Narcissistic Mother Explained - Anna Szabo narcissistic abuse recovery story

Dear #TruePrincesses! Have you ever wondered how daughters of narcissistic mothers can survive and thrive? Today, I’ll share about my dramatic and traumatic life with my narcissistic mother. I will answer the question “What is a narcissistic mother?” and discuss characteristics of daughters of narcissistic mothers, as well as how to deal with a narcissistic mother. I know what it’s like to be dealing with a narcissistic mother – not from a book I read but from my personal experience of having been raised by a narcissistic mother myself.

Here’s a story about my mom’s influence on me, how she abused me, and the damage it caused, affecting my life and mental health.

If you’re currently dealing with a narcissistic mother, this content might be really hard for you to read and process.

It’s truthful yet hurtful.

I myself am in pain while writing this because everything I describe here is autobiographical and very personal.

Right now, I feel like throwing up. I feel tired and it’s only my third paragraph about daughters of narcissistic mothers.

We must bring these things to light in order to heal.

13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. 14 This is why it is said:
“Wake up, sleeper,
    rise from the dead,
    and Christ will shine on you.”

Ephesians 5:13-14

If we want to heal, we must face this devastating storm of flashbacks and traumatizing feelings as we uncover the truth about the signs of a narcissistic mother and what happens to children of narcissistic mothers.

“When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.”

Henry Ford

So, if you want to heal, you must go “against the wind.”

I know your mother is against you discovering and exploring the truth because she wants you to worship her. You might even feel guilty and shameful right now as you’re reading this because your mother would perceive this as a betrayal. Your mother wants you to remain is eternal bondage with her. She is the only source of truth in her own eyes.

But your eyes are about to open. You are about to look the truth in the eye and see your mother for what she is – the narcissist.

You must face the reality of who your mother is and what she has done to harm you.

Prioritize your mental health and overall wellbeing and take charge of your future!

This is difficult but it will propel you, like an airplane taking off against the wind.

What’s the alternative?

To binge-watch Netflix, over-eat in search of comfort, dive into alcohol, sex, and drugs to avoid dealing with emotional pain, become detached from reality and exposed to manipulation, submit to the narcissist’s abuse, and live life wastefully hiding from emotional adulthood?

Ouch, Anna!

I didn’t choose my mother!

This is hurtful!

No, sweetheart, it’s not.

It’s truthful.

I was avoiding my own emotional adulthood for years. In fact, here’s my story shared in the form of a Christian spoken word poem called “Identity” performed at Urban Grind in Atlanta in 2019:

I’d rather eat myself to death right now than write this blog for you.

It’s so painful to face the truth about what exactly you endured from your mother who was supposed to love and protect you. It’s painful for me to share this with you but I was called to share from the heart, and I am ready.

So, let’s step into our emotional adulthood by facing the truth together!

Narcissistic Mother

Being raised in a family of adulterous alcoholics, in an environment of violence and abuse, I tried to commit suicide twice as a child. 

That didn’t work, so I started digging deep inside myself searching for a source of power and perseverance.

That’s how I got started on my personal development journey when I was 12 years old.

Being the Child of a Narcissistic Mother

I never had a father. My mom told me that he was my aunt’s boyfriend whose legs were broken due to an injury.

She took some food and went to see him at his mother’s home.

My mom described how she got on top of him, they had unprotected sex, and “surprisingly” she got pregnant.

She explained to me that she was shocked by her getting pregnant “unexpectedly” and she went to abort me.

But the doctor advised her against aborting me because it was not good for her health.

That’s how I was born and from that moment on my existence is held against me.

My mother always lived with her parents. She never ever moved out and lives in that same home even today. She is 64 years old.

My mother’s two sisters lived with their mother as well. Three of them.

Each of the sisters had a daughter. Three of us.

All of us lived in a four-bedroom little condo in Soviet Russia.

We had one bathroom and a lot of drama.

One of the daughters moved out eventually but two remain even today in that same condo with my 91-year-old grandma who was violent toward the only man in our entire household – my grandpa. Every single day…

I witnessed my grandmother beat the life out of my grandfather while screaming at him. She was completely insane. She lied about most of the things most of the time.

They made and sold their own alcohol. They slept with other people’s spouses in front of me. They served me my first alcoholic beverage when I was five years old. And they bought me cigarettes in packs when I turned ten years old.

I feared those people so much, but most of all I feared my mother.

From now on, when I say ‘they” or “all of them,” I mean my mother, grandmother, my mom’s sisters, and my cousins.

A word about my cousins.

We are one year apart. When I was five, the three of us were spending time together by practicing oral sex on each other in a bathtub.

It was my older cousin’s doing. This was all taking place inside the four walls of our home with our parents present.

I’m the youngest from the oldest of those three sisters (Lyuda), the middle one of us (Yulya) came from the middle one of them (Sveta), and the youngest of them (Ira) was the mother of the oldest of us (Vika).

Vika and Yulya were obsessed with boys, genitals, and making out. Often, I’d see them escape at night through the windows to meet the neighborhood boys to do God knows what.

I was obsessed with school. It was the only place where I was a somebody because I was a nobody at home.

I had to do whatever was humanly possible to protect myself from my abusive, hateful, cruel narcissistic mother.

I protected myself by developing a passion for learning (I graduated from four universities with an average GPA of 3.91), by submitting to her encouragement to sleep around so she could enjoy hearing the details of my sex life (I developed sex addiction, and by carrying a taser and pepper spray at all times since she tried to kill me on multiple occasions (I developed Complex PTSD (C-PTSD)).

Also, I read about my situation to maintain perspective, I was almost daily calling suicide prevention hotline, and I went to therapy (it was free).

For years, I tried to face my past but the pain was just too much, so I’d choose to drink and sleep around in order to cope.

Until one day I decided to look my pain in the eye and be in its presence for as long as it takes to resolve it and make peace with it.

