Toxic Mother Daughter Relationship and Oprah Winfrey’s Mother



dysfunctional mother daughter relationship
Seeing through New Eyes

This article is based on a page from the unauthorized biography “Oprah a biography by Kitty Kelley

When I grabbed this book off the shelf at Costco, I didn’t realize that it was an unauthorized biography about Oprah Winfrey. I thought that it was the real story. I thought that Oprah had agreed to the publication. I quickly realized that I had picked up something that might be full of lies and conclusions that had no right to be drawn; but since I bought it, I decided to read it anyway. 

One of the most popular subjects here on Emerging from Broken is the subject of dysfunctional and toxic relationships between mothers and daughters.  I think that as humans we are born craving love, community and acceptance from our mothers and when it appears that our mothers hate us, disapprove of us, judge us or generally never seem to love and accept us… it is a mystery that we are attracted to solving.  I want my mother to LOVE me.  I want a relationship with my mother. But I got tired of how the entire burden of that desire was left up to me with zero accountability on the part of my mother.

I came across a part in Kitty Kelley’s book about Oprah Winfrey that bugged me a great deal. I realize that this is an unauthorized biography, but the example that I found about dysfunctional and toxic mother daughter relationship was so good, that I just could not resist writing about it for Emerging from Broken. It shows the way that society views how we SHOULD respect parents no matter what.  It shows that the definition of love is often communicated in a very dysfunctional way.   In my opinion, this part in the book explains the just how toxic mother daughter relationships can be and that society actually views this toxic false definition of love and respect as the right way to view it.

The following is a quote from page 175 of the book Oprah; a biography by Kitty Kelley. This quote is in the context of a conversation that a very close family friend (whom Oprah calls her Aunt Katherine) Mrs. Esters has with the author of the book.

Mrs. Esters says

“Oprah takes very good care of her mother, who now buys five-hundred-dollar hats and has drivers who have drivers and helpers and cooks and all, but the story of Oprah and Vernita is sad and complicated”. said Mrs.Esters. “Oprah does not love her mother at all…She gives her a great deal financially but she does not give her the respect and affection a daughter should, and that bothers me. Vernita did the best she could with Oprah, who was a wilful, runaway child….Her mother has had to bury two of her three children over the years and I can tell you that when a parent loses a child it can you to your knees. I know. I had to bury my son. So Oprah should be more forgiving of her mother…”

This paragraph bothered me. It reminded me of my own life, and the way that I have been blamed for the problems in my relationship with my mother. It irritated me. Notice the word “should”. (…“but she does not give her mother the respect that a daughter should” and “Oprah should be more forgiving…)

Notice that Mrs. Esters brings up two children who have passed away as though that has something to do with the whole thing.  That is what I call a “rabbit trail” The fact that two of Opera’s mothers children died has NOTHING to do with why Oprah should love her mother or with Oprah’s relationship with her mother. See how the lies are told? Does this mean that the definition of love is “feeling sorry” for your mother?

And you “should” respect your mother, because she is your mother? Because she did the best she could? The best according to who? And why does she use the word “forgiving” because that implies that there is indeed something to forgive and it bothers me that the word “should” is in the same sentence as forgiving. There is just something wrong about all this.

These quotes are a reflection of how society is brainwashed to regard parents as Gods.

Mrs Esters also comments that Oprah was “a wilful and runaway child” which puts the all the blame for the behaviour of her mother squarely back on Oprah’s shoulders. And that is the whole problem in the first place. Children are always blamed for whatever the parents do or “have to do”.  Like I said this paragraph is a great example of the way society views “toxic mother daughter relationships” blaming the daughter or blaming the child no matter what age they are, for all the problems.

There is so much “truth leaking” about what really went on in this paragraph but in our society, nobody catches it.  Everyone hears it the way that it is intended to be heard; that Oprah, the child, failed her mother and continues to fail her to this day.

This part of the quote in the statement “Oprah does not love her mother at all…She gives her a great deal financially but she does not give her the respect and affection a daughter should, and that bothers me.” … well that Really bothers ME. Respect and affection? That phrase made me cringe. We are supposed to give our mothers affection? Why? Even if they beat us? Even if they sexually abuse us? Even if they disregard us as human beings and neglect our emotional health? This whole thing implies that being a daughter is a duty; that this “duty” has guidelines that need to be abided by or else you are NOT a good daughter.  And there is no accountability on the part of the mother.   And what about the concept of “RESPECT”? If the childhood history that Oprah endured is actually true, then her mother was not a very loving mother, and her mother didn’t respect Oprah at all, so why “SHOULD” Oprah give her mother respect and affection?

