More on Mother Daughter Dysfunctional Relationship

dysfunctional family
Mommy Please….


“If your progress in recovery is thwarted each time you see your family, if you revert to being a subservient or a fearful child, then you may need to stop seeing them for a while. Most importantly, you may need time to develop your own separate “self”, since it may be impossible for you to maintain a sense of individuality when you are around them.” The Right to Innocence – Beverly Engel

Lisa, one of my readers, made the following comment on the post “welcoming a new year of emotional healing” in regards to drawing boundaries with her mother; “What if there is no me without her?” this post is dedicated to that comment and it applies to all relationship where equal value is out of balance.

I was a really good victim to a lot of people. That means that I conformed and complied to many. I did what they wanted. I was who they wanted me to be. It makes me angry to think of how compliant that I was and that it was still never enough.

I lost myself and I got sick. As I got older, the overall dysfunction that was so familiar to me grew, and I got sicker. This was especially true in the dysfunctional mother daughter relationship with my own mother.

Looking back I realize that in most of my relationships,  the interest that many people had in me was pretty much only about what I could do for them and about how much they could make me into who they wanted me to be. Sometimes that is about power and control. Sometimes it is about ownership and servant hood. Whatever the motive is, it is not healthy and it is not about love. And when we continue to live in that kind of relational dysfunction, the more we lose ourselves.  In my case, the farther I got from my identity, the more depression and dissociation manifested. I lived only to live for others.

In the case of my mother, I think she wanted children because she was looking for a love source of her own. And so she created a love source. And she might have loved those babies to the best of her ability but as we grew older, something happened. She had expectations. She wanted approval and validation and she wanted it from the love source that she created. And when people get love mixed up with ownership, they believe they have a right to get what they need or want from those other people. But love and relationship doesn’t work that way and because she didn’t really know love herself, the whole plan failed.

The foundation of our relationship (overtime) became about my usefulness to her. When I was little my unconditional love and acceptance of HER was all she needed, but as I grew into an individual who had my own individual ideas, I think she felt threatened. And she did things that if I put up with them would prove to her that I still loved her. AND it seemed that she was very mad at me when I could not fill the void in her and make her feel good about herself. She put me down. She reminded me in strange ways that I was nothing. (and somehow I heard that I was nothing “without her”.) She did mean things that when accepted by me seemed to make her feel better because she equated them with love.

I got away from her, but it was never far enough. She sucked the joy out of every accomplishment that I ever had with her sometimes subtle, sometimes obvious put downs and questions designed to devalue me. She mentioned my weight. She put down my husband, my home, and my choices. She made inappropriate sexual comments about me in front of others. I was always on edge around her. And I never thought to confront her about doing it. She even commented that my breasts used to be so nice before I had children. WHY does someone feel the need to say something like that?

When I was small she taught me that I needed her, and I did. But she never taught me that I was capable of being an individual. She never wanted me to stop NEEDING her because it restored her value. I believed that I needed her to survive and even to exist.

And one day about a year after I began to take my life back by doing the foundational work that I write about all the time in this blog, I started to stand up to her, just a bit and just in tiny ways at first. But the more that I grew, the more I realized that my mother and I had a very dysfunctional mother daughter relationship. And eventually I stood up to her in bigger ways. And the tension between us was getting really bad. Then came the day when I said NO MORE. And this time I meant it. My boundary was not in my mouth anymore, it was in my heart now. She knew that I was serious, and she withdrew.

At first I was confused. I could not believe that she didn’t care enough to even try to discuss it. But I had lost my “usefulness to her” and what I didn’t realize is that part of my usefulness to her was in how she got to put me down. I felt so sorry for her too; for most of my life I tried to restore her value, but no one can do that for someone else. (I have written about this stuff under the mother and daughter relationship tabs.) The problem is that my purpose in her life wasn’t about love, value and equality. The way that she treated me wasn’t fair to me and it was when I finally put myself first, something we are told we must never do, that I found my healing.  

When some time had gone by, my mother called and she wanted to try to mend fences. The problem was that she wanted to start from that day and asked if we could “just put it all behind us” and I said no. That is how we had always done things in the past, with me backing down. With me saying that her treatment of me was okay with me, (what I thought was forgiveness) and with me laying there broken and bleeding on the ground once again doing what she wanted and being who she wanted me to be. Always about her, always taking care of her; never about me, never taking care of me. She asked me what my terms were and I said equal respect. That was the last time I talked to her.

