The narcissistic mother has to be the hardest narcissist to deal with, she has opted to put herself in charge of vulnerable babies who absolutely depend on her for their survival, only she does not want to take care of them or do what is best for her children, she only wants them to be devoted to her, be completely under her control and to manipulate them into doing what is best for her at all times.
So why would a female narcissist want to become a mother when she is so self-absorbed and selfish. There are a number of reasons.
- It suits her image of herself to be a mother
- Children are easy to manipulate and control and are a constant source of narcissistic supply.
During pregnancy she will love the attention that being pregnant gives. It is important to remember that narcissists only think in the short term and will not consider the long term commitment of pregnancy. After the baby is born, she will continue to get attention as people always make a fuss of babies and she will see the baby as an extension of herself, and will carry it around like an accessory in public. She sees her children as her property and will always insist that they put her needs before their own (or anyone else’s) it is a plan that she has for them, to serve her needs without consultation, consent or gratitude.
From a very early age her children will learn that the house they live in is her home and the amount of welcome that any child in the family will have in that home/family will depend exclusively on how well they cater to her needs. That may be expecting her child(ren) to take care of her emotional needs, directly doing jobs for her or doing something for others that she feels makes her look good that she will take credit for, or fulfilling a dream she had but never accomplished, a child who does anything that does not have her interests in mind is a form of bad behaviour and is therefore punishable.
The narcissistic mother does not take responsibility for her actions, so everything that she does is deniable. She will use ridiculous excuses for her behaviour (if any at all) and lie about or deny anything that she might be criticised on.
Children of a narcissistic mother will be trained from a very young age that anything that they do that is not to her liking will be punished in private, never in public. Sometimes if she gets caught out being unkind to her child and gets criticised by someone outside the nuclear family she will deny her action “I was only joking”, “it is just a game we play” and will punish the child at home at some later date for making her look bad in public.
Narcissistic mothers are complete control freaks, they maintain that control by constantly knocking and destroying the self-esteem and confidence of her child from a very young age, her relentless cutting remarks are expressed as concern for their well-being, as hostile humour or outright rage. A narcissistic mother will be abusive to the point that she erodes her child’s sense of self and the ability to stand alone by constantly violating boundaries and forcing her needs, insecurities and pain onto her child.
They punish by snarling bitchy put downs for self-championing and will get angry and irritable if she feels any attention is being “taken” away from her, she sees it as a form of theft. So she might say things like “will you stop showing off” if you are singing or dancing to for yourself, or if you win a prize at school she might say “they must have felt sorry for you”. Nothing you can do is right, you can be punished and praised for the same action. She will just reframe it, you can be punished for doing well in and exam “your brother tried so much harder than you, you don’t deserve it” or praised if she is in the company of non-family members “I am so proud”. This is extremely confusing and terrifying for a child because they never know what erratic behaviour is coming their way. When she punishes, she punishes in a vindictive and sadistic manner, designed exclusively to humiliate and diminish her own off spring, the punishment might even come a week or two later while she thinks up the “right” sanction, so that someone who did not grow up in a family like this would have difficulty knowing that the two events could possibly be connected.
She will say that she only wants what is best for you, but she doesn’t because her primary aim is to be the centre of attention, the most admired and any deviation from that is considered a major threat. She sees remaining the centre of attention as a game and she plays to win with whatever means possible. She knows how to behave by mimicking the actions of others, but it is all a charade and she can she can slip into various personas with ease and conviction. It is really only in moments of narcissistic rage that she will tell you outright that she thinks that you are inadequate, a horrible person or always in the wrong. She might punish as a result of you having achieved something or even just for having enjoyed yourself, if you have enjoyed yourself in the company of other people she will go on a negative tirade on how awful those people are. Narcissistic mothers are malevolent and as a child you know that she is enjoys hurting you because she gets a look of glee in her face when she sees that she has upset you, children of narcissistic mothers are hyper vigilant because it feels like their survival depends on it.
