Will I Ever Be Good Enough?: Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers

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The first book specifically for daughters suffering from the emotional abuse of selfish, self-involved mothers, Will I Ever Be Good Enough? provides the expert assistance you need in order to overcome this debilitating history and reclaim your life for yourself. Drawing on over two decades of experience as a therapist specializing in women's psychology and health, psychotherapist Dr. Karyl McBride helpsyou recognize the widespread effects of this maternal emotional abuse and guides you as you create an individualized program for self-protection, resolution, and complete recovery.

An estimated 1.5 million American women have narcissistic personality disorder, which makes them so insecure and overbearing, insensitive and domineering that they can psychologically damage their daughters for life. Daughters of narcissistic mothers learn that maternal love is not unconditional, and that it is given only when they behave in accordance with their mothers' often unreasonable expectations and whims. As adults, these daughters consequently have difficulty overcoming their insecurities and feelings of inadequacy, disappointment, sadness, and emotional emptiness. They may also have a terrible fear of abandonment that leads them to form unhealthy love relationships, as well as a tendency to perfectionism and unrelenting self-criticism, or to self-sabotage and frustration.

Herself the recovering daughter of a narcissistic mother, Dr. McBride includes her personal struggle, which adds a profound level of authority to her work, along with the perspectives of the hundreds of suffering daughters she's interviewed over the years. Their stories of how maternal abuse has manifested in their lives -- as well as how they have successfully overcome its effects -- show you that you're not alone and that you can take back your life and have the control you want.

Dr. McBride's step-by-step program will enable you to:

(1) Recognize your own experience with maternal narcissism and its effects on all aspects of your life
(2) Discover how you have internalized verbal and nonverbal messages from your mother and how these have translated into a strong desire to overachieve or a tendency to self-sabotage
(3) Construct a step-by-step program to reclaim your life and enhance your sense of self, a process that includes creating a psychological separation from your mother and breaking the legacy of abuse. You will also learn how not to repeat your mother's mistakes with your own daughter.

Warm and sympathetic, filled with the examples of women who have established healthy boundaries with their hurtful mothers, Will I Ever Be Good Enough? encourages and inspires you as it aids your recovery.

Customer Reviews:

  • If you have lived through it, you've got to read it, she is writing for you.
    I haven't finished it yet, however I knew just from reading the foreword that this had potential to be life changing for me. Things were identified "on paper" that I had never seen written anywhere, or had validated in my 46 years of trying to understand my relationship (or lack there-of) with my mom. It were as if I had written the book and was re-reading it. It is very hard to vocalize what you went through as a child, especially as the author explains, it seems so taboo when speaking negatively regarding your mother. Even when knowing it has been the experience of your life, and how it has affected your ability to form relationships, the way you feel about yourself---it is still almost impossible to stand firm in your experience, assert your truth--yet have others tell you "Ah, c'mon! She couldn't have been that bad!" These very kind of statements, unbeknownst to others, help keep us feel more insane.
    I am a substance abuse counselor, but I am now disabled. I too had worked with many women who had some variance of this kind of un-bonding with their mother. It is one hellish way to grow up, because you do not really know who you are. As Ms. McBride has so brilliantly written, in a nutshell, we weren't given the same tools nor loving nourishment as most children. Children mirror themselves as they grow, looking for cues--guidance, acceptance, limits, wonder---fear--everything from their main caregiver. As Ms. McBride references, we had criticism, either being exhibited like a quippy doll, which I can relate to, or being ignored...because you're just "something to tolerate". None of which invoke feelings of warmth or belonging. This author really knows it, and hits it home. She lived it too and you relate to her from the very first page.

