21 Clear Signs Of A Narcissist Grandmother (2024)

Do you suspect that your grandmother is a narcissist?

This article is here to help you clear any doubts you may have.

This article discusses 21 signs of a narcissist grandmother and how to deal with such a grandmother.

Here’s what you’ll learn:

Let’s get right into it.

Who is a Narcissist?

A narcissist is defined as someone who’s excessively self-involved, vain, and has an inflated sense of importance.

While we all have narcissistic tendencies (we all enjoy praise and admiration and, on most occasions, prioritize our needs over others), some people take these tendencies to an extreme.

This pathological form of narcissism is referred to as narcissistic personality disorder, which is a mental illness characterized by:

  • An inflated sense of self,
  • A need for admiration and attention,
  • A lack of empathy.
  • Entitlement
  • Arrogance
  • Envy of others
  • Exploitation of others

However, not all people with narcissistic personality disorder are the same. There are two main categories of narcissists, namely:

  • Grandiose: These narcissists have an inflated sense of self and are very arrogant. They believe they’re better than others and often try to prove it by showing off their accomplishments or putting others down.
  • Vulnerable: These narcissists have a fragile ego and are constantly seeking approval from others. They’re usually shy, sensitive, and emotional and prefer to play the victim card.

While most narcissists fall into one of these two categories, some may exhibit characteristics of both.

Now that we know who a narcissist is, here are 21 signs to look out for if you suspect your grandmother is a narcissist.

Signs of a narcissistic grandmother

21 Signs of a Narcissistic Grandmother

#1. She Has Controlling and Manipulative Tendencies

One of the first and most noticeable signs of a narcissistic grandmother is that she always wants to control your family and the whole family.

She may try to control where you live, work, where your kids go to school, and who you associate with.

In her mind, she knows what’s best for you and your family and wants everything to be done her way. In most instances, she will go to great lengths to make sure that happens.

What’s more, narcissistic grandmothers are also manipulative. They often use guilt trips, emotional blackmail, gaslighting, and even threats to get their way.

It’s not uncommon for narcissistic grandmothers to play one family member against the other to get what they want. For instance, she may tell your kids that their other grandparents are bad people and that they should stay away from them.

#2. She Has No Boundaries

Does your grandmother always turn up at your house whenever she wants?

If so, then it’s likely that she has no boundaries.

Narcissistic grandmothers often invade their family members’ privacy and personal space. They believe they have a right to know everything going on in your life and will go to great lengths to get that information.

In some cases, narcissistic grandmothers may even snoop through your belongings or eavesdrop on your conversations.

Moreover, narcissistic grandmothers will often discuss your family issues with other people. They have no problem airing your dirty laundry in public if it means making themselves look good.

#3. She Has Attention Seeking Behavior

If you have a narcissistic grandmother, you’ll probably find that she loves being the center of attention and always seeks validation from others.

Narcissistic grandmothers are often very charming and charismatic. They know how to work a room and charm people with their words.

But behind that façade, narcissistic grandmothers are often insecure, anxious, and self-conscious. They need to be the center of attention and go to great lengths to ensure they are.

For instance, narcissistic grandmothers will often interrupt conversations, change the subject to be all about them, or monopolize your time.

And that’s not all!

A narcissistic grandmother could be dramatic. She may make everything into a big deal or create conflict where there is none.

All she cares about is getting the attention she so desperately craves.

#4. She Talks Behind Your Back

A narcissistic grandmother will talk negatively about you to others while smiling at your face.

She will gossip about you, your family, and your friends behind your back.

In her mind, she is the only one who matters, and everyone else is just a pawn in her game. She will use anyone and everyone to get what she wants.

And if you confront her about it, she will deny it or turn the tables and make it seem like you’re the one who’s in the wrong.

Don’t be fooled by her sweet words and fake smile. A narcissistic grandmother is not to be trusted.

Related: Toxic Grandparents Warning Signs & What To Do

#5. She’s Always Lying

Do your mother’s stories never add up? Is she always lying? If she is, then that’s one of the signs of a narcissistic mother.

