I am the Son of a Narcissistic Mother, Part 1: Through the Looking Glass

03/29/2013 § 49 Comments

I’ve been beating around the bush.  I’ve talked about this blog being about Highly Sensitive Persons, (HSPs), mysticism, philosophy, politics, but all these issues just orbit around the real topic of surviving Narcissism in the family.  I only found out about this for certain in August, 2011.  But its tough.  My mother certainly will not only deny it; she will find a way to stick it to me for stating it.  But my brothers and sisters will attack me before she does anything.

Sounds pathetic for a 57 year old man to be afraid of his 83 year old mother, doesn’t it?  That’s one of the features of this bizarre relationship.  I haven’t spoken to my siblings in 10 years, nor seen my nephews or nieces in 15.  Half of them I’ve never met at all.  I am de facto ostracized from my family, and it is seen by everyone in it as either my fault or my choice.  That’s the kind of power she wields.  Sometimes I actually wonder if she isn’t a sorceress who has my siblings under her thrall.  But what is a sorceress, anyway?  Could it just be a woman who has expanded powers simply because she ignores social propriety and personal boundaries and is extremely secretive about them?

I’ve just been wading in the shallow end of online web resources about this until now.  Most of the literature is about “daughters” of Narcissistic parents, mothers and fathers, but not about sons.  Apparently, males don’t come out about this problem as much as women do. Yesterday, I finally found a really good site that includes men’s stories. Its by a woman with a narcissistic mother but she writes about the whole experience, including about the sons: http://postcardstoanarcissist.wordpress.com/ But it is challenging for me to write to her, though, because she’s very Christian and has a Manichean take on Narcissism that is not useful to me: she says they are evil.  I don’t think so; they suffer from an affliction which just seems like an evil because they won’t do anything about it. They have no control over it; my mother has no control over it.  But identifying them as evil is useful if you must have a justification for protecting yourself from them.  And it can be necessary.

Still its very very tricky to deal with my mother because she is constantly harming me with one hand and beckoning me towards her with the other.  Sort of like the old Charlie Brown and Lucy Van Pelt football gag.


She always says, “I won’t pull the ball away from you just before you kick THIS time, Charlie Brown!”  And he always caves in and she always pulls away the ball, and always comes up with some outrageous excuse.  And then in other set-ups she plays the counselor, helping other people’s problems!  And you know what, my mother LOVED the Charly/Lucy football gag.  She loved the Wicked Witch of the West, Maleficent the Wizardess from Sleeping Beauty, Cruella De Ville from 101 Dalmations, the Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland (“Off with her head!”), as she loved Medea, the Priestess of Hecate who married Jason, Captain of the Argonauts, then killed their first-born son to spite him after he was unfaithful to her.

I was my parent’s first-born son. Therein lies the problem.

That was a better lead-in than I expected.  It just popped in there.

This is going to be the first in a series of blogs telling my story as the Son of a Narcissistic Mother.  I don’t know how I’m going to do it, the story isn’t linear and I have a tendency to get obsessive with it.  I’ve been puzzled by my deep melancholy since I was a young boy; at various points of my life I crafted desperate vows to extricate myself from it .  Only at the end of a journey that has lasted 57 years did I come to the truth: its not me, it’s her.  Part of the problem has always been that I’m very very uncomfortable blaming someone else for my misfortunes.  But Narcissists exploit that! And they’re not in the least bit uncomfortable blaming someone else.  The real reason why its taken me this long to rescue myself is because certain life skills, like recognizing when I’m being blamed for someone else’s actions, were withheld from me that I had to learn on my own.

The King of Hearts advised Alice how to tell a story: “Begin at the beginning, proceed through the middle until you get to the end, and then stop.”  I’m not taking his advice.  My story starts near the end.

Next: I am the Son of a Narcissistic Mother, Part 2: How I finally figured it out.


Tagged: , , , , ,

§ 49 Responses to I am the Son of a Narcissistic Mother, Part 1: Through the Looking Glass

  • Jay Quigley says:

    Dear Vic,

    I was relieved to have run across your blog. We share titles, as I too am the son of a narcissistic mother. With me at 60 years old and she at 90, I can still be reduced to a worthless piece of crap in no time when ever I encounter her, as has happened recently after an extended formal estrangement. I let her back in via a Mothers Day card and she just started up where things left off, thinking by gones were by gone and we’re back in business as usual. There’s a long story here of course, but I leave that be. I just wanted to thank you for you words. They have helped me to gain back some objectivity on these painful relationships so I can begin to pull away from an episode and get back to living my life.

    Best…Jay Quigley

    • Vic Banner says:

      Dear Jay;
      Sorry I haven’t responded in a long time. Its taken awhile to get used to people replying to me about this. I’m blogging blind; found very few blogs about Children of Narcissistic Parents, especially Sons. I’ve made so many attempts to reach out in the wrong way and wrong places. I never realized just how tricky coming out as a SoNPs can be.

      We’re near the same age; I’ll be turning 58 next month, and my mother is 84. I know what you mean about letting her back in and she just takes over all over again. I think its not just one time and its over, you can let her back in and figure out all over again how to shut her down, and it’ll keep happening over and over again until you finally figure out what you need to know to protect yourself. I’m still figuring out, of course, but lately things seem to be getting better.

      Whenever I lose a letter in gmail, every few months, I may have to go into the trash to find it, and when I do there’s always a letter from her in the trash. I have her name filtered out. I told her a long time ago to only use my yahoo account. But boundaries mean nothing to a narcissist. After spending a few days to contemplate writing her a terse letter reasserting my yahoo-only policy, I always decide not to reply at all. Its very creepy for me not to reply at all, but I’m not writing to her again until something is different. I don’t know what yet.

      Do you have a blog or have you written about this? I’d love to see it. And I’m real glad if my writing has helped you in any way.

