Tactics of a Narcissistic Mother by Gail Meyers

Narcissistic Mother: No Contact or Low Contact

Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun -The_Daughter's Portrait, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Narcissistic Mother

© by Gail Meyers
Deciding to go low contact or no contact with your narcissistic personality disordered mother is a huge decision. Depending on where you are in your recovery process, it can feel anywhere from impossible or overwhelming, to mandatory and long overdue.

As you are considering what level of contact is best for you, look at the options. Yes, you have options. The choice is yours. We can not change anyone else, least of all a narcissistic mother. That leaves us to work on us. Some of the options are:
  1. Maintain the same or reduced level of contact, but learn to handle your narcissistic mother differently. Put some new steps in an old dance.
  2. Reduce your contact to low contact with narcissistic mom, such as two hours a month for dinner.
  3. Temporarily separate from narcissistic mother to focus on your recovery.
  4. Decide to go no contact.
The above options are discussed in sequential order.

Changing the Narcissistic Dance

Some sons and daughters of narcissistic mothers are able to maintain contact but change their steps in the dance. The level of contact may be with the same frequency or reduced to lower contact. According to Dr. Karyl McBride, this seems to work best when the mother is on the lower end of the spectrum of narcissism or when the daughter has done a great deal of recovery work.

This seems to work best when the daughter has emotionally separated from the mother and has a stronger sense of self. The son or daughter may have accepted that her narcissistic mother will never change and given up the hope that she ever will. The daughter has accepted the narcissistic mother for who she is instead of what she wishes her to be. She has accepted that her mother is incapable of mothering. So the daughter does not have expectations that her mother will change or meet her emotional needs. Therefore, the daughter is not continuously disappointed by her mother's behavior.

The daughter continues to maintain contact with her narcissistic mother, but she keeps the conversation light and polite. Another possible option is to speak for a brief time every couple of weeks. The daughter makes no attempt to establish emotional closeness with her narcissistic mother, but does not remove her mother completely from her life.

The real keys here seem to be autonomy and strong boundaries. Otherwise, the daughter risks being sucked back into the dysfunctional family dynamics. It may take practice and restraint not to respond in a hostile manner, but you can set your boundaries in a peaceful manner. Simply state your boundary and stick to it. If she does not respect it, state it again or remove yourself from the situation.

Low Contact with Narcissistic Mother

Another option is low contact. The point here is to limit your exposure to a toxic person and set clear boundaries. Do not give the narcissist anything to work with by pouring your heart out to them. Do not keep the narcissist up to date on the happenings in your life. This can also be a gradual process leading to no contact. The narcissist will likely notice the change, so be prepared.

When I did this I was accused of being "so secretive." That was because I was no longer giving her the details of my life that she could twist beyond recognition in her seemingly endless smear campaign. Like the above option of maintaining contact but giving different responses, during low contact you can work on changing the dance between you and your narcissistic mother. It takes two to dance some of narcissist's routines, but that is certainly not true of all of their maneuvers based on my experience. Refuse to stay locked into your assigned steps. You learn new steps or you choose to leave the dance floor.


Temporary Separation from Narcissistic Mother

Daughters and sons can choose to temporarily separate from their narcissistic mothers. As we all know, she will assume it has to do with her instead of you since you are merely an extension of her in her mind. In my opinion, this can be extremely beneficial especially during early recovery work. We need to feel physically and emotionally safe in order to protect ourselves from further wounds while we focus on addressing the ones we have been carrying.

For me personally, my denial did not begin to shatter until I felt physically and emotionally safe enough for it to. A temporary separation provides time to heal without narcissistic mother pushing your buttons or triggering you. Many sons and daughters simply tell their narcissistic mothers they need some time and space in order to deal with some of their own issues. The son or daughter will call her mother when she finishes or if there is an emergency. The daughter then asks her narcissistic mother to do the same.

Narcissistic mothers may not like this and may even throw a fit or have an emergency. You are not responsible for your mother's feelings, emotions or reactions. You can tell her politely but firmly. Then simply do what you said you were going to do. However, there are also those who do not announce this to their narcissistic mothers. They simply pull back and begin to focus on their lives and recovery.

No Contact with Narcissistic Mother

Once you are certain you are dealing with a narcissistic personality disordered mother, the only advice often given is to go no contact. While I realize this solution is not for every adult son or daughter of every narcissist, I think this is by far the healthiest option. At 50, I want to shout it from the rooftops to the next generation of sons and daughters to go no contact!

When I look back over the nearly 30 years now since the diagnosis was originally given, I can unequivocally say going no contact and staying that way would have been the best option. I endured years of unnecessary pain and broken relationships as a result of my own mother's abuse and slander, plus the impact on future generations when I was working so hard to break the cycles.

I have spoken to several other women ages 50 and over who all say the same thing. They feel as if they lost decades of their lives. They are exhausted with nothing to show for it. It is exhausting dealing with a narcissist, especially if you continue believing they will change someday. It was my experience that when you attempt to set a new boundary in a dysfunctional family, the whole family system bucks up against you to put your back in your place. That is especially true if you are the scapegoat.

Healthy families where everyone takes responsibility for their emotions and actions do not require scapegoats. Scapegoats exist in dysfunctional families where someone chronically refuses to take responsibility for themselves, such as a narcissistic personality disordered mother. The scapegoat taking all of the blame allows the rest of the family to appear normal. As we all know, appearance is everything to a narcissist. So prepare yourself for that possibility.

