Narcissistic mothers are among the worst parents out there. While a narcissistic father isn’t great either, mothers often have a much more profound effect on their children’s lives than a father does. Instead of being the stereotypical nurturing mother who wants her children to thrive, a narcissistic mother is concerned only with herself. Because of her self-absorbed nature, she is bothered by many things that other mothers look forward to.
Your narcissistic mother hates anything that takes attention off of her. She also doesn’t like it when you outshine her in any way. She has crafted an image of herself as superior, and if you contradict her or steal the spotlight, that makes her feel inferior. It makes life very difficult for you.
There were times when I thought that I was what my narcissistic mother hated the most. She seemed to treat me as though I was a constant source of disappointment. It left me feeling like I was not enough for anyone for a very long time. Understanding what it is your narcissistic mother really hates can help you understand that it’s really not about you at all. Let’s explore these 11 things narcissistic mothers hate and why.
1. When You Think Independently
The last thing a narcissistic mother wants is for her children to think independently. If you think independently, you don’t really need her to tell you what to think and how to act.
She doesn’t like that because it means she is not as important as she wants to believe she is. Narcissists, in general, see the other people in their lives as extensions of their own identity.
This happens because they need other people for the external validation, known as narcissistic supply, that props up their self-esteem. They have spent a lifetime manipulating people into feeding them a constant supply of adoration so they can feel good about themselves.
That has made them see other people as extensions of their own identity, even their own children. In fact, a narcissistic mother will often see her children as sources of narcissistic supply that can be stable even for the rest of her life.
For that reason, she doesn’t want her children to be independent thinkers. She wants them to need her to interpret the world for them. She wants them to stay around her forever.
She doesn’t want them to become independent functional adults. This video explains the many things she might say to control and manipulate you so you can’t be independent.
This is part of why my mother wanted me to feel like I ‘wasn’t enough.’ She wanted me to be dependent on her even as an adult.
2. When You Know Something She Doesn’t
A narcissistic mother, like other narcissists, has created a false self-image of herself and infused it with grandiose ideas of superiority. They often project an image to the world that they are omniscient.
If you know something your narcissistic mother doesn’t, that means she’s not superior, at least in her mind. She has to face the idea that you know something she doesn’t, which means you’re superior to her in one way.
Even though you’re her child, that doesn’t make it any better. She still can’t stand the idea that someone knows something she doesn’t because it undermines her claim of superiority.
A healthy mother would be proud of her child for learning something she didn’t know and teaching her about it. But a narcissistic mother can’t see it that way.
She has to be better than everybody else, and she lives in constant fear that someone will show the world that’s not true. It’s worse if it’s her own child because she has always been the one person her child has depended on.
If you know something she doesn’t, it signals that you’re becoming better than she is and that she’s getting older. That’s something that’s very difficult, particularly for a narcissistic woman.
3. When Anyone Else is the Center of Attention
The one thing every narcissist craves is to be the center of attention. Narcissistic mothers will either engage in grandiose behavior to be in the spotlight or, as happens with vulnerable narcissists, they will tirelessly engage in good deeds to be praised for their charitable works.
That might not sound so bad, but remember that even if a narcissistic mother is doing good deeds, she is not doing them for the right reasons. She will also often neglect her own family in order to do her good work.
She will essentially do whatever it takes to get people to focus on her and see her as the perfect mother. While this is the image she projects to the world, that is not what her family sees.
She is usually very strict and demanding at home. She wants her children and her partner to work for her goals rather than their own. She will make unrelenting demands on their time.
She becomes more or less like a ruthless dictator whose only focus is on how she appears to the outside world. This is what drives a narcissist – their image.
My mother was positively obsessed with how my teachers, friends, and my friends’ mothers thought about her. She was constantly asking me what this or that person thought about the snacks she brought to the school event or her work as a parent volunteer.
I was frequently mortified by her behavior as she compared herself openly to my friends’ parents. I knew that many of them resented her attitude, but I could never tell her that. I knew it would send her into a rage, followed by a deep depression that lasted for weeks.
4. When You Ignore Her Advice
Another thing your narcissistic mother hates is when you ignore her advice. She believes herself to be superior, and she wants you to be dependent on her for your interpretation of reality.
When she gives you advice, and you don’t take it, you are saying that she is imperfect, at least that’s how she sees it. She fears that if you follow your own path or take someone else’s advice, you will slip out of her control.
