Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers Suffer Maternal Deprivation—The Void I Feel Inside

Narcissistic maternal deprivation is difficult for most people to understand because it cannot usually be seen as bruises or welts or scratches. It is both a psychological wound and a void that the daughter of a narcissistic mother feels inside herself. This pain is the absence of nurturing, of loving care, of affection, of emotional and physical closeness, of hugs never given, of sweet glances from mother to daughter and back again. These daughters never experience the loving physical, emotional and psychological presence of their mother. If mom is physically there, she is either distracted and not paying attention or she is berating her daughter, criticizing her, humiliating her, blaming her for everything that went wrong in the narcissistic mother’s life. 

The child takes this upon herself and internalizes the absence of positive feelings toward her. She is neglected and because she must survive she is not capable of knowing that this is true–that she is not wanted, respected, cherished. Narcissistic mothers often push their own daughters out of their way and are envious of them. They do everything they can to create emotional chaos in their lives. Some of the most profound wounds are the absence of attention. Some narcissistic mothers are like automatons, going about their days in a frenzy of work, social activities, shopping sprees, talking with friends, arranging parties, even going on trips–leaving their daughters alone to fend for themselves. I have heard of daughters as young as five who had to find a way to take care of themselves while mother partied throughout long weekends with boyfriends. Sometimes the party is carried on in the home and the young daughter is subjected to drunken scenes where sexual activity is taking place impulsively and wildly. The young daughter is shocked by these activities. In some cases the men who are there come on to the daughter sexually and she is terrified.

Some daughters of narcissistic mothers feel an emotional void inside of them. They  long for and miss what they never had. Often they cannot define it but know they are in emotional pain. Many of them seek to find the answers and to heal. Some daughters of narcissistic mothers benefit from excellent psychotherapy as well as learning to nurture themselves and to become receptive to the love and warmth that they have always deserved. I speak to those daughters now and say: You are so dear and lovely–You are whole–You are loving, kind, steady and strong. I celebrate you and your lives.

Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.

Narcissistic Mother Chooses Narcissistic Princess over Other Daughter

Narcissistic mothers are unjust, unfair and downright brutal. When this non mother has seized on the child who is the answer to all of her deepest needs and wishes, she has no interest, let alone a disgust for her other children. One common scenario is the older daughter turned “Princess” versus the young daughter.  From babyhood NM chooses the older daughter as her favorite. The sun rises and sets on this child. She is never corrected for her impulsive mean behaviors. When the younger daughter comes along and the budding narcissist pinches her baby sister, the NM pays no attention at all or she waves it all off as if it never happened. In fact NM may find it amusing to hear her baby cry or watch her wince. In this case “mother” is highly sadistic and dangerous to her little one. There are many occasions when the older blooming narcissistic daughter terrorizes the little child without any witnesses. She pretends like she is playing a funny game and rushes out of the shadows and scares and startles the baby who reacts with crying. Mother is annoyed: “What’s the matter with this kid ? All she does is whimper and cry.” “Why can’t she be like her older sister, calm and composed?” This situation is horrific for the victimized baby, young child and growing sibling who is subject to this malicious abuse. Dad never finds out about these horrors because he is purposely left in the dark. In some cases he is out to lunch and doesn’t want to be involved in any meaningful way with his family.

After growing up under these abusive conditions, victims of narcissistic sisters suffer greatly. Some of them feel that they are obligated to maintain relationships with the ones who tortured them. Well, I am telling you, you don’t. The family may not understand or believe you. But if this previous abuse by your NM and NS is continuing to interrupt the positive trajectory of your life, sever the relationship. The NM and NS are not going to change. They will continue to deride you, disdain you and psychologically injure you.

What is best for you is self  care and beginning the process of psychological and emotional healing. This begins by knowing that you are entitled to lead your own life, to feel deep inner peace, to feel safe and secure inside, to use your creative gifts, to learn to trust only those who are worthy of it. You can and will heal.

Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.