She is as controlling by what she doesn’t say as much as by what she does, she gives scrambled messages that she can deny if she gets pulled up on it. For example, she will compliment you through gritted teeth. Her tone and facial expressions will be completely out of synch with what she is saying. In this respect she cannot be confronted because she “said the right thing” but everything else was to let her child know they were “bad”.
Once a narcissistic mother has trained her children, she can punish or let them know they will be punished, with just a look or a twitch, her body language, or by ignoring you, she doesn’t have to say a word. The result of this is that her child(ren) are always walking on egg shells because she is completely erratic and you will always be in the wrong and you never really know why. She might punish you for being able to do something that she was unable to achieve in her own childhood, you might have a lot of friends, be entertaining, good at sport or art, she won’t say why she is punishing you and you couldn’t possibly know that how just being a child and doing your own innocuous thing could possibly pose a threat.
Her abuse is all about control and she takes it very seriously. She is very careful about how and when she abuses and is very secretive. She will not tell her child(ren) anything about herself but will try to milk them for information about themselves and their siblings. That information can and will be used against her off spring at a later date. She will reframe the information, that is she will distort it to fit her put-downs and blaming. If her child gets visibly upset she will say “oh you are so over sensitive” or if she knows that she has pushed it too far, especially if she is in the company of someone else she will say “oh don’t be so stupid, can’t you take a joke?” she will know that her child knew that it was not intended as a joke it is just a ploy to deny the child a reaction to her behaviour.
She will talk about her child(ren) to other people and try to destroy their credibility by say things like “Mary is so touchy, I cannot say anything to her and all that I am trying to do is help” or “I feel so sorry for Mary she is going through a really rough patch, I am doing my best to help her, but…” It is for this reason people find it hard to believe that she is anything other than a devoted mother and they will say things to you like “I am sure that she didn’t mean it that way” or “well maybe she is right, maybe you are being over sensitive or reading too much into it” if her behaviour is highlighted. This is called a smear campaign and is designed to discredit anything even mildly negative that might be said about her in the present or future. It is to protect her good reputation and public image. If she feels that her child has done or said something that makes her look bad she will intensify the smear campaign and will lie about her child to protect herself. These lies could include that they are volatile, an addict, extremely unstable or just have an extremely over active imagination (of course they will all be woven into sentiments of extreme concern about the well-being of her child(ren)).
She will violate boundaries. Saying “no” to her is not an option. She will take or give away her child(ren)’s things without asking. For example, she might take the clothes off a very young child in public to give to another child (probably not her own) who has wet their pants. This is to make her look good, she does not care that she has left her own child feeling completely mortified and humiliated.
She will volunteer her child(ren)’s time to other people without asking, she will assume knowledge of what they like or do not like without consolation to suit her ow needs. She will snoop through their things to try to get more information, barge into bedrooms, bathroom or house without knocking. She asks tons of questions about who they have seen, conversations they have had and what they have been up to, she will have no qualms about opening her child(ren)’s post, looking at emails or phone messages and listening in on private conversations. This is all to harvest as much information as she possibly can so that she can use it as gossip or use against her child(ren) at a later date either to their face or as part of a smear campaign. It is important to note that the questions she asks is looking for information and data as she has absolutely no interest in her child’s well-being or emotional state. If the information is withheld it she will try to prize it out of their siblings or get it by some other means, if she cannot get enough information she will just make it up, it will not cost her a second thought.
A thing that some siblings learn to do in a dysfunctional family like this is to snitch on each other. If you give the narcissist mother information about another of her off spring it takes the heat off the one who is sharing information on his brother or sister. This keeps the narcissist mother “happy” and provides a shield for the child who is doing the tale telling, it gives a semblance of being intimate with her, when in fact s/he is just protecting themselves at a cost to their sibling.
