Narcissistic Daughter Relationships With Mother
Narcissistic Daughter Relationships With Mother

Navigating the complex terrain of parent-child relationships is a journey filled with highs and lows. Among these dynamics, the relationship between a narcissistic daughter and her mother stands as a particularly challenging and emotionally charged chapter. In this comprehensive exploration, we delve into the intricate world of narcissistic behavior within mother-daughter bonds.

Narcissism in daughters can have profound effects, not only on their own lives but on their mothers as well. This article sheds light on how narcissism manifests in daughters, the emotional toll it takes, and practical strategies for mothers to cope with this challenging dynamic. Let’s embark on this journey with compassion and understanding.

Narcissism in Daughters

Narcissism is a term that we often associate with grandiosity and self-centeredness. In the context of a mother-daughter relationship, it can be a particularly thorny issue. Let’s delve deeper into what narcissism entails and how it can manifest in a daughter’s behavior and attitudes.

Defining Narcissism

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a mental health condition characterized by a pattern of self-importance, a constant need for admiration, and a lack of empathy for others. While not every narcissistic individual has NPD, narcissistic behavior can be observed in varying degrees.

How Narcissism Can Manifest in a Daughter’s Behavior and Attitudes

Narcissism in daughters can manifest in a multitude of ways, each with its own unique challenges for both the daughter and her mother. Here are some common behaviors and attitudes associated with narcissistic daughters:

Emotional Unavailability

Narcissistic daughters may struggle to connect emotionally with their mothers, making it difficult for them to offer genuine support or empathy.

Conditional Love

Their love and affection often come with strings attached, leaving mothers feeling as though they must constantly meet certain conditions to receive their daughter’s approval.


In some cases, narcissistic daughters may reverse roles, expecting their mothers to cater to their emotional needs rather than the other way around.

Scapegoating and Golden Child

Narcissistic daughters might place their mothers in the role of the scapegoat, blaming them for their problems, or idealize them as the golden child one moment and criticize them the next.

Fear, Obligation, and Guilt (FOG)

Manipulation and guilt-tripping are common tactics used by narcissistic daughters to maintain control over their mothers.

Understanding these manifestations of narcissism is crucial for developing a compassionate approach to addressing this challenging mother-daughter dynamic.

Possible Reasons For a Daughter’s Narcissistic Behavior

Understanding why a daughter may exhibit narcissistic traits can provide mothers with valuable insights into the root causes of this behavior.


Overly enmeshed relationships between mothers and daughters can blur boundaries, making it challenging for daughters to develop a healthy sense of self.


Daughters may develop codependent tendencies, seeking validation and approval from their mothers at the expense of their own autonomy.

Anxiety and Depression

Underlying anxiety and depression can exacerbate narcissistic behaviors as daughters attempt to cope with their emotional struggles.

While understanding these factors can provide some context, it’s important to remember that each mother-daughter relationship is unique. In the following sections, we’ll delve into the specific challenges that often arise in these relationships and explore ways to address them with compassion and resilience.

Challenges In the Relationship Between a Narcissistic Daughter and Her Mother

1. Emotional Manipulation

Emotional manipulation is a pervasive tactic employed by narcissistic daughters to control and manipulate their mothers. They skillfully play on their mother’s emotions, whether it’s through guilt-tripping, emotional outbursts, or silent treatments. The goal is to get what they want, leaving their mothers feeling emotionally drained and manipulated.

Emotional manipulation can manifest in various ways:

  • Guilt-Tripping: Narcissistic daughters often use guilt as a powerful tool to make their mothers comply with their demands. They might say things like, “If you really loved me, you’d do this for me.”
  • Emotional Outbursts: When their needs aren’t met, they may resort to dramatic emotional displays, making their mothers feel responsible for their distress.
  • Silent Treatments: By withdrawing affection and communication, they create anxiety and distress in their mothers, who may feel the need to apologize and appease them.

2. Constant Need for Attention

Narcissistic daughters frequently crave constant attention and admiration. They expect their mothers to be at their beck and call, leaving little room for the mother’s own needs and desires.

This constant need for attention can manifest in several ways:

  • Demanding Presence: They might insist on their mother’s presence even when it’s inconvenient, making it challenging for the mother to have personal time or pursue her interests.
  • Attention-Seeking Behaviors: Engaging in attention-seeking behaviors, like seeking compliments or acting out, becomes routine for narcissistic daughters.
  • Neglecting Others: They may prioritize their own desires above all else, neglecting the needs of their mother and other family members.

3. Lack of Empathy

Empathy is often lacking in narcissistic daughters. They may struggle to understand or validate their mother’s feelings, leaving her feeling unheard and unsupported.