Narcissistic Family Members Distort Your Identity

Growing up with a narcissistic parent you are constantly living with a person who creates his/her pathological reality. This individual is delusional and incapable of having a true relationship with himself or anyone else. A small child growing up with this person he or she calls a parent has a hard road ahead in finally seeing through mother, father, sister or brother’s true nature as a narcissistic personality. There are exceptions I have found where the young child knows very early that something is very wrong with the members of his family. He is on the outs—picked as  a scapegoat or dismissed as not fitting in because he is odd, eccentric or just not good enough. In the world of pathological narcissism delusion begets delusion. Narcissistic family members side with one another against the child who sees reality as it is. In many cases the young child is at the mercy of how his grandiose, unempathic,cruel, manipulative parents and siblings distort his identity. They insist that their view of the world and of reality is the only living definition of reality. Everything outside of the narcissistic zone is peculiar, foreign, eccentric and sick.

Many narcissistic parents or mothers or fathers mold their children into perfect mirrors of themselves. Achieving this will give them bragging rights and better still they will possess living representations of themselves. What could be better for them then to have a living puppet who dances and sings to their tune. Some children in narcissistic families worship their brothers and sisters. They want to be just like them. Unfortunately if your brother or sister is a narcissist, you have not received kindness in return for your love for them. They have turned on you, used you to do their bidding and spat upon your sense of self.

Narcissistic family members always find ways to distort and even destroy your true sense of identity. They do not respect your individuality, your creative gifts, your special brand of intellectual curiosity, your sense of humor. They trample on your tender feelings and humiliate you. They laugh at your displays of emotion, stomping on your feelings of tenderness, your fears, the deepest parts of your loving heart. They make fun of what is most precious to you. You feel like they are trying to destroy you and doing a hell of a job. Their purpose is to distort and even destroy your identity unless you become like them or act as their servants and sycophants.

There are many individuals who grew up in narcissistic families who lived in the desert of delusion for decades before they awakened and recognized that they were “raised” by individuals who didn’t give a damn about their childrens’ individuality and true identities. Finally, many of them begin to stir, open their eyes and realize that this was stolen from them when they were young and was perpetuated by intimidation and severe narcissistic psychopathology within the family.

Those who recognize that they had been forced to disbelieve and reject their inner true selves, make the opposite turn and begin to appreciate how genuine they are. For some it has taken years to see themselves and to love that part of them that is so essential and beautifully genuine and delightful. They are on the road to healing; they are unstoppable. In many cases they reject their families of origin and sever themselves from the pathological narcissistic family gulag.

They live in freedom. They are no longer forced to see through a glass darkly. There is no barrier to perceiving their inner and outer realities. They have a renewed vitality, the flourishing of their creative gifts, the joy of rediscovering their open hearts that are capable of loving deeply and they find an inner peace inside that has been waiting for them to embrace since birth.

Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.

Narcissists Love to Make You Feel Worthless

Narcissists are cunning, tricky and conniving. They must always be in control. When they are “on” and contact you, they always want something from you. They don’t give a damn about how you are feeling or your life struggles. They have decided they want something from you–your time, connections, money, influence—any advance they can and will take. In these circumstances they are playing their game to the max. Their tone and manner couldn’t be more charming. They compliment you in just the right manner that will pull on you emotionally. This is especially the case with an ex boyfriend/girlfriend, ex spouse. You ask yourself: “Why is this person coming back into my life now?” Your answer could be–because he has reconsidered his love for me. Watch out before you become engulfed by this play to your heart.

Narcissistic mothers and fathers and narcissistic siblings suddenly appear out of nowhere and make promises about coming back into your life. They are so clever with their words and their tone. “It’s been too long. Let’s spend some quality time together.” Those are the magic words to an adult child of a narcissistic parent that can bring them back into the psychological ambush and painful entanglement with this NPD. Remember, these personality disorders do not change. They believe they are perfect. Remember that they are predatory–always surveying their environments for narcissistic supplies. They calculate your kindness and come up with the answer: Bingo–They can play you once again, get what they want and then disappear, leaving you feeling abandoned, emotionally battered and confused. Don’t go down this road again. It is a painful acknowledgement to recognize clearly that your parent is narcissistic.

You are a unique individual, worthy of leading the life that you deserve. You are the author of your life story once you have severed the relationship with the narcissist. No one can own you, intimidate you, possess you. You are free to use all of your many gifts, to establish close relationships with others capable of compassion and kindness. Develop a strong pattern of self care–doing those activities that you love and that will make you strong on every level. Enjoy all of your many creative gifts, Learn how to laugh again. Trust you intuition. Seek the beauty and healing of Nature. You will find respite there. Rediscover your original previous self.

Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.