Narcissistic Mother's Flying Monkeys

Also prepare yourself for the flying monkeys. My mother used my siblings, aunts, nieces, nephews and grandparents as flying monkeys at different times. So you may also need to make low contact or no contact decisions with other members of the family too. Many times I had the experience of being estranged from my narcissistic personality disordered mother when she sent a flying monkey to find out what was going on in my life. It was usually in the form of fake concern or a flipped martyr tale my mother told so she could play the victim while vilifying the true victim, e.g., in order to summons the flying monkeys and conceal the true reason for the estrangement.

An enmeshed or engulfing narcissistic mother might stalk you on the telephone or in person when you attempt to go no contact. If so, you will need to set the necessary boundaries. At the other extreme is the ignoring narcissistic mother. She will likely let you go, very easily. She will let you go too easily, if not happily, as if to say you do not matter much anyway. My mother pulled both of these routines at different times. It is a head game, but also may be a huge blessing in disguise. It may not last when you do not cave in, so enjoy it while it does!

As you begin healing and are taking better care of yourself, your new boundaries start to feel more natural. It also helped me to improve my self care by thinking of myself as my own best friend, then decide what I would do for a friend in this situation. Then that was what I would do for myself. We have been taught our needs do not count, so that may be helpful when trying to re-parent yourself, determine appropriate boundaries, etc.

You are in control of your life no matter how much a narcissist would love for you to believe otherwise. Make a plan and head in that direction as you are safely physically and emotionally able to do so. Narcissistic mothers demand perfection, but you do not have to do it perfectly. Just head in that direction the best you are safely able to at this time.

Deciding to go no contact with your narcissistic personality disordered mother is a life changing and uniquely personal decision. The decision an adult son or daughter makes to go no contact can have profound, far-reaching consequences for yourself, spouse and children. There comes a time in recovery when each of us must determine whether maintaining contact in healthy. Sometimes, as sad as it is, a narcissistic personality disordered mother is too toxic.

Narcissistic Grandmother

At this point in my life I am a mother and grandmother, so I am speaking from experience in this regard. Please always keep your children in mind when deciding the level of contact you will have with your mother. You may think your mother would never harm your children. Think again, a grandchild is further removed than her own child was. Narcissistic mothers become narcissistic grandmothers.

Also, as my mother did, it can be done in very subtle, deceitful ways. Your children can pick up the negative behavior while Grandma is turning them against you. Be it by word or deed Grandma's toxic attitudes are conveyed to the children. Grandma will groom an impressionable child as narcissistic supply, to take care of her, feel sorry for her, etc., and your little darling may soon be a flying monkey who is treating you much the same way your narcissistic mother taught your siblings to treat you.

If you have been told by a licensed professional that your parent is suffering from narcissistic personality disorder, please do not underestimate the narcissist even though she is your mother.  Underestimating my narcissistic mother was a mistake I made for many years that cost me greatly. A high toxicity narcissist will strip you of all you hold dear and suck the life out of you. Some have coined this "soul murder." She will then convince everyone she is the victim and you are a monster! Truly, it can feel like you are living in a horror movie, except that it is not a movie. It is your life!

Is Going No Contact Harsh?

During my 20's and 30's I heard this over and over from friends, family, neighbors, church members, pastors, etc. What it accomplishes is reinforcing the narcissist's abuse, invalidating and further alienating the son or daughter. My narcissist mother loved to manipulate with guilt and pity anyway, so it fit right in with her tactics. It caused me much confusion, guilt and indecision at times, but at other times I simply dismissed their advice.

As a result, there is never any validation for the adult child's feelings. It can seem as if all of society is approving of the narcissistic mother's abuse. This is very often the predicament the son or daughter of a narcissistic personality disordered mother finds himself or herself in.

Often times people added to the damage by giving me their opinions of my feelings of anger or hurt resulting mother's carefully crafted, concealed abuse. What many of these people are actually giving is their opinion of your emotions. Emotions are not right or wrong, they just are. You are entitled to the normal human response to abuse.

The average person can not even grasp the reality of a narcissistic personality disordered mother. So if you were blessed with a healthy, nurturing mother please be considerate of those who were not. If you are facing the situation, be very careful who you listen to. The sacred role of mother fights against a child of a narcissist mother. It is so unnatural that the average person assumes a mother does what is best for her children.

Someone stating going no contact is harsh is a ridiculous statement. If there was physical evidence of the destruction caused psychologically, to relationships and reputation, others would not rush to such a conclusion. If that were the case, stating no contact is harsh would be roughly the same as telling a rape victim having no contact with her rapist is harsh. A narcissist high on the narcissism spectrum is a predator and you have every right to protect yourself and your children as you would from any other predator.

Also, remember you are under no obligation to explain yourself to anyone. It is especially true that you are not obligated to explain yourself to people who are committed to misunderstanding you, disrespecting your boundaries and undermining your choices.

No Contact Recovery Work

This is one of the most important things I learned from going no contact with my narcissistic personality disordered mother. The physical separation ended the constant flow of venom. So it was a definite improvement in that regard. However, the emotional pain does not stop simply because an adult son or daughter decides to go no contact. Continuing in your recovery work is vitally important. You have to leave home psychologically, emotionally separate from your mother.