That doesn’t benefit her at all, and she is fearful that you will see you don’t need her. The narcissistic mother’s dream is to have her children always coming to her for advice and to better understand the world around them.
She believes that other people will see that and understand that she is a great mother. When you come to her for advice, she feels like that is proof of her superiority. When you ignore that advice, it’s like you’re spitting in her face.
5. Your Accomplishments
I remember many times when my mother would tell me what I needed to do, and filled with determination to make her proud, I would go out and work hard to do what she said. When I actually did it, I couldn’t wait to tell her about it.
I was so certain she would beam with pride, but that’s not what a narcissistic mother does. Instead, my mother would say something like, “Enjoy it while it lasts because you can’t keep it up for long,” or “What took you so long?”
Instead of the accolades I was expecting, she rained on my parade at every turn. I was always so confused and disappointed that she couldn’t be proud of me.
This is part of why I always felt like I was never enough. It truly didn’t seem like I could ever please her. Initially, I thought there had to be something wrong with me. It wasn’t until much later in my life that I realized the problem was with her.
Once a narcissistic mother is able to instill that sense of not being enough in her children, it’s hard to get rid of that. I still have trouble accepting compliments and truly enjoying my success.
6. Her Daughter’s Body
This one is for the daughters of narcissistic mothers. The original fairy tale about Snow White and the 7 Dwarves is a perfect example of a narcissistic mother who sees her daughter as competition.
In the original version of the story, the evil queen is Snow White’s own narcissistic mother. She is obsessed with her own beauty and with her image as the ‘fairest in the land.’ Snow White, her own daughter, represents a clear and present danger to that image.
She is younger and more beautiful than her mother, as is often the case with children. Naturally, they are younger, stronger, and more attractive, particularly as their parents get older.
Such was her despair over her own daughter’s superior beauty that she would put a spell on her to prevent her from taking the queen’s place. This is pretty much exactly how a narcissistic mother feels about her daughter.
As psychology major and narcissistic abuse survivor Lauren W. puts it, “Narcissists must always be the winner. Narcissists must control others; narcissists must always stomp on others who complain, or who don’t jump in line with the narcissist’s agendas.” As her daughter grows into a better version of herself, the narcissistic mother sees she can’t compete, and she hates it.
She sees her daughter as competition in every sense of the word. She feels threatened by her youth, her intelligence, and her looks. She has no problem undermining her daughter’s confidence, so she won’t know how much better she is than her mother.
I have a friend whose narcissistic mother routinely told her she was ugly and that she would never find a romantic partner to love her. She even slept with one of her daughter’s boyfriends to prove she was better than her daughter.
7. When You Contradict Her
Narcissists, in general, do not like being contradicted. This is particularly true with a narcissistic mother who feels that she is superior. She has been your source of knowledge and guidance all of your life.
But naturally, you reach an age where you start to think independently and make decisions for yourself. Most children contradict their parents at one point in time or another. It’s natural, but for the narcissistic mother, it’s a slap in the face.
In fact, she will often slap you in the face when you contradict her as a show of how much it has shocked and angered her. When you contradict her, particularly in front of other people, it undermines her image of perfection.
It’s a direct threat to her false image of superiority, and she can’t afford to tolerate it lest she be exposed as flawed. If you dare to contradict her, you can expect a forceful explosion of narcissistic rage.
She will have to reestablish her superiority immediately, and her rage is one way to do that. Not only that, but it will discourage you from ever doing such a thing again.
8. When You Don’t Like What She Likes
Remember that your narcissistic mother considers you an extension of her own identity. As such, she expects that you will like the things she likes and dislike what she dislikes. This video about the Good Daughter Syndrome explains more about what she expects.
If you don’t, that indicates independent thought, something which she doesn’t want. This is why a narcissistic mother can’t just simply accept that you have your own tastes.
She needs you to like what she likes to reaffirm her perfection. If you don’t, in her mind, it feels like you’re saying there’s something wrong with her.
Part of why narcissists can tolerate divergent views is that they think in binary terms. You’re either entirely with them or entirely against them. There is no in-between.
If you don’t like something she likes, you’re placing yourself squarely in opposition to her. You might think you can just agree to disagree, as most healthy people would, but your narcissistic mother takes your divergent view as open criticism of her taste.
9. When You Like What She Doesn’t Like
Just like you are supposed to like the same things your narcissistic mother likes, you are also supposed to dislike what she dislikes. This is part of being an extension of her identity.