Narcissistic Mothers–Avarice and Huge Egos

There is a type of narcissistic mother who organizes her life around her ambitions not her children’s psychological and emotional needs. 

There are large numbers of mothers who must go to work to provide for their children. Some of them are divorced and the sole responsible parent.  They both work and take full parental responsibility.  These women put their children first even though they must work very hard to provide for them.They love their children and this is reflected in their kids’ deep love for them.

Many women are highly ambitious professionally. They possess the tools to high level success: drive, use of their fine intellects, formal education, talents, ambitions, fearlessness and confidence in themselves. They choose not to have children because their primary life trajectory is succeeding on the highest levels in business, academic, medicine, government, the corporate world.

Narcissistic mothers whether they have professional careers, work outside the home or stay at home, give birth to their children but don’t raise them. It is difficult for some people to understand why these women have children unless you understand the narcissistic mindset. The narcissistic focus is on the external—creating and maintaining the Perfect Image. Having a couple of children is part of their Image Portfolio.These women can be on the high end career track or those who have chosen not to work formally. They spend their days focusing on themselves: enhancing their physical appearance, constant social activities, etc. Their schedules are full and include very little time with their children.

Some narcissistic mothers are filled with avarice (“excessive or insatiable desire for wealth or gain”) ; they are obsessed with getting more. There is no end to their insatiable wants and musts. The narcissistic ego is boundless. She is perfect; others have enormous flaws. She is always right even when she makes huge mistakes that cause intractable pain and psychological damage to her children.

Children of narcissistic mothers suffer horribly under the cruel yoke of this self obsessed, unempathic parent. The pain often lingers after they have become adults. So many adult children feel guilty and take the blame for their mother’s countless cruelties, deprivations, torments, bullying, shaming, exploitation. Many of these adult children discover the pathways toward healing their psyches and minds. I have discovered through a number of years of contact with these children that they are often among the most understanding and compassionate individuals I encounter. They have survived with grace and a loveliness of spirit that heal them and others who cross their path.

Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.

Psychologically Controlling and Invasive Narcissistic Mothers

There is a specific kind of narcissistic mother who appears to be devoted to her daughter. She pays attention to her when others are watching. She makes sure that her daughter is dressed beautifully and has a perfect room. The narcissistic mother puts her daughter on display for everyone to see. She talks endlessly about how special her little darling is to her friends and relatives. There are many photographs of mother and daughter displayed.  Anyone who didn’t know the secrets of this mother/daughter relationship would never guess what is going on.  These narcissistic mothers use their daughters to burnish their own images of themselves. Playing the role of loving mother means that they can be professionally successful and an extraordinary mother at the same time. From the beginning mother decides what her daughter wants and needs. She is incapable of attuning to the nonverbal and verbal messages that her daughter is communicating.This daughter is like her perfect experiment. She is in complete charge despite the many signs that indicate that this little one is in distress, feels uncomfortable, frightened, etc.

These narcissistic mothers are highly controlling and invasive. As the daughter grows, mother doesn’t allow her to have any privacy. She is always intruding on her child’s private times to be alone, think her own thoughts and express her feelings. This is not allowed, especially since narcissistic mothers don’t have access to their own interior world. They are incapable of empathy–the capacity of understanding how the other person is feeling from her point of view not yours. The mother decides how her daughter should react and is highly critical when she doesn’t behave or respond  according to mother’s expectations.

Narcissistic mothers are invasive to the point of reading their child’s dairies and journals, listening in on their private conversations and trying to control their thinking. If the daughter of the narcissist tends is an an independent, creative thinker, she is ridiculed and sharply criticized. She is often called stupid and naive when she makes attempts to share her original ideas.  Mother mocks her, even laughs at her child.

The core issue is that daughters of narcissistic mothers are not allowed to be their authentic selves. These mothers are often envious of their daughters who in many cases are more intellectually curious, creative and  lively than their tightly wound mothers.

As the daughter grows, the narcissistic mother does not change. Some daughters live in the home only as long as they must and then find ways to leave this psychological  prison created by their narcissistic non-mothers. Other daughters wear themselves out trying to please their narcissistic mothers, wanting the love that this mother is incapable of giving.

