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  1. #1
    Patron Saint Of Smileys Gloriana's Avatar
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    Question Any INFJ ladies with narcissistic mothers?

    I grew up with an extremely narcissistic grandmother and passive (ignoring type) narcissistic mother. I'm talking in the clinical sense, not just the every day usage of the word. I've been delving into this a lot recently, reading a lot about the traumas and emotional issues a lot of daughters with narcissistic mothers have to cope with in life.

    I started thinking about how growing up with the mother that I did contributed to my development in terms of my INFJ personality type. I've seen some really interesting correlations.

    1. The extreme empathy - From the time I was born, my mother basically wanted me to fill voids for her. It was never about what was best for my growth as an individual person as much as it was about meeting her needs for someone to love her, someone to be an ideal family member she never had, etc. I think I felt this as soon as I was conscious of the world. I'm very in tune to the needs of others before my own, this is a hallmark of both the INFJ and the daughter of a narcissistic mother.

    2. The 'mind reading' or 'psychic' ability - The whole thing where people always swear you can read their mind because of how many intricate details you can hone in on in terms of their personality, thoughts, etc. My mother never stated her needs and wants aloud but would react with anger and withdrawal of her affection anyway if they were not met. Obviously, this lead to me observing like crazy in my desire to get and keep her affection. I think this has a lot to do with that INFJ trait.

    3. Guarding the inner world - My world, who I was/am, what I loved, what got me excited in life did not and does not matter to my mother. It did not matter to the rest of my small family either. If I talked about these things, the reaction was either boredom or a dumbfounded look like "Um, WHY are you TELLING me this?". Anything precious to me would be ignored or devalued, and hence I learned to guard anything precious to me with extreme tenacity. Another INFJ trait I can trace back to growing up with a narcissistic family.

    4. Perfectionism - In my family, it is all about appearances rather than realities. Meaning, what MATTERED to my family was the impression the rest of the world got. Who you really were didn't matter, it was who everyone else THOUGHT you were that did. Also, you could do 99 things perfectly but the only thing you heard about was the ONE thing you did imperfectly. You were also taught to behave like the perfect example so no open emotions were allowed (this included being openly very happy, it was seen as looking silly and foolish to others). Yet another INFJ trait that is also common with daughters of narcissistic mothers/grandmothers.

    There are more things, but these are just the main few. I wondered how many of you INFJ ladies also grew up with similar circumstances and narcissistic mothers. It's just been really enlightening for me recently, I wondered how many female INFJs I might have this in common with.

    Looking forward to your feedback if you've got it
    "Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get, but if you work really hard, and you're kind, amazing things will happen. I'm telling you...amazing things will happen" --Conan O'Brien

  2. #2
    Senior Member Tiltyred's Avatar
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    Yup. Way back when the psych grad student I was friends with first gave me the MBTI test, he also recommended I do some reading about having a narcissistic mother.

    All I know is, the farther away I got from her, the more my life improved. Including limiting visits to every few years or so.

  3. #3
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    Sounds somewhat familiar. Except my mom was fairly good-natured about it most of the time. It was almost more like I was supposed to be Paris Hilton's little purse dog, if that makes sense.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

  4. #4
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    Very interesting thread, Gloriana.

    1. <The extreme empathy>. The questions seems to be - are the INFJ made or are they born? How much of that trait is, shall we say, "encouraged" by having had a narcissistic mother? Very hard to say. The fact is, you ARE empathetic. But I'd caution against using that empathy indiscriminately. Having had a NPD mother (you said in the clinical term, right?), I'd be sure that this empathy is not used as a lever for ill-intentioned people to bleed you dry.

