Sanctuary for the Abused

Monday, March 15, 2021

Emotionally Abusive Mothers

(I started this file a couple of years ago and never posted it because I never finished it to my satisfaction, but I've decided it has enough helpful information on it to post as is. Steve Hein, March 2005)


I started noticing how mothers treated their children and teens around 1994 when I began to make mental notes on a mother in the neighborhood where I grew up. She had a daughter named Zoey. (1) The last time I saw Zoey she was 14 or 15. As a teen she was already more mature than her mother. Zoey and I had long talks about her mother, a single parent. Zoey could see how she acted hypocritically, inconsistently, irresponsibly and irrationally. Among other things, Zoey felt critical of her for the way she drank and acted with men. When Zoey told her mother what she thought of her behavior, the mother only got more defensive. In my 1996 book Zoey's mother was the subject in the following observation:
One day I heard a mother hurling imperatives at the family dog. "Get back here! Get over here! Get inside the house!" A few moments later her teenage daughter came outside and the mother began ordering her around in exactly the same tone of voice she had just used on the dog.
EQ for Everybody, S. Hein, p 125
Since the creation of the EQI website in 1996 I have documented many examples of emotional abuse by mothers. While the organization of these examples is not yet complete, I've decided to publish a summary of what I have so far because I feel a responsibility to share it with the public. In particular, I was motivated by a book titled "Saving Jessie." This is a mother's account of her trying to "save" her daughter from a multi-year heroin addiction which began as a teen. Throughout the book the mother fails to take any responsibility for causing the pain which led Jesse directly to use the drug to try to numb this pain. By the mother's own words we see example after example of emotional abuse. It is the same kind of abuse I have seen in the homes of the suicidal and self-harming teens. But never before have I seen such a detailed account, written by a mother herself, of emotional abuse. The most troubling thing to me is that not only did this mother fail to see what she was doing, but I believe she is representative of most mothers who are convinced their teenagers are growing up in "loving, supportive" families.

I personally believe society has failed to see what is really going on in so many seemingly "good" homes -- homes where the material needs are met, but the emotional needs are not. I further believe society has vastly underestimated the damage done through emotional abuse. My conviction is that only when the prevalence of emotional abuse is recognized and addressed will teen suicide, self-harm and drug addiction be prevented. Till then the teens will simply be in too much emotional pain, pain which comes when their emotional needs are not being met over long periods of time.

It is my hope that my work will make a serious contribution to the body of knowledge on emotionally abusive mothers.

Why mothers?

I've chosen to focus on mothers, rather than fathers, for several reasons.

First, most of the suicidal teens I talk to are being raised by mothers, so I have been able to collect more data on them. Second, more and more children and teens are being raised in single parent homes, where the mother is likely to have primary custody. Third, if there is abuse in the home, the fathers tend to be more physically (and sexually) abusive, while the mothers, though often physically abusive as well, tend to use verbal and non-verbal communication, such as silence, frowns and hate-filled faces, to do the damage. Also, women seem to have a special gift for vicious and toxic emotional attacks. As Shakespeare said, "Hell hath no fury like a women scorned."

What is an "Emotionally Abusive Mother"?

Generally, I don't like to use labels, but in this case the subject is important enough to try to define the term and create a profile of those who might fairly be called "emotionally abusive mothers". There are many degrees of abuse, so it may sometimes be difficult to say someone definitely "is" or "isn't" an emotionally abusive mother. Can a "good" mother sometimes be emotionally abusive? Yes, I believe so. What matters is the overall nature of the relationship with her children/teens. Though it may be difficult to achieve consensus on exactly what qualifies someone as an "emotionally abusive mother," we can at least try to arrive at some common characteristics.

In broad terms I would say an emotionally abusive mother is a mother who uses her son or daughter in an attempt to fill her own unmet emotional needs. This is similar to defining sexual abuse as someone who uses another person in order to fill their own sexual needs.

An emotionally abusive mother is a mother who uses her son or daughter in an attempt to fill her own unmet emotional needs.

By nature, women generally have instinctive needs to raise and nurture children. The fulfillment of these needs is natural and healthy. Emotional abuse occurs only when the mother attempts to use the child or teen to fulfill needs which are not consistent with those of an emotionally healthy adult. Emotional abuse occurs, in other words, when the mother tries to fill those needs of hers which normally would have already been filled during a healthy childhood and adolescence.

It might help to consider the distinction between the emotional needs of a child, of an adolescent and of an adult.

A child has a need to feel loved. A child has a need to feel secure. A child has a need to feel protected. A child has a need to feel approved of.

A teen has a need to feel independent and in control of himself and over his environment.

Both children and teens have a need to feel accepted and respected. Both children and teens have a need to feel appreciated and valued.

For the species to survive, the emotional needs of the adults must compliment those of the children. For example, while the child needs to feel loved, safe, secure, and protected, the adults must need to feel loving, non-threatening, secure, and protective. While the child needs to feel respected and accepted, the adults needs to feel respectful and accepting. While the child needs to feel appreciated, the adult needs to feel appreciative for the gift of nature that is called "their child."

If the mother did not feel adequately loved, safe, secure, protected, appreciated, valued, accepted and respected before giving birth, she will, in all likelihood, attempt to use the child (and later the teen) to fill these needs. If she did not feel adequately in control of her own life as a child and teen, she can be expected to try to control her son or daughter as compensation. This is the recipe for emotional abuse.

To fill her unmet need for respect, a mother might try to demand that her daughter "respect" her. To fill her unmet need to feel loved, the mother might try to manipulate the son into performing what she perceives as acts of love. To fill her unmet need to feel appreciated, the mother might try to spoil her daughter or she might constantly remind the daughter of all the things she does for her and all the sacrifices she makes for her.

Mothers are particularly adept at emotional manipulation. They are skilled in setting up their sons and daughters to fill their unmet emotional needs left over from childhood and adolescence. Ultimately, though, this arrangement fails. It is impossible for a son or daughter to fully meet the unmet childhood and adolescent emotional needs of the parent. A child or teen can not be the filler of someone else's needs when they have their own needs. This is a clear case of role reversal, the consequences of which are very serious.

A child in this situation feels overwhelmed, facing an impossible burden yet still trying his or her best to do the impossible. The child will necessarily feel inadequate as he fails to do the impossible. By the time the child is a teen, he will feel not only inadequate, but drained and empty. He will feel insecure and afraid of failure, disapproval, rejection and abandonment. The implicit, if not explicit, message has always been "if you don't fill Mother's needs, she will reject or abandon you."

The teenager will have also learned that it is is impossible to make mother happy. No matter what the teen has done to try to make her happy it is never enough. So the teenager starts to feel like a failure, or "failful" as opposed to successful. This shatters his or her self-esteem.

This, briefly, is the danger of the emotionally needy, and therefore, emotionally abusive mother.

General Characteristics of Emotionally Abusive Mothers



One clear sign of an emotionally abusive mother is slapping the son or daughter in the face. I call slapping is emotional abuse because it is intended to intimidate more than to physically hurt. It leaves an emotional scar, not a physical one. It is usually designed to oppress unwanted opposition. It is, therefore, oppressive. Typically, a mother slaps her son/daughter in the face in response to their spoken words. Here is one example:

"Sally" told me her mother slapped her around age 17. They were arguing about religion. "Sally" was questioning things too strongly and her mother could no longer give answers, so she slapped "Sally" in order to stop the pain of her questions. Perhaps the pain came from the fear that the her whole belief system might be based on myths and lies rather than science and truth. Whatever the case, "Sally"s mother did not want "Sally" to continue using her mind to question things and to search for real answers.

"Sally" is an intelligent woman and has a large need for understanding and to have her own voice and opinions heard. The mother, though, was too insecure with her belief system to help "Sally" fill those needs. Had the mother been more secure, she could have listened to "Sally" without feeling threatened. More than that, she could have helped her in her search for understanding. She also could have helped fill her needs to feel admired and approved of with a simple statement such as, "I don't know the answers to your questions. And honestly, I feel a little threatened by them and a little defensive. But they are good questions and I admire you for asking them. Keep asking questions, honey. It is the best way to learn, and to find out who feels secure enough to either give you real answers or admit that they don't know."

When we are insecure we feel a need to be in control.
"Sally"'s mother felt out of control. She wanted the questions to stop. She needed them to stop. She felt desperate that they stop. And they did... once she slapped her daughter across the face. Clearly, it was her needs, not "Sally"'s, that took priority.

In this incident, we see how the mother's need to feel in control (and safe in terms of her religious beliefs) was not yet filled. The mother was using
"Sally" to try to fill her own unmet childhood/adolescent emotional needs at the expense of her "Sally"'s need for understanding and need to be heard. This is what makes this slap in the face emotional abuse.

"Sally" is a pseudonym

Some abusive mothers will call slapping "discipline" or "correcting wrong behavior." Here is an actual story from my travels.

Does Slapping Teach Respect?

I just talked to a mother and father from Ireland. I said, "Since you are parents, I have a question for you about raising children. I just got this email from a friend of mine who is 18. She said her mother slapped her last week. She asked me what gives her mother the right to do this. She said that if she were not happy with someone at the store, she would not be able to reach out and slap the sales clerk. She said this would be illegal. It would be assault. What do you think about this?"

The mother answered by saying, "Well, you need to be able to correct your children." I then said, "I agree, but it seems to me that 18 is a bit old to still be slapping your child. What do you think?"

