Online forums

Before you can post or reply in these forums, please complete your profile

Complete your profile

Before you can post or reply in these forums, please join our online community.

Forum membership is open to anyone residing in Australia.

Join the online community Community rules Coping during the Coronavirus outbreak

Forums / Relationship and family issues / I think my mum is a narcissist

Topic: I think my mum is a narcissist

23 posts, 0 answered
  1. boilingpoint
    boilingpoint avatar
    6 posts
    9 January 2014

    I am 40 and have just realised whats wrong with my mother, I think she has NPD.

    Last straw was when she picked a fight (wasn't really a fight) packed her bags while staying at my house and just left 3 days before xmas. Like I was not worth talking to sort things out, left me very easily. So I have decided no contact was the way to go. Realised a grieved for a mother a never really had but wanted so much, relaised she never did really love me and never will. Though do I still let her see my kids - her grandkids? Is it fair to not let her see her grandkids though what if she hurts them too as they grow older? they are 2 and 3

  2. Vanilla5
    Vanilla5 avatar
    14 posts
    11 January 2014 in reply to boilingpoint

    I don't know if everyone will agree with me, but I also suspect my mother has NPD, and I wouldn't expose my kids to her if I had any. From what I've read from other forums, NPD can be learned, so I wouldn't want them picking up on any unpleasant behaviours.

  3. boilingpoint
    boilingpoint avatar
    6 posts
    11 January 2014 in reply to Vanilla5
    Decided not to expose my kids to her especially after she didn't call to say happy birthday for my youngest son who turned 2 today. Very sad that I have a mother like this..
  4. Vanilla5
    Vanilla5 avatar
    14 posts
    13 January 2014

    Sorry to hear that, but I think you're doing the right thing for your kids. 

  5. Pixie15
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    Pixie15 avatar
    721 posts
    13 January 2014 in reply to Vanilla5


    From what I have read if your mother has NPD she would have already probably had some impact on you when you were a child. Your own recovery might depend on your getting to know her better. You could be doing yourself and your mother a great disservice. I would not write someone off that quickly.  




  6. boilingpoint
    boilingpoint avatar
    6 posts
    13 January 2014 in reply to Pixie15
    She is the one who wrote me off quickly picked a fight, just packed her bags and left whilst staying at my house. She didn't even attempt to talk, like I just wasn't worth talking to, now has completely dismissed me and my children. I just don't think I should have to beg her to love me. I don't hate her, just hate her actions. If she will never admit to something being wrong with her mental state what is the point?
    1 person found this helpful
  7. Vanilla5
    Vanilla5 avatar
    14 posts
    14 January 2014 in reply to boilingpoint

    If your mother is anything like mine, I wouldn't dwell too much. Unless you've actually experienced NPD long term, you don't know what it's like. 

    It's like willingly befriending your bully, only they're still actually bullying you, so they're not a friend at all. I would confidently compare it with an unhealthy relationship, where a husband beats his wife, and she won't leave him, because she still believes he loves her, only the beatings are emotional, and psychological, rather than physical.

    They can't be reasoned with, because if you're the 'target' victim, nothing you say is right, and everything they say is. All they do is make you crazy, and make others believe you are too. You'll be much happier without, in my opinion. 

    If you're unsure though, I'd talk to a professional for advice, and maybe for a venting session.

  8. boilingpoint
    boilingpoint avatar
    6 posts
    14 January 2014 in reply to Vanilla5
    I agree they can't be reasoned with, they will never believe or admit they have issues so my only option is to give up..just like she did. Wish it wasn't like this but it is and have no option but to have no contact.
  9. Pixie15
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    Pixie15 avatar
    721 posts
    14 January 2014 in reply to boilingpoint

    I wasn't suggesting that you accept any sort of bad treatment for yourself or your children. I just personally think it is a good idea to get to know your parents as adults. I don't think people are born with personality disorders so there must be something in your mothers history which has influenced her own development. It might not mean you will like her any better but you may have more empathy.

  10. Vanilla5
    Vanilla5 avatar
    14 posts
    15 January 2014 in reply to Pixie15

    I know you mean well Daisy, and anyone with a loving mother would not wish for anything like what we're discussing. I hope you understand that my advise is not based on resentment towards my own mother, but from the experience of over-empathising with her. 

