Many families deal with disorders and disorders presented by any of their members. This is the case of those who live with a narcissistic mother. Have you heard of that term? It has been increasingly discussed on and off the internet, especially in social media groups.
Understanding the subject is important to identify the profile characteristics and, therefore, look for ways to help those who deal with the problem. To contribute to this mission, I have written this post to help you understand more on who is a narcissistic mother and how you can help/ deal with her.
Follow up and answer your main questions!
What is a narcissistic mother?
Before starting to talk about the profile, it is worth understanding the origin of the term narcissism. The word refers to the famous character Narcissus, from Greek mythology. He was a young and handsome boy who, delighted with his own reflection observed in the waters of a river, ended up drowning.
Today, narcissism is used to describe the personality of someone who is extremely passionate about their own image. It is also a term associated with a disorder that compromises different types of relationships. In the family field, both parents and children can present this picture.
The narcissistic mother is, therefore, the woman who presents pathological maternal narcissism. The profile is characterized by having a high opinion of yourself, demanding constant admiration and believing that other people are inferior. Therefore, it generates abusive behaviors that harm the mental health of young people who live with it.
What are common behaviors?
The conduct of people who suffer from this disorder can vary, but some signs are quite recurrent. A widely perceived characteristic, for example, is the lack of empathy. This means the inability to put yourself in the other’s shoes or to validate the feelings of others.
In fact, studies based on imaging tests have shown that individuals with Narcissistic Personality Disorder have reduced gray matter volume in the area of the brain that is associated with empathy and compassion. This is the region known as the anterior insula.
Here are other common behaviors of a narcissistic mother:
- in any event or situation, it indicates the constant need to be the center of attention;
- exaggerated feeling of self-importance, which makes it require special treatment;
- exploitation of third parties, especially children, for personal gain;
- signs of arrogance in the way of talking and doing things;
- explicit preference for a particular child;
- custom of making comparisons between people, extolling some to hurt others;
- manipulation and blackmail to get what he wants, without thinking about the wishes of others;
- fixation by fantasies of power and games that place it in a space of superiority.
Sudden variations in mood cause many people to confuse the narcissistic profile with the individual suffering from Bipolar Disorder . In any case, the sudden change in the way a mother acts can cause damage to the physical and mental health of children and adolescents.
Is there any kind of diagnosis?
It is important to note that people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder are not always aware of this state. Many of them were born and raised in abusive homes, so they believe that many of the negative behaviors are normal or acceptable.
When narcissistic women form their own families, they continue to reproduce the practices experienced in childhood or adolescence. In this way, they end up hurting their own children and acting as if everything is perfectly balanced in the relationship.
As each individual has variations in signs, it is not always easy to identify a narcissistic mother. The investigation of a possible condition is usually done by professionals who study and work in the area of mental health. Generally, family members confirm the suspicion with psychologists.
The specialist will assess the presence of certain patterns of behavior to classify them and offer the diagnosis. If the existence of the disorder is confirmed, the patient will be informed about the practices and medications that can act to control the pathology.
How to deal with a narcissistic mother?
Psychologists understand that there are different forms and degrees of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Thus, it is expected that each case will involve a specific set of methods. The definition of the best therapeutic process will depend on professional analysis and the patient’s own interest.
In situations where women accept help, it is possible to have good results with jobs that involve understanding their own feelings. The creation of self-esteem mechanisms that do not involve power games is also favorable to the patient’s well-being.
By doing this type of exercise, the narcissistic mother will be able to learn new ways to gain admiration, without having to go over the needs of others. With adequate and constant support, you will find that there are healthier ways to demonstrate self-confidence and prove your worth.
But what about when the maternal figure denies that she has a problem? For children and teenagers it gets more complicated, as they are totally dependent on their parents. A temporary solution is to ensure that they have the support of another adult to monitor and mitigate possible inappropriate behaviors of the maternal figure.
Anyone who grows up in the care of a narcissistic mother may find it difficult to sever relationships. Still, it is worthwhile to make the effort to gradually withdraw, in order to gain independence and maintain a distance. This will help to keep the relationship more peaceful and minimally healthy.
When to seek help?
The children of narcissists tend to put their own needs aside to avoid conflicts with their mothers. It is also common for them to have shaken self-esteem and find it difficult to expose their anxieties. If you feel that way, be sure to seek expert help.
As stated, mental health professionals are the most recommended to assess the condition and help family members. Then, contact a trusted psychologist to diagnose, guide and monitor each step of the therapeutic process.