The lack of empathy can manifest in the following ways:

  • Dismissive Attitude: They may dismiss their mother’s concerns, believing their problems are more important.
  • Inability to Comfort: When their mother is going through a tough time, narcissistic daughters may struggle to provide comfort or support.
  • Insensitive Remarks: Their comments and actions can be hurtful and insensitive, causing emotional pain to their mothers.

4. Boundary Violations

Daughters with narcissistic tendencies often have poor boundaries. They may frequently cross boundaries, invading their mother’s personal space, both emotionally and physically.

Boundary violations can include:

  • Emotional Intrusion: Sharing inappropriate details of their lives or expecting their mothers to share intimate details in return.
  • Physical Invasion: Invading their mother’s personal space, whether it’s rummaging through her belongings or entering her room without permission.
  • Disregarding Privacy: Ignoring their mother’s need for privacy, such as reading her personal messages or diaries.

5. Jealousy and Competition

Jealousy and competition can be prevalent in these relationships. Daughters may feel threatened by their mothers’ accomplishments or attention given to other family members. This can lead to a competitive dynamic that strains the mother-daughter bond.

Jealousy and competition may manifest as:

  • Comparisons: Narcissistic daughters may frequently compare themselves to their mothers or siblings, seeking to outshine them.
  • Undermining Achievements: They may downplay their mother’s accomplishments or make snide remarks to diminish her sense of achievement.
  • Seeking Exclusivity: They may demand exclusive attention from their mother, excluding others from the relationship.

6. Criticism and Blame

Narcissistic daughters often engage in criticism and blame towards their mothers. They may project their own insecurities or failures onto their mothers, leaving them carrying the burden of unwarranted blame.

Criticism and blame may manifest as:

  • Shifting Responsibility: They may deflect blame for their actions onto their mothers, refusing to take accountability.
  • Personal Attacks: Engaging in personal attacks, criticism, and derogatory remarks that undermine their mother’s self-esteem.
  • Playing the Victim: Portraying themselves as victims and their mothers as the cause of their problems.

7. Inconsistent Behavior

The behavior of a narcissistic daughter can be erratic and unpredictable, making it challenging for her mother to anticipate her needs or moods. This inconsistency can create an atmosphere of instability within the relationship.

Inconsistent behavior may include:

  • Mood Swings: Rapid and extreme mood shifts that keep the mother constantly on edge.
  • Changing Expectations: Shifting expectations and demands without warning or reason.
  • Sudden Withdrawal: Abruptly withdrawing affection or communication without explanation.

8. Exploitation

Narcissistic daughters may exploit their mothers in various ways, often with little regard for the consequences. They may use their mothers for personal gain or manipulate them to meet their needs


Exploitative behaviors can involve:

  • Financial Demands: Expecting financial support without accountability or repayment.
  • Emotional Exploitation: Manipulating their mother’s emotions to gain sympathy or control.
  • Taking Advantage: Using their mother’s resources, time, or connections for personal benefit.

9. Gaslighting

Gaslighting is a manipulative tactic where the daughter tries to make her mother doubt her own reality, leaving her feeling confused and invalidated. Gaslighting can be particularly insidious and damaging to the mother’s self-esteem and mental well-being.

Gaslighting tactics may include:

  • Denial of Past Events: Narcissistic daughters may deny previous conversations, events, or actions, causing their mother to question her memory.
  • Twisting the Truth: They may twist facts or change the narrative to suit their agenda, making their mother feel like she’s losing her grip on reality.
  • Invalidating Emotions: Dismissing or trivializing their mother’s feelings, making her doubt the validity of her own emotions.

10. Isolation

Daughters with narcissistic tendencies may isolate their mothers from friends and family, making it difficult for her to seek support and guidance outside of the strained mother-daughter relationship.

Isolation tactics:

  • Discouraging Relationships: Narcissistic daughters may discourage their mother from maintaining friendships or spending time with extended family members.
  • Creating Dependency: Making their mother dependent on them for social interaction, further strengthening their control.
  • Criticizing External Relationships: Disparaging or criticizing those who attempt to support their mother, creating a sense of alienation.

11. Narcissistic Rage

When their needs aren’t met or they face criticism, narcissistic daughters can exhibit intense outbursts of anger or rage, leaving their mothers walking on eggshells to avoid triggering these volatile reactions.

Examples of Narcissistic:

  • Explosive Anger: Intense and unpredictable fits of anger that can be intimidating and emotionally exhausting for the mother.
  • Verbal Aggression: Yelling, screaming, or verbally attacking their mother when they feel challenged or threatened.
  • Emotional Intimidation: Using their anger to manipulate and control their mother’s actions and decisions.

12. Parentification

In some cases, narcissistic daughters may reverse roles, expecting their mothers to provide emotional support and care, creating a burden on the mother. This role reversal can be emotionally taxing and unhealthy for both parties.

