Tactics of a Narcissistic Mother by Gail Meyers

Are We to Honor a Narcissistic Mother?

Honor Your Narcissist Mother? Video

© by Gail Meyers 
Dysfunctional, abusive, narcissistic parents, pastors, churches and cults love to take biblical text out of context in order to use it as a pretext. By doing this someone with sinister motives can twist scripture to the point of causing it to appear to mean nearly anything they want it to in order to give the appearance of justifying their abusive behavior and condemning you.  They love to attempt to use your faith, and even God, against you.


Using Scripture as an Abusive Weapon 

As previously mentioned, I grew up in a dysfunctional, spiritually dead church where my alcoholic pedophile step-father was a deacon.  Then, my "selfless Christian martyr" narcissistic personality disordered mother continued the spiritual abuse after his death.  So not only am I intimately aware of how this is done, it is an enormous pet peeve of mine. I know what it is like as an adult child of narcissists to be bludgeoned with this commandment in order to reinforce the family abuse. "Honor thy mother and thy father" sends shivers down the spines of many adult sons and daughters of narcissists, and rightfully so. Narcissistic personality disordered mother loves to quote this one. 


Regaining Your Spirituality

First and foremost where the Bible is concerned - always, always, always keep biblical text in not only the context of the surrounding text, but also the bigger context and theme of the Bible.  Read it for yourself so an abusive narcissist is less able to beat you with it by taking text out of context in order to use it as a pretext.

Secondly, narcissists love to redefine terms just like cults do.  So always examine how the terms you have been taught are defined when you are stuck.  Look for the lie that has you trapped.  There are two main views on this commandment within the context of an abusive narcissistic mother.  Clearly and more narrowly define what honor means or simply that you are not required to honor evil.

Strikingly, while the Bible instructs us to love God, our neighbor and the stranger, it does not instruct us to love our parents.  It instructs us to honor our father and mother.  The following are some of the ways abusive, narcissistic mothers attempt to use and misuse this commandment to honor your father and mother. It is often presented like a blank check given to her by God with no responsibility on her part, even to the extent of acting as if it requires you to allow her to destroy you, your life and everything you love while worshipping her as your mother. A narcissistic mother may:

  • Say honor, but the reality may be for you to worship her (while she destroys you). 

  • Expect you to obey her even as an adult.

  • Demand to come first in your life.
    • Interfere with your marriage.
    • Teach your own children to dishonor and disrespect you.

  • Expect you to enable or engage in her unhealthy or evil behavior.

Once again narcissistic mother redefines the terms and takes this scripture out of context in order to use it as a pretext. So, the first thing we are going to do is more accurately define the terms and look at the context.

 

Fifth Commandment in Context

Moses has led God's people out of Egypt after 400 years of Egyptian bondage when God provides the Ten Commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai.  The commandments are given to establish a foundation of order, security and holiness for the millions of Israelites in their new found freedom.  

  • Thus, the first important fact learned from the context is that the commandments were given to Christian parents and children to establish order and protection.  They were not given to facilitate evil or abusive behavior by ungodly parents masquerading as Christians or to trap, torture or brow beat Christian children.

The Ten Commandments were given on two tablets, the first concerning our love for God.  The second, which begins with the command to honor your father and mother, concerns our relationships with one another.  This signifies God is the foundation of it all, while the parental authority is the foundation of a moral society.  However, parents are in turn under the authority of God.

There is a great deal included in the balancing instruction to parents:

  • Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4


    • "Fathers" is inclusive of mothers, to whom the practical administration of the household and training of the children so much belong.
      Pulpit Commentary

 The first half is a negative instruction, what not to do:
  • Neither by words; by unjust and, unreasonable commands; by contumelious (meaning contemptuous or humiliating) and reproachful (meaning expressing disapproval or disappointment) language; by frequent and public chidings (meaning to scold or rebuke), and by indiscreet and passionate expressions: nor by deeds; preferring one to another; by denying them the necessaries of life; by not allowing them proper recreation; by severe and cruel blows, and inhuman usage; by not giving them suitable education; by an improper disposal of them in marriage; and by profusely spending their estates, and leaving nothing to them.  (Parentheticals added) Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

The second half is a positive instruction, what parents are to do:
  • Instructing them in the knowledge of divine things, setting them good examples, taking care to prevent their falling into bad company, praying with them, and for them, bringing them into the house of God, under the means of grace, to attend public worship. Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

 



 

Honor is Not Worshipping Thy Mother 

In the most fundamental sense narcissism is a tendency to self-worship.  Narcissistic mothers love to so broadly define honor as to actually be worship, attempting to perch themselves up on the throne of their children's hearts and lives.  This is idolatry and certainly not what God intended as the very first commandment is to have no other gods before Him.


