"Oh my anguish, my anguish! I writhe in pain. Oh the agony of my heart! My heart pounds within me, I cannot keep silent…" Jeremiah 4:19

Characteristics of Narcissistic Mothers


I had a friend suggest this so I’m doing it because we’re DESPERATE!

My son and I are being evicted thanks to a crappy roommate not paying his rent or share of the bills and I’m trying to get the heck out of Tampa and back home to Seattle. I lost my job in late October and Jason didn’t work for 2 weeks in November and then again for two weeks in December due to the holidays so we just fell into that “one month away from homelessness” category that many Americans are in. Well, we’re here and facing homelessness.

I’ve set up a GoFundMe page so if those of you who have found this site helpful could maybe consider helping us I would be incredibly grateful!  This information was freely given and will always remain so.  However, we’re really stuck so I’m just reaching out to anyone remotely connected to our world (even the kindness of strangers) who would consider helping us not end up homeless!

Thank you for reading this post.  I have no pride left, only desperation…things turned bad so quickly my head is spinning and I’m walking in circles so if you can help, PLEASE do! Also, if you could pray and/or put us on any prayer chains or lists you know, that would be awesome too.

The GoFundMe link is here:  https://www.gofundme.com/janetbyers

This comprehensive list is out there on many other sites about what narc moms act like (and what they do to their children) but I figure one more site with this list on it means there is an additional chance for a suffering child of a narcissist to find the info and finally be able to say “Ah ha!  It ISN’T me, it’s her!”  We need all the help we can get, and all the support, hope and healing too.

This post covers pretty much EVERYTHING I’ve ever felt being the daughter of a narcissistic mother, how she acts and what the resulting damage looks like.  When I first read all the characteristics of a narcissist, I wasn’t sure…I thought:  “Well, maybe, some of those apply to her but really…?   She’s actually mentally ill?   Wow, that seems so harsh, surely “I” must be wrong (as usual)…”   Then I read the following and ALL doubt was removed. ~ Janet

1.   Everything [the narcissistic mother] does is deniable. There is always a facile excuse or an explanation. Cruelties are couched in loving terms. Aggressive and hostile acts are paraded as thoughtfulness. Selfish manipulations are presented as gifts. Criticism and slander is slyly disguised as concern. She only wants what is best for you. She only wants to help you. She rarely says right out that she thinks you’re inadequate. Instead, any time that you tell her you’ve done something good, she counters with something your sibling did that was better or she simply ignores you or she hears you out without saying anything, then in a short time does something cruel to you so you understand not to get above yourself. She will carefully separate cause (your joy in your accomplishment) from effect (refusing to let you borrow the car to go to the awards ceremony) by enough time that someone who didn’t live through her abuse would never believe the connection.

Many of her putdowns are simply by comparison. She’ll talk about how wonderful someone else is or what a wonderful job they did on something you’ve also done or how highly she thinks of them. The contrast is left up to you. She has let you know that you’re no good without saying a word. She’ll spoil your pleasure in something by simply congratulating you for it in an angry, envious voice that conveys how unhappy she is, again, completely deniably. It is impossible to confront someone over their tone of voice, their demeanor or they way they look at you, but once your narcissistic mother has you trained, she can promise terrible punishment without a word. As a result, you’re always afraid, always in the wrong, and can never exactly put your finger on why.

Because her abusiveness is part of a lifelong campaign of control and because she is careful to rationalize her abuse, it is extremely difficult to explain to other people what is so bad about her. She’s also careful about when and how she engages in her abuses. She’s very secretive, a characteristic of almost all abusers (“Don’t wash our dirty laundry in public!”) and will punish you for telling anyone else what she’s done.

You'll NEVER see this sign in her hands...it's MUCH more subtle than that...but the result is the same!

The times and locations of her worst abuses are carefully chosen so that no one who might intervene will hear or see her bad behavior, and she will seem like a completely different person in public. She’ll slam you to other people, but will always embed her devaluing nuggets of snide gossip in protestations of concern, love and understanding (“I feel so sorry for poor Cynthia. She always seems to have such a hard time, but I just don’t know what I can do for her!”) As a consequence the children of narcissists universally report that no one believes them (“I have to tell you that she always talks about YOU in the most caring way!).

Unfortunately therapists, given the deniable actions of the narcissist and eager to defend a fellow parent, will often jump to the narcissist’s defense as well, reinforcing your sense of isolation and helplessness (“I’m sure she didn’t mean it like that!”)

2.   She violates your boundaries. You feel like an extension of her. Your property is given away without your consent, sometimes in front of you. Your food is eaten off your plate or given to others off your plate. Your property may be repossessed and no reason given other than that it was never yours. Your time is committed without consulting you, and opinions purported to be yours are expressed for you. (She LOVES going to the fair! He would never want anything like that. She wouldn’t like kumquats.)

You are discussed in your presence as though you are not there. She keeps tabs on your bodily functions and humiliates you by divulging the information she gleans, especially when it can be used to demonstrate her devotion and highlight her martyrdom to your needs (“Mike had that problem with frequent urination too, only his was much worse. I was so worried about him!”) You have never known what it is like to have privacy in the bathroom or in your bedroom, and she goes through your things regularly. She asks nosy questions, snoops into your email/letters/diary/ conversations.

She will want to dig into your feelings, particularly painful ones and is always looking for negative information on you which can be used against you. She does things against your expressed wishes frequently. All of this is done without seeming embarrassment or thought. Any attempt at autonomy on your part is strongly resisted. Normal rites of passage (learning to shave, wearing makeup, dating) are grudgingly allowed only if you insist, and you’re punished for your insistence (“Since you’re old enough to date, I think you’re old enough to pay for your own clothes!”) If you demand age-appropriate clothing, grooming, control over your own life, or rights, you are difficult and she ridicules your “independence.”

3.   She favoritizes. Narcissistic mothers commonly choose one (sometimes more) child to be the golden child and one (sometimes more) to be the scapegoat. The narcissist identifies with the golden child and provides privileges to him or her as long as the golden child does just as she wants. The golden child has to be cared for assiduously by everyone in the family. The scapegoat has no needs and instead gets to do the caring. The golden child can do nothing wrong. The scapegoat is always at fault. This creates divisions between the children, one of whom has a large investment in the mother being wise and wonderful, and the other(s) who hate her. That division will be fostered by the narcissist with lies and with blatantly unfair and favoritizing behavior. The golden child will defend the mother and indirectly perpetuate the abuse by finding reasons to blame the scapegoat for the mother’s actions. The golden child may also directly take on the narcissistic mother’s tasks by physically abusing the scapegoat so the narcissistic mother doesn’t have to do that herself.

"Three Sisters" by Jesus Fuertes

4.   She undermines. Your accomplishments are acknowledged only to the extent that she can take credit for them. Any success or accomplishment for which she cannot take credit is ignored or diminished. Any time you are to be center stage and there is no opportunity for her to be the center of attention, she will try to prevent the occasion altogether, or she doesn’t come, or she leaves early, or she acts like it’s no big deal, or she steals the spotlight or she slips in little wounding comments about how much better someone else did or how what you did wasn’t as much as you could have done or as you think it is. She undermines you by picking fights with you or being especially unpleasant just before you have to make a major effort. She acts put out if she has to do anything to support your opportunities or will outright refuse to do even small things in support of you. She will be nasty to you about things that are peripherally connected with your successes so that you find your joy in what you’ve done is tarnished, without her ever saying anything directly about it. No matter what your success, she has to take you down a peg about it.

