Your mother has devoted her entire life to you, then why does a nagging feeling tell you that she is a narcissist? Do you have childhood memories that get dismissed as your imaginations? Do you often feel confused and inadequate? Growing up with a covert narcissist mother can do this to you.
You are left with confusion and questions about your early years and no clear insights. So what’s a covert narcissist mother and how can she affect her child’s development? Let’s know in detail about this rather sensitive topic which doesn’t get much attention and coverage.
The reason why we don’t know much about narcissistic mothers or for that matter, about narcissistic women, might be the biased belief that female narcissists are rarer to find. Earlier studies supporting this notion have claimed that 75% of the people who exhibit narcissistic tendencies are in fact male. However, more recent studies indicate that when it comes to covert narcissism, women are greater in number than their male counterparts.
Covert narcissism, also known as vulnerable narcissism is hard to identify, because, a vulnerable covert narcissist is often introverted, shy, and displays symptoms that are common with anxiety disorder and borderline personality disorder.
Nevertheless, a covert narcissist can cause significant damage to the emotional health of any unsuspecting person. Especially, when a female covert narcissist becomes the covert narcissist mother, the most malignant type of narcissist, she can unleash severe psychological trauma on her children and hinder their life directly and indirectly, even in their adulthood.
How Does A Covert Narcissist Mother Affect Her Children?
Let’s find out how a Vulnerable Narcissist Mother can disrupt the well-being of her children that transcends well into their adult life.
A covert narcissist mother often uses the psychological ploy of triangulation, where her children are pitted against each other. In such cases, her preferred child is the golden child, while the other becomes the Scapegoat. “ Why can’t you be more like your brother?’’ or “ Your sister has a better taste in men, than you”, are some of the things narcissistic mothers say.
Such constant comparison and exploitation of interpersonal relationships make the flawed child believe that they are not good enough. As a result, they tend to spend all their life trying to win their mother’s approval and affection by proving their worth.
A covert malignant narcissist is devoid of empathy. Naturally, a covert narcissist mother will fail to attune into the emotional demands of their offspring. She will not accept and validate their pain and meet their basic needs.
Mothers are our primary caregivers. As infants, we learn about self-worth and how to form attachments with others, based on how we are cared for and nurtured by our mothers. When a young child’s emotions are not validated by their mother, it affects their psychological development, emotional regulation, and attachment style.
As a result, they grow self-esteem issues and are set up for unhealthy romantic relationships, and people-pleasing.
When the child starts getting older and begins to question the toxic behaviors of their mother, the covert narcissist mother changes the narrative and causes the child to have doubts about their memory or perception.
Covert narcissistic mother traits include manipulation techniques like gaslighting and playing blame games. Such a mother will try to convince the victim kid that what they remember happening to them is not true or it was done keeping the best interest of the child in mind, ie., to teach them discipline.
It goes without saying that such manipulations mess up the child’s mind and make them doubt themselves even more.
4. Dysfunctional Extensions
A covert narcissist mother treats her children as extensions of her own life. She is mindful of how her children are received by others and often exhibits them to the world as her proud possessions. Everyone sees a proud mother who has done a great job raising her kids, but behind closed doors, she is critical and abusive.
Kids of such narcissistic mothers have a hard time coming out of their mothers’ shadows and building their own identities.