66 thoughts on “5 Things An Unloved Daughter Feels in Childhood

  • January 14, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    Hi Peg,
    I’ve found this article particularly useful as I prepare for 2 weeks with my partner’s 15 year old daughter.
    I’m blessed with a “good enough” family and struggle to see HOW anyone can mistreat their (ex)husband and daughters as has happened in this family.
    I’m hoping that I’m some small way my loving her Dad and caring about her can start the healing journey

    • March 12, 2016 at 2:25 pm

      Growing up is hard to do. Both my parents had difficult childhoods and unloving mothers. They couldn’t give what they didn’t know, instead they were both broken, got married had children, drank too much and made each other miserable. I was a counsellor and human shield for my mother from a very young age, there was very little love shown in our home. I remember the threat of violence, a siege mentality, walking on eggshells trying to kerp the peace. Don’t rock the boat! I was good at being invisible until I turned 12 and then the dynamic changed, I started to say no, enough, you can’t threaten me. One brother is the favourite and the other is the uber professional with everything perfect. Myself and my family are the problem makers, my legacy to my children has been to mark their card for them. It is so lonely sometimes, how do you explain to people that your own family of origin don’t like you 🙁 My children are now nearly adults and they can’t understand it because myself and my husband have tried to do everything different with them, we both knew what we didn’t want our children’s lives to be like.
      There is a hole in my heart that can never be filled, I have papered it over once or twice but it gaps open. I ache and grieve for the love never known and struggle with confidence issues all the time. My hubby understands and we hold each other up but sometimes the loneliness is crippling even in the middle of my busy home. Peg, you have helped so much these last few weeks, I found you at the right time in my life, the irony is my mother has the same name. ?

      • April 13, 2016 at 2:32 pm

        OMG. I knew I wasn’t alone, but it seems I have multiple “twins” out there. Thank you all for sharing. I’m a 64 year old ACoA with abandonment and self esteem issues. Still struggling – currently trying to “parent” my inner child, who grew up feeling unworthy. I thought I was doing OK until I lost my job then I was betrayed by a close friend. The side effect of that was the loss of other friends.
        Wishing you all serenity and a peaceful heart. ♥

  • January 14, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    God Damn her! At 51 tears of age, I still have constant negative voices in my head. I’ve done enormous work in therapy, been clean and sober for 15 years, and know I’ve made tremendous strides, yet the damage is done.
    She is in Hospice now and I show up to do the right thing for myself, but I can’t wait until it’s over. I have no fear of losing her. No matter what I do, it’s never enough, no matter what goes on in my life, it’s nothing compared to hers, and so I keep it brief, just the general. Thank God I have an awareness for my own children, yet don’t know that I’ll ever feel like I’ve been a good enough mother to them. There should be laws…

  • January 15, 2016 at 8:27 am

    I wished with all my heart that I knew long ago that I WAS NOT THE PROBLEM. Getting to 53 next week, it’s only about 12 months ago I began to feel better of myself (after her death).
    I hear so very often the words ” You are such a strong stable woman” BUT no one not one of these persons would know how DARK my days have been. I applied this motto to myself for 51 years ” If my own mother cannot love me I do not expect anyone else to love me” and as a result I missed out on so much love.
    So sad that Peg you are 100 % right, someone would need to go through it to believe and understand it. Hopefully I am getting better.

    • June 12, 2017 at 8:06 pm

      I am similar in age and circumstances, and have been told the similar remarks.
      How unfortunate that most People are CLUELESS about narcissistic abuse.

      Furthermore, adding insult to injury, most people don’t even recognize narcissistic abuse right before their very eyes, they don’t know the magnitude of the situation. I have a friend who says my mother is a nice lady but can have a mean streak. Understatement of the year.

  • January 17, 2016 at 11:32 pm

    I have just begun to understand what has happened, she betrayed, neglected, abused, and ridiculed, by the mother, a total narcissist and teen mother, I have cut ties with her many times through the years but this last time she convinced my daughter to run away, took me to court, helped my ex try and fight for custody and then when it was reported he molested 2 of my kids she stood by him. Im totally done. Myheart aches for the loving mother I wanted so bad and my heart is black for the hatred I feel towards her, nothing can ease this pain, nothing.