      Yours, Vic Banner

      • Jay Quigley says:

        Good to hear from you Vic, I just wanted to let you know that I got your reply. I really appreciate it. I’ll get back to you soon once I’ve had a chance to give your correspondence more careful consideration. I want to share a book title that I have been finding very helpful in rescuing myself from my mother’s grasp. You may already be aware of it, but if not I recommend “Toxic Parents” Overcoming their hurtful legacy and reclaiming your life by Susan Forward. Ph.D. Stay well Vic and stay in touch….Jay

    • Talia says:

      Thank you for sharing your story. I will be following. I am married to the son of a narcissistic mother, and have been dealing with the ramifications of her damage both in my marriage to my husband, and her direct outrage toward myself and our children. We, too, have been ostracized, and I have been confused, hurt, shocked, and tremendously disappointed, yet all with some fragment of a glimmer of hope that maybe things can be ‘better’ and I can ‘fix’ the problem. It is such a loss for the children, as there really is no grandmother there, since she is so self-focused there is no room for anyone else. I thank you for expressing your experience here, for people like me who struggle to find the words to put together to explain the confusion that comes with people like this.

      • Vic Banner says:

        Dear Talia;
        This just arrived now, so you’re probably still on line somewhere.

        I was just trying to think about how to frame the third installment of this narrative when I read your letter. Maybe I will write about my marriage.

        My (now ex-) wife had basically refused to deal with the ramifications about my mother. Unlike you, she didn’t want to face the reality of my mother’s absolute incooperation at all. And when she finally did face it she announced divorce immediately.

        But we never had children. She was waiting for my life to “normalize” before she would parent with me, and all of a sudden concluded I would never normalize. Which was ironic, because I have begun to “normalize” in the past two years, since discovering that my mother’s Narcissism is at the bottom of my awful dysfunctionalism.

        In my case, the family dynamic with three other siblings was so abysmally convoluted that the Narcissism was virtually invisible. Is it so with your husband? I’d been looking for the cause my whole life, yet this eluded me. Ultimately, the idea that our wretched could be her responsibility was so taboo as to be never considered.

        The best you can do for him is get to the bottom of how he was affected by her. The other commentarians below have discussed the strategy of 0% contact with their Narcissos. I believe a relationship can be carved out, but responsibility in their relationship must fall 100% on your side because she will be incapable and unwilling to take even 1%. Until you are ready to take that on, don’t be afraid to avoid all contact.

      • Janet R says:

        ((( Talia ))) I too married to SoNM 😦 40 years in and she has finally lost her venom at age 80 ( I think ! ) It’s been a long and hurtful journey, as you said, especially to my children. I did not recognize her issue until recently trying to determine why my eldest daughter is so dysfunctional. She is ridden with anxiety and although she is a sensitive and compassionate girl doesn’t even realize how much like my MIL she is 😦

      • Vic Banner says:

        Dear Talia;
        Thank you for continuing this dialogue.
        I hear your concern, and support your consideration about your daughter.
        Do you think your daughter’s dysfunctionality is a result of her father’s parenting, her grandmother’s, or both?
        I support you in taking care of yourself and your children first, as you explore your husbands situation.
        And his mother’s.

      • Mary Keen says:

        I am married to the son of a narcissisic mother…we have been married one year and one week. I have been very sick the whole year…lots of tests… found nothing wrong…just figured it out by process of elimination…..that I AM NOT THE ONE WHO IS SICK…My husband told me immediately that I was the lucky wife…His last two wives were hated and given HELL by his mother…..My husband is soooo controlling that I can hardly breathe….I am 66 { he is 76} and never thought that at my age I would be totally controlled as if I were his child. Argues with me about everything….he has all the answers and is never wrong…and always sooooo negative…..no smiles ….no fun….just HELL…thanks to his mother….I got laid off after 14 years and have a disabled son who does not live with us…but we are totally dependent on him and he definitely reminds me of that everyday….I do my best not to speak to him but he will make a big deal about that and argue some more…I can do nothing right…..don’t know what I am going to do….but all I want to do is sleep and stay away from him.
        Thanks for listening to me,

      • Vic Banner says:

        Thanks a lot for that, Mary.
        My brother’s wife is also named Mary. I have no idea how she gets along with him now, as he and I are cut off.

        There are 3 kinds of Children of Narcissists in our family, the Golden Child, the Scapegoat, and the Lost Child. I’m the Scapegoat. I’m the only one of us who is capable of recognizing what we are. I’m the only one of us to try to heal and recover from it. For that I have been shunned and vilified.

        Still I am not that easy to live with. My wife left me almost 3 years ago after 13 years together, almost all of it in a foreign country. I desperately wanted help for my affliction– being the child of a Narcissist IS an affliction– but that can’t be the reason for the marriage. I realized my mother’s Narcissism simultaneous to my marriage’s dissolution, as if they were made of the same cloth. Of course, they were.

        How do you know your Mother-in-law is a Narci? Is your husband Narci too? Which of the three is he, Gold, Goat or Lost? Lost Children, who are neglected as the NP (Narcissistic Parent) focuses on the Golden Child and the Scapegoat, are the ones who become Narcissists themselves. Scapegoats are just damaged goods.

        My wife thought she could handle me, then realized she couldn’t. She was damaged goods in her own right, which made it all the more correct that she leave me. We exacerbated each other’s conditions. I haven’t written about my marriage in this blog before.

        I shouldn’t give you an answer. Just take care of yourself. Getting distance from him sounds right. I hope he’s clever enough to make use of it. Good Luck!

        Vic Banner, Third Eye

  • RAM says:

    So glad to find this website, after many years (decades) of searching I recently discovered what I feel is the root cause of our dysfunctional family, Narcissitc Parents, yes both of them. And coupled with their alcoholism we are as dysfunctional as any family can get.

    Throughout our entire lives and still today as adults our N-Parents continue to belittle all of us and they are now doing the same thing to our children. Their grandchildren are feeling the wrath of their “you’re not good enough” mentality.

    Although all but one of my siblings, who separated from the entire family decades ago, are still in contact with our N-Parents, I find myself distancing myself from them as much as possible. One method I use is that when I am around my N-Parents I say very little to them, they spend so much time talking about themselves and saying negative things about other people, who are not in their presence, that they rarely notice that I’m on mute.

    It’s a horrible way to have to live when we are around my N-Parents, but it’s the only way to survive being around them when we have to be. Any opinion we have that doesn’t mirror theirs is wrong according to them. Don’t believe me just ask them, if our opinions differ, they are always right and will stretch the truth, make up lies, or ignore the facts to prove to us that our opinions are wrong as far as they are concerned.

