I have just read this: http://liveboldandbloom.com/?s=10+signs+of+a+narcissistic+mother
It was incredibly accurate and scarily relevant for me. It never fails to shock, even all this time later. It’s also incredibly validating. These are the things that stuck out for me:
She won’t share the spotlight
They are so desperate for attention, that they are unwilling to share it with anyone, not even their own child. This presents a challenge because children – especially when young – often become default focal points when groups of family or friends meet.
To counter this threat, she will try to dominate all discussions involving her child, speaking for them or about them rather than to and with them. She will boast about their achievements while making it very clear of the vital role she played in them.
She will dress them up and show them off, but only so as to take credit for their appearance.
She will take it upon herself to answer any questions that are posed to the child, just so that she can ensure the right answer is given (the right answer being the one that sheds the best light on her). Even in situations that don’t involve external cast members, she will seek to extract as much attention as she can from her child.
This becomes all the more apparent when the child grows up and flies the nest; at this point, she will find or fabricate reasons for the adult child to return to her on a staggeringly regular basis.
If they refuse, she bemoans how little they care and love for her in order to get attention that way.
[Example: 3 years ago she offered to let me have a birthday party at her house. I was excited. SHE wanted a bouncy castle there and so I agreed (why not?) then she kept inviting people to “her” party in front of me and when I corrected her, she would say it was a joint party… for both of us. It couldn’t be just about me.
I am pretty convinced this is also why she never came to watch me in any of my school dance or drama shows/exams. She couldn’t bear the spotlight to be on me and not her.
Another example – I used to participate in the “Race For Life” cancer runs. One year my grandparents were going to take me but shortly before the day, she told me that they no longer could and she told them that I no longer needed them to take me/come. I was very upset about this but she told me I was being extremely selfish expecting them at their age to come and stand around for hours. I also began learning to run and at one point was running 5k a few times a week, this was a huge achievement for me. One weekend when we were at her house, she told me she could do that “tomorrow” with absolutely no training, having not exercised at all, yet alone ran in years and years. I argued with her for about an hour on this point and she would not cave so I challenged her, okay, tomorrow we will head out then. She agreed. The next day this wasn’t mentioned – obviously. Always in competition wtih me. Even when I was a kid at school she would set me “competitions” on who was loved the most on valentine’s day, who would get the most flowers and cards… she always won, obviously.
A few years ago I had a smear test and the results were severely abnormal. I went to her house in a state, crying and shaking convinced that meant I would die of cancer. She did not even put her arm around me. I went and had the bad cells removed but shortly before that day, she told me that she wasn’t sure she would be able to come anymore because she really needed to go to River Island and buy some new shoes. I kicked off on this occasion and she flew into a rage about how not everything is about me, how I am selfish etc. I stormed out of her house on this occasion and went home. I kept getting phone calls from her and her husband and eventually I answered the phone to her husband who told me that my poor mother was crying hysterically because she was in fact, so, so scared of what would happen to me but that she didn’t want to scare me….]
She Always Takes Priority Over The Child
A narcissist is most concerned with themselves and this holds true when one becomes a mother. Unless she sees it in her own best interests, she will refuse to attend to the needs of her children if they interfere with her own plans.
Unless a favoured child is involved, don’t expect to see her making sacrifices in terms of her time, energy, and attention. She will always make sure she gets what she wants even if it leaves a child unhappy.
She might treat them to a meal out for their birthday, but they won’t get to choose the restaurant. She might even buy them a present, but little thought or effort will go into it; after all, she is so busy with her own affairs that she won’t know what her child really wants.
Example: My mother never made any sacrifices for me. This includes being left at home alone on Xmas Day evening as she wanted to go and stay at her boyfriend’s house. My sister was at her dad’s. I told her I would be okay (I knew how to please her I guess) and so she went. As for presents, last Christmas she got me a play-suit that is something she would wear (not me) and a fake designer handbag (one she has too) which isn’t my thing. I can honestly say that she has never got me a present which has had ANY sentimental value at all. I felt very ungrateful at Christmas when I told T that nothing she got me was “me” but I just wish she knew me – the real me, which she clearly doesn’t.]
She Is Always Right
Another manifestation of her inflated self-image is that she is unable to accept she might be wrong about something. This is particularly true when her child gets a bit older and is able to argue their point; she will deny them any ground and insist they are mistaken.
One of the primary points of conflict is the recalling of events from each party’s perspective. The mother, suffering from the delusions of narcissism, will often remember something in quite a different way to the child.
As hard as the child might make their case, and as much evidence as they can produce to support it, the mother will flatly deny such a recollection.
This pattern is not restricted to past events, but also the opinions and beliefs each of them hold. The child may express their views on something, but unless they match those of the mother, they will be rebuffed with a measure of disdain designed to force them onto the back foot.
