Narcissistic mother checklist


Well-Known Member
Found this interesting. I answered the questions about my mother. They are in (). I never thought of my mother as a narcissist. More like borderline. I don't know what she is, but something was not right with her and I believe it was there before my birth.And she remained as nasty to me in later life as sh e had been in early life...I was her fall guy. She really wasn't ever nice to me, no matter how hard I tried, as a kid or as an adult. Narc? I just call it "mean", at least to me.

21 signs of a narcissistic mother (be concerned if she has many of them)
  1. She has to be the center of attention all the time. This is a defining feature of narcissism. She will steal the spotlight or spoil any occasion if someone else is the center of attention. (No)
  2. She demeans, criticizes and makes derogatory remarks to you. She always lets you know that she thinks less of you than your siblings or other people. (YES!!!)
  3. She violates your boundaries. You feel like an extension of her. There is no privacy in your bathroom or bedroom; she regularly goes through your things to find information she then uses against you. (YES!!!)
  4. She ‘favoritizes’. Narcissistic mothers often have one child who is “the golden child” and another who is the scapegoat. (YES!!!)
  5. She undermines She will pick a fight with you or be especially critical and unpleasant just before you have to make a major effort. (I don't think so. Was always like that to me)
  6. Everything she does is ‘deniable’. Cruelties are couched in loving terms; aggressive acts are paraded as thoughtfulness. (I think so)
  7. She makes YOU look crazy. When you confront her with something she’s done, she’ll tell you that you have “a very vivid imagination” (common phrase that abusers use to invalidate your experience of their abuse) or that she has “no idea what you are talking about”. (Yes)
  8. She’s jealous. If you get something nice, she’ll take it from you, spoil it for you or get something the same or better for herself. (No)
  9. She’s a continuous liar. To you, she lies blatantly. To outsiders, she lies thoughtfully and in ways that can always be covered up. (She lied a lot, but not sure she didn't see it as true)
  10. She manipulates your emotions in order to “feed on your pain”. This behavior is so common among narcissistic mothers that they are often referred to as “emotional vampires”. (All the time)
  11. She is selfish and willful. She makes sure SHE has the best of everything and always has to have her way. (No. Nobody had anything, including her)
  12. She is self-absorbed. Her feelings, needs and wants are Very Important and yours are irrelevant or insignificant. (Yes)
  13. She is almost absurdly defensive and extremely sensitive to criticism. (YES!!!!)
  14. She terrorized you. Narcissists teach you to beware of their wrath. If you give her everything she wants, you might be spared; but if you don’t-the punishments WILL come. (YES!!!)
  15. She’s childish and petty; “getting even” with you is important to her. (YES!!!)
  16. She is aggressive and shameless. She doesn’t ask, she demands. She won’t take no for an answer-she will push, arm-twist, or otherwise manipulate or abuse you until you give in. (No)
  17. She “parentifies”. She sheds her parental responsibilities to the child as soon as she is able. (I was too damaged to do it or I indeed would have taken over the mother role. She would have liked it. But she didn't demand it and I couldn't have done it).
  18. She is exploitive. She will go to any length to get things from others for nothing (work, money, objects)- including taking money out of her children’s account or even stealing their identities. (naw)
  19. She projects. She will put her own poor behavior or character onto you so she can punish you. For example, you refuse an especially outlandish request of hers, she becomes enraged and furious at your refusal, then screams at you, “we’ll talk about it after you’ve calmed down and aren’t hysterical”. (Yep. See t he $5000 story and others like it. It was my fault I wouldn't abuse my kids).
  20. She is never wrong about anything. She will never, ever genuinely apologize for anything she has done or said. (She never apologized t o me about anything. I did the apologizing).
  21. She is not aware that other people have feelings. She will occasionally slip up in public, and because of her lack of sympathy, will say something so callous it causes disbelief in people. The absence of empathy is another defining trait of narcissism and underlies most of the other signs that are on this list. (No. Then again...she was rarely in My friends thought she was weird).
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Scent of Cedar *

Well-Known Member
My mom wasn't really like that. She did sometimes apologize and even, cry. I think she wanted to be a really good mom, but then something would slip. She might have been angry about my father being gone, or maybe, just about my father altogether. She was away from her own mother. Her father was ~ she was his favorite, but she was afraid of him, too.

I was afraid of him.

He could be right up in your face nasty.

She could be cruel about my hair and my skin, and about what the future would hold. It was like being seen one way in public and another way in private. It had to do with ownership, and with the hurt in her ~ and in me. There had to be black, and there had to be white. As I began healing, as I began seeing differently, I could sense the confusion in her over what she needed to believe and the way things really were. (Say, the belief system created around husband through the winter months when my mother was far away, and what was real in the summer months, when we both were here.)

