Narcissism, at its core, is a mental health disorder which leads to an inflated sense of self-importance and a lack of empathy. Unfortunately, this can cause havoc in relationships with family members, especially when it comes to narcissistic mothers and their daughters.
Narcissistic mothers can have a long-lasting negative impact on their daughters’ self-esteem, identity, and even physical health. Let’s take a closer look at what these types of mothers do to their daughters.
What Do Narcissistic Mothers Do To Their Daughters?
A narcissistic mother is unable to empathize with her daughter or provide her with unconditional love.
In addition, the lack of connection with her mother can lead to feelings of low self-esteem, insecurity, and depression.
Narcissistic mothers tend to have unrealistic expectations of their daughters and can be very critical of them.
They engage in controlling behaviour, invalidating the feelings and emotions of their daughters.
Additionally, they use emotional manipulation or guilt-tripping to get what they want from their daughters.
Narcissistic Abuse Tactics Used By A Narcissistic Mother
Narcissistic mothers are toxic and damaging influences in the lives of their daughters, often using a wide array of abuse tactics to control them.
Manipulation and control. Using a variety of manipulative tactics such as guilt-tripping or gaslighting.
Threats of abandonment, withholding love and affection. When a narcissistic mother does not get what she wants, she is likely to withhold love and affection from her child.
Using comparison as a weapon. Comparing her daughter to other people in order to make her feel inferior or inadequate.
Projection and blame. A narcissistic mother will often try to project her own feelings onto her daughter, blaming her child for her own unhappiness.
Shaming and criticizing. A narcissistic mother will often use shaming tactics or criticize her daughter to break her spirit and make it easier to control her.
The Impact of Narcissistic Mothers on Their Daughters
Narcissistic mothers tend to be very critical and demanding , always looking for ways to put down their daughters while simultaneously trying to control them.
This behaviour can erode a daughter’s self-confidence and self-worth over time.
A daughter may find herself constantly comparing herself to her mother in order to live up to her expectations, which she may never be able to do, and this can lead to deep-seated feelings of inadequacy.
Over time, the daughter internalizes the constant criticism.
This can lead to her comparing herself to others in an unhealthy way, or engaging in destructive behaviours such as substance abuse or eating disorders in order to cope with her painful emotions.
The unpredictable and abusive nature of the relationship with a narcissistic mother can lead to deep psychological issues such as depression, anxiety, feelings of worthlessness, and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
These intense and long-term effects can be incredibly damaging for individuals who are exposed to this kind of treatment during their formative years.
The Impact on Identity
She may also try to dictate who her daughter should be or what she should aspire to become.
Narcissistic mothers often have a preconceived notion of “perfection” that they will try to force onto their daughters, leading the daughters astray from their own true interests or passions.
This can ultimately lead the daughters into an identity crisis as they struggles with finding out who they really are outside the confines of their mothers’ influence.
This makes the daughters question who they is and instil in them a deep sense of insecurity.
This can lead to them struggling to make decisions for themselves and doubting their own opinions.
Lack of Boundaries
A daughter raised by a narcissistic mother may not develop proper boundaries due to the enmeshment she experienced growing up.
This can have serious consequences, such as the inability to set healthy boundaries with others and stand up for oneself.
A lack of assertiveness can cause her to be taken advantage of or feeling obligated to do things she would rather not do.
It also makes it hard for her to say “no” in difficult situations, leading to feelings of guilt and resentment later on.
Difficulties With Intimacy
Narcissistic mothers typically devalue their daughters’ feelings, which can make it difficult for them to open up emotionally and trust other people later in life.
This lack of trust can result in an inability to form meaningful connections, making intimacy a challenging prospect for these individuals as adults.
With the right support and guidance, however, they can learn how to engage in healthy relationships and work towards achieving true emotional intimacy with others.
Due to their relationship with their narcissistic mother, some daughters grow up believing that their worth comes solely from pleasing others.
This can lead to codependent relationships, wherein the daughter puts the needs of their partner before their own or acts subserviently in order to gain approval from the person they are in a relationship with.
In such situations, it can be difficult for individuals to establish healthy boundaries and recognize their true self-worth.
Inability To Self-Advocate
A daughter raised by a narcissistic mother may struggle to advocate for herself due to years of conditioning.
Living in an environment where any kind of dissent was met with anger or ridicule can prevent them from speaking up when necessary or having healthy conflicts with those around them.
This can lead to feelings of insecurity and self-doubt, which might cause the individual to avoid voicing their opinions, even if it would benefit them in the long run.
Due to the unpredictable and volatile atmosphere created by the narcissist parent, many daughters learn early on that avoiding conflict at all costs is their safest option.
This can lead to situations where they remain passive rather than asserting themselves and advocating for what they want or need.
Over time, this can become a habit of not standing up for oneself, leading to a lack of self-confidence, difficulty making decisions, and feeling like one’s opinions don’t matter.
Some daughters of narcissistic mothers may turn to addictive substances such as drugs and alcohol in an attempt to cope with the emotional pain they have experienced.
This can be a dangerous path towards addiction if not properly addressed, and can lead to serious issues such as physical health problems, psychological distress, or even legal troubles.
The Impact on Physical Health
Finally, it is important not to overlook the effects that narcissistic mothers have on their daughters’ physical health.
Studies have shown that having a close relationship with a narcissistic parent can result in higher levels of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline in children as well as decreased immunity and increased risk for autoimmune diseases later in life.
A study conducted by researchers at Michigan State University found that adult women with narcissistic parents were three times more likely than those with non-narcissistic parents to suffer from chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and migraines.
The Effect Of A Narcissistic Mother On Her Daughter’s Life
The effect that a narcissistic mother has on her daughter’s life is far-reaching and long-lasting.
It can affect the way she develops relationships with other people, as well as how she views herself.
Oftentimes, daughters of narcissistic mothers struggle with understanding boundaries and setting healthy limits in relationships because they weren’t taught these skills growing up.
They may also find themselves constantly trying to please other people – a direct result of trying to garner approval from their mothers, which was never achieved.
Furthermore, these women may become co-dependent in romantic relationships or have difficulty forming healthy attachments due to their upbringing.
Other long-term effects include feelings of anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, impulse control issues, and difficulty trusting others as adults due to their experiences growing up.
Tips for Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers:
Cultivate self-love and acceptance. Taking time to appreciate your own positive qualities and treat yourself with kindness can help you overcome the damage caused by a narcissistic mother.
Rely on a support system of trusted friends and family. Having people that can be there for you emotionally and provide unbiased advice can be invaluable in times of crisis or difficulty.
Find a therapist or counselor who can help you work through any traumatic experiences or negative feelings related to your relationship with your mother.
Practice setting healthy boundaries with your mother so as to limit the amount of emotional manipulation she is able to exert over you.
Seek out new, healthier relationships that will boost your self-esteem and provide an emotionally safe environment in which to open up and build trust.
Recognize that it’s okay to feel anger and sadness when reflecting on past experiences with your mother, but try not to dwell on them too much.
It’s important to focus on the present and create a brighter future for yourself in spite of her behaviour.
With the right guidance and support system in place, and an understanding that they don’t need permission from anyone else to live authentically, daughters of narcissistic mothers can break free from the cycle once and for all, and create more fulfilling lives for themselves filled with joy and contentment.