  • January 18, 2016 at 12:09 am

    Thank you for that. Gave me a nice perspective. My mother didn’t want much to do with me because I look a lot like my dad and she couldn’t get past it. He was abusive and violent, so she even tried to get rid of me a number of times. I was the ghost of her terrible marriage.
    I experienced everything mentioned and made a lot of horrible choices because of how I was treated, or rather, *not* treated. She avoided me as much as she could and never expressed affection of any kind that she didn’t feel obligated to do (if someone was watching). I would have been better off if she had put me up for adoption. I was severely neglected, my clothes and shoes basically rotted off of me, I was always hungry, alone, and severely bullied at school because I was always dirty and nothing fit. Even my shoes didn’t fit so I always had blisters on the back of my feet.
    I have two brothers, and two sisters. The worst of it all was watching her dote on all of them. They had nicer clothes, she hugged and kissed them. She made them food if they asked, and they even got taken to the doctor or hospital. (I didn’t). To this day, I’m so used to not having anyone who cared if I lived or died, if someone acts too friendly or too affectionate, I get suspicious.

    • January 18, 2016 at 6:01 pm

      Rusty, It won’t surprise you that your story is one I have heard before. It happens too when daughters “remind” their mothers of the husband who left or betrayed them, or the husband who controls her. None of that makes it any the less cruel. I just wrote a post about anxious attachment called “3 Signs of a Wounded Self.” Take a look and let me know what you think. Best, Peg

    • March 14, 2016 at 6:53 pm

      I remind my dad too much of my mom who he hated, yet they made the mistake of staying married way too long. I really think both would have been happier if they just divorced when my brother and I were children. The other reason I was the black sheep was being a girl in a very patriarchal family where only boys were valued. If it wasn’t for my mom’s influence, things could have been a lot worse.

    • June 11, 2017 at 5:08 am

      Rusty I’m sitting here reading your story with tears streaming down my face. No child should ever have to endure what you went through. Sending you best wishes for peace and also a virtual hug.

    • January 17, 2018 at 10:30 am

      Rusty, I read your story with such sadness. My heart goes out to you. I hope and pray you find some healing for your hurting heart. I, too, was the “ghost of my mother’s terrible marriage”. (What an accurate way to describe it). My father was a different ethnic group than my mother, and I looked like him, so she couldn’t ignore it and I got called “ugly dog” as a child. I tried everything I could to make her love me. Now I know she never did, and never will, and after many years of the same treatment, no contact has been a blessing. I can work on healing without the onslaught of more abuse. I have scars, but healing is possible.

  • January 18, 2016 at 12:11 am

    It is not just the mother that makes a child feel unloved, especially when the child is lost in a long line of children. It is part of the older siblings that bully and torment a child – that they are worthless, unloved, adopted because mom felt sorry for them, and so on. Mom is too busy or too distracted to hear these words and the child is to young to even question the siblings. Why would they lie? So they do grow up doing whatever it takes to be accepted and loved by anyone, in any way. Only when the child becomes an adult and realize that there really isn’y anything wrong with them, but with their siblings, do they actually begin to live.

    • January 18, 2016 at 5:58 pm

      The dynamic in these households, which I will be writing about, not only often has “favored” children but also, if one child is singled out, the siblings will do what they can to stay on Mom’s “good” side. That includes bullying the outcast. Best, Peg

  • January 18, 2016 at 3:16 am

    It still hurts and is affecting my parenting 🙁

    • January 18, 2016 at 5:56 pm

      If you are permitting it to affect your parenting, you need to stop. Please take a look at PARENTING FROM THE INSIDE OUT by Daniel Siegel and Mary Hartzell. Let me know. Best, Peg

  • January 18, 2016 at 3:16 am

    Oh. And now what?

    • January 18, 2016 at 5:54 pm

      More to come on the solutions. Also, you can read my book MEAN MOTHERS… Best, Peg

  • January 18, 2016 at 7:20 am

    This is a wonderful post: I hope you are preparing a book on this subject. I see myself completely in the things you describe, especially the marginalizing that occurs when an unloved daughter tries to speak out about maternal abuse and neglect. I now just feel a great deal of sadness about the damage being unloved caused for me but that is better than the terrible anger I carried inside for years. Just to name being unloved as a child is a powerful healer and although I wouldn’t say I’m completely healed, after years of therapy and work, I’m very whole and healthy these days. I’m in my fifties now and although I devoutly wish I had been loved by my mother, I know the past can’t be changed. My joy comes in knowing I’m finally free to live out the rest of my life without the burden of feeling so rejected and flawed. Please keep posting on this issue.

