Last Updated on April 16, 2021 by Alexander Burgemeester
Around 4.8% of the female population has narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). And like many other women, many of them go on to become mothers.
If you’re having a tough time with your mom, then you might suspect she has NPD, especially if your narcissistic mother exhibits some characteristic signs. In many cases, a narcissistic mother is an abusive mom. And a narcissistic mother is a toxic mom as well.
Because of this, you’ll want to know how to deal with a narcissistic mother without losing your sanity. Keep reading, as we’ll give you some effective tips for handling narcissistic mother behaviour.
1. Don’t Let Your Narcissistic Mother Walk All Over You
As you’ve grown up under her care, you know how difficult it can be to deal with your mother. The effects of narcissistic mothers on their children can be hugely detrimental, and you may be conditioned to do whatever you can to appease her so the Narcissistic Abuse is reduced.
But this just sends her the message that what she’s doing is fine and that you’ll keep taking her abuse. Of course, you love your mom, and you don’t want to upset her. But your well-being is important too.
Reading Suggestion: Maintaining Low Contact With Your Narcissistic Mother
It can be very challenging to do, but stand up to her and don’t let her get her way all the time. She may try and take out her frustrations on you, but hold your ground.
Explain to her calmly that lashing out in anger isn’t constructive, as nothing’s achieved from it.
2. Recognize That Your Mother Views You as Competition
For daughters of narcissistic mothers, they’re often viewed as competition. This is because you’re seen as the younger, better version of her, which makes you essentially a threat to her ego.
If you feel like she’s constantly tearing you down, this is because she’s trying to make herself feel better about her own flaws, such as the tell-tale signs of aging. In this case, you have something she’ll never get back: youth. As a result, she may feel bitter toward you and will try to attack your physical looks.
Reading Suggestion: Effects of Narcissistic Mothers on their Daughters
Because she’s your mom, it may understandably sting a lot when these words come out of her mouth. But try to detach yourself whenever this happens and don’t take the insults personally.
Of course, this is easier said than done. But one of the best strategies for dealing with a narcissistic mother is to not let the things she says bother you. When you can achieve this, it feeds her narcissism less and keeps you feeling sane more.
3. Don’t Hope to Change Her Behavior
You know what they say: you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. This is especially true in narcissistic parents.
One of the key things in how to handle a narcissistic mother is to understand and accept that she will most likely never change. Even if you see a glimmer of hope, this is usually the manipulative side of her coming out; in due time, she’ll revert back to her old self again.
Reading Suggestion: Can a Narcissist Change?
By accepting this fact, you’ll be able to find some peace within yourself. Before, you may have felt torn and hurt because you had hope that you could help change your mother’s behavior for the better.
But as you may have realized, change is up to her, not you. When you accept this, then you’ll feel more at peace. You can then focus on what you can do to deal with her behavior, not how you can alter it.
4. Establish Boundaries
In how to deal with a narcissistic parent 101, they’ll always tell you to establish boundaries. These can be either physical, emotional, or both.
If you live with your narcissistic mother, it may be difficult to establish physical boundaries, but it’s still possible. Have your room be off-limits and enforce that rule, no matter how much she throws a tantrum over it.
Otherwise, if you don’t live with your parents and your mom likes to drop by unannounced, establish a certain day and/or time when she can come over. If she shows up outside of those acceptable times, make it clear that you won’t accommodate her and she’ll be left waiting if she chooses to break those boundaries. Make sure you stick to this for maximum effectiveness.
On the emotional side of things, think about what’s acceptable and comfortable for you to share. Don’t let your narcissistic mom pressure you into giving up information that you want to have private. She needs to know that you aren’t an extension of her and that you have a right to privacy.
Go No Contact
If things get really bad and your mother keeps overstepping boundaries, don’t be afraid to go no contact. This is where you don’t answer her calls, visits, or any other types of communication.
For children of narcissistic parents, this can be next to impossible to do. After all, you feel a sense of duty and obligation to stay in touch with your parents since they’ve sacrificed so much to raise you. Plus, she may throw tantrums and get extremely emotional, accusing you of abusing and neglecting your mother.
Reading Suggestion: The Narcissist and No Contact
However, you should hold your ground. If you’ve given her multiple chances and clearly stated that you’ll cut off contact, you have every right to do so. If she won’t respect your boundaries, then it’s clearly toxic behavior that you don’t need to be around.
It’s up to you how long you want to keep this up. Some children will choose to go no contact for forever, while others will have a trial period.
If you decide to do the latter and your narcissistic mother reverts back to her old behaviors, don’t be afraid to go no contact again for your own sanity.
5. Identify Your Own “Co-Narcissistic” Behaviour
Because your narcissistic mom has raised you from birth until now, there’s no doubt that you’ve picked up some unhealthy “co-narcissistic” behaviors from her. For example, you may have a lack of boundaries with her, as well as an inability to express your feelings and fear of anger.
As you can imagine, all of these things can have a negative effect on your life and other relationships. It can be a good idea to take a step back and see what kinds of thought patterns and behaviors you’ve developed as a direct result of your mother’s narcissistic influence.
Once you’ve identified these things, then it’s best to move onto the next tip.
6. Seek Therapy and Counseling
When dealing with a narcissistic mother, it can feel extremely overwhelming, especially if you don’t have any siblings and you have to do so on your own. Not only that, but you can also feel very alone in the world.
It’s always a good idea to go to therapy or counseling. Even for people who aren’t currently struggling with mental health issues, speaking with a professional is highly beneficial.
When you get in therapy, you’ll have a safe space to speak about your parental issues. They can give you helpful advice on how to live with a narcissistic mother and how to address and fix your co-narcissistic behaviors.
If you need help confronting a narcissistic mother, these professionals can also help you come up with ways to do so. Not only do they have the knowledge of how to deal with people with NPD, but they also have plenty of experience with people in similar situations as you.
In addition, if you’ve developed mental health issues (such as anxiety or depression), a therapist can also help walk you through healthy ways to cope. If they deem it necessary, they can also refer you to a psychiatrist so they can assess the situation and prescribe you the appropriate medications.
By getting the right medications, it may make it easier to deal with your mental health issues while having to live with a narcissistic mom.
Know How to Deal With a Narcissistic Mother
By knowing how to deal with a narcissistic mother, it can be just a little easier to interact with her. In many cases, you can still maintain a relationship with her. But if she’s so toxic that it’s ruining your quality of life, then in this case of a narcissistic mother, no contact may be best.
It may be tough to deal with; your mother did raise you since birth, after all. But the fact is, there’s no excuse for the emotional turmoil she’s put you through. If you have no choice but to keep her in your life, then at least you have some useful tips for dealing with a narcissistic mom to use.
For more information on walking away from a narcissistic mom, please take a look at our narcissistic abuse recovery articles now.