Growing up with one toxic parent is very difficult. If you are unlucky enough to have had two toxic parents, then the damage would have been even more destructive on your young brain.
Toxic people are exactly what the word says. They can be very negative, manipulating, abusive, controlling and exhausting to be around.
The most well known type of toxic individuals are those who score high on the narcissistic/psychopathic spectrum.
In this blog post, I want to focus on narcissistic mothers.The pain caused by a mother who can’t bond healthily with her child is unbearable. The subsequent traumatic effect this has on the brain of a young child is awful and it can cause complex ptsd, depression and anxiety (There are many more conditions caused but I have only listed a few).
The child doesn’t experience the normal nurturing & bonding experience that it should, as narcissistic mothers aren’t able to love unconditionally. They are very selfish and only have children so they have someone to cater to their needs until the end. They have children so that they can have mirrors of themselves.They focus on moulding them into obedient little worshippers.They demand that their children provide them with unconditional, one-way love that they feel entitled to, no matter how badly they treat them. They try to keep their children from growing up and gaining their own identity, fearing it will lead their children to leave them and go on to live their own lives.
Narcissistic mothers treat their children in different ways. They either try to control them, ignore them completely, or engulf them and make it so they cannot develop into their own self. They can alternate between these very often, which causes extreme stress to the child.
When looking at the behaviour of narcissistic mothers there are several different kinds:
The guilt driven mother: They constantly say things like ”after everything I have done for you, I expect etc”
The dependence-driven mother: The narcissistic mother makes their child feel that they could not go on living without their child in their life. They tell their kids that they need them and that they cannot take care of their well-being by themselves.
The goal driven mother: “We have a goal we need to achieve…” They always want their child to do their best, as they want to look good to the outside world.
The punishing mother: If the child goes against the mother’s wishes or needs, it is punished by withholding love, toys etc. This is horrible for the child’s self esteem and also because they get confused about what is wrong and right..
According to Michelle Piper, who is a trained psychotherapist, there are many faces of narcissism. Maybe you can identify with some of these:
- The Time Hostage: Your mom gets mad at you when you need to reschedule but assumes you will reschedule with her and/or repeatedly cancels on you last minute.
- The Quietly Self-Absorbed Narcissist: She’s socially withdrawn and odd thinking, with morose self-doubts and a relentless search for power and has fantasies of great achievements.
- The Nice Narcissist: She’s nice. She just needs you to agree with her at all times or she won’t like you.
- The Victim: She is unable to take accountability for her choices. She looks at a problem and blames it on something out of her control instead of searching for anything in the situation she can change.
- The Attacker: She comes at you with attacks to see if you admit to anything or, as a way of expressing her fears.
- The Downer: She is so busy talking about why everything is lacking that she isn’t emotionally present to you.
- The Assessor: It is her job to critique how you measure up and point out anything you could improve on, not to give at least equal time to telling you what you do right.
- The Credit Taker: She takes credit for everything, whether she deserves it or not. She passes the blame onto others, whether justified or not. She’s always right, never wrong.
- The Jealous Narcissist: If you have it, she wants it or will strive to make it seem worth less than it is and devalue it.
- The Competitor: She lets you know you may be good but she is better, or prettier, or smarter, or more accomplished than you’ll ever be.
- The Operator: She work’s her own agenda at all times. She’s walled off in her plans for you and everyone else whether you agree with her or not.
- The Fading Beauty: She is not handling the aging process well and looks at your comparable youth as an affront.
- The Beauty Queen: She identifies herself strongly with her attractiveness and may have been the homecoming queen, the best dressed, or known for her beauty. She’s especially bothered if you don’t try to make the most of your looks.
- The Innocent Narcissist: She’s highly defensive and extremely hostile but masks it behind a “poor me” facade of vulnerability.
- The Enraged Narcissist: She screams to get her needs met and projects rage without a filter, not caring who sees it. She doesn’t apologize for her actions.
- The Vengeful Narcissist: She enjoys inflicting pain on others and getting back at them if she does not get her way.
- The Passive Aggressive Narcissist: She sulks and gives the silent treatment and plots how to punish those who don’t give her what she wants. She is vindictive and capable of becoming a stalker.
- The Stealth Narcissist: She fakes an interest in other people and their needs and knows that acting concerned with get her what she wants.
- The Cruel Narcissist: She is never fair and her discipline shows that. She knowingly causes you pain and enjoys knowing that you are miserable.
- The Character Assassinator: She is always trying to tarnish your reputation by lying, exaggerating, or manipulating the facts to make you look bad and to make her look good.
- The Stingy Narcissist: Gifts, compliments, advice and money are given, but look out when you inevitably fail.
- The Wounded Narcissist: She feels victimized and the world is against her. She needs you to take care of her and aid in her every want and need.
