As part of my YouTube LIVE session #6, both Sarah Squires @thenurturingcoach and I talked about maternal narcissism and what the characteristic are and how that might relate to parental alienation in a variety of situations in particular in the court setting. In this blog I have put together some questions for you to identify whether your mother is a narcissist. For many of you this may be a confirmation of what you already knew but for some it may be a harsh discovery. Whichever one it is please know that I am here for you and please know that you are good enough.
"There was a little girl who had a little curl right in the middle of her forehead and when she was good she was criticised anyway"
- Elan Golomb, PhD., Trapped in the Mirror
Being the adult daughter of a narcissistic mother means that you were raised by someone who cared more for herself than she did for you. She approved of you only when your behaviour reflected well upon her or your family. Since her love for you was conditional, you inherited a distorted sense of love and lacked the experience of genuine maternal nurturing. As a result, you have likely developed particular coping mechanisms: you hide or deny your pain, you become involved in intimate relationships that tend to be unhealthy or unsatisfying, you are an overachiever or a self-sabotager. There is the feeling, which directly relates to never having been able to please your mother, of never being quite good enough in relationship, career and life in general. Daughters of narcissistic mothers seem to flounder in life, struggling with chronic feelings of inadequacy and emptiness, knowing there is something wrong but not understanding what that something might be. For them, life thus becomes an agony of self-doubt.
Here is a few questions that can ascertain whether your mother has narcissistic personality disorder. NPD is a spectrum disorder, a woman can have several narcissistic traits and not fit the personality disorder. Mothers with only a few traits listed can negatively affect their daughters in insidious ways.
When you discuss your life issues with your mother, does she divert the discussion to talk about herself?
When you discuss your feelings with your mother, does she try to top the feeling with her own?
Does your mother act jealous of you?
Does your mother lack empathy for your feelings?
Does your mother only support those things you do that reflect on her as a “good mother"?
Have you consistently felt a lack of emotional closeness with your mother?
Have you consistently questioned whether or not your mother likes you or loves you?
Does your mother only do things for you when others can see?
When something happens in your life (accident, illness, divorce) does your mother react with how it will affect her rather than how you feel?
Is or was your mother overly conscious of what others think (neighbors, friends, family, co-workers)?
Does your mother deny her own feelings?
Does your mother blame things on you or others rather than own responsibility for her feelings or actions?
Is or was your mother hurt easily and then carried a grudge for a long time without resolving the problem?
Do you feel you were a slave to your mother?
Do you feel you were responsible for your mother’s ailments or sickness (headaches, stress, illness)?
Did you have to take care of your mother’s physical needs as a child?
Do you feel unaccepted by your mother?
Do you feel your mother was critical of you?
Do you feel helpless in the presence of your mother?
Are you shamed often by your mother?
Do you feel your mother knows the real you?
Does your mother act like the world should revolve around her?
Do you find it difficult to be a separate person from your mother?
Does your mother appear phony to you?
Does your mother want to control your choices?
Does your mother swing from egotistical to a depressed mood?
Did you feel you had to take care of your mother’s emotional needs as a child?
Do you feel manipulated in the presence of your mother?
Do you feel valued by mother for what you do rather than who you are?
Is your mother controlling, acting like a victim or martyr?
Does your mother make you act different from how you really feel?
Does your mother compete with you?
Does your mother always have to have things her way?
Is there any help out there?
There are books that can provide further information and advice on how to heal, if you suspect you’ve been the daughter of a narcissistic mother.
Will I Ever Be Good Enough?: Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers and You’re Not Crazy – It’s Your Mother! are available on Amazon.
Danu Morrigan has a website called Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers, which is another source of support.
Your thoughts: Did you grow up thinking that large proportions of that behaviour was normal? Being bullied at school for your weight and enter into adulthood with a warped understanding of what portion control and healthy eating means?