5.   She demeans, criticizes and denigrates. She lets you know in all sorts of little ways that she thinks less of you than she does of your siblings or of other people in general. If you complain about mistreatment by someone else, she will take that person’s side even if she doesn’t know them at all. She doesn’t care about those people or the justice of your complaints. She just wants to let you know that you’re never right. She will deliver generalized barbs that are almost impossible to rebut (always in a loving, caring tone): “You were always difficult” “You can be very difficult to love” “You never seemed to be able to finish anything” “You were very hard to live with” “You’re always causing trouble” “No one could put up with the things you do.”

"Jezebel" (this picture reminds me of how "sly" narc moms are, just like the devil in the Garden of Eden as in: "Surely, your mother is wonderful and YOU are insane?")

She will deliver slams in a sidelong way – for example she’ll complain about how “no one” loves her, does anything for her, or cares about her, or she’ll complain that “everyone” is so selfish, when you’re the only person in the room. As always, this combines criticism with deniability. She will slip little comments into conversation that she really enjoyed something she did with someone else – something she did with you too, but didn’t like as much. She’ll let you know that her relationship with some other person you both know is wonderful in a way your relationship with her isn’t – the carefully unspoken message being that you don’t matter much to her.

She minimizes, discounts or ignores your opinions and experiences. Your insights are met with condescension, denials and accusations (“I think you read too much!”) and she will brush off your information even on subjects on which you are an acknowledged expert. Whatever you say is met with smirks and amused sounding or exaggerated exclamations (“Uh hunh!” “You don’t say!” “Really!”). She’ll then make it clear that she didn’t listen to a word you said.

6.   She makes you look crazy. If you try to confront her about something she’s done, she’ll tell you that you have “a very vivid imagination” (this is a phrase commonly used by abusers of all sorts to invalidate your experience of their abuse) that you don’t know what you’re talking about, or that she has no idea what you’re talking about. She will claim not to remember even very memorable events, flatly denying they ever happened, nor will she ever acknowledge any possibility that she might have forgotten. This is an extremely aggressive and exceptionally infuriating tactic called “gaslighting,” common to abusers of all kinds. Your perceptions of reality are continually undermined so that you end up without any confidence in your intuition, your memory or your powers of reasoning. This makes you a much better victim for the abuser.

"Weeping Woman" by Pablo Picasso

Narcissists gaslight routinely. The narcissist will either insinuate or will tell you outright that you’re unstable, otherwise you wouldn’t believe such ridiculous things or be so uncooperative. You’re oversensitive. You’re imagining things. You’re hysterical. You’re completely unreasonable. You’re over-reacting, like you always do. She’ll talk to you when you’ve calmed down and aren’t so irrational. She may even characterize you as being neurotic or psychotic. Once she’s constructed these fantasies of your emotional pathologies, she’ll tell others about them, as always, presenting her smears as expressions of concern and declaring her own helpless victimhood. She didn’t do anything. She has no idea why you’re so irrationally angry with her. You’ve hurt her terribly. She thinks you may need psychotherapy. She loves you very much and would do anything to make you happy, but she just doesn’t know what to do. You keep pushing her away when all she wants to do is help you.

She has simultaneously absolved herself of any responsibility for your obvious antipathy towards her, implied that it’s something fundamentally wrong with you that makes you angry with her, and undermined your credibility with her listeners. She plays the role of the doting mother so perfectly that no one will believe you.

7.    She’s envious. Any time you get something nice she’s angry and envious and her envy will be apparent when she admires whatever it is. She’ll try to get it from you, spoil it for you, or get the same or better for herself. She’s always working on ways to get what other people have. The envy of narcissistic mothers often includes competing sexually with their daughters or daughters-in-law. They’ll attempt to forbid their daughters to wear makeup, to groom themselves in an age-appropriate way or to date. They will criticize the appearance of their daughters and daughters-in-law. This envy extends to relationships. Narcissistic mothers infamously attempt to damage their children’s marriages and interfere in the upbringing of their grandchildren.

"Green Eyed Monster"

8.    She’s a liar in too many ways to count. Any time she talks about something that has emotional significance for her, it’s a fair bet that she’s lying. Lying is one way that she creates conflict in the relationships and lives of those around her – she’ll lie to them about what other people have said, what they’ve done, or how they feel. She’ll lie about her relationship with them, about your behavior or about your situation in order to inflate herself and to undermine your credibility. The narcissist is very careful about how she lies. To outsiders she’ll lie thoughtfully and deliberately, always in a way that can be covered up if she’s confronted with her lie. She spins what you said rather than makes something up wholesale. She puts dishonest interpretations on things you actually did.

If she’s recently done something particularly egregious she may engage in preventative lying: she lies in advance to discount what you might say before you even say it. Then when you talk about what she did you’ll be cut off with “I already know all about it…your mother told me… (self-justifications and lies).” Because she is so careful about her deniability, it may be very hard to catch her in her lies and the more gullible of her friends may never realize how dishonest she is. To you, she’ll lie blatantly. She will claim to be unable to remember bad things she has done, even if she did one of them recently and even if it was something very memorable. Of course, if you try to jog her memory by recounting the circumstances “You have a very vivid imagination” or “That was so long ago. Why do you have to dredge up your old grudges?”

Your conversations with her are full of casual brush-offs and diversionary lies and she doesn’t respect you enough to bother making it sound good. For example she’ll start with a self-serving lie: “If I don’t take you as a dependent on my taxes I’ll lose three thousand dollars!” You refute her lie with an obvious truth: “No, three thousand dollars is the amount of the dependent exemption. You’ll only lose about eight hundred dollars.” Her response: “Isn’t that what I said?” You are now in a game with only one rule: You can’t win.

On the rare occasions she is forced to acknowledge some bad behavior, she will couch the admission deniably. She “guesses” that “maybe” she “might have” done something wrong. The wrongdoing is always heavily spun and trimmed to make it sound better. The words “I guess,” “maybe,” and “might have” are in and of themselves lies because she knows exactly what she did – no guessing, no might haves, no maybes.

9.   She has to be the center of attention all the time. This need is a defining trait of narcissists and particularly of narcissistic mothers for whom their children exist to be sources of attention and adoration. Narcissistic mothers love to be waited on and often pepper their children with little requests. “While you’re up…” or its equivalent is one of their favorite phrases. You couldn’t just be assigned a chore at the beginning of the week or of the day, instead, you had to do it on demand, preferably at a time that was inconvenient for you, or you had to “help” her do it, fetching and carrying for her while she made up to herself for the menial work she had to do as your mother by glorying in your attentions.

Left: Pablo Picassos “Seated Woman with Wrist Watch”; right: Roy Lichtensteins “Girl with Beach Ball III”

A narcissistic mother may create odd occasions at which she can be the center of attention, such as memorials for someone close to her who died long ago, or major celebrations of small personal milestones. She may love to entertain so she can be the life of her own party. She will try to steal the spotlight or will try to spoil any occasion where someone else is the center of attention, particularly the child she has cast as the scapegoat. She often invites herself along where she isn’t welcome. If she visits you or you visit her, you are required to spend all your time with her. Entertaining herself is unthinkable. She has always pouted, manipulated or raged if you tried to do anything without her, didn’t want to entertain her, refused to wait on her, stymied her plans for a drama or otherwise deprived her of attention.

Older narcissistic mothers often use the natural limitations of aging to manipulate dramas, often by neglecting their health or by doing things they know will make them ill. This gives them the opportunity to cash in on the investment they made when they trained you to wait on them as a child. Then they call you (or better still, get the neighbor or the nursing home administrator to call you) demanding your immediate attendance. You are to rush to her side, pat her hand, weep over her pain and listen sympathetically to her unending complaints about how hard and awful it is. (“Never get old!”) It’s almost never the case that you can actually do anything useful, and the causes of her disability may have been completely avoidable, but you’ve been put in an extremely difficult position. If you don’t provide the audience and attention she’s manipulating to get, you look extremely bad to everyone else and may even have legal culpability. (Narcissistic behaviors commonly accompany Alzheimer’s disease, so this behavior may also occur in perfectly normal mothers as they age.)

