Having to deal with a narcissistic mother is more than just dealing with her demanding and controlling behavior. They often say hurtful things that undermine your self-esteem.
Growing up with a narcissistic parent can be a nightmare. Mothers who are narcissistic are not just mothers; they are master manipulators who may like to take over every aspect of their children’s lives1.
To be in complete control, she may be willing to go to any lengths or say hurtful statements2.
What is a Narcissistic Mother
A narcissistic mother is characterized by grandiosity. She tends to have an exaggerated sense of her own importance and unrealistic expectations of how others perceive her.
She also has a sense of entitlement. She assumes that everyone is just an extension of herself, and therefore, she can control everyone else.
She uses criticism, blame, and degrading insults to control her children. Insecurity, shame, and self-loathing are common feelings experienced by adult children whose mothers are narcissistic3.
Things Narcissistic Mothers Say
Below are some examples of toxic behaviors and harsh words used by narcissistic mothers.
Everything is about them
In the world of a narcissist, everything revolves around them.
They’re the center of their own universe and everyone exists to serve them. They are the only ones who matter.
They also think that their children are nothing without them.
- “I put your happiness first, and I get this in return.”
- “You only did this to hurt my feelings.”
- “I gave up my life to give you a better one, and you do nothing for me in return.”
- “You’re such a bad child. You should have known its impact on me when you made the decision.”
- “If I hadn’t been so busy raising you, I would have had a career.”
- “You have ruined my life.”
- “I can not believe I wasted my whole life on you.”
- “You are my biggest mistake.”
- “You only think about yourself”
- “You are the most ungrateful child I have ever met.”
- “You are trying to embarrass me here.”
Their feelings are important. Yours are not.
Narcissist mothers have fragile self-esteem. Any time you hurt it, even unknowingly, you have committed a serious crime.
Although they cherish their feelings, they do not care if they hurt someone else.
A narcissist dismisses others’ feelings and enjoys criticizing them in the most hurtful way.
- “You’re so selfish. You never care about my feelings.”
- “Why did you do this to hurt me?”
- “You knew I didn’t like it, but you still did it to hurt me.”
- “You only think about yourself.”
- “You always look for attention.”
- “You don’t deserve everything that I have done for you.”
- “Why do you always have to make a big deal out of everything?”
- “Nobody cares what you have to say.”
- “You should try being more like your sister. She is my favorite child.”
- “It’s embarrassing to be related to you.”
- “Don’t you think it’s a good time to join the gym?”
- “Maybe you should try losing a few pounds.”
- “You’re so pretty but you will look better if you lose some weight.”
- “You should never wear this dress; it makes you look fat.”
- “You eat so much. Why don’t you start jogging for a change?”
- “I don’t understand what he sees in you.”
- “I’m baffled as to how he puts up with you.”
- “You should take a lesson from your sister because she never disappoints me.”
- “You don’t deserve to be happy.”
- “You will never amount to anything.”
- “You should be ashamed of yourself.”
- “No wonder you don’t have any friends.”
- “You are a horrible child. You never appreciate anything I’ve done for you.”
Their way or the highway
When you have a narcissist parent, everything must be done their way or it’s wrong.
They think they know what’s best but they are just self-serving. Any disagreement is viewed as a personal attack to them and they respond with rage and aggression.
They never stop to consider others have rights, needs, and preferences, too.
- “Stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about.”
- “If you ever do that, you are not my son.”
- “Do this now or you’ll never do it.”
In order to control all aspects of their children’s lives, narcissistic mothers manipulate their children by dismissing, gaslighting, shaming, blaming, and raging. Guilt trips are also often used as a form of control.
- “That never happened. You must have imagined it.”
- “It’s not that big of a deal.”
- “Why are you so dramatic?”
- “You are overreacting.”
- “No one will ever love you with that attitude.”
- “You have an awful personality and can never do anything right.”
- “Everyone agrees that you’re probably the worst person to go out with.”
- “You’ll be sorry for it when I’m gone.”
- “I wish I had a daughter who I could depend on.”
- “Don’t make a scene.”
- “Get over it.”
- “You’re being overly sentimental.”
They need constant attention and praise
In the eyes of the outside world, some narcissistic mothers are great mothers.
They brag and boast about what they do for their children and how much sacrifice they make.
- “I sacrificed so much for my kids.”
- “Helping my children achieve these things was a lot of work.”
- “Look, my child got first prize. I’m so glad I didn’t let him give up on piano.”
Final Thoughts on Things Narcissistic Mothers Say
A toxic relationship between a parent and a child can be very damaging to the child’s emotional growth.
You may still carry the emotional abuse and the burden of narcissism as an adult.
However, you don’t have to live with those life experiences or images for the rest of your life.
Get help by finding a mental health professional who specializes in working with adult children of toxic parents and talk through what happened to you so you can move on and start healing from it.
- 1.Ackerman RA, Donnellan MB. Evaluating Self-Report Measures of Narcissistic Entitlement. J Psychopathol Behav Assess. Published online March 27, 2013:460-474. doi:10.1007/s10862-013-9352-7
- 2.Overview: narcissistic personality disorder. AJP. Published online January 1982:12-20. doi:10.1176/ajp.139.1.12
- 3.Baskin-Sommers A, Krusemark E, Ronningstam E. Empathy in narcissistic personality disorder: From clinical and empirical perspectives. Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment. Published online 2014:323-333. doi:10.1037/per0000061