Narcissistic personality disorder impacts about 1 in 20 women in America. This article talks about how to deal with a narcissist mother, coping mechanisms, and when to seek professional help.
Good parents set the foundation for the feeling of trust and safety in their children. Naturally, a child looks to their parents for love, encouragement, and support. Children in their growing phase need to feel seen and heard by their loved ones, especially their parents.
But, when the parents refuse to fulfill their child’s emotional needs, it can significantly influence their childhood. It can make their life a living hell.
A narcissistic mother affects the beliefs, behaviors, and self-esteem of her child even after they reach adulthood. If you are here because you or someone you love is facing this problem, then we will help you understand and cope with it.
Is My Mother Narcissistic?
One of the most common problems is that we do not know how to classify the behavior of those around us, especially our parents. Since there is no comparable available to us in our childhood, we feel that all parents must behave like this.
It is only with age that we start to understand that there is something different or odd about the way our parents react to situations. Even then, we might face denial since, after all, it is our parents.
We start to justify odd behavior and put it in the context of their hardships, struggles or upbringing, all the time ignoring symptoms that will be obvious to a trained outside eye. That is why it is even more important for us to observe behavior and take an objective stand.
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Parents with Narcissistic tendencies often have high self-esteem. They tend to exaggerate their talents and accomplishments.
You may also find them indulging in impulsive behaviors. Here are some very common symptoms that will help you understand narcissism in anyone, including your parent.
Symptoms of Narcissistic Behavior
- Need constant admiration and praise from others.
- Have an inflated sense of entitlement and self-importance.
- Believe they are superior and can only sit and stand with equally special people.
- Exaggerate achievements and talents.
- Expect others to recognize them as superior even without any accomplishments to warrant it.
- Have an inability or unwillingness to identify the needs and feelings of others.
- Pe preoccupied with primary fantasies about power, success, beauty, brilliance, or the perfect partner.
- Show a lack of empathy.
- Take advantage of others, especially inferiors, to get what they want.
- Expect unquestioning compliance with their expectations.
- Monopolize conversation and look down on others they see as inferior.
- Reacting negatively to any criticism.
- Reacting to any disagreement with rage.
- Behave as arrogant, boastful, conceited, and pretentious actions.
- Feeling envy toward others or believing others envy them.
- Insist on having the best in every area of life.
Self Diagnosing Narcissism
- You become angry, unhappy, and confused when things don’t go as you plan.
- You come across as pretentious, conceited, boastful, and make others want to avoid you.
- Your relationships with others are unfurling.
- You can also have ongoing school, work, and financial issues.
- You are involved in risky lifestyles, such as doing drugs and consuming alcohol.
Symptoms That Your Mother is Narcissistic
- She constantly makes the conversation centered on her.
- She blames others for any
- She never admits her fault, apologizes or accepts a different point of view.
- She demands total obedience and admiration from you.
- She works on making you feel guilty for all the things she does for you.
- She gives you the cold shoulder whenever you show independence.
- She is obsessed with her public image.
- She puts her needs first.
- She often compares you to the other children or siblings.
- She becomes hypersensitive when you show any slightest defiance or any criticism.
- She envies or becomes afraid of your success.
- Others may describe your mother as arrogant, self-centered, and entitled.
- She disregards your wishes and tries to undermine you as a parent.
- She minimizes or ignores your accomplishments.
- She has terrible relationships with most people in her life.
- She uses silent treatment as a punishment to teach you a lesson.
- She causes you obvious physical and psychological pain.
In a narcissistic mother-child dynamic, her mother often avoids the child’s needs, and she puts more enormous expectations on her child. And the expectations crush her offspring’s spirit and make them lose their self-esteem.
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Understanding Narcissistic Personality Disorder: The Root of The Problem
Once you can bring yourself to accept that many of the symptoms mentioned above are present in your mother, you should take a step back and understand what is causing this behavior.
Narcissistic tendencies are clubbed together under the umbrella term narcissistic personality disorder.