    Victims of NPD are prone to do this, as they feel obligated to care for the person; after all, they're still human. The problem is, for every time I have had this decision, it has costed me. It can really burn a person out, and no one can truly relate to that feeling, without experiencing it first hand.

    Trust me, I've told plenty of friends; all who thought I was over reacting, especially since she was lovely towards them (she keeps a front to hide her true nature). But so far I've had two friends live with us, for about 3 months each; both have changed their minds, and don't want anything to do with her now. Even every husband she has had, has left; resentful.

    I've tried time and time again to try and make it work. If they don't want your help, then you wanting a good relationship with them isn't enough.

    1 person found this helpful
  11. Pixie15
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    Pixie15 avatar
    721 posts
    15 January 2014 in reply to Vanilla5

    OK. Sounds like you have done all the getting to know. It is hard isn't it to know that your mother has no real care for you. 

  12. Katy100
    Katy100 avatar
    85 posts
    19 January 2014 in reply to Pixie15

    I was in my 40s when I realised that my mother was a narcissist.  It was a relief to be able to understand the condition ... if not the woman.  When I was 20, I moved from the UK to Australia, away from my family.  It probably saved my sanity.  Well, what there is of it.  

    I got to the point where I would have been happy cutting her out of my life, but she had cancer ... I went over to the UK a few times to help her with the treatment ... out of "duty".  

    On her deathbed, in hospice, I gave my son a piece of paper and a pencil to occupy himself ... she looked at his drawing, and then at me, and said, in a voice laced with contempt "Oh, he's still scribbling, is he?".  He was 4 or 5 at the time.  

    If she hadn't been dying, I think that's when I'd have cut contact.  

    I posted this on another thread the other day ... sorry if you've already read it.

    Meet my mother ... 

    1 person found this helpful
  13. boilingpoint
    boilingpoint avatar
    6 posts
    20 January 2014 in reply to Katy100
    It is a relief to understand but doesn't seem to make it any easier. I read your post, my mother is the same.
  14. Vanilla5
    Vanilla5 avatar
    14 posts
    21 January 2014 in reply to boilingpoint

    Katy100; I'm sorry to hear about your mother. That link is a good reference though; the description feels all too familiar. I think it's a good read, as it helps you to not only understand a person with NPD, but to accept that it is a condition, so that you can finally work on accepting the reality.

    boilingpoint; I'm sorry it's hard, I hope this has helped towards finding some closure. Whether or not it helps, there are others who can relate as well. Try a site called: 

    It's relates to several different personality disorders, but NPD is definitely one of them.

  15. SoOverit
    SoOverit avatar
    1 posts
    1 February 2014 in reply to Vanilla5

    I totally agree with you Vanilla5. Only a few months ago at the age of 63 I finally worked out why my relationship with my mother has been so toxic almost all of my life and why she treated my brother (Golden Child) so differently. She is now 89 so there is no possible way I could discuss her disorder with her even if she could or would listen to anything I said. There have been many times over the years when we have been estranged for periods of time, but I always allowed myself to be drawn back in because of guilt or the (in hindsight) absurd belief that somehow things could be different and she'd suddenly discover that she really did care about me deep down. Discovering that she had NPD was such a light bulb moment for me as it enabled me to finally discard the guilt I have always carried, believing that it must be my fault my mother couldn't love me.  At the same time it was extremely painful as I thought about how different my life might have been if I had only known this 40 years ago. I have never had children because I was so afraid I'd be like her and have not managed to sustain any of my partnerships believing I was not worthy of good men or being irresistably drawn to similarly disordered individuals, presumably because they felt familiar to me. 

    I have essentially taken myself out of her life, because I simply can't deal with any more of the pain she causes me. She still tries to draw me back in, but now I can stay away because I just don't feel any guilt any more. When I do see her, I now have strong boundaries and just won't allow her to go to places I know are going to incite me to retaliate.  Interestingly, since my attitude has changed she's actually started to behave much better.  I know she's only doing it to try and suck me back in - she needs me so much more these days - but whatever her motivation it is a relief to be treated with a little respect finally. Because of her age, I feel I can't turn my back on her completely - there's no one else she can really turn to - but I've told her if she needs or wants something she has to ask me and I'll see if I can comply. She has cost me so much, but I also recognise it isn't her fault she has this disorder and now with her improved behavior I feel slightly safer when I am around her.

    Nevertheless I am still stuggling with the chronic depression, anxiety and insomnia I have had for over 40 years,and which is actually getting worse as I age because of the fear of how low it can take me and how vulnerable I am.