10.   She manipulates your emotions in order to feed on your pain. This exceptionally sick and bizarre behavior is so common among narcissistic mothers that their children often call them “emotional vampires.” Some of this emotional feeding comes in the form of pure sadism. She does and says things just to be wounding or she engages in tormenting teasing or she needles you about things you’re sensitive about, all the while a smile plays over her lips. She may have taken you to scary movies or told you horrifying stories, then mocked you for being a baby when you cried.

She will slip a wounding comment into conversation and smile delightedly into your hurt face. You can hear the laughter in her voice as she pressures you or says distressing things to you. Later she’ll gloat over how much she upset you, gaily telling other people that you’re so much fun to tease, and recruiting others to share in her amusement. . She enjoys her cruelties and makes no effort to disguise that. She wants you to know that your pain entertains her. She may bring up subjects that are painful for you and probe you about them, all the while watching you carefully. This is emotional vampirism in its purest form. She’s feeding emotionally off your pain.

Mothers with NPD are described as "emotional vampires"

A peculiar form of this emotional vampirism combines attention-seeking behavior with a demand that the audience suffer. Since narcissistic mothers often play the martyr this may take the form of wrenching, self-pitying dramas which she carefully produces, and in which she is the star performer. She sobs and wails that no one loves her and everyone is so selfish, and she doesn’t want to live, she wants to die! She wants to die! She will not seem to care how much the manipulation of their emotions and the self-pity repels other people.

One weird behavior that is very common to narcissists: her dramas may also center around the tragedies of other people, often relating how much she suffered by association and trying to distress her listeners, as she cries over the horrible murder of someone she wouldn’t recognize if they had passed her on the street.

11.   She’s selfish and willful. She always makes sure she has the best of everything. She insists on having her own way all the time and she will ruthlessly, manipulatively pursue it, even if what she wants isn’t worth all the effort she’s putting into it and even if that effort goes far beyond normal behavior. She will make a huge effort to get something you denied her, even if it was entirely your right to do so and even if her demand was selfish and unreasonable.

If you tell her she cannot bring her friends to your party she will show up with them anyway, and she will have told them that they were invited so that you either have to give in, or be the bad guy to these poor dupes on your doorstep. If you tell her she can’t come over to your house tonight she’ll call your spouse and try get him or her to agree that she can, and to not say anything to you about it because it’s a “surprise.” She has to show you that you can’t tell her “no.”

One near-universal characteristic of narcissists: because they are so selfish and self-centered, they are very bad gift givers. They’ll give you hand-me-downs or market things for themselves as gifts for you (“I thought I’d give you my old bicycle and buy myself a new one!” “I know how much you love Italian food, so I’m going to take you to my favorite restaurant for your birthday!”) New gifts are often obviously cheap and are usually things that don’t suit you or that you can’t use or are a quid pro quo: if you buy her the gift she wants, she will buy you an item of your choice. She’ll make it clear that it pains her to give you anything. She may buy you a gift and get the identical item for herself, or take you shopping for a gift and get herself something nice at the same time to make herself feel better.

12.   She’s self-absorbed. Her feelings, needs and wants are very important; yours are insignificant to the point that her least whim takes precedence over your most basic needs. Her problems deserve your immediate and full attention; yours are brushed aside. Her wishes always take precedence; if she does something for you, she reminds you constantly of her munificence in doing so and will often try to extract some sort of payment. She will complain constantly, even though your situation may be much worse than hers. If you point that out, she will effortlessly, thoughtlessly brush it aside as of no importance (It’s easy for you…/It’s different for you…)

"Metamorphosis of Narcissus" by Salvador Dali

13.   She is insanely defensive and is extremely sensitive to any criticism. If you criticize her or defy her she will explode with fury, threaten, storm, rage, destroy and may become violent, beating, confining, putting her child outdoors in bad weather or otherwise engaging in classic physical abuse.

14.   She terrorized. For all abusers, fear is a powerful means of control of the victim, and your narcissistic mother used it ruthlessly to train you. Narcissists teach you to beware their wrath even when they aren’t present. The only alternative is constant placation. If you give her everything she wants all the time, you might be spared. If you don’t, the punishments will come. Even adult children of narcissists still feel that carefully inculcated fear. Your narcissistic mother can turn it on with a silence or a look that tells the child in you she’s thinking about how she’s going to get even.

"True Side of a Narcissist" by Jred

Not all narcissists abuse physically, but most do, often in subtle, deniable ways. It allows them to vent their rage at your failure to be the solution to their internal havoc and simultaneously to teach you to fear them. You may not have been beaten, but you were almost certainly left to endure physical pain when a normal mother would have made an effort to relieve your misery. This deniable form of battery allows her to store up her rage and dole out the punishment at a later time when she’s worked out an airtight rationale for her abuse, so she never risks exposure.

You were left hungry because “you eat too much.” (Someone asked her if she was pregnant. She isn’t). You always went to school with stomach flu because “you don’t have a fever. You’re just trying to get out of school.” (She resents having to take care of you. You have a lot of nerve getting sick and adding to her burdens.) She refuses to look at your bloody heels and instead the shoes that wore those blisters on your heels are put back on your feet and you’re sent to the store in them because “You wanted those shoes. Now you can wear them.” (You said the ones she wanted to get you were ugly. She liked them because they were just like what she wore 30 years ago).

The dentist was told not to give you Novocaine when he drilled your tooth because “he has to learn to take better care of his teeth.” (She has to pay for a filling and she’s furious at having to spend money on you.) Narcissistic mothers also abuse by loosing others on you or by failing to protect you when a normal mother would have. Sometimes the narcissist’s golden child will be encouraged to abuse the scapegoat. Narcissists also abuse by exposing you to violence. If one of your siblings got beaten, she made sure you saw. She effortlessly put the fear of Mom into you, without raising a hand.

15.   She’s infantile and petty. Narcissistic mothers are often simply childish. If you refuse to let her manipulate you into doing something, she will cry that you don’t love her because if you loved her you would do as she wanted. If you hurt her feelings she will aggressively whine to you that you’ll be sorry when she’s dead that you didn’t treat her better. These babyish complaints and responses may sound laughable, but the narcissist is dead serious about them.

When you were a child, if you ask her to stop some bad behavior, she would justify it by pointing out something that you did that she feels is comparable, as though the childish behavior of a child is justification for the childish behavior of an adult. “Getting even” is a large part of her dealings with you. Anytime you fail to give her the deference, attention or service she feels she deserves, or you thwart her wishes, she has to show you.

16.   She’s aggressive and shameless. She doesn’t ask. She demands. She makes outrageous requests and she’ll take anything she wants if she thinks she can get away with it. Her demands of her children are posed in a very aggressive way, as are her criticisms. She won’t take no for an answer, pushing and arm-twisting and manipulating to get you to give in.

"Blue Rose" by Sylvia Ji

17.   She “parentifies.” She shed her responsibilities to you as soon as she was able, leaving you to take care of yourself as best you could. She denied you medical care, adequate clothing, necessary transportation or basic comforts that she would never have considered giving up for herself. She never gave you a birthday party or let you have sleepovers. Your friends were never welcome in her house. She didn’t like to drive you anywhere, so you turned down invitations because you had no way to get there. She wouldn’t buy your school pictures even if she could easily have afforded it. You had a niggardly clothing allowance or she bought you the cheapest clothing she could without embarrassing herself. As soon as you got a job, every request for school supplies, clothing or toiletries was met with “Now that you’re making money, why don’t you pay for that yourself?” You studied up on colleges on your own and choose a cheap one without visiting it. You signed yourself up for the SATs, earned the money to pay for them and talked someone into driving you to the test site. You worked three jobs to pay for that cheap college and when you finally got mononucleosis she chirped at you that she was “so happy you could take care of yourself.” She also gave you tasks that were rightfully hers and should not have been placed on a child. You may have been a primary caregiver for young siblings or an incapacitated parent. You may have had responsibility for excessive household tasks.

