It’s amazing to finally be able to put a name to the way this lady is. I’ve always had an extremely difficult time explaining her characteristics over the years and when I do almost everyone I know can’t fully grasp what I’m explaining unless they experience it themselves. It makes it rather challenging to explain WHY I can’t have a relationship with her today but none the less I’ve let go of my need to explain it, unless someone specifically asks.
After doing some research on “Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers” I was overwhelmed in a sort of a good way with the similarities that my adoptive “mother” has with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I say overwhelmed, because finally I’m able to understand better. I needed these answers to be able to put some pieces together as to why she is the way she is. This has helped me gain a better understanding of why my childhood and life was the way it was when she was in it.
Here are some questions that were asked to me and almost every one fits my adoptive mother to the perfect description.
Check all those that apply to your relationship with your mother:
(X)= This is something I continuously experienced with my adoptive mother over my lifetime.
- When you discuss your life issues with your mother, does she divert the discussion to talk about herself? (X)- ALL THE TIME!
- When you discuss your feelings with your mother, does she try to top the feeling with her own? (X) – 100% OF THE TIME!
- Does your mother act jealous of you? (X) YES, IT’S ALL ABOUT HER!
- Does your mother lack empathy for your feelings? (X) – ALL ABOUT HER!
- Does your mother only support those things you do that reflect on her as a “good mother?” (X) YES! SHE BELIEVES SHE GETS CREDIT FOR EVERYTHING I HAVE DONE. GOD GET’S MY GLORY. NOT HER. SHE DROVE ME INSANE MY WHOLE LIFE.
- Have you consistently felt a lack of emotional closeness with your mother? (X) – YES YES YES! WE HAVE NO RELATIONSHIP AND SHE MAKES MY SKIN CRAWL.
- Have you consistently questioned whether or not your mother likes you or loves you? – (X) YES! SHE USED ME FOR ENTITLEMENT REASONS, AND FOR ME TO TAKE CARE OF HER AND BE HER SLAVE.
- Does your mother only do things for you when others can see? (X)- YES, THEN BRAGS ABOUT IT!
- When something happens in your life (accident, illness, divorce,) does your mother react with how it will affect her rather than how you feel? (X) – YES, IT’S ALL ABOUT HER! ALWAYS HAS BEEN.
- Is or was your mother overly conscious of what others think (neighbors, friends, family, co-workers)?
- Does your mother deny her own feelings? (X) YES BUT SHE HAS NO PROBLEMS BEING OVERLY EMOTIONAL AND CRYING ALL DAY LONG.
- Does your mother blame things on you or others rather than own responsibility for her feelings or actions? (X)- YES, SHE’S NEVER IN THE WRONG, EVER.
- Is or was your mother hurt easily and then carried a grudge for a long time without resolving the problem? (X)- YES AND I HAD TO PAY FOR THIS FOR 31 YEARS OF MY LIFE UNTIL I ESCAPED.
- Do you feel you were a slave to your mother? (X) I KNOW I WAS A SLAVE TO HER! THAT’S THE ONLY REASON SHE ADOPTED ME.
- Do you feel you were responsible for your mother’s ailments or sickness (headaches, stress, illness)? (X) YES, SHE WAS AND STILL IS SICK EVERY DAY OF MY LIFE AND IT WAS ALWAYS PROJECTED ON ME AS A CHILD AND GROWING UP. I WAS RESPONSIBLE TO MAKE HER FEEL BETTER.
- Did you have to take care of your mother’s physical needs as a child? (X) ALWAYS! ALWAYS! ALWAYS! ADD EMOTIONAL AND MENTAL TO THIS LIST!
- Do you feel unaccepted by your mother? (X)
- Do you feel your mother was critical of you? (X)
- Do you feel helpless in the presence of your mother? (X) I FEEL HORRIBLE AROUND HER!
- Are you shamed often by your mother? (X) NEVER FEEL GOOD ENOUGH.
- Do you feel your mother knows the real you? (X) NO, SHE CAN’T POSSIBLY.
- Does your mother act like the world should revolve around her? (X) YES, ALWAYS HAS! CENTER OF ATTENTION IN EVERY SINGLE SITUATION!