    Now, along with identifying with how it affected us---Equally IF NOT Most important : we can learn how to nurture ourselves. We learn how our Moms end up like this. If we don't do this work, we will quite possibly repeat it, even as much as it hurt us. This book IS NOT about blaming, it's about healing, accepting that no, we didn't have our best friends mom. The reality of it is, we will never have the relationship we keep killing ourselves trying to have with OUR moms. It's Okay. So far, this is a great book, I especially like the use of other women's stories. I'm grateful I read the article about this book, I know I was meant to. I don't believe much in coincidences. I love that life gives us opportunities to keep growing if we choose. That our minds have the capacity for more and more information-- and that getting old also means gaining wisdom through life's experiences! Always something to look forward to. Mistakes are okay, we get do-overs!...more info
  • Wow, great book!
    I've read a million self-help books with respect to mother/daughter relationships. This book was truly enlightening and opened my eyes to such beneficial stuff. I read it in 2 days and am already applying it in my communications w/ my mother. It definitely lifts the burden off of you and helps you understand where the issue really lies. I highly recommend this book. ...more info
  • Ground Breaking Book
    Rather than an esoteric view of maternal narcissism, this author has kept it simple, concise, and very easy to read. The point-by-point outline, stringers and explanations were to put it simply, brilliant. She interjected explanations to the descriptions of what a narcissist is, and thereby gave it a more feeling touch.

    I was to discover ah-ha's on each and every page, to see how the behavior of my parent impacted on my life in more ways than I would have believed possible. The pain of never feeling good enough, to beginnings of understanding that I am more than good enough has been an incredible journey. Though often fraught with potholes, backtracking and questioning my own sanity, the good doctor has brought it all around full circle via her book. Suddenly and joyously, someone finally understood! I felt validated and no longer alone on this journey.

    To my mind, the chapters on healing were rich with ideas that have ripened into workable solutions that I have been applying successfully to my life; I am looking forward to the future through very different eyes.

    While not a full out answer to many of the problems associated with this devastating blow to the ego of a small child, it surpasses my expectations and excites me with the possibilities. This is a book well worth reading for layman and therapists alike. For me, this was a deeply satisfying read.

    D.E. Waugh
    ...more info
  • I love it!
    This book is easy to read, informative, interesting, and more! I accidentally found this at the library and truly enjoyed it. I returned the book and will now buy a copy for myself. There are exercises to do to help if you've grown up with a narcassistic mother. I'd like to buy several copies for others in my life....more info
  • Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Book review
    This book arrived in perfect condition soon after it was ordered. It is an easy read, with helpful information. I would definitely recommend it....more info
  • life saver
    This is by far the best self-help book I've ever read. I felt such an immense sense of relief at having a specific label / profile to explain so much of my life and my relationship with my mother. I can't even express how helpful this book has been. It's written in a very straightforward way, no lingo to deal with. She really focuses on first identifying the issues, then practical steps to go through that will improve your life. I would highly recommend this book....more info
  • Very helpful!
    Dr. McBride introduces the concept of The Collapse. It was the first time in my life I understood that "punched in the gut feeling" when my mother made some remark about me and my emotional state. I read it in two days and highly recommend it!...more info
  • A useful book
    I liked that this book not only had theory in it, but had practical steps for making changes in your life....more info
  • Heartfelt, Wise, and Practical
    The Food & Feelings Workbook: A Full Course Meal on Emotional Health [FOOD & FEELINGS WORKBK -OS]

    As a psychotherapist, author of self-help books, and daughter of a narcissistic mother, I found this book excellent and highly recommend it. It's clear, readable, insightful, and gives you what many books don't--answers to how to heal old wounds. It's not only useful for daughters with narcissistic mothers, but those who had narcissistic fathers as well because many of the concepts McBride discusses apply to them. My only regret is that McBride doesn't talk more about what happens when both mom and dad are narcissistic, as is sadly often the case....more info
  • Will I Ever Be Good Enough
    ...this book is excellent - goes right to the heart of the matter for those of us who've been unable to make or keep mom happy......more info
  • A must have!
    This is an excellent book. It changed completely my perception of narcissism. I always took "narcissism" literally. ie someone who cared about their appearance.... This book was painfully and thankfully close to the bone. I feel I can deal much better with my Mother but I also see how it effected my brothers as well. I used to feel very alone with this and finally at 47 I realize there are a lot of us out there. Thank you Thank you Karyl McBride!...more info
  • Excellent! A must read for daughters of narcissistic mothers
    Will I Ever Be Good Enough is a powerful resource for women who are seeking to understand and grow past their troubled, painful relationship with their narcissistic mother. Karyl McBride's insight and observations ring true: she has been there, and traveled this painful road herself. She has much to offer that goes beyond mere clinical observations: she understands the heartbreak and trauma that daughters of narcissistic mothers have experienced, and the wide reaching devestation in their lives.