    • January 18, 2016 at 5:54 pm

      Thank you. I have written one book on the subject, MEAN MOTHERS, and am working on another. This blog is wholly devoted to the mother-daughter relationship and it’s new. So keep coming back for more! Best, Peg

  • January 18, 2016 at 7:43 am

    I thought getting out of my house as a young teenager would help, I don’t know as it really did but at least I didn’t hear thee constant ridicule!!!! after 27 years I’ve found myself back living with her…..wow the feelings are as real as it was yesterday, the painful things she says never stop….I know because of the abuse I suffered at the hands of my father somehow made her look at me as a home wrecker…. and it’s still very real…thank God for my little sister who for years never understood or believed what Ide say, now at 38 living with her also!!! She is overwhelmed at how our mother treats me…..and doesn’t hesitate to tell mom to back off…..but honestly I’m 44 when will I stop turning into that terrified5 yr old whenever she yells at me??????

    • January 18, 2016 at 5:52 pm

      I’m neither a therapist nor a psychologist but I do know, given that you are back living with her, that you have to set boundaries so that five-year-old is protected. Healing begins with self-compassion and setting rules. Best, Peg

      • January 23, 2017 at 9:28 pm

        HI Peg if your not therapist how your experience on this topic? Narcissist mother’s

      • January 24, 2017 at 8:38 am

        I wrote a book about unloving mothers and have been researching the topic for close to ten years. I have interviewed hundreds of women on the subject. I rely on those interviews and scientific research for my writing. By the way, I don’t think all unloving mothers are narcissists. Best, Peg

  • January 18, 2016 at 8:08 am

    I am 63. Last year my younger sister said the most loving, liberating, and difficult thing–totally out of the blue “You know. I have always tried to figure out why mom didn’t like you. You are so wonderful.” That affirmation of all I felt as a child and beyond has empowered me in so many ways.

    • January 18, 2016 at 5:50 pm

      Hi Ida, Wow! That is a gift. The road lies before you to heal. Best, Peg

  • January 18, 2016 at 8:38 am

    Thank you Meg, I can really see and feel myself in all these situations, but what can we do to cure ourselves of an unloving mother???

  • January 18, 2016 at 10:47 am

    I found this article can apply to a father’s love too. My father was the dominant force in our household – with my mother being present but not existent as a person. My father has been gone five years now and I am just beginning to get to know my mother. I’m 53 and she is 85.

    • January 18, 2016 at 5:49 pm

      Yes, indeed. I’ve written about the role of the father in my book MEAN MOTHERS but will address it directly soon. Best, Peg

    • March 14, 2016 at 6:56 pm

      Same here, my parents are divorced, but I think they should have divorced when my brother and I were growing up instead of waiting until we were adults. For me, my dad resents that I look too much like my mom and since he was from an extremely patriarchal family, I was the black sheep because I wasn’t a boy.

  • January 18, 2016 at 12:38 pm

    My mother died 10 years ago and even though I have come a long way, I still suffer from isolation, fear, and insecurity. People find it hard to understand it when you try to explain what being unloved is like. My mother favored my sister and made it a point to be on unsupportive of me. She also tried to isolate my youngest daughter when she was born. For years I tried to understand and even justify my mother’s, actions but recently I have learned to move on and love myself. I have made a vow to love and support both of my children and to provide them with the unconditional love I never received. Thanks for a great article.

    • January 18, 2016 at 5:43 pm

      You are very welcome. Yes, recovery and healing begin with self-compassion. As I discovered when I wrote MEAN MOTHERS, the unloved daughters who consciously decide to become mothers, despite their histories, become loving and attuned mothers themselves. Best,Peg

  • January 18, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    im 39 and recently discovered whats been “wrong” with me for as long as i can remember. first, i must thank the wonderful woman who lead me to the discovery of being an unloved daughter and an adult child of alcoholics. i can relate to everyone of the 5 feelings listed and more! i have yet to try counseling, im to afraid of the truths that will be revealed, but i know i must attend therapy to get a better sense of what happened and is happening to me. i can’t thank the publishers and bloggers enough for the reading material. the bloggers are such a comfort to me, as it reassures me im not alone. as for the publishers, each article opens new doors for me and what a relief to know im not crazy and that the possiblity of being loved the way a women should is possible.