Above all, you were always her emotional caregiver which is one reason any defection from that role caused such enormous eruptions of rage. You were never allowed to be needy or have bad feelings or problems. Those experiences were only for her, and you were responsible for making it right for her. From the time you were very young she would randomly lash out at you any time she was stressed or angry with your father or felt that life was unfair to her, because it made her feel better to hurt you. You were often punished out of the blue, for manufactured offenses. As you got older she directly placed responsibility for her welfare and her emotions on you, weeping on your shoulder and unloading on you any time something went awry for her.

18.   She’s exploitative. She will manipulate to get work, money, or objects she envies out of other people for nothing. This includes her children, of course. If she set up a bank account for you, she was trustee on the account with the right to withdraw money. As you put money into it, she took it out. She may have stolen your identity. She took you as a dependent on her income taxes so you couldn’t file independently without exposing her to criminal penalties. If she made an agreement with you, it was violated the minute it no longer served her needs. If you brought it up demanding she adhere to the agreement, she brushed you off and later punished you so you would know not to defy her again.

Sometimes the narcissist will exploit a child to absorb punishment that would have been hers from an abusive partner. The husband comes home in a drunken rage, and the mother immediately complains about the child’s bad behavior so the rage is vented on to the child. Sometimes the narcissistic mother simply uses the child to keep a sick marriage intact because the alternative is being divorced or having to go to work. The child is sexually molested but the mother never notices, or worse, calls the child a liar when she tells the mother about the molestation.

19.   She projects. This sounds a little like psycho-babble, but it is something that narcissists all do. Projection means that she will put her own bad behavior, character and traits on you so she can deny them in herself and punish you. This can be very difficult to see if you have traits that she can project on to. An eating-disordered woman who obsesses over her daughter’s weight is projecting. The daughter may not realize it because she has probably internalized an absurdly thin vision of women’s weight and so accepts her mother’s projection. When the narcissist tells the daughter that she eats too much, needs to exercise more, or has to wear extra-large size clothes, the daughter believes it, even if it isn’t true.

However, she will sometimes project even though it makes no sense at all. This happens when she feels shamed and needs to put it on her scapegoat child and the projection therefore comes across as being an attack out of the blue. For example: She makes an outrageous request, and you casually refuse to let her have her way. She’s enraged by your refusal and snarls at you that you’ll talk about it when you’ve calmed down and are no longer hysterical.

"Dark Vanity" by Lady Symphonia

You aren’t hysterical at all; she is, but your refusal has made her feel the shame that should have stopped her from making shameless demands in the first place. That’s intolerable. She can transfer that shame to you and rationalize away your response: you only refused her because you’re so unreasonable. Having done that she can reassert her shamelessness and indulge her childish willfulness by turning an unequivocal refusal into a subject for further discussion. You’ll talk about it again “later” – probably when she’s worn you down with histrionics, pouting and the silent treatment so you’re more inclined to do what she wants.

20.   She is never wrong about anything. No matter what she’s done, she won’t ever genuinely apologize for anything. Instead, any time she feels she is being made to apologize she will sulk and pout, issue an insulting apology or negate the apology she has just made with justifications, qualifications or self pity: “I’m sorry you felt that I humiliated you” “I’m sorry if I made you feel bad” “If I did that it was wrong” “I’m sorry, but I there’s nothing I can do about it” “I’m sorry I made you feel clumsy, stupid and disgusting” “I’m sorry but it was just a joke. You’re so over-sensitive” “I’m sorry that my own child feels she has to upset me and make me feel bad.” The last insulting apology is also an example of projection.

21.   She seems to have no awareness that other people even have feelings. She’ll occasionally slip and say something jaw-droppingly callous because of this lack of empathy. It isn’t that she doesn’t care at all about other people’s feelings, though she doesn’t. It would simply never occur to her to think about their feelings. An absence of empathy is the defining trait of a narcissist and underlies most of the other traits I have described.

Unlike psychopaths, narcissists do understand right, wrong, and consequences, so they are not ordinarily criminal. She beat you, but not to the point where you went to the hospital. She left you standing out in the cold until you were miserable, but not until you had hypothermia. She put you in the basement in the dark with no clothes on, but she only left you there for two hours.

22.   She blames. She’ll blame you for everything that isn’t right in her life or for what other people do or for whatever has happened. Always, she’ll blame you for her abuse. You made her do it. If only you weren’t so difficult. You upset her so much that she can’t think straight. Things were hard for her and your backtalk pushed her over the brink. This blaming is often so subtle that all you know is that you thought you were wronged and now you feel guilty. Your brother beats you and her response is to bemoan how uncivilized children are. Your boyfriend dumped you, but she can understand – after all, she herself has seen how difficult you are to love.

She’ll do something egregiously exploitative to you, and when confronted will screech at you that she can’t believe you were so selfish as to upset her over such a trivial thing. She’ll also blame you for your reaction to her selfish, cruel and exploitative behavior. She can’t believe you are so petty, so small, and so childish as to object to her giving your favorite dress to her friend. She thought you would be happy to let her do something nice for someone else.  Narcissists are masters of multitasking as this example shows.

Simultaneously your narcissistic mother is 1) Lying. She knows what she did was wrong and she knows your reaction is reasonable. 2) Manipulating. She’s making you look like the bad guy for objecting to her cruelties. 3) Being selfish. She doesn’t mind making you feel horrible as long as she gets her own way. 4) Blaming. She did something wrong, but it’s all your fault. 5) Projecting. Her petty, small and childish behavior has become yours. 6) Putting on a self-pitying drama. She’s a martyr who believed the best of you, and you’ve let her down. 7) Parentifying. You’re responsible for her feelings, she has no responsibility for yours.

23.   She destroys your relationships. Narcissistic mothers are like tornadoes: wherever they touch down families are torn apart and wounds are inflicted. Unless the father has control over the narcissist and holds the family together, adult siblings in families with narcissistic mothers characteristically have painful relationships. Typically all communication between siblings is superficial and driven by duty, or they may never talk to each other at all. In part, these women foster dissension between their children because they enjoy the control it gives them. If those children don’t communicate except through the mother, she can decide what everyone hears.

Narcissists also love the excitement and drama they create by interfering in their children’s lives. Watching people’s lives explode is better than soap operas, especially when you don’t have any empathy for their misery. The narcissist nurtures anger, contempt and envy – the most corrosive emotions – to drive her children apart. While her children are still living at home, any child who stands up to the narcissist guarantees punishment for the rest. In her zest for revenge, the narcissist purposefully turns the siblings’ anger on the dissenter by including everyone in her retaliation. (“I can see that nobody here loves me! Well I’ll just take these Christmas presents back to the store. None of you would want anything I got you anyway!”) The other children, long trained by the narcissist to give in, are furious with the troublemaking child, instead of with the narcissist who actually deserves their anger.

The narcissist also uses favoritism and gossip to poison her childrens’ relationships. The scapegoat sees the mother as a creature of caprice and cruelty. As is typical of the privileged, the other children don’t see her unfairness and they excuse her abuses. Indeed, they are often recruited by the narcissist to adopt her contemptuous and entitled attitude towards the scapegoat and with her tacit or explicit permission, will inflict further abuse. The scapegoat predictably responds with fury and equal contempt.

