One mother like this visited her daughter in the hospital. Her daughter was recovering from major surgery.
Instead of focusing on her daughter, she began flirting with the doctors and talking to the people visiting the patient in the next bed.
She was shocked when her daughter later told her how hurt and abandoned she had felt.
The mother was so focused on the good time that she was having that it never occurred to her that her daughter might feel differently.
2. She Is Low on Emotional Empathy
One of the interesting characteristics of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (or “Adaptation” as I prefer to call it) is that the Narcissistic person does not usually “feel” what other people are feeling.
The Narcissistic mother may have “Cognitive Empathy” (i.e. she may be able to intellectually understand that some behaviour of hers might cause her child pain), but without “Emotional Empathy” she has little incentive to care.
Her emotional pain perception only goes one way. If you accidentally cause her even the slightest bit of emotional pain, she is likely to react in a highly exaggerated way, while completely ignoring the pain that she is causing you.
When John’s mother Carol had a birthday, she expected everyone around her to make a fuss: give her thoughtful birthday cards, buy her presents, take her out to dinner at her favourite restaurant, and in general make her whole day extremely special.
When John turned ten, he woke up very excited, wondering what special surprise his mother had planned for him:
Would he get the bike he had been asking for?
Would there be ice cream cake?
Unfortunately, Carol had been very busy all week and had completely forgotten about John’s upcoming birthday and had not even gotten him a present or a card.
When John acted disappointed, his mother felt criticized and instead of apologizing, she attacked him and said: “Stop acting like a baby! You’re too old now for special presents anyway.”
John’s father David (who does have “Emotional Empathy”) had assumed that his wife was doing the birthday planning.
When he saw how hurt and disappointed John was, he quickly stepped in to try and save the day for John.
He took John and his sister to a local amusement park and out for ice cream, while his wife stayed home sulking. That night after the children were in bed, Carol berated her husband for making her look bad.
Related: The Narcissistic Family Tree
3. She Dominates the House and Uses Devaluation to Get Her Way
The entire household tends to revolve around the Exhibitionist Narcissist mother’s wishes. Everything has to be the way she wants it to be, because she feels entitled to it.
People do what she wants because when they do not, she flies into a rage, devalues them, and generally makes life miserable for everyone until they give in.
She will continually belittle anyone who challenges her and when she does, she hits below the belt.
It is not uncommon for the child who displeases this type of mother to be told: “No man will ever marry you because you are so fat.” Or, “You will never amount to anything because you are a worthless, stupid idiot!”
Because the Exhibitionist Narcissist mothers sees her surroundings as reflection of her status in life, it may be extremely important to her that the house be decorated the way she wants and cleaned and maintained as perfectly as possible.
Conversely, if she is the type of woman who does not particularly care if her surroundings are clean and organized, she will be indifferent to the pleas of her family to take more of an interest in the home.
Usually, she has managed to marry a man who will let her run the house and children however she wants.