Sons of narcissistic mothers: I know you exist too. As do sons and daughters of narcissistic fathers. I think if I had my time again I would have made this website more general: children of narcissistic parents maybe. But it is what it is. And my experience, that I could write about, is of being the daughter of a narcissistic mother.
To the extent that being the son of a narcissistic mother is the same experience as for daughters, this website is for you too, and welcome to you, and I hope you get value from it. To the extent that it is different, I cannot write about it.
The mother-daughter relationship is very specific. It is from her mother that a girl learns what it means to be a woman. A good functional mother helps her daughter grow into that woman, giving her practical advice regarding body changes, and health, and mothering in her turn, and hints and tips about being a woman in this world. Daughters of narcissistic mothers lose all that, and that is my experience and what I know.
But the mother-son relationship is very specific too. It is through his relationship with his mother that a boy learns how to relate to women, and of course with a narcissistic mother a man is going to not have a healthy model for those relationships.
It can cause problems in later relationships too, as his narcissistic mother can try to interfere in his marriage and the son’s partner would struggle to understand why he concedes to his mother so much. This can be a problem for daughters of narcissistic mothers too, of course, but I imagine it’s worse for men as our culture expects men to be strong and independent, and here is this man giving into his mother’s demands and whims. His whole concept of masculinity can be damaged by this. We could of course discuss whether that’s a fair concept of masculinity, but that’s a whole different topic. The reality for now is that strength and independence are considered hallmarks of masculinity, and the bullied son of a narcissistic mother can fail to show those traits sufficiently for his, or others’, liking.
And so, sons of narcissistic mothers face their own challenges for sure. No situation involving a narcissist is easy, and this is no exception.
Some brave SONMs have shared their stories below about how it specifically impacted them as men in the world. I do invite you to read those.
One son wrote to me to share that the narcissistic mothers can exploit our cultural belief in men-as-breadwinners, to manipulate her son, to make herself dependent on him, and him thinking that its his responsibility to keep her financially.
For sure narcissistic mothers can exploit their daughters that way too, and do in many cases, but this societal pressure can add a further burden to sons.
Nathan from Alabama in the US writes:
[Being raised by a narcissistic mother] has, and continues to be, VERY difficult. I can clearly see how I could have easily become a narcissist like my mother and grandmother. However, I believe my religious faith has helped me from turning that way. It’s still a day-to-day challenge , though, because I know no better. I was raised and taught to be “that way.”
My best friend is the way he is because he was raised in a healthy, normal household. His daughter emulates her parents. I struggle daily to NOT emulate my mother, but rather have been trying to create a personality that is correct for today’s society.
This book about the mother-son relationship has 4 stars on Amazon. I haven't read it myself so cannot recommend it directly, but it does seem to be good.
My own best-selling book is addressed to daughters but many sons have written to me to say they found it very valuable even so, as so much of the information applied to them too. You might find it equally useful and validating.
It is believed that I have mild Asperger’s and a Non Verbal Learning Disorder; I also have PTSD as a result of the life I endured. Those disorders, combined with having a mother with NPD created a very strange child. I suffered bullying throughout school; and I don’t mean name calling like “Hey, four-eyes,” but rather bullying that required trips to the ER. Even teachers got into the act because I was so strange.
I never knew how to act or how to present myself. It was as though everything I said or did was wrong or inappropriate for the situation. Some people thought I was just being funny; I wasn’t, I was being me. It created a great deal of frustration in me and made the world a VERY confusing place.
I’ve had a few very close friends over the years, but have also managed to destroy some good relationships because I don’t understand the concept of friendship or how to truly be a friend. I’m still learning that. My understanding of relationships, be they close or superficial, is based on what I experienced in my mother through my relationship with her and observing her interaction with others. In fact, my understanding might be more twisted since I try to overcompensate for what I saw and experienced through her.
As for how it affected my relationship with women, she destroyed that ability on all levels. My desires are heterosexual and I know what I prefer in the way of female companionship, but I am incapable of any healthy relationship with a woman emotionally or physically.
I had a girlfriend in high school with whom I was madly in love, but my mother made that time a living hell for me. I did not understand how to deal with such a relationship. When I expressed my admiration to the girl, she felt confined and dumped me. The pain is still there after forty years. I blame my mother, because if I’d had a “normal” life I might have developed properly emotionally and understood how such relationships develop and progress.
Although I have a lady-friend, I have not had such feelings for another female. My lady-friend lives 800 miles away and has had three strokes. We are still very close, but she is just a friend. She accepts me as I am, but I cannot fathom an emotional relationship with her.
That is it in a nutshell. One is not born with a personality, but rather the personality is molded by their environment, situations, etc. All I knew was growing up in a narcissistic household, so my personality is based on that influence. I do not believe I am a narcissist and in fact, I overcompensate the other way; however, understanding that balance that those from “normal” households understand eludes me.
Each day is a challenge for me and an opportunity for continued growth and change, even after fifty-six years.
Another son wrote: