Mom just can’t take criticism.
Regardless of how carefully you put your complaint, mom can’t admit any wrongdoing. No matter what you say, she always has a comeback. Does she think she is untouchable or perfect? That would be an easy answer, but you know, that’s not the whole story.
Mom just can’t let you go
Mom is unpredictable and volatile. She freaks out if she thinks you are or rejecting her on any level. You are afraid of disappointing her and walk on eggshells to keep from setting her off.
Despite what looks like arrogance on the outside, you know she is an unhappy person on the inside. There’s a hard shell, an armor she can’t let anyone see beneath. You care about mom and you wonder if there is something psychologically wrong with her?
Maybe she desperately needs everything to look perfect on the outside. What’s more, she needs you to look perfect. That’s why… what you do is never good enough for her. Underneath it all, she doesn’t feel good enough about herself. As a result, she needs you to look good to make her look good.
The technical word for this is “narcissistic extension.” She relates to you as if you were an extension of her. You are like her right arm. In this way, she owns you, uses you, and doesn’t regard you as separate from her. If you are the daughter trapped in the “good daughter” role, you may suffer from the Good Daughter Syndrome.
So, what happened to mom to make her this way? You may have long suspected mom has NPD or BPD is at least is high in borderline or narcissistic traits. And you may wonder what happened in her childhood.
- I think it is possible to have great disdain for the destructive effects of these narcissistic or borderline defenses that hurt you as a daughter while holding in your mind that mom has been hurt too.
I discuss in this video what it was mom didn’t get in her childhood (that every child needs) to cause her to be narcissistic.
A mother who is narcissistic or has narcissistic traits is someone who didn’t get what we call narcissistic supplies where they were little. What we mean by that is that when children are very little, if all goes well, they get the idea that their very being brings at least one person delight. We all need this. Whether there are words of praise, whether there’s just the glimmer in Mom’s eyes and the delight that when baby looks back up at Mom, that enough of the time, not all the time, but enough of the time, what baby sees mirrored back is delight. It’s preverbal at first. There are just coos and wonderful words, but what the baby takes in is an idea that their very present presence brings another person delight. If they do not get this, they do not get enough narcissistic supplies, then what can happen is they can spend the rest of their lives trying to get that special feeling, which leads to all kinds of narcissistic defenses, which I’ll talk about in another video.
In summary –
Narcissistic mothers didn’t get what they needed in childhood. From that original deficit, destructive psychological consequences can follow. Specifically, the defenses that help her survive emotional wounding, damage the ways she relates to herself and others.
It is this core deficit that can set in motion a relentless quest to make up for good feelings later in life. The narcissistic mother can never feel special enough. This quest is off-putting, manipulative and destructive to her subsequent relationships.
Those around her can be sucked into the bottomless pit of her need for affirmation. The final irony is that she can’t take in the affirmation she demands, and appropriates from others. It is like a bucket with a hole in it. No matter how much she gets filled up -she empties out at a faster rate.
At the narcissistic and borderline core is an untouchable emptiness. Attuned daughters feel this.
What is important to remember is this- You didn’t cause your mother’s narcissism or borderline personality disorder, and you can’t cure it. You can have compassion for her while not being sucked into the vortex of her need for control and affirmation.
You can and should stand up for yourself, find your voice, and claim your own life. Once you truly grasp an understanding of her wounding, you can learn to take care of yourself and live your life on your own terms.
The way to stop this cycle is first, to understand.
To find out if you suffer from the good daughter syndrome – go here.