She is hyper-sensitive to anything she considers a slight and will retaliate immediately in a way that is wildly disproportionate to whatever occurred.
She is also likely to devalue anyone who does not agree with her. She cannot grasp that there can be different and equally valid ways to perceive a situation.
When her children or husband do not agree with her point of view, she takes that as a personal criticism. She is likely to angrily lash out as if she has been personally attacked.
She may try and bully everyone into agreeing with her opinion and they may give in and agree just to restore peace.
The whole family gets used to organizing itself around Mother’s moods: fearfully tiptoeing around to avoid her wrath when she is angry, and coming out again when she is happy.
Sometimes one or more children devote themselves to getting mother out of her “bad mood” by focusing a lot of positive attention on her and saying what they have learned she wants to hear.
7. She Can Be Very Intrusive
Because these mothers need so much attention and validation to maintain a positive image of themselves and do not have a sense of their children as truly separate beings, they often insert themselves into their children’s lives inappropriately.
Sometimes they get over-involved in their children’s projects or homework, doing too much of the work themselves and taking too much of the credit. This can take many forms.
Lydia’s mother took all the credit for her success as a lead in the school play by insisting that it was the costume she made for her that was responsible for Lydia’s success.
Another Exhibitionist Mother took over her son Mike’s science fair project and did most of it while he looked on. Her son wanted to do it himself, but his mother told him that it was too important a project for him to do by himself.
The message that Mike took away was that he was inadequate to do anything that was really important. He also got the message that honesty was less important than doing well.
As the children get older, these mothers may try and be a friend to their children’s friends—one of the groups instead of a mother. They may feel left out if their children prefer to be with their friends instead of with them.
Instead of seeing their children’s growing independence as a sign of maturation and health, they may become angry because they are feeling less important.
They may try to get the spotlight back by doing inappropriate things, such as flirting with their teenage daughter’s boyfriends.
They may also want to know inappropriate things about their teenager’s romantic attachments and get offended when the teen wants some privacy.
Joshua was starting to date and his mother became afraid that he might get some girl pregnant and ruin his life.
She used this concern to justify secretly going through his things to see if she could find any evidence that he was sexually active.
When she found some pornography and condoms hidden in his room, she confronted him and wanted to know the details of his sex life. She was unable to acknowledge that Joshua had the right to some privacy.
Punchline: Exhibitionist Narcissist mothers tend to be very predictable. The details may differ, but the self-centredness, volatility, and lack of empathy stay the same.