I don’t believe that children learn by being told HOW to be loving daughters.  I believe that we learn by example and the example that my mother set for me is exactly what I learned. My mother was not nurturing or respectful. Her example of “love” was dysfunctional. She taught me things from a very one sided point of view. What applied to me, didn’t apply to her because she is the mother, and society accepts that view. 

I don’t think my mother is very happy with our relationship because we don’t have one, but honestly, whose fault is that? Why does society view it as MY fault? Based on the small parts of the toxic mother daughter relationship I had with my mother and have shared here in Emerging from Broken, it is clear that my mother did a lot of damage to me. I am not going to take the blame for that because my mother and society are more comfortable blaming all relationship difficulties on the kids, no matter what age they are. I think that it’s time that everyone looked at the difficult subject of toxic mother daughter relationships through the eyes of truth. 

The problems don’t start with the child. Even if that child was never abused by the parent, the adult child is often angry that said parent didn’t protect them from the abuse that did happen and that is understandable.  Think about that in relation to yourself as a child. I believed most of my life that the problem was me, because I was always told it was me. But does that mean it was the truth? No.

I had a very strong reaction to the way this story about Oprah Winfrey was presented and to the way that her relationship with her mother was viewed by a family friend. It triggered all the memories of how no matter what my parents did, no matter how dysfunctional and toxic they were, no matter how I was regarded and devalued, I was the problem and any lack of acceptance or complaint was regarded as disrespectful and therefore viewed as my failure as a daughter.

Please share your thoughts on this example of toxic mother daughter relationship. I look forward to the discussion in the comments.

Exposing Truth; one snapshot at a time,

Darlene Ouimet

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99 response to "Toxic Mother Daughter Relationship and Oprah Winfrey’s Mother"

  1. By: Meli Posted: 15th July

    I never had a good relationship with my mother either. She was emotionally absent, neglected me badly, and also threatened me and beaten me as child. Now as an adult I see how much damage she has done, and I see that I was never responsible for her behavior. My mother’s mom was the same or worse with her, my mother told me abusive things her mother did to her. I talked to my mother about emotional abuse and the other types of abuse she received, it seems that she now intellectually understands what happened to her and why she repeated the same with me and my brothers. Now I sense that she carries a lot of guilt, and she is trying to compensate for her past behavior. She is sweet, supportive and available now, (btw I am a 39 year old woman) and tells me that she loves me and things like that. It’s hard for me to separate the woman she was with the woman she is now. My psyche still remembers the abuse and mistreatment she did. I still suffer from depression and anxiety and I am still trying to overcome health issues related to this bad childhood that set me up to carry so much stress and fear throughout my life.
    It would be interesting to find
    a post about how to heal from parents who abused you in the past but now have changed so much. It’s confusing sometimes.

  2. By: A.P. Coward Posted: 25th January

    Finally someone who gts it!!!!!! Thank You so much Darlene
    I can’t stand the phrase “when they knew better they did better” “Or they did the best they could” errrrrrr! Some people should not have been parents

  3. By: Shelluk Posted: 29th November

    Was browsing for advice for a problem I’m having with my Mother at the moment and I just can’t believe I’ve found this. A whole community who are discussing the very problems with my relationship with my mother, I could never find a way to put it into words but these descriptions are so similar to my own. Reading all your stories tonight will help me so much, to know that you can go on to marry, have non dysfunctional loving relationships and children you swear not to treat the same way. I’m 25 and still feel like a child in the way it affects me, although I tell myself at this age it shouldn’t. This won’t fix things but reading this has already helped greatly xx

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 3rd December

      Hi Shelluk
      Welcome to EFB! ~ I am so glad you are here. You would be surprised to find out how many people who are in their 70’s and beyond feel the same way! You are in the right place!
      hugs, Darlene

