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.