75 Troubling Symptoms of Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers

“Up on Cripple Creek she sends me
If I spring a leak she mends me
I don’t have to speak, she defends me …”

– J. R. Robertson (1969)

Daughters of narcissistic mothers spend their lives worrying how to please a mother who is always distant and spiteful.

They often cannot recall any happy moments, having had repressed their childhood trauma memories.

They often do not recognize who they are separate from their moms. They can help others stop their bleeding, forgetting that they are bleeding themselves.

Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) affects 2-16% of the population. Between 25-30% of narcissists are women, becoming narcissistic mothers to their daughters.

Symptoms of Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers

Some troubling symptoms of daughters of narcissistic mothers are:

  • They often don’t understand how they really think and feel about a topic.
  • They are insecure and codependent in relationships, and work hard to please others.
  • Some develop narcissistic traits, or become inverted narcissists, seeking narcissists to relate with.

Let’s take a deep dive to find out the symptoms of daughters of narcissistic mothers.


These are the symptoms a narcissist mother’s daughter may have:

1. Low Self-Esteem:

Daughters of narcissistic mothers often feel unworthy or not good enough.

This low self-esteem seems to stem from a lack of emotional validation and constant disapproval or anger at anything they do to please their mothers during much of their upbringing.

Even years after their mother’s death, they may still evaluate their successes based on whether their mother would have been happy with it.

They doubt the validity of their own views and opinions, especially when these conflict with those of others.

2. Anxiety and Depression:

Daughters of narcissistic mothers are at a higher risk of developing anxiety and depression.

The constant emotional turmoil and lack of genuine support can make them prone to chronic stress and anxiety disorders.

Chronic neglect, lack of unconditional love, constant assault, and unrealistic expectations may lead them to have depressive symptoms.

Moreover, emotional neglect and manipulation can result in complex PTSD, which is harder to treat than standard PTSD.

3. Difficulty Trusting Others:

They often struggle with trust issues, making it hard for them to open up to or rely on other people in their lives.

These issues often originate from a history of inconsistent emotional support from their mothers, who have been emotionally unavailable or manipulative.

They become wary of trusting others because they’ve been hurt or betrayed by the very person they thought was their main source of security.

They struggle to have deep and meaningful relationships, afraid of letting people get close.

Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers
Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers – Prof. Sam Vaknin

The narcissistic mother is a control freak and does not easily relinquish good and reliable sources of “narcissistic supply” (admiration, adulation, attention of any kind). It is the role of her children to replenish this supply, the children owe it to her. To make sure that the child does not develop boundaries, and does not become independent, or autonomous, the narcissistic parent micromanages the child’s life and encourages dependent and infantile behaviors in her offspring. Such a parent bribes the child (by offering free lodging or financial support or “help” with daily tasks) or emotionally blackmails the child (by constantly demanding help and imposing chores, claiming to be ill or disabled) or even threatens the child (for instance: to disinherit her if she does not comply with the parent’s wishes). The narcissistic mother also does her best to scare away anyone who may upset this symbiotic relationship or otherwise threaten the delicate, unspoken contract. She sabotages any budding relationship her child develops with lies, deceit, and scorn.

– Sam Vaknin, “Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited

4. Fear of Abandonment:

Daughters of narcissistic mothers often live with a constant fear of being left behind or rejected by people they care about.

This anxiety can make them become clingy or overly dependent on their partners, as they seek the emotional security they didn’t get from their mothers.

5. Emotional Instability:

They have erratic mood swings and frequent emotional highs and lows.

This emotional rollercoaster can make it difficult for them to maintain stable, healthy relationships, as their emotional unpredictability can be hard for partners to navigate.

6. People-Pleasing:

Daughters of narcissists tend to feel overly responsible for other people.

They tend to assume that others’ needs are similar to those of their parents, and feel compelled to meet those needs and make others happy, even by sacrificing their own happiness.

Narcissistic mothers are chronically critical, demanding, unreasonable, and infuriating. They toxically push their daughters to become the imagined, grandiose version of themselves.