A narcissistic mother will do as much as she can to hold her child(ren) back. Like not allowing them to participate in sporting activities, allowing them to learn how to drive, not allowing them to go to parties (unless she thinks that it would be good for her image or meets with external pressure), she might tell her child(ren) not to study she will say that she wouldn’t want her child to look bad if they made a big effort and failed, but really it is because she does not like the achievement of others especially if it is something that she has not achieved herself. She might refuse to let her child(ren have summer jobs so that she can keep them completely financially dependent on her, she might not ever buy new clothes and insist that you wear cast offs, even when she is not under any financial pressure, and she might be reluctant to let you wear clothes that are appropriate to your age group.
Another way which she violates boundaries is by assuming an inappropriate intimacy with the friends, lovers, husbands or wives of her child(ren). She will talk about them and to them as if they were her friends. She might have only met them for 5 minutes but will say things like “Oh that is just so typical of Ben” or “Well of course Virginia is very highly strung”. She might flirt outrageously with boyfriends/husband/male friends so that they all think that she is amusing and cool. If a narcissist mother does not like a friend of her child she will have no qualms about telling them, the result of this is that they will feel uncomfortable about saying that they were socialising with them, which means that the child feels that they need to lie to avoid her wrath, if she really dislikes them, usually because she feels that they can see through her mask or deems them too low class for her superior position she will get the other siblings and friends to sneer, jeer and generally ridicule that person (these are called flying monkeys) just so as she can maintain her image to herself without threat.
She is envious every level. Compliments, nice things, having fun, having friends/lovers/ marriages and accomplishments are all things that make her envious which is usually manifested in anger and then she will either try to take them from her child or try to spoil it for them, this includes relationships, it is as though she thinks that any compliment, positive comments or healthy relationships are a limited resource and anything that is not about her a threat to her.
The narcissistic mother will only acknowledge any accomplishments in her children if she feels that it reflects well on her, an accomplishment that she cannot take credit for is ignored or diminished. For example, if a child gets a degree she will say something like “well if you can do it must have been easy” and will not let you celebrate by not letting you attend the graduation ceremony and categorically refusing to go herself. She will try to steal any occasion that celebrates one of her children, a birthday party might be held at her house and she will put on such a lavish dinner that the focus is on the meal that she provided rather than the birthday celebrant or she could offer to pay for a daughter’s wedding and then populate the guest list with her own friends, insisting that since she is paying for it, it is her right.
She is competitive in everything and will try to destroy any sense of joy or pride in even the slightest accomplishment of her children. It doesn’t matter what it is, she will have to “put you in your place” so that they “don’t get ideas above your station”. She just wants to let them know that they are never right. She will say things like “I love you in spite of who you are”, to let it be known what a great mother she is even if she has a terrible child.
She will get angry is someone refers to her children instead of her on any subject, if they have superior knowledge of something she will dismiss it as useless information, unless she needs to use it, after having received the information she needed she will dismiss it saying something like “I knew that” or “I told you that”.
If she is confronted on some aspect of her behaviour she will try to make her child look crazy by denying events or conversations. She will do this in a number of ways:
- Flatly deny that the event/conversation ever happened at all.
- Deny that something happened the way that her child said it did either editing the facts or reframing them in some way.
- She could say “I don’t remember it happening that way” (which would imply a bit of false reasonableness) or she could just say “that never happened” if her child says “it did” she will flatly contradict and say “no it didn’t”. The did – didn’t argument is as everyone knows absolutely futile.
- Accuse her child of making the whole thing up with their hyperactive imagination.
- Accuse them of having a victim mentality and to “stop feeling so sorry for yourself all of the time”, or being paranoid
- If her child has proof or evidence to support their argument she will just say she has absolutely no memory of whatever it was she did and if she feels like she has got “caught” will give a very insincere apology.