There are many factors to consider when an adult son or daughter decides to take control of their level of contact with their narcissistic personality disordered mother. There are also various options between enmeshment and estrangement.
It can be helpful to keep these points in mind:
  • You can not fix your narcissist mother.
  • Narcissists high on the spectrum do not change. Ever.
  • You are not helping your mother by allowing her to continue abusing you.
  • Besides you getting sucked back into the dysfunction, children can quickly learn the unhealthy attitudes and behaviors of a narcissistic grandmother.
  • Be extremely careful not to become the narcissist's flying monkey.
  • Do not underestimate a narcissist high on the narcissism spectrum.
  • Going no contact is not harsh.
  • Enduring abuse without protecting yourself is harsh - to you!
  • Be careful who you listen to.
We have options as adult sons and daughters of narcissistic personality disordered mothers. Whichever level of contact you choose, you have to make the choice that is right for you. I hope this has provided some ideas or food for thought. If you have a great idea or tip to share, I invite you to do so in the comments section. As always, please feel free to share your thoughts and experiences.

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Photo: Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun -The_Daughter's Portrait, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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  1. Hi Gail, thank you for posting this. My sister and I have recently gone no contact with our NM. We are currently going through the aftermath of it all (including my mother's threats of committing suicide). It's all overwhelming, but it's great to be able to come to a place like this to receive some validation and empathy (both of which are new to me). Thanks again and I look forward to reading all your other posts!

  2. Thank goodness for technology, the ability to communicate concepts, and willingness of others to share their stories. After 52 years, things are finally clear. I can categorize every situation and understand the reasoning behind all of her actions, and realize why all of those things I did to make things better for her or ‘win’ approval never worked.

    Apologize in advance for any rambling – so many thoughts, so much to share, so done with it all.

    I was very confused when trying to understand what was wrong with my Mother. It was mind boggling to try to explain. Early on, I thought it was simply because I had a different father and she resented me. Especially when I learned she had dropped me off at birth to live with my Grandmother, and did not retrieve me until she remarried and I was almost four years old (broke Grandma and Granddaddy’s heart).

    Could see problems, but did not understand. Why was she so hateful toward us until she wanted something, why she played head games, how she could twist around situations and invent new memories, and when around others, how she flipped a switch. It was amusing when watching how giddy she would become when she was the center of attention, how pouty she would become when attention was directed elsewhere, how sneaky, evil and deceitful she was in vetting ‘revenge’ when things did not work the way she planned. She became threatening when losing control, would quickly shut down any sort of sensitive conversation and if confronted with her tactics, she became enraged.

    I wondered why family friends went away at some point and we had no further contact with them, wondered why she never followed the lives of previous children or kept in touch with her own brothers and their families, wondered why siblings did such horrible things directed toward my Mother and thought there was something seriously wrong with them.

    I told my new husband when we first met, that we had a dysfunctional family, but he smiled and entered the family dynamic with an open mind. He realized she was very intelligent, she put on the charm and in short order, once she felt she had the scoop and found a perceived vulnerability; she turned her tactics toward him. That did not work.

    My husband was able to address her comments and actions in a logical, ‘matter of fact’ way; he has been the only person who could put things in a perspective that shut her down. When derailed, he became her target; she would disappear for days under the guise of a health issue or other preoccupation, when in reality she was brainstorming to develop her next plan of attack. I found myself relieved at not being on her radar.

    After spending a lot of time typing in silly statements in the search engine, I stumbled across the term Narcissism. At first, I was embarrassed. When reading some of the blogs and personal stories, I felt like someone had been writing about my life and wondered how these strangers knew so much about our family. The light came on and I cried, for many reasons.

    Was relieved because I had an explanation, felt inept for not ‘getting it’ sooner, and sad because neither of my siblings had a clue. She is a master at the triangulation thing. As siblings, we are not on good terms for reasons I now understand. I am (was) the scapegoat (oldest), my brother is the infantile codependent (middle), and my sister is the golden child (youngest).

    It is fair to say that our Mother has created hate and discontent among immediate family, extended family, friends, and acquaintances over the years. Even for those she eliminated from her life, many state that she left a path of destruction by which they remember her.

    After learning so much about this subject and realizing there is no hope for her to change, deciding to go no contact is a no brainer. Now, the focus has to be on what little is left of the family.

  3. Thank you for writing your experience, and thank you people who wrote comments. I am going no contact both with a narcissist mom and a golden child sibling. Thanks for helping me, free myself. I was caught in a snare and you have helped me further loosen myself from the snare. God bless you.

    I am learning to love and parent myself, with God's help.

    Just recently, great fortune occurred rapidly as both my mom and sibling got sloppy enough for their narcissism to show so badly that a group saw it.

    I wanted to free myself more than 35 years ago when I left the house for college, but I just couldn't as my conscience would not allow it, and during that time, it would of successfully would of looked like I was the weird one, but now others see what I saw.

    Today, now with support from others, I understand I MUST GO FREE and I have the support of my wife and my other sibling and his wife. Now that lies are exposed I am moving quickly to understand and heal, everyday striving to make progress, to heal from the lies and cruelities.

  4. Today the light went on to go NO CONTACT. After years of being the scapegoat and slave, I asked for my childhood pictures before my "incubator's" demise. She told me no pictures were leaving her apt. I told her I'll get them when she drops dead. The woman hasn't looked at them in 30-40 years, but her least favorite kid asked for them, all the reason to play her control game. I had to beg for a tie to remember my father by. The other kids got remembrances. Today is the day the I emotionally buried my incubator.I'm done. FREE AT LAST

  5. methegypsy, thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences. I hope things are calming down for your in your no contact.