    2. <Me observing like crazy in order to keep and get her affection...> Hmm, I have seen an extroverted type (woman in her 30's) yell at her young daughter for nothing and I mean, peccadilloes... 'Ladies do not eat like this', 'You don't know how to spell this word?' and I mean, YELL till the poor girl quaked. I have observed this and interjected and you would not believe rationalizations she came up with in order to justify this sort of verbal violence. I can easily foresee the little girl become like you - HYPER-VIGILANT... Like Barbara Ehrenreich once said, 'we are hard-wired to be vigilant. Our distant ancestors did not just say, when they saw a movement in the tall grass, oh, it's nothing. In fact, those who survived were those who said, run, it's a leopard'. So, if everybody is hard-wired to be vigilant, then, your radar simply became very sensitive and very fine-tuned because of the treatment you got at home. Did that MAKE you into an INFJ? Are all kids born XXXX and then you morphed into an INFJ?

    3. Guarding the inner world. Oh I can SOOO relate to that. Much of the pain of being an INFJ is that when we self-disclose, others either dismiss, belittle or start telling you to take a chill pill. Ehrenreich, whose MBTI type I do not know, remarked that when she came down with breast cancer, she was told "to be positive, to embrace her cancer" and she thinks that the extreme of positive thinking is that it breeds this moral callousness that is unwilling to listen to Cancer patients or downsized people even tell of their pain and suffering. It's like a wilful blindness and this refusal to hear of people's suffering. I'd add that society has become like that, so pervasive is 'positive thinking taken to the extreme'. No matter what type you are dealing with now, people are less willing to listen. Part of it might be due to the rat race or part of it is the long decades of conditioning into positive thinking.

    4. Perfectionism - <Who you really were didn't matter, it was who everyone else THOUGHT you were that did. Also, you could do 99 things perfectly but the only thing you heard about was the ONE thing you did imperfectly> Oh, I can relate. To come back to that lady with the little girl, I made the mistake of rushing into that friendship too quickly, spent my time with them, cooked, gave my friendship. I confronted her about one or two lies too many and the convolutions that she did to put the blame on ME... sigh, big sigh... Told me that I needed to work on my anger and then shut the door, and then months later, wanted to resume it the 'friendship' and had her daughter write a cute little letter. In the meantime, I had tried to understand what was happening and why I was so confused. I had a gut feeling that I was dealing with a person who was used to having her way all the time. So, I did a search on narcissism and manipulations and NPD after that and I can say with some confidence now that yea, that lady had all the red flags: charming, knew how to manipulate, seduce other people into thinking that she was such a wonderful person. I went back to the very first meeting: the tear-jerking moment when she wiped a tear and mentioned her just deceased hubby... Since then, having read of many accounts of survivors of narcissistic abuse, I can safely say that this is a standard trick... The disclosure of very personal details at the VERY beginning to then TOTAL STRANGERS in order to elicit sympathy and lower the guard of other people. From then on, that person will use and use and exploit and co-opt everybody into their agenda and if you dare (as I did) point out that sorry, 'this was not part of the bargain and you lied to me', you are immediately cast out and maligned to all her tribe and all the people who of course believe this wonderfully charming person, etc. Again, it's all appearances, appearances and how easily you can pull it off. And of course, no criticism is ever accepted. If you dare criticise people who put great stock by appearances, it is YOU of course who is wrong, etc, etc.

    To compound it all, INFJ suck at giving a wonderful appearance. We are far too serious-looking in general and cannot so easily FAKE cheeriness. At least, I can't. I prefer the truth at all times even if it is inconvenient. INFJ in general also suck at making friends and small talk so that many stories and gossip go behind our backs that we're not even aware of, until too late, and by then, the enemy has co-opted everybody to shun you.

    Gloriana, I so feel for you. If indeed your mother is clinically a narcissist, then you will have to spend the rest of your life parenting yourself in such a way as to reverse that. Or look hard for really sincere people. You also will have to be careful that in your personal relationships, you don't fall for someone towards whom you will reproduce that pattern that you lived with your mom. In short, that you do not become the enabler of yet another narcissist. You'll also have to be cautious of not being too cautious either and then missing out on some potentially enriching friendships/relationships with people who perhaps show just a tenth of what your mom had. In short, not to make others pay for your mom...

    Best wishes.

    P.S. Is that your real name or did you pick it because you admire Queen Elizabeth the First?

