Narcissism can be an extremely damaging personality disorder in any type of relationship, but no more so than when seen in the case of maternal narcissism. Studies of narcissistic personality disorder: mother and daughter relationship issues have consistently shown that a narcissistic mother is incapable of giving love or empathizing with her daughter. Not surprisingly, many daughters who have been raised by narcissistic mothers end up emotionally damaged.
What are the effects of narcissistic personality disorder: mother and daughter relationship?
Research has shown that there are two typical patterns of behavior found in daughters of narcissistic mothers: over achievers and under achievers. A common trait of narcissistic mothers of more than one daughter is that one child will be the golden child who can do no wrong, whereas the other will be a scapegoat who is blamed for anything and everything.
The golden child will receive the message that she is valued for what she does rather than who she is, and therefore she will spend a great deal of time trying to improve her self worth through over achievement. The favored child might also end up ‘engulfed’ by her narcissistic mother, forever doomed to be a puppet on a string. The scapegoat will also grow up with the message she can never be good enough, but she often ends up developing self destructive behavior patterns that lead her into difficulties later in life.
Narcissistic mothers are either the overly attentive type who refuses to respect the normal boundaries of mother-daughter relationships: the narcissistic mother will expect access to every aspect of her daughter’s life; or the ignoring type who shows zero interest in her daughter’s life and frankly does not care what her daughter does. Both types of narcissistic mother are extremely damaging.
Narcissistic mothers are often described as ‘emotional vampires’. Just like any other narcissist, a narcissistic mother will enjoy the drama of emotional suffering and family tragedies, but at the same time, she will be tremendously dismissive of any of her daughter’s achievements and successes.
A family with a narcissistic mother is always going to be extremely dysfunctional one since a narcissist will expect to be the center of attention at all times. As a result, the daughter of a narcissistic mother may end up parenting her mother as opposed to being looked after as would happen in a normal mother-daughter relationship. Parentification is very common in a narcissistic mother and daughter relationship and the daughter is frequently forced to take on the emotional burden of taking care of her mother and meeting her needs when she is probably ill-equipped to do so.
Growing up with a mother who is incapable of love can lead to all kinds of emotional problems including depression, eating disorders, and suicidal thoughts. Unfortunately, many daughters of narcissistic mothers do not understand why they are not loved because this twisted relationship is all they have ever known.
Of course, the narcissistic mother will never change, but hopefully in time, her daughter will be able to understand her mother’s narcissism and embark on the long road to recovery.