When I was really, really, young, I used to think I had the best mother in the world because she was really funny and kind, although she was quite strict on me about my studies. However, as I grew older and became more mature, I realized that how my mother acts was not normal for someone her age. Whenever she wants my sisters and I to help her with something, she would speak in an incredibly high pitched voice. She also would not ask us for help directly, instead she would say something like ‘If only someone can help me do…’ or ‘We are eating so much today. There would be a lot of dishes to clean’ Most of the time my sisters and I would get the hint and help her around. However, sometimes we would think of it as just a casual statement and my mother would start throwing a huge tantrum. Furthermore, my mother is really insensitive or ignorant about our feelings. She would always call my sister and I fat when my sister and I are actually quite petite for our age. She would also go on a very strict diet and try to compete with us. Like if my sister or I lost any weight (not really on purpose), she would try to lose double of that. My mother would always stand in front of the mirror and just stare at it for a few minutes. Whenever I have any problems that i try to tell her, she would just brush it off or make everything about her. When i told her about some friendship problem i was having, she would be like ‘I had a lot of those when i was young…’ and end of with ‘You know, you’re exactly like me’ and im not trying to be offensive or anything, but i really don’t want to be like her. Even from when i was young, she was always very violent when she was angry and she would break a lot of furniture but i thought that this was a normal adult behavior. I’ve begun reading a lot of books about narcissist but I know its not good to diagnose her using these books. (From Singapore)
Rather than try to diagnose your mother start focusing on what you need to move out of the house and move forward with your life. You have already made the declaration that you do not want to be like your mom in many ways. Now the work is to figure out what you DO want to become. Aiming not to be her can be a good start, but figuring out what kind of life you want to live and what skills to develop is even more important. I’d encourage you to keep moving toward your independence. Diagnosing her, even if it were possible, isn’t likely to help as much as you developing yourself.
Wishing you patience and peace,