Obey Thy Mother

Next, is the idea that an adult son or daughter of a narcissistic mother is to obey her. As Christian psychiatrist Dr. Paul Meier points out in his book Free to Forgive, the Bible commanding us to "obey" our parents is a command to little children. This can be found in the Greek, little children obey your parents. 

Obeying your parent when you are little is for the safety of the child, among other things.  Honoring their parents is also good for children and society because psychologically children need to be able to honor their parents. Otherwise, the parent is but a peer or the parentification (role reversal) occurs that is so classic with narcissistic parents. However, adults need not obey their parents at all, which is especially true if the parent is leading an ungodly life.   

The Biblical Order of Relationships

Narcissistic mothers notoriously interfere with their children's marriages and the raising of their grandchildren. This is often reinforced as a part of honoring thy mother.  However, the Bible is clear about the proper order of things.

When you become an adult you come out from under the authority of an ungodly or evil parent and place yourself under the authority of God.  If you marry,  Genesis 2:24 states:

  • Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
Once a son or daughter marries, God comes first, then your spouse. This provides biblical guidance for setting boundaries even with godly parents. Should there be any question regarding a narcissistic mother meddling in her children's marriages, it is answered by Matthew 19:6:

  • So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.

We are responsible before God to instruct and protect our children. This includes all of the instructions previously discussed, but applied to us as the parent to our own children. 

Honoring a Narcissistic Mother

While a narcissistic mother masquerading as a Christian may present the commandment to honor your father and mother as a requirement for you to actually worship her, while she on the other hand destroys you, this is not what the Bible teaches.  The Bible commands against idolatry and provides guidance for the proper priority of relationships. Additionally, Narcissistic mothers love to completely ignore the balancing commands to parents regarding their responsibilities toward their children, as well as the numerous instances in which the Bible instructs us on how to deal with specific behaviors. 

Narcissistic mothers love to set themselves up as matriarchs ruling with an iron sceptre, but biblically we are not required as adults to obey our parents at all.  This is especially true if the parent is leading an ungodly life.  We are to leave our parents and become one with our spouse, only our relationship with God takes priority over the marital relationship. If we remain single adults, we are to remove ourselves from the authority of an ungodly parent and place ourselves directly under the authority of God. Additionally, when we become parents we have all of these same responsibilities toward our own children.  This includes protecting them from known dangers and bad influences.

While a narcissistic mother may masquerade as a selfless Christian mother, Jesus had no stronger rebuke for anyone than for the hypocritical Pharisees masquerading behind a cloak of false piety.  As previously discussed, God calls us to stop judging by mere appearances and to judge rightly.  The classic narcissistic maneuvers are in direct opposition to what the Bible teaches.  The Bible provides specific instructions for dealing with such matters, which we will continue to explore in coming chapters.   

There are abundant biblical examples and instructions on rebuking, shunning or fleeing evil, but not one for honoring it. Hence, in some instances the best way to honor a narcissistic mother while also honoring God may be from a distance, by living a separate but godly life. 

(Excerpt from The Scapegoats of a Narcissistic Mother)



Comments

  1. As a daughter of a narcissistic mother and enabling father, I have always had this question! Thanks for the article it really releases the burden of feeling like you must honor them as an adult. I am completely free of the abuse now but I never fully understood until now how God expected me to honor such evil...the beauty is he doesn't.

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    1. Anonymous, I am so glad to hear you are completely free of the abuse! Thank you for taking the time to share you thoughts.

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    2. My poisonous narcissistic mother was pure evil! She was a furball spewed up from Hell. Thank you so much Gail. You are so sweet and kind. Those at church always took her side and told me I was the bad one. That makes sense because they are all narcissistic abusers themselves. My advice. Run as fast as you can from them and don't look back.

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  2. This answered so many of my questions and has helped to calm my heart. Thank you so much for this.

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  3. I have been entangled in this lie for my whole life. It had crossed my mind a few times over the years while under the clutches of my mother that there must be some other truth about what "to honor" her really means but I never had the emotional strength to look into it. My N mother passed away in 2005 but I have only been released from her clutches for only a few weeks. I am realizing that I am not flawed after all. I am very much injured but I am getting help and healing is finally coming. Thank you for clearing up this deadly trap.

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    1. Anonymous, I am so glad you have realized you are not flawed and that you are healing. I share your experience of having been snared in this and other deadly traps of a narcissistic personality disordered mother. There is always a lie in there we have been taught and believed. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and experiences.

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  4. As the christian daughter of a malignant narcissist mother who claims to believe in God I have done some study on this matter as it is something I have struggled with.