    • January 18, 2016 at 5:42 pm

      I’ve come to feel, after speaking to hundreds of women over the years, that the sense that you’re the ONLY girl on the planet whose mother doesn’t love her is almost as damaging and shapes the self almost as much as the lack of maternal love. Best, Peg

  • January 18, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    This is the first time I have heard this acknowledged. I couldn’t have the kind of relationship with my mother that I so desperately wanted. It took me years to accept that she couldn’t give with she didn’t have to give. A few years ago, I built a spirit boat filling it with all the things I wish she’d said to me and sailed it away. Anger is gone, but sadness and regret remains.

    • January 18, 2016 at 5:40 pm

      I think most people, myself included, continue to mourn the mother they wished they’d had and deserved. Talking about mothers who fail their daughters is still a taboo in the culture which is why it’s so important to start having a honest discussion about mothering and motherhood.
      Best, Peg

  • January 18, 2016 at 6:30 pm

    This was the first time I’ve done any of this, looking for sites about unloved daughters, think I was was scared it would simpy say, NO RESULTS FOUND!!! I feel a weight lifted already knowing I’m not alone….thank you for the article and all the posts!!!! Every post I read I’m saddened thay so many have experienced this pain…..however, every post gives me hope and a little more strength and determination, it’s time to heal……

  • January 18, 2016 at 8:21 pm

    I didn’t have that with my mother, but reversed. My father was the one who treated me this way. At 7, I was told I wasn’t wanted – he didn’t want a daughter. When My Brother Passed AT 16, he screamed why he had to be the one who died and not me. I had a great “bonus ” dad, but I’m still dealing with this every day of my life. I’ve been to counseling, but either it’s not working, or I haven’t found the right one yet.

  • January 18, 2016 at 10:44 pm

    “In adulthood, few people will understand her story because of the cultural myths about maternal love; she’ll hear people say, “You’re fine now” or “It couldn’t have been so bad” which only underscores her aloneness.”

    This! A million times THIS! So many people are constantly befuddled by my strident independence and in awe of my resourcefulness. While I try to be gracious, accepting accolades for doing for myself and taking good care of myself; I often struggle because they don’t know the deep, dark ugly place it comes from. There was a time my independence was so natural to me, I thought the lengths I went to were natural. I simply didn’t have categories for waiting for anyone to do something for me or even provide an answer. When I was complimented for being a “self starter” or independent worker; I pushed compliments away because I didn’t realize there is any other way of being. People would say I was nasty, stuck up, and . I think I’ve come to a place of acceptance with it, capitalizing on my independence in the work place. I taught myself to accept accolades graciously and pipe up when I’ve gone the extra mile (even though my gut churns). Maybe some day, it will feel natural. Some day.

    The befuddled thing mostly comes up in family relationships. I’m distant with my father, I don’t know what to say to him. He’s like a stranger that I grew up with. Something tells me to keep my true self hidden, only let him see the poised me. It’s not his fault, he was emotionally neglected too. But I am still confused about what the hollowed out shell of our relationship was supposed to be, is supposed to be.

    • June 3, 2017 at 7:46 pm

      Hollow, you have put it so clearly. Thank you.

      My friends are confused by the contradiction of my appearance as a strong blanced capable woman who’didn’t need anyone’s help’


      my confessed deep insecurity, very low self confidence, poor/unclear self image (and questioning myself about who am I really), fear of never being good enough, people pleasing, etc.

      It’s a constant struggle

  • January 18, 2016 at 11:25 pm

    Try being adopted by a cold, strict, mean mother with a passive father who let her say and do whatever she wanted to me. So feelings of rejection were twofold and unfair.

  • January 18, 2016 at 11:30 pm

    My mother etched a comment into my soul: No one will ever want you. I vowed at an early age that I would never have children, for fear of treating them as I was treated. My distrust of women goes deep within. I refuse to have any female physicians, therapists or other professionals. I feel the neediness with the males in my life, that they will leave me. I do have a few female friends, who know and accept my past.

  • January 19, 2016 at 5:33 am

    I fully agree to all you have said here. After nearly fifty years living separately from my adoptive mother, I still struggle constantly with her summation of me as a filthy, lying little waste of space, as deserving of love as a dead maggot. (The words are burnt into my brain.) What makes it worse and, paradoxically, better is that I had a natural mother who loved me wholeheartedly until I was eight. (My adoptive mother insisted until the day she died it was my laziness that killed my real mother.) I know what love is, but it made the contrast between what my childhood had been and what it became so much worse.
    By the way, all research I have come across has been for children who were unloved from birth, not for children like me. I still feel alone, even after reading your article.

