Sensitive Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers


This week I had a client who asked me whether it was possible to meet people in our lives who seem ‘great’ at first sight but who turn into the most toxic creatures we ever met after a short while. I spontaneously smiled and felt compassion – I not only knew it was possible as I also had had countless relationships based on that type of human interaction. 

Today I don’t want to talk about people we meet throughout our life though. Today I want to talk about an issue that many women (and men) are still little aware of. Today I want to talk about narcissistic mothers and how it feels like to have one. 

The thought that some people shouldn’t have kids is a bit harsh but sometimes I see myself agreeing with it. If a law or test existed to evaluate people’s parenting potential, I’m sure I wouldn’t be here breathing and typing these words though. Neither my mom nor dad would pass the test. Their parenting used to be a discussion my ex and I would have many times: if we had kids, we were on the same page about limiting my parents’ interaction with them.

I know, it sounds dramatic, ugly, and horrible. My parents, however, are pretty much the opposite example of the kind of parent I would like to become one day. They are emotionally negligent, passive-aggressive, and their lifestyle is far from healthy. My mom has narcissistic traits and behaviours, while my dad is the codependent – I guess I take that from him.

Now that I’m back in Lisbon and staying with my parents I can see the patterns more clearly. Being aware of my own issues with narcissistic men allowed me to conclude that my mom fits indeed with the narc profile: their affection is a direct reflection of the extent to which we please and keep them happy. I didn’t understand how dysfunctional this was when I was a kid, but today I can make sense of the feeling of constantly walk on eggshells – a slight misalignment and everyone suffers. Then, when she goes back to normal it’s like nothing happened.

This very same ugly pattern surfaced this morning. The difference now is that I’m almost 30, I have lived abroad and I don’t have the same tolerance as I used to have. My dad still has it. Whenever my mom ‘goes to the other side’, he does anything he can to fix it and win her affection back. This morning I felt, however, that I can go without it. I won’t push her away, but I no longer want to beg for unconditional love, and I certainly no longer want to be emotionally beaten by her.

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23 thoughts on “Sensitive Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers

  1. I wish you didn’t have to go through any of this! I understand having a narcissist parent, it’s super confusing! My mom is the codependent one. I hope you won’t have to be around them for too long from here on out! Best wishes💕

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      1. I’m sorry! I’m sure you have but, do you even cord cut your mom’s energy? It has helped me to do it followed by a “blanket of protection” to put a barrier around my energy after cord cutting.

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      2. I never do it and I should. Clearing the auric field and aligning the chakras too… I should punch myself! I have been always lazy / mindless with these exercises! 🥴🥴 Thanks for the reminder 💚

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      3. Haha that emoji is my new favorite. Cord cutting has helped me SO much!! The last couple of weeks I had to cord cut a narcissist family member and it’s made a huge difference already. 💕

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      4. I’m sorry you had to! :-/ I’m glad you are feeling better about it now though. Maybe we could a collaborative post on this topic! This morning I visualised the cord, dear lord, it’s ugly and comes right from my third chakra -____- haven’t cleared it yet, need to go to a neutral place. Do you use some guided meditation or you just do the visualisation for yourself? 💕

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      5. I understand that ugly cord! Yes, I use this https://youtu.be/YKS3UWoDJfk
        guided meditation that my counselor recommended for me. There are more on YouTube if you do a search. I’ve been using guided meditations for this whole year and just finally did one on my own this week! I would love to collaborate with you as well!

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      6. Thank you ♥️ I used to listen to some guided ones on YouTube but they were Portuguese from Brazil. There was one called “21 days of Archangel Michael meditation” (translating badly here…). I like the tone of the lady in this one, thank you for sharing it 🙏 I have to browse my ‘old stuff’ and see what I can find to share too 🧞‍♀️

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      7. You’re welcome! Those meditations sound really nice! Portuguese is such a beautiful language too 😍 I do also like her voice, it’s very soothing! I haven’t been meditating as often lately and I can feel a difference! I hope you start finding the ones that work well for you! Another great meditation is found at this website. You have to sign up to have it emailed to you, but it’s worth it! I love doing this one https://rebeccacampbell.me
        when I am feeling really overwhelmed.

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      8. Oh that’s awesome, thank you! I haven’t tried Rebecca’s meditation. I read her book a year or two ago, it was refreshing at the time! Love the pastel colours of her branding. I have been using an app called “Insight Timer”. They have a lot of guided meditations there but I feel the more we have the more overwhelmed we get to choose and practise 😅 I’m going to download Rebecca’s and put it in my phone. 😍

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  2. My hope for you, Dear Vanessa, is to overcome this age old pattern of harm. Stay strong; know that you will, with great effort and determination, become the wise woman you know yourself to be (in all situations).
    If I may offer some advice, it would be to remain as ‘unaffected’ by this behaviour as is possible for you. Remembering that such behaviour wants to capture you within its snare. If you don’t react to it, it will dissipate.

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      1. I feel people don’t really like to talk about these things… it’s still taboo as moms are always portrayed as “nurturing” and many things are “excused”… It’s complex. At the end of the day, unemotional moms also struggled with their own moms too…

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    1. Thank you angel Carolyn 😘 Staying unaffected is really the hardest part for me. I know I have to but I’m such a sponge. I need to snap quicker when these moments come up 😘😘😘 I’m very grateful for your advice 🙏🏼🙏🏼❤️

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  3. It is a good feeling of self-worth when you realize you don’t’ need to beg for unconditional love from a mother that will never be able to give it anyone. I commend you and understand what you are feeling and have felt. I made that same choice 25 years ago and never looked back because I liked the way I felt about myself the longer I was away from her. Be strong and enjoy your life with love and kindness. I wrote this on that very choice. https://noelliesplace.com/2018/01/05/silent-house/

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    1. Hey Noellie, thank you so much for sharing your experience. I’m so sorry you also had this hard lesson – it’s very painful this kind of wound… I’m sending you much love and appreciation. I felt your writing right inside my heart and I can relate. It’s so crazy how we grow up feeling our mother’s own pain too. You were very brave to decide and take the path that you felt to be the best for you. Sometimes, we need to just leave… Thank you ♥️

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  4. Thank you for sharing this post. I have a narcissistic mother too. I understand your pain and I am surprised still even after no contact for 9 years that I still am unraveling triggers and soothing myself through the deep wounds. I coach clients who need support to navigate life with deep wounds that only another survivor can understand. Wanted to say hello and introduce myself, Nice to meet you, Vanessa. I just started up my blog again and just put Narcissistic Mother right back in the Title of my blog in it’s new format–it’s in the heart of the healing to wholeness that we all need to acknowledge–it hurt us more than we realize–not being loved in our foundational years and looking for it outside of ourselves. Hope you are doing well. Great job on the blog–Love it and your writing. With love and light, Roxanne

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Roxanne, thank you so much for coming by and saying hello. Your comment made me smile and feel good, although our shared experience isn’t positive. You said it so perfectly and I will definitely check out your blog to read through your ideas. It’s amazing the work you are doing with others, it does make a difference when we can talk with a professional who understands how does it feel like. The mother wound is a very hard one to heal. Sometimes, triggers come up to let us know that it’s not fully healed yet. I hope you have found more balance and peace in the last 9 years. Sending you much love and thank you for connecting 😊

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