16 Crucial Tips For Dealing With A Narcissistic Mother

Narcissistic Mother

Narcissistic mother has a very hard time empathizing with another person’s feelings.

This makes narcissistic mothers incapable of caring for anyone else, including their child.

This can have major consequences for the development of the child. Even as an adult, a child of a narcissistic parent can still struggle with it.

Were you raised by a ‘nice’ narcissistic mother? Or is your narcissistic (ex) partner the mother of your child? Read here what the recognizable signals are and how to deal with them.

Purpose of this article:  You are going to learn the main characteristics of a narcissistic mother. You will also learn what the possible consequences are for a child, and you can test to what extent your mother (or your ex-partner/the mother of your child) is narcissistic.

Characteristics of a Narcissistic Mother

Do you ever wonder ‘was I raised by a narcissist?’ or is my partner a ‘narcissistic mother of my children?’ That is quite possible. It is estimated that 6% of the Dutch population has a narcissistic personality.

The effect of a narcissistic mother on your childhood or that of your children is almost always destructive. Narcissism is a far-reaching personality disorder. Narcissists are not consciously narcissistic.

You can think of it as a mental disorder. Narcissism exists on a spectrum, but narcissists generally have extreme self-esteem and base their identity on the praise and approval of others.

You can define a narcissistic mother as someone who is very possessive and concerned with competing with her children. She wants to be better than her children in everything and sees her children not as an individual, but as an extension of herself.

In general, the narcissistic mother sees a child’s independence as a threat, including the independence of an adult child.

Therefore, she forces her children to live in the shadow of herself and imposes unreasonable expectations on the child. In a narcissistic parenting style, the child is rarely loved for who he or she is.

Narcissistic Mother

Nuance nice narcissistic mother

Numerous scientific studies have been conducted regarding narcissistic parenting and its effects on children.

Nevertheless, it is important to distinguish between certain parent-centrist tendencies and chronic-narcissistic parents.

There are many mothers who like to show off their children because they are actually proud of their children. They seem like nice narcissistic mothers.

There are also parents who have high expectations of their children in order to push them to get more out of themselves.

Sometimes a child actually needs this stimulus. However, these are not pathological narcissistic traits.

A narcissistic mother shows her true narcissistic nature when, for example, she denies or does not allow her adult child any form of independence.

The children exist only to fulfill the egocentric need of the narcissistic mother.

There are many parents who like to show off their children because they are actually proud of their children.

There are also parents who have high expectations of their children in order to push them to get more out of themselves. Sometimes a child actually needs this stimulus.

However, these are not pathological narcissistic traits.

It is important to understand this nuance between a devilish narcissistic and a nice narcissistic mother. This article includes a test that you can use to check this.

With the help of this test you can find out if your mother is actually narcissistic.


How do you know if a mother is narcissistic?

Do you suspect that you may have a narcissistic mother? Or do you think the mother of your children suffers from narcissism?

The following characteristics of a narcissistic mother can give you more clarity about this.

While some parents may have one or more of the following characteristics at some point, this need not be a sign that they are narcissistic.

Narcissistic mothers with hidden narcissism are hard to spot. So take the previous nuance into consideration before making a judgment.

A pathologically narcissistic mother typically exhibits several of the following, but is unaware (or not concerned about) how this affects the child or children.

You can recognize a narcissistic mother by (some of) the following characteristics:

#1 Does the child use or live for the child

Of course, many parents want their children to do well in life. That they complete a good education, find a good job and become happy.

However, the narcissistic mother has expectations for her child(ren) that align with her own selfish needs and dreams.

So it is not about pursuing the wishes, emotions and goals of the child, but the child is seen as an extension of the personal wishes of the mother.

The personality of the child is clearly subordinate to this.

Narcissistic Mother

“My mother always liked to dress me in cute dresses, while I was always more of a tom-boy than a girl-girl.

I think my mom thought she was getting compliments on how I looked. My appearance reflected on her. It increased her self-esteem.”  (Child narcissistic mother)

#2 Marginalization

Some narcissistic mothers feel threatened by the child’s potential and chances of success. This has an effect on the self-confidence of the parent.

The narcissistic mother can therefore actively do her best to keep the child emotionally low so that she (the mother) remains superior.

Examples of this form of narcissism in a mother include:

  • Doing hard for nothing
  • Setting unreasonable expectations
  • Expressing unreasonable criticism
  • Always comparing the child with others
  • Nullifying the child’s positive characteristics and emotions
  • Rejecting Success and Achievements

A narcissistic mother in this case may react in the following ways:

“You will never be good enough.”

“It’s always something with you.”