  4. By: Rachel Doven Posted: 27th August

    My mother would beat me. She emotionally destroyed me mostly. Not only was she dangerously aggressive physically – but she was just as dangerous through her passive aggressive mannerism emotionally. My mother had two boys and two girls. She has always hated her daughters and almost sickeningly favored the men in her family. Therapist once told me that she just manifests a brute like and primitive nature by being jealous of the other women in the house. And she prefers to be the alpha female so therefore she destroys all potential and self esteem of the other women until it’s as low or lower than her own level. My mother is an alcoholic with a lot of regrets in life…and producing other women with a beacon of hope for success would only make sense to entice jealousy.
    According to my mother she smoked while pregnant with me. According to my mother, I was born a few months early. According to my mother she went through post pardom depression after having me. According to my mother I had lung problems as an infant, and had to be left alone in the crib to scream and cry in order to encourage lung development. According to my mother – that was the reasoning for us never bonding.
    I never noticed her distain for me until I hit puberty and my older sister frantically and abruptly ‘moved out’; as you can already guess the driving force for my 18 year old sister to be desperate to live on her own. My mother made my sister clean and babysit while she went out and got her nails done. She beat Sammi if it wasn’t done right. I have memories of my mother pulling her hair and throwing her to the ground. My sister balling her eyes out asking her little siblings to help her. And I was too frightened to move. I just stared her in her frantic eyes as she got beat. And as a ten year old- I felt guilt.
    Sammi tried to leave at 18, but didn’t leave without a fight. My mother took a tomatoe can to my sisters head, trying to kill her so she wouldn’t walk out the door. Sammi then ran out without any of her things and hid in the woods while my mother got into her car searching the neighborhood for her. Sammi then called her father, explaining to him that she had chunks if hair missing and welts on her head. Her father said, “Sammi- this is your mother. Try to work it out with her.” And offered no further assistance.
    From then on- I was the only other woman left in the household. I picked up my sisters role of cleaning. I noticed that my mother started treating me worse than usual….there are many many compelling examples that years of my childhood built up- but I can only tell so many.
    One night while on vacation in a small hotel room- i resided in a hotel room with my brothers mother and father. My mother and father were absolutely hammered. My mother was strangely acting nice instead of the usual mean drunk. Everyone was messing around and throwing ice cubes at each other. I joined in and threw one at my mom. She got mad and then threw her heavy glass cup at my head. I was bleeding and crying. That made her more angry. She then stormed out and tried to drive – gathering up the attention from other family members while I sit in the hotel room alone crying curled up in my bed. When everyone came back to the room, they dragged her in and tucked her into bed with my little brother. She cuddled with him all night telling him how much she loves him. Not saying a word to me not aploigizing. The next morning she did not ask what the bump on my head was. She did not say sorry. No one acknowledged it. Later on, at the breakfast table- I mentioned it to my mom- asking her if she remembered. She got angry and said she was not going to talk about it. Everyone then looked at me as if I did something wrong. So I shut my mouth.

    One morning I woke up to make myself eggs. I made myself scrambled eggs. No one in the house was yet awake. Next I hear my mother walking down the stairs and come into the kitchen…”oh! You made eggs! Did you make any for me?” Suddenly I realized I made a huge mistake by not. I needeth not say a word but look her in the eyes with guilt. She knew I had not. She stormed upstairs. As soon as she turned away I quickly got out another pot and cooked a sunny side up egg (her favorite) for her to come downstairs to—-hoping to recover from the previous situation. As soon as she came downstairs and seen what I had done- she was furious. Actually angry at me. She kicked me and called me filthy names. She then began to further ridicule me by telling me the eggs were over salted and that I must have put poison in the eggs. The rest of the day my brothers and father also seemed disappointed in me and neglected to speak with me. When my mother is angry at me- the rest of the household is as well.

    2 years went by since my older sister moved out and I had hit my breaking point. I was never a pretty girl. I was ridiculed and severely bullied at school for being ugly and having a dimple in my chin- being called butt chin. I was afraid to go to school. But more afraid to go home. As soon as I walked in the door from school my mother immediately said, “don’t sit.” I had many chores to do and according to my mother she was too busy with work to do them. According to my mother she was ‘the mother’ and her word was law.
    I had wanted to kill myself. I called up my sister and begged her to help me. I told her that I no longer wanted to live. Sammi said the best that she could do was to get my mother to bring us all up to Grandpas house to hold an intervention. This did not go well. It ended in my mother furious of the accusations,(words spoken by my aunt Barb) “Judy you beat your children and tell them you will put them in the hospital. If it doesn’t stop we will call the CYF”.
    She walked out saying, ” you can have them”.
    It turned into an investigaton. My siblings and I were removed from the house for three days. During those days we begged the social workers to not put us back. But they informed us that even though we all had claimed that she beat us on a daily/weekly basis- there were no bruises at the moment and therefore no evidence. We were returned back.
    But what is so crucial to this point in the story – is that me and my siblings were all very very afraid of the consequences of going back home after ‘betraying’ her. So my brothers told my mother that the whole entire thing was MY idea and MY fault. We were no longer allowed contact with our cousins aunts and uncles. For months I was treated like garbage by everyone. I was blamed for the family crisis. My mother agreed to stop discipline me via beatings. (She also had a weekly social worker visit so she couldn’t sneak much abuse). But I remember these words exactly from my own mother. If I can’t beat you children then I resign my role as a mother. And Rachel- I still love you. But I don’t like you. I don’t have to like you. It felt like me against the world. It was….

