Narcisstic Moms December 02, 2008

Book looks at narcissism in mothers and daughters

Not all traits that mothers pass along to their daughters are positive.

For nearly 20 years, Karyl McBride has researched the effects narcissistic mothers have on their daughters, noticing that narcissism is potentially passed through generations.

McBride, a Denver licensed marriage and family therapist, released a book in September titled “Will I Ever Be Good Enough?” about the daughters of narcissistic mothers.

Through research and conversations with her patients, McBride created a program to help daughters recover from that feeling of never being good enough for Mom. The program is outlined in the book.

“I’ve treated hundreds of women with this problem,” McBride said.

Daughters of narcissistic mothers aren’t loved unconditionally and are blamed for failing to meet their mother’s expectations.

Consequently, the daughters grow up with no self-worth and don’t understand how it feels to be loved or to love unconditionally, McBride said.

“Most of the daughters I’ve worked with can see (narcissistic) traits in themselves, but most don’t want to be like their mothers,” McBride said.

To prevent the narcissistic cycle from continuing, McBride urges any daughter of a narcissistic mother to:

•  Define how maternal narcissism has affected her life.

•  Discover how her mother’s verbal and non-verbal messages influence her desire to over-achieve and tendency to self-sabotage.

•  Construct a plan to enhance self-worth by learning to deal differently with her feelings and her mother.

Narcissism is prevalent in today’s society in reality television shows, cosmetic surgery demands and obsession with celebrities’ lives, McBride said.

“Daughters really get a double whammy,” she said. “You have to be a certain way for Mom, and then you get a cultural message that you have to be a certain way and look a certain way. The big message from both sides is: Don’t be yourself.”

McBride posted women’s anecdotes of dealing with their mother’s narcissism at

“My hope is getting this book out to the world is that is will have an impact on parenting children with empathy and tuning into (children’s) emotional world by not raising narcissistic children, and also raising children with a good, solid sense of self and who feel loved and are encouraged to be authentic and not what someone else wants them to be.”

“Will I Ever Be Good Enough?” ($24) from Free Press and Simon & Schuster is available online or at bookstores nationwide, McBride said.


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