  6. Anonymous, I can relate to everything you wrote. It truly is mind boggling to try to figure out and such a relief just to finally be able to name the problem. Every aspect of the behavior you describe sounds spot on in my experience.

    A narcissistic personality disordered mother often leaves a path of destruction far and wide. It literally rips through the following generations too. It causes me to want to shout it from the rooftops to the next generation of sons and daughters! Then the children have children and all of the attitudes are often passed down. For example, the golden child's children shun or mistreat the scapegoat's children, etc.

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. You express yourself so beautifully and clearly.

  7. Anonymous, I am glad you are setting yourself free! Even better that you have support and the truth has been exposed. God bless you on your healing journey.

  8. Anonymous, that sounds like typical behavior. I wish you well on your decision to go no contact. Remember, there are online groups, blogs and therapists if you need support. You can find local resources at 211.org.

    Thank you for reading and sharing.

  9. Hi Guys,
    It is shocking how your story about her matches mine, although it is about my Mother in law. After one year of no contact with her, she still continues her smear campaign against me and my Hubby (her son!) and not to mention our little innocent kids. She even tried to convince my Husband to kidnapp them! The weirdest thing is that her whole family, luckily not such a big one, and all her friends are now hating us when we have not done anything and to be honest they don't even know us. How do one get over that? I can't live with this anger inside me anymore.

    1. Anonymous, I am sorry for your pain and frustration. I have been on the receiving end of the same kind of smear campaigns, which is one reason I long ago stopped listening to gossip. The ones interested in the truth often do not listen to gossip and if they do they at least realize there are at least two sides to every story. They inquire or cut a gossiper off mid-sentence. Then there are others who love gossip as if it is a juicy little morsel.

  10. I have what I would call a more moderate Narcissist mother. Rarely outright abuse (except in rages). Just more not caring and coldness and selfishness and abandonment.

    I do have a sense of the lost decades though. Not so much because of the actuality of dealing with her difficult behaviour. But because for so long I lived in a fog of denial and hope and confusion around that behaviour. That is really sad, but also have more clarity and freedom now potentially.

    1. Anonymous, narcissistic mothers are often categorized into engulfing or estranged. I don't think either extreme is healthy. I think that denial protected us and our minds, especially as children. I also think it lifts as we are able to handle it. It is sad, but the clarity and freedom on the other side of it can be amazing - to then focus our energy on worthwhile pursuits.

  11. Dear Gail,
    I went no contact with my narcissistic mother 6 years ago. Actually, she set the stage and I had no choice. She tried to scapegoat my daughters and she knew it would be the best way to get at me. With God's strength and wisdom, I fought her for the first time in my life (in my mid forties) and she hung up on me. I knew it was the end and told people I would never hear from her again but no one believed me. Now, after 6 years, they finally do.

    She hasn't left me alone in the sense that she has been very busy getting as many of her "flying monkeys" to invade my life. It has been one attack after another including having my house vandalized several times.

    Being the ultimate scapegoat, I had to go no contact with a narcissistic mother-in-law at the same time and a couple years later had to go no contact with a narcissistic pastor. I realized that I attracted every narcissist within a 10 mile radius. They have all had their own flying monkeys and you can't begin to imagine the amount of attacks I have been through in the last 6 years. It has been ruthless, terrifying, and exhausting!

    If it had not been for the Lord, I would never have made it! He has opened my eyes and taught me everything! He has walked me through the fire and has been healing me! It is still hard and painful and the attacks continue but He helps me and strengthens me through His Word! He has taught me that all these so called Christians are all modern day Pharisees. They are self righteous and only care about appearing to look religious. I believed that they all were who they said they were and set myself up for tremendous abuse. I took care of them all and did all the family gatherings, paid for it, took care of their businesses, ran their worship and Bible studies, and they used me, abused me, and threw me away without a care. Except to slander and malign me to everyone they could. It shocks me how many people believe them! There is absolutely no evidence to support their lies and yet everyone believes them!

    But God is on my side! He is the Truth and He is what I live for and He has protected me, my husband and my children! Praise be to Him for saving all of us and protecting the oppressed! The Bible says that even if our mother and father abandon us, He will never abandon us! To Him be all Glory Forever!!! Thank you for your website! May God Bless you and your ministry!!!

    1. Anonymous, I am sorry for the pain and frustrating you have endured and continue to endure. There was a time I also thought if someone claimed they were a Christian, they were a Christian. However, the Bible itself warns us about false brethren, as well as false teachers and Pharisees. There are also those who enter the church, and even the leadership of churches, with the intent to deceive and abuse. So I think we just have to be careful, know the Bible for ourselves and "know them by their fruits." All of these are biblical instructions, but as a whole we have been taught that to be Christian means to be nice to everyone. Thank you for taking the time to read and share your thoughts.

      To God be the glory - amen to that!

  12. I just wanted to thank you for writing this and for your wonderful blog. As an adult child of a NM on the very far end of the spectrum it is heartening to find others who understand. Mine (as most are) was a master at the art of isolation. Connecting with others is still a work in progress after many years of therapy. I am happy to say that I have been in a no contact scenario since spring of 2008. My therapist had urged me to do this for a number of years and I just couldn't break the tie. I could not let go of the hope. Surprisingly it was my NM that finally caused the no contact scenario. She told me I had never been a daughter to her. Ever. In that moment,knowing everything she'd used me for,put me through, required of me, and that I had tried to do to earn her love - I finally realized that my therapist was right- she was never going to change and magically be my the mom I'd always thought you got when you were born. She was never going to love me and care about me. It was time to let her go. She has attempted to create her own special brand of chaos in retaliation for losing control but some preemptive actions mitigated most of the damage she spread around my world. There are still times when my heart aches but now it is from sadness rather than longing. Learning to accept myself as I am is a ongoing process. I am 45 and in the healthiest relationship of my life. We are childless. I could not risk exposing a child to my parents. We do have three lovely fur babies. Two kitties and a beautiful bunny. Finally, I am able to feel the warmth of love and I know I am worthy. No contact is scary but so worth it. t.

