Wouldn’t it be great if everyone who had a Narcissistic mother woke up one day and realised that they had been kidnapped as a baby and this wasn’t their real mother. Somewhere out there was a woman who had actually given birth to you and loved and cared for you. Who hasn’t had the fantasy as a child that you were adopted?
Scripture is very clear about how normal mothers feel about their newborn babies.
26 Then the woman whose son was living spoke to the king, for she yearned with compassion for her son; and she said, “O my lord, give her the living child, and by no means kill him!”
But the other said, “Let him be neither mine nor yours, but divide him.”
27 So the king answered and said, “Give the first woman the living child, and by no means kill him; she is his mother
(1 Kings 3:26,27)
Can a woman forget her nursing child And have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you.
Even jackals offer the breast, They nurse their young; But the daughter of my people has become cruel Like ostriches in the wilderness.
As one whom his mother comforts,
So I will comfort you;
And you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.”
But even in some of these verses, you can see the dichotomy. Sometimes, a mother will forget her child. Sometimes our mother will forsake us, sometimes a mother is cruel, sometimes a mother will kidnap another child as her own and deprive the child and the other mother of that sacred bond which both nurtures and maintains life.
Yet, when our mothers do forsake us, we are promised in scripture that God will take us up. So we are not abandoned, and not forsaken.
When my father and my mother forsake me, Then the Lord will take care of me (Psalm 27:10)
Disney’s character of ‘mother Gothel’ in the animation ‘Tangled’ is about as close as it gets to a perfect portrayal of maternal narcissism. This woman is only interested in one thing, maintaining her youth. She steals, lies, destroys families, and does this systematically and continually until such time as her victim, Rapunzel, ‘wakes up’ and recognises that she has been had.
Interesting that it takes an intruder into her very small world to open up her mind to the possibilities which lie outside. She wants to know what the lights in the sky on her birthday are for, her rescuer, Flynn, just wants the valuable crown. Both the anti-hero and the villain of the piece are deeply selfish. In the movie, Flynn ends up ‘falling in love’ and then changing his ways (which never happens), but Gothel does not change. She was a narcissistic witch, she remains so at the end when she of course dies. For that is the only way you can get rid of somebody like this, fictionally speaking. Unless you want a sequel. In real life, you have to cut off the predator/villain from your life, because they have targeted you and will not stop until they have destroyed you. It is your destruction which gives them ‘life’.
In this movie Gothel has no supernatural powers in and of herself. The character is ‘human’ and must therefore manipulate Rapunzel to stay in the tower by fear and deceit. I was totally amazed at how the creators of Gothel described their villain.
Seeking inspiration for Gothel and Rapunzel’s “bizarre” relationship, Greno and Howard conducted a series of interviews with several female Disney employees, asking them to list qualities in their mothers that “they found annoying and cloying or restricting”, specifically “the things that their [sic] mothers would do that made them feel trapped or made them feel smothered” in order to make the villain appear more relatable. Gothel’s “Mother Knows Best” line “Getting kind of chubby” was in fact borrowed from one of these interviews. Gothel embodies “the darker side” of overprotective parents; at the beginning of the film, Gothel and Rapunzel’s relationship resembles more-so of “a pure mother-daughter relationship.” Elaborating on Gothel’s “unique mothering style”, Howard explained to Den of Geek that the character “has to convince this smart girl that she is her mother … whatever her motivations are.” Citing Gothel as one of the film’s most difficult characters to develop as a result of her complex relationship with Rapunzel, Greno explained to Den of Geek:
“Mother Gothel can’t be mean. She has to be very passive-aggressive. She was one of the hardest characters to crack. When we were developing her, people were saying that she doesn’t feel enough like a villain, and people would point to characters like Ursula. And then she was too dark for a while … Because what you do with her directly affects how you play Rapunzel in the movie. Because, if you play an extremely dominant and cruel villain, that girl is going to become meek and downtrodden, with almost nothing of a person, with low self-esteem. And we knew we didn’t want a character like that … We had to balance it out, and figured that Gothel has to be more subtle than that, rather than a one-note, domineering mother.”— Co-director Nathan Greno to Den of Geek.
