You may feel guilty even questioning your mom’s intentions. Adult daughters of narcissistic mothers tend to minimize the pain they have experienced.

If your mother was lower on the narcissistic spectrum you might say things like, “People have it a lot worse!” or “My mom did her best.” This might be true but it doesn’t change the fact that it deeply effected YOU, and you are now living with the fallout.

Narcissism is a spectrum disorder. 

Some mothers have several traits of narcissism–such as seeing their children as an extension of themselves, and not being able to be there for their child in an emotionally attuned way.

The extreme version of narcissism is Narcissistic Personality Disorder. In this disorder the person is cruel, and controlling, often in ways subtle and manipulative enough that they can deny that it happened. In this case, you probably  have little doubt that your childhood was traumatic.

Throughout your life you may have struggled with feelings of inadequacy, and depression, and have tried everything to feel better with little or minimal success. Talking to friends, positive thinking, and therapy probably haven’t helped. You might wonder–what is wrong with me? You might tell yourself you are fine, while at the same time, you envy others and their lives.

Counseling CAN help.

Counseling for Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers | Family counseling Doylestown and Huntingdon Valley PA | Couples counseling, individual counseling services
Counseling for Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers | Family counseling Doylestown and Huntingdon Valley PA | Couples counseling, individual counseling services


Your Experience

  • Chronic Self Blame
  • Fierce Independence
  • Over-achievement
  • Depression
  • Feelings of Emptiness or Boredom
  • The use of substances to numb out
  • Relationship Issues
  • compulsively taking care of everyone else
  • Feelings of exhaustion, anxiety and stress
  • Repeating patterns or mistakes
  • Overthinking


Was your parent often self-absorbed, angry and controlling? Were you emotionally close. Did you feel safe with your mother? Was something just “off?” Did your mother sabotage friendships, flirt with boyfriends, belittle, or criticize you? She may have been a narcissist.

Here are more questions to determine whether your parent was a narcissist. (Borrowed from Dr Karyl McBride)

(Check all those that apply to your relationship with your mother)

  1. When you discuss your life issues with your mother, does she divert the discussion to talk about herself?
  2. When you discuss your feelings with your mother, does she try to top the feeling with her own?
  3. Does your mother act jealous of you?
  4. Does your mother lack empathy for your feelings?
  5. Does your mother only support those things you do that reflect on her as a “good mother”?
  6. Have you consistently felt a lack of emotional closeness with your mother?
  7. Have you consistently questioned whether or not your mother likes you or loves you?
  8. Does your mother only do things for you when others can see?
  9. When something happens in your life (accident, illness, divorce) does your mother react with how it will affect her rather than how you feel?
  10. Is or was your mother overly conscious of what others think (neighbors, friends, family, co-workers)?
  11. Does your mother deny her own feelings?
  12. Does your mother blame things on you or others rather than own responsibility for her feelings or actions?
  13. Is or was your mother hurt easily and then carried a grudge for a long time without resolving the problem?
  14. Do you feel you were a slave to your mother?
  15. Do you feel you were responsible for your mother’s ailments or sickness (headaches, stress, illness)?
  16. Did you have to take care of your mother’s physical needs as a child?
  17. Do you feel unaccepted by your mother?
  18. Do you feel your mother was critical of you?
  19. Do you feel helpless in the presence of your mother?
  20. Are you shamed often by your mother?
  21. Do you feel your mother knows the real you?
  22. Does your mother act like the world should revolve around her?
  23. Do you find it difficult to be a separate person from your mother?
  24. Does your mother appear phony to you?
  25. Does your mother want to control your choices?
  26. Does your mother swing from egotistical to a depressed mood?
  27. Did you feel you had to take care of your mother’s emotional needs as a child?
  28. Do you feel manipulated in the presence of your mother?
  29. Do you feel valued by mother for what you do rather than who you are?
  30. Is your mother controlling, acting like a victim or martyr?
  31. Does your mother make you act different from how you really feel?
  32. Does your mother compete with you?
  33. Does your mother always have to have things her way?

Note: All of these questions relate to narcissistic traits. The more questions you checked, the more likely your mother has narcissistic traits and this has caused some difficulty for you as a growing daughter and adult.

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