After her children move on with adult lives, the narcissist makes sure to keep each apprised of the doings of the others, passing on the most discreditable and juicy gossip (as always, disguised as “concern”) about the other children, again, in a way that engenders contempt rather than compassion. Having been raised by a narcissist, her children are predisposed to be envious, and she takes full advantage of the opportunity that presents.

While she may never praise you to your face, she will likely crow about your victories to the very sibling who is not doing well. She’ll tell you about the generosity she displayed towards that child, leaving you wondering why you got left out and irrationally angry at the favored child rather than at the narcissist who told you about it. The end result is a family in which almost all communication is triangular. The narcissist, the spider in the middle of the family web, sensitively monitors all the children for information she can use to retain her unchallenged control over the family. She then passes that on to the others, creating the resentments that prevent them from communicating directly and freely with each other. The result is that the only communication between the children is through the narcissist, exactly the way she wants it.

24.   As a last resort she goes pathetic. When she’s confronted with unavoidable consequences for her own bad behavior, including your anger, she will melt into a soggy puddle of weepy helplessness. It’s all her fault. She can’t do anything right. She feels so bad.

What she doesn’t do: own the responsibility for her bad conduct and make it right. Instead, as always, it’s all about her, and her helpless self-pitying weepiness dumps the responsibility for her consequences AND for her unhappiness about it on you. As so often with narcissists, it is also a manipulative behavior.

If you fail to excuse her bad behavior and make her feel better, YOU are the bad person for being cold, heartless and unfeeling when your poor mother feels so awful.

Yuck. I do NOT miss my mother in my life. Now I’m working on getting her OUT of my head!  I hope you enjoyed the artwork, searching it out brought many memories into my mind and gives me visual reminders of how truly awful the woman has been to me (and my siblings) and how much damage she’s done to our lives.  If my “inner child” cries out for a loving mother, these pictures are now in my head to remind me that I will never, EVER have that and to turn my heart to the Lord, and to my circle of Christian women friends,  for the love, nurturing and acceptance we all need and yes, even thought we’ve been trained to think otherwise, that we DESERVE. This scripture helped me when I first started realizing just how bad she made me feel.  She’d pulled some kind of stunt or other, rejected and hurt me and a Christian woman on T.V. pointed at the screen and said, “this is for a woman out there whose mother hurts her terribly.”  I JUMPED off the couch and said, “That’s for ME!”  Here’s the scripture:

Psalms 27:7-11 – “Hear my voice when I call, O LORD; be merciful to me and answer me.  My heart says of you, “Seek his face!”  Your face, LORD, I will seek.  Do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger; you have been my helper.  Do not reject me or forsake me, O God my Savior.  Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me.  Teach me your way, O LORD; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors.”

49 responses

  1. This is the most comprehensive article I’ve seen on the subject. Thank you. I am fortunate enough to have a restraining order on my narc mom, but I’m still working hard to undo 17 years of lies and abuse. Thank you for reminding me that I’m not alone.

    December 28, 2015 at 3:51 PM

    • Hi Katie:

      I agree. I didn’t write it (and wish I could credit the person who DID) but it sure helped me understand…accept…and eventually walk away. Once faced with the ENORMITY of the sickness of narcissism I knew I had no ability to fight anymore.

      It isn’t easy to undo the lies and abuse, it’s a process and sometimes it’s only viewed from the bottom of deep, dark valleys. But that’s where we start our climb on the way to the sunlit mountaintop. And then, as life happens, we often find our way into the valley…over and over and this is recovery. And life in general!

      You are NOT alone…you wouldn’t believe how many people visit this blog…narcissism is on the rise and the wounded are seeking help. Just try to keep your narc glasses on for OTHERS in your life because those of us who were raised by a narc are mighty attractive to others narcs and abusers!

      Pay attention to your gut…if someone says something that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up…or in my case, I feel RAGE rise up really, really fast…walk away from that person. Pay attention to the FIRST red flag, not the 50th!

      Blessings to you, I pray healing for you. Janet

      January 18, 2016 at 10:15 PM

  2. thank you. Im probably younger than everyone else on here but my mother was diagnosed with this disorder before courts had me removed from the house. Thank you for showing me that im not the only on. that there are people that understand what its like

    August 20, 2015 at 8:55 PM

    • I’m wading through 3 years of comments so forgive my late reply. I’m sorry you had to go through that because it’s hard to be taken from a parent…even a bad one. I went voluntarily no contact with my mother but I know you and I both share something…an orphan spirit. Look it up and then look at ways that God’s love…and being placed in HIS family…can help heal it! And yeah, unfortunately, we are NOT alone (and I don’t mean aliens lol!) Far too many victims out there…but the truth is getting out too and we WILL heal. Blessings Noelle

      January 18, 2016 at 10:47 PM

  3. This sounds almost identical to my mom other than no one was allowed to abuse me but her because then people would know she’s not a perfect mommy. That said, to this DAY people close to her do NOT believe me. I have given up trying as hey, she’s dead now and can’t hurt me any more. I took pity on her in the end only because I chose to be a better person than she raised me to be. My brother and I have zero relationship. He’s her little clone though so I don’t really think I WANT one.

    As for Kev…. I would GLADLY trade your normal family for my mother. Children shouldn’t grow up terrified before they even go to school.

    January 4, 2015 at 1:27 PM

  4. I don’t know if you will get to read this, but the comments section is still live so I will try anyway.

    I remember about ten years ago when this list was first published on the internet. Originally, it was titled, characteristics of an abusive mother. It was then re-titled a little later, I don’t know if it was by the original poster or somebody who re-posted, but it is incredibly apt.

    My first response when reading this was that my jaw hit the floor. It makes the hairs on the back of your head stand up. When you see your parent written down in black and white and realise that all this time she actually did have something wrong with her, it is a HUGE revelation. You will understand of course that it completely changes everything.

    Of course as a daughter of a narcissist, you obviously want to minimise the impact. Of course, she isn’t THAT bad, but of course, the longer you think about it and remember what happened to you, you realise she is. I remember posting a comment on Anna Valerious’ blog because I still wasn’t sure about my mother, and after much discussion and thought, I was able to realise that in fact, she was not just abusive, she was negligent, and in short completely demented. The more stuff I remembered from my childhood, the more I realised why I was a complete mess. And of course, if you ever confront them, as I did, the responses are ALWAYS the same.

    It amazes me that so many people can have so many parents who act like this, yet even the world at large wants to minimise the problem. We ALL have a bit of narcissism in us they say. I take the biblical viewpoint. We are all sinners, we are all selfish, we are all more interested in looking after number one than everyone else, its called survival. But this is NOT narcissism. Narcissism is a character disorder which disables the N’s conscience, and this is the big factor. They do things that the rest of us wouldn’t even think of doing and then justify it with a big fat smirk on their ugly faces. They damn well KNOW they are wrong, because they only do what they do in certain situations without witnesses and suck up to the ones who they want to see them as virtuous.

    December 8, 2014 at 4:24 PM

    • Well said, Nissa, well said. I too thought “well, SOME of it…” until the denial wall finally came down. I do wish I knew who the original author was so I could credit them and oh, I LOVE Anna’s blog! Blessings to us both, we will thrive, forgive, survive and live. And God remains good and strong…even when our faith is weak and we feel bad. (Forgive my late reply, I’m slogging through 3 years of comments.)

