Seven Tactics A Narcissistic Mother Uses To Control You

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A narcissistic mother will go to extreme lengths to control you because, in her mind, your actions directly reflect upon her as a parent. To make sure you behave in a manner she likes, she will use many different tactics to control you. 

It’s unsettling how different a narcissist behaves in public as compared to behind closed doors. Because the narcissist has an exaggerated sense of self that is externally validated, they must exercise strict control over everyone in their lives. If you’re the child of a narcissistic mother, you experienced numerous manipulative attempts to control you. 

The tactics your mother used to control your behavior can have long-lasting effects on how you view love as well as your sense of self-worth and self-confidence. Read on to learn about some of the more common manipulation tactics she uses. 

What Kind of Control Tactics Does She Use? 

Take a look at these seven tactics commonly used by narcissistic mothers to control their children. 

1. She’s a Bully

Your narcissistic mother will fly into fits of rage, yell, and use aggressive behavior including verbal assaults and provocative language to get you to do what she wants. She’s not above typical bullying tactics like sarcasm, name-calling, and threatening you either. 

What’s more, her behavior is extremely unpredictable meaning you’ll always be walking on eggshells around her. The slightest thing can set her off, and she’s always on the offensive. In short, she’s a bully, but it’s hard for a child to stand up to a bullying parent. The best thing you can do is get away from her as soon as you’re able. 

2. She Isolates You

Your narcissistic mother doesn’t want you to be able to interact with the outside world because you might expose her as an abusive parent. She also doesn’t want you to learn that the way she treats you isn’t typical of most mothers. 

Like any abuser, a narcissistic mother can’t risk that you might discover you’re being abused nor does she want you telling the world about what she does. So, her answer is to keep you from being exposed to anyone outside of your family. 

She’ll also make sure she controls what you see and think about your other family members. In essence, you’ll be isolated in every way. 

3. She’ll Gaslight You

Gaslighting is designed to make you doubt your own memories and perceptions of reality. This creates confusion and keeps you from effectively standing up against your narcissistic mother. Read more about some techniques you can use to deal with it in this post

Gaslighting is not just a matter of denying something negative, it’s about attempting to control your perception of events. Better yet, your narcissistic mother wants you to be dependent upon her for your perception of any given situation. She’s not above making you feel mentally incompetent with gaslighting to achieve that goal. 

4. She’ll Blackmail You

Narcissistic mothers frequently use emotional blackmail to control their own children. If you dare to contradict them, they will withhold affection and communication, and they may also threaten you or try to make you feel guilty. 

This is emotional blackmail. If you want love, you’ll do what she says and you’ll behave how she wants you to behave. In short, you must do everything she wants exactly how she wants it done to be worthy of her love. 

This is not just a disciplinary method of ensuring a child does their chores before watching TV, this involves the withholding of affection, of love, and the threat of emotionally damaging vengeful tactics to control behavior. 

5. She’ll Project

A narcissistic mother cannot face her own shortcomings. To do so would be too psychologically dangerous to the self-image she’s carefully cultivated. As a way of deflecting attention from her shortcomings, she will project them onto other people. 

A narcissistic mother cannot face her own shortcomings

Projection simply means she will accuse you or other people of the exact behaviors she exhibits. If she is selfish (and she likely is), she will accuse you of being selfish. If she is stubborn, she will accuse you of being stubborn. 

Narcissists have very little ability for introspection, and that’s why you become the blank screen onto which they can project what is really self-hatred. 

6. She’ll Distract

If all else fails, the narcissistic mother who feels threatened will distract attention to something else. She might use circular arguments or nonsensical conversations to promote confusion. 

Her goal is to frustrate you into forgetting the main issue. She’ll dominate the conversation and interrupt you so that you can’t say what you’re trying to say. She’ll direct the conversation away from the original topic to get you off track. 

You also won’t feel as though she is listening to what you’re saying, and of course, you shouldn’t expect her to be empathetic. She’s not capable of that just as she’s not capable of having a genuine conversation about your feelings or perceptions. 

7. She’ll Lie

When all of her other manipulative tactics fail, the narcissistic mother will simply lie about what happened so that she can avoid personal responsibility. She will also use lies to create doubt and sow the seeds of chaos and insecurity. 

You should also be prepared for her to be absolutely believable in her lies, and that’s because she does believe her own delusions. It’s all part of the house of cards that is her self-image. She has to believe her own lies because she’s a good mother and a good mother doesn’t lie to her children. Remember, it’s all about that image. 

Final Thoughts

For a narcissist, maintaining control over their world is essential to maintaining the self-image they’ve created. Everyone in their immediate family can be a threat to that image, and they must, therefore, be controlled

To gain control over anyone who might threaten their carefully crafted reputation, the narcissist will employ numerous manipulative techniques. They’ll do so without care for the harm they cause even to their own children. This is part of their illness. 

When the narcissist is your own mother, you learn from an early age that the world is a confusing place. Once you’re aware of her manipulative techniques, however, you can begin to break free of her control. 

Emotional blackmail is a common tactic used by narcissists to control you. Learn more about these tactics to raise your awareness and discover how to better protect yourself from it in this post, “6 Stages of Emotional Blackmail From Narcissists.


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Narcissistic abuse takes a terrible toll on your life. I’m Patricia, and my mother is a narcissist, so I know what you’re going through. These blog posts will help you understand narcissism better and give you tips for dealing with the narcissists in your life. Healing starts here!

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