    Two more years passed and things still continued to get worse. My mother had stopped beating me as frequent. It went from daily/weekly to monthly or maybe every few months. Her punishment for me were other ways of emotional and mental abuse. I ceirtianly wasn’t let off the hook that easily. Sometimes I wished she beat me again so that she wouldn’t hate me so much. But deep down I was truly glad the beatings stopped somewhat. He used to punch me in my back til it was numb.
    I was 14 and I hit my breaking point. Again- bullying at school and mental/emotional abuse from my mother. Every single day was a struggle. Daily I contemplated suicide. I had even made things worse for myself at school. I had been called ugly for years that all I wanted was acceptance. I lacked acceptance in my life. So I slept with someone in my grade. Ofcourse- that did not earn me acceptance. My new name was whore. That was the straw that broke the camels back. I had truly hated myself. I had to either get out of the house or kill myself. I came home one morning from sleeping over at my grandmas house. This was my fathers mother- so contact was allowed but my mother hated her. She said that my grandmother was a cunt. When I came home- my mother was out in the garden doing some yard work. She wanted to dig out a tree trunk. As soon as I came home she ordered me to take an ax and start digging it out. I could tell she was very angry with me for sleeping over my grandmas house. I had carefully chose my words. I asked her, “mom….what time would you like to stop so I can eat breakfast?”
    “Fuck you.”
    I had no idea why she was so hateful. I frustrated me. I began to have a mental breakdown. I started using the axe violently on the tree trunk – getting out anger. My mother took it as an attitude and pushed me telling me to stop and go inside. That she was not having an attitude like that. I said no. She then held up her fist to me and tried to hit me. I blocked it and pushed her hands off of me. I screamed at her to never touch me again. I ran inside in hysteria. She then directed me into the basement and locked it. Repeating to me that she will not provide for me and that includes food. I had no choice but to run away to the police. And I did. I told them my story and I finally had a little power and sympathy as a 14 year old. They said I was at an age where I could legally make some decisions. The CYF removed me from the home and put me into my grandmothers house. They did not take my brothers becuas my brothers told the cops and social workers that they were happy with staying there. The social workers could not argue.
    Within the first few weeks of me finally being away from my mother , by brothers had called me. They were calling me up daily to tell me they miss and love me. My mother not get had given me ONE phone call. Not ANY at all. But one day my brothers informed me that if I didn’t come home they would never talk to me again. They told me that I deserved all the beatings because I’m a brat and that mom is doing the best she can. This was the worst day of my life. I had no friends. I was bullied at school. My brothers were ALL I had! But they shunned me. I had no choice but to continue with the legal process and go to court against my family. I was still afraid for my life to go back to my house. My mother had never called to tell me it was okay or to apoligize. I had no reason to go back home. I won my claims against my mom. She had failed a drug and alcohol test and also was diagnosed as manic depressive. The judge saw that it was healthier I were to stay with my grandma. Meanwhile I read in the court report that my mother claimed the only reason why I wanted to move out was because I’m a whore and wanted to get away from my school district.
    I finally got away from her, although. The hardest parts in the first few years were coping with no phone calls or family visits on Easter, thanksgiving, my birthday or Christmas. Nothing. But every day slowly became easier….I stood up for what I belived in. Fair treatment. No matter how many times my mother told me I’d be cursed for “not honoring thy mother and thy father”. No matter how differently my siblings thought- I stood up against evil and won. But to continue to win I’m trying to cope with a lack of motherly love and lack of family support.