With this, the narcissistic mother tries to lower the child’s self-confidence.

This gives the mother the opportunity to increase her own insecure self-esteem.

“I begged my mother to let me go on the study trip. She finally agreed, after saying it was a waste of her money.” (Child of narcissistic mother.)

#3 Superiority

Many narcissistic parents have an unreasonably inflated self-image. They have a conceited image of who they are and what they do.

The people around a narcissist are not treated as living beings, but rather are seen as tools (objects) that can be used for personal gain.

The children of a narcissistic parent are also seen as objects.

However, this superiority complex can also be taught to the child by the narcissistic parent. “We are better than them.”

This sense of superiority is based almost exclusively on superficial, selfish and material aspects.

It totally ignores human standards, social consciousness and social qualities.

The narcissistic parent and child with learned narcissism become, as it were, “superior” by being less human.

Narcissistic Mother

#4 Superficiality

This is strongly related to the superior self-image.

Narcissistic parents like to show others how ‘special’ they are. They enjoy parading during social or public activities.

They love to show how superior they are. This concerns material possessions, physical appearance, projects and achievements, background, status and good contacts.

The superiority of the narcissistic mother should, of course, be reflected in her husband and children.

The narcissistic mother likes to seek ego-stimulating attention.

She is constantly showing and telling about how wonderful and enviable her and her family’s life is. ‘Look at me! I have what you don’t have. Everyone wants a life like I have.’

This mother is very focused on appearance and appearance. She likes to wear expensive designer clothes, always looks well-groomed outside the house, likes to brag about expensive vacations, and likes to talk about the “exceptional” achievements of her husband and children.

“What my mother shows to others is very different from what she really is.” (Child of narcissistic mother)

Narcissistic Mother

#5 Manipulation

The goal of a narcissistic mother with manipulation is to push the child. The mother wants the child to do the things she has in mind.

Manipulating is a means here. There are different types of manipulation that a narcissistic mother can use.

For example, think of:

  • Talking to Guilt – “I’ve done everything for you and you are incredibly ungrateful.”
  • Accusations – “It’s your fault I’m not happy.”
  • Shame – “Your poor performance is a disgrace to the family.”
  • Compare – “Why aren’t you as good as your brother?”
  • Applying unreasonable pressure – “You WILL do your best to make ME proud.”
  • Manipulative Rewards and Punishments – “If you don’t do the master’s degree I have in mind for you, you won’t get any more financial support.”
  • Emotional Compulsion – “You are a good son/daughter when you meet my expectations.”

A recurring element in the manipulation of the narcissistic mother or parent is that love is given on condition.

This is the opposite of love as a natural expression of appreciation, as should be reflected in a healthy upbringing.

On the other hand, withholding love is used as a threat and punishment.

Manipulation is a common means of answering the question ‘Was I raised by a narcissist?’ can confirm.

Narcissistic Mother

#6 Inflexible and easily offended

Narcissistic parents can be very inflexible about expectations of their children. They have detailed the life path of their children in their minds.

They may become angry with the child when the child deviates from this and fail to live up to these excessive expectations.

Some narcissistic mothers are also easy on their toes. They are then annoyed by their children.

Narcissistic Mother

This irritation is grounded in their own narcissism.

The irritation can be caused by a lack of attention, the failure in the eyes of the narcissistic mother, the shortcomings of the child or when the child does not do what the narcissistic mother wants.

For example, the child may also be in the wrong place at the wrong time. The reasons for irritations are very varied.

The narcissistic mother is touchy and easily offended in an attempt to control the child. When the child does not dance to the tune of the narcissistic mother, the mother reacts unnecessarily and disproportionately negatively.

“I hate it when you put the shopping bag on the counter like this. I’ve told you before that I HATE it!” (Mother to child)

#7 Lack of empathy

Was I raised by a narcissist?

One of the most common characteristics of a narcissistic father or mother is the parent’s inability to consider the child’s feelings.

The narcissistic parent does not see the child’s thoughts and feelings as important. All that matters is what the parent thinks, says, or feels.

Narcissistic Mother

As a result, the child will adopt a certain survival strategy.

Three survival strategies can be distinguished:

The recurring effect of a narcissistic mother is that the child suffers.

In particular, the narcissistic mother’s lack of empathy has major emotional consequences for the child in his development, but also when he is an adult.

#8 Dependence

The narcissistic parent can create a deep form of dependence on the child.

Some narcissistic parents expect their children to take care of them for the rest of their lives. This type of dependence can be financial, emotional and/or physical.

There is actually little wrong with this. In fact, when the child takes care of his or her parents, this is an admirable quality.

