When you think of a narcissist, most people are generally thinking about an exhibitionist narcissist. When you’re growing up, you don’t usually have a reference for what is normal and what is not.
All you know is your situation, and so, to you, that’s normal. It’s isn’t until you get away from that environment that you start seeing just how different your family might have been.
For children of exhibitionist narcissists, it’s not uncommon for them to even be encouraged to be narcissistic. They might hear that their family is special and they deserve to be treated better than everyone else, but what are the signs of this type of narcissism? Read on to see the five signs that might just indicate your mother is this type of narcissist.
1. She Does Not Feel Your Pain
A lack of empathy is true of all narcissists, but there are actually two types of empathy and there are differences with regard to which kind is lacking in different narcissists. One type of empath is cognitive empathy where a person can intellectually understand how the other person feels. The other type of empathy is emotional empathy where a person understands how other people feel on an emotional level.
The exhibitionist narcissistic mother lacks emotional empathy, and that means she has no incentive to care about the pain she causes her children. She is, however, extremely sensitive to any pain her children cause for her.
For example, Philip’s mother Susan expected everyone to make a fuss on her birthday. She always anticipated receiving gifts, cards, and special treatment. But when she forgot Philip’s birthday and he acted upset, Susan felt criticized. She responded by calling him a ‘baby,’ and telling him that he was too old for birthday celebrations.
It’s in this way that the emotional pain perception only goes one way for the exhibitionist narcissist. Just because they expect a particular kind of attention doesn’t mean they will understand how other people feel if they don’t receive that kind of attention.
2. She Wants Everyone Looking at Her
The exhibitionist narcissist craves constant attention, and this kind of mother will find a way to make everything about herself in order to get that attention. She might use humor or she may be more aggressive in her style of drawing attention to herself.
People with exhibitionist narcissistic mothers tell some unbelieveable stories. One example was of a daughter whose mother was visiting her in the hospital. You would expect the mother to be focused exclusively on her daughter in that case, but you would be wrong.
The exhibitionist narcissistic mother was all about flirting with doctors and talking to people visiting other patients. She was focused solely on having a good time and getting people to notice her.
That’s a common trait of this type of narcissism. It’s distressing to the exhibitionist narcissist to have the attention focused on anyone else, and thus, they will often go to extremes to get it back on them.
3. She’s So Selfish
For the exhibitionist narcissistic mother, she is the center of your world and hers, too. It’s all about her. She always comes first. Everyone and everything else is in second place.
This kind of mother won’t hesitate to leave her children behind if she wants to or needs to go somewhere. She won’t usually bother to ensure they are cared for in her absence, either. Basically, she assumes she is entitled to go and that someone else should take care of those details.
She also expects everyone else to be just as excited as she is about what she is doing. If someone in the family points out any problems or inconveniences that will be caused by her plans, she feels insulted and strikes back. She may call them out as selfish without any awareness of how she seems to those around her.
In one case, a mother left her three-year-old child to go on a hiking trip in Nepal. The child was afraid her mother would never return and was inconsolable for days. When her mother did finally return, the child clung to her and cried incessantly. The mother was angered by this and told her, “Stop being a baby!”
4. She’s a Dominating Devaluer
If your mother is an exhibitionist narcissist, when you were growing up you likely noticed the whole household revolved around her. Everything had to be just how she wanted.
That’s because she feels entitled to getting her way, and if she doesn’t get her way, she will fly into a rage. She will devalue everyone around her until they give in to what she wants. If you continue to challenge her, she will make your life a living Hell, and she’s not above hitting below the belt.
She might tell you, for example, “You’re so fat no man will ever want you,” or, “You’re worthless. You’ll never amount to anything.” She equates all of her surroundings as a reflection of her status, and so, she exerts extreme control over them.
Because of this viewpoint, she will insist that everything be decorated in a particular way, and in Dan’s case, his mother wouldn’t even let him have friends over for fear they might spill something on the furniture.
5. She Won’t Hesitate to Invade Your Space
This kind of narcissistic mother has no understanding of her children as separate individuals. For that reason, she has no problem inserting herself into your life even as an adult. As a child, she likely got involved in your school projects or hobbies.
As an adult, she has no problem telling you how you should be living your life. She will want you to be dependent upon her for opinions, and she will do everything she can to undermine your confidence in your own decisions.
She may even go to extremes to insert herself in your life. She might go through your things, talk to your friends without you knowing, or even go to your workplace. She doesn’t see you as having a right to privacy where she is concerned.
Your exhibitionist narcissistic mother will take over your life if you allow her to do so. It can be hard to stop when this is what you’ve experienced as normal your entire life.
You should know, however, that you do have a right to privacy, and distancing yourself from her may be the only way to escape her intrusions. It won’t be easy, however, because she has spent your lifetime using various tactics to control you.
Don’t give up: your independent life as an adult depends on it. There are many things you can do to break free.
Once you’ve discovered you have a narcissistic mother, you might also want to know about your father. Check out the blog article, “What Are The Character Traits Of A Narcissist Father?” to discover any differences and similarities between the aspects of your narcissist parents.
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