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What Are the Signs of a Narcissistic Mother?

By Angela Farrer
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Signs of narcissistic mothers typically include behaviors such as excessive preoccupation with themselves and a lack of ability to give their children the emotional support they need to grow up into well-adjusted adults. This kind of personality disorder can even be an underlying cause of child abuse in some cases. The average narcissistic mom is nearly impossible to please no matter what the circumstances, and she may often rebuff or scorn her children's attempts at affection or emotional connection. Narcissistic mothers usually create lasting impacts on their children that can create various problems for them as adults. Children of people with narcissism frequently experience trouble forming healthy relationships, as well as increased rates of depression or anxiety.

One of the trademark symptoms of narcissism is that the sufferer generally cannot perceive other people as individuals with needs of their own. Narcissistic mothers usually view their children as extended parts of themselves, rather than as separate human beings. They normally value their children only on a limited basis as long as the children can be beneficial to their narcissistic parent in some specific manner. A mother with this condition may demand that her children excel in sports or receive high grades in school simply to make her appear to be an excellent parent to outsiders, such as friends or relatives. Whether the children learn or grow from this high achievement is incidental and largely unimportant to her compared to this boost to her reputation.

Other characteristics of narcissistic mothers are habitual lying and derogatory comments that are spoken under the pretense of being a caring parent. Many of them have a variety of ways of communicating to their children that they hold them in less esteem than other people. These can be non-verbal as well as verbal. People with narcissism often demean or refuse to listen to the opinions or ideas of others, including their own children. A good number of narcissistic mothers behave condescendingly towards their adult children and refuse to truly acknowledge that their grown offspring are no longer young enough to be easily manipulated.

The process of treating narcissism can generally be challenging and only effective when the narcissistic mother realizes her destructive ways and wants to change them. Some mental health professionals claim that a diagnosed narcissist is nearly impossible to successfully treat and that therapy can actually worsen the initial behavior in some cases. Much of the psychological help concerning narcissistic mothers is usually focused on their adult children.

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Discussion Comments

By JokNosNarcs — On Nov 29, 2015

I was married to a N woman. I will say with confidence the writer is correct but way off as well. Let me be clear. Way off.

A narcissistic woman typically will do everything they can when they meet the man they know they can control to fly in to their lives already on a pedestal. It's almost as if they're interviewing for a job, giving the best presentation they can. the Academy Award winning performance of a lifetime. When I met mine, the very next day I was having a conversation with my mom. I recall it vividly. I was describing her as being the most classy, successful, beautiful, intelligent creature that I ever met. I must have looked bewildered or troubled because my mom asked me what the problem was. I said mom I just don't think I'm good enough for her. That should be a huge red flag, guys.

Now it's 10 years later and I'm married with an 8 year old. I look back with crystal clarity, only wishing I had the common sense then that I do now. I went through it all day by day, step by step, so let me just tell you in a nutshell exactly how it's going to go. A female narcissist will sweep you off of your feet making you feel inferior from the very beginning. She will destroy every trace of your individual existence once the mask comes off.

The first thing she does is to make you a permanent part of her life. For example, when we first met, she didn't like my apartment and roommate, so she forced me to move in with her or the relationship would end. She made me turn in my car on a voluntary repossession because it was three years old -- a piece of junk, she said. Then she went out and got me something I couldn't possibly afford on my own, and that, coupled with the fact that she had just made me give up my roommate and my best friend and my apartment all within a week's time, I realized at the end of the first week that I was trapped with her now, living in her home and driving a car I couldn't afford on an income that wasn't even close to being enough to sustain myself without her, and that I was trapped. I wore the clothes she bought, and handed over all my checks, l lost all of myself to glorify her, and didn't know it until almost nine years later.

Once the narcissist has you trapped, the gloves come off and it is on like Donkey Kong. The next step is to isolate you from everyone and everything that you care about: your friends, your history, and your identity as an individual and human being no longer exists. You are solely there as a supply for her, to glorify her. It is by you becoming complete human excrement that she is glorified because she can't look good if you look better and if you look worse, she shines like a new diamond.

One of the things you will notice with a narcissistic woman is that she doesn't have friends; rather, she has acquaintances. They become your acquaintances and nothing more. She keeps you on a short leash, accuses you of horrible things, demonizes you and destroys everything about you that made you an unique individual.

She attacks your character so that if you do have any acquaintances or friends, they all think you're a lying piece of crap, simply because everyone looks at her like she is the poster child for morality, because she is better than you now. God forbid you have children with her and 10 years later you find yourself depressed completely alienated, alone and dying inside.

If you are fortunate enough to open your eyes one day and suddenly reclaim your independence, it will come at a cost greater than you can possibly imagine, because divorcing the narcissist is a near life ending experience. They do not take rejection well, and they do not accept any blame or fault. The only thing they know is that they are perfect, and they never loved you. They only did it to make you happy and set the hook, and they never meant to say yes. They tell everyone you lied to them, that they never said or did anything wrong, and it goes on and on and on and on and on. So I'm telling you from experience, guys: a narcissistic woman is the most dangerous creature on the planet. Watch out for the red flags if you meet somebody so deceptive and arrogant. Look out for the red flags, because if it seems like they're too good to be true, then they most definitely are.

If any of you would like to share your experience with me, I would like to talk to me and get advice on your situation based on mine, so please reach out to me. I can't talk to everyone, but I will reach out to as many as possible so that I can guide you through what you're going through or answer your questions about what you might be going through and share my story with you so that you can avoid having to go through what I went through ten years after the fact. I am here to help as many of you as I can before it's too late. God bless.

By anon978096 — On Nov 15, 2014

The best book I've seen on this subject is Nina W. Brown's "Children of the Self-Absorbed." My sisters and I all read it separately and it opened our eyes to the fact that this is something suffered by so many children. There are different kinds of narcissistic parents who use different ways of controlling their young and keeping them in their place. There was no one golden child in our family -- we all came in for it at different times for different reasons. None of us has formed a successful relationship or marriage in adulthood, and none of us has held on to any kind of work success either -- we probably think we don't deserve it. I know I'm never good enough, however hard I work.

What intrigues me now, in my 50s, as my mother's health fails is she still holds that rod of power, and still threatens fury and hysteria if she's crossed, is what made her this way. Now I've understood what she is, I don't want to waste the rest of my life feeling the same way. I want to understand her in order to be able to deal with her legacy. And for my sisters, one of whom is deeply bitter, to be able to do the same. Maybe then, we can improve our sisterly relationships after years of division. Don't want to waste a minute more on the unhappiness. So what makes a narcissist a narcissist?

By anon971331 — On Sep 25, 2014

Boy the feminists won't like this topic. But then, feminists are the worst offenders!

By anon958354 — On Jun 26, 2014

My boyfriend was abused as a child. I didn't learn this until a few years into the relationship when his mother came into his life again. It destroyed him. He became a mess physically, mentally, and worst of all, mentally and emotionally. To top it off, she destroyed not only his relationship, but also his career. What a crime!

By anon957714 — On Jun 21, 2014

I have had to detach from my N mother. I'm in my mid 40's and just couldn't take the controlling and manipulation and lack of consideration, or the me, me, me attitude that she had anymore. If it wasn't her way, then she got mad, and would punish me by either talking about me to extended family or not calling me for a long, long time. I was always relieved when she stopped trying to call.

