Choosing a gift for a narcissistic mother on Mother’s Day is very tricky! Narcissists, in general, are weird when it comes to gifts. They can easily become angry and berate you for not spending enough, spending too much, or getting the wrong size, color, or type. You really can’t win, but what to get your narcissistic mother on Mother’s Day really depends on the message you want to send.
Here are 7 gift ideas that can send different messages depending on the state of your relationship:
- Hidden Message Gifts;
- Openly Aggressive Gifts;
- Personal Growth Gifts;
- Genuine Gifts;
- No-Contact Gifts;
- Gifts Really for You;
- Healing Gifts.
To choose a specific gift, you want to think about exactly what kind of message you want to send to your narcissistic mother. It’s also important to understand why she is weird about gifts before you can make a good choice. Let’s explore some of the reasons behind her strange behavior as well as the specific gifts you can choose in each category.
Why Does Your Narcissistic Mother Acts So Strange About Gifts?
There are a few reasons why narcissists can be so strange about gifts and gift-giving. First, they use gifts as a way to manipulate the people in their lives. When they give a gift, it creates an obligation on the part of the person receiving it, at least it does in the narcissist’s mind.
Narcissists also believe that everyone thinks and acts as they do. When they receive a gift, therefore, they believe the giver is trying to manipulate them in the same way the narcissist does when they give gifts. For that reason, they come to view gifts with resentment.
Another reason narcissists can be so strange about receiving gifts is that their own parents may have used gifts to manipulate them. This is particularly true if the narcissist was raised by narcissistic parents, which is often the case.
After years of manipulative gift-giving and receiving, the narcissist might, in fact, hate it when someone gives them a gift. They are expecting the same kind of negative treatment that they received when they were young, and that often triggers their narcissistic rage.
Finally, narcissists like to be the center of attention at all times, and when you give them a gift, the attention shifts to you, particularly if it was a very nice gift. When they criticize it or you for buying it, it’s a way of devaluing you.
Best Gift Ideas For Your Narcissistic Mother On Mother’s Day
Gift-giving involving a narcissist truly is a minefield, so what are the best gifts for your narcissistic mother?
1. Hidden Message Gifts
These are the kinds of gifts that can serve two purposes. If you choose the right message, your narcissistic mother will love it, but it will also have a double meaning that only you will know.
For example, “Mom, truly, nobody does it better.” This message will appeal to your narcissistic mother’s constant need for adulation, but you’ll know that the message doesn’t specify exactly what it is that she is the best at.
Your narcissistic mother will revel in sharing this loving message from her child while you will smile at the knowledge of what you truly meant. It’s passive-aggressive, but it’s about the only type of gift you can give her that will please you both.
These kinds of messages can be put on a coffee mug, a T-shirt, or even a beautifully framed print. In fact, there are any number of items you could put such a message on so it gives you many options for a gift.
2. Openly Aggressive Gifts
This kind of gift is something you might give when you’ve decided to be brutally honest with your narcissistic mother. You should be prepared for her rageful response, however, as these will undoubtedly cause a narcissistic injury that will spark her anger.
One example of this type of gift is given by Reddit user Happy/Funny who has broken off ties with their narcissistic mother – “Some self help books on how to be a better person. Send it with a trash bag so she can throw them away after she’s deemed them useless since she already thinks she’s the best.”
That type of gift would not likely be well-received, but it would be extremely satisfying. Though I have not broken off all ties with my narcissistic mother, I do find it incredibly satisfying on those occasions when I tell her exactly how I feel.
This type of gift isn’t something you’re giving to your mother to make her feel good about herself. It’s really for you to be able to speak your truth, and toward that end, it can be very helpful for your healing process.
Other examples are more simple, such as a mug or T-shirt that simply says, “Bad Mom!” The point here is to allow yourself to be completely truthful and say all the things you’ve wanted to say for so long.
3. Personal Growth Gifts
If you find that despite her abusive treatment, you still have compassion for your narcissistic mother, you might really want to help her heal from her narcissism. While your intentions might be kind, you need to realize they’re not likely to work.
Most narcissists are not able to do what it is they will need to do to overcome their condition. It would mean confronting their worst fear, which is almost impossible for them to do, and it would mean long-term, difficult psychotherapy.
Still, if you really want to try to help, you could do a number of things to encourage her personal growth. You might, for example, start with a book on the subject of narcissism, or if you’re willing to throw away your money, you could even pay for an initial therapy session.
