Daughters of narcissistic mothers often grow up feeling confused and alone. They cannot understand why their mother behaves the way she does, and they may feel like they are constantly walking on eggshells around her.
Narcissistic mothers typically have a grandiose sense of self-importance and a need for excessive admiration from others. They can be very manipulative and will use their daughters to meet their own needs, instead of prioritising the needs of their child.
In this blog post, I will explore the impact that a narcissistic mother can have on her daughter’s life and future relationships. I will also provide some tips on how to deal with a narcissistic mother.
Narcissistic Mothers are Ambient Abusers
A narcissistic mother is self-centred and lacks empathy for her daughter’s feelings. In her eyes, her daughter is simply a prop to be used to achieve her own ends.
She will often try to control her daughter’s behaviour by criticising and belittling her, or by manipulating and guilt-tripping her. Of course, she will also use the tools in the standard narcissist toolkit – gaslighting, abuse by proxy, hoovering, love bombing or smear campaigns.
The result is that narcissistic mothers raise their daughters in an atmosphere of insidious ambient abuse that harms their psychological and mental growth. The girls feel devalued, unsupported and unimportant. They are likely to have difficulty trusting people and develop low self-esteem.
Narcissistic Mothers are often jealous of their daughters
A narcissistic mother may be jealous of her daughter. Instead of nurturing and supporting her child, the narcissistic mother will compete with her. This is because she sees her daughter as a threat. The idea that her daughter might become more beautiful or successful than her is more than she can stand.
This is why such mothers are so critical of their daughters. They berate them and criticise them, in the process destroying their self-esteem. They may even tell their daughters that they are too fat, or too thin, or too pale.. Nothing is too hurtful or out of bounds when it comes to “putting their daughter in their place.”
Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers form a fearful avoidant attachment style
A narcissistic mother usually has difficulty showing love and affection to her daughter. As far as she is concerned, her daughter is simply an extension of herself and exists to meet her needs. She may see showing any kind of love or affection as a sign of weakness.
The result is that her daughter will form a fearful avoidant attachment style and will find it difficult to form close and intimate relationships when she grows up.
A fearful avoidant attachment style is typically formed when a child is raised by a neglectful or abusive primary caregiver. The child does not feel safe or secure in her relationship with her mother, so she learns to protect herself by distancing herself emotionally. Daughters of narcissistic mothers become very guarded and mistrustful of others. As a result they find it difficult to form close and intimate relationships.
The impact of a fearful avoidant attachment style in adulthood can be significant. Individuals with this attachment style often have difficulty trusting others and bonding with them. They may have a deep fear of abandonment, and as a result, may find it difficult to let anyone get too close. They may also find it difficult to open up and share their feelings, and are hypervigilant and constantly on guard. This puts a lot of pressure on the relationship and can make it difficult to sustain. This can lead to a cycle of unhealthy relationships where the individual is constantly searching for something that they are afraid they will never find.
Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers have difficulty setting boundaries
Another impact of having a narcissistic mother is that her daughter will have difficulty setting boundaries. A narcissistic mother often expects her daughter to meet her needs and will get angry or sulky if she doesn’t. In fact she often wants to live vicariously through her daughter and will push her to achieve things that she herself was never able to.
The result is that the daughter grows up feeling guilty if she says no or sets any kind of boundary. She may feel like she is disappointing her mother if she doesn’t do what she wants or meet her expectations. This can lead to people pleasing behaviour and a lack of assertiveness. It can also make it difficult to say no to people in general. This of course leads to problems in both her personal and professional life.
For example, she may have difficulty saying no to her boss when he asks her to work late, or she may agree to go on a date with a man even though she doesn’t really want to.
Daughters of narcissistic mothers also often have difficulty setting boundaries with their own children. They may find themselves constantly giving in to their demands, even when they are not really sure if it is the right thing to do.
The result is that they can end up feeling overwhelmed and resentful. Their own children may also struggle to develop a healthy sense of self-esteem and boundary setting skills.
The Danger of Codependency
One of the dangers of being raised by a narcissistic mother is that you can become codependent. Codependency is when you have an unhealthy dependence on someone else, usually someone who is emotionally unavailable or abusive.