      January 18, 2016 at 11:11 PM

  5. Thanks for your website, it helped me get more information about narcissism. My now ex partner as a lot of narcisstic traits & borderline personality disorder & this post truly reflects everything he as told me about his upbringing with his own mother who clearly is a narcissist. I’m not sure if there is any help for my ex but I sent him the link to this page in email. He as been in tears for several days & as much as I want to be there for him he won’t help himself or even try to get any treatment. He’s in denial & it’s really hard for me walking away because he as put me through so much. Much love to the author. Gillian x

    June 18, 2014 at 8:53 PM

  6. This was extremely helpful to me, because it is helping me to see the areas I can improve in my own parenting. Thank you!

    March 11, 2014 at 4:31 PM

  7. Absolutely amazing, wonderful and liberating. Very courageous of you to share your insights. I feel like a new person, reborn with a new understanding of myself as an individual. You are spot on!
    Having being raised by both a narcissist mother and a narcissist father, I always felt a sense of obligation and guilt to some extent, for no apparent reason. A lot of times it may have been unspoken words or a certain look of disapproval, but the result was the same.
    I applaud you!

    January 2, 2014 at 2:26 PM

  8. Thank you for this, my partner is described as the “Scapegoat”, and I am trying to support him in cutting his mother off, and it is getting very difficult as his two “Golden-child” siblings are constantly abusing me and my boyfriend, and threatening. I now understand everything that is going on, and why I could never get on with her. This has really helped, it was tearing my family apart. Thank you!

    November 16, 2013 at 2:20 PM

  9. Its a funny thing. I’m surrounded by narcs. Raised by my single narc mom. I turned into a narc mom. Dated a narc guy. Became so broken I learned about narcs. Decided to change my ways into a new empowered woman, felt guilty about my narc mom ways, apologized and give the kids space (a little too late, the damage was done). My dad is a ridiculous narc man but he’s my favorite parent. I won’t have anything to do with my narc mom at all because she’s malicious in everyway. All in all I think narc woman are the worst. I thank God for really showing me in my heart how I was doing the above and how it impacted those around me. I would have never seen it and had a true change of heart except for Him. God really can heal people He’s chosen to save and change. I didn’t know what was wrong in my life and He showed me by articles and movie versions of my actions my shame, my evil. And he revealed it to me other peoples actions so I wouldn’t take on shame that wasn’t mine. Shame seems to be the factor that breaks people and turns them into psychopaths that we know. Having first hand knowledge and experience I feel pity now for the crazy narcs. Deep inside where they don’t want anyone to see, they are ashamed a lot of times thru someone else’s blaming in all their disguised forms. And it just goes on and on to the next generation. My brother never got a chance to learn any of this. He took his life 3 years ago.

    October 10, 2013 at 9:53 AM

  10. Thank you so much for your blog on this. My mother is a textbook narcissist. At 25 I was injured in a major car accident and was unable to continue meeting her expectations of me due to the physical injuries I sustained. Not only did she refuse to acknowledge my injuries but she repeatedly criticized me for taking time out from my stellar career to heal. That is when I first sought counselling. After several years of therapy I learned to put up boundaries and to protect myself and my family from her manipulations. We developed a decent relationship after that and I felt in control when I dealt with her.
    Last year she was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and given 2-5 years to live. She is only 66 year old. The narcissism went into overdrive and her manipulation went out of control. She routinely says things like, “The only thing that makes me feel better is that you’ll feel guilty when I’m dead”. She will stoop to any depth to make me feel bad. I fell into her trap at first and was sucked in, at the expense of my happiness and the happiness of my own family (I have a great husband and 3 young children). I had to cut communication down to a minimum as I can’t afford to hurt my family to appease her. I’m scared about how I will handle her death and I’m angry that she is deliberately putting me in the untenable position.
    Anyways, the point here is that I needed to reaffirm my decision to distance myself and your blog really helped me do it. So thank you very much.

    July 26, 2013 at 6:42 PM

  11. Wow… and here i’d thought i’d been an only child. Thank you… i’ve tried for 8 years to believe she would have done these things (alongside Munchausens By Proxy) …. how strange our abusers acted so similarly, same actions, same words. I felt my whole body jerk periodically reading this. I feel vindicated of a lot of slow release guilt trips she’s had me on since i cut her off (and my family didn’t believe me)

    July 19, 2013 at 10:02 PM

  12. This guy chalks it all up to “people make mistakes”….NOT NARSISSITS! A mistake is doing something wrong, feeling regret and then changing that behavior. Those are things that Narsissistic people never do. They don’t acknowledge their wrong they justify it…they don’t feel regret nor accept the consquences of their behaviour…and they certainly will not and cannot change their behaviour.
    One last note…this guy walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…guess HE IS A DUCK!

    July 6, 2013 at 11:38 AM

  13. Thanks so much. All this information is really helping me do deal with years and years of abuse which is still going on today. Learning how to respond to the behavior is what I have to work on. Thanks again.

    June 22, 2013 at 1:35 PM

  14. Oh my goodness. This is my mother to a T! She is borderline personality disorder as well. Good for you for writing this. I’m sure it was therapeutic and it has been very validating for me. Being able to write through all of these things and being educated on them must mean that you have done tremendous inner-self work. For that I commend you! Sharing with my siblings and all my other friends who have nut job mothers…

    June 8, 2013 at 6:34 PM

  15. Very interesting. This page describes my mother perfectly. I have not had contact with her in about 10 years now and don’t miss her at all, but mourn the fact that I really never had a loving mother or a supportive father. Living with this kind of mother was insane and it was torture to a child who had no control and no way out. I was the only girl with 3 brothers. I am the only one who was able to take a step back and realize something’s not right here. I fought back and I survived, but not without a lot of battle scars.

    June 2, 2013 at 1:47 AM

  16. Wow is all i can say! This really helped me understand and come to terms with what my mother really is. I had made comments in the past that she was a narcissist & even researched the characteristics, but your blog really put it in such a way that it brought it home for me. I haven’t spoken to my mother in over a month and a half. I had honestly always thought her behaviors were due to her alcohol abuse, but since being disconnected from her realized it goes much much deeper than I had thought. I’m still dealing with the hurt that this woman is my mother and has treated me worse than any enemy I ever had, and I may never get over that fact, but like you said, “I do NOT miss my mother in my life. Now I’m working on getting her out of my head.” Thank you again for sharing!

    March 23, 2013 at 1:36 PM

  17. It’s almost frightening how accurate and exacting the psychological profiling and behavior you described is so applicable to my own mother. I also have a narcissistic sister who’s seriously the empress of all evil narcissists. I wouldn’t wish her on my worse enemy! And I’m not even kidding.

    February 6, 2013 at 9:44 PM

  18. I just read this…believe it…my eyes are wide open…my story is not only one of a narcissstic mother (I refuse to capitalize that term…or use an acronym to shorten it as I believe it should be spelled out in all it’s ugliness..fully…and completely exposed…and never, NEVER given the importance of distinguishing it with ANY differentiation other than what it is…) I am also the spouse of an adult child of scapegoating….who exhibits the sick sociopathic behavior of his “mother”…I have been horribly beaten and scapegoated all my life…Domestic Violence has always been the rule for ALL of my 44 years…I almost died at the hands of my own husband…not once but 4 times…and numerous times as a child and an adult by my own “mother”….

    I will stand up for you, too….the “golden child” in the form of kev….is a small example of this ugliness but he is exposed for the ugly, rotten, scarred piece of fruit that he is…I feel enormous PITY for someone who is so stunted and will never be able to be loved or show love…I feel enormous empathy for the children he has brought to this Earth with utter disregard….

    Most of all? I feel YOUR STRENGTH….and it has imparted strength TO ME! and I THANK YOU…with everything that I am and everything that I will become because you had that strength to share this with all of us….

    My gratitude is undying…and will forever be yours….

