Maternal Narcissism

by Michelle Piper

Maternal narcissism results in you, as a child, growing up with a woman who is a mother in name only. When my coaching and psychotherapy clients see the pattern of narcissism in how they were “parented” they say something similar to the recent comment on our blog, “Until today I always thought it was something about me that made my mother treat me the way she did.”

You were a child, a perfectly imperfect human being, and you didn’t get the normal and natural things you needed in your childhood, that any child would need.

A child, by its very nature, is vulnerable and in need of protection.

If you felt angry, anxious, and overwhelmed around this type of mom, it was your natural response to maternal narcissism. The healthy part of you telling you something was wrong, and so you learned, alone, to emotionally survive.

A narcissistic mother is not truly a “mom.” She doesn’t really parent her children and has little to no compassion for her children. The conditional love she shows her kids is only present when her children do what she wants them to do. It is and always only about her, never about her children or anyone else in her life.

Everything you do is a reflection of her. A minor mistake is often seen as an attack and an embarrassment which is met with a narcissistic rage. When you do something well, she may not acknowledge it or, instead, do the opposite and take credit for your accomplishment, attributing it to her amazing parenting. You can never win because it will always be solely about her.

No matter what the situation may be, a narcissistic mother has the uncanny ability to make it about her. For instance, if she’s at a funeral, she may make herself the center of attention, extolling how tough it is on her and how she misses the person most, to the point of discomfort for those around her, distracting the other grieving loved ones during a painful time. Every conversation, every event, has to revolve around her or else.

This is one reason why maternal narcissists have children. Especially when young, children are the perfect audience because they hang on every word their narcissistic mother says. They need her to survive.

She keeps them alive, but it’s the children who are taking care of their mother. They feed her ego and tend to her needs and she gives nothing in return unless it is to her benefit.

Many of my clients express they weren’t parented in a healthy way and have a low sense of worth from trying so hard to be what their narcissistic mother wanted them to be and that they never felt good enough.

Maternal narcissists dole out roles for each of her children to play and change those roles when it fits her needs. An only child of a narcissistic mother is sometimes put in many roles.

There is the golden child, hero child, scapegoat, and the lost child. She parentifies each child, making them do for her what she should be doing for them while she triangulates and pits each child against one another.

If placed in the hero child role, you may have felt a nagging sense of being used for what you could do for your mother. She has the hero child to do her bidding for her, in some cases coercing you to abuse your siblings emotionally or physically, and then rewards you for doing so. This causes anger and resentment between the siblings which can last years into the future, fueling sibling rivalry.

If scapegoated, you were made to feel like the crazy one in the family for wanting to feel unconditionally loved. Your mother may have called you “oversensitive,” “a baby,” “a drama queen” or “little prince” for expressing normal needs and emotions.

If in the golden child role, you may remember getting the positive attention you craved only when you accomplished something your mother valued.

Narcissistic mothers are only nice to their children when stipulations are attached.

They do things for others because there’s some sort of benefit for them.

For instance, a narcissistic mother gives to charity but doesn’t do it anonymously. She wants recognition to show she did a good deed and others to thank her for her generosity. She’ll attend her child’s sports event and say things like, “that’s my baby girl!” or “he gets that from me,” to brag about her child’s accomplishments as if they are her own.

Being the product of maternal narcissism can be both physically and emotionally damaging.

Physically, for instance, because the scapegoat or lost child can be ignored when medical attention, a dental visit or basic knowledge about hygiene is needed. If the narcissistic mother didn’t feel proper care was necessary, the child wouldn’t get it. This can range from needing care for the flu to braces to an emergency room visit for a dislocated shoulder. If it wasn’t the golden child who needed something–while in her favor–it didn’t really matter.

The emotional effects of maternal narcissism become obvious to those who have a narcissistic mother but may not seem so blatant to the outside world. The internal wounds an adult child of a narcissist, ACON, are so expertly masked that most people may not recognize it. Some were told never to show their emotions and in response hold it all inside until one day they burst or become incredibly fatigued.

Each narcissistic mother has her own unique way of emotionally damaging her children. Clients have told me things such as she would read through their diaries or confide things about her significant other a child should never hear. I have also been told of narcissistic mothers who made her child her house servant, having to wait on her hand and foot to get any sort of recognition. Maternal narcissists often run emotionally cold then hot, are critical, combative, and draining of others.

If you have survived such abuse, you’re stronger than you may give yourself credit for. You know the horrors of growing up with a narcissistic mother and can continue to take the steps to overcome past abusive patterns and move on towards a happier and healthier lifestyle.

{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary April 15, 2013 at 8:35 am

Thank you again for an excellent post. I recognize this line in particular: “They do things for others because there’s some sort of benefit for them.” My mother is reluctant to help people, thinks we’re fools if we help people, and she always wants credit if she does help us or anyone else. But there’s a flipside to that, in her case, and I wonder if it applies to a lot of other NMs as well. My mother has a terrible inability to feel gratitude. Now that she is elderly, her neighbors and other people sometimes help her with various tasks. Little things like bringing her paper up near her door, or clearing her driveway of snow, etc. She talks about being ’embarrassed’ by these kindnesses, and keeps a stock of gas gift cards and chocolate bars to give the people who do her favors. Now it may sound like I’m picking on a nice gesture, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with expressing gratitude with a little gift. It’s just that I understand her enough now to know that these gifts are really ‘payments’, so that deep inside, she doesn’t have to truly feel grateful. Sometimes I suggest she just write a little note, but she’d much rather buy something. This behavior applies to her children as well; when I try to help her with a few things, she always gives me something, like gas cards, which prompts a thank you from me in turn. Because I think that’s the point; apparently, gratitude involves a relinquishment of control, an admission we are indeed in debt to someone, and my mother can’t stand that feeling. I’ve often heard true happiness is inextricably linked to the ability to feel gratitude. Unfortunately for the narcissist, pride blocks that ability.


