Mother's Day for Those Raised by Narcissistic Parents

Mother’s Day is approaching. Is it time to run and hide or stumble into a Hallmark store to desperately search for that empty card that says nothing upon which you simply sign your name? How sad, awful, taboo, and misunderstood this is for adult children raised by narcissistic parents. Who woulda thunk it?

One Phrase We Should All Stop Saying to Kids Today

What’s wrong with saying the phrase “What Is Wrong with You?” to children or adolescents? Nothing, if your tone is compassionate and you are wondering if they want to share their feelings with you. But that is different from what we hear far too often when a parent is exasperated with a child, throwing up their hands in desperation, and asking this question.

Is Your Partner a Narcissist? Here Are 50 Ways to Tell.

The label narcissist is used loosely these days, typically to indicate someone who is vain and selfish, but the personality disorder and the traits of narcissism run much deeper than this and carry long-term debilitating effects for those involved with narcissists.

Do You Feel Not Good Enough?

Have you wondered where your internalized message of “I’m not good enough,” comes from? Do you feel you give life your best, work hard, try hard, but still can’t give yourself credit? Are you constantly beating yourself up and thinking that somehow you should be more, do more, be better, and you don't measure up in your own mind?

Post-Romantic Stress

With Valentine's Day here, the topic of love is hot stuff. Will you be my Valentine? Will we love 'til death do us part? Is unconditional love even possible in romantic relationships? Did I learn how to love in my childhood?

Do Holiday Expectations Cause You Angst? 12 Ways to Help

Expectations can get us in trouble during the holiday season. Why is it that we somehow still hang onto the vision that we can suddenly transform the family into what we want during the holidays and all those old wounds, stories, and disappointments will shrink away when the bells start ringing and Santa’s sleigh starts flying?

Where Was Daddy?

The family with a narcissistic mother operates according to an unspoken set of rules. Children learn to live with those rules, but they never stop being confused and pained by them, for these rules block children’s emotional access to their parents. They are basically invisible—not heard, seen, and nurtured.

Can You Tell When a Friend Is No Good for You?

I recently got an email from a lovely woman saying she feels she repeats the dynamic she had with her narcissistic mother in her choice of friends. She says she befriends narcissistic women, who then, like her mother, end up rejecting her. Is this you?

Mothers Who Are Jealous of Their Daughters

When I was writing the book Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers, I found that I heard certain kinds of painful stories over and over again, like themes in a piece of music. One theme was that of mothers being jealous of their daughters.

Narcissists Are Not Accountable

Lack of accountability is a pet peeve for sure, and also a common problem with narcissists. Although there are many disturbing factors in the personality of a narcissist, this one is tough to deal with in any relationship. It’s hard to understand. What is so difficult about owning up to mistakes when we’re wrong?

Plant Both Feet In Relationships!

Do you struggle with trust or commitment? “I can’t seem to commit in relationships.” “I choose people who don’t commit.” “I start out fine, but something happens and I opt out.” “I find someone I’m interested in and poof they’re gone.”

When Mothers Day Hurts

Nobody wants to be a "Debbie Downer" on Mothers Day. Its a blessed and sacred institution and should be. It is certainly one of the most beautiful things about being a woman. To awaken on Mother's Day and cherish the memories of parenting is a day to behold. But, there is another side that is rarely discussed and leaves many women in a state of pain.

From Sandy Hook, to Boston, to The Jody Arias Trial

Are we all suffering now from PTSD? Post traumatic stress disorder is best understood as a normal reaction to an abnormal situation. It can be caused by life threatening events as well as emotionally destructive events that seem to cause extreme symptoms.

Are You Worried You Might Be A Narcissistic Parent?

What is the cornerstone of maternal or paternal narcissism? Do you worry you might be a narcissistic parent? Most of us with children hold the value that we would never consciously do anything to harm our children. When we do, even if unwitting, we carry guilt and heavy remorse.

