Narcissistic Personality Disorder in the Movie ‘Tangled’: Mother Does Not Know Best

Wow….This is so validating! Thank you, Invisible Scar, once again for a wonderful, healing post. To my wonderful Bloggie Readers, if you grew up (or think you might have) in a home with a Narcissist, I highly recommend The Invisible Scar blog. For me, it’s been highly validating. One of the common signs that we’ve been abused by a Narcissist is that we doubt our own actual experience of our lives, since the narcissist has their own story, which we are told over and over, ever since we were babies unable to talk. Since their story about us differs totally from our own experience, we learn to doubt our own reality to the point where we end up living in a permanent state of dissociation. And then, in my own life, my mother berates me for being “spaced out” all the time. And it seems that my “memory is going,” too, these days. I’d like my memory of HER to go, if the truth be known.

The Invisible Scar

movie-theater [photo credit: Heritage Vancouver Society]

Editor’s Note: Upon reading this post, some readers may say, “Oh, ‘Tangled‘ is just a movie!” Indeed, “Tangled” is a movie, but not just one. Stories, whether in books or movies or television programs, teach us about ourselves, about what we value, about what we love, about what we hate. No “real-life Rapunzel” or “real-life Mother Gothel” may have existed, but for the myriad daughters with NPD mothers, the story itself is not too unlike their own stories.

* * *

Quick, name the cruelest Disney villain… Did you name Mother Gothel? As a parental figure with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), Mother Gothel rates high on the list for her twisted, abusive and relentless treatment of her “adopted” daughter, Rapunzel.

I recently re-watched “Tangled” and took note of the destructive NPD characteristics demonstrated by Mother Gothel. (Spoilers abound from this point on.)

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  1. Emotional abuse is devastating for the scars are invisible. I was lucky in that my sister and I have the same take on our childhood and our relationships with our parents. Our parents do love us, but they without doubt are alcoholics and most probably suffer other undiagnosed brain disorders (bipolar? borderline?) which they poorly medicate with alcohol.

    Glad that Invisible Scar validates your experience, and I am so sorry that you still live with that pain and your mother still actively attacks your sense of self. I suppose you must somehow protect yourself. I wish you the best to that end. I, too, would like your memory of HER to go. Some memories (and people, dare I say) are best buried six feet under.

    • Ha. I have found that the best solution to her poison is geographic. When I lived in Israel full time, I gladly faced terrorist attacks over her. At least everybody agreed that they were terrorists! Like many narcissists, she is known as an “angel” in the community and she just LOVES me, avoiding to everyone here. So I can’t wait to use my “get out of jail card,” and relocate far, far away. My job here is done. I did a good job. Now I’m free to go wherever I want, whenever it pleases me; and my job is to learn to ignore her idiocy (hard, cause she is smart). Thank you so much for your support, Kitt. I really appreciate it, even though I have kind of waxed long venting here…..

  2. OK, so I just rented the movie, and I say with great sadness that its portrayal of a poisonous, controlling, emotionally and psychologically abusive narcissist is so right-on that I found it hard to breathe, watching it. Especially painful was watching the abused Rapunzel run back time after time, hoping against hope that THIS time her “mother” will approve of her, will accept her as a real person…but no. Of course since this is a Disney movie it has a happy ending: she finds a genuinely good man, unlike most of us who wouldn’t know a good man if he bit us in the ass…wait a minute, THAT’s not a good man, it’s just the kind I am attracted to because he is a narcissist, so I know what to expect. And what I’ve been commanded to love. And I had to cry a lot at the end, when Rapunzel finds out she is The Lost Princess, and finds her REAL parents, really and truly! Oh, how I have longed to meet my REAL mother, the one I don’t have.

    And my father, may he rest in peace? Bless him, I loved him so, but he never protected me from my mother. I think he was afraid she would leave him if he stood up to her. Or maybe he couldn’t stand the weeks of “silent treatment” he was sure to get if he took my part. So he adopted a stance of non-interference, although he was happy to let me use his handkerchief as we drove around in his truck so I could have a good cry, away from HER, and I would tell him all about it and he would make excuses for her: she had her period, she was in pain from her hysterectomy (ten years ago, but still), she was having a bad day….we had to feel sorry for her, didn’t we?

    No. I ran away from there when I was 16, but I did not find any Prince Charming. Nor did I find my Real Mother. So I’ve been working on being my Own Mother, which seems to be my core task in this incarnation. I clearly have a long way to go.

  3. Laura, such sad memories! Sorry that you suffered so much. Being your own good mother will overshadow that!

    • Thank you, thank you! I can’t help but think of that kid’s song, “I’m my own grandma!” My poor son has no grandma, actually, because she puts him down and treats him like crap. What’s the deal? I mean, where is the reward? I don’t understand. I’m glad I don’t understand!

  4. Another sadness for your son! I think some grandmothers haven’t the ability to give to young ones. They must have missed some “window of time” for fulfillment in their lives. They’re stuck in their own suffering and negativity to give back anything good. But, that’s no excuse! Sounds as if mother and grandmother are “stuck” together! Sad beyond words!Laura, go forward into your own good world! Leave them behind!


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