Meg April 22, 2013 at 6:31 am

My MIL feels the need to pay my husband anytime he helps them out. I find this very strange. My family helps each other out with no thought of payment. It’s just what nice people do for one another. Apparently she’s not alone!


Sue Davey April 15, 2013 at 2:19 pm

Hallo, These posts are a real help as for all my life I’ve thought I was a crazy case.
With reference to Mary’s post my mother always goes on about how much she did for people and how they didn’t leave her anything in their will (everything is balanced in money terms) . She’s nearly 95 and has never really put herself out to do anything for anyone apart from a devotion to a certain political party which naturally raised her status in society. I find the bit about little gifts very interesting, if we visit anyone we have to take a gift, I always think it’s to stay in control, but I may be being unfair with this. She pays me occasionally for taking her to places and I take it as petrol is so expensive. But she’s not exactly generous.
It is good to be able to put feelings down in writing, I don’t think these people mean it they just don’t get the chance when children to attach to a good adult who will nurture them. And so the pattern repeats itself, and i worry about my own daughter as she seams to be heading the same way, she has no gratitude for anything and constantly drops hints about her terrible childhood (her father left when she was 2 and I really struggled to pay the bills and the debts he left but we survived) I know i wasn’t the perfect mother but survival was paramount.
It is so true that gratitude for anything is the route to true happiness. I think I have recently found real happiness in the positive aspects of gratitude for my health, my friends, my home, my talents. I wish my daughter was a more amenable but there it is, some things don’t change but I can hope.
I have recently discovered painting and I believe everyone can do it when they just have a go. It’s also a way to develop your own personality. I still didn’t know who I was until 18 months ago when a kind teacher made positive and helpful comments to me about my art. I have sold 5 paintings in that time and finally feel that I have something of my own that my mother cannot control.
I can honestly say that my mother has been responsible for the majority of the unhappiness in my life. These people are not capable of love, they only take, take, take and control.I do worry too that I might turn out the same, it’s hard to distance yourself from your upbringing.
Thanks for the opportunity to post this, it’s good therapy and very interesting to feel you’re not alone.
Look forward to reading other opinions.


Jeri April 16, 2013 at 12:06 pm

I would like to thank you again for such informative posts. The strength and courage of all the people on here makes me see that life after a narcissistic mother is possible. I myself did not have a NM but I married a man that does. That was 24 years ago. We have had a very long difficult road with his mother. The sad thing is that neither one of us recognized the behavior as narcissistic until about 6 months ago when I found this website. My husband goes from being the scapegoat to the golden child then back to the scapegoat again. I never understood my husband’s birth family dynamics. He has two brothers. They all seem to hate each other and fight all of the time yet they were always around each other because of the mother. They grew up in the same house that my MIL still lives in now. That is her family home they had built and everyone of her Son’s must be involved in taking care of it, (meaning her). I never got why my Husband was constantly sneaking off to go to his mother’s house and not even tell me about it. He was so emotionally trained by her to do her bidding that he just learned to go take care of her needs and get back home to me. We moved far away for about 10 years and during that time she maintained her control the best she could via the telephone. It was also during that time away that my husband and I really bonded in our marriage. We have 2 beautiful Sons together and we had actual peace while we were away from her destructive, terrorizing, bullying and controlling behavior. Then my company moved back to our hometown and it all started again. She acted like my husband was her husband! My FIL was still alive at the time but she needed my husband around her all of the time. She would even take cakes up to his work so everyone could fawn all over her and tell my husband what a wonderful mother he had. She would then call and jab me with her news of what a good time she had with my husband that day and how much they enjoy each others company. (My husbands story was that she just showed up and bullied her way in). A couple of years after we moved back my FIL passed away. OMG! That was it, I lost my husband for about 3 years while he was busy helping his mother grieve and then just always being there for her so she wasn’t lonely. (I would go with him most times just so I could be with my husband) I finally had had enough and we went into counseling. I was able to get my husband to set some boundaries with his NM. Well after her initial tirade over my husband abandoning her and we were cutting her off all because of me, she eventually saw we meant what we said and she started to slowly back off a bit. That lasted 3 months. Now that we have identified what she is, my husband has become so angry with her that we are only speaking with her if absolutely necessary. We read all of the blogs and talk everyday about him learning to heal from her abuse. I see so many of our problems that stem from how she programmed my husband to be. I have suggested he find a counselor to help him through this because the things I know she did to him growing up is appalling!! At this time, he is only speaking with her if I am present. We are teetering on no contact but I thought we’d try severely limited contact first. (She actually can’t believe that he has not been running to her anymore). We have not physically been around her for a few months now and it is making her crazy! She asked me if I have tapped her Son’s phone so he can’t even call her anymore. She is beginning to see that her game is up with us. I feel that at any moment the fireworks from her will begin. Well, I say let her do her worst, she has already taken more years from my marriage then I care to admit. I am number one in my husband’s life and both of us have finally come to terms with his mothers narcissism. I feel guilty that I am taking such delight in watching her squirm but I’m sure I will get over it quickly… I appreciate you sharing your knowledge on this terrible subject. Maybe you can do one to help other DIL’s understand what they have gotten themselves into and maybe some advice on how to make their husbands understand what they are dealing with. If I would have known this sooner it could have saved me years of grief. All I had to do was show my husband the parrishmiller definition of a NM and then I gave my husband examples of her behavior to help him see what she has been doing to him all of his life. That was it, game over! I wish everyone reading this much success in breaking away from your NM. Your life will never be yours until you do. Regards, Jeri


TLC April 16, 2013 at 12:42 pm

This describes my upbringing so well that I am printing the entire post and taking it with me to my therapy appointment tomorrow. The only difference, and one that I just figured out, is that my mother was never a frightening or scary person and I just realized it was because she was heavily medicated due to a medical condition. She is now on new meds and I just saw a picture of her and it scares me. Her eyes are clear and connected. First time I’ve even seen her look that way and the thought of the additional damage she can inflict in this new state of clarity is frightening. I only just found out she was a NM about a week ago and am trying to work through things and now I am also realizing that she is far more capable of causing me more problems than the simple phone stalking she was doing prior to her medication change. I had already decided to go no contact with her prior to her hospitalization but now I am unsure and feeling frightened of her. This is a first.


