My Mother is a Narcissist.
How do I know this you may ask? Well, I haven’t had her diagnosed nor labelled by a professional since Narcissists are rarely if ever diagnosed. Their narcissism prevents it. Not only does it prevent it but it also is prevents them from seeing it in themselves. If someone ever mentions it, they will be completely defensive and deny or most likely call you a Narcissist. Even professionals state they are untreatable and can manipulate counsellors for extended periods of time without them recognizing it. When confronted by professionals, they walk away bad mouthing their abilities as a professional and will refuse to go back.
Growing up with a Narcissistic mother is a very lonely, gas lighting experience. (Gas lighting: when someone tries to convince you that you are crazy but it’s really them). As a child, you are trained to be minion-like, or an ego inflating person for them otherwise, you are kicked to the curb so to speak. Or even worse, you’ll turn out just like them in order to survive the experience. My Mother has a Narcissitic Mother as well and some of her siblings are lesser variations of it or just plain dysfunctional from growing up in this craziness.
Hallmarks to identify if your mother is a Narcissist:
-Turn on the charm and the sanity at will. But in secret they show their true colors.
-Never admit they have any problems. It’s always someone else’s fault that they are upset.
-Never take responsibility for anything they’ve done wrong. No matter what.
-Exaggerate stories, fib or brag on about themselves to make others think they are better than they are.
-Bring others down or make others look badly to make themselves look good.
-Have no use for people who don’t serve a purpose in somehow benefitting their ego. Thus children get the most abuse as they consider them extensions of themselves and struggle with their behavior if it doesn’t worship them as parents. If they were not extensions of themselves, they would just cut them out like they do most people in their lives.
-Few good friends. Not good at maintaining long time friendships.
-Difficulties getting along with their own families. Often don’t talk to them.
-Regular cutting people off, stonewalling, not talking to others as a form of control and self importance.
-Will project their own behaviors on others. Acting cold and mean but will call you cold and mean. (Form of gaslighting)
-They will play family members against each other in order to get attention.
-Attention is their main focus and goal in life. They will pull out all the stops to get the kind of attention they crave. Having children who worship them is a feather in their cap. They will manipulate, guilt and control to keep them as minions.
-They often seem like lovely sympathetic people at times and can be but usually don’t follow through with it in actions as they are just playing a role to get the attention they want. It’s like a druggie who will do anything to get the hit but once they get it, they are done for awhile.
-Play the Martyr, good Mother, loving neighbour, fantastic friend role for short periods of time in order to get the attention they so crave. However, it does not last long and their true colors show in people that are the closest to them.
-Use guilt as a means to control or gain attention.
-Difficulty keeping a job. Often quit due to issues with others.
-Often spends a lot of time on appearances (physical or social).
This list is not extensive just a small amount of what a Narcissistic Mother may look like. Each person’s biological personality will change portions of this and they may be higher or lower on the spectrum of Narcissism. Growing up with a Narcissitic Mother usually means you have a very uninvolved or dysfunctional father, or a father how had to placate your Mother as she would have divorced him otherwise. So your family experience was not a great one! I sympathize with you and tell you this one piece of advice. Learn about boundaries, what they are, what they look like in regards to your Mother and implement them. You may lose your Mom but you will gain yourself back!