  5. #5
    facettes de la petite mor Words of Ivory's Avatar
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    I'm not female, but I can certainly identity with the narcissistic mother thing.

    Is that okay? I'll add more thoughts to the subject later if you don't mind me doing so.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

    "Life calls out the meaning of pure jubilance,
    if you'll only take the time to hear it."
    ~ Words of Ivory ~

  6. #6
    Patron Saint Of Smileys Gloriana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Words of Ivory View Post
    I'm not female, but I can certainly identity with the narcissistic mother thing.

    Is that okay? I'll add more thoughts to the subject later if you don't mind me doing so.
    Oh definitely, definitely! Please do. Now that I'm thinking about it, I'm interested in the Narcissistic Mother - INFJ correlation unto itself, gender really doesn't even matter.
    "Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get, but if you work really hard, and you're kind, amazing things will happen. I'm telling you...amazing things will happen" --Conan O'Brien

  7. #7
    Patron Saint Of Smileys Gloriana's Avatar
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    @Immaculate -

    I'm familiar with a lot of stuff you mentioned in your post. I've already fallen into and learned how to avoid a lot of the pitfalls you mentioned. I wound up married to a grade-A narcissist and it ended badly, but in truth it has been the catalyst for quite a lot of self improvement and positive change so I can't complain. I've scrubbed my life of a lot of toxic narcissists and have formed a lot of new friendships with positive, supportive people.

    Still have lots of hurdles to overcome but I feel very positive. Thanks for your feedback and sharing with me
    "Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get, but if you work really hard, and you're kind, amazing things will happen. I'm telling you...amazing things will happen" --Conan O'Brien

  8. #8
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    Can't really relate to having a terribly narcissistic mother. Mine was more the overly self-sacrificing kind of mother.

    But I can strongly relate to these points:

    Quote Originally Posted by Gloriana View Post
    3. Guarding the inner world - My world, who I was/am, what I loved, what got me excited in life did not and does not matter to my mother. It did not matter to the rest of my small family either. If I talked about these things, the reaction was either boredom or a dumbfounded look like "Um, WHY are you TELLING me this?". Anything precious to me would be ignored or devalued, and hence I learned to guard anything precious to me with extreme tenacity. Another INFJ trait I can trace back to growing up with a narcissistic family.

    4. Perfectionism - In my family, it is all about appearances rather than realities. Meaning, what MATTERED to my family was the impression the rest of the world got. Who you really were didn't matter, it was who everyone else THOUGHT you were that did. Also, you could do 99 things perfectly but the only thing you heard about was the ONE thing you did imperfectly. You were also taught to behave like the perfect example so no open emotions were allowed (this included being openly very happy, it was seen as looking silly and foolish to others). Yet another INFJ trait that is also common with daughters of narcissistic mothers/grandmothers.

  9. #9
    Senior Member kyli_ryan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sky is BLUE! View Post
    Can't really relate to having a terribly narcissistic mother. Mine was more the overly self-sacrificing kind of mother.
    Yes. I think this would be a good characterization for my mother as well. Although, I think that her guilt at being a divorced single parent and raising me by herself had a lot to do with that.

    I think that it's interesting, the connection between your mother's treatment of you and the way that your personality developed. Although my mother wasn't narcissistic, I can relate to the idea that I needed to be intuitive and understand adult situations early on, and developed that quality because I was treated as an equal partner in the household (with my mother) from a very young age.

    What other ways would you all say that your parent's interactions with you from early on had an effect on your identifying with your personality type?

  10. #10
    Cat Wench ReadingRainbows's Avatar
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    I wouldnt say my mom is narcissistic per say, but both her and my dad are different types of batshit. Both My mother and my sister are very focused on their partners to the point of screwing over other people for the sake of being in a relationship. Total unhealthy devotion. My father however DOES have narcissitic traits while being totally ands utterly batshit and violent.
    Quote Originally Posted by EffEmDoubleyou View Post
    St. Stephen took rocks and St. Sebastian took arrows. You only have to take some jerks on an internet forum. Nut up.

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