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Steven Olsen
Steven Olsen, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  More than twenty years of expertise in counseling, psychological diagnosis and education
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My mother is and always has been a very self-centered person.

Customer Question

My mother is and always has been a very self-centered person. I always have to call her and when I do, the conversation always is about her. I resent her for never being there for me. I feel a lot of anger and rage about not having a compass and having her dump all her emotional problems on me my whole life. I want to let her know how damaging this has been for me by sending her an article about what this type of behavior does to the daughter of a mother like her. Do you know where I could find a good article?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 6 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.


I am sorry you have been dealing with this situation. It is difficult and hurtful when a parent is being selfish. We all need our parents to be there for us and when they are not, it can hurt very much.


From what you said, it sounds as if you have tried a lot of things to get her attention and help her understand how she is affecting you with her behavior. I was impressed that you even tried therapy with her. That usually helps enormously in situations such as this one.


However, the fact that you have tried so many things and your mother still does not have insight into her hurtful behavior tells me that she does not want to see what she is doing. She may even have narcisstic personality disorder, a disorder where people think of themselves first, put themselves above others and believe they are better than others.This may or may not describe your mother, but it is a possible diagnosis.


I am concerned that she continues to treat you this way. You may want to consider that she will not understand her behavior and that as a result, you are going to continue to get hurt by what she is doing. This is going to effect you. Have you thought of decreasing your contact with her? Although she is your mother, you have no special obligation to be treated in such a manner. This doesn't mean you don't love her, just that you will not accept the behavior. Many children who are abused continue to love their parents but cannot be in contact with them because the parents will not stop the abuse. Considering your mother has no insight and therefore will probably continue the behavior, you may want to protect yourself instead and start decreasing your contact with her or shorten the conversations. You can tell her the truth as to why, if you feel it will not cause you any harm.


Also, if you have not already, consider therapy to help you increase your self esteem. Dealing with family or anyone who is self centered can affect you more than you realize and in therapy, you can refocus on yourself and what you need.


If you still want to pursue showing your mother the articles, here are some I found:


I hope this has helped you,


Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I'm sorry, this is my mother I'm talking about not just annoying person who I can more or less avoid. I need to find a way to make her get it or I will go crazy. She is pretty old and I am one of 4 children of hers. My siblings moved away a long time ago and I am the one stuck here to take care of her in her old age. She has has problems with depression and has been in therapy for years. Her depression is a little bit better but she still does not get that she screwed up 4 lives with her self-absorbed, focus on me, poor me personality. She has quite a bit of money given to her and left to her by her father so she has always been able to buy her way through life. She definately does not think she is better than other people but she is very emotionally needy and does not understand that her children have been burdened by her constantly dumping her emotional problems onto them and that we need emotional support from her as all children need from their mother. These articles are more in the self-help category and what I was looking for is an article that describes the psychological impact that this behavior has on the children of a mother that has been depressed and dumped emotional problems onto her children from childhood into adulthood. I want to make her understand the implications of what she has done and continues to do so she understands why she does not have good relationships with us without having to tell her directly. She will get defensive if it comes from me. She may not if I leave an article for her to read because it is coming from a third party.
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 6 years ago.

I completely understand what you are saying.


You are trying to get your mother to understand how her self centered behavior has impacted you, as well as your siblings. However, it is a well known thought in mental health that you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make him drink. Your mother does not want to change. As you said, you have tried many different things, including therapy, but she does not change. And this is because she does not want to. You can certainly try to show her an article but unless she has insight and understands suddenly, she is not going to change. I understand that you love her, but to love someone does not mean you can make them change. It also does not mean they will love you back the way you want them to.


It would be much more productive to work on the issues you have developed from growing up with a self centered parent. Continue with therapy yourself and develop ways to deal with your mother's issues if you want to continue contact with her. Talk with your siblings on how they cope. They moved away from your mother and they might have done so because of how she is. This would help you feel better about the relationship you have with your mother.





TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5806
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Relist: Other.
I just want to know where I can find the kind of article I'm looking for. I tried looking online for it. I found something about the children of depressed mothers being high risk for ODD and CD. I know she probably won't change. I just want her to "get it" and have it come from experts as to why we turned out the way we did.
Expert:  Steven Olsen replied 6 years ago.

I read your question and Dr Kate McCoy's answer. I do agree with what she said in response; however, if you are looking for a professional resource that spells out the effects of a self-centered and narcissistic parent on children there is one that immediately comes to mind: Children of the Self-Absorbed: A Grown-up's Guide to Getting over Narcissistic Parents by Nina W. Brown


This book does exactly what you are looking for and will be hard for anyone to read and deny the effects of being self absorbed and self centered. It is easy to acquire and is inexpensive on Steven


The author is well respected and is a professional within the field.


Another resource: Although it is not as specific, it is very powerful: Adult children of abusive parents is the one I often assigned as mandatory reading for those who were self absorbed and had hurt their children. It is remarkably accurate and easy to read. Steven Farmer is the author.

Steven Olsen, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1765
Experience: More than twenty years of expertise in counseling, psychological diagnosis and education
Steven Olsen and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you