Being a narcissist is more than just wanting to take pictures of ourselves or bragging about something we’ve done. It means that we don’t feel empathy for others, and we see everything in life as a way of getting our own needs met. Growing up with a parent who has narcissistic personality disorder, can be painful and traumatizing, not to mention that we were probably emotionally neglected as a result.
Today, I want to talk about the eight signs your mom is a narcissist because knowing can help us better navigate this complicated relationship. Okay, let’s get into those eight signs.
Number 1: Your mother sees you as an extension of her.
Meaning, you don’t get to do the things that you want. It’s more about her having you do the things that she wants or what she maybe wanted to do as a child. I recently read this book called, ‘I’m Glad My Mom Died,’ and in it, this woman, she’s an actress, she was on iCarly for many years, but she talks about the fact that even being an actress wasn’t something that she wanted for herself. It was actually something that her mom had wanted and didn’t get to do as a child.
Therefore, she tried to live vicariously through her child by forcing her to be a child star and a child actor and making her do all these certain things so that she would be more appealing and would get roles. And that’s kind of what this sign is. It’s like a parent trying to make their child play a certain sport, do a certain thing, or act in a certain way because that’s what they want, not what the child wants. A narcissistic parent is never going to ask their child, ‘Hey, do you like this? Do you feel good when you do it? Do you want to keep doing it?’ They’re just going to decide for you.
Number 2: She can dish out tons of criticism but can’t take any of it herself.
And I think the way to kind of understand this is to understand narcissistic personality disorder or NPD. Now, someone with NPD puts on this fake facade. I like to think of it like a Faberge Egg. They’re very pretty, they’re very decorated, people like them, they can be very charismatic, they put up a good front. However, for those of us on the inside, that their children, we see them fall apart, we see them lash out because once that facade is down or once that facade is in danger, meaning someone kind of points out, like, ‘Hey, maybe you could have done it this way,’ that facade falls, and it’s like rage.
Related: 9 Demeaning Things Narcissists Say.
And it’s really because, not that I’m condoning their behavior at all, but the reason this happens is because that fake facade helps someone with NPD feel okay and not so under threat all the time. Because it’s usually not 100%, but usually, it’s born out of trauma. So, they can be very critical of others, but if you, at all, try to scratch that surface, they can’t handle it.
Number 3: Sharing Private Information.
She shares private information about you with others without your permission, especially when doing so would give her something exciting or intriguing to talk about. Like, it makes her look good. And I’ve heard from a ton of you, and also even in that book that I read, I’ve heard people talk about how their mothers will share, like, when they started their period, their first boyfriend or girlfriend, or something embarrassing that they caught you doing that is perfectly normal and natural when it comes to development. But when we’re going through it, we don’t want other people to know. It’d be akin to having a wet dream as a young boy or getting your first bra or your period as a girl, and you go, you get home, and your mom is sitting around with a bunch of her friends, and she’s telling them about that.
Mortifying and also without your permission, and a complete overstep of boundaries. There’s no care or concern for you or what that could mean to you, none of that. It gives them something to talk about, or it could even be to show how good of a parent they are, right? ‘Oh, they took you, and they did this thing.’ It’s all to boost them up, to make them look good. And so, they’ll share it as a way of, like, ‘Yeah, but I talked to them, and I handled it, went to the store.’ And it’s about them, and so they’re sharing your personal information as a way to make themselves look good, and it can feel really bad.
Number 4: She holds basic parental duties over your head.
Saying things like, ‘Do you know how much I gave up for you?’ or ‘Think of all the dirty diapers I changed when you were a baby,’ and this list can go on and on and on. And they use things that they did, which again, are basic parental duties. They’re the ones that decided to have the child. Children when they’re really little need a lot of things, right? They call it like the fourth trimester, that first period when you’re firstborn because you can’t fend for yourself at all. It’s actually a lot longer before you can fend for yourself. But a narcissistic mother will hold this over your head as if them doing those things means that you are forever indebted, that you have to do everything that they say because they did these basic things.
And I’m here to tell you that that’s not healthy. Healthy relationships are not built on guilt or feeling like you owe someone. They’re built out of joy and love and respect. And if you want to do something kind for them, you do it because you want to, not because you feel like you owe them forever because they changed your dirty diapers. Because I’m sorry to say, that’s what deciding to be a parent looks like. And it’s not the child’s fault that you decided to bring them into this world. Don’t let that get under your skin. That’s just not true. We don’t owe someone for doing essentially the bare minimum.
Number 5: She doesn’t respect boundaries.
