If you have a narcissistic mother, you know how abusive she can be, and it can be worse if you’re her daughter. There is a distinct difference in the way a narcissistic mother treats her sons as opposed to her daughters. Does this mean she actually hates her daughters?
Narcissistic mothers see their daughters as competition. They are younger and better versions of themselves. Unlike a healthy mother, the narcissistic mother doesn’t want her daughter to be better than she is. Instead, she needs her daughter to be an adoring satellite to her perfect mother.
Because of their insatiable need for adoration, narcissistic mothers can do real damage to their children. They manipulate everyone in their life including their sons and daughters, but daughters present a unique challenge to the narcissistic mother. Let’s explore how she feels about her daughter and how that drives her behavior.
Does Your Narcissistic Mother Hate You?
Given the way narcissistic mothers manipulate and try to control their children, they usually don’t feel loved. What’s more, they teach their children that love is conditional. They need to earn their mother’s love with specific behavior.
The situation is particularly challenging for the daughter of a narcissistic mother. Narcissistic mothers view their daughters as competition. They don’t want the best for them; they want them to be submissive and adoring. The narcissistic mother sees her children as extensions of her own identity, and therefore, they shouldn’t strive for independence.
Because of the way they view their daughters, narcissistic mothers often favor their sons over their daughters. They think they can manipulate their son into being a lifelong source of narcissistic supply. Their daughter, however, is different.
Their daughter is someone who is a younger, better version of themself. She is likely to be more attractive, at least over time, and she becomes a rival. As such, the narcissistic mother treats her with harsh criticism, more so than anything she does to her son.
It’s probably not exactly correct to say she hates her daughter, but she does see her as a threat. The constant criticism she doles out often has the effect of alienating her daughter. She is envious and resentful of her because of her youth.
If her daughter does experience success in life, the narcissistic mother will claim responsibility for it, despite the fact that her daughter sees the situation quite differently. The daughter of a narcissistic mother likely has experienced her as intrusive, critical, and self-absorbed.
This treatment often leads daughters of narcissistic mothers to do the very thing their mothers fear. They abandon them as soon as they are old enough to do so.
Are There Themes to the Way a Narcissistic Mother Treats Her Daughter?
Dr. Todd Grande points to three themes identified by researchers as typical of the relationship between a narcissistic mother and her daughter. He says, “These themes are incompetent childhood, isolated childhood, and denied childhood.” Let’s look at each theme separately.
This theme can further be broken down into the elements of nullification, demonstration of power, and shame. With nullification, the daughter is not appreciated for anything she does. Her narcissistic mother doesn’t ever tell her, “thank you” or show any gratitude for anything she does.
She also doesn’t support her daughter in anything she does. This can cause her daughter to give up easily on important goals she wants to accomplish in her life, such as getting an education. In this situation, the narcissistic mother is a constant critic.
Moreover, anything the daughter hopes for or wants in life is not tolerated by her narcissistic mother. This can cause the daughter to think of herself as an extension of her mother.
With the demonstration of power, the mother is the one who determines what is permitted and what is not permitted. Even if the daughter does what her mother wants, she still receives nothing but criticism from her mother. She can’t win.
The mother also demonstrates her power by humiliating her own daughter in front of other people, and the daughter has no control over anything in her life. The daughter is effectively trapped in her life.
The last component, shame is a product of both the other elements. The daughter of the narcissistic mother is constantly shamed by her mother. She comes to see herself as inadequate in every way.
The daughter will frame her life as one of service and suffering. She is ashamed of anything she does. Part of the ability of the narcissistic mother to shame her daughter is that she knows how to push her buttons. She won’t hesitate to do that either.
The Isolated Childhood
This theme also has three components: dependence, blaming, and envy combined with creating a shiny facade. With dependence, the narcissistic mother ensures her daughter is wholly dependent on her.
She isolates her daughter from friends and other family members. All of the attention is on the mother in this case so the daughter is, in a sense, invisible. The daughter is not allowed to establish outside relationships, and the level of her mother’s control is a secret.
With blaming, it’s pretty straightforward. The mother blames the daughter for everything, and the two are unable to establish a relationship of trust. The daughter feels as though they never know when their mother is telling the truth or being manipulative.
The last component is envy combined with creating a shiny facade. In this case, the mother despises other people and demands that everything in the home be perfect since it’s a reflection of her own image. If the daughter is complimented for anything, her mother takes the credit.
The mother is projecting an ideal fantasy, but the reality is something different altogether. The daughter is not allowed to be happy unless the mother can take credit for that happiness.
There are also three components here: violence, threatening, and rejection. The first is fairly straightforward – the mother is physically violent toward her daughter. She frequently punishes her daughter with unprovoked physical punishment.
The second component, threatening is also relatively straightforward. The narcissistic mother generates an almost constant fear in her daughter. In fact, many daughters report that everyone in the family feared their mother. The daughter ends up walking on eggshells around her mother so she won’t get angry.
Rejection is the final component. With this element, the daughter never feels safe because she always fears rejection from her mother. The daughter doesn’t feel like her mother ever protects her, and she has no safe harbor.
How Do Narcissistic Mothers Treat Their Sons?
Narcissistic mothers often treat their sons much differently than their daughters. They don’t see their sons as potential competition. Instead, they see them as someone who can supply them with adulation for the rest of their life.
The narcissistic mother doesn’t necessarily care any more for her son than her daughter. The truth is she is only able to focus on her own needs. But she does see her son as being more necessary for her long-term needs.
For that reason, she will typically choose a son to be the ‘golden child.’ She will shower him with adoration and make her other children compete with him for attention. He will ultimately disappoint her as well, and she will devalue him when he does, but by then his sense of connection is often too strong for him to break off contact.
The narcissistic mother hopes her son will continue to take care of her over the course of her life. She comes to see him as a kind of replacement spouse, and she typically turns him into a codependent source of narcissistic supply.
It can also happen that she turns her son into a narcissist too. Her devaluation can damage his sense of self, and he might then create his own false self to replace it.
Narcissistic mothers do enormous damage to their children. They see them as extensions of their own identity and refuse to allow them to grow into healthy, independent adults. They are particularly hard on their daughters, and while they may not hate them, they clearly don’t know how to show them real love.
If you think you have a narcissistic mother, you can stop her abuse, but it means working on some of your old wounds. If you get your emotional triggers under control, it will keep her from being able to push your buttons at will. My 5 Step Roadmap to Heal Emotional Triggers can help you do just that. Just click on the link and I’ll happily send a free copy directly to your inbox.
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