how do narcissist treat their mom

How Narcissists Treat Their Mothers

When we think of a narcissistic personality, it can be easy to imagine someone who is selfish, self-involved, and exclusively preoccupied with their own needs and desires. Yet despite the stereotype, narcissists often form deep connections with other people in their lives – including their mothers. Understanding how narcissists treat their mothers can give us a unique perspective on the complexities of this personality disorder and how it affects relationships.

What Is Narcissism?

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a mental health condition characterized by a long-term pattern of grandeur, lack of empathy for others, and a huge need for admiration and validation.
Narcissists demonstrate a tendency to manipulate others, control situations, and blame others for mistakes or negative outcomes in their life.

The Complexity of Mother-Child Relationships

The relationship between a mother and her child is essential in forming social connections that offer a sense of comfort, safety, and stability during early life. When this relationship becomes affected by narcissism, it can have harmful consequences for the child as they grow up. As some experts suggest, “A mother’s love shapes the emotional well-being of a child” (Delvecchio et al., 2011).

The Narcissistic Mother-Child Relationship

Narcissistic mothers often forge complicated relationships with their children. They rely on their child’s love and affection while simultaneously taking advantage of them to satisfy their own needs.

Characteristics of the Mother in this Relationship
  • Hypersensitivity towards criticism
  • Inappropriate behavior towards her children
  • Emotionally manipulative tendencies
  • Strong impulse to contro
Characteristics of the Child in this Relationship
  • A deep desire to please and appease their mother.
  • Sudden feelings of guilt and anxiety
  • Inability to form healthy boundaries with their mother.
  • Fear about facing reality.
Typical Patterns of Interaction Between the Two:
  • Children often feel responsible for making the mother happy or shielding her from frustration or complaints from others.
  • Mothers tend to force their own interests and desires onto their children, ignoring their independent wishes or needs.
  • Children encounter an everyday power struggle that makes it tough to hold on to their identity, autonomy, and inner compass.
  • Children absorb the negativity of the mother’s criticism, controlling behavior, or lack of empathy, leading them to feel bad about themselves.

The long-term effects of this relationship are tough to overpower. Children growing up with narcissistic mothers may have a hard time forming close relationships with others. They experience a deeper sense of low self-esteem and self-doubt and have trouble trusting people around them.

Narcissists and Attachment Styles

Attachment Styles and Relationships

According to attachment theory, humans develop different styles of attachment through experiences with primary caregivers. Attachment styles can influence how people perceive their relationships throughout life. Attachment theory identifies four main attachment styles:

  • Secure Attachment: Positive and comfortable feelings towards relationships with others-minded individuals who do not act irrationally if they don’t get what they want in personal relationships.
  • Anxious-Insecure Attachment :Ambivalent behaviors in which the individual’s is often occupied with being regarded as worthy of sensitivity, love, and affection yet still experiences undeserving of the same attachment.
  • Avoidant-Insecure Attachment : A lack of emotional stability when it comes to personal relationships, mainly avoiding them altogether
  • Disorganized Attachment: Disorientation caused by exposure to trauma.

Narcissism and Attachment Styles

The way a narcissist interacts with the people in their life can define their attachment style. Individuals with NPD usually demonstrate insecure types of attachment styles that manifest as estranged relationships. The dysfunction of a narcissist’s relationships is closely related to the challenges they face in connecting with others.


Fearful-avoidant attachment occurs when someone with NPD has difficulty trusting people, and may use overly critical language or insulting comments to push others away in a relationship. They continuously worry about being hurt or rejected, despite their arrogance and self-centeredness.


With an Anxious-Preoccupied attachment style, an individual has a remarkable intense fear associated with being refused or abandoned. The narcissist may become controlling or emotionally needy to avoid this from happening. Their constant attention-seeking behavior can be exhausting for most individuals in their lives.


The Dismissive-Avoidant style associated with NPD relates closely to an avoidance strategy in personal relationships. The individual will frequently attempt to dismiss or ignore the feelings of others, maintaining their superiority over those around them, and relying only on themselves for emotional needs and gratification.