“Your past affects your present, which, in turn, affects your future. You shall never run from your past. You must face it with courage and make peace with it so that you can have a future that’s better than your past. ” (tweet this)

Anna Szabo

Remember: healing your wounds takes patience.

My expectation was that I’ll do it once and I’ll be healed forever.

That’s not how it works.

Don’t expect to magically instantly heal a wound which took decades to develop from the abuse you experienced over and over and over again.

Healing takes time, patience, intentionality, and fortitude.

That’s what success takes.

What is “success” when it comes to reading a blog about a narcissistic mother, characteristics of daughters of narcissistic mothers, narcissistic personality disorder mother-daughter relationship, and being raised by a narcissistic mother?

On the journey of healing various wounds caused by my narcissistic mother, I define success as facing courageously the reality of my mother being a narcissist, admitting openly the truth about the abuse she imposed on me for decades, forgiving her daily, and processing the painful feelings that arise often through genuine vulnerability.

Being the child of a narcissistic mother took much fortitude to persevere through abuse and violence, as well as regular journaling to help process thoughts, feelings, and dreams about a better future.

Anna Szabo talks about her narcissistic mother and the healing journeys of  daughters of narcissistic mothers
Healing the Wounds from Narcissistic Mother Takes Time

Daughters of narcissistic mothers suffer so much. The damage a narcissistic mother causes is long-lasting. My mother told me many times: “I hate you and I just want you dead!” She encouraged me to commit suicide.

When I was in B-school, she brought two girls from the streets to live with us and called them her daughters while stonewalling me and hating on me. The girls slept and lived with her in her bedroom.

She spilled boiling olive oil one morning on my legs from the frying pan where I was cooking a meal.

Many times, I ran away from home to escape this narcissistic personality disorder mother-daughter relationship, which caused so much pain and confusion.

I wrote a poem about my experience of being the child of a narcissistic mother.

"Narcissistic Mother" #PoemsFromGod

A Narcissistic Mother is egotistical and incapable of love or compassion.

She is self-centered and only for herself does she experience any genuine passion. 

She is a caregiver who treats her daughter as if the child’s aim were to be of service.

She deliberately persuades her daughter that she’s unloved, undeserving, unwanted, and worthless.

A Narcissistic Mother is one moment raging and next moment she is smiling.

She behaves unpredictably; her goal is to win people’s compliments and admiring. 

She has an enmeshed relationship with her daughter where her child’s needs don’t even exist.

If she decides to appear nice, she is pleasant, but in a split of a second, she’s violent and pissed. 

She uses her daughter to fuel her ego or get some money;  that’s pretty much it.

And of course, her true motives she would never openly to anyone admit.

A Narcissistic Mother sucks a life out her daughter and says straightforwardly: “I just want you dead!”

Her daughter ends up with a long-lasting emotional trauma and a life of deep healing ahead. 

10/6/18 © Anna Szabo, JD, MBA

I realized the truth about my mother when I was 12 and she told me to commit suicide again after I tried and failed.

However, I didn’t know my mother was a narcissist. Children don’t know what they don’t know.

I just knew that my mother wasn’t helping me. She was harming me.

There is a difference between being a narcissistic mother, which is a set of personality traits, and a mother having a Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), which is a serious mental health issue.

What Is Narcissism?

Let’s first differentiate between people with narcissistic personality traits and those with a narcissistic personality disorder.

Narcissism vs Narcissistic Personality Disorder

According to the Mayo Clinic, Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance and a deep need for admiration. Those with narcissistic personality disorder believe that they’re superior to others and have little regard for other people’s feelings. But behind this mask of ultra-confidence lies a fragile self-esteem, vulnerable to the slightest criticism.”

Narcissism is a set of personality traits characterized by an inflated image of one’s own worth, a strong sense of entitlement, and a tendency to act selfishly. People who have narcissistic tendencies may believe they are smarter, better looking, more talented, and more deserving than other people and appear to be self-involved. These traits can express themselves in two primary ways:

Let’s now discuss the two types of narcissism.

Grandiose Narcissism vs Vulnerable Narcissism

Grandiose narcissists are often extroverted, attention-seeking, and power-hungry. They have a strong sense of entitlement and believe that they are superior to others. This is called overt narcissism. Anger here is expressed openly. Arrogance, superficial charm, and excessive optimistic are common.

Vulnerable narcissists often develop an inflated sense of self as a way of “overcompensating for low self-esteem and a deep-seated sense of shame.” They tend to be emotionally sensitive, cold, distant, withdrawn, and are easily threatened by rejection and criticism. Their anger is hidden and internalized. This is called covert narcissism.

Common for both types are self-centeredness, extreme need for admiration, and low agreeableness.  

Narcissism forms early in childhood. Genetics contribute to about 46-64% and the environment is responsible for about 36-54% of the narcissistic behavioral makeup.

How Does a Narcissistic Mother Behave: 55 Symptoms of a Narcissistic Mother

1. She treats you as inferior, she feels and acts superior.

2. She makes you feel like you are a burden and should never have been born.

3. She controls and manipulates you: she blows everything you do out of proportion, she showers you with looks of disappointment and disapproval.

4. She offers no unconditional love, all her love is based on your performance, you have to win her approval and love.

5. She is ego-driven, self-absorbed, and inconsiderate of your needs.

6. She violates your boundaries or simply doesn’t recognize them at all: she reads your diary, provides no privacy, invades your space, complains about your personal business to everyone in front of you, and shares private details of your life with strangers in order to humiliate and embarrass you.

7. She tells you of the debt that can never be repaid by you, she says she sacrificed everything to give you life; this causes you much confusion, disappointment, frustration, pain, and self-doubt.

8. She competes with you, which makes you feel awkward and develops in you the sense that you are never good enough.

9. She befriends your friends and even flirts with your boyfriend.

10. She steals the ownership for your accomplishments and presents them as her own, unless she simply dismisses them.

11. She makes every little inconvenience your faults and imposes guilt and shame on you, projecting all her faults on you.

