It’s bad enough if your mother is a narcissist. If she’s a malignant narcissist, well, that takes it to a whole other level. There are several variants of narcissism, but the most damaging of all is the malignant narcissist. In fact, many experts see little difference between a malignant narcissist and a psychopath. Both exhibit antisocial behavior and an inability to express empathy.
If your mother is a malignant narcissist, she may have a sadistic streak. This kind of narcissist frequently does things to hurt those who love them or are reliant on them for care.
If you always had to walk on eggshells to appease your mother’s fragile ego and keep her from going psycho on you, she is probably a malignant narcissist. Read on to discover six signs your mother is a malignant narcissist.
What are the Signs of Malignant Narcissism?
Here are some common signs that your mother is a malignant narcissist.
1. She Can’t Take a Joke
If your mother is so sensitive that she can’t take a little teasing without lashing out at you or she responds by trying to humiliate you, that can indicate she’s a malignant narcissist. Her sense of self is so fragile that anything that creates a negative perception of her will provoke a strong negative reaction.
She may become extremely aggressive in responding to someone who is poking fun at her, even if it is someone she supposedly loves. This hypersensitivity is a hallmark of the malignant narcissist.
2. She’s a Sadist
Sadists are people who like to deliberately cause harm to others. To do so, they may intentionally inflict suffering by showing ill will or even outright hatred.
This can present as verbal, emotional, or physical abuse, and it can also be evident by the way they treat animals or as an indifference to violence they see on TV, in movies, or in the news. Sadism is one of the key traits associated with malignant narcissism.
3. She is Proactive in Her Manipulation
All narcissists are great at manipulating people in their lives, but the malignant narcissist doesn’t wait for a reason to manipulate others: they actually seek out situations where they can engage in manipulation. They get enjoyment from being able to successfully manipulate people. It gives them a sense of power.
They are also very forceful in their manipulation and will hone their skills through the years until they reach peak effectiveness. If your mother is a malignant narcissist, chances are her manipulation of you when you were a child diminished your free will and made you feel helpless to get away from the situation.
She also likely used gaslighting — making you think your interpretation of a given situation was completely wrong, even delusional. This is something that can make you question your own sanity.
Another favorite tactic is love bombing. That’s where she would engage in over-the-top gestures to show you how much she adores you. The wild swings from one extreme behavior to another creates instability and keeps you off-balance.
4. She Engages in Antisocial Behaviors
Malignant narcissism is often part of Antisocial Personality Disorder. That’s why your malignant narcissistic mother often exhibits antisocial behavior. She might cheat or steal. She could be a pathological liar, and she most likely exhibits volatile moods, aggressive behavior, and unprovoked hostility.
In short, if she is always ready for a fight with anyone at any time, that’s a strong indicator she’s a malignant narcissist. Moreover, she will do anything to win that fight, no matter how hurtful.
5. She is Paranoid
If your mother is a malignant narcissist, she will not be able to trust anyone, even you. Everyone is suspicious in her mind, and she believes people are specifically out to get her.
This is probably due to the fact that these kinds of narcissists seek out ways to try to manipulate other people for their own personal gain, and they assume everyone else is doing the same thing.
That causes them to be hypervigilant, always looking out for the next threat. That explains why your mother was always worried about what you were doing as a child. It’s also why she sought to control your every movement because she was constantly afraid of what you might say or do.
6. No — None — Not a Bit of Empathy
All narcissists lack empathy to some extent, but the malignant narcissist simply has no empathy — full stop. They like to inflict pain and suffering on other people, and to do that, they must ignore or invalidate any emotions others might show.
If you felt while growing up, and even now as an adult, that your mother could never relate to how you were — or are — feeling, that’s because a malignant narcissist simply isn’t capable of putting themselves in someone else’s place. In fact, that’s a foreign concept to them.
It’s also part of why they are unable to feel remorse for anything they do or any suffering they cause. It’s a huge reason why they are able to behave so maliciously.
These traits of the malignant narcissist are why they are able to do and say such hurtful things, but for the child of this kind of narcissist, the damage is enduring. As an adult, the damage done by a malignant narcissistic mother can be difficult to overcome.
If you’re unsure if you’ve experienced narcissistic abuse, you can learn about several signs that you’ve been traumatized in this article. It can be difficult to know because your toxic mother has so undermined your self-esteem and your ability to interpret your experiences rationally.
Still, there is hope even for the most traumatized. By putting some space between her and you, you can begin to grow your self-esteem and self-confidence. That will help you to accept her for who she is and move on with your life. It’s not an easy task, but it is worthwhile.
In time, you may even find compassion for her in your heart. This, in many ways, is more important for you to do than it is for her. The key is to never give up trying to find a healthy way forward for yourself and your own children.
Once you’ve learned how to tell if your mother is a narcissist, you might also want to understand how she might abuse you. Check out the blog post titled, “Five Toxic Ways Your Narcissistic Mother Abuses You” to learn more about it.
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