How to Recognize A Narcissistic Parent | 13 Common Signs
Positive parenting is key to a child’s healthy development. Positive parenting means that your parents could develop a strong, deeply committed relationship with you and your siblings and respond to your needs. A narcissistic parent on the other hand, will be unable to establish a healthy bond with their children.
A warm relationship between a child and a parent provides a secure bond and sets the child’s healthy development foundation.
There is no such thing as a perfect parent. Most parents simply try their best day after day. However, when someone who is supposed to be a source of care and support turns out to be a source of pain and anguish, that is an entirely different dimension.
The effects of emotional manipulation from your parents can have long-lasting consequences on your relationships, life choices, health, and overall well-being.
Signs of a Manipulative and Narcissistic Parent
A narcissistic parent is overly self-involved and unable to form healthy relationships. They are controlling and possessive and tend to complete with their children. Manipulative parents see their kids’ independence as a threat, shower children with unreasonable expectations, and make you walk on eggshells around their sensitivities.
How to know whether your parent is a narcissist? Let’s imagine it is your mother we talk about. Here are the 13 most common signs of manipulative / narcissistic parent.
1) She Criticizes Everything You Say or Do
Nothing you say or do is ever good enough for your mother. This is one of the vital signs of manipulative mother syndrome. Your toxic parent always makes unrealistic demands and has unrealistic expectations, making you continuously feel imperfect and flawed. She may lead you to believe that she will be happy if you do everything she asks. But this is never the case. Your narcissistic mother will always find that you did something wrong.
2) She is Controlling and Manipulative
Whenever you stand up for yourself, your mother begins playing the victim. She may call you rude, dramatic, or accuse you of being too sensitive. Additionally, she may threaten to cut you off or simply withdraw and shut off. She doesn’t seem to care about your feelings. They want to be in control of what you think, what you do, and who you see.
3) She is Verbally Abusive
Manipulative mothers typically don’t shy away from calling their kids names, yelling at them, or humiliating them in public, often wrapping it up as jokes.
4) She Never Accepts Responsibility for Her Words or Actions
Toxic parents always blame others for their mistakes. Nothing is ever their fault. Your manipulative mother will use gaslighting to make you feel guilty for something you haven’t said or done.
5) She Always Puts Her Needs First
Your manipulative mother may present herself as a caring mother, wife, and community member who takes care of everyone but is actually always about herself. She may intentionally use manipulation to make you feel guilty for not fulfilling her needs and gain control over you.
6) She is Jealous and Possessive
Your narcissistic mother doesn’t like your independence. She may become extremely jealous of any signs of your autonomy and see your career, friends, or a romantic partner as threats to her dominance of you.
7) She Often Reaches for Triangulation
Your toxic mother may pull you into the dynamics of their relationship with other family members to remain in control. Narcissists often use triangulation to relieve the tension and to manipulate and control interactions within the family.
8) She is Always Right
Narcissists are typically in denial of their flaws and mistakes. Your toxic mother believes that she is always right, which makes her deeply injured by criticism and even benign feedback.
9) She Sees Things Black and White
Your toxic mother may see things as black or white only. This cognitive distortion doesn’t allow her to see that people at the same time have qualities and flaws.
10) She Has Little Regard to Your Needs
Many narcissistic parents expect children to make unreasonable sacrifices without empathy or any regard for their needs. Your mother creates this codependency to manipulate and maintain control of you.
11) She Lashes Out on You for Setting Boundaries
Every time you try to set healthy boundaries, your toxic mother starts playing a victim. She may be crying, yelling, and accusing you of being insensitive or cruel for not returning her calls.
12) She is Never Happy for You
Toxic parents are never happy with their offspring’s life choices. No matter what you achieve, it won’t be enough to make your manipulative mother happy.
13) She Denies Your Integrity and Individuality
Narcissistic mothers don’t see their children as individuals but as extensions of herself. So, they never give on trying to control your life.
How to Deal with Manipulative Parents
Growing up with toxic parents was difficult enough. However, now as an independent adult, you can take some steps to deal with manipulative parents and protect your well-being.
1) Set the Boundaries
Whether it is limiting the amount of time you spend with your mother, the number of calls you exchange, or information you share with her, be kind but persistent over your boundaries. Don’t allow your mother to be verbally abusive, pull you in her other relationships, or use gaslighting strategies to manipulate you.
2) Don’t Give In to Her Melodramatic Communication Style
Narcissists use drama to control and manipulate others. Your toxic mother will probably use every opportunity to blame and shame you, criticizing everything you do, from how you look to how you raise your children.
She may never say it out loud, but you will definitely get her message. Your manipulative mother will always find an excuse for her words and actions and be prepared to blame you for whatever reason. So, don’t allow yourself to get trapped in your mother’s dramatic style. Stick to the facts and stay composed.
3) Put Yourself First
Don’t let the toxic relationship with your mother impact your life and well-being. Practice positive affirmations, gratitude, mindfulness, or relaxation techniques to stay mentally healthy and emotionally fit. Make sure you get enough sleep and exercise regularly. Engage in positive social interactions and do things that make you feel good about yourself.
No parent is perfect. But understanding the level of your parent’s personality issues can help manage your relationship with her.
Are you needing to move beyond a toxic relationship and to figure out how to move yourself further? Let’s chat.