When you see that a person has an inflated opinion of themselves and an intense need for the attention and admiration of others, you can immediately understand that they are victims of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
People with NPD may also become disappointed and sad when others don’t praise and give them special favors that they believe they deserve. Unfortunately, their behavior can make others perceive them as conceited and snobbish, attempting to avoid them.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a severe problem, and it can cause trouble functioning in many essential areas of life, including school, career, and relationships.
If your mother has NPD, they may exhibit the following personality traits, including self-centeredness, arrogance, and demandingness. Your parents may also wear the mask of extreme confidence all the time; however, behind it lies a fragile self-esteem that can be triggered by the slightest criticism.
You can see a narcissistic mother as self-sacrificing as she always does things for her children without thinking about herself. Your mother may be involved in every decision of your life, but it is not a healthy sign when you become an adult, and she still gets too involved in your life.
She may become emotionally manipulative. She may cause you to choose between her and other important things or a person like your father. Your mother may also refuse to see the “real you,” When you make her feel criticized or rejected, she will get anxious or angry.
Fortunately, there are steps that you can and should immediately take. If you understand that your mother has a narcissistic personality disorder, you should opt for some of the coping mechanisms that we mention below, and if possible, try to get professional help for her.
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What Causes Narcissistic Personality Disorder In a Person?
In most cases, narcissism has roots in external factors. For example, it is common that a narcissistic mother is also narcissistically-wounded by your grandparents. Some factors responsible for developing NPD in a person include:
- Excessive parental pampering
- Childhood abuse or neglect
- Unrealistic expectations from their parents
- Cultural influences
- Sexual promiscuity
Talk therapy can help people with a narcissistic personality disorder. You should get your mother talk therapy to make her relationships with you more enjoyable, rewarding, and intimate.
How Your Narcissistic Mother Might Be Affecting Your Mental Well Being
If you are a child of a narcissistic mother, you will most probably experience these problems, including:
- Anxiety or depressing
- Low self-esteem
- Poor boundaries
- Chronic guilt
- Codependency in other relationships
- Inability to say “no.”
- Inability to express or handle emotions
- Anger and confusion
- Trust issues
- Being a people-pleaser
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Ways to Deal With a Narcissistic Mother?
Set boundaries to protect yourself
If your mother is narcissistic, you probably feel ignored, denigrated, or devalued by her actions. You may get anxious and become silent whenever you are around your mother.
Your mother belittles you and insults you. You should ignore her comments and let some insulting remarks slide. However, it is not right to ignore or tolerate emotional abuse from your mother regularly.
You can purpose the terms of an agreement to spend time with a narcissistic mother and set penalties if she violates the agreement.
Stay calm and accept that you are unlikely to change her.
You should avoid reacting emotionally to your narcissistic mother’s words, especially when it is an insult. Narcissist people work to get your reaction so that they can control you.
You should also remember that you can’t change a person’s personality easily. Try to accept that your mother’s narcissism is not your fault. The narcissism your mother split comes from her problematic personality.
Dealing with a narcissistic mother is just like dealing with difficult times in life, and it helps you grow.
Have some confidence
Many people with narcissistic parents often develop a highly critical inner voice that makes it hard for them to feel proud or confident. You probably also have it if you grow up with a narcissistic mother.
You cannot instantly boost your confidence, but you can take little steps toward it. Start with accepting yourself as you. You should also try cognitive-behavior therapy as it helps your brain rewire and think differently.
Find some positive traits in her.
Your mother may also be a victim of excessive pampering from her parents, which can make her insecure and emotionally damaged. You should praise her as often as you can; it will help you appear less threatening to her.
You should focus on healthy things about her as much as possible and avoid praising her if you don’t mean to.
Don’t let her interactions with you define you.
You can find many people that will not be like your mother. Recognize and seek the company of healthier people. You should not isolate yourself because of her and not let her views shape you.
Remember that your mother lifts herself and puts you down because it makes her look good and feel emotionally comfortable. However, you should not believe her beliefs and avoid having low self-esteem because of it.
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Avoid engaging in arguments.
Arguing with a narcissistic mother is useless as she refuses to see others’ points of view. Your mother can twist your words, lie about facts, and re-write history to support her argument.
