How it feels like to be the Daughter of a Narcissistic Mother and why you end up feeling never good enough, whatever you do.
Not good enough. That was what I thought about myself. I was never good enough.
When I was growing up I had this chorus inside my head. Particularly, from my teenage years into adulthood.
It was the background noise to everything I ever did or said.
Voices that drowned all other thoughts out and would never give me a break.
You’re not good enough
That was the general gist of what they’d say.
I never felt good enough.
When I started to have lucky breaks in my television career I kept wondering when I was going to get found out.
Related: What is Imposter Syndrome?
That I didn’t know what I was doing. I was more stupid than I was making myself out to be. I was an impostor who didn’t deserve to be there.
I went on to have success three times over.
As a TV actress. A TV reporter and Foreign Correspondent. Then, as a TV documentary producer.
Throughout all these careers, I felt a failure.
I was not feeling good enough. I still have moments, despite all I have achieved, where I feel that now.
Will I ever be good enough?
Why is it that some of us have this hole inside? An emptiness. A feeling of not belonging?
Where does this come from? This emotional loneliness?
The fear of not being good enough? We’re unworthy, unlovable?
Do you know what I mean? Are you never good enough?
It comes from our childhood. When our parents neglected our emotional needs. (They might have looked after you well in all other ways, just not able to cope with your emotions).
In my last post, I talked about emotionally immature parents. This time I am going to talk about narcissistic mothers. Specifically, narcissist mothers and their daughters.
This book by Karyl McBride, PhD inspired me:
If this sounds like you, then I urge you to read it.
Here, I’ll summarise what it’s about:
As young girls, we look to our mothers as the ones to guide us into womanhood. To help us determine our worth.
But what if our mother is emotionally needy and self-absorbed and can’t give us unconditional love or emotional support?
She may look after our physical needs but abandon us emotionally.
Does your mother have narcissistic tendencies? Some questions to ask yourself are these:
1. When you try to discuss life issues with her, does she change the subject, or push it away?
2. Does she top your feelings with those of her own?
3. Does she act jealous of you?
4. Does she compete with you?
5. Does she lack empathy for your feelings?
6. Does she support only things that make her look good as a mother and ignore those that don’t?
7. Have you felt a lack of emotional closeness with her?
8. Does she know the real you?
9. Does she only do nice things for you when others are able to see, but neglect you at home?
10. When something happens (say, you get divorced) does she react how it will affect her? Not how it makes you feel?
11. Is she overly conscious of what others think?
12. Does she deny her own feelings?
13. Does she blame things on you, rather than be responsible for her own feelings or actions. Tell you ‘you’re too sensitive’, for example?
14. Does she hurt easily and carry a grudge for a long time without resolving the problem?
15. Do you feel like you’re a slave to your mother?
16. Do you feel responsible for her ailments, sickness or stress levels?
17. Did you take care of her physical needs as a child?
18. Is she critical of you?
19. Are you shamed by her?
20. Does the world revolve around her?
21. Does she want to control your choices?
22. Is she controlling and flip from being a victim to a martyr and back again?
23. Does everything have to be her way as the only way?
24. Have you ever wondered if she even likes you or loves you?