The difference is that a narcissistic parent manipulates the child into making unreasonable sacrifices.

Narcissistic Mother

In this sacrifice, little attention is given by the parent to the child’s priorities and needs. Again, it revolves around the (sometimes even unreasonable) demands and needs of the narcissistic parent/mother.

“My 60-year-old mother expects me to support her financially every month. She says she can’t live without me, meanwhile she spends her money on nonsensical things.” (Student with narcissistic mother)

You can also reverse this dependency. Some narcissistic parents can make their child dependent on them.

For example, by pointing out poor performance, irresponsible behavior, immaturity or by encouraging addiction, procrastination and poor mental or physical health in the child.

As a result, the narcissistic parent ensures that the child is and remains dependent on the parents and the parental home.

#9 Possession and jealousy

The narcissistic mother hopes that the child will remain under her influence forever. When the child shows signs of independent behavior, the parents can become extremely jealous.

For example, when the child becomes an adult and makes decisions to become independent, such as leaving home, going to college, or going to work.

Narcissistic Mother

But also making friends outside the mother or having their own priorities. The narcissistic mother can react very negatively to this and take it personally.

“Why are you doing this to me?”

This becomes especially explosive when the child gets a partner. This partner can be seen as a huge threat by the narcissistic mother.

The mother will therefore react negatively, express a lot of criticism towards the partner and start to behave competitively towards the child.

In other words, the narcissistic mother will turn out to be the most horrible mother-in-law.

In the eyes of the narcissistic mother, no partner may be good enough for her child.

“How dare that woman take my son away from me. Who does she think she is?”

The reason for this is that the narcissistic mother focuses primarily on her own selfish interests. This is more interesting for a narcissist than raising children.

By focusing not on the upbringing or the children but on herself, the narcissistic mother can focus on what she craves: receiving appreciation from others.

This can manifest itself in various forms, such as being obsessed with a career, (appearance) appearance, personal activities and/or hobbies. The child is left to the father or to himself.

“My wife is an absent mother. She chooses to do fun things without her family. She does not spend time with her child because of this. She is an extremely selfish person.”

Do you recognize your mother in one or more of these characteristics? Do you ever wonder ‘Was I raised by a narcissist?’

When serious family problems arise, I advise you to contact professional institutions, the general practitioner and/or mental health institutions for professional help.


Consequences of a Narcissistic Mother

You probably know the feeling. Your mother comes to visit you. The first thing she says to you when she sees you is ‘Did you have to put on that old-fashioned sweater? It doesn’t look like that.”

Then you did your best to cook a nice meal, but uninterestedly informs your mother that the chicken is dry and she eats the rest of the meal with a long face. Then she manages to find a reason why you are still single. She criticizes everything you do.

The consequences of being raised by a narcissistic mother can be profound. Your mother’s emotional absence, lack of empathy, and constant criticism take its toll.

What impact can a narcissistic mother have on a child’s life? Here are 7 possible consequences. Do you recognize the consequences of a narcissistic mother or (ex) partner in your own life?

  1. You like to please others

A common characteristic of an adult with a narcissistic mother is that he or she enjoys pleasing others.

The child got caught up in this pattern when he was always trying to please his mother too.

  1. Low self-esteem

Children of a narcissistic mother have grown up with the idea that they do things especially wrong.

At a young age, they were continuously corrected and told that they were doing things wrong. You did it the “wrong way,” which made your narcissistic mother prefer to do it herself.

When this child is an adult, he may miss this correction.

In addition, he will not feel comfortable in relationships because the maternal love (which was never there by the way) is missed.

It’s not always about your mom telling you you were doing something wrong. Even without verbal remarks, your mother can make it clear that you could never do anything right, for example by doing it yourself.

This is hurtful, inferior and degrading to a child.

The narcissistic mother has always tried her best to be better than everyone else, including being better than her own child.

She will always want to win. It is inevitable that this will have an effect on the child’s self-esteem at a later stage in his life.

  1. Lack of sense of direction

Actually, a child of a narcissistic mother has no ‘I’. You were not given the opportunity to express yourself during your childhood. You haven’t learned it.

Your thoughts, values, standards and dreams should mirror those of your narcissistic mother. You have learned to feel bad about yourself when you have different feelings.

The child is therefore an extension of the mother in everything, so that it has lost itself. What do I want? Do I like beautiful? What do I like?

  1. Lack of limits

A child can become entangled in the net of his narcissistic mother. Therefore, you can have no idea who you are. There is little difference between you and your mother.

As a result, you can feel completely lost later in life. You do everything you are asked or instructed.

As a result, you also feel insecure about your own abilities to have a strong and healthy love relationship.