She said, "Well, yes, I suppose it is. If you haven't been able to teach your child respect by that age then there is probably something wrong."

I then said, "But is it really respect you are teaching, or fear? For example, if you respect me and I ask you to pass me the sugar, you probably will. But if I have been treating you disrespectfully, without respect for your feelings or needs, then you might tell me to get lost. You might even pull the sugar away from me so I can't reach it. On the other hand if I point a gun at you and say, "Will you please pass me the sugar?" you will probably pass me the sugar. But is this because you respect me or because you are afraid of me?"
She seemed to see my point, but said "I suppose you think it is never necessary to slap a child." I said, "I don't know. I don't have children myself." She then said, "Well, you have to teach them right from wrong."
Her teenage daughter was sitting there in silence the entire time. The look on her face told me she was too afraid to even look up from her meal. I suspected that she one of the things she had been "taught" by the mother, was never to voice her own opinion. To do so would be "wrong" and deserving of a slap to the face. In this way the daughter had indeed learned right from wrong, at least according to her mother.


Facebook group for Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers who are total No Contact

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shared by Barbara at 12:33 AM



My step-mom always slapped my sister and I in the face. If we walked by her, we got nailed. Now after 20 years the old battleaxe wants both of us to "forget" what happened and move on. How do you move on from that plus all the name calling, hair pulling, lying,control freak, bullying,& guilt trips? I've seen cousenlors and they all say the same thing--she's the problem. What to do, what to do.

2:41 PM  

She sounds psychopathic.

The thing to do? NO CONTACT!! Cut her off. Forget? she must be kidding.

To act like it never happened? would be rubber stamping her abuse. True forgiveness can ONLY be given to the repentent. And she doesn't sound the least repetent at all.

A good read:

11:15 PM  

my step mother is always degrading and critizing me and accusing of stealing and lying. She gets violent when she gets angry and she has attacked me several times. I've tried to get help but she is a very manipulative woman. My therapist or my social worker do not believe me and I am terrified as to what is going to happen. I can't leave because I only have a year left until I graduate...what can I do? what should I do?

11:08 PM  

I am a therapist and l have to tell you this is one of the best sites I have ever seen on emotional abuse. I am still reading your site, and will post more as I continue, but it is wonderful how you are touching here on points that often go unreported and unheard. Thank you for this site and please keep it up, you will be helping so many people simply by validating their experiences.

1:11 AM  

My mom slapped me across the face until I was 17. She used phrases like "you're useless, you'll never amount to anything" when I was small she threatened to leave me places like the orphennage. I bend over backwards to help her now and nothing I do is good enough and anything I do to disapoint her gets thrown back in my face.

7:58 AM  

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2:13 PM  

MEG86, you are doing the right thing for you not for her. She will never see it, mine never did. But for you, it is a healing process. Do not allow her in gratitude to color your kindness. Hugs from a sister who experienced the same.

2:15 PM  

Sonia - I do NOT believe in forgiving the unforgivable. Saying to forgive someone who has abused you, devastated you, ruined your life - even if it's your mother - is NOT always the most healthy thing to do.

Unforgiveness can be healthy... not everything is or should be forgiveable.

12:46 AM  

I have a controlling, negative, abusive step mother (and father) who used to slap me. One day I got up the courage to tell her that if she ever hit me again I would throw her down the stairs. While she is still horrid, she has never hit me again.

This article is spot on.

Reading all the comments- I can relate. It's sad.

4:24 AM  

I am 13 and my mom used to slap me and throw curling irons at me and hurt me and put me down emotionally she still does i do very nice things for her and everything and she doesnt say a word and then i slip up once or dont do something the second she tells me to do it and tells me i cant keep my word and guilt trips me and says i do everything wrong and i always eat bad and sit on my but even though im skinny and im a runningback nd play all sports and one time she hit me and i told her if she touched me i would hit her back and i hate her now and anyways she didnt hit me but the the mental and verbal abuse got worse and she tells me its alyways my fault and whenever she wants something done if i dont do it tht second she flips and she contridicts me and shes a hipocrite she tells me to clean my room when hers is a mess and then ill say something and she say i gave my life up for u and do u kno what ive done how much ive sacrificed for u and it really hurts and i cry and she just yelled at me for not trying pants on because she wanted me to try my pants on at tht time she wanted nd she interupts me everytime i try to talk and she says the parent can talk whenever and the kid needs to shut up when she talks and when i say something she makes a really mean ugly hurtful face and goes ugghhhh and ya she says she dont abbuse me its just normal and shes single btw and i was wondering if it really is just normal or if its abusse

10:14 PM  

Hello Everyone, I am 34 and have only now started to open up and share what happened to me at the hands of the woman I called mother. I have blogged a little portion, there is still so much more. I would like to get in contact with other survivors of mother/daughter sexual abuse. Here is my blog address.


8:05 PM  

I am 16 and I have a mother like this when she is mad she says things she knows will hurt me and she stomps around really loudly to scare me. And when I hide or cry she calls me pathetic or a baby or she sarcastically says ``ohh poor little girl, she gets whatever she wants, her life must be horrible`` She buys me lots of things to make up for the times when she hurts me but then later on she uses that as an excuse to make me do things for her or to make me feel guilty. The house is always a mess and she blames her messes on me and makes me clean them even if she gets home very late on a school night she will get me out of bed to do it. I think she is jealous of me somehow because she makes me feel bad for wearing makeup or dressing up nice by calling me vain it`s like she is disgusted by my face.My dad has told me that my mom`s mother who is now dead from cancer used to make her feel guilty by saying ``if you love me you will do this`` and her dad had an explosive temper so my mom treats me the same way as her parents did. my parents have divorced and my dad left my step-mom but my step-mom still wants me to live with her and my stepsisters because she has seen my mom`s temper. I wan`t to live there too but I am afraid my mom will become very mad because she wont get child support anymore and do something horrible to my step-mom or me. She makes me feel so worthless i want to tell her how she makes me feel but she never thinks she does anything wrong and she always has to be right.She can switch from angry and violent to tender and loving so fast it confuses me she will hit me then ask for a hug. And she always says ``I wish I had a daughter who ___________`` and it hurts me so deeply I can`t stand it anymore what should I do, how can I make her understand that what she does isn`t right!

10:16 PM  

Hi everyone- I am 22 years old and have been dealing with an over-bearing mood-swinging emiontionally and physically abusive mother for most of my childhood. @ Becca- like you, I also was in school at the hieght of my mother's abuse and it was nearly impossible to live nor focus on school becuase of it. When I turned 13 was the first time my mother slapped me in the face... due to the fact that my chores were not done well enough, or I didnt vaccuum... or I would leave a window open...whatever the complaint was.... Then slaps turned to spitting on me...spitting turned to beating with fists and kicking. I was very quiet and introverted as a teen and the control my mother had on me was incredible. I would have stood in the middle of the highway if she had told me too. I was brainwashed. Her love of drinking and men consumed her- but on the outside she and to other people she is the "sweetest lady." I struggled with guilt blame and sorrow. Tears, begging, nor taking the blame for her wild accusations did not help- I could not eat or sleep without her permission. She would attack me when I was most vulnerable- find me cornered and assualt me with objects- electric cords, towel bars whatever she could find. She would pinch my eyelids and punch me in the mouth to make my lip bleed so that I would look ugly and pitiful. Most of all what sticks in my head is the look on her face...of utter evil and hate and she would spew hateful words and beat my head. 3 years ago (while in my 2nd year of college) I promised myself that if she laid her hands on me one more time that no matter where I was or what I was doing, I was going to leave and run away. I would rather be homeless on a park bench than live with the devil. So one night in the car she hit me again in the face and I grabbed my purse and jumped out of the car. I stayed in a motel for 2 days and stayed with a friend until I could make enough money to get an apartment. Instead of being consumed by fear- I focused on survival mode. There are ways to get through it- thats what you have to remember. Search for a room for rent. Have an escape plan. Set aside even $5 a day to make sure you have money for food. Tell a friend what's happening. Have someone on your side to help. If there is no one to help (like in my case when I was young) talk to a police officer. They can help you find shelter and place an order of protection if nessessary. Of course I was over 18 when I escaped- but I harboured the trama and pain throughout my entire adolescence. If you are under age and the conditions are truly unbearible it is important to tell a teacher or official about what's going on. If you are too scared to do that (which believe me I was) honestly it will just get worse of you wait. Focus on school- get a job for some pocket change. The only way you will truly be free is to be self-sufficient. If you are financially free no one can hold food or shelter over your head as a control tool. Do not numb yourself with alchohol or drugs- you will end up failing and never being able to get out of the situation. You can make it- I did.

12:52 PM  

I'm 22 years old. I live at home with my mother and two siblings while I go to college because it's cheaper. My mother has been emotionally, and sometimes physically abusive, with me since I was about eight years old. She has slapped me about three times in my life that I can remember. She has also kicked me out of the house three times. The first time I was eight years old and with my brother and sister. At least our grandmother was upstairs for us. She flies into these rages and calls me "selfish", "bitch", "cow", "you're lucky I love you, no one else would", etc. She gets physically and emotionally violent when she doesn't get the last word. She as well as my siblings are racist, chauvinist, and a tad homophobic. I am a lesbian, so this really really pains me that they are so intolerant. My mother always takes it out on me, I don't know why this is.

