Unmasking The Covert Narcissistic Mother- How She Appropriates and Undermines Her Daughter’s Successes

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Unmasking the Covert Narcissistic Mother

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?

This timeless line from Snow White holds a deeper meaning, mirroring the complex dynamics between a covert narcissistic mother and her daughter.

In today’s blog post, we delve into the fascinating world of covert narcissism, exploring how these mothers appropriate and undermine their daughters’ successes in ways that are hidden unless you know what to look for.

Unmasking the Covert Narcissistic Mother: How She Makes You Feel

To be clear, most covert narcissistic mothers know what is expected of them socially, but because of the underlying narcissistic defense, the need to take you down a notch is still there—her narcissistic competitiveness peaks out like a slip that is too long for your dress.

Unlike their overt counterparts who loudly seek validation and attention, covert narcissistic mothers are masters of disguise. They might appear to praise you one minute and then undermine you with a veiled insult the next.

At best, it is a mixed message. At worst, it is a slyly delivered insult.

Either way, encountering a covertly narcissistic mother leaves you feeling hurt and confused.

You don’t know how to take what Mom says. Understandably, it is hard to acknowledge the mother who says she loves you in one breath can  mean you harm in the next.  Even if she is unconscious of the hurt she causes, it still hurts.

Unmasking the Covert Narcissistic Mother: How She Is Always the Victim

Starring in her self-constructed movie, the covert narcissistic mother perpetually plays the victim.  As a masterful deflection from her misdeeds, she makes others out to be the true villains.

With mock outrage, she claims to be the victim of your ungratefulness. If you dare confront her, no matter how diplomately, she responds,  with, ” I guess I’m just a horrible mother!” “How could you ever think ill of her… after all she has done for you?” She hasn’t hurt you; on the contrary, she is suffering your unfair, unfounded attacks!

No matter how sharp her tongue or how sarcastic her tone is, as she gossips and judges others- forever the aggrieved, the victim of others’ cruelty, not the other way around.

Unmasking the Covert Narcissistic Mother: How She Takes Credit For Your Accomplishments

If you do something that brings praise from others, she will find a way to steal your glory and take credit for your accomplishments.

Declaring that your success is because of all she has done for you, she will take the credit.

OR similarly, she sends you out into the world as her PR agent, instructing you what to do and how to do it while she takes the bows as the applause comes in.

Unmasking the Covert Narcissistic Mother: How She Weaponizes Being “Right”

While the overt narcissist brazenly breaks the rules and tosses aside the norms of social conventions as unnecessary, the covertly narcissistic mother wears her “rightness” as a badge of honor- the mark of her superiority.

She misses the goodwill and graciousness that underpins the purpose of having good manners; instead, she is much more interested in demonstrating a display of moral superiority.

Assuming a self-righteous attitude, she is more correct than all the others.

Navigating the Maze of Covert Narcissism:

Living under the shadow of a covert narcissistic mother can be emotionally draining and confusing.

As daughters, we all yearn for our mother’s love, approval, and support. However, with a covert narcissistic mother, these basic needs are often twisted, repackaged, and served back to you as a means of control.

Her hostility dwells right underneath the surface of her carefully constructed persona.

What can You Do?

Recognizing these toxic manipulation tactics is crucial to protect your self-esteem and mental well-being. All too often, a daughter, especially one in the Good Daugther role, stays confused, hurting, and depressed but has trouble making sense of it all.


As we wrap up this blog post, you might still wonder: What drives a mother to appropriate and undermine her daughter’s successes?

The covert narcissistic mother’s need for control, validation, and superiority propels her down this destructive path.

She skillfully chips away at her daughter’s confidence and autonomy with her manipulative techniques of backhanded compliments and double-speak. And while she may not be consciously aware of what she is doing, she is every bit as dangerous as the overtly narcissistic mother- a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

But fear not, for you hold the key to breaking free from her suffocating and destructive grip in discovering these covert tactics.


Do you relate?

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  1. Tina

    I am in the middle of breaking free from the insanity of it all. I’m refusing to do this pretend land with my mother no matter what. I will not do it.

    • Katherine Fabrizio

      “Pretend land” – that’s a good description.
      Sending you strength and good wishes,

  2. CC

    Hi! I was wondering if anyone can help me with something (and if this applies to this topic)? I feel that my Mom is always “correcting” me. Even if I call her, there is always a “problem with the connection”. There is always something wrong, that makes the conversation never quick and easy. It leaves me feeling so angry and frustrated because all I want is a simply, quick conversation. I have had to deal in the past with her lying to me in conversations, or acting with so much anxiety because of our family dynamics that I felt that I was always getting gaslit or smokescreen as she was running out to the door to try to solve some family drama or something. (I really don’t feel that any of those dramas needed to happen if there was just good guidance growing up – I don’t want to blame anyone, but I don’t like the feeling of chaos or bad behavior being allowed all the time).

    She is a musician, so this fine-tuning might be in her nature, but it drives me crazy, and then I feel guilty and horrible for getting mad over seemingly nothing. Can anyone provide any insight into this? Thank you very much!


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