7 Effects of Having a Narcissistic Mother

Having a narcissistic mother can mean that, as an adult, you aren't able to look after yourself and you continually try to satisfy the needs of those around you, leaving yourself in second place.
7 Effects of Having a Narcissistic Mother

Written by Okairy Zuñiga

Last update: 26 May, 2022

Although sometimes you may not notice it, the way your parents raised you has a considerable influence on your personality and future self-esteem. In this article, we’re talking about the consequences of having a narcissistic mother.

If you have a mother with the following characteristics, it’s important that you understand the possible effects and take action to avoid emotional problems.

What’s a narcissistic mother?

Our parents are figures of authority. At the same time, they act as a role model and our first contact with society. However, not all of them are the best examples, and some can even create severe problems in your life.

Before we start talking about the results of having a narcissistic mother, it is important to understand what this concept means. The first thing we should bear in mind is that narcissistic people love themselves excessively. 

As a result, they may require a lot of attention from their loved ones and it may be hard to satisfy them.

Although being this demanding may make them and their children achieve excellent results in life, the emotional wear will be equally severe.

Therapist Karyl McBride, in her book Will I Ever Be Good Enough?: Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers, recognize some of the characteristics that the children of narcissistic mothers present. Below we explore those in a bit more detail.

1. The children of narcissistic mothers tend to forget about their own needs and desires

Narcissistic Mother

A narcissistic person always needs attention, is usually arrogant, and likes to manipulate others because they feel they deserve the best.

Translating this into the family context, one of the effects of having a narcissistic mother is that her children grow up with the need to please her.

In this process, the children don’t perceive themselves as individuals that have their own needs and desires. Typically, they become a reflection of what their mother wants and do all the activities that are expected of them.

When they achieve the imposed goals and objectives, their mother rewards them and so they learn to constantly seek this affection. As a result, when they grow up, they don’t have awareness of their own space and try to satisfy the needs of others before their own.

2. They have low self-esteem

Another effect of having a narcissistic mother is that the children only receive affection when their mother wants something from them. The problem is that these mothers are so demanding that it becomes difficult to satisfy her expectations.

As a result, the mother will give signs or messages to her children to show them that they aren’t good enough. This causes the children to always feel incompetent, lacking in ability, anxious, and with low self-esteem.

3. They struggle to love themselves for who they are

You struggle to love yourself for who you are

As a result of not feeling good enough, the children of narcissistic mothers have difficulties loving themselves and accepting themselves for who they are.

It’s normal for us all to find things that we don’t like about ourselves and that we would like to change. However, people with stable parents grow up with the ability to find positive aspects of themselves.

One of the effects of having a narcissistic mother is that the children of these women will have problems finding something that they like about themselves. Even if they reach great goals or achieve everything they aim for, it will never be enough for them.

4. They feel more like a companion than a child

Due to the huge amount of attention that these kinds of parents demand, their children’s lives revolve around them, their problems, their needs, and their happiness.

For this reason, the children become an emotional support and they get involved in situations they shouldn’t be involved in. These children take on so many responsibilities that they forget that they are the children and end up becoming more of an emotional companion.

People who have had this kind of parents feel as if they’ve spent their whole lives resolving problems.

Although this can be positive in the sense that they have most likely learned how to solve problems and be self-sufficient, they’ll feel a great burden and will struggle to trust others.

5. They always talk negatively

You always talk negatively

Having a narcissistic mother means receiving constant negative messages. Thanks to this, the children learn to speak to themselves with criticism and hurtful words.

It creates a mirror effect. They learn to see life as their mother did and, because they received negative messages, they talk to themselves in the same way.

6. They learn to hide their true nature

Another effect of having a narcissistic mother is that these children learn to deny a part of their nature in order to show what their mother expects of them. Over time, this process of denying oneself or hiding oneself becomes normal.

As adults, these people may struggle to identify who they really are, what their true desires are, and what they really expect of life and of others.

7. They self-sabotage

You self-sabotage

Having a narcissistic mother means always receiving the message that you’re not good enough. This prepares the children to expect the worst of every situation.

When they grow up, they will avoid committing their emotions to keep themselves as safe as they can. For example, they may avoid falling in love to avoid being abandoned. This of course creates a vicious circle that leads to greater anxiety and insecurity.

What should you do if you have a narcissistic mother?

A relationship of this kind can cause intangible psychological damage that can have a great impact on your life.

If you live with or have lived with a narcissistic mother, you should seek help or advice to deal with the messages you’ve learned and achieve a more satisfying life.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.