Were you raised by a narcissistic mother? If you’re like a lot of adult children of narcissistic mothers, you may have only recently realized that you were. See, just like you can be married to a narcissist for 20 years and not realize that you’re dealing with narcissistic abuse in a toxic relationship, many children raised by a narcissistic mother don’t realize what they’re experiencing until they become adults. They would, however, pick up that their mothers seem somehow different from their friends’ mothers. They might recognize that their mothers don’t seem to care about them and are extremely hard on them. Or, they’ll notice that their mothers make them feel invisible. Maybe they’ll recognize that they don’t feel important, or that their mother played them against their siblings. In some cases, they may even feel like they need to achieve whatever dream their mothers have for them (or wish to live vicariously through them.
Any of that sound familiar? If so, you might have been raised by a narcissistic mother.
5 Signs You Were Raised by a Narcissistic Mother
Not sure? Let’s go over 5 signs that do confirm that you were raised by a narcissistic mother.
1. Your Mom’s a Control Freak
If you were raised by a narcissistic mother, you might struggle to make decisions alone. That’s because you grew up with a mom who did what she could to control your every move. She controlled the direction you went in life, she controlled you to the point that you never wanted to even think of moving to another city once you were ready to spread your wings. She controlled everything you did. You may have felt resentful or you may have felt overly obligated, depending on her method of control.
2. Your Mom Makes Everything All About Her
You may have noticed that when you were struggling in school or had an issue with friends and tried talking to your mother about it, she would always somehow make it about her in one way or another. And as you’ve gotten older, she most likely continues to do this. For example, when you got married, she might have overshadowed your wedding with her own drama. Or, when you had kids, she may have forced her input into everything from their names to which school they’d attend. It’s always about her, all the time.
3. Your Mom Loses Her Temper and Blames You for Everything
Narcissistic mothers nearly always have a tendency to lose their temper easily. You already know this is an understatement if you grew up with a toxic female parent – and you would have dealt with that type of thing far too often for your taste. If anything went wrong, she found a way to make it your fault. And when you had the nerve to deny that you had caused the problem, your narcissistic mother would go ballistic on you, blaming you without even considering the possibility that you could be innocent. This would be especially true if she was actually the person to blame. For instance, if someone did not receive an important document that she sent, she might blame you for it – even if it makes no logical sense. She might say something like, “Well, maybe if you hadn’t distracted me while I was mailing the letter, it would’ve got where I tried to send it,” or something equally senseless. Narcissists in general are really bad at accepting responsibility for their own mistakes.
4. Your Mom Made You a Servant…Or Smothered You Into Helplessness
Your narcissistic mother was nothing if not extreme. And in this case, the extremes were clear: she either treated you like a servant, or she did literally everything for you and used that to make you feel obligated to her (not to mention helpless as an adult). Which way she went would depend on her particular “brand” of narcissism. If she was more of a controlling, helicopter parent, she probably did everything for you (and lived vicariously through you). But if she were less focused on her role as “Mother” and more focused on … well, anything or anyone outside of that, then she was more likely to make you here personal servant. For example, you might have learned to make her favorite martini at a very young age.
5. Your Mom Compared You to Other Kids
“Why can’t you be more like (insert kid’s name here:?” Whether she was comparing you to a sibling or a friend, a narcissistic mother is always messing with your self-esteem and refusing to give you even the most basic form of validation. One of her favorite ways to do this is by comparing you to others. For example, if your brother always got better grades than you did, this would be thrown in your face often. You’d be called lazy and made to feel not good enough, at the very least – and that’s if you weren’t also excessively grounded or otherwise punished by your mother. And chances are that if you are the adult child of a narcissistic mother, you’ve been compared to others for your whole life. Your mother may even have sort of “adopted” other people your age who she openly preferred to you – literally making you feel somehow replaced.
Having a narcissistic mother will have a long-lasting impact on you. Not only does it leave you feeling lost, unloved, and unwanted, but the chances of finding a partner just like her increase significantly (and what I see often is that you end up with someone who seems to be the polar opposite of her, but who actually end up being a different type of narcissist.
Get Help with Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Here
Is your mother a narcissist? If so, these resources will be helpful for you.
- If you’re looking for traditional narcissistic abuse recovery therapy, just be sure to interview your therapist ahead of time, even if that means you just chat with them by phone or video chat before your first appointment. To make sure they are qualified and will understand your situation, you’ll just need to ask the right questions ahead of time – take a look at our recommended list of therapist interview questions right here.
- Still not sure your parent is a narcissist? Take our toxic mother test for some additional insight, right here.
- Already know you’ve dealt with a narcissist mother? Get the support you need! Join our free online narcissistic abuse recovery support group for the adult children of narcissistic parents.
- Looking for more personal support? You might like to join one of our private small-group coaching sessions, or you might prefer to check out our one-on-one narcissistic abuse recovery counseling and coaching sessions.
- You can also sign up for our email newsletter service for absolutely free for an enhanced narcissistic abuse recovery experience.
More on Toxic Mothers
- Books for Adult Children of Narcissistic Mothers
- Inner Child Healing
- Self-Identifying as the Adult Child of a Narcissist
- 63 Things Narcissistic Mothers Say
- Recovering From a Narcissist Mother
More Resources for Survivors of Narcissistic Abuse
- Take the Test: Are you dealing with a toxic narcissist in a relationship?
- Healing Resources for Survivors
- How to Leave a Narcissist (PLAN)
- No Contact Support
- Tools for Recovery
- First Aid (PERK)
- Free Online Support Groups
- Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Coaching
You might also like these videos:
- When You Can’t Go No Contact With A Narcissist Grey Rock: What It Is, How to Use It with a Narcissist and Grey Rock Examples (Psychology)
- Narcissists Are Predictable! (The Truth on Why They’re All the Same)
- 4 Ways to Get a Narcissist to Leave You Alone
- When You See the Narcissist After No Contact
- The Codependent’s Guide to Setting Healthy Boundaries After a Toxic Relationship
- New! Identifying Narcissistic Abuse in Toxic Relationships
Angela Atkinson is a certified trauma counselor and the author of more than 20 books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse recovery, and related topics. A recognized expert on narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder who has studied and written extensively on narcissistic personality disorder and narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships since 2006, she has a popular narcissistic abuse recovery YouTube channel. Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own.
Atkinson offers trauma-informed narcissistic abuse recovery coaching and has certifications in trauma counseling, life coaching, level 2 therapeutic model, CBT coaching, integrative wellness coaching, and NLP. She is a certified trauma support coach and certified family trauma professional. She also has a professional PTSD counseling certification. Her mission is to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation, and move forward into their genuine desires – into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves.
Along with her solution-focused life coaching experience, Atkinson’s previous career in journalism and research helps her to offer both accurate and understandable information for survivors of abuse in a simple-to-understand way that helps to increase awareness in the narcissistic abuse recovery community. Atkinson founded QueenBeeing.com Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy.
She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online.