    McBride makes an interesting point, drawn from her own experiences in therapy: If one was raised by a narcissistic mother, the complexities of the dysfunctional mother/daughter relationship must be specifically addressed - or the daughter will probably spend much time, energy and expense trying to figure out what is wrong with her. There are specific, predictable outcomes from this type of mothering, and Dr. McBride describes them in a clear, readable manner with plenty of anecdotes drawn from her practice.

    The author offers specific recovery steps that have helped her and many others. In this way she offers a practical hope that some books on narcissism fail to convey. Sometimes, narcissists are portrayed as an almost superhuman evil, which is naturally how their terrified, traumatized children will view them. Narcissism is nasty stuff, and narcissists can be unimagineably vicious, but McBride deals with the narcissistic mother in a practical, realistic manner. She does not empower her by presenting her as unconquerable or all powerful. Rather, she shares insights that instead empower the daughter to face these difficult issues and make necessary changes in her own life and the ways she relates to her mother. McBride is compassionate, but does not promote victimhood. She addresses the daughter's trauma in a sensitive, practical way, with clear, specific steps necessary for recovery. She struck a good balance here, and I think it is one of the book's strongest points.

    In addition to being insightful and helpful, Will I Ever Be Good Enough is also a good read. I recommend it highly, along with a new journal, a good pen, and a fresh cup of tea.

    (I also found Enough About You Lets Talk About Me by Les Carter to be very helpful. He is a Christian and confronts narcissism within that context, which as a Christian I found very insightful. But it does not address Mother/daugher issues.)
    ...more info
  • exactly what i needed most
    From my girlfriend "At about 2 months of having to meet my mum, and browsing around for something which could practically help me (i can't afford therapy now), i was almost desperate when i found this book by chance. I needed to know what are my options in terms of attitude to adopt and of course their expected consequences. I knew recently my mum has a NPD and just could not figure out what to do now: about ME and about ME and HER. This book really helps! i am doing a self-therapy and i feel much more confident now. Of course if you look for a clinical book, you better buy something else, this is practical and i could recognize most of the things said there in my situation. I don't agree with some conclusions but again, i know each situation is different and congratulate the author for this compilation which just fits me!"
    ...more info
  • You have to buy this book!
    I was only on page 8 and I had said, "This is my mom and what she would say and do," over and over again. I can not put this book down. It's really helping me out....more info
  • Finally Validation
    I just received this book and I'm almost finished. A lot of it reads true to my own life. Although I don't think my mother was exceptionally cruel she was heavy with the hand and put a great deal of responsibility on me as a child. The criticism never ends. I am an overachiever but can't manage to take a compliment. My self esteem on the outside seems high but in all actuality it's in the toilet. My mother was very jealous of my relationship with my father and has never seemed to be able to be happy about any of my successes. My brother on the other hand was a prince to her and we were treated very differently and still are. I've beaten myself up until reading this book. Finally the validation I needed to deal with the pain of not being able to truly bond with my mother. My ex-boyfriend who is Borderline kept insisting that my mother was Borderline also but the more research I did I realized she was Narcissistic and this book confirmed it. It has helped me to heal, to forgive her, to stop blaming myself and to take a good look at my own behavior towards my children. I can see some of the cycle continuing and I'm working on being less critical and demanding of my own children. This book was an absolute God send and I highly recommend it. There has been an incredible weight lifted knowing that I am not unlovable but had a mother who was incapable of loving. I want to ensure that my children never have to feel that way. It's a lot of work but I catch myself now and I'm able to correct my own behavior. ...more info
  • Will I Ever Be Good Enough?
    Ordering this book was a great experience. Amazon did a four star job and the book is excellent ...more info
  • Worth It's Weight in Gold
    This book is well-written, extremely insightful, and well structured. It is written in a tone as if the therapist is talking directly to you.