    The internet is a wonderful resource and invaluable in allowing people to educate themselves about these various personality disorders. I only wish I had been able to access sites like this one all those years ago before the damage became as deep seated as it now is.

    My advice to anyone who realises they have an NPD mother would definitely be to cut off all contact and if you can't do that, only see her when you feel you can set really strong boundaries and stick to them.  Allow yourself as long as it takes to heal no matter how long that may be.


  16. Vanilla5
    Vanilla5 avatar
    14 posts
    9 February 2014 in reply to SoOverit

    I'm sorry to hear that you too have had to face this issue for so long, but am happy to hear that you have learned the truth. It's definitely liberating. 

    My advice would be to learn to love yourself, with all your being. Be sure to take care of your needs, your health, and your desires; and not just occasionally, do it often; everyday if you can. Overtime, this will assist in healing some of the wounds, and in teaching you to understand that you deserve so much better.

  17. Wobbles
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Wobbles avatar
    5 posts
    24 March 2014

    I too have a NPD mother, at least that is what i've diagnosed her as having. I won't go into the details of her or my relationship with her growing up. I have not had contact with her for nearly 7 years and will never have contact with her again.

    I did want to share though a fantastic read, it's called "When you and your Mother can't be friends" by Victoria Secunda. It helped me immensely in understanding the type of person/mother my 'mother' is and helped me come to terms with everything.

    I'm 34 now and have two young boys of my own and i will not ever allow my 'mother' to see, meet, spend any time with my children and understanding more about her only solidifies the validity in my decision regarding this.

    Have a read if you can, get hold of a second hand copy, or order it online, it was truly eye-opening to me. 

  18. Double NPV
    Double NPV avatar
    1 posts
    10 April 2014 in reply to Wobbles


    It's incredibly liberating when you read others' stories online and think that everything fits so well!  I had a very narcarcisstic PD mother and I cut contact with her when I was 16.  I'm 31 now.  As you would appreciate however, they have their strong desires to get to their "target" (Target was me, Golden Child was my brother) any way they can so over the years I've had problems arise from extended family members that she has sucked in and convinced I am a bad person.  These family members then try to do what they have been led to believe is "right" and therefore the fact I will not engage in contact with my mother justifies to them that I am a "bad person".  Victims of NPD will know exactly what I'm talking about, it's like a lifelong game of chess with daily battles and one great war, only the NPD person will go out of their way to convince the whole world, especially anyone you are close to, that you are wrong, they are right and "supreme" and it's just a matter of time until she can "fix me".  Fortunately I've had a good year or two with only minor issues from extended family members, two of which I have now chosen to slowly let "fade out" of my life.  I'm just anticipating the next few difficult years of me being declared the "bad person" to all who will listen as mu hubby and I enjoy milestones in our early marriage without these family members being invited to celebrations.  Let the games begin!

    Unfortunately for hubby, his father is also NPD and living with us at the moment for financial reasons.  I appreciate now how fortunate I was at 16 to have a very supporting psychologist who supported me to make the decision to cut contact and create a life of my own that I'm incredibly proud of.  My poor hubby has had to deal with his NPD father his whole life, and lately on a daily basis.  To be honest, I'm fearful not only about the next daily battle, but also long term as the father NPD continues to try to control many aspects of hubbys life, including when we should have a baby, where we should live, the cars we drive, etc.  I'm apparently too defiant and told I cannot and should not cook, clean, garden, drive, work (he hates that I have a career outside the home), walk the dog, pay bills, basically everything.  I could just imagine what he'll be like when we have kids and I suspect that that is when hubby and I will need to enforce a no contact rule, at least until he has worked through the NPD with a psychologist and is well on his way to behaving with some respect towards us.

    What practical boundaries have people used to deal with the NPD in your life?  What tips and tricks do you use to keep yourself strong and on track on a day to day basis.  Some days I feel strong, others I don't want to have to deal with the NPD and that's when I cop it the most. 


  19. Arrie97
    Arrie97 avatar
    9 posts
    11 April 2014 in reply to Double NPV

    I'm really glad to have stumbled across this post. Thank you all for sharing your experiences. It has made me realise I'm not alone, despite what my family wants me to think.