P. Clark April 16, 2013 at 7:29 pm

Thank you for your blog, Michelle. It sure is good.

All my life I’ve teetered between myth and reality because of narcissism. It takes a struggle to know your own mind when you’ve been raised to be a reflection of someone else’s ideal of it.

Courage and sympathy to all,



Anonymous April 18, 2013 at 2:23 am

This is well said. Thank you for the simple clarity in your words. I find them immensely helpful.
Michele, thank you for this summation. We experienced all of it in our house… Neglect, being servants, being coerced to abuse one another. I agree, it takes great courage to heal and find one’s own self as an adult. It’s worth it, it’s worth it, it’s worth it!! Grateful for the Internet right now and especially for you, Michele, for offering this forum, insight, inspiration , and clarity.


free at last April 16, 2013 at 11:40 pm

Thank you so much for your posts and thank you to everyone who commented and shared their stories. My mother is a double whammy, an alcoholic narcissist and I am her only child. I didn’t know that she was narcissistic until recently. I started doing some reading about alcoholic mothers and stumbled across some articles. My mom and dad got divorced when I was very young, so it was always just me and her. She would have boyfriends and the things that I had to see and deal with always made me so uncomfortable. I remember once when I was in third grade, she had stayed home from work and when I got home there were blankets and empty wine glasses in the living room. She told me to clean it up. Somehow to me it just seemed gross and wrong, so I said that I didn’t want to. She screamed at me until I started crying, then screamed at me because I was crying, and I had to clean it up anyway. I always knew when she and her boyfriend were having a hard time, because she would lock herself in her room or the bathroom and blast sad songs on her stereo, never mind the fact that I had school in the morning and couldn’t sleep all night because it was so loud. The first time I wanted to kill myself was because of her. I was asleep and she came screaming into my room about how the dogs had tracked mud in the house after I brought them inside. She screamed and screamed at me, while I was in the kitchen sitting with a bottle of bleach wondering if things would be better if I just drank the whole jug. I was 12.

One time when I was in middle school she had gone clothes shopping after work and brought me some stuff too. She bought me the ugliest pair of brown pants. I told her that I was sorry, but I didn’t like them. She screamed and screamed at me, telling me what an ingrate I was and that she would never buy clothes for me again. When I was 14 I went to go live with my dad. She had left me at my aunt’s house for the summer, didn’t enroll me in my freshman year of high school and my dad found out. When she knew that he knew, she came storming back to my aunt’s house with her boyfriend to get me. I said I didn’t want to go and she screamed at me and pushed me into a set of closet doors. She took me, didn’t say a word in the car, then dropped me off at some apartment. They dropped me off and just left me there. I had no idea where I was, I didn’t have any of my stuff, and there was no food. I called my aunt to tell her and of course somehow my mom found out again, and she came back to the apartment and screamed at me some more. I don’t even remember what she said, I think I just tuned most of it out.

At one point, I was in an abusive relationship and I finally got up the nerve to tell him to get out. I wanted to leave my apartment for the weekend while he was moving out, so I drove a few hours away to my mom’s house. I was so ashamed and I just didn’t know where else to go. She had no idea what was going on at the time and the day after I got there I told her what had happened. I asked her to please, please not do anything or say anything to him or his family, because it would just make things worse. I just wanted him to get out and leave me alone. She convinced me to take one of her sleeping pills. I had barely slept in days and being in her house didn’t put me at ease at all, so I took half. By the time I got up, she had stolen my phone, called him from my phone, and posted a bunch of crap on her MySpace page about him and what had happened between us. When I asked for my phone back, she threw it at me and screamed in my face “his dad said that you’re a whore!!!” Of course, I was a mess and packed my stuff as quickly as I could so I could just get away from her. She screamed at me the whole time. As I was leaving she was walking up the stairs with a bottle of wine telling me that she was going to kill herself and it would be all my fault. Later, I found out that she had told everyone else in the family that I was basically beaten to a pulp, which was a flat out lie. I didn’t have a scratch on me when I went to her house. The thing that really makes me sick is that later when we would talk, she would always ask “have you heard from him? what is he doing now? do you think about it? what did he do to you again?” and I could literally hear the joy in her voice, trying to make me relive all of those terrible things.

Even now after typing all of that, I feel like i’m going to be mocked for being “too sensitive” or get an “oh poor you, your life is just sooooo hard isn’t it?” I always thought that was just how mothers treated their daughters. It wasn’t until I opened up to my fiance’s mom about some of this stuff and saw the utter horror on her face did I realize just how terrible my mom had treated me. If I ever told her that she hurt my feelings I was mocked. She would wear see through night clothes with no underwear around the house and make me extremely uncomfortable, and when I would say something she would say it’s her house and she can do what she wants. She would suggest that I do things for my boyfriends that were inappropriate, like doing sexy photos and even made me try on her thigh-high boots for it. She got mad at me for putting up my own Christmas tree in my own apartment. She would come to the bar I worked at, get drunk and pick fights with my customers. My manager actually had to ban her. Anything and everything she has ever done for me hangs over my head like a raincloud and is brought up any time I disagree with her or say no to her. My accomplishments are not because of my own hard work and intelligence, but because she “did such a good job with me.”

When I got engaged she got mad because, even though I called her first right after it happened, I changed my relationship status on Facebook without telling her first. She then made her own post on her own page about my engagement. I didn’t want to make my soon-to-be husband have to deal with her, I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy. So, thinking that her drinking was the problem, I decided to ask her to just not drink when we spent time together. She said that no one, especially her own child, should tell her what to do, she doesn’t care what I think of her, she saves that for people she respects, gave me some non-apology apologies with some insults and guilt peppered in, and then told me that she “chooses herself.” I’m actually really glad that it happened, because I have since learned about narcissism and boy has it explained a lot. So, I am moving forward with my wedding and my life without her. I still feel some guilt about it every now and then. She’s basically dying because of her alcoholism. She has cirrhosis, liver disease, among other things (she’s only 47). To help curb my guilt I have made a list of reasons why I am not talking to her and if I do start having second thoughts, I go back to that and give it a good read. That puts things back into perspective. Thank you again for your posts and I hope that my stories can help someone out there feel better. You are definitely not alone.


