Narcissism forms in childhood as a result of trauma. That trauma can be the result of abusive parents, but it can also result from overly indulgent parents. In either case, the child learns they are not capable of doing anything for themselves even though they may feel entitled to anything they want. This causes them to create a false self-image and infuse it with grandiose ideas of superiority, but why does that often make them hate their mother?
Narcissists hate their mothers because they blame them for the problems they have. They may believe she inhibited their growth, prevented them from achieving their dreams, or was abusive to them. This attitude toward their mother happens mostly with covert narcissists, and it often generates pity.
Narcissists can’t accept responsibility for their actions or their problems. They externalize blame and a mother is often the target of that blame. She has been an ever-present force throughout their life, and that makes them a ready target. If you have a narcissistic child, you’ll want to learn how and why this happens so let’s dig in.
Why Do Narcissists Come to Hate Their Mother?
When narcissism forms, it is usually due to abusive treatment from one or both parents. While fathers can be narcissistic and abuse their children, it is often the abusive treatment of their mother that makes a greater impact.
Mothers are commonly around their children more than fathers, and when they are abusive, the damage can be extensive and life-changing. It disrupts the formation of a strong sense of self which is what ultimately causes narcissism.
Whether the mother is a narcissist or not makes little difference. The damage done to the child is the same, and it builds resentment. The narcissistic child projects that resentment onto their mother, and it results in hate.
The narcissistic child also likely felt isolated and even emotionally abandoned by their mother. They have difficulty making friends, and they also can’t get any emotional support at home from their parents.
This response against their mother is more common in covert narcissists who are not as easy to identify as grandiose narcissists. Covert narcissists seem timid, but they have the same desires as grandiose narcissists.
They also seek the limelight, and rather than becoming openly critical when they don’t get it, they build a quiet resentment. They may treat their mother in passive-aggressive ways, and in some cases, that can transform into elder abuse as their mother ages.
It’s ultimately the product of the cycle of abuse. The mother’s actions can cause narcissism which can then create resentment in their own child who later abuses them.
How Does a Narcissist Experience Attachment to Their Mother?
A big part of what forms your personality and behavior is your attachment style. Your attachment style relates to how you seek (or avoid) contact and proximity to other people. Early in life, you learn that the world is either a safe place where your needs are mostly met or you learn it is unsafe where it’s possible your needs may not be met.
Your attachment style affects the way you deal with distress and any perceived threat. If you score low on dimensions of attachment that are linked to anxiety and avoidance, you likely have a secure attachment style. That means you will employ constructive and effective strategies for coping with problems.
On the other hand, if you score high on either or both of the anxiety and avoidance dimensions, you tend to be insecure and rely on secondary attachment strategies that involve either avoiding attachment to others, denying that you have attachment needs, or avoiding close, interdependent relationships.
Narcissists studied by Australian psychologists were found to be associated with anxious and avoidant forms of attachment. More specifically, grandiose narcissism is associated with an avoidant attachment style that results in the typical behaviors of self-praise and denial of any flaws that we tend to associate with a narcissist.
Vulnerable or covert narcissists, on the other hand, are associated with attachment anxiety which results in an exaggerated sense of entitlement, hypersensitivity to other people’s opinions, and self-focused attention.
Thus, when the narcissist’s mother engages in the abusive behavior that causes narcissism to form, the covert narcissist internalizes her criticism and this destroys their ability to form secure attachments. They lack a sense of attachment with anyone in their life, including their mother. That can breed resentment that only grows through time.
How Does the Resentful Narcissist Treat Their Mother?
Once a narcissist’s mother displeases them, they do as all narcissists do and enter the devaluation stage. This is where they will, at least inwardly, begin criticizing her. They begin to see her as inferior and treat her as such.
They still feel a need for her to provide them with narcissistic supply, however, and toward that end, they will begin to manipulate her to get their needs met. They employ all the typical narcissistic manipulation techniques such as gaslighting, lying, triangulation, and projection.
They may occasionally use compliments to further manipulate their mother, but they will just as often employ techniques like emotional blackmail. They will, in short, do whatever they need to do to get their narcissistic supply.
Once they feel they have gotten everything they can from their mother, they may then discard her. This can happen when she is elderly and can no longer pose an abusive threat to them. Narcissists are also capable of physical abuse and may use this type of abuse to exact their revenge on their mother.
Is There a Difference Between Narcissistic Sons and Daughters?
There are fundamental differences between male and female narcissists. Additionally, because daughters are often viewed as competition for their abusive mothers, daughters are more likely to develop a strong resentment toward their mother.
Abusive mothers who see their daughters are competitors often berate and demean them on a regular basis to crush their self-esteem. This can easily produce a narcissistic child who grows to resent her mother. Many narcissistic daughters abandon their mother at an early age, but if they remain in contact, they will often demonstrate their hate with their abusive behavior.
The relationship between a mother and son is different even if the mother is an abuser. Mothers will often groom their sons to take care of them and be their helpers as they age. They develop an unhealthy attachment with their sons who feel a stronger sense of obligation to care for their mother.
Though this may prevent outright abuse, sons often develop a hidden, deep-seated resentment for the way their mothers have treated them. They may then use passive-aggressive tactics to get back at her.
Though a narcissist may hate their mother deep down, they often don’t show it in an obvious manner. Because narcissism develops as a result of abuse, the mother is a target for the anger the child experiences given their unhappy situation. This can manifest in different ways ranging from outright elder abuse to abandonment.
If you are being abused by a narcissistic child, you need to stop their emotional abuse. The first step toward stopping the cycle of abuse is by healing your own emotional trigger wounds. My 5 Step Roadmap to Heal Emotional Triggers can help you to do that. You’ll learn how to get your emotions under your control to prevent manipulation. Just click on this link, and I’ll happily send a free copy directly to your inbox.
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