How to Survive Mother's Day when you have a Narcissistic Mother
This blog is for educational and awareness purposes only. The terms narcissist, sociopath, and psychopath are used in this blog as descriptors to identify patterns of toxic behaviors. They are not intended to diagnose anyone with any disorder.
Mother’s Day is one of the many dreaded days of the year that survivors of abuse have to face. We are expected by society to honor and cherish the very person who has abused, neglected, and used us for their supply. Mother’s Day can be wonderful for healthy and loving families, but most - if not all - of us reading this right now has a toxic, narcissistic, sociopathic, psychopathic mother.
We do not have mothers - we have monsters.
Regardless if you are in full contact, low contact, or no contact, Mother’s Day is painful. We didn’t have a healthy, emotionally mature mother figure in our lives. We can see all of the positive and loving cards that are out for amazing mothers that can make your stomach turn and your eyes roll.
How do you handle Mother’s Day when it is triggering and painful?
We see Mother’s Day cards and “gift’s for mom” throughout stores and ads on TV, YouTube, and other platforms. All of these ads can be extremely triggering and a constant reminder of what wasn't provided for you as a child.
If you know you have to get mommy dearest a card for Mothers Day and all of the cards make you cringe, you can easily get her a card with daffodils on the cover. The scientific name for daffodils is Narcissus Pseudonarcissus (1). If you find a card that has a daffodil on the front, it’s like saying, “I have to give you a card so you don’t go off, but my underlying message is you’re a narcissist.”
Minimal and generically written cards or blank cards where you just wish them a happy Mother’s Day work too.
Getting a narcissistic mother a gift is complex and complicated. She is not pleased with anything you typically get her, and she can use this opportunity to declare how much you don’t even know your own mother. Why? Because you didn’t get her the right gift. She wanted you to read her mind or she secretly liked the gift but wants to put you down regardless. Narcissistic mothers will degrade their empathetic and giving children as nothing is ever good enough for them - especially when it comes from you, right?
You are not required to get a toxic, narcissistic mother a gift. It’s far easier to just send out the card and do the bare minimum, but narcissistic mothers guilt trip so much that it is common to feel the need to get them a gift.
If you do decide to get them a gift, it doesn’t have to be expensive. You don’t have to sacrifice your expenses and financially affect yourself to please your mother. Narcissistic mothers may expect extravagant gifts that you can’t afford. If you ask her what she would like as a present, her response can be a gift in a high price range. In the past, you may have had to sacrifice something for yourself in order to get the gift you were told to buy; however, when you did buy it, the golden child’s five-dollar gift was cherished while your pricey gift was ignored or even badmouthed.
Getting a gift for your toxic mother is all up to you. You do not have to feel bad for not getting a gift for her if you don’t feel like it.
To call or not to call?
You are not obligated to call your mother on Mother’s Day. If you are in low or full contact and it is a required thing so you don’t have to have an ear full of her toxicity, you can send a text with a generic wish or have a very gray rocked phone call. Keep the call short, sweet, and to the point. Keep the conversation directly on her and off of yourself. Even if something good has recently happened, you keep it to yourself. If you share information - even good information - it can be used as a weapon against you.
You have to trust your gut. If you are overly anxious and afraid to call your mother, know that if you have to communicate, do it through text. It is not even a requirement to text. She knows what she did even if she won’t ever admit it. You have to protect yourself. Don’t let her make you stressed, anxious, afraid, and all worked up. You can get through this.
Mother’s Day dinner or get together.
If you have to be in the same house, room, or restaurant with your toxic mother on Mother’s Day, you have to gray rock. You have to keep your emotions out of the event. If you let your emotions control the situation, your mother can use it against you and say that you purposely ruined Mother’s Day. She will now be the victim to everyone around her and you will be their evil child.
If a certain remark she says upsets you, you can dismiss yourself to the bathroom. The bathroom is one of the few places that definitely has a lock, and one of the best excuses to pull yourself away for several minutes. Practice deep breathing and try to keep yourself calm in order to survive through this toxic ordeal until you can go to your own home.
You honor women who were good to you in your life.
Maybe you had an influential teacher or even another family member who impacted your life in your early childhood years? You can think of them instead of thinking about your toxic, narcissistic mother.
If you truly can’t think of anyone who filled that motherly role in your life, you can celebrate yourself - if you’re a man, you still can use the day for yourself to take time to take care of your mental and physical well-being. If you don’t have children, you had to be your own mother - and in many cases, you had to be your mother’s mother - or her father.
Parenting yourself, possibly your other siblings, and your parents was something you may have had to handle, and you survived that. You did the best you could and you’re here today. You may be wounded, but you are not broken. Your mother could never break you and that is why she kept coming back for her attacks. It’s okay for you to just begin to think of Mother’s Day as a self-care day. Binge-watch your favorite TV show, go shopping, stay at home, stay with pets, go outdoors, or do anything that makes you happy.
If you are a mother, you can celebrate with your own children and family. This goes for fathers as well. You can tell mommy dearest that you’re busy with your children if you're in low contact. You can start the tradition that Mother’s Day isn’t something to be dreaded, but something that is fun for the family and a day for connection and love. Making Mother’s Day a happy tradition can help break the cycle of toxicity.
Remember that you are never obligated to celebrate a toxic, narcissistic, sociopathic, or psychopathic mother. They hurt you, and you have every right to protect yourself and heal. You matter and deserve your own happiness and freedom.