I tried for two years to hope that things could be different. I read books about daughters of narcissists and complex, strained mother-daughter relationships and began to try to draw boundaries with her and not be in much contact, but nothing seemed to help. She has completely broken down any amount of trust that I ever had for her. Now that I've confronted her I've had an emotional war on my hands even though I've had no contact with her. She's trying to get under my skin through my adult children and their wives. She's even gone so far as to talk to my son’s mother-in-law, when she doesn't answer her phone. She's kept me and my sister apart as much as possible and we've never been able to be around one another unless she's present, or we both pay dearly. My sister has nothing to do with her and hasn't wanted anything to do with me much over the last several years, because of her distrust for mother and her not wanting to have to think about mother. I think she has not made contact with me because I was in contact with mother and in the past had tried to get her and mother to just get along and just be happy.

I see why she had to detach from me now when she detached from mother. It's just hard to separate yourself and at the same time be around people who are having something to do with that person whom you've tried to break away from. It’s for your own sanity.

It's a rocky, hard road that I hope I can recover from. I'm two months into no contact and it's been very hard. It's like a rock and a hard place: stay in this toxic relationship or stop having anything to do with the toxic person and just watch her talk crap about you to everyone you know including family and try to get back at you in whatever way she can, including trying her best to destroy every relationship you do have.

As hard as it is, for those struggling with this same thing, I don't have all of the answers but my heart goes out to you because I know how you feel. Sometimes you just have to break away from mother, no matter how socially unacceptable it is. We as a society aren't supposed to talk bad about Mom. That makes us bad daughters, you know. But sometimes, mom is the one who needs help, and it's not your fault.

For me, it's hard, when I know in my heart that she's trying everything she can to pay me back and sabotage me in whatever way that she can. It's hard to trust others when the person whom I loved and was supposed to love me, really didn't or couldn't and in turn was looking to me to be a mother for her. It's exhausting to be your mother's mother, and I just couldn't do it anymore. Then I lose her.

Why did I continue on for so many years like this? I regret taking this for so many years of my life. I'm just ready to get off of the rollercoaster ride and I want to claim back my life and just have some peace. I am so blessed that I've got a loving, very supportive husband who has witnessed firsthand what I've been through with mother. If it weren’t for him, I don't know where I would have ended up in my life, since we met very young.

Our two children are so great and they don't deserve to be dragged into the aftermath of what happens now that I've decided that I am finished with mother. It's not what I wanted, but it's come to this because there's no way I can keep this up with her and not lose my mind.

She just won't leave me alone, though, so what's a person to do? She's trying to get people on her side and make me out to be the bad daughter. At this point, though, I don't care. I will do whatever it takes to protect myself. I've not arrived because I'm still searching for answers to how I feel right now. I'm trying to validate my feelings toward her, and by her actions she's making me more and more glad that I cut her off from my life.

She thinks this is going to be like all of the other times and that things will get patched up, but they're not, because once I get through this hell that I'm going through, I'm not looking back.

I hope my thoughts help someone out there that's going through the same thing. Your posts have helped me to feel not alone on my journey. God bless you all. I believe God understands and I don't believe he wants for us to be hurt anymore. I know what the Bible says about mothers, but I know that God knows my heart and I have not felt guilty for what I've had to do.

I feel a profound sadness -- a sort of mourning for what I've never had, and that I probably never will have. I know I'll get through this, and will hopefully one day be stronger for having gone through it.

By anon944601 — On Apr 08, 2014

My mother totally dominated my life and now at 53, I find I cannot live an independent life. I never did. I did not marry or have children. Neither did any relationship of mine work.

My mother and dad got on badly and had a really antagonistic relationship with long silences and verbal abuse. My parents and especially mum (Dad is now passed away) never wanted us to leave home or go anywhere far from them, but my mum really seemed against any relationship or adult life outside the family and poured scorn and sarcasm on anything I tried to do, including boyfriends. In the end, I gave up.

My sister is much the same. She also never made it and did not develop any healthy adult relationships and is obsessed with my mother as she has nothing else. She recently took her out of a nursing home where she was settled and I was the fool who has ended up being a full time carer with no support.

I am without a job as I had to give it up, and I am in the house with my mum 24 hours a day except when one day a week my sister graciously, allows me one day off. I feel like a piece of dirt under someone's foot. I do have a partner, but he is like my family and quite abusive - he did not want a committed relationship because he wants several sex partners at once. He has just moved an ex of his into his home, supposedly to give her sanctuary until she finds a job. He has done this type of thing before, and sleeps with his lodgers.

My only advice is to say, please do not do what I did, Never give up your job or your home to move in with a selfish parent who will drive you mad. Don't do it.

Walk away from narcissistic men and stop being a victim. Get counseling and work on it hard. Take care.

By anon937144 — On Mar 04, 2014

I definitely think my mother is like this, after watching my brother become her "golden child." He graduated from an Ivy League school while I was not doing well. I was the "screw up."

She was always depressed and tired, and would act like I was bothering her growing up. She never hugged us, or showed affection. Some outsiders would say she was trying to mold us into what she wanted us to be, and she would become upset when I was doing things that weren't on her "agenda". Basically being myself was not allowed. I remember saying you can't control people, and being baffled when she didn't bat an eye, or become upset when I said it.

Also, she does this weird staring game and when I tell her to stop she says "you are just imagining it." I just want to be away from her where she can't interfere in my life anymore. My worst fear is that she would try to control my children if I ever get married. She has made my entire life a living nightmare. I used to want to escape and thought there was no way out. It's really not a life at all.

Sadly, I think the movie the Virgin Suicides depicts a NM at an extreme level, but there is help out there. I just hope people can find their way before it becomes any worse. The sooner you get away from your NM, the better.

By anon926669 — On Jan 20, 2014

My mother was so mean to me all my life, never nurturing and definitely showed no unconditional love. She took great pleasure in hurting me and humiliating me in front of family and friends. She was so jealous of my relationship with my dad that I always had to hide any affection toward him. When he would hug me or tell me he loved me, she would do a slow simmer and I knew from her smirk on her face I would pay for it later.

She sabotaged every relationship I had, especially with my dad. She never came to school functions, my wedding or to my daughter’s birth. She ignored, downplayed or ruined every happy moment in my life. All with that same smirk to me.

She could change personality at the drop of a hat and was so good at putting on her little sweet Baptist mother act for everyone else to see. I was shut out of all family functions and holidays unless I invited myself, and then she always let me know I really was not welcome or wanted.

There were never birthday parties for me, but elaborate ones for the two golden brothers. She bought them new cars, homes, gave them property, and I would get some hand me down, or a gift she regifted. She never bought anything just for me as a gift. I can't remember her ever brushing my hair or dressing me up pretty like my friends’ mothers did. I always wanted a mommy like they had, but never had. My three dolls (all I ever owned) just magically disappeared one by one and she would give me that smirk and tell me I had lost them, same with my pets.

She was like a jealous girlfriend when dad was around. There was no way she was going to allow me love from anyone. When I was age 50, my dad got sick and died suddenly. I was shut out of his visitation, and totally shut out of his funeral. This almost destroyed me and I still see that smirking smile on her face as she took so much pleasure seeing the pain she was causing me. I never got to tell my dad how much I loved him or goodbye, thanks to her.

Then, I went no contact seven years ago and I hope she rots in hell. I hate her so much and finally see what a cruel, mean, hateful witch she really is. I know I could never cause my daughter any pain or my grandson. I love them too much to hurt them. I will not be there for her funeral and wish she was dead now because in truth, she is dead to me already. I hope the same god that gave me to her shows her the same compassion and empathy that she showed me for 50 years.

By anon924535 — On Jan 05, 2014

It was a great great post, until I read this: "The process of treating narcissism can generally be challenging and only effective when the narcissistic mother realizes her destructive ways and wants to change them."

Seriously, with all my respect, this is like writing, "the process of turning a wolf into a vegetarian can generally be challenging and only effective when the wolf realizes its destructive ways and wants to change them."

