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Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers-Getting Your Life Back

Posted Jun 21 2010 10:14am

I have a special place in my heart for children of narcissistic parents. I think about the full span of their lives from infancy to the present, recognizing all of the agony and hurt they have endured. This is one of the most difficult psychological challenges of a lifetime--being the child of a narcissist. It is beyond challenging. It is a struggle for the Self of each indivdual who is born of this kind of parent. There is also the rest of the family constellation. Quite often this child has a sibling who becomes a narcissist. This makes live even more difficult. The chosen sibling is treated with the greatest deference,like a member of a royal family. The mother or father (sometimes both parents are narcissists-this is a double whammy) choose a child who will be the star, the standout of the family. Often these children are physically beautiful or handsome, mentally bright, athletically superior, have musical skills or some other outstanding trait or capacity or a combination of several. The parent places the sole focus on this child for special attention, positive reinforcement, extraordinary privileges that do not require that the chosen one learn to be considerate or kind to his siblings or anyone else. As long as the Best One performs, he or she is allowed to be cruel and insensitive to others and given full rein to live without boundaries to their behaviors or any consequences. 

I have communicated with many daughters of narcissistic mothers who after many decades continue to struggle with the wounds of their childhood and adult lives. Many of them still have narcissistic parents who are living and continue to torment them. Some have learned to distance themselves from the narcissistic parent in order to have enough breathing room to get through their days.

There comes a time when you, the daughter of a narcissistic, decide that you will get Your Life Back. In some instances, you have felt that your life was always in the controlling hands of the narcissistic mother. Those who make this decision and follow up on it are rewarded. Some daughters decide that they will maintain the contact with mother in some form but create a safe psychological distance that works for them. Others find that severing the relationship with this toxic individual, even though it is their mother, is the only course of action. These are difficult decistions to make. This is a process that takes place one moment at a time.

You begin by strengthening yourself on every level: physically, mentally, psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually (in the way that you define this aspect of your life). You learn by "feeding yourself" with the best foods: quality sleep, cardio exercise (walking is one of the best but do what works for you), eating pure foods that fuel your physical energy and help your moods, engaging in activities that slow down the thoughts that obsessively play in our minds---meditation, yoga, tai chi, etc. Make sure you have a couple of trusted friends who know how to listen and care about you.

Reward yourself for every step you take to move psychologically out of your narcissistic mother's grip of guilt, cruelty, intimidation, manipulation and exploitation. Deep inside you know who you really are. Listen to the voice of intuition that always speak the truth to us. We learn to become more receptive to that voice. Do not be swayed by the opinions of others who weigh you down and project their negativity on you. Be grateful and loving toward yourself. You have survived being the daughter of a narcissistic mother. That is a great accomplishment. Allow humor to come into your life. Humor saves us and makes our lives richer and fuller.

Take good care of yourself on every level. Your deserve gentle, kind treatment like you would reach out and give to a child that was in pain. Hold that child within you and breathe love and warmth into that little one. You are taking your life back and that is miraculous. Visit my website:


Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.

Telephone Consultation: U.S. and International 

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