“In this image-conscious age, it is a bittersweet moment for many mothers to confront the fact that their daughter’s beauty eclipses her own,” writes Katerine Knight for the DailyMail. “It is a rite of passage that most women, while far from thrilled, are pragmatic enough to accept as a part of life. But not 50-year-old Janet.” The article goes on to tell about Janet (50) who spent $58,000 on plastic surgery to look exactly like her daughter, Jane (28) rationalizing that it was she who gave Jane her looks, after all.

A narcissistic mommy if there ever was one! And she’s not the only one inspiring headlines.

Mommy Midlife Crisis

“She started gambling, she started taking trips down to Vegas and she got a totally different hairstyle — dramatically different,” Teresa Robinette told Megyn Kelly, speaking of her sister, the now infamous Louise Turpin.”She told me that her and David had met a man online from Huntsville, Alabama…and that she was going to sleep with him.”

Ah yes. The dreaded “mid-life crisis.” It hit Louise at age forty when her eldest daughter, Jennifer, was twenty. But wait! It should have been her daughter’s time to shine, to explore, maybe even rebel. A time for middle-aged Mama to take a step back and allow her daughter to bask in her youthful beauty, explore romance and develop as a beautiful and sexy young woman. A time of beauty, health and fertility for Jennifer.

A normal mother supports her daughter through this time. Not so a narcissistic mother! Hells no.

A narcissistic mother looks into the eyes of the lovely adult woman she raised and thinks, “It’s on, bitch!” The competition. To see who’s the most beautiful, the most attractive, the most sexy. To see if this insecure middle-aged Mama still “has it” – either by sending her daughter’s boyfriends packing or stealing them for herself.

The Wallflower

Let me tell you what this was like for Jennifer Turpin and for any daughter of a narcissistic mother. Jennifer must have known how pretty she was. She must have known young women of her age were dating, marrying and starting families. In fact, she may have tried to run away when they lived in Texas.

Instead, she was returned to the bosom of her family where she had to watch, miserable and probably jealous, while her Mama got her hair styled and dyed blonde. She had to watch her Mama don lipstick, eyeshadow and earrings. She had to watch her Mama sashay in an off-the-shoulder gown down the aisle for vow renewal after vow renewal while she, Jennifer, was dressed in the same Little House on the Prairie gingham dress her six-year-old sister was wearing, her hair styled exactly like all of her sisters.

At the height of her beauty, eligibility, fertility and sexuality, Jennifer was forced to watch her mother fall pregnant, again and again. Watch her mother swan off for a tryst with a complete stranger. Mind her brothers and sisters or perhaps lie chained to her bed while her parents indulged in their middle-aged teenage rebellion.

Femina Secondus

Can you imagine the misery Jennifer felt? Put yourself in her shoes. It’s probably easy for you because you’ve lived it. It’s easy for me too. I was always Femina Secondus and found myself eaten alive by the green-eyed monster of jealousy when my parents revisited their romantic youths and went through their mid-life crisis at the very time I should have been developing into a young woman.

My twenty-seven months of isolation began just after I turned sixteen. Thankfully, my parents turned to each other during their midlife crisis and appeared to be reviving their romance, rekindling the old flame. Week after week, I sat in the corner of the Living Room while they pushed the furniture against the walls, reliving their 1970s disco dancing dates. They tipped their hat to including me, but I knew I was a third wheel. A very isolated, lonely third wheel who did not deserve all the blame and shame they shoveled my way.

Being utterly isolated from males of my age during this time, as Jennifer Turpin was, was torturous to me. Dad promised I could go to church youth group, but we both knew it was a piecrust promise, easily made, easily broken. He even declined my one-and-only date invitation without even asking me. My one chance to see my old classmates again on the arm of my Junior High “sweetheart”…ruined.

The coup de grâce came one day when my mother showed up in an outfit I had been forbidden from wearing because my father deemed it “immodest.” (It wasn’t!) Yet there she was in that exact get-up, enjoying herself at the city park, a vivid hickey on her neck. (I later confront her about the outfit and she said she didn’t realize and apologized to me.)

Yeah, I know exactly how Jennifer feels. It’s crazy-making when you aren’t allowed to become a woman while your mother revels in womanhood, almost rubbing it in your face.

Milestones

Like all daughters of narcissists, Jennifer Turpin missed out on every milestone a young woman should enjoy. Giggling about boys on the phone with her girlfriends, having a first date, a first kiss, a first dance. Becoming comfortable with her new womanly body, exploring fashions, developing a figure-flattering wardrobe. Choosing her own hairstyle. Daughters of narcissists don’t get those milestones.

Narcissistic mothers don’t allow their daughters to become women in their own right. It’s too threatening. They are Femina Primus. They are the WOMAN. They are the MAMA. They are IN CHARGE. It doesn’t matter how old you get: your mama still calls the shots. Complain at your peril. I tried it in my late twenties; the angry lecture I got still echoes in my ears.

Oh, it gets worse!

Lochinvar Mommie

One touch to her hand, and one word in her ear,
When they reach’d the hall-door, and the charger stood near;
So light to the croupe the fair lady he swung,
So light to the saddle before her he sprung!
“She is won! we are gone, over bank, bush, and scaur;
They’ll have fleet steeds that follow,” quoth young Lochinvar.

Young Lochinvar by Sir Walter Scott tells us of a young man who steals away a young woman. Narcissistic mothers steal away their daughter’s young men. They’re notorious for it. If they can’t steal ’em away with their experienced sexuality and womanly (if somewhat wrinkled and crepey) wiles, they’ll send ’em packing.

Think back. How many boyfriends did your mother either alienate, send packing, order you to dump or flirt with herself? Yeah. Tell me about it!

It struck me strange. Really weird. When I was twenty-three-ish, I exchanged messages with a couple of guys I’d met on a message group. Suddenly, my mother was writing to the very same guys. It was weird!

But it doesn’t stop there. Of course, I can never be sure. I always assumed my track record of broken relationships and just-one-dates were due to Mom’s usual reasons: 1) morality and 2) “he’s not good enough for you. ” But now I find myself wondering. Was it something else? Perhaps even a green-eyed monster?

When my Junior High “sweetheart” wanted to restart our relationship in March 2004, it was Mom who drafted “my” email telling him, nicely, to piss off. (I wanted to give him a second chance.) When a John Smith invited me for coffee, it was Mom who searched online court records and found a John Smith with a court record. (No coffee date for me!) When a coworker stroked my arm, it was Mom who furiously ordered me to quit that job, sit on the cold hardwood floor and color her scuffed furniture with magic markers for punishment. (Unemployed!) When another coworker and I fell for each other, it was Mom who furiously refused to speak to me for two days. (Oops, he was married.) When a date kissed me g’nite on the cheek, it was Mom who treated me as if I had AIDS. (That was the last time I saw him!)

And when I met my (now) husband, it was Mom who said, “Now, if you meet him, you can’t hug him”…but when I married him, she sure didn’t “leave room for the Holy Spirit” when she hugged him!

As Janet boasted to the DailyMail, boyfriends can’t tell her apart from her daughter. Ha, ha, ha.

Forgive me if I don’t laugh!

Does it end there? Not on your tintype. Click here to read Part 2!