One of the hallmark traits of a narcissistic mother is that her children exist for her own amusement and to provide what is called narcissistic supply which means that her children are a source of attention and admiration at all times. She will constantly ask them to do favours for her to ensure that they are thinking about or acting for her at all times. In fact, she spends much more energy and effort to make her child do something for her than it would take to do it for herself. This could be fixing things for her, fetching and carrying or sourcing information. This tendency gets worse with age and she may fake illness to get even more attention.
She invites herself along when she isn’t welcome, this might be a holiday, a concert or a day out. If she is being driven somewhere she will always insist on sitting in the front seat so that the daughter or daughter-in-law has to sit in the back, be cut out of the conversation and put in her “rightful position” in the back.
Most narcissist are drama queens but mothers take it onto a whole new level because they have trained their children from babies and just need to make the slightest gesture to convey what they want. Narcissists are very bad at entertaining themselves and will try to barge in or pull their child(ren)’s into their orbit whenever they can. The lures they use are drama, guilt, money, fear, obligation/duty and especially weakness and vulnerability in the aging narcissistic mother. She might sob down the phone saying how lonely she is, how she has no friends and how no one loves her, “All I am asking is for a few crumbs of your affection – that isn’t too much to ask for surely”. She deliberately manipulates her children into extremely difficult positions as other people who are not aware that she is such an actress, drama queen and a liar will believe her and all of her histrionics as a result her child will feel a lot external pressure as well as that of their mother to comply with all of her outrageous and unreasonable demands.
She will manipulate and hurt her children specifically so that she can feed on their pain, she is the archetypal predator. A look of glee will flash across her face when she sees that she has hurt her child. Narcissists see manipulation of people as a game, so any strike is considered to be a win for them almost like a form of sexual arousal. This is often referred to as being an emotional vampire. It is a purely sadistic behaviour and it is an impossible concept for child to understand. It can be in the form of frightening, insulting or making wounding comments, humiliating, blatantly favouritising, buying presents for everyone but one child, giving smaller or no portions of something that she knows is a favourite food, cutting out of her will, giving financial assistance to one child and not another and letting it be known, promising something (extracting gratitude on countless occasions) and then giving it to someone else (could even be a complete stranger). All this is exclusively for her own entertainment and to see how many points that she can score against her child. She will laugh about it quite openly and say that her child is great fun to tease, almost too easy. She will get other people to laugh at her child too and feeds off that attention as well because making them laugh at her child makes her the centre of attention.
The narcissist can also feed off the dramas of other people, she might sob in a heart wrenching way (for a non-narcissist) over the death of someone she barely knew. Her behaviour is often inappropriate, if her small child goes to her crying because s/he is hurt she will laugh and say “Oh go away, you are such a big baby, always looking for attention”, “bang your other elbow, then the first one won’t hurt so much”, if her child falls down she will say things like “that was God punishing you, you must have done something wrong”. She might go into a depression over the disappointment of her next door neighbour’s child not getting a job, it is all acted out in a very melodramatic way and the narcissist will surreptitiously glance around the room at her audience to see “how she is doing” by the reaction of the people around her. Narcissists are universally good at reading emotion (especially pain) it is just that they do not have any empathy or compassion for the person expressing it.
She has very inappropriate “emotional” reactions in certain circumstances. She could remain steely cold in the face of someone’s pain or she could burst out laughing. She never is really sure how to “play” it.
