The daughters of narcissistic mothers go through many hells. We cannot choose our parents. Little girls are supposed to find warmth, security, and compassion when they look into their mother's eyes, as they sit on their always available laps, as they hear songs or stories before they go to bed. Daughters of narcissistic mothers don't have these experiences. Little children in this situation wonder---"What's the matter with me--Mom is not paying attention to me, even when I make a great effort." Other daughters reveal: "Mommy was always directing my life from my first memory. She was in charge of everything I did. I even wondered if she was controlling my breathing." "Mother wants the best for me and expects me to be perfect." I must do everything I can to please her, so she will love me. Does she love me; I don't know. If I do my very best, maybe some day she will."
As daughters of narcissistic mothers grow they notice more and more that something vital is missing in mother---She doesn't listen--Everything revolves around her. She is too busy to spend much time with me. Mother has her own life with dad or her friends that is more important to her than I am. There is an acknowledgement with many of these daughters that they are on their own. Some daughters recognize that they don't have a mother. In some cases there is another family member who fulfills this role: father, aunt, older sibling or special nannies.
Daughters of narcissistic mothers experience a specific grief about missing the nurturing, specialness, affection and empathy of being mothered. For some this grief is palpable and leaves a psychological wound. Some of these daughters are helped by good psychotherapy which takes them through the grief combined with anger and then finally an acceptance, that despite maternal deprivation, they are valuable unique women. They are not their psychologically deficient mothers. It has been my experience that many daughters of narcissistic mothers are among the most empathic individuals with whom I have communicated. There is a transformation that takes place in which these daughters separate and individuate from the family of origin (mother in particular) to an independence, a strength of personality and character. They have rediscovered the natural, original self inside of them that always had the capacity to be fully human and loving despite parental conditioning. Transformation is a lifelong process. Growth never stops; we are always moving forward, discovering ever-expanding parts of ourselves and freely sharing our renewed openness with others. Those who suffer, work with the deep inner process of rediscovering the true self that was always there, have taken the road less traveled---the path of insight and deep inner peace. Visit my website: www.thenarcissistinyourlife.com
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
Telephone Consultation: United States and International
Book: Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life