As a daughter of a narcissistic mother you were treated without compassion. Cruelty from mother came in many forms: neglect, sharp criticisms, insidious manipulations, screaming fits and hysteria, constant blame, false accusations and many forms of abuse and exploitation. Narcissistic mothers are exceedingly cold emotionally. They are incapable of authentic psychological attachment. Even those daughters who are treated as the golden child and appear to be adored by mother, are not loved for themselves but are forced to take the role of mother’s perfect mirror and her ultimate narcissistic supply.
Some daughters don’t make the grade as far as mother is concerned and they are discarded and left on their own. This is very distressing to a young child to feel abandoned and completely alone with no one to turn to. In many cases the father plays the role of enabler and is subservient emotionally his narcissistic wife and is very distanced from the family. As a result the daughter has no parent to turn to for emotional comfort, acceptance, support or protection.
As the grown daughter of a narcissistic mother, take courage in who you are as an individual. Be kind to the small child inside of you, show compassion not blame. Blame was projected on to you but it is not your true identity. Take time to research the true nature of the narcissistic personality, the narcissistic mother in particular. This begins the process of healing.
Learn to honor yourself by practicing self care. Get the sleep that you need and deserve, use your creativity to the fullest, find a few individuals whom you trust and who truly listen, rediscover beauty in your life. Some daughters report that guided meditation that calms the mind and nervous system is very helpful in learning how to become more peaceful inside. Gentle hatha yoga with emphasis on breathing slowly through the nostrils is a calming practice that clears the mind and works on every system of the body for strength and flexibility.
We celebrate your healing process. It is your first priority.
16 thoughts on “Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers Take Care of Your Child Inside”
It was only a short 2 weeks ago that my therapist, whom I’ve seen 3 times, concluded that my Mother was a Narcissistic-Sociopath. I was astounded, as I had never contemplated such a thing. I thought my family was normal. I thought my parents’ feeling toward me were normal. I was aghast at my therapists’ conclusion! “What does that mean”, I asked. She shared some information and when I got home I was off on the internet searching for explanations. And here I am, at one of the sites that I found a plethora of information on the subject. I will not post my experience, simply because it’s redundant; many posters have shared testaments to what I have experienced, although there are slight nuances in the difference. The personality traits are very similar, although not entirely the same. Nevertheless, I finally feel FREE!!! I have gone NO CONTACT with my Mother and Brother, and feel total release for the first time in my life! Please, please, please keep researching this topic and finding-out more. If you are a victim of this abuse, please know that you can have freedom by going NO CONTACT. I know it’s hard, as it was for me, but seriously my “self” depended upon it and I did it. I have no regrets, although, to be honest, it’s only been 2 weeks, but I don’t believe I’ll ever regret it, as my abusers don’t even believe they’ve perpetrated crimes against me. They are Holier than Thou. Go deep within, as I did, bring those repressive memories up to the forefront, and examine them for what they are. You will find your answer once you do this exercise. It may cause you great emotional pain to go so deep, but the answers can only be found on that level. Prepare yourself for all sorts of emotional levels, and also prepare yourself for the eventuality of it all: complete release by going NO CONTACT. Thanks for listening to me… love and sincere healing thoughts to everyone who read this. Catherine
UPDATE: My son just graduated from High School, and neither my mother nor my brother (my son’s Godfather) acknowledged his graduation (my father has passed, and so has my sister-in-law). I have no other family here in the U.S. No card, phone call or e-mail for my son. What despicable people! They are using him to punish me for going no contact… what evil!!!
Catherine, as a fellow daughter of NM, I wanted to congratulate your son on his graduation, and you as well on this powerful and healing journey you have embarked on; I wish all the best to both of you. Linda, thank you so much for this post that perfectly and accurately described my childhood and family dynamics. I can’t offer you enough honor and gratitude for the work that you are doing on our behalf, as children born into these hellish families. Today, I went ziplining for the first time. Starting out, I didn’t quite make it all the way to the platform at the end of the first long line and the guide had to come ‘retrieve’ me. I didn’t have enough upper body strength to pull myself in. I got to the platform and started to cry, and said I felt like an unathletic loser; I had flashbacks to always being the last one picked in gym class, and to being compared unfavorably to my older, popular sister who attended the same high school. This blessed older woman who was also on the zipline tour used her glove to wipe away my tears and told me not to feel bad, that we were trying. I thought ‘this is what it must be like to have a mother.’ Later on in the tour, on other lines, I was able to pull myself in. I get easily discouraged, and making sweeping negative generalizations about myself. I will continue to work on my recovery.
