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  • Writer's pictureDana Arcuri

7 Signs of Narcissistic Mothers: Healing Mother Wounds

Have you suffered neglect and abuse by your mother? If so, is your mother a narcissist?

Narcissistic abuse is sited as being ‘soul murder.” It not only breaks your heart and crushes your spirit; it is directly linked to trauma.

Psychological, physical, emotional, and spiritual abuse is still abuse. Never permit anyone to tell you otherwise.

Mother’s Day is on May 8th. For some of us abuse survivors, it is not a day of happy celebrations. Instead, it’s bittersweet. It can be painful for those of us who’ve suffered various types of traumas by our mother’s including narcissistic abuse as well as child neglect and abuse.

When I think of a narcissistic mother, one thing that comes to my mind other than my mom is the movie, Mommy Dearest. The film depicts Christina Crawford’s adoptive mother, actress Joan Crawford, as an abusive, manipulative mother. The terrifying wire hanger scene is forever ingrained in my memory. In this horrifying scene, little Christina who's a precious girl is being physically and mentally abused by her evil mother, Joan Crawford, who's screaming obscenities when she flies into a fit of rage.

Before I share signs of narcissistic mothers and how to heal your mother wound, let’s first define narcissism. According to Urban Dictionary, “A narcissist has an inflated ego. They think highly of oneself, believe they are superior to others, lack empathy, and use lies and manipulative tactics to control others.”

Narcissists tend to be highly critical and judgmental of people, especially their own children. They are cruel, cunning, and spiteful. Oftentimes, the narcissistic mother will fabricate facts to justify her malicious words, actions, and behaviors. The narcissistic mother’s motto: It’s my way or the highway!

What is a mother wound? The best way to describe a mother wound is to understand that it’s a significant loss and a lack of mothering. It may have involved an emotionally immature mother who was not capable of giving you unconditional love, nurturing, and acceptance.

You may have always felt distanced by your mom. There may have not been a loving bond between you and your mother. Perhaps, she was emotionally or physically absent from your life? And all you were left with is a trauma bond.

Typically, children raised by a narcissistic mother were forced to grow up fast. They lost their innocence. They were forced to parent their own mother. It was not a healthy or normal mother/child relationship. Rather, it was dysfunctional and codependent.

A mother wound is the deep pain rooted in our relationship with our toxic mother. The narcissistic mother wound is like a double-edged sword. It cuts like a knife when your own mom has gaslit you, ostracized you, bullied you, shamed you, and repeatedly harmed you.

According to, “Our mother wounds are traumas that pass down from generation to generation. They have a profound impact on our lives. These wounds consist of toxic and oppressive beliefs, ideas, perceptions, and choices.” (This is an example of intergenerational trauma.)

I am a daughter of a narcissistic mother. I know the turmoil, trauma, and drama involved with a lifetime of abuse by a narcissistic mother. On a brighter note, I am grateful to have broke free from my abusive mom. I am thankful for loving myself enough to walk away from a hurtful mother who lacked the ability to truly and genuinely love me unconditionally. I celebrate my freedom from abuse. It is so EMPOWERING and HEALING!!!

One of the biggest challenges adult children of narcissistic mother’s face is the myth that all mothers are loving, caring, tender, and nurturing. Worldwide, this is a false notion and a taboo topic. For many adult children raised by a narcissistic mom, we are scolded by our society who screams, “But she’s your MOTHER!!!”

Despite the fact that we’ve suffered psychological abuse, rejection, triangulation of relationships, smear campaigns, hoovering, the silent treatment, nonstop criticisms, and scapegoating by our own mothers, most people who haven’t personally experience it will not understand it.

On, Lancer states, “Our mother is our first love. She is our introduction to life and to ourselves. She is our lifeline to security. We initially learn about ourselves and our world through interactions with her. We naturally long for her physical and emotional sustenance, her touch, her smile, and her protection. Her empathetic reflection of our feelings, wants, and needs informs us who we are and that we have value. A narcissistic mother who cannot empathize damages her children’s healthy psychological development. Like Narcissus in the Greek myth, she sees only a reflection of herself. There is no boundary of separateness between her and her children, whom she cannot see as unique individuals worthy of love.”

Before we can heal our mother wounds, we first need to understand narcissistic abuse. Here are 7 Signs You Have a Narcissistic Mother:

1. Your mother disrespects you and your boundaries.

2. Your mother is emotionally immature and unavailable.

3. Your mother is a control freak who tries to overpower you.

4. Your mother is a master of manipulation. Oftentimes, she will intentionally destroy your relationships by triangulating them, especially with your dad, siblings, and other people.

5. Your mother habitually abuses you. It can be mentally, physically, sexually, financially, and/or sexually.

6. Your mother dumps toxic shame and blame onto you. She accuses you of being the problem. She loves playing the victim card.

7. Your mother is self-absorbed to the extent of idolizing herself. Everything revolves around her wants, needs, and desires. She says that you are not smart enough, pretty enough, or good enough. Identify the lies that she spoke to you and kick them to the curb.

7 Steps to Heal Mother Wounds

1. Face Your Wounds – The first step is to face, process, and admit the truth about your mother wounds. To validate what your narcissistic mother said and did to you.

2. Inner Child Work – Explore doing inner child work by reconnecting to your younger self. Give compassion, nurturing, and love to your inner child who was neglected, abused, and deeply traumatized.

3. Conquer Your Inner Critic – Build awareness of when your inner critic shows up with hostile messages. Understand that this is a common and normal trauma response. Be kind to yourself. If your inner critic rears its ugly head, switch the negative words to positive words of affirmations. State, “I am worthy of unconditional love. I am strong. I am deserving of respect, kindness, and safety.”

4. Emotional Support – Seek professional emotional support by a trauma-informed expert who is experienced and educated about narcissistic personality disorder, narcissistic abuse, and how to heal trauma.

5. Healthy Boundaries – Set clear, healthy boundaries with all of your relationships, including your mother, family members, spouse, intimate partner, friends, co-workers, and strangers.

6. Self-Parenting – Learn and practice how to self-mother. Give yourself extra TLC, empathy, nurturing, and whatever you didn’t receive as a child, teen, and adult.

7. Grey Rock or No Contact – In some cases, it is wise and therapeutic to practice the grey rock method or to go full no contact. The grey rock method is having limited contact with your narcissistic mother. No contact means that you don't have a relationship with your mother. There is absolutely no contact whatsoever. Another name for no contact is family estrangement.

Let’s keep it real. No one walks away from loving, trusting, and healthy family relationships, including with our mothers. After exhausting all options, going no contact was our last all options, going no contact was our last resort.

Kudos to all brave survivors who had the courage to break the abuse cycle! Today, if you are struggling with a narcissistic mother and a mother wound, I am sending you gentle hugs, prayers, and positive thoughts.

May you have the courage to break free from all toxic dynamics in effort to heal trauma. Trust that you are deserving and worthy of tenderness, compassion, respect, and healthy, safe relationships.

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