Advice for Daughters: How to Deal with a Narcissistic Mother

If you google search ‘mothers and daughters’ the results will return a mass of images portraying a loving mother-daughter bond as well as overly cringy quotes. However, for the daughter of a narcissist mother, she cannot relate to any of this.

Narcissism is one of the most destructive characteristics a woman can have and if you have been brought up by a narcissistic mother it can be very hard to escape her grasps. Mothers who suffer from narcissism can be overbearing and very difficult. She may find it hard to separate your identity from her own and of course everything you do was designed to hurt her and was all about her and no one else. Here are some tips for carefully handling and managing a narcissistic mother.

Accept her Behaviour is A Serious Issue

It can be very easy to be defensive of your own family members, especially around others but if your mother’s behaviour is negatively effecting your life, then it needs to be stopped. More than that, you need to accept and recognise her behaviour is abnormal and unacceptable and not just a little difficult. Narcissistic personalities obsess over control and power and will do all they can to take ownership of every situation. Accept this isn’t OK and don’t always give in to your mother’s expectations or whims.

Be Firm in your Boundaries

Narcissistic mothers thrive on getting their own way so you may find she oversteps boundaries simply because she can and to see how the “game” plays out. They may invite themselves around when you’ve told them not to, may buy better gifts for one child over another because they’ve picked ‘a favourite’ or may simply not accept any relationship you are in. You may have to resort to treating your mum like a child but if you have to tell her that ‘No, she is not welcome on X date because of what happened last year’ you have to say it. People who are inherently selfish will struggle with this idea but you have to try.

Don’t Accept Gaslighting

A common characteristic of narcissists is their ability to manipulate you into believing you’re the one in the wrong, you’re the one with the problem. Don’t let your mum convince you you’re the crazy one around here. Expressing concern for your mental health when you know it’s her issue is just another way of trying to undermine you and turn you around to her way of thinking. Don’t let her tell you what you did and didn’t say or do when you remember differently.

Be Prepared for People Not to Understand

Many adults are lucky enough to have fantastic relationships with their parents. This may make it hard for you to let go of your grievances because they may simply think you’re overreacting. You can’t blame them for thinking this way so don’t vent your anger on well-meaning friends. Feel justified to put them in their place if they try and suggest you should build a closer relationship with your mother though, you know what is best for you and your family.

Cut Ties if you Have To

This may be one of the hardest decisions you ever make but if your relationship with your mother is causing you considerably more pain than happiness it makes sense to put distance between you. You don’t have an obligation to “work things out” with her if she is pathologically unreasonable and once you’ve made space once, don’t expect your mother to come back and start again. You can almost guarantee she’ll want to punish you for all the time you had apart before. This is a very last resort option but if it’s what you need to do, don’t feel guilty.

Stay Strong

At times you’ll feel like a victim and this is completely normal. But try not to let your Mothers behaviour consume your life and break you down. All that does is push you back into her hands like putty. When you have moments of weakness, and these might be a lot of the time, grieve on your own and get it out of your system. Avoid social media and bringing other family members into the mix. This make her think you are OK and can no longer be manipulated.

We understand that there are lots of complexities that go with understanding and dealing with a narcissist and this article only scratches the surface. If you really want to study how these people work and gain some comfort, self-help and healing advice, we highly recommend these books…

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