25 Characteristics of a Narcissistic Mother

25 Characteristics of a Narcissistic Mother

25 Characteristics of a Narcissistic Mother

Do you have a mother who always puts herself first and is never there for you? Does she constantly criticize you and make you feel like you can never do anything right? If so, then you may be dealing with a narcissistic mother.

Mothers are considered to be the epitome of unconditional love and selflessness. 

But there are exceptions to every rule. Some mothers can be the polar opposite of how an ideal mother should be.

These mothers can make life unbearably difficult for you by destroying your relationships with your family as well as others. If you are unfortunate enough to have a narcissistic parent, your life will be somewhat like this or worse.

As your parent and guardian, a mother plays a huge role in the early development of a child. If the mindset of the mother is flawed, she won’t be performing her responsibilities properly. This can impact the child in many ways; psychological damage being the worst and long-lasting. 

The aftereffects of this damage will be visible even after the child grows into an adult. 

But all is not lost for the children of narcissistic parents. The first step for self-preservation from narcissistic parents is to identify their psychological condition. Being a mental health issue, you need to rely on behavior patterns for this. Looking out for signs can help you identify her narcissistic personality.

This article dives deep into the minds of narcissistic mothers and comes up with some common behavioral traits in them. You will find here listed the most prominent characteristics of narcissistic mothers for your easy reference and quick identification of narcissistic abuse.

25 prominent narcissistic personality traits in mothers

1. She doesn’t respect personal boundaries.

Disregarding and overstepping boundaries is one of the most common forms of abuse by a narcissistic parent. The hard part is making her realize her mistakes as she doesn’t consider this as one. She forces her ideas and views on you and doesn’t think it wrong to invade your personal space. 

A narcissistic mother interferes in your life and creates disruptions in it, resulting in grief and anxiety for you. If you notice this characteristic in your mother, there is a high chance that she has narcissistic traits.

2. She gives you conditional love.

Mothers across the world are equated to unconditional love and selflessness. They are willing to do anything to protect and provide for their children without expecting anything in return. For a child, the mother offers a safe haven when the rest of the world turns hostile. Her love is assured. 

If your mother brings in conditions while offering her love for you, it should raise a red flag. And, when these conditions are entirely for her benefit, you can confirm that she has a narcissistic personality. Narcissistic parents usually get upset and angry and throw a fit when their demands aren’t met. They even display vindictive behavior.

3. She plays the victim card.

Even when she dominates your life all the time, she is good at twisting things around and playing the victim. She may have said or done terrible things, but she will take offense at your resistance to her and portray herself as the victim.

The worst part is when she does this knowingly and intentionally to keep the focus on herself. She is good at making you feel guilty or triggering your sympathy for her by altering the narrative. Even when she does or says hurtful words to you, she will turn things around and blame you for misinterpreting her.

4. She is good at gaslighting.

How often has your account of an incident involving her met with outright denial from your mother? It may make you wonder whether you are going bonkers. You cannot be faulted for thinking this way because she is gaslighting you and this is a natural outcome of that.

Psychological abuse is a weapon of choice among narcissistic parents. She lies without batting an eyelid to gaslight you. She will lie about her own complicity in the matter. She will criticize you for your emotional responses. If need be, she will even pretend that the hurtful words she said were not meant seriously; they were said merely in a lighter vein.

5. She is not consistent in her behavior.

She is unpredictable, to say the least. Her emotions run wild creating disruptions all around. At times, she is a loving and caring mother, but at other times, she can be vicious, scheming, and vengeful. You aren’t sure where you stand with her at any given time. And, that makes life difficult for you.

When she wants something from you, she will be nice to you. However, at other times, she will turn against you. As she blows hot and cold, you may wrongly believe that your behavior is the cause of these wild swings. 

You may feel that you are not attentive enough to her needs and this is making her feel bad and sad. So, to keep her in good humor, you will try to be on her good side and shower her with your attention.

6. She lies without any scruples.

Do you trust everything that your mother says? If not, it is because you have caught her lying often. This is a common narcissistic abuse.

Whenever things aren’t going her way, a narcissistic mother uses lies and deceit to cover her tracks or distract you from the truth. Their constant endeavor is to project an unblemished image to the world. 

7. She is biased.

A narcissistic mother is known to pick a favorite among her children. She not only favors them, but she also makes other children scapegoats for the mistake of their favorite child. 

She compels the rest of the family to help, protect, and praise her favorite child even when they don’t want to. Anyone disagreeing with her on this will end up inviting her wrath. 

When her favorite child does something wrong, she will cover it up and let the child off the hook. Her favoritism creates discord among siblings, with the favorite child getting the bulk of the mother’s love and others hating her as well as the child for this.

8. She is petty-minded.

A narcissistic mother may try to project that she is virtuous and fair-minded. She is anything but. Pettiness is another of her common characteristics. She often behaves like a child, fretting and fuming over trivial issues. She pretends that she is hurt by your mundane words when the language she uses with you is much more caustic.

You will often find her making plans to get back at others or get even. Revenge is her mantra when you rub her the wrong way.

9. She destroys relationships.

In her efforts to be the center of attention, play favorites, create drama, and have a pity party, a narcissistic mother ends up ruining your relationships as well as that of others. In such a family, siblings will find it impossible to have amicable relationships with each other. 

Narcissistic mothers often play one child against the other for their own personal gains or to be in the good books of one. Also, the fact that she lies without compunction makes it hard for you to trust anyone.

10. She doesn’t value your opinion.

A narcissistic mother is so self-serving and egocentric that she cannot tolerate differing viewpoints. Unless you always agree with her, she will invest all her energy in discrediting you and your opinions. She doesn’t even bother to acknowledge or consider the merits of your ideas.