Narcissistic grandmothers will often lie about their accomplishments, feelings, and age. They need to be seen as perfect and will go to great lengths to ensure everyone sees them that way.

But the truth is, narcissistic grandmothers are far from perfect. In fact, they’re often quite flawed individuals. But they don’t want you to know that.

So, they’ll lie and manipulate the truth to make themselves look good.

Narcissist grandmothers may also lie to manipulate you or your children. They may use lies to get what they want or control the situation.

Either way, it’s essential to be aware that narcissistic grandmothers are often dishonest and should not be trusted.

#6. She Guilt Trips You and Your Children

A narcissist grandmother will often use guilt as a tool to control her family.

She may guilt trip you into doing things for her

For instance, she may guilt trip you into spending time with her by saying things like, “I’m so lonely. I don’t see you very often.”

Or she may guilt trip you into giving her money by saying things like, “I’m not as young as I used to be. I can’t do everything myself.”

Narcissistic grandmothers will also guilt-trip their grandchildren into doing things for them.

They may say things like, “I’m so old and frail. I need you to help me around the house.” Or, “I don’t have anyone else to turn to. You’re my only grandchild.”

Guilt-tripping is a narcissistic way of manipulating and controlling her family. So, be on the lookout for it.

narcissist grandmother
Photo by Paul Theodor Oja

#7. She Lashes Out at Your Kids

One of the main characteristics of most narcissists is that they get angry when people don’t do as they want.

This form of narcissistic rage can be directed at anyone, even your own children.

A narcissistic mother may lash out at your kids when they don’t do what she wants or if they disobey her. She may yell at them, hit them, or say hurtful things. In her mind, she is the authority figure and must be obeyed.

And it’s not only yelling.

Narcissistic grandmothers also tend to be passive-aggressive. They may give your kids silent treatment or withhold love and affection from them when they don’t do what she wants.

This is just another narcissistic way of trying to control and manipulate her family.

Related: Tips How To Deal With A Narcissistic Elderly Mother

#8. She Doesn’t Respect Your Parenting Rules and Decisions

A narcissistic grandmother will often try to undermine your parenting rules and decisions.

She may do things like buying your kids candy when you’ve told them they can’t have any or let them stay up later than their bedtime.

She may also try to discipline your kids when they’ve done something wrong, even if you’ve already dealt with the issue.

In her mind, she knows better than you and she will do whatever she can to prove it.

#9. She Says Inappropriate Things to Your Children

A narcissistic grandmother may say inappropriate things to your children.

She may say hurtful and mean things to them, such as calling them names or telling them they’re worthless.

A narcissistic grandparent may also say sexually inappropriate things to their grandchildren.

They may make lewd comments or jokes,

This is one of the most narcissistic and abusive things a narcissistic grandmother can do. It’s essential to be on the lookout for it and protect your children from it.

signs of a narcissist grandmother
Photo by RODNAE Productions

#10. She Mistreats Other People In front of Your Children

A narcissistic grandmother may mistreat other people in front of your children.

She may say hurtful things to them, call them names, or make fun of them.

Narcissistic grandparents may also physically abuse other people in front of their grandchildren.

They may hit, slap, or even push and shove people.

This is another narcissistic way of trying to control and manipulate her family. It’s essential to be on the lookout for it and protect your children from it.

Children who witness their grandmother mistreating others may learn to do the same thing themselves. They may also have difficulty empathizing with others and develop a sense of entitlement. 

#11. She Has a Favorite and Outright Shows It

While every grandmother has her favorite grandchild, a narcissist grandmother will make it obvious who that favorite is.

She may go out of her way to spend time with this golden child, shower them with gifts, and brag about their accomplishments.

At the same time, she may barely acknowledge the existence of her other grandchildren.

This behavior can be hurtful and confusing for the children involved. They may start to wonder why they are not good enough or what they did to deserve this treatment

The narcissist grandmother may also try to control this favorite grandchild, dictating what they should wear or how they should behave. 

And that’s not all!

Besides having a favorite, a narcissist grandparent may also have a grandchild she least likes. This grandchild is often used as the scapegoat and may be the target of the narcissistic grandmother’s abuse.