Parentification involves:

  • Emotional Dependency: Relying on their mother for emotional support, advice, and reassurance inappropriately.
  • Ignoring the Mother’s Needs: Neglecting their mother’s needs and emotions while focusing on their own.
  • Lack of Autonomy: Struggling to develop independence and autonomy, as they rely heavily on their mother.

13. Stress and Emotional Toll

The constant stress and emotional toll of dealing with a narcissistic daughter can take a significant toll on a mother’s well-being. The ongoing emotional rollercoaster can lead to physical and mental health challenges.

The stress and emotional toll may result in:

  • Anxiety: Constant worry and anxiety about the state of the relationship and the daughter’s well-being.
  • Depression: Persistent sadness, hopelessness, and loss of interest in life due to the ongoing challenges.
  • Physical Health Issues: Stress-related physical ailments, such as headaches, sleep disturbances, and digestive problems.

14. Impact on Siblings

Siblings within the family may also be affected by the dynamics between the narcissistic daughter and her mother. The narcissistic daughter often demands most of the mother’s attention and resources, leaving her siblings feeling neglected or overshadowed.

The impact on siblings includes:

  • Feelings of Neglect: Siblings may feel overlooked or unimportant in comparison to the narcissistic daughter.
  • Conflict: Sibling rivalry and conflict may escalate due to the unequal distribution of attention and resources.
  • Long-Term Emotional Effects: Siblings may carry emotional scars into adulthood, affecting their own relationships and self-esteem.

15. Difficulty Seeking Help

The mother may find it challenging to seek help or support due to the fear of backlash or retaliation from the narcissistic daughter. This fear can be a significant barrier to addressing the issues in the relationship.

This involves:

  • Fear of Retaliation: The mother may fear that seeking professional help or discussing the issues with others will trigger anger or manipulation from her daughter.
  • Lack of Support System: Over time, the mother’s isolation may result in a diminished support network, making it even more challenging to seek assistance.

16. Long-Term Consequences

The enduring effects of a strained relationship with a narcissistic daughter can be profound, affecting the mother’s self-esteem, mental health, and overall quality of life. These consequences can persist long into the future, even after the daughter has reached adulthood, where it can manifest in other forms like a narcissistic daughter withholding access to grandchildren.

The long-term consequences may encompass:

  • Diminished Self-Esteem: Years of emotional manipulation and abuse can erode the mother’s self-esteem and self-worth.
  • Mental Health Challenges: Persistent stress, anxiety, and depression can have lasting effects on the mother’s mental well-being.
  • Impact on Future Relationships: The mother may struggle with trust and emotional intimacy in future relationships due to the scars left by the relationship with her narcissistic daughter.

How Can a Mother Deal With a Narcissistic Daughter

Dealing with a narcissistic daughter can be an emotionally taxing and challenging journey, but there are practical strategies that mothers can employ to navigate this complex relationship with grace and resilience. In this section, we’ll explore these strategies in-depth, offering insights into how mothers can effectively cope with the difficulties posed by their narcissistic daughters.

1. Seek Professional Guidance

Therapy and counseling: When faced with a narcissistic daughter, seeking professional guidance can be a game-changer. A trained therapist or counselor can provide a safe and neutral space for both mother and daughter to express their feelings and work through the underlying issues. Therapy can be instrumental in understanding and managing narcissistic behavior and its impact on the relationship.

Seeking professional guidance involves:

  • Research and Selection: Find a therapist or counselor with experience in dealing with narcissism and parent-child relationships.
  • Joint Sessions: Consider family therapy or joint sessions with your daughter to foster constructive communication.
  • Individual Counseling: Personal therapy can help mothers develop coping strategies and self-care techniques.

2. Set Clear Boundaries

Establishing boundaries: Setting clear and firm boundaries is pivotal when dealing with a narcissistic daughter. These boundaries define what behavior is acceptable and what is not, and they need to be communicated assertively. Be prepared for pushback, as narcissistic individuals may resist boundaries, but consistency is key to their effectiveness.

Establishing clear boundaries involves:

  • Identification: Identify the specific behaviors or actions that are causing distress or harm.
  • Communication: Clearly and calmly communicate your boundaries to your daughter, emphasizing the importance of mutual respect.
  • Enforcement: Enforce consequences when boundaries are crossed, reinforcing their significance.

3. Practice Self-Care

Self-nurturing: Caring for oneself is not a luxury but a necessity when dealing with the emotional toll of a narcissistic daughter. Engage in self-care activities that promote physical and emotional well-being. Prioritize your health and happiness to build resilience.