A codependent relationship is one where one person is dependent on the other for their emotional needs to be met. The result is an unhealthy and unbalanced relationship where one person is always giving and the other is always taking.
Codependency often starts in childhood, when a child has an emotionally unavailable or abusive parent. The child learns that their emotional needs will not be met by their parent, so they start to look outside of the family for someone who can meet them. This often leads to codependent relationships in adulthood.
If you are in a codependent relationship, you will often find yourself making excuses for your partner’s behaviour. You will also be willing to change yourself to meet their needs. You may also have difficulty setting boundaries and saying no. Codependency can be damaging to both parties involved and can lead to a cycle of abuse.
Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers often become narcissists themselves
One of the most damaging things about having a narcissistic mother is that her daughter is at risk of becoming a narcissist herself. This is because she has learned from her mother that the only way to get love and attention is to be perfect.
She has also learned that it is acceptable to use people to meet her own needs, and that it is okay to manipulate and control others. As a result, she may find herself in relationships where she is always the one in control.
She may also find herself attracted to partners who are narcissistic themselves, as they will be able to understand and relate to her in a way that other people can’t.
The cycle of abuse can also continue into adulthood, with the daughter becoming the abuser in her own relationships. This is because she has learned from her mother that this is how relationships work.
What can you do if you think you might be the daughter of a narcissistic mother?
If you are an adult child of a narcissist (ACoN) and have experienced any of the issues described above, it’s important to understand that it’s not your fault. Your mother’s behaviour is a result of her own issues, and do not reflect on you in any way.
It can be difficult to deal with a narcissistic mother, but there are some things you can do to make the situation more manageable:
- Set boundaries with your mother. Make it clear what you will and will not tolerate from her.
- Be assertive in your communication with her. Stand up for yourself and don’t let her walk all over you.
- Avoid getting into arguments with her. It’s unlikely that you will be able to change her mind, and you’ll just end up feeling frustrated and resentful.
- Focus on taking care of yourself. Make sure to nurture your own needs and feelings. Do not allow yourself to get emotionally drained by your mother’s drama.
It is also important to reach out for support, whether that is from a therapist, a friend, or a support group. It can be difficult to break the cycle of abuse on your own, but with help, it is possible.
Finally, make sure to take care of yourself. Narcissistic mothers can be very draining, both emotionally and physically. It is important to make time for yourself. Do things that make you happy and nurture your own sense of self-worth.
If you think you might be the daughter of a narcissistic mother, remember that you are not alone. There is help available, and you can break the cycle of abuse.
What are your thoughts on this topic? Have you been affected by a narcissistic mother? Share your story in the comments below.
For Further Reading
You might also want to check out the following posts about narcissistic families and the impact of childhood trauma:
- SoNM (Sons of Narcissistic Mothers)
- SoNF (Sons of Narcissistic Fathers)
- DoNF (Daughters of Narcissistic Fathers)
- DoNM (Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers)
- ACoNs (Adult Children of Narcissists)
- Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers: What You Need to Know
- The Narcissistic Family Golden Child
- The Narcissistic Family Scapegoat
- The Narcissistic Parent and the Enabler
- Narcissistic Family Roles: The Complicated Dynamics of Narcissistic Families
- Breaking the Intergenerational Cycle of Family Abuse
- Emotional Abuse as a Child Linked to Adult Chronic Pain
- CAPDR – Child affected by parental relationship distress
- Adverse Childhood Experiences and PTSD: What’s the Connection?
- The Impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences on Puberty
- Learning how to Trust and Love after Adverse Childhood Experiences
- Parentification: The Role of the Parentified Child in Narcissistic Families
- What is Codependency and how to overcome it
- Resilience – the ability to bounce back after adversity
- Is the Golden Child destined to become a Narcissist?
- Secrets and Shame: The Corrosive Impact of Family Secrets
- How to Deal with a Narcissistic Sibling: Tips for Navigating Family Drama
- Going through the stages of grief for my lost childhood
And finally, this is my story. I was the scapegoat daughter of a narcissistic father.
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