Narcissists are psychopaths, born abusers. There is no human inside them.

One of the core features of a narcissist is the unwavering "knowing" that they are perfect, that they are God.

By anon360066 — On Dec 23, 2013

I am a 47 year old man who lost my job of 25 years working for my father, and as much as I didn't want to, I had to move back in, and live at my Mother's guesthouse. After reading this article, now I know why my life ended up like this!

My narcissistic mother has now destroyed what little self confidence I had left. And now I realize why I feel like a piece of crap: because nothing I ever did was good enough for her.

I just went to talk to her about something that happened to an aunt of mine. Guess what? The conversation turned, and was all about how I am so negative and disappointing.

I finally realize that it's not me, it is her who is crazy, and I am going to move out. I will have to sleep in my truck because I have no income, but it beats being abused by her!

By anon359965 — On Dec 22, 2013

@anon349116 - Post 45: My daughter sounds like you and your situation. I pray that they (and you) will have a strong, healthy marriage and can overcome this selfish, untrustworthy woman.

By anon356490 — On Nov 25, 2013

I used to believe in the NM theory until I became a mother. Where are the fathers in all of this? Let's be a little kinder to our mothers and realize they are probably doing the job of both mother and father because the father is watching TV when home, if he isn't on the golf course!

By anon354393 — On Nov 08, 2013

I don't know if my mother is so unobservant of my feelings, or unconcerned but today was my birthday. My mother took me and my younger sister to lunch.

Whenever this happens, there is a comparison between us. I am always told I was given a pretty name. My sister is always told she takes after my mother's side and they got the brains and beauty. While I am sitting there thinking, "What do you think this tells me about how you feel about me? " I am never included in this. It really hurts.

I said to them, "You know, I am also related to you!" My mom says yes, but she takes after me more. I am nearing 50 years old and it still hurts, because I will never be thought of any better than that to them.

I am told I am intelligent and pretty by almost everyone else I meet or know, but yet they both mock me and refuse to acknowledge me other than by my name.

In one way, I really don't care anymore because I know they both have low self esteem and narcissism, but in another way it hurts that they never see me as acceptable. I could never place a name on this behavior until reading about narcissism. At least now I know I am not alone in this type of abuse.

By anon349116 — On Sep 23, 2013

This article really hit home for me. After reading all the symptoms, I have realized that my mother in law is a narcissist. She has resented me from the time I got engaged to her son, who is a really good person. She loves to run me down in front of other people and loves to shout at me in front of outsiders. She is also prone to raging bouts of screaming when my husband stands up for me.

My husband is 31, but she keeps calling him "My child." We have been married for nearly a year now and it has been absolute hell for me. She wants me to become a doormat and her personal slave. She has unrealistic expectations of people around her. To make matters worse, I also have a sister-in-law who is exactly like my mother-in-law. It is a really difficult situation. She seems to think that I am the Devil who has come to snatch her precious son.

By anon340667 — On Jul 04, 2013

This is something I am really struggling with.

My mum refuses to see the pain she is causing me and my fiancée. In her own mind, she has turned my fiancée into a monster - a 'bolt' who is blocking a mother-son relationship. It's simply not true, but the hardest part of this is my mum gets so emotional and turns to family friends for support.

I have tried for years to sort it out. I've spoken with her by myself, as a couple with my fiancée, and with a third-party involved, but nothing has worked. People tell me I should just 'sort it out', like it's deteriorated as it has because of a misguided view that I'm not putting enough effort in.

My mother is divorced and my only brother lives abroad, which combined adds to her feeling of abandonment. It hurts that she's pushed me away too, as I was always the one who stuck up for her when I was living at home. Added to her jealousy, she admitted to me the last time I saw her that she disagrees with me spending time with my future parents-in-law.

I hate it. I want my mum to realize the pain she's causing us, but instead she dismisses outright the notion that a mother could ever be jealous of her son's partner, and also that she is in the wrong. Indeed, she believes I'm in the wrong and I need to apologize to her for the upset being caused within the family.

My brother gets angry too that the issue isn't resolved. Interestingly, his wife is more supportive of us than he is. I understand that my brother doesn't want to take sides, but I can't see the benefit of giving my mum's narcissism validity - it just makes her believe her views are just, and compels the problem.

That's the issue I suppose: no one wants to get embroiled in a problem. They just want it sorted, and when it's not sorted simply, they either distance themselves or get angry, and unfortunately, because I am the person who is willing to discuss it, rather than cry hysterically, I am seen as the one who should have the answers. But I don't. I'm hysterical inside.

By anon325698 — On Mar 17, 2013

I think my mom's okay, but it seems like everyone else likes my sister better. She got a laptop which she will probably use for facebooking and I would use for editing films, which I love to do. I would also learn how to code, which is also something I have some experience with, but I am left with an HP mini that is really, really slow and was given to us for free by some guy. that was nice enough. And she also got and ipad mini which i She gets everything although she is failing nearly every class and the highest she has earned is a c. She got caught with boys and broke many rules. She leaves the house a lot. I have straight A's and never ask for anything.

By anon323054 — On Mar 03, 2013

Chances are, my mom's a narcissistic parent too. I'm an only child so I was never truly free of my mom's annoying tendencies. We took in two of her nieces before, but both of them eventually left the house, probably because they couldn't stand her anymore.

My life is a continuous cycle of ups and downs (mostly downs, thanks to her) and I've managed to keep myself from turning my death wishes into reality by surrounding myself with people who understood me and the situation I was in. They were mostly my mom's siblings and my cousins who knew her habits. My Dad and I talk about her all the time and it really relieves me off the stress (doesn't matter if it's behind her back or explicitly where she can hear it, because she values herself too much, denying everything negative about herself, is pretty much secondary to her nature).

Eventually I realized that there are much more important things worth my attention than trying to fix the attitude of an overly-narcissistic mom. I learned to believe in myself and value the support of friends and family who truly care.

By anon320357 — On Feb 17, 2013

I am from Canada and I also have a mom who doesn't love or care about me. I am under 18 years old and I ran away from home once, looking to apply for welfare. I feel like I'm guilty just when taking food. My older sister picks on me and watches where I go and what food I eat. My mom wasn't like this before.

I walk around with a fake smile on my face and made up self-esteem when really I am dying inside. Even though I have some people around me, I feel so alone and dead inside. I can't get out and live on my own because it's so hard for me to do this because my age to apply for welfare. I feel the more I stay here, the more depressed and insecure I'm going to be. What can I do? I'm only 16.

By anon318925 — On Feb 09, 2013

This really hit home with me. My mother matches that description perfectly.

Growing up, she was only happy with me in the times when I did something to draw attention and praise her way. I had to learn to play a variety of instruments to make her look good. She would show-pony me around, and force me to play at events when she knew I had social anxiety and hated playing these instruments, and would be mad and yell at me if I wouldn't.

She would constantly have giant anger explosions, where I would end up standing in front of her for three to four hours while she yelled at me for minor things (like forgetting to put a dish away). She let me know how much of a waste of space I was, how much she didn't like me, how stupid and mental incapacitated I must be. She would hit me, smack me, take things away. Eventually I stopped crying, and that made her more angry and she would find new ways to upset me.

My sister came along, and took some of the heat from me. My mother now had two show ponies and would force us into activities to make herself look good. If company was over, she would adopt this sweet and caring demeanor, and the second they left, she would go back to screaming and hitting us. I was miserable. I got so depressed that eventually I attempted suicide (there were other reasons for it, but the home life was a giant one) and was in the ICU for a while. I came out of hospitalization and had a therapist. The therapist pointed out that my mom was partially to blame for my depression. After that, my mom refused to let me go back to my therapist. And the promises she made to me on my hospital bed, about not yelling and keeping the house calm, went right out the window.

