Children of narcissistic mothers often grow up feeling confused, angry, and never really loved.
They are used to home life feeling unpredictable, and they are also used to feeling like nothing they do is ever good enough.
Growing up, they often blame themselves for their mother’s behavior. They desperately want her affection, and they latch onto anything resembling it.
But now, as an adult, you may feel torn about having any relationship with your mother.
You might feel angry at the dysfunctional family dynamics you experienced. You’re tired of her mood swings or total disregard for boundaries.
But, at times, you still blame yourself. Recognizing someone for their narcissistic traits can be as empowering as discouraging.
In this article, you’ll find 25 phrases that are all to familiar to sons and daughters of Narcissistic mothers. How many do you recognize?
What Are the Signs of a Narcissistic Mother?
A narcissistic mother can be one of the most damaging relationships a child can ever have.
Mothers are supposed to be nurturing and attuned to a child’s needs. A narcissist, however, puts their wants and emotions ahead of others.
They may love their child, but their love is conditional, and when the child acts in ways that displease or threaten them, they often become controlling and manipulative.
Here are some 25 familiar phrases children of narcissists find themselves saying either privately or out loud to others:
#1 “My Mom Yells at Me and Then Acts Like Nothing Happened”
It feels like you’re always being “delicate” with her. You try to say things in a way that will avoid her narcissistic rage.
You avoid being honest because you don’t want to hurt her feelings.
You either don’t set boundaries because you know they won’t get followed or you do set boundaries and she acts like she never heard them.
But when she does get reactive, she “moves on” quickly and expects you to do the same.
#2 “My Narcissistic Mom Always Wants Sympathy”
Was your narcissistic mother always sick? Life with a narcissist can be many things, but it’s never boring.
Narcissistic mothers tend to capture drama wherever they go. They often rely on their children for emotional support in an emergency.
They want sympathy on-demand, even though they can’t provide that need to others.
#3 “My Mom Makes Everything About Her”
It was always about her- that’s the familiar phrase children of narcissists say when they reflect on their childhood.
If you just closed in on a house, she starts telling you how frustrating buying her first home was.
She begins lamenting about her terrible boss if you’re struggling at work. All conversations seem centered on her and her needs, with very little attention to what you’re experiencing.
#4 “My Mom Constantly Exaggerates Stories”
Narcissists love embellishing their stories to make their lives seem more attractive than they are.
They are known for being dramatic storytellers, but if you call her out on deceit, she’ll never acknowledge it.
She might even become defensive by saying something like, “I would never actually say it that way,” or, “I was just kidding- don’t take things so seriously!” In true narcissistic fashion, they gaslight you to distort your truth.
#5 “My Narcissistic Mom Competes With Me”
From a young age, children of narcissists often feel like their own parent is competing with them.
Narcissistic daughters, in particular, can sense that their mother is sabotaging their success or jealous of their achievements.
She might copy your hairstyle after you change your hair or take a lavish vacation just after you announce you’re taking a trip.
#6 “My Mom Goes On and On About How Much She Sacrificed For Me”
Narcissistic mothers love talking about how much they had to “give up” to parent their children.
Whether it’s talking about the toll pregnancy took on their body or how she helped you financially, she will never miss the opportunity to induce a sense of guilt for how much she endured to “give you the best.”
#7 “My Narcissistic Mom Turns Everyone Against Me”
It’s not uncommon for narcissistic mothers to have estranged relationships with other family members, including grandparents, aunts and uncles, and even other siblings.
However, she will never acknowledge their part in rupturing the dynamic. Instead, she will make it seem like she’s the victim and that you’re betraying her if you engage with others.
#8 “My Mom Is So Passive-Aggressive”
Many narcissistic mothers are more covert and vulnerable in their narcissistic tactics.
Therefore, instead of being hostile in her communication, she might be more passive-aggressive.
This tends to make people feel confused and on edge. You can sense something is wrong, even if she isn’t telling you what that something is, and she thrives off you feeling thrown off-kilter.
#9 “My Mom Is Never Happy for My Accomplishments!”
In a healthy parent-child relationship, parents revel in their child’s success and emotional well-being.
They want their child to experience happiness and are often willing to do nearly anything to support that.
But narcissistic parents struggle when others are happy. Because they’re so unhappy with themselves, they feel jealous and threatened when others are doing well- even when it’s their own child.
#10 “My Mom Had Me As the Golden Child or Scapegoat
Narcissists love assigning people in all-or-nothing categories. The golden child is an extension of all your mother’s greatness and talents.
This child absorbs all her pressure and feels a need to perform perfectly. The scapegoat, on the other hand, is the black sheep.
This child is blamed for everything in the family, even if they didn’t do anything wrong. They blame everyone but themselves
#11 “My Narcissistic Mom Thinks I’m a Narcissist!”
In classic projection, some narcissistic parents will try to convince their children that they are selfish, narcissistic, or mentally unwell.
This is a way for them to avoid personal accountability and maintain having a family scapegoat.
Of course, if you hint at having concerns or questions about parts of her personality, she’ll react defensively.
#12 “My Mom Cares Way Too Much About What People Think”
Despite how they may externally present themselves, many narcissists disproportionately care about what other people think about them.
Her reputation is her most important priority, and she wants people to think highly about her (because that also maintains her need for ongoing validation).
You may have grown up watching her mirror and adapting to different people to fit in with others socially.
