I remember the day I discovered the narcissistic mother within me.
My daughter was home sick from school. I spent the day waiting on her, spooning her ice chips, offering sips of vitamin water, and refreshing a cool cloth for her feverish head, playing audio books and cartoons. At one point I noticed her lying there so pathetically and suddenly I decided she could use a blanket. I retrieved one from another part of the house and came close to her with my arms extended, draping it over her curled little body. As soon as the fabric touched her little legs, however, she rejected the blanket, tossing it off of her emphatically, "NO!" she stated clearly. Immediately a twinge of anger and self-protection surged within me and I noticed the intense urge to insist, convince, strongly suggest that she reconsider my idea. Forcing my will upon my kids is something I've done often. I've also begged and pleaded and manipulated and my way through parenting. I wanted to take care of her in the way that made sense to ME. I was being confronted with thoughts that I should be a 'certain kind' of caregiver and for some reason that ideal included her being wrapped up in a blanket.
Call it ego, call it fear. I often call it "parts" of my heart (and use this with my clients) but no matter what language I use, the point is clear: this kind of care giving is not LOVE. Love attunes. Love beholds. Love matches. Love bends and flexes and joins generously. Love allows the other person to exist, to take up space. I was delighted and overjoyed to see my narcissism show up that day. First, it brought me the chance to heal my inner child parts. It filled in the blanks for me around times when I hadn't been attuned with, had my own needs and voice denied or bulldozed. This was a chance for me to heal by grieving over my inner child, letting the sadness give over to grief. And then watching the grief give over to joy and flow and space for real Love with my child. Allowing my child to defend herself brought me closer to my own inner healing and revealed more clearly the true nature of love.
Do you resonate with my story? Do you find yourself feeling deeply insulted or angry when your child doesn't do exactly what you want in the exact way you want?
If so, there's actually nothing wrong with you, rather, this might be a clue into your own childhood!
You most likely had a 'narcissistic' parent.
Narcissistic parenting is subtle and often invisible, but the effects are obvious. If you struggle with anxiety, depression or other difficult emotional challenges as an adult, you may have had a narcissistic parent. This doesn't mean your parents were bad or mentally ill, though sometimes that is the case, it simply means that our parents had a pattern of avoiding their own emotions, and held fast to the idea that they always "knew what is best" for us. It often meant that our childhood lacked a certain warmth and attunement. The end result is that we grow up not knowing who we are and avoiding a deep sense of pain and loneliness by looking for approval and soothing outside of ourselves instead moving through life with ease and love.
I help my clients heal narcissistic wounds among other things. If you want to become a more loving caregiver to yourself and your children as well as unburden your heart of heavy emotions, I can help!
Here's the thing, what does your inner narcissist actually need? Love. She's just trying to help you, after all!
Life can feel good and you could not be more deserving. If you've done counseling in the past, you're probably the perfect fit for my approach. Contact me today for your free phone call.