If you stand firm with your beliefs and thoughts, she will try her best to mock and manipulate you in her efforts to make you agree with her. This can be hard for an independent-thinking person.

11. She enjoys your discomfort and pain.

She is your mother and is expected to protect and defend you against others. Instead, she will pull you down at every opportunity, if you aren’t the “Yes Ma’am” kind. A narcissistic mother can best be described as a vampire that feeds on your emotions and vulnerability. 

This is a trait that makes narcissistic mothers both sadistic and dangerous. She doesn’t care about the hurt she is causing you, at times even enjoying your pain and despair. She will deliberately discuss topics that are painful to you to see you squirm.

If she is caught in the act, she may explain this as an act to toughen you up or as a prank.

12. She projects her mistakes on you.

When she did something wrong to you, she will twist things around to give you the impression that you are the one at fault. She often makes you pay for her mistakes and shortcomings. For instance, if she is obese and wants to lose weight, she will deny you rich and fatty foods. 

Her behavior toward you tends to be based on what she hates in herself. 

13. She is unreliable and untrustworthy.

A narcissistic mother changes her attitude towards you so often that you don’t know what to expect from her. You aren’t assured of her love and support at all times. You will find it hard to rely on her or trust her.

She lies, shifts blame, and rarely fulfills her responsibilities. However, she will pounce on you for your minor mistakes. She uses you as a punching bag to vent her anger and frustrations. No wonder you find it hard to trust her.

14. She is clumsy and incapable.

Narcissistic mothers tend to project the image of super moms. But in real life, they are nowhere close to this. They cannot even be described as ordinary mothers. As her mind is so invested in manipulating others, she finds it hard to focus and handle her responsibilities.

For instance, she is incompetent to help you choose the right dress for your prom or a suitable gift for your birthday, as she barely knows the real you.

15. She faults and criticizes you.

Praises are hard to come by from a narcissistic parent. Although at times she showers praise on you, she does this mostly to get something from you and not sincerely. If you find yourself on the wrong side of her, she will do everything within her power to mock and belittle you. 

She doesn’t have any hesitation in throwing you under the bus or trashing you in front of others if it suits her.

16. She constantly compares you.

She may compare you to your siblings, other kids, or even herself. She doesn’t care how this is affecting your confidence and self-esteem. She derives pleasure from making you feel bad.

17. She is unsure and insecure.

Insecurity is one of the basic traits of a narcissist mother. As she lacks self-esteem, she acts in ways to make her feel better. This is often done by misusing her position in the family and exercising her power and control over her children.

18. She forces you into the role of a parent.

Since her behavior is immature and erratic, you are forced to behave with more maturity in the relationship with your mother. For instance, she may ignore her responsibility to provide food or medical care to you. She may even stop giving you lunch money when she finds out that you are earning by doing odd jobs.

19. She enjoys keeping you on a short leash.

Exercising her power and control over her victims is essential to feed the huge egos of narcissistic mothers. By punishing you for small mistakes, she terrorizes you and gains complete control over you. You aren’t allowed to think or do anything on your own without her consent.

20. She manipulates you.

Another common characteristic found in narcissistic mothers, she uses this as a tool to get what she wants from you. Manipulation can be overt or subtle but narcissistic mothers indulge in this in some form or the other.

21. She is good at justifying her behavior.

No one is perfect or free of defects in behavior. We all slip up occasionally. Parents are no exception to this. When children point out their mistakes, normal parents take it sportingly and apologize. But not narcissistic parents.

She can’t take criticism of any kind – constructive or otherwise. Often, this will make her go wild and she will lash out and turn vindictive when you dare to point out her faults. 

22. She is self-centered.

She is so egotistical that she is obsessed with herself and her comfort and happiness. It’s always about her. Being a narcissist, she thrives on attention and being in the spotlight. But the fact that she does this at your expense makes it worse.

She is the kind of person who loves celebrating her special days to stay in focus. She loves to celebrate her birthdays but when it comes to yours, she rubbishes it off as a waste of time and energy.

23. She is nice to you only in public.

Being a narcissist, she displays a Jekyll-Hyde-type narcissistic personality. You get to see her good side only when you are in the public glare. In private, she either ignores you or is mean to you, depending on her mood and situation. 

24. She considers you as her rival.

A narcissist mother always wants to show off her power and superiority. She cannot tolerate being inferior to you. This makes her highly competitive. With a narcissistic parent, it can be traumatic for the child.

In her effort to maintain superiority over you, she will pull you down and sabotage your opportunities. She will call you vain, selfish, idiotic, and a failure to gain the upper hand.

25. She holds you in a vice-like grip.

She won’t allow an inch of space for you to think independently or make your own decisions. The controlling nature is the hallmark of a narcissist. 

Every time you try to wriggle free from her grasp, she goes hyper and kicks up an ugly scene. She will turn things around and accuse you of ignoring her. She will guilt-trip you to get her way.

Final Thoughts on Characteristics of a Narcissistic Mother

Many of these signs can be seen in a non-narcissistic parent as well. If you want to use these signs to confirm the narcissistic traits in your mother, you should be able to spot more than one and the signs should show up consistently. You also need to bear in mind that some signs like controlling behavior, sadistic tendency, and manipulation are better indications of narcissistic abuse.

Once you confirm that you have a narcissistic parent, you can take some actions to protect yourself, depending on your age, your reliance on them, and the presence of an equal or overruling authority in your life.

Just remember that mothers can be toxic and can harm you. And, you have every right to safeguard your interests against narcissistic abuse. Confronting narcissistic parents and trying to reason with them is of no use. In fact, these are counterproductive. Try to maintain distance, if nothing else works.

Meanwhile, you can confide and seek advice from someone you trust.


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