I have done all you advise and still it took her disowning me to finally start my climb to freedom. I didn’t really start learning about narcissism until my daughter grew up and started demanding obedience from me. In retrospect, I realize that I had denied her symptoms from the time she was born. I remember saying that she was imitating me, not responding to me, but no one knew how to handle that information. She has now married a narcissist and refuses to speak to me. I have not been allowed to see my granddaughter for the past 3 years, except for glimpses at public gatherings. I was in denial about this too, but I’m sure now that the little one bonded with me as a baby and (through body language) begged me to save her before she could talk. I’m desperate to get to visit her more. Please tell me what can be done to get this child more time with the grandma who loves her and what can be done to save children of narcissists generally. I feel like a criminal allowing this to happen when I know how damaging it was to my life.
Follow this blog on FB and have to tell you how essential it is! Thank you so much for it. It’s helped me so much.
I have a narcissistic mother. I have spent my life in a constant state of anxiety, never able to please. Forever seeking approval and attention, but then not knowing how to deal with it when I found it.
I spent a number of years drowning my inadequacies in alcohol.
Now that I am sober I realize I am a loving compassionate person. I would like to cut ties with my mother, but I feel too much guilt to do so.
I don’t quite understand how to take the next step. How to let go of my expectations of her, that I know, deep, she will never fulfill.
Catherine, congratulations for taking the brave step of ‘no contact’ towards your mother. And congrats to your son for graduating!
I have a question for you-if the narcissistic mother is not malignant but just extremely self-involved and critical, is it necessary to go no contact? I am in low contact with my mom and can’t really bear the idea of no contact.
Great article about self-care after narcissistic abuse. I’m still trying to find my inner mother and nurture myself.
Maybe I was just young and dumb, but I’m not sure my mom has been a narcissist all along. I feel like I’ve only come to realize it over the past year. I couldn’t imagine being anything like her when I become a parent. She’s demonstrates everything I DON’T want to be. Wish that wasn’t the case, but it is.
I found comfort in this article because it feels like there is someone who actually does understand what its like to be raised by a narcissistic mother. IMO, its worse when its an adoptive mother, which was my case, because you feel unwanted by not just one mother, but two. Really hurts.
And you even feel guilty for feeling hurt, because only the narcissistic “queen bee” mother is allowed to have her feelings hurt. If yours are hurt, then you’re too sensitive or paranoid. If someone else is hurt, its your fault. If you are hurt, then thats your fault too.
Its a confusing way to grow up. Somewhere inside, you know you didn’t do anything wrong, but you are made to feel guilty for everything anyway.
I’m with you. No contact. They deny what they do, LOVE it when they’ve created dissension among their children and act like they had nothing to do with the resulting conflict. My NM is the queen of fake empathy to your face, then ripping you behind your back. No contact.
Thank you for this blog. I am 33 years old and have been estranged from my parents for most of my adult life, having had no contact for the past 5 years. I have been on such a long and arduous journey. All throughout my childhood I knew something was not quite right, I could never put my finger on it, and because my parents lived such an isolated existence and I was also an only child, it was a prison of no escape. I never knew anything else. I have a lot of trauma, have experienced severe depression in the past, anxiety, and relationship difficulties and general struggle with moving on in life. My spiritual practice has really given me strength and focus.
Feeling so blocked in many areas of my life, I recently considered to recontact my parents to see if that would help shift some things for me. But nothing has changed. Cutting a long story short, I walked away feeling so drained and poisoned, that familiar feeling that was my reason for walking away and taking distance to begin with. There was a moment of realisation, like I had found a key and it fit in the lock, that my mother is a narcissist, and that I have been a victim my entire life. I was terrorised, abused and treated cruelly, manipulated, confused, and disempowered by my parents. A wave of relief and full validation in every fibre of my being filled me, to realise that it was not my fault. My father is a bully and passive aggressive, and has been warn out and abused himself over the years of their marriage, but carries some of the narcissistic traits but not to the same level. I was close to my grandparents who have died, but I don’t talk to anyone else in the family because there has always been a lot of conflict and my relatives are controlling and quite hateful people.
I have done a lot of healing already but now I have a context within which to place my experience. Now comes a new phase in the journey, and starting to separate and individuate, because I feel still so energetically bound to them. I may be motherless and fatherless but I have myself, my awareness, my sensitivity and compassion, good friends and love in my heart. Just because we share genetics it appears sometimes we are born into a family with an energetic mismatch. I certainly don’t belong in mine. Find the people you belong to, who love and appreciate you, who are connected to their heart and to Spirit. Keep searching until you do. They are out there, your family, just waiting to embrace you.