As I said, this time my boundary was drawn in my heart. I finally knew that I was worth equal respect, and that I have real value, equal value and that she doesn’t own me.  I finally knew that her life is not my responsibility. She failed me as a mother, but I am not going to fail myself anymore.

I am not afraid anymore to live as me because I found out that the value that they gave me was a lie. I am far more valuable then they ever wanted me to find out about.  I found out that I do not need anyone else in order to exist. I am not defined by anyone else today. AND I am not an extension of my mother.

Please share your thoughts. One of the biggest search phrases used to find Emerging from Broken are the key words “dysfunctional mother daughter relationship”. This is a huge issue in our society. We are not alone in this.

Exposing Truth, One snapshot at a time

Darlene Ouimet

See Lisa’s comment #19  on Welcoming a new year of Emotional Healing

Related posts: Mother Daughter Relationship Nighmares

Mother daughter relationship ~ My poor Mom

252 response to "More on Mother Daughter Dysfunctional Relationship"

  1. By: jeanemills Posted: 5th March

    My mother has always used me emotionally. It started at 5 when my abusive father left her for another woman. There were 6 of us. Dad picked his 3 favorites and Mom got the rest. She let us know that we were not quite as good as the other 3. She moped around all of the time felling sorry for herself. I was so young that all I wanted to do was comfort her all of the time. She started seeing another man right after she left Dad. I did not understand why she needed someone else. She worked and went out with this man. My two sisters that were 10 and 15 left me alone to fen for myself. To make a long long story short year after year I was guilted into making mother happy. I felt responsible for her. When I went to work, I helped support myself thru high school and after graduation. Men would come and go while she would come home and cry if they would not want to be with her exclusively or marry her. She was depressed most of the time. Then when she met a great guy and dated him for several years he decided she was not the one. She blamed me for running him away. I would buy clothes and shoes that she could wear to try to make her feel better about herseld and everything I did was for her. Later in life she finally got remarried then he died. She got sick right after that and guess what, Yes I took care of her and rehabilitated her for a whole year, quitting my job and spending 24 hours a day with her. That has been 12 year ago now. She got remarried again after 5 years and her new husband live by me and I feel like I can’t get rid of her. She talks about my weight, belittles my creativity, sucks the joy out of me, is on the phone everyday with a family member telling about how insensitive and mean I am. She has managed to make me the family scapegoat all of my life and frankly I a have had enough. I really believes that she hates me even though I have done more for her than anybody. At Christmas this year she said that my brother, who was abusive to me was coming to see her and she was bringing him over at that time. I said no and she threw a fit at the table with my husband and kids at the table. I pulled her aside and told her that he is not welcome in our home and that it is my decision who to have over not hers. She got histerical and cried and left my house. She did not talk to me for 3 months and it was the best 3 months of my life, even my family said I was much happier. She never appologised to me and treats me as though it was my fault again and again got on the phone with my sisters and brothers. Then she sent home a bottle of St. Johns Wort with my husband. What a witch!!!!

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 5th March

      Hi Jeanemills
      Welcome to EFB
      You are not alone in all of this. There is lots of info on this site about overcoming the damage that this causes and lots of community too.
      Hugs, Darlene

  2. By: happy2findu Posted: 10th February

    Coming upon your page has been wonderful and reading this article has me in tears as I am currently at a crossroads of what to do with my mother. Any time I confront her she makes me feel like a child, I am always at fault and she is the victim then a week later she acts like nothing happened (but never forgets in case it benefits her in a future argument) She says she loves me and compliments me in birthday cards and praises things that she approves of but the second anything deviates from her plans (Im 24 with a husband and my own daughter, I need to plan my own life) she flips out and calls me names and says hurtful things like shes trying to hurt me. Ive tried talking to hsr but ahe doesnt listen, she can take no responsibility and acts like she is being attacked, I have thought of writing a letter but she has called past letters childish and cowardly because I should be able to talk to her in person but sometimes I just cant get it out in person. Or do I just cut her out completely, but then Im the “bad daughter” who doesnt love her..I have no idea what to do with her…
    Thank you for your words have a wonderful life

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 10th February

      Hi Happy2findu
      Welcome to EFB
      There is lots of info on this site about what you are talking about. I am sure you will find a lot of helpful insight here. (start in the mother daughter category. There are a lot of articles about dysfunctional famiily)
      Hugs, Darlene

  3. By: Laramar Posted: 30th January

    Amelia –

    What a great way to launch your new life in 2013 – creating an identity that cannot and will not be manipulated by a master manipulator! Welcome to taking care of yourself, honoring yourself, healing yourself – it is not selfish to do these things except in the eyes of people whose only energy comes from leeching off others.