Now we have a very dysfunctional relationship. I still live with her, for now. She ignores me, for the most part. She no longer is proud of me, so instead all her effort goes into my sister's activities. I feel like a ghost when I'm home, because I can pass right in front of her and she will never see me or take her eyes from the TV. Sometimes I even speak to her, and she doesn't even acknowledge that I said anything. The only time she seems to respond to me is when she's mad at me for something. Or when my sister has done something and she wants to brag. It breaks my heart, but I'm still here. And maybe one day she will change.

By anon318774 — On Feb 08, 2013

Although narcicssists can be female, the majority are in fact, male. This has always been so. The idea of narcissism is drawn from a character in ancient mythology named Narcissus and he was male.

Researchers might learn more about narcissism if they study it in males, because males account for approximately 75 percent of narcissists.

But as usual, if it involves family and is negative, it gets shoveled up and dumped on women.

By anon315391 — On Jan 23, 2013

I'm 18 years old. I have two sisters who are 16 and 7. Since I am now, I would say "entering the adult world," I find myself seeing the world/problems through a different perspective. My mom is a single mom of us three girls. My biological dad up and left one day (father of me and my 16 year old sister) and my stepfather (father of 7 year old) was very abusive in all aspects. My 16 year old sister and I were exposed to a great majority of the abuse between my mom and my stepdad when we were very young -- too young to fully understand.

He would hit her in the car, stalk her at work, call her names and put her down. He totally belittled her and did the opposite of what a man should truly do for someone he loves, including us kids. My mom finally got away after about five years of his crap. We lived in three women's shelters all in different provinces (yes, I'm Canadian). My sisters and I didn't go to school during this time, simply because we weren't stable. We never knew what tomorrow would bring. It wouldn't make sense to enroll us in school at the time.

Once we got settled, and acquired things – thanks to thrift stores and charities -- my mom had my now 7 year old sister, got a good job, saved up for her own car, enrolled herself into college and is now going to be a certified health care assistant. I'm proud of her, yes. Of course I am. But my mom, ever since we've gotten fully "settled," has become kind of, entitled? For years I thought that maybe I was just a terrible kid. I thought I was useless. I'm overweight, a brunette, shorter, not as smart, etc. Meanwhile, she's the total opposite and I know it bugs her. I know it. Ever since grade 5, she's dropped hints about me losing weight. I remember being in the fifth grade having weight-control shakes for breakfast.

As I grew up, I found my first best friend. She was adopted by a family who ran a foster home. They were a wonderful family and even though none of them were fully related, I felt as though it was still a "family." We went on day trips, to nice restaurants, shopping. I went to my friend's house every weekend. I didn't want to be anywhere else. It was my second home. I would go there when my mom and I weren't getting along (which was a lot.) and my mom was abusive to me a lot in the past. She has given me black eyes, ripped my hair out, kicked me in the stomach, punched me in the face -- everything. I would tell my friend these things because I had to tell someone. I felt so alone.

I then thought as I got older that, yes, I'm still a bad kid but maybe my mom is bipolar. In front of people she was so nice, then to me she was cruel. Then one day in class I heard my teacher use the word "narcissistic.” I read about it and when I looked it up online, “narcissistic moms" was the very first search item. I read about it and all the symptoms and the things people with NPD do/say and I was dumbfounded. I found this out about four months ago and I look at her differently now. All the twisted crap she's done is a result of a disorder, when for years she brainwashed me into thinking I'm the one who's crazy, that I'm the one who's going nowhere in life, I'm the one who will end up working where I am now for the rest of my life, etc.

She would lock me out in cold weather, scream at me loudly only in the car, take things away that "she bought", wouldn't let me do things like go to school, shower -- just everything. It's sad because I've been exposed to dysfunctional people my whole life. I think it's good that I know what's going on, at least. It lets me know that I'm not crazy. Every time I read something on NPD, I can just totally relate and it scares me but lets me know that it's my mom and not me. I'm also afraid for my sister. She's exposed to the abuse my mom does to me and my other sister, so I have to get a plan in motion so that when my sister gets to be my age she has another place to go to when she's scared, because I have nowhere or no one.

By anon315113 — On Jan 22, 2013

Reading these articles brings so much clarity to what I have always known, but never had concrete proof of although I went through years and years of therapy, institutionalization, feeling ashamed, hurt and most of all, angry. My mother was so jealous of me even after I had three children, was divorced and successful on my own. But, in the long run, it made me a stronger person, now because of her, but because I knew the difference and could be better.

I knew that my relationship with my mother was not like other kids that I knew, and in retrospect, I grew up not relying on anyone. I know that this sounds bad but it's all about how you see life. I didn't realize it at the time, but I believed in love. I believed that I could meet someone who would love me and that I could love someone back.

I have suffered terribly over the past 49 years, but I am finally figuring things out for myself. I have three children who haven't spoken to me for over eight years because of their father showing them a video from back in the 80's of me doing something (not sex) and they won't speak to me anymore. It hurts so much, every day, but it wasn't a crime, I did not hurt anyone, and their father -- as usual -- lied about me. So, instead of continuing the sickness of dragging the children into a conflict with their father, and they said that they didn't want to see me anymore, I walked away. I hurt every day, but I won't put them in the middle anymore. I guess it's for the best, but I miss and love them so much, God bless them always.

By anon314371 — On Jan 17, 2013

I'm 60 and it never stops hurting. I was an only daughter – the oldest -- and was told in so many ways/words, manner of parenting, and so on, that I was not the "real" child. My brothers were the “real” children, specifically the middle (first) son. At one point in my life, married and expecting a treasured baby, my mom's sister called me especially to remind me that I was a "millstone" around my mother's neck. This was in her defense by a loyal/meddling sister after my mother physically attacked me and sent me to the hospital for a stupid reason, which you might guess, involved my disapproval of her sleeping around behind my father's back. In her twisted words: “If you disapprove of my actions, then it proves you don't love me.”

My mother self-medicated, slept my childhood away and ignored everything I did. I walked over a mile home from school camp alone, dragging my three-ton suitcase when everyone else's parents waited in droves to see the school bus arrive and swept up their darlings in their arms with joy. No one came for me. Ditto every play, scouting event, school activity I ever participated in. I went to school in near rags and weird cast-off clothing, cleaned the family home top to bottom every Saturday while everyone else read the paper and watched TV.

I went off to college (my choice – no one gave a damn) with dollar store supplies I gathered in cardboard boxes. There was no room or board arranged, either, so I stepped off as only a dumb, young, hopeful kid could and things worked out along the way. My parents finally gave me a ride to college, after asking me a few days before about the location. What was I thinking?

Anyway, through the years, I earned four degrees with honors and my mom still doesn't know what I do. I've been a published artist, edited for a large history textbook publisher, earned this and that in public acclaim, raised two fantastic sons (who she barely knows) who have achieved in their fields on a national and international level. But mom still is only concerned for a brother who ran away from a college his first year (for which his bill was 100 percent paid), has stolen large amounts (homes, cars, goods, etc. from my mom) and brought heartache after heartache to the family (as did his children), and a younger brother who has lost his whole family, home, maybe even his life for all we know, to alcoholism.

