Tag Archives: Narcissistic Mother

Is Your Mother Narcissistic?

I have already published several articles on the effects on us of being brought up by a narcissistic parent. In this article, I intend to focus upon the main characteristics that are frequently found in narcissistic mothers. These characteristics are as follows:

1) Self-absorption : she regards her own needs as absolutely paramount which completely take precedence over the needs of her children. Indeed, she fails to properly recognise her own children as distinct and separate individuals with their own unique needs; if their needs get in the way of her own, she is likely to bitterly resent the fact. She is selfish and has a strong need to be admired by others and to be the centre of attention. For example, she may expect her own birthdays to be treated as a cause for international celebration, dancing in the street, ticker- tape parades and a twenty-one gun salute whilst resenting the birthdays of her children for deflecting attention from herself (as I have written elsewhere, my own mother utterly ignored me on the morning of my thirteenth birthday due to my having incurred her displeasure for some minor infraction the previous day).

2) Lack of empathy : this is one of the main hallmarks of the narcissist. She does not only lack empathy for her own children, but for other people in general. In this way, she invalidates the importance of her children’s own feelings, worries, concerns and problems by dismissing, ignoring or minimising them.

3) Warped relationship with her children: she may exploit and ‘parentify’ her child (click here to read my article on ‘parentification’), expecting him/her to cater for her emotional needs rather than the other way around. She may, too, scapegoat one child – often the most sensitive and vulnerable child (click here to read my article about how children may be ‘scapegoated’) whilst favouring another child (perhaps treating this other child as a ‘golden child’).

Often, too, any attempt children make to demonstrate affection for the narcissistic mother may be coldly rebuffed. As regards any loving, affectionate behaviour flowing from the mother to the children, this is likely to be extremely minimal or utterly non-existent.

The narcissistic mother may relate to a child in a strangely intense and possessive manner as a means to manipulating and controlling the child.

Also, she is only interested in her children doing well so that it will reflect well on her and enable her to ‘bathe in reflected glory.’ What the child him/herself derives from his/her success is largely immaterial to the narcissistic. Indeed. If she herself does not gain psychologically from her children’s success she is liable to resent it.


4) Makes sure her child’s appearance is always immaculate in order to give the outward display to others that she is a ‘good and caring’ mother. She may, too, be extremely dictatorial about what the child wears, how s/he has his/her hair cut etc… Again, this is because she is only concerned that the child’s appearance reflects well upon her. She is unlikely to care, or take any notice of, what the child would like to wear / how s/he would like his/her hair cut.


5) Uninterested in your hobbies/interests but expects you to be fascinated by her own. Eg Never coming to watch you play a sport you excel in or even ask you about it whilst expecting you come to watch every performance of an Amateur Dramatics production in which she is performing and subsequently to express your ‘limitless admiration’ for her ‘supreme, Oscar-deserving, acting abilities’.

6) Prone to outbursts of extreme outbursts of narcissist rage/hysteria often over very petty issues and refuses to be pacified

7) Can psychologically terrorize her children

8) Lacks maternal instinct – does not derive pleasure from her children and frequently resents them as a burden and great inconvenience

9) If challenged denies her behaviour harms her children and may lie to cover up her treatment of them. She is highly sensitive to criticism in general and extremely defensive.

10) Projects her own faults onto others, particularly her selfishness.

11) Her moods pervade and dominate the home.

12) Can be sulky and petulant in a childish way and employ passive-aggressive strategies to emotionally punish her children such as the ‘silent treatment’ (click here to read my article on the ‘silent treatment’).

13) Vengeful and spiteful – driven to ‘get even’ with those whom she perceives to have ‘crossed her’.

14) If her child is suffering a crisis, she may actually derive pleasure and excitement from the drama of it

15) She does not experience shame in connection with her behaviour.



.     Dealing With Narcissistic Behaviour (instantly downloadable hypnotherapy audio). Click here for further details.


David Hosier BSc; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

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Copyright 2015 Child Abuse, Trauma and Recovery

How Narcissistic Mothers Can Invalidate Us


One of the most frustrating and upsetting things about how the narcissistic mother may respond to us is that if we try to explain how much we have been psychologically injured by her, she is very likely to respond by INVALIDATING this view as, essentially, she tends to view herself as someone who can do no wrong; by constantly and unwaveringly undermining our strongly held belief, she can lead us to question our perception of very reality.

Having our perception of reality unremittingly called into question in this insidious manner is known to be PARTICULARLY DAMAGING TO OUR MENTAL HEALTH, thus compounding, massively, the harm already down to us.

Indeed, in my own family, not only does my mother not acknowledge that I was damaged by my childhood, but so, too, do not (or have not) its other members. Their keeping up of this absurd pretence has, over the years, amounted to a highly corrosive and invidious ‘conspiracy of silence.’



This invalidation involves our thoughts, experiences and feelings being denied or, even, scorned and held in contempt ; it can, and, not infrequently does, amount to a kind of re-writing of history and brain-washing. We can be placed in an Orwellian hell in which we are forced to believe two and two really does make five, that black really is white.

