The Matriarch Narcissist Knows Best





“I love you.”

“I have heard this is a good one for getting a reaction from you because this is what you always want to hear.”


“You won’t ever amount to anything.”

“Not while I am interfering in every facet of your life, controlling you and making your childhood and your adult life one long battle.”


I just thought I would call you and see how you are.”

“You do not give me enough fuel. You are an ungrateful son/daughter and I regret the day I gave birth to you.”


“It is my birthday next week and I just wondered if you had anything planned.”

“I expect something lavish and spectacular so I can be centre stage. If you haven’t planned such an event you are cruel and uncaring, just as I always thought.”


“I am proud of you.”

“For once you have done something I approve of and now I can take all the credit for it.”



“You were quite a challenge when you were younger.”

“I thought you might resist my cold-hearted manipulation of you, but I broke you in the end.”


“I suppose you have heard the sad news about your Uncle Paul dying?”

“A death! A funeral! Such a wonderful stage for me to dominate and all those relatives to suck fuel from.”


“I am trying to help you,you know?”

“I am trying to control you, stop resisting me.”


I have done so much for you. All I want is some thanks.”

“I think I have done so much for you. I need some fuel.”


“It was a joke. You take yourself so seriously.”

“It was not a joke. Damn you for seeing through it. I need to back track quickly so I am not accountable.”


“You were an accident.”

“Go on cry and make me feel powerful.”


“Your father and I have discussed this as we think…”

“I have decided….”


“Your father agrees with me so there is no point running to him.”

“Your father knows better than to contradict me.”


“I had such high hopes for you.”

“You aren’t doing what I want.”


“That never happened.”

“It did but you are not allowed to hold that against me.”


“We never thought you would leave home.”

“You were not meant to move out of my control.”


“We hardly ever see you these days.”

“You should be providing me with fuel more often.”


“You weren’t like this when you were little.”

“You were so much easier to control back then.”


“I don’t love you.”

“I don’t love you. I never have.”

47 thoughts on “The Matriarch Narcissist Knows Best

  1. Christine says:

    A whole lot of this sounds like my father. He’s a mid-range and dependent on others thinking well of him and on being able to think well of himself, so he’d never come right out and say he doesn’t love me. He shows it constantly though.

    “It was a joke” was the most common one. What adult regularly picks at a 4-year old until she cries and then tells her she’s too sensitive? Someone who wants his daughter’s first serious boyfriend to be what HG calls a “greater narcissist,” looks like, because that’s what happened to me. Though of course my father never wanted me to have a boyfriend at all.

    I have no pity for him. His childhood was hard. Too bad — plenty of people whose childhoods were at least as hard don’t end up taking it out on their own children.

    I ended up with, or was born with, a massive amount of empathy (embarrassing at times), but I have learned when it needs to be shut off, and how to shut it off. The last part was the tougher lesson. People are often surprised at how cold I can occasionally be toward people who seem to them to have done very small things, while having great amounts of sympathy for others who have made bigger mistakes. We learn.

  2. WiserNow says:


    I think your comment is very true when you say:
    “Essentially, a narcissistic mother is no different from any other narcissist, which means she will use her children to achieve the prime aims: fuel, character traits, residual benefits”.

    This goes for both mothers and fathers. Along with the prime aims they seek from their children, any kind of success their children achieve is also met with envy and the impulse to devalue. I think that if narcissistic parents perceive that their children are overshadowing them for whatever reason, i.e. youthful looks, intelligence, financial success, etc, they feel envy and a sense of rivalry because of it. So, they will look for ways to “devalue” their child’s success, or take it out on someone else to gain the fuel they’ve lost by being wounded by their child.

    It’s crazy and very difficult to understand and accept by the child. It’s a push/pull dilemma for the child. I know that in me, it caused great confusion and a double-bind effect, which ends up in emotional pain, low self-esteem and a hopelessness. I think children need to feel genuine approval from their parents in order to have healthy self-esteem. On the one hand, I felt I was “loved” and supported because I was encouraged to be successful, but then on the other hand, any success I did achieve was subtly criticised or devalued, or there were other problems to solve, which meant the “success” wasn’t truly internalised and I didn’t “feel” successful.