    I will win this battle.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 27th August

      Hi Rachel
      Welcome to EFB ~ Thank you for sharing your story with us. It sounds like you have had a really terrible childhood and I am glad that you know her treatment was not right. When the line about “honoring your mother and father” is used against children, I often remind people to think about what the word honor really means. Abusive controlling people lie about everything in order to control others. I am glad that you drew your boundaries.
      Hugs, Darlene

  5. By: Heather Posted: 12th June

    There is so much to tell in my story and still currently am lost at 34yrs of age. I am not writing/replying on this feed for empathy but for clarity. I was told to read this webpage from a dear friend at the local tavern that knows some of my family dynamics and said it would help me find some closure but all I see is empty words that wont fix the hurt and/or actions I would never have the courage to display. I will begin by saying my mother is a drug addict and has been since before I was born. My mother was 16 when she had me and my father at 18 and had passed before I even turned a year of age. My paternal grandparents helped raise me but my mother manipulated her way into keeping me for financial gain. My mother has abused me and left me to be abused by others in every possible way imaginable. She even encourages hatred toward me and sympathy for herself through my siblings/others and I still long for her acceptance. I was always told from various family members, and not just my mothers side, my grandparents found me as a replacement for loosing their only son, not so much as saying it outright, but, through their actions and whispers I wasn’t supposed to hear as a child. I have to say that my paternal grandparents had me most weekends of my life and finally were granted custody when I was 12 but the damage had been done. Please know every bit of positivity that comes from within me is through having them as parents. I do not know how to feel whole period in this life and have gone through my barrage of dysfunction and self destruction because I will never feel that I was truly wanted, accepted, or shown genuine respect and it currently disrupts my marriage. Within this past few months I have stopped talking to my mother and sisters because of them airing out there perception of my dirty laundry (infidelity/alcohol/drug use). The crazy part is they were just as involved with my some of my actions as I was. I shame myself constantly for trusting them and for even letting my children around that part of my family. I have been speaking to a councilor for the sake of my own sanity, my marriage, and in efforts to try to improve my coping for myself, and to provide more definite mental stability on my part for my children. I have sheltered them like a magician in everyway possible from my actions even thought I know they will know the truth soon enough. I have not ever left them alone with that side of my family ever as I have hidden that too. Bottom line is I cannot undo what has been done to myself and people whom probably cared but I did not fully trust. Believe me when I say I always have legitimate/rational reason for my actions and why not to trust. I have come to terms that my real mother (my grandmother) that recently passed few years back is gone. I dream about her still being here to give me that advise I so desperately need now but took for granted then. Contrary to what is perceived in my writing I do take care of my children as best as I can and provide them with my respect, acceptance, and try to prove to them I want/love them dearly. I ask myself is it good enough if I am still so tattered and don’t love myself. I have stopped the cycle of unlawful abuse, worked hard since the age of 18 for what I do have, but I ask myself will that be good enough to uphold my family bond with my children even though I have done wrong to myself and to others? All I can do is move forward in positivity and pray to God it is. Advise is welcomed.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 12th June

      Hi Heather
      Welcome to EFB ~ we can never undo what happened but we can move forward with our lives. Yay for being a loving mother to your children and for stopping the cycle of abuse in your family. All my confidence came back when I started to work on self-care and self-love. I no longer worry about being good enough since I became ‘good enough’ for me. This has been a huge example to my children and I feel the most important about moving forward!
      Glad you are here,
      hugs, Darlene

  6. By: sandra Posted: 11th November

    I like Oprah 🙂 I never thought I would say it as I used to conside her show a bit cheezy but there is something about her. She is so powerful, too bad unhappy in personal life. This is what I fear- I have noticed that A LOT of women who had a bad relationship with their mother, do not have their own kids. Not that there is anything wrong with that!!!! Kids does NOT equal happiness. Having children is a personal choice. I would like to highlight that because I would hate to come across as disrespectful, this is not my point. Oprah, Jennifer Aniston, my very good friend who is 60+ now 🙂 I know this does not prove anything 🙂 I used to not want kids. Now I do when I am ready mentally and financially. But because there is such a hole inside of me, and I need to do so much healing, I fear I will never be ready. I am 26 now and I think I am not having kids anytime soon before 40. I know more and more women decide to have children later in life but this is something I fear. I am perceived as very mature but it is not true. I have analyzed my actions and I am such a kid, the last 8 yeas I have been basically surviving, I had no help from anyone so everything is delayed.