She always poisons my relationships and judges my friends when they have been nothing but good to me. I'd leave and live with them, but their circumstances aren't able to let me live with them and I understand. I have no job, even if I had one I cannot drive and own no car, nor could I afford a place and a car on a fast food salary without dropping out of college. College is what makes me happiest, that and my girlfriend. I just wish she would at least let me go to therapy. But according to her, "You are too lazy. You are doing this for attention. All they will do is blame me...and I won't pay for that." I guess I'm stuck here...but when will this end? Sometimes I think of killing myself to stop hurting.

I'm sorry to vent all this here. Maybe it wasn't a good idea. I was just inspired by the courage the rest of you displayed to let it off your chest. This site really gets it. And I guess I just needed to let it out too.

7:09 PM  


I pray that I'm able to explain this so that it speaks the truth and helps those who could be blessed by it.

I have several children. All but one are genetic psychopaths. Their father is a genetic psychopath as well as most in my family and all in his. I was raised to cater to all (children and husband and guests). It wasn't until the past few years that I've realized what the deal was.

The thing about not being told about psychopathy is that those of us who aren't psychopaths are running around trying to figure out what the problem is. I tried all the different ways of parenting because when you are raising psychopathic children and being perpetually abused by a psychopathic husband, you are always being emotionally raped.

So, did I say the wrong thing to my children? Yes. Did I do everything perfectly? God no! Did I stand a chance to change, fix or help my psychopathic children when I wasn't even allowed to KNOW that it was simply the way that their brains work?

So I am here today to say that I wasn't the perfect mother. I tried so very hard to be this way but see, my children know this and because I am always trying to learn, I've been honest with them about where I've failed and the things I wish I had known and I also take the responsibilty for my mistakes. Guess what? These children use these things against me. They know I feel guilty and and wish I had done things differently but because they are psychopaths, the only things I could have done differently that would appease them, is to totally have catered to them, never disiplined them and worshipped them. THIS is what they are truly mad about. AND, now that I know what they are, they no longer have access to me. It is all about "the game" with them and all these games have completely destroyed me.

So I say again, lets give all of us a chance to KNOW about psychopathy. That it is a birth effect, that it's unchangable and that it genetic! Then, let's help the parents who aren't psychopaths and stop expecting them to be perfect.

If I had known the truth about psychopathy, I would never had gotten married and I would never have had children. But I was lied to and told that we are all born a "blank slate" and that I could somehow fix what these people were. Now, through Gods very grace and through many beautiful people on-line, I know that we are not born as a blank slate, and that many MANY things are genetically set. Psychopathy is one of these things. Even with the best of circumstances, not one of us is perfect. And I have yet to see, with all the technology and knowledge about psychopathy, ANY true help for raising these children and protection and support for parents who are expected to raise them. I'm very tired.

10:45 AM  

Boy, that's a lot of psychopaths in one family!

But of course you, as their mother, hold no responsiblity to them - as they are "faulty" due to their inherent, "genetic" predisposition. As "psychopaths", and not "your children", you can relieve yourself of guilt and no longer do you have to cater to them, care for them, or love them, (as any normal mother would).

How convenient for you.

Have you ever looked in the mirror or examined your own mind? Isn't it true that those who really are psychotic, don't recognize it within themselves?

1:11 PM  


I pray that I'm able to explain this so that it speaks the truth and helps those who could be blessed by it.

I have several children. All but one are genetic children. Their father is a person as well as most in my family and all in his. I was raised to cater to all (children and husband and guests). It wasn't until the past few years that I've realized what the deal was.

The thing about not being told about children is that those of us who aren't children are running around trying to figure out what the problem is. I tried all the different ways of parenting because when you are raising children and being perpetually abused by a husband, you are always being emotionally raped.

So, did I say the wrong thing to my children? Yes. Did I do everything perfectly? God no! Did I stand a chance to change, fix or help my children when I wasn't even allowed to KNOW that it was simply the way that their brains work?

So I am here today to say that I wasn't the perfect mother. I tried so very hard to be this way but see, my children know this and because I am always trying to learn, I've been honest with them about where I've failed and the things I wish I had known and I also take the responsibility for my mistakes.

Guess what? These children use these things against me.

They know I feel guilty and wish I had done things differently but because they are my children, the only things I could have done differently that would appease them, is to totally have catered to them, never disciplined them and worshipped them. THIS is what they are truly mad about.

AND, now that I know what they are, they no longer have access to me. It is all about "the game" with them and all these games have completely destroyed me.

So I say again, lets give all of us a chance to KNOW about children. That it is a birth effect, that it's unchangeable and that it genetic! Then, let's help the parents who aren't children and stop expecting them to be perfect.

If I had known the truth about children, I would never have gotten married and I would never have had children. But I was lied to and told that we are all born a "blank slate" and that I could somehow fix what these people were. Now, through Gods very grace and through many beautiful people on-line, I know that we are not born as a blank slate, and that many MANY things are genetically set. Children are one of these things.

Even with the best of circumstances, not one of us is perfect. And I have yet to see, with all the technology and knowledge about children ANY true help for raising them and protection and support for parents who are expected to raise them. I'm very tired.

1:27 PM  

I'm 18 years old and my mother has 100% controll of me....

I am not allowed to be friends with people that she doesn't know and like, so basically all my friends must be my age girls with no bad habbits, no unique style and good parents. I am also not allowed to go to concerts and festivals without her. So yeah, my social life is already ruined and I have so many social anxieties that I don't even want to leave the house.

Furthermore, she makes me feel guilty, pathetic and irresponsible. It seems that she doesn't want me to leave bevause I 'couldn't survive mysel' . She doesn't slap me but hits my head or squeezes my arm very tightly while saying how pathetic I am.
Basically she treats me like a dog : she takes my computer and phone and gives it back after a week or moremlike a reward.

I still respect her because Im the only child and I will have to take care of her when she gets old... However the way she treats me has brought no love feeling for her.

8:29 AM  

I recently moved away from my abusive mother. It has been a long hard struggle living in a home with an emotionally abusive mother. As a daughter I always wanted a mother...just to have someone to talk to without criticism. Sadly I never received that and I am now trying to begin the difficult process of healing and moving forward. I am so glad I came across this site I have always felt so alone and have a hard time expressing what I have gone through but this site speaks directly to my heart and wounds. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences.

5:38 PM  

I think what we're seeing here is a good example of a person suffering from narcissistic personality disorder npds are incapable of seeing themselves in relationship to the situation change ......I was told 30 some years ago by a therapist that walking away might be the only solution to my suffering ...I wish I had listened. The daughters will never get what they need in this relationship...When the mother did here with here drama queen act crying, etc., again making herself the center of attention...demonstrates this so clearly....narcissists generally don't cry, but if all else fails, let make sure I get back to the center of attention.... I am 60 years old, my mother is 85 and this morning was another day from hell.....

9:53 PM  

I an a 36 year old woman who was very unfortunate to have a narcissistic and emotionally abusive mother. I feel sorry for anybody especially girls who had to undergo living under such people. I find it difficult to marry at my age and often weep that I may not be able to have all the joy that life in marriage has to offer because of the after effects of living under an emotionally abusive mother and a father who enabled her to carry on the evil. I am a Christian and by the grace of God I have been able to heal and believe me, you can never heal without cutting off from the emotionally abusive mother. I ran away from home when I was much younger when I had no job or source of livelihood. I had to prostitute around to survive at a point and went through life threatening abortions which made me to stop and return to Christ. I eventually returned to my parents house (my father is a high salary earner) because life was hard but by then, God had given me wisdom. She still tried to abuse me but by then I was 32 years old and the storms of life had hardened me. I still live with my parents butI work and earn my salary. I deliberately furnished my room with all the luxury that I could afford and dress well in the best clothes that I can afford. She, my mother is a very envious person and lacks the emotional intelligence to caution herself from behaving childishly. Of course she envies me always, and I keep improving and getting better while she tries to compete with me now as the leader of the pack. The tables have turned in my favour and I am grateful to God for helping me. I live like a queen under her roof because I have what she doesn't have and desperately wants to have. Of course she is free to keep running after me, I am now laughing. I still feel pain of the past memories but they are now a scar that only reminds me of the past. Now I have learnt to make the most out of what I have left after the emotional shipwreck an emotionally abusive mother has caused me.

9:27 AM  

I am finally at the point where I am ready to never have another interaction with my mother. It has been an emotionally and mentally exhausting journey with her.

I am 47 she is in her mid 80's. If I never hear her voice again my prayers will have been answered.

Her affair that resulted in my birth, resulted in me being blamed for every stupid situation she put herself in.

Her repeated attempts to make me think that the intelligence that God gave me was wrong was a reflection of her realization that she had choices and she chose not to exercise them.

I don't hate her I am just simply and internally tired of her. I can't recall ever having a mature mother to relate to. Our conversations always, yes always devolve into her re-hashing her adultery and trying to justify it; telling me I was never wanted(she has such brilliant ways with this one-she can even form it into a question where I get to answer if I was a mistake); how her life could have been better without us.

My two blind brothers(once her marriage broke up-she had two more children with my father) and her previous husbands children see nothing wrong with her. They have bought into the "mother is a victim scenario" hook, line and sinker.

My struggle right now is finally letting go. I am ready. I no longer want to hear her voice, see her(thankfully seeing her has been years) or speak of her name.