    If I had known what I know today about child abuse I would have called CPS on them when I was a child. What they called discipline was child abuse, even back when we were growing up. Only problem back then is we didn’t know any better, but now we do and we bare the emotional scars of the abuse.

    I have read many books and articles about NPD recently and I am finally coming to the realization of why we are such a dysfunctional family. I know that I cannot change the past or my N-Parents, but I can change myself and the road that I’m traveling on to the future.

    With Divine wisdom from The Father Almighty through His Son Jesus Christ and by the power of The Holy Spirit I will transform myself into a better not bitter person because of this experience. Quoting the words of Joyce Meyer “I may not be where I want to be, but thank God I’m not where I used to be”. Amen!!!

  • Thinus says:

    Hi Vic. I’m also the son of a NM and I’m now 54 years old. My NM recently died. She was 88. Loved what you wrote and it was a HUGE validation for me! Looking forward to participating here.

    • Vic Banner says:

      Hi, Thinus,
      This is my third attempt to write you. This Android WordPress application ate up my letters twice. I’m feeling a Rage against the Machine. Until my PC comes back from the shop, I must rely on my rusty pocket computer.
      I’m so glad to have an impact on you and a few others. Conferring with other SoNMs, aye, and DoNMs too, is one of the most important things we can do. The more i understand about my condition, the more trapped I feel. I thought that knowing about the curse meant the curse was over, but it’s not over.
      My condolences on your mother’s passing, difficult as it must be.
      You offer yourself in participation, but I’m not an experienced blogger and don’t know where to take it from here. Any ideas? I want to get to know you and other respondents and share support. For me, you and other respondents are precious resources. I think that males abused by our mothers is a taboo subject in our society, its yucky and disgusting for most people and so, off-limits. I’m at a point in my recovery in which the memories are finally coming back, and they are memories of sheer terror. My father had an enormous temper, and my NM constantly set him off without being aware of it, then put me between them as a buffer. Now, daily occurrences recall this terror and yet I must act as if I’m a confident professional, thus ostensibly becoming one. Perhaps only another child of narcissistic parents can appreciate the effort it takes me, and you, to hold it together.
      Take care.
      Today a typhoon has hit Tokyo and the trains are down. I called in absent for work and suddenly have a day off. I call this Blogging Day, and shall visit yours and other’s blogsites.
      See you in the funny pages.
      Vic Banner

    • Vic Banner says:

      Hi, Thinus,
      This is my third attempt to write you. This Android WordPress application ate up my letters twice. I’m feeling a Rage against the Machine. Until my PC comes back from the shop, I must rely on my rusty pocket computer.
      I’m so glad to have an impact on you and a few others. Conferring with other SoNMs, aye, and DoNMs too, is one of the most important things we can do. The more i understand about my condition, the more trapped I feel. I thought that knowing about the curse meant the curse was over, but it’s not over.
      My condolences on your mother’s passing, difficult as it must be.
      You offer yourself in participation, but I’m not an experienced blogger and don’t know where to take it from here. Any ideas? I want to get to know you and other respondents and share support. For me, you and other respondents are precious resources. I think that males abused by our mothers is a taboo subject in our society, its yucky and disgusting for most people and so, off-limits. I’m at a point in my recovery in which the memories are finally coming back, and they are memories of sheer terror. My father had an enormous temper, and my NM constantly set him off without being aware of it, then put me between them as a buffer. Now, daily occurrences recall this terror and yet I must act as if I’m a confident professional, thus ostensibly becoming one. Perhaps only another child of narcissistic parents can appreciate the effort it takes me, and you, to hold it together.
      Take care.
      Today a typhoon has hit Tokyo and the trains are down. I called in absent for work and suddenly have a day off. I call this Blogging Day, and shall visit yours and other’s blogsites.
      See you in the funny pages.
      Vic Banner

  • Vic Banner says:

    Stephan, I can’t write now, I’m at work. I’ll write later, just want to acknowledge that I read you and appreciate that you’re hanging in there.
    I’ll write again soon,

  • Auntie says:

    My mother and my sister are narcissists. I am low contact with my mother and currently no contact with my sister. But what I’m writing about is my sister’s son. He is 20 years old and at university several hours away from his family home and has been raised to be a co-dependent enabler (just like his dad). I did not confront my mother’s narcissism until I was 49. When I think back to my life the university years would have been a good time to get some insight into my mother’s narcissism (and the likelihood that I would seek out an emotionally abusive partner). But how do you share that kind of information with your nephew–especially when your contact with him has lessened over the last 10 years?

    • Vic Banner says:

      Dear Aunt,
      Thank you for writing. I can relate to your story. I’m not saying it is, but if your family is like mine, it won’t tolerate a breach in the family bubble.

      My Aunt recently tried to use my oldest nephew’s wedding to get me to rejoin the family as a scapegoat with no concession towards my convenience at all. If he is caught in a family drama, there’s nothing I can do about it until he makes the first step.

      If it were my family, you would have to let your nephew know you’re available to him without giving much information, and let him make the moves.

      It hurts, oh, it hurts. I’m a co-dependent like him, but I’ve been trying to overcome my co-dependency since I was twelve, or 46 years ago. It seems to me that co-dependents are more likely to want to transform into something better than parasites are. Maybe your nephew has some questions that would lead to his getting the big picture with a little guidance.

      Did you or someone else tell your mother she’s a Narci? I would never do that, I think I would be tarred and feathered if I did. Nothing offends them like the naked truth.

      I hope to hear from you again.
      Take care,
      Vic Tor Iiy

      • Auntie says:

        No, I didn’t tell my mother she’s a narcissist. I didn’t think it would serve any purpose. With my sister, however, I did everything but call her the “N” word because her attacks on me over the past few years have escalated. I last contacted my nephew by email just to say ‘I hope you enjoyed your first year at university’ and to remind him that he’s always in my heart and thoughts. It’s something, reminding him I’m here for him even though I’m more or less out of the family. But I wish I could come up with a strategy that would help him ‘fast-track’ his learning about his mother’s narcissism, learning how to deal with it, learning how to live his life for himself and his true friends and people who are truly capable of loving him. Any advice from someone who had a helpful family member or friend?

