Mother Daughter Relationship ~ My Poor Mom

Cold hearted, dysfunctional relationship
Cold Hearted Love

This comment came in from Cyndi on my last post (click to view Standing up to Dysfunctional Family Relationship ~ Part two) and it prompted me to write today’s post ~ another little snapshot of how messed up I was in the mother daughter relationship that I had with my mother.

Cyndi wrote: “I went about telling the truth in a different way. My mother grew up with a volatile abusive father just like mine.  In my initial efforts to face my childhood and change the way I dealt with her, I mistakenly believed that if I could just talk to her calmly she would explain herself, apologize for her shortcomings and we’d ride happily off into the sunset. HA! Instead she denied everything, said I exaggerated, focused on only the bad things, blatantly called me a liar and said my childhood was much better than hers…I was lucky” Cyndi

My mother was really good at making me feel sorry for her and it was a very hard trap to crawl out of. My mother did have a way worse life then I did; we heard the stories all of our lives; her father was a bigamist and her mother found out when she was pregnant with her 6th child and that resulted in the marriage being annulled. The 6 children were split between both parents. My mother lived with her father for a time. He put locks on the cupboards (restricted food) and hired a housekeeper (a live in girlfriend). My mother never tasted chocolate until she was 17. She begged for orange peels at school. Her father took the money she made running errands for the neighbor lady. She had to go to work so she was only went to school until grade 8. There was worse abuse too. When she was able to live with her mother again, there were scary men. Then there was a drunken step father added to her burden. You get the picture ~ and the list goes on. It is absolutely true that my mother had a very tough childhood and it was true that it was worse than mine. I never even thought about whether or not it was true. Her mother, my grandmother was mean and nasty and still had the drunk for a husband. I didn’t need proof. My mother had a terrible mother daughter relationship with her own mother. The last time she saw her father she was 15.  So I felt sorry for her. It didn’t take much for me to believe that I was a very ungrateful child. I felt so guilty because I was so unhappy. If you heard my mother’s story, you would feel very bad for her, I am serious. In so many ways her life WAS way worse than mine. “I was so lucky…”

BUT what does that have to do with anything? What does that have to do with ME? Is that an excuse for her behavior? Should I discount my own feelings and struggles because hers were worse?  Should I be happy that my life was not as bad as hers and therefore be grateful for what DIDN’T happen to me?Well I sure thought so.

Believing this would be like accepting and agreeing that if one kid was beaten bloody and another kid was beaten bloody and a few bones were broken, and the one kid says to the other kid “well at least none of your bones were broken, “you were so lucky”. WHAT? NO WAY. Abuse is abuse.

I didn’t think I had a right to be depressed. I didn’t think that my life had been as bad as hers. I thought that the abuse that I suffered was my own fault, in fact that belief was so deep in my belief system that when I finally dealt with the sexual abuse that I endured at the hands of a babysitter at the age of around two ~ I told the therapist that I knew I should have been able to STOP IT.  I was two!  And that belief ~ that I brought things on myself or should have been able to stop them, permeated through every event, big or small for everything that I felt bad about, from then on. 

This is all part of the brainwashing that goes along with being less important than someone else. This is how the control is established. They weave some loyalty stuff into it, and add some guilt and tell you how ungrateful you are… and say things like “after all I’ve done for you” and… well you know the outcome.

This kind of communication in a mother daughter relationship is really manipulative on the part of the ADULT. AND this began when my mother was the adult and I was the child in the relationship and when I was an adult I was still regarding my mother through the eyes of HER child, the way that she trained me to think about her.   

So yes, my Mother had a terrible time, and I feel deeply sorry for her and I wish more than anything that she could be free too but that isn’t up to me, it is up to her and I am adamant that I will not be pushed around and devalued or treated like I am less than equal in the meanwhile. If  we are going to have a mother daughter relationship, it is going to be a functional one based on the true definition of love.

I found that looking at these situations through a different grid ~ a more truthful grid ~ is the beginning of freedom.  Please contribute in whatever way you wish.

