Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers
You know you are the adult daughter of a narcissistic mother and you are ready to feel better.
You might have a tendency to experience life as emotionally painful. Your interactions with other people – family, friends and co-workers – often leave you feeling hurt. It can become quite disheartening when the possibility for joyful relationships feels out of reach.
As you explore your experience of these relationships, you might have a sense that it always circles back around to your relationship with your mother. You might feel tired of carrying around these emotional wounds and on some level you are really ready to be done with it.
Some women with a narcissistic mother have an unexplained empty feeling inside. Despite being highly competent and having achieved a lot in life, these women often yearn for a sense of fulfillment that they can never achieve.
It’s also possible that you take on responsibility for making sure everyone around you feels okay, even though no one expects that from you. You do it because it’s how you know how to relate. But in the end you feel resentful because while you are always worried about everyone else you can’t seem to get your own emotional needs met.
Having a narcissistic mother can make a woman feel like she’s crazy.
That is how deeply rooted the mother archetype is in the subconscious mind.
A mother’s unconditional love and support is a basic human need. We have a primal connection to the mother who gave us life and a hardwired belief that she can be nothing other than a source of love, nurturing and protection. When a mother doesn’t behave this way, we make up all kinds of excuses to try and explain what is happening.
A narcissistic mother is incapable of providing this type of care and support to her children. If you have a mother who is a narcissist, you experienced some level of emotional abuse or emotional neglect as a child that impacted your emotional development and the way you experience the world today.
Narcissism is a real thing. It is a personality disorder recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. You aren’t alone in your experience, and you aren’t crazy.
You are experiencing life in a certain way because you were raised by a narcissistic mother. You can recover from narcissistic abuse and begin to experience life in a new way.
The day I realized this for myself was an amazing day.
I had been experiencing so much of my life through the lens of my experience as the daughter of emotionally abusive parents. I chose men who were emotionally unavailable because it was familiar. In my career I chose to do great things from behind the scenes, because it was in my comfort zone to be invisible. I exhausted myself trying to take care of everyone else’s emotional needs (even though I wasn’t asked to do that) and then felt resentful about it.
Finding out that life didn’t have to feel this way was like getting a chance to begin again. That’s what I did. It’s what others have done. You can do it too.
I’ve since learned how to meet my own emotional needs, to set healthy boundaries, and to live with the understanding that I am not responsible for the emotional well-being of others.
You can’t change who your mother is, or the experience you had as a child. But, you absolutely can heal the emotional wounds that result from this type of childhood trauma and learn to experience life differently.
Through our coaching sessions you will gain an understanding of narcissism and how it has impacted you; learn how to identify and process your feelings around what happened; and begin to experience life differently.
My coaching is based on the premise that nothing is wrong with you, it’s only that you have developed some habits that aren’t particularly useful anymore. The habits have to do with thinking, believing, feeling, responding, avoiding, seeking. Through the examination of these habits, you will naturally open up to doing what you don’t normally do, and this is how you genuinely change over time and experience narcissistic abuse recovery.
It’s not a sexy, glamorous, over-the-top, leave-everything-behind-and-get-a-new-life kind of change. Rather, it’s a change in the experience of normal, mundane, everyday life.
This is a big deal when we are struggling to make it through day-to-day life.
It’s a change that is genuine and that lasts. It’s a return to inner peace, and a sense of being comfortable in your own skin. It’s a calm inside that runs steady and deep, as life continues to bring its ups and downs.
It’s possible that you’ve been holding on to painful feelings related to your relationship with your mother for decades. You might be terrified of letting yourself feel this pain.
It is devastating for a child to not have access to unconditional love. The pain is too much to bare and for this reason you developed a number of coping mechanisms to protect yourself from that pain. Now as an adult, those coping mechanisms are more harmful than helpful.
As an adult you do have the ability to withstand the emotional pain even though you are convinced you don’t. A key reason people need coaching assistance in the beginning of their narcissism recovery is because the fear of the emotional pain is so great. With me by your side you will have more courage to feel this pain and let it go.
Resisting this pain is really the key reason you are suffering today. Feeling it is the path to genuinely liberating yourself from the experience. When you are ready to start living differently you will find that you have the courage.
Maybe you’ve spent a lot of time and money in therapy sessions talking about your relationship with your mother, and you feel like it’s getting you nowhere.
If you’ve been talking about your relationship with your mother generally, and not in the context of narcissism and the impact of a mother’s narcissism on a daughter’s emotional development, you’ve been missing a key piece of the puzzle. Having information about narcissism, what it looks like, and how it impacts a person in childhood and then later in adulthood, will profoundly impact your ability to disrupt the patterns that are currently playing out in your life.
If your therapy had more of a focus on discussion and analysis (mind-based), as opposed to a somatic (body-based) focus, it’s possible that you were only able to scratch the surface of your trauma. With my coaching you will learn how to identify and connect with your emotions through your body. Emotions are energy that sit in the physical body. By focusing on both mind and body you can heal more deeply than by focusing only on the mind. This is one of the key reasons my coaching can have more impact in a shorter amount of time compared to years of traditional talk therapy.
Some women fear finding out the only way forward is to end their relationship with their mother.
Ending the relationship is not the only way forward. Every mother-daughter relationship is unique and you will know in your heart whether or not you are meant to end your relationship with your mother.
For some women ending the relationship brings about a deep sense of relief and is a necessary step for moving forward in life. For other women it feels right to maintain the relationship and to focus on learning how to establish boundaries, how to respond rather than react, and how to practice acceptance of the relationship as it is.
There are also a lot of ways forward that combine these two options. You might choose to take a break from your relationship and then re-evaluate what to do after some time has passed. Alternatively, some women decide to experiment with new ways of being in relationship with their mother and see how it goes before deciding to stay or leave.
" I recommend connecting with Diana. She created a safe space where I could honestly express how I was feeling and she guided me through ‘the muck’ to a place of peace and clarity. "
Kirsty, United Kingdom
About the Author
Diana Calvo is a certified life coach and registered psychotherapist who helps people get unstuck and transform their day-to-day experience of work and life. After 20 years successfully climbing the corporate ladder, Diana experienced her own journey of healing and awakening. She discovered her true calling to guide others on their journey out of suffering and into a life of purpose and joy. Diana left the corporate world to start her own coaching business. She lives in Denver, Colorado with her dog Joey and a beautiful view of the mountains. She works with clients across the globe.