She is completely self-absorbed and wilful, she always makes sure that she has the best of everything and will manipulate people and things to get what she wants. Narcissists in general are very materialistic and like to flaunt their goods. That could be clothes, cars or gadgets. If she is denied something, it will just up the game and she will become ruthless in her pursuit of her desired object. If you don’t invite her to come on holiday with you, she will ring your spouse and offer to pay for the holiday so that she can come too. If you are having a dinner party that she is not invited to she will show up beforehand (but only marginally) with a dish of food saying “well, we all know you are not a very good cook and we didn’t want to poison your guests did we”, then guests arrive and she knows that she cannot be turned away or say “Oh but I thought that you said I could come, if you didn’t want me to come why did you mention it?”, she will then say something like “it is not so bad having your old mother here is it”, or “well, it wasn’t sooo ghastly the last time was it” when she is looking for another invitation. Narcissistic mothers have primed their children to say what she wants them to say so she knows that they will not say “yes it was, you were loud, rude and obnoxious”
All narcissists are very bad present givers as they cannot project out of their own little world to imagine what someone else likes, you might get “lucky” if you have similar taste to the narcissist in your life. A narcissistic mother can often use present giving at birthdays and Christmas as an indicator of how well you are doing at providing her with narcissist supply. If you were not paying her enough attention she might not get a present at all or get something that she is certain that her child would not like or would consider an insult, like getting a pink Barbie for her son. At the same time narcissists take present receiving extremely seriously and will actively show their distaste if you get it “wrong”. She is quite capable of giving a present to someone else in presence of her child or she might give it back to them with a look of distaste, indicating that they should try harder. A present could be something she bought for herself and decided she didn’t like, something that someone else gave her and she didn’t like. She might ask her child what they would like for their birthday, say she will get it and then get something they didn’t want just so she can feed off the look of disappointment on their face when they open it. She might also promise something like tickets to something that she knows her child would like and will wait until it is too late let them know that she didn’t get them so that they cannot go to an event as she likes to feel their disappointment. She may also get a present that represents “how well you are doing” so if her child is providing her with a lot of attention she will get something nice and thoughtful and if not she will get a “couldn’t care less” present.
Everything that she wants and needs are more important than that of her child. She will expect them to drop everything to take care of even the smallest of her problems. She will do things like phone frequently just when she knows her adult child will be going out the door to work. When they try to get her off the phone she goes into drama over drive inventing some story/problem that she knows they will have to listen to, and she will only be satisfied when she knows they are going to be late and she can easily ring off without finishing her story – she has achieved her objective. You are late! Probably the origin of the meaning “Remote Control”.
She is violently defensive and extremely sensitive to disapproval of any sort, she can focus her narcissistic rage in the direction of her child for the slightest hint of criticism, she will also see implied criticism where there isn’t any. If she sees her child playing happily with the family she will say something like “Fido loves me just as much if not more than he likes you”. Narcissists in general are not pet lovers, because they cannot love, they may have pets but they are usually used as props for public image and only have their most basic needs cared for. They don’t engage with their animals, but it will pain them to see their children playing happily with the family pet and will often try to break it up either by getting annoyed or giving the child a job to do.
The narcissistic mother does not play with her children, she cannot play and gets upset when she sees her children are having fun or enjoying each other’s company she sees it as a threat as they might gang up on her, so she tries to constantly prevent it by causing friction/splitting and pushing her children apart. This is done by overt show of favouritism, telling lies about what one child said about the other, encouraging bullying and redirecting anger against her onto her off spring. Because a narcissist is so self-absorbed she thinks that everyone is always talking about her, so she does not like to leave the room if her children are alone eating dinner, not even to go to the toilet or she might wait outside the door for a minute just to check on the direction of the conversation before she hurries back to take control again.
One trick of narcissist parents to maintain control of their children is to threaten to abandon them from a very early age. They walk away on a busy city street without holding the hand of their toddler or threaten to send them back to their “real” family, to tell them that “you are not one of us, we found you and felt sorry for you”. This reign of terror is constantly and rigorously enforced. She keeps her child(ren) in a constant state of fear so that she can easily abuse them and the only hope for survival (and it does feel like a life and death situation to a small child because she is threatening withdrawal of food and shelter) is to do exactly as she says or they will be severely punished. She might even pretend to have another family who are much nicer than her child(ren) and threaten to go back to them if they do not behave. She might even ask a question to pretend that she cares what her child wants, but the slightest look from her will tell them that they gave her the “wrong” answer and that will ensure that it is revised it to comply with what she wants.