Examples of things that might be said to us in an attempt to invalidate us :

– you’re over-sensitive

– for god’s sake stop harping on about that, it’s ancient history

– turn off the water-works, you’re getting upset over absolutely nothing

– I think you’re a very horrible person for bearing grudges

– Jesus told us to forgive, perhaps you should take a leaf out of his book

– you’re blowing all this massively out of proportion

– stop wallowing in this revolting self-pity

– you’re always whinging – get over yourself!

– oh, shut up – I do listen to you!

– I was just teasing you – can’t you take a joke, for god’s sake?!

– stop taking this ‘holier than thou’ attitude, you’re far too judgmental – don’t you think it’s time you climbed down from your high-horse?

– you’ve completely misinterpreted what I was saying

– stop criticizing me, I’ve done absolutely nothing wrong

– it’s your fault I did/said that – you drove me to it!

– I never did that

– I never said that

– that never happened

If you would like to read more about narcissistic mothers, click here to read another one of my articles.

To read about how narcissistic mothers can ‘PARENTIFY’ their children, CLICK HERE.

To view the ebooks I have written on the subject of childhood trauma CLICK HERE

To view a resource you may find helpful, click here (or visit the RECOMMENDED PRODUCTS section – see MAIN MENU – of this site).

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

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Copyright 2014 Child Abuse, Trauma and Recovery

Typical Behaviour of The Narcissistic Parent


Dealing with A Narcissist MP3. CLICK ABOVE

Dealing with A Narcissist MP3. CLICK ABOVE

I have already written about narcissistic parents in other articles and now I am going to look, in a little more detail, at such parents’ typical patterns of behaviour.

The psychologist Brown, an expert in this area, highlights for us the kinds of characteristics the narcissistic parent frequently has; these are :

1) A need to constantly be the centre of attention

2) A need for constant and unconditional admiration from others

3) A need to be treated at all times with special consideration / as having special entitlement

4) Grandiosity

5) Lacks empathy

6) Has shallow emotions

7) Sees her children as an extension of herself

8) Exploits others

9) Emotionally abusive towards others

Below : The narcissist’s universe

Let’s look at each of these nine areas in turn :

1) A need to constantly be the centre of attention

She may try to achieve this by being boastful, sulking, having tantrums, complaining (often about trivialities), frequently teasing others

2) A need for constant and unconditional admiration from others –

She may display great vanity, seek status (eg try to form relationships with people of high social standing), make excessive demands to be shown gratitude, be desperate to gain compliments and approval, overspend to impress others, gloat, neglect family to seek status/limelight for herself.

3) Expects at all times to be treated with special consideration / has deep sense of own entitlement –

She may feel what she has to say is far more important than what anyone else has to say, get angry if she believes she has somehow been overlooked, expect to receive better service than the ‘run-of-the-mill’ person, have excessive expectations of others to do things and say things to make her feel special (and become annoyed and angry if they do not), expect always to be deferred to by others, be inconsiderate of others, be contemptuous and disdainful of others, demand unwavering obedience, frequently issue ‘orders’, and always regard her own needs of taking priority over the needs of others

4) Grandiosity –

She may have an highly inflated opinion of herself, have false prtensions, exaggerate achievements, and constantly try to impress others (however, beneath this their lies a sense of deep inadequacy).

She may react very badly to even a hint of criticism, see others as inferior, be very arrogant, find it very hard to laugh at herself.

5) Lacks empathy –

She may be extremely insensitive to the feelings of others, be very bad at listening to others, blame others for their own negative feelings, change the subject when others are talking about things that have great emotional significance for them, belittle/criticize the feelings of others (eg by telling the person they are being ridiculously oversensitive), regard her own feelings as being of far greater importance than the feelings of others.

6) Has shallow emotions –

Because she has shallow emotions, she may fake feelings such as pretending to be concerned when another person is upset but then give herself away shortly afterwards by saying something obviously insensitive, changing the subject back to herself or generally displaying a complete lack of proper understanding.

She may also take no pleasure in the happiness of others (eg if they are pleased because they have made a particular achievement, such as getting a good degree) and may resent and be jealous of such happiness

Whilst she experiences mainly shallow emotions, there are two notable exceptions to this which are ANGER and FEAR.

7) Sees her children as an extension of herself –

Children treated  by the narcissistic parent as an extension of herself will tend to fail two extremely imprtant developmental tasks – the tasks of INDIVIDUATION and SEPARATION. As a result, they may have A VERY POOR SENSE OF THEIR OWN IDENTITY AND OF WHO THEY REALLY ARE (click here to read my article on this). They can fail to differentiate between where their ‘self starts’ and where their ‘self ends’; in other words, they only have a vague notion of which aspects of themselves are under their own control and which are not.

