A Poem From The Adult Daughter To The Difficult Mother : Not Your Fault, Not Mine, Just Is

Find out if you are a Good Daughter!


I never forget, empathetic daughters of narcissistic/difficult mothers hurt. They must walk away from the (emotional) table hungry again and again.

Underneath the anger and resentment they feel is a deep longing for a mother who can truly see them and accept them for who they are. They don’t have that. They will never have that. They live with that.

They’d rather not blame or criticize their mother but to save themselves they need to understand. In the end, they are destined to navigate this life without a mother’s love that feels good.

I hope this poem speaks to your soul and offers you the balm of understanding. You are not alone.  Healing begins with understanding.


Transcript: Poem From the Adult Daughter to the Narcissistic/Difficult Mother

Not Your Fault, Not Mine, Just Is

I stand before you but you can’t see me.

My life. My heart. Myself. You can’t see or feel it.

My actions, my motives, are never ever good enough.

Good enough for you to see me. Truly see me.

As separate from you, my own person, not your do-over.

The mirror that you hold up to me, the good daughter, and to yourself only reflects back our imagined shameful flaws or our made up bigger than life glories.

The cruelty, the tragedy is.. neither are true.

What goes missing is the tender middle ground, the humanity behind the mask.

Instead, that funhouse…. mirror is all too present….

Trapping us both

Obscuring, distorting, exaggerating.

It might have been fun but it is anything but.

Not your fault, not mine, just is.

I explain, defend myself ….. perform… umm …never mind.

It never really changes anything. … just a voice crying….. into the wilderness of your emptiness.

Onto the theater of your play pretend.

Twirling twirling … look, mom, I’m dancing as fast as I can giving it my all.

Never let them see you sweat.

Now ….. alone on the stage ready to take my bow

Only to find. No one home. Effort played to an empty house.

A single hand claps or does it?

A hollowness reverberates, no ears to hear.

Not your fault, not mine, just is.

For myself, there is no witness, no understanding, no solid place to land when I am spent.

Yet hope springs eternal, infernal, maternal.

Look at me! Look at me, mom! Am I good enough, this time?

Did I get it right this time? Did I? But you can’t.

Can’t see past your own insecurities, the leak in your boat of a self too large.

Frantically trying to bail water, you are, so that you don’t sink yourself.

Not your fault, not mine, just is.

Like an etch-a-sketch pad, I think you get it, get me and in an instant, it all becomes undone, invisible…. never was…. I guess.

Not your fault, not mine, just is.

You and I can’t get past it. It isn’t our fault.

It isn’t that you won’t. I think if you could, you would. You can’t.

What happened, mom? Who dropped the ball of your self-esteem that you so desperately need me to pick up?

Need me, yet rendered you blind to the real me. So we go through the motions, the game of life without touching.

It is time for me to leave home, yet again, as I have so many times before.

To walk away from the table still hungry.

Empty handed, unseen, unheard.

Not your fault, not mine, just is.

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  1. Siobhan Evans

    38 yrsof living with one. She even refused Carers in to help her husband who needed help. She spent every day insisting she knows best and wouldn’t allow anyone to help him, then left him to fend for himself. Having told her children what to do all of her life they felt helpless in making decisions even for their own children, she bossed everyone about until she has literally been left on her own with her daughter refusing to help even in her darkest needs. I was never good enough for her Son and it’s been a pleasure to put her into full time residential care this week. Even the Staff consider her difficult. I honestly thought she’d mellow with age, but she’ll go out thinking she was better than everyone, and still expecting the World to do as it’s told. I’ve never met such a hateful, spiteful and bitter person as my husbands Mother.

  2. Nicole Novi

    I can’t take nay more abuse from my mother she is making me lose all hope and lose all that I loved about myself she has isolated me from my family and smeared my good name to everyone I cant take it anymore I don t know wha t to do n on esees what is happening but me im so afraid of my future and losing everything I love because eof her controlling ways please help me please

    • Katherine Fabrizio

      I can’t possibly reply in full or know everything you are going through Nicole. What I do know is this- daughters in extremely abusive situations are often caught between staying in an abusive situation because they feel they can’t afford to lose the good things or relationships that come staying tied to Mom or letting go and losing so much. For many of those daughters, the path to independence takes facing loss along the way to pave the way for a better future. When someone smears your good name your best efforts are usually spent in being a person of integrity. Sooner or later the truth shows itself.

  3. Sara

    Thank you for this poem. I’m a healing daughter of a narcissistic mother and I definitely identify with the words of this piece.

    • Katherine Fabrizio

      Thanks so much, Sara for the validation. I’m glad it was helpful.

    • Katherine Fabrizio

      Thank you for writing Sara- my best wishes for your healing.

  4. Raeann Dunn

    This. This really soothed the deep parts of my soul. I can feel the pain through your words, I have always envied my friends relationships with their mothers, wishing I could be a better daughter. But I am slowly coming to the realisation that I didn’t need to be a better daughter, I needed to be good enough, and I never was to my mother. Everything I do and say is held against me, nothing I do is good enough for her and to others that know my mother, not in the way I know her, I am portrayed as evil. I wished I would one day have that bond with my mother, that she would recognise all of the abuse I endured. But she won’t, and It is a harsh but bittersweet realisation, I can now accept her for who she is and better understand who i am.

    • Katherine Fabrizio

      This is a beautiful reply. I wish you so much healing. It was never you that was at fault. Thank you for writing to me.

  5. Arjumand

    Thank you for passing on your wisdom to all who read this blog, Katherine. Reading it was like reading about my childhood and current life story. I was brought to endless tears. But at 32, i have hope for a better future. I am eternaly greatful to all you have shared.

    • Katherine Fabrizio

      Thank you so much for this. I too was 32 once upon a time. I wished that someone would tell me what they had experienced way back then. I hope to do that for others. Your response is very affirming.

      Know that you have your whole life in front of you. With resolve and knowledge, you can escape the worst of this destructive dynamic and create a full life for yourself. Best to you.

  6. Jan Barber

    This poem is so insightful, filled with transparent truth. Until a few years ago, I have struggled with feelings of unworthiness…stemming from my Mom’s inability to show me acceptance, love and pride. I spent a week on the island of Iona in Scotland. On a retreat where my close companion was my little girl self. Together we went deeply inward, looking for that soft, light place of forgiveness and understanding. I made a large circle in the sand of words….words to my Mom. Words of understanding. How I wished her life had been one of being nurtured, being accepted, being loved. Words of understanding. In her late years she moved from out of state closer to me and my goal was to be the best daughter I could be. Selfishly really, because I didn’t want to carry the burden of not being a good daughter…regardless of her actions. Today, that dark place in me is now light. Forgiveness was my freedom. Have all my negative feelings I carried about myself disappeared? Of course not, but they are greater reduced. Those feelings have made me who I am today… a strong, fragile woman. Thank you so much.

    • Katherine Fabrizio

      Hi Jan,
      Ahhh what a lovely comment born of much deep searching.

      Thank you so much for sharing and for being an example of healing that can happen…darkness into light, as you say so eloquently. People are on different stages of the journey for sure, and my hope is that they eventually feel the lightness that comes from breaking a cycle and finding the love hope for themselves that their mother couldn’t give them.

      I’m sure your words will give many who visit this site, hope.
      Thank you,


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