12. She is jealous of you.

13. She tells you how you feel, so you can never be sure of reality, she minifies or dismisses everything you say about your experiences or feelings.

14. She is emotionally unavailable and doesn’t know how to talk about emotions: you say you feel hurt and she says you are dangerous.

15. She wants you to be her narcissistic supply, manipulate you, and guilt you into complete and total submission, she dreams to make your life miserable.

16. She treats you as her scapegoat – a sacrifice that can make her look like a good person in the eyes of others and win her approval and admiration.

17. She also has the golden child – some other child she treats with privileges because that child gives her admiration and worships her.

18. She is a boldface liar and will do anything to get what she wants.

19. She diverts conversations to herself: every problem is about how negatively she feels about you, which causes confusion in you.

20. She struggles with self-loathing and fragile ego so she makes everything about herself.

21. She fails to protect you from harm, she doesn’t care or even enjoys seeing you being harmed because she wishes for you to be punished, she’s cruel.

22. She puts up a facade, she cares so much about what people think and say, she wants people to admire her, so she plays nice with you around others, but she abuses you 1:1.

23. She guilts and shames you in a very dramatic and threatening way and she uses any means to get what she wants from you.

24. She’s emotionally untrustworthy and you know it.

25. She is confident that nothing is wrong with her.

26. She genuinely wants you to sacrifice your life to worship her.

27. She imposes scars that are massive but invisible to others and no one can believe you, in fact, they believe you’re ungrateful since you have such a wonderful mother.

28. She is committed to torturing you forever, she will never stop.

29. She is mean and cruel, and she tortures you for your perceived imperfections.

30. She wants you to live with her and depend on her so she can exercise power over you and torture you.

31. She judges others, believes she’s the most talented, beautiful, smart, capable, and she exaggerates everything; she wants you to engage in gossip with her to make her feel good about herself.

32. She makes you feel exhausted and hurt, it’s overwhelming to be her daughter.

33. She is incapable of nurturing you.

34. You are a source of her sense of self, she “loves’ you for how she sees herself in you.

35. She created the illusion of a loving and sacrificial mother to win admiration and compliments from people.

36. She envies you.

37. She is severely deficient on empathy and compassion.

38. She causes conflict, chaos, and confusion within you and within the family.
39. She is incapable of affection, except toward her golden child whom she’s grooming to admire and worship her forever.
40. She defends her delusional persona at all costs.

41. She accuses you of being inconsiderate and selfish if you don’t meet her every need.

42. She brags about herself all the time, even painting herself a victim making sacrifices for you, only to win other’s admiration.

43. She persuades you you’re a failure, will never amount to anything, and can’t live without her.
44. She seeks pity from people to get attention by exaggerating everything.

45. She portrays herself as super-strong, persevering despite her victimhood.

46. She treats you with neglect because she doesn’t care about you.

47. She makes you feel guilty for wanting to build your own life.

48. She considers any difference in opinions as disrespect and rages at you balming you for having an opinion.

49. She shamed you for wanting to live life on your own terms.

50. She is violent and aggressive toward you.

51. She hinders intentionally your maturing prices because she needs you to remain under her influence and power.

52. She shares inappropriate information with you to create an illusion of friendship, violating boundaries and making you feel awkward, as well as robbing you of your childhood.
53. She gives you random abusive calls and sends messages expecting you to listen to her poisoning stream of unconsciousness.
54. She expects you to vulnerably disclose everything about yourself, whatever she asks.

55. She treats you with a reward-punishment system, she expects you to meet all her demands or else.

Spiritual Art Collection - Paintings With Tales by Anna Szabo Art

What Are the Characteristics of Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers?

1. Feeling guilty and forever indebted.

2. Feeling shameful and worthless.

3. Feeling anger or even rage.

4. Feeling like can not trust herself.

5. Feeling incompetent and lacking confidence.

6. Feeling uncertain regarding the boundaries that define where others end and she begins.

7. Feeling unable to trust people and withdrawing into isolation.

8. Feeling crazy and doubting reality.

9. Feeling anxiety about life.

10. Feeling suicidal because there seems to be no other way to end the painful relationship.

Domestic Violence - my story as a domestic abuse survivor Anna Szabo

Is My Mother a Narcissist?

If you ask yourself “Is my mother a narcissist?” check below the red flags that apply to you and you’ll be able to see from this simple assessment if you have a narcissistic mother. Check every statement that applies to you:

1. My voice is not being heard

2. My feelings are not being considered

3. My needs and wants are disregarded

4. I’m being judged and condemned

5. I’m being dominated and controlled

6. I’m being treated as a commodity

7. I feel unsafe around my mother

8. I can’t trust my mother

9. I lose myself in my relationship with my mother

10. I’m being manipulated and violated

How many of the above statements apply to you? I hope this quick questionnaire helped you answer the life-impacting question “Is my mother a narcissist?

God is good - Anna Szabo of Online Discipleship for Women

How to Deal with a Narcissistic Mother: Your 12 Step Plan

You as her daughter want to be wrong about her. Not only is she your family, but she also gave birth to you so you have special tender feelings for her. When we are children, we trust our caregivers. We believe that they have our best interest in mind and truly love us. By default, we place value on their words and take what they say to heart as respectable and true. It’s because, as little girls, we regard our mothers reasonable and logical. However, to be a mother, no one is required to be either reasonable or logical. Abusive and ill-willed women are allowed to have children and raise them. Cruel and ego-driven females are allowed to become mothers to innocent precious little daughters who are defenseless and take every at a face value while growing up. Manipulative and envious, narcissistic mothers hate their daughters’ guts and raise them to suffer, genuinely wishing them harm.

How can you protect yourself now that you’re no longer a defenseless, naive, innocent little girl?

1. Step out of denial into acceptance of reality about your mother.

2. Allow the child in you to make peace with the painful truth.

3. Understand that you’re filled with anxiety about life, people, decision-making, and future because she persuaded you over the years that you don’t have the right to live and are worthless.