    Time for your mother to deal with herself instead of being distracted by the games she plays with you. I am so proud of you for consciously deciding not to play her game anymore! Happy New Year, Happy New Life!

  4. By: Amelia Posted: 30th January

    First, thank you all so much for sharing. I have spent the past 40-43years (that’s as far back as I con remember believing I was alone and crazy. I now know I am neither.
    Last nite my mother severed our relationship (again) but th%s time is different. I thought if this were my boyfriend or spouse people would think me crazy to voluntary stay in such a situation. Why is it different because she is my mother. Yes, she gave birth to me but outside of that she has’nt fulfilled an of the connotations of mother. I thought ‘How many times do I need to get shocked before I understand don’t touch the red knob’ (Pavlov experiments). I am a.Christian and believe in relationship but relationship takes two. So, indefinatly I will put me as priority and will not be speaking with her. I need this time to stregthen me.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 30th January

      Hi Amelia
      Welcome to EFB
      You are certainly NOT alone! This website generates 1000 or more comments every month. I realized that it should not be different just because she is my mother. That carries with it MORE responsibility, not less.
      Taking time to strengthen yourself is an excellent idea!
      Thanks for sharing,
      Hugs, Darlene

  5. By: Laramar Posted: 28th December

    And one of my New Years Resolutions is to tell people I love how much I love them! I love you all!

  6. By: Laramar Posted: 28th December

    Maddy –

    I had a very peaceful Christmas because I vowed, no matter how strong the guilt pressure from my mother, and how powerful my obedient child script, to stay away from my family for the holidays. It has been such a great blessing to have a husband who supports me in this, but also my real family – you folks in my blogging tribe – to give me feedback and support as well.

    I reread your last post here and started crying, but in a good, healing way. That feeling that you are so empowered that it is seeping into your dreams just makes me so overwhelmingly happy for you, and sets such a good example for others who are struggling as you are, to step into your power and not feel shame about refusing to play the destructive, pre-programmed game that is the only way we knew how to please our dysfunctional parental units.

    This Christmas my husband gave me gifts not just as his wife, but for the little abused kids in me, and it was so sweet and so special to those parts of me that just need to doodle with crayons or hug a teddy bear. Just remember Maddy to drop in on those kids inside you regularly – take them out for ice cream or buy them a fuzzy toy every once in a while. And I cannot recommend more highly the benefits of a long, soothing, pampering bath where you reach a point where you are so relaxed and so far from that old identity and those old problems that you almost fall asleep in the tub!

    So this message goes out to Maddy and everyone – I love you all so much, my beautiful wounded warriors, and I wish to us all the most beautiful, empowering, revelation filled New Years any of us could possibly imagine! Thank you so much for your openness, your wisdom, your willingness to be vulnerable, and your very existence, so we all can learn that we are not crazy, we are not evil, we are not stupid, we are not liars, and we are most assuredly not alone.

    Blessings Darlene for giving us this gift, and the highest love and light to everyone!
    Happy New Year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. By: Maddy Posted: 7th November

    Dear Laramar and Darlene,

    Thankyou so much you guys are Amazing it means alot to me, and to really, really, really KNOW that I’m NOT alone makes the load so much easier. I was so glad to get this messages before I went to bed last night and after I read I could actually have more peaceful sleep I dreamt this lady was abusing me verbally and I actually stood up for myself in the dream!! People around me was stunned that I did it but also surprised for the fact that I just carried on with my life. I think that just it!!! like you also said I have to live my life and focus on my inner healing, my husband and the boys, but more importnat for me to heal that inner child. I did tell my kids that I will not prevent them from seeing their granmother, but in this house we will do it differently make better choices as a family and experience real love. 100 thousand thankyou’s your ongoing support makes this hell our parents give us so much more bearable.
    My question is how do you heal? What do you do on days where it feels unbearable? and what is good study course to follow? or would you suggest hobbies, fitness, nutrition etc?
    Lotsa love & hugs, thanks for cheering me on!