  7. By: Kris Healing Posted: 11th November

    I have read this book too, and the exact same part bothered me for the exact same reasons! Really! So much in fact that I stopped reading at that point and never did finish the book. Reading this only made me have more admiration for Oprah for all she has overcome. Thanks for reading my mind!

  8. By: Sharon Posted: 10th November

    Thank You Darlene, I am soon to visit my sister who has just moved away from a very toxic relationship with my mother that lasted all her lifetime. I got out when I was 17 years old but that did not stop the torment, vicious remarks and poor me attitude. I have got comments all my life about forgiving my mother and reconciling with her. I ignore them now. If everyone is so keen on me caring for my mother then let them do it. They can have her! her carry on and jealousy has played all of us siblings against each other and I refused to play a part of her games so I had distanced myself from my whole family for 25 years, only seeing them a handful of times. I have my own children, who I was not prepared to put at risk so they have not met their grandmother. I had no choice, they are 25 and 21 now. When people are not willing to deal with their own pain and change for the sake of their own family then they are not deserving of a relationship. If my mother had given the inkling that she would even try then things might have been different. In her eyes she did her best. Well Mum guess what? I accept that but when things did get better for you, you stayed the same. THAT was your biggest downfall.
    I love my life because I finally learned to love me for me and for my children. I am going to show your threads to my sister Darlene so she has the opportunity to make her own choices about healing and moving on. Thank yOu

  9. By: Hazel Mika Posted: 10th November

    Hi Darlene,

    Thank you so much for posting your article. It simply shows in your article that so many people in society have no clear understanding of how respect works in the family and how disrespect of each other occurs. It’s the same as blaming the disease when it was the person’s actions that caused it (except for genetic diseases maybe, but still…). Or it’s like putting the blame on someone else even when the responsibility was not that someone else’s to begin with. I also find it very unreasonable to put blame on children for the inadequacies that the parents did, since children do not know anything, do not understand that much, and it will always be expected that they will need guidance, support, trust, respect, and love. But it is annoying that society will still blame the child for how they treat their parents and how they turned up in their adult lives. It’s very unreasonable and unfair, especially when the parents only conceived children out of narcissism. And what really hurts the most is when the parents endlessly blame children for things that they either don’t know (like not knowing how to treat adults respectfully) or have no control of (like not looking as beautiful or not being as smart as other children as they would’ve wanted).

    I wouldn’t blame Oprah if she spent her entire childhood running away from her own mother. If her mother was too selfish to take care of her and love her, then trying to find those things outside the home would have been perfectly reasonable. If I could have I would have too, especially after finding out subtly that my mother would have wanted me to simply vanish from her life because she thinks I’m uglier and much more unsuitable for her “needs”. Unfortunately society never sees it that way, and not until professionals like you and others have thoroughly informed all people from all walks of like, they will not clearly see how inadequate and inappropriate parenting has been creating so much crime, misery, and pain that lasts for generations unless the cycle gets broken.

    Thank you so much, Darlene for your posts. You have given the abused and the internally-grieving adults so much affirmation of the truth of the painful things that they have experienced, when the rest of the world denied the existence of such abuses. I hope you can continue to inspire people in any way to help them grieve for the things that they never had to begin with, and inspire them to walk towards the road to healing. May your life be so much brighter in many ways.

  10. By: Emerging Princess Posted: 10th November

    That would have fumed me too. Society often blames it on the fact that, “It’s the end of the times and the Bible says kids were going to be disrespectful” which is wrong. That implies that it’s OK to get out abusers off the hook just because the Bible says it. But that doesn’t get them off the hook. There is more in the Bible about repentance and forgiving with REPENTANCE but with our abusers there never is any repentance. What the Bible also says is that “I have come to set a man AGAINST his father, a daughter AGAINST her mother, and a daughter-in-law AGAINST her mother-in-law.” Matthew 10:35

    She bought her hats and shoes? You mean she bought her things without her mother even giving her one apology? IMO, she deserved nothing.

    Good article!

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 12th November

      Great comments from Kalispell, Emerging Princess, Hazel, Sharon, Sandra and Kris healing.
      Welcome to all the new commenters!
      Thanks for sharing,
      hugs, Darlene

  11. By: Kalispell Posted: 24th March

    Oprah was a willful and runaway child…

    Hmmm…why is it she WANTED to run away? People don’t WANT to run away from home and their mother. They do it because they feel there is no other choice. Just exactly is it that Oprah wanted to run away from? How come ‘aunt’ Katherine does not address that? Only a bad mother allows her child’s home life to be so awful the child wants to run away.

