8 Toxic Ways Narcissistic Mothers Emotionally Abuse Their Children

2. She sets up damaging comparisons among her children as well as their peers. 

Like any narcissist, the narcissistic mother engages in “triangulation” – manufacturing triangles among her children and even their peers. She destructively compares her children to their peers, teaching them that they fall short in terms of looks, personality, obedient behavior, and accomplishments. She unfairly pits two or more siblings against one another, always asking, “Why can’t you be more like your sister or your brother?” She stirs up competition, drama, and chaos. She might make one child a golden child (doting upon them excessively) while making the other a scapegoat. This form of devaluation can leave a painful imprint; it causes her children to compare themselves to others as a way to evaluate their self-worth.

3. She treats her children as extensions of her.

The narcissistic mother micromanages and exerts an excessive level of control over the way her children act and look to the public. Her children are objects and must be pristine and polished in every way, lest their reputation or appearance “taint” her own. Though she criticizes them and treats them with contempt behind closed doors, in public she shows her children off as if they were prized possessions. She brags about how little Timmy always gets straight A’s and how her darling Stacy is the prettiest little girl in town. Yet behind closed doors, she is pouncing on Timmy with reprimands about what he has yet to accomplish and picking on Stacy’s weight.

 4. She competes with her children, disrupts their transition to adulthood and crosses sexual boundaries.

It is common for narcissistic mothers to compete with their children, especially their own daughters. The narcissistic mother is likely to overvalue her own looks and sexual prowess. Female narcissists exhibit internalized misogyny and often view other females as competition. The daughter is thus looked upon with fury, jealousy, and envy – her own offspring is viewed as a threat.

In other cultures where sexuality is far more restricted, the narcissistic mother may instead attempt to stifle her daughter’s burgeoning sexuality and punish her for being anything less than abstinent. She may fail to provide her daughters with the proper education concerning sex and their growing bodies.

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