AM July 12, 2014 at 2:11 pm

Well done for excluding her from your wedding. I on the other hand had a very traumatic wedding experience due to my NPD mother’s meanness and manipulations. Her behaviour during the time of my wedding was in fact what led me to go no contact and what resulted in me finding out about NPD. I regret every day that she was part of my wedding because as a result I only have sad memories of it, so much so that I don’t even want to look at the photos.


rhm1985 April 17, 2013 at 1:02 am

I stumbled across this website when I confronted my ML. I did always wonder why she never warmed to me. After it all blew up, she drove 6 hours return to gain control over accommodation options for our upcoming wedding. I realised I had a NML. Now, through the help of my therapist I have come to realise my husband to be has always been the scapegoat. His sister is the golden child. I have shown hubby tone your site and he now can see his mother is a NM. Unfortunately, my NML also had a NM, but she was not the golden child, her brother was. As time goes on I am beginning to see the full effect of this and so many little things now make sense! I have removed myself from the family, I don’t speak to or go to their house, hubby to be visits rarely. Over time I can see we will have to remove ourselves permantly. But we will survive


Anonymous April 18, 2013 at 2:33 am

Wow, hugs to you, free at last! I am excited for your engagement. Thank you for your post. I can relate, my mom too was an achoholic nm.


free at last April 18, 2013 at 3:44 pm

Thanks 🙂 I’m finally starting to feel like a real person. What a feeling!


Mary April 24, 2013 at 3:26 pm

In the United States, Mother’s Day is coming up. This always presents a tough decision for those of us who still have contact, as the greeting cards describe a woman we never knew! Another woman I know who has a NM once told me, “I search through the card section every year, rejecting one after another. They just don’t make a card with the message I’m looking for. I want it to say, ‘Shame on you’.”


Sheri April 28, 2013 at 5:18 pm

Oh, my god – I DESPISE Mother’s Day! I have three kids, but it’s never been “my” day – it’s only “her” day, and everyone must go to her house. She must be waited on, and the presents and card had better be “mushy” and sentimental enough. It’s been this way since I became a mom 25 years ago.


Kris May 6, 2013 at 7:32 pm


The day when everyone asks you what you are doing for “sweet mother” for mothers day, or when you are expected to “put your differences aside” because its “her day”.

For a normal mother, it is a good day to celebrate. With a narcissistic mother, it is an excuse for her to whine and guilt trip you about how you dont fawn over her enough… With the resulting feeling of wanting to smash something while she relishes what a wonderful job she did and all the sacrifices she made and you wonder where this fantasy novel she memorized came from – all you can remember was feeling like growing up was a competition amongst your siblings and only the one at the top of the heap ever mattered. You remember your first few years living outside of the family nest with her nattering voice constantly in your head and the confusion after it finally faded away, if it ever did.


Anonymous December 8, 2015 at 11:57 pm

I can’t seem to find that perfect ‘shame on you’ card for mine either… I still waste about an hour looking for another card that will ‘work.’


Anonymous April 25, 2013 at 8:31 pm

Has anyone done any studies about the health issues of children with NM? I became disabled due to an immune system disorder caused, or exacerbated by long term stress. A good friend with a NM has MS. We are convinced our immune system issues are related to growing up with.NMs. It was exhausting being constantly worried about what mood she’d be in when she got home, and coping with the role we were placed in; having to take care of an emotional wreck, while also filling in for her, doing all the things she couldn’t or didnt’t want to do. raising the younger sibling my NM had desperately wanted when I became old enough to have a mind of my own.


Mary April 26, 2013 at 6:46 am

I haven’t heard of any studies specific to ACONs health, but certainly it’s been established that stress is detrimental to health. I’m sorry to hear about your health problems, but I’m glad you have an empathetic friend to bond with.


Outsidelookinginn December 12, 2013 at 4:42 pm

I have asked this question recently on another NM site. I have MS, my brother has epilepsy. The only times I have had an exacerbation is after a severely stressful incident where my mother berated me and physically abused me for getting engaged. She said she would not attend the wedding. I said that was no problem for me, but my body began going numb the next day and progressed for the next 4 weeks until I could not walk straight. My mother accused me of trying to get attention and since, at that time Drs. could not diagnose MS until several episodes had occurred I had no cover from the Dr. I recovered by about the 6th or 7th week and the wedding went on as planned. My mother decided to go to the wedding on my wedding day and just so happened to have a new gown in the closet. She walked around acting like she put the wedding together and telling guests that we were doomed for divorce. The second attack followed a similar berating from my ex. I spent 17 years being berated by him before I filed for divorce.

I would have divorced him years earlier if I didn’t think I would have to hear: “I told you so!” from my NM. Not surprisingly, I married a N and denied his behavior to myself and everyone else. If I admitted it , it would have to be my fault because I was not “good enough to be loved”.

In each case my MS healed and I have not had an exacerbation in over 20 years. I think this would be something interesting to follow. PS: I have been divorced for 19 years. This literally began my path to healing.