As a result, these daughters grow up people-pleasing, guilt-ridden, and plagued by unexplained aches.

This people-pleasing tendency comes from a deep-rooted desire to gain the approval they never got from their mom.

It’s a double-edged sword: they are either chasing the validation they never received or running away from the criticism they often got instead.

7. Poor Boundaries:

Daughters of narcissistic mothers find it hard, even offensive, to set these seven essential boundaries in their relationships.

The absence of boundaries and unmarked personal space puts them at a higher risk of being exploited, as well as tolerating abuse in many forms.

This pattern can be traced back to their upbringing, when their mothers either discouraged or met with hostility their setting boundaries.

8. Unattainable Perfectionism:

Daughters of narcissistic mothers struggle with rigidity and psychological defense mechanisms. They constantly feel a need to meet unrealistically high standards.

This deep-seated streak of perfectionism sets them up for self-sabotage and burnout.

They have an ever-present sense of unfulfillment in most aspects of their life and feel that nothing they do is ever good enough.

This makes them procrastinate and stay away from taking up unfamiliar tasks.

9. Codependency:

They lean heavily on their partners to fulfill their emotional needs, instead of being self-sufficient.

This codependent dynamic makes them feel trapped and resentful when their needs are not being met.

This also often leads them to give more emotionally than they receive, setting the stage for unhealthy relationships.

And also makes them prime targets for partners, friends, and colleagues with narcissistic traits, who can easily exploit their need for emotional support.

Alan Rappoport, Ph.D., introduced the term “conarcissism” to refer to the way that people accommodate to narcissistic parents.

“Conarcissistic people, as a result of their attempts to get along with their narcissistic parents, work hard to please others, defer to other’s opinions, worry about how others think and feel about them, are often depressed or anxious, find it hard to know their own views and experience, and take the blame for interpersonal problems. They fear being considered selfish if they act assertively. A high proportion of psychotherapy patients are co-narcissistic.”

Co-Narcissism: How We Accommodate To Narcissistic Parents (2005)

10. Difficulty Identifying Emotions:

They cannot understand or express their own emotions well.

Unaware of their own feelings ansd emotions, they tend to fade into the background in relationships.

This emotional disconnect derails their communication with others, leading to confusion and conflicts.

Their partners feel they are speaking a different love language, which creates intimacy and connection barriers.

11. Self-Critical Nature:

Daughters of narcissistic mothers are self-critical, don’t appreciate their own value, and often doubt their own abilities and the choices they make.

Narcissistic people do not examine their own behavior, and blame others for their problems.

However, children of narcissists are ready to accept blame and responsibility for problems even if they had no hand in those problems. They often consider themselves to be the ones who need fixing.

Even when they achieve success, they don’t believe they deserve the laurels, fame, or wins they get.

They believe they are lucky or that they have some sort of special connection (“mother’s blessings”) that allowed them to succeed.

12. Negative Self-Image:

The co-narcissistic daughter is typically insecure because she has not been valued for who she is.

She has rather been valued by her mother only to the extent that she meet her needs.

This idea of “conditional worth” causes her to form a distorted self-image.

This negative self-image can lead to body shame and a low sense of self-worth. They are looking their mirror image with their mother’s eyes, like a funhouse mirror that only shows flaws.

They also often have a distorted self-concept, thinking they are selfish or defective.

“Narcissistic mothers are emotionally needy and self-absorbed, often using their daughters to fill their own emotional voids. This enmeshed and trauma-bonded relationship scar their daughters for life.”

13. High Sensitivity To Criticism:

They’re easily hurt by criticism and often see even helpful feedback as a personal attack.

This sensitivity can make both personal and work relationships tough to navigate, as they may become defensive, offensive, or shut down when faced with any form of critique.

Their easily offended nature can make them become interpersonally rigid, withholding and self-absorbed, blaming, and unempathetic.

They can be quick to anger and prone to taking offense to “stray” comments, which can make people avoid them.

14. One-Sided Relationships:

They often find themselves in one-sided relationships where they’re always the givers.

