Narcissistic Mothers Can't Teach You to Love Yourself & The Consequences of Emotional Neglect Part 4
by Lisa A. Romano
If you are struggling with loving the self, it’s because no one taught you how. In part 3 of this blog, I’ll be detailing how to overcome this and start loving the self again.
A narcissistic mom will teach you how to tie your shoes, but she will not teach you how to love yourself. A narcissistic mom might teach you how to make an egg on the stove or boil some water for some pasta, but she will not teach you how to love yourself, and that's your right. You have to learn how to love yourself.
If you are struggling with this longing for connection, please know that you're not crazy; please understand that it is tied to emotional neglect and abandonment, insecure attachments, inconsistent parenting and inconsistent nurturing. You didn't feel safe; you were never taught that if you cried, you would be soothed.
The ability to soothe ourselves as adults is tied to how well our parents are able to comfort us as children. So if you were taught that your feelings were irrelevant, if you were mocked, made fun of, you were never soothed, so you don't know how to regulate emotionally.
The ability to emotionally regulate as an adult comes from the time, attunement, and attention people put into you. So if you didn’t get that, you don't have that data – that's not your fault.
I didn't know how to regulate myself emotionally; I never felt like anyone cared about what I felt emotional. If I cried, I was banished from the kingdom; I was told to go upstairs. If I wanted to cry, I was mocked, called a drama queen and told that I was selfish, just looking for attention, and so it was like my mother was pouring acid on top of me. I was emotional and upset, but I wasn't allowed to cry. I was mocked. So I thought, “Well, maybe if I turn my emotions off, if I show no emotion, my mother will love me.” I thought maybe that would make her happy, right? Because I longed for my mother's love, I longed for her touch, so I was always in my head trying to figure out how can I get her to love me.
But turning my emotions off didn't work either; she called me a cold fish and said, “Lisa has no feelings,” It was bonkers! In my head, I was like, how am I going to make her happy?
Eventually, I learned that the only thing that made her happy was getting out of her way or agreeing with her, but certainly just removing myself from her and making myself very small and trying not to aggravate her. As I became an adult, I became codependent in certain situations. If I thought my mother needed help, I was hook, line and sinker. I was still looking to connect with my mother and ultimately realized I would never be able to because I could not break through to her; I could not get her to awaken.
And through my journey with my mother, what eventually happened was she had a couple of strokes and was diagnosed with dementia. And believe it or not, through her dementia diagnosis, all of her passive aggressiveness, even the levels of narcissism that we would see in my mom, literally dissolved and suddenly, there was this humble, beautiful creature who even told me she loved me.
I waited my whole life to hear that, and she was dying from kidney failure and dementia; it was very sad, but it also helped me shift. It helped me forgive her even on a deeper level and just accept what was and move into this moment. I offered her all the love that I could as well, so I've actually been able to make peace with my mom, but before that, I had to teach myself how to love myself, and I’d like to offer you a couple of ideas that have helped me out along the way.
You have to become spiritually selfish.
You have to become spiritually selfish. If you have never felt loved in your life, and I don't care how many people have said that they loved you – if you didn't feel loved, then pay attention to that.
Maybe they loved you, but for whatever reason, you couldn't allow it in. That's okay. That's a lot of our stories, so don't beat yourself up for that, but certainly, what you do want to do is acknowledge exactly where you are. You want to acknowledge exactly how you feel – you have to start telling your story! Get a journal, make time for yourself, and ask your inner child what you think and how you feel.
- Did you feel nurtured?
- Did you feel loved?
- Why didn't you feel loved?
- Did you assume the blame for not feeling loved?
- Why do you think you carry shame?
Use these types of journaling prompts, what I call sentence completion work, to prompt your inner child. When I do this, I will just let my inner child flow. I don't share this with anyone because nine times out of ten, there will be someone in your experience which says that you have no right to feel that way. So be honest with yourself, and honor yourself. Then what you want to do is start asking your inner child what to do.
You need to get spiritually selfish on this journey and what I mean by that is it has to become all about YOU, and I don't mean you stop feeding your children, I don't mean you start ignoring your husband; no, we all have responsibilities, we all have duties.
Listen, life is really difficult, and the strongest of us survive, and the most mentally tough amongst us will experience happiness. Still, if we give up before we get through this, we will suffer more than necessary, so I say we need to be mentally tough, that is the first part.
If you're interested in taking this journey, I have a four-part e-course, called Loving The Self Video and Meditation and Journaling Program that is a great place to start.
Until next time, Namaste.