Marcia La Vine January 6, 2016 at 4:40 am

Dear Anonymous, Mary and Outsidelookinginn- Medical journals have, within the past two years, published studies that have proved beyond reasonable question that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) raises and then sustains levels of adrenaline in the body, and it is now known that repeated and/or prolonged episodes of high-adrenaline hormones being released into and acting on the brain can do permanent and irreversible brain damage to the frontal lobe (which controls judgement, foresight and physical movement) as well as other areas associated with the fight or flight reflexes, such as the temporal lobe (which controls intellectual and emotional function). All forms of PTSD, which the traumas described here, and which are unquestionably associated with NM abuse would fit the clinical definitions of PTSD. Putting two and two together, having a NM can cause this actual, documentable brain damage, affecting all aspects of mental health, as well as a potential cause of many bodily ailments. When asking about other “health issues” that NM children may be more susceptible to, I’d like to see mental health issues to be considered PHYSICAL AILMENTS rather than simply “emotional” or “psychological” problems. This appals me, since we all know that the brain is an organ and its healthy function can be no less important than that of kidneys, liver or intestines, since the brain itself is the master computer for all the other anatomical systems of the human body. Because of this absolutely undeniable link between brain and body, practically any peripheral medical condition (meaning those ailments not taking place within the brain itself) can be attributed or exacerbated by the effects of any malfunction or even minor damage to the brain, from either or both long and short term root causes. I can give you links to reports on the studies I’ve come across on brain damage caused by PTSD, since I think this is as close to a study on health issues of children with NM. Feel free to email me if you’d like the links. I can also try to find if there is any new or soon to be published research, but that may take me a little more time, as it means contacting researchers directly.


K September 14, 2016 at 10:16 am

Dear Marcia, Thank you for commenting on the connection between brain health and the after effects, and long term chronological effects of child ( I currently suffer from CPTSD and Major Anxiety now as an adult -having only until very recently was coerced into “relating” to my deeply pathological Narcissistic (NPD W Sociopathic traits) mother, anyway these long last ing effects of child abuse, especially if the abuse is incremental, long term and conducted by devious covert narcs that ruin your friendships, career and sibling and other family relaionships well into you adult years this certainly CAN and often do result in chronic physical ailments. Very grateful that you wrote about this. Would love to see some links. Simultaneously I have been researching a bit abut the breakdown of the “family” in the US, and how this may be more than just political. I wonder if there, too are some correlations. My other question is: Are LIC SW’s and other degreed counselors not trained to see Axis 2s and Cluster Bs? Why is this so prevalent? I for example, should have been removed from my family as a child, legitimately since my mother neglected and abused me. Only in America can one be so free that a person can be allowed to have children yet be batshit utterly crazy to the point where it causes actual child abuse and long term effects as a result to the child.


LB April 28, 2013 at 4:03 pm

I wanted to thank Michelle and all of the commenter s that have shared their own experiences and information. I am so happy and relieved to have stumble upon this website. The information provided here by Michelle and others confirms that I am in fact the child of a narcissistic mother. I feel unburdened, for the first time in many years, that the reason my mother and I are unable to connect and the reason she so difficult is because she is in fact a narcissist. My therapist has suggested this possibility and the information here only confirms it. I am a 32 year old woman who is married to a wonderful man that has been very helpful in helping me overcome some of my own personality faults, many of which are directly linked to the mother who raised me. This year has been very difficult for us. I lost my very, very dear Aunt (my mother’s older sister and my best friend) and my husband just lost his father suddenly last week. While I suppose my mother’s behavior has always been narcissistic, her demeanor during these two tragedies was so appalling that I still can’t believe it really happened. During and after both deaths, she sulked for attention, was inappropriately affectionate with me and my sister and accused me of wishing for her own death instead that of my dear Aunt’s. My husband and I (and other family members) were beyond shocked and hurt by her cold and childish manner. I’ve now realized that a normal, loving relationship with her is virtually impossible and that I must set boundaries. I would love to be advised on how to go forward.

Thank you so much to all.


Mary April 29, 2013 at 12:04 pm

LB, What you describe is so familiar! You and your husband have suffered a loss, but no one in the world feels as deeply as she does, is as human as she is, so it doesn’t really count. You are supposed to accept that and honor the idea that she should be center stage in any major family event. Setting up boundaries is tough, but with the support of your loving husband, I think you can find a compromise you can live with. I limit contact and keep trying to balance what I think I reasonably should do for my mother. I’m glad you are here; it really does help to hear all these fine people sharing their stories. It’s not that misery loves company, but that we want to shout out to all the other ACONs that you are not alone, and you’re not crazy or insensitive for feeling this way! My own mantra is ‘just be polite’. It sounds simple, but it totally confounds her! I wish you well, and I’m very sorry for the loss of your dear aunt and father-in-law.


Mary May 3, 2013 at 4:23 pm

My NM died a few years ago. While getting together with my NF for lunch one day he said he was having my brother, his family and sister in laws parents over for Mother’s Day, why don’t I bring my family out for a visit. I said you know I am working the Saturday before and really don’t think I’ll be up to the 2 and a half drive one way to his house that day. He kept pushing, I said well my mothers dead and I’d really like to spend it with my immediate family since it is Mother’s Day and I am a mother and should be able to do what I’d like to on that day. He said but I’m your daddy and you should spend it with me. To which I replied yes your my father not my mother and that’s why we have Father’s Day! exasperated. For Father’s Day I’d be more than happy to visit. My poor husband has to suck it up for every holiday traveling, god forbid he has a nice Father’s Day himself. Always expected to schlep for every holiday. Once I mentioned we were thinking of going to Quebec for a long thanksgiving weekend and my family was appalled said, what do you mean, you are going to deprive your children from seeing their relatives on a holiday? I said its just one holiday we see you guys all the time for various events, what it’s going to psychologically scar my kids? I find humor helps in disarming them.


Anonymous May 4, 2013 at 11:19 am

Humor is a great defense. Good for you standing up to your tyrannical NF! You are absolutely correct that your family deserves to spend some time on your own. Seeing my husband’s family, which has its own quirks and mild issues, helped me to see how dysfunctional mine was. I love getting together with them, because the basis for interaction is love and support, not power plays and bids for attention.


