Narcissistic mothers are a source of dysfunction in their families. They tend to be overbearing and controlling, and instead of caring for their daughter, they expect her to fulfil their own needs. This article will discuss the characteristics of narcissistic mothers and how they treat their daughters, the effects of their behaviour on their daughters, and strategies for coping with narcissistic mothers.
Characteristics of a Narcissistic Mother
A narcissistic mother is usually possessive and controlling, and she will try to dominate all aspects of her daughter’s life.
This type of mother usually has an inflated sense of self-importance, a lack of empathy for others, and difficulty recognizing boundaries between her daughter’s life and her own.
She may also be critical, competitive or envious towards her daughter’s accomplishments or successes.
Here is an overview of some common characteristics these mothers possess:
Possessiveness and controlling behavior. Narcissistic mothers often attempt to control their daughters’ lives.
They see no need for boundaries between themselves and their daughters, and they have no respect whatsoever for the need that their daughters have to become increasingly independent and autonomous as they get older.
Inflated sense of self-importance. A narcissistic mother believes she is superior to the people around her, including her daughter.
As a result she will demean and belittle her children, seriously damaging their self-respect and self-confidence in the process.
Unempathetic attitude towards others. Narcissistic mothers are usually unable to recognize or sympathize with the emotions of those around them, and instead they focus solely on their own needs and desires.
This type of behaviour can leave long lasting emotional scars on their children and they often struggle to develop healthy relationships with others and process negative emotions in a constructive manner.
Criticism and competitiveness. Narcissistic mothers tend to be extremely critical, competitive or envious of any of their daughters’ accomplishments and successes.
The result is that their daughters struggle with a lack of validation as they grow up, which can have negative effects on their self-confidence and mental wellbeing.
How Do Narcissistic Mothers Treat Their Daughters?
Narcissistic mothers can be hell to deal with and the relationship between a narcissistic mother and her daughter is usually very complex and strained.
The following are some of the most common ways in which narcissistic mothers treat their daughters.
How Narcissistic Mothers Treat Their Daughters – Conditional Love
Narcissistic mothers rarely give their daughters the unconditional love and support they need, often viewing them as an extension or reflection of themselves rather than a separate individual deserving of respect.
This means that instead of providing guidance and helping the daughter to become her own person, the narcissistic mother will struggle to let her daughter go, attempting to keep her forever under her control.
Without feeling unconditionally loved for who she is, the daughter of a narcissist can find it difficult to learn self-love and acceptance, instead feeling pressure to constantly strive for perfection in order to please her mother.
How Narcissistic Mothers Treat Their Daughters – Unreasonable Expectations
Failure to meet those expectations means the child will have to face harsh criticism or anger from the mother.
These impossibly high standards can be damaging to a daughter’s self-esteem as they strive to live up to an ideal that is unattainable and impossible to please.
The constant pressure of having to reach unrealistic goals leaves the daughter feeling inadequate and unworthy, leading her to believe that nothing she does is ever good enough.
How Narcissistic Mothers Treat Their Daughters – Unhealthy Boundaries
Narcissistic mothers tend to blur boundaries with their daughters, making unreasonable requests that are not appropriate for an age-appropriate parent-child relationship.
This could include expectations of fulfilling parental roles such as being confidants or extensions of themselves rather than understanding them as individuals with separate needs and desires.
The lack of separation between a narcissistic mother and daughter roles can stifle the daughter’s development of healthy independence and autonomy, which are essential skills in adulthood.
It can also cause them to develop a negative self-image due to confusion around their identity and worth as an individual, rather than just someone who exists for the mother’s benefit.
How Narcissistic Mothers Treat Their Daughters – Control and Manipulation
They want to dictate every aspect of her life – from what she wears, who she hangs out with, even the decisions she makes – in order to maintain power and authority over her.
They will also emotionally manipulate their daughters by invalidating their feelings, using statements that make them doubt themselves.
This instils such a deep-rooted fear of failure in their children that as they grow up they never even try to venture outside their comfort zone.
