Narcissistic Mothers: What to watch or read.
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
My name is Rebecca and I was addicted to getting my mother’s love and attention.
I’m not the only one, and you’re not either. You’ve landed in the right place, and I’m so glad you did. You’re among friends. We’ve all been addicted to trying to win our mother’s love at some stage or another. You betcha.
Before I start, if you’re new to all this and wondering what it means to have a Narcissistic Mother, I’ve got some articles here. Jump on over there if you are new to this whole concept and get all the juicy info under your belt.
It’s hard to know exactly how much of an impact our mothers have had on us when we live in their shadows. They’re always there telling us what to do, making decisions for us, and letting us know when we’ve done something wrong by punishing or shaming us.
So – if you are still working it all out – join the club. It’s like undoing a big, tangled ball of string.
This is why so many people turn to books and movies to learn about Narcissism. Or maybe that’s the first place the penny starts to drop.
Books and movies can make you feel less alone, and are a gentle way to come to terms with things that may have happened in your life. And, more importantly, it is often easier to feel sorry and angry about someone else’s mother than about our own.
If you’ve got a narcissistic mother, you’ll have been told you’re crazy, overreacting or self-indulgent whenever you question your childhood or your mother. So most of us bite our tongues and bury that s$$t deep, deep down in our subconscious. The problem is, to heal and move forward, we need to find it and feel it.
Sometimes, you mightn’t be aware that you’re feeling anything at all about your childhood. This is super common, and not a sign that you are cold or unemotional. Please, please don’t judge yourself if it is hard to name your feelings or even get in touch with them at all. It doesn’t mean you are wrong about your mother. Be gentle. It’s very normal.
But what to do?
In this case, you can sometimes trigger your buried feelings with a book or a movie.
I often ask my clients to watch certain movies, so they can get in touch with feelings they have buried for years.
Many a cinema sesh was spent with me using my empty paper lolly bag to wipe my tears, and wondering where on earth all that emotion had come from. I’m talking sobbing – and I HATE crying in public.
Your reaction can seem completely out of proportion – and maybe for the movie, it is.
What you need to remember is that you aren’t only crying about the movie – you’re finally feeling your own grief. Grief directly associated with not being mothered. With not having the mother you needed and wanted. This grief can be immense. Overwhelming. Consuming and scary.
Where there’s grief, there’s also often anger. To work through the fact that you’ve had a narcissistic mother, you need to feel both – in all their glory. Sit with them. Breathe through them. Discover that having a feeling does not bring your world to a screeching halt, like you thought it might as a child.
Quite often though – you might think you feel nothing. In this case, you can sometimes trigger your buried feelings with a book or movie. You might struggle to finish it – every cell in your body might scream for you to put it down or turn it off. That’s cool. Take your time. Jot down how you feel and where in your body you feel it. Go for a walk. Run your hands under cold water or walk on some grass. Be gentle. But persist. It’ll be worth it. Trust me.
What to watch or read?
Narcissistic mothers are often portrayed as evil, but sometimes we need a villain. A good baddie can make for a great story. How do you know if the movie or book has an accurate portrayal of your mum?
I’ve put together a list of books and movies with accurate portrayals of a Narcissistic Mother.
Have a quick look at them – pick one that sounds like your mother. Wait until you’re in a good head space to watch it. Quick heads up – I’d do it alone. Tell a good friend or your therapist that you’re going to do it. Have someone just a text away. Then – buckle up. It will be worth it. I promise.
So – without further ado, I bring you…the list.
Narcissistic Mothers: What to watch or read.
1. Mommie Dearest (1981), Joan Crawford
2. Black Swan (2010), Erica Sayer
3. Terms of Endearment (1983), Aurora Greenway
4. August Osage County (2013), Violet Weston
5. Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (2002), Vivian Walker
6. White Oleander (2002), Ingrid Masnussen
7. Postcards from the Edge (1990), Doris Mann
8. Arrested Development, Lucille Bluth
9. Arrested Development, Lindsay Bluth Fünke
10. The Sopranos, Livia Soprano
11. Ordinary People (1980), Beth Jarrett
12. Precious (2009), Mary
13. Rachel Getting Married (2008), Abby
14. Girl Interrupted (1999), Annette Kaysen
15. Flowers in the Attic (2014), Grandmother
16. Merlin, Queen Mab
17. Drop Dead Fred (1991), Polly Cronin
18. Tangled (2010), Mother Gothel
19. Ever After (1998), Baroness Rodmilla
1. Postcards from the Edge by Carrie Fisher
2. Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
3. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
4. Matilda by Roald Dahl
5. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
6. Carrie by Stephen King
7. Fairest of All by Serena Valentino
8. The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger
9. Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles) by Marissa Meyer
10. Disney Snow White & the Seven Dwarves by Walt Disney Company
11. Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs
12. Terms of Endearment by Larry McMurtry
13. Snow White by Paul Heins
14. White Oleander by Janet Fitch
15. Gypsy by Arthur Laurents
16. On the Edge of Gone by Corrine Duyvis
17. The Amazing “True” Story of a Teenage Single Mum by Katherine Arnoldi
18. Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat!, Volume 1: Hooked on a Feline by Kate Leth
19. The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
20. Three Maids for a Crown by Ella March Chase
21. Mother Mother by Koren Zailckas
22. Penelope by Marilyn Kaye
23. Mirror Mirror: The Movie Novel by Lexi Ryals
24. Flowers in The Attic by V C Andrews
25. Ever After: A Cinderella Story by Wendy Loggia
26. Hairspray: The Novel by Tracey West
27. August: Osage County by Tracy Letts
28. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
29. Mommy Dearest by Christina Crawford
30. The Mother from Hell by Wensley Clarkson
31. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
32. Once Upon a Lie by Michael R. French
33. Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
34. Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman
35. Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker
36. Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer
37. The House of Women by Catherine Cookson
38. Anywhere But Here by Mona Simpson
39. Ann Marie’s Asylum by Christopher Rankin
40. American Rose: A Nation Laid Bare: The Life & Times of Gypsy Rose Lee by Karen Abbott.
41. Life with Ollie: The Story of an Only Child of a single narcissistic parent by Donna G. Bourgeois
42. Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson
43. An Abbreviated Life: A Memoir by Ariel Leve
Some of these don’t portray Narcissistic Mothers, but they all portray Narcissistic Women – and these women may ring a bell for you. There are probably little bits in all of them that you recognise.
Don’t get overwhelmed by the size of the list – I’ve linked them all up so you can see what tickles your fancy. Look around until you find something that gets you in the feels, and take it slowly.
I’m right here if you have questions or need some clarity. Shoot me a message, and I’ll try and answer for you. It is tough without all the info, but I’ll do my absolute best.
You aren’t imagining things
You aren’t making things up
You aren’t overreacting
You aren’t crazy
You aren’t alone.
PS. If you’ve been feeling the pull to have me by your side as your CEN Recovery Mentor, and you’re ready for deep support while you recover and find out who you really are after all those layers peel away, click here to book an appointment.