Narcissistic Mothers: What is a controlling mother? (Lessons from "The Waterboy")
Updated: Jan 22, 2022
Mothers are incredibly sacred. They carry a stewardship and a role that no man could ever provide - to carry a child and bring life into this world. To nurture them, to raise them and to bond with them to make sure that they feel safe in the world.
Yet sometimes that maternal drive to make sure a mother's child is 'safe' can go too far. You might well know someone who had one of "those mums" growing up as a kid. They always had to pick them up from a late-night to make sure they were safe. They were always worried about whether their "little angel" would be safe going out with their friends. They thought that their child was the most perfect child in the world...
Maybe that was a mum of a friend, maybe that was your mum. Whatever the case, overbearing, controlling, doting mothers can be incredibly harmful in the name of protection, care and love. You might have heard these kinds of mothers say things like...
"I just want the best for you."
"I just want to know you're safe."
"Can you blame me for caring about you?"
"I didn't realise that loving you was such a selfish thing to do."
Here is an eerily accurate example from a comedy film, “The Waterboy” starring Adam Sandler:
As Psychology Today details, if you had a narcissistic mother, the key element was that she had little patience or empathy for the independent and demanding needs of her children.
While the clip (and the film) is funny and a brilliant take on the mother-son dynamic, it has crucial life lessons. Controlling, domineering mothers are incredibly damaging to the health of their child - all in the name of love, when actually it's about the mother not losing her identity. Mothers are sacred but when their responsibilities to their child become more self-serving than serving their child, it is extremely detrimental.
I've had 11 years of support, mentorship, counselling and coaching to overcome the damage and the effects of having a controlling, possessive parent and I am developing a group for people who have, or have had narcissistic, controlling parents and want to start reclaiming and building their own lives. If you'd like to learn more about being a part of one of these groups, please do get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you want to understand in more detail and depth about narcissism and toxic narcissism in families, here is a thorough and necessary article from Sally Davis.
To read the real-life, personal mentoring experiences of people who have grown up and out of these toxic environments, click here.
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