As a psychotherapist to women for over 30 years, I have seen this pattern over and over again. Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers, trapped in the role of the “Good Daughter” can’t bring themselves to stand up to their mothers. Fast forward countless psychotherapy sessions and let me cut to the psychological chase. I will let you in on a secret.
Here is what may be hidden to you.
What if deep down you keep chasing the illusion that if your mom is OK, she will approve of you. Then, you imagine, you will finally feel good enough. This is especially powerful for the daughter of the Narcissistic Mother or one who has Narcissistic traits.
You may not be fully conscious that this hope is underpinning so much of your reluctance to disappoint mom.
By operating under this false (but understandable) assumption, you are putting your happiness in her hands.
In an emotional Groundhogs Day, you keep trying to make mom happy so that she will stop being critical and give you the unconditional love you yearn for.
I hear you and have been there. Just one more try, one more explanation, one more attempt at approval and you still get the “suggestion” for improvement. ” But I’m just trying to help,” mom retorts.
If left unchecked, this dynamic can run your life and ruin your happiness.
You never fully live.
You are left wondering, “When will it ever be my turn?”
It is all too much. Something has got to give. You know deep down trying that setting healthy boundaries with your mother is what you need to do.
Even if mom gets on your last nerve, and your resentment builds you may still be terrified to cut the strings enough to make a healthy separation. The little girl in you has been trained not to speak up. To be “good for Mom.”
If you do set those boundaries……2 things will most likely happen-
- Your mother will not like that you are moving on without her. If I’m right, you can expect push back.
- The sky won’t fall. She will survive. In fact, she may ultimately feel a bit of a release.
Sooner or later you realize, you do neither one of you any real favor to dance to her tune if it is destructive to you. If the relationship is unbalanced, it serves neither one of you.
It is better to be true to yourself than to be “good” for someone else.
Will this be easy?
Heck No! When you decide to step out and set healthy boundaries, prepare to feel terrified. That feeling alone doesn’t mean you are doing anything wrong.
Yet…. you are stepping off of an emotional cliff. The ground that you have felt beneath you has always been shaky, ever shifting, but it is the only ground you know.
And now, about that push back….
Perhaps you have always checked all of your decisions with mom or acted in accord with her expectations.
What if both of you expected this of each other. What if she expected herself to guide you and be solely responsible for your success? Yes, what about that?
It may feel, on some level, comforting and right. You feel like a good person, obedient and inclusive. Mom maintains her authority over you.
So, what’s the problem with that?
The problem is you never step fully into your own life.
If mom weighs in on all of your decisions and runs roughshod over your boundaries, you never stand on your own two feet.
You never get the chance.
No decision is ever truly yours and yours alone.
This, in turn, erodes your self-confidence.
If you are real with yourself, you realize that living for her ( or what you assume is living for her) has prevented you from claiming both your mistakes and your successes for yourself. It isn’t good for either one of you.
This has left you in an uncomfortable limbo.
Here’s the good news, it will get easier. Life CAN be better.
There are ways to set healthy boundaries and take back your power.
I have been there, and I’d like to help you.
This article originally appeared on http://daughtersrising.info Katherine’s sister site.