    1. EmP says:

      Hi Wisernow, yes, my comment goes for both mothers and fathers.

      In my case, they didn’t want me to be too successful (because I might have escaped their clutches) but they wanted to do well in school. Very well. So they could take credit for my achievements and, later on, use me as a personal adviser. That is the only reason why I had access to good education, which in my home country, back in the 80s, wasn’t a given. The only opportunity for me to have some ‘alone time’ and skip part of the household chores was doing homework, and, later, prepare for exams. In my teens, my mother would spare me a tirade or a beating at times if I had something interesting and stimulating to share with her about the latest philosophic theory or Greek tragedy I was studying, for example.
      My father, on the other hand, couldn’t care less about philosophy or Greek literature – he just wanted me to do well and not ‘show off’ because “who do you think you are, you arrogant little bitch?”.

      I forgot to say that I wasn’t allowed to dress nice, grow my hair or even have friends for a loooong time. The witch was burning with envy (and still is, as far as I know) while my father didn’t want me to look or act “like a whore”.

      It is confusing, but mostly because you have to/want to believe your parents love you (isn’t that what everyone tells you, after all?) and it just does NOT compute.
      My self-esteem went down the drain of course. I started to suffer with anxiety, which I am still battling today, while getting involved with an endless string of narcissists.
      And that is when HG came along and took me out of the fog and the confusion.
      Finally I could make sense of all that horror. And it was ONLY thanks to HG.

      So, yes, I understand very well the damage narcissistic parents can do to a child and I am sorry you (and other readers) had to go through it too.

    2. Tam says:

      WiserNow, I feel this way now, and looking at models for parenting classes just yo learn how to love myself better and see if I can get some much older needs met. So far, I’m not sure if I’m doing good or bad with it all. It’s a serious uphill trek and even battle with myself.

  3. EmP says:

    Reading ‘Mommie Dearest’ by Christina Crawford at the moment. Very interesting read, in light of HG’s teachings.
    Oh, how these teachings changed my perspective on things.
    Joan Crawford’s erratic behaviour (which everyone blamed on her alcoholism) makes sense now: toxic narcissistic logic and addiction to fuel.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Absolutely right.

    2. Chihuahuamum says:

      Hi emp…ill never forget seeing that movie years ago. My heart broke for the daughter. My grandmother was this way to my mother and once in an alcoholic rage tried to strangle her 🙁 my step grandfather pulled her off of her.
      Thats like a histrionic out of control narcissist.
      Ive seen similiar dance mums and competitive mothers. They live in their childs limelight.

      1. EmP says:

        Hi CM, not sure which of the two is the most disturbing, the book or the movie.
        The scariest anecdotes for me to read (as they remind me of what my own mother used to do) were the ones describing Joan’s raids, where Christina and her brother Christopher would wake up to chaos, screams and pandemonium. Pure terror.
        And I loved how the very last chapter confirmed what HG always says (surprise, surprise): that there can be no change. Christina had fooled herself into believing Mother had loved her after all…only to find out that she and her brother had been cut out of the will. For reasons well known to them, apparently.

        I think it’s about time we stopped believing in the inherent goodness of human kind.
        Us Tudorites know it’s not true, but most people out there are still being pulled the wool over their eyes.

    3. Chihuahuamum says:

      Hi emp…i think ill download the book today and read it while im on vacation. The books are usually better than the movies. I seen the movie when i was about 14 maybe younger and it shocked me how a mother could be so deranged. I dont remember the part about the will but how hurtful.
      Its been a hard pill to swallow but yes some people are pure evil but thats where my faith comes in and i know good exists as well. Then there are those in the middle like HG that do possess good and i pray for those people that they can be salvaged and change. I no longer wait to see that change but i do pray for these types that they can transform. There are narcissists that never will and the mother in that movie i think is one of those that was incapable of change and evil to the core.

