Children should be nurtured by both sets of parents, but if one is a narcissistic mother, then all the attention will be directed towards her.
It is natural for parents to want their children to do well in life. Parents that have good self-esteem and strong self-confidence are more likely to pass these traits onto their children.
But when a parent is obsessively preoccupied with being the centre of attention at all times, and needs constant compliments, this has an enormous effect on their children.
So how do you identify a narcissistic mother?
Here are ten signs:
1. Lives vicariously through the child’s life
The children of narcissistic mothers exist only to achieve their mother’s goals, dreams and aspirations. The child is not raised to meet their own expectations, but those of the mother. It is extremely important for a narcissistic mother to show the outside world that she is superior and she sees her own child as merely a tool or accessory in order to achieve this.
The child will not be able to pursue activities they find interesting unless it fits in with how the mother wants to world to perceive her. The mother will control every aspect of her child’s life, but not care about their individuality or emotions, just so that they keep up the façade of their perfect life.
2. She has to be the centre of attention
Every narcissist wants to be the centre of attention, that’s a given, but how does it affect a parent/child relationship? The narcissistic mother will use the child to focus the spotlight on herself. She will exaggerate her child’s achievements and successes, and dominate any conversation to bring the topic back to her offspring.
She will overplay her role in her child’s achievements, dress her child up and show them off, but only to take the credit for them. She will boast about their achievements while making it very clear of the vital role she played in them.
3. She passes on a grandiose sense of self
A narcissist has an over-inflated ego and a grandiose sense of self, which they pass onto their children. The children grow up to believe that those around them are not worthy and are not as deserving as they are. They are also taught, by the mother, that other people can and should be used as tools in order for them to progress in life.
By objectifying other people in the child’s life, it is easier for the mother to teach her children that they are superior and have a sense of entitlement.
4. Promoting a superficial image
All narcissists create an image which they show to the world, in order to mask their true nature. This superficial image can be projected in many ways, for instance; driving a flashy car, owning a grand house, wearing designer clothes and handbags and expensive jewellery.
Narcissistic mothers use their children to help promote their superficial image by bragging about their school reports or achievements or dressing them in expensive clothes.
Narcissistic mothers use manipulation in order for a child to receive love and attention. Instead of this being a natural expression between parents and children, a narcissist mother withholds love to exploit her child into doing her bidding.
She will lie, play mind games, trick and deceive the child to undermine them so that they are mentally weak and can be easily manipulated.
6. She will have a favourite child
It’s an unwritten rule that parents do not have a favourite child, but the narcissist mother will be in no doubt who is her favourite if there are more than two siblings in the family.
She will split them up to set them against each other and maintain control over each of them. The favourite will be given anything they want whilst the scapegoated child will be rebuked at a moment’s notice.
7. The child is always the source of any problems
Anything that goes wrong in a narcissistic mother’s life will no doubt be blamed on her children. She has such a solid and concrete belief in herself that she cannot see how anything can be her fault, so she fixates on the children.
As her children are likely to be close to her for much of the time, she will find them an easy target for her disappointment.
8. She will depend on the child in later life
Despite her blaming her children whilst they were growing up for everything that went wrong in her life, the narcissistic mother will expect her children to look after her in later life.
They will plead dependency on their children and feign emotional blackmail to keep their children near them, or at least, supporting them.
9. She will be jealous of her child’s success
Although a narcissistic mother will use her child’s success’s to boost her own profile, once that child gets older they are likely to become jealous of any achievements in later life.
Any sign of the child becoming independent or leaving, the mother will be met with outrage and outbursts that are emotional and aggressive.
10. Narcissistic mothers neglect their children
A narcissistic mother will not be in the slightest bit interested in her own children unless they can add to her achievements in some way. They are more likely to focus on their own pleasures and activities and leave the child to the other parent or some family member.
If you can identify with some of the above traits, and believe you might have been raised by a narcissistic mother, it is important to know the following:
- It wasn’t your fault
- You cannot cure it
- There’s nothing you can do
- She won’t change her behaviour
This is hope however, as Rayne Wolfe states, as part of her ‘30 Healing Affirmations for Daughters of Toxic Mothers’:
“My toxic mother can only intimidate me if I let her. While she’s busy trying to bully the child me, the adult me can reject her, ignore her, correct her, or report her to authorities”