“Whatever the situation may be, in order to fully achieve peace within yourself it is necessary for those who have been victims of narcissistic personalities to complete all the stages of acceptance and learn to grow beyond their previously fabricated reality.”—Christine Hammond, MS, LMHC
What is Narcissistic Awareness Grief?
“Narcissism awareness grief” is a term coined by Dr. Christine Hammond. It’s a real “thing,” and I remember very clearly what it was like to experience it.
Before I knew exactly “what” I needed to recover from, I focused on issues of low self-confidence and self-esteem, always second-guessing myself, and I had a myriad of codependency symptoms. A therapist suggested that I “presented” much like an Adult Child of an Alcoholic (ACoA). But there had been no substance abuse or alcoholism in my family of origin. At that time, “Maternal Narcissism” was virtually unheard of, and my symptoms were so similar to those of an ACoA, that we agreed my treatment plan would be as if I was an ACoA. Turns out I needed to heal from the effects that my mother’s narcissistic characteristics had on me as a child.
If there’s a pattern of ongoing power struggles, manipulation, gaslighting, or cruelty in your relationship with your mother, and it causes you to doubt your memory, judgment, or sanity, your relationship probably feels hurtful, stressful, or harmful to you.
If this is the case, you’re probably beginning to (or have recently) become aware that your mother’s perspective of you is causing you pain. You’re likely blamed or found to be responsible for her unhappiness. When you see this for yourself, you’ll likely feel a colossal amount of conflicting emotions about this realization, and you may not understand why you feel these conflicts. As you begin to accept that your mother’s perspective, thought patterns, and behavior could be dysfunctional, you will also realize that there is nothing, and there never was anything wrong with you, as she may have led you to believe. You may be coming to terms with the idea that her thoughts, ideas, beliefs, and behavior never had anything to do with any shortcoming within yourself.
When we first become aware of our mother’s narcissistic traits, and we start to see the many ways those traits have negatively impacted us, we enter the process identified by Dr. Christine Hammond as “Narcissism Awareness Grief.” How this realization affects us, becomes a journey undertaken to heal the emotional pain of Narcissistic Victim Syndrome.