What Does a Narcissistic Mother Get from Her Children?

Marlena Eva
5 min readMay 22, 2024

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Narcissists have children to fulfill their own needs (it’s never about the child’s needs)

Photo by Jennifer Murray on Pexels

Everyone needs a mother. Even if you have a hurtful or emotionally unavailable mother, you’ll still want and crave her validation.

I cut ties with my narcissistic mother in 2016 and got back into contact with her in 2020. We’re in full contact now. Why?

I NEED A MOTHER.

My desire to have a mother is not abnormal. We all need and want a mother. This desire is universal and even if you’re 30, 40 or 70, you’ll still want to run into your mother’s arms when you’re not well.

However, I don’t have a mom who provides love, comfort, and security but one who often hurts me and invalidates me.

Despite this, I still fantasize about calling her to tell her about my problems hoping that, this time around she’ll be able to empathise with me and offer me a shoulder to cry. (it never happens)

I know that you perhaps might need your mother as well even though she might be hurtful and standoffish. But what about the narcissists? Why do narcissistic mothers need their children in their life? If narcissists don’t love their children, why are they craving a relationship with them?

These are the things I came up with:

Power

As a new mother, you must know the feeling that someone innocent and new to life is completely dependent on you for all their needs and wants. All mothers out there know they have a huge influence over someone else. No matter what you do to a child, they’ll always come back to you.

To narcissists, this kind of power is intoxicating. They thrive in an environment where they have the upper hand, where their partner is inferior, and, therefore, needs them for survival. I don’t think there’s a more perfect set-up for a narcissist than this.

My mother lights up when I call her and tell her that I’m visiting her. One time I asked her to bake something for me and it felt like she was reanimated.

She likes the validation that she gets from performing her duties as a mother. She has nothing in her life but her husband and children. She doesn’t work, nor does she have any hobbies. Thus, the thing that gives her the most meaning is the relationship with her family.

Without this relationship, a narcissist loses their power and meaning in life. That’s why experts say that narcissists cannot be left alone. Without someone to use and abuse, they will be overwhelmed by their self-hate and have a mental breakdown.

Control

It’s nothing new that all narcissists are obsessed with control. But control for narcissists is not like the type of control experienced by normal, healthy people. There are many control freaks out there and I’m one of them.

I don’t like it when things don’t go my way. I love to have everything in order at my house and if someone comes and disrupts that order, I get very anxious and upset. After a while, the anxiety will dissipate and I learn to adapt to a new set up. (if I have to)

However, narcissistic people have a twisted relationship with control. They need to control the people in their lives not to feel calm but to survive and not get thrown into a psychotic break.

If they cannot control someone, a situation or their environment, they will slowly dive into their ugliest and darkest breakdown. Control for them is vital for survival.

A feeling of accomplishment

A narcissistic mother believes that once you have a child, you’re more highly regarded by people. More doors will open for you because of your status. However, that is far from the truth.

Giving birth to a child is not an accomplishment. Everyone can give birth, it’s not such a complicated thing to do.

The hardest thing about being a mother is the emotional part: the being there for the child part, the being there during an illness part, the worrying for them part, the duty to provide the child with emotional regulation skills, with emotional and mental health skills, with boundaries and moral integrity. You also need to protect the child from predators and instil confidence in them from an early age.

You also need to make sure they know they are unconditionally loved and accepted by you.

Narcissistic mothers abandon their children emotionally and do nothing of the above. They are neglecting of their children and think that merely providing food, clothes and shelter (sometimes they just pour money on them hoping that they’ve done more than enough) is what makes a ‘mother’.

But everybody can do this. Even children in orphanages are fed, clothed and bathed, does this mean they were mothered? No.

It is very manipulative of a narcissistic mother to tell her child (or adult child) that she has fed them and given them a roof over their head and so she deserves respect. Doing the bare minimum for a child doesn’t mean anything.

A mother is forced by law to provide food, shelter and clothes for her children otherwise she’ll get in trouble. Tell your narcissistic mother this if she ever brings up the topic of her doing the bare minimum for you. Doing the bare minimum doesn’t justify her abuses. This is a twisted logic so don’t fall for it.

Emotional regulation

Narcissistic mothers use their children to regulate their emotions. Emotional regulation is a method where you soothe your wounds and come down from a very heightened, emotional state. People from the Cluster-B spectrum (including narcissists) use people to feel better about themselves because they can’t do it alone.

Narcissists need a warm body around them to project their self-hate, blame, shame and criticism.

It is very soothing for a narcissist when you are around them. They think that you dislike yourself so much that you let yourself be used and abused by them. They like it when you have low self-esteem and secretly hope you will continue to sacrifice your mental health on the altar of making them feel good. Yes, they are that mean-spirited.

Conclusion

All and all, narcissistic mothers get a lot of ‘goodies’ from their children including power and control. If they cannot control their children or run their lives, their mental health will suffer.

So they’ll do anything they can to manipulate, abuse and use the individuals they birthed and shaped into adults.

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Marlena Eva

MA in Social Psychology. Freelance Writer. Poet. Writes about: narcissism (NPD), relationships, mental health.