Now, this could be your limits with how long you’re going to talk to them or see them. This could even be, again, going back to them sharing information without your permission. That’s definitely boundary-crossing. But they could also be what abusive language you won’t tolerate. Let’s say you told them, ‘You know if you say this to me, I’m not going to talk to you.’ They’ll continue to do that and continue to try to talk to you that way. And so, any limits that you put on the relationship, they’re not going to approve of them, they’re not going to abide by them, they’re not going to respect them.
And when you pull back as a result to hold that boundary, they will, again, try to push past it or they’ll lash out or they’ll shame you for respecting yourself. ‘How dare you do this to your mother? I can’t believe that you would say that. You’re so disrespectful. You have no idea all the things I’ve done for you.’ They’ll pull out that laundry list and read off all the things that they think you’ve done that was not okay and they believe were disrespectful or hurtful to them. And so just know that anybody in our life, not just a narcissistic mother, but anybody in our life that can’t respect a boundary. Remember, boundaries are not about the request we put in. We can say, ‘Hey, I don’t like it when you talk to me that way.’ But the boundary is actually when you do that, if you keep talking to me that way, I’m going to have to leave or I’m not going to be able to talk to you as often or I’m not going to see you anymore.
Recommended: Becoming the Narcissist’s Nightmare: How to Devalue and Discard the Narcissist While Supplying Yourself- By Shahida Arabi.
And doing that thing, not talking to them, not seeing them anymore, that’s the boundary. And if anybody in your life, when you let them know, ‘Hey, if you do that, I’m going to do this,’ and then you do that thing and they get mad or they continue to push past the boundary over and over again, that’s not a healthy relationship. It’s built on guilt and manipulation, and it’s incredibly toxic.
Number 6: They will constantly tell you that you are remembering things wrong, otherwise known as gaslighting.
Now, this usually pertains to our memory of ways that they upset us or hurt us, or things they did that weren’t acceptable. Let’s say they overstepped a boundary and we bring it up. ‘Hey Mom, the reason I’m not talking to you is because you called me an [expletive] again, and I told you if you were going to cuss at me and talk shittily to me, I wasn’t going to be able to talk to you anymore. That’s why.’ And they’ll say something like, ‘No, no, you’re remembering that’s not what happened. You yelled at me first, you called me names, I was only defending myself.’ So, they’ll flip the script, they’ll try to make it seem like they were the ones that were being wounded. They’re always very, very comfortable being the martyr or the one that’s in pain. ‘Oh, woe is me.’ They’re not ever comfortable apologizing, accepting responsibility, and allowing us to express what happened.
And if we grew up in a situation like this, if our mom was like this, it’s most common that we’ll find ourselves in other relationships with these same types of patterns. This could lead us to be people pleasers. Apologizing all the time for things that we had no role in. We’re gonna say sorry because that’s how we were raised. We always just say sorry. It doesn’t really matter, just apologize to make it stop. So just know that’s not how relationships have to go. That’s very unhealthy and a sign that our mom is a narcissist.
Number 7: She’s always competing with you.
Now, this could mean that she tries to look younger or better than you. She might even flirt with your girlfriends or boyfriends or try to befriend your friends and then talk badly to you about them. Or she may even want to ensure that she has a better education, job, or just makes more money than you. She will always want to be higher or feel better than you. And if she doesn’t, then she’ll try to take you down a notch. They can do a lot of this manipulation in order to always feel like they’re on top and you’re just down below because that’s where they’re the most comfortable.
Number 8: She is always the victim.
It doesn’t matter what happened or what she did to cause an upset, it will never be her fault, and she will always blame everyone else. And this kind of goes hand in hand with the inability to apologize for anything that she’s done. She always thinks that she’s the one that was hurt and will flip things around. Hence, like gaslighting, you can see how all these signs kind of lead to this one, which is really the crux of narcissism: they’re always the ones that are in pain, they’re the victim. We should feel so bad for them. ‘How dare we do X, Y, or Z?’ without taking any recognition, or any responsibility for their role and what happened.
And growing up in that kind of situation can make us think that we’re always the ones that are at fault Because that’s what we were told. And so we will always apologize because we will never get an apology from them. And I know this sucks to say, but we can’t wait for them to apologize in order to move on. That’s giving them too much power. We don’t have to wait for an apology from someone else in order to move on. And all these signs can cause us to be anxious, a perfectionist, or struggle with all sorts of other mental health issues. We can even find ourselves dating or having friends that are just like her, which is why it’s so incredibly important that we notice these signs and find ways to heal from the damage.
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