After enduring a childhood filled with emotional abuse, one of the most difficult things to do is to honor your narcissistic mother. She already soaks up the limelight and feeding her ego seems like it will just make matters worse. Particularly if you believe in the religious admonition to honor your mother and father, you might feel you have to find a way to follow that command. There are ways to honor even an abusive parent, however.
Here are 10 ways you can honor a narcissistic mother without compromising your own emotional health:
- Always Be Truthful;
- Distance is Good for You Both;
- Choose Times to Connect;
- Choose the Communication Topics;
- Don’t Try to Go Deep;
- Don’t Argue;
- Learn How to Politely Say No;
- Maintain Healthy Boundaries;
- Get Outside;
- Stay Present.
It’s important to remember that by honoring both your narcissistic mother and yourself, you are following what God has commanded. Even if you’re not religious, these 10 ways to honor your narcissistic mother can improve your relationship. Let’s explore each of these ways to honor her without allowing her to continue abusing you.
1. Always Be Truthful
Narcissists tend to dissociate as a part of their personality disorder. This means that they can shut down emotionally when they feel triggered, and as a result, they don’t remember what happens.
Because of their dissociation, they often make something up to fill in the gaps. Of course, they also lie on purpose in order to manipulate people to get their narcissistic supply. They really feel like they can’t live without that constant flow of adoration, and they’ll do virtually anything to ensure it never stops.
Narcissists use other people to fill in the gaps of their memory and they lie to manipulate other people into adoring them and telling the world how great they are. But you don’t have to buy into their lies, and you don’t have to let yourself be manipulated by them either.
By always being truthful, you’ll discourage your narcissistic mother from trying to lie in your presence, and you’ll make it harder for her to manipulate you with her lies. If she knows you’ll tell the truth no matter what, she’ll be much more careful about what she says around you.
2. Distance is Good for You Both
Keeping a good distance between you and your narcissistic mother can help improve your relationship. You won’t be exposing yourself to as much of her toxicity, and by maintaining a healthy distance, it can make her treat you more nicely when she does see you.
When you enforce a distance boundary with a narcissist, they are not as easily able to manipulate you. They tend to try to just be nice to you when they see you because they understand you can easily stay away.
If you are seeing too much of your narcissistic mother, you can become more easily entangled in her drama. By staying away, you are better able to preserve your mental and emotional health.
By doing that, you’ll be better equipped to respond to your narcissistic mother, and your interactions will improve.
3. Choose Times to Connect
You take the initiative to choose when and for how long you connect with your narcissistic mother. Narcissists want you to focus solely on them, and they will keep you engaged for as long as you will let them.
That’s why you need to choose the times you’re available to connect and firmly state how long the interaction can last. By setting those limits up front, you can let go of any guilt your mother might try to provoke when it’s time to leave.
This gives you more control over how you interact with your narcissistic mother. When you take control from your toxic parent, you can choose times when you will feel most able to handle their attempts to manipulate and control you.
By setting these kinds of limits, you let your narcissistic mother know that you are unwilling to put up with their emotional abuse. Your mother will actually respect that even if she doesn’t accept it, and that will improve your interactions with one another.
4. Choose the Communication Topics
Narcissists like to use certain communication topics to push your buttons. But you can stay in control of the topic and prevent that from happening. It’s best to do this in advance so that your narcissistic mother knows what topics are acceptable.
You can even give her a list of what you’re willing to talk about with her. By letting her know the acceptable topics, you are making a promise to honor her by not becoming triggered by anything she might say.
She can have several topics to choose from, and for you, you can stay grounded without getting emotional. This gives the two of you something to share when you spend time together. It’s a way to enjoy her company without having to worry about a fight erupting.
It also helps your interactions stay positive. You can choose life-affirming topics to keep everything on the bright side.
5. Don’t Try to Go Deep
Narcissists don’t like to go deep because it risks exposing what they believe to be their useless and hopelessly flawed true self. While they don’t want you to see their true self, they delight in learning as much as they can about you so they can manipulate you.
Your mother should treat you better than that, but narcissists just can’t do it, and so, the best practice is to just talk about light subjects. Don’t discuss much beyond superficial topics. Ask your mother how she is doing and what’s been happening in her life.
Just don’t ask about her inner thoughts, religious beliefs, or anything that is a deeper topic. You should also take care not to reveal much about yourself. Anything she can use against you, she will, and it’s best just to maintain an emotional as well as physical distance from her.