  8. By: Laramar Posted: 7th November

    Maddy –
    You are not alone! Everybody on this blog and all the others have been through the exact same form of psychological manipulation. I have come to the conclusion that abuse is a form of vampirism – they feed off your fear and powerlessness, and when you cut off their food supply as it were, they panic and become even worse.

    My experience has been that the more I refused to give in to the entire families general agreement that I was the bad, crazy one, the more they finally came around to accepting my story, and the more they started to actually be afraid to challenge me on it. If you can just hang in there and continue to be strong for the sake of your inner child who never got that protection and validation, it will get better. It does get better. Meantime, we are all here for you, cheering you on!

  9. By: Maddy Posted: 7th November

    Thnaks so much for all your sharing & responses it helps immensely.

    I did manage to cut contact with my very abusive, manupilative mother for the last 3months have not answered her sms’s or calls. Yet she stil spreads malicious and very hurtful lies about me with every family member, brother, sister, cousins, nephews, aunts, uncles and even friends. Is is sad because the lies not only hurt me but destroyed all the little relationships I had with my family. What makes it even sadder is we live in a different country now and because it was my sons 14th birthday today she had to mention the fact that ‘if anybody tells them not to have contact with her…they must search for her until they find her she’ll always be there for them’ . . and they must find out what a ticket costs so she can come and visit them here!!!! My sons are both upset that I dont want her to have contact with them, they dont understand my pain and abuse I’ve been through.

    I guess I’m just talking this through and know that you understand and that I’m not alone with this abusive mother that keeps on rejecting me even though the contact from my side is very little she breks me down and its spreading like wildfire…

    My main concern not so much the family I’ve lost, living in a new country grieving the losses,hurting because I have no REAL relationships with family anymore, BUT my husband and children is my main concern she is subtly trying to get through to, so she can manipulate through them and caue havock and distructon.
    Thanks for understanding and listening to me.


    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 7th November

      Hi Maddy
      This is so hard when our kids are involved because usually they have seen us take this abuse and so they don’t know it is abuse. To them it is just normal. I had to present a different normal to my kids and they did see the abuse for what it was eventually. I often see that abusive people delight in hurting others where it counts; ie through thier kids. When I began to model self love and self respect, my kids began to see the truth about the way it was in the past. This was one of the most complicated parts of the process for me and the fear that I had over it was huge. I never told my kids they could not see or talk to grandparents but interestingly, the grandparents didn’t really try except for my father. His true colours are what hurt him in the end though but only because our kids had lived in a home where ‘real love’ and where they had been treated with equal value for several years.
      You are not alone!
      Hugs, Darlene

  10. By: Dena Posted: 28th October

    This is EXACTLY how my relationship was with my Mother!!
    She would creep me out saying that me and my sister would “be with her forever and ever” and we’d “always be together” as if I were a child!!! X_X
    It evolved into a lot worse than that as I got older and shortly after I got married. I was the “selfish daughter” who was “so ungrateful” etc etc. If I showed an ounce of wanting to move out or not go on family vacations, I was met with much hostility and anger.

    I finally ties with her when she and my sister ganged up on me this past Mother’s Day and tried to force me into separating (and eventually divorcing) my husband. It REALLY broke the camel’s back.

    My grandma (mother’s mom) is trying to get me to talk to her again, but I am not budging one bit. I’m not putting a time-frame on when I want to speak to either my Mother or sister, but its not in the foreseeable future for certain.

    Despite the damage to my immediate family relations, I am A LOT HAPPIER without my bitch Mother (there, I said it) in my life!!! Best decision…EVER.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 28th October

      Hi Dena
      Welcome to EFB!
      It sounds like if there is to be any relationship with your mother that SHE will have to be the one to make a move forward. I wonder why your grandmother think YOU should be the one to talk to her instead of the other way around? I told my mother that if she wants to have a relationship with me, then she is going to have to do her part of the work on it. (she doesn’t want to, but to me that is part of the truth that set me free)
      Glad you are here, thanks for your comments.
      Hugs, Darlene

  11. By: Laramar Posted: 20th October

    You guys are the closest thing to real, got your back, unconditional family I ever had! I love checking in with all of you! Happy Halloween to all of us who are dancing with our demons instead of letting them run our lives!