      1. EmP says:

        NarcAffair (the other one is too complicated to spell..!), as I have said HG’s teachings have been key in understanding, for me at least, how a mother can be so deranged.
        Essentially, a narcissistic mother is no different from any other narcissist, which means she will use her children to achieve the prime aims: fuel, character traits, residual benefits (you will see this in the book). It’s tough to accept but it’s true. Truth heals but it also hurts.
        As to the issue of goodness and evil in humans, I have decided I will devote some time to finding out more about the topics of psychopathy and lack of conscience, reading books written on the subject.
        I, personally, wouldn’t place HG in a ‘middle’ category. Actually, I am not even sure HG could be placed in any of the conventional categories we know of. As I have said before I think he’s a true genius..he has an amazing understanding of human nature, which I find incredibly fascinating, and has been gifted with extraordinary intelligence. Good? I don’t think so. As much as I admire him (and I do, very much) I would not use that adjective to describe him.
        His work has had a very good impact on many people, yes (I believe HG changed the course of my life, seriously) but if he is as dangerous as he is intelligent…oh boy….

      2. Chihuahuamum says:

        Hi emp…ty for your reply. I go back and forth. I do think HG has the capacity for change but does he have the motivation for it or ever will idk. Thats where id not wait around for any narcissist to change. Id never trust someone like HG fully and always use caution but just from things ive read here and his cognitive ability to know what hes doing and why gives him a huge advantage to change behaviours if he chooses to do so. That is where i think hes capable whereas other less cognitive narcissists arent bc they cant or wont see that in themselves.
        That recognition can be used to further con victims or used to change the behaviours learned thru his mother. He carries on her legacy of narcissism otherwise. He also carries on the good hes done thru his writings and helping people regardless if its for recognition and money.
        True strength comes from growth and change but isnt easy as i know all too well.

  4. Tam says:

    A dizzying perspective, HG.
    It rings true.

  5. Kensey says:

    These are all spot on …exactly my ex MIL.
    I had never seen anyone up-stage the birth of a baby!

  6. SMH says:

    HG, you are not alone. Sounds like my mother. She is manipulative, critical and cold; no guilt or remorse; jealous; two-faced; never apologized for anything…I could tell loads of stories but I’d feel like I was betraying my siblings. I don’t hate her, though. She can be fun if I am in the right mood with my armour on and she needs me so doesn’t cross a line (kind of like my narc lover, come to think of it!!). The only grandchild happy to spend time with her is my kid – the goldern child. She and I have had a tug-of-war over him since the day he was born. When he was small, it allowed me to control her (behave or you will not see your grandchild). Now that he is older, it makes her jealous. He turned out great and we are close, but he is mine and not hers. Ha.

  7. Bubbles🍾 says:

    Dear Mr Tudor,
    I don’t trust people who have a “joke at my expense” (or pranksters).. all the narcs I know have done it

    It’s Ironic ….
    I was the only one the hospital called when my estranged father was dying …no one else in his life was there, not one (he had no friends)
    I’m the only one in my mum’s life (“she” called me when my step dad died) and I’m now her carer …. without me, she has no one
    They play havoc and treat you like crap, then want you back in the end because we are good people, honest reliable and dependable
    My dear ol mum has been ever so “nice” since I’ve been back in her life
    Go figure

    Mr Tudor, you “nail it” every article, the words, the sentences, everything … thankyou

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Indeed I do Bubbles and I am pleased you recognise as such.

      1. Sunshine says:

        Ha! Fuel. I am at once thankful for and revolted by your insights.

        1. HG Tudor says:

          That is a sensible position to adopt.

  8. Lisa says:

    Hi HG, is there any information about enablers of narcissists on your blog. This would be for example a wife of a narcissist that is not a narcissist but does actually enable the narcissist , I’ve read that quite often this person could seem very nice but could in actual fact be a covert narcissist (I know you don’t use those terms) by seeing a narcissists abuse but choosing to ignore it or never really take the narcissist to task. Have you written about this anywhere ? Thank you

    1. HG Tudor says:

      See articles about Lieutenants and The Coterie, Lisa.

