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Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers

Uploaded 11/19/2010, approx. 5 minute read

I am Sam Vaknin. I am the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited.


Today we will discuss the relationship between a narcissistic mother and her adult daughter.

What are some common ways that a mother's narcissism can affect the daughter's adult relationships?

Well, it depends on how narcissistic the mother is.

Narcissistic parents generally fail to recognize and accept the personal autonomy and the boundaries of their offspring. They treat their children as instruments of gratification or as extensions of themselves. Their love is conditioned on the performance of their children and how well they cater to the needs, wishes and priorities of the narcissistic parents.

Consequently, narcissistic parents oscillate between two modes.

The first one is clingy emotional blackmail. This they use when they seek the child's attention, adulation and compliance, collectively known as narcissistic supply.

Alternatively, they treat the child with steely devaluation and silent treatment when they wish to punish the child for refusing to toe the line. Such inconstancy, unpredictability, arbitrariness and capriciousness render the child insecure and co-dependent.

When the child grows up and enters a relationship as an adult, he feels that he has to earn each and every morsel of love, that he will be instantly and easily abandoned if he underperforms, that her primary role is to take care of her spouse, mate, partner or friend and that she is less important, less endowed, less skilled and less deserving than her significant others.

What are the top concerns?

When daughters of narcissistic mothers start relationships and their relationships move forward when their relationships end, well, children of narcissistic parents are ill-adapted, their personality is rigid and they are prone to deploy a host of psychological defense mechanisms.

Consequently, children of narcissistic parents display the same behaviors throughout their relationship from start to finish, irrespective of changing circumstances.

As adults, offspring of narcissists tend to perpetuate a pathological primary relationship with their narcissistic parents. They depend on other people for their emotional gratification and for the performance of ego or even daily functions. They are needy, demanding and submissive. They fear abandonment, cling and display immature behaviors in their effort to maintain the so-called relationship with their companion or mate upon whom they depend.

No matter what abuse is inflicted upon these children turned adults, they remain in the relationship.

By eagerly becoming victims, co-dependents seek to control their abusers.

Some children of narcissistic parents become inverted narcissists, also called covert narcissists. This is a co-dependent who depends exclusively on narcissists, a narcissist co-dependent.

If you are living with a narcissist, have a relationship with one, if you are married to one, if you are working with a narcissist etc., this does not mean that you are an inverted narcissist.

To qualify as an inverted narcissist, you must crave to be in a relationship with a narcissist, regardless of any abuse inflicted on you by him. You must actively seek relationships with narcissists and only with narcissists, no matter what your bitter and traumatic past experience has been. You must feel empty and unhappy in relationships with any other kind of person.

Only then, and if you satisfy the other diagnostic criteria of dependent personality disorder, can you safely label yourself an inverted narcissist.

So a small minority of children of narcissistic parents end up being counterdependent or even narcissists themselves.

They emulate and imitate their parents' traits and conduct. The emotions of these children of narcissists, their needs are buried under scar tissue which had formed, coalesced and hardened during years of one form or abuse or another.

So these children develop grandiosity, a sense of entitlement, a lack of empathy, an overwhelming and overwhelming emptiness that usually hides in knowing insecurity and a fluctuating sense of self-worth.

Counterdependence are consummations. They reject and despise authority. They are fiercely independent. They are controlling, self-centered and aggressive. They fear intimacy and they are locked into cycles of hesitant approach followed by avoidance of commitment. They are lone wolves. They are bad team players.

Counterdependents are a reaction formation.

The counterdependent dreads his own weaknesses. He seeks to overcome them by projecting an image of omnipotence, omniscience, success, self-sufficiency and superiority.

Some daughters of narcissists choose this path of coping.

How do narcissistic mothers interfere or get involved with their daughter's love or take lives? How does this compare to typical mothers?

The narcissistic mother is a control freak and does not easily relinquish a good and reliable source of narcissistic supply such as her daughter. It is the role of her children to replenish this supply.

The children, the daughter, 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, for instance, bribes the child by offering free lodging or financial support or help with daily tasks. Such a parent emotionally blackmails the child by constantly demanding help and imposing chores, claiming to be disabled. 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 have set this symbiotic relationship or otherwise threaten the delicate, unbroken, unspoken contract between the parent and daughter. Such a narcissistic mother sabotages any budding relationship that a child develops with lies, deceit, or overt scorn.

According to the DSM, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, narcissistic personality disorder is diagnosed in between 2 and 16% of the population in clinical settings, or about 1% of the general population.

The DSM proceeds to tell us that most narcissists are men, but 25 to 30% of all narcissists are women. These become narcissistic mothers, and their daughters care the consequences.

If you enjoyed this article, you might like the following:

Narcissistic Parents Possessive: Envy, Destroy Their Children, Offspring

Narcissistic parents view their children as extensions of themselves and seek to control and manipulate them to fulfill their own needs. This can lead to children feeling insecure, codependent, and prone to repeating dysfunctional relationship patterns as adults. Narcissistic parents may interfere with their children's love lives and sabotage their relationships to maintain control and a constant supply of admiration and attention. The impact of narcissistic parenting can be profound and long-lasting, affecting the child's sense of self and ability to form healthy relationships.