If you like something that she doesn’t like, you’re likely to feel the sting of her harsh ridicule. She will try to devalue you to the point where you will change your mind because you can’t stand her bullying.
One place where this really shows up is if you have a boyfriend or girlfriend she doesn’t like. I remember I had a boyfriend in high school that my mother didn’t like.
She took it as a personal insult to her that I would date him even though she had expressed her dislike. Of course, my narcissistic mother, as is typical, hardly ever liked my choice of a boyfriend.
Narcissistic mothers don’t want their children to have someone other than their mother in whom they can confide. That’s a step away from her control, and it’s a threat to her influence over you.
When you defy her, she will go to great lengths to ruin your relationship. My mother would not give me phone messages left by my boyfriend. She would ground me so I couldn’t go out with him, and she would openly insult him when he came over.
Needless to say, it didn’t last, just as my mother had planned. While that’s probably for the best because I ultimately met and married my husband, whom I love very much, it still made my teenage years very painful.
But it needn’t be something as important as a romantic relationship. If your narcissistic mother dislikes green beans and you don’t, she will ridicule your taste in that regard too.
10. When Her Children Grow Up
The whole reason your narcissistic mother behaves as she does is that she doesn’t want you to grow up. Growing up means becoming independent people. It means moving away and having your own life.
Narcissists fear abandonment because they need those valuable sources of narcissistic supply. They need other people for external validation, and so they don’t want you to leave them.
It’s not that they fear that when you leave, it means you no longer love them or don’t want to be around them; it’s that you won’t be there to prop up their self-esteem for the rest of their life.
It often turns into a form of emotional incest, particularly between a narcissistic mother and her son. She sees her son as a kind of replacement for her spouse. She hasn’t had the opportunity to shape her spouse into a codependent minion the way she has with you.
Children, to a narcissistic mother, represent a rich source of supply that likely won’t end until she dies. Her romantic partner may leave her or die before she does, but her children will be her children for the rest of her life.
If they are devoted to her, they will continue to feed her need for constant adoration. If they grow up and move away, however, she won’t be able to replace them with someone who will be equivalent to what they can supply.
It’s an extremely unhealthy situation. I was lucky enough to realize the depth of my mother’s mental disorder and break away from her control. Many people, however, remain tethered to their narcissistic mother until she passes, and they often experience profound emotions when that happens.
11. When You Aren’t the Way She Wants You to Be
Your narcissistic mother spends your entire life shaping you into who she wants you to be. Unlike a healthy mother, she doesn’t want you to be independent and strong-willed. When you turn out to be other than the codependent, needy child she wants you to remain, she hates that outcome.
She also hates when you don’t become exactly what she wants you to become. She may want you to be in a certain profession or pursue certain goals in life. Usually, these are goals that help her in some way.
If you choose to go another route, she will resent it and see it as a rejection of her sage advice. She will constantly criticize your decision and make you feel bad about dismissing her.
You could become the most successful doctor or a renowned composer, but it will not be enough to make your narcissistic mother proud if it’s not what she wanted. If it is what she wanted, she will still underplay your accomplishments.
The only way she will ever compliment something you’ve done is if she can somehow take credit for it. For example, if she can say, “I told him to pursue that career,” or “I made her study hard in school, and that’s why she was able to do this,” then she might pay you a backhanded compliment.
If she can’t do that, she will never appreciate anything you do or anything you accomplish. She just can’t face you being independent and making wise choices for yourself.
A narcissistic mother hates anything that goes against what she wants or advises. She hates when someone steals her spotlight, and she hates when someone represents competition to her own superiority. She will do almost anything to ensure that you can’t become your own person. She doesn’t want you to be able to live without her. She is counting on you being her all-important narcissistic supply until the end of her life. That’s why she will try to manipulate and control you, even to the point of using emotional wounds she created to trigger a response in you that will make you more vulnerable to her abuse.
My 5-Step Roadmap to Heal Emotional Triggers can help to prevent her from doing just that. It’s a free guide that will take you step-by-step through recognizing and identifying your emotional wounds and triggers. From there, you’ll learn how to defuse those emotional triggers so she can’t use them against you. You can even heal the original wounds that caused them, and if you can do that, you can be free from her abuse forever. For a copy of this handy guide, just click here, and I’ll send it directly to your inbox.
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