Here's what set me free way back in my "dark ages" when I was about 20-something: I had a reckoning. I admitted that I needed better parenting. I needed and deserved a loving mom, but I didn't get one. I got one who was only capable of what she gave me. She gave me her best. It was hideous (and still is; she's in her 80s and still the same mom) and hurtful, but it was not my fault. She can be nothing more than she is. She has given her all. It was not good, and it was not good enough for me. But, that's all she could do. There's nothing to be done about it, nothing that could change her then, and as she has one foot in the grave, she's still going strong in her same old ways. I won't even go into detail here.

God gave me a gift when I was born to rise above this situation. He did not give the same gift to my treasured brothers. I don't resent them; I feel sorry for them. I feel sorry for my mom, the wasted life, the wasted love, the wasted talents and treasure. I still can feel hurt, but I do not feel sorry for myself. I got the best of this whole deal. I have really lived and loved, and enjoyed my life and the family that I raised with my loving husband. For many years, I did have to cut contact with my mother, as many on this comment board did. But now, I say, like Glenda, the Good Witch in the Wizard of Oz said to the Wicked Witch of the West, “Begone. You have no power here!” I dismiss my mother's precepts, statements and sentiments. I see her once in a while, and speak with her on the phone but she has no power here. She's led an empty, pitiful existence, a waste of plasma, space, time, but here I am and so, no matter how hideously I view this, I am here, and I value my life and time here and am thankful for what was given to me in some weird spiritual compensation.

So, you must all rejoice in recognizing the problem, identify your strength, and allow that your mother was all she could be. Sad, but true. It was not enough, and it was not good. But the lack is her failing, her loss. Now, move forward as a continually healing, strong, light in the world.

By anon313569 — On Jan 12, 2013

@anon311415: It does not work both ways, as it was explained to me by a well known psychiatrist. Children try to protect their parents even as they grow up, since without them, they normally cannot survive. They may grow up to be narcissistic, but more often than not, they become introverted if the degree of narcissism in their parent (mother or father) is so severe that they cannot even develop this personality trait.

It takes a lot to realize your mother or father (or both) were abusive towards you and that they were less than perfect. This is biological and ingrained in our DNA. Children will not be narcissistic towards their parents. Adult children will often choose to stay away from their parents if they come to realize how abusive their parents are. (I'm not talking about the exceptions where a child is psychotic).

If you think a healthy child can do wrong to their parents, you just might actually be a narcissistic parent. (but of course, either a narcissistic parent knows what they are and doesn't care or cannot fathom being narcissistic because they are perfect).

My mother's narcissism got the better of her as she could not see the reality that she was living in and ended up being murdered by her narcissistic husband. Narcissists lie to themselves more than they lie to the world. Everything in her life had to be perfect. Nobody knew what he was doing to her until he exploded one day and took her life.

Everyone has a certain amount of narcissism, but to different degrees. When you meet someone who's all about themselves (and you know who they are – it's me, me, me) please do yourself a favor and stay away. They are dangerous.

What scares me the most is that I find society is becoming more and more narcissistic. I don't blame this on the economy (as some authors have done with two parents out of the household blah, blah, blah) but frankly, bad parenting. Some people are not meant to have children. I have so much to say but I will leave it at that.

By flutterfly0 — On Jan 11, 2013

I have a question!

So my boyfriend's little sister, let's call her Kate, is living with her mother. I am worried for Kate because of the influence that her mother has on her.

First of all, Kate's mom is partially blind. She also has diabetes and high blood pressure. She has one or two amputated toes, including her big toe. She has a really bad infection on a wound on the bottom of her foot, causing her to not be able to walk (She walks anyway to go clubbing and stuff!). Anyway, she also has kidney failure in both kidneys!

Kate lives with her mother but she lives as a naive little girl who takes care of her mother. Her mother is a self-centered, manipulative monster. Kate's mother (let's call her KM) is not a suitable mother at all! She has always put Kate in the middle of any dispute between KM and Kate's dad, who is also an unsuitable father. KM and Kate's dad have had an on and off relationship for years. KM has also cheated on him countless numbers of times. Kate's dad is the man who KM cheated on my boyfriend's dad with.

KM has always been a party girl. She takes no responsibility for herself. She has five children, four of whom are grown boys. She never took care of the four boys their whole lives. My boyfriend and his brother lived with their dad. My boyfriend's two older brothers lived with their grandparents since they were young children. All of the five children have different dads except for my boyfriend and one of his brothers.

Anyway, to get back on track. KM has brought over many guys before while Kate was in the house. They would drink and make out with KM. Yes she did this while being blind, along with all the listed illnesses above! I always worry that one day one of those men will try to rape Kate. KM often has Kate read her texts for her from other men. Kate even came across some nasty dirty texts. Kate has even had to chat with men online for her mother.

What should I do? Should I involve child protective services?

By anon312933 — On Jan 09, 2013

Thanks so much for the posts. It really helps to know that you're not really crazy after all, that it's the narcissistic mom and how she brought you up.

By anon312737 — On Jan 08, 2013

I lived through the absolute hell on earth of being raised by a narcissistic mother. I grew up believing that I was worthless and unworthy of any love and affection whatsoever. I spent my entire life trying to "fit in" with my narcissistic mother and my golden-child younger brother.

I was always made to feel like the third wheel – the one who didn't belong. And as I, and they got older, it only got worse, to where I was being left out of family Christmases and Thanksgivings.

It wasn't until I suffered a nervous breakdown at the age of 40, that the therapist I was brought to -- this after planning to commit suicide from the depression I had been fighting off all of my life -- that I discovered that it wasn't me -- it was her! After I began therapy and started to get myself feeling better, I tried to maintain some sort of relationship with my mother. I soon realized that it wasn't good for me.

At one point, I was hospitalized with a serious medical condition -- a blood clot -- that nearly killed me. I spent several days in ICU. My mother visited exactly twice. Once, during the first day of my hospitalization, she stayed exactly 20 minutes and complained about the drive, and the parking the entire time. Not one question for the doctor or nurse regarding my very serious condition. It was all about her.

The second time she came to visit was the day they discharged me. I'd asked her to bring me a change of clothes. Before she arrived, the doctor ordered an echocardiogram to check my heart before they would discharge me. Because I wasn't in my room when she arrived, once she was directed by the nurses to where I was, in the lab having this procedure done, she was visibly angry. She said she was worried about getting stuck in traffic. She got in her car and drove back to her home, leaving me, who had just spent four days in ICU, to take the bus home.

This is just one example of life with a narcissistic mother like mine.

I cut off all contact with her about three months later. Three years later, I still have no contact. In this time, my mother has managed to poison many members of my family against me, but they're mostly idiots anyway, so I don't really care.

My mother has never stood up and taken responsibility for her actions -- what she did to cause her only daughter to cut her out of her life.

I've been to hell and back over these past few years. I had no job, went through my savings, was homeless. And in spite of the fact that she knew the situation, she did nothing to reach out. Some of those things happened even before I went to no contact. And still she did nothing.

There are serial killers who will have their mother sitting in the courtroom crying as their son is arraigned. Yet I couldn't get my own mother to have any empathy for what I had been going through.

The best day came when my therapist made me see that one, it wasn't my fault, and two, that she would never change -- and that I had to let go of the hope that she would.

That was when things started to get better for me emotionally. I had to let go and mourn the fact that I would have to spend the rest of my life without a mother. I have two beautiful nephews whom I haven't seen in three years because of my mother's power over my brother and his idiot wife.

I used to hate the saying, "Everything happens for a reason," but now I know it is true. I believe my life had to fall apart before I could face the truth about my mother. My life is getting better and I'm on the road back. And I know that all I have to do is to keep putting one foot in front of the other -- and never look back.