  12. By: lburck Posted: 19th October

    darlene and laramar~
    you guys are the best! i love how you keep coming back to respond to all of us who post here.

    i have not sent back her card out of guilt, but after visiting w/ my physician, i decided to go forward w/ it. what do i have to lose?

    hope you two have a super blessed weekend! as for me, i have a halloween party to host this weekend for my children; this is my third year,and i am loving it:) god bless!

  13. By: Laramar Posted: 18th October

    Major kudos to your hubby!

  14. By: lburck Posted: 17th October

    my husband gave me the best advice: return to sender 😉

  15. By: lburck Posted: 17th October

    hi darlene~
    i have two boys from a previous marriage, and three from my husband now; there’s about ten years between my two sets.

    i wrote that my mom cut me off, and said she would take “her losses” when it came to not having contact w/ my children.

    she believes i should have never left my first husband who was an alcoholic (daily he drank hard liquor and/or beer).

    so, since the falling out between my mother and me (for which i am so thankful for), my youngest son turned 5 this passed august; she sent him nothing for his birthday. my husband and i both had our birthdays in september…again, she sent us nothing (i neither expected nor wanted anything from her).

    however, my boy from my first marriage has a birthday this month, and she sent him a card w/ money. i don’t even know what to think or do about this. just too bizarre. any suggestions? i haven’t given it to him yet. he has autism, so i would need to prompt him to call her or write a thank you note.

    this just feels like she’s playing a head game. what do you think? Lisa

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 17th October

      Hi Ibruck
      Only you can decide the best course of action but I think you are on the right track with thinking she is playing a game and I think that it is extreemly unfair to send a gift to one but not to the other.
      Hugs, Darlene

  16. By: Laramar Posted: 15th October

    Maddy –

    It is so fun to see you stepping into your power! Darlene is good at that, isn’t she? The thing this thread brings up in me is how similar the “respect your mother” rhetoric matches the “forgive and forget” doctrine of the Catholic Church. (A hidden form of “respect your priest even though he is molesting you.”)

    I firmly believe that my father would never have molested me had he not first been molested by priests himself. Yet the Church continues to devalue victims by maintaining the tired old stance “forgive and forget.” The only people that line benefits, as I see it, is pedophiles in the Catholic Church. They get to keep serial raping children all over the world and getting away with it.

    This is not meant to be a condemnation of your faith – I am only trying to say that forgiveness is earned, and if you keep forgiving or overlooking bad behavior when no attempt is made to do good, then you are a passive (though well-meaning) enabler of that behavior.

    When I began to heal, is when Darlene and Patricia and all the women and men in this forum demonstrated that it is ok to say no. It is ok to have boundaries and refuse to deal with people when they overstep them. You sound with every post as if you are starting to step into that power that was taken away from you by your maternal abuser – and my humble advice is to step out of the role of passive enabler and into the role of newly empowered and sovereign human being, deserving of all rights and privileges any human being would.

    You don’t need your mother. That is what is driving her crazy – she can no longer control you except when you let her. Be proud of yourself every time you refuse to let her – guilt is her only power anymore, and you have paid your dues. You don’t owe her anything anymore, if you ever did.

    It’s ok to let go, and give your energy and your love to your family, so they don’y have to go through this anymore. Part of growing up is learning who is deserving of your attention, and from all you say, your mother is clearly not! Let go of her energy-draining games so you can become the mother, wife, friend and woman god made you for. Blessings and power to you!

  17. By: Maddy Posted: 15th October

    Thankyou so much for empowering me, menas more than the world to me.
    Friends – I do try to keep them from her. I remember when I was little how I didnt want to bring friends home anymore because I didnt trust her anymore. She manages to get their numbers some way or the other, they might phone me when she visited me here and she took messages for me, but keeps the number and phones them when I’m not around. When I visited she even made an appointment with one of my friends that had to go back for a funeral sweet talks them into believing there is ‘something worng’ with me. (Yes there is I’m broken on my way to wholeness, who isnt?) Make them believe it..and then begs them to stay my friend!! I never ever hear of them again so I guess were never true friends. She phoned the school here telling malicious lies about my disciline when she instigated my kids what to say against me. I disciplined them. But what is sad that she even tries this with my husband. Thank God he has changed jobs now and have a new number and when she asked for his number I refused. This time after my visit 3months ago he is a little bit more onboard, cause he can see that I very serious about this bully and abuse she has put me through and years of neglect and rejection. I have had it with her. But then she sms’s me all religeous messages. I so dont miss her and cannot accept any of these type of messages I do not reply to that especially from her. I love the Lord with all my heart, but she even confronts my Christianity and tries to break down my walk with God asif there is something wrong with me.
    I like what you say about mutual respect and equal value, please pray that my next conversation re this will go smoothly. Hoping that she will discontinue conatct with me and get relevant help. Until then she is not welcome in my life.
    You are Amazing Darlene thankyou for helping me to Victory!
    Glad to be here
    Will chat again tomorrow
    Lots love Hugs, Maddy xx

