Is my mum a narcissist? 10 signs to look out for and what to do


The term narcissism or narcissist is thrown around pretty frequently these days. The truth is, most of us exhibit at least one (or maybe more) of the common traits associated with narcissistic personality disorder, but that doesn’t mean we’re all living with NPD. Sometimes we take our families for granted- naturally, we do. Each family is a miniature sociological experiment, with its own set of unwritten rules, secrets, and nuanced behavioral patterns. We take our mom and dad for granted; this must be what it's like for everyone. Your mum may have been narcissistic, but you just assumed that all mothers were like her. Psychologists say that narcissistic people are those self-involved individuals who have an inflated sense of self-importance and are not empathetic towards other people. Therefore, such people wreak havoc on one’s life. The damage is greatest still when it’s the parents who are the narcissists. The child suffers not just mental trauma but gets scarred for life

A narcissist mother, rather than nurturing the child, stunts their growth. Girls feel that they can’t get enough love from their mothers and boys think they can’t be good enough for them. Similar negative thoughts are manifested by children of a narcissistic mother. Hence, it is important to watch out for the signs of narcissism in the child and take steps to counter the damage done.

Not all parents have a narcissistic personality disorder, but it’s not uncommon for a narcissistic mother or father to display narcissistic tendencies, which can be just as damaging when rearing a child. Identifying the signs of narcissistic abuse can be difficult, but there are several common themes among narcissistic family members and parents

1. Rage and anger

There is a concept called narcissistic rage. You don’t want to be on the receiving end of it. The narcissistic mother has a trigger spot. When frustrated, she can rage to hurt. They display sudden mood changes and volatile anger, because the narcissist often sees others as objects, she can hurt you in the worst way, say the nastiest things — and mean it. Even when dealing with kids, a narcissist wants to win. Damage is acceptable as long as he gets his way. No wonder so many family members tiptoe around a narcissistic parent. They may be charming, but it’s the temper that gets everyone into line.

2. They want the spotlight

Keeping up with her narcissistic tendencies, the mother wants admiration from all the people around her. She amps up the charm around people to be perceived as charismatic and devoid of flaws. If the attention is not given to her, she will lash out at the people around her. She enjoys showing off all the supposed superior dispositions she beholds. A mother with narcissistic tendencies brags about her accomplishments and goes out of the way to flatter herself.

3. She likes to control

They may be well-liked and important to others but controlling and harsh when no one is looking. A narcissistic mother likes to have complete control over her children. Therefore, she precisely regulates the most insignificant tasks. And lack of obedience from the child may lead to severe consequences or punishments.

4. She manipulates in her favour

The narcissistic mothers manipulate their children into obedience. They withhold love to serve as a punishment and expect the child to show extreme gratitude for the love they get from their mothers Parental manipulation includes guilt trips, shaming, blaming, and even negative comparison. For example, if the mother lets her children know that love from their side is conditional and has to be earned, it reflects a narcissistic behaviour

5. Inability to accept boundaries

 Narcissist mothers cannot handle their children's boundaries because narcissists cannot conceive their child could exist beyond the relationship. Children of mothers with NPD will describe feeling like an object. Narcissists tend to struggle to identify with the feelings and needs of the people around them, they don't see them as separate people but only as an adornment for themselves. That is why they refuse to accept their boundaries and are unwilling to give them personal space.

6. They don’t take criticism well

They react to criticism with shame, rage, or humiliation. As narcissistic mothers perceive themselves as perfect, they are not open to criticism. For them, they are faultless, so any critique is thought of as a threat and is not well received. They hurt or cut out those who do the criticism.

7. Mum wants you to look great to her friends and colleagues

Bragging about your children’s success is the typical thing, but narcissistic mothers brag about their kids and often these kids feel they fall short in their parent’s eyes. The narcissistic mother can’t help herself. Since so much of a narcissistic mothher’s preoccupation was on success and looks, you had easy rules to follow. Indeed, you may have complied, but it left you worried in case you are to fall short one day.

8. Lack of empathy for others

she doesn’t empathize, doesn’t consider her child’s feelings, lacks empathy, and perceives their sensitivity as a sign of weakness.

9. She is driven by ego

Her ego means everything to her and she can do anything to keep her ego satisfied, even if it’s hurting someone else’s pride. She reflects a selfish personality and does not care about how her ego-driven behaviour affects his children.

10. Mom thought big

No one had an imagination like mum. Grandiosity is alluring, and so were her fantasies of success, prestige, and brilliance. She would often exaggerate her achievements, ambitions and goals bordered on unrealistic


If you had a narcissistic mother you are probably suffering. You may be narcissistically inclined yourself, or you may be chronically insecure about your worth; perhaps both. Validation is not their strong point. Discussing what you’re going through with a counselor can help you decide on the best approach to interacting with your narcissistic mother. I do hope that this piece does some service in validating your experience. If so, it’s been worth the effort.

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