All narcissistic mothers are abusive, she may or may not have physically beaten her children but she will do it in other ways such as emotional or verbal abuse, sending her child to school when they are sick, not comforting when she sees they are frightened, in distress or cold because she resents having to take care of them. She sees looking for affection or getting sick is a form of attack on her and therefor she will punish her child for that. She will “forget” to bring meals, refuse to take her child to the doctor “your fine”, or shout at her child for having a cough “will you stop that, I am trying to watch television”. The other way that she might abuse is by putting her child in dangerous or violent situations, by letting them go to places on their own such as pubs and clubs when they are far too young, sending them off to visit relations on their own without proper supervision on public transport, laughing at a child when they say they don’t like a particular adult, one that they do not feel safe around. A narcissistic mother in this instance would be much more invested in the opinion of the other person (often a complete stranger) than the safety of her child.
Narcissistic mothers do not guide their children. Because they are so self-absorbed they cannot see that their children are children and attribute adult emotions and motives to their behaviour. Since they see their children as ready-made adults, probably because they are relating on the same emotional level as an infant, they do not nurture their children or try to make them confident independent individuals. On the contrary they do everything to inhibit their self-confidence, esteem and autonomy. They infantilise their children to keep them in orbit around them and get aggressive and angry if they show independence, individuality or disagree with them in any way.
Because a narcissistic mother constantly seeks drama she wants to be involved in everything she will try to muscle in on all relationships. It frequently happens that a narcissistic mother with have a weird psycho sexual relationship with her sons. She might also have an inappropriate interest in her daughter’s sex life and try to extract details of her intimate relationships that are a complete violation of the daughter’s privacy. She will get attention for herself by gossiping about her daughter’s sexuality she can say things to other people like “I am so worried about Ann, I think that she is very promiscuous, would you talk to her about it?” The daughter may very well still be a virgin but the mother will drive the message home to the daughter that her sex life is something that everyone is entitled to talk about, thus severely violating her child’s boundaries “it is not just me others are worried about you too”. In this situation Ann does not defend herself to her mother or the third party because she has no idea of what her mother and the supposed third party are talking about. When she does realise she knows that the background work will have already been done behind her back so there is no point and that she has been walked into another one of her mother’s traps.
The narcissistic mother might want or not want to become a grandmother and try to influence how her daughter feels about getting pregnant. She might think that she is far too young to be a grandmother or she might think that grandchildren would be another good source of supply.
The narcissistic mother did not enjoy “raising” her own children and will claim that the “sacrifices” she made for them prevented her from realising her full potential as a famous concert pianist, sculptor, actor politician etc. Grandchildren however, come later in life for a narcissist (after her life has been ruined by her own children) and are often enjoyed in small doses. The narcissistic grandmother will get very aggressive if she thinks that she will be expected to baby sit and will make it quite clear that all encounters with her grandchildren will be exclusively on her own terms. On the other hand because the narcissistic mother enjoys the feedback of her daughter’s social life and activities, she might not want her to have her own children. She is the child in this dysfunctional dynamic and her daughters would be children would rob her of this status, and that is not something that she is prepared to “endure”. If her daughter does have a baby most of her attention will be diverted away from the narcissistic mother, there will be a huge slow-down in her daughter’s socialising and not so many opportunities for her participate in and babies are boring if you are a narcissist looking for drama. Real children also demand immediate attention for authentic and sincere reasons, whereas a narcissist has to plot and manipulate to get the same attention and they cannot completely with the immediate and justified needs of children, who therefore pose a real “threat” to the narcissist.