As a believer I am commanded to love the wicked, but do I have to interact with a wicked mother?.

Again, I don't hate her but I am emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually sick and tired of her. I just want out of ever having another thought about this emotionally stagnant woman.

4:20 PM  

This is a great site, thank you to the person who put it together. My abused Mother (sexually by her mother who ignored her the rest of the time or said cruel things) has never really confronted the seriousness of the issue but I grew up with her horror stories, which broke my heart. When I have suggested she make waves to see a councellor or take steps into helping herself she has said somtehing like, 'don't be silly, I don't believe in that kind of thing, in life you just get on with things' nor does she show the gratitude that she is lucky to offload to someone for free, since it is really clear that she doesn't just get on with things, that she is indeed, deeply traumatised. I have grown up with constant passive aggressive statements such as, 'I don't believe in development of confidence, it is false and unnatural' and other wise words such as 'red heads smell' (meant derogatively, I'm a readhead) and typical statement on development 'you learnt to walk really quickly so that you could keep up with me' (it's about her not me). The last statement, when confronted about it was, 'ohhh for goodness sake, I was only joking'. I'm invisible, invalidated at every juncture. Even more sad is that, as my main carer, she taught me that the model of behaviour she passed to me was normal, In my thirties I started to behave the same way to work colleagues and got really beaten up about it(not physically). I'm still a little embarrassed about it, but it was probably the best thing that happened to me, if that is what it took for me to understand that I was doing it and that this behaviour is wrong! Neither myself nor my 3 brothers have children, it is like a hive mentality to stop the cancer. But that isn't a recommendation to other people wanting children, we are all different and deal with things differently. I'm very lucky to be in a warm and nurturing relationship, and, sadly, I can no longer be near her, the abuse gets more vitriolic and absurd, then I give her as good as I am given, then feel like I have failed... so clearly I don't have the tools to be able to handle her. Although it is really obvious and the writing is on the wall, so to speak, it took me many years for it to sink in that the person I needed to trust the most is the person who is the least trustworthy within my orbit. Cathartic now. Good luck to all fellow victims of emotionally abusive parents.

10:58 AM  

I am forty years old am married with two children and still have nightmares about my mother. I don't live in the same country as her anymore but she still comes for the holidays etc. I feel so uncomfortable verging on feeling physically sick when I am with her.
I want to write about my experiences in the hope that I can start to heal and not have such negative thoughts anymore.
My mother started to emotionally abused me from when I was around 12 until 18 years old. I know that teenagers are not very easy and trying at times but during an argument many times she would slap me around my face and drag me round and round in a circle by my hair. Eventually I hit her back but later I found it was easier not to resist and let her slap me then pull my hair if I didn't pull away it didn't hurt. She would also tell me to get out, she didn't love me anymore, ashamed that I was her daughter etcetc. Then she would lock me out of the house. I spent many an evening sitting on a park bench wondering which friend would have me. I think I understood from a young age what it means to be alone.
There was one particular episode that I recall that still disgusts me to this day. I can't even remember what I had done to make my mother so angry. She burst into my bedroom in the middle of the night pulling me out of bed and hitting me. I remember that she was wearing a dressing gown but it wasn't tied properly and she was naked it was disgusting this image still haunts me.
I tried to tell her she treated me badly as a teenager but she said things like You were so difficult and you drove me to it. She tells me now she loves me but I can see even now when things start to get a little heated she starts to act crazy. As an adult I tell her as little as possible I even dress in baggy clothes black no make up it's like I don't want to draw any attention to myself from her.
I don't think I will ever recover

9:55 AM  

I am living with my mother and younger sister. now i am 24. and my dad is away from home working in anothe rplace. my mother, when she gets angry, would say the most hurtful things too that i have to just go to my room and sob, and i don't really show my tears to anybody in the family. 4 years ago i was in hostel for about 4 years. during those times, i never used to ge tany calls from my mother. my dad called me up very rarely. if i don't make a call, my mother would be upset and i if i do make a call, she would scold me always for no reason. my mum and dad used to fight a lot those days when my mother me and sister started going to church although my mother's behaviour has become worse than before. after 4 years, we moved in together (both me and my dad) and my mother disliked this a lot because she could not spend freely and didnt like to be under dad's control or did not like to even listen. these days my dad has calmed down and has been a bit understanding and he is once again away from home to work in another place. he calls my mother often and i sms my dad and he would tell us to adjust to our mother despite any circumstances. There are times that my mum and us have a good time but not all the time. my mum is in a good mood when she has to talk much about the bible or anything related but she disagrees or dislikes anybody who opposes her views. only yesterday, my mum told me not to wear so and so clothes all of a sudden and threatened to lock me out of the house. even when i was around 5 years old, my mother used to beat me up with the belt for wetting my dress after coming back from school. she has once regretted about it for doing such a cruel thing but whenever she gets angry with me she would say that i was a bad child and i deserved to get more beatings than my sister during childhood days. there have been times when she says that it would have been better is she had aborted us. my sister is able to adjust with my mother by always sticking to her words and everything but if i am going to be that way, i will be discouraged to follow my dreams of choosing even the right career as i am a very sensitive person. and i fear my mother so i stay away and get occupied with my work and help her out only when necessary. my mother has even stopped maintaining the house or even cook food for the family. so it is me and my sister who cook often. my sister cooks better than me and since she has been closer to my mother when i was in hostel, she would blame me if at all i had made my mother upset or conclude that i am the reason for mother being upset if my sister isn't home.

my mother would also want me to marry someone she thinks is best. she is more concerned about what the society would think if we don't be proper christians and criticizes us for not getting baptised in water. she believes that she is way better than any other believing christian.

when me and my dad moved into the house after i left hostel, she compared me with dad in a very disgusting way as to what relationship we even shared. it was only at that time that my dad was very angry with my mother. although because of such kind of incidents, i have even lost a good relationship with my dad and i am always shy in my dad's presence.

there have been times when my mother cannot control her anger and would hit us. life gets hard to cope up with my mother. i dont share a better realtionship as my sister does. because she feels she has nobody else to care for her other than my mom or dad, and doesn't talk as weel as me to my relatives or friends.

6:44 AM  

Lots of yelling. I'm really sorry her life was no fun but that is not the children's problem. There was the favorites and the non-favorites. And a whole lot of class envy - again not the children's problem. And i don't want to visit???

9:35 PM  

This blog posting is wonderful and gave me a lot of comfort during this time. I have to say that I didn't realize how long I was being abused until not too long ago. I'm 24yo and I just graduated from college from the Nursing Program but I haven't been able to find a job to pay for my license and the NCLEX. My whole life I've been in fear of failure...just like you mentioned. Now I know why. I am still living with my mom. This comment would be 20 pages long if I listed everything I've gone through so I'll keep it short. I've always been the quiet child that hated to argue and I'm very submissive when it comes to my mom...and I believe her treatment has a lot to do with it. I sacrificed a good portion of my teen years taking care of my siblings...and I don't mean watching them for an hour once in a while. I mean being like a second mom, cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, helping with homework, going to their concerts, etc. I never felt anyway about it much because she told me I was supposed to be doing these things. So for a good potion of my teen years I had no freedom. When I was accepted into the nursing program things took a turn for the worst. She began calling me ungrateful, selfish and blaming me for everything that would happen to her. And I mean EVERYTHING...parking tickets, falls, people asking her "how is everyone doing"....everything to her was a plan I spruced up to ruin her life. And these arguments weren't peaceful...she would yell so badly into my ears that they'd start getting static like. In fact, I have some hearing loss because of her lack of consideration. It got worse...she would knock my door down and try to lash out at me physically and also try take my phone away because she believed I was saying things about her. She accused me of trying to seduce her man which I would not do obviously. My mind even at this point is very innocent..but for some reason I am the most evil person in the world to her. She finally said "I'm done with you" because of a combo of situations that came up. She believed that even after all she put me through that I should still be kind and have the courage to say hi. How am I expected to navigate through all that negativity?? Its tough! She isn't even letting me eat. So now I go to my friends and see if they can help me with food so I don't starve. I spent a big chunk of my time crying and wondering if I was the problem. I would tell myself "Maybe I am selfish. Maybe I am ungrateful". Now I'm looking back on all the things she's said to me, all the things she's done to try and keep me down and realize I'm not the problem. Now the difficulty is leaving the house. I have siblings I love dearly and it's so hard for me to say goodbye. And with her being how she is, how do I know I'll ever see them again? It's been really tough lately

11:51 PM  

I remember my step mom was forcing her religion down my throat. I was in class to recieve "confirmation" and I skipped one class to look at how others practiced since the Protistents used the same church during the time of the class. After the church session I walked back to the class area and there she was looking for me. She asked me if I had skipped the class. I said yes because I was curious of how others practiced and she slapped me across the face.