Just Finding Out July 25, 2013 at 7:53 am

I have just started reading others stories and my Mother has some of these symptoms, but I am still not sure if she is a Narcissistic Mother. My mother always seems to be kind until things don’t go her way then its “If you would have listened to me” attitude. She does seem to have a Golden Child (my sister) and I am the bad one? My brothers and sisters do not have a relationship and in some way she is involved, she tells me what this one says about me the visa-versa, we don’t talk to each other unless she facilitates it. She has never done anything wrong, when I try to talk to her about things from the past, she never remembers these things, and that I need to stop being so sensitive, or I am making it up. My sister and myself was raped and molested, and beaten by our step-father and she didn’t believe me until my sister confirmed it. She says its our faults and that we should have told her, and that never seen him beat us when she was right there. If we don’t acknowledge what she has done or been through then she storms off slams doors, but when the Golden Child does acknowledges it she treats her special, she talks to her better than she talks to the rest of us. She always says I need to get over it if I attempt to tell her how I feel, and then she takes it back to herself and how she feels. She has said that if we only had listened to her then things wouldn’t have happened to us. Her focus is always money, and if I have money she yells at me saying “Give me the Money!!” People try to help her and buy her things she feels like they are mocking her, and that she has to give the money back, or give them something. She will go back to her life, if we try to explain what and how we feel and say “Well my mother did worse than that to me” I’ve been reading different websites today to see if there is something wrong with me. She has said to me “That if she had listened to her mother then I wouldn’t have been born” Then she will come and apologize and say I need to understand that things was bad for her as a child. She likes when we depend on her, then she complains, then she says she only want the best for us. She also will talk about one of us to other so we then are pinned against each other.
Is this Narcissistic? Or am I dealing with something else? I have seen a different side of her the other day that I’ve never seen or just didn’t realize it until now. Is there somewhere else I can look to get all of the symptoms or at least a way to deal with it. Since then I have stayed in my room because I live with her now, I am scared to come out of my room.


Lindsey January 25, 2015 at 11:58 pm

I know this was awhile ago you wrote this, but I think your mom is a narcissist from what you have described. I am not a professional and haven’t met her so I can’t diagnose her obviously but I’m guessing if I did meet her she’d probably act fake anyway and “so friendly, flirty and fun!” Or automatically hate me because I am associated with you. At least that is how my mom is and my psychiatrist believes she is likely narcissistic personality disorder. I am 27 and can’t even hold a job for more than two months without being fired because I feel so broken. I am also living at home with my mom and I too am afraid to leave my room a lot because I don’t wanna deal with her drama and because I have ptsd from being raped and molested as well, both of which my mom blamed me for at least initially. But this isn’t about me. I just want you to know that someone out there is dealing with similar issues so maybe you won’t feel so alone. I know you wrote this awhile ago so you may never get it but if you want to talk ever maybe we can help each other. I’d also recommend looking up info about post traumatic stress disorder – ptsd – since you are a victim of sexual abuse as well which makes it feel even worse. there are other good websites about narcissistic mothers. One is daughters of narcissistic mothers.


Thank You November 17, 2013 at 8:36 am

These blogs saved my life! Thank you!


Steph January 10, 2015 at 4:08 pm

Hi. I never knew this condition existed and after reading this I can’t stop crying, it makes so much sense. I’m 30 now and have spent my whole life so far feeling like I am the only one. I hated my childhood. I would daydream about emancipation and find excuses to stay after school, anything not to go home. Knowing who my mom was behind closed doors versus who she was in public was a huge weight on my shoulders, she would threaten my brother and me that if we ever told anyone then cps would take us away and separate us. I was the scapegoat and we waited on her hand and foot, I can count on 1 hand how many times I’ve heard her say she loves me in my life. The worst part for me was the rage. She would scream about every little thing if she didn’t get her way, still does and through everything my father enables her and always takes her side. She is not capable of taking responsibility or apologizing for her cruelty. I’m always exaggerating and as an adult I have tried over and over again to tell her when she is being hurtful ie: at thanksgiving dinner when she calls me fat in front of the extended family because I took a second dinner roll: She always finds a way to make me feel guilty about pointing it out then “let me off the hook” by saying let’s forget you brought it up. It gets swept under the rug and never brought up again. I don’t know how to move forward with this new information. If anyone has a suggestion I would really appreciate it.


Lindsey January 26, 2015 at 12:08 am

I am 27 and have known about maternal narcissism for a few years now thanks to my psychiatrist. I can relate a lot to what you’re saying. I don’t know exactly how to proceed either but it’s almost impossible to escape it feels. I live with her and feel to broken and fucked up to even care for myself let alone eat sometimes so I am probably not the best source of advice but I have found that researching maternal narcissism has been extremely helpful for me because I feel validate and like maybe I’m not the crazy one after all… So I would suggest researching as the first step. If you find out the next steps, please let me know!


Hanna January 28, 2015 at 2:42 pm

Yes I was my mom’s little servant, sometimes golden child, sometimes hero child, sometimes scape goat and sometimes invisible I guess. My mom always told me: Hanna you’re so fast can’t you pick up the phone or get that or do that. Can you go to the store (and if I bought the wrong thing she made me go back even when I protested), can you take care of your siblings and on and on and on.

I could in a way see that she wasn’t capable of being a good mother but she always tried to convince me and others she was. She often said to me and my siblings that we were ungrateful, that she did so much for us and sometimes she threatened that she would throw me out (first time when I was about 8, 9 years old) or that she would end up in hospital if we weren’t nice enough. It was crazy because I was so nice and helpful I didn’t even now who I was. I was so broken and confused as a child (when really I’m a powerful person, I even sing rock ballads) and bullied in school because my mom and stepfather used to bully me at home When my mom made these threats it was like my whole world was about to fall apart and I would be left alone with all my siblings.

I never was allowed to show any emotions. Anger was worst, then came sadness. Sometimes I questioned my mom directly when she did the most absurd things but she always knew how to shut me down even if she had to throw things on the floor or bang the doors (stealing my teenager revolt from me). When I rolled my eyes at her she went crazy.