This grandchild may be made to feel like they are never good enough or that they are always doing something wrong. They may also be subject to the narcissist’s verbal and physical abuse. 

If you suspect that your mother may be a narcissist, pay close attention to how she treats her grandchildren.

#12. She Wants to Be the Favorite Grandparent

Another sign that your mother may be a narcissist is if she constantly strives to be the favorite grandparent. 

She may buy her grandchildren more expensive gifts than other grandparents, boost of her achievements, or take them on more lavish vacations.

Narcissistic grandmothers often feel like they must be the best and most special to be loved and accepted. 

This can be exhausting for grandchildren who just want to have a normal relationship with their grandparents. They may start to feel like they can never please their narcissistic grandmother.

#13. She’s Volatile

Does it feel like you’re always walking on eggshells when your mother is around?

You can’t speak your mind, share your opinions, or express your feelings without fear of her flying into a narcissistic rage.

A narcissistic parent is often very volatile and can go from 0 to 100 in seconds. One minute she may be sweet and loving, and the next, she may be yelling and criticizing you.

This constant emotional roller coaster can be draining for grandchildren. They may feel like they can’t do anything right and always walk on eggshells around their narcissistic grandmother. 

#14. She Cares Too Much About What Other People Think

Narcissists are often very image-conscious and worried about how others perceive them. They may go to great lengths to put on a good show and present a positive facade.

However, this can come at the expense of their loved ones, who they may view as nothing more than props in their quest for approval and validation.

Due to their manipulative and controlling nature, a narcissistic grandmother may try to dictate how their family should dress, behave, and interact with other people. 

This can be especially challenging for grandchildren, who may feel like they must conform to her standards to avoid her wrath. 

Of course, not every grandmother who cares about what other people think is a narcissist. 

But if you notice that your grandmother seems addicted to approval and is always putting on a show for outsiders, it may signify that she’s a narcissist. 

#15. She Pulls a Disappearing Act

Another sign that your grandmother may be a narcissist is if she disappears for long periods without any explanation. 

She may go on extended vacations, business trips, or stop responding to your calls and texts. 

This can leave you feeling confused and abandoned. It’s as if you don’t matter to her. 

And when she does reappear, she may act as if nothing happened and expect you to pick up where you left off.

#16. She Badmouths You

Narcissistic grandmothers will often badmouth you and your children.

This can be in person or behind your back, but either way, it’s hurtful. She may do this to undermine your confidence or manipulate you into doing what she wants. 

For example, she may say hurtful things about your parenting skills or criticize your appearance. Or she may try to turn your children against you by telling them lies or exaggerating the truth.

She may also try to pit you against your siblings, telling you different things about the other.

This toxic behavior can damage your relationship with your grandmother and make it difficult to trust her. 

narcissistic grandmother
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

#17. She Plays Victim

Narcissists are experts at playing the victim. They may try to make you feel sorry for them or like you’re the one in the wrong.

They may do this by gaslighting you, making false accusations, or twisting your words. 

For example, she may say that you’ve been neglecting her, even if you’ve been calling her every day. Or she may claim that you said something hurtful, even if you didn’t.

This type of manipulative behavior can be confusing and frustrating. It’s important to remember that you’re not responsible for her happiness or wellbeing. 

You shouldn’t feel guilty for setting boundaries or standing up for yourself.

#18. She Has Family Members Who Fall for Her Act

Another telltale sign of a narcissist is the presence of flying monkeys. These are individuals who the narcissist has convinced to do their bidding, often without realizing it.

They may be other narcissistic family members, friends, or even strangers.

The flying monkeys may share similar narcissistic traits to your grandmother and will do things like defending the grandmother’s lousy behavior, spreading rumors about you, or trying to convince you that you’re the one in the wrong.

They may also try to isolate you from your support system.

These individuals can make it difficult to stand up to the narcissist and further damage your relationships.

#19. She’s Only Grandma When It Suits Her

Many narcissistic grandmothers are only interested in their grandchildren when it suits them.

They may use them as props to make themselves look good, or they may try to control and mold them into the image they have of the perfect grandchild.

But when it comes time to actually be there for their grandchildren, they often fall short.