A constant giving without hardly getting anything back can drain anyone emotionally, making it hard to sustain the joy and vigor in the relationship.

This issue is rooted in co-narcissism. Co-narcissistic people, who usually grow up with narcissistic parents, are conditioned to put others’ needs above their own (Rappoport, 2005).

They often end up in relationships where they’re the constant giver, helper, and server to their partner.

Over time, this emotional void can make them prone to anxiety and depression.

15. Chronic Shame:

Daughters of narcissistic mothers carry a type of shame that’s deeply internalized, often making them feel like they are defective, inadequate, and unworthy.

This is a shame that’s been instilled in them by their mothers, who failed to provide the unconditional love and support a child needs.

This shame can freeze them in their tracks, making them avoid new challenges because they’re scared they’ll fail.

They often feel like they’re deeply flawed. And put limits on their personal and professional growth, remaining stuck in a cycle of self-doubt and missed opportunities.

This shame is different from “narcissistic shame,” which Dr. Brené Brown says is more about their own assessment of being shameful of being ordinary and average.

16. Problematic Anger:

They often face problems in both managing and expressing their anger effectively.

This emotional struggle can manifest in two ways: either as passive-aggressive behavior, where they express their anger indirectly, or as emotional outbursts, where they can’t hold it in any longer and explode.

This difficulty with anger management can strain relationships and make conflict resolution more challenging.

17. Self-Destructive Behavior:

They may engage in behaviors that are harmful to themselves or others as a way to cope with emotional pain.

This could range from substance abuse, like excessive drinking or drug use, to sabotaging relationships by pushing people away or creating unnecessary drama.

These self-destructive patterns are often a cry for help or a way to gain some semblance of control in a chaotic emotional landscape.

18. Decreased Sense of Self:

They have a depleted sense of self, lacking a solid identity or set of personal values.

This lack of self-definition leaves them vulnerable to manipulation, as they may easily adopt someone else’s beliefs or desires instead of standing their ground.

This excessive vulnerableness can make it hard for them to stand their ground in relationships and make decisions that are truly in their best interest.

19. Competitiveness:

They have high competetiveness, and often feel an intense need to be the best.

Usually because they didn’t get the validation they needed while growing up. Or, they had been forced to ace in the class to get that validation.

This drive for competitiveness can create high tension not in professional settings.

They may view others as threats rather than as teammates or partners, making it hard to collaborate or maintain long-term relationships.

They are also restless until they outdo their partners in personal relationships.

20. Conditional View of Love:

They ften see love as conditional, something they have to earn by meeting certain standards or avoiding mistakes.

This mindset can make them feel unlovable or unworthy, especially when they slip up or don’t meet those conditions.

It can also make them hyper-vigilant about their behavior, leading to stress and anxiety in relationships where they constantly feel like they’re walking on eggshells.

21. Obsession with Appearances:

They often prioritize appearances, caring more about how things look to others than how they actually feel or what their true value is.

This focus can prevent them from forming genuine relationships and can lead to a life that seems perfect on the surface but is emotionally hollow.

It can also make them susceptible to people who are good at putting on a facade, further trapping them in inauthentic connections.

22. Acceptance of Abuse:

They often view manipulative or abusive behavior as the norm because that’s what they’ve grown up with.

This skewed perspective can make it hard for them to recognize red flags in future relationships and can leave them vulnerable to further manipulation and abuse.

It can also make them more tolerant of unacceptable behavior, thinking it just “must be how relationships work.”

This puts them at risk of staying on in physically harmful and psychologically unsafe situations.

23. Self-Blame:

Daughters of narcissistic mothers often take the blame when things go wrong, thinking it’s their fault.

This self-blame can stop them from standing up for themselves and saying No.

It can also make them more susceptible to manipulation, as they may feel they deserve the poor treatment they get.

24. Chasing Love & Validation:

They’re always trying to do the right thing in their mother’s eyes.

This constant need for external approval can make them lose sight of their own needs and desires.

This can make them dependent on others to validate their self-worth and to feel good about themselves.