    2. SMH says:

      Lisa, As an unwitting IPSS I have often been angry at my narc’s IPPS (wife) for my ensnarement because I do see her as an enabler. At one point, I was going to write to her and tell her to put a fucking leash on him because he is a predator. She’s a co-dependent and, like him, only cares about appearances. Some people on here would feel sorry for her but I just feel embarassed for her. Honestly, if I could figure out what was wrong with him she should surely be able to as well but she has too much to lose so she turns a blind eye. Either that or she is too weak to assert herself, in which case I have no respect for her…

      1. Lisa says:

        Hi SMH, is this your boyfriends wife ? thank you for your comment . I think co dependant is a strange one, they seem to be people that would appear fragile and probably very nice . I’m not sure I understand what they are .

        1. SMH says:

          It is my ex-narc’s wife (I escaped). I’m not sure what they are either. Maybe they also don’t feel very much and so are able to tolerate narcs and other disturbed people. Like narcs, they are superficial. But I don’t really know…

  9. LYNN says:

    I realise from this my mother wasn’t a narc just totally didn’t care or give a shit. but HG and anyone else who has received this from a parent my heart goes out to you. Don’t let them ruin your life anymore which ever way they sent you. x

  10. Quasi says:

    This is the first time I have read this article. Ticking the like button felt like a horrible contradiction, as I do not like the content – the words that children hear, the treatment that they endure, the pain that is felt, and the isolation, with no one to nurture their emotional expression.

    I ticked the like button because it is important that this is heard, heard and understood as much as can be possible. I know many here can understand it, as it was a lived experience for them. I have no words that can be of meaning for you, as what is done can not be undone, or made better with a strangers words or empathy. I can only say I’m trying to comprehend it, Reading articles such as this and love is a taught construct, have been fundamental in this.

    It is written in a powerful way, differentiating between the words spoken. And the actual meaning. I can only imagine that this meaning is formulated by the child, through the consistency of hearing the words, and linking them to the outcomes! Observing, learning, and developing coping mechanisms to try and tolerate it.

    I cant imagine not being able to love my children, or doing / saying anything like this to them.

    Reading this literally made my heart ache, I’m glad it did.
    I feel it is meant to hit you in the heart. This is a significant article that helps people like me who did not have a narcissist parent to even try to comprehend for just a second what it could have been like.
    Trying to cognitively understand the “whys” is very important.

    The narcissist I knew does not have children, the abuse he endured began as a toddler, just under 2 years or this is as far as he remembers. We would not have had children, but I sometimes wondered if part of the reason he had not had children with other women, was that he did not want them to go through what he went through. Sometimes the things he said made it seem that he had some insight into what he did, he knew he was being hurtful to others, even if he did not really know why.

    Maybe some ( potentially few) narcissists choose not to have children to end the cycle? even if it is just this one cycle. Is this an act of empathy? Or just recognition of what they experienced being horrendous, and knowing in some capacity that they could not love a child as they had not learned to love.

    1. windstorm says:

      They don’t have empathy. I know it sounds harsh, but I think the ones that never had children probably just never saw a use for children or saw children as a weight that would slow them down and complicate their lives.

      A lot of narcs just don’t like to be around children. They find children irritating, messy and like little black holes sucking in all the attention and fuel in a room. I think HG has described them similarly in the past.

      1. Quasi says:

        I understand windstorm. It does not sound harsh at all. The empathy thing I know, it’s often clear, it’s a diagnostic criteria. I threw that in there as a hypothetical option for reasoning . I still at times question in my own mind if empathy like many things, are on the sliding scale of intensity and degree/ capacity. so some people with definable NPD or mixed personality disorder with high narc traits may have some low level empathy but overide it. I have always struggled with the concept of feeling only the negative emotions, Is it actually possible to selectively numb certain emotions? Or are they just ignored through development or given another label.. I totally get arrested development in a child’s development and learnt behaviours, coping mechanisms, defence mechanisms adopted… I just ponder at times that each individual will develop differently, alongside the ongoing question of why two children raised by the same narcissist parent can be so different- one empath one narcissist for example. I just feel that the subject is so much more expansive and complex then we can truly comprehend.. not so black and white..

        1. windstorm says:

          I agree with you, Quasi. Those are the kind of questions we can’t even really be sure of about ourselves – much less other people. My exhusband’s first degree was in philosophy and typing up his papers made me realize that people have been questioning the same things and trying to figure out human nature for thousands of years!

