If you’ve ever interacted with a narcissist, you might be keen to make sure you know if your own children are being subjected to narcissistic abuse. You might be wondering if your mother or your spouse’s mother could possibly be a narcissist. It can be difficult to know particularly if it’s simply what you or your spouse were used to when you were growing up. So, how can you know if grandma might be a narcissist?
Here are 15 signs your children have a narcissistic grandmother:
- Overly Controlling
- No Respect for Your Parenting
- Reacts Unreasonably
- Takes No Responsibility
- The Good Grandma Act
- Often Neglectful
- Holidays Mean Drama
- Grandma = Supply
- Drains You
- Plays Favorites
- Focused on Appearances
- Uses Everyone
- Grooms Her Grandchildren
- Always Lies
Narcissists will often use these kinds of tactics with their loved ones, even grandchildren. So it’s important to understand the specifics of each sign and how they manifest from someone who is supposed to be a loving grandmother.
1. Overly Controlling
Narcissism develops when an individual is unable to form a strong sense of self or ego. Instead, they construct a false self which is what they use to interact with the world around them.
The false self, however, is not able to do what a healthy ego does for an individual. Because of that, the narcissist needs an almost constant supply of adoration from external sources — that is, the people in their lives.
When they developed this false self, they also created a grandiose image of themselves as all-knowing and all-powerful. The problem is that other people, particularly grandchildren, can be unpredictable at best.
Because they are fearful that someone will do or say something to reveal them to be the fraud they inwardly know they are, they strive to constantly control the people around them. They manipulate everyone in their lives to control them, even their own grandchildren.
2. No Respect for Your Parenting
Narcissists are simply unable to respect boundaries, and thus, a narcissistic grandmother will insert herself into every aspect of your life. She will tell both you and your spouse how you should be raising your children and running your household.
Even if you try to tell her to back off, that’s likely to be unsuccessful without strictly enforced consequences for violating your boundaries. She can’t respect boundaries if she doesn’t believe they exist, and that’s why it will be a difficult chore to get her to back off.
3. Reacts Unreasonably
You may think you’re speaking politely or that what you’re saying is no big deal, but a narcissist will react to even the smallest hint of criticism, teasing, or even simply choosing not to follow her advice with a huge show of emotion.
You might get treated to their characteristic narcissistic rage or what seems like a veritable emotional breakdown for the most inoffensive comment. Narcissists view everything through the filter of their false self and their grandiose ideas.
While you think that something your child said to their grandmother wasn’t anything bad, a narcissistic grandmother might see it quite differently.
4. Take No Responsibility
Don’t expect a narcissistic grandmother to apologize for letting your children watch a scary movie. She won’t accept responsibility for the fact that they had nightmares as a result. She won’t accept responsibility for any consequences of anything she does.
To accept responsibility for something that happened would be to admit she is less than perfect. Hypersensitive narcissists can’t face that possibility. They are secretly full of self-loathing, and if they admit they did something wrong, that opens a can of worms they just can’t handle.
No matter what happens, a narcissistic grandmother will likely try to blame anyone other than herself. Most often, she will surely blame you or your spouse.
5. The Good Grandma Act
This is where your children’s grandmother will abuse some people and not others. She plays the good grandma to some of her grandchildren while abusing others. That keeps them off guard, and if someone criticizes her, she has her own little army of defenders.
6. Often Neglectful
Narcissists are focused solely on themselves, and they want everyone else to be focused on them too. They also lack the ability to feel empathy for anyone, even their own grandchildren.
Because of these characteristics, a narcissistic grandmother might not be paying attention to either the actions or emotional needs of their grandchildren. They are too busy focusing on themselves and making it seem like they are perfect.
You might find your kids come home with scrapes because she wasn’t watching what they were doing or emotionally upset because of how they felt they were treated.
7. Holidays Mean Drama
Holidays with any narcissist are a stressful time, but it’s particularly true for a narcissistic grandmother who might feel the need to compete with other grandparents for attention. You can expect that she will talk badly about her competition and may become even more manipulative and reactive than normal.