    I wish I had tips for you all on how to deal with this, but I feel quite defeated. I believe both my mother and father have this disorder, and even believe my brother and sister may be developing it, which is very sad for me as they have now become parents too. The worst part is that I feel like I can't let go yet, because my younger sister is still living with them and I know they use their conniving tactics on her. They often will write off your feelings and begin to talk about their awful childhoods, never saying sorry for things they've said to hurt you. Sometimes they'll just say, "why do you keep bringing up things that happened long ago?" only for me or my sister to reply that it was never resolved (and never will be it seems).

    I feel like I should break contact, but know if I do, there will be no one for my sister to talk to, because I'm sure they will make it difficult for me to see her. I invite her over to sleep at my house every chance I get, just so she can get away. She talks about them saying awful things about her to her and other people, but hiding behind a disguise of the "poor parent" and "nice person." They'll write her feelings off and manipulate her, tell people all her secrets, and then turn family friends against her or have them join in the bullying or manipulation (of course they don't know she's the real victim, they think they are helping). My mother has health problems too and has made my sister take care of her and guilt trips her if she doesn't. I often find my sister constantly fetching things for my mother while I'm there, almost as if she's a trained slave. But my mother does nothing to improve her health, and maintains unhealthy habits. She also tends to talk about my sister in front of her in a sort of dehumanising way (obviously most people don't see it that way though, it's all apart of the game), and when I try to talk to her about it, she tells me I'm being ridiculous. It is really hard when we try to talk to others about this too - they write it off as over reacting and us being drama queens etc but we know it's real. It's really like living in a prison.

    My father isn't really around much, so he's not a culprit a lot of the time (although I've always got the feeling that he isn't interested in us unless we do what he wants and we like what he likes). But when he is around, it's a constant barrage of his opinions being thrown down your throat, and if you don't believe, you are what's wrong with this world and you will be demonised in front of the whole family. I know this bothers my sister too: she is often left crying after his tirades, not understanding why, but I do. I have lived it before.

    I really want to protect my sister from this, as I suffered depression all through high school because of this treatment. But how can I when I'm just as much a victim as she is? And when they can keep me from her if we even try to talk about it to them?

    I sometimes wish I could steal her from their home and take her with me, but I don't make enough to support her as well, and know this may hurt her (she still holds on to hope they may change and still believes deep down they love us).

    What can I do?

  20. Kasia
    Kasia avatar
    3 posts
    7 June 2014

    Hi y'all.

    I'm new here. I've been reading the posts and find so many of you going through the exact same thing as me. However, my dad is the one with NPD, and aside from myself & 2 of my doctors, almost no one in my life either believes me, or they just don't know what to do. Like many of you that grew up under an NPD parent, it wasn't until I was in my early 40's and talking with one of my drs that I realized he was NPD- and severe. He ranks a 9/10 on the scale. 

    My mom, I have come to realize, is a major enabler. Her co-dependency, especially as I have helped her to see what he is, is so frustrating to me. Many times I think she likes being a doormat or else is so starved for love, she will take anything. After some time & thought, I realized she was also raised in an NPD home, but wo the benefit of realizing this when she was young.

    What's worse, my youngest sister, who is in her 30's is showing signs of having NPD, too.

    I guess I am writing because on top of all this, I have a chronic illness - which has recently gotten worse, forcing me to stop working and have to move in to a home my parents own (a tiny country home) while they stay in the city. I used to make a good living, but between my needs, sharing a flat for a while with my sister, and being forced to pay about 1/3 of my income towards my family's various bills - I am broke. What's worse, even though I am not technically with my parents, I am "under their roof", so they have many expectations from me, which my body just can't function with anymore. It's not depression - I have some complicated neurological and pain issues. Still, my dad shouts at me to get up and move - that I am just lazy, fat, ...

       What's worse, even though my drs know what is going on, and I tried a modified "no contact" rule, I find that because there is little to no understanding and acknowledgement of what victims of those with NPD go through, we have ABSOLUTELY no legal, minimal medical, and no social support. Yet, we suffer EVERY POSSIBLE type of neglect and abuse there is. How can that be?

       Has anyone else in the community have a similar issue? How did you work through it? I feel so alone. I try to keep active as possible given my limitations.My cats are my life. But I am much too young to be a disabled "cat lady" living with my parents. How can I help myself get out of this situation (medically, I may have better days, but the damage is permanent and will likely get worse - stress definitely worsens it)?

