Narcissistic Mother (24 Ways to Tell if Your Mother’s a Narcissist)

When thinking of a mother, what comes to mind for most people is someone who offers unconditional love and is supportive.

However, if you have a narcissistic mother, your experience will differ greatly from most.

A narcissist has an inflated sense of superiority with a constant need for praise and acknowledgment.

This person also lacks empathy for others but will often fake it to gain something in return. A narcissistic mother is too focused on creating her false impression of herself to give children the nurturing that they need properly.

If you’re concerned that your mother might be a narcissist, there are 24 signs to look for.

1. The world revolves around her

The narcissistic mother must always be the center of attention in all circumstances.

If you try to have a conversation about a problem you’re having, she’ll turn it around to point out a time that she had it worse or to a topic that she would rather talk about.

The focus can’t be on you for more than a minute.

2. She has a superficial image

What your mother shows the world in public is much different from how she acts at home.

In public, she likes to show off her possessions, social standing, or successes so that others can bask in her superiority while she has a smile plastered on her face.

However, at home, she is controlling, demeaning, and a very negative person.

3. She’s always right

Because finding fault with her will destroy the self-image that she’s worked so hard to create, the narcissistic mother is never wrong.

If you accuse her or find some type of fault, she will lash out, call you names, or even blame you for her problems.

4. Her love is conditional

She’s an adoring mother to you when you make her look good. While she wants you to succeed, it’s only because of how it makes her look in the process.

If you do something wrong, she’s more worried about how it will make her look rather than the consequences you might face.

5. She can’t take criticism

Although she can certainly dish out criticism, she can’t take it when it’s aimed at her.

Because the narcissist must always be better than everyone else, any fault that disrupts her inflated sense of self will be met with an overly emotional response.

Your mother may even go so far as to throw a tantrum over perceived criticism.

6. She’s easily offended

If you don’t do what your narcissistic mother wants, she may become offended and claim that you always take her for granted.

She’ll say how she does so much for you, or she’ll try to use a guilt trip, saying that if you loved her, you would or wouldn’t do whatever the thing is in question.

7. She puts you down

No matter what you do, it will never be good enough for the narcissistic mother.

She may belittle or shame you for not doing something right. Part of the reason for this is gaslighting as a way to control you and to maintain power over you.

Another reason this mother will put you down is to keep feeling like she is better than you.

8. She disregards your boundaries

No space is safe from the narcissistic mother.

You won’t have much in the way of privacy, and she will help herself to your belongings as she sees fit, using the excuse that she paid for them, you need to share since you live in her house, or one of many other reasons she can come up with.

She looks at her children as extensions of herself rather than as independent human beings.

9. She manipulates you

She’s likely to use various forms of manipulation to get you to do what she wants. She may blame or shame you, or she may withhold or threaten to withhold support.

Emotional coercion and guilt trips are common tactics used by the narcissistic mother to control you.

10. She’s always a victim or a martyr

Even when an issue has nothing to do with her, the narcissistic mother will find a way to suffer because of it.

Whether it’s because she’s so misunderstood or because she’s allegedly given everything of herself to help you succeed, your mother makes her misery over it the focus.

11. She’s inflexible

Strict, demanding schedules, inflexible rules, and rigid expectations characterize many narcissistic mothers. If you deviate from any of these, the punishment can be severe.

This comes about because of the narcissist’s need to control others to feel superior.

12. She’s emotionally volatile

You never know what’s going to set your mother off, so you feel the need to walk on eggshells anytime you’re in her presence.

Emotionally inconsistent and unpredictable, this person makes everyone in her life live on the emotional roller coaster she rides based on her sense of importance.

13. She compares you

Because the narcissistic mother always needs attention and approval, she’ll often compare you to your siblings or other acquaintances.

When the comparisons are made with your siblings, it’s done to get you to outdo each other in a bid for her acceptance.

In the alternative, your mother might compare you to her boss’s child or a neighbor to make you feel unworthy and as a way to shame you.

14. She tries to control you

Through manipulation or gaslighting, your narcissistic mother wants to control you so that you’ll be there to meet her needs. If you try to exert some independence, she’ll belittle you in some way or find fault with your decisions.

15. She must be included in everything

Don’t try to make plans or any major decisions without first consulting your narcissistic mother, or you’ll face her wrath.

She can be cruel, defensive, or demeaning toward you because you made a decision where she had no control over the situation.

16. She criticizes others in private

While your mother may be nice to people to their faces and even laugh and have conversations, she will talk bad about them when she gets home and in private.

She’ll put up with a lot in public just to look good, but she’ll then criticize and find fault with the same people when they’re not around.

17. She lacks empathy

Like all narcissists, the narcissistic mother lacks true empathy for others, including her own children.

She can’t commiserate with you over a bad day because she simply cannot put herself in your shoes. All she knows is how any situation affects her, so you won’t receive the validation you need.

18. She expects unreasonable sacrifices

Whether she expects you to care and provide for her as she grows older or wants you to wait on her hand and foot while living under her roof, your narcissistic mother will expect you to make sacrifices simply for her comfort or as a way to prove your love to her.

If you don’t make the sacrifices that she requests, she may guilt or shame you, claiming that you’re insensitive to her needs.

19. She’s envious and possessive of you

A part of growing up is becoming independent and making a life for yourself. However, this will upset the narcissistic mother, who doesn’t want to lose any of the control that she has over you.

This is especially apparent if you get a love interest or decide to get married. No one you choose will ever be good enough in your mother’s eyes, and she may even accuse that person of stealing you away from her.

20. She’s in competition with her children

Unfortunately, everything in life is a competition for the narcissist.

This person has to be better than everyone else, no matter what it is. Your mother’s successes and hardships will always be greater than anything you go through.

Because you’re only there to make her feel superior, she doesn’t even look at you as an individual.

This competition is seen more frequently between a narcissistic mother and her daughter, with the mother often criticizing the daughter’s appearance or her body.

21. She feels entitled

All narcissists have entitlement issues.

Because of her sense of superiority over others, she feels that she deserves to have more recognition and attention than anyone else, and she deserves to have good things even if this means that you have to go without.

22. She’s been neglectful

You may notice that your narcissistic mother spends more time on activities that she pursues for her own validation rather than focusing on childraising.

23. She invalidates your feelings

The narcissistic mother wants to control every aspect of your life, including your emotions.

Rather than acknowledge how you feel about something, your mother is more likely to brush you off, accuse you of being overly sensitive, or somehow undermine the way you’re feeling.

24. She has a lack of solid relationships

A narcissist can be nice to others when necessary, but it doesn’t last forever,

Over time, those close to your mother find out what she’s really like, and friends and partners don’t typically stick around.

If you have a narcissistic mother, you must find validation elsewhere.

The version of yourself that is projected from your mother isn’t your true self, so it’s important to understand who you are and your abilities so that you can enjoy a more fulfilling life.

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