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Engulfing or Ignoring: Types of Maternal Narcissists

Updated: Oct 27, 2022

Silhouette images of engulfing and ignoring mothers

Engulfing or Ignoring

Types of Maternal Narcissists

Written by Randi Fine, Narcissistic Abuse Expert

Narcissistic Abuse Awareness and Guidance with Randi Fine

As is true with all narcissistic parents, mothers may be engulfing or ignoring. They may be one way or the other, a combination of both, alternate between the two, or engulf one child and ignore the other.

Engulfing mothers try to dominate and control every aspect of their children’s lives. They dictate how their children look, how they feel, how they should act, and what they should say. Children are enmeshed and smothered to prevent them from becoming independent.

Engulfing mothers are very needy and envious of anything that takes their child’s attention away from them: friends, after curricular activities, social life, job or career.

They may tell their children they love them, just so they can hear it said back. What these mothers call love is not love at all. It is parasitic neediness.

Because they seem so attentive, engulfing mothers make a good show. By all appearances, they look like good mothers to those on the outside. What goes on behind closed doors is another story.

Ignoring mothers are entirely different. They are disconnected from their children’s emotional worlds and make no attempt to hide it. Instead of providing attention, support, and guidance to their children, they coldly reject or abandon them.

Ignoring mothers may tell their children that they wish they never had them, they should have aborted them, or that they are worthless. The words “I love you” are never uttered. Overtly selfish and cruel, they starve their children’s emotional needs and feel no shame or guilt about doing it.

The level of abuse from ignoring mothers may vary from mild to extreme. On the mild to medium spectrum children may not be looked at, touched, or hugged. They may be sent to school un-bathed or in soiled clothing. Their physical or medical needs may be neglected. Mothers may forget to pick their children up or may be chronically late in doing so. They may send their children away or pawn them off at every opportunity. They may even lock or throw their children out of the house at times.

Severe maternal abuse is found at the far end of the ignoring mother spectrum. Children may be physically abused, locked in rooms or closets, not fed or provided adequate nutrition, left in harm’s way with known abusers or predators, or left alone to fend for themselves. Children may not be allowed to live at home or visit their own family. Ignoring mothers have even been known to abandon babies or prevent them from thriving.

There is also a very extreme, off the charts version of narcissistic mothers. These are the ones who commit the heinous crimes against children we sometimes hear about. They are known as malignant maternal narcissists.

These women are deranged and inhumane to the core. They either do cruel and torturous things to their children, murder their children, or have others facilitate the abuse and then enjoy watching it.

Malignant maternal narcissists are the ones who emotionally torture their children by hurting or threatening to hurt their beloved pets. They are the mothers who beat their children to death or within one inch of their life. Some sexually exploit their children. You can well imagine the other horrific things they do without me having to be graphic.

The majority of narcissistic mothers are not that extreme, but they are all a serious danger to their child’s emotional well-being.

This is copyrighted material. May only be shared with permission and proper attribution. Randi Fine is an internationally renowned narcissistic abuse expert and coach, and the author of the groundbreaking book Close Encounters of the Worst Kind: The Narcissistic Abuse Survivor’s Guide to Healing and Recovery Second Edition, the most comprehensive, most well researched, and most up-to-date book on this subject. In addition to helping survivors recognize their abuse and heal from it, this book teaches mental health professionals how to recognize and properly treat the associated abuse syndrome. She is also the author of Cliffedge Road: A Memoir, the first and only book to characterize the life-long progression of complications caused by narcissistic child abuse.


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