Home » Blogs » The Good Daughter Syndrome » You Can’t “Make” Your Mother Happy- Here’s Why
The Good Daughter Syndrome
with Katherine Fabrizio, M.A., L.P.C.

You Can’t “Make” Your Mother Happy- Here’s Why

“If momma ain’t happy ain’t nobody happy.”

Can you relate?

If mom isn’t happy, she can make your life pretty miserable, huh?

Do you, or have you, worked to make your mother happy?

 Before you knew it was an impossible thankless job, did you spend much of your childhood being good for mom?

You might have worked tirelessly for mom’s approval, been mom’s emotional crutch or made excuses for her behavior.

Because you assumed… if you were good enough, mom would be happy with you and thus, happy.


Perhaps you look back on your childhood and realize how much of your life you’ve spent trying to make mom happy.

You didn’t, couldn’t, realize it was a trap. The more you tried to make mom happy, the more you invested time and energy hoping it would work.

But it didn’t work. It never works.

You ask yourself, “Was mom willfully miserable? Did she realize she was asking you to sacrifice your mental health for hers? ”

Have you ever wondered why?

-Why mom is always right and never sorry.

-Why you can’t make her happy?

Even if mom is demanding, intrusive and entitled, underneath it all, you could always tell mom was/is an unhappy person?

She didn’t/doesn’t feel good about herself.

If mom is Narcissistic, Borderline or Histrionic, making her happy was never in the cards.

(To find out if mom has a personality disorder or has traits of a disorder go here.)

The truth is this –

Despite playing the role of the good daughter the deep insecurity that is at mom’s core is always driving mom and you can’t change that.

Here’s why-

There is a psychological mechanism called a defense that holds the secret to why you can’t make mom happy and why you can’t change her.

Take a look below.




Speaker 1: 00:02 So you might say to yourself, you know, I love, mom,  why can’t she take that love in and feel it? Why can’t that cure her narcissism?

Speaker: 00:19 The answer lies in these two words, Narcissistic Defense; because the defense is a costume that you wear to yourself to keep you unaware of what you’re really feeling at the core.

Speaker: 00:29 So this is, this is just the paradox of like you know, we hear it with movie stars and stuff, they have plenty of Oscars and, and gorgeous red carpet looks and they’re touted as brilliant, and then we find out they feel like nothing.

Speaker: 00:44 It’s because when something is defended against when a feeling is so awful that there is a defense, think about defense against being in touch with that feeling. Then the feeling never gets touched.

Speaker: 01:00 There are not enough special accolades, awards or complements that really fill that person up because it’s kind of apples and oranges. You’re itching here, and you scratch here, right?

Speaker: 01:15 So it’s, it’s so complicated and difficult, to understand that the person who has a narcissistic defense is not settled.

Speaker: 01:27 They’re not happy. They may be very opportunistic, they may be glowing and performing and look like they have it all, but underneath it all there main psychological energy is to keep way feeling nothing, feeling like nothing to not fall into the abyss of emptiness.


Understanding the nature of defenses can ultimately set you free. You can stop trying to do the impossible. You can learn to set boundaries without being swamped with guilt, put limits on your time and energy so you can live your own life.

To find out if you are trapped in the role of the good daughter go here

To find out what’s wrong with mom go here

Armed with awareness, you can break free.

I’ve got you covered. You can do this.

You Can’t “Make” Your Mother Happy- Here’s Why

Katherine Fabrizio

Katherine Fabrizio, M.A., L.P.C. has treated adult daughters of narcissistic mothers, trapped in the role of the Good Daughter for over 30 years. Dedicated to empowering these women, she offers online help for clients and training (CE’s) for therapists at Her book, Daughters Rising: Rising Above the Shame, Guilt and Self-Doubt Mothers Pass Down to Daughters, is available on Amazon. Katherine lives in Raleigh N.C. where she raised two daughters and still speaks regularly with her mother. Do you suffer from the Good Daughter Syndrome? Find out here!

No comments yet... View Comments / Leave a Comment



APA Reference
Fabrizio, K. (2018). You Can’t “Make” Your Mother Happy- Here’s Why. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 26, 2020, from


Last updated: 13 May 2018
Statement of review: Psych Central does not review the content that appears in our blog network ( prior to publication. All opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the author alone, and do not reflect the views of the editorial staff or management of Psych Central. Published on All rights reserved.