Sons of Narcissistic Mothers
October 26, 2011 – For the first time tonight, I noticed this site’s statistics. I was shocked to see that the blog gets a lot of visitors (heck, I haven’t posted in several months for a variety of reasons and I’ve never paid any attention to the stats.) Well, when I did, I saw that THIS subject is one of the most searched and so now I’m going to focus on this.
Below is what I wrote when I started the blog in June and I added more to it tonight based on conversations with men who have a narc mother and some basic research. I will add more as I uncover more (since I’m obviously not a son of a narcissistic mother, my personal perspective doesn’t matter except in relation to my own brother, another friend of mine who was raised by a narc mom and all the narcissistic men I’ve had relationships with over the years.)
June 10, 2011 – I’m just starting the research on this but I have read enough to have some “preliminary” thoughts. Narc moms raise sons who will most likely fit into one of the following “types” (and this is NOT “scientific or therapeutic fact” but based on my research and personal observations…I’m positive there are experts out there who have written extensively on the subject!) If you’re a man who sees that one of these types “fits” you a little too well…go find a book by an expert or see a therapist.
If you’re a woman and you’re reading about these men and realize you’re dating one, run like the wind the other direction! Okay, that wasn’t fair but chances are you’re in for a rough ride that will NOT fulfill your needs, dreams or heart very well…especially if his mother is still overly involved in his life. If you’re married to one, see above advice about books & therapy.
1) They become narcissists themselves and hate women even while obsessed with them. They have a love/hate relationship with their mother and their personal relationships are often shallow, messy and ugly. They may tend to date “gold digger” types, (i.e. female narcissists) because gold diggers are usually attractive, also shallow and offer the narcissistic male a prize to display that other males envy (think “trophy wives.”)
These men are usually callous, obsessive and indiscreet about sex and may be the guy who sleeps with women to put “notches in his bedpost.” He’s the type that brags in the locker room about his conquests so he can hear what a stud he is from other men. He’ll also tell all the details of his conquests and may publicly berate the woman he’s managed to sleep with as a whore.
They can be wildly successful in their chosen career but may do stupid stuff like have affairs that ruins their reputation and career (think athletes, politicians and preachers.) Perhaps they cheat on their taxes (and get caught); cheat their own clients/or investors, or steal from their business partner (even though they are wealthy themselves.)
There is usually a desperate need for success and adulation but because they actually hate themselves deep down (narcissism is a strange mixture of self hatred and envy that only LOOKS like self love) they are driven to ruin their own success.
2) They end up without much identity except for what’s tied to their narcissistic mom. Some would call them mama’s boys. These are the guys who take “care” of their moms…even if she’s not old and doesn’t need the help. They’re the guys who run errands for her, take time off of work to drive her places and may always be doing things around her house (even if she can afford to pay a handyman.)
He allows her to screw up his relationships. No woman is ever good enough for “her little man” and she can be very cruel and nasty to the women in his life (usually subtly and the women get angry while the mom looks like she’s done nothing wrong.) This causes endless conflicts and he ends up saying things like, “she’s my mother, I love her and I can’t choose between the two of you so please don’t make me.”
Because he’s been so well groomed to be at her beck and call, he simply can’t comprehend that it’s his mother who is purposefully causing the conflicts (and enjoying the problems she causes.) This would be the classic example of the horrible mother-in-law.
They may be called “nice guys” by most people, a term they hate (especially because they probably don’t feel very “nice” at all and suffer from low esteem.) But they won’t fight her — or fight much of anything — they’re too well trained to be compliant. They’ll go out of their way to help others and may have a “knight in shining armor” complex and find themselves continually drawn to women who need rescuing. Ultimately, since no one can actually “rescue” anyone else, the needy women will most likely use them and then dump them (and the cycle of feeling like a failure continues.)
