Each daughter of a narcissistic mother is unique. Her life experiences are specific to her but there are common psychological dilemmas daughters of narcissistic mothers share. As a small child she was never appreciated for herself as an individual. Even if she was the chosen one, the star of the family, this daughter was not allowed to be her real self. Some daughters of narcissists become narcissistic themselves. Most often this is not the case. The daughters of these mothers suffer horribly under the cruel dictatorship of insensitive, demanding, cold mothers who impose themselves on their children. Some daughters are used as scapegoats by the mother. This is one of the most painful and difficult roles for a young child. There is no peace or respite for these daughters. Many of them make themselves invisible and do everything they can to be out of mother’s line of fire. There are daughter who spend their childhood and adulthoods in sadness, confusion, anger and guilt. They feel invalidated by the narcissistic mother at every turn. The constant criticisms, put downs, demeaning comments and cruel manipulations reverberate deeply within them. Some daughters keep returning to the mother for love which she is incapable of giving.
The goal of each daughter of a narcissistic mother is to reclaim her life—-a life that was commandeered by a woman who is not a real mother. In some cases the daughter was able to obtain comfort and acceptance from the father, a grandmother, aunt or a family friend.
One of the first steps to healing is recognizing that mother is a narcissistic personality disorder that will not change. Another part of the process is grieving over the mother that you didn’t have. You are a special human being,not a possession of a woman who has no understanding or empathy. This is a difficult step and old pain comes to the surface. Being able to deal with the loss and the recognition by the daughter that she is a valuable separate person in her own right. This represents a great movement toward individuation and personal freedom.
Some daughters of narcissistic mothers are helped by quality psychotherapy with a clinician who has clinical expertise on the narcissistic personality disorder. The nest step is a transition of turning around how the daughter experiences herself. This begins with her understanding that she shares her mother’s DNA but not her characterlogical attributes. As time moves forward these daughters discover and develop their unique creative gifts. This movement toward creativity is essential in making a clear break as a separate person who deserves to feel whole and independent. Many healing modalities are effective in moving in this direction. One pathway is through practices like gentle yoga with emphasis on the breath. When we breathe through a pose we are enlivened and calmed at the same time. Yoga can be done on any level. It is highly adaptable to the individual. Another regular routine is developing your own meditation practice. Meditation is a personal activity. Learning to be at peace with yourself is invaluable to healing. Discovering your own expression of creativity is invaluable in redefining yourself. Some daughters discover that journaling and writing regularly is a freeing experience that allows them to express and appreciate what is deep inside and needs to be treasured. Some daughters discover that helping other women who have been victimized by these mothers is part of their healing. It is time now to reach out for the life that you deserve. To learn about the narcissistic personality in-depth, visit my website:thenarcissistinyourlife.com
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
Telephone Consultation: United States and International
Book: Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life
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