Furthermore, they may resort to tactics such as guilt-tripping to get their daughter to do what they want or comply with their wishes.
They do this by frequently reminding their daughters of everything that they have ever done for them, making sure that the daughter feels obligated to do whatever it is that her mother wants her to do.
This abuse undermines a daughter’s sense of empowerment and self-confidence which typically persists into adulthood if not addressed early on through therapy or self-help techniques
How Narcissistic Mothers Treat Their Daughters – Criticism
This kind of criticism is extremely damaging for a daughter and may lead to feelings of low self-esteem in adulthood.
The long-term effects of this kind of verbal abuse can be devastating, as it impacts a daughter’s feelings of worthiness and ability to confidently navigate adult life with healthy self-esteem.
How Narcissistic Mothers Treat Their Daughters – Excessive Praise
While it may seem counterintuitive, narcissistic mothers will often lavish excessive praise on their daughters.
This is usually done for her own benefit – in order to advance her own agenda – such as wanting the daughter to excel in school or pursue a career that she approves of.
This kind of manipulation can be deceptive and powerful, as it causes the daughter to attach her self-worth to pleasing her mother instead of seeking approval from within.
Effects of Narcissistic Mothering on a Daughter
Having a narcissistic mother can be very damaging for daughters in terms of their self-esteem, sense of identity, relationships with peers and others outside the family, as well as their overall mental health.
Self-esteem issues may arise from feeling unloved or inadequate due to one’s mother’s selfishness, envy or criticism.
Boundary violations such as intrusions into personal decision making can also lead to feelings of anxiety and depression.
Coping with the Challenges of Having a Narcissistic Mother
Daughters coping with a narcissistic mother first need to recognize that they are not responsible for another person’s feelings or behaviours.
This requires an acknowledgment that their mother’s behaviour is not normal, but rather an unhealthy form of parenting.
Understanding this and coming to terms with it is key if the daughter is to develop healthy boundaries and protect herself emotionally from her mother.
The following are some tips to get you started on the healing process.
Acknowledge your feelings. It’s important to recognize the emotional pain of having a narcissistic mother and not try to ignore or downplay its severity.
Acknowledging these feelings is an important step in the healing process.
Maintain firm boundaries. Establishing and maintaining healthy boundaries with your narcissistic mother is key for setting limits on her behavior and expressing your needs as an individual.
Avoid arguing. Arguing with a narcissistic mother will likely be unproductive, as she will often avoid taking responsibility for her actions or denying it outright.
Instead, focusing on asserting yourself calmly and respectfully can help convey the message more effectively without escalating the situation.
Don’t take it personally. It can be difficult not to take a narcissistic mother’s comments or behaviour personally, but it is important to remember that they stem from her own issues rather than yours.
Seek professional help. Ultimately, seeking professional guidance such as therapy, self-help books, or even peer support groups can be extremely beneficial in helping you work through the challenges of having a narcissistic mother and improving your self-esteem over time.
Final Thoughts on How Narcissistic Mothers Treat Their Daughters
Narcissistic mothers often treat their daughters like extensions of themselves instead of as individuals, expecting them to fulfil parental roles or to see the world from their point of view.
They tend to be overly critical, competitive and dismissive of their daughter’s feelings and opinions.
As a result, daughters may feel that they are never “good enough” in the eyes of their mother, which can lead to low self-esteem and an inability to feel confident in their own decisions.
Additionally, narcissistic mothers often blur boundaries with their daughters by invading their privacy or disregarding important aspects such as having alone time.
This could prevent the development of healthy autonomy and independence, while causing them to feel pressured in making decisions that best suit the mother rather than themselves.
However, there is hope – having a narcissistic mother does not have to define your life. With proper support and understanding from loved ones, you can learn how to cope with her behavior and build healthy relationships outside of your family.
Working with a professional therapist or counselor can help you identify any underlying issues that need attention and provide guidance on how to reconnect with yourself.
In the end, it is possible to heal from the emotional pain caused by your narcissistic mother and take back control of your own life.