- Do you find it difficult to be a separate person from your mother? (X) GROWING UP, YES. NOW, NO..I MOVED ACROSS THE COUNTRY!
- Does your mother appear phony to you? (X) YES!
- Does your mother want to control your choices? (X) YES!
- Does your mother swing from egotistical to a depressed mood? (X) MORE DEPRESSED ALL THE TIME. DRAINING TO ME. AGAIN ALL ABOUT HER.
- Did you feel you had to take care of your mother’s emotional needs as a child? (X) YES! ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS!
- Do you feel manipulated in the presence of your mother? (X) YES!
- Do you feel valued by mother for what you do rather than who you are? (X) YES! IT’S ALL ABOUT WHAT SHE CAN “GET” OUT OF YOU.
- Is your mother controlling, acting like a victim or martyr? (X) VICTIM MENTALITY ALL THE WAY ALL THE TIME.
- Does your mother make you act different from how you really feel? (X) SHE DID GROWING UP, NOW I’M MY OWN PERSON AND I CAN SHARE MY FEELINGS SINCE I ESCAPED HER WRATH.
- Does your mother compete with you? (X) OF COURSE! IT’S ALWAYS ABOUT HER!
- Does your mother always have to have things her way? (X) YES!
- A grandiose sense of self-importance (may be shown as an exaggeration of abilities and talents, expectation that he or she will be seen as superior to all others). (X) YES! ALL SHE TALKS ABOUT IS HER SELF!
- Is obsessed with him- or herself. (X) YES!
- Goals are almost always selfish and self-motivated. (X) YES! IT’S ALWAYS ABOUT HER!
- Has troubles with healthy, normal relationships. (X) YES, SHE HAS MY WHOLE LIFE!
- Becomes furious if criticized. (X) YES YES YES! SHE TURNS INTO A 2 YEAR OLD LITERALLY!
- Has fantasies of unbound success, power, intelligence, love, and beauty.
- Believes that he or she is unique and special, and therefore should only hang out with other special, high-status people.
- Requires extreme admiration for everything. (X) YES, AND FOCUSES SOLY ON HER SELF.
- Feels entitled – has unreasonable expectations of special treatment. (X) YES, AND REFERS TO WHAT SHE’S DONE FOR YOU AS TO WHY SHE SHOULD GET IT.
- Takes advantage of others to further his or her own needs. (X) ALWAYS! SHE DOES NOTHING UNLESS SHES GETTING SOMETHING IN RETURN.
- Has zero empathy – cannot (or will not) recognize the feelings of others. (X) ITS ALL ABOUT HER!
- May be envious of others or believe that others are envious of him or her. (X) ENVIOUS OF OTHERS. CANNNOT CELEBRATE OTHERS EVENTS UNLESS SHE PUTS SPOTLIGHT ON HERSLEF TO STEAL THE SHOW. THIS IS CONVERSATIONS ALSO.
- Behaves arrogantly, haughtily. (X) YES! SHE TURNS INTO A 2 YEAR OLD LITERALLY. STARTS POUTING, STOMPING HER FEET, STORMING OFF SLAMMING DOORS, CROSSING HER ARMS WHEN SHE IS TOLD SHE’S IN THE WRONG OR SHE HEARS SOMETHING SHE DOESN’T LIKE.
Note: All of these questions related to narcissistic traits. The more questions you checked, the more likely your mother has narcissistic traits and this has caused some difficulty for you as a growing daughter and adult.
Narcissistic Parent Glossary and Terms:
Narcissistic Attachment: is the belief that the child of a narcissist exists only for the benefit of the parent, such as a particular status.
Parentification: is the expectation that a child must care for his/her parent, siblings, and household as a surrogate parent. This causes the child to lose out on any type of normal childhood.
Infantilization: using brainwashing tactics to ensure a child stays young and dependent upon the Narcissistic Parent.
Triangulation: a tactic used by narcissistic parents to change the balance of power in a family system. For example, rather than allowing two siblings to work together, the Narcissistic Parent insists that he or she be the go-between. This controls the way the information flows, the way it is interpreted, and adds nuances to the conversation. It’s also a way to feed Narcissistic Supply.
