Unmasking Narcissism: 8 Telltale Signs Your Mother May Be a Narcissist

Jul 24, 2023

Narcissistic mothers have a detrimental impacts on their child.

By shedding light on these eight key signs I hope to empower those who have walked this path to better understand their experiences and understand that their mothers behaviour is not about them, but has everything to do with who she is as a person.

The Center of the Universe:
A narcissistic mother often believes she is the sun around which everyone revolves. She consistently seeks attention and validation, dismissing the needs and feelings of others. For example, she may monopolise conversations, redirect discussions to herself, or interrupt others to assert her superiority. Phrases like, "Let's talk about me instead," or "That reminds me of when I..." become her familiar refrain.

Emotional Manipulation:
Narcissistic mothers possess a keen ability to manipulate others, especially their children, to meet their own needs. They may guilt-trip or emotionally blackmail their children into doing what they want. For instance, she might say, "After everything I've done for you, is it too much to ask for a little gratitude?" Such tactics leave the child feeling responsible for their mother's emotional well-being.

The Illusion of Perfection:
Perfectionism is a hallmark of narcissistic mothers. They demand excellence from their children, as anything less reflects poorly on them. Criticism becomes a constant companion, with remarks like, "You could have done better," or "I'm disappointed in you." These unwarranted expectations foster a sense of inadequacy and perpetuate a cycle of seeking approval.

Lack of Empathy:
Empathy is a fundamental aspect of healthy relationships, but it is sorely lacking in the world of a narcissistic mother. She struggles to understand or acknowledge the feelings of others, dismissing them as inconsequential. If her child expresses sadness or pain, she might say dismissively, "You're overreacting" or "Stop being so dramatic." This emotional invalidation will leave deep scars.

Boundary Invasion:
Boundaries are foreign concepts to narcissistic mothers. They routinely overstep personal boundaries, invading their children's privacy, and disregarding their autonomy. They may go through personal belongings, read diaries, or intrude on intimate conversations. Phrases like, "I'm your mother, I have a right to know," or "I'm just trying to protect you," serve as justifications for their intrusiveness.

Unpredictable Mood Swings:
Narcissistic mothers often display erratic mood swings, making their children feel like they're walking on eggshells. One moment she may shower them with affection and praise, and the next, unleash her wrath without warning. Her emotional volatility creates an atmosphere of uncertainty, where the child is left wondering when the next storm will strike.

Gaslighting and Denial:
Gaslighting is a manipulative tactic that narcissistic mothers frequently employ. They distort reality, making their children question their own perceptions and memories. For instance, she may deny past events or insist that her child is exaggerating or imagining things. Phrases like, "That never happened" or "You're just being too sensitive" can cause deep confusion and self-doubt.

Competitive and Envious Nature:
Narcissistic mothers view their children as extensions of themselves and often see them as rivals rather than independent individuals. They feel threatened by their children's successes and accomplishments, which they perceive as a reflection of their own worth. Phrases such as, "You think you're better than me?" or "I could have done it better" highlight their deep jealously of their child.

What are the best ways to deal with a narcissistic mother?

Here are some examples depending on whether you live with her or not:  

When You Live with Her:
Living with a narcissistic mother is quite frankly soul destroying! it is incredibly challenging, as her behaviours will be pervasive and difficult to escape. However, there are strategies that can help you navigate this situation:

  • Set Boundaries: Establish clear and firm boundaries to protect your mental and emotional well-being. Clearly communicate your limits and expectations, and enforce consequences if they are violated. For instance, you might say, "I need my personal space and privacy. Please respect my boundaries, or I will have to spend less time at home."

  • Seek Support: Reach out to trusted friends, family members, or therapists who can provide emotional support and guidance. Having a support system outside of the toxic environment can help you maintain perspective and build resilience.

When You Don't Live with Her:
When you don't live with your narcissistic mother, you have more control over your interactions which will certainly help with your healing process. Here's how you can handle the situation:

  • Maintain Distance: Limit contact with your mother to protect your well-being. This will involve setting boundaries around the frequency, time given and nature of communication. Consider establishing a schedule for phone calls or visits that works for you, ensuring you have enough time and space for self-care.

  • Practice Self-Care: Focus on nurturing yourself and prioritising your own needs. Engage in activities that bring you joy and peace, and surround yourself with positive influences. Invest in therapy or counselling to help heal from the emotional wounds inflicted by your narcissistic mother.

In both scenarios, it's crucial to remember that you cannot change or fix your mother's narcissistic tendencies. Instead, concentrate on your own growth and healing. Seek professional help if needed, as therapists can provide specialised guidance and coping strategies tailored to your unique circumstances.

Remember, the journey to healing from the effects of a narcissistic mother can be challenging, but it is possible. Your well-being and happiness deserve to be nurtured and protected, and by taking steps to assert your boundaries and prioritise self-care, you are reclaiming your power and creating a healthier future for yourself. If you want support in this area please send me an email - [email protected]