          I’ve often wondered about the empathy thing, too. Really smart narcs can appear to have tremendous empathy and keep most people around them fooled. I used to wonder about my exhusband, if maybe he could somehow shut his empathy off and turn it on. Until one day he admitted to me that he sees that some people have natural empathy, but for some reason, he’s never had any. He can only wonder how it feels to actually care. All of his is learned from watching others. He really feels nothing (except probably irritation and disdain, lol!)

          I do feel sorry that narcs can’t feel the joy that I feel just seeing beautiful things or being alone in the quiet. But I think they feel their own type of joy when they get fuel. And in a lot of ways they are less complicated people and don’t worry or dread things like we do. Given the choice, I doubt many would want to change.

          And as to children. It is amazing the personality difference in children from the same family! Six children from the same family can grow into six totally different people. I think it’s not a case of nature vs nurture, but rather evidence that both are fundamental in who a child becomes.

    2. MB says:

      Hey Lady Quasi! I’ve missed everybody! Even though they choose not to have children for selfish reasons, the end result is still the same. The cycle ends and we can take comfort in that.

      1. Quasi says:

        Hey lovely MB, very true, the end of one cycle is a very good thing. I am thankful for this.

  11. Spanish Caravan says:

    Well… You’re giving me the silent treatment. So I’m just going to take a nap. This HAS been a magic carpet ride. I’m tired. You know you can always shoot me an email. You do have it. I’m used to chaos… I was bred in it.

  12. Windstorm says:

    Harsh but oh, so accurate. I’ve heard most of these so many times….

  13. tigerchelle78 says:

    “I have done so much for you”, and “I am trying to help you” sound familiar….. both my parents had trouble expressing any kind of love or affection in words and actions. I do not remember them ever saying they loved me, or were proud of me. They didn’t love me, so I didn’t love me. Simple as that!
    Children who are not loved, or given affection, learn only to fear it, and never trust it. But living this way, comes with a price.

  14. Kim e says:

    So sad. I think this is why I cannot hate my narc. The mind molds us and the narc has learned this. I am not excusing the manipulations but if that is what you grew up with from the person who molded you, what else do you know. Your mind molds to protect you from your abuser and in turn makes you an abuser

    1. windstorm says:

      Not always. A lot of us grew up this way with narc mothers and did not become abusers. If anything, I believe it strengthened my empathy for others, because of the suffering I endured.

      1. Kim e says:

        Thank you for the insight. Any thoughts on why it effects some different than others? Possibly the way the rest of the family dynamic is presented.

        1. windstorm says:

          Don’t know about the family dynamic. Both my parents were narcs and I was an only child. Growing up I only saw my extended family 2-3 times a year and they seemed to me to be narcs, wanna be narcs and apologists for narcs. I truly believed being a narc was normal and I was defective – not tough enough.

          But I didn’t want to be that way too. Maybe because I am a contagion empath and feel other people’s pain. I never wanted to hurt others, tease others or ridicule others, because it literally hurt me too.

          I believe that I was born an empath, just like I was born with blue eyes. Having lived over 60 years and seen many children born and grown in my family, I believe we are all born with our narc and empathic traits already present and this predisposes us one way or another.

          But how we are raised can make a big difference, too. If you start very young, you can teach little narc children cognitive empathy and that being considerate to others is in their best interest. I know this is possible because I have seen it done. They can grow up to be good citizens and decent people. But it’s hard and takes a lot of effort by multiple relatives. And no matter how you train them, they will only ever have cognitive empathy.

      2. Insatiable Learner says:

        Thank you for stating this, Windstorm. This is my experience as well. At the very least, my mom has strong narcissistic traits although I fear she may have more than that. I can’t even say it out loud it seems. My dad was an alcoholic and emotionally unavailable. I grew up an extreme empath with co-dependency.

        1. windstorm says:

          Insatiable learner,
          I didn’t grow up with alcoholism, but my exhusband is an alcoholic and many of his family. I hope you had extended family to help you. I know how hard it is to live that way. Thankfully my FIL and MIL were big on AA and AlAnon and the extended family is a huge support to one another. That’s how I learned about narcissism.

