Does your mother have any, or many narcissism traits? Narcissism traits are the definitive list which decides if somebody has Narcissistic Personality Disorder. The official criteria from the current DSM V are listed here. Having said that, that definition is very confusing for the ordinary person like us, who is just trying to figure out what's wrong with her relationship with her mother.
And so I include below the narcissism traits from the old DSM IV, as this is easier to relate to. To be diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder a person needs to have 5 out of the 9 narcissistic traits.
A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:
- has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
- is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
- believes that he or she is "special" and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
- requires excessive admiration
- has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
- is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
- lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
- is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her
- shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes.
These narcissism traits do not, of course, even begin to describe the many difficulties of having been raised by a narcissistic mother. (My book You're Not Crazy - It's Your Mother, does that, in validating detail.) And, of course, many of the narcissistic mothers don't have all of those narcissism traits - don't forget, she only needs five! And I personally find that these narcissism traits are difficult to judge because how do we know what her internal fantasies are, for example (i.e. Trait 2).
I recommend you read this excellent list of characteristics of narcissistic mothers as that'll help you put the above theoretical list into concrete terms, in other words how the narcissism traits manifest themselves in daily life. I do invite you to check those out and see if they resonate with you.
These narcissism traits aren't pretty. They're certainly not pretty to endure. The effects on daughters of narcissistic mothers are many and varied as you well know.
Drew Keys (Light of www.lightshouse.org) has created The Toxicity Test, an 81-question interactive test. It won't tell you if she (or any other relative) is narcissistic, but will tell you if they're toxic and abusive, or you over-reacting as they always told you. I took it twice, for my mother and my father, and even though I've been speaking about this stuff for years now, I still found it to be incredibly validating and reassuring and helpful. I recommend it. Find out about it here.