How to Recognize Sneaky Narcissistic Traits in Mothers

3 weeks ago

Narcissism is a phenomenon in which a person with low self-esteem is afraid of losing authority in the eyes of others, and they begin to manipulate their friends, colleagues, and family to appear better than they really are. These people are so determined. We decided to imagine what it’s like to have your beloved mother like this.

They have a distorted perception of love and achievement, making it nearly impossible for them to make you feel good enough.

Their self-worth hinges on external validation and a facade of perfection. This creates a moving target for your worth in their eyes. You can achieve great things, but their praise might be laced with criticism, or they might simply shift the goalposts to a new, unattainable standard. This leaves you perpetually striving for an unachievable level of approval.

Additionally, their happiness is often transactional. They dole out affection when it suits them, leaving you confused about what truly earns their love. This inconsistency fosters insecurity and self-doubt, making you question your own value no matter what you accomplish. Ultimately, a narcissistic mother’s inability to offer genuine, unconditional love creates a core belief that you’ll never be good enough, regardless of your efforts.

Narcissistic mothers won’t let their kids’ successes overshadow their own.

Narcissistic mothers crave attention and view their children’s achievements through a distorted lens. While they might brag about their child’s successes superficially, they can’t handle being outshined. This stems from a deep insecurity and a fragile sense of self. Their child’s triumphs become a threat, rather than a source of pride. They may downplay the accomplishment, subtly criticize, or even try to one-up their child with their own past glories, all to maintain a sense of superiority.

She’s only worried about her own problems.

A narcissistic mother’s world often revolves around herself, leaving little room for her child’s emotions or experiences. Their own needs for validation and admiration take priority. They struggle to empathize with their child’s struggles, viewing them as inconveniences or attention-grabbing tactics. This is because the narcissist lacks the emotional maturity to see their child as a separate being with valid feelings. Their child’s problems become burdens to be managed, rather than opportunities for connection and support.

These mothers humiliate their children.

There are a couple of reasons why narcissistic mothers might resort to humiliating their children. One is to maintain control. By publicly criticizing, mocking, or exaggerating their child’s flaws, the mother keeps them feeling insecure and dependent. This fragile self-esteem makes the child less likely to challenge the mother’s authority or seek independence.

Another reason is to bolster the narcissist’s own fragile ego. Putting their child down creates a clear hierarchy where the mother is always superior. This can be especially pronounced if the child shows any potential to outshine the mother, triggering a need to cut them down to size. Ultimately, the humiliation serves the narcissist’s own needs for power and self-importance, leaving the child feeling emotionally bruised and diminished.

She makes kids feel guilty for getting something.

Narcissistic mothers often induce guilt in their children for receiving gifts or achieving success because it reinforces their own sense of control. They might make comments like, «You don’t deserve this, there are others who need it more,» implying the child is selfish for wanting something good. This guilt trip serves a few purposes.

Firstly, it keeps the child feeling indebted and obligated to please the mother. Secondly, it deflects attention away from the mother’s inability to be genuinely happy for her child’s good fortune. Ultimately, by making their child feel guilty, the narcissistic mother manipulates the situation to maintain the focus on themselves and their emotional needs.

She thinks she always deserves the best.

A narcissistic mother’s belief in her own deservingness stems from a distorted sense of self-importance. Deep down, she craves admiration and validation, and views herself as superior to others. This inflated ego convinces her that she deserves the best in life, regardless of her actions or contributions. It’s a constant need to be seen as special and entitled.

This sense of entitlement can manifest in various ways, from expecting lavish gifts and unwavering support to feeling justified in cutting in line or bending the rules. For a narcissistic mother, the «best» isn’t just about material possessions, but also about the constant flow of attention, praise, and control that reinforces her grandiosity.

Her love is unstable. When she needs something, she’s kind. When she doesn’t, she’s rude.

Narcissistic mothers often exhibit a transactional kind of love, where affection is dangled like a carrot. When their needs are unmet, their self-absorption takes center stage. They might become critical, dismissive, or even cold towards their child. Conversely, when they require something — maybe errands run, emotional support, or a public image boost — the kindness faucet turns on.