    Loving one’s mother is a duty…

    The problem with this is that duties are freely chosen–not imposed. It’s my duty to love and care for my child–because I chose to have and raise a child. It’s not the child’s duty to do anything for the parent–unless they choose to. Just as some people choose not have have children or not to raise the children they birth, some children choose not to interact with their parents. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

    Duties are not imposed–slavery is, but duties are not. Duties are assumed of free will.

  12. By: Kit Posted: 8th March

    My mother was awful. But for years I’ve been told by “society” that I SHOULD put up with her. There are many shoulds. For 10 years I’ve bowed to societal pressures and those of my family. Lately however, I took an alternative view. Why SHOULD I? She’s been horrible to me for 39 years. I now take the view that noone in society has ever had to live with her! (I have…). I’m sure, 18 years with my mother would very soon bring about a massive U turn in opinions. It’s really very easy to judge. No one wants to hear that your mother is absolutely vile. But sadly, some of us have absolutely vile mothers.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 9th March

      Hi Kit
      Welcome to EFB
      I always ask “why?” and the only answer is “because she is your mother” so then I ask “what does that mean??” and at that point people don’t know what to say. All I am asking for is mutual respect. That is part of “LOVE”
      Thanks for sharing, I am glad you are here!
      Hugs, Darlene

  13. By: Amish Posted: 6th February

    Dear Darlene,

    Thank you very much for this very needed article. I read the book but didnt finish it – what a waste of money it was really.

    I would agree with everyone who earlier wrote that girls learn respect,kindess from their mother.

    am 33 now, it is easy for the society to blame the children for not ‘showing love’ or ‘giving’ love. My relationship with my mother has always been volatile, and i came to realise its because i made something of myself and she didnt- so yes your mother can be jealous of you!

    i remember when i got my first job she said ‘ it will not last’ when i got married she told relatives that ‘ i would be divorced very soon’ because i cant leave with anybody and this is something she has told since i was 17′ until today she still poisons me to my father, who has always been my best friend. I reduce my contact with her drastically because am trying to recover from he damage.

    I have been married now for 4 years and i cant bring myself to have children – not because i dont want to, but because emotionally i cannot show love. To me this has been the most painful part of my life.

    Now, my mother is all alone and lonely and craving for grandchildren – she recently came to visit me unexpectedly asking me when i was going to have children and i responded never. She actually started crying on my sofa.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 7th February

      Hi Amish
      Welcome to EFB
      I agree that the book was a waste of money! My mother was the same way and I was terrified to have children. I was 29 before I first even considered having children and it was my fear of how I would be with them. I see today that I was also afraid to be like my mother. My mother also wanted grandchildren very badly. I am not sure why anymore. She was not much different with my children as she was with me. The love was missing. None of my 3 children (2 are adults now) have any relationship with her anymore because of her ways. It’s sad really. As for me, I am a loving mother and I have great relationships with all of my kids! I celebrate their successes! I do not try to control my kids with those horrible put down statements meant to communicate that ‘they will never be good enough’ so that they ‘stay dependant on me’ ~ They are all independant and each very individual! I celebrate the new life that I have every day. Nobody talks to me that way anymore or has that kind of influence over my emotions. Its really wonderful!
      Thanks for sharing! There is hope for living life in bliss after being in relationship with that kind of mother!
      Hugs, Darlene

  14. By: Kelly Posted: 24th November

    I cant believe how much of this applys to my situation, im gobsmacked & thought i was the only one who thought this.
    Every point about respect especially is so true, i was brought up to believe i should respect my abusive mother. She played games & acted like the perfect mother to friends & family…and has now unfortunatly turned thm against me to believe i was the one in the wrong always when i would attempt to fight my corner.Im just sorting out my life now , without my family unfortunatly, but i have no other option than try to get on with my life & cherish my friends around me who truely love me.
    She is the one that this situation will end up haunting her for the rest of her life, as she caused it.
    You have made me feel alot better about things, Thank You x

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 24th November

      Hi Kelly
      Welcome to emerging from broken!
      This whole site is about stuff like this! And you are certainly not alone, there are thousands here.
      Thanks for sharing; please feel free to join in any of the discussions!
      Hugs, Darlene

  15. By: Kylie Posted: 11th November

    I let my children have choices. When it comes to choices in dinner, l ask them what they would like, so l’m cooking (for the most time), dishes that they like.