      • Vic Banner says:

        That wouldn’t be me. My family is shut tight and has always been. But I have thoughts about your situation that should be useful.
        My main point is that although I recognized I had a near intractable problem early on, it took me many many years to acquire practical independence in the face of a family with an agenda to deny it from me. I had to make many mistakes in life planning (and I still do!) to get where I was ready to face the towering deceptions of my life.
        If your nephew has any idea something is wrong, he’ll find you when he’s ready. And not before. If you were MY aunt, I would have found you.
        The tricky thing about what you’re trying to do is you would need to be very grounded in your motivations. If you want to get through to him so you could have an inroad back into your family, that’s no going to work. What I’m saying is that in my family, things that I’ve been in denial about get exposed easily. I think the way back in is to accept there is no way back in, and the way to your nephew is to not try to get to your nephew. Which is not the same thing as giving up on him! You build up personal power by holding him in your heart but not acting as long as the situation is unstable. I might be talking more about my family than yours, but if the insight is applicable, you can use it.
        Recovering from abuse and dysfunctional families is character building, and it should be.
        I hope you can find what you’re looking for.
        Vic Slick

      • Auntie says:

        Thanks for thinking about this. It’s encouraging for me to hear you say that you would have found an aunt who was willing and able to help you. I want my nephew to avoid some of the heartbreak I’ve experienced, but I don’t want to scare him away forever by coming on too strong. And I know there’s no way for me to reintegrate into my family in the foreseeable future.
        Wishing you the best on your journey. Keep healing. It’s a funny burden, to be the child of a narcissist. The ironic thing is I have to be glad that I was the enabler and I experienced all that pain, because otherwise I’d be a narcissist like my sister.

      • Vic Banner says:

        Dear Auntie, I’m glad I could be of help. My journey is severe. I think. I have some challenges at work right now. I seem to have to learn by trial and error how to live a normal life. I have to relearn relationship all over again. I often think that society is long broken and survivors struggle to fix it. But today I’m just focused on getting through the day. Keep in touch. Do you have a blog? Just Vic

  • I’m not going to leave a long message this time but wanted you to know that it was good to find you here. I’m the daughter of a narcissistic mother, I’m 63 now and she’s 89. My heart aches for a decent relationship with her but I know it will never be; she has hurt and harmed me so much in my life that it’s nearly impossible to forgive the enormous amount of damage she has done. Thanks for this.
    ~ C. J.

    • Vic Banner says:

      Thanks, C. J.
      I know the feeling. Focusing on her just brings on the hurt. Does she deny ever hurting you, much less harming you? When my NM says she never did anything, I just have nothing to say. I can’t talk. If I try to gainsay her, I’ll lose my self control.
      Honor the love you have for her but protect yourself. If you pray for closure, you’ll get it. Just not from her.
      I wish you great blessings.

  • Vic Banner says:

    @Mary Keen
    My apologies. Your letter was addressed to commentator Talia, not me. I trust my reply is not unwelcome.

  • Ian Sala says:

    Dear Vic,
    I’ve just found your blog and can very much relate to what you have written. I’ve just started a website for SoNMs http://www.sonsofnarcissisticmothers.org because like you I couldn’t find enough about us on the net, and coda meetings haven’t satisfied my need to exchange with other SoNMs. I’d like to link to your blog from the site. Also if you wish, I’m looking for other SoNMs to participate to this site which is under construction at the moment.
    All the best
    Ian Sala (An alias)

    • Vic Banner says:

      Dear Ian;
      (“Ian Sala” is an acronym for “an alias”. Cute!)
      I’ve been busy the past few days. Just looking at “Sons of Narcissistic Mothers” now. Very interesting.
      It makes a difference to me to be invited into a site than to barge in cold, especially one like this. Yes, having the right context to share with other CoNPs is an important element. I find I disagree with some of the things they put out, but I don’t want to put them on the defensive or second guess them. For example, the need a lot of CoNPs have to demonize their NPs. I disagree with it, but I won’t touch them; they’re doing what they need to do at the time. Having a community where we can all get together and get to know each other is what I truly want. For me, there is nothing I would rather do!
      I would be glad to participate and assist you in any way I can.
      Vic Tori

  • jo says:

    I am the wife of a son with a Narcissistic mother. Lucky for me we do not live in the same country as my MIL. Before knowing my husband I had never come across anyone with NPD maybe mild traits but nothing compared to what I have experienced from my MIL.
    My mother in law has been the root cause of a lot of problems/ arguments between my husband and I and has even been rotten to my mum for no reason.
    Before I met her I did not have a clue what NPD was. After getting to know her I was extremely shocked and confused with her behaviour.
    I no longer speak to her as I do not feel comfortable being around her or speaking to her which is fairly easy to do as we do not live in the same country for me distance is the best thing.
    My husband still maintains a relationship with his mum its just that I choose to not have a relationship with her for my own sanity and well being and do not see why I should have to put up with nonsense.
    All that aside I am very confused with my husbands behaviour towards her he seems to just accept the way she is behaving and enables her to continue behaving in this way, he wants to please her by most of the time giving into what she wants.
    If I dare try to talk to him about his mothers behaviour or her treatment towards me he gets on the defensive and act as though his mum can not do no wrong and instead act as though that I am the one in the wrong for not letting her get away with doing as she pleases! speaking about his family with me is off limits.
    Even though she is so far away she seems to still be pulling the strings! and influencing my husband.
    She is in her late 50s and a common statement she makes is she is going to die soon, feigning serious illnesses and then making a miraculous recovery, demands money and that people sponsor her so that she can travel abroad, expects expensive gifts and wants to be the centre of attention and if she does not get attention or what she wants all hell breaks loose she starts plotting, scheming spreading rumours giving the cold shoulder etc.
    I am happy I found this site as I feel other individuals have some of the same experiences when I have tried to talk to close friends they feel I am being a bit harsh on my MIL by stopping all contact with her and keeping my distance. I can not be a hypocrite and pretend that her behaviour is normal and allow her to treat me badly.
    My husband is like a closed door he is not very good at talking about his emotions he seems to be bottling everything up and not acknowledging that his mum has a problem. I know he worries about her this is the reason I don’t make a big issue of things and I am trying to be understanding and look at things from his point of view as I have not grown up with a narcissistic parent.
    Please some feedback would be most appreciated.