4. Realize that you can’t depend on your mother whom you idealized and idolized.

5. Recognize that there will never be enough sacrifice for your mother, her demands never end, she always criticizes you and wants to own and dominate you.

6. Comprehend what she’s doing to you.

7. Build a plan to recover and heal so you can stand firm on your own two feet and be emotionally independent of this toxic relationship.

8. Establish boundaries, though you fear your mother.

9. Make yourself uninteresting and boring, she hates boring, so don’t tell anything exciting or important to her.

10. Focus on you, build trustworthy relationships with emotionally-healthy people who care about you.

11. Practice self-care, read, write, cook, create art, swim, hike, dance, take fitness or public speaking classes, journal, protect yourself, heal.

12. Heal, heal, heal because the unresolved trauma from the relationship with your narcissistic mother keeps you in bondage.

How To Deal With Rejection - Anna Szabo

What Is Narcissistic Exposure? 

Narcissistic exposure happens when you engage in a relationship with the narcissist for an extended period of time. This includes spending time together, having a relationship of some kind, being in contact for personal, recreational, or professional reasons. The effect is damaging.

I am Patient - Daily Devotional for Women by Anna Szabo of Online Discipleship for Women

What are the Signs of Narcissistic Exposure? 

1. Feeling unwanted, hated, and despised, actively believing these negative feelings, internalizing them, and even feeling shocked if someone shows respect or kindness toward you.

2. Having startled responses, even when engaged in normal everyday activities.

3. Being nervous when you make simple decisions, normally not associated with feeling scared or nervous. You are afraid to violate narcissist’s expectations. 

4. Experiencing constant anxiety about everything. 

5. Worrying severely about separation with the narcissist but feeling relieved when the narcissist is not around, then feeling anxiety upon narcissist’s return.

6. Believing you deserve the relationship with the narcissist because the narcissist convinced you that you’re bad or evil.

7. Hiding the good news from the narcissist because you don’t want to spark jealousy and envy or give data to be used against you.

8. Fantasizing about having a relationship without manipulation or abuse.

9. Contemplating your responses to false allegations against you by the narcissist but never saying anything because of fear.

Depression and Suicide - my journey of Depression recovery and how to help someone with depression - Anna Szabo

Can Narcissistic Mother Cause Narcissistic Daughter?

Research shows that narcissistic mothers can cause narcissism is their daughters. It may or may not happen depending on whether you were her scapegoat or the golden child. It also depends on which parenting style she used with you and her overall mental health condition.

I am Righteous - Daily Devotionals for Women by Anna Szabo of Online Discipleship for Women

"Narcissistic Mother Hates Her Daughter" #PoemsFromGod

Narcissistic mother inherently hates her daughter’s guts.
She sees her as another woman, of whom she’s envious and jealous.
She might be nice to people, even kissing others’ butts,
But to her daughter she is never good or  kind or simply zealous. 

Her only goal is to destroy her daughter permanently.
She’s filled with hatred, animosity, and ill will.
She says “I want you dead!” to her descendant personally.
She tries tenaciously her child to harm or kill.

7/17/19 © Anna Szabo, JD, MBA

Dealing with a Narcissistic Mother

Daughters believe their mothers. They accept what the mother says as correct, true, logical, and reasonable, though there is no evidence.

There’s no requirement of being logical or reasonable in order to be a parent.

When the mother fails to provide what the daughter needs, the child doesn’t know what she doesn’t know. She takes at a face value what the mother models in terms of relationships, friends, self-esteem, identity, and mindset.

Narcissistic mother wants the daughter to believe she is and always will be a failure. She treats her daughter as worthless.

Any mistake or even a simple misstep is the daughter’s fault, but if the daughter succeeds, all credit goes to the mother.

“Narcissistic mother causes unexpected pain, unforeseen chaos, unintended confusion, and unavoidable regrets by imposing unreasonable guilt and shame on you to make you suffer.” (tweet this)

Anna Szabo

You must understand the truth about your mother and validate your own reality. Your mother failed you, and it’s time to draw some boundaries.

Not having contact with your mother is not the same as terminating the relationship.

The effect of this relationship persists way beyond the end of contact or even her death.

This relationship can’t be escaped, not even through death, but it can be resolved by realizing the truth and making peace with it.

“The relationship with a narcissistic mother can’t be escaped, not even through death, but it can be resolved by realizing the truth and making peace with it.” (tweet this)

Anna Szabo

Study and understand the six types of relationships so you can comprehend the truth and accept what happened to you with peace.

This classification of relationships will help you gain perspective.

Understand These Six Types of Relationships

1. Close relationships. Characterized by heart-to-heart conversations and mutual sharing, where one person is seeking to meet the relationship needs of another and vise verse. 

2. Superficial relationships. These may include conversations and joint activities but without deep knowing of one another. Each person kind of still feels alone, even when in the presence of another.

3. Distant relationships. Here people exhibit little sharing and might seem disengaged. Very little communication happens in this type of relationships and neither person feels comfortable to show vulnerability.

4. Estranged relationships. These are the ones that have been cut off, broken, possibly due to a divorce or an unresolved conflict. 

5. Conflicted relationships. These include a lot of hot arguing, fighting, or just hidden conflict where tension is always present.

6. Enmeshed relationships. This type of relationships offers very little individuality or separation of emotion. It’s not clear where I end and you begin. It’s almost like I am FOR you. Personal boundaries are diffused in such a relationship. There’s no breathing room for you, you are expected to let go of your own thoughts, beliefs, hobbies, feelings, opinions, vision for the future, and dreams

To summarize, the six types of relationships are:

  1. Close relationships
  2. Superficial relationships
  3. Distant relationships
  4. Estranged relationships
  5. Conflicted relationships
  6. Enmeshed relationships

Here’s a video on the topic of classification of relationships in general produced for my dating course back in 2014. Though it’s called “romantic love” relationships, the content refers to any relationships in general.

