Lack of empathy is a trademark of narcissistic mothers. When a daughter grows up with a mother who is incapable of empathy, she feels unimportant; her feelings are invalidated. Whether this happens to a young girl or an older daughter, she often gives up tuning into her own feelings.
Narcissists don’t like to deal with feelings, including their own. Many daughters of narcissistic mothers grew up denying or repressing their real feelings in order to put on an act they learned that their mother wanted to see. Some stated that their mothers could only express anger. When a mother’s emotional range is stone cold, neutral, or angry, she doesn’t allow her daughter or herself to express their true feelings. The two will have only a superficial relationship with very little emotion connection.
Narcissist mothers are often critical and judgmental because of their own fragile self. They use their daughters as scapegoats for their bad feelings about themselves and blame the daughters for the bad feelings they have about themselves, their unhappiness, and their insecurity.
The daughter should be able to rely on her mother for nurturing, not the other way around. But because narcissist mothers did not receive the proper parenting themselves, they are like needy children inside. With their own daughters, they have a captive audience, a built in source for the attention, affection, and love they crave.
As a result, they often treat their daughters as friends and peers instead of parent – child. Daughters are used to prop up their mothers’ emotional needs. Sometimes being a support to her mother is the only way the daughter can get positive strokes from her mother.
Children need to be allowed to be children. They need to focus on things that matter to them, not to be burdened by adult concerns. Narcissist mothers include their daughters prematurely in the adult world. There are no boundaries, no limits for the daughter. Daughters of narcissist mothers look in the mirror for their own image, but they don’t see it. Instead, they see a reflection of how their mother sees them. In order to become a healthy, mature, independent woman, a daughter needs to feel as if she has a separate sense of self, apart from her mother.
CITE: Will I Ever Be Good Enough by Karyn McBride, Ph.D.