  • January 19, 2016 at 7:32 am

    Agree PEG all so true.

  • January 19, 2016 at 10:18 am

    It’s both sad and affirming to see so many people speaking of the same maddening experience of having a selfish, unloving and abusive mother. “Home” was never a place of refuge for me. I left it at 18 but kept going back for the holidays and whenever my “help” was demanded because I thought I was obliged to.

    You know what, we don’t own a f’ing thing to our abusers. Treating someone horribly SHOULD have consequences, especially children! If we are willing to face the consequences of our own actions as responsible adults, why don’t we demand the same of our abusive parents? Cutting them off is the least they deserve.

    I’m 34 now and my mother/abuser is 74. I have gone no contact with her about two years ago and it’s amazing how much that reduced my base-line stress level! You don’t fully appreciate the stress you’ve been under until the weight gets lifted…

    I have also quit obscuring my story when I talk about my mother because I realized I was covering for her by doing so and undermining the legitimacy of my own hurt. I was surprised by how many of the people who knew both me and my mother understood and accepted my decision and judgement. I still have enough strangers/casual acquaintances who try to make me feel guilty for not having a good (or any) relationship with my mother, but there are always people who try to blame the victim in all kinds of situations – it’s a kind of infantile magical thinking, you know. They don’t want to believe that something horrible can just happen to somebody without any fault, because if it were true, it could happen to them or people they care about.

    Ironically, now that I’ve grown into an intelligent, kind and happy adult, that fact seems to undermine the legitimacy of my horrible past experiences to casual observers. It feels unfair, as though the level of my recovery serves to minimize the damage I suffered. So the sense of estrangement and loneliness is still there. And the occasional nightmares. But it’s been really good for my own sanity to move from the wounded “why doesn’t my mother love me?” to the open-eyed “Holy crap, I actually never had a ‘mother’; that woman I know is just a horrible person who exploited me”.

  • January 19, 2016 at 11:46 am

    At 31 I still felt like the only one who had suffered this until reading your article. I’ve known for some time now that she was the one with the problem and since she still uses passive aggression to pute down literally any time I speak to her, I have limited my contact with her to the point that I hardly have to see her at all, and she lives next door… I’ve realized that I’m so much happier and healthier when I have nothing to do with her. I’ll definitely look for your book on the topic. Thanks for writing about this.

  • January 19, 2016 at 10:47 pm

    Being an only child I can relate well to this . I have been counsling now over 25 years . Not one person said to me the term Narcissistic mother . It goes beyond what’s written here . She took everything away , and corrupted my only sons mind now where I now can say I have no family . I hope she dies , I really do . Today wouldnt be fast enough . She manages to lie and twist everything and she is convincing .

  • January 24, 2016 at 12:44 pm

    Thank you for your articles! I, too, had an unloving mother who shamed, ridiculed, and blamed me for her unhappiness. I truly couldn’t change her perceptions regardless of my achievements. At age 11, my father died. I remember being so heartbroken because he was the parent who truly loved me. My mother’s desire to control me even as an adult, drove me away. I worked hard in my early 30’s to overcome the intense hurt/anger as it had negatively impacted my ability to build a happy life up to that point. It wasn’t until I met with my mother’s sister (someone she discouraged contact with) in my early 30’s, and heard her talk about my mother, that I realized that I wasn’t to blame for her unhappiness. The experience was like an epiphany because it helped me see her as a human being. Yes, I was the target of her unhappiness, but it wasn’t personal. I was eventually able to forgive her. But it takes two people to resolve dysfunctional relationships and you can’t change a narcissistic mother. I decided to move on with my life and mentally divorced her to protect myself, because I could not turn off how upset I would get having any interaction from her. I developed a wonderful and loving relationship with my aunt, married and achieved successes in my career. But, the wounds of physical slaps, name calling (you are unlovable), public mocking of private confidences, and other verbal abuse took a long time to heal. My mother used to tell me the most hurtful thing her mother told her was she shouldn’t have children. She gleefully said the same thing to me when I married. She has since passed away. What a price she paid throughout her life. Thank you for writing about this type of negative relationship. While it is comforting to know I am not alone in my experiences, I feel great empathy for others who have had a similar journey. No one deserves this.

