Uncovering the True Face of a Covert Narcissist Mother

A mother is often thought of as a nurturing and supportive figure in a child’s life, but what happens when you have a covert narcissist mother?

Covert narcissism is a subtype of narcissistic personality disorder that is characterized by a pattern of subtle, indirect, and often hidden forms of manipulation and emotional abuse. When a mother exhibits these traits, it can have a significant impact on her children’s emotional and psychological well-being.

Unfortunately, covert narcissism is often unrecognized, making it difficult for individuals to understand and heal from the damage caused by a narcissistic mother. In this blog post, we will explore the true face of a covert narcissist mother and the impact of her behavior on her children. We will also discuss coping strategies and healing techniques for those who have experienced this form of emotional abuse.

Characteristics of a Covert Narcissist Mother

A covert narcissist mother may not be as obvious as other narcissists. She may appear caring and nurturing on the surface, but her true motivations are rooted in a need for control and admiration.

Some common traits of a covert narcissist mother include:

  • Extreme sensitivity to criticism
  • A need for validation and attention
  • A tendency to manipulate others
  • A lack of empathy
  • A sense of entitlement
  • Passive-aggressive behavior
  • A tendency to play the victim
  • A lack of boundaries

Signs of a Covert Narcissist Mother

7 signs of a covert Narcissist mother

Here are 7 signs of a covert Narcissist mother:

1.They use guilt as a tool

A covert narcissist mother will often use guilt as a tool to control their children. They may make their children feel responsible for their emotional well-being or use guilt to pressure their children into doing things they don’t want to do.

2. They prioritize their own needs

Covert narcissist mothers will often prioritize their own needs over their children’s. They may fail to attend important events or dismiss their children’s needs as unimportant, while expecting their own needs to be met immediately.

3. They struggle with boundaries

Covert narcissist mothers often struggle with boundaries, both in terms of their own behavior and the boundaries of their children. They may invade their children’s privacy or become overly involved in their lives, making it difficult for their children to establish healthy boundaries.

4. They seek to control their children’s lives

A covert narcissist mother may seek to control their children’s lives in a variety of ways. They may make decisions on their children’s behalf or refuse to allow their children to make their own decisions, leaving their children feeling trapped and helpless.

5. They lack genuine interest in their children

While a covert narcissist mother may appear to be interested in their children’s lives, their interest is often shallow and self-serving. They may only be interested in their children’s achievements or use their children’s successes to boost their own ego, rather than genuinely caring about their children as individuals.

6. They engage in emotional blackmail

Covert narcissist mothers employ emotional blackmail to manipulate their children. They may threaten to withhold affection, love, or support unless their children comply with their demands or conform to their expectations.

7. They play the victim

When confronted with their own behavior or held accountable for their actions, covert narcissist mothers often play the victim. They may twist the situation to make themselves appear innocent or unfairly treated, deflecting responsibility and avoiding accountability.

Examples of behaviors that a covert narcissist mother exhibit

  • Gaslighting: denying or dismissing the experiences and feelings of her children
  • Projection: blaming her children for her own shortcomings
  • Emotional blackmail: using guilt or fear to control her children
  • Triangulation: pitting her children against each other to maintain control
  • Favoritism: showing preferential treatment to one child over the others
  • Neglect: failing to provide emotional support or guidance to her children

Things Covert Narcissist Mothers Say

Words have power, and covert narcissist mothers are adept at using language to manipulate and control their children. By understanding the underlying messages behind their words, we can gain insight into the psychological impact they have on their children. Common phrases and statements employed by covert narcissist mothers include:

A. “I sacrificed everything for you”: This statement is used to instill guilt and a sense of indebtedness in the daughter, making her feel obligated to comply with her mother’s wishes.

B. “You’re so ungrateful”: Covert narcissist mothers use this phrase to invalidate their daughter’s feelings and needs, portraying themselves as the victim and shifting blame onto the daughter.

C. “You’re just like your father”: By comparing the daughter to a disliked figure, the covert narcissist mother undermines the daughter’s self-esteem and creates division within the family.

D. “I know what’s best for you”: This phrase is a manifestation of the covert narcissist mother’s need for control, dismissing the daughter’s autonomy and disregarding her own desires and opinions.

