Signs and Effects of a Narcissist Mom

Signs and Effects of a Narcissist Mom

Do you think you might have a narcissist mom? You're not alone.

The popular forum on Reddit, "Raised by Narcissists" has nearly 800,000 subscribers.

As narcissism gets thrown around a lot these days, it's important to gain some knowledge before you decide that you have a narcissist mom.

All parents fail and all parents have faults. However, a narcissist parent - and a narcissist mom in particular - cannot fulfill their child's needs.

It is a parent's job to love, protect, and support their children. A narcissist mom is incapable of doing this. A narcissistic mom mistreats their children and uses them as a prop or as a tool to fulfill her own needs and desires.

One of the most important things to know about having a narcissist mom is that narcissism is a psychiatric disorder that goes far beyond faults or bad attributes. If you truly have a narcissist mom you will need to give up on the idea that she's ever going to change. 

Narcissistic Personality Disorder Therapists in Colorado

Dr. Michelle Palmieri, DSW, LSW

Dr. Michelle Palmieri, DSW, LSW

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 602-1342
Shannon Matlock, LPC, NCC

Shannon Matlock, LPC, NCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 203-7021

Signs of a Narcissist Mom: Playing Favorites

One of the classic signs of a narcissist mom is one who plays favorites among their children. They will typically choose one child to be a "golden child" and one child to be a scapegoat.

The "golden child" is seen as an extension of the narcissist mom. They get propped up as perfect and incapable of doing wrong.

A narcissistic mom will often use her excessive praise of this child to keep the other family members seeking her validation.

The "scapegoat" is the child that the narcissist mom blames for everything. This child will often be the target of outbursts when the narcissist mom's feelings of superiority are threatened.

There might also be a "lost child" who is neither praised nor vilified, but simply ignored.

This places everyone in the family in a precarious emotional position. For example, the golden child will work to stay in the narcissist mom's favor. They might turn against their siblings in order to please the narcissist mom.

The scapegoat typically works very hard to gain the favor of the narcissist mom. They are the target of the narcissist mom's project of shame and rage. This often destroys their sense of individuation and self-esteem.

While the golden child is placed in a position of always trying to earn the love of the narcissistic mother, a scapegoat is placed in a position of always feeling inadequate. They begin to believe that they will never be good enough and often give up trying.

Signs of a Narcissist Mom: Treating Her Children as Extensions of Herself

A narcissist mom has difficulty acknowledging that her children exist outside of herself. This is because narcissists lack the ability to think or care about others.

Even though we like to believe mothers will always care about their children the most, a narcissistic mom can't see beyond herself. She is trapped within her own self-image.

A narcissist mom will consider all of the things that she likes about her children as positive reflections of herself. She may even take undue credit for their accomplishments.

Since narcissistic mothers rarely support their children, they will often credit themselves for things their children have done that they accomplished in spite of their narcissistic abuse and neglect.

Narcissist moms might also diminish or ignore things about their children that they disapprove of or that challenge their grandiose delusions. 

Signs of a Narcissist Mom: She Cares More About Appearances than Her Children

A narcissist mom cares more about her own image than she does her children. She will obsessively clean the house. She will obsessively push to present the image of a happy family.

In fact, she might only show affection to you on social media or in front of other people. She might brag about your publicly while never acknowledging you in private.

Or, she might try to erase or belittle any individual expressions of yourself. For example, if you begin expressing yourself independently from her, she might lash out or become volatile.

A narcissist mom isn't concerned with being a good mother, she is concerned with everyone believing she is a good mother.

You may see this behavior reflected in another way: a narcissistic mom will often express strong opinions at home but then put up a front around others. If you see a large difference between how your mother acts and treats you in private and public, it could be a sign that she is a narcissist. 

Signs of a Narcissist Mom: She is Always the Victim

One of the key characteristics of a narcissistic woman that isn't present in male narcissists is martyrdom. A narcissist mom always positions herself as the victim.

This might be intended to get her sympathy and support. For example, if you stop speaking to her, she will place herself in the victim's position.

She will often complain about being misunderstood or mistreated.

If you ever confront your mom about her narcissistic abuse or neglect, she will often begin playing the victim. She will scream about what a "monster" she is or what a "horrible parent" she was.

She will do this to avoid validating your emotions. The narcissist lacks empathy and so they must deny individual expressions of emotions that do not align with their delusions. 

The Effects of a Narcissist Mom

The effects of a narcissistic mom on her children can be devastating. Children of narcissist moms become extremely sensitive to the emotions of others.

They might always feel as if they're walking on eggshells, even when not dealing with the narcissist. This happens because their emotional development is orbited around the moods, needs, and demands of a narcissistic mom.

Children of narcissist moms often lack inner development. Their feelings, experiences, and perceptions are always ignored and invalidated by their narcissist mom and so they never learn how to manage them or validate them.

People who have narcissistic moms also struggle with boundaries. One of the hallmarks of a narcissist is a total lack of boundaries. Because these are never developed in childhood, they probably never develop in adulthood either.

A child raised by a narcissist most likely will develop insecure attachment. Your attachment style is developed in your childhood. Having a narcissist mom often results in the feeling that love is conditional, must be earned, or that you're unlovable.

This often leads to a combination of avoidant attachment and anxious attachment.


If you're identifying with the descriptions of signs in this article, then you should choose to educate and empower yourself.

You can do this by reading more resources about narcissist moms. (You'll find some at the end of this article.)

Understanding that this is not your fault is a key step to stop blaming yourself. And, seeking professional help can make all of the difference. 


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July 13th, 2024

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