Your mother is your first major attachment in life, but when you have a narcissistic mother, what you learn is abuse. You are supposed to learn how to bond with other people from your mother.
It is her way of caring for you, nurturing you, and protecting you that helps build your sense of self-worth. But when those early experiences are instead tarnished by what is tantamount to psychological violence, it can be devastating in a variety of ways.
Narcissistic abuse can negatively affect your memory as well as your impulse control and decision-making abilities well into adulthood. Moreover, it will increase your risk for developing anxiety, addiction, and depression.
A narcissistic mother’s need for control, her lack of empathy, sense of entitlement and almost constant need for attention will override any concern for the welfare of her children. In short, the nature of her disorder sets her children up for often lifelong problems. Read on to learn about the toxic ways your narcissistic mother can abuse you.
How Does Your Narcissistic Mother Abuse You?
Here are five toxic ways your narcissistic mother abuses you:
1. She constantly shames you.
The narcissistic mother doesn’t want her children to develop a stable sense of themselves nor does she want them to have high self-esteem. If they are to develop these traits, they will become independent, and she doesn’t want that.
Instead, the narcissistic mother wants her children to be dependent upon her for validation and approval. So, to prevent them from becoming their own person, she shames them for every aspect of their lives.
Your narcissistic mother might shame you for not accomplishing enough in every area of life including your choice of career, friends, life partner, and preferences. No matter how much you actually do accomplish, it will never be enough. You won’t dress nicely enough and you won’t have a good personality.
Quite simply, no matter what you do, it will never be enough for your narcissistic mother. That’s because she wants to keep you dependent on her, and she wants to keep you seeking her approval for everything you do. That makes her feel important.
2. She constantly compares you to others.
This is a form of triangulation. She says one thing to you, another to your sibling, and in that way, she controls the communication between you and creates a rivalry. You can read more about triangulation in this article from Psychology Today.
The narcissistic mother will use this technique to teach her children that they fall short of other children in terms of their personality, looks, behavior, and accomplishments. She’ll say things like, “Why can’t you be more like your brother?”
Your narcissistic mother will also likely make one of her children the golden child and she will dote on that child excessively while making her other children feel like scapegoats. This treatment can leave a lifetime of scars as it damages your sense of self-worth.
3. Her children are merely extensions of herself.
Because a narcissistic mother is obsessed with her own image, she sees anything her children do as a reflection on her. For that reason, she will micromanage the way her children act and appear to the outside world.
She sees her children as mere objects that have to be pristine in every way. Otherwise, they might damage her own reputation. In public, she will behave like the perfect, loving mother, and she will brag about her children’s accomplishments as if they were her prized possessions.
Behind closed doors, however, it’s another story. To ensure her children behave in public, she will frequently berate them and treat them with contempt when no one is looking. In her mind, this will ensure their obedience when they’re in front of other people.
4. She competes with you, impairs your growth, and crosses sexual boundaries.
Narcissistic mothers commonly compete with their own children, particularly their daughters. Narcissistic mothers tend to overvalue their looks and sexual prowess, and because they internalize misogyny, they will view other women as competition. This includes their own daughters.
As a result of considering their daughters their competition, they see them as a threat, and they act out towards them with jealousy and fury. They will criticize their daughter’s looks and shame them for their appearance. They objectify them and are critical if they fall short of physical perfection.
Because of the emphasis on sexuality, the narcissistic mother often exposes her daughter to inappropriate discussions about sex, and she might also flaunt her body in front of her daughter. Perhaps the worst damage she does is to teach her daughters and sons that women derive their value from their bodies and their sexuality.
Histrionic narcissistic mothers may even seduce her children’s friends in order to demonstrate her sexual prowess and physical beauty. In families where sexuality is more restricted, a narcissistic mother will punish her daughters if they are not strictly abstinent, and they will stifle their burgeoning sexuality.
Narcissistic mothers also don’t usually provide their daughters with appropriate sex education. Given this kind of treatment, it’s no wonder that daughters of narcissistic mothers often have problems with their sexuality.
5. She is obsessed with appearances.
Because a narcissist is externally validated, it’s vital that she maintain her image. For the narcissistic mother, that means projecting a false image of being the sacrificing, loving, sweet, and charitable mother.
As she obsessively protects her own image, the narcissistic mother has no problem deriding the reputations of others. She will often gossip about other people even as she abuses her own children. This abuse may be emotional, physical, or even sexual.
In short, she enjoys the status of motherhood, but doesn’t really want to attend to her own children’s emotional or psychological needs. Image is everything, and thus, how things appear is more important to her than how they actually are.
It’s not uncommon for narcissistic mothers to treat their own children as nuisances rather than human beings. They can be extremely cold, and if a mother has help in caring for her children, she may even get to the point where she refuses to touch them.
There are many ways your narcissistic mother can abuse you, and in the case of some types of narcissism, that abuse can be very subtle. Still, there are a number of signs that indicate abuse.
Once you’re able to recognize the signs of narcissistic abuse, it becomes much easier to heal. Once you realize that the abuse you suffered wasn’t about anything you did wrong, it further helps with your healing. It was the result of her illness, and in time, you can recover, build your self-esteem, and live a fulfilling life.
Understanding the signs of narcissistic abuse is important, and it can also be helpful to discover how to reject a narcissist. To help, I want to send you a free copy of “5 Must-Know Techniques to Effectively Reject a Narcissist.” Just click on the link below this blog article and I will send it directly to your inbox for free!