    I have come across this interesting verse in Proverbs 26:1 and also in verse 8. "Honor is not fitting for a fool". If you then read through the book of Proverbs on the characteristics of a fool you will see that narcissists fit into these descriptions without any trouble at all. Here are some characteristics I have compiled for fools:

    deceitful, rages, self-confident, no delight in understanding, contentious, destructive, perverse lips, repeats their folly, their foolishness will not depart, rages or laughs at the wise, vents all his feelings, quick tempered, an atheist, corrupt, blasphemous, reproaches God, spreads slander, to do evil is like sport, troubles his own house, is right in his won eyes, proclaims foolishness, proud and the classic Proverbs 14 the foolish woman tears down her house with her own hands.

    Who hasn't met a narcissistic parent, mother in particular, who loves to do wickedness and will destroy her own family with her own hands? This is the classic biblical fool.

    These are the characteristics of a narcissist without doubt. Therefore it is clear that to give honor to a narcissist is not right. We cannot honor our parents if they are narcissists.

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    1. My NPD malignant mom does every one of these except she pretends to be a christian with her Catholic rules that she doesn't even follow. What is most destructive is that she never wanted a close family, she pitted me the scapegoat against my dad and golden brother and would allow them to call me names and rage and swear at me. She would just smirk. Amazing that this woman was given to me as my mother. She never hugged me. She was jealous of me. I could go on and on on what she did. When I was a parent I was never jealous of my own daughter. I had a few fleas that needed to be repaired and I repented. I was so happy that my daughter was bright and beautiful. And the foolish woman that tears down her house was my mother...She has destroyed lives and enjoys to cause pain.

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    2. As an empath,a god loving and a daughter of 2 Narcissistic Parents I literally feel sickness inside.I think about what HORRIBLE examples of a parents they were and STILL ARE. They PRIDE THEMSELVES TO EACH OTHER AND TO MY CHILD as to how "Great they are and they are without any flaws" they speak about themselves as idols. They tell their children lies about each other and themselves. When called out on it...WATCH OUT!! A WAR BEGINS INSIDE A HOME THAT IS SUPPOSED TO BE SAFE! Never ever have I felt SAFE WITH MY PARENTS. From childhood especially. Their OBSESSION to seemingly purposely, to DESTROY any good that happened to their children. Being the oldest, abuse sounds like a JOKE compared to the HORRIFIC THINGS I'VE BEEN CALLED BY MY PARENTS and OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS, like REPROBATE,WASTE OF SPACE,WORTHLESS,NEVER BE ANYTHING GOOD IN LIFE,NOONE WILL EVER LOVE ME BECAUSE I'M NOT LOVEABLE". Only a few of the countless hateful things spewed to me as a CHILD!!!! Um. That's exactly the opposite of Christianity. The one word which would cause my mother to PHYSICALLY ATTACK ME AS A CHILD WAS...hypocrite. I remember stating it so many times as a child and the ruthless punishment I got ADDITIONALLY for TELLING THE TRUTH!! It sucks to feel and be alone when you are REMINDED THAT YOU ARE BY YOUR OWN FAMILY. CONSTANTLY. My worth is not based on GOD LESS PARENTS. That have and still continue to act...key word is ACT, as though they are Christians. I have yet to see a godly act from either of them (genuinely is what I'm referring to) my entire life. I'm in my mid 30's and their intent to destroy everything good in my life...has taken me to deep depression...being told your not anything good..kills spirits.

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    3. My mother would hug other people s children in front of me when I was young. I only remember one hug I got from her was after a six year separation. She is jealous of me as well so she verbally abuse me and puts me down. Because of her I'm still not married because she says I am only allowed to marry an older rich white man since their race is superior. I dislike children and do not plan to have one because of her. Her favorite quote is " God tells you to obey me."

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    4. Anonymous, the command for us to "obey" our children is to little children, not adults. Please reach out to a licensed therapist if you need support.

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  5. I love the part where God cares about what I went through. For so long I were so worried about the narcissistic mom that my feelings didn't matter. This part brought me to tears thank you.

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  6. Imagine those verses spouted out of context by your MUSLIM narcissistic mom, with her threatening to call the priest when the fed-up teenage girl you're, dared to answer back by quoting Col 3:21! Guess what became her next God-inspired verbal instrument of coercion? The Qur'an, of course, with some verses whose gist is that the path to heaven lays under the feet of your mother. The day, my mother told me while I was 27, that she was my God and that if she told me to lie at her feet so that she would literally walk over me, I would have to do it, that day I knew I was done honoring her the way she wanted me to. When it comes to my Christian faith, I have no doubt that I have honored both my parents more countless times than they deserve it.
    Narcissistic parents who use religious verses to support their abuses are akin to those religious extremists who destroy, rape and kill, supposedly in the name of God. They're just liars who should be very afraid of how God's gonna treat them for using his name to do evil things to others.

