Do you feel empty when you hear your friends talk about loving relationships with their mothers?
Their mothers sound supportive, compassionate, and uplifting.
But you? Well, you couldn’t use any of those words to describe your mom.
Once the realization hits you that you’re dealing with a narcissistic mother, you feel cheated – like your childhood and even much of your adulthood was stolen. Accepting that your mother is a narcissist takes courage because it forces you to question everything you’ve ever known. When you do, however, other issues you’ve faced in your life all start to click into place.
8 Signs You’re Dealing with a Narcissistic Mother
The TV show, Arrested Development, is named so for a reason. Lucille Bluth is the archetype of a wealthy narcissistic mother. Now, not every narcissistic mother is so obvious – sometimes the signs are a little subtler.
The first step towards recovering from chronic narcissistic abuse is understanding what that abuse looks like.
1 – You Struggle to Define Yourself and Your Identity
Sons and daughters of narcissistic mothers struggle to create an identity for themselves outside of basic characteristics like career accomplishments and titles.
Dealing with a narcissistic mother, you spend your most vulnerable years subjected to chronic gaslighting and emotional abuse, so you never have the chance to figure yourself out.
The things you enjoy are usually considered stupid. Every hobby you want to pursue is ‘wrong’. You might even find yourself speeding down a career path you don’t necessarily care about because your mom insisted that’s what was best for you.
2 – She Doesn’t Remember Anything You Say
Oh, she’ll remember a few things – things that hurt her ego. But when it comes to things YOUR’E excited about, proud of, or interested in, you can bet that she’ll never remember a thing you tell her.
No, it’s not because she’s busy. She really just doesn’t care.
Narcissists don’t believe anything you say or do has value unless they can milk it for their ego boost.
You’ll notice that you’re repeating yourself over and over. Dealing with a narcissistic mother can get frustrating because she’ll shout over you every time you open your mouth.
3 – Your Self-Worth Comes Entirely from Accomplishments and Approval
Narcissistic parents LOVE to brag about their children’s accomplishments. Many times, they’ll even take credit!
As a child, you were conditioned to believe that all your self-worth should come from material accomplishments. If you aren’t married with kids and a white picket fence by 30 and you feel guilty about it, you can probably blame a narcissistic parent for that.
To a narcissistic parent, producing something of value is of the utmost importance. If you haven’t lived up to their illogical expectations (like getting a specific degree), you can be sure that your parent never talks about you to their friends. That’s the sad truth.
4 – She Has No Respect for Your Belongings, Opinions, or Feelings
Dealing with a narcissistic mother becomes even MORE frustrating when you distance yourself from her for any period.
When you return, you suddenly realize how unbelievably disrespectful she is of anyone and anything she doesn’t consider worthy.
A narcissistic mother will laugh at you and say “it’s not that bad” when you tell her you’re hurt. If you press the issue, she’ll turn herself into the victim. A narcissistic mother will throw away all your sentimental belongings and tell you “well they looked like garbage to me.”
To daughters and sons of narcissistic mothers, gaslighting feels completely normal because it’s all you’ve known.
5 – You Let People Walk Over You (or the Opposite)
Sons and daughters of narcissistic mothers learn at a very early age that it’s easier to just agree and move on. There’s no use setting up boundaries and trying to enforce them because your mother will just laugh, break them down, and treat you like a doormat.
Sadly, there’s a good chance you carried this trait over into adulthood as you built other relationships with friends and romantic partners.
On the other hand, many times we try to grasp for control outside our abusive relationships. In this case, you may find yourself putting up walls quickly or lashing out if you feel people are taking advantage of you.
6 – She Has a Favorite Child
No mother or father should ever openly say they have a favorite child – but narcissistic mothers will.
Many times, it is extremely obvious which child is the favorite and this dynamic destroys the relationships between siblings because there’s always unhealthy competition.
Make no mistake, that’s exactly what your mom wants: children competing for her affection.
7 – You Feel More Like a Friend or Partner Than a Child
If you were “lucky” enough to be the favorite child of a narcissistic mother, you may find yourself in a covert incestuous relationship.
Covert incest, also known as emotional incest, refers to a relationship where your mother relies on you for emotional support like a best friend or a partner.
Dealing with a narcissistic mother, she might reveal intimate details about her sex life, ask questions about yours, try to live with you long into adulthood (and conveniently blame finances), or share a joint bank account with you.
You may not even realize this arrangement isn’t normal – let alone healthy – until your friends or an unsuspecting romantic partner tries to point it out.
8 – You Suffer from Chronic Anxiety – Especially with Decision-Making
Dealing with a narcissistic mother for most of your life, you’ll ALWAYS second guess literally every thought and decision you make.
Will she call this jacket ugly or say you look chunky? Will she criticize this new guy or gal you’re dating? Will she be happy with this salary at your new job?
Constantly second-guessing yourself and looking to approval from others naturally leads to chronic anxiety.
In many cases, sons and daughters of narcissistic mothers feel like their mom will never be happy with ANY decision they make, so they do nothing (often turning to alcohol or drug use to fill the void). Of course, this only makes your anxiety worse.
How Sons and Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers Can Overcome the Trauma
Dealing with a narcissistic mother can be quite complicated and may deprive you of a lot of things. However, the good news is that you can find a headway out of this.
Accept that Your Mother may Never Change
This is hard because we’re so conditioned to appreciate and value our mothers. For daughters and sons of narcissistic mothers, however, this narrative is toxic because it justifies and gaslights our abuse.
You must accept that there’s a chance your mother will always be like this – a narcissist. She won’t suddenly reevaluate herself and see things your way, especially if it’s something you’ve tried before.
Don’t Blame Yourself
What you’ve suffered at the hands of your mother’s narcissism is not your fault – no matter how badly she tries to convince you otherwise.
You’re her child and what she put you through is emotional, mental, and often even physical abuse.
Evaluate Your Other Relationships
After dealing with a narcissistic mother, it becomes impossible to form healthy relationships outside of the home.
Support and compassion feel like foreign concepts to us, so we don’t look for these qualities in friends and romantic partners. Subconsciously, we even believe we don’t deserve genuine love and support.
A comprehensive recovery program led by someone who has experienced narcissistic abuse themselves is critical. You’ll need to learn how to shake old habits and build healthy relationships with others – especially if you’re a parent (or want to become a parent) yourself.
Dealing with a Narcissistic Mother Isn’t Your Destiny
Narcissistic abuse recovery is especially important for daughters and sons of narcissistic mothers because the trauma runs so deep into our psyches – it’s all we’ve known for our entire lives.
You can’t make up the childhood (or teenage years or adulthood) you never had. You can, however, liberate yourself from the narcissistic abuse and spend the rest of your life in freedom.
If this article resonates with you and you know it’s time to stop the chaos, end the mental torture, and begin healing your life, then I’d love for you to join us in our Warrior Inner Circle by claiming your free Beginner’s Healing Roadmap.
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I’m excited to share with you the psychological tools I and thousands of others have used to heal from narcissistic abuse.
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