    My girls even help with the shopping list. I’m teaching them to look in the cupboards, fridge and freezer and to look for items we usually get each fortnight.

    I parent differently to my mother. I had to eat everything and my mother would cook things that l disliked very much and would make me sit there, didn’t matter how long, til l ate it. Even if l nearly vomited, l still had to eat everything. She would often joke and say things like ‘We’re having Kylie’s favourite dinner tonight’ in a sarcastic tone. I never saw the funny side of it ever.

    I’m grown up now and l remember a lot of things that l hated. It’s made me appreciate children, to let them make choices for themselves. I don’t rule with an iron fist, its just not in my nature.

    You are so right Darlene, parents often use power over their children in order for them to follow directions, thus children are not respected, but are expected to respect their parents.

  16. By: Kylie Posted: 10th November

    Raya, I totally agree with you. Respect does seem like a ‘double standard’. Parents sometimes forget that respect goes both ways. Children do not stay children forever. We grow up and we deserve to be respected as adults.

    I grew up being adopted and my relationship with my mother has never been good. Most of the time, l never get a call for my birthday, nor my children. I don’t know why this hurts so much and l try so hard to make up for it so my children don’t feel unloved. One year, my daughter cried as l was the only one who gave her a birthday card.

    I generally dislike ‘Mothers Day’, it only serves to remind me of sadness of a relationship l never had. Being a mother myself, my own children show me what REAL love is. I never have to question it as l do with my own family.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 11th November

      Hi Kylie
      I taught my children respect by respecting them. I didn’t wait till they grew up. One of the biggest problems in our society is that children are not regarded as equally valuable and in that system, ‘when’ do they get to be? There is no magic age because the way children are so often regarded is all about having power over them.
      Thanks for sharing. Hugs, Darlene

  17. By: Lynne Carroll Posted: 10th November

    My relationship with my mother was severly damaged when she abandoned the family when I was 12 years old, and while I understand her reasoning for doing so and I’ve forgiven her, I can not accept her continued abuse now that I am an adult. I have tried everything I know to have a healthy adult/adult relationship with my mother but effort to acheive that goal has to come fro both sides, and my case it has not. As the “child” I can no longer accept her rage, her judgement and condemnation…this will never be a healthy relationship and after many years I accept that conclusion abd I am now estraged from her. I entered therapy after the end of my 27 years marriage, my mother sided with my exhusband and offered to testify against me in court, she was angry that I was giving up a lifestyle that she envied, and learned that most of my adult relationships were abusive, as I changed and grew I could no longer accept this inferior treatment and I began to distance myself from all of them. I am much happier, much more at peace, and I have learned to love myself…especially the parts my mother could not accept.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 11th November

      Hi Lynne
      Welcome to emerging from broken ~ Yay and thank you for sharing your victory over dysfunctional relationship. I have had the same exp. and learning to love and validate myself has been the most amazing and healing part of this whole process.
      Hugs, Darlene

  18. By: Raya Posted: 10th November

    Funny thing about respect. When I wanted it, I was always told, “It has to be earned, not demanded.” But when my parents wanted it, you can bet they said, “You will respect me or ELSE!” Nothing like a double standard.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 11th November

      Hi Raya,
      Welcome to EFB!
      Excellet point! In dysfunctional relationship it is never a two way street and controllers don’t follow their own rules.
      Thanks for sharing!
      Hugs, Darlene

  19. By: Luiza Posted: 2nd October

    oops and sorry for my so-so english, I’m brazilian =)

  20. By: Luiza Posted: 2nd October

    Gotta love how it says she was a ‘wilful, runaway child’, as if that wasn’t an obvious and normal childhood trait. That is like saying a woman was abused BECAUSE she was a feminine, sensual woman to men, or a baby was beaten because it was crying too much. Child blamming IS victim blamming. I’m glad you know deep down you are not to blame for anything!

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 2nd October

      Hi Luiza,
      Exactly. And that way of talking about kids and abuse is much more accepted in society then these types of articles here are! I will keep exposing it!
      Thanks for sharing and welcome to emerging from broken!
      Hugs, Darlene

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