By anon312239 — On Jan 06, 2013

I am new here so I didn't know how to answer a particular post. I did not have problems with my mother. She was a nurse and great mother. When I met my husband and he told me there was no way of talking to his mother, but I didn't understand. Years later, I do. It's almost impossible to change seriously narcissistic people. As a matter of fact, my husband's mother has these phrases she tends to repeat, and "I'll never change" is one of them. She seems to blurt it out at moments when she knows you're exasperated. She controls everything to the point where her husband was like her robot (he recently passed away). Once he came over and my husband was surprised that he was alone. However, he had a message to deliver and then said, "I came and told you what your mother wanted me to say, not a word more and not a word less..." When my husband tried to talk, he said, "She told me you might try to say something and said not to listen to you. I'll be leaving now." and promptly left. Later, his mother told everyone and anyone who wanted to listen how her ungrateful son let his father die alone without visiting.

There is manic depression in her family and a lot of secrecy. It took me about 15 years to understand the dynamic and still I can't fathom why someone would destroy all their relationships for the sake of some future imagined victory over another, i.e., getting her way. A good book to read is "The Dance of Anger." I still search for understanding.

In some ways, I think these people resemble hoarders. They have some broken idea or notion that becomes more important than people.

By anon311609 — On Jan 02, 2013

I am the middle child of a narcissistic mother! My older sister got a lot of the heat when we were younger, but when she became a teenager and a while before I became the subject of her anger, she was very abusive mentally and physically, in front of strangers and friends. The other three were perfect and I was difficult to raise.

I had never been in trouble at school or with the police but my two siblings closest to my age had been in trouble with both! Her husband (not my father) had gone to prison, I went to school and worked and had to give her my pay check. Now I have very bad anxiety issues and people make me very nervous. There's tons more to get off my chest but there's not enough time. I am so very sorry there are other people out there who had to live like this too.

By anon311415 — On Jan 01, 2013

It isn't always the mum though? I could say the same about children being like this to their own mother. It works both ways.

By anon310627 — On Dec 25, 2012

My stepdaughter is like the rest of the mothers described here towards her son. We have custody and she is an addict. She halts her act when people leave the room and we do this to wear her down. There is always the possibility of the baby daddy and her filing for custody. We play a little ball with her.

Thanks for your testimonies. I know where my grandson will be coming from. My best to all of you.

By anon305686 — On Nov 26, 2012

I'm not sure if my mom is narcissistic or not, but when we're around other people, she makes me seem perfect like corrects my posture, speech and help other people, and she wants to seem perfect in front of others, but in private she's just like, whatever. She says it's because she's depressed about my brother getting killed two years ago, but she's always been like that.

What really gets on my nerves is every time I say something like I'm thirsty, she snaps and says "I'm sorry you don't want me to be happy." That really ticks me off. What's wrong with my mom?

By Guitarsmith — On Nov 18, 2012

@anon302334: Wow. I'm glad read your comment. I feel like we share a common background. My mother is the same and I'm about to move out of my family's home for the last time and cannot wait to be on my own again. It's good to know I'm not alone in my thinking that I should have the freedom I deserve and not have to consult my mother about everything I do. She is an absolute control freak, and now is doing things to hurt my feelings and I can't take it!

She has always been a narcissistic person because she was an adopted only child. It's sad, because when I see the other families of my my brothers wives they are in complete contrast of what my family was. I'm happy I can move into a place of my own soon and start a happy family of my own. Good luck and god bless. I believe he is the source of all my happiness and to me is my true parent. I feel that life is just a test and we can make it better and have happy wonderful lives.

By anon303567 — On Nov 14, 2012

Wow! A lot of shares on this! (makes me feel slightly less alone)

Before this, I read a page by a “self esteem” author stating that the “need for attention” of an adult who was an only child is based on them receiving "so much attention" as a child! I don't know who assumes this? Just because you're alone with a parent means that you are having attention "showered" upon you? C'mon! It hurts and cuts like a knife.

My grandmother used to always say to me, "So-and-So is so spoiled. She has the love of her daddy all the time!" These people are nuts. He slept all the time, and when I was with him, I received no direction., He slept all the time and hardly spoke to me. I found out later that he had been molested as a child by a man, later told me he was gay, and he drank all the time.

My mother was a crazy narcissist. I also, found out later that she had a history of incest from her brother. I'm not using these things as excuses, but it's good to know these things so that I can have compassion for them and let it go.

I think I will read the book mentioned because it does feel so lonely. There are so many who can't relate and it's odd to me. I thought most households were dysfunctional these days. The only time I received my mother's approval was when I sang at a school play. She, who never spoke to me all my life nor was interested in my being in it and preparing for it, started crying and saying, "That's my girl! That's my girl!" You can imagine the shock on my face (is she really serious? Or is she just saying this for attention?) After reading this article and other posts, I know my answer.

By anon302660 — On Nov 11, 2012

My mother is a narcissist and her effect on my life has been to give me a very low self esteem. It took so much therapy to realize that she was ill and I had married someone just like her.

I think the cycle of her abuse broke when she made a negative comment about me at my daughter's Bat Mitzvah and I replied, 'You seem jealous.' My dad was laughing because she had been called out -- finally. My kids recently spent a week with her and they wondered how I lived with it for 17 years. She seems to get more into the disorder as she gets older and is now alone.

God bless my Dad for always being there for all of us. If we needed a sitter for our kids, he always insisted on being there with her.

By anon302334 — On Nov 08, 2012

Oh man! This article really hits the nail on the head. My older sister was the pretty, blonde-haired over-achiever and I was the boring, masculine, stupid, overly-sensitive scapegoat. I have had a Hell of a time with relationships and just coping in life after all that hurt.

Then, I cut off all contact because I was just sick of constantly being caught in her web. She pitted me and my siblings against each other so she could be the center of attention. She had zero regard for feelings. Her classic quote was: "I don't spend my life, walking around worrying about hurting people's so-called feelings!" Yeah.

It seemed as though my place in the family was the screw-up. I am now 25 and have never even gotten a speeding ticket, and she constantly would compare me only to our relatives who had ended up in jail, or as sexual abusers etc.

Now that I'm living a happy life, with no drama and great support, she's confused and thinks I've gone crazy. But I now know what is good for me, and living well takes up the time I used to dedicate to branding her hateful words deeper under my skin.

Sometimes I worry that I'm like her, because I was a bit addicted to drama when I was a teenager/in my early twenties. I used people without realizing it, and rationalized it all as their fault. Now that I can see my own actions in retrospect, I can also navigate my future so I do not keep the cycle going.

I feel buckets of remorse for cutting her out of my life. My brother and sister are also confused as to why I'm not competing for her affection anymore. This causes serious guilt sometimes, but again, the pain I feel without her is dwarfed in comparison to the pain I experience when she is in my life.

Hold your heads up, and thanks for reading this. I hope that in some small way, I can help someone see that they are not alone.

By anon299858 — On Oct 26, 2012

I was adopted by a narcissistic mother at 12. Why she adopted me I don't really know. The only ideas I have are that possibly she went along with it to make herself look good or to take the heat off my scapegoat sister because it was starting to cause problems with my father (blended family).

All seemed well for under a year then went really south from there. Her younger daughter was the golden child. Her older daughter was the scapegoat. My dad's daughter was scapegoat number two. I was number three.

It is hideous to think that now that I have no contact, they have three kids who will never talk to them anymore out of seven. My mom's oldest daughter is dead by suicide. My sister is total no contact. Now it's me. Yet the problem is never them. They, of course, have done nothing wrong. It is the boyfriend/husband/girlfriend or the kids' fault, of course.

I wish there was more written about sons of narcissistic mothers, or at least more of a unisex nature. I suffered the litany of vicious comments, had my relationships meddled with, my accomplishments belittled.