    1. earthfire, my heart goes out to you. I can so intimately relate to your heartbreak and I am sorry for your pain. I am glad to hear you are no contact and in therapy. Congratulations on the healthy relationship! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences.

  13. Wow. I can't believe this. I think this may also be my situation. Growing up I was bullied, by classmates and my second grade teacher, and had many broken friendships due to friends who were manipulative and the gossip types. My mother always from the beginning would have strange reactions to every new friendship.

    My first three days of kindergarten she sat with me in class till the teacher told her to leave, which is traumatic when you're five years old. Personally, if I were the teacher I wouldn't allow the parent to stay for more than two hours, since children need to integrate with those their own age to become independent. I didn't take the bus or subway alone until eighteen.

    For the past two years I've become more independent and she gets upset if I try to do something on my own, acting as if I'm rejecting her, even if that's not the case. I've been called "ungrateful" and have heard the lines, "what will other people think" and that I'm "going through a rebellious phase that [I] missed as a teenager".

    She only sees me for who she wants- the helpless little girl who needs to be held by the hand, and the only compliments she gives are on my appearance, never my intellect. If I ever try to share something I've learned she accuses me of treating her like she's "stupid", which I've not done because my mother is a very intelligent woman and shouldn't need my validation. She is also against the fact that I have my own political views even though she herself never cared for politics. Narcissistic parents are insecure and only feel safe if they pretend that "all the world's a stage," like Shakespeare stated.

    For the first time I look in the mirror and enjoy who I am. The other day I gave a presentation in front of people without wanting to retreat, on a documentary that took me since 2012 to work on. I'm happy, she's miserable. I feel like the phoenix, and she only sees the fire, not the wings.

    1. Karina, thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences with us.

  14. Thank you for giving words to something I've been trying to explain for years! This IS my mother! I am glad someone out there understands, but I am sorry anyone has to go through this. It's a lifetime of pain. I've been unloved & abused by my mother as far back as I can remember & my sister & I nicknamed her Mommy Dearest years ago. I the abuse she has inflicted over 50+ years & the people who think she's a saint makes me sick.

    1. Anonymous, thank you for sharing your thoughts. I agree in feeling for anyone in this situation. However, it is encouraging that you have a sibling who understands.

  15. I can't thank you enough for this information and for sharing your experiences. I am particularly grateful for your perspective on the narcissistic grandmother. What you have shared is so very resonant with my life experience, and you have vividly articulated something that is extremely difficult for others to understand who have not experienced it. I appreciate both your comprehensive description of these relationship experiences, as well as practical strategies for moving forward. I wish you peace, happiness, strength, and fulfillment in your life and relationships.

    1. Anonymous, thank you for taking the time to let me know this information is helpful to you. I appreciate it! I also wish you peace, happiness, strength and fulfillment in your life and relationships!

  16. I have a NM and an enmeshing father. I went no contact 6 years ago and have never experienced the level of physical and emotional heath that I now enjoy. One thing I would add is to think through how you will handle the death of your abusing parents now before you are in the situation, especially if you have gone no contact. I have a plan now about how I will handle the situation and if I will even go to their funerals, depending on certain circumstances. I am not sure exactly how I will react emotionally when they die, but I feel like I have my "insurance policy and reality check" of a plan in place for when they do. Any you are completely, 100% correct on everything you wrote. I am the scapegoat and paid a hefty price for it. I feel like I was cheated out of the first 3 decades of my life because of it. But I will be damned if I will let my parents take away the rest of my life from me and the relationships I now enjoy with my husband and children. I still struggle with loneliness at times but it is so worth it to be out of the drama tornado they suck me into. I can't stress enough how much going no contact has saved my health and my soul!

    1. Anonymous, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts, advice and experiences. I am glad to hear you are doing well after going no contact even if it is a bit lonely at times.

  17. I have a nm and we are absolutely no contact. it hurt to do that and it still does to some degree but I am so happy and have a happier existence without that influence in my life. the lying, verbal assaults, guilt trips, whatever :) Someone told me once to forgive my nm and I said I have I just don't *trust* my nm to have any contact whatsoever. My nm was a religious zealot - and it warped her.

  18. I have done this "dance" with my mother for most of my life until I decided to eliminate contact with her two years ago. This was one of the best decisions that I have ever made in my life. Unless you have encountered this type of personality, you will never understand it.

    I am the oldest of six children and have always felt a sense of parental responsibility to my siblings as often they were not treated the way that a loving mother treats her children. My mother was more concerned about outward appearances and looking good in the eyes of others. She wanted to be popular and has interjected herself in her children's friendships, to the point where the friends are now my mother's friends. As adult children, one is now the deceased, two of us have gone no contact, two moved to another province and another has directed me to the narcissistic mother website.

    It has not been an easy path, but when your mother schemes against you and continually tries to undermine your self-worth, feeding off of insecurities, it is time to move on. I decided, with the help of a therapist that it was time for me to put myself first.

