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My Narcissistic Mom Told Me A Lot of Things That Weren't True

When you grow up with narcissistic parents, you often are fed beliefs that are far from reality. You are taught things about yourself, your life and the world that can be inherently damaging in many different ways. You don't learn to trust your instincts, or to trust in other people. You learn that the world is a dangerous place, and that you are a bad person.

Recognizing these beliefs as false later in life can be a huge challenge, since oftentimes you believe these things on a subconscious level without being aware of the impact that they are having on your life. In healing your mental health after being raised by narcissists, you have to change your core beliefs that were created in childhood, and this is not easy to do.

Overcoming Limiting Beliefs

When you grow up as the child of a narcissist, often you endure a great deal of trauma. This trauma can actually rewire the way your brain works. The way you think is different than the way that other people who grew up in safe environments. They never had to fear for their very lives the way that you did.

One of the symptoms of PTSD from trauma is hypervigilance. This means you are hyper-aware of danger in every situation that you are in. Your nervous system has a heightened fight or flight response. This can keep you trapped into survival mode, where you have very little control over your immediate reactions to situations in day to day life.

In order to combat this, you can work on overcoming your limiting beliefs. A limiting belief is a persistent negative thought that you have about yourself or your life. Often, these are beliefs that you have taken on over the years based on things that have been said to you in the past.

For example, my mom once told me that I don't deserve to have boundaries. So, I would counteract this with thoughts like, "Everyone deserves to have boundaries" or "I deserve to feel safe in my relationships."

When you input different thoughts and disagree with the thinking patterns that have developed over time, you can reprogram your mind for success and happiness.

According to Thrive Psychotherapy,

If you’ve been in therapy before and you still feel like you have unrelenting negative life patterns or limiting beliefs that are holding you back, attachment therapy can help you get to the root of the problem. Attachment therapy integrates all of systems including your thoughts, body, emotions, memories, and spirit. Attachment therapy can help you overcome locked in patterns that you can’t seem to talk or think your way out of.

Healing an unhealthy attachment style can get to the root of your issues relating to other people in a healthy way. Doing this in a safe, therapeutic environment with a trained trauma therapist is another way to work on your limiting beliefs that are based on trauma and attachment wounds that result.

You deserve to have happy and fulfilling relationships where you feel safe and heard. A positive relationship with your therapist or another mental health professional can help you develop a more healthy template for what relationships can look like. You can do things like inner child work or reparenting to heal your inner child and stop your limiting beliefs.

Be Gentle With Yourself

Undertaking deep healing work can feel challenging and scary at times. You are looking into parts of yourself that you always felt you had to keep hidden while growing up with a narcissist. Learning to feel your feelings, accept them, and love yourself in the midst of chaos can be really scary. It is natural to feel that way.

If you grew up the way that I did, you probably learned that the world is a dangerous place, and that most people are going to hurt you if they can.

This isn't true.

If looking at statistics helps, narcissists only make up about 5-6% of the population. That means, it is highly unlikely that most of the people you are going to encounter aren't going to be narcissists. They are going to be good, kind, loving people.

Also, according to the National Library of Medicine,

The 1 % of the population accountable for 63 % of all violent crime convictions

When you look at these statistics, you can rationally understand that most people aren't going to hurt you, no matter the situation. Most people are not violent criminals. They are normal people, just like you, who want to do the right thing and treat others with courtesy and respect.

Still, when you have had a history of violent and dangerous people in your life, it will take time to let your guard down and realize that most of the time you are going to be safe. This means letting go of hypervigilance and learning to be more relaxed and comfortable. Personally, I am still working on this.

I learned from an early age that any type of conflict, no matter how small it seemed, could easily escalate into violence. Unlearning this isn't just reading facts and statistics. It is also reprograming the deepest levels of your nervous system, your subconscious and unconscious mind.

So, if you find yourself slipping back into your old belief system, be gentle and kind to yourself. You can't make huge changes in your beliefs overnight - no one can. It has taken years for your mind to create the beliefs that you currently hold, and it will take time to change to more healthy and balanced thinking.

When you find yourself returning to your limiting beliefs from childhood with a narcissist, take a moment to pause. Say something kind to yourself. Tell yourself that you are worthy of love and safety. You are worthy of being treated with respect and kindness. Tell yourself this on a regular basis, not just when you are feeling triggered.

If you are feeling triggered, take some time to do something good for yourself. Go somewhere that you feel safe. Take some deep breaths. Practice your coping skills. This can help you to feel relaxed again.

Most of all, be gentle and kind to yourself. Remember, it is your brain's natural response to danger to go into fight/ fight/ freeze / fawn before going to a coping skill. The fight or flight response is in your amygdala, which is activated before the prefrontal cortex, where your coping skills are stored. If you are experiencing a trauma response, your defense mechanisms come out first. This is just the physiology of the brain, and nothing you have done wrong!

In order to activate the part of our brains where our coping skills live, we need to be calm. So, finding ways to calm yourself down and practicing them regularly will be a great help towards using your coping skills on a more consistent basis. As you practice doing this, sometimes it won't always work. And that is ok. You are learning and growing, and you can't be perfect all the time!

When you react in a way that you don't like, forgive yourself for the mistake. It is normal and human to make mistakes. So, don't hold onto it forever and feel endless guilt about it. You don't need to feel guilty for being human. Take the lesson, forgive, and move on. You can do better next time. Or the time after that. One situation doesn't make or break your whole life.


As a fellow survivor of trauma please know this: You deserve to feel safe in your body, your home and your relationships. You are allowed to set boundaries to keep yourself safe. You deserve to be treated with courtesy and respect always.

Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying and gaslighting you. This is a big part of what causes our trauma and our limiting beliefs. When someone says something bad to your or about you, you have a right to stand up for yourself and protect your peace and your mental health.

If you are in a situation that is unsafe currently, there are professionals that can help you make a safety plan.

You can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233 24/7.

For hotline numbers outside the US, they are available here.

You always deserve to be safe. If you aren't safe where you are, there are places you can go for help, such as the police or a domestic violence shelter. You can get a restraining order against someone who is physically abusive in most cases. You don't have to suffer alone in silence.

Harming another person physically, emotionally or psychologically is wrong. Anyone who is harming you in this manner doesn't have a place in your life. Finding safety and distance is an important first step to finding the healing that you both need and deserve.

Let me know in the comments what you are struggling with, and I will address it in a further article! The more we can form a community and support each other, the more we can each individually heal.

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