- The Disdainful Narcissist: You are treated as though you are less than what she expected, a disappointment or failure.
- The Scapegoating Narcissist: Her life would be better if you were better, or whoever she’s choosing to scapegoat was better. And it will not be better until this person changes.
- The User Narcissist: She takes advantage of you and treats you as more of an employee than anything else. She uses you to get ahead in her own life.
- The Boundary-less Narcissist: There is no difference between you and her, you are an extension of her and therefore she has no limits. She intrudes on your space and looks through your personal belongings. She embarrasses you constantly.
- The Amnesia Narcissist: No matter what healthy requests you’ve made, it is as if you have to repeat yourself every time. For example, “Please don’t hug me or kiss me, it makes me feel uncomfortable,” is ignored.
- The Needy Narcissist: “You don’t give me enough calls” or attention. She wants more from you than anyone could deliver.
- The Time-Sucker Narcissist: You could spend every minute with this person and they would still feel neglected.
- The Mind-Reader Narcissist: You didn’t say it, you didn’t think it, and yet they have read into something and insist it is true.
- The Clairvoyant Narcissist: You didn’t say it, you didn’t think it, but once they have said it you realize it’s true and it’s usually something negative about them (can cause identity confusion for you).
- The Touchy-Feely Narcissist: You are expected to tolerate her touching you however and whenever they want.
- The Holiday Narcissist: You don’t exist unless it is their birthday or a holiday where she feels the need for family time.
- The Glamour Narcissist: She is all about making herself look good. She buys the most expensive clothes, gets her hair and nails done, and doesn’t care about the amount of money she spends.
- The Rockstar Narcissist: She believes that she is the center of attention and it should always be that way. She’s the main attraction and wants everyone to idolize her, even if she really has no talents or reason to be in the limelight.
- The World Traveler Narcissist: She brags about places she’s been and makes up stories about the places she hasn’t been, but tells people she has. She has grandiose fantasies about how worldly she is.
- The Professor/Elite Intellectual Narcissist: She is brainy and seeks admiration for her intelligence. She uses her intellect to put others down and make them feel stupid.
- The Stage Mom/The Promoter: She lives her fantasies through you. She makes you do the things she wish she could [still] do and believes your achievements are her own.
- The Fashionista: She tells you how to dress and what not to wear—often when you’re already wearing it!
- Miss Manners: She still meticulously points out your etiquette failures– from how you eat to what family events you should attend.
- The Publicist: She brags about you to others but is excessively critical of you when you are alone.
- The Dr. Jekyl/Mr. Hyde Narcissist: She is nice in public, but mean under her breath or when alone.
- The Forever Young Narcissist: When did you become more mature than your mother? How old is she, really, emotionally?
- The Hot Mama Narcissist: Sexualized and distracted.
- The Lovesick Narcissist: Always chasing that ideal mate or trying to win the affection of her partner.
- The Enabler Mom: She is too distracted with your rebel siblings’ problems or her partner’s addictive behaviors and seems to get a bit of a rush or power out of rescuing.
- The Social Butterfly: Everyone in town loves her, she is a generous host, but she can’t be bothered to make time for you.
- The Hypochondriac Narcissist: She believes something’s physically wrong with her, you should be checking in on her. And, if you don’t, as luck would have it, she unfortunately has something real going on every once in awhile. Or, it’s nothing a reputable doctor will confirm but she’s fighting off her cancer, leprosy, etc. with special treatments she’s managed to find through her own sheer will to survive.
- The Financially-Challenged Narcissistic: She just needs a little bit of help for this umpteenth self created crisis and she’s sorry she hasn’t paid you back yet for the last time you lent her money.
- The Martyr Narcissist: Her refrain is “How Can You Do This to Me?” She tells you that you make her miserable, suicidal, isolated, or some other negative emotion. You are told that, in one way or another, you control her emotions and that if you would just do what she wanted she would be fine.
- The BFF (Best Friends Forever) Narcissist: You are her best friend, she doesn’t know what she would do without you, unless she had a better offer, in that case you’ll just have to wait until the next time she’s lonely. You are brought out like a doll when she wants attention then ignored when she doesn’t need it (but seriously, when doesn’t she need it?). This is also a description of what is experienced when someone is another’s “narcissistic supply.”
- The Expensive Narcissist: She has ruined your credit through manipulation to use your credit.
- The Criminal Narcissist: Some narcissists exploit their children or others through identity theft, mismanagement of trust funds, and fraudulent financial dealings. You may or may not have been the target of her crime, but she doesn’t see the rule of law applies to her. She may have Antisocial Personality Disorder, which is a pattern of manipulating, exploiting, or violating the rights of others. As if the narcissism wasn’t enough!