Being the daughter of a narcissistic mother is one of the most difficult life experiences. From the time you were born, you could not be properly nurtured and cherished because your mother was a narcissist. Her touch was rough, insensitive or non-existent. Some narcissistic mothers are unable to hold their babies and only give them a quick bottle that is propped up. There is no contact or it it brusque, brisk and without any positive emotion. In fact some narcissistic mothers resent their daughters so much they can bearable stand to look at them. When they do it is an expression of disdain and anger that the little daughter sees on her mother’s face. “Mama doesn’t love me.” This is the loud message that many daughters have imprinted on their consciousness very early. If the father is capable of affection and emotional connection this can be the saving grace—And a grandparent or aunt can make all of the difference. In some cases an older sibling is the person who mothers this child. For some there is no one in the family and I have discovered some daughters who have literally raised themselves. This is truly remarkable but not without the psychological wounds that are unseen on the outside but cause deep psychic pain in the inside.
Narcissistic mothers haunt their daughters. These daughters often question themselves and even blame themselves for a lack of maternal love. This is due to the earliest imprinting of maternal deprivation and psychological abuse. Some daughters go on to marry narcissistic men and the cycle of repetition continues. When we grow up with this level of pathology–that is our reality. We needed to do what was necessary to survive–Never blame yourself for that–ever! Be grateful for the dear child who moment by moment, week by week, year by year–was determined to survive. That is an incredible achievement.
Some daughters remain under the thumb of the narcissistic mother terror. They are fused with her. They love her and hate her simultaneously. This pattern can be very powerful. However, it does not have to remain in place.
Many daughters of narcissistic mothers finally recognize that their mother is a person who suffers from serious psychopathology that will not change. They make the break with the narcissistic mother. They recognize that they were given a life and are entitled to lead it according to their own unique natures, to use their creative gifts, to find deep peace inside, to give and receive love. Many of these daughters find help an change working with an excellent therapist. (Make sure you don’t choose a narcissistic psychotherapist who has a money motive at the top of her/his list).
There are many healing paths that will appeal to you. Find the ones that work for you alone. Gentle hath yoga with its emphasis on the breath through the nose is very calming. It expands our consciousness and has an impact on bringing the nervous system into balance. Journaling for many is a way of putting your spontaneous feelings and thoughts on the page without editing. Different forms of artistic expression are very freeing and creative. Exercise your way and find that you become physically stronger, steadier and more emotionally balanced. Develop a relationship(s) with what I call the 2 am friend–someone you can call when you are feeling down or scared or indecisive. These loving people can make all of the difference in our lives.
Meditation in a form that works for you –walking, sitting, solitude in any activity where you will not be interrupted is also a way of quieting the mind and nervous system.
For those who have deceased narcissistic mothers– learn how to put her to rest in your mind and heart. This can be part of a grieving process for a woman who was a non-mother. It is a grieving for the mother you never had and this is so sad it makes you cry. Crying is a way of releasing psychological and emotional pain and saying goodbye to the mother we never had. This can be done and it is a journey—a journey to the real self. I hear from daughters of narcissistic mothers who are in the process of healing. This is very encouraging and true. To learn about the narcissistic personality in-depth, visit my website: thenarcissistinyourlife.com
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
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