She could be scary and hurtful, but she could be very kind, very generous to us, too. I am sure she loved us, but there was that black/white feeling. Someone had to carry the unresolved stuff, I suppose that was it.

So as I come through (to where we are now, anyway), I think I know that those patterns in dysfunctional families (and I read that 97% of families are dysfunctional to one degree or another ~ and I wonder about that other 3%) do have to do with role rigidity. Just like it said, in that article Serenity posted for us. Roles are created and assumed in response to patterns we don't understand; there is safety in knowing what to do, how to behave, when to respond and how. It's like being taught table manners. The ways we are taught to behave around food work well for us in familiar cultures, but turn out to be wildly inappropriate as we travel into other cultures.

What I am remembering to do now is understand what would be flexible response in any given situation. Flexible would mean steady affection, not desperate love, for instance. Flexible would mean not writing the end of the story. It would mean staying present because there is no other, certain place to be that is not a role. When I feel certain, I feel the role in that now and let go.

Just little steps, at first.

It has to do with trusting ourselves to not know; to just be where we are and open our eyes and not make judgments about what we see.

That is what it feels like to realize our families were dysfunctional. There are other, better ways to think and see and feel...but home is home. Just as we can learn other languages as adults but never lose our accents ~ especially under stress ~ so it is with those ways we learned to be, and to see ourselves, in our families of origin. Our process here of learning to see whatever it was that happened to us through our adult eyes, thereby changing the feeling tone of what we learned about ourselves, is working for me. I think it is working for each of us. What it feels like is that the automatic old assumptions about why things happen are still the first response. For me, because of that core of toxicity, that was shame. It doesn't scare me to feel ashamed, but it colors my interpretation of what my situation is. My interpretation affects my responses and on it goes. Whatever the situation was, it might as easily have gone in any of a thousand other ways.

That was an incredible thing to learn.

We are able now to question the assumed truth firing our own responses. This is huge, that we can do that, now. We are able to reassign motivation regarding how we define what we thought we heard. This is incredibly freeing. I think that is the essence of internal locus of control, versus external locus of control.

How we hear.

How we see.

How we take things apart and assign motivation and respond to every smallest thing, from looking in the mirror in the morning to greeting our loved ones to our most public behaviors to how we review our days in the evening to how we slip into sleep; to how we awaken.

There were so many patterns of behavior in my family of origin I was not aware of until we began sifting through them, here. I see meanness now in so much of what I took for granted, growing up. This meanness had always to do with role function. For those abused in their families of origin, the deeper wounds will be those underlying messages of contempt or destination or value we absorb. The flavor of it becomes so background a thing that we create and recreate it without knowing how it is we believe what we believe regarding the motivations of others, or even, our own motivations.

And that's what I know about that, this morning.



Well-Known Member
Sorry to get back on this so late, but my life is so busy right now I am totally without free time. Bart always complains I'm never home so I can't talk on the phone!!

I don't know what my mother's diagnosis was. I'm am positive she had one, probably many. That would go for everybody in my FOO and extended family. It was very small and nobody was really what normal is considered. All I know about my mother is that she was extremely mean to me from the time I was a little girl until she died. Sometimes it was in a passive-aggressive way, which is something my sister picked up...passive aggression. Such as a "Daphne" coming here, when it was either planned or her pretending to be Daphne. My mother did not have an eating disorder, but she was obsessed with fatness. She had many borderline traits and many narc traits and since I was her designated scapegoat, I got the worst of her, and it wasn't pretty.

My diagnosis of mother in regards to me: MEAN PERSON WITH CRUEL INTENT.

In my peer-to-peer mental health caregiver class we are talking about our own issues now and how we came to a good place. Almost everyone had a mother similiar to ours (or father or both). All caused trauma in their adult children. Although I do think almost every family is dysfunctional, many dysfunctional families still love each other and don't try to throw out the designated bad seed. I think our families were worse than your average dysfunctional family. I am very grateful that ALL OF US did not repeat the same offenses against our own beloved ch ildren and that we can finally see our FOO more clearly. Copa, in your case I think you are able to see that you did not leave your mother and that there was much good in her. Cedar, you seem more grounded about your family of origin too.And I just learned that the only way to deal with mine is to not deal with mine. And I never will again. I am grateful my father does not have a large estate with a house and land...ugh. I don't know how that wouldl go down, but it isn't a fact. He chose to never own a home again after my mother made him leave the house so things will be easier and I'll just let a lawyer deal with dysfunctional brother. I will get what is rightfully mine and then disappear, but I will do it through a third party.

I do love my father. I hope to see him soon.

I truly never felt I could be so free. Thoughts of them are much less. Actually I barely think of them anymore, which is why I haven't felt the need to post here.

Everyone reading, have a great day!!! I'm going to see daughter and granddaughter this weekend with my other daughter and her boyfriend and I"m feeling just very excited. Hope you are all happy.