13 Toxic Characteristics of a Narcissistic Mother

Mothers are typically loving and nurturing, but that definitely does not apply if your mother is a narcissist. The narcissistic mother is usually cold and distant, lacking empathy for her child’s feelings. She is also quick to anger and is manipulative, using guilt-trips, emotional blackmail, and other tactics to get her way. These toxic characteristics, combined with the lack of emotional support from their narcissistic mother, can lead to feelings of confusion, insecurity, worthlessness and low self-esteem in her children.

This post will explore the 13 most common toxic characteristics of a narcissistic mother.

The Narcissistic Mother

The following are the most common characteristics of a narcissistic mother.

Understanding these traits can help individuals recognize the damaging behaviours of their mother and take the necessary steps to address the lasting effects they may be experiencing.

With knowledge and support, individuals can break free from the destructive grasp of a narcissistic mother and move toward a healthier and happier life.

13 Toxic Characteristics of a Narcissistic Mother

Characteristics of a Narcissistic Mother – She is Self-centred

Narcissistic mothers have a deep sense of entitlement and believe that others exist to meet their needs.

Their self-centeredness makes it practically impossible for them to show empathy or interest in other people’s points of view.

They have no understanding of the fact that everyone has a unique perspective shaped by their experiences, opinions and cultural background leading them to disregard any opinion or view that doesn’t align with their own.

This lack of interest in other’s thoughts and feelings can be harmful for their children as it leads them to feel unheard or dismissed.

It can be challenging to express their views, beliefs, or aspirations when they are constantly met with ridicule, criticism, or indifference from their narcissistic mother.

13 Toxic Characteristics of a Narcissistic Mother

Characteristics of a Narcissistic Mother – She is Always Right

Narcissistic mothers have an unwavering belief that they are right.

This conviction can be so profound that it blinds them to other perspectives or opinions, leading them to dismiss those around them as misguided or ignorant.

They require constant validation from others about the rightness of their beliefs and will take issue with anyone who dares to dispute their views.

This lack of interest in other’s thoughts and feelings can be harmful for their children as it leads them to feel unheard or dismissed.

It can be challenging to express their views, beliefs, or aspirations when they are constantly met with ridicule, criticism, or indifference from their narcissistic mother.

Moreover, they may not realize that the unwavering belief of the mother is not grounded on any reality.

Thus, children may get trapped and pulled into believing that their mother’s beliefs are the gold standard of truth, leaving them with a distorted sense of reality.

narcissist mom

Characteristics of a Narcissistic Mother – She is Boastful

The need for validation is a driving force for many narcissistic mothers.

They crave attention, adulation, and approval from those around them, and this often manifests as boastful behaviour about their own accomplishments.

They may brag about their successes, even if they are minor, or exaggerate their achievements to impress others.

In contrast, they often downplay their failures or shift the blame to others in order to protect their image.

This can be damaging for their children, as it sets an unrealistic standard for success and instills the belief that failure is not allowed, leading their children to carry this belief well into adulthood.

Additionally, the constant need for attention and approval from those around them can be draining for their children.

Narcissistic mothers tend to monopolize conversations or shift attention away from their children onto themselves, often disregarding their child’s needs for attention, comfort or love.

This can leave their children feeling unimportant or unheard.

Furthermore, narcissistic mothers will try to take credit for their children’s success, by adopting the accomplishments of their children as their own, leading the children to feel robbed of their own accomplishments.


Characteristics of a Narcissistic Mother – She is Very Competitive

Narcissistic mothers are often fiercely competitive, no matter the situation. They need to be better than everyone else and will go to extreme lengths to prove it.

In addition, they have a hard time accepting defeat or criticism, which makes them difficult to have meaningful conversations with.

They also tend to be overly critical of their children, putting them down or comparing them to others in order to make themselves look better.

Characteristics of a Narcissistic Mother – She is Hypercritical

Narcissistic mothers are quick to point out the flaws and mistakes of their children. They nit-pick at everything, making it seem like nothing is ever good enough.

This constant criticism can be damaging to a child’s self-esteem and can create feelings of inadequacy.

Unfortunately, their toxic behaviour scars their children, leaving them feeling unworthy and unloved.

narcissistic mother

Characteristics of a Narcissistic Mother – She is Unable to Accept Criticism

Narcissistic mothers cannot handle criticism or even the mildest of positive feedback. They will deflect the criticism and accuse the other person of being toxic or envious, instead of trying to understand their point of view.

These mothers are very sensitive to what people say about them, and any form of criticism is often met with extreme defensiveness or anger.