    December 8, 2012 at 12:51 PM

  19. Thank you so much for this ultra-informative blog! Unfortunately, I’m the sole caregiver of my narcissistic mom AND I’m adopted (a fact she’s used my entire life – “your own mother didn’t even want you; you should feel grateful that I took you in!)
    Now she’s 83 and uses dementia as a partial excuse for her behavior. Yay.
    But it’s just good to see the info in writing… I can start to let go of the guilt & hopefully heal…
    Thanks again!

    November 3, 2012 at 8:16 AM

  20. After a very long time, I feel relieved to have a name for what I have experienced with my father. I could not stop reading but I wanted to all the way down. It all makes sense now! Thank you! Good luck with everything and such!😀

    October 22, 2012 at 2:43 AM

  21. Only read the first 3 points (have to go to sleep now coz it’s LATE) and I can already identify my mother. I’m 38, eldest daughter and have gone from golden child to scapegoat a few times now. I moved to another country 9 years ago finally giving in to this incredible urge to “get away from it all”. Only a couple of years ago did I realize it really was my family, in particular my mum, I needed to exorcise from my life. So I finally told her that I wanted no contact. Last month I found out that the move she always threatened to make is happening. So instead of a thousand miles between us there will only be 70. I’m feeling vulnerable and scared. Made an appointment with my counsellor for the first time in 2 years. I need to keep these boundaries!

    September 8, 2012 at 5:11 PM

  22. lioness0109

    So, you’ve met my mother. I would just like to thank you. This post and blog comes at a time when I really needed it. I went no contact w/ my momster a few times, but you know to tell you the truth, you’ve got some really great insight and info. here. I was really struggling because I’m a Christian. Supposedly, so is she. But your other post opened my eyes in a ginormous way. I’ve always been a fan of Titus 3:10. I think it goes, “Warn a divisive person once and then twice. Then have nothing to do with them.”. The whole verse in honoring your mother and father really ‘messed with me,’ if you will. But the whole time, in my heart, I knew. I knew I should have abso. no communication with her. She makes me very ill. I have a condition.. and not to mention she makes me binge eat like there’s no tomorrow. I start taking care of myself and then, inevitably, she shows up somehow and a couple days later, I’m self-destructing with food and my life is falling apart again. Unable to focus on or even get started on goals or dreams.. Thank you for the wonderful post. You are some kind of wonderful and such an inspiration.❤

    August 22, 2012 at 1:39 AM

  23. I detect a lack of empathy in Kev….hmmmm, what a surprise. My experience pales in comparison to yours; my Mom is realy subtle. My sister-in-law has warned me that my mother is going to get a podium and microphone at the country club at her upcoming 80th birthday party and criticize her children’s lack of judgement in their political acuity because some of us (me) did not vote the way she did in the last presidential election. And she hopes that we (I) have learned my lesson in the last four years. I’m already flinching at my embarrassment. Mom thinks this kind of stuff is hilarious.

    July 22, 2012 at 10:05 PM

  24. I am truely astonished at your strength.
    The only positive thing I can say about your mother is she gave you the intelligence to see beyond her.
    The artwork is spot on.
    Doing the same thing as you.

    July 13, 2012 at 12:25 PM

    • Hey Michael…I don’t even know if you’ll ever get this REALLY late reply to your comment but I’m going to try anyway! I was off this site for several years and only came back in November of 2015. Another comment on this page brought me down to the bottom and I saw your comment for the first time.

      Thank you…survivors ARE often strong…like thistles that grow in the cracks of the pavements. Pretty-ish but somewhat sharp and tough as nails! Yes, both my parents were smart and I DO appreciate lots of things she’s given me. I don’t know where you’re at in your healing process but one thing I’ve learned is that they ARE mentally ill…in ways they will never know, understand or admit. I’m grateful for all she did give me but I still don’t want a relationship with her anymore because I have no room for sickness, cruelty and lies in my life. We are responsible for our own lives, emotions and healing.

      And I pray you are healing! Blessings, Janet

      And yeah, the art was fun to find and connect to the words.

      January 18, 2016 at 10:09 PM

  25. cazzj17

    This was a fantastic read. This is my ex-MIL to a “T”. I don’t understand these types of people and how they work.😦

    July 8, 2012 at 11:02 PM

    • Oh, how I wish I hadn’t had to learn. But it could be worse, I could have been raised by a serial killer psychopath or something! The one thing I’ve learned is that I don’t have to deal with narcs anymore…none of ’em…and I do NOT miss their sad, sick little games. Hopefully, you’ll avoid any in the future and not have to have another barracuda circling your life ever again!

      July 12, 2012 at 8:27 AM

    • Mine also! No, their minds simply do not work the way non-narcs do. Unless you’ve lived with one, there’s no way to fully grasp the toxic effect they inject into others’ lives.

      August 18, 2015 at 11:21 PM

  26. This would have to be the biggest load of horse poo I’ve ever read. So life isn’t perfect, boo hoo, Mum was mean to me , boo hoo. I’m a 45yr old man with my own kid’s. I’ve made mistakes as a parent that could be twisted to look like those you’ve written about in here, guess what, I’m human, I make mistakes. What yo call a narcissistic mother is a another human making some mistakes. I’d lay huge odd’s that you’re not happy that you’re life hasn’t turned out perfect. So rather than having the ball’s to look in the mirror you resort to finding someone else to blame, grow a pair mate, and have some bloody respect for the woman that went through the pain of childbirth to bring you life. I feel sorry for your mother, is was a lot of pain for nothing in your case.

    March 24, 2012 at 1:33 PM

    • I WONDERED when a narc would wander onto this blog and flip out! Congrats, Kev, you’re the first. I’m too busy living my life to do this blog much anymore and I saw your nasty post months ago and just ignored it…you sound just like my mom…don’t listen to her and you are less than ant poop under my foot. Ever ask yourself why this made you so angry? Poor guy. Oh, and the have some balls…funny. Read what Betty White says about that…it goes something like “why would anyone says “grow some balls?” They small, tender, easily injured and get in the way. If you want to get strong, grow a vagina…THOSE can take a pounding and pop out babies.” Oh, and last but not least, my mother has four children that will not talk to her and at 78, she’s marrying her fifth husband. Maybe you could be number six…but you have to have money and prepare to lose those balls you’re so proud of. Maybe you should forget balls and focus on growing a brain and a heart. Good luck with your narcissism.

      July 12, 2012 at 8:07 AM

      • Watch Woman on the Wall you replyed to Kev Gibsin well, great observations and witty, smart language. Watch Woman on the Wall Well done!.
        Thank you postcardstoanaciss for this blog for clarification Characteristics of Narcissistic Mothers. Especial I love Picasso’s painting, which suite for this composition- that how He saw women;)

        June 4, 2013 at 9:48 AM

      • Amen sister!!! I am with you on that one!

        April 9, 2015 at 2:07 PM

      • Yup!!

        August 18, 2015 at 11:19 PM

    • stupid troll

      February 6, 2013 at 9:41 PM

    • Kev,

      your message as quite vile and nasty. did you know medical insurance reimburses for people with narcissistic personality to receive treatment for the disorder? it is a real disorder. Its not a cracker box concept used to explain away and excuse bad behavior.

      One reason it is clear you have NO IDEA what narcissism is because you are trying to parallel it, or compare it, relate it to examples of how you made mistakes… narcissists never make mistakes… you have no clue what damage narcissism does to a human soul.

      Narcisstic personality disorder is a nasty beast. Your response to this, is like me saying to a cancer patient, “cancer is not a big deal.. you just have a few odd cells. you are unique…. being unique is good, right?”

      I bet you believe aids is a homosexual disease? too right?

      You owe this author of the website an apology.

