Do Narcissistic Mothers Love Their Children?

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There isn’t really a simple answer to the question of whether or not your narcissistic mother loves you, but one thing is clear — she doesn’t love you unconditionally. A narcissistic mother is essentially emotionally impaired. She lacks empathy, wisdom, self-awareness, and accountability. 

While she might tell you she loves you as part of a manipulative tactic or throw you an emotional bone from time to time, the truth is she is simply not capable of giving you real love. Love to her is nothing more than a way to invest in what she sees as a way to buoy her fragile ego. 

She expects you to respond with something that will make her feel validated and loved, and she doesn’t really care much if you feel the same way. Read on to discover more about the emotional connection between a narcissist mother and her children.

Why Won’t You Feel Loved?

Whether or not she feels love for you down deep, there are several reasons why you won’t feel loved by your narcissistic mother. Your mother’s inability to love you selflessly and recognize you as a complete individual on your own is not a reflection on you as a person, but it certainly affects you deeply. Here are several reasons why you won’t feel the love from your narcissistic mother.

1. Unclear Parent/Child Roles

The mother/child relationship should be very clear cut with the mother acting like a responsible adult and the child getting to be a child. But that often doesn’t happen with a narcissistic mother. 

Narcissistic mothers frequently rely heavily on their children for both practical and emotional support. This is particularly true for their daughters, but any child might find themselves in more of a parenting role even though they are too young to take on such responsibility. 

This creates confusion for the children involved, and it can rob you of those endearing childhood experiences. 

2. She Only Gives Conditional Love

You have to behave the way your mother expects you to behave to receive her approval or what passes for her love. For that reason, she will only compliment you when you have performed well. 

If you don’t perform well, her words or actions will likely convince you that she doesn’t love you. In other words, her love is conditioned upon your good behavior. 

3. She’s Your Worst Critic

These are forms of emotional abuse that are frequently employed by any narcissist, but this kind of treatment coming from a narcissistic mother can be particularly harmful. Your mother is supposed to be your cheerleader, but if she is a narcissist, she simply cannot do that for you. 

Instead, you were likely criticized and put down so that your mother could feel better about herself. Your mother expected nothing short of perfection from you, and if you ever fell short, you heard about it in a cutting way. 

This is precisely that kind of treatment that can leave you wondering if your mother ever loved you. Moreover, you’ll likely need psychological therapy to undo the damage she has done. 

4. She Sees You as Her Competition

Because the narcissistic mother is always seeking attention, admiration, and adulation, she cannot tolerate someone else being better or in the limelight. She will do whatever she can to bring the attention back to herself. 

For her daughter, this means displays of jealousy or envy toward your friends, romantic partners, and because of your youth and success. For her son, she will rob you of any praise for your actions and leave you feeling weak every opportunity she gets. 

In the extreme, the narcissistic mother may even sexually exploit her children’s friends as a way to focus their attention on her. It’s hard to see someone who acts like this as being a truly loving parent on any level. 

5. She Doesn’t Really ‘See’ You

Because a narcissistic mother needs to have all of the attention focused on her, she will play to that attention even if it means rejecting or ignoring her own children. She will do anything and everything for her friend and admirers all while turning a cold shoulder to you. 

It’s easy to see how this doesn’t seem like love in any sense of the word. Even if she seems interested at times, her attention will quickly turn to others around her to try to make herself feel loved and admired. 

Effects of Emotional Neglect

While no one can say what the narcissist truly feels deep in her own heart, it is clear the damage her actions do to her own children. Her confusing, selfish, often cruel, and inconsistent actions cause her children to experience a sense of invalidation, manipulations, and emotional abuse. 

Effects of Emotional Neglect

Boundary violations are another common result of this kind of treatment, and while her actions might not be conscious, she will frequently lash out at you in punitive, even contemptuous, ways. 

She is also not above lying, and gaslighting is a favorite tactic of the narcissist. All of this behavior takes a heavy toll on her children. It damages their sense of self-worth and skews their understanding of love. 

That’s why it’s not uncommon for adult children of a narcissistic mother to seek out intimate relationships with narcissists. It’s all they know of love. This makes them especially vulnerable to abusive partners. 

What’s more, the treatment children receive from their narcissistic mother puts them at risk for developing Complex post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Complex PTSD is the result of repeated emotional or physical abuse over years. This can leave you feeling chronically insecure about any relationships in your life, and it can cripple you emotionally. 

Final Thoughts

Does she love you? Well, she lacks empathy and sympathy, she isn’t at all nurturing, she has no compassion, she uses guilt in an unhealthy manner, she criticizes and denigates you, and she habitually draws attention to herself at your expense. 

She considered your role as a child to focus on supporting, admiring, and making her feel good about herself. She ignored or minimized your legitimate needs as a developing child, and she punished you for the slightest infraction lest you make her look bad. 

That’s not the description of love, but you don’t have to carry on her legacy. You can learn about how she abuses you, how you can protect yourself from ongoing abuse, and how you can break free from the damage she has done. Your life doesn’t have to mirror hers so don’t give up. You can get treatment and go on to live your best life. 

Understanding the feelings of a narcissist is complex, as you can see. To learn more about how they react emotionally, check out the blog post, “How Do Narcissists Feel When You Move On?


If you want more tips for dealing with narcissists, setting boundaries, and managing emotional triggers, make sure you subscribe to my youtube channel


Narcissistic abuse takes a terrible toll on your life. I’m Patricia, and my mother is a narcissist, so I know what you’re going through. These blog posts will help you understand narcissism better and give you tips for dealing with the narcissists in your life. Healing starts here!

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