  21. Kasia
    Kasia avatar
    3 posts
    7 June 2014 in reply to Arrie97


         I am new here. I made my own post, but am trying to reply to others because we need each other's support.

         I also am the product of an NPD father and an enabler mother. However, I think my mom is an NPD victim from her biological family, but did not have the benefit of this diagnosis or any support. I am the oldest of 4 siblings.Being the oldest female, I was always told it was my responsibility to care for my younger siblings (but nobody ever said who was to take care of me). My younger brother is 1.5 yrs younger, but my little bro is 12 yrs and my sister is 14 yrs younger. I did what I could to help them all, but my sister seems to be taking on NPD symptoms.

         Anyway, to address your problem - I wanted you to see that the idea of "taking care" of family members - NPD style- is called parentification. We are forced, as children, to take care of/support/even raise members of the family - whether our NPD parents, our siblings, or both. This forces too many issues on us too early, and helps to lead to the co-dependency many of us suffer with. We take on too many responsibilities of others at too young of an age. This messes us up because we are forced to think and act many years ahead of ourselves, being forced to deny ourselves what we need at the proper time, all the while wishing someone would care enough for us to stop all this. So it is not wonder many of us are so confused. We ROUTINELY from childhood, have a triangulated way of dealing with life, which mirrors exactly what the NPD is trying to accomplish. With the NPD, they are great posers - acting like they are always the good guy, when people are watching - only to turn into demanding, raging monsters behind closed doors/or manipulative charlatans just to get their way, all the while thinking of what they (supposedly) suffered in childhood - so they feel justified in making and controlling the suffering of their family.If you know the word schaudenfreude - I believe NPD to be a form of that.

         I understand what you are saying about your sister.Is she old enough to get a part time job so both of you can afford a place? Can she go away to school (if college aged)? If she is very young, can you both see a counselor/social worker who may provide more specific ideas (I'd recommend one who is VERY FAMILIAR with NPD & the victims it causes).

          Please be there your sister so she doesn't develop the resentment, hurt, and trust issues of NPD, which does run in families. Good luck.

  22. Kasia
    Kasia avatar
    3 posts
    7 June 2014 in reply to Double NPV


        Congratulations at getting away from your NPD parents so young. What I am concerned about are the circumstances you find yourself in now. Why is your NPD father-in-law living with you (I understand the economics, but with NPD, that should not be enough of an excuse)? You worked so hard, and were so successful at breaking away, what made you say "ok" to inviting this insanity back into your life? I don't mean to sound harsh, but I really, really don't want to see an otherwise healthy, happy and successful young lady fall into this trap. 

         Is there anyway for your father-in-law to move out? I think that is the only way to resolve this. You could say that the economic burden is too much and he'd need to contribute and/or it is putting a strain on your relationship and you both need time together. If ALL else fails, what has worked for me sometimes is just to muster all the NPD traits you very likely have because of your parents, and when your father-in-law demands something - act JUST LIKE HIM, complain and say no! Often doing with while throwing some sort of a tantrum right in front of them usually gets them to stop. From our point of view, it's exhausting, but it seems at that point, the NPD sub-consciously recognizes some trait of themselves in you, and actually respects it for a short while.

    Good luck.

  23. marielle
    marielle avatar
    1 posts
    21 July 2014

    I'm about to turn 40 and I've come to a realisation that I will never have a good relationship with my mother because I believe she has NPD.  It's such a relief for me to find this forum as I no longer feel I'm the only one that is going through this.   

    For as long as I can remember my mother has been nothing but disparaging towards me, belittling me at every opportunity (almost always in front of other people) and talks badly of me to other people especially my relatives.  She makes herself out to be the victim and tells me that I'm a bad person even though out of all my interactions with other people, SHE is the only person that thinks I'm a horrible human being.  It pains me that I have to get this treatment from my own mother, a person who is supposed to love me unconditionally.  Over the years, I lived in hope thinking that she would change but after another barrage of ridicule from her last week made me realise that she would never change and I would have to let go of that vision of her changing into a nurturing, supportive, loving mother.  

    I've chosen to minimise my contact with her to preserve my psyche and mental well being.  I know that she will never acknowledge she has NPD because she is narcissistic and believes she is above everybody else.  I can only take care of myself and heal from decades of psychological and emotional abuse from her.  


Stay in touch with us

Sign up below for regular emails filled with information, advice and support for you or your loved ones.

Sign me up