12:31 AM  

I'm a 38 year old guy and my mom has been emotionally and physically abusing me from the age of 7 until I was 23 years old. This started right after the divorce of my parents. My dad cheated on her and left her to raise me and my brother. She always told me that I reminded her of my father by whom she was hurt so much. When that happened she would become furious and told me "that all men where no good, they only think with their d*ck". But eventhough I was a hellbound boy she claimed to be a loving mother and that because of her doing that I should be eternally grateful and remind her of that fact by agreeing with her notion that al guys are greedy, ungrateful and sexobssesed. If I didn't agree often enough or if I reminded her, yet again, of my dad she she would resort to punching, spitting, arguing, yelling etc. When she was done with that she would ask me if I now "understood her". If I disagreed or didnt sing her praises enough she would start all over again. This could last for hours. When I was 23 she threw another fit and and threatened to beat me again. At that moment I got so pissed that I told her that if she ever, ever dared to beat me again or threaten me I would break her arms. She was so flabbergasted. She told me then real men don't hit women, and that's true of course! And I never did, never will, told her that in a fit of rage. I told her that real women don't beat children and emotionally abuse them for something another man has done. Soon after that I left her. Contact is minimal. Ironically, my mom is a teacher and part of her job is to give parenting advice to others. Go figure!

5:26 AM  

I have a three year old grand daughter. Her mother is emotinally abusive. she would yell at her to stay in her room because she didnt want to deal with her. she prefered facebook and neopets.she was constantly calling the father at his work and sending texts because she cant stand dealing with child. she gave her bags of chips instead of food.the father took child left got experte order of full custody. 9 months later divorce and custody fianalized. 2 months after mother complains to friend of court she needs more time. she has eight days a month now which child screams to not go. father sets up preschool and mother denies day change so father calls friend of court. sets a meeting to get help with changing to weekend visits for mom. he goes to meeting today. they tell him since he isnt working with mother they are going to give her full custody and him minimal visits.yes his attorney is going to appeal to referee. why would michigan friend of court care so little about the child? How can they put a child in an abusive home. child is in counciling. reccomendation are no overnights at moms. they refuse this because a 3yr old cant be counciled.

8:26 PM  

Since when did people become completely deaf if not emotionless !?!?!!?? Basically all mothers who contribute to their child's lack of confidence and self esteem due to their (the mother/s) contribution to never validly acknowledging the child's need to be understood n accepted by parent/s heir-go a simple short i accept how u feel/felt and I'm so sorry i wasn't who u needed then but I'm better now honey could prevent a life of unhealthy habits, relationships and substance abuse n possible emptiness; as opposed a lifetime trying to find happiness, acceptance, filling voids of regrets, needing people who u tend to attract know u need them n

12:25 PM  

Its sick to know a simple apology to a child is so hard to come by when there is an adult in the wrong simply for not parenting n confidently raising their own child given they know more than anyone how their child feels but since they had to learn the turn ur cheek method when they were an adolescent n needing direction n mentoring but never receiving it they forget that they love their child no matter how stubborn n they hold the key to that child's success n healthy mantra. Shame on the righteous adult n God bless the brave child. Does anyone know if this kind of abuse is mostly in minorities bcz I'm Latina n our mothers are superstitious, old fashioned and set in their old hard times not easy or fair world... kind of mentality n demeanour. Smh!!!

12:39 PM  

No Anonymous, it's across the board. Not just Latinas. And despite the culture - it's abuse.

11:11 PM  

Today I tried to confront my mom on her behaviors and now she's kicking me out of the house. I'm bipolar and she says it's my fault for being crazy and that she doesn't want a psycho stepdads mom had a heart attack today, and she blamed me for that, too. Stuff like this happens all the time. (Needed to vent, sorry)

12:45 PM  

I live in South-Africa. I am 17 years old and living with my single mother and two brothers. The third brother luckily moved out of the house... In S.A you're considered as a child and don't have many rights concerning independence. Anyway, next year will be my final year in school. I have been thinking about running away from home for a long time now. All of these things you've mentioned are exactly like my mother, and my brothers aswell... What must I do? What can I do? It's tempting to run away because I know people who love me and care for me much more than my family does!

12:56 PM  

I am 28 and my mom's mood swings have been so horrible, I can't take it anymore. I got divorced in September, 2012. My mom was so horrible to me for getting divorced. I had to move back home to live with my parents and it's been a nightmare. Anything and everything I do is NEVER good enough. If I date, she calls it "whoring around", I apparently don't care for my dog enough, yet I take care of hers when she is on vacation with my father for weeks at a time. She actually blasted me today because her and my mother don't like that my boyfriend comes over and is quiet and never says HELLO first to them or goodbye when he leaves. Mind you, he is nervous around them and not really a people-person. My older brother, who is very into religion, has informed my parents numerous times that they will never be involved in his life or his future children's lives because of their negative attitude. My mother always acts like she is so much better than everyone. She is easily the biggest hypocrite I have ever met. She and my father got pissed at me this past Saturday because I went out shopping for 4 hours and didn't wlk my "highly energetic dog" or vacuum the floor like I promised. Apparantly I am a "procrastinator" according to my father. Let me reassure everyone, I am extremely organized and basically OCD haha. So yes, I am moving the hell out this week with my boyfriend and I can't wait. I plan on cutting ties with them. They are poison and it's a shame to say that because they are my parents. The other sad part is I am very emotional and verbalize my feelings... God forbid my parents communicate like adults, rather than yell, scream, and ignore me to get their points across.

7:50 PM  

Before I reply to a specific comment, I (another 38yo male here) want to say that, if you're here looking for specific advice, we can't help because we don't know you or your situation, we can only offer suggestions. Every situation is different. There is someone who can help you, somewhere - look in a phone book, talk to a police officer or a teacher, or a local priest. Ring a citizen's advice line, or see the school counsellor. Don't let anybody tell you that you're the trouble maker and that you deserve what you've got - many of us believe it when we're told it, and much later realise that it's nothing more than poison that allows the abuse to continue.

The second thing I want to say is that you should never consider suicide. You are strong enough to survive. You are not responsible for the abuse. Please, do your best to get by until you can find a person to tell, a safe place to go. If I were nearby, I'd offer my couch and a hot meal in a heartbeat.

LunarGoddess, I just read your post and wanted to post a rambling thought for you:

Your mother may be paranoid schizophrenic. Clearly this isn't a diagnosis, but she sounds quite similar to my uncles who would imagine plots against themselves by each other, and anybody around them. They had family members to keep them from harming anyone.

I hate to say this, but you may end up losing your siblings for at least a while. I have no experience with this (my brother survived the abuse, and was strong enough to see it for what it was).

It's possible that you can't help them, but perhaps you can help yourself. My first aid trainer said "Don't get run over while trying to help the crash victim." If you do leave, try and talk to them for a moment before you do, at least let them know that you look forward to seeing them again.

Now for the rambling and ranting piece: my mother behaves in a similar fashion - she's threatened to stab me, because I didn't want to eat some expired processed meat, and then when I told her she wouldn't do it she started screaming that I was threatening her and she was going to defend herself.

I've been assaulted with power cords, as a toddler I had my head smashed into the floor (did some lasting brain damage), I've been hit in the face and screamed at for being lazy because I scored poor marks in my math papers (which later turned out to be have been caused by the brain damage she inflicted - if she hadn't ruined my life, it would be almost funny).

I've been force-fed (when I didn't co-operate, she pulled my hair and drove her fingers into my neck and jaw in an effort to open my mouth). If I accidentally knocked my fork or spoon against my teeth while eating, there could be screaming. She's even set fire to my room. There was verbal abuse, bullying, screaming, and various threats made.

As an 8 or 9 year old, in a rare moment of strength, I told her that I didn't have to put up with her abuse. She told me that it didn't matter because nobody would have me, that even my grandparents didn't want me, and that my father (she divorced him) didn't want me.

The sad part is that I believed her, but now I can see that she was simply aiming to hurt me as much as she could - 30 years later, and it still does.

It only stopped when I started living on my own.

My grandmother, who I was talking with recently, is shocked about everything I've said. It was so well hidden, and of course as a young child you don't know it's abnormal.

Anybody who can identify with even a small part of this, please do me - and yourself - a favour and take these few things with you: you're not to blame, there are people who can help you, and you are much stronger than you realise - you can survive the nightmare.

Your friends will be there for you. They may know of work, or have a spare room.

Stay strong.

7:58 AM  

slapping ........
well i think its more than generally happens after the child shows femimine signs.
or masculine. it seems (psychologically speaking)sexual cut-off. it stops self-esteem, independence, and anything else that symbolises maturation. its like some form of telling you that iim still the woman here, im stil in command,im still sey,ill be the one all men want forever,etc
its like youre the dirty slave girl , who told you you had the right to be a beautiful girl who'll take my place and be better that me. or like ill be the only woman you can ever be with, etc.
kind of sick.
physically&sexually&emotionally abused by dad, and told i was responsible for it by despo narcissistic mom who physically beat the shit out of me more than him, among other emotional forms of torture, also she told me to forgive him, actually asked how can you put this behind you so we can just be a family.
oh and larger, taller,stronger, younger sis also watched the fun and supported mom.
sexual disguisting components indeed.
oh and still living with them....
oh i forgot....grandparents abused all big happy family

10:11 PM  

I'm a 25 yr old woman, my mother goes through my belongings, hates everyone I date...i still live at home to help out financially and make it easier on her. She puts me down and threatens me when she is mad. I'm not allowed male company at the house, have to ask to go on a date. Its just too much. When we argue she threatens to shoot or cut me. I'm throwing in the towel

9:28 AM  

Does everyone feel the need to apologize for sharing our feelings instilled in us by abuse, neglect, control, manipulation, anger and pure hatred? These behaviors are spot on. The summary of our brief description is so much lighter than the actuality of the untold stories of our heart, aren't they? Those that have been repressed

I was raped/molested by my step brothers from ages 4-12. It was a combined family of seven children and I was the smallest among my mother's second of three marriages, and divorces. Age four is the earliest memory I can recall but intuition tells me it happened earlier than that. I witnessed horrific acts to my mother by my step father. He threatened to shoot himself with a gun in his mouth, then at her and then 'r'd her while she sobbed holding onto me, spooning me with a gun to her head. I was too young (maybe 10/11) to comprehend that at the time. He hit and beat his own children, my brother and my mom I can't remember anything different. And then hundreds of times awful things were happening to me. I used to hide in this dark crawl space attic for hours times years. I would hear my name but was too terrified to come out until everyone went away. I was terrified and sad every single day of my life. Regarding the incest, My step sister even held me down on occasions for my step brothers while I screamed for it to stop when I was a bit older. They laughed as I cried. (More comment coming)...

