Woman's Narcissistic Mom Insisted That Her Graduation Ceremony Wasn't 'About Her' But About Her Family Instead

"She said, 'It's not for you. It's not about you. It's about us.'"

Proud mother hugging her daughter at her graduation pixelheadphoto digitalskillet | Shutterstock

Having a narcissistic parent can drastically affect a person's emotional development, mental health, and relationships. 

It's no easy feat, being raised by a narcissistic parent and eventually working through that trauma as an adult, and a woman named Grace recalled a significant moment that happened at the hands of her narcissistic mother.

Her mother insisted that her graduation ceremony wasn't 'about her' but about her family instead.

In her TikTok video, Grace recalled the "weirdest tantrum" that her narcissistic mother threw involving her school graduation ceremony. Grace explained that growing up, her family had a tradition where each time someone graduated, they'd receive the "Oh, the Places You'll Go" book by Dr. Seuss, with a long handwritten letter from their parents inside.


It was a memorable gift because Grace grew up reading it with her mother and was excited to finally receive it once she graduated. She had two older brothers who graduated ahead of her, and her oldest brother wasn't biologically related to her, but Grace's family took him in during his senior year of high school. Before that, he was her brother's best friend.

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"When he graduated, he got the book. And I thought to myself, yes! I'm so excited they still do this. I thought for a minute that maybe it was just for my mother," Grace said, remembering how excited she was that the tradition was going to be passed down to her and the rest of her siblings. The next year, Grace's other brother graduated and received the book as well.

Dr. Seuss book ZikG / Shutterstock

Anxiously awaiting her turn, Grace explained that she grew up with severe anxiety in high school, and while speaking to her mother one day, she brought up how she didn't feel comfortable walking across the graduation stage because of her anxiety. She confided in her mother that the thought of everybody staring at her as she walked across the stage was terrifying and filled her with an immense amount of dread and panic.


It got so bad that she would have night terrors about walking across her high school graduation stage. Instead of listening to her daughter's concerns or even attempting to soothe her, Grace's mother callously told her she didn't have a choice and would walk across that stage no matter what. 

When Grace was still hesitant about it, her mother became irate. "She said, 'It's not for you. It's not about you. It's about us.' And I said, 'Who's us?' and she was like, 'It's about your family,'" Grace said.

She attempted to argue that a graduation ceremony was about the hard work students put in for 4 years.

Grace tried to point out that the ceremony was about the students and their accomplishments. Their families were simply there to cheer them on and celebrate them.

However, Grace's insistence only set her mother off. She recalled her mom screaming at her and calling the rest of their family and her grandparents to tell them that she didn't want to walk across the graduation stage at all.


friends celebrating graduation Stel Antic / Canva Pro

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"They're telling me how disrespectful I am. Just all of this crazy [stuff]," Grace said. "I end up finding out that if you fail a class and you spend a month during the summer doing it online, you will still graduate and get your diploma. You just can't walk at graduation."


Grace decided she was going to fail one of her classes so that she wouldn't have to walk at all, and when her mother found out, she was livid. 

Forced to go to her teacher and figure out a way to still walk across the stage, Grace broke down and admitted that her severe anxiety was causing her to intentionally fail a class and that her family didn't care one bit about her mental health or what she was going through, especially her mother.

Her teacher gave her some incredible advice, comforting Grace and telling her that she never has to do anything that she doesn't want to do, and her family can't force her either. He promised Grace that he would tell her mother there was nothing he could do and that she would just have to take the summer course and get her diploma afterward instead of attending graduation.

"Family's [mad]. They don't talk to me for a few weeks, actually. I do the summer course, I end up passing," Grace added. However, after sending the photos of her holding her diploma to her family, she didn't get a response and was saddened when she realized that her mother wasn't going to give her the Dr. Seuss book either.

While this entire debacle may have seemed trivial from an outside perspective, it stuck with Grace all these years later. It takes such work and care to be able to sift through these moments of trauma caused by having a narcissistic parent or family member. 


It's a journey of healing that requires digging through past moments and reliving the pain and confusion they caused while finally being able to understand and release the emotional hold they had over you. 

It's disheartening that Grace was subjected to such moments with her mother and family, but hopefully, her experience resonated with others who may have felt alone and alienated in their trauma, offering a sense of solidarity that it won't always be like that.

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Nia Tipton is a Chicago-based entertainment, news, and lifestyle writer whose work delves into modern-day issues and experiences.