  • January 25, 2016 at 5:16 pm

    I can relate to so many of these comments. I was independent from a very early age. I was angry as a teen and left home at 17. The minute I was old enough I quit school (bored out of my mind/unable to trust or make friends) and promptly went and completed my GED the next day so she couldn’t make me go back. When she asked me what now? She suggested secretarial school. Not college which she helped both of my sisters attend. I joined the service, promptly married and divorced within a year. Single for sometime I married another person just because I had moved back to the area my family lived and was desperate to get out. We moved to Virginia where he promptly deployed for 7 months (it’s never the 6 they say it will be) and I fell in love with the man I would marry and have 2 children with. 26 and on my 3rd marriage. It took me 10 years to leave this alcoholic, verbally abusive person. One day shortly after that I read a statement by a psychologist who said that the belief that women marry their fathers and men marry their mothers was wrong. She believed that we all marry our mothers. That resonated instantly and deeply with me. It suddenly became clear that I HAD married my mother. Divorced by 37, I had begun college which I completed at 42 attending part-time. I tried rebuilding my life and being a good parent to my two kids. They say I did a good job. They have always been my first priority and I worked hard to make them both feel loved and accepted for who they are. Yet, I still struggle. My one sister won’t talk about or acknowledge that my relationship with mom was sick. Because I was defiant and she chose the passive aggressive route I think she believes I should have just shut up and stayed under the radar. The other sister was the golden child, though she’ll never admit that, claiming that she and mom had their disagreements. They did but mom always wanted to make sure she worked those ones out and they were close and she was accepted. I’ve never known that feeling. To this day I haven’t had another relationship with a man (more than 20 years). Both my ex and my mother are dead now. I still don’t trust people on more than a superficial level and tend to stay pretty much on my own. I go to work, fake it through my day, which exhausts me, spend time with my kids/grandkids, and work on my masters degree. I dread group projects as I feel I can’t deal with all of the personalities and yet find myself often appointed to a leadership role because I know how to get things done and become a convenient scapegoat if something goes wrong. I don’t rise in my jobs because I get so bored and sometimes my irritation shows so while I’m a good worker I’m not “good enough”. Still. After all these years, therapy, accomplishments, two good kids, still looking for all the things that are wrong with me.

  • January 25, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    Thank you. FINALLY, at 58years old, I have puzzle pieces falling into place that no one, prior to now, has been able to help me with. I couldn’t quite express what I couldn’t verbalize so that anyone COULD help. From the time I was 4 I remember feeling unsure and wary of my mother. My father spent most of my childhood on the road working and had no idea how she was when he wasn’t there and had his own anger issues, which she encouraged when he got home, after threatening us rather than parenting us…”wait until your father gets home” – she enticed him into such anger that he would beat us while she sat there looking very satisfied and smug. THAT’S MY MOM, may I someday be able to forgive her soul. My entire childhood was spent knowing that SOMETHING was wrong in our family and was even blamed for *it*, punished for *it* and abused for *it*. At 14, I was taken to a psychiatrist to be *fixed*. After he met with my parents, I was advised that, as soon as I turned 18, I got as far away from them as I could. I DID (after graduating with honors and doing it IN SPITE of them) but it did’t get her out of my head. So many things I found out after she died. Her entire past was a lie. My two older brothers that she abandoned and then later lied to in order to have them in her life, once more, her childhood, supposed traumas, her jealousy of me and my father, as well as of he and ANY women, even how she lied about me to my own half brothers (one of which raped me for his 21st birthday – she blamed ME – you can GUESS what that was about)) in order to deflect any blame or responsibility for what she did to THEM. When she was dying of pancreatic cancer and I was taking care of her, I asked her if I should call her sons to let them know what was happening and her response was “No, after what they did to me?” (meaning HERSELF)…I called them after she died, FOR MYSELF.

    I read the complete article last night, cried a ton and then felt a great validation within. I told my therapist all of this, this morning. I go weekly and love her wisdom to pieces. It hurts to relive the memories but it is also is a huge relief to understand that it really wasn’t me and while I may be damaged, I am NOT crazy. THANK YOU so very much. Again, some day I need to find a way to forgive her but it’s not today.

  • February 2, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    I am nearly speechless after stumbling into this blog. So many, verbatim, experiences like my own. At 57, I had no idea there were so many others … It’s felt like a shameful secret for so long.

