived through it. The invalidation is almost as infuriating as the abuse itself. The fact that we have to do it alone, and that not only is there no one there to cheers us on as we confront the most vicious betrayal - the betrayal of the most sacred bond, that between a mother and child; but that instead we are judged as spiritually weak for seeing the truth about our mothers to begin with. We are judged by people who have no understanding of this predicament; it boggles my mind that even my close friends, deeply caring people who make every effort to support me, still don't get it. All these people somehow think that they would have handled it better. Even though they never say that it's obvious that this is what think. It's so obnoxiously arrogant because it is SO obvious that they would have drowned long ago. It is precisely the sensitive people that pity narc mothers that would be the first to be eaten alive by them. I sometimes have moments when I become my mother and treat others like garbage - no one can deal with it. No one even tries. They either enable me or run away with their tails between their legs. And these are the same people who would later tell me to make peace with my mother. Ugh!

    I used to think that this was just hippies being overly soft. In other words, liberals from the upper-middle classes that have no seen the darker side of life thinking that flower power is the answer to all of life's ills. I would have expected the Christian community to be better because they are generally more capable of tough love and have better sense of what true forgiveness demands - "If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them..." Luke 17:3. IF they repent THEN you forgive. Christians tend to be better at being honest about faults instead of pretending that they don't exist as the hippies do. But it sounds like on this point they too have failed miserably.

    1. Josie, I feel so much love for you in a strange way as your post is my post. Oh how I wish someone would truly understand what it's like, and what I've been through. I hate it when her (my mother's) negative qualities come out in me, and I hate that I have a jealousy or resentment for friends who hug and are praised by their Moms. I crave this, but been trained as undeserving. We are not failures Josie. Our Mothers are. We can raise above. And do it with a smile :)

  13. Josie i so understand the loneliness you feel. Im isolated from my entire family because of my malignant narc mother, who is still alive and doing well at 80. I never healed in time to have my own family and am now 56 and still in recovery. The loneliness is a form of madness. I do not have anyone who understands the shreds of my story ( noone knows the full story - i kinda test them in bits and pieces) alas im in recovery solo, always have been. The destruction that this woman has created is over whelming and almost incomprehensible. It is a very lonely road and am so grateful for Gails shares - they are very very validating and offer us some sense of sanity

  14. Yes, yes, I am not sure how I have kept myself from dropping dead just from the loneliness. I used to be a very open person, sharing myself freely with people I just met. But ever since I went no contact with my family I found that I could no longer do that. I have come to be disgusted with everyone, even people that I used to respect. I have slowly closed myself off from the world and my heart is now shriveling away. I feel like I am loosing my humanity because my heart is so disengaged all of the time and I am loosing touch with reality because there is no one to reflect myself to me in a healthy way.

    It sounds like I am headed in your direction Anonymous. I am 35 years old and I haven't even found myself yet. But neither I am eager to look. I have no safety net and am terrified from having fallen hard so many times. And besides I am past the great exploration stage. I just want to settle into something meaningful, but I have nothing to settle into. There is absolutely nothing and no one that I can honestly say I love. The world feels cold and empty and my heart is literally starving to death.

    Next to physical torture and extreme poverty I think that being the scapegoat of a narc mother is the heaviest burden. It is the most excruciating, most demonic psychological torture there is - a real kind of Hell.

    BUT THEN THIS IS THE THING: If life is truly meaningful and if God is real, then there has to be some greater purpose to all this suffering, something that makes it all worthwhile. We must be able to push through it and shine brighter than the people seemingly privileged by life. Otherwise life is not worth living at all! Who can ague with that?

    1. Hold on to that thought Josie. Things will get better. I have been exactly where you are. There have been many hopeless days throughout my journey too. I agree with you, being the scapegoat of a narcisistic mother is excruciatingly painful...a kind of psychological torture that is stretched over a lifetime. But, we can create meaning from this and I have to believe that God will carry all of us through this, somehow. Finding this blog, putting the next right person in my path to help me heal, going to recovery meetings, therapy, they are all part of the help that comes. It's slow progress, but I do believe that scapegoats end up to be the luckier ones. I would hate to be back in the middle of my NPD mothers dysfunctional world. I miss who I thought my brother was, but he is no longer that same person. He has become a shell of a person, a protector of our NM, and a "flying monkey." That makes me so sad. So, being out of these dysfunctional families does give us a chance to heal and work on ourselves. Keep your heart open. If I allow these experiences to harden my heart, then I become just like my mother. I don't want that. I know I am built to love, and so are you.

    2. I don't know if anyone reads this now, but Anonymus, reading the part about your brother struck a cord with me. I have accepted in a way that my parents are narcissists in their own specific ways, but I've recently realised I lost my older brother. He has become fully emerged in the system, severing our sibling ties, ans it hurts. It's a form of mourning of it's self. I have been effectively kicked out of the system, while I'm still in college and financially dependent on my family, they insist on bothering me and guilting me into coming home more often, spending time with them, I know it's not sincere, i don't even have the keys to our home, I haven't for years, they just "didn't get around to it" since they had to change the doors. Ever since I realised the patterns and games within the family I did all I thought possible at the time, to get myself healthy and not play their games. This has resulted in me gradually being expelled out of the family system. I'm in the process of mourning the psychological loss of my brother. I need to relearn anger, trust in my feelings, anger to set and keep boundaries. Being angry with my dad ment the denial of information and derailing of the discussion, with my monther a counter attack trying to regain the victim status, or ignoring my boundaries and my brother just leaving, walking away from the situation. Learning that anger and setting boundaries and negotiating them has a point is still something I have to learn and experience properly.

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  16. I am 58 years old, and am still being mistreated by my narcisstic mother. Three different times, me and my family have made plans to go see her and visit. Three times she has found excuses why we cannot come. recently, she was on vacation, and just 2 minutes from my home. She posted on facebook that she was in town, and then she left town and headed for my sisters house. She never called me or came by. Right now, she is giving me the silent treatment, in hopes that I will step up and make things right between us, where again she don't have to be accountable or take any responsibility. In my 58 years, my mother has never admitted to making a mistake, a bad choice, a bad decision, or ever doing wrong. And the words..."I'm sorry" have never came out of her mouth. She expects everyone else to make things right, smooth things over, forgive and forget. My mother spent my whole childhood pitting me and my siblings against eachother for her love and attention. We were all in competition with one another growing up. And her favorite children either looked like her, or were usable to her in some way. My siblings today, range in age from 55-59, and they are still competing with one another for her love and attention. Any good and close relationship we could have had, has been badly damaged, and we are not close. I am writing a letter to my mother. I am stopping this once and for all. My mother has asked me to tell her what things she has done to me, that I have had to forgive her for. I am going to be honest and tell her. She will show the letter to everyone, and again play the victim, to get pity. Unless my mother can be kind, respectful, and treat me and my family like we are important and like we matter, I can no longer have her in my life. I love my mother, and i always will, but i cannot be around her anymore, the way she is. It's not a normal or natural thing to cut ties with my mother. It's not an easy thing to do. It's something that has to be done, if i want peace, happiness, and a self.


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