These are the two categories above are the ones I’m seeing the most in my preliminary research BUT because of my brother and my dearest male friend, I think there are at least two more (and, of course, aspects of any one of these behaviors/traits — or some from all 4 categories — may be present in one person. Like I said, NOT scientific!):
3) They suffer from long term, and sometimes rather undefined depression (a form of PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.) They have a hard time remembering their childhood, the memories they do have are vaguely normal yet they may have “fuzzy” memories or feelings that they were somehow abused and they may not have much of a relationship with siblings (but can’t quite put their finger on exactly why.)
They love women but can seem clingy or needy and thus repel rather than attract “normal” women. They are usually very giving and loving once a woman gives them a chance but their neediness (which they really aren’t aware of because they are emotionally repressed) may drive that woman away and the cycle of depression continues.
They seem to have a special ability to find narcissistic women over and over again when they DO get into a relationship that lasts longer than the failed attempts with “normal” women. Then they try really, really hard to please the narcissistic women too (subconsciously re-enacting their desire to get love from their mothers.)
The outcome of these relationships is either getting dumped or being treated so badly they finally can’t take it and actually leave themselves. But they don’t seem to relate it back to mom very well, or even really comprehend “what went wrong” and so the cycle continues.
Jobwise, and in other areas, being “safe” and “secure” may be important. They may have to dwell for a long time on things (process) and even when faced with clear and obvious abuse, they may ponder it and then do nothing to change things. They may get passed over for promotions, get taken advantage of by co-workers and if self-employed, may tolerate client’s who don’t pay on time or at all. This can cause further havoc in their lives, both personally and financially.
4) They become reasonably normal, marry women NOT like mom and manage to keep their Mother at arm’s length. They often have problems holding a job or the opposite, they stay a long time in one job…even if it isn’t fulfilling. There may be an underlying sense of depression or they feel unfulfilled but they “soldier on” and try to stuff or ignore these emotions.
These types of men were usually afforded some of the “golden child” status by their narc mom in their upbringing and so may not have received the full brunt of their mother’s wrath (even though they’re just as wary of mom as their more damaged or abused siblings, they are probably not as emotionally scarred.)
They may or may not be able to talk about their emotions with their wives, or the opposite, their wife is the only person they can talk to. They can be humorous and charming but sometimes this is actually a defensive mechanism…cracking a joke can stop a serious discussion in it’s tracks thus allowing them to not have to go very deep under the facade. But overall, they live fairly good lives.
Here is one I got from the blog The Narcissist in Your Life:
NARCISSISTIC SONS-NARCISSISTIC MOTHERS
Some narcissistic mothers fixate on their son as a golden child and a psychological partner. The son of the narcissist is adored by the mother. Although there is no actual incestuous interaction between mother and son, the narcissistic mother can be provocative and psychologically seductive with this child. Learning from early childhood that he is the prince of the household, he feels superior and self entitled to do whatever he wants. The father is out of the picture and takes no significant role in the child’s development. The narcissistic mother has no interest in her spouse. The focus is on her special boy: his talents, charm, brilliance and superiority to everyone else. Early on the mother communicates to her son that he has no limits and is perfect. This boy knows from the time that he is very young that he is golden—adored and revered by his mother. The narcissistic mother often raises a narcissistic son, an individual she can turn to for validation and a special person on whom she can attach her grandiose dreams of worldly success and power.Mother’s adoration and psychological fusion come at a weighty price. Narcissistic sons of narcissistic mothers have great difficulty becoming real men. Mother has manipulated her child as an adored object. As a result the narcissistic son cannot have emotionally and psychologically intimate relationships with women. Many of these male narcissists detest women and are frightened of being emasculated by them. This is a painful psychological remnant of growing up being suffocated by mother and not allowed to develop a separate identity as a man. Although these narcissistic man can appear to be normal with spouses and families, they are going only through the motions, creating and sustaining an idealized image of spouse and father. Beneath the elaborate facade, the narcissistic son remains trapped in the psychological strangle hold of his narcissistic mother whom he now treats with cold contempt. Visit my website:www.thenarcissistinyourlife.com
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.