Most people loved their childhoods. They have memories of being a kid and playing with their parents and having both of their parents’ full support. I only had that from one parent: my dad. I had an undiagnosed narcissist as a mother, and it honestly got to the point where I desperately needed to get out of that situation before it got dangerous, and I’m glad I did. Toxic parents are not a new concept, most people are just too afraid to talk about it because your parents are supposed to be your best friends, right? That’s not always the case, and situations like this demand attention and help, because no one should be living in the shadows of their narcissistic parent. Thankfully we had one functional, selfless parent growing up but trust me guys, the Mommy Issues are real for me.
Living with a toxic narcissist can be overwhelming and unhealthy, but if you know the signs, you can know when it’s time to walk away.
1. They turn everything between you into a competition.
This was the norm for me growing up. Everything would be this silent competition between my mother and me, and I would never be the one initiating it. What little girl wants to compete with her mother on a daily basis? This was something that I caught onto really really quickly, and I promised myself at the age of 9 that when I became a mother one day, I would never make my daughter feel the way my own mother made me feel.
2. They say they “criticized you because they love you.”
I remember this day so clearly. It was the morning of a baby shower for my Aunt that I planned, but my mother took credit for. I was 17-years-old and I thought my outfit for the shower was cute AF but of course, it wasn’t good enough for my mom. I asked her out of frustration why she always felt the need to criticize everything I did, and she said she did it because she loved me. I may have been young, but I knew that that’s not the way you’re supposed to love your child. I’m so thankful that I had my dad to show me how love from a parent to a child was supposed to feel.
3. Everyone can see that they favor someone else over you.
This was something I had known since I was a toddler. I brought it up so many times growing up but my mother blamed me for being too sensitive and insecure. She would behave so differently towards my little sister and towards me: she’d always be hugging and kissing my sister, but showing me no affection because she “thought I didn’t like being hugged.” I was 9.
Please tell me what 9-year-old girl doesn’t want to be hugged by her mother. She would take my little sister out on lunch dates but leave me at school. She’d go to my little sister’s school events, but conveniently be ‘sick’ the next day during my events and wouldn’t be able to come… multiple times.
4. They reprimand you for absolutely no reason.
Growing up, I never understood why my mother would punish me for doing absolutely nothing. I remember the time I came home from school and I was grounded from watching TV that day and when asked why, my mother said: “I don’t know, I just feel like not letting you do that today”. Okay, b*tch. This continued until my parents’ divorce (bless my dad for getting me out of there), with me not being allowed to go out with my friends or have them come over. It literally felt like I was in jail when I was with her.
5. They don’t like to see you succeed.
The irony is though, that she was the one that put the most pressure on me. I could literally never make her proud, and she made sure I knew that I wasn’t doing enough to make her look good in the public eye. When I did something good in school or work, she’d downplay it like her life depended on it. She’d say things like “oh, that’s something you should’ve already been able to do by now”, and “it’s not that special.”