    • Vic Banner says:

      Great letter! Thanx, Jo.
      How is it you know your MIL is Narcissistic? It sounds like she and your husband have no clue about it. No one in my family suspects a thing because they all have me to blame for my NM’s behavior. She always gets away ‘Scott Free,’ as my poor baffled late father used to say of her.

      Living in another country from my NM was not far enough for my wife and I so she left me after 13 years of marriage and 27 years of relationship. I was very damaged by my upbringing and not a very good husband, I fear. But my wife struggled to deny my warnings about my mother, and when she finally took heed, she bolted.

      Losing my wife and realizing my mother was Narci were simultaneous events. I always knew I was damaged and dysfunctional, since I was twelve, but I had no clue it was because of my mother until I was 32 and then it took another 24 years before I would figure out why. But figuring it out was just one step, and re-integrating myself as an independent human being is more difficult than I would have guessed.

    • Vic Banner says:

      Sorry, I’m not finished.
      I couldn’t begin to heal in the context of our marriage, so her leaving was a blessing in disguise.
      I don’t blame her for leaving, nor would I blame you, if you decided to. But I think your husband would; blame is the coin of Narcissistic families. But you don’t deserve the way she is treating you. No-one does.
      All my life, as I’ve journeyed towards healing step by step, I’ve always been astonished with the growing realization of how hard it’s been. It’s always worse than I thought. For my siblings, aunt and cousins all to be in thrall of my mother, great psychic violence has been perpetrated on them that they are too terrified to face. It it’s fast more convenient for them to identify me as the family monster who they vanquished. Thus, the whole evil dynamic is heavily locked into place. If there is a key I don’t know it. No Contact works for me, but it just encourages them to feel betrayed by me, as if there’s nothing I can do about it. The script is locked in, and I’m the villain. And I myself believed it for 55 years. While my siblings were always so grateful that it wasn’t one of them.
      I don’t hear that your husband has any awareness of what’s going on with him. If you are committed to him, you would need to give him your love while being very firm about your boundaries over a long stretch of time. You might develop a circle of friends to support you, and consider having a therapist or counselor.

      I hope what I’ve said isn’t inappropriate. I’m ostensibly against giving advice, so I try to be thoughtful when I do.
      Good luck, and take care of yourself.

      • jo says:

        Hi Vic,

        Thanks so much for your reply and feedback. No nothing you have said I feel is inappropriate it has actually been quite helpful and reading your own experiences of being a SoNM has enabled me to gain more insight by further researching of family dynamics regarding various types of behavioural patterns of children of NM thus helping me with this situation.

        Whereas you are the scapegoat in your family my husband seems to be the ‘golden child’ in his or at least where his mum is concerned and she herself states he is her favourite. But from my observations it seems as though the majority of his family has taken on this role for him also, he is the middle child and his older siblings and father all call on him with a ‘problem’ they are having and my husband see’s it as his duty to help out or resolve it. Even though I feel it is important to offer or give support and help to family members but when it is constant and calling at unsociable hours over a trivial matter that they can easily sort out themselves they have gone way over boundaries.

        I know it is selfish of me to feel this way but I can not help but think if only he was the scape goat or rebel in his family that he would get left alone but I know this would not really help him and he still would be damaged one way or other by his upbringing.

        I was aware from the second meeting with my husbands mum, that she had a problem but after I was married her behaviour seemed to become more intense or maybe because I was seeing or speaking to her much more I was more aware of it. This is when I made the decision to stop speaking with her and to actually research and find out more about personality disorders/ mental health etc.

        Because my husband has always been around her I think he believes for the most part her behaviour is normal but then deep down I think he is in denial and knows his mum has a problem but does not know she is Narcissistic and I doubt my MIL knows she is Narcissistic.

        I think what you said is about right
        ‘If you are committed to him, you would need to give him your love while being very firm about your boundaries over a long stretch of time.’
        Which I think I have been trying to do.

        I did not intend this to be a long message but seemed to have got a bit carried away and once again thanks for your feedback.


  • Gareld JOuvenat says:

    Thanks for your website. I ended up with shcizoaffectto disorder (mental illnes from my narcissitc parents) The hard part of my recovering and letting go of the past and be an an overcomer is that the Pshychiatrists here in Vancouver, Canada. Denied all the abuse from my childhood and sometimes twisted back around on me and actually played into my parents manipulation, plus any other aquaitetante in my life never believed me ever!!. It is so f$#^ing extreme. I have know relationships. The validation I get is from websites like yours thats is the only reason I know I am not crazy… but its hard because no person in real life plus 6 years of Phsychiratirst and other people defending (and myself being on and off suicidal)…One person validated me (it was random in an anarchist book shop…luck) What I say to myself to let it go is “Nobody said it would be easy”…”Suck it up buttercup” and this one is really true “What does’nt kill you makes you stronger!” Survivors of narcissitc abuse must know that they are really strong. What is a person suppose to do if a PHD doctor doesn’t even believe you and they are the one that suppose to know. Good luck to all of you trusting my intuation it why I made it out alive. Cheer’s-Gareld

    • Vic Banner says:

      Gerald, this is an amazing letter.
      I hope we can keep in touch; you’re experiences sound more like mine than any I’ve read so far in these blogs.

      I often call being the son of a Narcissist a “Karma trap” because your life gets stuck, nobody can see what you’re going through and the more you try to get out the more trapped you get.

      Jewish mothers, (like mine) are notoriously over-protective, and mine was so to the extent that she punished me when I was self-reliant and rewarded me when I depended on her. That’s one reason, I think, that my social relations went so badly so consistently– I couldn’t figure out why, it made no sense. My relations at work, at school, boy scouts, even support groups, all went downhill the same way. Because I didn’t have social skills that everyone seemed to have. I made very profound promises to my self on three separate occasions to find out what was the unsolved mystery of my life, and fix it. In the process, I discovered that the more I found out, the more my mother, and my siblings who she controlled, distanced themselves from me. Since I was dependent on them, this plunged me into desperation. It took a long time for me to sort it out, many decades in fact, (I’m 59), because I had to go through a long process of learning self-reliance by trial and error.
      For me, the essence of surviving this abuse was that I became a wretched failure as a result, and I see no one else writing honestly about this horrible situation. Since I could rarely hold on to a job long enough to afford therapy, I had to read self-help books and figure myself out. I made many wrong diagnoses.