3 He answered and said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? 4 For God commanded, saying, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; [a] and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’[b] 5 But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God”— (Matthew 15:3-5)
“I also think there is this thread of a kind of love that she does have for Rapunzel. It’s not what she set out. But she does raise this child and it’s the most intimate and certainly the most sustained relationship I think the woman has had in her 387 years or however old she might be. So as deep as the need is to get something for herself, she can’t help but fall in love with her. She’s spirited, creative, and charming and I think that stirs something in her that is confusing for Gothel. And Gothel has to keep reminding herself of what is most important, which is taking care of herself. But I think there is a genuine kind of humanity. It’s by degree, it’s not unconditional love but there is a love that develops.”— Donna Murphy to Collider
.11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him. (Matthew 7:11)
Jesus was referring to the fact that Adam and Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We are evil in our natures, but we know the difference between good and evil and know how to give good gifts to our children. Even the so called ‘good’ parent can bless their own child despite the fact that in comparison to God they are evil. It is strange that a truly evil parent, such as a narcissist, also is able to give good gifts to their children. It is this very understanding of what is good and evil which indicts them. It is why we as children don’t run from their evil the first chance we get. We are groomed to question ourselves first, because ‘mothers are good aren’t they?’ Therefore it must be us as children who have done something wrong in order for our parents to treat us this way.
It is important for Christian adults with Narcissistic mothers to recognise that they have always honoured their mothers. It is the mothers who have dishonoured them. This means that we don’t just send our unrepentant mothers gifts and cards to tell them how much we love them. What we need to do this mothers day is recognise that these people are evil. That as adults we do not owe them anything, especially if these mothers claim to be Christians as many of them do. We do not owe a wicked reprobate parent any gifts or protestations of love and acceptance. In love, we need to confront them with their evil and help them recognise that we are no longer willing to remain passive victims. If they refuse to stop abusing and indulging their own fleshly natures, they must be treated as any reprobate.
If we truly did not honour our parents, we would not be asking the question “how do we honour our abusive parents?”. This question proves that we do not wish to disobey God, nor do we wish to dishonour our parents. We do not have, or at least I hope we don’t, rebellious dishonourable hearts.
It is time for the world to recognise that human beings are not born ‘good’. Babies are born innocent of blame because they have not committed any sins yet. But as they age and get to the point of understanding right from wrong, you will see that they choose wrong just as many times as they choose right. Humans who are taught morals will still make their own decisions to go their own way, rather than the way of right and truth.
Narcissists are simply those who love evil and themselves more than they love good. They need to recognise their sins and repent of them. Until they do, we are not able to ‘honour them’ as our mothers, because in fact they are evil reprobates. Yes, they gave birth to us, and we tried very hard to please them because we loved them as our mothers. Coming to the understanding that our mothers don’t actually love us is very disturbing. But it does not mean we have to pretend, or accept the worldly attitude towards mothers. The world says mothers can do no wrong because they will always love their children. The world believes motherhood is somehow sacred and must not be touched. Yet how much of this mother worship is in effect ‘goddess worship’ of the form that takes place in the Catholic church, which took the goddess worship from pagan cultures and conflated it with the virgin Mary and the baby Jesus. Mothers are not goddesses who cannot be confronted with their own sin.
God says ‘when my mother and father forsake me’, not if. God knows the depravity of human nature and does not impose false measures and weights upon us. He is just, righteous and all-seeing.
Thank God that He is able to deal with these women. We do not have the ability to judge and deal with them. All we are called to do is recognise the sin and call them to salvation and repentance. If they refuse, then we follow the scriptural directions for the unrepentant. “From such turn away”.
It is not dishonouring parents to chastise them and deal with their actions. It IS honouring parents to show them the error of their ways, and ensure that they know that you will not deal with their abuse any longer.