Exposing the Nice Narcissist Mother – Understanding Covert Narcissism

Overt narcissist mothers are more apparent in their abusive behaviour, but covert narcissist mothers camouflage their abuse with kindness. This type of narcissist mother appears to be nice and charming at face value, but in truth they are selfish and manipulative.

The fact that they appear to be nice and caring makes it harder for children to recognize and address the negative impact of their mother’s behavior.

In some cases, the children of covert narcissistic mothers might struggle with feelings of guilt and shame for not being able to appreciate their mother’s “kindness.

In this post, we will focus on the nice narcissist mother and how to recognize her covert strategies.

What is a Covert Narcissist?

A covert narcissist is a type of narcissistic personality where an individual displays the characteristic behaviour of a narcissism but in a more subtle and concealed manner.

While they may still seek attention and validation, they usually do so by presenting themselves as humble or self-deprecating.

The following are the main characteristics of the covert narcissist

False humility. One of the main features of a covert narcissist is the way they present themselves to others.

They may act humble or self-deprecating, but underneath the surface, they expect others to recognize their greatness.

covert narcissistic mother

Victim mentality. A covert narcissist may present themselves as a victim to gain attention and manipulate others.

They may use their history of abuse or trauma to garner sympathy or to make themselves look more heroic.

Passive-aggressive behaviour. Covert narcissists are known for their subtle, underhanded and manipulative tactics.

They use passive-aggressive tactics to gain power and control over others.

For example, they may say something that sounds helpful but is actually a dig at someone else.

Lack of empathy. Covert narcissists lack empathy. They may not be able to understand or connect emotionally with other people, and are often only interested in relationships that benefit them.

Insatiable need for validation. Covert narcissists have an insatiable need for validation and often require constant admiration from others.

They may use subtle methods to get validation, like fishing for compliments or making themselves appear helpless.

Fragile self-esteem. Despite their outward appearance of confidence, covert narcissists have very fragile self-esteem.

They may become defensive, angry, or dismissive when their self-image is threatened in any way.

nice narcissist mother

How Do You Recognize a Nice Narcissistic Mother?

A nice narcissistic mother is often described as loving, caring, and generous to her children. She can be the type of mother who is always there for her children and will go out of her way to make them happy.

However, her behaviour is fuelled by her own needs, and when her children do not fulfil those needs, she can become cold and distant, causing serious damage to a child’s self-esteem.

The nice narcissistic mother uses different strategies to control and manipulate her children. These include:

Emotional manipulation: A nice narcissistic mother will use emotional manipulation to get her child to do what she wants. She may guilt-trip her child or use fear to control them.

The perfect mother: A nice narcissistic mother wants to be seen as the perfect mother, and she will do anything to keep up that image, even if it means sacrificing her children’s needs.


Gaslighting: A nice narcissistic mother will gaslight her children. She will deny the child’s feelings or tell them that their feelings are wrong. This can make it hard for the child to trust their own feelings and can lead to confusion and self-doubt.

Narcissistic supply: A nice narcissistic mother uses her children as her narcissistic supply. She expects her children to be there for her emotionally, and if they do not fulfill her needs, she can become angry and freeze them out.

The Effects of Living with a Nice Narcissistic Mother

Living with a nice narcissistic mother can have a significant impact on a child’s emotional and psychological development.

Children of nice narcissistic mothers often struggle with low self-esteem, anxiety, and lack of trust in others.

The following are some of the effects of living with a nice narcissistic mother:

nice narcissist mother

Lack of emotional validation: A nice narcissistic mother fails to validate her child’s emotions. She may even tell the child that the child’s emotions are wrong. This leads to the child becoming emotionally stunted and unable to express their emotions healthily.

Codependency: Nice narcissistic mothers create a codependent relationship between themselves and their children. The child is made to feel as though they need to fix the mother’s problems and become a source of validation for the mother.

Confusion: The nice narcissistic mother’s behaviour can be confusing and hard to understand for the child. The mother’s charm and generosity masks her manipulative behaviour and makse the child doubt their own feelings.

Feeling invisible: Children of nice narcissistic mothers can feel invisible because their needs are not acknowledged. They grow up thinking that their role is to meet their mother’s needs, ignoring their own.

sad child - covert narcissistic mother

How to Heal from Living with a Nice Narcissistic Mother

If you grew up with a nice narcissistic mother, it is essential to seek help to deal with the emotional and psychological damage that the experience causes. The following are some steps that one can take to heal from living with a nice narcissistic mother:

Seek therapy: Therapy is a good place to start when dealing with the effects of living with a nice narcissistic mother. A therapist can help the child understand their feelings, identify their needs, and work towards fulfilling those needs.

Set boundaries: Setting boundaries is essential when dealing with a nice narcissistic mother. The child needs to understand that they have a right to their feelings and that they do not have to fulfil their mother’s needs to be loved.

Self-care: It is essential to focus on self-care when dealing with the effects of living with a nice narcissistic mother. The child needs to learn how to take care of themselves emotionally and psychologically.

support group

Final Thoughts on the Nice Narcissist Mother

A nice narcissist mother can be confusing and emotionally damaging to her children. Her behaviour is subtle and covert, making it hard for children to recognize the negative impact of her behaviour.

However, it is important to understand that however ‘nice’ their behaviour may appear to be on the surface, it is driven by the needs and desires of the covert narcissist mother, and not those of her children.

If you grew up with a nice narcissist mother, it is essential to seek help to address the emotional and psychological damage caused by their behaviour.

Seeking therapy and setting boundaries are important steps towards healing and reclaiming your sense of self. It is also crucial to practice self-care and focus on building healthy relationships with yourself and others.

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