My mother and I had an enmeshed relationship where my needs didn’t exist and I was there to serve and please my mother at any cost.

I idealized my mother until her true colors were revealed before I even became a teen. Then, I rebelled.

Eventually, I moved from Russia to America to be away from her but she started finding people on social media to reach out to me after she herself was blocked from all my profiles. She would send messages to random strangers to pass to me. The messages were guilt-based and shame-provoking. She demanded that I leave everything and come back to Russia to take care of her and her garden. The picture she painted was how wonderful it would be for me to live with her and her mother and sister again. I tried to reason with her but after her hate-filled rage explosions I’d end up blocking her.

Blocking her on social media gave me mental space to process everything sand gain perspective but it didn’t help me heal. Having myself open to a relationship with her and watching out, seeing her exactly for what she is and understanding what she’s doing and how – that did help me heal.

I love her as a person and I pray for her salvation.

But her words have no power over me because I didn’t come here from her, I came through her from God.

What Does The Bible Say About a Narcissistic Mother?

People at church tend to always ask me if I forgave my mother but what they actually want to hear is that I reconciled with her.

Forgiveness and reconciliation are not the same thing.

I forgave my mother, which means I do not hold her wrongdoing against her, she doesn’t owe me an apology or anything at all. I forgave my mother not because of her, but because of Jesus. Who Jesus is and what He had done on the cross for me is the reason I forgave my mother.

Reconciliation of the relationship doesn’t always follow the forgiveness of the offender because it might be unwise due to the violent behaviors of the person.

“God asks us to be wise and give thought to our steps. Being wise requires us to consider the characters and behaviors of the people we have relationships with, including narcissistic mothers.” (tweet this)

Anna Szabo

People at church generally tend to impose on me their belief that I must be in a relationship with my mother. Yet, the Bible says “Do not conform to the patterns of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,” so let’s see how to renew your mind daily using God’s word regarding your mother, her character, behaviors, and influence on you.

Desire fulfilled is sweet to the soul,
    but turning away from evil is abhorrent to fools.
She who walks with the wise will become wise,
    but the companion of fools will suffer.
Evil pursues sinners,
    but prosperity will reward the righteous.

Proverbs 13:19-21

The Bible tells you that the fool hates turning away from evil. It says you must walk with the wise so you yourself can be wise. It warns you that if you remain the companion to the fool, you will suffer harm.

10 As for a person who stirs up division, after warning her once and then twice, have nothing more to do with her, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; she is self-condemned.

Titus 3:10-11

The Word of God commands you to establish boundaries and instructs you on how to do it. The Bible says you must give to the person who is inflicting pain and suffering on you two warnings. God’s Word teaches you to have nothing to do with that person after you establish boundaries and they violate them twice, because, the Bible says, that person condemns herself.

Do not let anyone fool you by telling you things that are not true, because these things will bring God’s anger on those who do not obey him. So have nothing to do with them. In the past you were full of darkness, but now you are full of light in the Lord. So live like children who belong to the light. Light brings every kind of goodness, right living, and truth.

Ephesians 5:6-9

God’s wisdom is eternal. It’s the only truth to live by and it instructs you to separate yourself from your abusive, hateful, cruel, violent narcissistic mother if she’s trying to fool you by telling you untrue things about you.

If your mother keeps persuading you that you are worthless, the Biblical truth is that you are God’s precious masterpiece created in His image for His divine purpose. He made you to have you here, He has a plan for you.

If your mother tells you no one loves you and will never love you, the Biblical truth is that you’re loved by God unconditionally, for eternity. He adores you. He cares so much for you that He numbers your hair.

If your mother insists that you’re incapable, stupid, and will never amount to anything, God’s truth is that you can do all things through Christ. “All things” is inclusive of absolutely anything. You can do anything! You can be a CEO, a ballerina, a poet, an artist, a teacher, a lawyer, or a governor. All things are possible for you through Christ. That’s what God says.

Want to find out what else God says about you? Download my FREE BOOK OF DEVOTIONALS called #52Devotionals now.

The Bible explains in that last verse that in the past you didn’t know right from wrong. You had no idea that your mother was a narcissist.

You believed what your narcissistic mother did to you was normal.

God’s Word says that those days are over. You now know the truth.

It’s time for you to “live like children who belong to the light.” What does it mean? It means that now you know what the truth is and you need to separate yourself from the darkness and choose light.

The Bible says “light brings every kind of goodness and right living.”

If you experience social pressure from your church community to submit yourself to the abuse of your mother, remember that those people who persuade you to be in a relationship with her aren’t in your shoes and their advice to you is not Biblical, it’s worldly.

Do not submit to the pattern of the world. Turn to the Holy Spirit given to you in Christ to discern. Separate yourself from the fool.

Guard your mind and heart because your ability to live right starts in your heart. The Bible wants you to treasure your heart, not expose it to abuse.

Above all else, guard your heart,
    for everything you do flows from it.

Proverbs 4:23

The people who insist you must reconcile the relationship with your mother have no idea how evil your mother is and won’t ever understand it because they can never live through what you lived through with her being raised by a narcissistic mother.

God’s word also encourages us “Do not cast your pearls before swine” so you don’t have to explain yourself to everyone who has absolutely no experience or understanding to even slightly comprehend the scope of trauma and abuse your mother imposed on you.

For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.

Ephesians 6:15 

Have peace from understanding that God created you in His own image for His divine purpose. Dwell on what God wants for you. Don’t worry about what people want for you.

Listen to the Holy Spirit in you when it comes to figuring out how to protect yourself from your narcissistic mother.

What Happens to Children of Narcissistic Mothers?

I shared with you a lot of information. Now, I will tell you stories that will demonstrate what happens to children of narcissistic mothers.

What I share here is a small portion of what happened to me but I chose these examples to specifically demonstrate the cause-and-effect relationship between being brain-washed by the narcissistic mother and being unable to live productively.