Those who recognize that their mothers are narcissists and cannot change, often make the leap forward to separate from the cruel unbending yoke to which they have been attached for so long. They step out on their own, find ways to support themselves and finish their schooling. If they are fortunate, they find female mentors who act as surrogate mothers to them. This is part of their healing process. Having separated psychologically and physically from the controlling and invasive narcissistic mother is an enormous achievement. This is a process of many steps forward and at times, movements backwards but the goal seen ahead is one of ever-deepening belief in one’s original self, an independence of mind, the full use of one’s creative gifts and the knowing that you are a loving human being,: unique and wonderful.

Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.

Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers Suffer Maternal Deprivation

Maternal deprivation is the absence of care, lack of affection, holding, looking into your child’s eyes giving the message: “I love you do much”,  listening intently to your daughter’s messages, verbal and nonverbal.  The narcissistic non mother removes all the joy from her daughter’s life. Narcissistic mothers live for themselves alone. Often they are envious of their daughter’s beauty, talents, intelligence, exuberant personality. They hate their child’s spontaneity and pick away with their nasty criticisms. Some daughters learn to conceal their true feelings. Others become emotionally numb. Some harbor a deep mother rage inside that they turn on themselves and becomes self loathing. 

Daughters of narcissistic mothers have difficult life struggles, learning to fully love their unique selves and celebrating it. 

To break the yoke attached to the narcissistic mothers they must recognize that they bear no fault.

They are separate from the cold ungiving selfish self absorbed woman who didn’t raise them. These daughters do the hard work of healing themselves and emerging as strong, loving, gifted women. Many benefit from psychotherapy, nurturing relationships with friends who understand them, spiritual practices that create calmness deep within them,creative pursuits that are healing and transformative, giving their care and affection to others who feel unloved and unwanted. 

Daughters of narcissistic mothers can and do come fully into the own true identities. They can prevail over the past and live fully in the present, expanding and growing all of their potential.

Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.

Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers–Give to Yourself

Daughters of narcissistic mothers have spent their lives as servants and even slaves. Never wanted, treated like dirt, the subject of physical and psychological abuse, being compared with other siblings and declared inferior, their moments every day have been filled with fear, humiliation and self degradation. Some adult daughters end up marrying the living nightmare of their mother—another narcissist who in his own style will pull all of the games and betrayals, and cruelties of her mother. This is a repetition of the past that often occurs.

As a daughter of a narcissistic mother, give yourself credit for surviving this hellish life experience. You got yourself through when no one was there to help you or even believe the dreadful things your NM did to you. Your siblings have remained silent and if they are narcissistic golden children they continue to blame and humiliate you. You are the one that is scorned. They learned very well from your NM. A time arrives when daughters of narcissistic mothers can no longer tolerate the abuse. They know they don’t deserve it and it is ruining their lives. Many of them go No Contact indefinitely in order to move toward self acceptance, inner peace, self appreciation and the full use of all of their gifts and talents.This reclamation of the self takes place day by day in treating yourself with kindness and expecting respect from those around you. You can fulfill the promise of inner peace and security to yourself. Create a routine that works with strengthening your body, mind and psyche each day. Begin the day with a practice of meditation or solitude that is quiet and private. Doing gentle yoga is very calming and stretches the muscles and activates the parasympathetic nervous system, that part of us that is calm and at ease. Learn to appreciate your own company. Spend time in Nature even it it is for a short time. Some people find great comfort with their pets. Journaling is a source of free expression that is creative and healing.  Learn to say “No” to those who would manipulate you, deceive you or make you feel small. Surround yourself with givers not takers.

You can heal from your NM. Keep the faith in yourself, do the work of healing each day and learn to feel entitled to use and enjoy all of your gifts and talents.

High Level Narcissists Cause Psychological Devastation

There are many remarkable human beings in our current society today. They can be hard to find since much of the country is captivated by high level narcissists who are often in positions of power and worldly influence. Unwittingly, many of us make the assumption that if a person is well educated and highly successful they are a great human being. This is not true.

There are people who have built their deserving success in the outside world and are looked up to by their colleagues, friends and family members and at the same time are fine individuals with tremendous character traits: honesty, compassion, humility, fairness, integrity. These are the gems in our society but gradually they are more difficult to find.

We have many high profile narcissists who are skilled at manipulating others into believing that they are great human beings as well as successful at their work. Often these people are very confident, appear to be personable, very attractive, present an impeccable image, advanced social skills and the ability to hold others in their thrall.