I assume I have a nm. My mother has always been cruel to me. As a child, I was never good enough, thin enough, pretty enough. She always called me fat to the point that I became anorexic and bulimic. At 5 ft 6 inches I was as thin as 100lbs. I thought then I would be loved but then she found something else wrong with me. My father and I were close and I don’t think she liked that. He was an enabler for sure. Nm had a short fuse and if you didn’t do everything the way she wanted it, watch out. Now that I’m an adult and have a family of my own, nothing’s changed. She never comes over to see my kids. When we go there, she has nothing for my kids to eat. She will say things like, the kids don’t look like they need to eat and “I don’t know what they like”. My kids are not at all heavy and maybe if you got to know them you’d know what they like to eat. Holidays are miserable. I always host because 1 brother lives out of state and the other I have had nc for about 6 years now. He was the golden child growing up and still is now. He is a total screw up. I am a successful person with a home, a husband, children etc. My other brother has the same. The screw up brother continues to screw up. My mother is forever praising him and I just don’t get it. My only guess is that he needs her and she loves the attention. I get nothing but criticism. I’m so at the end of my rope. We have limited contact as no one wants to see her but I allow a few times a year since she is their grandmother but you’d never know it. My kids get punished at Christmas too. She makes an announcement every year that she has no money and my kids get 20 dollars and some junk from the thrift shop. She has enough money, just not for them. For Easter one year she told my kids to go find their stuff that she hid for them. My son found some stuff but my daughter couldn’t find anything. When I asked my mother where her stuff was she said she didn’t get her anything. I was so angry. I asked her why she didn’t and she said she didn’t know what she wanted. Really? You could have called and asked. There are lot of things at Target you could have gotten her. So what did she do? She told my daughter she had a spool of string for her. WTF? Another year she was too busy knitting blankets for the nursing home to put any effort into getting them anything. It makes me angry but also makes me feel like a leper. Just when I think I have some self confidence back she takes it away again. The other day all 4 of her grandchildren were over. Did she spend any time with them? No, she stared at me in the kitchen and looked at her watch and said she had to go home. I said all your grandchildren are here, you complain you never see them, which is a crock. She never wants to see them. She just said she had to go. I guess we don’t give her the attention she craves. Anyway, I am to this date about 50lbs overweight and it’s because of her. Everytime I see or talk to her I go right to food for comfort like I did as a kid. I want to stop. This is the last day I do this. I’m sick of being fat and wearing ugly clothes. She loves it though because she can use it against me and say-See? You are fat. Nm’s are horrible people. They will not change. I’m 38 years old and I always think maybe next time things will be different but they’re not. She puts on shows occasionally for friends etc but it’s all a farce. She is a horrible and cruel person.
I loved reading your email.
I am the daughter of a very cold, uncaring Narcissistic mother. I have had no idea why I have felt so much anger and neglect for my entire life. I just thought she didn’t like me. She blows cold more than warm. I have not contacted her for one whole day and I am committing to myself that I will not contact her. When I do, it brings misery and deep, deep depression. God Bless us all!
I am 66 years old and have suffered from my narcissistic mother for as long as I can remember. Even as a preschooler with 5 sisters I wondered why I was the bad one. I always blamed myself. After the birth of my third child, my only daughter, I went into a depression fearing I couldn’t give her everything she needed. She is a wonderful young woman and we have a very good relationship. I have struggled all of my life to feel adequate. I have been on anti-depressants. One doctor thought I had the symptoms of PTSD years before I had ever heard of the term. All I could think of was I had never been raped. I’ve lived 1,200 miles from my family. When my children were young I took them there every summer until they wouldn’t go. I have been married 40 years and our children who each have successful satisfying careers and good marriages. My mother is 95 and hasn’t changed, though I rarely see her. At my Dad’s funeral she told me my Dad could never stand me, though I now that wasn’t true.
I finally realized at almost 40 that my mother’s abuse was the root of my depression and self doubt. She Is convinced still that I’m the problem. No matter what I did, I was not to be trusted and I was never good enough. At 16 I was grounded for 3 Mos for being 1 hour late for curfew. When I graduated at 17 she made me take my 15 year old brother on my senior trip because i was soooo naive (dumb). Yet less than a year later she moved 1200 miles away with no option for me to go along. She didn’t help me with rent or expenses. She loves to chastise me for incurring credit card debt. 18 and a full time student in college supporting herself. Hmmm. She didn’t believe in birth control but told me if I got pregnant it was my problem, she wasn’t going to help me. She made it very clear that she wasn’t going to help me with college expenses either. When she took us and left, my father retreated and did what was easiest. Any love I felt was from my grandma who drank, she died in December, or my brother who killed himself 4 years ago.