          It was my FIL who taught me not to be codependent. He was a very crafty man (greater narcissist) and used my empathy to show me that by stepping in and taking care of adults and cleaning up their messes, I was denying them the opportunity to grow as people. He threw religion in there too and said that he believed that God gave us problems so that we could learn and grow during this lifetime and become the people we were meant to be. If I stepped in and took care of someone else’s problems, then I was holding them back from achieving their potential that God had planned for them.

          I wish I could say it like he did, but the end result was I came to see that it was really selfish and conceited of me to step in to someone else’s situation. I was doing it because I wanted to be helpful, because I loved them, because I didn’t want to see them miserable – I, I, I.

          He also stressed how children really needed people like me to help them and make their situations better. How much good I could do if I channeled my empathy and desire to help toward the children of dysfunctional people, because they really did need loving people caring for them.

          He really made me stop and think and revaluate my behavior. It was a major turning point in my life (as I’m sure he meant it to be). He knew better than to tell me to stop helping people, but redirected it onto my children and nieces who really needed it. This new attitude gave me both a purpose and the power to separate myself from the insanity and dysfunction of the alcoholism and narcissism.

          Good luck to you. I’ve always loved your name. I’m an insatiable learner, too! 😊

          1. WhoCares says:

            Windstorm – I just wanted to say how much I enjoy your descriptions of your family’s dynamics. I learn a lot from your posts – and it must have been interesting to be raised by a Greater narcissist.

          2. windstorm says:

            Thank you for your kind words. I’m glad you enjoy my family anecdotes. “Interesting “ is probably a good word for being raised by a greater narc. It’s certainly NOT “good” or “pleasant” or “enjoyable.” It’s also scary, sad and intimidating.

            I guess for me the best thing was it was very educational and intellectual. My father taught me how to observe everything around me and encouraged me to seek out answers and explanations. If I asked him a question that he didn’t know the answer to, he would find a way to look it up (much harder in the middle of no where before the internet!). Even though I lived in a rural area, it was a given from birth that I would go to college and excel academically. I was fortunate that I actually had the ability to excel in school, or I’m sure my life would have been much uglier than it was.

            My father in law didn’t raise me of course, but he was an important fixture in my life from age 16 on. I loved him dearly, and he was very nice and kind to me, but OMG he was a scary and dangerous man! There was an inherent ruthlessness to him that was very intimidating. He was a horrible father to his children in many, many ways.

            I was one of his “pets” and he even introduced me to people as such and would pat me on the head like a dog. The ONLY reason he was so kind to me was that it was in his own self interest and he was up front about it. He said that if his son drove me crazy and broke me to the point I ended up in a hospital, then he figured he’d end up having to raise his grandchildren and he’d had enough of raising children. So it was in his vested self-interest to educate me, support and train me so that I could care for and provide for them until they were grown. He didn’t “love” any of us, but he was proud of his grandchildren and considered them an important part of his legacy.

          3. WhoCares says:


            Yes, thank-you for noting my word choice of “interesting” …I most certainly hesitated at the word choice – one, because I wouldn’t know what it’s like to be raised by a Greater and two, I can vaguely imagine what it’s like – so it seemed the best choice given the alternatives that popped into my head…none of which seemed right.

            ” The ONLY reason he was so kind to me was that it was in his own self interest and he was up front about it. He said that if his son drove me crazy and broke me to the point I ended up in a hospital, then he figured he’d end up having to raise his grandchildren and he’d had enough of raising children. So it was in his vested self-interest to educate me, support and train me”

            Re: your father-in-law. Wow!
            At least he was upfront…

            Fascinating…and sobering.
            Thank-you so much for sharing, Windstorm.

        2. Tam says:

          I agree with you two. Allthough I feel my empathy fighting against putting up boundaries and almost find scary.

          1. windstorm says:

            I think I know what you mean. I’ve always been uncomfortable with putting up boundaries, too and wish they were not necessary. But unfortunately, they are. Over the years I’ve come to realize that even kind, caring people will walk all over me and try to change my life if I don’t have boundaries.

          2. NarcAngel says:

            Very true that boundaries are required with all kinds.

          3. windstorm says:

            Yeah, of course we focus on narcs here, but I find interfering “do-gooders” just as obnoxious. They’re just not as tenacious.

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