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Overcoming Toxic People

My Mother is a Narcissist

Help! My Mother is a Narcissist | Surviving a Narcissistic Caregiver

No one likes to think that their own mother might be a toxic person, but an unrecognized narcissistic mother can do a lot of damage to their children. Having experienced a narcissistic mother firsthand, I’d like to share with you tactics for identifying and surviving life with a narcissist mother.

Narcissistic mothers can be identified by behaviors such as: emotional unavailability, acting very different in public than private, conditional love, emotional manipulation, and being threatened by their child’s success.

Just know how a narcissistic mother tends to act will give you a big advantage when dealing with them. Below, I’ll go in to more details about what you can expect from a narcissistic mother, and how to deal with each one.

Narcissistic Mothers Are Emotionally Unavailable

Most children of narcissistic mothers will feel that they didn’t receive enough emotional support. Such children may describe their mothers as cold, insensitive, uncaring, self-absorbed, or not empathetic.

Narcissistic mother may have difficulty understanding or internalizing their discomfort or pain of their children in a normal manner. This can lead to callous behavior that seems out of place in a parent child relationship. You will find this aspect in almost all narcissistic relationships to some degree.

Another side of the narcissistic mother to child relationship is that the mother has difficulty differentiating their needs and desires from that of their children. You will see this manifest as:

For the last example, think the over-the-top beauty parent parents. Or, parents that will do anything to get their child in to acting, even the child doesn’t really like it.

Narcissistic Mothers Act Very Different in Public than Private

Because the narcissistic mother cares more about appearances than anything else, they will often act completely differently in private than in public. While everyone has a bit of polite public face, narcissistic mothers take this to an extreme degree.

You will see such behavior as:

Like all narcissists, narcissistic mothers are obsessed with sustaining their ego through a contrived public persona. They will lie, tell stories, or manipulation appearances any way they can to make themselves look good, and make other people look bad.

Children of narcissists are at a particular disadvantage, because as their child and family, you are an inseparable part of their self-worth. Which means you must inevitably become part of their deceptions, or suffer their wrath.

Narcissistic Mothers Offer Only Conditional Love

Children of narcissistic mothers almost always feel that their parent is ready to turn against them at a moment’s notice. That the child needs to walk on eggshells to avoid blow-ups or protected psychological retaliation.

Forms of conditional love that narcissistic mother’s tend to employ are:

Most narcissists are willing and capable of using almost any psychological trick against anyone — including their children — when they can use it to build up their fantasy of success, and cement that success in the minds of other people.

Even more so, narcissist may act without any clear goal, just as means of cementing control over their children and family. They use this control as a safety that they know they can reach for should their ego fear being damaged.

Conditional love is particularly hard on children of narcissists, because they have no idea of what functional and selfless relationships feel like.

Unfortunately, the emotional games that narcissists play on their children very often leads to their victims growing up to have the same narcissistic traits. Most narcissists have some history of emotional neglect as children. Narcissistic mothers perpetuate the cycle of dysfunction.

Children of narcissists should take time to develop their emotional maturity through self-study. And, by working with a qualified coach or mental health professional. The effects of conditional love can last a lifetime — potentially destroying relationships — if left unaddressed.

Narcissistic Mothers Are Threatened by Their Child’s Success

One particularly contradictory point about narcissistic mother’s is that, while they gain an ego-boost from their child’s success, they can also feel inferior by comparison if the child is too successful.

Narcissists are in a constant, internal competition to feel better than everyone around them. They may, for seemingly unfathomable reasons, suddenly perceive even their own young children as over shadowing them. You will see this manifest as —

For many children of narcissistic mothers, this type of behavior is the most hurtful of all. Everyone child has a need for validation and acceptance from their parents. While young people can get accustomed to their narcissistic mother’s other wacky habits, this abusive behavior often leads to psychological difficulty later in life.

What do you do with a narcissistic mother?

You cannot rely on a narcissistic mother for validation or honest feedback. First, you must recognize their condition, and set appropriate boundaries. Finding an additional “mother figure” to help you mature is also ideal. Narcissistic mothers are extremely difficult to overcome, and victims should seek help from competent professionals.

How do I cure my narcissistic mother?

Unfortunately, you cannot force a narcissist to overcome their affliction. The best you can do is gently show them how their behavior affects you, in a non-threatening way. As a victim, it is important to build up an understanding of their condition, and implement appropriate boundaries in your relationship.