  18. By: Maddy Posted: 15th October

    Hi Darlene
    Thankyou thankyou thankyou SO MUCH!
    Finally somebody understands me.
    Thankyou for helping to set these boundaries, Darlene are truly God sent. Yes that is exactly it! because I have to respect my ‘mother’ and she she always tells me when I DO stand up for myself that I must remember that she is still my mother, she is so cruel…because of her friendships family relationships are ruined because her ongoing lies and if she cannot get through to me or break me into her little ‘game’ she gets other people involved and have lost many friends over the years and that is what I am afraid of, she always does that and she will try it here. I am so scared and already thinking of relocating to another state, but the other states are not so family friendy and I enjoy the FREEDOM away from it all. She has done this for years to my eldest sister and even brother now she has turned on me. And I still dont know how to stand up to my mother. I have een reading alot of your articles and is already so refreshing and healing to me and FREEDOM and wholeness is what I crave for. And I’m gonna loose the weight and be Free and Healthy also.
    You are Amazing such an Inspiration & Encourager to many!!
    Thankyou again and again.
    LOTS LOVE & HUGS your sister,
    Maddy xx

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 15th October

      She can only try it if she meets your friends there in the first place.
      About that comment ~ “respect your mother” and when mothers say “remember I am still your mother”… what does that mean? Is a mother a bully that we have to comply to? Respect is mutual. That is what I told my mother. I told her that if we were going to have a relationship it had to be based on mutual respect and equal value. She didn’t like that I guess because she never called me again. That is okay though because I don’t miss the way she treated me.
      Glad you are here!
      Hugs, Darlene

  19. By: Maddy Posted: 15th October

    Hi, this all so relevant on my life I did’nt really understood until after 6 years of leaving the country that we lived in and when I went back for a surprise visit, yet to my surprise my mother had her network in the family of gossipers spreading malicious lies about me, hurting, trying to control me and trying to pin their problem on me and INSISTED that I see a councellor. She made that 1st week visiting her in her home unbearable, I felt soo lonely and was robbed of all my joy. If it wasnt for my strong relationship with the Lord I would probably have lost it. Instead I agreed to go only if my mother and those ) backbiters (my only sister and only brother) with now the same problem in controlling and manipulating me go with to the councellor, only my mother agreed the others members of the family that cursed and vocalised their problems on me retreated and very dead quiet. After seeing the councellor he suggested that he see my mother for follow up sessions and wanted to see her weekly. She agreed at first. He wanted to see me alone and said that he was very proud of me in bringing my mom to the session in such a way that must have been VERY hard for mre and could see my growth in God and that I am very happy living my husband and children in a new country and should work on me and come back home and enjoy my life in growing in the Lord in a new place. Well I did so…I took Mom for tea & cake before I left, I clearly set the boundaries when I left and thanked her for the time I had with her, although the visit was truly UNBEARABLE!!
    Coming back home I asked God to help me in this area of forgiveness en moving and I did I am trying very hard. Enjoying every day life with my husband and children, going on regular dates and thankful that my kids are now involved at Youth.
    The bomb finaly dropped that I need further help in handling this situation when my mother announced that my sister is moving here but to another state, BUT MY DEAR MOTHER IS MOVING HERE TO LIVE IN THE SAME STATE AS ME. She is very controlling again and cannot stop herself, she’s trying to manipulate my husband in getting his new contact number, insisted I give her the new home telephone number and tells me that my children is gonna spend weekends at her place . . .
    I am devistated, just when I felt freedom I am now feeling trapped again. I need your prayers, guidance and support I dont know if I am able to handle this on on my own any longer in this life.

    Thank you for your time, prayers and God bless!