[Example: God, my mother has NEVER, ever apologised to me or my sister. Not once, not even when she has been very obviously and clearly been proven wrong. She would just laugh and pull faces showing that her mood had now lifted and she was being “playful” but she would NEVER say the word “sorry”. Obviously this was a word that me and my sister were forced to say all the time. Last year on my birthday, my mother brought up a conversation about politics and asked everyone at the table who they were voting for. I was the only person at the table voting differently and she went to town on me about how wrong I was, how I clearly didn’t understand. She even said to my boyfriend “have a word will you?”. I am not allowed an opinion that differs to her’s].
She Rarely Offers A Kind Word To Her Child
Favourite children aside, narcissistic mothers are extremely stingy with regards to the nice things they say. Compliments, genuine encouragement, and declarations of affection are rarities because the mother chooses to focus her energies on the things her child has done wrong.
She will often criticize them whether they deserve it or not, and even if a softer approach is what’s needed to help. She will demean and degrade their own sense of self-worth by flinging regular insults at them, often covertly disguised as neutral comments.
She might talk openly with (or in front of) the child about how much she enjoys the company of other people, but never of the child itself. She doesn’t want them to believe in themselves as fun individuals, but rather as troublesome, unsuccessful people who are nothing but a thorn in her side.
She’ll make general statements about people who contain not-so-subtle messages for her child. She’ll say “nobody loves me” and “people are so selfish” to indirectly accuse her child of these things, while retaining her ability to deflect the statements onto others if the child protests.
[Example: I think I touched on this yesterday. My mother has never given me compliments. Quite the opposite. I grew up knowing my faults. I was too sensitive, too needy, selfish, impatient, greedy, thought the world “revolved around” myself (I could go on), but I did not know what I did well, what my good traits were. She couldn’t do that.
I used to visit my mother most Friday evenings for years (until I met my current boyfriend) and often she would have me in floods of tears telling me how my hair looked a mess, how my coat and shoes were disgusting, how I didn’t make “the best” of myself.. she would then get her husband to agree with her. I believed them (why wouldn’t you?) and then they would give me advice on how to improve myself and I would do as they said and they would then compliment me on how much better I looked. Knock me down to build me up to keep me dependant. My mother would regularly give me or lend me her clothes and insist they suited me way better than my own did. I used to believe this. Now I see she just saw me as an extension of herself. I wasn’t allowed my own sense of style. I once wore trainers to her house and she asked me if I had run there (clearly I hadn’t – but she made her point).]
She Will Grow Envious Of The Child In Later Life
As her child grows up and begins to live an independent life of their own, the narcissistic mother will become envious of the new people, experiences, and things she sees.
Believing herself to be superior to her child, she suffers greatly to see them become happy, content individuals. In a bid to prevent them from outshining her, she will seek to sabotage things in whatever way she can.
She will start demanding more time and attention from the child in order to stifle their new-found life, and she may even ask for money in an attempt to put a strain on their finances.
Any new relationships – particularly romantic ones, but also friendships – will be seen as a challenge to her dominant place in the child’s life. She will do everything in her power to drive a wedge between them and their new friends and lovers.
She will fabricate stories to humiliate her child, she will make snide remarks about their new acquaintances, and she might even outright declare her disdain for them in a bid to make her child choose between them.
She will not be content to sit back and watch her child find happiness without her.
[Example: well I think this is exactly what is happening to me now. My mother is furious with me and secretly hates my boyfriend. She acts as though she likes him to my face and to his, but slags him off to my sister, stepdad, grandparents and friends. If she had time alone with me, she would admit her “worries” to me but I purposely don’t see her alone these days and so she doesn’t get the opportunity anymore. When I saw her last week, she told me that she thought my best friend was a “user” and had no time for me anymore.
My mother is furious that she doesn’t see me as often as she used to and not because she misses me but because she is no longer the one who is able to control me. I don’t ask for her opinion or advice, she doesn’t get to mould me into what she wants me to be. She doesn’t get to put on a front that we are “really close” and I do not “need” her anymore. In other words I am not dependant on her – she isn’t getting her fix from me.] On top of this, I would usually crumble immediately at the first signs of guilt and I am stronger now. I see through it now and so it isn’t working. She HATES that and she blames it on my boyfriend.
Right now, today, this has sunk in a little deeper and the gulit is slowly going – right now I feel like rubbing it her stupid face that she hasn’t achieved what she wanted. She will not keep me down. I WILL have a good life and she cannot stop me. If she asked me to pick between her and my boyfriend, he would win every day. I would love to say that to her.]
She Will Manipulate Her Child
The ability and will to manipulate others is another thing that is present in every single narcissist out there. The means of manipulation are many and varied; they could fill many books in their own right when explored in detail. Suffice to say that much of what has already been discussed constitutes manipulation, and the general theme is one of control and obedience.
A narcissistic mother will seek to silence their child’s own voice, dictate their every move, and smother any shoots of individualism.
She will abuse her position and exploit her child for her own satisfaction and profit.
Mind games, lies, and trickery are just some of the tools designed to confuse the child and weaken their self-belief to a point where they can be mentally and emotionally enslaved.
[Example: my entire life – see above!]