      Like you, the psychiatrists and counselors went along with Mother’s agenda. This was in the 70s. I would hope Drs. are more savvy now, but maybe not. The weird thing about that was that when I was 12, I concluded on my own I had some mental health issues and asked, begged my mother take me to someone who would help me. She took me to an MD who was useless. But 4 years later, when I was forced to go to a Mental Health County outpatient clinic and take meds for a diagnosis I didn’t have, it never occurred to Mother or the docs that I had more of an investment in healing myself than any of them did. They all had this attitude that they had to oppose me to heal me, that my natural state was as a wild beast who had to be tamed and leashed.
      Of course, now I realize that, as in so many other things, she was projecting onto me her own condition; She was the one who was antagonistic to her own healing, not me. Many times, I’ve looked at how she’s treated me to learn about her.
      And so, the more I’ve separated from her, the more functional I’ve become, while ALWAYS feeling guilty about it. That is one lesson I can share with you, if you haven’T learned it yourself, and confirm and validate if you have.

      People are going to follow your NM’s agenda who never met her and have no idea what they’re doing. Ultimately, its you who have internalized how everyone has treated you, and you who teach it to them. But the trap is to blame yourself for that; SHE taught you to replicate her relationship wherever you go, and you have to pay the Hard Knocks Dues if you want to unlearn it. Its not your fault that you keep getting into the same dysfunctional therapeutic relationships over and over! She took away your power and will never give it back. You take it back by not giving her contact. At least thats how it went with me.

      I recently had an intense month in which I had to improvise a regimen of self-reliance when I almost had my visa taken away from me (I live in Japan.). If I had any contact with my family I would have probably collapsed. Look at my blog entry, “The Quantum Leap Journal– the Leap!”
      Immediately after, I thought I had gone into my deepest sub-cellar and rewired the circuitry of my deepest wounds. But now I realize there is still more, there is always more; somehow her utter betrayal of me caused me to internalize a meme that no woman could ever love me. Whenever I try to contradict it, I always set myself up for rejection. Three years ago, my wife divorced me after a fourteen year marriage and a 25 year relationship. This meme is strong! Today a fellow teacher tried to set me up with a whole passel of Filipina women; I had to tell him no. I know how it will come down. I haven’t given up on love, I just know I can’t make it to the Holy Land on my own.

      The next ordeal might be my last, or there might still be more.

      Let me know how my story compares with yours. How similar and how different is it? If I’ve helped you along the way, pay it forward.

      Victorious Banner of Perseverance
      (my name in Tibetan.)

  • Herman says:

    You post very interesting articles here. Your website deserves much bigger
    audience. It can go viral if you give it initial boost, i know useful service that can help
    you, simply search in google: svetsern traffic tips

    • Vic Banner says:

      Hermann, why would I want to go viral? What’s the benefit for me. Very few people would be interested in this topic, I think. Or am I thinking too small?

  • Jack says:

    Hi everyone.

    Thanks for the really good blog. I really appreciate this write up as I too have been researching online and can’t seem to find many write ups on the SONS of NPs.

    I’m a Scape Goat son of a narcissistic mother. I’m almost 30 years old.

    I cut contact with my NM in april 2014. It’s been the most horrendous part of my life but yet the most freeing.

    I am the oldest son and my father passed away when i was 21 and my responsibilities intensified. But the abuse, unfairness, manipulation, guilt tripping, responsibilities and undertone belittling on myself was all my life.

    I had sacrificed so much for her but she kept taking.
    I neglected so much of myself…i didn’t focus on myself at all…even when i was away from her…I neglected my physical health…my friends…my work…my time…my dreams (which i didn’t really focus on)…my emotional giving to her pathetic ways…

    When I finally put a name (NM) to the abuse I was seeing and experiencing individually…my body physically responded… I physically felt a release in my stomach area…as if the hose was on at the tap end, but was being cut off somewhere, but then someone untwists it and it goes rushing through. As if my body was saying “AHHHHH FINALLY!! THIS IS PAINFUL BEING IN FIGHT OR FLIGHT MODE!!”. It was a physical release to a mental and emotional survival mechanism.

    I sank. I was a right mess.

    I had adrenal poisoning, a urine infection and medical was told ‘my body was shutting down’. My heart was stopping two years before this date and carried on till not so long ago when I haven’t had it since.

    For too long was i her soldier and her slave and her EVERYTHING.

    For too long was I trying to please her and responsible for her emotional and every need.

    For too long was I trying to appease her rage and disapproval for my (normal) decisions in life only to fall way way short of her unrealistic/unreasonable rigged standards.

    I’m still in outrage over it to be honest…even though it’s been nearly a year since being ‘Disturbingly Free’…but only when i talk about it.

    I’m calm and thought through and level when I’m operating day to day but typing this out to you, or speaking it out, really helps. I think that this is why there isn’t many sites on SNM because men don’t talk about it too much.

    That was another thing…my whole WORLD didn’t get it. It’s not that well known but in reality it’s happening to a high number of families all around the world. Silently. Secretly. Invisibly but SO in plain sight.

    I’ll say this now…Scape Goat Son’s of NM get absolutely emasculated. A complete violation of every man that has ever lived and will ever live from here on. It’s mental and emotional abuse.

    I’ve come a hell of a long way though which I’m proud of. But is still bloody hard.

    I just want some help for this one thing…

    I was, and still am, in a really beautiful relationship with a girl i love and who saw and got this whole NM thing from the beginning.

    I’ve been with her since 2013…about a year before the (Sudden) No Contact with my NM part.

    She went through absolute hell (like myself)… she got ridiculed by my (then) friends which i stood up too through my strong sense of injustice and love for her. So no more friends for me.

    That scene become a family scene as my mother wanted to mediate this…it was rigged. My poor girlfriend. She was thought that absolute worse of due to my mother being in every bodies ear…manipulated truths…and through the process of divide and conquer.

    I lost my friends and my family and my city i lived in. She was ‘that’ big and far and wide with her influence.

    So my girlfriend has been by my side through a friends falling out…a family falling out…and now a mother falling out…..