“Some children of narcissistic parents become inverted narcissists, seeking relationships with narcissists.”

– Sam Vaknin

25. Poor Physical Health:

Emotional stress can manifest as physical issues.

Somatization is a mental health condition in which people experience physical symptoms that are not caused by a physical illness. However, these symptoms can be very real and can cause significant pain and discomfort due to emotional distress.

Daughters of narcissistic mothers can have chronic body aches, migraines, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), exhaustion, or other health problems.

26. Narcissistic Traits:

They often fear becoming a narcissist, like their mom.

This is the painful part: They often actually adopt the toxic behaviors of their narcissistic mother.

This often shows up as excessive self-centeredness, lack of empathy, entitlement, grandiose fantasies of self-importance, a need for validation, or projecting their issues onto others.

27. Emotional Attunement To Others:

They are highly sensitive to other people’s emotions and needs but not aware of their own.

They tend to treat their negative experiences as things that will sort themselves out if they just leave them to time.

This often leads to symptoms of emotional burnout.

28. Poor Emotional Intelligence:

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) in psychology is the ability, capacity, or skill to perceive, assess, and manage the emotions of oneself, others, and groups.

Daughters of narcissistic mothers often cannot pick up on emotional cues, making social interactions awkward or stressful.

This can lead to confusion and conflicts, making it tough to collaborate or connect with others on a deeper level.

29. Self-destruction tendencies:

Daughters of narcissistic mothers often sabotage good things in their lives, thinking they don’t deserve happiness.

This self-destructive behavior can show up in relationships, careers, or even personal achievements.

It’s like they’re programmed to expect failure, so they ruin things before they can enjoy them.

This can keep them stuck in a cycle of unhappiness and missed opportunities.

30. Self-Loathing:

A deep level of self-hatred is common in victim-daughters of narcissist mothers.

They hate themselves so much that they don’t allow themselves to be happy, block their personal growth, and stay stuck in the same physical and mental space for decades.

31. Anhedonia (Always Sad & Melancholic):

They often experience anhedonia, a lack of pleasure in things that usually bring joy.

This emotional numbness can make them seek out sadness in others as a way to feel something, even if it’s not happiness.

This cycle can keep them stuck in a state of emotional emptiness.

32. Irrational beliefs:

They often turn to things like astrology, homeopathy, or misinterpreted self-fulfilling prophecy as a way to find control or meaning in their lives.

These irrational beliefs can serve as a comfort zone, providing a false sense of security and predictability.

However, relying on such pseudosciences can also keep them stuck in unhealthy behavior patterns and relationships.

TIt makes them misattribute their challenges to external factors rather than addressing the root issues.

This can hinder their personal growth and make it hard for them to break free from the cycle of emotional abuse.

33. Fear of Authority:

An irrational fear of people in positions of power.

They cannot talk against their teachers, trainers, or bosses. This can hinder their growth and create unnecessary stress.

34. Fear of Parent’s Reactions:

The fear of their mother’s reactions remains in them even as adults. Sometimes, this fear lurks in them long after their mother’s death.

This can limit their freedom and choices. And make them think that they are the root cause of problem when things go wrong in their environment.

35. Seeking Unattainable Approval:

A never-ending quest for their mother’s approval. This can lead to a cycle of disappointment and hurt.

36. Confusion About Cutting Ties:

A desire to distance themselves but fear of the consequences. This can lead to emotional turmoil.

37. Abandonment and Trust Issues:

Difficulty in trusting people and fear of being abandoned. This can sabotage healthy relationships.

38. Feeling Unsafe:

A pervasive feeling that the world is a dangerous place. This can lead to anxiety and limit their experiences.

39. Keeping Secrets:

A tendency to keep things to themselves. This can lead to isolation and loneliness.

40. Feeling Unworthy of Love:

A belief that they don’t deserve love or happiness. This can prevent them from forming meaningful relationships.

41. Constantly Confused:

A distorted sense of reality due to manipulation and gaslighting. This can lead to confusion and self-doubt.