I will show you how being raised by a narcissistic mother causes behavioral and mental health problems that must be recognized and addressed before we can have goodness and right living like the Bible instructs us to have.

The examples below were chosen because of their severely traumatizing impact on my life, including addictions, depression, PTSD, and suicide.

Raised by a Narcissistic Mother to Be a Sex Addict

When I was five, mother taught me about sex, explaining to me that I was for sex and sex was love. It was 1988. She used to leave a hard-core pornography book called “Emmanuelle” on a table for me so I could read it.

“Emmanuelle” was also a film I was encouraged to watch to learn about love. This porn series, which was banned by the President of France initially until the new government authorities set it free, includes group sex, lesbian sex, sex with children and strangers, and even rape.

I was a little innocent girl when those images and videos started being embedded in my mind as love.

In the first 14 weeks when this porn film was released, 2.5 million Frenchmen stood in line to watch it.

That film was shown to me causally to educate me about love and my identity as a woman.

I was taught from that point on that to be a woman worthy, I must be as sensual and sexual as Dutch model and actress Sylvia Kristel.

Why was she Dutch in a French porn series? Because the pornography was so mind-boggling that the producers were unable to find French actresses to play Emmanuelle.

Here’s elderly Kristel herself explaining that “Emmanuelle” was not even expected to ever be released because it was such a hard-core-porn film.

Yet, to me, a little Russian girl, the film was shown very casually and presented to be about the kind of woman I must become teaching me what love is and how to love.

Released in 1974, the soft-focus French film was one of the first erotic movies to be shown in mainstream cinemas. Sylvia Kristel described the film as violent and disgusting. She hoped her mother would never see it but it became the most popular film in France and other countries around the world for over a decade.

In Russia, my mother even took me to movie theaters to watch pornography. She was single and obsessed with sex. Emmanuelle was the book popping up everywhere I was. When I saw my mother reading at home, it was Emmanuelle she was holding in her hands.

My mother never wanted to hold me for comfort as other parents I saw did. She would give me affection by gently petting my back with something soft if I agreed to do the same to her.

It was an enmeshed and awkwardly confusing relationship where my mother brainwashed me and required inappropriate things from me in order for me to earn her love and approval.

I was still in elementary school when I placed my little orange jacket on my chair and was moving my little butt in circles masturbating in front of my teachers. No one ever addressed this or offered me any help. No one questioned my mother’s parenting, the pornographic literature she offered to me, or the hard-core porn films shown to be as a child.

I grew up to be a sex addict.

What Is a Sex Addict - Anna Szabo
Narcissistic Mother Exposed Me to Porn Early On Causing Sex Addiction

In 2014, I gave my life to Jesus, embarked on a celibacy journey, went to sex-addiction therapy, and attended Sexaholics Anonymous here in Atlanta at Peachtree Presbyterian Church.

I wrote a poem about the experience and how it impacted my identity.

"Identity" #PoemsFromGod 

When I was five years old, my mama told me
That I was born to be a mother and a wife.
I was taught how to make men want me
And that sex was the best key to my best life. 

When at six years old I strived to study,
Mama told me that instead I needed men,
That their focus of attention was my body
And I’d better master sex to live in zen.

When at 15, graduating with high honors,
I left school to go to college and to work,
Mama told me that my wasteful life her bothers,
That my oddity and fancy were a quirk.

When at 19, graduating with high honors, 
After college, I went on to Busines School,
Mama told me I was crazy and went bonkers,
She was hateful, she was violent, she was cruel.

At 24 I graduated with high honors 
From two good schools with two degrees in law and business. 
I mastered also sex and men to meet my mothers
Expectations and demands for my life’s richness.

I got married to Prince Charming and left Russia.
And I strived to be a mother and a wife.
Domestic Violence was my marriage daily crushing.
I had to run away to save my life.

When police took me away to homeless shelter,
I was crushed, I was confused, I was in pain.
In a foreign country I life entered.
To survive, I had to daily use my brain.

Within 18 months, I learned the language
And I passed the Academic English Test.
As an immigrant, I had a disadvantage, 
So I went to school to prove my best.

MBA from GSU was good decision,
Only mama was still living in my head.
She continued my identity collision:
To be mother, to be wife, or stay unwed?

Mama’s voice remained the strongest, so I married.
He was doctor. I was student. We had kids.
Her ideas of myself I always carried:
I’m for men and I’m for sex. Mom’s voice mine beats. 

When I got my MBA and started working,
That second marriage quickly also got dissolved.
As I was hustling a lot and money earning,
My identity and purpose both evolved.

But Mama’s voice was surely ever-lasting: 
You’re for men, you are for sex, you must be wife.
In confusion and in pain my purpose wasting,
I went on to live a very furtive life.

Slept around, drank like crazy, I was sinking.
My identity collision was a burden.
To avoid my pain and life, I was just drinking,
Who I was and whose I was, I was uncertain.

It was April, it was dark, and I was crying.
There was carpet, there were stars, and I was kneeling. 
I was praying - to surrender I was trying.
And that night I did experience deep healing.

I asked Jesus: change my mind and my head’s voices.
I asked Him to lead my life, to guide my journey. 
Ever since my soul is healed and it rejoices.
Mom’s and mine beliefs on life no longer tourney. 

Jesus taught me that I am, in fact, a royal.
Child of God, I am, in fact, King’s Princess.
Ever since, to Him I’m being loyal.
Trusting Him, I am becoming fearless.

Mom’s beliefs and my beliefs no longer matter.
Jesus tells me my life’s purpose and desire.
Single life for me, He says, is better.
His commands today my life inspire. 

4/27/19 © Anna Szabo, JD, MBA

My mother had always told me she was not good at sex, and that women who were better at it had higher chances of getting married. And my mother’s ideal future for me, which she communicated to me consistently, was that I get married at 20, have a baby, get divorced, and live with her for the rest of my life and she can raise my baby. I was pregnant at 17 and miscarried. I never got pregnant after that.

