The most extreme cases of mother-daughter jealousy appear in families where there is incest.
If the father is the offender and the mother becomes jealous of the father-daughter relationship, then she too becomes an offender and she cannot put the daughter first. Instead, she sees her daughter like “the other woman, going after her husband.”
In most incest cases we have worked with, when the father is the offender, this is not the case. The mother takes the side of the child as it should be and leaves the offender.
However, sometimes we see the dynamic of jealousy in the mother and this is heartbreaking. In those situations, the daughter is not only a victim of sexual abuse but also a victim of her mother’s envy and hatred.
4. The Pain of Being Unloved:
In all cases of maternal jealousy towards the daughter, the daughter is left with little support for who she is as a whole person.
She feels unloved and as Mother Theresa so aptly writes, “The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved.”
Envy is like an anger that destroys a young developing woman. It is terrifying for the child at any age.
In review of the literature and other writers on this subject, many say that mother-daughter jealousy is often misinterpreted or not really that common. Some say it is even normal at some level.
Mothers are often reaching menopause when their young daughters are developing into beautiful young women and some say that it may be normal for mothers to have some touchy feelings about aging.
It’s important to understand that the poisonous, corrosive envy felt by narcissistic mothers is not normal. The bar is raised. It is destructive. The challenge for daughters of narcissistic mothers is to learn how to recognize and cope with abnormal maternal envy.
A common pattern in narcissistic families is that of constant comparisons to others.
Envy rears its ugly head in many other contexts as well. “How does our family measure up to others and do we look good enough to the outside world?” Children learn to do this and become adults who are always worried about comparisons.
If this is you and you were raised by narcissistic parents, learning how to cope is a must and part of your own recovery.
Confronting the narcissist does no good. You have to release yourself from your confusion and see the envy for what it is. To do this, you must recognize your own goodness and strength.
Don’t be spiteful or revengeful as that destroys you. The envy that is thrown your way does not belong to you. It is a part of the parent’s disorder.
“Envy comes from people’s ignorance of, or lack of belief in, their own gifts.” – Jean Vanier
You don’t have to take it on.Your recovery process allows you to individuate so that you are no longer defined by anyone but yourself.
Using self-compassion, self-understanding, and working your recovery is worth the time and energy. Creating your own exciting and significant life is gratifying and the more you tune into the woman you were meant to be, the better it feels!
Written by Karyl McBride Ph.D
Karyl McBride, Ph.D., is a licensed marriage and family therapist and author of Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers.
Originally appeared on PsychologyToday
Recovery Resources for Daughters, Sons and Partners of Narcissists
Dr. Karyl McBride’s new book: Will I Ever Be Free of You? How to Navigate a High-Conflict Divorce from a Narcissist, and Heal Your Family: https://www.willieverbegoodenough.com/divorcing-narcissist-book/
Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers: https://www.willieverbegoodenough.com/about-will-i-ever-be-good-enough/
Will I Ever Be Free of You? How to Navigate a High-Conflict Divorce from a Narcissist, and Heal Your Family Audio Version: https://www.blackstonelibrary.com/will-i-ever-be-free-of-you?format=MP3+CD
Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers Audio Version: https://tantor.com/will-i-ever-be-good-enough-karyl-mcbride-phd.html
“50 Ways to tell if you are in a Relationship with a Narcissist” Survey: https://www.willieverbegoodenough.com/narcissist-relationship-survey/
“Do You Have a Narcissistic Parent?” Survey: https://www.willieverbegoodenough.com/narcissistic-parent-survey/
“Is this your Mom?” Survey: https://www.willieverbegoodenough.com/narcissistic-mother-survey/
Workshops & Intensives
Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers Virtual Workshop. Online workshop in the privacy of your own home, complete with video presentations and homework assignments: https://www.willieverbegoodenough.com/workshop-overview-healing-the-daughters-of-narcissistic-mothers
Daughter and son intensives: One on one sessions with Dr. McBride: https://www.willieverbegoodenough.com/resources/daughter-intensives
Small group intensives: Build and strengthen individual recovery work and create amazing connections within a community of support: https://www.willieverbegoodenough.com/small-group-intensives/
Book and workshop website: https://www.willieverbegoodenough.com
Recent Interviews and Q&A Sessions: https://www.willieverbegoodenough.com/katie-hafner-author-mother-daughter-interviews-dr-karyl-mcbride/
Private practice website: https://karylmcbridephd.com/
Psychology Today blog: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-legacy-distorted-love
Other Helpful Resources
Trauma Treatment – International EMDR Website
Resources for Suicide Prevention:
You may also like:
- 24 Characteristics of Narcissistic Mothers
- Daughters Of Narcissist Mothers
- 19 Signs You Were Raised By a Narcissistic Mother or Father
- THE NARCISSISTIC PARENT
- Healing the Mother Wound That Was Inflicted on You as a Child