Nonfiction Book Review
Title: Narcissistic Mothers: How to Identify Her Manipulative Behaviours and Finally Discover Your Inner Peace
Author: Lilia Johnes
Released: February 17, 2023
Lilia Johnes has written a genuinely honest, poignant, and impactful book Narcissistic Mothers: How to Identify Her Manipulative Behaviours and Finally Discover Your Inner Peace, that not only defines and describes narcissistic personality disorder and narcissism itself but also what having a mother with that disorder did to her and could be doing to others.
The book is well-written and contains colour photographs, but I think the cover could have been more eye-catching. It includes a brief glossary of terms, references for articles on the internet (but no books), and image references.
I decided to read this book because my niece and nephew, who are twins, and the children of my deceased sister, found themselves at 15 years old with a narcissistic stepmother. This woman’s impact on their lives, and our family’s life, has been significant. So I wanted to understand as much as possible about this woman.
One of the most beneficial sections of this book for me was Chapter 3: The “F” Word—Forgive. Her insight here is remarkable: “… hardest thing to forgive is an apology that was never heard.” Forgiveness is complex and challenging but starts with self-forgiveness and alleviating negative self-talk. Johnes also discusses setting boundaries and asks us to deal with the possibility that we may never achieve love and affection from our narcissistic parent. Finally, she talks about quiet confidence, how to identify and develop it, how to handle confrontations, and explains the nature of trauma bonds.
Throughout the book, she speaks with knowledge, understanding, and compassion. As someone who had difficulty with boundaries and codependency in my youth, 20s, and 30s, I found this book to be not only on point but a constructive review of how to be the best, most confident person we can be without feeding the egos of those who feel they are more important. The most important thing we can do is concentrate on our healing and disengage from the negative dialogue between us when confronting a narcissistic person. It takes time to develop techniques to do so.
I have an overactive immune system in my late 50s, so I can tell you that holding on to trauma, fear, and anxiety about your relationships, will only do you harm because living in a state of flight or fight for an extended period takes its toll on your body as well as your mind. I have allowed my trauma to keep me from trusting men in romantic relationships, and I have been single my entire life. While I have some regrets about that, I have learned how to be quietly confident and to be my own best friend. Life is too short to be engaged in relationships that do not enhance your life. But healing cannot occur if healthy people do not adequately support us. Finding the right therapist for us may take some time, but it is time well spent. As the author states, those we love deserve a full and uncompromised version of us.
This book will be helpful if you have a narcissistic mother or are in a relationship with a narcissist. I will be passing it on to my niece.