How can you tell if your mother is a narcissist? By the things she says.

We give ourselves away with the language we use. Narcissist mothers say things to manipulate, guilt trip, and gaslight you. All narcissists will focus on themselves and as such, use the I pronoun more frequently. But there are other clues, so read on if you want to know the things narcissistic mothers say.

44 Examples of Things Narcissistic Mothers Say and Why

1. Criticise everything you do

  • “I don’t like your boyfriend, you should get rid of him.”

  • “Why are you working at that terrible place?”

  • “You realise that all your friends are just using you?”

  • “I don’t know why your husband puts up with you.”

  • “You were never a quick student.”

Narcissistic mothers say things to undermine your achievements. If there is one thing a narcissist mother wants, it is to control every aspect of your life. She can do this by criticising everything you do. It doesn’t matter whether your boyfriend is amazing, the food you cook is delicious, or whether you have a brilliant career.

2. Guilt-tripping

  • “You’ll be sorry when I’m gone.”

  • “You never come and visit, I’m so lonely.”

  • “I’ll probably die alone.”

  • “It’s your fault your father and I split up.”

  • “I would have had a career if it wasn’t for you.”

  • “When are you going to have children? I want to be a grandmother.”

Narcissist mothers say things to guilt-trip you into feeling sorry or responsible for something that isn’t your fault. Don’t fall into their trap of pushing guilt or blame onto you

3. Gaslighting

  • “I never said that.”

  • “You are being too sensitive.”

  • “What is going on with you?”

  • “No, you misunderstood me.”

Gaslighting is a form of manipulation used by narcissists, sociopaths and psychopaths. Narcissist mothers will say things to deliberately confuse you. You’ll start questioning your memory and wondering. 

4. Creating drama

  • “My own daughter keeps my grandbabies away from me!”

  • “I bought a new dress and my son told me I looked terrible.”

  • “My family never visited me in hospital, I could have died!”

  • “It was my birthday and I never even got a card.”

  • “My dog was ill and no one helped me.”

  • “Your brother never liked your husband.”

Narcissists of all kinds love creating drama. It means that they are at the centre of all the attention, which is what they are aiming for. They can put you down and elevate themselves at the same time it’s a win-win situation for them. 

5. Dismissing your feelings

  • “Honestly, I can’t even joke with you.”

  • “Why do you make such a drama out of everything?”

  • “I’m telling you this for your own good.”

  • “Oh get over it, it’s not a big deal.”

  • “What’s the problem? Why are you so much trouble?”

Narcissistic mothers are not interested in nurturing their children. The only feelings they care about are their own, and what other people think about them. So narcissistic mothers will say things to invalidate your feelings.

6. Emotional blackmail

  • “I’m having a party and I need you to do the catering.”

  • “I’ve booked a cruise and I have no one else to go with me.”

  • “If you don’t pick me up from the airport I can’t go on the holiday.”

  • “I need you to take care of my animals or I’ll miss out on a trip.”

We all want to be kind and helpful to our family members. But there are times when we simply don’t have the time. Everyone has the right to say no and not feel as if they are being emotionally blackmailed.

Think how you would react if you asked someone a favour. Would they start guilt-tripping you into doing what they asked? Of course, not. So don’t allow it from your family. 

7. Lowering your confidence

  • “I wish you’d never been born.”

  • “Even your siblings don’t like you.”

  • “It’s no wonder you have no friends.”

  • “No one will ever love you.”

  • “You are an embarrassment to the family.”

One form of control is to gradually chip away at a person’s self-esteem. You often see this type of behaviour in coercive controlling relationships. A partner will constantly belittle the person, so eventually, their confidence is at rock bottom. 

8. Having favourites

  • “Your sister is doing so well at college, what a shame you dropped out.”

  • “Did you hear your cousin got accepted at the amazing firm?”

  • “Isn’t it fabulous news about your brother’s engagement? When are you going to find someone?”

  • “You have such an awful figure, why can’t you be more like your sister?”

  • “Your brother always takes me out to dinner when he’s in town.”

Narcissistic mothers love to say things to pit their children against each other. This is unsettling as one moment you could be the favourite and the next you are the scapegoat of the family.

9. Competing with you

  • “Oh, I was much younger when I passed those exams.”

  • “Your hair is so messy, you must get it from your father.”

  • “My figure is better now than yours has ever been.”

  • “You look like you got dressed in the dark. You obviously don’t have my fashion sense.”

Parents are supposed to support and nurture their children. They should give encouragement instead of criticism or competing against them. Not so with the narcissistic mother. She’ll say things to promote herself and undermine you at the same time. 

Final thoughts

It doesn’t matter what things narcissistic mothers say. What does matter is how you deal with whatever she’s throwing at you on that particular day. Some people cut off all contact, others keep a polite distance. It is up to you to decide what sort of relationship you want, you have that right. 



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This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. judith crosby

    yes children need positivity but they also need direction and discipline and structure which may include constructive criticism…maybe one is not the best at nurturing but that doesn’t mean one is a narcissist

  2. Julie MacAllister

    I think putting all the attributes mentioned together then makes the narcissist label fit. I believe that a person /mother who behaves like this can also be said to be someone who has a trauma history themselves . They have an inability to empathise. They are arrogant, very self centred and have personality difficulties

  3. Sarah

    I personally have had some of those things said to me and have never felt belittled or upset especially the guilt ones. I think anything said in intent to belittle is wrong but trying to help guide or make someone aware of your feelings is not a narcissist. We’ve turned anything and everything into that category and parents can’t do anything anymore without it being criticized

  4. Suzanne Finn

    Sarah I couldn’t agree more

  5. Rosy

    Of course our kids need direction, discipline and structure, but in positive words that won’t hurt them or put them down.

  6. Lil

    A couple of these are pretty subtle, but it’s worth noting that covert narcissists will say these things in a much more indirect way. The message still gets through as they intend it but it can look quite innocuous to outsiders, so they can insult you right in front of someone and that other person doesn’t see it for what it is.

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