One of the most healing things you can do for yourself is to express what you’re feeling about the narcissistic abuse your mother heaped on you. You need to express your truth to be able to move on from, and you need to forgive your mother because harboring hateful, vengeful, and angry feelings does more harm to you than it does to her. She’s a narcissist, so she won’t ever validate your anger or acknowledge the pain she caused you, but you can, and when you do, you’ll be able to let go of the anger and move on from the pain.
When writing a letter to your narcissistic mother, you shouldn’t expect she’ll appreciate it, but writing honestly about how her abuse affected you can help you move on. It’s also helpful to let her know you understand she was incapable of loving you like she should have and that you forgive her.
Whether writing a letter to clear the air or because you’re going no-contact, you’ll want to learn about the best way to do this difficult but necessary task. Here is good information about why this is such a helpful exercise and how to determine what you want to say so that you can express your pain and move on from the abuse.
Why Should I Write a Letter to My Narcissistic Mother?
Part of the healing process is to recognize the abuse you suffered. When you’re the child of a narcissistic mother, the emotional abuse you were exposed to took on many forms. Narcissistic mothers can be cruel, neglectful, and extremely manipulative. They are effectively the opposite of what a mother should be.
It’s common for the children of these toxic mothers to bury their pain and abuse, but that only causes them more problems. In fact, what you want to do is not only confront it head-on, but you also have to learn to parent your inner child in the way that your mother should have done many years ago.
You can’t do that properly without acknowledging the abuse you suffered and expressing your pain. Even if your narcissistic mother is now deceased, writing a letter is a great way to process the pain you suffered. You can take your time in composing what it is you want to say so that you can get it out of your system. Once you’ve done that, you can move on in the healing process.
What Should I Say to a Narcissistic Mother Who will Remain in My Life?
Even if your narcissistic mother will remain in your life, you need to be completely honest about how her behavior affected you. Remember you’re doing this for you, not for her. It’s important to completely clear the air if you want to be able to continue the healing process.
You can say what you need to say in as kind a manner as possible, but you need to be honest. You need her to know what she has done and how it has affected her even though she will never acknowledge it or apologize for any of her behavior.
What Should I Expect When She Reads the Letter?
Most narcissists don’t deal very well with confrontation, and that’s essentially what you’re doing by writing this letter. There are a number of ways your narcissistic mother might respond to it. The first thing she will likely do is deny she did the things you state in the letter.
She might also try to gaslight you by telling you that you are just too sensitive or that she never did or said anything like that. You have to also be prepared for the fact that she might become enraged. If any of that happens, remember that you’re doing this for yourself, not for her. Stand your ground and set strong boundaries. If she tries to violate them, simply walk away or end the conversation.
You have every right to take care of yourself, so you don’t have to allow her to continue to abuse you. If you haven’t done so already, this is a good time to set new boundaries and let her know that you won’t take her abuse anymore. If you don’t feel like you can actually confront her, it’s still helpful to write the letter even if you don’t send it.
What If I Want to Go No Contact?
You still want to follow the advice above — be honest, respectful, and firm. You might want to just let her have it, but you’ll be much happier in the long-run if you simply state your truth and set the boundary of no-contact.
Let her know how her abuse has affected you and that you’ve decided the best option is to end all contact with her. Explain that you’re doing this for your own health and let her know that you won’t accept any contact from her. You might think going no contact won’t bother your abusive mother, but it will. As retired psychologist Edward Tierney notes, “If you are no contact they cannot manipulate you or control you, which drives them nuts.”
Many narcissists will keep trying to contact you and may even start love-bombing you after you’ve set this kind of boundary, so you’ll want to be prepared to stand firm. You might even have to resort to blocking her from trying to contact you on social media sites. You want to also be prepared for her to tell other family members how you’ve mistreated her, and she might also treat you to a dose of her narcissistic rage. Just walk away.
Be prepared for her to also skew the situation to make you look like the bad guy to your other family members. To prevent that from causing too many problems, you might want to let family members know of your decision before you send your letter.
Sample Letter for Your Narcissistic Mother
If you have read any of my other posts about narcissism, you might realize that I also have a narcissistic mother. I have not ended all contact with her, but I have written her a letter, and I can attest that it really helped me to heal from the narcissistic abuse I suffered in my childhood.
I also know how difficult it was for me to write the letter and figure out exactly what I wanted to say. That’s why I thought you might like to see a sample letter to help you get yours started.
1. Be Respectful
The key to writing this letter is to keep it respectful. First, you don’t want to stoop to her level, and second, you want to feel good about the way you handled the situation. If you fly off the handle, you’re likely to feel bad about it later. Your letter might go something like this:
“I grew up not knowing that the way you treated me was wrong, but what I did know is that I never felt like I was good enough in your eyes. You always seemed to be criticizing me, and I don’t remember any warm moments that my friends recall with their mother.
As I grew up, it became clear to me that our relationship was not normal. My friends have strong bonds with their mother, and though I have tried, we have never been able to bond like that. The way you treated me then and continue to treat me now is negatively affecting my health and wellbeing, so I have had to decide whether or not I can continue to be in contact with you.”
2. For Continued Contact
“I have come to the decision that I don’t wish to cut off all contact with you, but you need to understand that is an option if you continue to treat me in a disrespectful, manipulative manner. To help prevent that, I am going to set some strong boundaries, and if you violate them, I will simply leave so that I don’t have to deal with the drama.
You will talk to me in a non-critical manner or I will end the conversation and leave. If you become rageful and begin yelling at me or threatening me, I will end the conversation and leave. If you try to manipulate my other family members against me, I will tell them all about the narcissistic abuse you heaped on me when I was young. You will not interfere in my private affairs or in my professional life. If you do, I will cut off all contact with you.”
3. For No-Contact
“I understand that you don’t understand that you have hurt or how, but you have, and I have decided that I will no longer allow you to continue to harm me. Because of that, I have decided that it’s better for us to go our separate ways. I appreciate that you may trivialize what I am writing here and disrespect my wishes by trying to contact me, but I have to put myself first now so that I can heal.
This has been a difficult decision for me, but I must now ask that you don’t try to contact me anymore. If you persist, I will not respond, I will block any attempts to contact me on social media or through other means. I have been able to forgive you for what I believe are the abusive behaviors you used against me when I was young, but now I need to heal so that I can go on to have a happy and fulfilling life.”
There will be times when you might doubt your decision to write either of these letters, but you need to do this to take back control of your own life. It’s also important to continue the process of healing the trauma you’ve endured. Remember to stay strong because you’re taking care of yourself, and that’s something no one else will do for you, particularly not your narcissistic mother.
If you’re dealing with the pain of a narcissistic mother and the abuse you suffered during your childhood, a free copy of my “Narcissistic Rejection Guide” can help. It will help you learn to say no and push back against their abusive tactics. Just click on the link and I’ll send it directly to your inbox for free!
If you are in a relationship with a narcissist, you might have already noticed that they are often late to events and frequently fail to meet deadlines. You might think this is not necessarily...
If you have a family member who is a narcissist, you have likely experienced treatment that doesn’t feel very loving, and it’s no wonder you might ask if the narcissist really loves their family....