12:58 AM  

Just terrible things that a little girl or child should never have to go through. My mother completely wrecked me. Major depression diagnosed by a psychiatrist. Who wouldn't have major depression!? My mother has used me as her punching bag for my entire life. Yes, she was sexually abused, and physically beaten and told she was worthless and I've cried with her through all of her stories but slapping, hitting, screaming, swearing at me, abusively controlling me through my teenage and early adult years has finally come to and end. But as I read every single personal story on here my heart is further breaking for those young ones. I have been in your shoes. You are a good person. The woman mistreating you is a pained adult child who is taking out all of her lifetime of hurt and anger and abuse on you instead of making a conscious decision to STOP the generational abuse. Instead of giving you the love you deserve she is passing on negativity, hate, control and abuse. This is normal to people who need help. It doesn't make it ok just because it is all she has ever known. Unfortunately she doesn't have the tools to give you what you truly deserve or need and may never change. And if all you've only ever known is 'abuse' (this is all encompassing to the above listed behaviors of the article) it is incredibly uncomfortable at first. On Dec 22nd I sent my mother a very long email. She would never have given me one minute to share my feelings. If anybody is interested what it said I'd be happy to share it with you, it is graphic and disturbing but my truth and my story. It came out of nowhere but I cut her off. She hasn't seen her grandchild in over six months and I've heard that she is afraid I've cut her off forever. For the first time in my life after nearly six months of counseling- something clicked last week! where I realize I am in control of my own life and mind and those chains of her guilt are broken, and I am not in the emotionally strongheld guilt of that emotionally-pained adult child known as my mother, anymore. I am grateful to have discovered free sexual assault domestic violence counseling. I wish I would've known it when I was younger. Now at 31 I have to try and undo all the damage she caused so I do not carry it onto my little girl's life. Just because I was abused and harmed, why should my beautiful little girl be punished? Or my wonderful supportive husband? They shouldn't and deserve nothing less than LOVE. And while I have never witnessed that my entire life, I am learning what it looks like. It is freeing, and light and joyous and...beautiful, a blessing we are deserve if we can choose to break away.. So I am on my own path for the first time in my life learning what it feels like to not have abuse. And to not pass it onto my baby girl!

12:59 AM  

We each have our own story. These stories are filled with Pain, hurt, fear, disgust, shame, regret, sadness. But our story isn't over. This story you are sharing is just the beginning. And while we are told it is our fault, it wasn't. We need innate protection, love, caring and a feeling of safety which should be innately provided by a mother. She couldn't give what was needed. She doesn't know how. I am coming to terms only recently With the concept that already at 58 years old, she may never change. I am so thankful I discovered counseling that feels tailored to me. It has become the best thing that has ever happened to me. Well with an amazing hubby and daughter, one of the best things ;)

I am not responsible for her anymore. I am responsible for my own healing and my own life that for the foreseeable future she is not apart of.

Nobody's story is more devastating than another's. They are all horrifying and terrible and promote serious insult to our healthy functioning. We are all good, loving, deserving people. Help is out there. I'm happy to share any info to those who want more info, on anything. We deserve a happy life but those abusing us don't want us to be happy. We have to choose our own peace, healing, and happiness more than anything else we've ever wanted because some little small innocent person doesn't deserve mistreatment because we suffered that. My mother is too pained and fearful to change those ways, I am taking a stand for what she was too weak to stop. For my daughter, and her children, and her children's children.

1:00 AM  

I am 13 years old and live with a single mother. I have always been abused menatlly, emotionally, and physically, and frankly, I'm tired of it. I told her many times and tried to change it, but she won't listen. If I tell anyone, she threatens to kill me and whoever I told. Please, someone help.

4:41 PM  

Hi Anonymous
I'm sorry you are going through this. I've been there too. But I didn't do anything or tell anyone--I just ran like hell when I turned 18. I wish I had told someone and tried to get help.

You need to document the abuse. Talk to counselors at school. If she physically assaults you, call the police. If she threatens your life--you definitely need to tell.

It's not going to be easy, and frankly she's going to be pissed. Let her get pist. Just be ready to run and call the police every time you feel threatened.

Hang in there. Life gets better.

4:14 AM  

My mother's early emotional abuse has shaped and almost destroyed my life. Textbook stuff - a single parent from a difficult background, she channelled her entire library of unmet needs and negative emotions into me from the moment I was born. She used control, fear, guilt, suffocating love, silence and even pinching me as an outlet for her own emotional pain. She married a wonderful man when I was 4, and had 3 more children - and has continued with the same behaviours - controlling, manipulating, guilt-tripping, shouting - with us all - all sprinkled over with a sickly sweet needy love and demands for affection and constant validation. My brothers and sister, and adoptive father for that matter got the diluted version. I got full strength damage for my most vulnerable growth period... birth to age 4. Now age 40 - I have been plagued by chronic low self esteem and resulting addiction issues. I have been incapable of forming & maintaining a healthy loving relationship, only being attracted to and attracting similarly broken people who hurt and reject - the dance of the wounded souls they call it. Following a black period of suppressed anger issues, depression, suicidal thoughts and now with the help of a therapist, I can see so clearly for the first time how much damage was done by my mother's 'love' in those tender early years. I have thankfully been sober for 5 years - but a huge part of my healing journey is to - if not forgive - at the very least make peace with my mother internally. Right now - I honestly feel so much anger and hatred towards her I can barely speak to her on the phone. With time and help hopefully the anger will recede and I will be able to form a healthy relationship in the future. Or maybe part of my healing is gaining acceptance that due to the damage done ... I will not be a person who is able to have a relationship without pain after all. Every child is a precious gift whose little personality and perception of the world is like a fragile glass object ... to be handled with the utmost care - the long-term damage of emotional abuse and parental misconduct is utterly devastating.

7:09 PM  

I'm 18, I have no friends because I'am studying from home and I never go out. Every so often, my mother yells and screams at me and calls me horrible names when she is upset at me, I used to just take it but it has finally wore to deep. she does the exact same thing to my dad, but he just tells me to "ignore" it and just smile and say yes. This would be fantastic if it was so easy, or if it would stop it in the first place. whenever an argument starts it's always my fault, and to be perfectly honest, I don't know if she is wrong any more. More and more she has put me down to rock bottom, I just feel terrible, and the confusion is the worst part about it. I'm horrendously confused, I feel like I'am upside down underwater trying to make sense of any of it. I feel like I'm going crazy and that I deserve it all, that it's normal, but I have nothing to compare it to so I feel alone. I feel like she is right and I should just be an obedient little boy just like she wants me to be. But at the same time it makes me sick to see I have been whittled down to such a place. People tell me that the situation I'am in is an [abusive relationship], but I just don't know. I know if I told my mother this she would just laugh and tell me I'm crazy. Most days she is like my best friend, others she torments me for doing something wrong. When I said the confusion was the worst part about this, I think I may have been wrong. The very worst part, is that I feel that however badly I'am treated, I just don't want to believe that I'am being abused, that it's all in my head and that I'm just crazy. Even when people tell me that I'am being abused, I want to believe it but I just can't. It's the worst feeling in the world, and if you suffer it too, then I'am truly sorry.

9:44 PM  

thank you for this.

7:23 PM  

My mother has been dead for 26 years. The trouble began when I was born. When I was 6 months old she was in an accident and her spine was crushed. During her rehabilitation I was sent to live with relatives. After I returned home I was over a year old.

I never felt like I had a mother. I had 2 older brothers and a sister. A younger brother was born 2 1/2 years later.

I'm sure that my mom was abusive for many reasons. I became the target because I talked back. I didn't like my mom. She was foreign to me and we didn't bond. When I tried to stand up for myself, I was shut down by being yelled at, slapped or ignored. Her most painful tactic to cope with my defiance was to completely ignore me. She liked my sister who would do anything my mom requested - until my sister got pregnant at the age of 16. When that happened, the pain delivery to me doubled and my sister was "helped."

I've spent years trying to make peace with an upbringing I didn't ask for. I've spent a lifetime
being the people pleaser. Men have misinterpreted this as a "come on." I now keep to myself and try to deal with the sadness as it appears in my life. I want to forget - - or at least minimize the memories. Thank you.

4:42 PM  

yup my mom is like a composite of all the shitty moms on the life time ch . . . but Jesus & the bible says honor thy mom & dad sooo i guess that makes me the asshole . right ? people can be awful ! & good !

