Even before I became a therapist, I was a self-help book junkie. I can remember reading countless self-help books when I was as young as fourteen in my quest to understand my suffering and to find a way to heal. Now I’ve written three self-help books myself and am delighted to hear from clients and readers that my words are helping them understand and heal. I am always on the lookout for good self-help books that my clients find helpful and almost always buy my own copy to devour and share with other clients.
The most recent book I’ve been devouring which was recommended by a client is called, Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers by Karyl McBride, Ph.D. I highly recommend this book if you have any inkling that you have a narcissistic mother. Here are some of the questions Dr. McBride outlines in her book in the questionnaire called, “Does Your Mother Have Narcissistic Traits?” as presented on her website (http://www.willieverbegoodenough.com/narcissistic-mother):
Are you a daughter of a narcissistic mother? Take this brief survey.
Narcissism is a spectrum disorder with the most severe end of the spectrum considered a narcissistic personality disorder. A woman can have several narcissistic traits and not fit the personality disorder. Mothers with only a few traits listed can negatively affect their daughters in insidious ways which is explained in Dr. McBride’s book.
(Check all those that apply to your relationship with your mother)
- When you discuss your life issues with your mother, does she divert the discussion to talk about herself?
- When you discuss your feelings with your mother, does she she try to top the feeling with her own?
- Does your mother act jealous of you?
- Does your mother lack empathy for your feelings?
- Does your mother only support those things you do that reflect on her as a “good mother?”
- Have you consistently felt a lack of emotional closeness with your mother?
- Have you consistently questioned whether or not your mother likes you or loves you?
- Does your mother only do things for you when others can see?
- When something happens in your life (accident, illness, divorce,) does your mother react with how it will affect her rather than how you feel?
- Is or was your mother overly conscious of what others think (neighbors, friends, family, co-workers)?
- Does your mother deny her own feelings?
- Does your mother blame things on you or others rather than own responsibility for her feelings or actions?
- Is or was your mother hurt easily and then carried a grudge for a long time without resolving the problem?
- Do you feel you were a slave to your mother?
- Do you feel you were responsible for your mother’s ailments or sickness (headaches, stress, illness)?
- Did you have to take care of your mother’s physical needs as a child?
- Do you feel unaccepted by your mother?
- Do you feel your mother was critical of you?
- Do you feel helpless in the presence of your mother?
- Are you shamed often by your mother?
- Do you feel your mother knows the real you?
- Does your mother act like the world should revolve around her?
- Do you find it difficult to be a separate person from your mother?
- Does your mother appear phony to you?
- Does your mother want to control your choices?
- Does your mother swing from egotistical to a depressed mood?
- Did you feel you had to take care of your mother’s emotional needs as a child?
- Do you feel manipulated in the presence of your mother?
- Do you feel valued by mother for what you do rather than who you are?
- Is your mother controlling, acting like a victim or martyr?
- Does your mother make you act different from how you really feel?
- Does your mother compete with you?
- 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.
If you identify with a number of these traits, I highly recommend you buy a copy of Dr. McBride’s groundbreaking book to help you heal.