10 Symptoms of Daughters of Narcissistic mothers | How Narcissism affects you

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How your childhood experiences of having a Narcissistic Mother can affect you in adulthood - 10 Symptoms of daughters of Narcissistic Mothers

Narcissism is a label thrown around many times, especially in adult relationships and are often directed at men. However, there are some emotionally needy and self-absorbed mothers out there unable to give the emotional support and love their daughters need and they are Narcissist Mothers.

The problem also is that Many daughters experience the behaviours of their Narcissistic mothers and not feel able to talk about it to other people for many reasons but the impact of a Narcissistic mother on her daughter can result in these 10 Symptoms of Daughters of Narcissistic Mother highlighted in this blog.

I will address each of the 10 symptoms of daughters of Narcissistic Mothers in more detail below. You may also find it useful taking my quiz on whether or not your mother is toxic. 

1. Difficulties romantic relationships

For example, many narcissistic mothers are only able to respond to their daughters when their daughters are giving to them. For many, daughters only being constantly pleasant and always agreeable would be acceptable.

There is nothing wrong in being agreeable or pleasant but often it can come with problems where you fail to set some boundaries or you may even attract other narcissists as you see giving, to your own sacrifice is normal. A narcissist loves being on the receiving end of this.

2. Self-Sabotage

As a self-saboteur, you may find that you are stuck and struggle to move forward in your life, under achieve even though you are capable of much more, living with a lot of regret, tend to play it over safe. You may also have a strong fear of failure even though you have grandiose ideas and aspirations. You would rather not try than fail.

3. Difficulties regulating emotions

A narcissistic mother with her powerful sense of entitlement, her lack of empathy and understanding of your feelings may make you feel that your feelings are not valid. With that would come the suppression of your own feelings, especially the so called “negative” ones.

It is important to understand and not suppress your emotions. Not that you are supposed to act on how you feel all the time, but it is about learning to acknowledge how you feel then work out what are the appropriate next steps.

With a narcissistic mother you never learn what is right for you. You might even go as far as not even knowing that this is important so might not even be aware that this is at the root of your emotional problems.

I have done a previous blog on Uncommon signs of depression that you may find helpful. 

4. Emotional eating

This is an area that a lot of women struggle with that and often, for many women, leads to body dysmorphia

Daughters who are emotionally abandoned by their narcissistic mothers, naturally turn to food for comfort. Food offers us our first outside source of self-soothing, and when a daughter is starving for love, she frequently makes food her love object. Moreover, increasing scientific evidence is showing that processed food products combining high levels of sugar, salt and trans fats are, especially addictive.

5. Emotional Loneliness

A narcissistic mother who is self-preoccupied, their daughter’s feelings and emotions are not a priority. They do not know how to offer their daughter support on an emotional level.

It could have left you feeling empty and alone also different from other people. This is a normal response to not having adequate human companionship where you had empathy. Narcissistic mothers lack empathy and often do not know how to offer the emotional intimacy a child needs.

You will then grow up struggling to connect with other people on an emotional level and to shut down their emotions.

6. Needing someone else to care for them

This happens as a child you are not allowed to be dependent on your mother, you search for a substitute caretaker as you get older. You may find yourself attempting to get friends, relatives, lovers, partners, even society to take care of you so you can feel cared for and secure.

The problem is that no matter how much someone or something takes care of you, it never fills that gap left by your mother. Somehow you still feel that the help and support you receive from others, is a sense of validation and hard to give up on.

7. Right-Brain Freeze Response and Dissociation

In some cases, it is the daughter that is scapegoated by her narcissistic mother that can experience some dissociation. Dissociation is also known as the freeze response which is a natural response that we all have when we are experiencing danger or a threat. Our bodies naturally disconnect from what is happening, so we do not experience the full extent of the pain that could feel. We somehow become numb.

Someone stuck in the freeze response or experience dissociation, the response is prolonged even when there is no real threat.

You may even go as seeking comfort by in activities that helps this such as excess sleep, daydreaming or right brain activities such as online browsing, social media, watching tv or video games.

8. Little or no memories of childhood

Many adults who experienced narcissistic abuse as a child, report on a whole, they have very little memories of their childhood. Especially at the beginning of their therapy sessions.

You may have a few traumatic memories, but you often forget most of what happened to you.

This could be for several reasons. No 1, it is too much for your developing brain to cope with. Trauma happens when you experience things that are outside your level of what you can cope with. You may look back at some of your childhood experiences and feel that as an adult it was not too bad, but for a child experiencing those things, it was difficult.

Nature’s way of protecting you when you experience those difficulties is to Freeze so you can numb out the pain. Alongside this would be to numb those memories.

The Second reason could be you just did not have the language to explain what was happening to you. As a child you cannot explain gaslighting, given the silent treatment etc.

9. Outer Critic

Having a strong outer critic is where you view everyone else as flawed and unworthy. When the outer critic is running your mind, people is seen as too dangerous and too horrible to trust.

As a daughter you would have developed this behaviour in reaction to realising that your mother is too dangerous to trust. Your outer critic helped you initially become more aware of the subtlest signal that your mum behaviour has deteriorated, and things would be unsafe for you.

As a child, knowing that kept you safe but somehow you have not learned that you can switch that off and that not everyone is dangerous or untrustworthy. This behaviour may make you want to isolate yourself from others, be extremely judgemental, expecting unrealistic standards from others, having the need to dominate and control.

The problem is that it alienates us from others and scares people aware.

10. Struggles with Self-care

As the family caretaker, you may have spent most of your childhood either taking care of your mothers needs or the need’s others in your family. Caretaker can be seen as the surrogate parent whose role in the family is based on what they provide for others. They often enable, unwittingly, their parents’ behaviours so their parents never experience the negative consequences of their actions.

Has you have received such negative messages about yourself year after year. You may have even been told that you are self-fish if you tried to take care of yourself. Maybe you saw your mother put herself first to such extreme, that you now see self-care as a negative thing. That is because you did not learn the balance where you give and receive or what you put in is what you get out etc.

Whatever the reason, to build your self-esteem, your self-care routine is important, and it provides you a subtle message that you are worth it, even if you clearly did not get that message as a child.


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Do you have a Toxic, Emotionally Immature, Narcissist, Co-dependent, or Parent with an Addiction? Have you struggled with their behavior for most of your life? Maybe your Childhood wasn’t the best but you want to make sense of why it still affects you now.

You may find yourself struggling in so many ways.

I am an experienced and qualified Online-Therapist based in the United Kingdom helping you on your road to healing from your Toxic Parents. 

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