It really takes a while to understand the whole truth and nothing else about a narcissistic parent. My stepfather was a narcissist too and my real dad wasn’t in the picture at all after mom left him (he’s a little behind you can say, and he didn’t go after me). My stepfather was really terrible and only lived with us a few years and then came and went as he felt like.

When you finally wake up and want to see the truth to become free, no matter how much it hurts, it feels like everything that has happened was an earlier life or a dream. It’s like two completely separate worlds.

I’m on the right way and so are all of you and I wish you all luck on developing the true you that your parent/parents tried to destroy.


Julia May 16, 2015 at 11:22 am

Very nice article 🙂
Took me decades for the penny to drop, I could never figure it out. I knew my mother wasn’t normal but it was only when I read up on NM that I realised she was NM that I saw a pattern in her behaviour. And it has never changed, not really. The roles may change but the abnormality is always there and it just keeps going full circle.
And wow it is tiring.
She likes to tell me that I take after her, whenever I achieve anything but wow being like her would be my biggest nightmare…!!!


Jon January 26, 2016 at 2:06 pm

I’m so glad I found this, it’s my mother to a T. Im an old child, now 28 yr old man. Who’s still stuck at home living with a true Blue psychopath step father, and my narcissist mother. As a kid and still adult I’m the scapegoat, when she has a problem with anyone it comes in 2 forms. One being when she has an issue with someone, she makes me the golden child, or 2 she takes it all out on me with her conditional love. Religion seems to be her big go to. How all I do is hate, and I’ll never get to heaven holding so much hate, and then when I say stuff like you drive me to insanity. Of course she never does anything wrong. As a kid I was never a healthy child. Had a pretty rare blood disorder as a kid and she turned me into bubble boy, and actually showed me affection, I think. As an adult, that’s why I’m still trapped at home with her, it came back when I was 23 and been sick ever since. I had proof of her husband what I would consider poisoning me and she refuses to believe it. And of course I’m the bad guy. The whole world seems to think she’s always this happy go lucky god is so wonderful life is beautiful person, but behind the closed doors it’s mental and emotional warfare. Now I’m not perfect, I definitely accept my flaws. I get very angry at injustices, and my emotional glass has been shattered so there’s not really anything that keeps me from going off when I’m being wronged. I feel like im officially on my last leg. Being sick again I haven’t been able to work for 3 out of the 5 yrs and am on disability. Which isn’t enough to help me escape. She hasn’t even been around on my birthday for years because her and my stepdads business always has a show during that week. It hasn’t been until recently that she even bothers to come sit with me at the cancer center for treatment. But even then she puts on a show for all the nurses. And now she’s creating a charity for i.t.p. but of course to no surprise to me its. Look what I’m doing, I don’t know how many people I’ve heard her on the phone with saying she’s found her calling now and it’s just a big show. Thanks for the free e book. I hope I can find some peace in it. Thanks again


K March 28, 2016 at 3:21 pm

Wow! Hit the nail on the head! I always had a feeling something was wrong with my “mother” as well, but I did not have a name for it. It was my boyfriend who pointed it out to me and knew all about the traits and characteristics.

As I get older (I’m 27), I feel and see it and hear it more and more, it’s becoming overwhelming. I’ve read somewhere else that losing a parent is easier than dealing with a narcissist on a daily basis. It’s true. My father passed in 2010 and even that sense of loss and grief is easier than this. I almost wish the roles were reversed and that my Dad was still here instead of my “Mom”, even though he was an alcoholic his whole life, he never once treated me this way. He protected me and saved me from her when I needed him to and built me back up.
I just recently stopped using the word or calling her “Mom” too, it didn’t feel right or fit anymore, because I don’t feel she is one. If and when I become a mother myself, my main goal is to NOT be like her. It’s beyond painful and sad. I don’t understand how you can treat another human being so poorly.

I don’t know which category of child I fall into (hero, scapegoat, etc), but I feel more like a slave everyday. I tend to “help” her with everything, cook meals, clean…. absolutely everything. I am never thanked or appreciated, but instead put down and berated because it isn’t good enough for her. She hasn’t lifted a finger in years, can’t do anything for herself, extremely selfish and somehow just “expects” things to get done or have someone do something for her (but she is quite able-bodied and is still fairly young, not even 60) She is naturally and always has been a negative person to talk to or be around, coupled with the narcissistic traits I see now. It’s pure hell.

I am the youngest child, but feel like the only child – the only child who has had to actually deal with her and in turn absorb all the hateful, mean things she has said and done. My older sister is the “favorite” – better cook, more successful, prettier, etc. And doesn’t have all of the responsibilities that I do. We are treated differently, whereas other parents treat all of the kids as equals. It feels like I’m the black sheep of the family, or Cinderella.
She has never been happy for me, whether I’m celebrating a new job or new relationship or anything at all. If I’m trying to speak to her, it’s as if I’m talking to a wall and then the conversation revolves around her and her problems. I’m not seen or heard – unless it benefits her. Otherwise I’m pretty much invisible.
I too can’t count very high or even remember how many times I’ve heard her say she loved me or even shown the slightest amount of affection, but the older daughter receives that in abundance.

I was brought to a family therapist when I was 4 or 5, when my parents separated. The therapist had me draw a picture of my family (I drew my mother, my sister and myself, leaving my father out of the picture) she told my mom that I wasn’t oblivious to what was happening and that I was very angry. I don’t remember my “mother” ever dealing with that anger I apparently had and explaining the circumstances to me or ever comforting me. I would then act out and refuse to go to school and she would physically drag me there instead. Never dealing with issues head-on and sitting your child down and actually having a conversation and getting to the root of the problem.
I was always fearful of her and that fear turned into anxiety as I got older. It physically makes me sick to be around her. I am constantly feeling drained and exhausted, almost as if I am the “mother” myself now and taking care of an infant or toddler – If I wanted a child of my own, it would happen, and I know of some toddlers who are more capable and helpful than her! Pretty pathetic.