    1. Anonymous, I agree that it is terrible difficult for the average person to fathom such a mother. I can definitely relate to your suffering and frustration, but I am glad it sounds like the children are catching on. I wish you well in your recovery and invite you to join us on Facebook.

  19. Gail- I have gone no-contact with my mother, but would like a relationship with my father. He's not exactly a "flying monkey" but has never had the backbone to stand up to her. My mother is always the first one to answer the phone and reads all of his letters and email (besides reading all of his email, for some reason she often uses his email account to send her emails). I know this is probably a no-win situation, but any suggestions at all?

    1. Anonymous, some people are able to make it work by establishing firm boundaries.

  20. Gail,

    I am almost 8 months no contact with my NM. Forty-six years of denial! The frightening, emotionally-cold but also attacking response I got from her once I finally told her that i will no longer allow her to undermine or criticize me or my hubbie especially in front of our children, and could she please respect our basic rights, was what prompted me to go no contact. Now that I see the truth of who I really am to her, there is no way I can ever go back (she's very high on the narcissism scale and even my therapist agrees she will likely never change.) I've been busy with recovery work, and it's going well. How do you deal with others who hint that you should attempt to reconcile, by joint therapy with mother, for instance, or with a deacon? Since my mother has shown no evidence of changing and has only written me hurtful letters all about her as usual, I've seriously lost hope. I'm also very busy with my children and my wonderful husband (recently diagnosed with a serious neurological problem, of which my mother has barely even acknowledged, at least to him or me!)

    I really feel like whereas in the past I cared too much about what others thought, now I could care less. For the first time in my life, I'm starting to feel good about myself. My intuition is telling me to not even try to defend myself to others who question me. My mother is spreading lies about me, however, that I don't appreciate. It is amazing how evil they can be, all in the name of protecting their precious image! I just wanted to ask if you have any advice for how to handle the lies (being told to my husband's aunt, who my mother knows will probably relate everything to me somehow.). My current plan (and my hubbie's) is that we will tell his aunt and cousin to please not pass anything along to us anymore. It's not helpful info anyway, just hurtful or full of lies (mom saying she does love me to them even though I've never heard her say those words to me! Also she is insinuating that I may not be in my right mind due to going through the change of life - completely false! I am not in the change at all and am handling stress well.) The cousin has a very good heart and is likely trying to be a peacemaker, but the aunt's motives are questionable (hubbie says he does not trust her.He does trust cousin and so do I). Aunt tells cousin and then cousin tells us. You really have to know our cousin to realize that she truly thinks she's being helpful. But it's not helpful. One thing is that cousin may also be extremely compliant daughter of an NM, though mom's not as high of narcissism probably. Any thoughts on this? If we quit listening, i'm wondering if NM will stop talking to aunt.

  21. After having my psychiatrist diagnose my mother as an NPD and telling me to go not contact, I finally did. I'm experiencing the flying monkeys but fending them off. Fortunately, my siblings have suffered the same abuse and triangulation so are therefore happy to side with me. Dear Mom has alienated so many that she really doesn't have anyone to listen to her rants about her "adopted" children. Yes, I get that special advantage of not only having an NPD mother, but an adoptive mother as well. Double whammy.

    Recovery is my central focus now. I can't find enough material on how to recover but this blog is a huge asset. I know God is going to play the biggest part. Thank you to you all for your share.

    1. Anonymous, it sounds like you are in a better situation than many to have siblings who understand. There is a lot of information available about recovery, but there are no shortcuts. I have the article I wrote on this blog, there is a lot of information in the recovery and healing folder on the FB page, several books are available, and a Google search will bring up much more than that. I wish you well in your recovery. Thank you for taking the time to write and share your thoughts.

  22. Dear Gail: your blog continues to give guidance and strength. After 4 years of No Contact, I see how much stronger I am: what people don't understand (that is people on the outside of all this drama of narcissistic parents) is how EXHAUSTING it all is..and how we delegate our energies and time in thinking 'what went wrong ' with our parents. All this takes precious time away from our own creative abilities. Rollo May writes about our 'centeredness' and when we lose it or never find it, is usually is tied to our anxiety and taking care...parenting the narcissistic parent.

    In these four years I have not only written 5 books (the fifth to be published this spring of 2015) but I have renewed energy at almost 67 to entertain other creative interests, like painting and dancing. I can't believe how many decades I allowed her to rob me of so much...mostly self-respect and value. No Contact has given me the peace and space to do so many things and to concentrate on myself and my husband of 30 years now. Narcissists on the far end of the spectrum rob us of life, time and energy. I have never been able to set boundaries with her, but when I did by my silence, etc...I was accused of being 'crazy' and difficult and the seat of all the problems in the family. LOL!

    Now one of her flying monkeys is trying to get me to call her. A sister in law who has sat for 40 years as one of the Silent Ones who allowed the abuse and never said boo....along with my two brothers. After ignoring my phone calls and emails and no contact for 4 years, she is trying to drag me back to this toxic family because my mother is 94.

    These 4 years of No Contact have changed me in the best of ways. I recognize a number of personality disorders in friends, like passive/aggressive behavior, etc and I now know that my healthy and creativity is bound up in avoiding and dismissing these people from my life. I just don't have the interest anymore in going into toxic situations.

    No Contact is confusing to the general public: meaning people who think you should endure the soul-murder of narcissistic parents and siblings. I refuse to play into this guilt and backward behavior now. I had over 40 years of it. No Contact saved my life. Period. There was a time where I was feeling so devalued that I thought of ending my life. Now? I know I have so much more to do and to create.

