If you are the daughter of a narcissistic mother, you had a non-mother. This woman was not capable psychologically or emotionally of being a “good enough” mother as D.W. Winnicott, the great psychoanalyst said so many years ago. This is the mother that we all yearn for. She doesn’t have to be perfect but good enough.
Daughters of narcissistic mothers didn’t have this experience at all. They were neglected, abused, dismissed, manipulated, demeaned, deceived and any combination of these dreadful experiences. You were a baby, a little child. Now you are an adult and still looking for the mother that wasn’t there. First, do not blame yourself. You were an innocent and had to survive. You did the very best you could and according to your NM–You weren’t good enough for her because she was a narcissistic personality. Children for these non-moms are narcissistic supplies that make her look wonderful. She has bragging rights about them. She can dress them up and show them off. She has pictures taken of her “beloved” kids that are on display.
Some narcissistic mothers ignore and completely neglect their children. They have screaming fits and say:
“Why the hell did I have you–You are worthless.” “You make my life a living hell–I hate you.” “You were a big accident–I wish I had aborted you” and countless crushing statements that have been repeated throughout your life. I cannot fully express in words how sorry I am that you have had to go through such horrendous abuse for so many years.
The other aspect of this is that no one believed that you were being raised by a “monster mother” who wore the crown of a fine human being. No one could accuse her of abuse. If you dared to speak the truth you were threatened within an inch of your life.
Now you are an adult still dealing with the psychological wounds of a narcissistic mother. Learn to recognize that you are a separate individual. What she did to you is not who you are.You are a unique individual, a wonderful one with many gifts and talents. You will discover the richness of your creativity and your true value as you sever your emotional and psychological relationship with your narcissistic mother. For some daughters this involves a grieving process about the mother they didn’t have. You will learn to stop wishing that she could would have felt differently toward you if you had been her perfect child. That was her pathological projection. You did your very best under the worst circumstances. Give yourself full credit for your courage and for maintaining the fire and light of your true self deep within. You protected the precious, original self that has always been there. Care now for yourself by appreciating your authenticity, your spontaneity, your humor, compassion, and of course, your empathy.
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.