Narcissistic Supply: is a term used to designate the manner in which narcissists require, feed on attention. The best sorts of attention are approval, adoration, and admiration, but other sources of attention – like fear – are acceptable to a Narcissist. Children, small children, of narcissists are used as an ongoing source of this attention.
Gaslighting: a way in which Narcissistic Parents (and other abusers) use lies – intentional or not – to make their child question his or her own reality. A child may end up feeling as though he or she is crazy. An example would be, insisting that the sky is actually green, until the child believes it. Gaslighting is one of the most insidious forms of emotional and psychological abuse.
Narcissistic Rage: Narcissists despise any challenge or insult, and when that happens, a Narcissist can fly into a rage – spewing insults and becoming physical and aggressive with their children.
Let me just say that no matter how my adoptive mom was, I still experienced the trauma of being separated from my birth mother at the beginning of life. So many people say, “Oh, she had a bad adoption experience…That explains it all” Well…….That “Bad Experience’ more like a nightmare began the day I was born. The moment I was swept away from my birth mother and I laid in a nursery for 4 days all alone. That moment I experienced the biggest trauma of my life. That moment my history was erased, my weight and height didn’t matter. My biological roots were a mere part of my past that no one wanted to recognize. I was never supposed to find out where I came from. The moment I was separated from my birth mother I was considered a blank slate. My little body was just in existence, waiting to be formed and molded into what “THEY” wanted me to be. It didn’t matter that I just lost my mommy, the woman who carried me for 9 months in her belly.
The home where I stayed with my adoptive mom felt like I was living in a world that’s almost indescribable. It’s very difficult for me to explain to people all the hell I went through in her home. After her and my adoptive dad divorced when I was a year old, my adoptive sister and I were the center of her world. She wanted to be a mother SO BAD, yet failed to deliver in providing us with a loving home. Everything from day one was about HER. Now that I’m 40 years old and I look back over my childhood I feel as if I was almost kept captive in her home. Formed and molded into what she wanted me to be. She caused every problem there ever was in that home. I never had 5 minutes to JUST BE A KID. Every time I would run off to play, she would shout my name. She had more tasks and cleaning for me to do- EVERY SINGLE DAY! This was the same when I would try to go outside to play, or turn the T.V. on to a kid station. She was so overly emotional, and cried every single day of my life. She was addicted to prescription pain pills, stayed in bed all the time, depressed. Her moods changed in an instant, and she was often suicidal and made sure my adoptive sister and I knew she was attempting to kill herself so we would cry and BEG her not to. I remember being hysterical on multiple occasions thinking she was going to die, including the time she laid in the middle of the street while we watched in horror from our 3rd floor apartment window. I will never forget these things. She made sure we knew all of her adult problems, she talked about everyone, she started trouble between everyone in her family and she absolutely THRIVES ON BEING THE CENTER OF ATTENTION IN EVERY SITUATION!
One of the biggest reasons I lost respect for this lady is because she ALWAYS spoke negatively about my adoptive dad. In my 40 years of life, he has never said one word about her negatively to me, neither has his wife. I was always faced with situations where she was speaking bad about him. He was a great adoptive father, and he provided for us, paid child support, and did all he was supposed to do. I supposed she was trying to gain brownie points for all the negative talk about him but all it did was make me feel even more alone, and worse than ever. She took her personal feelings and made them my business when I shouldn’t have ever known about their issues. I see a lot of mothers do this about fathers, not even in adoption and little do they know it makes the child feel negatively about themselves. That’s their father, you had a child with him no matter how it came about. Kids are NOT responsible for ADULT consequences. She always made her issues our issues. This was a heavy load to carry as a child and I remember this happening as far back in my childhood as I can remember.
My adoptive mom played my adoptive sister and I against each other. We never stood a chance at being sisters, because she always had one of us who was the “Good Kid” and the other was “The Bad Kid”. This created a constant battle field in our home. My adoptive sister (she came from a different family) has always hated my guts because her and my adoptive mom used to fist fight all the time, and I was the odd ball out who was always trying to rescue and comfort my adoptive mom. She would cry hysterical and I didn’t know what else to do besides sit there, next to her and take care of her. I would rub her back, and say “It’s okay mommy, everything’s going to be okay”. Just typing those words makes me SICK TO MY STOMACH. This wasn’t once in a blue moon, this was every single day of my childhood. This created a deep rooted resentment in my adoptive sister because she felt like the “Bad Kid” and I was the “Good Kid”. This is described in the narcissistic information above, and it describes my childhood to a tee. It was hell living in that home.