I severed ties with the nm in January of this year. She hasn’t asked to see her grandkids. She confronted my daughter while she was out riding her bike and told my 11 year old that she needed to take control of her own life.
I have never been happier or more full of emotion since I cut ties. Unfortunately i wake up only to find myself married to a narcissist with 2 kids. Nothing we do is good enough and he is an alcoholic. Another uphill climb. ….. where is the patience and love I seek?
I believe that my Mother suffers from Narcassistic Personality Disorder. I’m not a doctor nor a mental health professional but I’m pretty sure that’s what we are dealing with, she doesn’t seem to be able to recognise or have any insight in how her behaviour affects other people, especially some of the most outrageous things she has said to me and others over the years. Unfortunately it seems her mental health may have caught up with her…She is always trying teach me either that works by preventing danger or harm or she uses other tactics such as putting/spreading fear, telling me I’m not capable or suitable, underdeveloped, mental etc. despite the fact I am 25 years old and she likes to tell me what to do, what to say and not say, when and where I go out, who I get involved with and much more than that! I could literally go on forever! Its got to a point where I can no longer talk properly now finding it incredibly hard to express myself, if its a good day I may be able to speak but the words come out all wrong and I’m suddenly forced to revert back to silence.
I’ve literally have had enough, the problem is that she comes into my space, into my bedroom in the middle of the night checking my windows are closed, I have a counsellor that comes around the house now and she tried to indirectly stop me by that I mean she called the police THE POLICE!! I tried to reasure her there was no danger for days prior, yet she still insisted on me saying no….she walked into my room on the morning she was coming and woke me up and showed me the email I’d shown her and YES she wanted to look at the printed out email not before showing Dad as well anyways she thought the little black smudge on the paper looked like a knife and she looked at me and she told me to say no. I immediately got angry and than ignored her.
The day before the counsellor came around she said to me “Do you like helping people?” I looked at her confused and replied “What do you mean? yes of course I like helping people but I don’t understand what you are asking and why” she than said “if you want to help me, don’t make trouble for others” she than gave this childish laugh and I literally felt so confused and angry and maybe a little hurt although I’ve felt so much hurt in the past that now whatever she say;s I just feel numb and angry-guilt.
My mother use to clean me over the top as a child when I say that I mean “cleaning/picking my ears, picking anything that looked like a spot, tweezing hairs, scrubbing me clean during bath times, clipping my nails and she would dress me up in pretty, neat clothes such as dresses and I had to look PERFECT! and I absolutely hated it because I got bullied for the way I looked and no one believed me not even my own mother where I come home and try and tell her but would just say “you’re being silly” so I just put up with it and thought I must of deserved it and to this day I still feel exactly like that.
I am not sure how to deal with my Mum anymore, I still live at home with my parents and swear everyday is like “is she going to put me down again? is there going to be another argument, is she going to call the police, is she, going to go to bed and go into a screaming tantrum? or is she going to lose her mind completely? it feels like walking on broken mirror…because its just that, all I time or most of the time she spends looking in the mirror, she picks her face or any imperfection she sees claiming that “she is cleaning” and at the same time I do exactly the same minus the skin picking but I spend a lot of time judging how I look and everywhere I cannot escape a mirror or otherwise a shop window without looking at how ugly and fat I am.
Dad seems to try to keep things calm by not doing reacting but he does defend me when she says/does these things but he has no idea what is going on with her and quite frankly neither do I…..I had heard of NPD but didn’t know near enough nor how it manifests itself until I went searching on the internet and came across the website Daughters of Narcassistic Mothers and did some reading, I’ll admit its hard for me to say she may have it but at the same time I’m glad and when I say glad I don’t mean glad she “may have it” but glad that for the first time in 25 years I may have found or come to the realisation of what we “maybe have been dealing with” and be able to deal with her condition in an more appropriate way yet I’m also careful not to diagnose her with NPD as she has not be assessed and she never will because she believes that there is nothing wrong with her and that I’m the one with the problem” and she’s right I do have issues depression, anxiety and my Mother knows the cause it was caused by bullying and that the medication I’m on also caused me to become “mental” safe to say….she knows a lot and I know nothing…..but in reality what she doesn’t know now is that she doesn’t know nothing and I know a lot because now after finding this website and the other I’d like to believe that perhaps I can begin to heal and certainly I hope that others who are going through same/similar circumstances will be able to as well.
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