Reader Question: Why Can’t I Confront My Narcissistic Mother?

by Caroline van Kimmenade

A reader wrote in asking “why can’t I confront my narcissistic mother?” Here’s her full question and situation:

At 49 years old, why am I afraid to confront my narcissistic mother? Over the last year, she took out a HOME equity line of credit on her and my father’s house and gambled it all away. We now have to sell their house, she told my disabled father she doesn’t want anything to do with him anymore, after 50 years of marriage. He’s now living with me and I have to fix their financial mess and take over the bills, etc.

She hasn’t apologized for any of it and just cries because we have to sell the house. And I can’t even bring myself to say, you can’t spend money on cigarettes anymore, or you can’t buy those little MooMoos anymore, basically you can’t spend money on things that are not essential. Which we have all been telling her for years, so I should not be struggling to say such simple things now.

I’m 49 and still afraid of my mother?….uhhhggggg. Or maybe I’m just exhausted from a lifetime with her. I’ve enabled and bailed her out for 20 years now. I realize I shouldn’t have, but let their house go into foreclosure? No, I wouldn’t let that happen to my father, who also enabled.

Pfew, that’s a lot to be dealing with! Below is my response:



In this video I discuss:

  • the narcissistic parent and the enabling family members
  • collective tiptoeing around the truth
  • why it’s never the right time to do something about it (and how to do something anyway)
  • how emotions are driving everything
  • the question you need to ask to get out of the mess
  • why being the saviour, keeps you stuck
  • why you can’t say no, without saying yes to something else

I don’t have a quick tip for you in this video

I don’t have a quick answer. I don’t have a quick solution.

You need to decide for yourself: do I want to get out of this mess? Yes or no. And if you want to get out of this mess, you have to be willing to step into another mess, which is the mess of your feelings, the mess of your avoidance, the mess of a lot of things.

I understand that’s not easy. I have a program that helps with that. In the No to Narcissists Programme for Highly Sensitive People we unpack all of this. We go through the limiting beliefs and patterns that have been holding you back. What’s underneath it all? What are the tough feelings you’re needing to deal with that are blocking you from moving forward? How do you deal with those feelings?

What is really important too, is having a reason why you want out of this mess. If you’re just saying “I’m tired of fixing it all. But this is all I know, it’s all I do” then you’re stuck in a cul-de-sac with nowhere to go. What is the bigger thing you want for yourself?


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