From a very young age, I remember my mother’s conversations with me about the importance of sex, how much I needed a man, how essential it was for me to master my sex skills by practicing a lot, as well as how I needed to prepare myself for a great marriage by developing my sex-related abilities. I was also raped, which my mother advised me to consider a blessing and it was never talked about again.

Here’s what I learned from therapy and support groups on my journey of healing.

Little Anna had a need for attention and acceptance. Her mother only gave her love when talking about men and sex. So, that little girl was thinking: “Want attention and acceptance form your mother? Talk sex and men!”

That led to the feeling of obsession with sex and men in the heart of the little girl who was simply starving for her mother’s love. She was scared to be rejected again and again by her mother if she refused that mentality.

That feeling led to the development of obsessive-compulsive sexual behavior. Because the model that was developed in that girl’s head was this:
“Want to feel loved by your mother? Have a lot of sex and talk to her about it, so you two can bond.” 

The pattern was reinforced for years, and that’s how I ended up suffering from sexual addiction, giving myself away for the sake of the opportunity to bond with my mother.

I realized that dealing with a narcissistic mother requires a strong identity in Christ and tremendous courage.

Living with a Narcissistic Mother Resulted in C-PTSD

My mother used to spread dry buckwheat on the wooden floor at our home and place me in the corner on top of that sharp grain to remain there for hours at a time. My knees would be damaged from the triangular ancient grain. I’d be so exhausted, I’d often fall on the floor asleep in tears.

She used to have a collection of leather belts that were very skinny and left scars when she’d batter me, which was very often until I turned 12 and started fighting back. I remember she’d beat me up so much and then stare at me and say: “I love you and I just want what’s best for you.”

I remember the time I started locking the door in my bedroom. I was so scared of my evil mother, many nights I’d stay awake just to be on guard. Later on, when I became a teen, the violence continued and often she’d knock, I’d open my bedroom door, she’d place her foot in between the door frame and the door, and try to hit me. She’d call me names, scream at me, and try to make her way into my bedroom to abuse me. I would jump on the bed and run around just to escape her insanity.

One time, I was cooking in the kitchen and had a frying pan on the gas stove with olive oil in it. My mother grabbed the hot pan and spilled the boiling oil on me. Then, she laughed. If it wasn’t winter and I wasn’t wearing 5-layer cotton pants to stay warm, I’d probably be burned.

It was December 2006 when I was flying to Jamaica to spend New Year’s celebration with my American Prince Charming. I was almost walking out with my luggage when she started a fight with me. My mother was looking me straight in the eye with her dark eyes wide open in an intimidating, witch-like way, and she screamed at me: “I just hate you and I want you dead! I’ll make sure your plane crashes!”

To live with my mother, I had to carry a taser and pepper spray.

July 31st, 2008 was my last day in Russia. All my friends came to say goodbye. My mother was violent and hateful all day. She was describing to me how I’d soon crawl to her on my knees begging her to take me back from America and then I would have learned my lesson that she is everything and I am nothing.

To escape her craziness and to make it to my plane, my friends had to physically protect me.

It was the last time I ever saw my narcissistic mother. On July 31st, 2008 I arrived in America where I found safety and peace over the years.

However, my mother continued harassing me by creating online profiles with my name, befriending my friends here in Atlanta to pass hateful messages to me, and brainwashing people close to me from 9000 km away.

In 2016, I was diagnosed with Complex PTSD (C-PTSD).

Christian Guided Meditation by Anna Szabo of Online Discipleship for Women
Living with a Narcissistic Mother and Enduring Abuse Caused C-PTSD

Complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD) is a psychological disorder that can develop in response to a prolonged, repeated experience of interpersonal trauma in a context, in which the individual has little or no chance of escape.

My mother was the first contributor to the “prolonged, repeated experience of interpersonal trauma.”

I discovered that to help me with flashbacks and painful memories today best works self-care.

Self-Care Strategies That Help Me:

  • Meditation
  • Journaling
  • Poetry
  • Hiking
  • Reading
  • Quiet time with God
  • Prayer
  • Learning about narcissism to help me remember: it is not my fault. It is not me.

My mother is not well mentally. I accept this truth with peace.

I feel compassion for her. I love her as God asks us to forgive and love people. She says she loves me and I believe that the only way she can love she does indeed love me.

You can’t give someone what you yourself do not have.

Love from her is no tenderness.

But I think whatever she received from her mother is the only thing she could ever give to me, which she did.

That being said, I do not expose myself to my mother’s abuse.

Being the Child of a Narcissistic Mother Led to OCD

Our home with so many people living there was no safe heaven for me. When I was nine years old, one afternoon I came home from school and my two relatives were on the floor drunk, face-down in vomit and poop. I was the one to order things in such situations.

The condo were we lived was old, dirty, ugly, and unsafe. There was mold everywhere, holes in the floors, mice were just a part of the family, and roaches were often on my bed pillow.

The ceiling was pilling off and falling on the floor. Same with the walls.

The beat-up bathtub was dark-orange from tear and wear and rust would stain my hands. We had no washer or dryer so the bathtub was where I did laundry by hand, even bed sheets. It was tough. There was no sink in the one and only bathroom we had, so that bathtub was were every family member brushed their teeth and spit, blew their nose, and often even peed.

Not having order and having a mess everywhere was devastating. Seeing pee and poop in the bathtub was disgusting. My mother was a hoarder so every corner was filled with useless crap and there was no way to clean.

Often, my mother would go to the garbage containers outside our neighborhood and bring home old crap people threw away. She’d ask me to clean it and she’d say she’ll make it look pretty. But it would never happen.

Old trash was everywhere in the house. Her hoarding was hard on me.

But the most devastating part of my life there was what my mother did to disorder and disorganize our life together in a different kind of sense. And it was this: she constantly brought random people from the streets to live in our home and called them family.

