I hear and read many life stories of adult daughters of narcissistic mothers who suffered horrible psychological deprivation and verbal and emotional abuse at the hands of their exceedingly cruel narcissistic mothers. They were as the great psychoanalyst Alice Miller said: “Prisoners of Childhood”. That is a profound phrase that sums up the horrific experience of life with a narcissistic mother. This woman never wanted you and if she did it was her plan that you reflected her perfection. She needed to mold you into a mini-me child. When you objected to that, she punished you with terror, threats, violent rages and betrayals. She went down the list of her children until she found the one who was most like her and whom she could mold. Very likely that child became a narcissist and was the bane of your existence. No only did you have mother breathing down your neck you had to be wary of your sibling at all times. The other children cowered in the presence of these two and became shadows and echoes of mom. You were the stand out child–the one who knew that there was something very wrong and dark in the family.
Along the way you carried a lot of guilt about not loving your narcissistic mother. That’s the rub. Now that you are well into adulthood, ask yourself: How is it possible to blame myself and feel guilty over something I could never control? I was a small child and had to survive. She was the one who punished me constantly, terrorized me within an inch of my life, had night raids when the greatest punishments even tortures took place.
Take a long look at yourself and your life. I know those who hold on the guilt and they are still suffering. You can and will let go of this haunting from the past. You deserve so much more. Believe this with all of your heart. I know that you can heal. You have so much of yourself to activate. Learn self care–yes for the first time in your life–put yourself first. Rest, sleep, enjoy your spontaneous self, become immersed in what you love to do, learn to laugh out loud–even if people are looking at you funny. That’s the best of all. Not giving a damn about what others think!!! Go for it all the way. Feel the joy of letting loose like a child dancing wildly to a great tune. Flow with your creativity–Feel your lovely heart open. Fly, Soar, Transcend!
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
BooK: Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life
15 thoughts on “Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers—Stop Feeling Guilty–It Wasn’t Your Fault”
Comment: Emerging Princess
i love this!! This spoke to me tonight. I needed this. Thank you!!
Thanks for guidance through my tough time love your e-mail updates !
Happy Holidays ! 🙂
I had no guilt from not loving the woman who raised me. This woman never deserved me and I never deserved her
I spent years knowing that there was something very wrong with my family. The woman, other people called my mother, was a cold, awful, hateful woman. My earliest childhood memory was of getting my face smeared into my poopy diaper and being forced to sit in my crib all day with feces all over me. This woman, who I refuse to call mother, only got pregnant and gave birth to me for the attention she could gain from it. Then she spent the rest of her parenting years proving to the world what a 24 carrot mother she was and continues to be. When this woman dies the world will be a better place…She is lucky Im not the person she has everyone in my family believing I am…If I was, she would be six feet under. Thank you Dr. Linda for your kind understanding for people like me…
I’m a daughter of a narcistic mother who attempted to steal my daughter Am driving so can’t chat atm then stole my son who has been in her care for several months while my mother manipulative a the system. My son is being abused and run away 4 times now
Comment:From J. Thompson
Another “right on the mark” column……….my Mother was five months pregnant when she married my Dad. It’s been “hinted” to me by numerous members of our small town that my older sister is only my “half sibling”. I would love to get a DNA test done to prove this as I don’t think my Dad was her Dad, we’re nothing alike in appearance or disposition. Now that my Dad is gone my Mom and sister found some way to write me completely out of his will (six years ago without my knowledge) even though my wife and son left this “home town horror spot” over 30 years ago. My Mom had an affair right before we left that became public and when I confronted her and demanded she make a choice between my Dad and this other man she was almost “proud” of this horrible act. We left town because of of the shame but continued a relationship with my family for my son’s sake. My sister’s husband left her for the final time when her daughter was very young. My sister never dated or married again after this happened and now my Mom and her are two of a kind in the emotion department………cold and very quick to judge. They deserve each other’s misery. I just feel sorry for what my Dad endured, especially in his final days. They actually left him completely alone for four weeks to fend for himself, a month before he died while they were at their yearly time share………..talk about cold! The night he died neither called me but called my son and told him to tell us………..when I called my Mom the next morning the very first words out of her mouth was , “he didn’t suffer”. No hello, I’m sorry, nothing! My Mom even told me there would be no memorial service and that they inteneded to throw my Dad’s ashes in the pasture! I demanded a service and proper burial which my Mom berated me about after it happened. We’ve not spoken since.
It has taken me some time to realize how much the abuse my narcissistic mother imposed on me has actually hurt me. I’ve always been able to recognize the abuse. sometimes it is subtle enough that only I am able to recognize it. Recently my mother became ill and had to have open heart surgery. I took my sons age of 26 and 14 to see her before the surgery and even there in her hospital room while chatting with us she launched little jibes that I of course noticed and my 14-year-old noticed as well. Strangely my 26 year old doesn’t seem to get it but that’s okay. I really didn’t want to go see her but have been feeling very guilty and experienced fear and obligation. You got it capital F, capital O, capital G. I haven’t spoken to her once since her surgery. That was over a week ago. My sister, the elect golden child, has been attentive with her. She has a boyfriend of 6 months and they get along well and in fact she is going to stay with him and he supposedly is going to be taking care of her until she recovers. I fear talking to her at this point because she really does not have any idea what is going on. I feel like I jumped the gun now and I’m making a sloppy attempt at this no contact thing. Anyone have any thoughts?
Correction….I have talked to her once since the surgery.
I had a huge smile on my face reading the last lines :). Thank you so much. Can you add a Pinterest button so I can pin this 🙂 Hanna
How about being deathly ill in the hospital, and when the doc says you can go home finally, your mother says she ‘doesn’t have time to look after an invalid’. She never even had a job outside the home and had one older daughter who was in her early 20’s. She wanted me to go live with another relative who lived miles away who worked full time. I can not forgive her for turning her back on me when I needed her most.. Years later I mentioned this episode and she acted like she couldn’t remember it! How could you say something like that to your daughter and not remember!!!!!!
Everyone, I never read a story or known a child of a narcissist who didn’t benefit by cutting it off.
That means planning plotting and then leaving.
You’ll still have a shitload to call with but at least you have cut off new supply.
If you disagree tell me why as I’m always learning.
my late mother was a narcissist. I never had any children. I didn’t want to be like her. I hated her at times for how she treated my dad. But I knew she was telling me things that were untrue. I got therapy on my own. Only daughter who did. I am the only happy woman in my family. I miss my mom terribly. She was different but she was the mom I needed. I’ll always be conflicted but I loved her. She was always there when I needed her.
I wonder why it is we feel guilty? When I confront my narcissistic mother, and sister, I feel very guilty after, like there is something very wrong with me, like I am being too emotional.
My mother is borderline and narcissistic so it’s very difficult to talk to her, but my sister never shows emotions, so I actually feel guilty confronting my sister as I appear to be the one with some kind of emotional problem. I delve on it for days and I’m even sleepless.
WHY do we feel guilty? As much as I’ve tried understanding, it makes no sense.
What about narcissistic fathers? I don’t see any article about them. Every loves to pick on the mothers 🙁
My narcissistic mother died almost a year ago. After her death, I realized she sabotaged my very first relationship, leaving me unconsciously guilty of spoiling it for almost twenty years since I could never make sense of what had happened. She gaslighted me through a whole year, emotional abuse in its cruelest form. In therapy I could understand why I had repressed such a trauma for all this time: I would never talk to her again had I realized this while she was alive.
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