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  7. Thank you so much for this insightful article. As a Christian I want to do the right thing in regards to my narcissistic mother, but interactions with her can make you feel like you are going crazy. I'm able to put boundaries on her in our relationship, but there is a price you pay for that. She is only interested in someone who will reflect and agree with her version of reality. The choice of scriptures helps to free a person from an unsafe and destructive parent. Thanks again.

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  8. I have been struggling with guilt over having no contact with my mother and constantly praying and asking God is this the right way to handle this? Then my mother-in-law sent some literature my way about narcissistic mothers and it all connected and I finally understood. I was however still struggling to figure out if a Christian could have no contact and if that was godly. This site as helped me tremendously. Thank you

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    1. Jessica, I too struggled for many years wondering if was a horrible Christian for cutting off my NM. All I can say is for years I endured her evil and there came a point where it was so dark, so damaging and increasingly bizarre, I had to. What's hard is when you have a NM who is wealthy and because of her money she has many adoring fans. Of course now I am cut out of the will for daring to expose her lies (she wanted my adult sister and I to lie that an uncle abused us when we were little, because she wanted to sue his estate). That was the final straw. So say fair well NM. I am God's child. I am the child of the King of Kings. I no longer have to bow down to you, your lies or your subterfuge. Adios. Never feel guilty about getting away from a NM. You did right.

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  9. thank you for this post... i have been going through a 3 year rest and healing and npd has been the theme... my mother has these traits and characteristics and my father on some level as well, but in a very passive manner... the hard part is that my mother is from a culture that nurtures these characteristics... my mother is a pastor and uses this passage of scripture with me ALL the time... and i am 42 years old!!! haha... but it has been a contentious theology that i battle with and have walked away from church, not my personal relationship with God, but the church... it stirs up such a deep anger whenever i hear this passage preached in the generalized context that is familiar and non-offensive to people who have been blessed to not experience even a day with a narcissistic person... i tend to veer toward reasoning and logic for context because of my dysfunctional background, but am still so easily brought back into the chaos of confusion... i have bookmarked your blog to read through as a source to help me keep the gift of a sound mind, sound and firmly planted in truth and what is real... thank you and God bless you for this blog... :)

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  10. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!! My NM used scripture and her fundamental beliefs as a weapon to get her way. Although I've been taking the steps to healing I've hit a stumbling block due to my misunderstanding of "Honor Your mother" This blog has been so freeing I physically stumbled as if freed from physical chains. I'm still fighting the feeling that all of this has come about since turning 50 and I feel to old to have the life I wanted. The one I allowed NM to keep me from

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  11. My mother has been affecting my life greatly. She places cures on my life and made me believe that whatever she wants God wants. I felt like because she was my mother God will always honor her opinion over mines. Everything she ever said to me was negative; she puts her friend’s ideas or feeling before mines. When I cry, she looks and shouts at me and tells me to grow up, but when she cries everyone is expected to console her. She is always, making me feel like I am not good enough especially when she compares other children to me. And any time I speak my mind; she shuns me and accuses me for not loving her or for being evil. She has placed a curse on my life that she doesn't mind if I am 40 before I get married since I would not marry who she wants. She have made me put my relationship of 5yrs on hold all because she doesn’t like him, even though she hasn’t meet him, but because someone told her that he have 2 kids, consequently; that holds grounds for hating him. Years after years, I haven't married because of that hold she has on me with criteria of the man she wants me to marry. I am afraid to move for forward with him even without her consent; because she says once I make that decision she would not come around me or even hold my baby. That really upset me, because I am like you can't win with this lady. And after saying that to me, she goes to my sister and tells her "your sister would have been married a long time ago but she chooses to stay with that guy". I am so sick and tired of her hold on my life when I try to put her negative thoughts about me aside, she sends people to remind me on daily bases, that I am making her sad and want to bring shame to her. When I make a decision, she condemns it and says it would not work and starts to give me suggestions of what she thinks will work. Because of this not getting and being married, I have found myself doing things I would have never done. I find myself being bitter at myself and loving to others more, I find myself putting people’s feelings before mines and getting burnt at the end. It’s a burden for me to call her, but I desire to her voice but at times I am scared to hear what she has to say. I would love to engage with her about my life and what’s going on but I am afraid of her judgment. I happy to have stubble across this article, because I begged God to forgive me for not obeying my mom and for delaying my marriage, but I learnt today that God is speaking and saying he has the ‘final say’. I am going to take my step to freedom today.