The narcissistic mother will realise as early as her daughter goes to secondary school that teenage friendships, first loves and broken hearts are a great source of drama. This is not something that she wants to risk losing, so she will go on a campaign, frequently before the girl is even sexually mature or active, about how becoming pregnant will ruin her life, if she gets pregnant she will be miserable, unemployable and she need not think that she (her mother) will support her in any way. This “information” can often be given in a very aggressive way, by grabbing her daughter by the arm and yelling into her face. If you are 11 or 12 this is very scary because she is treating her daughter like she has already done something wrong and yet the daughter has (probably) no idea of what she is talking about. The narcissistic mother will repeat this message day in and day out using very age inappropriate language with their children and will just assume that their child can see everything from their from their perspective. This sort of terrifying brainwashing can often be carried into adulthood and render her daughter completely infertile which gets classified as “for no apparent reason”. However, there is a reason, the daughter was “taught” by constantly wearing her down, that pregnancy was bad, very bad and potentially life threatening.
Some narcissistic mothers will latch on to the friendships of their daughters and try very hard to be the most important member of the “pack”. However, being the “adult” and the one with the power and money, they will very often tell their daughters what they can and may not do (because they are coming along too). It feeds her with narcissistic supply, makes her feel alive and part of something, it suits the narcissistic personality disorder perfectly as her relationship with the situation is by proxy – no actual intimacy or emotion devoid of expectation and beyond any criticism.
There is a saying “forgive them, for they know not what they do”. With a narcissist the adage would be “we know exactly what we are doing, we are getting what we want and if there is collateral damage to others so be it, I don’t care”
She is infantile and petty she behaves like a 5-year-old. If her child refuses to let her manipulate she might throw a temper tantrum and stamp her foot. She might use adult words like “I will not tolerate such insubordination” but her body language is purely childish. She might cry or whinge and say things like “you will be sorry”, “is it sooo much to ask”. The reality is that it is mortifying and terrifying for a child to see their mother behave like they are younger than the child itself. Plus, they know that she will punish them in some way later for not taking care of her every whim – no matter how inappropriate her request might be. She will have to get even with so that she feels that she has won. When a narcissist mother behaves like this it might look funny, but she is absolutely serious and she would only ever do it when there was no one outside the family to witness it, if she is annoyed in public she can smile and hold off, but she will let it be known that she will severely punish her child when they get home.
She is aggressive, shameless, she doesn’t ask she demands and she will use any means at all so that she can to get her way. Threats, lies, mobbing of siblings for extra pressure, rage, crying, drama and gas lighting are all tools that she is an expert at employing. She will also do something really cruel to another sibling to show what happens if her child doesn’t comply.
At the same time will completely withdraw from her child if she thinks that they actually NEED something from her, she sees this as her child trying to take advantage of her and force her to take responsibility, she resents this and it is too much pressure for her and she will categorically refuse to respond to her child’s request, she does this so often that the child gives up asking for her help. If she finds that you can get your needs met from another source she will reverse her decision and feign horror that you could possibly think that she wouldn’t meet such a basic need. “What were you thinking, I am your mother – of course I will do it”.
She parentifies and expects her children to take care of her, and always put her needs before their own. Leaving her child(ren) to mother both themselves and her from a very early age. She passes on all responsibility, but none of the power or control. She will not take care of basic needs and comforts unless she feels that she is being observed but she would never consider forfeiting anything for herself.
She might give her children jobs that are far too responsible for their age, an excessive amount of jobs around the house, taking care of younger sibling and perpetual emotional and physical care giver to her, any attempt to move out of the allocated roles would unleash a tirade of narcissistic rage. Her child(ren) are never allowed to be needy, always have to pretend to be happy as being sad would be a slight on her mothering skills. However, she doesn’t like it when you are too happy because happiness is something that narcissists find very difficult to tolerate in others. She also goes on the offensive when she feels sad or trapped in her marriage or as her role as mother and hurting/upsetting someone else lessens her own pain. She sometimes lashes out in anger for no apparent reason or for an invented reason because she feels angry/sad/empty herself (nothing to do with her child) or these feelings could be triggered by something that she saw in some of your interactions with others either threatened her in some way.
