Two weeks ago I finished Amy Chua’s Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. The book was contrasted by articles I’d been reading about the narcissistic engulfing mom in Danu Morrigan’s book, and the raising of her children.
While the tiger mom is obsessed with raising brilliant children who can rule the world, the narcissistic mom is obsessed with making sure her children will forever need her. The tiger mom insists on perfection in every aspect of her children, the narcissistic mom tells her children they can’t do anything right without her.
The tiger mom and narcissistic mom both think they have their children’s best interest at heart, but both want to control on opposite ends of the spectrum. While the tiger mom is teaching her children that fear can actually motivate you to move forward, the narcissistic mom is telling her children that danger lies around every corner and what lucky children they are to have her as their mother who will forever protect them. There is no childhood in a tiger mom’s mindset and there is infantalization in a narcissistic mom’s mindset.
I have to be honest and tell you I cringed with both mothers. With the tiger mom because I could relate to much of it. I was focused on making my children prepared to take on the world and make something of themselves. I wasn’t as compassionate as I should have been as I was busy raising leaders.
With the narcissistic mom I cringed because she is raising children to be afraid to leave her. She makes sure to tell them that they aren’t smart enough to leave and the world is a super scary dangerous place without your mom. If they do happen to escape, she has a need to know everything about their life and she takes it in as if it is happening to her. This plays on my fear of my children marrying someone like this and being trapped by a mother-in-law who is hell bent on control. I have seen mothers who know every last detail of her adult children’s marriage and who interject their opinion and speak for their adult children. The person married to their child lives a hellish reality of being married to someone’s mother. ICK.
With Amy Chua’s book, she has a revelation and acknowledges her errors, although the media crucified her, I had deep sympathy and love for her (I know what you’re thinking, it’s okay). With the narcissistic mom, she believes she is right and you won’t convince her otherwise.
Makes me grateful for my mom! Thanks mom, for always trying to mind your own business, well for the most part, and for letting me grow up to be who I wanted to be.