You should not continue a conversation with her if she pulls her aggressive or manipulative state. You should think about the consequences before adding anything to the conversation with her.
Don’t fall into her plan to blame yourself.
Narcissists often try to trap you emotionally by making you feel inferior or like you are the problem. It results in self-rejection and blaming. You should not allow yourself to blame yourself.
You can get support from a professional who knows how a narcissist’s mind works; they can help you find a way to detect these traps and help you protect yourself.
Get help from a support system.
A narcissistic parent can make their kid’s mental health really fragile. You should seek professional help from a system outside your relationships to find peace of mind.
Talking with experts that deal with narcissistic personality behavior can help you understand how your mother’s narcissism affects you. You can also learn the ways to break the cycle.
It is better to consider an estrangement when you have a narcissistic parent. You should move far away to a safe distance from her or only allow her to speak with you a certain amount of times a month or a year.
You may love your mother but limiting contact with an abusive parent might be critical for your mental health.
Things To Avoid If Your Mother Is a Narcissist
If you have a narcissistic mother, try to avoid these things:
- Avoid expecting an apology from her as narcissists are unlikely to accept critical feedback.
- Don’t try to fix or heal her as it is not possible to change someone’s personality.
- Stop comparing her with others. Every NPD patient struggles with different trauma. You should focus on bright sight and bond on shared interests with your mother.
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When To Get Professional Help?
The therapist recommends talk therapy as an effective treatment for NPD. You can provide your narcissist mother with this therapy, but it will not be easy, so you should focus on yourself.
Growing up with a narcissistic parent can develop trauma that will stay with you all your life. You should find a way to leave them behind and focus on your present happiness.
You can consult with a therapist trained in Trauma Therapy and Cognitive Behavior Therapy as they will help you heal and move forward. Therapy also helps you replace the lingering negative voice of your mother in your head with a healthier one.
Answers to Some Common Questions
How does a narcissistic mother behave?
Narcissistic mothers behave in ways that are steeped in self-importance. Even though they might outwardly appear to be extremely caring for their children, every step they take is meant to bring admiration to them and not for the goodwill of the child.
For example, there is a difference between motivating a child toward music or dance if they have an interest and pushing them unnecessarily into competitions when they are not ready.
A narcissistic mother will exploit her child to help seek admiration and respect from those she deems worthy of giving it to her. She will also feel the need to often put down others and throw tantrums when her demands are not met.
Sadly, in many cases, she might not even understand that she is causing damage to the child and others around her through this behavior – she may feel that what she is doing is best for the child.
What does a narcissistic mother want?
Their deepest, darkest desire is to get an appreciation for their child’s performance. That is why you will often find such mothers to be pushing their children beyond their capacity, to the extent of breaking down.
They believe that every recital, every competition, every spelling bee, every sports event is a chance to prove that they are the best mother in the world.
The psychology behind this can be very complex, but it is often related to compensation for one’s own lack of self-esteem.
What happens to daughters of narcissistic mothers?
Many times, daughters of narcissistic mothers tend to feel trapped and in a toxic relationship. They feel pushed too far, berated at every shortcoming, and the constant need for approval from those that they look up to.
This behavior then sadly continues to build up into a lifelong mission to seek approval from others which may be very unhealthy.
Secondly, such daughters often have their lives intertwined with their mothers. If they make the slightest move to assert their individuality or to move away from the mother’s influence, the mother would see this as a rejection of her efforts and double down on the emotional blackmail and abuse.
It becomes very difficult for such daughters to move away from the shadow of their mothers and lead an independent life.
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Wrap Up – Dealing with a Narcissist Mother
Having narcissistic parents can be really tough for any person. You should look for the symptoms of narcissistic behavior in your loved ones and find effective ways to deal with them.
If your mother shows narcissism toward you or any of your siblings, you should accept her as she is and try to cope with her using the strategies mentioned in this article, such as getting professional help, staying calm, etc.
If needed, you can consult with a therapist to relieve the stress and negativity caused by your narcissistic mother.