E. “You’re overreacting”: Covert narcissist mothers often belittle their daughter’s emotions and experiences, gaslighting them into doubting their own feelings and perceptions.

Difference between Covert Narcissist mother and Narcissistic mother

A narcissistic mother and a covert narcissistic mother both share a common trait of having a narcissistic personality disorder, but they exhibit different patterns of behavior that impact their children.

A narcissistic mother is overtly grandiose, attention-seeking, and often demands admiration and attention from her children. She may be competitive with her children and use them to fulfill her own needs, without considering their feelings or desires. She may also project her own shortcomings onto her children and try to control their behavior and choices.

Read about: Signs of a narcissistic mother.

On the other hand, a covert narcissistic mother is more subtle in her behavior and manipulation. She may present herself as caring, selfless, and nurturing to others, while using her children as a source of validation and admiration behind closed doors. She may use guilt and emotional manipulation to control her children, making them feel responsible for her happiness and well-being.

Read about: Covert narcissist signs.

While both types of narcissistic mothers can have a significant impact on their children’s emotional and psychological well-being, a covert narcissistic mother may be more difficult to recognize and therefore, more difficult to heal from. Her behavior may be more insidious and covert, making it harder for her children to identify the abuse and seek help.

How a covert narcissist mother affects her children?

  1. Emotional manipulation
    • A covert narcissist mother may manipulate her children to meet her needs.
    • Children may feel guilt-tripped, gaslighted, or emotionally blackmailed to fulfill their mother’s desires.
  2. Criticism and invalidation
    • A covert narcissist mother may constantly criticize and invalidate her children’s emotions and experiences.
    • Children may grow up feeling insecure, inadequate, or unable to trust their own feelings and thoughts.
  3. Favoritism and scapegoating
    • A covert narcissist mother may have a golden child and a scapegoat, with the golden child receiving preferential treatment and the scapegoat being blamed for everything.
    • Children may struggle with low self-esteem, jealousy, and resentment towards their siblings.
  4. Enmeshment and boundary violations
    • A covert narcissist mother may have poor boundaries and enmesh her children in her own emotional and psychological issues.
    • Children may struggle with codependency, difficulty establishing healthy relationships, and feeling guilty for setting boundaries.

The Covert Narcissist Mother-Daughter Relationship

relationship between a covert narcissist mother and her daughter

The relationship between a covert narcissist mother and her daughter is complex and multifaceted. Understanding the dynamics at play is crucial to comprehending the daughter’s emotional experience. Key aspects of this relationship include:

A. Dynamics and complexities of the relationship: The relationship is characterized by power imbalances, emotional manipulation, and a lack of healthy boundaries. The covert narcissist mother often sees her daughter as an extension of herself rather than an independent individual.

B. Emotional toll on the daughter: The daughter of a covert narcissist mother often experiences feelings of inadequacy, low self-esteem, and emotional turmoil due to the constant invalidation and manipulation.

C. Patterns of enmeshment and invalidation: Covert narcissist mothers tend to blur the boundaries between themselves and their daughters, fostering enmeshment and preventing the daughter from developing a separate identity. Additionally, the daughter’s emotions and experiences are often dismissed or invalidated.

D. The daughter’s struggle for autonomy and identity: Growing up under the influence of a covert narcissist mother can hinder the daughter’s journey towards independence and self-discovery. The daughter may grapple with establishing her own identity and asserting her needs and desires.

How to deal with Covert Narcissist Mother?

A. Recognizing and accepting the situation: Acknowledging that one’s mother is a covert narcissist is a crucial first step in navigating the relationship. Understanding the underlying dynamics can help depersonalize the daughter’s experiences.

B. Setting boundaries and prioritizing self-care: Establishing clear boundaries with the covert narcissist mother is essential for protecting one’s emotional well-being. Prioritizing self-care activities and seeking support from others can also provide a respite from the toxic dynamics.

C. Seeking therapy and support: Engaging in therapy, particularly with a mental health professional experienced in narcissistic abuse, can be highly beneficial. Therapy can provide a safe space to process emotions, gain perspective, and develop healthy coping strategies.

