4. Will My Narcissistic Mother Ever Change?

The more traits your mother has that fit the disorder,
the less likely she is a candidate for successful treatment.
This means that you can't fix her and you should not be attempting it.
Dr. Karyl McBride

© by Gail Meyers
According to experts in the field, successful treatment depends on how narcissistic your mother is. The higher the level of narcissism and the more traits your mother has, the less the likelihood of recovery. Those highest on the narcissism spectrum do not change, ever. 

Some believe narcissists are unwilling, while others maintain they are unable to change. This can be an important distinction because it may influence how a compassionate person responds to a narcissist. If a narcissist is unwilling to change then they are accountable for their current condition. If a narcissist is unable to change, the next statement exerted is often along the lines of narcissism being akin to any other disease.

Once it is framed in this way, the next step is often to pity her in her condition.  The end result of recovery may well become a feeling of pity toward your narcissistic mother. Many of the behaviors are truly pitiful. However, people are easily manipulated with pity and narcissists very well know that. So be careful pitying a narcissist.  It can leave you wide open for more manipulation and abuse. Instead, keep in mind how many innocent lives one narcissist can destroy without a second thought.

My Narcissistic Mother Never Changed

Nearly a decade after my late narcissistic personality disordered mother’s death, it is my personal opinion that my late mother did not change because she did not want to change. There was alleged abuse in her childhood, and she certainly came from narcissistic parents herself, but she made many choices along the way. Being abused as a child is not an excuse or a free pass to become an abuser. There are many who were abused as children, myself included, who did not grow up to abuse their children. Even if there is perhaps a point of no return or a seared conscience, I believe she made many choices in that direction prior to reaching any possible point of no return. I do not believe it was simply inflicted upon her with her having no choice in the matter.

My narcissistic mother's reasoning was so foreign to the average person that many would not even consider the truth a possibility. Her focus was never on whether her behavior was right, wrong, good, fair, evil or morally acceptable. Her focus was on believing she had brilliantly outsmarted an inferior target who deserved it anyway. Set aside the assumptions made because a chronological middle-age or elderly person is standing in front of you and think of what a rotten, evil six year old would do. Then, you will often be in the ballpark and usually much closer to the truth. It is not that they are so much smarter. It’s that the average person does not fathom such pathetic behavior from an allegedly full grown adult.

Besides having no desire to change, she was thoroughly engrossed in her deceitful, manipulative ways.  It worked for her, and it worked well.  So while my focus was on doing what was right by God, my own conscience and convictions, her focus was on appearing to be right, innocent and loving to others, regardless of the truth of any given situation. While I thought I was being patient with her thinking surely her own conscience will call her to repentance and remorse, she was interpreting it as proof of her superiority! If you watched closely, you could notice the glimmer in her eye or the smirk on her face.

The Toxic Hope of Change

Please hear me because this is vitally important. There is necessary and unnecessary pain in life. For example, we may determine to endure the pain necessary for our healing process. However, hanging onto that toxic hope of my narcissistic personality disordered mother changing caused me years of unnecessary pain and suffering.

Even following two years of terminal illness, with plenty of time to contemplate putting her life in order prior to her passing, she did not change for the better.  On the contrary, her abusiveness escalated.  Overall, her actions during that time demonstrated her priority of keeping her facade in place even after her passing.


  1. I know. I actually wondered if there would be a change and nope, not a hint, not a chance.


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