  1. Anxiety, panic attacks, addiction or depression

Due to the narcissistic upbringing, the child has little self-esteem. As a result, the child can often wonder what he wants with life in adulthood.

Can I feel this way? Can I behave like this?

This uncertainty can cause more and more stress. You can no longer trust yourself, but you also have trouble trusting others.

In a relationship, this can get more complicated. A child of a narcissistic mother may have difficulty expressing their needs and feelings.

The frustrations can pile up. As a result, refuge can be found in drink, gambling, drugs, food, and obsessive behavior.

  1. It’s hard to build a healthy relationship

What is a healthy relationship? A child of a narcissist has never learned this. You may not have had a good example in your life.

You may be afraid of being abandoned or rejected by someone you love.

We can all be afraid of this, but an adult child of a narcissist can be terrified of this. You can believe that your partner will break up with everything you do wrong.

In addition, an adult child of a narcissist may be attracted to individuals who are emotionally unavailable or highly critical of others. This, of course, corresponds to the narcissistic mother.

Full-fledged love can also cause fear and an unworthy feeling. In contrast, the partner should be happy and satisfied. You may be completely out of touch with this.

  1. Narcissistic personality disorder

The easiest option for a child of a narcissist is to inherit the same characteristics. This is a defense mechanism. A survival strategy.

The child will imitate the narcissistic parent and exhibit narcissistic behavior towards others. This can seriously negatively affect the child’s life, but also his happiness level in the rest of his life.

This can even develop into extreme narcissism, in which people manipulate others to get what they want.

This can be at the expense of everything and everyone. They look for approval and depend on feeling special.

Narcissistic mother? Take this test:

Would you like to know if you were raised by a narcissistic mother or do you have the idea that the mother of your children is narcissistic?

The following test can help you recognize this. The test consists of 33 questions.

The idea is that you tick the questions that apply to the relationship between you and your mother.

The more often you recognize your relationship in these questions, the more likely you are to have a narcissistic mother.

Read through these questions and honestly mark the questions that fit the relationship between you and your mother. This way you will get a reliable result.

  1. Does your mother want to control your choices?
  2. Does your mother alternate selfish behavior with depression?
  3. Did you feel that as a child you had to take care of your mother’s emotional needs?
  4. Do you feel manipulated in your mother’s presence?
  5. Do you feel appreciated by your mother for what you do instead of her appreciating who you are?
  6. Is your mother acting like a victim?
  7. Do you pretend to be different from how you feel, as a result of your mother’s influence?
  8. Does your mother compete with you?
  9. Does your mother always want things to go her way?
  10. Do you feel useless in front of your mother?
  11. Did your mother often shame you?
  12. Do you feel like your mother really knows you?
  13. Does your mom think the world revolves around her?
  14. Do you find it difficult to be separated from your mother?
  15. Do you think your mother is fake?
  16. When you discuss your issues with your mother, does she distract the discussion by talking about herself?
  17. When you discuss your feelings with your mother, is she trying to outdo the feeling with her feelings?
  18. Do you feel like you are a slave to your mother?
  19. Do you feel that you are/were the cause of your mother’s ailments or illnesses (headaches, stress, illness)?
  20. Did you have to take care of your mother’s physical needs as a child?
  21. Do you not feel accepted by your mother?
  22. Do you feel that your mother is/was very critical of who you are and what you do?
  23. Is your mother ever jealous of you?
  24. Does Mother lack empathy for your feelings?
  25. Does your mom just support the things you do as a “good mom”?
  26. Have you always experienced a lack of emotional connection with your mother?
  27. Have you consistently asked yourself if your mother loves you?
  28. Does your mother only do things for you when others can see it?
  29. When something happens in your life (accident, illness, divorce), does your mother react with how it will affect her instead of wondering how you feel?
  30. Is your mother very aware of what others think (neighbors, friends, family, colleagues)?
  31. Does your mother deny her own feelings?
  32. Does your mother blame you or others instead of taking responsibility for her own feelings or actions?
  33. Is your mother easily offended and carries a grudge for a long time without solving the problem?

In how many questions do you recognize (the relationship between you and) your mother? The more questions you ticked, the more likely your mother is narcissistic.

You can choose to go to therapy to deal with the narcissistic influence in your upbringing.

Some say it’s okay to break up with your mother, because it’s the only way to really break free from your mother’s narcissistic influence.

It is this influence that strongly negatively affects your life, but especially the relationships with other people.

Breaking The Power Of A Narcissistic Mother

Were you raised by a narcissist? Or do you strongly believe that the mother of your children is narcissistic? You are not alone. You are not the only one nor the first person to have been the victim of a narcissistic mother. You pay a high price for staying in a relationship with a narcissist.

