” I do not love; I do not love anybody except myself. That is a rather shocking thing to admit. I have none of the selfless love of my mother. I have none of the plodding, practical love….I am, to be blunt and concise, in love only with myself, my puny being with its small inadequate breasts and meager, thin talents. I am capable of affection for those who reflect my own world.“ ~Sylvia Plath
Does your mother fail to show any genuine love for you…or empathy? The trademark of a narcissistic mother is her inability to give love or empathy to her child. One of the hallmark symptoms of a narcissist is her inability to perceive others as people with needs of their own. A narcissistic mother is only able to see her children as extensions of herself-little mirrors that reflect back to her. She values her children only so much as the children can benefit her; she is exceptionally self absorbed, sometimes to the point of grandiosity. A mother with narcissism may demand that her children excel in school and sports for the simple reason that it will make her look like an admirable mother to people outside of the immediate family. It is of no importance to her whether or not the children develop, or even learn, from these achievements as long as her reputation remains intact.
Characteristic signs of a narcissistic mother would also include excessive preoccupation with herself and with her self-image. She is unable to give her children even the most basic emotional support that they need to grow up to be well-adjusted adults. Narcissists can go into a “narcissistic rage” over the littlest thing which results in belittling, emotionally abusing and, not infrequently, physically abusing her children. The typical narcissistic mother is almost impossible to please no matter what the circumstances. She often snubs or scorns her children’s attempts for affection.
A narcissistic mother does not have children for the same reasons a healthy person would. She does not look forward to their births to see what they look like or watch their personalities develop. She has them strictly for the sake of having more mirrors to look at herself in she wants little miniatures of herself. She resents all the work that goes into child rearing and sees it as a burden. She “hands off” child rearing, inappropriately, to the child itself as soon as she can. A narcissistic mother may come off as a loving, caring parent because she will have an exclusive and possessively close relationship with her children in order to control and manipulate them. Although most parents watch with pride as their child begins to learn independence, a narcissistic mother feels every step away from her is an absolute act of betrayal.
Other characteristic signs of a narcissistic mother are habitual lying and constant criticism of the child under the guise of being a caring parent. She lets them know in no uncertain terms, verbally and nonverbally, that they are not as good as other people.
Her narcissistic tendencies do not end in childhood but continue on through adulthood where she continues to interfere and damage their self esteem and any relationships they might form. Children of narcissistic parents frequently experience difficulty forming healthy relationships and are at increased risk for depression and anxiety.
21 signs of a narcissistic mother (be concerned if she has many of them)
- She has to be the center of attention all the time. This is a defining feature of narcissism. She will steal the spotlight or spoil any occasion if someone else is the center of attention.
- She demeans, criticizes and makes derogatory remarks to you. She always lets you know that she thinks less of you than your siblings or other people.
- She violates your boundaries. You feel like an extension of her. There is no privacy in your bathroom or bedroom; she regularly goes through your things to find information she then uses against you.
- She ‘favoritizes’. Narcissistic mothers often have one child who is “the golden child” and another who is the scapegoat.
- She undermines She will pick a fight with you or be especially critical and unpleasant just before you have to make a major effort.
- Everything she does is ‘deniable’. Cruelties are couched in loving terms; aggressive acts are paraded as thoughtfulness.
- She makes YOU look crazy. When you confront her with something she’s done, she’ll tell you that you have “a very vivid imagination” (common phrase that abusers use to invalidate your experience of their abuse) or that she has “no idea what you are talking about”.
- She’s jealous. If you get something nice, she’ll take it from you, spoil it for you or get something the same or better for herself.
- She’s a continuous liar. To you, she lies blatantly. To outsiders, she lies thoughtfully and in ways that can always be covered up.
- She manipulates your emotions in order to “feed on your pain”. This behavior is so common among narcissistic mothers that they are often referred to as “emotional vampires”.
- She is selfish and willful. She makes sure SHE has the best of everything and always has to have her way.
- She is self-absorbed. Her feelings, needs and wants are Very Important and yours are irrelevant or insignificant.
- She is almost absurdly defensive and extremely sensitive to criticism.
- She terrorized you. Narcissists teach you to beware of their wrath. If you give her everything she wants, you might be spared; but if you don’t-the punishments WILL come.
- She’s childish and petty; “getting even” with you is important to her.
- She is aggressive and shameless. She doesn’t ask, she demands. She won’t take no for an answer-she will push, arm-twist, or otherwise manipulate or abuse you until you give in.
- She “parentifies”. She sheds her parental responsibilities to the child as soon as she is able.
- She is exploitive. She will go to any length to get things from others for nothing (work, money, objects)- including taking money out of her children’s account or even stealing their identities.
- She projects. She will put her own poor behavior or character onto you so she can punish you. For example, you refuse an especially outlandish request of hers, she becomes enraged and furious at your refusal, then screams at you, “we’ll talk about it after you’ve calmed down and aren’t hysterical”.
- She is never wrong about anything. She will never, ever genuinely apologize for anything she has done or said.
- She is not aware that other people have feelings. She will occasionally slip up in public, and because of her lack of sympathy, will say something so callous it causes disbelief in people. The absence of empathy is another defining trait of narcissism and underlies most of the other signs that are on this list.