She brought two girls in when I was in B-school. I had never met them before but the next thing I know – they live with us. They all slept in one bedroom, stonewalled and bullied me together, and mother called them “my favorite daughters.”

One time, she brought a bum to live with us. She knew nothing about the man but she told me he was now her husband.

Living there with my narcissistic mother in the midst of chaos, violence, manipulation, adultery, alcoholism, and complete mental haze, I remember dreaming how one day I would live alone in a quiet, well-ordered, beautiful, organized home where everything will be new and I will be the only person with the key. I dreamed of total silence and safety. I dreamed of order.

Today I live alone in silence and I love it.

I struggle with Symmetry and Order OCD (excessive thoughts (obsessions) that lead to repetitive behaviors (compulsions)).

People who suffer from Symmetry OCD become fixated on the position and arrangement of certain objects and will feel uncomfortable and distressed when encountering items that are not aligned correctly or that appear somehow incomplete.

Individuals with concerns related to symmetry or exactness of order may experience extreme anxiety, an intense reaction, and an overwhelming need or urge for things to be balanced, ordered, and complete.

I can’t live in a home that’s unfinished, disorganized, or has old things in it. My home is minimalistic, has beautiful furniture and decor, but nothing extra, everything gets cleaned once a week and absolutely nothing occupies corners in my home. There are no spiders here, no mice, and no strangers.

I’m the only one who has the key to my home.

figure out what you really want

As Jim Rohn put it: 

“It is the set of the sails, not the direction of the wind, that determines which way we will go.”

Exercise One. What is your ideal future? One week from now? A month from now? A year, five, and ten years from today? 

Where would you like to end up in your life?

To answer these questions, let’s do

The Old You Exercise.

Imagine yourself being ninety-eight years old. You are sitting in a rocking chair in a quiet room and thinking about the life you’ve lived to this day. You look back and realize that you had a very good life, and it gives you a feeling of fulfillment. You have no regrets and think to yourself: “If I had to do it again, I wouldn’t change anything in my wonderful life.” Now, get a pen and some paper and write down the description of that “wonderful life” you were just thinking about.

Are you done with the first exercise? For real, girlfriend, if you didn’t do it, pause right now, go back and do it. It’s for YOU, not for me. And every step on your journey with me is VERY important. So, make sure you do EACH exercise and put some thought into it. Ok?

Moving on, here’s

Exercise Two. During my workshops when I teach people about goals, clarity, and focus, I usually offer the exercise that activates the mindset of happiness. 

Here’s what I recommend to do.

Describe The Happiest Day in Your Life.

What does the happiest day in your life look like? Where would it be? Whom would it be with? What would be the circumstances? What would be your health conditions? Just let your imagination flow freely! Once you’re done, you should have some breakthrough ideas about what you really want and what matters most to YOU in life and relationships.

Did you do it? Are you sure? Ok, I believe you. So, we are moving on to our 3rd exercise. 

By the way, if you’ve been going non-stop with me here, take a break now, go get some tea and come back with your mind rested. Because we are just getting started and there’s a lot of work ahead!

Exercise Three. Go through the simple questionnaire below and rate each statement on a scale from one to ten.

Here are The Ten Essential Statements to Help You Explore Yourself.

  • I am satisfied with myself
  • I am happy with the way I look
  • I am pleased with my relationships
  • I am open to and acceptive of constructive criticism
  • I am positive and persistent when times get tough
  • I am excited about the successes of other people
  • I am fine asking for help or advice
  • I am open-minded and adaptable to change
  • I am delighted to meet new people and make connections
  • I am aware of myself and guided by my own goals, standards, and values

How many statements got a ten from you? This exercise should have helped you discover what it is that you really want and need to work toward in life. 

With that in mind, you should be clear what KIND of a person you CAN be in a relationship with for it to ENABLE you to accomplish what you want professionally, financially, healthwise, etc. 

Remember: you want a relationship that will ENABLE you to accomplish your goals, not PREVENT you from doing so by parallelizing you, diminishing you, and breaking you apart. 


Moving on!

Exercise Four. Write a letter to your very own but much younger self.

The Young You Exercise.

Write a letter to your younger self (choose the age at which you were the most aspiring and had ambitious expectations of life). Explain to that young person how you have gotten to where you are at right now. Describe what has been motivating and what has been discouraging you. Reveal the details of what you’ve done with the dreams and desires of that young you. Expound where you’re going now and where you see yourself ending up. 

How does it feel to that young and aspired you to hear what you’re saying on paper now?……………

After this exercise you should be able to say without a doubt what it is that you really want in life and relationships.

Yet, we have one more thing to do here. 

Exercise Five 

The Five Essential Questions that Lead You to Self-Discovery.

Q 1. What kind of a person are you? Just go ahead and describe yourself as “tall”, “smart”, “kind”, “procrastinator”, “complainer”, “lazy”, “independent”, “compassionate”, “people-oriented”, and so on.

Q 2. What do you value most? Be honest! Is it “beer and TV”, “money and career”, “family and children”, “freedom and flexibility”, or what is it, really?

Q 3. What would you like to be remembered for? Get it out, be true to yourself! Is it “crazy hair and funny jokes”, “always perfect attire and strong work ethic”, “skinny waist and healthy eating habits”, “volunteering and making a difference in the community”, or …?

Q 4. What are the three adjectives you’d like people to use when describing you? If you experience any difficulties finding the right words, here’s a list of positive and negative adjectives to help you express yourself. This exercise can really help you get a perspective on YOU and YOUR overall life direction. 

Q 5. What positive difference have you made or plan to make in the world OR at least in somebody’s world? Examples here may include “helped a friend to stop smoking”, “volunteered at a local community center for the elderly”, “participated in a fundraiser for Humane Society”, “donated blood to Red Cross”, “helped a sick neighbor walk the dog”, “inspired someone to go back to school”, and the like. So, what’s your response?