      May 13, 2013 at 7:46 PM

    • Wow Kev. It is extremely sad that you are so in denial that you have to go online looking for victims of abuse to criticize. Your comment “I’d lay huge odd’s that you’re not happy that you’re life hasn’t turned out perfect” is laughable. My 2 sisters, my brother and myself are by far the most successful people I know despite our narcissistic mother. We all have genius level IQs, are professionals with 6-7 figure incomes (engineer, accountant, and 2 lawyers, one of whom is also a professor), and are raising happy families despite the childhood trauma that was described above. We support each other and have worked extremely hard to overcome the issues we developed as children. I literally have everything I ever wanted and more, with the exception of a normal mother, so I am clearly not looking for someone to “blame” for my lack of success in life. I would venture a guess that most of the commenters on this article are similar to my family in that regard. Victims or narcissists are survivors and are often extremely successful.
      Between us we (the children of the narcissist) have 2 psychology degrees and have been in counselling for over 7 years total. I am extremely confident in the diagnoses of my mother’s issues and those of my siblings as well. I am also extremely proud of our accomplishment in being able to overcome a lot of the issues we were raised with. The healing from this was by far the most difficult thing any of us have ever done. Rather than criticizing victims you should spend your time educating yourself, for your sake and the sake of your poor children.

      July 26, 2013 at 6:27 PM

    • errattacorrige

      This is an inappropriate comment.

      September 27, 2013 at 2:42 PM

    • Luna Elektra

      Oh no! No way, you’re not a narcissist at all. Just suffering from the Dunning-Kruger Effect *cough (form of both narcissism and being unaware of ones’ own idiocy). You managed to nail both of these descriptions quite well! Congratulations!

      Your entire rant had so much narcissism and superiority attached to it, peppered with so many typos and grammatical errors, that I’m absolutely positive you’re still proud of your inadequate rebuttal (*tirade)! Perhaps you even cycle back just to bask in it’s effervescent glow of superiority.

      After you’re finished reading my rebuttal to your rant, you may even become aware of the idiotic smear that you so selfishly dumped on this woman’s website who has suffered immensely. As I have (and many others) who’ve had to deal with narcissists who’ve ruined our lives and the many futures of our fellow human beings.

      Your rebuttal (*TIRADE!) was a typical “hit & run” assault of your nonsense, passive-aggressiveness and just plain old hostility.

      What you’re experiencing now is: “Narcissistic Injury”. Should you choose to develop empathy (highly unlikely as that may be) apologize for your incompetence, pervasive inadequacies and stop believing you’re perfect. You’re far from it!

      You’re special, just like the rest of us ;P

      PS. I’m sorry you suffer from the Dunning-Kruger effect…This can never be overcome ;( But the good news is, narcissistic traits can improve. Obviously you do have some empathy left. Use it. Cultivate it. GROW from this experience.😉

      (And for Pete sakes, stop dispensing your nonsense on the Internets! You’re hurting actual people with your own ignorance.)

      November 23, 2013 at 11:38 PM

    • Wow, Kev. You must be the ” Golden Child”.

      December 19, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    • Kev,
      I have believed that myself , (all the respect the woman who gave birth to you, bla, bla, bla) but when at the age of 35, while a very successful dentist, married to another successful dentist, happy, with two beautiful children and a very nice house, my life turned upside down when my mom moved 10 minutes from me, I finally am growing the “Vagina, as White said” and accepting that SHE, is the reason. Once she moved close to me, she tried to take over my life, my friends, my children, my sanity, even my dental practice.
      When I was deeply depressed, at verge of divorce and bankruptcy, I finally accepted that what needed to change, is my mom. Not my husband, my work, my life or even me..
      So, I tried to go “No contact”. No use. She would show up at my door without notice.
      I finally had to close our practice, sell our home and move away. Now, finally I am starting to recover and heal.
      So, Kev, please sn’t judge.

      January 20, 2014 at 12:52 PM

    • There’s one other thing about a narc that isn’t addressed here: They stick together. They recognize each other and will help each other or- stick up for – and otherwise aid and abet each others agendas…much like the way you are motivated to attack the writer -WHY ARE YOU EVEN HERE!? You sir are OBVIOUSLY OUT OF TOUCH WITH HOW STUPID YOU LOOK TO THE WORLD LOL SAVE THE FLAMING REBUTE FOR SOMEONE WHO GIVES A SHIT ABOUT YOUR OPINION EH? …tsk CLASSIC NARC!

      June 11, 2014 at 9:59 PM

    • Like others here, I feel sorry for any children of yours. I’m a mother myself. Know what the difference between my narcissistic mother and me is? My mother never once admitted that she did anything wrong, even though I started out as a tremendously happy little girl and ended up an insecure, angry adolescent. (Read the article again to see how that occurred.) One of my first memories of my mother is her being angry with me when I was 5. I already had terrible nearsightedness, so severe the doctor recommended contacts, because glasses would be heavy and cumbersome, especially for such a small girl. She let me take a bath in them, and I lost one. She was furious with me. Even as a 5-year-old, I remember thinking…aren’t *you* the grown-up here? She refused to ever buy me a pair of contacts again, saying I couldn’t be trusted to take care of them. (Meanwhile, she herself had contacts, and regularly lost or broke one.) I earned the money to buy a pair for myself when I was 12. Do you consider that “a mistake”? I don’t. That’s a conscious decision to follow a particular pattern of thought for a very, very long time. As a mother myself, I’ve made the decision to constantly evaluate myself, and when things aren’t working, I see what I can do differently. I have a robust spiritual life. My children are intelligent, caring, funny, amazing people. I have a successful career, and my employers and clients appreciate me. I have several hobbies, some of which I’m sufficiently good at to get paid for them. Overall, my life has turned out pretty well. I can assure you, my life definitely turned out better than my narc mother tried to convince me it would.

      October 21, 2014 at 12:46 AM

      • jedigert

        Donna I think our mothers were clones! High five for surviving being told we’d never accomplish anything. I am now the perverse person who accomplishes things simply because I was told I couldn’t and I bet you are too. Because I vividly remember at the same age also thinking but aren’t YOU the adult?!

        January 19, 2016 at 6:36 AM

    • If you only did SOME things that match this criteria then you don’t fit the criteria. The fact that you admit to these things as mistakes, and therefore I assume not repeated them, then again you do not fit the profile of a narc mother. The problem with a narc mother / parent is they don’t see their mistakes and repeat damages behaviours intentionally. Mr narc mother fits 100% and continued to intentionally cause me mental anguish. I finally cut the cord with my mother when after she spent a day with me and some friends, saw what a good relationship we had and how much these friends loved me, she started bitching about me as soon as my back was turned telling lies about me being crazy and that I needed medication. Apparently I am ok when I am antidepressants, and I was off them going crazy and hurting family members. I have never been on antidepressants and I had cut members of my family off because I was sick of them bullying me, under my narc mothers guidance. I hadn’t had the guts to cut off my mum at that point because of the kind of guilt BS you have gone on with in your post. JUST BECAUSE SOMEONE GAVE BIRTH TO YOU DOES BOT GIVE THEM THE RIGHT TO RUIN YOUR LIFE!

      March 26, 2015 at 5:51 AM

    • I’m not sure if you realize, but your comment is such a classically narcissistic parent comment to make that I was toggling between disbelief and laughter when I read it. A++, perfect example of a narcissist right here. “I DON’T OWE YOU ANYTHING, *YOU* OWE *ME* BECAUSE I GAVE BIRTH TO YOU! HAVE SOME RESPECT!”

      May 30, 2015 at 5:47 AM

  27. Thank you for making sense of my misery! I’m about to go “no contact” once I move away (in ten days, yippee) x

    February 10, 2012 at 3:30 AM

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