They may cancel plans at the last minute, neglect their emotional needs, or simply not bother to show up.

This can leave grandchildren feeling unimportant and unloved. 

It can also damage their self-esteem and make it difficult for them to form healthy relationships in the future.

#20. She’s Never Owns Up to Anything

Narcissists never take responsibility for their actions. They always find someone or something else to blame.

So, if you confront your narcissistic grandmother about her bad behavior, she’s likely to deny it or make excuses.

She may say that she was just joking, that you’re too sensitive, or misunderstood her.

She may also try to shift the blame onto you, claiming that you’re the one who’s really at fault.

#21. She Might Have a Drug, Alcohol, or Other Addiction Issue

Many narcissists have addiction issues. This can be anything from alcohol or drug abuse to gambling or shopping.

And while not all addicts are narcissistic, many share some similar traits.

For example, they may lie about their use, be secretive and manipulative, or be unable to take responsibility for their actions.

If your grandmother has an addiction, it’s essential to get help. But it’s also important to remember that you can’t fix her.

You can only offer your support and hope that she’ll be willing to get help independently.

narcisstic grandparent
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

How to Deal with a Narcissistic Grandmother

Set Clear Boundaries with Your Grandmother

Once you realize your grandmother is a narcissist, one of the first things you can do is set clear boundaries with her.

Let her know what you will and will not tolerate, and stick to those boundaries. If she tries to cross them, don’t hesitate to walk away, or end the conversation. 

It’s also important to be assertive with her. Narcissistic grandmothers often try to control their family members by manipulation or guilt.

Don’t fall for it. Instead, stand up for yourself and let her know that you’re not going to put up with her bad behavior.

Avoid Getting Drawn into Her Drama

Narcissists are always creating drama. And while it can be tempting to get involved, it’s essential to avoid getting drawn into her web.

Instead, just walk away. The less attention you give her, the less power she has over you.

Build a Support System of Your Own

One of the narcissistic grandmother’s favorite tactics is to isolate her family members from their support systems.

She may do this by badmouthing you to other people, making it difficult for you to see your friends or family, or even moving away.

But it’s essential to have a support system. So, do your best to build one of your own.

This can be anything from close friends to a therapist or counselor. And if you can’t physically be around your support system, there are always online options, like forums and chat rooms.

Protect Yourself Emotionally

Narcissistic grandmothers can be emotionally abusive. They may constantly criticize you, put you down, or make you feel bad about yourself.

And while it’s important to stand up to this behavior, it’s also essential to protect yourself emotionally.

This means setting boundaries and limits on how many contacts you have with your grandmother. It may also mean seeking professional help to deal with the emotional damage she’s caused.

Don’t Force Your Kids to Spend Time with Her

Narcissistic grandparents can be emotionally abusive and damaging to their grandchildren. Just because she’s your grandmother doesn’t mean you have to force your kids to spend time with her.

In fact, it may be best to keep them away from her if possible.

So, if you can, shield your children from her bad behavior.

If All Fails, Cut Her Off

Sometimes, no matter what you do, it’s impossible to have a healthy relationship with a narcissistic grandmother.

And in these cases, it may be best to cut her out of your life. This doesn’t mean you have to completely sever all ties with her.

But it does mean setting boundaries and limits on your contact.

It may also mean only talking to her when necessary.

Whatever you do, make sure you’re doing what’s best for you and your family. And don’t let a narcissistic grandmother control your life.

Related: 11 Best Ways To Emotionally Detach From A Narcissist

Any Further Questions?

There you go.

All you need to know about identifying and dealing with a narcissistic grandmother.

Which of these signs have you noticed in your grandmother? How will you deal with her?

Are there any signs or ways to deal with a narcissistic grandmother we’ve left out? Please share them in the comment section below.

And if you have any questions regarding the signs discussed in this post, please ask them in the comment section below.

I’ll be happy to respond to any question asked.

About The Author

Bijan Kholghi is a certified life coach with the Milton Erickson Institute Heidelberg (Germany). He helps clients and couples reach breakthroughs in their lives by changing subconscious patterns. His solution-oriented approach is based on Systemic- and Hypnotherapy.