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 15th October

      Hi Maddy
      Welcome to emerging from broken
      You have a choice about the time you spend with your mother. The children are YOURS and you can say no when it comes to spending the weekend with your mother. That, is not her choice. I needed help realizing that these things were up to me, not up to her. Forgiveness was not the problem for me, the problem was that I didn’t know how to stand up to my mother. I didn’t know that I could choose or that I had a right to be treated with respect. I understand how frightened you are, and I hope that you will read lots more of the ariticles and discussions here about this whole difficult mother daughter dysfunctional relationship stuff through the ‘mother daughter category’ and the ‘family category’.
      Please keep sharing,
      Hugs, Darlene

  20. By: lburck Posted: 26th September

    Thank you Darlene~
    I am currently reading Children of the Self-Absorbed, and the scary part is that I see a lot of the traits in myself, but now that I am aware of this, I am on a mission–w/ the help of God–to work on these areas.

    My mother lives in a different state (for seven yrs now), so my children have little contact w/ her, but she’s always sent them gifts (albeit she never took my suggestions on what the kids liked; she gave them the wierdest “thrift” store items).

    anyway, they still cherish anything they get from her b/c she is their only existing grandparent from both sides of the family.

    What would you say, Darlene? Would you go into some detail? or are the children too young to handle such baggage? Do I say nothing and give them gifts for grandma? that doesn’t seem right. I just want to do right by my children. Is it wrong to paint their grandma in a bad light?

    Thank you for your help and time. God bless!

  21. By: lburck Posted: 26th September

    I am the(44 y/o) daughter of an NPD mom. I recently pieced together that my mother’s behaviors throughout my life have been narcissistic in nature. With that said, I have cut myself off from my mother completely; our relationship was extremely toxic.

    I am wondering if anyone has advice on how to explain the separation from grandma to my 5 y/o, 8 y/o, and 9y/o. The 5 yr old keeps talking about seeing her again, and getting presents from her during holidays and birthdays. I know this will not happen, b/c she sent him nothing when he turned 5. She wrote me a letter stating that she no longer wanted contact w/ me or the kids and that she would take her losses. She wanted it on “record” that she separated from me “first”, which is fine (and necessary).

    What should I tell my son? How can I be truthful w/out burdening him w/ the garbage?

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 26th September

      Hi Iburck
      Welcome to emerging from broken
      Something I had to get straight in my own mind before I helped the kids was the reasons for this happening and that I didn’t want my toxic family to damage my kids either. My mother is also the one that made the decision to walk away from me when she would not engage about my request for respect etc. She decided (without words) to leave all relationships including her grandchildren ~ BUT would I have wanted it any differently? I don’t think so today. My children when they were younger were relieved that certain people were out of thier lives in some ways and worried in others. It was in getting all my throughts sorted out that I was able to help them understand. It was a pretty natural process actually! My 2 oldest kids confided in us after only a few months that they were relieved. My youngest now barely remembers her grandparents. But I empowered my children to see that it is doable to stand up to abuse and abusers. They saw me (and their father) stand up for myself. They learned that relationship is a two way street and that all people have equal value and that we all have choices. These are very valuable life lessons!
      Hugs, Darlene

  22. By: Laramar Posted: 14th September

    Theresa –
    Your comment:

    “I also find myself wanting to rush the process of reconciliation. And this is so WRONG. That means the process becomes about ME and NOT MY CHILDREN.”

    It really made me tear up. So many pained young children trapped in the psyche of abused adults just want to be heard. And so many abusers, even when they mean well, destroy that cathartic moment by turning it into a process about them, not about that poor, suffering, silenced child.
    You are so right – you cannot rush this process.

    Let the victim speak, unconditionally, and let it truly be about them for once in their abused little lives. It matters, and I am so happy that you are coming to that most essential of conclusions – this isn’t about you – not right now, not until they can heal first. And in their healing will come their strength and in their strength will come the ability to not have to guard themselves against you, because they are finding their own power and they can now allow for a better relationship.

    Give them their power back by giving them their story back, no matter how painful it will be for you to hear. You are walking a very important path and it is not yours to direct anymore. I wish you all the strength and wisdom to see this through to a better ending. You are doing great work.

    Blessings – Laramar

  23. By: Teresa Posted: 14th September

    Thank you Darlene. I’m very sad over these terrible stories from members of this group. What is the saddest is that when one’s own mother abuses her children, those children might grow up thinking the entire world is unsafe. I don’t know how this didn’t happen to my children. Just one more blessing to be grateful for.

