Mixed Emotions on Mother’s Day?

Adult children of narcissists beware!

Mother’s Day is this country’s most widely observed holiday, celebrating an unassailable institution. A mother is commonly envisioned as giving herself fully to her children, and our culture still expects mothers to tend to their families unconditionally and lovingly, and to maintain an enduring emotional presence in their lives-available and reliable no matter what.

Even though this idealized expectation is impossible for most mothers to meet, it places mothers on a heroic pedestal that discourages criticism. It is therefore psychologically wrenching for any child -or adult child- to examine and discuss their mother frankly. It is especially difficult if the mother does not conform at all to the saintly maternal archetype. Attributing any negative characteristics to Mom can unsettle our internalized cultural standards. So good boys and girls are taught to deny or ignore negative feelings, to conform to society’s and their family’s expectations. They’re certainly discouraged from admitting to negative feelings about their own mothers.

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