D. Developing a support network: Surrounding oneself with a supportive network of friends, family, or support groups can offer validation, understanding, and a sense of belonging outside of the toxic mother-daughter relationship.

E. Detaching emotionally and finding personal fulfillment: Detaching emotionally from the covert narcissist mother’s manipulations and finding personal fulfillment through hobbies, passions, and healthy relationships can contribute to the daughter’s healing and growth.

Final thoughts

In conclusion, having a covert narcissist mother can have a significant impact on an individual’s emotional and psychological well-being.

The emotional manipulation, criticism, invalidation, favoritism, scapegoating, enmeshment, and boundary violations experienced in childhood can lead to lifelong struggles with self-esteem, trust, and healthy relationships.

However, by seeking therapy and support, setting boundaries, practicing self-care, and seeking validation from outside sources, individuals can begin to heal from the effects of having a covert narcissist mother.

It is essential to recognize the impact of covert narcissism and take steps towards healing and breaking free from the cycle of emotional manipulation.

1 thought on “Uncovering the True Face of a Covert Narcissist Mother”

  1. I was the sole caretaker of my daughter for the first 5 yrs. She never had a single diaper rash, she excelled in school, and was a very healthy, happy, confident child. I didn’t know what a covert narcissist was, but I realized my ex’s love for our daughter came from her need to have a baby/girl, not from any understanding of my daughter’s need for a mother. She’s missing the basis and joy of motherhood & is empty & depressed. Her relationship with parents seemed normal; until pandemic– she vaccinated but conviced her mother not to and then kept her home without medical care until she coded & died.
    I always pushed my ex to be involved in our daughter life, but she uses possession (split every other week) to keep my daughter and me apart. To appear like a good “mother”– she lies & puts on a show in teacher or counselor meetings. However, she doesn’t care for my daughter any more than her dogs, which doesn’t say much. She even refers to them as my daughter’s “brother and sister” blind to the sad irony in it.

    I document her neglect– my ex takes depression meds and Xanax. She is codepedent, so drags my daughter with her in persuit of her newest boyfriend/ victim. My daughter eats nutella and drinks diet shakes because my ex has an eating disorder and doesn’t feed her meals. She sits inside watching TV all day, and she looks & smells homeless when I get her back. My ex infantilizes her by talking to her like a baby and carrying her around (she’s now 7), and she even told her teacher she thinks she has a learning disability. She calls our daughter her best friend and has never bothered to discipline her, but regularly screams profanities at her when annoyed by her. My daughter is terrified of her, and this has my ex convinced she’s the “strict parent”.
    My ex is an extremely angry, negative person, but I didn’t see her verbal attacks as abuse to me because I just learned to block her out. I realize my daughter is now the sole target. Unfortunately, in TX, unless she takes her someplace and abandons her for multiple days- its not neglect and there’s not much I can do.

    She has been traumatized. The day I moved out, she hid in my sisters car because she didn’t want to stay there. For the first few months, she cried whenever she left and would ask to stay with me. The first day back with me, she’d talk nonstop for hrs and open my eyelids if I fell asleep. She understood her mother’s manipulation and would tell me “mommy is a liar.” She expected that I would protect her. After a few more months, she was still excited to see me but started to lose hope and accepting it almost like punishment or a prison sentence. She was embarrassed and ashamed by the neglect and refused to discuss anything about her mother or what she does there.
    After a year past, her behavior started to decline considerably. She’s very negative and doesn’t want to do anything or go anywhere at all. She idealizes her mother and lies about her neglect. She mimics things she hears her mother say to her boyfriend- like “you just don’t love me or why don’t you care about me?” She’ll even do things to test me and say she wanted to see if I really love her. Recently she tries to scream at me- acting angry out of the blue. She has become so discrespectful, and tells me “nobody cares” when I try to talk to her. I have to spank her. I have to force her to shower, eat a few bites of her meal. She lies. When she plays she becomes very destructive.
    My ex is destroying her as much as possible because she is the only connection we have left. Every week I get her back, I need to undo the destruction and then repeat. I’m losing fast & my loving daughter is a fragment of who she was. I can’t help but think that if I give my ex custody, my daughter would be less vulnerable and harmed without a connection to me. When she’s 12, she could choose to leave her mother, but who knows what shape she’d be in.


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