  24. By: Teresa Posted: 14th September

    Thank you all for your kindness and wisdom.

    I met with my therapist yesterday and I am learning the tools for empathetic listening so I am fully prepared for a discussion with my daughter. While she has forgiven me (which speaks volumes about her), my therapist — and I — both believe my daughter needs to be in a safe environment, where she can tell me all of the pain that I have caused her. I believe it is necessary to the healing process. Of course, if she isn’t comfortable, I will not push it. But I do believe either my therapist or hers (if she has one), could facilitate this.

    I haven’t mentioned my son much. It is important to say that he no longer lives with me. He is out of state living with his father . He told me he just wanted to be with his sister. But I am compelled to believe my drinking was the root cause. My son is so unconditional and loyal. However, I believe that his pain is beneath the surface. How could he not have been affected by my monstrous behavior? And now, he gets to bear the guilt of having left his mother. I wish I could remove his guilt and praise him for being healthy enough to set a boundary.

    In closing, I so sincerely appreciate your support. However, if your own mother stepped forward and said the same things I have shared, would you be so quick to commend her? I think not. Therefore, I should not be commended. One shouldn’t get credit for doing the right thing. And my doing the right thing now, comes after many years of doing the wrong thing, again and again and again.

    I also find myself wanting to rush the process of reconciliation. And this is so WRONG. That means the process becomes about ME and NOT MY CHILDREN. I have so much to learn and I am so frightened that I could inadvertently hurt them in some way… yet again. Sometimes, I step outside of myself and see the good in me. But most times, I look at myself and cringe. The memories of what I did to my children will haunt me for a lifetime. I do not deserve to have such children — with such remarkable characters. Nor did any of you deserve to have the mothers and/or fathers that you had. But somehow, in our brokenness, we find love, decency, honor, support and compassion. ANd my life’s mission is to give more of that instead of receiving it.

    As far as forgiveness goes, some of you said that it is no longer an option for you to forgive your mothers. All I can say is that I did not deserve the forgiveness of my daughter. She forgave me without even knowing all of the rehab, meetings, therapy sessions and spiritual retreats I’ve gone to. She is unaware of the stacks of books I’ve devoured to learn more about alcoholism, abuse and parenting. She forgave me not even knowing that I have chosen a path of recovery. So the woman she forgave is the monster she remembers. This is true grace — and I marvel at her nature. I’m not suggesting anyone forgive anyone if that is not in their heart, but my daughter said that not forgiving is like a poison. All I know is that I truly did not deserve her forgiveness and I will commit my life to earning what she gave so freely.

    I hope my children have read this blog when I shared it with them. I think it will go a long way in enabling them to find their voice.

    Love to all, Teresa

    PS: Please don’t excuse my behavior because I was drinking. Alcohol — or any addiction — is never a rationale for abuse. And my children couldn’t understand why I couldn’t stop for them. For an alcoholic, once they really accept that they are, indeed, an alcoholic, they literally cannot ever have even one drink again. Once I was able to admit that, things became much clearer and recovery appeared on my path. The road for all alcoholics leads to one of 3 places: death, jail or perpetual loneliness (which is where I’ve lived for quite some time). I am grateful that at least that has been lifted.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 14th September

      Unlike you, my own mother is not asking for forgiveness in fact she is the one that walked away from me when I offered to work things out with her. She did not respond to my desire for mutual respect. I may not automatically trust her if she returned now to say she changed her mind. I suspect that is what many of the readers here mean when they say “forgiveness is not an option”.

      As for me, forgiveness came as part of the process of healing and not through a decision I made or something I sought to do. Forgiveness in my view is not “a decision” but rather a result. I wonder if my mother would have this reaction towards me if she knew that I have forgiven her? You seem to place a lot of importance on the fact that your daughter forgave you without you having to do anything. The difference that I see here is that you are willing to have a mutually respectful relationship with your daughter, and most of the mothers that are being discussed here, sadly, are not willing to do that. This is the huge difference between what you are expressing and what others are expressing. This is why the readers here are responding to you in the way that we are. You are not like our mothers.

      Thanks for sharing. I am thrilled for you and your daughter.
      Hugs, Darlene

  25. By: Mimi Posted: 14th September

    I love your words – if a parent wants honor, they must be an honorable parent. I want to shout that!! :o)

    Love to you,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.