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Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a complex psychological condition characterized by an excessive need for admiration, a lack of empathy, and a sense of entitlement. While some narcissists display their traits overtly, others, known as covert narcissists, are more subtle in their behaviors. When a mother exhibits covert narcissistic traits, it can have a profound impact on her children. In this article, we’ll explore six common behaviors that a covert narcissistic mother may exhibit towards her children.

  1. Emotional Manipulation

One of the hallmark traits of a covert narcissistic mother is emotional manipulation. She may use guilt, passive-aggressiveness, or silent treatments to control her children’s actions and emotions. This manipulation can leave the children feeling confused, anxious, and constantly seeking her approval.

  1. Lack of Empathy

Covert narcissists often lack empathy, making it challenging for them to genuinely connect with their children’s emotions and needs. They may dismiss or downplay their children’s feelings, leaving them feeling invalidated and unheard.

  1. Conditional Love

A covert narcissistic mother’s love is often conditional. She may only show affection and approval when her children meet her specific expectations or cater to her desires. This conditional love can lead to a constant need for validation and a fear of rejection in her children.

  1. Projection

Covert narcissists often project their own insecurities and faults onto their children. They may criticize their children for traits or behaviors that actually reflect the mother’s issues. This projection can lead to confusion and self-doubt in the children.

  1. Gaslighting

Gaslighting is a manipulative tactic where the narcissist distorts reality to make the victim doubt their own perceptions and memories. Covert narcissistic mothers may engage in gaslighting to maintain control over their children’s reality, making it difficult for the children to trust their own judgment.

  1. Isolation

Covert narcissistic mothers may isolate their children from external support systems, such as friends and extended family. This isolation serves to strengthen the narcissist’s control and dependency on her. It can also make it more challenging for the children to recognize the unhealthy dynamics at play.

Dealing with a covert narcissistic mother can be emotionally and psychologically challenging for children. It’s essential for individuals who suspect they have a covert narcissistic parent to seek support from therapists, counselors, or support groups. Understanding the manipulative behaviors of a covert narcissist is the first step toward healing and establishing healthy boundaries. Remember that you are not alone, and there is help available to navigate the complex dynamics of a narcissistic parent-child relationship.