8 Signs Your Mom Is A Narcissist — According To A Marriage And Family Therapist

Learn the eight unmistakable signs of a narcissist mother, and empower yourself to take control of your emotional wellbeing.

narcissistic mother in front of pink background Roman Samborskyi / Shutterstock

Navigating our parental relationships can be both a difficult and an emotional ordeal, oftentimes leaving us grappling with a sense of defeat or anxiety. Throughout our lives, we may find ourselves wondering if the connections we have formed with our parents are fostering emotional well-being or toxicity.

Kati Morton, LMFT, a well-known marriage and family therapist who covers a wide spectrum of mental health topics on her popular YouTube channel, offers insight into some subtle signs your mom may be a narcissist.




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8 Signs of a Narcissistic Mother

1. She treats you as an extension of herself.

A big sign you are dealing with a narcissistic mother is when they treat you as an object, rather than an individual with your own desires. Your accomplishments, no matter how significant, are due to her hard work, not yours.


Did you recently graduate from school and find a successful job? Well, thanks to her hard work in raising you, you were able to accomplish these goals. Did you settle down and get married or have children recently? A narcissistic mother will believe that due to her hard work in raising you, you were able to find a good partner and settle down.

Further, if you dare step out of line and pursue your own goals or desires, she may react with anger, as your goals don’t align with her own. A narcissistic mother will feel as if your life purpose is to fill her needs and wants, putting your aspirations in the backseat.

2. Your mother dishes out criticism but can't take any herself.

Narcissistic mothers are known to be harsh critics when it comes to their children. From your appearance, achievements, and daily efforts, you may feel as if you will never be good enough in the eyes of a narcissistic mother. Whether you are pleased with your accomplishments or efforts, a narcissistic mother will always find fault and offer unsolicited advice.

For example, let’s say you earn a B in a challenging course. A narcissistic mom may berate you for not achieving an A, disregarding your hard work and effort. Yet, let’s say you critique her on one tiny thing. Perhaps you call out her on her habit of critiquing your appearance. A narcissistic mother will become defensive and play the victim, therefore deflecting any criticism from themselves.


She will react and insist she is only being honest and caring. After all, what type of mother would she be if she allowed her child to go out looking like a “hot mess!”

3. She shares private information about you with others.

Sharing personal information with a narcissistic mother can oftentimes feel anxiety-inducing. These mothers have little regard for boundaries and will share your embarrassing secrets or personal information, with your whole family. This breach of trust can lead to children feeling betrayed and distrustful of their mother.

Which, in turn, can manifest into mental health disorders such as anxiety or depression. Our parents are supposed to be the people we can trust the most. So, when we cannot, this will leave many children feeling helpless and stuck.

4. She holds basic parental duties over your head.

For instance, a narcissistic mother may say something like, “I put a roof over your head,” to make you feel ungrateful.


However, it is important to note, that providing basic needs is a parent’s responsibility, and using it as leverage to make you feel bad, is a form of emotional abuse and manipulation.



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5. She doesn't respect your boundaries.

Narcissistic mothers often fail to understand and respect your boundaries. These mothers will invade your privacy and disregard your feelings in the process.


For instance, let’s say you lock your diary in a drawer, but she discovers it while putting clothes away. A narcissistic mother instead of respecting your privacy, will read your innermost thoughts and then get offended over what you write about.

This, in turn, can make you feel unable to trust your mother and even cause you to experience anxiety over time.

6. She constantly tells you that you are remembering things wrong.

Narcissistic mothers will use techniques such as gaslighting to manipulate your perception of reality. By doing this, they may make you question your memory and distort your past trauma to cast themselves in a favorable light.

Perhaps you may bring up that one time she hit you or spanked you for misbehaving. A narcissistic mother will insist that it never happened or that you are simply “exaggerating.” Over time, this form of manipulation can cause you to feel confused and doubt your own trust within yourself.


7. She is always competing with you.

As you get older and develop your own identity, you may find your narcissistic mother becoming increasingly jealous and competitive. She may try to outshine you both in appearance and achievements, making you feel inadequate.

We have all seen those videos where the mother wears white to her daughter’s wedding. These behaviors are driven by jealousy and a desire to elevate herself at your expense.

It’s important to remember that if the people in your life can’t handle your success and constantly turn everything into a competition, then it’s worth establishing personal boundaries.

8. She is always the victim.

When confronted about her toxic behavior, a narcissistic mother will often go into victim mode. She may start to cry hysterically, portraying herself as a victim in this situation. Instead of taking accountability, a narcissistic mother will blame external factors for her behavior.


This behavior can oftentimes leave the children of narcissistic mothers feeling guilty and unappreciative.

It is important to understand that her emotional outbursts and victimization are tactics to evade responsibility and maintain control over the situation. Remember to stand your ground and not allow her emotional outbursts to dictate your feelings and message.

Finally, according to expert Morton, "All of these signs can cause us to be anxious, a perfectionist, and struggle with other mental health issues."


This is why navigating a relationship with a narcissistic mother can be emotionally challenging, to say the least!

Yet, by recognizing the signs of these behaviors, you can better establish healthy boundaries. Understanding the dynamics at play can help empower you to take control of your emotional well-being and preserve your happiness in the process.



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Marielisa Reyes is a writer specializing in self-help, relationships, career, and family topics. Reyes has a bachelor's in psychology.