42. Forced to Grow Up Quickly:

Took on adult responsibilities at a young age. This can lead to a loss of childhood and emotional maturity issues.

43. Unequal Treatment in Family:

Not everyone in the family is treated the same. This can create resentment and family tension.

44. No Voice of Defiance:

Their moms do not tolerate any form of questioning or defiance. They want their daughters to comply without raising her voice or siring her disagreement or displeasure.

This can suppress their voice and opinions.

45. Master of Projection:

Their mother projected her issues onto them. This can lead to confusion about their own feelings and behaviors.

Some of them develop counter-dependency – the tendency to project an image of self-sufficiency and reject authority.

46. Hiding of True Self:

They hide their genuine feelings and thoughts. This can prevent authentic relationships and self-expression.

47. Permanent Neediness:

Since their emotional needs were often ignored and neglected, they can devekop constant feelings of neediness and emotional starvation.

48. Slave For Love:

Love and approval for them were based on conditions. This conditioning often goes on to create a tendency of trying to meet unattainable standards to gain and retain any person’s love.

They may become slaves, tolerating unnatural and extreme behaviors from their partners and even friends, to feel loved and accepted.

49. Struggle With Reality:

All their chilhood was spent living a reality their mothers set up for them.

This makes them find it difficult to distinguish what’s real from what’s imagined.

This insecurity keeps them asking others to provide them with a sense of reality.

50. Suppressed Feelings:

They have many suppressed emotions, since they weren’t allowed to express their true feelings.

This can lead to emotional outbursts. Some may even explode with pent-up aggression in reaction to minor slights from others.

51. Silent Witness To Mother’s Victims:

They’ve seen others fall victim to their mother’s behavior. But they could never speak out against it.

This often fills them with a heightened sense of empathy for anyone who is treated unfairly.

52. Constant Worry About Displeasing Mother:

A perpetual state of anxiety about upsetting their mom. This can lead to stress and hinder their decision-making.

53. Responsibility For Their Mother’s Reputation:

They feel responsible for how others view their mother. This can lead to unnecessary stress and a distorted sense of duty.

54. Always Agreeing With Others:

They feel they must always agree with what their other people say, as their mothers ttrained them into.

This can suppress their own opinions and beliefs.

They tend to put others’ opinions above their own, and focus more on what others think than on their own beliefs.

55. Unusual Mood Swings:

Their mother’s mood change rapidly, affecting their emotional state.

This can make them have anxiety and feel like they’re always walking on eggshells.

Later on, they develop unstable temperaments, with unpredicatble and unexplained mood swings.

56. “Mother Can Do No Wrong”:

They’ve been conditioned to believe their mother is always right.

They shape their sense of justice around their mother’s proclimed righteousness, not that of the society.

This creates a skewed sense of right and wrong.

They can justify their wrong behaviors, and of those close to them, with, “Maa used to do this.”

57. Victims of Emotional Blackmail:

Narcissistic mothers are emotional blackmailers.

They create an atmosphere of fear, guilt, or obligation to manipulate the person into complying with their demands or desires.

They use tactics like threats, withholding affection, giving the silent treatment, or passive-aggressive behavior.

Emotional blackmail can make the victim responsible for the blackmailer’s emotions or well-being, have anxiety, low self-esteem, confusion, and a sense of powerlessness.

58. Financial Dependence:

They may have been financially dependent on their mother, even when their earned.

Narcissistic mothers can make their children hand over all their earnings to them, and then make them ask for the amount they need each time they need it.

This can make them find it extremely difficult to spend on themselves, even when they are earning a comfortable income. However, they always stay ready to spend their money on their relationships.

This has a collateral damage – it limits their personal freedom, even though they have a wide range of choices.

59. Social Isolation:

Their mothers may have intentionally and actively isolated them from their from friends and extended family.

This “forced loneliness” can linger for a long time, making them almost agoraphobiac (phobic anxiety of visiting open or public spaces).

They are often afraid of asking people for help, even though they clearly lack a support system.

60. Fear of Intimacy:

Fear of intimacy is the fear or discomfort forming close relationships, including romantic relationships, friendships, and family relationships.

