Is Your Mother Competing With You? Is It Time To Say “ENOUGH”?

By Val Boyko • January 24th, 2011

An earlier honest conversation post where a daughter told her mother how her comment had hurt her, made me think about how some mothers compete with their daughters …. and often don’t realize it!

On the one hand mothers are proud of us, but on the other, they can also be jealous of what we have that they feel was denied to them. This is fertile ground for internal struggle and resentment that can leak out in barbed comments and criticisms.

At times like this I try to remind myself that we are all human beings. For every positive part of us there is a negative part. We need both sides of our nature to be balanced. If we didn’t have our dark side, then the light side wouldn’t exist. There’s a lot of writing about the dark or shadow side in us, but I won’t go into it here. What is important to take away is that it is a part of being human that we have both sides, and it’s okay!

Our mothers have both sides too. If we are idealizing our mother by putting her on a pedestal or demonizing her, then we are not accepting her for who she is – or being real about both sides of our own selves.

If this is so, then saying “Enough” is not enough. Recognizing that competition and envy exists alongside love, is the Mother Whispering approach.

It’s up to you whether you choose to bring it up in a conversation or not. Some older women in particular may not be able to look within themselves or be able to face the negative aspects of themselves they have been blind to for so long. Look into your heart for the answer to what to do if your mother is competing with you, rather than needing to be right about it.

What about you – what would you do?



I think your article raises a good point; that acceptance of envy and jealously coexisting with love can be a good starting point for reconciliation or forgiveness. That there is a “balance” to be struck between good and bad, light and dark.
But I feel strongly that this does not address the severe psychological (and sometimes physical) abuse the daughter of a mother with “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” or at the very least a mother with overt narcissistic tendencies must endure throughout their formative years.
The reason I mention it is that when you’ve been raised by someone who truly DOES struggle to love you at all, it’s difficult to accept that these ‘barbed comments’ and ‘criticisms’ coexist with any laudable feelings whatsoever.
I just wanted to comment and mention NPD and narcissism – I think this general article may downplay the deliberate and continual abuse of daughters (and sometimes of sons) from mothers with this spectrum of mental disorder. I would like to encourage any reader who feels that this article is an ‘understatement’ to look into NPD and see if it doesn’t fit better. And if it does – to seek professional help. As a daughter of an NPD-Mom, I believe that therapy is essential for getting by, let alone helping us along a path of healing and reconciliation. It’s a VERY difficult situation to navigate alone, and I found that the recommended literature wasn’t enough to help me understand my intense feelings of self-hatred, despair and repressed anger. If this is you too, be encouraged! Help is available, and it really will help you to understand your mother (and patch things up, or to move on with your life without her!).

Hi Ashley, I absolutely agree that when there is severe psychological or physical abuse that therapy is not only helpful but essential to bring about healing. No matter the range or scale of our experience as daughters of narcissistic mothers, knowing that we are not alone and that there is help out there is SO powerful. Thank you for stating this so clearly!
Connecting with those who understand, whether it be in a therapist’s office, in a local group of women or in a virtual community, is also a powerful part of the healing. Once we find a way to deal with our pain, our heart can begin to open up once more. That is the place of forgiveness and acceptance…. and ultimately peace of mind.

sorry. but i cannot relate to this. a mother should have unconditional love for her children. a real, loving mother would take the spotlight away from her so that her children would shine the brightest. afterall, when you have kids, it is not about you anymore. mothers who compete have internal issues or have insecurity problems that may be rooted in their own childhood. being around this kind of personality could be detrimental not only to the relationship but also to the emotional health of the person involved. sucking it all up will only work to some extent but no one of us has bottomless understanding.

Jen, you are right, and I’m happy that you can’t relate to this. It shows that your mother relationship has been a loving and supportive one. Daughters of narcissistic mothers find ways to cope as best they can. When they are young, being strong and sucking it up may be their only option. There are so many adult daughters out there who are still hurting, and finding ways to cope while still having a mother relationship can mean having to set clear boundaries and yes, some sucking up.


Leave a Comment

« | Home | »

  • Join The Mother Whisperers Community

    Become a Member
    * indicates required
  • group of women
  • COMMUNICATION QUIZ - Can You Make These Statements?

    Ask yourself if you make any of the following 15 statements. Find out if you are expressing yourself fully and are communicating with openness and presence.
    • SCORING The highest possible score is 30, and the lowest is zero. The higher the score, the higher your likelihood of having success in all your relationships. 0-9: You probably find yourself frustrated in relationships (especially with your mother) more often than you would like. 10-15: You have a high aptitude for relating and are open to learning 16-24: You have good relationship skills. How can you apply them more to your mother relationship? 25-30: Congratulations! Your capacity for present-centered relating is at a very high level.
  • Categories

  • Blogroll

  • Archives

Please make an appointment to talk about what's going in your relationship and to see if coaching or our services would help!