Realizing that you have a narcissistic mother can be difficult, because you may have little or nothing to compare to. Below are a series of questions that will help you to put things in perspective. If you answer mostly yes, you probably need to take some action to either protect yourself, or to undo the damage that has been done.
Were you always afraid of your mother?
Do you find yourself telling your mother things that you wished you hadn't?
Were her things usually more important than yours?
Do you feel she blamed you for everything, even when you knew it wasn't your fault?
Did she treat you one way at home and another way outside in public?
Do others think she is a loving, caring, attentive parent but you know differently?
Were you constantly wary of her moods, making sure you did not do anything that might upset her?
Did you feel you had little or no privacy?
Was your property always yours or did she decide if and when you could have your stuff?
Were you expected to do a lot of housework at an early age?
Did you have to buy all your own things as soon as you had any money?
Did your mother have a favorite, 'a golden child' that was obviously treated differently from the rest?
Did she scapegoat the other children: the favorite could do no wrong and the others took the blame?
Did the other children have to do the tasks of the favorite?
Did the favorite always defend the mother while the others despised her?
Did the favorite get treats for good behavior, or even for no obvious reason while the others did not?
Did communication between siblings go through her so that she knew what was going on between everyone?
Did she take credit for, or emphasize her part in, your successes?
Was your mother always right, no matter what?
Was there lots of snide remarks made about you, either to you or to others about you when you were present?
Did you ever think you were going crazy because of the things she did or said?
Did you begin to believe everything was your fault?
Do you believe that there is something fundamentally wrong with you?
Did she lie a lot?
If you challenged her in a lie, did she somehow twist things so you ended up feeling bad?
Did she want to be the center of attention at all times?
Did you ever think she was deliberately manipulating your emotions?
Did she say or do hurtful things saying that it was for your own good?
Was she always deciding for you? What to wear, what to do, where to go etc...
Did you feel stifled?
Or did she seem not to care at all and you felt that she didn't want you around?
Whenever you tried to stand up for yourself, or think for yourself, did she either subtly or forcefully get you to do what she wanted?
If you criticized her, was she instantly on the attack herself?
Was she ever physically abusive?
Did she ever not give you hugs and attention when you hurt yourself by accident?
Did she deliberately make you wear clothes that she knew you found embarrassing, painful or demeaning?
Did she beat your brothers or sisters in front of you so that you learnt the lesson as well?
Did she argue with your father in front of you with no consideration of how it might affect you?
Did it seem that she definitely wore the trousers in the family and everyone tiptoed around her?
Did you do things for her that you thought she should be doing?
Did she treat you like her therapist, telling you all her problems, even things about your father?
Does she continue to interfere in your relationship?
Has she built a relationship with your spouse so that sometimes your spouse takes her side?
Does she lie to your spouse about you, or to you about your spouse?
Does she contact your spouse behind your back?
Do you think your spouse is a narcissist because you may be attracted to such people as a result of a narcissistic mother?
If you think you have a narcissistic mother, there are some things you will need to consider.
Your personality has probably been manipulated and repressed by the narcissist. It has never been allowed to develop. This is something that will need to be addressed at some stage if you don't want to continue as your mother tried to mould you.
Another important decision is whether you continue to have contact or not with an abusive, narcissistic mother. This is a personal decision but oftentimes a period of no contact allows the victim time to undo the mind control and should be seriously considered.
Your siblings will have been heavily influenced by her as well. And although you have realized what has been going on, they may not. Do you try to educate them about your narcissistic mother or not? Again this is a personal decision based on personal circumstances.
Would you like to talk to someone about your situation?
If you think you are or have been in a cult or a destructive relationship, or a friend or family member might be in a cult and you want to talk to someone, send me a message on the Contact page and we can arrange to talk. All communication will be treated in the strictest confidence.
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