High profile narcissists have large entourages of people who adore them without question. Their very presence in the case of major entertainers in movies, television, music, drama creates swarms of adoring fans. The more power and influence they command the greater their sense of self entitlement and no limits attitude. The narcissist is dizzy with his ultimate sense of self importance. He/she is the object of adoration. “What’s not to adore? they ask themselves; I deserve to be venerated!”.

It is within families of high profile narcissists in particular that so much psychological damage is done. In the privacy of their homes, behind closed doors that the children and spouses and ex-spouses of these Uber-Narcisssists suffer the greatest psychological damage. It is within these rooms and compounds the their victims are treated abominably. Children of narcissists are threatened, taunted, physically beaten, humiliated, constantly screamed at, vilified, told they are crazy. You name it, the narcissist has perpetrated severe levels of abuse upon those closest to him. They use cruel methods to turn one child against another, especially when the narcissist has one child who is chosen to be his perfect clone. His other kids are compared to this Golden Boy or Golden Girl and accused of not being good enough. Growing up this way, they develop a poor self image, feelings of guilt, deep inferiority and self humiliation. They blame themselves for not being “Perfect” like their narcissistic mother or father.

Those who have grown up with a narcissistic parent can heal. I have seen this happen through their courage, research and hard work to rediscover themselves, to grieve over the parent they never had, to re-awaken their unique gifts and to understand, feel and know that they are loving human beings. Some of the loveliest individuals I have known are children of narcissistic parents. You will heal and restore your life. You deserve it. The time to begin is now.

Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.

You Don’t Deserve Punishment from Narcissistic Spouse

Remember the old threat from years ago: ” If you don’t stop crying, I’ll give you something to cry about.” Those two sentences ring through the decades, spoken by mothers, fathers and spouses in so many different ways. When you are married to a narcissist, you have something very legitimate to cry about, scream about, rage about. As have I stated before and you know from real life experience, these individuals are impossible.

Children of narcissistic mothers are particularly vulnerable to marrying narcissistic men and women. Being punished is a daily routine in the narcissistic household. Whether it is covert–lying about you behind your back, subtly stripping away your self confidence, demeaning you in front of your siblings. The imprint of the psychological pain is always there. If you get out of line and express your true feelings, watch out–you can hear the words in your mind: “You’re going to get it.” After years under the roof of a severe narcissistic personality disorder starting as a small child, it is not unusual that you would believe that you are “bad” and deserve to be punished. You have internalized this false belief about yourself.

Years later, enter the charming narcissist filled with magnetism, high level confidence, success. He/she finds you irresistible and you believe it. Who wouldn’t. Very few people can ward off one of these brilliant method actors, especially when they have all their lights turned on.

Before very long you are married and ready to share the rest of your life with this person. The real self of the narcissist is carefully hidden at first but the day comes when his darkness reveals itself in all of its ugliness. The narcissist doesn’t make mistakes according him. He is impeccable. You are the one who is deficient. Whatever you create is imperfect and filled with flaws. You are inherently defective—That ‘s what the narcissist believes about you and screams at you frequently. You believe him because that is what you have been told all of your life. Deep down regardless of your accomplishments–personal, professional, creative–it doesn’t matter. You are an inadequate human being that cannot change. This is the message projected on you. The childhood and adult messages fuse and resonate and reinforce one another. So many children of narcissists who marry narcissists believe this about themselves. They suffer horrible emotional pain. Many of them finally start to search for answers and discover that they are married to a narcissistic personality and that their parent(s) is a narcissistic personality disorder. It all comes together. The puzzle has been solved. What is left is the healing. You can heal and restore the real genuine self that has been waiting for so many years to be loved and cared about.

Always know that you are entitled to be treated with respect and that you deserve to lead your life in inner freedom and to use all of your creative gifts and talents. Many spouses sever their relationship with the narcissistic spouse and find that they have begun to restore their lives. It is a process that requires patience with yourself and perseverance.  When you have a setback, don’t blame yourself. Remember you don’t deserve to be punished anymore by anyone. Find friends who have staying power. They will not abandon you in a crisis. They have deep compassion and the capacity to listen.

Part of the healing is to find out what creates relaxation and calmness inside of yourself. For some it is practices like gentle hatha yoga, walking or guided meditation, journaling, sketching, cooking, gardening, experiences with your animals,  listening to music. Take special moments for yourself in solitude each day. You deserve it. It is part of your new self care program.

Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.