In this way, you can still care for her and help her when she needs it, but you don’t have to endure her abusive behavior. The less you are exposed to her abuse, the more you can continue to be a good child and take care of her.
6. Don’t Argue
Arguing with a narcissist is an exercise in futility. They will talk in circles until you are completely confused and exhausted. What’s more, they will never admit to any wrongdoing.
That’s why you just shouldn’t waste your time arguing. Your narcissistic mother may try to bring up something that will spark an argument, but you have to learn how to firmly state that you’re unwilling to discuss that with her and steer the conversation in a different direction.
To do this, you can simply say something like, “That’s not a topic open for discussion with me. Let’s talk about this instead.” That cuts it off before the conversation even gets started.
Doing that allows you to remain calm and collected when you’re spending time with your mother. It also avoids the frustration of the narcissistic argument, and it prevents her from pushing your buttons to manipulate you.
7. Learn How to Politely Say No
Refusing to do what your narcissistic mother wants doesn’t have to be turned into an argument. Though she might argue, if you can manage to stay above the fray, she will learn that she cannot manipulate you the way she does with other people.
If she asks you to do something that you don’t want to do, simply tell her that you can’t help her with that. Stand firm without becoming angry. You can offer her alternatives, but don’t give in to her demands just to defuse the situation.
Narcissists are experts at discovering what makes you uncomfortable and using that to control you. If you know your own limits and politely but firmly refuse to allow her to cross them, she will have no other option but to accept your decision.
Don’t yell or even explain. Just tell her you can’t do that and leave it at that. It might trigger her rage, but if you stand your ground, she’ll learn she can’t control you and eventually stop trying.
8. Maintain Healthy Boundaries
Boundaries are useless if you don’t enforce them. Carefully consider what you can and cannot accept. Once you know that, determine the consequences for any violations.
You might, for example, decide that you will no longer accept being called names by your toxic mother. If you have to or wish to stay in contact with her, but don’t want to be treated that way, think about what you will do if she starts calling you names.
One possible consequence for that might be that you will simply leave, and you won’t talk to her anymore unless she apologizes. As life coach and narcissistic abuse survivor, Gwendolyn Perkins notes, “If and when it ever comes down to this (an abusive parent provoking their child into anger or wrath), then somebody needs to go.” Write down all of your boundaries and the consequences for any violations.
Then you can sit down and go over them with your mother. You can even give her a written copy so she will have no excuse. Once she knows your boundaries, enforce them every time there’s a violation. Your narcissistic mother will learn and your interactions will improve.
9. Get Outside
Another way to honor your mother is to get outside where you can be around other people or enjoy nature. Taking your mother outside around other people can help to moderate her narcissistic tendencies.
Not only will she be likely to behave better, she might even praise you to show what a good mother she has been. It’s a great way to stay positive and enjoy her company.
It’s unlikely that once she’s outside of the privacy of her own home she would show any rage or other negative behaviors. This makes the time you spend with her more enjoyable, and it allows you to have experiences together too.
If she were to become more manipulative or cause problems, you can simply say, “I think it’s time to go home now.” That will usually put an end to any negative behaviors.
10. Stay Present
This is perhaps the most important thing you can do when interacting with your narcissistic mother. Stay present and focused on her attempts to manipulate or control you.
First, staying present will make the interaction better, and you can more compassionately engage with your mother. Second, you’ll stay alert to any attempts to manipulate or control you.
Narcissists will often switch strategies and use other, more subtle types of manipulation when someone is good at evading their attempts to control them. That’s why it’s important to stay alert to what she might be doing.
Remember that leaving is always an option, and you don’t deserve to have someone treat you that way. Leaving doesn’t mean you’re going no contact, and it doesn’t mean you don’t honor her. In fact, by taking care of yourself and improving your interactions with her, you are honoring more than you could using any other method.
The religious command to honor your mother and father is only part of what it says in the Bible. Parents are also admonished to treat their children well. By refusing to allow your narcissistic mother to abuse you, you’re actually honoring her more than you know.
If you take your religious beliefs seriously or even just feel an obligation to take proper care of your narcissistic mother, that doesn’t mean you have to suffer from her abusive treatment. Honoring means treating her well. It doesn’t mean allowing her to abuse you. In fact, by taking care of yourself, you’re not only honoring yourself, you’re also honoring the relationship you have with your toxic mother by making it better.
Understanding your narcissistic mother and the many ways she might abuse you is vital to stopping that kind of treatment. This post about many things your narcissistic mother might say to control you will give you valuable insight into what you should be looking for. That will help you to respond to her in a more effective way.
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