Monday, August 8, 2011

Narcissistic Traits

I found a very interesting checklist today at Dr. Karyl McBride's website. I thought it deserved to be posted, even though I figure that most of my readers are already well-aware that a member (or several) of their FOO has full-blown NPD. It can be adapted to suit all individuals, rather than just mother/daughter parties.

Here it is:

Narcissism is a spectrum disorder with the most severe end of the spectrum considered a narcissistic personality disorder. A [person] can have several narcissistic traits and not fit the personality disorder. [Individuals] with only a few traits listed can negatively affect their [children] in insidious ways which is explained in Dr. Karyl's book.

(Check all those that apply to your relationship with [the individual in question])

1. When you discuss your life issues with your mother, does she divert the discussion to talk about herself?
2. When you discuss your feelings with her, does she she try to top the feeling with her own?
3. Does your mother act jealous of you?
4. Does your mother lack empathy for your feelings?
5. Does your mother only support those things you do that reflect on her as a “good mother”?
6. Have you consistently felt a lack of emotional closeness with your mother?
7. Have you consistently questioned whether or not your mother likes you or loves you?
8. Does your mother only do things for you when others can see?
9. When something happens in your life (accident, illness, divorce), does your mother react with how it will affect her rather than how you feel?
10. Is or was your mother overly conscious of what others think (neighbors, friends, family, co-workers)?
11. Does your mother deny her own feelings?
12. Does your mother blame things on you or others rather than own responsibility for her own feelings or actions?
13. Is or was your mother hurt easily and then carries a grudge for a long time without resolving the problem?
14. Do you feel you were a slave to your mother?
15. Do you feel you were responsible for your mother’s ailments or sickness (headaches, stress, illness)?
16. Did you have to take care of your mother’s physical needs as a child?
17. Do you feel unaccepted by your mother?
18. Do you feel your mother was critical of you?
19. Do you feel helpless in the presence of your mother?
20. Are you shamed often by your mother?
21. Do you feel your mother knows the real you?
22. Does your mother act like the world should revolve around her?
23. Do you find it difficult to be a separate person from your mother?
24. Does your mother appear phony to you?
25. Does your mother want to control your choices?
26. Does your mother swing from egotistical to depressed mood?
27. Did you feel you had to take care of your mother’s emotional needs as a child?
28. Do you feel manipulated in the presence of your mother?
29. Do you feel valued, by mother, for what you do rather than who you are?
30. Is your mother controlling, acting like a victim or martyr?
31. Does your mother make you act different from how you really feel?
32. Does your mother compete with you?
33. Does your mother always have to have things her way?

Note: All of these questions relate to narcissistic traits. The more questions you checked, the more likely your [parent] has narcissistic traits and this has caused some difficulty for you as a growing daughter and adult


  1. When I first stumbled across NPD I remember applying a similar checklist to both of my parents then calculating the results as a percentage (the teacher in me).

    Quite an accomplishment for the old buggers! They were neck and neck with NF in the mid-nineties and NM in the high eighties.

    Basically, it can be summarized into one question: Does your mother give a shit about anyone but herself?

  2. oh. That's unsettling. I've always considered my NM to actually be more of a BPD with narcissistic tendencies. But these describe her. It was more unnerving to read the questions that asked, "Do you feel..." which could leave the door open for questioning, which is promptly closed by the fact that I was actually told she thought that or felt that way. Some of the things are no longer true, but that's because I'm becoming healthier. Thanks for posting the list, Jonsi.

  3. wow, i said yes to every one!

  4. yeah, some of the things are no longer true in the sense that.. i am no longer in this relationship and no longer really care what my mom has to say about me. but every single one was true in retrospect and in the situation! she really did do every one of these things at least once during my time with her. it was not a pretty situation. all of these things were completely true of my previous situation and rings with my childhood. it feels very validating and liberating to say it now and be done with it. check check and check, hah, well whaddya know.

  5. Mulderfan - Your last question really hits home for me right now, concerning a loved one in my own family. I'm beginning to believe he is narcissistic, or at least that he displays very narcissistic tendencies. Definitely food for thought right now.

    Judy - Wow, so your mother came right out and said some of these things to you? At least you don't have to guess. DH found himself guessing about some of them ("I'm not sure if my mother's feelings are hurt easily.") But, whether you have to guess or not, the outcome is sad either way.

    Lisa - DH also found that some of these things applied more to his past than the present. Seeing it in such a clear checklist really makes it quite obvious. When you end up checking off most of these things (or all of them) it's really quite eye-opening!

  6. Yup, Judy and I have the same mother. Narcissistic with BPD tendencies. My counselor put it that she was a "piece of work." Thanks for posting the list. I think I am need of a review from time to time.

  7. Hey! It's a year later and I re-found this list. Quick run through and my mother had half of the traits checked off. And that's not included the ones I wasn't completely sure of.

  8. Does she sit in the drive way rubbing shit in her hair?
    mine did metaphorically speaking