#13 “My Mom Can’t Tolerate Aging”
The concept of aging is scary for most people, but narcissists often find it incredibly intolerable.
If your mother was physically attractive or relied on her looks for attention, the threat of losing that is terrifying.
She may double down in her efforts to stay youthful, which can translate to many plastic surgeries, dieting, and dressing like a younger woman.
#14 “My Narcissistic Mother Hates My Husband (And My Friends)
Narcissists often want to exert tremendous influence over their children, even when those children have grown into adults.
Their child marrying someone else and starting a family of their triggers a fear of being irrelevant, which cuts off a form of narcissistic supply.
This manifests into nitpicking every relationship and finding problems with any serious partner you have.
#15 “My Narcissistic Mom Only Calls Me When She Wants Something”
Narcissistic parents may reach out to their adult children only when it best serves them.
Of course, when the roles are reversed, and you need her support, she’s nowhere to be found or only available if it accommodates her needs.
When she does reach out, it’s often because she’s in some crisis or needs tremendous attention.
#16 “My Mom Has No Friends”
If your narcissistic mother has no friends, it’s because narcissistic people tend to struggle with their friendships.
Family members often feel obligated to stay in contact, but friends are likelier to come and go.
If your mother has long-term friends, the relationships are likely shallow and superficial.
She may also consciously choose empaths or other overly-nurturing friends who can enable her narcissistic traits.
#17 “My Mother Sees Me as An Extention of Herself!”
It’s normal for parents to sometimes disagree with how their children live their lives or feel disappointed by certain choices they make.
But a narcissistic parent takes this to another level. Your mother may condemn anything you do that fits outside her ideal.
Because she always thinks her way is the right way, she can’t imagine why anyone else would do something different.
#18 “My Narc Mom Turns Everything Into a Lecture”
Many narcissists love the opportunity to talk about themselves or their life values.
Even when unsolicited, they enjoy giving advice or telling others what to do.
So, if you turn to her for emotional support, there’s a good chance she’ll turn that into some long-winded lecture that doesn’t leave any room for your input or needs.
#19 “My Narcissistic Mother Ignores Boundaries”
Narcissists don’t understand the need for boundaries. Many times, they perceive these limits to be a personal attack.
As a result, children of narcissists struggle to set boundaries (because they’ve never been modeled healthy ones).
Or, when they do set boundaries, their mother reacts with a sense of rage, denial, or complete disregard.
#20 “My Mom’s Mood Changes So Quickly”
Ask yourself, “Why is my mom nice one minute and mean the next?”
If you had a narcissistic mother, you grew up never knowing what kind of mood your mother would be in.
At one moment, she may have seemed happy and loving. But, in the next moment, she may have been sad, moody, or frustrated.
Some of her triggers were consistent, but other times, they seemed random and surprising.
In your adult life, you still struggle to track her mood or know what she needs in a given moment.
#21 “My Narcissistic Mother Never Admits She’s Wrong”
No matter what she has or what anyone does, a narcissistic mother is always longing for more.
She is never really happy because her ego is so fragile, her needs are so big, and she can’t truly validate herself or even give herself much compassion or grace.
As a result, she thrives on power and control, but she never seems to have enough of either of those things.
#22 “My Mom Only Parented Well In Front of Others”
Narcissistic mothers often present as highly charming and loving to the outside world.
They are dedicated to maintaining their reputation at all costs. Growing up, she may have given you lavish birthday gifts to open up in front of friends or family.
Or, she may have praised you in front of your teacher. But, alone and behind closed doors, it was always a much different story.
#23 “My Mom Puts Me Down In Front of Others”
Not all narcissistic mothers are charming to the outside world. Some are downright cold and mean.
They have no problem shaming or yelling at you in public. They also have no problem reminding you that you’re always the problem.
#24 “My Mom Sabotoges Me”
Ever feel like your own mother sabotages you? If so, it’s likely because she can’t tolerate you having any success or happiness that exceeds her own.
Mothers sabotage children in all sorts of ways- putting them down verbally, smearing their reputation to others, telling them they “look good” in something that doesn’t look good, or even tampering with their money, food, and physical items.
#25 “My Mom Always Victimizes Herself”
No matter what, a narcissistic mother is always the victim in their own story. Everyone else is out to get them, and everyone else is the problem.
She’s the one trying to do things right, and nobody else can get on board.
Is Your Mother a Narcissist? What to Do Next?
Realizing your mother’s numerous signs of a narcissistic mother can be painful.
It’s normal to feel angry, upset, confused, or shocked. You may want to defend her or her behavior and rationalize her abuse for “doing the best she could.”
As an adult, you can decide what relationships you want. When your mother is a narcissist, boundaries may be challenging.
You may feel exhausted by her erratic or selfish behavior. If this is the case, it’s essential to reflect on what kind of relationship you want to have.
Remember that you cannot control who she is or what she does, but you can focus on what you need to be happy.
How To Heal From a Narcissistic Mother?
Learning how to cope with a narcissistic mother isn’t easy. You have every right to identify and validate your feelings about the situation. Many people benefit from therapy during this time.
It’s important to process your emotional experiences and explore what dynamics you want to have with your mother moving forward.
If you want to know how to get away from a narcissistic mother, the answer comes down to understanding which level of contact you wish to maintain.
Whether you pursue a low-contact or no-contact approach, choosing the boundaries that honor your well-being and integrity is essential.