There are certain rules that have to be follow picked up from psychobabble, such as “you are not allowed to suck your thumb, sucking your thumb is a sign of insecurity and you are not insecure”, “you are not allowed to wet the bed, it is annoying to change the sheets all the time and it makes me look bad”. The narcissist mother will very often refer to her family as we. “We do not like this or that, we think…” etc. Which of course denies the identity of the individuals in the family and is just another form of control.
If the narcissist mother is getting divorced she will lean on her child(ren) for emotional support for years, complaining, cursing and generally off-loading any problem or hassle she has. She demands that her child(ren) listen to and comfort her in a very inappropriate way. She does not seek advice as that is seen as a criticism/weakness of hers she already knows everything that she needs to know, she is never wrong about anything, no matter what she has done “mummy always knows best” with a subtext of “don’t you ever challenge that position”.
She is very exploitative, she may even try to steal the identity of her children for her own purposes, take up anecdotes of things that happened to them and make them hers and steal parts of their life story.
She literally does not seem to be aware that her children have and need to express their feeling, needs, wants or dreams. She will squash them every time they are brought up constantly telling her children that they are feeling the wrong emotions, it is not okay to need things, have want or dreams. Every now and then she will say something that will indicate how absolutely lacking in empathy and genuinely uninterested in the well-being of her children she is. She will push her abuse to the limit but never to the point where she might be suspected or accused of hurting her children if she is caught being cruel she will blame her abusive behaviour on somebody else, it is never her fault. A classic phrase is “now look what you made me do”, or she will flip the blame back on her child if she sees a strong emotional reaction in her child, she will not only deny the emotion, deem it incorrect, she will also try to make the child feel guilty for reacting in the way that they did saying things like “I cannot believe that you are so upset that I gave your puppy away, you are so melodramatic and selfish I gave your sheep dog to a sheep farmer, he needed her you don’t as you don’t have any sheep, sometimes I despair at your extremely selfish nature”.
When it is “over” and the adult children move out of the family home the narcissist will still try to maintain control. She will still triangulate tell one sibling that another sibling said something about them behind their back, withhold information or invitations to family events and generally reduce direct communication between siblings as much as she can “no don’t phone your brother this week he is under a lot of pressure at work” (aimed to prevent direct contact) “your sister said that she finds it very hard to talk to you over the phone” (aimed at causing future direct contact) “Your brother had a great party last week, funny you weren’t invited, you must have done something to annoy him” (aimed at creating discomfort)“did your sister tell you that she got a promotion at work last week? No? Well she must just have thought that you are to selfish and disinterested to let you know” (projection). Sometimes if she sees or hears two of her children talking directly to each other she will look forlorn like a thwarted lover who has just been betrayed and will soon after go on a smear campaign to keep the two siblings in a state of volatile distrust. As a result of the lies she tells she is right back where she wants to be – on top of her game.
The narcissist nurtures anger, contempt and envy any and child who stands up to the narcissist mother is punished in the company of their siblings and she will let it be known that she expects her other children to do the same and will do her best to fan the flames of this wrath for as long as she can.
A narcissist can criticise, jeer, gossip about and make fun of her children’s partners and will encourage the rest of the siblings to join in too, the exclusive reason being to drive them apart these behaviours have nothing to do with how the mother actually feels about the partners, it is purely a manipulative tool to divide and conquer and to who have been brought up by a narcissistic mother the abuse feels “normal”.
The narcissist mother is very good at seeing who she has conned and who she has not, she will nip any relationship in the bud that she feels she cannot control, practically before it even gets started. This behaviour paves the way for her children to make bad relationship choices in the future because her child(ren) will be considering partners with their mother’s needs in mind, not their own. Love in a narcissist family feels painful, scary and abusive this can get ingrained in the child’s thinking and needs to be examined and changed. Love should be calm, warm and supportive but it can feel threatening to the child of a narcissistic mother as they might feel that they are undeserving of such kindness, that they might hurt such a loving person or see the emotion of someone who loves them as weakness.