    I feel we did really well because we both seem to value the TRUTH more than anything…so much so that I was willing to be ostracised (even more so now) to nothingness for the sake of my love and what i knew to be right. I got crucified for choosing her…but they’ll never say it. (My friends and my Mother).

    Since the No Contact with NM part in Mid 2014 … I had to have some time away from everyone, including my girlfriend. She has understood this completely and giving me from September to the present to heal and become healthy (Physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually).

    She has been a constant support but I really try not to burden her and don’t wont to exhaust her.

    I’ve had to recalibrate all my views on Love etc (not sacrificial love that has to earn the love of the other)

    I’ve had to focus on what ‘I’ want now…such a new look at life it feels weird.

    I get scared because I was conditioned to think and feel a certain way by my mother and i get scared that what are REALLY want may be different to a relationship with my current girlfriend. It scares me but I really don’t want to fear.

    That’s it really. Any help with the relationship stuff would be grateful. She’s really amazing but I know I’ve never lived before and waves of emotions are coming at me so fast (Just like the blocked hose theory). It’s stuff that should’ve been of normal development as a child grows up but its ALL coming to the surface now. And I’m trying my best to work it through a step at a time. I’m just scared as to what I find if it’s different to being in a relationship with my girlfriend. That’s all.

    I’m sorry for the long response. It’s raw. It’s real. It’s just my introduction but I can keep them a lot shorter in future.

    Thanks for this blog. I pray more and more people become free from this evil mindset.


    • Vic Banner says:

      Jack, im very moved by your story but I dont have time to answer you just now. This is most articulate and honest, even more than my work which has felt inadequate of late.
      Im going to try to get back to you ASAP, though you don’t sound like yr in any danger.
      Hang in there, you beautiful man,

    • Ian Sala says:

      Hi Jack.
      Congratulations for awakening and thanks for speaking up. I empathize as the son of a NM myself. And like you i found very little on or by sonms which is why i created http://www.sonsofnarcissisticmothers.org last year. Its still under construction and i’ve received very little input or feedback from other sonms. Could i put your post on the site? Any contribution welcome. Wishing you all the best, ian sala

      • Vic Banner says:

        Long time no hear. Thanks for replying to Jack, and for putting up this site.
        I have no intentions of being a spider never leaving my own web. I hope to visit your website more often in the coming months. Still, many is the time I would rather play Spyder Solitaire than engage publicly with the topic of surviving Narcissistic famblies. Cold feet comes with the territory.
        See you in the funny pages,

      • Vic Banner says:

        Long time no hear. Thanks for replying to Jack, and for putting up this site.
        I have no intentions of being a spider never leaving my own web. I hope to visit your website more often in the coming months. Still, many is the time I would

      • Vic Banner says:

        Hi, Ian,
        Long time no see.
        I typed a reply on my smartphone and it just got lost, I think. The wordpress mobile app is pretty unreliable.
        Thanks for weldoming Jack, Ian, and thanks for putting up your site. We very much need one like this, especially us Sons of Narcissistic Parents.
        Its not my intention to be like a spider and never leave my own web, so I”ll be visiting your site a lot more in the coming months.
        But frankly, often is the time that I would rather sit on the train playing Spyder Solitaire than deal with Child of Narcissistic Parents stuff spontaneously. Its not the funnest topic in the world, and it is getting harder for me, not easier.
        Best wishes, you beautiful man,
        Vic Banner.
        Highly Sensitive Matters

    • Vic Banner says:

      Dear Jack,
      This day is dragging on, and I’ve been waiting to get to your letter.

      I just reread your letter taking notes, easier for me to focus. While scrolling down, I’m amazed at how many people have written to me about this particular entry, “Through the Looking Glass”, and the pattern is that with each commenter, we exchange two letters at most and then don’t exchange anymore.

      I’m guessing that this blog format just isnt effective for community building, which is what I want to see happen. Ian’s website may be more the answer; I;d rather he succeed with his, with my participation, than me starting up a rival website. Or maybe a Forum format is better, but I haven’t brought myself to go back to the one at Psychforums.com for some reason.

      I guess we all need to hear each other’s experiences. I too am an elder son. I figure that I was groomed for being both Golden Child (the piano lessons, the art training) and the ScapeGoat. But my NM clearly had a chip on her shoulder about MEN, so when her third child was finally a girl, #3 became the new Golden Child. Golden Child has been obese since she hit puberty, and has been between 250 and 300 lbs her whole adult life. And of course NM and Enabler Papa have persistently given her shit about her size., So being GC can be a complete disaster.

      But its funny. As near as I can tell, the Children of Narcissistic Parents, both male and female, who blog about it and share each other’s blogs are all the ScapeGoats. Ironically, it appears that only the ScapeGoats ever actually escape the dysfunctional structure.

      My siblings are all convinced that I have Bad Character and did something to deserve being the ScapeGoat, as I thought for a good portion of my life. So they all have thought, since they were old enough to think, that they MUST DO WHATEVER THEY CAN to not be like me, whatever they think that is, in order to avoid my isolation. Our family’s role within our larger clan is all based this dynamic of the 3 Good Kids and the Black Sheep. So, going No Contact with my mother means going No Contact with the entire clan, our whole extended family. There is no crossing of the picket line, and no scabbing. I wouldn’t stand for it. I don’t want any family member to get stuck between Me and Mom. So far, everyone who has crossed the line were prodded by her. Even my favorite cousin. And I can always tell.

      So, take heart, Jack: choosing to be ostracized for your self, your loves, and your integrity is what we do. I never chose to be ostracized, I backed up into it. I told my brother, back when we were still talking, that Mom gave me the choice of Her Way or the Highway, and I chose the Highway, which nobody else even considered as a real option.

      I’m afraid of giving you advice about your girlfriend. I am an “unreliable narrator”. In the very last line of my very last entry, last November, I disclosed that I discovered, in meditation, that I myself am a Narcissist, albeit one who has perhaps just recently burst my Narcissistic bubble of delusional thinking. It certainly feels like the truth, and my therapist seems to concur. I didn’t think that a Scapegoat could be a Narcissist, but there are too many factors suggesting that I am. He won’t confirm that I was Narci, but he is delighted that I have made a big turnaround on my attitude about dozens of things.