The Role of Empathy in Narcissistic Behavior

Definition of Empathy

Empathy is central to any genuine interaction, it is the ability to identify and understand another’s thoughts and feelings (Davis et al., 2010). Often people who lack empathy struggle to form relationships and maintain healthy boundaries with those around them.

The Empathetic Deficit in Narcissists

The deficit in empathy associated with NPD is critical. Narcissists tend not only to lack empathy but also to struggle with perceiving other people as having individual characteristics or thoughts or emotions related to their own (Wink & Donahue, 1997). They are often unable to act in a kind or generous way towards others and are better suited to using others to fulfill their own desires.

How it Affects Their Behavior Towards Others, Including Mothers

A narcissist’s behavior towards their mother may often be focused on deriving praise or attention from individuals around them. In many cases, they will attempt to curry favor while avoiding situations that cause them discomfort, such as dealing with their mother’s emotions or needs.

Specific Examples of Empathetic Deficits towards Their Mothers
  • Narcissistic individuals frequently lack empathy for those who do not provide immediate gratification or value for themselves.
  • Mothers are often disregarded in a narcissistic individual’s pursuit for emotional possession over others.
  • Narcissists will use hurtful language against their mothers and miss important life events without feelings of guilt or remorse.

Examples of Narcissistic Behavior Towards Mothers

Emotional abuse: Narcissistic individuals may engage in belittling language, shaming, and insulting comments or actions towards their mothers. A these instances they may play favorites or engage in scapegoating one child over others.

Manipulation: Narcissists sometimes use one family member against another, a tactic called “triangulating,” making themselves look better than the others in their family’s eyes. Additionally, narcissists will often lie or portray themselves as victims rather than the perpetrators of situations.

Trophy Hunting Mentality: For some Narcissists, Mothers are often viewed as a means to an end to meet their own needs and to feed their ego.

Can We Change a Narcissist?

Theories on Treating Narcissism

Several theories have been formulated when it comes to treating individuals suffering from NPD. Psychodynamic therapies that rely on psychoanalysis and cognitive-behavioral therapies (CBT) focused on changing maladaptive behaviors and altering negative thought patterns.

Challenges of Treating Narcissism

Treating narcissism presents many challenges. Often times psychologists have limited success due to low success rates, clients frequently dropping out of therapy before significant progress can be made. Additionally, the organization of the mental health system may not be adequate (shortage of specialized psychotherapists or a lack of institutional funding).

Narcissist vs. Mother’s Love and Bond

The contrast between a genuine nurturing mother-child relationship versus that of a relationship influenced by NPD is stark. Narcissistic behavior often results in emotional turmoil for those around them, causing conflicting emotions for children.

The Importance of Breaking Free From Negative Relationship Cycles

Breaking away from harmful relationships can have a significant impact on our personal wellbeing and happiness. Remaining with a narcissistic mother can have negative consequences for our career, other relationships, and our personal growth.

Repercussions for Remaining with a Narcissistic Mother

  • Narcissistic Manipulation:
  • The manipulation techniques used by narcissists can impact our career and other areas of our life. Narcissists may use their position of power to gain preferential treatment and use others to meet their own selfish goals.

  • Fear of Relationship Dysfunction:
  • The relationship dynamics established with a narcissistic mother can have long-term effects on an individual’s ability to form healthy relationships in the future (Delvecchio et al., 2011).

  • Personal Well-being:
  • Remaining in toxic situations can lead to depression, anxiety, and feelings of low self-esteem while suppressing personal growth.

The Importance of Repairing Emotional Damage After Leaving the Narcissist-Influenced Family Life

  • Consistent Self reflection:
  • A critical step in repairing emotional damage is taking responsibility for behavior patterns established by being around narcissists. Through self-reflection, individuals can become more aware of how the past affects their present feelings and behaviors


  • Gaining Control over Thoughts :
  • The next step towards repairing emotional damage involves gaining control over thoughts and emotions caused by past relationships.


  • Counseling and Therapy :
  • Counseling or therapy can go a long way in reestablishing a healthy relationship with oneself by enabling individuals to identify negative patterns or beliefs that have been learned from unhealthy past relationships (Raney & Mihailidis, 2011).


