Do Narcissistic Mothers Raise Narcissistic Sons?

Michelle Overman, Author
Updated on January 25, 2024

Children of narcissistic mothers can be at a higher risk of becoming a narcissist themselves. However, studies have found that sons raised by narcissistic mothers are at a higher risk than daughters. Below, we’ll explore the potential risks resulting from the relationship between narcissistic mothers and their sons.

Narcissistic mother

Narcissism is characterized by an inflated sense of self-importance and an exaggerated self-image. Narcissistic individuals tend to exhibit self-centered and entitled behavior, often driven by a desire for recognition and admiration. These individuals can present challenges in both personal and professional relationships, as they may lack empathy and struggle to take responsibility for their actions. As a result, interacting with a narcissistic person can be quite challenging.

Their over-inflated sense of self makes it difficult for them to maintain healthy familial relationships or any relationships for that matter. Narcissists who become parents view their children as an extension of themselves. They push their children towards success in the areas of life they deem valuable. Having children allows them to have control over another person, a need common to most narcissists. They want their children to embody what they think is important, taking on the successes of their children as their own.

The Mother-Son Narcistic Dynamic

While at a glance it might seem like she is validating him, the mother almost overemphasizes and even idolizes the son. She starts to inflate his ego to an unhealthy level by putting him on a pedestal. As a child, the son might feel more confident in himself, but putting him on a pedestal at such a young age can set him up to fall hard.

The son will continue to work for reinforcement because the reinforcement feeds his ego. However, at some point, he will disappoint his mother, causing him a great deal of distress. He will work harder and harder to please her and will continue to fail to do so because it is not possible to continuously please a narcissist. The mother will start to resent the son and will make her resentment known to him.

Typically, he will then begin to resent her as he is no longer getting admired and his ego is not receiving the reinforcement it’s grown accustomed to. To manage his painful emotions, he begins to seek alternative methods of inflating his sense of self on his own. He focuses on building up his own ego. The son grows into a person who idealizes himself, puts his needs first, and feels entitlement toward everything in his life. He loses the ability to empathize, focusing only on his own needs and feelings, and in turn, dismisses the needs and feelings of others. In reality, the son is a deeply insecure person attempting to hide his true feelings about himself.

The narcissistic dynamic in any parent-child relationship can lead to dire consequences. The son may become a narcissist himself or at the very least will be deeply wounded by the way his mother has treated him. Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is typically treated with psychotherapy, commonly using a variety of therapy approaches, including, but not limited to:

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, the influence of a narcissistic mother on her son can be significant, potentially resulting in the son exhibiting similar narcissistic traits. However, it is important to note that not all sons of narcissistic mothers will become narcissistic themselves, and there are ways to break the cycle of narcissistic behavior. Seeking therapy and support can be helpful for both the son and mother in addressing any underlying issues and developing healthier relationships. With self-awareness, commitment, and the right resources, it is possible to overcome the negative effects of narcissistic parenting and build a fulfilling and positive life.


Michelle Overman, Author

Michelle is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist working as a counselor for students, faculty, and staff at Abilene Christian University in Texas. She works with athletes, bridging the gap between athletics and mental health at ACU. Michelle ran her own private practice in Austin, Texas where she worked with a diverse population, including couples and families.

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