2:57 AM  

I understand about phycopaths! My X was one,so was my mother. I saw my baby girl display those tendances too and a preferance to Fun Dad. So I got my baby girl out of that house,though I still felt it imperitive she have contact with her father.So mentally,emotionally,spiritually abused, we ended up in a refuge. I remarried 5years later to the best man ever,he is a gr8 fatherbut when my daughter was 9 she broke down and said she never wants to see her birth father again. He had been hurting her mind all this time and it has taken years for my darling girl to heal. My good hubby trys really hard,but sometimes she still displays the residue of abuse as if it were fresh and at time I hurt her feelings because Im still recovering too. But now we hug and talk,cry and laugh together. My point is a phsycopathic spouse can affect long term relationships wirh ur children and that behaviour can transfer to ur children even if u get out it is a long hard journey to healing and u have b painfully honest with urself and forgiveness is part of the healing,forgive BUT dont accept abuse,guard ur heart,learn frm experience,recognise they r the problem,dont let them make u into a problem.
We r all on a journey of healing,My hubby an I make mistakes in dealing with our kids,but we know not to make excuses if we r wrong,we say sorry and try to use healthy discipling. Even reading this blog has helped me to see errors Ive made. God give me wisdom. My mum was abusive sexually,mentally,spiritually,when I hit 30 and realised I cut her off,she wasnt looking to change. I am happer than ever,but still healing.
So sorry for all of ur pains. Get edified,pray,stay strong in ur mind. U can get out. These people that abuse r jelouse,incecure and weak,u scare em,they want to control u,survive,get out sucseed. Stay sane,I did it. U can

1:40 AM  

From the time I can remember my mother was never 'there for me' emotionally. Any situation where I needed help from an adult was simply ignored (even an attempt on my life at the age of nine went unaddressed.)I was left on my own to deal with whatever life threw at me. If I went to my mother with questions I was often times treated as if I should already know the answers. She would scream at me for having an opinion that differed from hers. Basically, I wasn't allowed to have my own opinion. I moved away from my birth state 5 years ago and I am still working on healing from all the damage she has managed to dump on me. I know now that the guilt I feel as her daughter was created out of her manipulation tactics to keep me under control. Just a few days ago I finally made the decision to cut all contact with her after a phone call ended with her screaming at me and hurling accusations and insults, then saying "Have a Merry Christmas!" and slamming the phone down on my ear. I was stunned. I found myself sinking into a depressive state and was fighting tears. It was in that moment that I knew I had to cut contact for my own peace of mind. I will not give her one more second of my life to treat me badly. It is one of the most difficult things I've ever had to do being that I was raised to be the good and obedient daughter but I am hopeful that the next chapter of my life will be one of great healing and new discoveries, I'm already starting to learn and grow. I'm in my early 50's now and mom is early 80's. I know she will never apologize or even admit to any of her mistakes and if I went to her with my feelings, she would throw one of her fits of drama and only make me out to be the bad guy once again so I will simply leave it be. I have no regrets about my decision, I only wish I had made it earlier in my life. It is sad that I find myself wishing I could have a better mother. One that treated me with kindness and respect and nurtured me with her love. A mother that just let me be me would be heaven. Perhaps in my next life.

2:20 PM  

My ex girlfriend was made to feel worthless by her mother , she never told her she loved her daughter. Called her usless among many other crule things and could never please her mom or her dad as I was told . The pattern I saw was pretty scary for our relationship, I as her boyfriend could never seem to please her or make her happy no matter what I did for her. She has blogs about her parents dating back to 2004 and has basicly told me the exact same story that she wrote about in them. I am 38 she 34 , so my point is for her to be going over the same stories for the past eleven years tells me she is very damaged woman and it seriously affected our relationship, it was like emotional rollercoaster, I want you I hated you type thing , I aprantly invalidated her feelings and also made her feel worthless too. All of her relationships befor me have failed and ours was no exception. I was told all of the men in her life have done nothing but disagre with her including me , even after I did everything I could to show her how much I lved and appreciated her , It still was not enough,I am not perfect and of coarse made mistakes however I took responsability for them and moved on. I read in a blog she wrote (My mom will bring up something I did 6 mounths ago and make me feel bad for something I did, well my ex did the exact same thing to me when we were dating , it was like she held a grudge for ten months. She claims to have PTSD,PCOS,ANXIETY and who knows what elese,my experience was I saw a woman that could not regulate her emotion and projected all of them on to me , not only did I agrue like her ex-husband or should I say husband becuse she lied to me and told me she was divorced,but I was also passive agressive like him too, she pushed and shoved me with pure anger and rage in her eyes then called me a boy becuse I couldnt say the right thing to soothe her and comfort her , threatining/manipulating me by saying , all you had to do was say the right thing and we could be haveing sex,She is filled with deep bitter anger from Men,people and parents that have failed her and I was lucky to see it all.I was called insecure ,a boy , lied to , pushed then pulled back in time and time again. She projected all of her issues on to me but then blame shifted and told me it was all my fault for our relationship failing and that I needed to find a girl that operated like that ? WHAT?!?!Her issues are deep seated and I think all of it started and grew from her upbringing , based on everyting I have read including this page . Please comment , I need feed back becuse this girl drove me cra cra, I find mental illness to be no laughing matter . Oh also based on the limited things I told her about my family she also acussed me of being just like my father , defensive sha called me that too.My up bringing was a walk in the park and boring compared to hers it sounds like ,Is this woman a full blown narrsisist/borderlin personality? It sure leans heavy in that direction . Lots of excuses,lies,I am the victum type thing and I am right your always wrong. Lastly she also said she could never be angry with either but in all honesty she seemed to be angry about something all of the time and had no issue in letting me know it.

8:58 AM  

This is not normal at all, don't ever think of this as normal. You have the right to hate her for what she has done to you. From your description, she sounds disgusting and vile. Please don't belive her words. My mom has done almost the same to me, the only difference is that she's not physically abusive. A mother is supposed to be loving and supportive of her children, even when they mess up. Stay strong friend, you have way more power than you know.

12:46 PM  

I'm a 32 year old female. I sometimes think that it's not my mom it's me.

Here is a little background. She would get drunk and yell at my grandma for hours on end walking out of the room slamming the door over, and over and over... Sometimes alcohol didn't even need to be a part of the equation one time my grandma only left one load of detergent. My mom threw the cap at her and screamed at her for the next six hours. I used to dance and I made a mistake on a solo routine at a recital she yelled at me for hours telling me how disappointed I made her and if I ever did it again I would not be able to dance again. She saw me kiss my boyfriend of two years once at midnight on New Years Eve and she called me a whore for hours afterwards telling me how disgusting I was. I can name dozens of different instances.

Present. I have made the decision to walk away. When I moved out 12 years ago I told myself I would never live with her again. After my grandma passed away she lost my grandmas house and was going to be homeless. I felt guilty and I decided to let her stay with me to get on her feet. She worked for awhile when I decided to re-sign my lease last year she told me she lost her job. For the last year I have been working 70+ hours a week to just to pay the basics for both of us. I haven't been able to pay for food but she is able to get food stamps seeing she isn't working to help out. She blames me saying I don't check the Post office or go to the mail box enough and she can't pick up the notice. How can I there is only time to sleep with my schedule? She finally got a job two months ago. I told her I wasn't signing the lease. When I asked her what her plan is her response is "Well I was hoping you would consider signing again, and we could move into a house next year." I said that wasn't an option so she said well I will just let things happen the way they are supposed to. Now that we are a week away. She confronts me and says that she has decided to quit her job and live on the street. I honest don't know what to do. I don't want to live the rest of my life with someone I cringe to be around everyday. So many people say that no matter what family is first, but at what cost. No personal life, no significant other, but she would be taken care of.

Sigh...I'm hoping to get some re-assurance. I know all situations are different but even some guidance on articles or more places to read anything would be awesome.

12:33 AM  

I think she is a narcissist. I know my dad is one. But I think my Mom is worse..I feel stupid for not seeing it and continuing to try and make her happy with me. They always wanted me to be the best at everything. I couldn't play a sport without making varsity. Dad was almost always the coach when I played sports when I was little. He loves control..From what I eat for dinner to how I do my hair. And I have always taken his criticism to heart. It is more painful for me to admit that my Mom is a manipulative self centered narcissist because since I was little I have felt that it is my job to please her and make her feel better. My parents would fight and my dad would use me to make her feel better. He would insist that I go and talk to her. I am now trying to go to NAU to escape. I have seen that underneath my moms 'helplessness' and 'depression' that she has been manipulating me into taking care of her and being her mother. I have cleaned up after her as long as I can remember. When I need to talk to her about a bad day or if I am feeling sick she overrides my feelings with problems of her own she wants to vent about and says that I am complaining too much..I always imagine what a nice mother would say and do for me when I am sick or when I can't take it anymore..My mom hates my Grandma but still looks for her approval. But the problem is that to me my mom is everything my mom describes my grandma of being when she grew up. What if my kids think this about me someday? My mom competes with me to be prettier and smarter. She demands respect and I am called a bitch or a brat if I voice my opinion. My dad has said before that he believes kids need to be raised with fear, otherwise they don't respect adults. I feel sick when I see the people they pretend to be to feel good about themselves. My mom can easily transition from her sweet funny bubbly self to this nasty mean person I don't everyone else she is very nice and sweet. To them I am an idiot, not pretty enough and confident enough for them. Since I was little I have noticed small lies my mom tells for no reason at all. My dad is the same. I used to get pinched by her for pointing them out.
What I hate is that the thing I have always wanted to be the most is a good mom. I want to be someone's mom someday. But I am scared I will take after her..and that my little girl or boy will lie in bed at night and cry like I do. That they'll hurt themselves like I have before. Because I wasn't strong enough to not be my mother. Its my worst fear.
I am terrified of men in general because of my dad. I am intimidated by them. My entire childhood he intimidated me..biting me punching me yelling at me..grabbing me by my ankles and swinging me around..and if he is called on it he will say 'I never did that you're wrong' and make you feel like the crazy one.
My Mom failed to protect me. And when I am hurt she seems inconvenienced by it and detached. Her work as a teacher is her life. She has breakdowns over not being a good enough teacher and keeping up with the work. It hurts to see because she cares so much about those little kids but I'm her own child and I was never worth enough to her for her to care that much. She looks at me to shower her in love and give her compliments. I almost feel haunted because I recall all the things she told me she hated about Grandma.. And I look at her and find myself thinking the same things. She thinks she is so different and better than her mom..she's the same..
I don't know how to heal. I don't know how to forgive myself for making mistakes. I don't know anything. I don't know how to feel like I'm not alone here and like its not me being wrong like they insist. I know I am only seventeen and I am not yet an adult, so I can't expect to be taken seriously or to find help. I can't get therapy. I don't want to tell anyone that will ruin my parents lives..they are still my parents. I can't go to anyone.