My adoptive mom was a horrible housekeeper. She couldn’t cook a hot meal and serve it all at once. Everything was always a mess, and her adoptive kids
more like little house slaves were in charge of catering to her every need. I remember over and over she would call us from far away to go fetch things for her, and this happened even if she was closer than we were. Yeah, I know. Lots of kids “fetch” things for their parents, but she was overly excessive with it! Every five minutes we were fetching things.
Her life was consumed with us and what we could do for her. If we tried to do what kids do, she put an end to it. We would get up extra early on a Saturday morning to try to watch cartoons, as soon as she would wake up she would make us turn the TV off and she had a list of chores for us to do the size of a poster board. I’m not kidding! This started at a very early age. If we tried to go outside to play she had more chores for us to do, so on occasion we would sneak. I remember the feeling so vividly because we wouldn’t be outside 5 minutes and she would come screaming for us to get in the house, but that few minutes of FREEDOM was the best feeling in the world, even when I knew it was only going to be a few minutes before it was over. Back inside living in hell, serving and catering to this lady who I’m supposed to call “Mom”. When things didn’t go her way, she would tie us to chairs with dish towels. I remember this very clear and I never understood what I did that was so bad to deserve this. I will never forget being tied to those chairs as a little girl. She would make us give her massages, all over her body. She said her body hurt all the time, so our job was to help her pain go away, (even when she was loaded on prescription pain pills). Every single day we had to rub her back, her feet & her legs. She even had us pop pimples & black heads on her back, and this traumatized me for life! She used to lie on the bathroom floor and make us give her enemas. What normal human being makes their kids do these things? This woman is truly disgusting and I will never forget the things she made us do. These things are NOT NORMAL.
Things got rocky when things didn’t go her way. As we got older the fights escalated and got out of hand. Why was there so much fighting going on in this home? I mean physical fighting between my adoptive mom and my adoptive sister AND between my adoptive sister and I. As I’ve gotten older it’s been made apparent to me that this woman never should have been allowed to adopt children.
I sat my adoptive dad down one day a few years ago. I had a heart to heart with him. I asked him “WHY DID YOU MARRY HER?!! WHY WAS SHE ALLOWED TO ADOPT CHILDREN? WHY DID YOU LEAVE US WITH HER WHEN YOU DIVORCED?” I needed these answers!!!
He sat at my dining room table, and held my hand and said how sorry he was. He said she fought him tooth and nail in court to get custody, and all the judge would give him was visitation & holidays. He said that I came REAL close to not being adopted. My older sister was adopted a year earlier, and my adoptive mom had an extremely difficult time taking care of her, and struggled each day to parent her as a new born baby and the weeks, and months to follow. She could barely take care of her. Then they got the call for me. My adoptive dad said my adoptive mom had to go to a psychiatrist before they agreed they wanted to adopt me. For whatever reason they decided she would be able to parent me, on top of a 1 year old so the adoption was granted from a private attorney and granted. I went home with them 4 days after I was born and they divorced when I was 1 year old. I know for certain I could have never bonded with this lady. As much of a basket case as she was as far back as I can remember, I know she was even worse when I was a newborn baby. I’m glad I have some answers, but I wish my adoptive dad would have fought harder to get custody of us!!!
As we grew into our early teen years, things got worse. Fighting got worse, everything got worse. My adoptive sister escaped and went to live with my adoptive dad. I got stuck in my adoptive moms home because I felt sorry for her, and I knew if she was left alone she very well may commit suicide as she had tried this so many other times. She made sure to manipulate us, and she always made it known that her feelings are something we are responsible for. I learned later in life, that’s ridiculous. All the way from being a young girl, I never had a healthy relationship around me and I never had a mother/daughter relationship or a bond. I could never share my feelings with her, because it was ALWAYS about her, her feelings, her drama, & her issues. I was just in existence to cater to her needs, her wants and her desire to be labeled “MOTHER”. That seems the only purpose I served in her life. When I was in my early teens I remember her talking about never wanting to go to a nursing home. She would explain over and over all the “bad things” she saw in nursing homes, and would constantly bring up the fact that she never wanted to live in a nursing home. She mentioned me being her POA, and would throw hints my way over and over that her intentions were for me to be her POA and for her to live with me as she grew into an elderly woman, and then she wouldn’t have to go to a nursing home. As I got older, I realized her speaking about this would increase, as well as all her health issues, sickness, and emotional hang ups. She was sick every single day of my life. I never remember her saying, “I feel great today!”. NEVER! There was always a reason for her to take pills, and stay in bed, depressed. Pills were everywhere lying all over the place. I hated it!
