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.

5.  Manipulation

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”



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This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Mike Hughes

    This helped me a ton. Thank you

  2. charlena mcfarland

    I am the posterchild for this.

  3. Michelle D Lightcap

    Me, too! Perfectly described. Thank you

  4. Fran P.

    I’m not sharing this on Facebook. Some of the things I know my mother did and said to me were not known by my siblings. I am not giving my sister’s kids the opportunity to deny some of this stuff. Regardless of what our parents, our older brother was generally favored. My sister rose in our parents’ esteem after she had kids.

    I was considered average and told not to bother doing certain things. They lived less than 30 miles from the auditorium in which I received the Secretary of Transportation’s Award for Excellence, and couldn’t be bothered to show up for the ceremony. Even my new supervisor from my next agency came with me!

    In addition, in her later years, Mom blamed me for causing her to start menopause early. She was popular with everyone until she had her first stroke. There are many things that fit, but not all. I guess I should be glad that she didn’t have Munchhausen by proxy.

  5. J. Khoueiry

    Every single one describes my upbringing perfectly.

  6. Alex

    I have only recently realised that my mother fits this description. For years I wondered why I was as thick as she told me I was while my sister “got the brains” I jumped into a relationship to escape my Mother and he too turned out to be a controlling force. I have no self esteem and no belief in my abilities. I was once asked to stay away from my Father’s surprise birthday party by my mother because she preferred that my sister was there and wanted no “bad feelings at the party” No one knows as she told everyone I was having “one of my huffs” She has lied about me my whole life and family have always believed her and I am the liar. Her, my dad and my sister have ganged up on me because my mother has convinced them I have lied about something. I now realise that my own family bullied me on the strength of her statements. Just recently she accused me of something else I didn’t do and even convinced my dad he witnessed me doing it. I will never win. nothing I do is good enough or ever will be. I know that now. It has taken 48 years to realise I need to start doing stuff to please me. I no longer need their approval or for them to be proud ( they never will be). She is my mother and I will only have one and as much as I love her she will never be a friend. Thank you for this article.

    1. Janey Davies, B.A. (Hons)

      It can take a long time to realise that our parents are not perfect. They are just older than us and capable of having all kinds of personality disorders.
      Knowing this can be a big relief. Of course, it doesn’t change your experience growing up. Hopefully, it can help to come to terms with it. it’s good that
      you love your mum. I was never able to say that about mine.

  7. Pria Acharya

    I’m almost 56 and experienced my mother’s disrespect again yesterday, on Mother’s Day. I called her in India to wish her, she told me to get a job and that my brother was calling and would call back. As usual, she didn’t and didn’t wish me as I’m a mom. I realized this is how she has always treated me, not someone she wanted to get to know, but was always displeasing her somehow. I felt sad for the child I was growing up without her love or acceptance. I didn’t deserve that. No one does.

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