How to Break Free From a Narcissistic Family System

Identifying the Problematic Behavior

Breaking free from a narcissistic family system starts by identifying the critical patterns and behaviors that create toxicity in a relationship. Identifying the dynamics and understanding their sources is essential to developing healing and growth.

Establishing Boundaries

Developing clear boundaries can be critical when dealing with a person suffering from NPD. Boundaries express feelings of personal limits that should not be crossed, therefore limiting the influence that a narcissist may have on one’s self-esteem, relationships, or life choices.

Coping Strategies

Developing coping strategies can be essential in helping individuals deal with the emotional effects of being around a narcissistic mother. These could include developing communication techniques (such as expressing feelings assertively without attacking others) or practicing mindfulness (observing and accepting internal experiences without judgment).

Conclusion: Relationship Dynamics Matter

A narcissist’s relationship to his mother has far-reaching consequences for his own wellbeing and development. By understanding the characteristics of a narcissistic relationship, it is possible to recognize signs of toxicity and break free from it. In doing so, victims can begin to repair emotional damage and move towards healthier, more fulfilling relationships.

How do Narcissists typically treat their Moms?

1. Do narcissists value their relationship with their mother?

While some Narcissists may appear to have a strong bond with their mothers, they often view her as an extension of themselves and value the relationship only as long as it serves their needs.

2. Why do Narcissists feel entitled to abuse their Mothers?

Narcissistic individuals feel entitled to abuse their mothers because they view other people, including family members, as objects that exist to fulfill their needs. They may see their mother’s love as something they are owed rather than something to be cherished and reciprocated.

3. How does a Narcissist’s relationship with their mother change as they become adults?

As children grow into adulthood, the power dynamic often shifts, and a Narcissist may become resentful or even abusive towards their mother when she no longer provides the same level of attention or admiration that she did when they were young.

4. What happens if a mother tries to set boundaries with a Narcissistic child?

If a mother attempts to establish boundaries with a Narcissistic child, the child may become angry and withdraw affection or lash out in an attempt to regain control over the relationship.

5. Can Narcissists ever have healthy relationships with their mother?

In some cases, it is possible for a Narcissist to cultivate healthy relationships with family members provided that they seek help and commit themselves to change. However, this is often difficult for them because it involves admitting fault and vulnerability.

6. Do Narcissists ever regret mistreating their mothers?

Narcissistic individuals often lack the empathy and self-awareness necessary to recognize the harm they have caused others, including their mothers. Therefore, it is unlikely that they will experience true regret for their behavior.

7. How can a mother protect herself from a Narcissistic child?

To protect herself from a Narcissistic child, a mother must set firm boundaries, communicate clearly and honestly, and seek support from friends or professionals when necessary.

  • Practice self-care regularly
  • Don’t allow yourself to be manipulated or controlled by your child’s demands
  • Avoid engaging in arguments or debates with your child as this will only escalate confrontations
  • Be willing to seek professional help such as counseling or therapy to cope with the stress of dealing with a Narcissist.

Dealing with a Narcissistic child can be challenging and emotionally draining for any parent. However, by understanding the behavioral patterns and characteristics of a Narcissist and following these guidelines, you can take steps to protect yourself and establish healthy boundaries in your relationship.

keys takeaways

4 Key Takeaways on How Narcissists Treat Their Mothers

  1. Narcissists may exploit their mothers for personal gain: Narcissists often see their own needs as more important than anyone else’s, including their own mother. They may use her to gain resources or emotional support, without giving much in return.
  2. Narcissists may feel entitled to their mother’s attention: Someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) may expect that their mother should always be available to them, praising them and catering to their every need.
  3. Narcissists may devalue their mother’s opinions: If a mother disagrees with a narcissist, they might lash out or ignore her entirely. Narcissists often believe they are always right and other people’s opinions don’t matter much.
  4. Narcissists may see their mothers as an extension of themselves: To a narcissist, others (including family members) are often seen only as an extension of themselves. A narcissistic child might take over his mother’s hobbies or interests, developing them to fit the image he wants to project.

While not all children of narcissistic parents become narcissistic themselves, it’s important for both children and parents alike to recognize these patterns in order to find healthy ways of interacting and building relationships.