Beginning with the first moments of life the baby begins to bond with
his mother. This is essential to his psychological and physical
survival. Mother and baby attach in a loving fusion. The good enough
mother ( a term introduced by psychoanalyst D.W. Winnicott ) spends many
months in a state of maternal preoccupation with her baby. The baby
that has left the womb must have this constant care, comfort, feeling of
safety in order to thrive. Besides nutritional nourishment, the baby
internalizes the caress, smell, gentle sounds, soft soothing touch of
mother. Through the long nights when the baby's hunger cries signal the
need to be fed the mother leaves her sleep to feed her tiny infant.
These sounds are compelling and the good mother knows instinctively to
recognize the different cries of her baby. As the months pass, the bond
between the two of them strengthens and the baby begins to recognize
that mother is a separate person. The baby has begun to internalize
mother into his psyche. This is not the case with the narcissistic
mother. Many narcissistic mothers leave the delivery room, go home and
are in there office's within two or three weeks. They may even have a
surrogate mother feed the baby after the birth and calm him when he is
crying. Not all mothers who return to week early in a baby's life are
narcissistic. However, this kind of behavior is not optimum for the
baby's psychological well being.
The most significant
deprivations is a complete lack of psychological and emotional bonding
that the child experiences with the narcissistic mother. She is cold,
unavailable and preoccupied with herself. You ask yourself: Why did she
have children? Maybe she accidentally got pregnant and is going through
Some narcissistic mothers purposely have children
they can show off and put on display as narcissistic supplies and living
Having a narcissistic mother and not being
attached to her is a very difficult psychological legacy for the child.
In some cases there are substitutes like an aunt, older sister,
grandmother or a nanny. This can make all the difference for the child.
In some cases the father becomes the mothering figure and that is
fortunate. Some children have no one. They are fed, dressed, sent to
bed, given breakfast and sent to school in a mechanical manner. The
narcissistic mother is critical, cold, disengaged, unaffectionate and
basically has nothing to give her child. The focus of life is herself,
not her child. Children who grow up under these circumstances often feel
empty inside and find it hard to form warm, secure, trusting
relationships with others.
There have always been
narcissistic mothers; we now are able to recognize them more
specifically. However, there is a serious trend in our society today of
the grow of more narcissists and narcissistic mothers. These mothers are
not scorned ; they are praised for being able to DO IT ALL. No one can
do it all. That is impossible and untrue. What looks lovely on the
outside can be a complete nightmare to a child on the inside.
are adult children of narcissistic mothers who find ways to heal from
this deep psychological wound. I have been in contact with many of them.
They are strong, caring and often very empathic individuals. They have
my deepest respect. To learn about the narcissistic personality
in-depth, visit my website:thenarcissistinyourlife.com
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D. Telephone Consultation: United States and International Book: Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life Email: firstname.lastname@example.org