Here, in a nutshell is what it's like to have a narcissistic mother when you are an adult:

I invited my parents, brother and his wife, and sister and her husband over for brunch. Well, actually, my mother picked brunch, and lumped us all into a two-hour visit because she had spent the whole weekend with my golden child sister, who didn't bother to come.

After they arrived I made a great eggs benedict from scratch. I used to be a sous chef. As I only have a three-egg poacher, I spent most of the time cooking for them, and my girlfriend had never had eggs benedict and didn't even know what it was -- she wasn't sure she would even like it - so she wasn't able to help or take over so I could sit down. Plus, I enjoy cooking.

At the end of the brunch, both my mother and father thanked my girlfriend for cooking up such a great breakfast. She insisted that she did nothing and I did all the cooking (my kitchen table is in plain view of the stove). They then again thanked her and said that she must have done something behind the scenes to enable me to make such a fine meal. Again she insisted that she did nothing and didn't even know what eggs benedict was until she tried it that morning. Then my mom winked at her and said, "oh don't worry, I'm onto you. Behind every good man is a great woman. Keep up the good work!" Living through countless moments like that can and does scar you forever.

The only thing to do is go no contact if they repeatedly hurt your feelings like that. From what I've read, keep them away from your kids, because they will turn them against you. My sister's psychologist even told her to keep her kids away from our mom. There is no fixing these people. Patience will only lead to more hurt.

By anon295470 — On Oct 06, 2012

I have a narcissistic mother, father and sister. At least my mother took care of us. My parents have both been divorced two times. My father rarely made arrangements to see us, no birthday calls or cards. No Christmas presents or visits.

When I went to college (paid for by me), my mother called me twice a year and my father called me -- never. Yet he has money to do what he wants. He visits his siblings all the time. My sister lies and steals. She and her husband are hoarders. I'm always surprised that I did not end up a drug addict or worse.

I will never treat my child this way. The best thing for me was to get away and do my own thing. You have to give up the idea of having this great family connection because it will only be harmful to you. Just make your own family and love them!

By anon291179 — On Sep 13, 2012

Oasis11 nailed it for me. That was my older sister and me. She was older and plain-looking (mother was nice enough to remind her she wasn’t pretty, she was handsome, pointing out victorian men liked that look), and was exceptionally gifted with a way above average IQ. She earned degree after degree. My mother made sure everyone knew about it.

Even though my IQ wasn’t far behind, I did poorly in school with the same note from every teacher K-12 grade: “Very bright, just doesn’t apply herself.” Maybe that’s because I was so abused emotionally and physically by mother and if she even noticed I was alive, she would have seen that her overactive sex life in the late 70s and early 80s brought way too many strange men in the house who were also interested in her little daughter, scarring her for life. When the trauma started taking a toll, and I began to get chubby around age eight, as I watched my three skinny siblings eat pancakes, a brown/green health shake with extra fiber was set in front of me with no explanation. She always inappropriately nice to every boyfriend I had, and defended them when I had black eyes or sobbed because of their abuse. “It takes two” she would say. “Look at your part in it.” She went as far as to bail an ex out of jail after a brutal beating left my face a mess, telling me I needed to reconsider, I’d never find better, after I shared I was leaving him.

My years of drugs were a problem, yet the focus was always on the recovery process, staying clean, staying sober. No one ever focuses on the why. Why do people use drugs in excess, knowingly screw up their lives, hurting themselves and those around them? What hurts so badly that the only way too cope is to drown it out, numb it down, risk the love of the only parent you have? If the time and effort had been placed on healing the inside hurts caused by a narcissistic, emotionally unavailable, absent mother, it would have helped tremendously. Most well adjusted people don’t waste their lives as addicts.

And even that overused word: addict. I wasn’t an addict. I just didn’t like a life that had pain I couldn’t escape. I chose to do anything and everything to make the hurting stop. When I finally got counseling -- after unsuccessful rehab, after rehab, after intervention, after tough love, etc. -- I walked away from drugs completely. Nothing big. I just stopped because I didn’t feel like using anymore.

By anon290241 — On Sep 08, 2012

Wow this article is really insightful. I'm 34 and my mom still has so much unwanted influence on my life. I can really relate to the comments above.

I've finally reached the stage when I can say I don't like my own mother. People normally take a sharp intake of breath when I say that, but I am truly so envious of women who have great mother/daughter relationships. I don't know why she ever wanted children. She was a housewife and provided for me practically, so I can't complain there at all. She always made sure I was safe, etc. But she was and still is so domineering. I feel I have never lived up to her expectations, and remember leaving messages in my diary so she would see them like. 'my mommy hates me', in order to get her attention.

I would put myself in the category of high achieving; I am taking my third degree now. I went to all the lessons: piano, ballet, tap, swimming, gymnastics. I rebelled in my teenage years, breathed a sigh of relief when she drove away after dropping me off at university, and I've never forgiven her for telling me my bath was too dirty for my first born to bathe in! She used to accidentally call herself 'Mommy' when talking to my children. She always buys them more presents than I can possibly afford on birthdays and Christmas. She drinks a lot and is very emotionally manipulative. Everyone close to me, including my boss, thinks she is a nightmare.

If I complain, she goes moody and quiet, then she drinks and cries. After my first child was born, I suffered PND, and I still take antidepressants now, and have done (not during pregnancy) since. That was eight years ago. I moved abroad and have felt so much relief at not being forced to do my 'duty' at the weekly Sunday lunch, although the weekly skype session is still done through clenched teeth.

She came to visit not long ago and turned her nose up at everything. My friends asked me why I had invited her. Well, I hadn't. It was a good question. We are moving back home (10 minutes from her house) in 10 months and I have an excellent job to go to.

So I have two questions I'd love to know the answer to! I know she won't change. I wrote her a letter spelling out exactly how I feel about six years ago. It was very brutal but I had to do it for my own sanity. It worked for a while, but now she has started to begin her sentences with things like 'we've decided...' when she talks about my and my family's life in the future.

So, first, what do I do to change myself so I don't end up arguing with her? She wants my children to sleep over at her house but I am totally uncomfortable with that and I know it will be an issue. She drinks too much. And my second question is my own mother/daughter relationship. I work hard to not be like my mom and boost my daughter's self esteem as much as I can. But it's not easy. What if this is a repeating cycle through the generations? How can I break it? Even writing this makes me feel like a terrible traitor. What if my mother reads it? She'd never forgive me. I'd be punished for life.

Oh, and one more question. I suppose the key to not letting people boss you around is learning to be assertive, which I am at work and in other areas of my life to a certain extent. Any tips though, when it comes to one's own mother?

By anon290229 — On Sep 08, 2012

I definitely had a narcissistic mother. That mask she wore while she was out in public made it difficult to find someone who could understand how awful it was for me.

When I finally cut her out of my life, all her rage and hate came out and she trashed me to all of our relatives! Most bought into her rant, not realizing that she had always hated me/resented having to raise me.

However, I did find EMDR therapy, after decades of talk therapy, and this has been a tremendous help. I wasn't 'depressed.' I was suffering from PTSD from all the traumas large and small throughout my life. Best to all!

By anon258224 — On Mar 31, 2012

I was the victim of a narcissist mother and mother to a narcissistic daughter. I have no doubt that the disorder is genetic. I am the one who was sandwiched between the two.

Just when I realized that my mother was a narcissist, incapable of loving me as a child or as an adult (she had my Golden Child brother and his family for that), my daughter began showing all the signs as well. Talk about heartbreaking. I was the one doing all the caring and giving. All I got in return was "it's not enough", followed by some form of punishment. However, after years of being victimized by the disorder, I decided I had to remove myself from both of them. The destruction they caused in all aspects of my life was more than I could bear.