Nothing changed as I got older, and I had kids. She just began to project her misery onto my children, and started to find ways to manipulate my own kids against me. They saw her unhealthy and sleeping all the time. She made them give her massages. They saw her messy lifestyle, with bottles of pills laying all around. It was up to me to save them from what I had to experience growing up.
I’m glad her dreams were fulfilled, at least for 31 years, until I got up enough courage to pack up a 22 foot U-Haul and move my kids and I across the country.
I’m 40 now. This was the hardest decision of my life, because at that moment I knew I had to do this for my kids, not just for myself. My adoptive mom Mommy Dearest was a professional at creating co-dependent relationships, and she thrived on me needing her for different things. She knew I needed her help babysitting, but when I started seeing her treat my kids the same way she did us growing up, I knew I had to come up with an escape plan. I know this may sound dramatic to some, but I truly felt like I had to ESCAPE her WRATH once and for ALL!
I began planning the move across the country. She began to play mind games with my kids, talking bad about me behind my back. I remember the day I loaded the 22 foot U-Haul with no support from anyone in the whole wide world, accept my best friend. I could have never done it without her!! I planned to drive across the country, drop our stuff off in storage, and fly back to pick up my kids. I wanted to talk to them every day so they wouldn’t think I left them or abandoned them. This fucking bitch turned her ringer off and wouldn’t let me talk to my kids AT ALL the entire 3 days I was gone. Finally she answered my call from someone else’s phone, and I let her have it! That was the last straw for me, with her and her sick minded manipulation games. I will never forget it, because I wanted to make sure my kids knew exactly what I was doing, and where I was. I wanted to tell them I loved them every day, but she stopped it from happening.
I have forgiven this lady, but in the process of me forgiving her, I have had to accept the fact that she stole my one chance at having a decent mother. She stole my childhood, and any happiness I would have had as a child. Now, she thinks she has some “Grandparent” rights to my kids. She wants to come visit them, and continue on with a sick and unhealthy relationship with them. Every time she visits, she turns my flipping house upside down. It’s like the devil shows up and my door, and comes whipping through my home like a tornado. It’s insane how ONE PERSON can cause so many problems. After her last visit, she’s not welcome around me, or in my home. She’s a VERY BIG trigger to me, actually the biggest in my life. I’m living in recovery going on 2.5 years from alcohol abuse, and drug abuse for numbing my LIFES ISSUES, ADOPTION BEING THE ROOT! I can’t chance my recovery and have someone in my life whos a huge trigger like she is. My Christian counselor has told me its okay to not have her in my life. I don’t owe her ANYTHING! Now, I have to try to do my best to explain all this to my kids, who ARE impacted by my adoption experience. They are VERY MUCH IMPACTED!
My adoptive moms family has recently disclosed to me that they feel like “SHE WAS BORN WITH EVIL IN HER BODY!.” After discovering I believe she’s suffering from extreme narcissism, and bipolar disorder, depression and an addiction to prescription pain pills It’s has brought me some understanding on how ONE PERSON can do so much damage. If I was to sit and try to have a calm talk with her about all the damage she’s done to me in my life, she would turn into a 2 year old literally! She has never admitted when she was wrong, or made any changes to get help for her behavior. She’s sick, and mentally ill and I have to keep her away from me. The thought of her coming back into my life sends complete and total FEAR into my body. It takes me back to my childhood, and being that scared little girl who needed a mommy, but I was too busy caring for her and her needs, I was robbed of a mother all together but left constantly taking care of her needs. She never adopted for me, she adopted for her selfish desires, and today I have no mother.