This emotional inconsistency leaves the child confused and insecure. They never quite know what version of their mother they’ll encounter, creating a constant state of walking on eggshells to avoid the unpredictable shift from loving to cold.

She cares too much about how other people see her.

A narcissistic mother craves external validation and uses how others perceive her as a mirror for her fragile self-esteem. Her self-worth hinges on admiration and a cultivated image of perfection. This makes her hyper-aware of how others view her, particularly in her role as a mother. She might brag excessively about her child’s accomplishments, not necessarily out of pride, but to reflect well on her own parenting skills.

Conversely, any perceived shortcomings in her child become a threat to her image. She might downplay their achievements or even criticize them publicly to maintain a facade of control and superiority in the eyes of others. Ultimately, the well-being and genuine connection with her child become secondary to managing the public perception of a perfect mother and family.

She complains about people that do something against her will.

Narcissistic mothers view any challenge to their control as a personal attack. Their rigid sense of self-importance dictates that things should go their way. When someone, especially their child, dares to act independently or disagree, it triggers a deep sense of entitlement being violated. They may lash out by complaining excessively, playing the victim, or attempting to manipulate the situation back to their desired outcome.

These complaints serve a dual purpose: firstly, to punish the person for disobeying, and secondly, to garner sympathy or support from others, further reinforcing their position of authority. Ultimately, a narcissistic mother’s complaints about those who defy her are less about the specific action and more about maintaining a power dynamic where she remains in control.

Narcissistic mothers are jealous of their daughters’ beauty. And they pretend to be caring.

A narcissistic mother’s insecurity can turn a daughter’s blossoming beauty into a source of hidden jealousy. They may outwardly offer compliments laced with backhanded remarks, like «You look pretty, but maybe try a different shade of lipstick.» This thinly veiled criticism undermines the daughter’s confidence while maintaining a facade of caring.

Deeper down, the mother might feel threatened by her daughter’s youthful beauty, a stark reminder of her own fading youth and potential loss of attention. This jealousy can manifest in various ways, from sabotaging the daughter’s attempts to dress up for an event to subtly comparing her looks to others. The narcissistic mother’s mask of concern hides a desire to control the narrative, ensuring her daughter’s beauty doesn’t overshadow her own.

She criticizes a lot but almost never gives praise.

Narcissistic mothers often fall into a harsh critic pattern for a few reasons. Firstly, their self-worth is fueled by a need for control and a sense of superiority. Constant criticism keeps their child feeling insecure and dependent, less likely to challenge their authority. Secondly, genuine praise can feel threatening to a narcissist. If their child is successful or confident, it might overshadow the mother’s own perceived importance.

Instead of celebrating their child’s achievements, they might downplay them or even resort to nitpicking flaws. Ultimately, the lack of praise becomes a tool for manipulation. By withholding validation, the narcissistic mother keeps her child striving for approval, a dynamic that reinforces her own sense of power and control.

They’re angry if someone else is in the spotlight.

A narcissistic mother thrives on being the center of attention. Their fragile self-esteem craves constant validation and admiration. When someone else, especially their child, receives praise or recognition, it’s perceived as a direct threat. This triggers a surge of anger because it disrupts their carefully curated image of superiority. They might downplay the other person’s accomplishment, subtly criticize them, or even try to steal the spotlight back to themselves with tales of their own past glories.

This anger isn’t about protecting their child, but about protecting their own inflated sense of self-importance. They can’t bear to share the spotlight, and their reaction reflects a deep-seated insecurity that can leave their child feeling confused and emotionally neglected.

Narcissistic mothers might constantly remind you of the things they’ve done for you.

One is to create a sense of obligation and guilt. By replaying a litany of sacrifices and favors, they make you feel indebted, making it harder to disagree with them or assert your independence. It’s a way to control you through emotional manipulation. Another reason is to inflate their own sense of importance.

Recounting their «good deeds» reinforces their narrative as the selfless caregiver deserving of constant praise and gratitude. Ultimately, these constant reminders are about them, not you. It’s a tactic to maintain power within the relationship and ensure you remain focused on their needs rather than developing your own sense of self.

These narcissistic traits can take a toll. But there’s good news! Our next piece dives into how these experiences shape you, and what you heal from it.


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