Yes, society looks down upon those who "reject" their mother and child. However, society, or those doing the judging, have never experienced the abuse, manipulation and pain they cause. They just see the narcissist acting out as the victim of those who have to escape them. Of course, the true victim is never believed -- if they are ever permitted to speak. They already have people circling them for protection. Both my mother and daughter are consummate actresses.

After being diagnosed with PTSD due to both of their antics over the decades, I had to make my decision. They obviously made theirs. I have remarried, after my daughter caused my divorce from her father (again, control), moved far away and am living a life of calm and peace – something I was totally unfamiliar with.

It took a long period of time to accept not only a "normal" life for myself, but also to get over the devastating effects of being labeled and stigmatized as the "bad" daughter and mother by the rest of the family, who have also shown signs of narcissism. My PTSD was entirely ignored in their judgment.

I went back to school to engage my mind in positive growth, have joined various volunteer groups, have started to paint (something Mom wouldn't allow) and am beginning to realize the individual I was meant to be without constant belittling assessments and demands.

I'll never truly get over what was done to me by narcissists for six decades of my life. Things do surface from time to time. But, since I have begun a new life without them near it, those times are becoming less frequent and life is getting good.

By anon229645 — On Nov 15, 2011

As the child of a n-mom, I am just now recovering at 33 years old. I never realized that you mother wasn't supposed to call you p.o.s. or worthless when you didn't succeed to her standards. My sister is still killing herself trying to please our mom.

Even though she is a millionaire with a high powered career it will never be good enough. I am glad I stopped trying to please her and started living my own life. I don't hate my mother, but I wouldn't wish an n-mom on my worst enemy.

By B707 — On Sep 15, 2011

@BabaB - I don't think that researchers have zoned in on what actually causes narcissistic mothers. They think that it could partly be genetic factors in addition to environmental.

Some of them could very likely have been brought up by a narcissistic mother. I've heard them referred to as "refrigerator mothers." Their mothers were not able to give them love and attention. And these mothers were inclined to only take care of their own needs and had little ability to put themselves in another person's place.

So if there is no treatment or change, these behaviors could be learned and relearned from one generation to the next.

By BabaB — On Sep 14, 2011

I am curious to know what experts think causes a narcissistic personality to develop. It's hard to know just how many narcissistic mothers there are, because I think it's often difficult to see this side of someone's personality. They can be perfectionists and appear to have it all together. They seem to have confidence and do things that show their capabilities.

At home is where they take off their mask and treat their children like they are objects to manipulate.

This influence takes a big toll on the children. They themselves find it hard to love because their mother hasn't taught them how.

It's a sad situation for the whole family. Hopefully, the children recognize that they need some help when they grow older and seek it out.

By Oceana — On Sep 14, 2011

My ex-boyfriend’s mother was very narcissistic, and I’m so glad she didn’t end up being my mother-in-law. I would have been miserable at every family gathering!

As a child, she tried to mold every aspect of his being. As an adult, she constantly reminded him of what a disappointment he had turned out to be. She made biting remarks about his career choice. She made snide remarks about his clothes and hair.

Being at her house and hearing her say all these things to him was very uncomfortable. If I had stayed with him, she would have started saying cutting things to me, and I would not have taken it quietly.

By cloudel — On Sep 14, 2011

Wow, so even therapists say there’s no hope for narcissistic mothers! That’s pretty sad.

I suppose that therapy just causes them to focus more on their own issues, because that is what therapy is designed to do. By its very nature, it encourages them to be more narcissistic.

I had a narcissistic friend who visited a therapist. He told her that she wasn’t selfish; she was self-absorbed. He suggested that she focus on others more.

She tried, but somehow, she ended up relating the problems of others back to herself. She started trying to solve their issues by becoming the authority on everything all of a sudden, and it made her more difficult to be around than before.

By shell4life — On Sep 13, 2011

I have a friend with four children, and she could definitely be classified as narcissistic. When I ask her how her children are doing, her reply is always about how they are running her down and sucking the life out of her.

She was majorly depressed after her first child. She found out that her partying days were over, as well as her travel adventures.

With each new kid, her bitterness toward them grew worse. She feels trapped and old. I can kind of relate to this, but still, she should have made her kids her new focus and lived her life for them instead of whining about how it can’t be like it used to be.

By Perdido — On Sep 12, 2011

My friend had a narcissistic mother, and she fell into the overachiever category. Her mother had her enrolled in ballet, piano, violin, and theater, and she expected her to be the best in all of these classes.

If someone else in the class won an award or outranked her, then her mother would berate her and say plain awful things to her, when she should have been consoling and encouraging her. I remember my friend crying hysterically after she missed a note during piano rehearsal. She came backstage sobbing before her mother even arrived to express her disgust with her.

By robbie21 — On Sep 11, 2011

I notice that the article and all the posts so far seem to be focused on narcissistic *mothers.* Aren't there narcissistic fathers?

As far as I know, narcissistic personality disorder is not more common in women than in men. I've heard that therapy is hard with them - and imagine trying to go to couple's or family therapy - because they just hear what they want to hear.

I guess I could answer my own question and say that the focus in on narcissistic mothers for three reasons. One, mothers still do most of the child-raising, so a narcissistic mother is more likely to make an impact on her child. Two, we as a society are more tolerant of narcissism in men. And three, we have higher expectations of mothers than fathers (that they will be warm, nurturing, etc.) so again, a narcissistic mother stands out more than a narcissistic father.

By Moldova — On Sep 11, 2011

@Bhutan - It is definitely hard to pull away from a family member that has this disorder especially if it is your mother. I have a similar problem with my sister who is narcissistic and although she is not my mother, I do feel conflicted in my relationship with her because I am happier when I am away from her because she really drains me, but then I feel guilty that I don’t really want to be around her.

A narcissistic person really does not care about you or your feelings. They also hold a grudge and will make your life impossible if you don’t go along with them. I am slowly distancing myself from my sister and it is starting to bother her. She didn’t even call my son to wish him a happy birthday which is something that she has never done before.

Narcissistic people are really hard to deal with because they always leave you feeling like you are a little less than and not quite adequate. These people usually never get help because they don’t see anything wrong with who they are. They are really quick to point out the faults of others because they want to elevate themselves in the process.

By Bhutan — On Sep 10, 2011

@Oasis11 - I think that it is really sad to realize that your mother really didn’t love you. I have two children myself and I could not imagine putting my children through the hell that narcissistic mothers put their children through. What makes it really difficult is the fact that when a mother is narcissistic their needs are paramount to anyone else’s and you constantly have to cater to a person like this.

If you ever get tired of it they will manipulate you and try to control you to go back to serving them. I think that people have a hard time when a mother turns out like this because they feel a certain level of guilt when they pull away because most people feel that they have to have a relationship with their mother no matter how toxic she is to them.

By oasis11 — On Sep 09, 2011

There is a great book that I was reading called, “Will I Ever Be Good Enough?” by Karyl McBride. In her book she writes that children of a narcissistic mother normally followed a few distinct patterns.

She says that some children excel and become somewhat of an overachiever because they believe that their value is only related to what they do for a living rather than how they feel as a person. They learn that their worth is only in their job not in them as a person.

She also writes that the child of a narcissist mother can also go to the opposite extreme and just rebel against her. The child that chooses this path has constant turmoil in his or her life. She adds that this type of person does not feel worthy of success and chooses destructive ways to live.

The author mentions that this person might have an addiction to drugs or may not be able to hold on to a job. I thought is was a really intersting take on what could happen if you have a mother like this.

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