12 thoughts on “Daughters of Narcissistic/Difficult Mothers- Trapped in the Role of the “Good” Daughter

  • March 17, 2018 at 12:23 am

    You should write an article about what happens in the family when the daughter refuses to be the “good” daughter. Not “bad,” just not inclined to take on the role mother wants her to. I think there is a lot there to explore too. From the difficulties this may cause the daughter in various pursuits, to the way family members treat her when mother complains and calls her “fake.”

    • March 17, 2018 at 12:45 am

      Just to clarify why I’m asking – I think you’re very correct about what can happen in the scenario you describe, when the daughter is the “good” daughter. At the same time, I think that scenario is also the one that tends to cause the least conflict – at least as long as the daughter remains “good.” Sure, there may be some conflict when the daughter decides being “good” for mom is not always good for her, or when mom perceives that the daughter is not “good” enough. But still, while the daughter is “good,” for the most part the peace is kept. But I think it’s the daughters who don’t want to fall into that trap who need some support and validation too, because it can be a lonely road, and sometimes just as fraught with insecurity. Because as long as the daughter is “good,” and mom is happy with her, others in the family may think everything is okay too. When the daughter isn’t “good,” but she knows she shouldn’t be, at least not by her mom’s definition, mom can be very unhappy and so can others in the family who might neither want to play the role themselves but may take the easy route in acting like it’s the daughter’s job too. In the scenario where the daughter is “good,” others in the family might be grateful to her and support her in certain ways, but when the daughter isn’t, it may be more than mom who is unhappy with her.

      • March 17, 2018 at 9:00 am

        Yes, I agree with you 100 percent- so much so that I created a course to support and assist daughters in Recovery from this Good daughter role. Family systems are incredibly powerful and making a change to the system is going to have consequences all around. As you articulate so well, disrupting the peace is unsettling for everyone and the Good daughter pays the price!
        Thanks for your comments and insight.

        Here is the link to the course in case you are interested. https://katherines-courses.thinkific.com/courses/rise

    • March 17, 2018 at 9:47 am

      Great idea! As you articulate so well, that’s the hard part- sustaining the pushback when you give up the Good daughter role is lonely and frightening. Family systems don’t like change.
      If you have been down this road I’d love to hear your accounting. You seem very wise and insightful. I’d be honored if you would share it with me.

    • April 28, 2018 at 6:46 pm

      I need to know what happens with the Good mother/Difficult daughter. My daughter isn’t just difficult, she’s impossible. Where you find help online, information, anything. Please.

      • April 28, 2018 at 8:21 pm

        I am sorry for your pain. Can you tell me more about what makes your daughter impossible, how old she is and what you have tried?

  • March 17, 2018 at 1:30 am

    It took me a long time to untangle myself from this enmeshment. Strong boundaries, saying NO and just getting my own power back has helped enormously. One thing I have noticed is that my former “role” is now being undertaken by my younger sister. I think she thought that you get more love if you were in this “role”. Does this make sense?

    • March 17, 2018 at 9:21 am

      What an amazing example of a success story. Bravo to you. And yes, I think it is no surprise that your younger sister has now taken on this role. It looks appealing…that is until you are in it. I call it the pedestal and the prison. That which elevates you traps you. Because the Good daughter role is a role and not a true identity it can sadly be passed from one daughter to the next.

      • March 17, 2018 at 6:04 pm

        Such an interesting phenomenon to watch from the outside now. I tried to explain to my sibling years ago that she also needed to have a life of her own outside of the family of origin but she seems to be relishing in it! I have no contact now but that’s another story but perhaps related to this issue when I think about it. No threats of her being usurped from her “role”. Thanks for your blogs. It helps validate what I’ve been thinking for such a long time.

      • March 18, 2018 at 8:28 am

        You are so welcomed. Good for you that you saw/felt the danger and got a life of your own. I also sense pain there in what you are not saying.Thank you for writing.

      • March 18, 2018 at 6:41 pm

        Yes it was a very difficult decision to stand up against my family of origin and especially my mother. Nobody had ever stood up to her before. Nobody had dared to say NO to my mother. It was “keep the peace” at all costs, “don’t rock the boat” and “you know what your mother is like”. All that stuff never gets addressed. It all gets stuffed inside of you until one day you just explode with anger and frustration that nobody listened to you. The upshot is that the “good daughter” is not so good anymore so let’s replace her with another model. It’s the discard of narcissism. Yes, I have grieved for the loss of those relationships but I also have my freedom.

      • March 18, 2018 at 7:25 pm

        This comment really moves me. What courage you have demonstrated and the losses, yes the losses are many as you articulate. The narcissistic discard and the family system pressure to “keep the peace” at all costs. Good for you that you paid the price and now have your freedom because living for anyone else, even your mother, is no way to live. Peace to you brave one.


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