Maternal Envy: 5 Reasons Why Mothers are Jealous of Their Daughters

Wondering why some mothers are jealous of their daughters? In this post, we explore the phenomenon of mothers being jealous of their daughters. 

Some mothers are jealous of their daughters
Photo by Nickolas Nikolic on Unsplash

No doubts, a mother is always perceived as an ever-loving soul who does everything within her reach to see that her children attain their full potentials by sacrificing, supporting, and loving her children unconditionally. But some moms are something else.

Last weekend, my girlfriend came to me in an emotionally broken state and she couldn’t hold back her tears as she shared her painful story of the messy relationship she had with her mom.

While growing up, she had always known that the relationship between her and her mom has never been good and she never knew why.

She always blamed herself for everything as she believes she can never be worthy of her mom’s love, attention, and support.

Because she had done whatever she could to be on the best side of her mother but to no avail as whatever she does is often met with disdain and criticism.

But after an in-depth observation of everything that had ever transpired between them, she realized that her mother had been jealous of her all along.

Jealous of her educational opportunities and successes, jealous of her every accomplishment, and even jealous of her looks. That’s kind of bizarre.

Disheartened, she couldn’t find any sense to as why her mom would be having such feelings about her.

And we both concluded that something is somehow wrong with her mother.

Also, wondering why a mother would be jealous of her daughter? Here are five possible reasons.

1. She Has Narcissistic Tendencies

Even though it was hard for my girlfriend to admit and come to terms with the fact that she was suffering from maternal envy, we now know that her mother is narcissistic and that’s the reason behind the strained relationship between the two.

Her mother has a long history of being extremely self-centered and egocentric, she loves being the center of attention and she can go whatever length to make it happen. In fact, according to a few of her closest friends, she behaves like the world revolves around her. That’s why we concluded that she’s narcissistic.

The truth is, some Mothers are jealous of their daughters, as narcissistic mothers often turn to jealousy and envy to compensate and make up for their messy self-esteem. In other words, their enviousness provides them with some form of temporary comfort to their insecurities.

This is why they incessantly criticize or devalue their victims. The dynamic between narcissistic mothers and their daughters is often marked by a toxic cycle of jealousy and envy, where the mother’s own insecurities manifest as a desire to undermine and belittle their daughters.

Leaving the victim wallow in abject pain, self-doubt, and helplessness. As they’ll be forced to give up their personal needs and desires so that they’ll become an extension of their mothers who are never meant to outshine her.

As Mckenna Meyers of We Have Kids suggests, daughters of narcissistic mothers should embrace their inner world: their thoughts, emotions, and dreams. By writing in a journal daily It allows them to get in touch with themselves and, finally, figure out who they are and what they want from life.

Suggested Reading: 10 Subtle Signs You Are A Great Girlfriend

2. She’s In Menopause

After my girlfriend pored out her pains to me, knowing full well that something is wrong with her mom, we decided to research reasons why some mothers are jealous of their daughters.

And one of them is, being in menopause.

Menopausal jealousy often comes as a result of mothers struggling with the natural change of life as daughters transit into adulthood.

“During menopause, a mom may feel less womanly, less desirable, and less relevant in our youth-obsessed society. She may endure physical changes such as weight gain, dry skin, thinning hair, and coarsening facial hair. She may witness her daughter attracting men’s attention when she no longer does. As a result, she can feel more anxious and less confident.” Wrote Mckenna Meyers.

As Ms. Meyers pointed out, Mothers are often jealous of their daughters during menopause as they might develop anxiety and feel less confident. This can lead to feelings of jealousy when their daughters receive attention from men, especially considering the physical changes that indicate they are aging.

However, it’s important to note that menopausal envy is quite normal and distinct from narcissistic maternal envy. In such a situation, daughters are advised to exercise patience and show consideration as their mothers will eventually get over that feeling in no time

Either way, it won’t be a bad idea to seek support from other relatives or friends until when things change for the better.

3. She’s Possessive of Her Husband

Life itself is already full of pains, sufferings, and hardships. But the pains associated with having a loose and unhealthy relationship with both parents are on another level.

Some moms are so insecure up to the extent that they deliberately create a wedge between their daughters and husbands.

Insecurity arising from her low self-esteem makes her so possessive of her husband that she couldn’t afford to share him with anyone, not even her daughters. Bizarre isn’t it?

Helpless daughters of such mothers’ lives are always worse if their Dads are so weak and helpless towards their wives’ insecurities and hence forsake their children.

Leaving the children to pass through despicable pains as they feel unlovable and unworthy of any love throughout their childhood stage. And even as adults, daughters of such parents are often saddened and disturbed about the strained relationship they have with their parents.

For such a daughter, “working with a good therapist can help her understand her mother’s envy and the role it played in keeping her and her father apart.” Ms. Meyers wrote.

Recommended Read: 7 Insecure Habits That Makes You a Terrible Girlfriend

4. She Regrets Her Unfulfilled Dreams

I have been thinking of what to call such feelings. Those painful regretful feelings about one’s choices of life. Feelings that you never achieved what others achieve with ease. That emotional depression associated with watching someone living a life you know you can’t afford to live.

Disheartened, the disappointment of how you measure up against that person will force you to be endlessly jealous and resentful of him or her.

In the same way…

One of the main reasons why some mothers are jealous of their daughters is that their daughters might be leaving their unfulfilled dreams.

As earlier mentioned, the emotional depression of watching her daughter living a life she couldn’t afford to live might force a mother to be jealous or envious of her offsprings.

5. She’s Emotionally Absent

I read a great book — The Emotionally Absent Mother by Jasmin Lee Cori.

Sometimes, emotional absence usually results from a poor childhood experience where someone never got his or her needs, wants, and desires attended to. Experience where someone never got the love, support, and comfort they needed from their parents.

Some mothers are emotionally absent, and this can be the actual reason why they don’t feel proud or happy whenever their daughter achieves greater things. Instead, they may become sad or even jealous because they weren’t given such great opportunities to shine while growing up.

In these cases, mothers are jealous of their daughters due to their own unfulfilled desires and missed chances for success. When someone’s childhood is affected or limited by an emotionally unavailable mother, she, in turn, grows to be an insensitive adult who hardly connects with her kids emotionally.

The jealousy that arises from the mother’s unmet needs can create a barrier in the mother-daughter relationship, hindering the ability to celebrate each other’s accomplishments.

Final Thoughts

I’m not sure I would dare to believe that a mother would stoop so low that she’d be jealous and envious of her own daughter.

But considering what my girlfriend had passed through over the years, I realized that some mother-daughter relationships are quite messy.

Even though all parent-children relationships come with their own fair share of dramas and problems, maternal envy is simply one of the rebellious sisters of the maternal archetype where a mother is depicted as the nurturing, selfless carer who protects and provides for her offspring at any cost to herself.

I can only hope that my girlfriend and every other woman or girl out there who are suffering from maternal envy, pull through such traumatic experiences and learn to be more compassionate towards their mothers who are also humans with their flaws and feelings.

J. Emmanuel is a results-obsessed relationship blogger and founder of Top Love Hacks with more than half a decade of experience, dedicated to helping you level up your dating and relationship game by motivating you to be in control of your love life. His widely read work has been featured on Tiny Buddha, The Good Men Project, Publishious, Curious, to mention but a few.

Recommended reading: 7 Reasons Why It’s Hard to Find A Good Man

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