Life is so much better with the truth,

Darlene Ouimet  

47 response to "Mother Daughter Relationship ~ My Poor Mom"

  1. By: Teresa Posted: 8th May

    You say you will only have a mother-daughter relationship if it’s based on the true definition of love. You hit the nail on the head here. Our mothers have no experience of the true love. They have no idea what that kind of mature, reciprocal, relationship entails. We are, quite literally, speaking mumbo jumbo to them. – It seems to me there are only two choices: either one remains in the dysfunction (and thereby staying sick), or you walk free. Some say there is a third option – remaining in the relationship in a very limited way. I keep trying for the third option, but I find myself continually dragged back into the marshes.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 8th May

      Hi Teresa,
      Thanks, the only third option that I know of is when these dysfunctional parents actually WANT to try to heal the relationship with you. My husband and I had a dysfunctional marriage and unlike both sets of our parents, HE was willing to take a look at the way that he was treating me and realize it was wrong; we healed our marraige because both of us were willing to do the work. Parents have that option too. I have talked to several people who have worked this out with thier mothers, where the mom actually listened and HEARD what the grown daughter was trying to tell her. Rather than lose their daughters, they worked towards mutual respect. It can happen… sadly, it doesn’t happen often enough!
      Thanks so much for sharing,
      Hugs, Darlene

  2. By: Sherie Posted: 28th December

    Thanks J and Darlene. I ended up a bit of a mess last night. A whole day of reading the site and realizing this was what I’d been suffering all this time was initially wonderful, amazing and cathartic but by the end of the day I felt hopeless and angry and sad and well you get the point! I think I just need to keep building my understanding and be gentle with myself…. Not something that I’m very good at but I’ll try 🙂

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 28th December

      Although a lot of people find this site and read like crazy, it is tough when you flood your brain with all this information. It is not possible to absorb the truth all at once. Many people find that they have to go back and read stuff again anyway because they can’t absorb it in a small space of time. All your emotions are valid.
      Please do be gentle with yourself. (and take it easy with how much you are reading here! I think commenting often helps some also)
      Hugs! Darlene

  3. By: J Posted: 28th December

    forgot to tick “follow up” box!

  4. By: J Posted: 28th December

    Take care of yourself Sherie

    Haven’t got time to write now but thinking of you. Try to believe your husband. You’re already thinking about all this stuff, so I don’t think you ever could be like your mother.

    Hope hearing your son sleep helped you feel better 🙂

  5. By: Sherie Posted: 28th December

    Reading this blog and all the comments is both validating and heartbreaking. It is becoming more and more clear to me that I didn’t imagine it all. It’s clear that what went on was NOT ok. It’s clear that my mother doesn’t ‘love me’ not in the way that normal, happy, sane and balanced mothers love their children. It’s clear to me that she hurt me bad then and continues to hurt me now. I’ve managed my boundaries but I feel guilty and anxious and ungrateful and not worthy.

    When I was pregnant with my son I feared constantly that I’d have a girl child and would be just like her. I resolved to NOT be that way and for the most part I KNOW and my husband assures me I am doing ok with that. I wonder though and I fret and so now I’m left feeling very lost and confused and scared – am I creating a child that will find me so intolerable as I find my own mother?

    I’m so sad. I wish she would just die so I could be free of her and all her bullshit. I fear I don’t have the strength to properly take back my power and to distance myself and do the work I need to do to heal…AND is it too late for my son? Have I already damaged him in ways I don’t understand? I must go cuddle up to him now as I am too sad and need the comfort of listening to him sleep.

    night night

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 28th December

      Hi Sherie
      No, none of us imagined any of this. It was all real and not okay.
      I had tons of those fears about my kids and being like my mother and even that they would hate me even if I was nothing like my mother. Doing my work around all of this enabled me to see how to have a REAL relationship with my kids. (my youngest was 7 and oldest was 13 when I began this process) It was not too late, in fact it is never too late. I was able to change all my definitions of love and relationship that had been taught to me the wrong way. Today I even hear thoughts in my head when it comes to my kids that come from that OLD dysfunctional system, but i never act on them anymore. It takes time but it is doable. I have an amazing relationship with my kids today. (youngest is 14, middle is 18, oldest is 20 now) I am very glad that I persisted with my own healing ~ it led to the healing of all of us.
      Hugs, Darlene

  6. By: Rescuing My Marriage Posted: 22nd July

    I am so very sorry. Despite all that you have been through, it seems you have a very level head and are able to recognize where you have been harmed and what was NOT your fauly. That is so important. I have not been physically assaulted or sexually abused, but I believe that I have been mentally abused. I am currently facing one of the most difficult times in my life and found your entry because I googled abuse and mothers. I am so glad I have boys, and I check my actions every moment to make sure that I am not saying things that I’ve learned from the generation before. We have to break the pattern and show them unconditional love and care. It wasn’t done for us, but we can do it for our children and impact generations after with our love and understanding. I wish you healing and peace.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 22nd July

      Hello Rescuing;
      Welcome! There is a lot of information in my blog about recovery and about facing childhood history. I am glad you are here,
      Thank you for sharing,
      Hugs, Darlene

  7. By: Darlene Posted: 14th March

    Aside from the actual details of mother’s abuse, I could have written this post myself. Wow.

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