Victims of narcissistic mothers may develop a fear of intimacy, finding it difficult to trust others, afraid of being vulnerable, or feel unworthy of love and affection.

Fear of intimacy can can lead to feelings of isolation, loneliness, a lack of emotional fulfillment, and a sense of disconnect from others.

61. Overthinking:

Daughters of narcissit mothers often have tendency to overanalyze situations and conversations.

Called rumination, this constant trying to “go over and fix the past” can lead to anxiety and depression..

62. Emotional Detachment:

Narcissistic mothers are often abusive, invalidating, insensitive, and unempathetic. As a result, their daughters may develop emotional detachment as a coping mechanism.

Emotional detachment is a psychological experience of a lack of feeling or connection to people and things around you.

It can show up as difficulty showing empathy, sharing emotions, committing to relationships, a lack of depth in emotions, and an inability to form close relationships.

63. Guilt Trips:

The daughters of narcissistic mothers often feel guilty for their choices.

This guilt seems to come from:

  • Shaming and disappointment: Narcissistic mothers shame their daughters, showing disappointment in them or making them feel like a failure or letdown. This can create guilt and inadequacy.
  • Fear of abandonment: Daughters of narcissistic mothers may feel guilty for wanting to pursue their own lives or establish boundaries, as they fear being seen as abandoning their mothers.
  • Burden and self-blame: The daughters may internalize the belief that they are a burden on others and feel guilty for having needs or asserting themselves. They may blame themselves for the strained relationship with their mothers.
  • Lack of confidence: The guilt imposed by narcissistic mothers can lead to second-guessing and a lack of confidence in their own choices and abilities. They may struggle to trust their own judgment and constantly seek validation from others.

64. Fear of Failure:

They have an overwhelming fear of failing and disappointing their mother.

This often stultifies their independence, personal growth, and risk-taking.

65. Rule-Driven:

Daughters of narcissistic mothers often think they can only belong if they follow certain rules.

They find it unimaginable to break norms and regulations, and keep distance from those who are known to break the rules even in acceptable ways.

This mindset can make them rigid and fearful of stepping out of line.

66. Do-Over Attempts:

Daughters of narcissist mothers grow up with the fear of disappointing their mothers or being rejected by them.

This creates self-doubts, second-guessing, and a lack of confidence in their own choices and abilities.

As a result, they may engage in “do-overs,” which involves repeating or redoing tasks or decisions to ensure they meet their mother’s expectations.

They keep trying to fix their relationship with their mother or find similar figures to replace her.

This “do-over” behavior can emotionally drain them, and contribute to a sense of shame, worthlessness, and a loss of their authentic selves.

67. Emotionally Vulnerable:

Healthy relationships form on the grounds of being comfortable expressing one’s vulnerabilities.

But daughters of narcissistic mothers often struggle to express their vulnerabilities due to the emotional suppression and invalidation they experienced during their upbringing.

Narcissistic mothers tend to ignore the needs of their children and abuse them in various ways, leading to a lack of support, love, affection, and encouragement necessary for healthy self-esteem.

As a result, daughters of narcissistic mothers may find it difficult to express their “weaker side” to others, including in close relationships.

68. Neglects Self-Care:

They often ignore their own needs, both emotional and physical. This neglect can lead to health issues and lower quality of life.

They have learned to put the needs of others before their own.

This self-neglect can lead to burnout and make it hard for them to recognize and fulfill their own needs and desires.

69. Negative Self-Talk:

They frequently speak poorly about themselves, reinforcing their low self-esteem and inability to form positively assertive relationships.

