Narcissistic Mothers vs. Loving Mothers

It’s hard to know what to do.
Even when our mothers hurt us,
many of us still love them,
but sometimes it’s not safe
to hang out with them.

Photo by Seb Hamel on Unsplash
Photo by Seb Hamel on Unsplash

The cutting remarks and putdowns of a narcissistic mother wouldn’t look very pretty on a card and yet, toxic mothers expect their children to make a pretty thing out of something evil—a relationship filled with manipulation and shame. If you send a card out of guilt to a woman who gossips about you and tries to shame you into doing her will, that’s not honoring—that’s obligation.

Giving birth also does not make one a mother. We all know women who nurture and love others who never gave birth. At the same time, it’s not hard to find those who bore children only to use and abuse them.

There needs to be some accountability. A narcissistic mother doesn’t deserve a free pass and access to her child’s life if she can’t treat them with respect. To keep your sanity on holidays, it’s important to remember the difference between a narcissistic mother and a loving mother.

A narcissistic mother criticizes her child, but a loving mother doesn’t sit like a queen in the judgment of her child, she cheers them on in support.

A narcissistic mother demands that her children serve her, but a loving mother will serve her child without obligation.

A narcissistic mother attacks her own children, but a loving mother protects them.

A narcissistic mother puts herself first, but a loving mother will sacrifice her own needs to take care of her child.

A narcissistic mother doesn’t have time for special details because she’s focused on her own needs, but a loving mother uses her creative energy to make life more comfortable for her child.

A narcissistic mother needs to be right all the time, but a loving mother knows it’s okay to be human and admits it when she makes mistakes.

A narcissistic mother rips apart her child’s heart and destroys their relationship, but a loving mother will do everything she can to restore the fractured relationship with her child.

A loving mother, despite her own struggles and imperfections, offers her child unconditional love, which is the reason we choose to honor and remember our true mothers and grandmothers.

Celebrate those who are kind to you and be a loving mother and nurture yourself!


  1. I love this! I may have a narcissistic mother, but I’m thankful to Jesus for giving me the desire and strength and wisdom to be a loving mother. I really like how you also mentioned that giving birth doesn’t automatically make one a good mother, and that there are many godly, motherly women who have not given birth, yet are loving examples of motherhood! Thank you for writing this, Cherilyn!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This year I found myself the least anxious, about Mother’s day, in the past decade. And then I found myself in a situation I somehow had convinced myself would not ever happen: love bombing. I am thankful for your site and your writing and the validation it brings when all goes topsy turvy and one is left reeling in the “what the heck just happened” …

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow LM, That sounds like a switcheroo! I hope you are keeping your boundaries and head clear and doing something healthy for yourself so you don’t feel tempted to bite at the love bombs.

    I’m also glad you are blessed by my blog–although I would be glad to trade the pain both of us have experienced to not need this blog.

    Courage dear heart!

    Peace and freedom!



  4. Thank you! There was one statement she made that really has needled me more than the rest, “you know I love you, I have always loved you”(while not releasing me from a hug). What an aggravating thing for a mom to say to their child! That’s the type of thing cheating partners say when caught. Anyway, I plan to continue as I have in the past 1-2 years: low contact, guarded but not taking on bitterness… Thanks again 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi LM,
    You are describing a situation where actions speak much louder than words. If she really loves you, then she will allow you to be yourself and not talk about you and try to manipulate you.

    It sounds like you have a good plan with Low Contact and possibly going Gray Rock. A lot of
    people survive that way and still keep contact with their families. I think it is great if you can do it.

    Peace and freedom to you!



  6. Just am dealing with this for the first time now…facing it for the first time….devastating. thank you for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Dear Private Bad Thoughts,

    So sorry to hear you are having to deal with a narcissistic mother. The initial realization is devastating, but I hope in time you realize that it is not your fault she is selfish and dysfunctional. I hope you can find friends to share your grief and take the time to mourn. Go easy on yourself and do some serious self-care. You are worthy of having a loving mother who cares but for whatever reason, she is incapable of love. If you don’t already have a counselor, it might really help you at this stage. You are worth it!

    Peace and freedom,


    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you Cherilyn, I am in therapy and am having a very small funeral for our relationship. I am done with her. I’ve written some poetry about the experience on my blog (which most recently she violated my trust by reading, and thought it was all about what a terrible mother she was….it wasnt but now it sure is.) feel free to give it a peruse ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh my. I certainly empathise with this one. It’s been many long years of manipulation and emotional pain and low contact was the way I’ve survived. With the passing of my father this summer I’ve been brought into high contact and with triangulation going on with my siblings. It’s been a coaching friend who, in trying to help me through the pain of a dying father and the ‘edge of sanity’ high contact with my birth family who first asked if I thought my mother was a narcissist. I’m now pretty convinced that’s what I have experienced over my lifetime. It’s been awful at times and isn’t good now with her manipulative behaviours through bereavement of getting everyone to do her bidding. Guilt is a word all 3 of us adult children use to describe how we are made to feel. Emotional blackmail has been a constant for us all. Thank you for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

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