    • February 2, 2016 at 3:25 pm

      That’s what a taboo does: locks the truth in the closet…But we are in the business of shedding light into dark corners. Best, Peg

  • February 8, 2016 at 1:46 am

    I have no contact with my so called mother . It took some time but I am so less stressed now . I wish I knew this earlier in my life . I’ve been in and out of counseling 25 years and not 1 person mentioned Narcissistic mother . I could be a lot better now . I could never put my finger on it . I feel I really didn’t get the best advice because it’s my reaction to it all bla bla bla . Then again some people go through their whole life never waking up . This so called mother also turned my only son against me too . When I would talk to him it sounded like I was talking to her . Here I am disabled and my son who is unemployed said I can work 2 days . That’s exactly what she said too a different time . Now she is a Dr. too I guess . I told him you expect your disabled mother ( me ) to work while you do nothing so I can pay your car Ins ? OK , I know I’m not nuts . The both of them are crazy . Anyway he became more and more verbally abusive and started accusing me of doing to him everything she did to me . Not true at all . One thing he said is I took everything away from him . Quite the opposite she’s managed to take everything and now him too away from me . The only thing he had taken was a bike. He still has all his other material things , and I helped him get a car . I was going to sign it over to him so he could pay his own ins . The next thing I know I’m being accused of trying to keep it and sell it for money . I asked him was he smoking crack . It’s so absurd and I know he knows better . I don’t understand . I was devastated because he just left and moved changed his number .I swear to God I did nothing . My boyfriend says he is an A hole and it’s his age . IDK , it’s like a different person . Ever since he had to ask her for money because I can no longer help him . I prayed many times for God to kill her . She’s nothing but EVIL , and I hate her .

  • February 11, 2016 at 7:26 am

    Hi there,

    For me it wasn’t only an unloving mother, but also an unloving alcoholic father. He was the super-critical one. I recognized every point. My mother only hurt me by being unloving and by not protecting me and my sisters from my father sufficiently. What my father did I call character-assassination and my mother did nothing to stop it. When I had become an adult she told me that she had been scared of him herself until I was 15. My parents weren’t intelligent and had had an unloving upbringing themselves. When I was in my fourties that started to explain a lot. When I was a teenager, or even earlier, I already realized that it wasn’t my fault that they couldn’t love me and that it was impossible that once I’d be able to leave this madhouse foregood that I’d be sane. That conviction somehow saved me, cause I was never reluctant to get therapy. I feel like my mother used to fail me, but also at the most important events in my life. The maybe strange thing is that since I started to live on my own, at 20, I haven’t projected my mother on other women. I didn’t assume at all that they would be like her. I guess because I had known all along that her behaviour wasn’t the natural behaviour of a mom. I was careful though around, mostly colleagues in those days, because I had been scared of my father my whole childhood. Especially i was scared to express my opinion to them. I hated that and I knew that when I’d get the chance I’d unlearn that. I knew inside which of my behaviours weren’t correct, but I’d be unable to change it on my own. I learned a lot in those days by watching the behaviour of my co-workers and by carefully listening to what they said. I know it’s called copying. It seems like everyone does that, but I did it a lot and not subconsciously.
    Anyway, I’m 54 now. When my father died I didn’t shed a tear. Ten years before I saved his life and he couldn’t even thank me.
    I’ve been in touch with my mother off and on, until I stopped feeling guilty while it was off. It’s off now and as far as I can tell it’ll stay off. That isn’t how I wanted it, but sometimes she’s able to do something to me that makes me hold my breath and at my age I don’t accept it anymore. At 43 I got intense therapy after many depressions, yes I paid the price, and it gave me to tools to change what I was unable to change by myself. I’ve finally discovered who I am. I don’t have to fight anymore to survive and I’m not surviving anymore, but living and enjoying the person who was always inside of me but did’t fully appear at all. Thank you for the article.

  • March 10, 2016 at 5:26 pm

    Why do I feel all this about my father abandoning me then? My mom loved me endlessly and still does! She was both parents growing up. Don’t pin this on just mothers.

    • March 10, 2016 at 5:35 pm

      Sheryl, I’m not “pinning” this on mothers. This blog is specifically about mothers and daughters. That doesn’t mean that fathers can’t inflict pain, obviously. It’s just not the subject here.