Characteristics of a Narcissistic Mother – She is Not Accountable

It’s common for narcissistic mothers to exhibit a pattern of behavior that is self-centered, manipulative, and emotionally abusive.

They have a sense of entitlement that allows them to believe that the rules don’t apply to them, and they expect others to cater to their every need.

When confronted with their mistakes, these mothers rarely take ownership of their actions. Instead, they’ll deflect responsibility by placing blame on others, even if it means lying or gaslighting.

Their arrogance is often insufferable and their refusal to acknowledge their wrongdoings can lead to a toxic and dysfunctional relationship with their children.

As a result, their children may suffer from a lack of emotional support, constant criticism, and feelings of inadequacy.

Characteristics of a Narcissistic Mother – She is Manipulative

Manipulation tactics are a hallmark trait of narcissistic mothers.

They use a range of techniques, such as guilt-tripping, shaming, and emotional blackmail, to control the behavior and emotions of their children.

This can result in a sense of insecurity and confusion, as their children are constantly unsure of what is expected of them.

In many cases, narcissistic mothers will condition their children to prioritize their needs above all else.

They may enforce strict rules and use punishment to ensure compliance, or they may use flattery and praise to make their children feel like they are indebted to them.

Over time, this conditioning can make it difficult for children to assert themselves or believe in their own capabilities without the approval of their mother.

As a result, children of narcissistic mothers often grow up with a constant sense of self-doubt and low self-esteem.

They may struggle to trust their own thoughts and feelings or may believe that they are inherently flawed or inferior.

This can have lasting effects on their mental health and relationships throughout their lives.

13 Toxic Characteristics of a Narcissistic Mother

Characteristics of a Narcissistic Mother – She is Unsupportive

Narcissistic mothers are typically not emotionally available to their children.

They rarely, if ever, offer comfort or support when their children are going through difficult times, or they may be dismissive and unsympathetic to their struggles.

This lack of emotional support can leave children feeling isolated, scared, and unsure of how to deal with negative emotions or setbacks in their lives.

Without positive feedback or guidance from a parental figure, a child may grow up feeling lost and alone.

They may struggle to build healthy relationships, develop effective coping mechanisms, and become confident in themselves and their abilities.

Furthermore, children of narcissistic mothers may internalize their struggles and feel responsible for their mother’s lack of attention.

This can lead to feelings of inadequacy and a sense of being unworthy of love and attention.

25 Characteristics of a Narcissistic Mother

Characteristics of a Narcissistic Mother – She is Envious

Envy is another common trait of narcissistic mothers that can have severe effects on their children.

These mothers often struggle with feelings of inadequacy and may perceive their child’s successes as a personal threat.

This envy can manifest in a range of behaviours, including belittling their children’s accomplishments, criticizing their appearance, or actively sabotaging their opportunities.

This persistent undermining can lead to a host of emotional issues for the child.

They may feel like they can’t discuss their accomplishments or their dreams without being met with criticism or a lack of interest.

They may feel unsure of their own abilities and struggle to pursue their goals, as they believe their mother will never be proud of them.

This constant devaluation can also lead to feelings of low self-worth and insecurity.

Children of narcissistic mothers are made to feel that they are never enough, no matter how hard they try.

They may struggle to build supportive relationships or trust others, as their mother’s undermining has conditioned them to keep their accomplishments and desires hidden from others.

25 characteristics of narcissistic mothers

Characteristics of a Narcissistic Mother – She is Entitled

Narcissistic mothers struggle to see beyond their immediate desires or needs, leading them to take advantage of those around them.

They expect special treatment or privileges.

Their children are conditioned to cater to their mother’s whims or expectations, ignoring their own needs.

This creates issues in the child’s social life, as they struggle to build relationships built on respect and mutual understanding.

10 Symptoms of Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers 3

Characteristics of a Narcissistic Mother – She is Abusive

Narcissistic mothers are often emotionally and verbally abusive.

They may use derogatory language, put their children down, or make hurtful comments in order to belittle them.

This type of narcissistic abuse can leave lasting emotional scars on a child, It makes them doubt themselves and their abilities.

It can also lead to feelings of insecurity and low self-esteem.

Characteristics of a Narcissistic Mother – She is Controlling

Narcissistic mothers typically exert a large amount of control over their children, insisting that they have a say in every decision the child makes.

This can range from dictating how the child dresses, who they spend time with and what activities they participate in.

These attempts to control usually create feelings of insecurity, helplessness and discomfort for the child.

The Impact on Children

The relationship between a mother and her child is one of the most important interpersonal connections, but when a mother is narcissistic, this relationship can become incredibly damaging.

