I Thought my Mothers Dysfunctional Behaviour was Normal


toxic mother daughter relatiionshipI was 13 years old the first time I woke up hearing my mother having sex. My parents had been split up for a few months; I had never heard my parents having sex. By the sounds of it, I thought that the man my mother had in her bedroom with her was trying to kill her. And he could have been! How would anyone know? None of us knew him.

I felt frozen in my bed, terrified about what I was hearing and not knowing what to do about it.  Should I get a large object and go in there and club him over the head? Should I call the police? My frozen immobility and indecisiveness was making me feel guilty and then suddenly, those horrifying sounds stopped.  I heard normal murmuring sounds of conversation.  I must have gone back to sleep then.  Eventually, I figured out that what was going on in her bedroom was not murder or physical violence.

My toxic mother didn’t want to be a single mother. That was her answer to everything. It was even her justification for having very loud sex with men while three children slept in rooms very close by.

One of my brothers made comments about her night-time noise making sessions; she would respond “I never asked to be a single mother”.  I was left to assume the translation for that statement.  And I translated it according to my belief system.  My mother deserves to be happy. Men make her happy. I have no right to interfere with her happiness. I have no right to feel uncomfortable about hearing my mother doing this stuff.

I have no rights.

I translated her justifications into the belief that this situation was normal. I believed that I had no right to any judgements about my mother. I believed that I was wrong to feel scared, embarrassed and unsafe.  I believed that the uncomfortable feelings I felt when I came down to the kitchen in the morning to find those men sitting there at the table, were due to the fact that something was wrong with me. I thought I was different than other people because I thought I was having difficulty accepting a “normal divorced family” situation that I was unable to accept as “normal”. I thought it was just ME that couldn’t accept it as “normal.”  I thought I SHOULD be able to accept it. (As you can see, my definition of “normal” was dysfunctional and I was accustomed to accepting our dysfunctional mother daughter relationship.)

By the time I was seventeen I was calling myself prudish rather than accept that my narcissistic and self centered toxic mother was promiscuous. By the time I was 19 I suspected that I was “frigid” because I was not at all interested in sex the way that my mother was. I was always looking at the “what is wrong with me” part because my grid of understanding came from dysfunctional mother daughter relationship. My “normal” was not really normal at all. My toxic  mothers dysfunctional behaviour throughout my teen years messed me up a great deal and it took me a long time to realize that.

Understanding THIS truth has been one of the profound truths that set me free.

My promiscuous mother’s decision to have loud sexual relations with men was a decision made out of my mothers selfishness. Repeatedly stating that she “didn’t ask to be a single mother” was meant to justify her own bad behaviour while ensuring that her children didn’t blame her for anything. I didn’t know that and could not even suspect that back then.  I felt guilty and wrong that I was ashamed of my narcissistic mother so I turned it on myself.

When my toxic mother started taking me to the bars where she was picking up men, I didn’t know that was abnormal or dysfunctional mother behaviour either. Even though I knew that I was underage, and I had that adrenalin rush every time I ordered a drink for fear of being asked for I.D. I didn’t know that what my narcissistic mother was doing was wrong because she was my mother. She was the ultimate authority in my life. In my mind, my mother’s authority surpassed the authority of the law and I believed by then that my role in her life was to help her get through the terrible burden of being a single mother.  I felt the same way about her conduct in our home. It was my job, my responsibility to help her get through the terrible burden of having to be a single mother to me; I believed that I was the burden.

All of my mother’s promiscuous sexual behaviour and misbehaviour since I was about 6 years old had groomed me nicely to accept that my value was in sexuality, just like my mothers value was in sexuality. I was groomed to be ready to identify with sexuality as my value even though it scared me to death because of the abuse and trauma that I associated with it. This is one of the terrible conflicts these mixed messages cause that survivors of dysfunctional families face.

~And I wondered why I struggled with depressions continually.

~And I didn’t understand HOW I had become dissociated.

~And I constantly questioned why I had such low self esteem.

~And I beat myself up for my weaknesses with addictions and dysfunctional relationships with abusive men; when in reality I had been well groomed to accept dysfunction as “normal”. I had taught to reprimand myself when I had trouble accepting dysfunction as “normal”.

~I actually fought to accept that I was a failure in most areas of my life thinking the answer was in acceptance and surrender and never realizing that I was struggling to accept the wrong truth. 

These were examples of the type of damage that I had to face the truth about in order to overcome the ways that the results of that damage manifested in my life.

I HAD to understand that I was not the one that let me down.

The ideas presented in this article are not limited to the examples that I have given. This same “grooming process” producing other mixed messages can be applied to any dysfunctional behaviour displayed by a parent in order to see where you own belief system formed in a false normal way. I welcome you to share your thoughts on this subject.  

Exposing Truth; one snapshot at a time;                                          

Darlene Ouimet

The Emerging from Broken book is ready for download! If you find that the subject matter I am writing about resonates with you, get this book today! This 197 page, downloadable, printable, live linked e-book will put you on the fast track to healing.  Get yours here through the upper right side bar or click this link~ Emerging from Broken The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing


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101 response to "I Thought my Mothers Dysfunctional Behaviour was Normal"

  1. By: cherie Posted: 15th January

    This post really validates me…after my parents got divorced when I was 8, mymother started taking me to bars, and bringing home men….not only could I hear loud sexual activity from my bedroom, sometimes I would actually be in the room while she was having sex with them…..one of them she eventually married…he would touch me in sexual ways in front of her and she did nothing to stop it….and that was just the tip of the iceberg….to this day she can admit no wrongdoing….she truly believes she’s perfect, and that I am completely responsible for everything that happened to me……

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 16th January

      Hi Everyone!
      Welcome to the new people on this thread! (and my apologies for the late reply)

      Cherie, I am so sorry that this happened to you. They should have both been charged. Children are never responsible for horrific illegal behaviour like that!
      hugs, Darlene

      It is really great to have all of you here and I hope you will consider joining the more current conversations through the home button.

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