2:06 AM  

I am seventeen and I understand the feeling where you feel like you have to be nice because she's your mom and you have to take care of her someday.. But don't make the mistake I am and feel responsible for your mom. Don't tell yourself that its your job to take care of her eats me alive when she cries even though I know she is doing it on purpose. You have your own life to live though, and if your mom ever stands in the way of your emotional health...well..she's not your responsibility. My mom is very childish I'm not sure if yours is. The way you describe her reminds me of my dad..intrusive detached and controlling. Just remember you're your own person. Don't let the real you get suppressed and buried in who they try to make you.

2:18 AM  

My name is Mary and I'm 15 years old. When I was almost 6, my dad remarried to my current mother. And the way she acts now is the way she's always been. And today, it just got to the point wher eI just honestly didn't know what to do, how to feel, or anything. I was just thinking how desperately I want to get out of here and not have to deal with it, but then I feel crippled because I can't. Now, I've been homeschooled since I was in 5th grade, keeping in mind I'm in 10th, and I've struggled with keeping up. It's not that I'm not smart enough to keep up, it's just, I get frustrated and give up more easily because by the time I wake up in the morning to do it, i'm already so emotionally and physically stressed from the day before. So I spend from 8am-4pm just drawling it out and by the end of the day I've accomplished almost nothing. Now, my mother expects me to be done by 3 and clean the entire house before my Dad gets home from work at 5. This includes sweeping, mopping, dusting, cleaning the living room, doing the dishes, cleaning the kitchen, both bathrooms, my room, the catbox, the dining room, and my dad's office. Meanwhile, she only does her room. If I don't do it, I'm deemed lazy and she takes away any form of communication I have with my very few friends, which isn't hard due to the fact they're all online friends. I get called worthless, I get told that my dad is ashamed of me and he can't believe he's given life to something so horrible, and that i'm turning out to be my real mother, who allowed me to get sexually abused by a 30 year old man when I was only 3. When she finds out I'm falling behind on schoolwork, instead of trying to make it easier on me so I'm not so stressed, she screams at me, tells me I'll never amount to anything at this rate, and she'll just verbally abuse me. And I can't speak up, or i'll get slapped or have my life taken away from me even longer. And she'll blow things way out of porportion when she calls my teachers. She yells at them and gets them in trouble and then turns to me and tells me that it's all my fault they got in trouble, and then I have to apologize to them. And when she hangs up, she tells me I'm an embarassment to her. And what makes the cherry on top, is my dad thinks I do nothing. He thinks that I just sit on my ass all day and play video games and don't do chores and fuck up constantly because he's always at work, and that's what she's led him to believe. I just want to opt out ofthis life. i don't know what to do to make it easier, and 18 isn't coming fast enough. I just want to be done.

3:53 PM  

I need help. I can't take her anymore. I'm 20, and ive gone through too many years of this. Sometimes I lay and imagine someone finally seeing the harsh truth of this situation and just come get me and my son out of here. I am so tired of fighting to live my life, and raise my son the right way...she is such a bad influence on him. I don't know what to do. I see no options and I'm so physically and mentally tired... Please if you know of any help tell me, because I don't know how much longer I can do this

11:28 AM  

My whole life I have felt crazy, I am 23 years old. Sometimes its hard not to believe what my mom is saying. I have a younger sister, my father and my mother who is battling cancer right now..which makes me feel even worse. I am medicated for severe depression because of everything that has happened. What really messes with my head is when she is nice to me...typical abuse I guess...but then there are all the other times where I feel useless and my self worth is shot. I am a fulltime student and I am expected to drive my little sister around, work on the house, work my job, study and properly take care of myself, I hate my life almost everyday. So many people say to me "Get out of there, just leave" but I can't being a fulltime student and with my mom being so sick. The emotional abuse was so bad when I was young that I am still terrified when my phone rings because I am scared it will be her. We have tried going to therapy and all that would happen is she would put on a show and then lose it on me after when we were at home alone. She would say things like "Do you actually believe what you are saying? would make me feel like I was a liar, it really messed with my head because I was telling the truth but she manipulated me into thinking that I wasn't. My mother is highly educated, has a lot of money and nobody (unless they witnessed it) would ever believe what I am saying, which makes me feel even more alone.

Anyways, thank you for this blog and good luck to everyone out there dealing with the same thing as me. Don't be weak like me and stay, get out.

3:50 PM  

I am dealing with a narcissistic ex partner who fled with out young daughter to a foreign country. She has a long history of untreated drink and drug abuse, deep bouts of depression, low self esteem, culminating in a few attempted suicides. I am an individual poorly equipped to deal with an addict and struggle to cope with the fact my young daughter is in the forced confinement of this person. Complaints to social services, police and the school fall on deaf ears as they are poorly trained for this sort of thing, and cite a clean home with food in the cupboard as criteria for meeting the status quo. Worried in Canada...

12:27 AM  

My daughters boyfriend is 17 years of age and his mum is abusive,controlling and not a happy person. Her mood swings are unfashionable as she lies and puts her son down and has numerous times said nasty things about my daughter and has caused stress to both of them. She'd send me awful texts and be negative about people and gossip nasty put downs about people she knows.
She has called police to there home and made her son look bad, I have read the abusive texts she has sent him. Kicked him out and made him sleep in his car. Tell him his no good. Never have I seen her express her love toward him.
It puts a lot of strain on him as he doesn't have a father he can go to when his mother behaves like this. Her outbursts can last for two days. She won't go and seek medical help.
I think any person who is mentally physically put down abused, should not put up with this. It's important to stay strong focus and try surround yourself with positive people who can support you. Believe your worthy of your self and don't let anyone tell you different.

1:52 PM  

I came across your article because I had a horrible fight with my mother and I am trying so hard to understand what happened. It started over a very small thing, she didn't like that I yelled at her and accused me of being ungrateful and rude. I'm 33 years old, married with a child. My mother lives with us and we support her every need. The only thing we ask of her is to help out in taking care of the baby. When my mother gets depressed or unhappy, she would always start a fight. Accuse me and my husband of treating her like a maid/slave. Last night, I had enough of her endless, childish complains I answered back and told her that it is not fair to always play the victim. She lost it, cursed at me and became too hysterical! She started screaming and called me the following names: bitch, slut, demon child, ungrateful, disrespectful, worse person in the world. Then she attacked me, choked, slapped me in the face four times. She did this while I was taking care my 16 month old son, and she didn't stop even when my husband arrived to my aid. This happened in my own house, in front of my family. I seriously didnt know what to say or do. My mother has hit me when I was younger and she had been verbally and emotionally abusive for a long time but I never really thought how damaging her behavior was towards me until last night. Now that I am a mother myself, I can see clearly how differently I would raise my son and how horribly my mother actually treated me all these years. Thank you for this article, it somehow makes me understand that I am not the person my mother makes me think I am. It also clears my head as to why she's been acting the way she did.

11:44 AM  

Im 50 my mom IS 74 and since i was a littlle my mom used TO slap me IN the face i HAVE never forgave her FOR abusing me this went on until i was 21 she took control of my life sorry TO say i DONT HAVE no FEELINGS FOR her i DONT hug OR kiss her she IS like a strange TO me god gave TO CHILDREN whuch i never hit OR slap now i KNOW she was wrong

8:40 PM  

No contact.

9:10 AM  

hi I had an abusive mother too...she does everything you said about your mother, except she is never tender, either absent or emotionally abusive. Now I see a pattern after many years, it's almost whenever something small that negatively affects her, the only way she can feel better is to provoke me and see me sad / angry. Then she will ignore me while I desperately try to explain to her why her accusations are wrong. Would a mother break her daughter's heart and will just to get some attention? But that is what my mother does... the only way is for you to leave...I have now my own place and you can't imagine all the subconscious anger that was inside me and comes out post the move out where I am finally safe -- safe to cry, safe to have my own thoughts... anyway, most people don't change you know... and your relationship with your mother is a one way are her puppet..pls move out. It will be better

1:42 AM  

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