After seeing so many of you ladies recommend The Surrendered Wife, I finally decided to read it. It truly was an incredible book and I've already begun seeing changes in my relationship with my husband. It has also brought to light some major issues in other parts of my life.

One thing that keeps popping into my head is a paragraph near the beginning of the book where Laura Doyle says, "Long before we fell in love and married our husbands, every controlling wife suffered disappointments. At a young age, some of our most basic needs went unmet. … Whatever the cause, we then made the erroneous conclusion that no one would ever take care of us the way we wanted."

This struck a chord with me. I've been seeing a therapist weekly for the last 6 months and a recurring theme that we keep coming back to is that I wasn't really cared for, my emotional needs were unmet, and I grew up with a very warped idea of who I was and whether or not I was lovable. I started reading more about childhood emotional development and I began wondering if my mother was narcissistic.

I discovered a book called Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers by Karyl McBride. Near the beginning of the book she has a list of questions to ask yourself when determining if you were raised by a narcissistic mother. Not all of these will be true for every narcissistic mother since there is a spectrum of narcissism, but I found myself sobbing as I read through the list and checked off almost all of them.

  1. When you discuss your life issues with your mother, does she divert the discussion to talk about herself?
  2. When you discuss your feelings with your mother, does she try to top the feelings with her own?
  3. Does your mother act jealous of you?
  4. Does your mother lack empathy for your feelings?
  5. Does your mother support only those things you do that reflect on her as a good mother?
  6. Have you consistently felt a lack of emotional closeness with your mother?
  7. Have you consistently questioned whether or not your mother likes or loves you?
  8. Does your mother do things for you only when others can see?
  9. When something happens in your life (accident, illness, divorce), does your mother react with how it will affect her rather than how you feel?
  10. Is your mother overly conscious of what others think (neighbors, friends, family, coworkers)?
  11. Does your mother deny her own feelings?
  12. Does your mother blame things on you or others rather than take responsibility for her own feelings or actions?
  13. Is your mother hurt easily and does she carry a grudge for a long time without resolving the problem?
  14. Do you feel you were a slave to your mother?
  15. Do you feel you were responsible for your mother’s ailments or sickness (headaches, stress, illness)?
  16. Did you have to take care of your mother’s physical needs as a child?
  17. Do you feel unaccepted by your mother?
  18. Do you feel your mother is critical of you?
  19. Do you feel helpless in the presence of your mother?
  20. Are you shamed often by your mother?

The book goes on to discuss how being raised by a narcissistic mother affects you as an adult. The daughters of narcissistic mothers often fall into one of two categories: the overachiever or the self-saboteur. I thought of r/RedPillWomen when I read this section because I’ve gotten the sense around here that many of us are on the overachieving end of this spectrum. That’s why so many of us have found The Surrendered Wife to be helpful. We push, push, push in our professional lives and we have trouble figuring out how to stop controlling every aspect of our lives at home.

I’m certain that not all of you here are the daughters of narcissistic mothers, but I can’t help but wonder if a good share of you are. I’m hopeful that some of you might take an interest in Karyl McBride’s book so that you can start the recovery process. I think these two concepts, being raised without the proper emotional support we needed and finding it difficult to be passive, trusting wives, are closely linked.