Don’t expect that she’ll attend it, but it’s an option that could lead to real change if she does. Alternatively, you could pay for the two of you to attend a seminar together. Again, she might not be willing, but you will know you have tried.
Any approach to encourage her personal growth has to walk a fine line. It has to be something that allows her to save face while at the same time facing up to the fact that she has certain problems. That is, at least, if you really want her to seriously consider it.
One example might be something that approaches her narcissism from the perspective of her own childhood abuse. She can play up the victim role, and what she learns may actually help her overcome at least some of her narcissistic tendencies.
4. Genuine Gifts
If you’re not ready to confront your narcissistic mother and risk her rage, you might still be wanting to really find something that she’ll like or that she needs. This is tricky because she will be reticent to acknowledge that you got her something she actually likes.
What’s more, she will not want people to praise you for the nice gift you got her. She wants the attention to remain on her. Toward that end, she will capitalize on any opportunity to criticize your gift, and thereby, devalue you.
To be successful at giving her a genuine gift, you’ll need to consider carefully what she really needs or wants, but you don’t want to spend too much money on it. That will turn into a criticism in and of itself if you do.
Once you have something in mind, the next step is to actually give it to her in a way that she will be willing to accept it. This means giving it to her when you’re alone so that she doesn’t feel as though you’re taking away attention from her.
That also allows her to consider whether or not she wants to share the gift you’ve given her with other people. It’s also a good idea to give her something that makes a statement about how much you love and admire her or that can help her boost her own self-esteem.
A spa day is a good example of a gift that she can use to her benefit and that you can present to her as something she deserves for everything she does. Don’t expect much in the way of gratitude no matter what you do, but if she uses your gift, it’s a hit.
5. No-Contact Gifts
These are the gifts you give when you’ve had enough and you don’t want anything to do with her anymore. These types of gifts go beyond speaking your truth to brutal honesty and clearing the air.
These are meant as goodbye forever types of gifts. This would be something like this poster from Zazzle.com which has a number of mean things that narcissistic mothers say followed by your response which is no-contact. That is also accompanied by a simple statement of victory.
Not only is it satisfying to give your narcissistic mother a taste of her own medicine, you also know just how frustrating it is for her to be unable to respond. This will be your parting shot as you cut her off from all contact.
She will be enraged when she is unable to respond to you and get the last word. You should be prepared, however, since she will seek out ways to get back at you even after you’ve cut her off. She will still want her revenge.
6. Gifts Really for You
This is a gift that really helps you to avoid your mother. This might be something like a weekend getaway so you can have a nice weekend to yourself. If you’re willing to put up with her presence, it could also be something like a mother/daughter spa day.
Once again, you have to carefully consider how you will present this gift to her since the key to your plan is to get her to accept the gift. It shouldn’t be too expensive, and you want to present it to her in a way that makes it sound like this is something she deserves since she is such a great mother.
It helps if it is also something she can brag to her friends about, something that she can tell them shows how much you adore her. Don’t go over-the-top or you’ll risk her refusal of your gift.
If you put it in just the right context, however, you can get her something that will make for a nice time for the both of you. It can get her off your back and make her happy all in one shot.
7. Healing Gifts
These are the kind of gifts that can help if your narcissistic mother is actually trying to heal her past abuse and reduce her narcissistic tendencies. These should be gifts of encouragement, but you don’t want to point out flaws.
For example, you might get her some kind of herbal treatment that helps reduce anxiety or helps her sleep. You can present it to her in the context of your recognition that she is doing so much for you that you want to give back by helping her relax and sleep well.
Any gifts of this kind should be something that recognizes her heroic effort to heal herself without specifying what she is overcoming. As with any other type of genuine gift, you don’t want to call attention to any flaws even as you hope to help her heal.
It’s a fine line as it always is with a narcissist, but if you play it right, you can encourage her without provoking a flare up of her narcissistic rage.
Anytime you’re giving a gift to a narcissist, the choice of gift you make depends on the message you want to send. If you want to send a genuine gift or help them heal, you have to be very careful in the choices you make and the way you present it to them. You can also send a cleverly hidden message that you can revel in without offending your narcissistic mother – it’s a win-win!
Given that you’re at risk of provoking her narcissistic rage no matter what you give her, it’s vital to understand why she acts the way she does. This post has important information about what causes a narcissistic mother to be so abusive to her children.
If you want more tips for dealing with narcissists, setting boundaries, and managing emotional triggers, make sure you subscribe to my youtube channel