8 Red Flags That You’re Dealing with a Narcissistic Mother

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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.

You can sign up right here.

If you’re ready to go deeper and change your life right now, I offer a wide range of effective resources and techniques to protect against toxic people – in my bestselling program, The Essential Break Free Bootcamp.

I’m excited to share with you the psychological tools I and thousands of others have used to heal from narcissistic abuse.

Explore techniques derived from behavioral therapy (vetted by the psychological and neuro-psychological communities) to finally heal your life.

Learn more here!

Your healed life starts with one step...

Join thousands of others who have signed up for the free Email Recovery Course and Healing Roadmap. Includes expert advice and tips for encouragement and support. * Seating in my masterclass: 7 Proven Steps to Defeat Narcissistic Abuse PLUS +* How to Ease Anxiety * 16 Empowering Beliefs to Live By + more!

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Dee Dee says January 27, 2020

How do I know if I am a narcissist mom? I want to fix myself if I am. My 26 year old married daughter is not speaking to me (again) after I “let her down by not staying in town to help her with her house and the kids” She tells me that I “gas light” her and that I am a selfish narcissist. I have spent so much money, time, listening, and working on healing or getting closer to her (and my older daughter) and it just keeps going south. At 54 I have taken her comments seriously, so I have checked out every resource material I can get my hands on. I have signed up for group therapy. I have joined a counseling group at my church. I am trying so hard to evaluate myself and how I am doing things wrong. I spend weekends talking it out loud, crying, praying, and reading to see how or where I can do better. I can see that I have the tendencies or selfish times when I look to the past, but I feel like I have worked on changing this as time has gone on. I mean I feel like I tried and keep trying? At least I think I have? With her last melt down, I had been babysitting all weekend for my grandson and had a diverticulitis attack (which put me in the hospital the following day). We had agreed that I bring him home around 3 pm. She was not done cleaning her furniture yet and did not want me to bring him home yet. I kept him until 6 pm but was in a lot of pain. When I brought him home she began crying and got angry at me. I froze. I did not know how to react so I told her to get a grip and rein it in. I asked her to talk reasonably. The neighbors were hearing her melt down. I asked her if she wanted me to call someone, to call a help line. I backed out of the house because I felt intimidated. She had had melt downs before but never this strong. She said I was not a “motherly” mom and that I was not caring. She said she was suicidal, just needed her mom to love her and hug her. I tried hugging her and she backed away saying it was too late. I had no idea how to handle her screaming and yelling, crying and accusing me. I tried to talk to her and she turned everything I said to horrible things. NO matter what I said to her it was wrong. I cried and said I was sorry, my first reaction to her melt down or lashing out was at first anger then shock, then just disbelief. I did not know how to react so she accused me of being a horrible uncaring mom with no compassion. I truly do not know anymore. I feel like I walk on egg shells when I am with her, I keep to myself focusing on my 2 year old grandson because she gets so angry at me if I say something that may contradict her opinions. I help when I can, (I work full time and live an hour away so I only have Sundays and a few Saturdays free) but she gets mad at me if I “leave her hanging” because I cannot stay to help her with her house, son, or any other things she may need. My husband has asked me to stop buying both my girls things and paying for things because we cannot afford it anymore. Both my daughters get so angry at me if I do not help them financially or spend weekends at their homes helping them clean or babysit for the kids. Where am I going wrong? I so want a relationship with my girls-I have tried so hard to work on where I am flawed. What can I do to overcome the “narcissist mom” tendencies my daughter says I have?

Justin says December 21, 2019

Having a narc for a parent is one of the worst things a child could experience.

Victims are denied a childhood where they could have learned who they truly are.

H says December 16, 2019

I am assuming this also applies to fathers. Articles always talk about the mother being narcissistic. In my case, it was a father only.
Are there any particular differences between a father’s narcissism (toward a daughter) and a mother’s?
And one of the reasons I am completely turned off of marriage is because of always having an icky feeling about my parents’ relationship. My mom is no longer alive, but I remember her always letting my dad have his way and never challenging him. She also never intervened when he was abusive toward me.

    Anonymous says March 15, 2020

    I know exactly what you are saying. It was my father who was the Narcissist, too. My mother also would not protect me from the abuse…yes, it has been physical to the point I had bruises and bleeding.

Dianne says December 14, 2019

I would love to know your thoughts on narcissistic son.

Denise Patterson says December 13, 2019

WOW yup that just totally confirmed it! Just figured out what a narcissist was about 3 years ago while in a relationship with another one. We are no longer together although he did a job on my finances! Saw the playlist he used on you blog 13 things narcissist don’t want you to know they do. Thanks I just keep learning! My timeline with narcissist Mother 1957-2013 Husband also narcissist 1978-2002 narcissist boss 1979-2001 last boyfriend 2006-2009 and 2015-2018!!! I’m done!!! Thank you ! You have given me much knowledge❤️

Karin says December 13, 2019

So to the point, that it made me cry.
In my 50’s now and my whole life I thought, I was told, that I was the one not acting normal. Never could do anything well. My feelings, thoughts, things I liked were always wrong. Got the job she wanted me to do. Didn’t fit me.

About 20 years ago I went NC for a few years, advised by my therapist of that time. Later we had some letters exchanged and she seemed to be respecting me in those letters. Yeah right.
It lasted exactly 5 seconds after meeting again. My father was already ill at that time, so I kept in low contact. Still, the belittling went on and on. I was the scapegoat, my brother the golden child and my sister one of her flying monkeys.

I only recognized her being a narcissist when there came more information online, a few years ago. Although my second therapist had mentioned it. At that time it didn’t click…

The beginning of 2013, my father still very ill, I went on no contact with both of them. It was the best decision ever although I never spoke to my father again. The only family member I still was in contact with at that time turned over to be my mothers best friend after my father died. She who had seen what my mother did to me my whole life. I found out when I had told her (only to her) something and this came back at me via a daughter of a friend of my mother… So I cut this bond also after I confronted her with it.

I have no idea is she is still alive. Might be, might be not. Although I think I should have heard it when not, but I also do not read emails from that particular family member who tries to get in contact with me a few times per year, my mothers new best friend.

I live in my 7th country, I have no point of reference to how normal should be. Being traumatized and hurt is my normal. Even after 54 years…

    Kim Saeed says December 13, 2019

    I’m so sorry, Karin. I see you are a coach and I wonder if you’ve ever done any inner child work. Having a narcissistic mother leaves so many people feeling like they want to give up on life. It may help, too, to see if there is a local Shaman in your area who can help you with soul retrieval. Wishing you all the best. Thank you for stopping by.

    Kim XoXo

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