Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers: Engulfing and Ignoring Moms
Have you ever wondered if you relationship with your mother was different from other women? When did you first notice this? Was your relationship balanced? Was she fully attuned to what YOU wanted for your life? Most narcissistic parents either over parent or severely under parent according to Karyl McBride author of “Will I Ever Be Good Enough”. The result is a daughter with a poor self-image and insecurities. Often daughters who have unmet emotional needs continue to go back to their mothers in hope that maybe this time they WILL get their needs met. Daughters are then met with the same unhealthy dynamic and never gain their love and respect.
I agree with McBride that one of the ways to a healthy separation from your mother and your emergence into adulthood would be to fully understand what type of mother you have currently. She believes there is two types of mothers – the ”engulfing mother smothers” or the ”ignoring mother” — sometimes a combination of both.
The engulfing mother tries to dominate and control every part of her daughter’s life sometimes actually making her daughter’s life her own life.There is no room for this girl to separate, have her own ideas, thoughts and she never makes decisions for herself. The daughter is merely an extension of the mother.
The ignoring mother usually provides no guidance and support. The daughters were taught that their feelings were not important or relevant.Sometimes these girls grow up deprived of food and shelter and are more likely to even experience physical and sexual abuse.
McBride also believes that moms can alter back and forth between the different types. In my practice, I have seen this quite a bit. Sometimes, two girls in the family were treated very differently. Mom could have been the engulfing mom with one daughter and ignoring of the other.
Part of one’s recovery from being a Daughter of Narcissistic mom, is clarifying what type of mother your mother was growing up. This will allow you to decide what boundaries and limits you can chose to place now. The next step is examining how your mother became the parent that she is today.What was her environment like growing up? What needs did she not get met for herself? In answering some of these questions, your pain may not go away. It is possible though that your sadness and grief could be replaced with some empathy for your mother. This change could really aid in your own recovery.