Unfortunately, not everyone has the best relationship with their mother, and sometimes, it's because your mom might be suffering from mental illness that makes it hard to get along with her. If your relationship with your mom is questionable, there may be some signs your mom is a sociopath. Although the personality disorder isn't terribly common, if your mom has exhibited some alarming tendencies in the past, including extreme lack of empathy, it may be the case that she has this particular mental disorder.
"Sociopathy, which is actually called 'Antisocial Personality Disorder,' is an enduring disorder marked by lack of empathy, callousness, egocentrism, and an incapacity for reciprocal intimate relationships," says Rebecca Burton, LMFT over email. "In my practice, clients who believe their mother is sociopathic truly struggle — with the relationship with their mother of course, but sometimes in other areas of their lives. The basic lack of empathy from a parental figure leaves a painful void in their lives. They often must learn empathy, since they did not witness it receive it as children."
Only a true mental health professional can diagnose your mother with any personality disorders she may have, but if you are suspicious that something is off with your parent, you should watch out for these nine signs that your mom could be a sociopath.
1. She's Nice To Others & Mean To You
Sociopaths are able to turn on a superficial charm when they want something from others, so those not related to you but be used to seeing your mom's good side. "How confusing it is to be her daughter," says Burton. "People love her and praise her sparkling personality, her generosity, or her intelligence. But behind closed doors, she's cruel and hurtful."
2. She Never Apologizes
Because sociopaths are so self-focused, your mom likely never apologizes about the times she was wrong. "She never, ever says she's sorry, and she doesn't believe she has to," says Burton. "She's the star of her own life, and she is ruthless about getting her needs met."
3. She Steals From You
"She steals your money, your credit rating, or your boyfriend," says Burton. "She takes what she wants, with no remorse. This could mean using your social security number to take out credit cards, tapping into your bank account, or sending inappropriate messages to your sweetheart. What she wants, she believes she should have."
4. She Makes Fun Of You When You Cry
Because sociopaths have a lack of empathy, they won't find it upsetting when you're upset. "Most children, even as adults, naturally look to their parents for comfort, reassurance, or understanding," says Burton. "The child of a sociopath gets just the opposite. Therapy can be helpful to address the confusion, pain, and grief that comes with having a sociopathic mother."
5. She Purposely Hurts Others
Some conflict comes from lack of maturity, restraint, or understanding, but a sociopathic mother knows when her actions can cause harm to others — she just doesn't care. "Your mom creates opportunities for you to get hurt, and then finds it funny to watch your pain, sometimes pointing it out to others, rather than protecting your privacy and helping to comfort you," says Burton.
6. She Manipulates You
"You have a sense that you are manipulated when you are with her, but it's so subtle, you can't put your finger on it," says psychologist Dr. Helen Odessky over email. "This isn't your average guilt trip. You find yourself agreeing to things readily and later wonder how it happened. Someone with antisocial personality disorder will often be a skillful manipulator."
7. She Puts You In Risky Situations
Sociopaths tend to be impulsive, which means they tend to put others in risky situations. "If you get a sense that personal safety or safety of others are not often on her radar, she may have sociopathic tendencies," says Odessky. "People with antisocial personality disorder are impulsive, do not assess risk well, or learn from prior experience."
8. She Is Hostile
Watch out for anger and hostility as some prominent personality traits. "People with antisocial personality traits are prone to antagonistic behavior, as aggressive behavior can shift power dynamics in a relationship and help them get what they want," says Odessky.
9. She Lies
Sociopaths also tend to be deceitful. "If your mother is prone to lying about things big and small, she may have traits of antisocial personality disorder, particularly if she lies for personal gain," says Odessky.