    If you have lived with a narcissistic mother, you may not even realize it, or how it has affected you. You may realize that something is wrong, but not know what or how to fix it. If so, this book is for you....more info
  • I am now good enough !
    Since reading this book I am experiencing a new begining to my life. I am 73yrs. old and looking forward to an exciting new life. I highly recommend this book to anyone who longs for relief from the negative voices carried through life from childhood and from looking for nurturing and love in all the wrong places. An added bonus, if you have empathy, you are not, I repeat, you are not Narcissistic....more info
  • A little too late, but just in time!
    This book changed everything for me. I finished the book in two days. I think that over the years I concluded that my childhood was to blame for my bad days. However, if I were to say that out loud people would think I was just crazy. Words just cannot express how much this book has helped me heal (still helping). I can finally say to myself that 'it's not your fault.' My hope is that I can get my sister to read the book and have the same feelings. Maybe we can learn to be lovable women and get what we deserve! Thank you for this book! ...more info
  • Finally!
    Finally a book about narcissistic mothers that describes the subtle nature of emotional neglect and abuse and kills the myth that all mothers are benevolent! It's hard to heal the narcissitic wound when it is a result of emotional neglect and put downs and there is no physical bruise or easy explanation like "my mother is an alcoholic". I've been in therapy for approx. 18 years and still struggle with a lifetime of never being good enough and still being placed in competition with my mother by her (even though she is 80). I was glad to hear that it's okay to have little or no contact with a narcissitic mother, since I've struggled with the guilt about having a mother like her and feel that her distancing herself from me is my fault and I am responsible for the relationship and for fixing it.

    One section in the book that I did not agree with was the author's comments that the daughter should not show any anger or frustration toward the narcissitic mother. One important aspect of my healing was to stand up to my mother and demonstrate my separateness and that I too am accomplished. (I had never rebelled as a teenager, since it was essentially forbidden with the unspoken threat love would be withheld.) Even though this turned out to be a threat to her it was important for me to see that I have my own sense of power apart from her. I've also tried to reach out in ways trying to build bridges that would put as on equal footing. This was to no avail but these steps have been important in my trying to build the communication with her and determine I'd done everything in my power to try and make a relationship work. It's even harder to be the daughter of a narcissistic mother when the theological messages coming from her were that disobedient children are evil and she was picked out as special by God from the time she was 8.

    This book offers hope and resonated so much with my experience. Those childhood abandonment fears and post-traumatic stress reactions still happen to me but I know where they are coming from and I continue to fight through them with hope....more info
  • A Good Start
    The title of this book is originally what inspired me to pick it up. "Will I ever be good enough?" is a question that had constantly haunted me without really knowing the reasons behind its origins. Dr.McBride's book was the only time I really addressed my upbringing and childhood relationship with my mother as a possibility or cause for my adult neuroses.
    The author divides the book into three parts: "Recognizing the Problem", "How Narcissistic Mothering Affects Your Entire Life", and "Ending the Legacy". I thought the first two parts of the book were fantastic and definitely worth reading to understand the impact a narcissistic mother can have on one's life. However, I felt a little disappointed with the last section of the book which is devoted to self-recovery. I think the author suggests some "stepping stones" to get readers pointed in the right direction but ultimately paltry when compared to the depth of the rest of the book.
    Overall this book was well worth reading. I would recommend it to anyone who has ever asked themselves the question on the cover. However, I would suggest further reading and soul-searching, but it is a good start....more info
  • Highest Praise for a book that Grants Freedom
    After years of therapy followed by twenty years of no-contact with my disturbingly problematic mother, all of the broken pieces of understanding finally came together when I read this book. Historical and philosophical analysis of narcissistic personalities has its place, but rarely does the associated jargon help the victim come out from their denial, let alone give them a clue about how to live differently. This book does that. Not only did the truth of my mother's issues finally sink in, but I discovered for the first time the dynamics between my siblings. More importantly, I found a compassion that I never thought could exist. I finally feel free. If there was anything missing from this book, it might be a better understanding of why all of the children of these personalities are not equally targeted by the Narcissistic mother. Despite that, I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Thank you, Ms. McBride for your dedication on this subject....more info


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