    Thank you for understanding the great benefit of going No Contact. It can be a life saver!


  23. Gail...I lost my comment, but THANK YOU for supporting No Contact. In the 4 years I have done so, I have really recovered so much of my life that was damaged in over 40 years of abuse from a narcissistic mother (Malignant) and two brothers who have been trained by the mother to be misogynistic and narcissistic.

    Now a sister in law (a flying monkey) is trying to get me to call her....not that she has tried to contact me in 4 years. But I don't want to be dragged back into this toxic family, and I know what is in store for me. More abuse.

    At 66, almost 67, my life is good and healthy. I am productive, and as Rollo May writes about, I have found my creative 'centeredness'. This would be in danger if I ever went back and I am about protecting this. On the one hand is soul murder and on the other is soul-growth.

    Thank you again!


  24. I went NC for 3 years while I was in therapy over the issues with my MNM. I still felt a little guilty so I established low, low contact for 9 years. I fell back in to the family system through a desire to have a relationship with my brother. The death of my stepfather brought my NPD mother and I to spend more time together. She was on her best behavior for a few months but she was just waiting to attack. I averted numerous fights that she was trying to start. I used all of my recovery tools. It was exhausting and very nerve wracking. Definately not worth the emotional energy spent. Finally a narcissistic rage prompted me to hang up the phone on her. She was still trying to get to me through my brother, sister in law, and stepsister. I started talking about what happened if they called. No more calls are coming in. No one wants to hear my side of the story. They would rather believe that I was the attacker, they don't want to hear the truth. So, I've tried all the different ways. NC is by far the best option for me. In 12 years, no one in this family had changed, particularly my mother. The good news is, I had changed, a lot. I'm still traumatized from this but I will never go back. As far as my mothers funeral...I will not be attending.

  25. I would think that the vast majority of Narcissistic Mothers (and especially those on the far end of the spectrum) are never diagnosed as such because they REFUSE to go into therapy. One of the key issues of narcissism I have seen is Narcissists believe that it is the rest of the world, society, family are the ones at fault: everyone else is crazy: they are the only sane ones. Hah!
    My mother was a nurse and I have found that those in the medical professions are some of the very worse offenders. They believe they are 'above' therapy. And this is part of their 'illness'.

    There is also little self-examination with these narcissists. Perhaps deep down they realize that something is wrong, but their behavior has become so embedded that they can't stand to really 'look'. The wiring is too twisted. They get the narcissistic supply by their actions, and though they definitely push people away and in many cases the emotional abuse by narcissists severely warps the 'servants' around them....they don't care. They have never developed empathy, etc. because of this particular pathology. And forget unconditional love, the concept is unknown to them. All this means is that some of us sacrifice our entire lives to the whims of such people.

    At some point, you have to look at what this 'too close encounter' with the malignant narcissist is doing to you and also your children. Only by No Contact can you clear your mind and get the 'space' to really break the chains. It's not easy, and you suffer lots of issues like guilt (but this is also an issue that outsiders push....'she's your mother') but when you can work through all these issues, you realize the real damage to yourself and potential others (like children). Then the decision to go No Contact is much easier. A good therapist that is knowledgeable in extreme personality disorders is of the greatest help to make these transitions....but it takes time.

    The world would be a better place without these extreme, soul crushing Narcissists, but that won't happen. What is possible is avoiding them and meaning it. There is a new life out there, and it's a good one.

    Lady Nyo

  26. Went cold turkey 20 years ago. It's sad and leaves a hole inside you but it's a world better than what my brother and sister have endured. As for my 8 year old daughter, NM is nothing more than a vague memory and one less heartbreak she will have to endure.

  27. Thank you to everyone on here. I read this and many other sites to make sense of what has happened to me and it really helps. I've been having minimal contact with my NM and NS for 2-3 years now. I got divorced 3 years ago and quickly moved on to a new relationship. Since then the rather difficult relationships I've had with them both all my life have now descending into chaos.

    My NM has exhibited almost all the characteristics of NPD my entire life, including physical abuse which of course is now denied and being turned on me as being the crazy one who makes things up.

    I kept contact for the sake of my daughter (11yo) but even she has recently asked to not see them anymore. Each time contact has been instigated by me, there is no interest in my daughter at all, but my NM tells everyone I am keeping her from them. My Dad is not allowed to see me and phones me secretly behind her back, he has no option at 70+ other than to stay.

    This weekend we had to go to a family party where they were also there, neither of them approached me and they sat away from myself and my partner (who they have decided they despise).

    I knew it was my job to go and say hello at the party, it took all my bravery but i did it. I always have a hope that this situation will be resolved, and I know it is seen as being up to me. Strangely, my NM grabbed my hand, talked about how ill my Dad has been (I've not been called about this) and my Dad sat there telling me how amazing my mother is ! I gave it 5 minutes, and politely extracted myself from the conversation and went back to my partner.

    Today I get a text and call from my Dad to say that my NM feels the same as she always has, that i am responsible for all that is wrong in her life, that I have to apologise (which I have already done 5-6 times, even resorting to begging for forgiveness, for what i am not sure though).

    I feel now that this is it, no contact, not for me or my daughter. Nothing will ever change her or my sister (who continues to send me abusive emails/texts/letters). I am not a bad person, I don't have to put up with this and nor does my gorgeous girl. Doesn't mean it doesn't break your heart though....