The narcissistic parent who views her child as an extension of herself does not fully regard the child as an individual who is separate from herself. As such, she will tend to :

– not respect the child’s boundaries

– interfere inappropriately in the detail of the child’s life

– act in an overbearing and over-controlling manner towards the child

– become angry with, and resent, the child if s/he rebels against such behaviour

– become offended if the child’s opinion on particular matters is at odds with her own

– deny the child appropriate choice in decisions affecting his/her own life

– expect the child to be compliant, at all times, with her own wishes and needs

– expect the child to neglect his/her own needs in order to help her to satisfy her own

8) Exploits others –

She may see others existing solely as objects to help her fulfill her own needs. She may, too, sever all connections with ‘friends’ when they cease to be of use to her. Further characteristics may include :

– being ruthless in getting what she wants

– lying and dishonesty / distortion of the truth to serve her own interests /prone to exaggeration

– manipulation of others

– making frequent use of emotional blackmail

– frequently expects favours and becoming angry if they are not granted, but rarely returns such favours

– avoid feeling shame and guilt by rationalizing (justifying to herself) the things that she says and does; any expression of shame and guilt is likely to be faked

9) Emotionally abusive towards others –

She may be very adept at verbally hurting others (knowing their sensitive points/weak spots/emotional triggers). She is also likely to expect the person she is abusing to simply accept her abuse uncomplainingly even though she would never tolerate it were the boot on the other foot, so to speak. Also, she may :

– make frequent upsetting, hurtful, degrading and disparaging remarks to others

– unfairly and aggressively blame others

– makes others feel constantly defensive when in her company

– belittle, or show minimal interest in the attainments and achievements of others

– become verbally aggressive to others when they have done nothing to deserve such treatment

– displace (take out) her own disappointment in life, frustrations, regrets etc on others

– project her own, unconscious, negative image of herself onto others


In later posts, I will look at how we may defend ourselves against the narcissistic parent.


Dealing With Narcissistic Behavior : Click HERE

Improve Relationship With Mother : Click  HERE

Ten Steps To Assertiveness : Click HERE




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David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).







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Copyright 2014 Child Abuse, Trauma and Recovery

Effects of the Narcissistic Mother. Part 2.

what is narcissism

It is extremely difficult for the child to reason with the narcissistic mother. She may explode into rages at the slightest provocation (for example,if, when I was a young child, I needed to get up to use the toilet in the night and accidently woke my mother when I did so, no matter how careful not to disturb her, she would become apoplectic with rage; likewise, if I spilt a few millilitres of milk when making her a coffee, she would become similarly demented with anger). Because such anger, however ridiculous and absurd, is justified in the mind of the narcissistic mother, the child is, essentially, left with a choice of two strategies in order to attempt to cope :

1) appeasing/placating the mother

2) rebelling against the mother

Often, the first strategy may be used to begin with, but, when it inevitably fails, due to the mother’s incapacity to ever be satisfied with her child’s behaviour, the child is very likely to resort to strategy 2 – that of rebellion. Indeed, rebellion against the mother can be A NECESSARY SURVIVAL STRATEGY TO PREVENT HER FROM EMOTIONALLY AND PSYCHOLOGICALLY UTTERLY CRUSHING AND DESTROYING THE CHILD. (Once this strategy has been learned as a necessary means of PSYCHOLOGICAL SURVIVAL, it is very hard indeed to unlearn; the child is then likely to carry a rebellious predisposition into adulthood, even if it is, by this stage of his/her life, a largely obsolete, maladaptive and self-destructive way of behaving).

The child will invariably feel deeply insecure in connection with his/her relationship with his/her mother. The relationship is felt to be extremely fragile – the child has a constant sense that it could totally fall apart and collapse at any second. The child also knows s/he could very well be totally rejected (when I began to try – rather feebly – to stand up to my mother when I was thirteen, and the hormones which accompany puberty were kicking in, my mother threw me out of the house. Permanently. I had to go and live with my father and step-mother, neither of whom wanted me either – and made this abundantly clear).

Indeed, the narcissistic mother is likely to have rejected many others during her life (friends, siblings etc, for criticizing her or failing to show her ‘sufficient deference’) and, as the child will have witnessed such behaviour, will instinctively know that the threat of rejection is a very real one. Before my own mother finally threw me out, she had issued innumerable threats that she would do this (as well as repeatedly telling me that she wished I’d never been born, and, sometimes, that she felt she could easily ‘knife’ me, or, even, ‘murder’ me). Another of her favourite expressions -said in a suitably melodramatic and sinister tone of voice, utterly terrifying to the a child, was : ‘I FEEL EVIL TOWARDS YOU! EVIL!!’

Eventually, the narcissistic mother can essentially brain-wash the child into believing s/he is a bad (or even evil) person – beyond any kind of redemption. This can then become the child’s fundamental view of him/herself. Without therapy, s/he can go through the rest of his/her life with a deeply entrenched feeling of self-hatred, self-loathing, and worthlessness. S/he may become utterly convinced that not only is s/he ‘unlovable’, but even ‘unlikeable’. This can lead to an inability to be able to accept affection from others and a life in which satisfying relationships are impossible. A life, too, which is profoundly lonely and emotionally agonizing.




David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

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Copyright 2013 Child Abuse, Trauma and Recovery