I have had conversations spoken and written with a number of daughters of narcissistic mothers. It has been eye-opening to meet so many women “raised” by exc narcissistic “mothers’ who are highly empathic.
They suffered so much growing up with a mother who was cold, distant, often emotionally abusive and for some, physically cruel. Often the narcissistic mother was extremely jealous of her daughter and created psychological ambushes for her child. Constant criticisms and humiliations were part of the daily fare for these daughters. Many of them grew up thinking that there was something fundamentally wrong with them, even that they were intrinsically bad human beings. Time after time they were blamed for simply being born and making an effort to be an individual. What the narcissistic mother demanded could never be achieved because it was always a set-up, a trap, a road to nowhere.
These daughters grew up, often raising themselves and helping with their younger siblings. Another source of psychological pain was the brother or sister who was “golden”, chosen by the narcissistic mother as the absolute favorite who would fulfill mother’s need to have a living facsimile of her “perfection.”
Growing up with a narcissistic mother and golden narcissistic sibling is exceeding difficult and that is an understatement.
Some narcissistic daughters report that they learned to keep their heads down from oncoming fire meted out by the cruelties and deprivations projected on to them. Some of these women describe creating entire worlds of the imagination in which they lived. Some escaped into books. Many hid in plain sight and became very quiet to hide and deflect from the frequent bursts of psychological venom projected by mother on to
For many of these daughters there comes a time of reckoning, of knowing that they can and will no longer take the maternal narcissistic abuse. They decide that they must be free to lead their own lives. This can involve a complete no contact break with the narcissistic mother. Other family members who have no understanding of the cruelties sustained by these daughters will often interfere and criticize them for their decision to separate from mother and become free to lead life on their terms. Relatives of this kind will never comprehend what these daughters have decided to do to reclaim their lives and this is none of their business and they deserve no explanation. Besides many of these relatives are incapable of seeing through the delusion, the false mask of their narcissistic relative.
As you experience the breath of freedom and feel your nervous system quieting for the first time, think about what you have done. You have survived despite all of the pain and deprivation, as a unique bright talented kind and compassionate individual. This is huge! Now move forward with self care and compassion directed to yourself. Love that little child within you that kept faith with herself. Talk to her and cherish her loveliness and beauty. Take time to be with yourself each day to quiet the mind in any way that works for you. It can be prayer, guided meditation, going into Nature. Follow your intuition as you allow yourself downtime, sleep, food that nourishes you and that you can savor, being around people that appreciate you and where there is a genuine exchange and warmth. Your creative gifts will move within and you will be surprised by their abundance. Feel the ease and grace within you and the inward smile that warms your lovely heart.
7 thoughts on “Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers–Be Compassionate with Yourself”
I’ve had to do this for my own physical and mental health. I am still working through years of abuse … it’s been over 8 months and my nervous system is just starting to quiet down. Your book has helped me immensely, and I can’t thank you enough for your book.
Thank you for this site, it helps its 5:30 am and I came across this site, while searching for sociopathic mothers. My life was going pretty good up until about a year ago, when I had to become the care giver of my sociopathic mother. I actually flew down to where she lived 4/5 years ago, when she was first diagnosised with alzheimers. My brother who is also a sociopath, drifter, landed in her home sometime last November and it has not been the same in my life since this occurred. The saddest part about this whole thing is the doctors tell me at her age, along with the alzheimers it’s nothing I can do but try to avoid her.
Comment: From Nicola
Thank you, so much. Your verifying my feelings is everything.
Comment: From Helena
Thank you for this site. Seriously, you get it like no one else.
I have only just – in my mid 40s – worked out what is wrong with my mother. And it is a hideous realisation.
I am building up to breaking contact with her, my father and ‘golden’ brother. But it is so scary because I am currently financially dependant on her. I always figured: ‘take the money, she can give you nothing else’, and it has enabled me to stay at home while my kids are young, but I think it’s been a pact with the devil.
I am beyond terrified about what the future holds.
Please don’t be overly optimistic about the prognosis. Yes the future can be bleak with a. Person like this in it. and no it doesn’t necessarily get better. and no propr won’t just be on your side and support your gifts. They will judge you. So try to get away and when she attempts to reconcile
Don’t let her in again. My mother ruined my life and is now in her aging stage and has begun to sabotage things like her retirement plans
And her physical health. She allowed her teeth to turn green. She doesn’t groom
Herself adequately. She has a runny eye and a bad knee and instead of exercising she goes on nature treks. Last night she texted me saying “just wanted to let you know i fell and dislocated my ankle and broke a bone in my leg
And have to have surgery but I am ok”
I have know all my life but every therapist I have ever seen has tried to talk me out of it. “It cant possibly be that bad!” I am in my mid thirties and she has taken control of my entire life Nd turned my brother into a zombie. my advice is to simply deal with the pain and the fear and try to leave as soon as possible. The longer you wait the more likely it is she will begin. To anticipate your next move and to sabotage proactively
“I have know all my life but every therapist I have ever seen has tried to talk me out of it. “It cant possibly be that bad!” ”
It’s not just relatives who won’t believe you.
I think this part of this really needs to be addressed. How much money, in this economy, are we supposed to spend with therapist after therapist after therapist who doubts your reality, after your reality has already been destabilized by your parents your whole life?
Not to speak of how much emotional pain you go through when you try to talk about this and the first thing the therapist — with whom you’re supposed to have a relationship of trust — does is doubt your story?
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