6.d. Narcissistic Mother's Guilt Trips

One in 25 ordinary Americans secretly has no conscience   and can do anything at all without feeling guilty.   Martha Stout, Ph.D.  The Sociopath Next Door
Martha Stout, Ph.D.
The Sociopath Next Door

© by Gail Meyers 
Many adult sons and daughters of narcissistic mothers are intimately familiar with guilt trips.  Guilt trips are used by narcissistic mothers to manipulate you by using your own conscience against you.  Effective guilt trips cause you to feel bad while you simultaneously build up resentment toward the guilt tripper.  Even so, narcissistic mother gets her way while keeping you in a place of doubting yourself.

Since guilt is often so effectively used for manipulation, narcissistic mothers have quite a few favorite guilt trips. A  narcissistic mother masquerading as a Christian will even attempt to convince you God is her ultimate flying monkey with her honor thy mother and forgive and forget guilt trips previously discussed.  So, the following are a few other favorite guilt trips narcissistic mothers love to use.  

If You Really Loved Me!

She accused me more than once of not loving her, but I know the truth of the matter is that was projection revealing her true feelings toward me.  Essentially what she wanted was for me to give her everything she wanted, do everything she wanted me to do and never question or confront her while she slandered and abused me.  However, her definition of what her loving me was supposed to be included slander, lies, verbal abuse, smear campaigns, etc.     

After All I've Done for You!

This is the guilt trip that is so often combined with gaslighting in an attempt to spin an abusive childhood into some great gift narcissistic mother gave you because after all you had a roof over your head while you were being abused.  Even though I would have rather grown up naked with a pack of wolves in the wilderness, I was to be grateful to have clothes on my back and a roof over my head while my narcissistic mother and alcoholic pedophile step-father used and abused me.   

In my experience, this guilt trip is also used for attempted blackmail.  After all she's done for you, how could you?  A more accurate description is how could you seek healing and validation when it will cause her such embarrassment for you to tell the truth about her?  Then, even if she has to reach back a decade to think of something she did for you, she will spin it into an accusation of you being ungrateful.  Notice it is never the abuse itself that is considered the problem in this scenario, but you for speaking the truth and exposing it.

How Can You Be So Selfish?

The utterly self-absorbed narcissistic mother loves to redefine selfishness, especially for her scapegoat children.  For narcissistic mother your most basic, dire need pales in comparison to her every whim.  In the rabbit hole of the narcissistic mother this is in no way selfish for her.  Like everything else she has double meanings assigned to selfishness.  One meaning for her and a much different one for you.

Being accused of being selfish is often an intricate part of being a narcissistic mother's scapegoat, so all she may have to do is imply you are being selfish and she gets her way.  If she managed to convince you of her definition of selfishness for you, she will pull this accusation out of her bag of dirty tricks every chance she gets. 

The Scapegoat's Conscience 

Guilt trips are most effective in the relationships we value most, such as a invalidated and abused scapegoat child still desperately trying to gain their narcissistic mother's love and approval.  Guilt trips also work best on those trained in carrying and responding to false guilt.   Who could be more trained in that than a scapegoat child of a narcissistic mother.
If having no conscience or a seared conscience is at one end of the spectrum, our scapegoat consciences are often at the other.  Neither of these two extremes are healthy.  Of course, when you are blamed for everything in a narcissistic family for years, the logical result is to expect everything to be your fault.  Besides that scapegoats often want to do the right thing, not hurt anyone's feelings, etc.  So the mere implication that we have done something wrong or hurt someone's feelings can trigger guilt.

If our consciences are overactive it is because they have been trained to be that way, so do not beat yourself up about it.  You can learn new information to retrain your conscience.  We have to learn to distinguish between true and false guilt.  We want our conscience to kick in when we truly do something out of line with our morals and convictions, not when someone else decides we should feel guilty.  

Dealing with an Overactive Conscience

One of the ways to begin working on an overactive conscience is to realize it is a form of pride to continue to hold onto true guilt for something that you have repented of and asked forgiveness for. You really have no right to continue beating yourself up for something God has forgiven you for, and neither does narcissistic mother.  If narcissistic mother continues to try to beat you with something you have true guilt about, recognize the purpose is for manipulation and control.  

False guilt is purely an instrument of needless suffering, manipulation and control.  However, in order for us to distinguish between true and false guilt we have to get to know ourselves.  We have to know what our standards for ourselves are in order to analyze whether we violated our own conscience with our behavior or whether narcissistic mother is manipulating us by intentionally inducing false guilt.  

Lack of Conscience or Seared Consciences

Both psychology and the Bible tell us our conscience is a gift not everyone possesses.  In The Sociopath Next Door, Martha Stout, PhD reveals a startling statistic.  "One in 25 ordinary Americans secretly has no conscience and can do anything at all without feeling guilty."   

Romans 2:15 says, "They show that the word of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them."  However, in 1 Timothy 4, Paul talks about seared consciences, cauterized or seared as with a hot iron.  This means their conscience is no longer bothered by their behavior.  A seared conscience is the result of continual, unrepentant sin.

Extraordinarily Different Consciences

As adult sons and daughters of narcissistic mothers, we can not afford to lose sight of the fact that everyone does not have a well developed conscience. In fact, there are millions of people walking around with a seared conscience or no conscience at all!  Do not let someone without a conscience use your conscience against you by sending you on a guilt trip.  


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