There is also a middle ground, which is a powerful method that will help you master the current situation and your emotions and get on with your life. Even if your mother is in power right now or if there are children involved.

Being the child of a narcissistic mother

There are children of narcissistic parents who choose to break free from their narcissistic parent.

They recommend that others do the same. This is a way to break through the negative, narcissistic influence.

It is an effective way to get out of this negative spiral. The victim is the child.

Do you recognize yourself in this? Do you recognize yourself in the effects a narcissistic parent can have on his/her child?

Realizing and accepting that you have a narcissistic parent is a long and intensely painful road.

As a child, you continue to crave the love and approval of your narcissistic parent. You won’t get this one though. This craving is therefore unreasonable.

Therefore, superficial contact or no contact with the narcissistic parent can be a healthy, effective and liberating choice. But it is not an easy choice.

What is important here is that you adopt an assertive attitude as a child. You have to learn to set your limits.

Especially when the parent is inappropriate, controlling, manipulative, abusive or invasive.

Your parent suffers from a psychological personality disorder. Even with good will, this will not change.

It is important to learn to deal with this or otherwise consciously distance yourself and break with your narcissistic parent. A relationship with a narcissist is incredibly difficult.

They have little to no empathy and are primarily concerned with their own needs. Often they do not recognize the narcissistic qualities in themselves, but point them at others.

Stepping out of the shadow of your narcissistic mother as an adult is difficult, but incredibly important.

5 Tips for Dealing With a Narcissistic Mother

Have you done the unmask the narcissist test? And would you like some simple tips to learn how to deal with a narcissistic mother or narcissistic (ex) partner? Read the following 5 tips carefully.

Tip 1: Put your own health and well-being first

Growing up, you probably tried to please your mother. As a result, you have learned to push aside your own needs and desires.

Now that you are older it is good to realize that you can now think about yourself and put yourself first.

Tip 2: Learn to set boundaries

To truly pry yourself from your narcissistic mother, come out of her shadow and discover your own identity, you will have to learn to detach yourself.

This essentially means not reacting to what the narcissist says or does. It is good to set healthy boundaries for this.

For example, limiting contact by making short telephone calls and sending short e-mails.

It is important that you discuss light topics, so no emotional topics or problems.

You will wonder what a narcissist does if you ignore her , stay calm at all times.

If this strategy doesn’t help or the narcissistic mother continues to harass you, it’s probably good to consider (temporarily) cutting off contact altogether.

This is a very difficult decision. The process to this decision can take a while.

Narcissistic Mother

Tip 3: Set clear boundaries

Confronting your narcissistic mother about her behavior probably won’t go down well.

Narcissists are very bad at taking criticism. This can actually make the situation worse.

The narcissist does not see himself as responsible. In addition, narcissism is a psychological disorder.

Narcissistic Mother

This does not disappear with confrontation. The lack of empathy will remain and may cause you even more disappointment.

Yet you must communicate to your mother that you need space. It is good to mention this specifically in a telephone call or e-mail. Communicate that you are doing this for your own well-being and personal growth.

But communicate this without blaming your mother. Then stick to your choice.

Work on yourself during this period. This will be the best possible decision for your personal development.

Tip 4: Accept that your mother does not agree

Keep in mind that there’s a good chance that the rift between you and your mom will last for a while.

Narcissists see other people, including their children, as an extension of themselves and not as individuals with their own needs.

So keep in mind that you may feel a sense of guilt.

Therefore hold on. Be assertive and continue to set your limits when your mother exceeds them.

Narcissistic Mother

Also, don’t go back on these boundaries once you’ve set them.

Don’t give in to your mother’s manipulative actions. You have the right to stand your ground and you must learn to affirm and live up to your own feelings.

Tip 5: Don’t blame yourself for the breakup

Children of narcissists have learned during their upbringing to see themselves as wrong.

Their narcissistic parent manipulated them to get this response. Narcissistic parents are very good at making people feel guilty.

Now that you are an adult, it is very important to stop blaming yourself and realize that your narcissistic mother’s behavior is no longer acceptable.

Narcissistic Mother


This narcissistic behavior forces you to take a step back now.

If you do not turn this around and do not acknowledge the cause of the pain, you as an adult are responsible for the pain that is inflicted on you.

It will be a difficult process to deal with a narcissistic mother or father. Seek help when you need it. Search the internet and/or engage professional therapy.

Work on yourself to be able to leave the narcissistic upbringing behind you.

Also Read:  Do You Want To Hurt A Narcissist? 6 Rules You Need to Know


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