How to be Good (enough) Mother: Your 3 Gifts

A good enough mother exposes her child to risks, pushes her child away from her, and mediates reality for the child. A good enough mother frustrates her child by not granting them everything they wish for, which is crucial to the child's emerging perception of an external world. A narcissistic mother is never a good enough mother, as she is a control freak who does not let her children develop boundaries, become autonomous, or self-efficacious. The relationship between a narcissistic mother and her child is typically symbiotic and emotionally turbulent, with trauma bonding setting in via intermittent reinforcement and emotional blackmail.


Narcissist: No Custody, No Children!

Parents diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder should be denied custody and granted only restricted rights of visitation and care under supervision, according to Professor Sam Vaknin. Narcissists regard children as sources of narcissistic supply and can be abusive, putting children at risk of emotional, physical and sexual abuse. Narcissistic parents can also use control mechanisms to sustain the illusion that the child is a part of them, which can be emotionally turbulent for the child. The child is the ultimate secondary source of narcissistic supply, and the narcissist's love is conditional upon the supply of narcissistic supply.


Narcissist Hates His Disabled, Sick, and Challenged Children

Narcissistic parents of disabled or sick children may view their child as an insult to their self-perceived perfection and omnipotence, leading to devaluation and humiliation of both the child and their mother. Some children may develop narcissistic tendencies themselves, while others may regress to a phase of primary narcissism. Narcissistic parents of seriously ill children may also seek attention and praise from medical personnel, but this should be distinguished from Munchausen syndrome and Munchausen syndrome by proxy, which involve inducing illness or injury in a dependent for attention and sympathy. In all cases, the child is used as a prop and may be discarded when they become autonomous or critical.


Love Your Narcissist? Make Him Stay, Depend on You (Tips, Resolutions)

In a relationship with a narcissist, it is important to know what not to do and what to do to maintain the relationship. Avoid disagreeing, contradicting, or criticizing the narcissist, and never offer intimacy or challenge their self-image. To make the narcissist dependent on you, listen attentively, agree with everything they say, offer something unique, be patient, and be emotionally and financially independent. It is also crucial to know yourself and set personal boundaries, treating yourself with dignity and demanding respect from others. If the relationship becomes abusive, consider going no-contact and ending the relationship for your own well-being.


Narcissist Father: Save Your Child

Parents who are worried about their children becoming narcissists under the influence of a narcissistic parent should stop trying to insulate their children from the other parent's influence. Instead, they should make themselves available to their children and present themselves as a non-narcissistic role model. Narcissistic parents regard their children as a source of narcissistic supply and try to control their lives through guilt-driven, dependence-driven, goal-driven, and explicit mechanisms. The child is the ultimate secondary source of narcissistic supply, and the narcissistic parent tries to perpetuate the child's dependence using control mechanisms. The narcissistic parent tends to produce another narcissist in some of their children, but this outcome can be effectively countered by loving, empathic, predictable, just, and positive upbringing, which encourages a


Narcissist: Mother Looms Large

The success or failure of a child's separation from their mother determines their personal history, autonomy, and sense of self. The mother is the benchmark against which everything in the child's future is measured. If the mother does not let go, the child does not go, and if the mother is a dependent narcissistic type, the child's growth prospects are doomed. The death of the mother is a devastating shock and a deliverance, and with the death of his mother, the narcissist embarks on a process of healing.


Narcissist's Dead Parents Resurrected in His Children

Narcissists often try to recreate their own parents in their offspring, molding their children to resemble their parents' attributes and behavior patterns. This creates an intergenerational trauma by replicating early childhood conflicts with their own children. Narcissistic parents treat their children as extensions of themselves and use them for their own gratification, leading to a cycle of narcissism. In modern society, many parents may exhibit narcissistic tendencies, raising the question of whether narcissism is becoming the new mode of parenting.


Narcissist's Family

Narcissists perceive new family members, including siblings, children, and even pets, as threats to their narcissistic supply. They may belittle, hurt, or humiliate them, or retreat into an imaginary world of omnipotence. Some narcissists seek to manipulate new family members to monopolize attention and vicariously obtain narcissistic supply. As siblings or offspring grow older and become critical, the narcissist devalues and discards them, feeling stifled and trapped. The family disintegrates, and the cycle begins anew with the arrival of new family members.


Cope with Narcissists: Abandon or Mirror

The best way to cope with a narcissist is to abandon them or threaten to abandon them. The narcissist is a binary person, and the carrot is also the stick in their case. If they get too close to someone emotionally, they fear abandonment and immediately distance themselves, acting cruelly and bringing about the very abandonment they feared. If one chooses to accept the narcissist, to live with them, to remain in an intimate relationship with them, it is a package deal. All their needs, demands, and requirements are included.

Transcripts Copyright © Sam Vaknin 2010-2023, under license to William DeGraaf
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