8. Grandma = Supply
The supply I’m talking about here is her narcissistic supply. She will use the fact she’s a grandmother to get all the supply of adoration and admiration she can get. That means she will often manipulate her grandchildren so that they will adore her and she will also try the same thing with you and your spouse. She would love nothing more than to be declared the ‘Best Grandmother!’
Watch for her to be a particularly good grandmother when other people are around. She will put on an act so that the outside world sees her as a wonderful influence in her grandchildren’s lives.
9. Drains You
Narcissists regularly suck the energy out of almost everyone in their life, but it’s particularly draining for the parents of children with a narcissistic grandmother. Between the drama she creates with your kids and the not-so-subtle criticisms of your parenting, you’ll likely be glad to see her go.
10. Plays Favorites
This goes hand-in-hand with her good grandma act. She will choose a favorite grandchild and dote on them to the exclusion of her other grandchildren. This is obviously very hurtful for those of your children who aren’t getting her good attention. You’ll have to help them deal with her emotional abuse so it doesn’t come to affect them as negatively as it might otherwise do.
11. Focused on Appearances
For narcissists, it’s all about appearances. A narcissistic grandmother doesn’t really care if she’s genuinely a good grandmother. She only cares that it appears as if she is, and for that reason, she will often run hot and cold with your children.
She will practically smother them with grandmotherly love when people are around to see her doing so, but if left alone with your children, she will act completely differently. This is where she will also demonstrate her controlling nature as she tries to get you and your children to act and say the right things around other people.
To her, it’s all about how things seem rather than how things actually are, and she’ll stop at almost nothing to make sure she comes out smelling like roses.
12. Uses Everyone
A narcissist will use everyone in their life if they are allowed to do so. A narcissistic grandmother is no different. She will try to manipulate you, your spouse, and your children.
She will use tactics like triangulation to play you against your spouse and your children against one another. She will gaslight everyone, and if all else fails, she is not above a demonstration of her narcissistic rage.
Nothing a narcissist says or does will seem logical to someone with a healthy ego. You will lose your mind trying to use logic to convince her of something you’re trying to tell her or get her to do. This is particularly true if it’s as a result of real or imagined criticism of her.
Narcissists have created a false image of themselves, and they often have to use leaps of logic to get the narcissistic supply they need. Additionally, they frequently dissociate, meaning they don’t have memories of certain moments in time. They need the other people in their life to fill in those moments, and because they sometimes don’t remember what they’ve said or done, they will frequently change their mind.
It is a maze that you will never be able to figure out because you have a healthy sense of self. Don’t expect them to be able to follow along with your logic; you’ll just end up frustrated if you do.
14. Grooms Her Grandchildren
To get her grandchildren to do what she wants, she will groom them. This happens by doing things like giving them special gifts or keeping special secrets with them. Just like a narcissist grooms a new romantic interest, she is getting them to love her.
The problem is that she’s not getting them to love because she loves them so much. She might love them, but that’s not her reason. She’s trying to get them to love and trust her so that she can manipulate them to do whatever she wants. She may want her narcissistic supply from them or she may want to turn them against you.
15. Always Lies
Just like any narcissist, a narcissistic grandmother will always lie. She will lie to you, to your spouse, to your children, and to anyone else in the family or beyond. She will distort the truth, deny the truth, and hide the truth. You can’t trust that what she says is true, and she will tell you one thing and your spouse another. This is the hallmark of a true narcissist.
If you suspect your children have a narcissistic grandmother, you’ll need to protect them from her emotional abuse. You’ll need to set and enforce strong boundaries, and you’ll want to take steps to prevent your children from falling prey to her manipulation.
This may mean doing things like ensuring she is not alone with her grandchildren, and it may even be necessary to get your children some therapy to help them overcome the effects of her toxic behavior.
Knowing the signs that your children might have a narcissistic grandmother is vital, but it is also imperative that you check out this post to understand the many ways she can hurt your children. You’ll need to know so you can help prevent the damage she can do.
If you want more tips for dealing with narcissists, setting boundaries, and managing emotional triggers, make sure you subscribe to my youtube channel