Will I Ever Be Good Enough?

Adult children of narcissistic parents commonly grow up with this nagging feeling that they flunked childhood and it’s all their fault. They internalize the message they are not good enough no matter how hard they try.

Is Self-Care Selfish?

Remember the old cliché? “Take care of yourself first or you will have nothing left to give others.” Or, “ we can’t give what we don’t have.” But what is self-care really? Why is it so difficult and why do we feel guilty about doing it?

The Sandy Hook Tragedy: A Family Therapist Perspective

This season, we gather together with friends and family, and cannot help but feel deeply touched by the tragedy of December 14th in Newtown, Connecticut. As a nation and around the world it is an understatement to say that we are overcome with deep sorrow, disbelief, shock, and horror. We are all asking…why? How could this happen? What can be done?

Will I Be Good Enough For Santa?

Last year around this time I was having a discussion about the holidays with two brilliant five-year-olds. They both had the family tradition of making that wish list for Santa. One of them was exuberant about her desires and generously shared her thoughts. But when I inquired about the wishes of the second child, she burst into tears. My heart stopped. What was wrong?

What Is A Difficult Child?

I recently had the opportunity to appear on the Dr. Phil Show and he graciously endorsed my book; Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers. The show was difficult, tragic, and told stories of extremes while discussing the topic of maternal narcissism. Although I spoke briefly on the show, I want to expand here because there’s more to parent

Intolerance of Difference

I’ve always carried a belief that the biggest problem in the world is intolerance of difference. It appears to be a causal factor in war, racism, sexism, child abuse, domestic violence, marital disputes, dysfunctional families, broken marriages, religious arguments, political debates, sexuality choices, and the beat goes on.

Shaming Children Is Emotionally Abusive

I recently attended a social gathering with friends, family, strangers and a bunch of cute kids. As the day ended and goodbyes were shared, I over heard a six-year-old quietly ask her mother for something. Suddenly, in front of the crowd, the mother exploded and yelled hysterically at the child. The little girl was silenced with tears streaming down her cheeks.

When Madness Hits the Home Front

Does life really have to be a series of grief and goodbyes? Are you tired of people saying, “your parents did the best they could” and “get over it already!?”

Why Boys Do Not Tell About Sexual Abuse

The dark cloud over Penn State revealing a sexual abuse scandal also holds a painful overcast shade for male victims of sexual abuse. The news of the cover-up and victimization of boys at this prestigious university has understandably caused a flurry of confusion, surprise, and concern for parents, educators, football fans, and all who care about children.

It’s All About Me! Recovery for Adult Children of Narcissist

If it’s not one thing, it’s your mother!” I guess this quote came from Freud, the father of psychology? Well, that could bring a whole bag of analysis and interpretation, but what’s really significant for adult children of narcissistic parents is to embrace self-recovery.

The Mirror Speaks in the Mother-Daughter Connection

Having studied mother-daughter connections for twenty years, as well as writing about maternal narcissism, I find a misnomer that keeps rearing its unexpected head.

When Mother’s Day Hurts

I have invited a guest writer to join me in writing about Mother’s Day this year. Peg Streep, author of Mean Mothers, co-authored the following piece.

Help! I'm Divorcing a Narcissist

Although there is some truth that who we marry reflects our own emotional development, there is also a different and more complicated flavor involved when one is drawn into a narcissist's world.

A Differential Diagnosis for Whining

"Don't bitch and moan!" "Get over it already!" "Look for the good... quit complaining!" Sound familiar?

The Legacy of Distorted Love: Post-Romantic Stress

What did you learn about love in childhood?

Are You “Recovering” from the Merry! Merry! And the Ho! Ho!

It happens every year. As the holidays approach, therapy sessions turn to discussions about seasonal plans and reconnecting with family of origin. Outside of the office, friends and family begin the planning, hoping, wish lists, worry, and the harried stress of the season.

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