  • Constant self-judgment: They learned to constantly judge themselves, since expressing their feelings was often seen as burdensome or dangerous. They may internalize the critical voice of their mothers and engage in negative self-talk, questioning their own thoughts, feelings, and worth.
  • Repetitive negative thinking: Many adult daughters of narcissistic mothers struggle with repetitive negative thinking as a result of their upbringing, where they felt invisible and their needs were unmet. They may constantly question themselves, doubt their needs, and have a pessimistic outlook on life.
  • Feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness: They often have ongoing and unconscious feelings of shame, unworthiness, and unlovability. Emotional neglect and abuse can create a deep-seated belief that they are flawed or not good enough, leading to negative self-talk.
  • Invalidation of emotions: Narcissistic mothers can invalidate, dismiss and undermine their daughters’ feelings and emotions. These break down their self-confidence, leading to more negative self-talk.

70. Seeks Poor Relationships:

Some children of narcissistic mothers become inverted narcissists, seeking relationships with narcissists.

They’re often drawn to unhealthy relationships because that is their familair frame of reference.

This can keep them stuck in a cycle of emotional abuse, only changing the abuser.

71. Hides Her True Self:

They suppress their own needs and identity, often feeling like everything has to revolve around their mother.

They even work hard to make sure it is always about their mother in any situation they are in.

This can prevent them from forming authentic relationships.

72. Downplay Success and Tragedy:

They minimize both their achievements and hardships.

This can make them feel isolated, as they don’t allow themselves to fully experience their own lives.

73. Represses Pain:

They keep their emotional pain to themselves, often as a survival tactic.

This emotional suppression can lead to mental health issues over time.

74. Reality Confusion:

They often struggle to tell what’s real from what is questionable, since their mothers taught them not to question anything.

This can lead to a distorted sense of self and reality.

75. Grudgeful and Regretful:

Daughters of narcissistic mothers are more prone to grudges and resentments.

They often regret for not having taken enough risks in life, carrying a deep-seated fear of being exposed as weak and unworthy, and the inability to break through the comfort of familiar situations.

They learn to suppress their valid emotions, which can make them regret missing out on opportunities to express themselves or pursue their own interests.

Most of all, they feel resentment for not being able to assert their own needs, desires, and boundaries with their mothers.

Symptoms of Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers

Books On Daughtyers of Narcissistic Mothers

  • Elan Golomb’s book, Trapped in the Mirror (1992) for a variety of examples of narcissistic and co-narcissistic parent-child relationships.
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How Narcissist Mothers Treat Their Daughters

A narcissistic mother sees her daughter as a true reflection of herself. In that sense, daughters of narcissistic mothers face unique struggles that their brothers may not face.

1. They see their daughters as reflections of themselves

Daughters of narcissistic mothers often feel like they’re seen as an extension of their mom, not as their own person. This can mess with their sense of identity and self-worth.

This study found that many adult daughters of narcissistic mothers felt they had difficulties defining their selfhood and self-identity.

2. They emotionally neglect their daughters

Narcissistic mothers are so focused on themselves that they can’t give their daughters the emotional support they need. This leaves the daughter feeling emotionally starved and neglected.

3. They lack empathy and concern for their dughter’s well-being

Narcissistic moms often don’t understand or care about their daughter’s feelings. This lack of empathy creates emotional distance and makes the daughter feel like her emotional needs don’t matter.

4. They constantly judge, criticize, and belittle them

Daughters may feel like they’re always being judged and criticized by their narcissistic mothers. This can lead to low self-confidence and a fear of failure.

5. They do not let their daughter develop a self-identity

The narcissistic mother does not see her daughter as a separate person.

She teaches her to act and react the way she “should,” not the way that’s right for her.

The adult daughters of narcissistic mothers do not have a self-identity separate from her mother. They have a hard time figuring out who they are, what their true choices and needs are.

6. They prioritize their own needs over her daughter’s

Narcissistic mothers often put their own needs and wants first, leaving their daughters feeling neglected and emotionally hungry.

They use emotional blackmail and manipulation to maintain control over her children.

This can result in feelings of insecurity, anger, and resentment.

7. They keep their daughter craving for unconditional love

Daughters of narcissistic moms often grow up without experiencing empathetic, unconditional love. This can make them vulnerable to people who offer a false sense of love and security.

8. They pass on their narcissistic traits to their daughters

Sometimes, narcissistic traits can be passed down from mother to daughter, creating a cycle of distorted ideas about love and mother-daughter relationships. This is called Generational Narcissism.

