Daughters of narcissistic mothers have a particularly difficult life road to travel. From childhood they have had to contend with mothers who were cold, distracted, self-absorbed, coercive, dismissive, manipulative, highly critical and psychologically destructive. Many daughters of narcissistic mothers remain in denial about their mother’s true nature. They blame themselves for manufactured short comings and flaws that were the product of the projections of a delusional narcissistic mother. These mothers live for themselves. They come in as many shapes and sizes and styles as there are plants on the planet. But when we look at the essential realities of their natures they are the same. Narcissistic mothers have a severe personality disorder that is not going to change. Their children are at their mercy and whim. Their daughters are a continuing source of narcissistic supply. If they are intelligent, have special talents, athletic abilities, are attractive—the narcissistic mother uses these qualities of her child to pump up her ego and grandiose image. The child doesn’t matter to her—only the perfect performance that will impress those in her circle of social or professional influence. Narcissistic mothers test two daughters to see which one will be the standout. One will be favored over the other and this will become painfully obvious to the daughter who is not chosen. Often the narcissistic mother and the budding narcissistic daughter form a dark alliance designed to psychologically immobilize and even decimate the rejected child.
Adult daughters of narcissistic mothers have to contend with the multiple cruelties perpetrated by these mothers from hell. Rage is often the first reaction of the wounded daughter. She hates her mother. She is furious about this woman who was mother in name only and tried to destroy the life of her own child. Beneath the rage is a gnawing grief—a pervasive feeling of loss over what the daughter never had–a loving protective mother who accepted and nurtured her child as a separate individual with no strings attached.
Some daughters of narcissistic mothers find that working with a highly skilled psychotherapist helpful in working through the narcissistic mother rage and grief. Those inclined to go in this direction must make sure that they choose a therapist very wisely.There are excellent ones but it takes research and the full use of your intuition and powers of observation to pick the right therapist for you.
The next step is healing and wholeness. We are designed to be whole, complete, separate, thriving individuals. When you have worked through the rage and grieving, you discover that the deep authentic parts of you are there ready to be activated. This is a complex process. Some daughters of narcissistic mothers move in a spiritual direction (in the personal way that you define this). They develop a consistent meditation practice that works for them. Many practice gentle forms of yoga that put emphasis on the breath and calm the nervous system. Many do daily journaling and keep track of their dreams. Dreams are gifts of the unconscious that are given to us every night. Become familiar with this part of yourself—It is found gold.
The daughter of a narcissistic mother is very special—–She is a survivor, a beautiful human being who has survived the psychological gulags of childhood to emerge as a vibrant, loving, creative individual.
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.