The first thing to note about narcissistic mothers is that most are likely to have been narcissistically wounded as children. Narcissistic wounding generally occurs through a process known as mirroring.
Mirroring is an interaction that begins at birth. It is an interaction that generally occurs between the mother, or caretaker and the infant.
There is appropriate mirroring, and inappropriate mirroring. An example of appropriate mirroring is when a mother notices, and responds, appropriately to the cries of an infant. An appropriate mirroring response would be to first notice the cries of the infant, to try to figure out why the child is crying, and then to do something that might satisfy the apparently unmet need of the infant.
If it is determined that the infant is hungry, this would mean breastfeeding the baby. If the baby appears to be uncomfortable, it would be appropriate to figure out the source of the discomfort (ie., a blanket that is itchy and irritating the baby’s skin), and intervene to remedy the problem.
An inappropriate mirroring response to the cries of an infant could be to completely ignore the infant, and the cries, or to say something to the child in a harsh tone. Taking it a step further, mirroring could go beyond an inappropriate level of interaction and may represent an outright abusive reaction, such as screaming at the child to stop, or actually striking or shaking the child.