9. They control every aspect of her daughter’s life

Narcissistic mothers often want to control every aspect of their daughter’s life, from what they wear to who they hang out with.

Narcissistic mothers control and micromanage their daughters’ lives to maintain supply.

This can make the daughter feel trapped and harm her self-esteem.

10. They indulge in bad parenting practices

Narcissistic moms may neglect their daughter’s emotional needs or be overly critical. They may even use their daughter’s achievements to boost their ego.

Narcissistic mothers encourage dependent and infantile behaviors while maintaining control.

11. They always create a pressure in their daughter to excel

Narcissistic mothers may force their daughters into activities or pursuits that the daughter has no interest in. This can lead to stress and negatively affect the daughter’s mental health.

12. They push their daughters into high risk of mental disorders

Research shows that daughters of narcissistic mothers are more likely to experience anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. Support and validation are crucial for these daughters to cope with their parent’s behavior.

How To Deal With A Mother’s Narcissistic Behavior

Dealing with a narcissistic parent can be emotionally exhausting and psychologically confusing, especially when it comes to a daughter dealing with her narcissistic mother.

Here are some ways to cope with a narcissistic mother’s behavior:

1. Setting Boundaries

Setting boundaries is a must when you’re dealing with a narcissistic mom. Clear limits help you protect yourself from emotional harm. Narcissistic mothers often ignore these boundaries, so be ready to stand your ground.

2. Protecting Yourself

Your well-being comes first. You might feel like you have to look after your mom’s feelings, but that’s not your job. Make sure you’re taking steps to shield yourself from emotional harm.

3. Providing Validation

Sometimes, giving a little validation can calm things down. Narcissistic moms often crave attention and validation. But remember, don’t let this step over your boundaries.

4. Learning to Say No

It’s okay to say no to your narcissistic mother. In fact, learning to say No is one of the most valuable human skills you can learn.

This helps you maintain your autonomy and prevents you from getting sucked into her manipulative tactics. Saying no can be empowering and is a form of self-care.

5. Understanding the Narcissistic Behavior

Get to know why narcissistic moms act the way they do. This isn’t to excuse their behavior, but it can help you deal with it more effectively. Knowledge is power, after all.

6. Seeking Support

Don’t go it alone. Reach out to friends, family, or even a therapist.

A support system offers you a safe space to talk and get advice. Therapists can also guide you on how to deal with your mom’s toxic behavior.

The Narcissist’s Emotional Landscape

Narcissists have a complex emotional landscape that is often shaped by their past experiences, particularly their relationships with their parents.

Despite their own emotional needs, narcissists often lack empathy for others. They may be unable to recognize or understand the feelings of others, including their own children.

Narcissists may also struggle with their own emotions, particularly feelings of vulnerability.

To protect themselves from these feelings, they may project their insecurities onto others, including their children. This can lead to a cycle of emotional manipulation and abuse, as the narcissist uses their child’s emotional vulnerability to maintain control over them.

Overall, the emotional landscape of a narcissist is fraught with insecurity, anger, revenge, and resentment.

This study found that individuals high in narcissism, as opposed to low, reported a higher level of vengeful behavior across a wide variety of settings and with a wide variety of revenge measures.

Final Words

Narcissistic mothers obstruct their children’s emotional development.

Both boys and girls suffer arrested emotional growth when brought up by narcissistic mothers. The narcissist mom’s talks are only about herself and her issues, unconcerned about her kids’ issues.

In the case of a narcissistic mother-son attachment, the son may struggle to establish his own identity and sense of self-worth. He may feel like he is always in competition with his mother for attention and validation, leading to feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem.

However, it’s always much tougher for a daughter dealing with a narcissistic mother.

Researched and reviewed by Dr. Sandip Roy — medical doctor, psychology writer, and happiness researcher.

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When it comes to mental well-being, you don't have to do it alone. Therapists can help you work through your trauma triggers and emotional patterns. Reaching out to a professional to feel better is a positive choice.