      One of the biggest consequences of discovering that I myself am Narcissistic is realizing that is why I have always been a complete bust at Love. A long-time close friend of mine confided long ago that she had thought about hooking up with me romantically, but decided not to because I felt “unavailable.” Clearly, that unavailability was my Narcissism. Now, that might have changed, and I’m hoping it has, because I truly believe that Narcissists cannot love. And clearly you can. .

      I believe that what you felt, of a hose bursting off your midriff, is literally true. That would be the auric umbilical connection between mother and child. Umbilical connections continue until death, so what you felt probably wasn’t a complete termination of the connection, but a catharsis ending its abuse. In my case, I have felt my mother consciously try to reconnect herself to me at the head. Ultimately, for more than any other reason, that is why I have had to go No Contact with her.

      Did you literally have urinary poisoning and heart failure? That’s powerful. You had to take your own council in the light of these factors, when no one else was present for you.

      I have long suspected that I suffer chronic Cortisol toxification. Cortisol is more connected to the fight or flight response than Adrenalin is. It puts you on edge for a long term survival crisis, and it subsides slowly. It probably seldom subsided for me at all in the 18 years I lived in that house.

      Well, I gotta go now. This was going to be a lot shorter. Maybe I should write this in my own blog. But I wanted to say some things about your situation.

      Take care, and bright blessings to you,
      Vic Banner

      • Vic Banner says:

        Thanks for the link, just what the doctor ordered. Ive never been on Reddit before.

        As for “Help! I think I’m a Narcissist!”, it was great reading but it doesnt apply to me. I don’t think I am, I know it. Its apples and oranges. And not for any of the reasons or arguments given on that page.

        The essence of Narcissism is a state in which an individual’s consciousness is trapped inside a bubble of delusional thinking. The symptoms of Classical Narcissism, self absorption, vanity, etc., arise from the conditions of this bubble consciousness. But ultimately, its the delusional state, not the symptoms, that define NPD.
        Several months ago, a bubble like that burst in me. I wasn’t expecting it, and it didn’t fit what I knew about Narcissism. But some serious anti-social behavior that I’ve had all my life suddenly gave up the ghost like that, right in the middle of an English class. Of course I’m writing a very short version of this event. A transformation I’d anticipated since I was 12 years old finally actualized 48 years later, after a long ordeal stemming of a crisis in the previous 6 months. Since then, my life has been different.

        Well, that’s all for now, Ian. Metro up the good work, and see you in the funny papers.
        Vic Banner

      • Ian Sala says:

        Hi Vic,
        Well, you know yourself better than anyone else so you are best postionned to know in which category you fit. I dont know for sure myself whether its apples and pears, yin and yang or just degrees of ego. I’d love to hear more when you feel like it.
        Take care.

      • Vic Banner says:

        Thanks for following-up.
        And thanks for the open mind.
        I’ve done A LOT OF WORK on myself; I hope one day it will show.
        I believe I know what are Fleas and what aren’t Fleas, really.
        I learned a long time ago that. “I never reflect on myself” is an absurd thought.
        I.m working on a new entry for “Highly Sensitive Matters” about all that shit.
        In the meantime, I’ve been lurking around Reddit:children of narcissistic parents but haven’t jumped in yet. It’s there a best way to jump in you could recommend? It’s an exciting forum.
        Thanks for the tip.

      • Ian Sala says:

        Vic, that’s a tricky question because if you rwelly are a narcissist, you are not allowed to post or comment on the subreddit for children of narcissists (see their rules on the right hand side).

      • Vic Banner says:

        I know.
        But I think I’ve got enough slack here.
        I am NOT inempathic (lacking in empathy) so by conventional terms, I’m not Narci. I’m saying the old definitions are becoming obsolete. Wikipedia says that children of Narcissists who aren’t GC or SC get ivnoref by the famiky but see what’s going on and get very cynical; they often become Narcissists. Which would account for my brother and youngest sister, who act like Narcissists, ignoring others pain. So, if children of Narcissists can become Narcissists too, then banning Narcissists from the site becomes problematic.

        A number of guests on my site have said that their GC siblings are Narcissistic. Maybe they just have Fleas. Or do they? Almost all the CoNPs who write in the forums are SGs. We’re the ones who want to change. But I think that GCs and Lost Children like my brother and younger sister, but who want to change, are rare and precious.
        So how do I move forward on this?

      • Ian Sala says:

        I agree that this is not a black and white thing. You are the one putting yourself in a category where usually people are not prepared to admit that they belong to that category. My mother for instance would never accept that there is anything wrong with her but has no problem passing herself as a therapist. So she would be very unwelcomed on the Reddit RBN thread. I have a feeling that you may be a bit too hard one yourself if I may say so. I think you are guided by empathy indeed in wanting to communicate with other ACoNs so there shouldn’t be anything wrong with that. I agree that you deserve some slack. We all do after going through this kind of shit.
        I’m sorry for pointing out the reddit rule but felt I had to in response to info you give and question you ask. Not my role to tell you what to do. The truth is that lots of ACoNs including myself have lots of fleas or might be NPD but are posting there regardless. Lots of anger could be a pointer 🙂
        All the best brother

  • Richard says:

    I have been following your blog for awhile now, but until today I have not contributed to it. I am 62 yrs. old and although I gave been keenly aware of the disfunction in my family. It is only within the last year that I have realized that my mother is or was a full blown N. I say was, because today she died at the age of 94. DING DONG the witch is DEAD ! Sorry that sounds cruel, but I feel nothing but relief. I understand that her death will not solve the emotional problem that linger. But it’s a start.

    • Vic Banner says:

      Dear Richard,
      Thank you for sharing this. My condolences and congratulations for your loss. This is a powerful time for you and I wish and hope that you keep yourself grounded as you experience the freeing up of a lot of energy.
      It sounds like she was difficult up to the end, why else would you sing the Munchkin Song? Let me sing it with you, Fa la la la la, lalala, lalala, Fa la la la la La-laaaah!
      You’re welcome to share with us any discoveries you make as you explore your new world.
      Vic Stxyn Banner

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

What’s this?

You are currently reading I am the Son of a Narcissistic Mother, Part 1: Through the Looking Glass at Highly Sensitive Matters.


%d bloggers like this: