8 Lies Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers Tell Themselves About Men And What They Should Be Asking Themselves Instead

Here are eight lies daughters of narcissistic mothers tell themselves about men and the critical questions they should be asking themselves instead.

From my therapy couch, I see woman after woman convince herself to “settle” for less than she should.

You see, when she has an impaired mother she comes by this honestly. Especially if she is in the “good” daughter role with her difficult mother she is programmed to put another person’s needs ahead of her own.

Come with me to the therapy room.


1.“You know John is great. Except, of course, when he isn’t. The good times outnumber the bad.” – Are you always holding on to the good times and trying to forget the bad ones?

2.“There is a lot about him I do like, but he doesn’t always come through with his promises.”– Are you still hoping his behavior will somehow get better, that lapses are the exception rather than the rule?

3.“I think he has a lot on his mind these days.”Do you always make excuses for him and give him a pass?

4.”I wish he would talk to someone.” Yep, there is always that one—he isn’t the one on my couch, paying my fee & examining himself, now is he?

5.“I’m just going to give it some time and see how things go.”-Time isn’t going to fix this one; it will only prolong your misery.

6.“I know no one is perfect.” True, no one is perfect but is he reliable, honest and trustworthy?

7.“I’m not sure whether to say anything or not. I don’t want to come across as demanding or chase him off.”– Are you selling yourself short, blaming yourself rather than moving on?

8.“I really don’t want to go back out there in the dating pool. You just don’t know how bad it is. I’m not going to find anything better.” – Is this ever a good reason for settling for less than you should?



Translation—In one form or another all these women are all saying the same thing:


“I don’t know what to do with my needs in a relationship.” 

In fact, I need to disguise, hide or erase my needs altogether. His needs are what is important. This is where my focus will stay.

Can I just tell you how often I hear the ways my clients sell themselves short?

It makes me so sad. I wonder—how could we as women have failed each other so completely that daughter after daughter keeps throwing herself away and selling herself short?

First -let’s take a closer look at the psychodynamics that are running the show and ruining your love life.

From the therapy couch, Ally feels shame as she recalls out loud how she is being treated.

George, her boyfriend, repeatedly lets her down. He promises he will do things and never quite comes through.  When Ally protests, George always manages to put her on the defensive and says she is too needy. Ally, not knowing her own self-worth, ends up backing down and can’t bring herself to break it off or speak up for herself.

In therapy, she confesses “I know I shouldn’t take this from him, but I can’t help myself.”

And why?

Because… she carries the unconscious assumption that she must make up for her inherent unworthiness by overcompensating and doing more than her fair share in the relationship.

Deep down she feels ashamed that she has any needs at all. She has been unconsciously programmed to put herself last.

And the more she settles for less, the harder it is to see the inequities or to extricate herself from the relationship.

So, what does mom have to so with it?

The Difficult Mother sends the message to her daughter that the way to be loved is to accommodate and adapt! 

And the Good Daughter learns this lesson all too well.

Loving the Difficult mother leaves you feeling unlovable at worst, or that love is conditional at best.

Or is mom, not thinking much of herself, saying through her words or example, “Women should settle for less because they don’t deserve equal treatment.”

Here is the all-important truth-

Just because mom was insecure and acted as if she didn’t count doesn’t mean that you have to do the same.

In fact,

It doesn’t have to be that way unless you believe it does.

I know that sounds easy. It is simple, but it is not easy.

What if you could wake up from your unconscious slumber? Imagine replacing “settling for less” and “manipulation” in your relationships and date and relate from the place of confidence instead?

Imagine, setting your standards high and opening your heart.

Truth * Men will never step up to the plate if we keep settling for less.

As a psychotherapist to women for the past 30 years, I have found adult daughters of Narcissistic or Borderline Mothers internalize disempowering messages from their mothers. These messages sabotage their well-meaning attempts at finding happiness. Daughters of Narcissistic/Borderline or Difficult Mothers carry the unconscious assumption that they must make up for their inherent unworthiness by overcompensating in their relationships.

If you have a Narcissistic Mother and take on the role of the “Good Daughter,” you learned that your needs don’t count—
So you either…

1) Work to manipulate a man instead of setting the foundation for a good relationship by being genuine and letting things develop in their own time.


2) Settle for less than you deserve hoping he will come around.

You don’t speak up about the hurt you feel for fear of appearing too needy. And then you find yourself faithfully waiting & hoping. You just want to love and be loved. “Is that asking too much?” you say.

The Narcissistic Mother sends the message to her daughter that the way to be loved is to accommodate and adapt! Chances are if you have been raised by a  Narcissistic Mother, her defenses have left you feeling unlovable at worst or that love is conditional at best.

If so, you may feel ashamed that you have any needs at all. You have been unconsciously programmed to put yourself last. And the more you settle for less, the harder it is to see the inequities or to extricate yourself from an unbalanced relationship. What you can’t see is that “making it work” is both breaking your heart and chipping away at your self-worth, one compromise at a time.

Here is the truth, as I know it—

Just because Mom was insecure ( the core reason for the Narcissistic defense)  and relied on manipulation, you don’t have to do the same. When you ask yourself the hard questions that will get to the truth of what is actually going on in your relationship, you protect and value yourself in ways mom couldn’t.


You can grow beyond your Narcissistic Mother’s imprinting. Paradoxically, when you stop settling and start valuing yourself, you will attract men who will do the same.

There are some good men out there. When you give up the Good Daughter role with mom and yourself – you can embrace your inner feminine power. That power is whole, multidimensional, and SEXY! It starts with you.

I’m going to tell you something your mother couldn’t.

Your essential feminine essence is your truth and your power. Get in touch with her and leave the lies behind for good. You are so much more than good, daughter.

Find out if you are trapped in the Good Daughter role here.

This article first appeared in https://psychcentral.com/

Raise Awareness. Don’t Settle. Tweet it Out!

As a psychotherapist to women for the past 30 years, I have found Adult Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers internalize disempowering messages from their mothers. Click To Tweet If you have a Narcissistic Mother and take on the role of the “Good Daughter,” you learned that your needs don’t count, and you take this into your romantic relationships— Click To Tweet Paradoxically, when you stop settling and start valuing yourself, you will attract men who will value you. Click To Tweet

Do you relate?
If so, here are some ways I can help on your journey from Good Daughter to Empowered Woman:

Do you have The Good Daughter Syndrome? Take the Quiz (It’s Free)

Read the first two chapters of The 4 Good Daughter Traps- Break Free of Your Difficult Mother and Take control of Your Life …for Free- Go here! 

Watch & Learn Video Course Practical Strategies for Dealing with a Narcissistic, Borderline, or Difficult Mother That Work Tips honed from working with daughters of difficult mothers for 30 years, as a psychotherapist.

What Kind of Good Daughter Are You? Conflicted? Independent? Obedient? Take this (Free) Quiz

Consult with Katherine- Private Coaching – When it’s time to tell your story.

Related Articles

Why Am I  So Hard On Mothers?

Why Am I So Hard On Mothers?

( If you would rather listen -go to the end of the post for the audio version) If you've landed here... you know I've created an entire website devoted to calling out difficult mothers and helping their daughters. Yikes! I've taken the hardest job on the planet...

read more



Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.