There are signs you have a narcissistic mother but they are not always easy to recognise. The only way to conclusively know is if she would get an assessment by a qualified mental health professional.
Most of us can’t say to our mothers “I think you are a Narcissist and should go for an assessment”. She just would not go.
I have explained here what Narcissism / Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is here but what do they mean for you in the real world? What are some examples of her narcissistic behaviours because not everything is black and white? In fact, NPD is really difficult to diagnose for many reasons.
Also, your mother does not need to be clinically diagnosed with a Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) for her behavior to be difficult. In fact, being diagnosed with NPD is rare but those with a few fewer symptoms than those with NPD, are still difficult to cope with.
What about those signs of a narcissistic mother now that you are an adult? How are her behaviors affecting you now? Depending on how intense her traits are, chances are as you get older, you may find her behaviors more and more difficult to deal with.
I will provide 28 signs in this article.
1. Unstable emotionally
Most of the time you can’t predict what mood she would be in so you find that when you are going to see her, you go through your mental checklist to ensure that you have done your best to ensure that she would be happy with you. You find that you feel anxious if you are not sure if you are up to her standards.
Your mom to maintain the balance of her home to her favour may manipulate between family members. She almost creates this imbalance of power, and takes advantage of you, to get power, control, benefits, and/or privileges at your expense. Or you could have seen her do it to your sibling or to those she is in a relationship with.
3. You just feel you can’t trust your mom
So in reality you rely on her for very little. Or you have just learned over the years that she is not true to her word.
4. Everything revolves around her
Even down to things that are for you such as your wedding or graduation, which should be your day, almost always evolves around what she wants and what would keep her happy.
5. She doesn’t like you but no one else notices
If she doesn’t like you, even if you are her child, you would know about it but no one else notices. Either because she sings your praises to everyone else but you or she is nice to you when someone else is around.
6. She is entitled
She believes that she deserves more than other people, without putting the work in. Or she continues to expect special treatment.
7. Trying to control you
This could range from blatantly telling you, if she is an overt narcissist, how to live your life and what is acceptable to her. Or she could you covert tactics by being passive-aggressive, back-handed comments, silent treatment, etc to “nudge” you in her direction.
8. Always brings conversations back to her
This sounds like she consistently brings the conversation back to her. She talks about herself but doesn’t balance it out with curiosity, kindness, or understanding of others.
9. It’s always someone or something else’s fault
When she is upset when things don’t go her way when she has made mistakes, it is always someone else’s fault. Even it is constantly blaming her childhood, her life experiences, and what her life would be like if she didn’t have children. She never takes any responsibility for her role in situations.
10. Easily shamed
She feels so ashamed if something goes wrong and it is likely other people knew about it. How she reacts here is usually completed over the top and out of context. She has an image to maintain.
11. Feeling threatened by your independence
Your desire to live your life as an independent adult with your own thoughts and desires away from her isn’t understood or accepted. You live your own life without it revolving around her would not be accepted.
12. Lives her life through you
Not having a life of her own, she may need to live her life through her children. A mother has her vision for her child’s life and then almost forces them into it not noticing or even at times caring what the child may feel for themselves. A classic example of this is the famous Opera singer Maria Callas
13. Never apologising
In fact, others may somehow find themselves apologising to her, just to release some of the tension. Even if she is totally wrong, somehow it is twisted and projected onto something else.
14. Holds grudges
She doesn’t tend to easily forgive those who upset her. Even if the person didn’t directly upset her i.e. they didn’t fulfill her wishes, she could still hold it against you.
15. Doesn’t regard other people’s boundaries
She may show signs of not respecting others’ needs for privacy, personal space or limitations. She attempts to make others feel guilty for attempting to set boundaries for themselves.
16. Needing to win an argument
She needs to have the last word at all costs as it is a way of maintaining power and control over others.
17. Micromanages your life
Through her constant criticisms and never being happy no matter what you do. She is very critical and judgemental of you and everything you try to do.
18. Sees shaming you as a discipline tactic
Would believe that in order for you to change your behaviors, feeling ashamed of who you are is needed. She may use her words which would be quite brutal at times to make it clear that you have done wrong. She would even go as far as humiliating you in public in front of others. Teasing or mocking remarks framed as jokes
19. Compares you to others
Even if it is comparing you to your siblings, other family members, or someone else’s child. You are not good enough in her eyes and that person is much better and this is how.
20. She drags you into her world too much
She would tell you everything about her friends, your dad, and their relationship, including the sexual stuff. It didn’t matter that you are uncomfortable hearing all that. She needed you to be there for her.”
21. Needs you to tell her how wonderful she is
She needs you to load her with praise and gratitude. Either by rewarding her with gifts that she wants, or that birthday card telling her what a good mom she is.
22. Silence is not golden
Especially where your mother is concerned. She is an expert on silent treatment like no one you know. Even when she attempts to talk to you, you know that she is still giving you silent treatment.
23. She puts herself down so much and needs you to build her back up again
This is more covert narcissism and subtle where she relies on you to build her self-esteem. She may even speak modestly about her achievements so that you can lavish more praise on her.
24. Puts down other people
She can just be rude at times to other people which often embarrasses you. She may not have a filter to curtail her words to others. Or she just makes snide comments to you.
25. Seems really jealous
She could be jealous of other family members, of their children even of her own children. She could be jealous when others seem to have what she doesn’t have
26. Your mom somehow makes you feel responsible for the things that has happened to her
She can appear to give but it’s more about how she presents herself in a way that looks like she is giving, but her giving behavior always has the intent of getting something in return.
27. Doesn’t seem to care about how you feel
Even if you are upset, you are crying, you try to explain how you feel. Maybe she brings it back to how she feels or how she experienced a similar thing. Or she doesn’t respond in a helpful way.
28. You are dismissed and discounted
Does not provide guidance, emotional support, or empathy. She consistently discounts and denies your emotions.
Summary of 28 Tell Tale Signs You Have A Narcissistic Mother
The 28 signs of a narcissistic mother I have provided here are in no way conclusive as there is a lot more I can add here.
Are there any more you feel could have been added that I could include in a separate article? Feel free to let me know by contacting me.