From instilling low self-esteem to creating an unhealthy fixation with perfection, the effects on their children can be long-lasting and difficult to heal from.

Shame - the legacy of a toxic childhood

Low self-esteem

Narcissistic mothers make their children feel inadequate through constant criticism or unduly high expectations that cannot be met.

This can lead to feelings of worthlessness, a lack of confidence, and a deep-rooted sense of inadequacy that may stay with their children throughout their lives.

Mental health issues

Children of narcissistic mothers are more likely to suffer from issues like depression and anxiety due to the lack of emotional support and validation from their parent.

This can also cause problems with emotional regulation, as children may overreact to situations or have difficulty expressing emotions.

Additionally, they may be more prone to addictive behaviours as a way of coping with the internal turmoil caused by their parent’s narcissism.

Lack of empathy

Narcissistic mothers can have a lasting, detrimental effect on their children’s ability to empathize with others.

Without experiencing healthy love and support, it can be difficult for children of narcissistic parents to understand how another person is feeling or relate to them on an emotional level.

Over time, this can lead to difficulties in forming meaningful relationships as adults.

Difficulty trusting others

Children of narcissistic parents may struggle with forming trusting relationships due to the unhealthy behaviours they have experienced from their primary caregiver.

This includes expecting manipulation, deceit and betrayal from those closest to them, making it difficult for children to learn how to trust others.

These ingrained patterns can affect the child’s social development, creating issues in forming meaningful relationships in adulthood.

Difficulty with assertiveness

The persistent criticism and lack of validation from the mother can leave children feeling unable to escape a cycle of negativity.

This can lead to issues asserting themselves, setting boundaries or expressing their feelings adequately.

These difficulties can have long-term implications on the child’s ability to form meaningful relationships later in life.

sad young man

Perfectionism and Impostor Syndrome

Narcissistic mothers often instill in their children an obsession with perfection.

This can lead them to internalize unrealistic standards, ultimately creating a damaging cycle of self-doubt and incessant self-evaluation.

The inability to meet these idealized standards can lead to feelings of worthlessness and shame, further exacerbating the child’s difficulty in forming healthy relationships later in life.

Fear of rejection

The constant criticism and lack of validation that stems from the narcissistic mother’s actions can have lasting impacts.

It may make it hard for the child to accept or seek validation from other people, leading to a deep-seated fear of rejection or failure.

This can manifest in many different ways, such as low self-esteem, social anxiety and difficulty forming meaningful relationships.

anxiety symptoms in women


The constant instability created by a narcissistic mother can leave children feeling anxious and on edge.

They may never feel relaxed or able to truly be themselves, as they are always on guard and uncertain of what will come next.

This can create difficulties in forming trusting relationships, as the child is unable to let their guard down. Long-term effects such as chronic anxiety or depression can occur if this pattern persists well into adulthood.

Final Thoughts

Narcissistic mothers are poison for their children.

Their manipulative, controlling, and often abusive behaviour leads to lasting emotional damage that continues to wreak havoc in their children’s lives well into adulthood.

If your mother is a narcissist and you experienced this kind of abuse, it is important to recognise the impact it had on you and seek professional help in order to heal.

It is possible to move past this type of trauma and create a life that is full of fulfilment and joy.

Only through self-love, compassion and understanding can we truly begin to heal.

Frequently Asked Questions about Narcissism

Frequently Asked Questions About The Characteristics of a Narcissistic Mother

What is a narcissistic mother?

A narcissistic mother is a parent with a narcissistic personality disorder or significant narcissistic traits. They prioritize their own needs over their children’s, lack empathy, and often manipulate their children to meet their own needs.

What are some common behaviors of a narcissistic mother?

Narcissistic mothers often exhibit controlling behavior, lack empathy, and use guilt or manipulation to get what they want. They may also have unrealistic expectations, give conditional love based on performance, and can be overly critical or dismissive of their child’s feelings and achievements.

How does a narcissistic mother affect her children?

Children of narcissistic mothers often struggle with low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression. They may also have difficulty forming healthy relationships, struggle with boundaries, and carry feelings of guilt or unworthiness into adulthood.

How can I cope with a narcissistic mother?

Coping strategies can include seeking professional help, setting boundaries, practicing self-care, and engaging in activities that boost self-esteem and independence. Joining support groups for people with similar experiences can also be beneficial.

Can a narcissistic mother love her child?

While a narcissistic mother can have feelings for her child, her understanding and expression of love are often distorted by her narcissism. Her love is often conditional and based on how well the child meets her needs or expectations.

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