The 3 types of daughters of narcissistic mothers

Three themes can be distinguished in being raised by a mother with narcissism. This came from research done in Finland (see source) focused on narcissistic parenting. Parenting was described by adult daughters of narcissistic mothers. The way these women think about life can be traced back to the kind of childhood they had experienced.
1 – INCOMPETENT CHILDHOOD This childhood is characterized by:

A Nullification

    • The daughter is never appreciated, is never shown gratitude, never received support or encouragement.
    • The daughter (unconsciously) gives up own important goals: education, marriage, children, etc.
    • Mother is always right, because “mother makes no mistakes”. And daughter is always wrong, because only “daughter makes mistakes.”
    • Daughter’s own activities, norms and values are dismissed by mother as stupid, worthless and unproductive.
    • Meeting mother’s needs in activities, norms and values are satisfying in the short term, but do not contribute to daughter’s self-esteem: daughter is still not good enough.
    • Daughter’s own hopes and wishes are not tolerated and are always subordinate to mother’s hopes and wishes.
    • Daughter increasingly sees herself as an extension of mother. Mother already sees daughter as an extension of herself.

Quotes: “My mom always comes up with arguments, so she can win the discussion ” “I try to earn my existence by being useful”

B Display of power

    • Mother decides what is and what is not allowed. Daughter is always wrong whether she follows the instructions or not.
    • Preferences are set by mom. Daughter’s preferences don’t count.
    • Daughter is constantly confronted with expressions of dissatisfaction.
    • Compliance with the rules or rebelling against them will have the same result: the daughter never wins! She’s stuck.
    • Mother humiliates daughter in front of others.
    • Mother cannot regulate her own behavior and is therefore erratic and unpredictable.
    • Mother’s display of power rises to the level of cruelty, such as knowing something is very important to daughter and then destroying or ruining it.
    • Mother does not set good boundaries and behaves inappropriately (indecent, transboundary, etc)
    • Daughter has no safe place, because mother is not stable, not reliable and daughter never knows what to expect

Quote: “I always had to wear clothes my mom chose, mostly blue, so I hated the color blue for a long time!”

C Shame

    • This is the result of display of power and nullification.
    • Daughter’s identity is based on inferiority, weakness, worthlessness, ineffectiveness and imperfection.
    • Daughter views her life as a life of service and suffering.

Women who have experienced this childhood mainly feel – even though they are adults now – inferior and worthless.

2 – ISOLATED CHILDHOOD This childhood is characterized by:

A Dependency

    • Mother restricts and checks daughter’s contacts, including friends. Mother sees other people as competition.
    • Mother needs daughter to provide for her needs. That is the only purpose daughter serves.
    • All the attention and energy in the household is drawn to mother, like a black hole! Everything positive is sucked into the black hole.
    • Mother’s presence is inescapable, unmistakable and memorable because of the attention-seeking behavior.
    • Mother tries to turn daughter against father because he is also a competitor!
    • Daughter should not pursue romantic interests
    • Daughter is not allowed to tell anyone about the level of control mother has.
    • Secrecy is an important part of this dynamic !!

Quotes: “She never has anything positive to say about other people” “We weren’t allowed to tell outsiders what our house was like”

B Blame

    • Mother blames daughter for everything (including her own shortcomings) without reason or without logic.
    • The daughter always distrusts mother, but also others. If someone asks something out of interest, then daughter will be suspicious, because she is so used to being manipulated.

Quote: “Mother was a master of hindsight blaming others and I don’t know when she tells the truth yet.”

C Envy and the creation of a facade

    • Mother disdains other people for enhancing her own worth.
    • Everything in the house must be perfect.
    • When daughter is complimented for her behavior, mother immediately takes credit and appears to be caring and sensitive.
    • Daughter should not be happy unless that happiness
    • (1) related to mother !!!!
    • (2) make mom look better.
    • (3) makes mother happy.
    • Daughter feels guilty when she is happy, without mother being around
    • Daughter should not receive empathy from others.

Quotes: “I can’t tell my mother about the good events in my life” “I could never talk about my life and explain things”

Women who have experienced this childhood mainly feel – even though they are adults now – focused on their mother and distrustful / distant towards other people and are very alert or very vigilant.

3 – DENIED CHILDHOOD This childhood is characterized by:

A Violence

    • To punish daughter.

B Threat

    • Daughter walking on eggshells and keeping mom from getting angry
    • Constant anxiety
    • Daughter is not only scared, she also has to secure her own safety!
    • Daughter is (unconsciously) careful in EVERYTHING: constant terror, constant fear!

Quote: “I’ve constantly made my mom feel good, just in case”

C Rejection

    • No basic safety (note: Insecure attachment increases the risk of developing psychopathy.)
    • Daughter is forgotten, ignored, left alone
    • Mother does not protect daughter against others, allows others to mistreat daughter. UNLESS it harms mother! Thén she is protective.

Women who have experienced this childhood mainly feel – even though they are adults now – insecure and (often) anxious.


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Source: ‘My life felt like a cage without an exit’ – narratives of childhood under the abuse of a narcissistic mother (

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