  • May 21, 2016 at 7:51 pm

    Hello. Do you know of any books that can help me with unloved daughter issues as help me be a more loving parentt? My mother is unloving and I have a 15 month old girl who I’m not feeling bonded. I try hard but she preferres my mother (can you believe it!?) And my partner over me… she is distant with me 😐 I feel like crap

    • May 22, 2016 at 6:51 am

      Babies are hardwired to connect to their mothers;even though Im neither a therapist nor a psychologist, the science says that the distance you’re feeling is coming from you, not her. Have you talked to a therapist to help resolve your own issues? That would be a great start. The best book on parenting in my opinion is PARENTING FROM THE INSIDE Out by Daniel Siegel and Mary Harzell…Fabulous book for any parent and explains how your behavior shapes the child with real science but in an understandable way. Best, Peg

      • May 22, 2016 at 2:18 pm

        I agree, thank you. I will try the book and therapy. Keep up your amazing work xx

  • July 14, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    I grew up with this from my father and my mother didn’t raise a hand to either stop it or offer comfort.

    I worried for a long time that I would end up like my parents, but I learned a very clear lesson on how not to be and I feel grateful to them for teaching me that.

    My inner strength started to emerge in my mid 30s and fully manifested at 40. I got a divorce as my girls’ father was treating them like my father treated me. I would not be my mother.

    My girls and I have an amazingly loving and strong relationship and I work every day to teach them by example.

  • July 14, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    Thank you so much for posting. This article hits on the head, exactly how I have felt right up until I cut ties with my mother just over a year ago.
    It’s good to know that I am not alone, though really bad that other people have gone through the same thing.
    Peg, you have helped me more than any therapist, doctor or friend because no one really understood what went on. All I head is how I must have done something to make my mother act the way she was.

    • July 14, 2016 at 3:28 pm

      You should demand a refund from the therapist for sure…YIKES. Best, Peg

  • July 16, 2016 at 11:05 am

    Hi Peg – I’ve recently discovered you and Dr. Mal kin and am forever grateful. I’m adopted and often wondered if my now 86 parents never really accepted they could not have their “own” kids. I was gas lighted by both my entire life. Now, I’m not doing it anymore. I’m 50 and therapy and supporting friends are helping me not be manipulated anymore. I’m sad it’s taken this long but grateful I’m getting the chance to heal. My parents showed little to no empathy for me growing up and my brother experienced it as well. Never fully accepted by Dutch relatives as we are not “blood” I’ve felt out of place my entire life. To this day though my father continues to gas light me. I luckily know what it is. I am reading Dr. Malkins book and it’s opened my eyes. My mom was not a natural mother. She was self absorbed and struggled with empathy and with kids. She used to punish me by placing my head under the faucet with the cold water running “to cool me off” when I was angry or not getting my way as a child. The latter effects of this tactic and other physical and verbal assaults both of them did to my brother and myself haunted me for years. They deny everything to this day. I wonder at times how I will live out the rest of my life. I managed to a Master’s degree in Counseling and live well. I’m grateful for survival. I appreciate you reading. I hope everyone experiencing these hardships know there’s hope. It’s hard i get scared at times and the ghost revists in the forms of boyfriends but I’m getting better at weeding them out. Thanks

  • October 10, 2016 at 7:55 pm


    I am so incredibly grateful for your voice, your understanding, your website.

    You have shed some much needed light on the darkness of unloved daughters by Narc mothers and have provided much insight and perspective from your personal journey.

    I resonate with your words and online community of like minded sisters.

    Thank You for being U and all that U do ~

    Much Appreciated ~

  • December 31, 2016 at 10:31 am

    I’ve been on the couch all week, no motivation to do anything, realizing there is still something wrong, and came across this blog.

    I’m dumb, stupid, can’t do nothing right and my mom wishes I was never born.

    Sure, my mom’s mother didn’t love my mom correctly either is the excuse along with my mom sobbing. Mrs. Know it all, but has never sought counseling or went to AChA!

    The man I called dad, sexually abused me when I was a kid, while my mom showed me no love. She left him and claims she never suspected anything.

    Removed from everything I knew, she decided to put me in a home. My real dad wouldn’t sign the papers and the day I met him, I moved in!

    I thank God for my step mom and her family.

    I’m surprised that few who commented struggled with addictions. That is how i survived.

    Not using now and it seems I have no motivation. I’m drained. 2 marriages, 5 girls, 10 yrs of recent “sudden” alcoholism, and still under my moms thumb.

    It was by the Grace of God and the love of my stepmom and dad that i am a very loving mom BUT we are still working with my alcoholism stage.

    I’m just not sure what’s wrong with me, still! I’m an openminded mom, been through plenty of therapy but need to get beyond this laziness I’m experiencing during my times off from work.

    Anyway, I’m glad someone has spoke out about the “bad” mother/daughter relationships.

  • July 8, 2018 at 3:59 pm

    Sadly this article describes me to the letter!


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