Those raised in a toxic household under the rule of a narcissistic christian mother had a particularly difficult childhood experience. Because religious narcissists have somewhat different traits than non-religious varieties, I’ll explain here how to deal with a christian narcissist mother.
Christian narcissist mothers use religion as a means of control, manipulation, and furthering their narcissistic agenda. They maintain a “perfect” public profile while abusing children at home. Overcome a narcissistic christian mother by understanding them, reverse their indoctrination, and set healthy boundaries.
Countering christian narcissistic control techniques is not easy for children of narcissistic mothers. Read on for more help, and recommended resources for victims to help you overcome the abuse.
Narcissistic Christian Mothers Hide in the Church
Narcissist have an emotion deficiency where they never feel quite good enough. And they try to mask these feelings, even from themselves, by building up a false image of themselves in the eyes of other people. Through lies and manipulation, they hope to ensure they never feel bad about themselves again.
As a christian narcissist, your mother is probably using the Church as a place to hide from their demons. Christian morals and values supply the image of a “perfect” wife and mother for them to live up to. You might have seen her —
- Humble bragging about how devout she is
- Take on public roles in church leadership or events
- Putting down or porting out flaws about other church members
- Acting “holier than thou”
- Using scripture to justify her own wants and desires
- Making up bible verses, or using them far out of context
- Creating narratives where she is the victim of oppression by evil people because of her faith (and you might be one of those “evil” people)
You narcissistic christian mother will do everything in her power to create the image of herself that she wants everyone else to see. Even if she has to lie every moment of her life to make it so.
And, people will be taken in. Narcissists are very adept at what they do, and generally extroverted and well liked by people that don’t know them well. People you respect might fall for her stories, and say, “You are lucky to have such a good mother,” or, “Why don’t you honor your mother as you are suppressed to?”
Narcissistic christian mothers are extremely effective at turning congregations against people they are angry with.
It is possible that by resisting your mother’s manipulation tactics, you could be shunned or ostracized by the concretion that you grew up with. Or, even a separate congregation that your mother knows you go to. These people, some kindhearted, will unwittingly be participating in your mother’s abuse of her child, when they believe they are protecting themselves or even help you!
Christian narcissists also share many of the signs and behaviors of non-religious narcissists, which you can read about here —
- Signs of a Narcissist | 21 Behaviors of the Classical Narcissist
- Understanding the Narcissistic Cycle of Abuse | Breaking the Chain
Love is a Weapon of Narcissistic Christian Mothers
Narcissist christian mothers use love and kindness as a weapon against their children.
In one case I’ve heard of a christian mother bringing in poor neighborhood children in to their home. De facto adopting them and calling them her children. While at the same time practically cutting off her real teenage daughter, continually giver her the cold shoulder.
To an outside observer, the mother might seem giving, and the child jealous of sharing her mother’s devotion. Only on the inside would one see that this is not christian charity, but rather a means of enacting the “golden child and scapegoat” form of narcissistic manipulation.
Christian narcissists tend to be harsh disciplinarians. They amplify religion’s inherent root of discipline and structure, again using it as a form of manipulation. Your narcissist christian mother might beat you, humiliate you, yell at you, entrap you, or keep you locked up all under the guise of teaching you a lesson.
In reality, much of this discipline could be part of an attempt to control your emotions and make you subservient. To make you put their wishes over your own needs.
Narcissists also have a need to be better than other people, and narcissistic christian parents must be “better” than their children. In order to give themselves “proof” that they are better, they will search out or even outright make up reasons why you don’t fit the christian image of a perfect child. They will punish you for these things. And to act out their fantasies in an attempt to turn their imagined narrative about just how bad you truly are in to a physical reality.
For more info on forms of narcissistic abuse shared by both christian and non-christian narcissist mothers, see this article —
Many Narcissistic Christian Mothers have Unresolved Sexual Issues
Unfortunately, sexual abuse is common place in christian homes. While we would like to think the faithful parents would refrain from such behaviors at least one study has shown that Christianity does not decrease the prevalence of sexual abuse.
As Carolyn H. Heggen, a psychotherapist with decades of experience writes in her book Sexual Abuse in Christian Homes and Churches —
“It was with great surprise that I found client after client sharing stories of childhood sexual victimization by parents or siblings, grandparents, aunts or uncles, cousins or trusted family friends. Equally disturbing as the frequency with which I heard the accounts was the fact that many survivors described their homes as ‘very religious’ or ‘Christian.’ They often termed their abusers ‘godly,’ ‘devout,’ or ‘Christian’ people.”
While not every narcissist christian mother has a history of being a victim sexual abuse, many do. This can alter their narcissistic abuse habits in a number of ways including —
- Putting their children in situations they are likely to be abused
- Directly sexually abusing their children
- Encouraging sexuality in minors
- Over-sexualizing their children by giving them inappropriate clothing, make up, or otherwise emphasizing their sexual qualities
- Encouraging sexual behavior
- Extreme overreaction to and punishment of natural sexual development in children and teens
- Sexual punishments like enforced nakedness in teens, or hitting children on their genitalia
In one woman’s case, her narcissistic christian mother encouraged her as a young child to watch pornography and provided her with extreme magazines filled with nudity and violent sexual acts. The mother also encouraged her to develop her sexual skills, telling the young child that, as a woman, that is what she is good for.
How to Overcome Damage Due to Christian Narcissist Mothers
For victims of narcissists, I advocate a three step process of —
- Learning to identify narcissistic abuse and the damages it causes
- Addressing our false beliefs and psychological traumas directly, in a way tailored to our own experiences
- Define and enforce appropriate boundaries with our parents
If you would like help dealing with a narcissistic parent, feel free to reach out to us – Get Coaching
Also, check out additional information on overcoming narcissistic mothers. This article applies to all narcissist mothers, including christian narcissists —