Moms are supposed to be supportive and nurturing, but what happens when the very woman who should be your number one fan is your greatest adversary? Recognizing the signs of a narcissistic mother becomes crucial in such situations, as it sheds light on behaviors that may be detrimental to the healthy parent-child relationship.
If you’re like most people, you slip into a confusing, guilt-ridden mess. That’s why in today’s episode, you’re going to learn 10 signs that your mother is a narcissist. These are the signs that every single one of my students has experienced but just couldn’t make sense of.
Please note that Christianity isn’t about just slapping a love label on someone and ignoring the damage they cause. Nor is our time together meant to be a mom-bashing episode. Rather, you want to allow God to bring to light what the enemy is trying to keep in darkness so that you can have an accurate assessment of your situation AND honor God in your interactions.
So let’s dive into 10 signs (and I’m really curious to hear what you think about number 10!).
Signs of A Narcissistic Mother
Sign #1: She sees you as an extension of her
Imagine how someone would feel if they weren’t allowed to have their own identity, and weren’t able to make their own choices without upsetting someone. Such treatment leads to a codependent, performance-driven mess.
Yet narcissistic mothers often live through their children. Maybe mom always wanted to be the popular one, so she pushed you to always look ‘pretty.’ Or, she didn’t finish college, so now you had to go to a prestigious school so SHE could have bragging rights.
Most of us moms like to be proud of our children’s choices, but narcissistic moms take this to a toxic level. If you’re a reflection of her, the result is that you must make choices based on HER preferences.
Sign #2: She’s critical
Not all critical people are narcissists but all narcissists are critical. She likely has something to say about everyone and everything, and in doing so, positions herself as superior.
This criticism can be overt—outwardly judging someone (or you) for their choices—or it can be passive-aggressive—making comments about someone else in an attempt to get the message to you.
Ironically, if you have a criticism or complaint about your mother, you will likely be met with a toxic overreaction, as you are now creating a crack in her fragile facade.
Sign #3: She has toxic reactions
Look, we all can overreact or react poorly from time to time. But for narcissistic mothers, radioactivity is their MO. You can likely predict that she will have a defensive, stonewalling, victim-like reaction if you attempt to bring anything to her attention.
Narcissistic mothers cannot and will not look at themselves. So if you challenge her delusion, her response will be nuclear.
NOTHING is ever her fault and if you try to argue otherwise you will get met with a victim and martyr act.
Sign #4: She lacks empathy
Narcissistic mothers will fake empathy with their sweet, high-pitched voices and their feigned sincerity, but it’s all an act.
When push comes to shove and she can’t fake it anymore, she doesn’t care about what you’re going through, especially if it inconveniences her or pertains to her.
Some of these moms have realized how selfish they appear, so they will make excuses like they have something more devastating to deal with, therefore making YOU the problem because YOU don’t have empathy for what SHE’S going through.
If you’ve struggled under the weight of a toxic mother and want to break free and enjoy all that God has for you, please check out my online Toxic Mother Survival course or How to Heal from a Toxic Mother-Restoring Your Life Through Faith.
Sign #5: She doesn’t respect your boundaries
A narcissistic mother does not take no for an answer. She sees your boundaries as a personal slight, because after all, “I’m your mother.”
Whether she’s sharing your personal information with others or overriding your preferences, she believes that you should cower to her commands.
Since a narcissistic mother still views her adult children as young children, she believes wholeheartedly that she has free rein over your life and you owe her.
Here’s where you’ll get met with manipulative comments like, “You’re supposed to honor and obey me.” And, “What kind of Christian treats their mother this way?” All this is an attempt to disregard your limits and shame you into feeling like a bad person.
Sign #6: She wears a mask
Narcissistic mothers have several facades they try to uphold. This can be done easily for a short period in public, but get behind closed doors in private and you’ll see the mask slip or fall off completely.
Their public persona is in stark contrast to their private persona. This is why it makes your skin crawl when you hear people say, “Oh your mom is so great,” and “She’s so sweet.” And you think, “HA….if you only knew.”
If you’re seeing these signs in your mother, it’s likely that you’re having trouble guarding your heart while honoring her. You’re not alone. This has become such a prevalent problem in the body of Christ that I’ve created a full online course to help you deal with it in a God-honoring way. It’s called the Toxic Mother Survival Course.
Sign #7: She believes others are jealous of her
Mom having trouble keeping friends long-term? No, I’m not talking about the equally toxic girls that she’s been friends with since college, I’m talking about a constant revolving door of people in and out of her life.
Narcissists can’t have a genuine connection with others, so when people end up leaving, which they always do, the narrative that sounds best in her mind is, “Oh, she was just jealous of me.” Which leads to sign #8.
Sign #8: She’s entitled and self-important
This trait can be overt or covert. The overt is being histrionic in her behavior—making big displays to get attention. Maybe that’s dancing inappropriately at a party or bragging to anyone within earshot or treating people that she deems inferior like trash.
The covert narcissist may not be as obnoxious in her expressions, but make no mistake, she will exude superiority over others.
Especially watch for #10. But first…
Sign #9: She distorts your reality
This is otherwise known as gaslighting. You can’t have a healthy conversation with a narcissistic mother because she is always telling you that you’re remembering things wrong.
Whether she denies saying or doing something or just calls you too sensitive when you try to raise an issue, a narcissistic mother doesn’t desire genuine connection. She desires admiration. And if your questioning challenges that, she will flip the script on you faster than a fry cook flips hotcakes.
Sign #10: She has weird facial tics
Ok, so this one isn’t proven, but in my experience, I have seen most narcissistic mothers with these almost uncontrollable facial expressions that reveal their contempt for others, from eye rolls to eye flutters to snarky smirks. These are all signs of disdain and disapproval towards others. They truly think they are better than others….including you.
Dare I ask, how many signs have you seen so far? Let me know in the comments below.
Did you know that growing up with a narcissistic mother can lead to people pleasing—where you’re always saying yes and I’m sorry. Understanding the signs of a narcissistic mother becomes essential in unraveling the roots of such behaviors and fostering a healthier sense of self.
If you want to know just how much this has impacted your life, go ahead and take the FREE What Type of People Pleaser Am I? quiz.
If you’re ready to learn the 3 signs that God is telling you it’s time to give up on someone, check out this episode next.