Every day I’m reminded of this. When I found my birth mother, I sat and had one talk with her. I wanted for this day my entire life. Her question to me was, “So tell me about your life?”. I remember not having much good to say. I told her my adoptive parents divorced when I was 1. My adoptive mom and I never got along, I was in and out of group homes, and juvenile lock up. I guess she wanted me to share some “WONDERFUL STORY”. But because I didn’t have one, this is something she took deeply to heart. I know because I was told she was REALLY upset that she was promised I would have 2 parents and my adoptive parents divorced when I was 1. If that was the case, she would have raised me herself! She was VERY upset about this, and after this meeting she shut me out and never spoke to me again. I can’t help but try to put myself in her shoes, and feel the shame, guilt and sorrow she must have felt when she learned the life that she had planned to be so much “BETTER” than the one she could give me wasn’t better at all. I was told this crushed her. She passed away, and rejected a relationship with me after meeting that one time. I can’t help but hold my adoptive “mom” somewhat responsible because once again, she stole so much from me. Even the one chance I had at beginning a relationship with my birth mother was STOLEN because my adoptive “mom” FAILED at being a MOTHER!
Where has this left me? MOTHER-LESS! My kids are GRANDMOTHER-LESS. I was forced to make a decision where I felt I had to move across the country from this unhealthy sick human being, and then it leaves us all with constant reminders of what adoption has taken. I have no relationship with my adoptive sister today. My narcissistic adoptive “mom” made sure she ruined any and all chances of us ever being close by playing us against each other all the way back to the beginning of my life. That;s another loss, and my kids have had to experience this loss also. Bottom line, I can’t have UNHEALTHY relationships in my life!!! There is no hope that my birth mother will be in my life, or my kids. Adoption made sure of that.
My adoptive mother fits all these things perfectly.
Every single day, every holiday, every minute I’m reminded of what adoption has taken from me. I’m on a healing journey, and more and more is revealed daily. I’m thankful God is revealing it, but I hope some adoptive parents, and biological parents, and adoptees can read this and learn that adoption isn’t all rainbows for some of us! I’m thankful for my blog. I’m thankful for this place where I can share my feelings, even when some of my entries are entirely too long! This is the ONLY place I have to share it. And not one single person in my life, adoptive or biological family reads this place. I don’t think they could handle the truth, and if they did read it I would be left once again defending myself as to WHY I FEEL THE WAY I DO. I’m thankful God has given me my adoptee VOICE. I’m thankful for all of my church family God has put in my life who may not “Get it” but they listen to me, and support me no matter what. I’m thankful for my relationships with my kids, and a very special man I have in my life. They all tell me, that when they look at me they can see my mind never stops racing. If only they could experience the thoughts in my mind for a 5 minute period, they would understand me so much better. I don’t believe there’s any way they could handle it, because almost all the thoughts in my head are FEAR related to my adoption experience. Fear of people leaving me, fear of EVERYTHING! I guess I need to keep reminding myself when I’ve lost EVERYTHING there isn’t much else I can lose, even when it feels like it. You see, even in the middle of living this nightmare of a life I didn’t have any control over, I ESCAPED & I’M THANKFUL FOR THAT! But let me say, I will never be able to be THANKFUL for being ADOPTED. Adoption has stolen too much from me. I hate being adopted with every bit of my being.
I would have rather had my REAL MOTHER and lived in a CARD BOARD BOX than been assigned to my ADOPTIVE MOM and lived in HELL ON EARTH in her home. IJS!
Now I have a choice what I’m going to do with all of this pain. God has let me know that our pain is someone else’s gain. So here I am, sharing my journey in hopes to reach other adoptees so they know they aren’t alone. I have so much more to say, but TODAY I have to head out to work.
If you made it this far, THANKS FOR READING!
Let me know you were here and if you can relate to any of what I’ve experienced or my feelings. Did you have a narcissistic adoptive parent? Was it the adoptive father or adoptive mother? Or both? How did this make you feel?
Don’t forget this article along with all my other articles are available in audio for your convenience, just look up Pamela A. Karanova Podcast on Google Podcasts, iTunes , Spotify. and Amazon Music. Interested in treating me with a coffee, to add fuel to my fire? Click here. Many thanks in advance to my supporters!
Thank you for reading!
Pamela A. Karanova