  28. Thank you for this site and everyone’s stories.

    I have a no contact boundary in place with my mother. I have had this in place for about four years. Her mounting and indescribably horrible actions lead to this decision. She exploded with anger and insults when I put this boundary in place. Her manipulation and dishonesty is indescribable to those who have not experienced having a Narcissist parent.

    My childhood was full of fear, confusion, and emotional damage. I battled constantly for her approval, her love, her affection, and her care. She held these back and manipulated every situation turning life into a sad, chaotic filled wreck while giving everyone on the outside a misconception of a perfect little family.

    My older brother left the home immediately after high school and moved across the country. He physically moved far, far away, but was not equipped with setting boundaries against her toxicity. He was respectful and tried to accommodate her craziness. He took his life two years ago and my mother sought blame and revenge against his amazing wife. It’s just disgusting.

    I have played the role of her scapegoat for 38 years. I shut her out and no longer participate. Her golden child, my younger sister, is a co-dependant mess who had an affair with my husband while being supported by our narcissistic mother. When this came to light, it was as if my mother rejoiced in my devastation and heartbreak. I was told that I was somehow to blame and responsible.

    I have never known how to categorize her behavior. It is so twisted. Reading this blog and everyone’s input and experience has given me so much understanding. I made a decision four years ago to take control. I gave myself permission to no longer allow her to influence my life, my thoughts, my fears, and my soul. These past four years have been the most amazing blessing. I now have true joy and peace.

    My precious children are my greatest gifts. I always knew that when I have children, I would cherish every hair on their head every second of the day!! I have never wanted them to experience the darkness I endured. I know my mother is not capable of change. I know she is not capable of loving me the way I deserve. I have accepted this. It is lonely.

    I do not know my father. My brother is gone. My marriage is destroyed. I have no contact boundaries with my mother and sister. However, I do have my two beautiful children and amazing supportive friends and co-workers. I found Jesus and became a believer. I find strength in knowing I am a beautifully and wonderfully made child of God. Many prayers to all those who suffer from having a Narcissistic parent.

    God Bless Everyone!!

  29. I've had a complete week of NC with the NM, just beginning to feel better. NM is in respite for a couple of weeks before she comes back. Why my siblings can't have her now I don't know...no one sorts it out. They are all a lot older than me, escaped before they had to deal with NM, although they have no idea, she is sweet little old lady to them. When I wanted to move out NM threatened to have our pussycat put down. I collapsed and didn't move out. I did when I was 26, but always had the guilty phone calls "you've left me here all on my own". No one else got these. She is due out in a week's time, I have made my feelings clear to my sister it is against my wishes, but trying to be made to feel guilty. I am done, we have agreed not to argue, but come next week...I don't know what I'm going to do.

  30. I have struggled with going no contact with my mother for the last several years and one big reason that I haven't is so that my children can still have contact with her. I am finally coming to the realization that her being in their lives is more destructive than anything positive for them. I have seen her pit other children (her husband's grandchildren) against their parents. And she plays favorites with my children - she wants nothing to do with my son who has autism - and I'm realizing now how harmful this is to my other son as well, to see his brother in the same negative/pitying way that she seems him. How do you explain to your children tho that seeing their grandmother isn't in their best interest? My sons are 10 and 13. She lives on the other side of the country so we can't see her often anyway, but I would like to visit my sister who lives near her at some point in the next year.

  31. My story is quite different than others, I was fortunate enough that I was in no contact with my NM for almost 12 years without knowing that my mom has NPD. When I was only 30 yrs old, my NM started all manipulation and abuse in my life using three flying monkey sisters, But I did not know what is going on, why my own mum and sister are so selfish and manipulative. By grace of God I made decision not to deal with them in again. It was very challenging decision because not knowing "Am I doing right or wrong". My father in law also support my decision (He was not aware of this NPD either) but by his life experiences, He knew that something wrong with these women and dysfunctional family behavior. He also provide my family social support. Now that man of God is in heaven.
    two years, Also made one mistake to going back to relation, Believe me we were again become their victim, smear campaign, rage. etc..
    My advise to anyone, Please maintain No contact or minimum contact, Never get emotionally attached to your NM or flying monkeys when you meet them or talk them formally. Do not give any of your information, your social life, your friends. Do not let your kids be touch with NM.
    We are with you all, thank you Gail helping victims by providing them platform where they can share the experiences.

  32. I went no contact 3+ years ago, because it has come to the point that my mental health was suffering (anxiety meds needed just to function on a daily basis) and I didn't want my children (4) to be exposed to get toxic behaviors any more as they were getting old enough for her to manipulate. I already loved 4 hours away, and only visited 3-6 times a year, so contact was already limited, but still extremely damaging. My brother is one of her flying monkeys, and our relationship is practically nonexistent as well now. I'm a better and healthier mother and wife because if the no contact, but my kids are starting to ask why we never see her anymore. How do I explain this to them without seeming to be a cruel and horrible daughter? I have explained to my oldest that her grandmother is not mentally well, and that it is unhealthy for us to be around her, but it's much more difficult to explain to the 6 and 8 year olds, when they were not old enough to understand the emotional devastation she wreaked. I often wonder if I will mourn her death, or if I will even attend her funeral, just for "appearances" sake when the time comes, and I don't have any answers to that. I appreciate your blog and everyone's responses. It's relieving to know I'm not the only one that has gone through this, and that I'm truly not the one that is "crazy".


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