I don’t know what steps to take or what to do anymore. I have thought about therapy, even though I am nervous about having to go through every detail and “re-live” everything all over again. But I guess I’m kind of doing that right now anyway right? :p

Thankful for blogs and sites like this – for helping me understand some things and helping me get some things out of my system.


lee ann June 11, 2016 at 4:24 pm

you are not alone .. it is hard… therapy does help ..i am the youngest as well … i truly believe you wont ever be like your “mother” .. i am times get scared i have 2 wonderful step sons and at times i have e bad bad moments were i could see my mother or my step fathers in my actions abd it scared shit out of me and i made myself get into a therapist . keep your head up and remember you deserved to be lived unconditionally loved as a child and an adult and it was never your fault !!!


http://www./ November 13, 2016 at 10:50 pm

insiders say operation yewtree is masonic based, this means non masons better watch out.Simon cowell has a dodgy past, and the money he has made for what ? just a talent show, we have seen stacks of these before.max Clifford like Cowell are yiddish, they would not have been supported up the scale otherwise.Max has got people off charges in the past by doing deals with murdoch, his pal, the whole set of cards is stacked.


lee ann June 11, 2016 at 4:16 pm

i always thought something was wrong with me… straight a’s werent good enough…nothing ever was.. when my mother left my abusive step father i had more freedom and got into drugs and failing grades .. she was serious dating another bad one within a month so i wasnt needed .. she now has many health issues .. and divorced 2 alcoholic step father that hated all of her kids and she blamed not having much to do with us on him.. my wife and i moved in with her into new house to help her with her health issues ..that was bigggg mistake… we ended up moving out after she tried to split my marriage up and almost succeeded. she swore that my wife was abusive to me. i would bow down to what ever she said or wanted .. my wife and i worked hard to repair our marriage .. and when all of this was going on a friend told me to do some research on being tge daughter of a narcissistic mother… i was in shock it was an eye opener .. i still struggle with feelings of being inadequate..not deserving love or happiness and having no self worth .. but articles like this help so very much .. also helps knowing i am not alone….thank you .. i have very little contact with my mother..i text or call but keep it short ..i love her but . i will not bow down ..ever again .. i wish my eyes had been opened so many many years ago ..


KB October 13, 2016 at 9:18 am

These posts have been very helpful. The world sees my mother as this wonderful, attractive, generous person & they have no idea how much she tortured us as kids. She is getting worse as she gets older.
One Christmas she asked me to help her in the kitchen by stirring the gravy. I did but the spoon fell into the pan. She was furious and ever since that day she has told everyone that I am a moron in the kitchen. My husband has now become her new hero child as he has helped her in the kitchen. She jokes around and tells everyone that “Jim is the daughter I never had.” I can honestly say the day she dies will be a day of joy for me.
I see my role as the lost child, the scapegoat & yes, it flips in the blink of an eye. I had a brother, and due to my mother’s neglect & abuse he became an alcoholic & died. I am so angry at her it is consuming me to the point where I am becoming physically ill. I know I need help dealing with this and have recently engaged a therapist. I hope she can help me to cope with her. She is 92 years old & healthy as a horse. (god help me) some people has just overstayed their welcome.


Jennifer December 27, 2016 at 7:59 am

My mom confided in me that she had no empathy for us when we were sick. She has also said that she didn’t want to be a mom anymore when we were still young. She has always been very sarcastic, which left me confused and unsettled a lot. Whenever I had a problem or wished to be consoled, I quickly learned that she was not interested in providing the healthy normal conversation that I needed. She disliked being in the role of providing and nurturing. She went on strike when we were 10 & 8 and never returned to the kitchen for us, but was always providing for her friend, but not my father. She had a very strange dynamic going since we were 4 & 2 and it was very confusing. I think my memory is sketchy. I didn’t ever feel the love because I wanted to be comforted, nurtured and told “its okay”. I was able to show love to my little sister, so I thought, but she is worse screwed up than me. My dad enabled it for 16 years and then kicked her out. We were kept in the dark always. My dad was a straight arrow pretty much, but didn’t share what he knew with us and kept his distance emotionally at least and physically as well. We lived in the same house but didn’t share thoughts or feelings. The only thing allowed in conversation with him was to keep things on a surface level. He was not interested in too much of stuff I had to say. We had what seemed like the perfect normal family experience, but like we were rebellious teens and then disappointing and ungrateful adults. I can understand how my father would feel this way, having to suffer through living with my mother for those 16 years, however, at least he was an adult and how did he expect us to survive that and come out smelling like a rose. I think my dad is worth keeping in my life, but my mother can go. She thinks a good visit that makes her happy involves me groveling and feeling heavy guilt, sadness and a wide array of emotions for her roller coaster. She gets her fill and is done for months on end. Never contacting until she is ready to text or check on my well being. As if there is something wrong with me and I need her to check on me. She used to go on tirades with her significant others after leaving my dad, but I thought I was special since she didn’t do that to me. But she did have a lot of breakdowns and did rage over things she accused my sister of doing. She was skeptical and critical of other close family members and friends that were close to us and cut us off. Leaving me feeling like I was flawed in some way not to have these people in my life. I had a lot of unmet emotional needs which led to other problems in school and socially. I needed some help majorly as I was spacing out at school, totally distracted and not engaged. Then when I was about 12, I started wishing I was dead. I was so discouraged with life having no love in it for me that I went through depressions that would lead to suicidal ideation. I was so uncomfortable in social situations and speaking that I would panic and turn bright red from my neck all the way to my lower torso. I didn’t advocate for myself ever because I was so afraid of the embarrassment of the panic and red flush that would last an hour or so. My mother was aware of all of this because she talked about it with my teen male cousin in front of me and asked him what he thought and said I flushed when I saw boys. It made me panic and flush in front of him and I will never forget the humiliation because I really liked my cousin and we had a good repoire.

Thank you for this site and your helpful daily emails. I am healing now and hanging on to my relationship with my husband and step children. I am also trying to hang on to my father and step mother. I have totally lost my sister and nephew. I no longer care about keeping my mother.


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