Examples of Self-care:

  • Physical Health: Prioritize regular exercise, maintain a balanced diet, and ensure sufficient rest and sleep.
  • Emotional Health: Explore relaxation techniques, meditation, or mindfulness to manage stress and maintain emotional equilibrium.
  • Hobbies and Interests: Reconnect with your passions and interests outside of the mother-daughter relationship.

4. Foster Empathy and Communication

Open communication: Foster an environment of open and empathetic communication with your daughter. Try to understand her perspective while also expressing your own feelings and concerns. While it may be challenging, practicing active listening can be a powerful tool in bridging the gap.

Fostering empathy and communication entails:

  • Non-Judgmental Listening: Create a space where your daughter feels heard and understood without judgment.
  • Empathetic Responses: Respond to her emotions with empathy, even when you disagree with her point of view.
  • Respectful Dialogue: Promote respectful and constructive dialogue, encouraging both parties to express themselves openly.

5. Avoid Fueling the Narcissism

Refrain from enabling: Avoid enabling your daughter’s narcissistic behavior by refusing to cater to her every demand or accept her manipulative tactics. Encourage her to take responsibility for her actions and choices.

Avoiding fueling narcissism means:

  • Setting Limits: Establish clear limits on what you are willing to do or tolerate.
  • Resisting Manipulation: Recognize and resist manipulation attempts, remaining steadfast in your boundaries.
  • Consistency: Be consistent in your responses to her behavior, regardless of her reactions.

6. Encourage Independence

Support personal growth: Encourage your daughter to develop her independence and autonomy. Help her build self-esteem and self-reliance by allowing her to make decisions and face the consequences of her choices.

Encouraging independence consists of:

  • Responsibility: Encourage her to take responsibility for her own life choices and actions.
  • Self-Discovery: Support her in exploring her interests and passions, fostering a sense of identity.
  • Life Skills: Teach her essential life skills that promote self-sufficiency and personal growth.

7. Maintain a Support Network

Lean on your support system: Seek support from friends, family members, or support groups who can provide understanding and empathy during challenging times. Sharing your experiences with others who have faced similar situations can be immensely helpful.

Maintaining a support network entails:

  • Open Communication: Share your feelings and experiences with trusted individuals who offer a listening ear.
  • Seeking Professional Support: Consider joining support groups for parents dealing with narcissistic children or seeking guidance from professionals.
  • Balancing Independence: While support is essential, also maintain a sense of independence and self-reliance in seeking solutions.

8. Avoid Engaging in Power Struggles

Stay calm and composed: Narcissistic individuals thrive on power struggles and conflicts. Instead of engaging in these battles, maintain your composure and focus on constructive communication and problem-solving.

Avoiding power struggles requires:

  • Emotional Detachment: Refrain from reacting emotionally to provocations, staying composed and level-headed.
  • Redirecting Energy: Channel your energy into productive discussions and solutions rather than arguments.
  • Disengaging: When the situation escalates, consider temporarily disengaging to allow emotions to settle.

9. Promote Positive Reinforcement

Acknowledge positive behavior: Whenever your daughter exhibits positive behavior or shows empathy, reinforce it with praise and appreciation. Positive reinforcement can encourage more positive interactions and contribute to the gradual improvement of the relationship.

To promote positive reinforcement:

  • Specific Praise: Be specific in your praise, highlighting the exact behavior or action that you appreciate.
  • Consistency: Be consistent in acknowledging and rewarding positive behavior.
  • Encouragement: Express your belief in her ability to grow and change positively.

10. Focus on Your Own Growth

Personal development: Use this challenging experience as an opportunity for personal growth and self-discovery. Focus on your own well-being, interests, and goals independently of your daughter’s behavior. Rediscover your identity beyond the mother-daughter relationship.

Focusing on personal growth includes:

  • Self-Reflection: Take time to reflect on your own needs, desires, and aspirations.
  • Self-Improvement: Invest in personal development, whether it’s acquiring new skills, pursuing education, or exploring new hobbies.
  • Self-Identity: Reconnect with the aspects of your life that bring you joy and fulfillment.

While these strategies can provide mothers with valuable tools to cope with a narcissistic daughter, it’s important to remember that every situation is unique. Tailor your approach to the specific dynamics of your relationship and seek professional guidance when necessary. In the closing thoughts section, we’ll reflect on the importance of compassion and self-care in navigating this challenging journey.

Closing Thoughts

In closing, navigating a relationship with a narcissistic daughter can be an arduous journey, marked by emotional challenges and complexities. However, by employing the strategies outlined above—seeking professional guidance, setting clear boundaries, practicing self-care, fostering empathy and communication, and more—mothers can find ways to cope, heal, and promote positive change.

Remember that your well-being matters, and taking care of yourself is essential. Ultimately, it’s through compassion, resilience, and a commitment to personal growth that mothers can not only survive but thrive in the face of the unique challenges posed by their narcissistic daughters.