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    1. Jessica, I too struggled for many years wondering if was a horrible Christian for cutting off my NM. All I can say is for years I endured her evil and there came a point where it was so dark, so damaging and increasingly bizarre, I had to. What's hard is when you have a NM who is wealthy and because of her money she has many adoring fans. Of course now I am cut out of the will for daring to expose her lies (she wanted my adult sister and I to lie that an uncle abused us when we were little, because she wanted to sue his estate). That was the final straw. So say fair well NM. I am God's child. I am the child of the King of Kings. I no longer have to bow down to you, your lies or your subterfuge. Adios. Never feel guilty about getting away from a NM. You did right.

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    2. Do we have the same mother? Im also putting my relationship of 10yrs on hold because he is not rich nor a white man.

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  12. My mother has been affecting my life greatly. She places cures on my life and made me believe that whatever she wants God wants. I felt like because she was my mother God will always honor her opinion over mines. Everything she ever said to me was negative; she puts her friend’s ideas or feeling before mines. When I cry, she looks and shouts at me and tells me to grow up, but when she cries everyone is expected to console her. She is always, making me feel like I am not good enough especially when she compares other children to me. And any time I speak my mind; she shuns me and accuses me for not loving her or for being evil. She has placed a curse on my life that she doesn't mind if I am 40 before I get married since I would not marry who she wants. She have made me put my relationship of 5yrs on hold all because she doesn’t like him, even though she hasn’t meet him, but because someone told her that he have 2 kids, consequently; that holds grounds for hating him. Years after years, I haven't married because of that hold she has on me with criteria of the man she wants me to marry. I am afraid to move for forward with him even without her consent; because she says once I make that decision she would not come around me or even hold my baby. That really upset me, because I am like you can't win with this lady. And after saying that to me, she goes to my sister and tells her "your sister would have been married a long time ago but she chooses to stay with that guy". I am so sick and tired of her hold on my life when I try to put her negative thoughts about me aside, she sends people to remind me on daily bases, that I am making her sad and want to bring shame to her. When I make a decision, she condemns it and says it would not work and starts to give me suggestions of what she thinks will work. Because of this not getting and being married, I have found myself doing things I would have never done. I find myself being bitter at myself and loving to others more, I find myself putting people’s feelings before mines and getting burnt at the end. It’s a burden for me to call her, but I desire to her voice but at times I am scared to hear what she has to say. I would love to engage with her about my life and what’s going on but I am afraid of her judgment. I happy to have stubble across this article, because I begged God to forgive me for not obeying my mom and for delaying my marriage, but I learnt today that God is speaking and saying he has the ‘final say’. I am going to take my step to freedom today.

    ReplyDelete
  13. My grandmother constantly uses the "honor thy mother" and "before I die, I hope you reconcile" approaches to get me to break my no contact rule with my mother. I am so much happier without her drama and lies in my life. I am going to print and mail this to her so she can understand that God does not expect us to honor evil. NPD cannot just be prayed away.

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  14. Anonymous September 26,2015.
    yes, my mother used this bible verse on me to try to keep me from seeing my father as a adult. They are divorced and remarried. I didn't let her use it, and I now have a relationship with my father. Another thing my mom has said to me on more then one occasion is that she gave me life and she can take it, to me this statement is so not true GOD is my creater.

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  15. I am in a quandary about whether to send my mother a mothers day card. We feel out again a few months ago. Since then my mother has coerced my sister on her side. They have both abused me in a text and a letter, saying I am mental sick and need to see my doctor, plus a heap of other accusations. I want to become stronger, however to show that I do love my mother, as she is my mother from a distance. Is sending a mothers day card a waste of time?

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  16. My mother always turns things back to her...i could tell her how badly my back hurts, and she would say well my back hurts worse...whatever I'm going through, she puts the focus on her. she holds her money/helping pay my bills while I'm unemployed over my head, she has such a screwed interpretation of the Bible she even told me she OWNS ME becuz I owe her money AND in a yelling spree (after I said God provides my needs)
    she scoffed out loud and said I MEET YOUR NEEDS - NOT GOD! Sigh, I'm 52 years old.

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  17. At 63, I still deal with my narcissistic mother. My stomach is in constant turmoil when she blows up and I find myself wishing God would take her so I could have some peace. THANK GOD for my wonderful husband and children. They see her for what she is and wish that I had the "power" to just write her off. I've always wrestled with the Christian part of doing just that, but she has drilled it into me to HONOR THY FATHER AND MOTHER. THANK you for your article, it helps.

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