Toxic Mother Daughter Relationships when Mom says You are the Problem



dysfunctional mother daughter relationship
Pure Truth

“When someone is unrelentingly critical of you, always finds fault, can never be pleased, and blames you for everything that goes wrong, it is the insidious nature and cumulative effects of the abuse that do the damage. Over time, this type of abuse eats away at your self-confidence and sense of self-worth, undermining any good feelings you have about yourself and about your accomplishments.” The Emotionally Abusive Relationship by Beverly Engle

Although this quote is aimed at the victim for the purpose of exposing how the self-esteem gets torn down, the first time I read this quote I thought of my mother and how much she said that I hurt her; she always said that I was the problem and that I did this to her ~ that I tore HER down;

“Darlene, you are so critical”

“Darlene, I can never do anything right in your eyes, I am always wrong”.

“Darlene, there is no pleasing you”

And overtime I believed that my words, actions and behavior (although I could not figure out what I was doing that was so offending) had eaten away at her self-confidence and harmed her sense of self-worth and undermined any good feelings that she ever had about herself and her accomplishments. I believed everything she said about me. I believed that I was the critical one and that I was the one doing all the damage.

When I became an adult she adjusted her accusations. She used a different voice infliction when she said things like;

 “Darlene you always were so hard on me”.  This was to remind me that I was “always” this way and always the problem.

“Darlene I have always been afraid that you would take your kids away from me and use them as a weapon against me”.  She said this as a kind of reverse psychology or a warning that if I did it, she had predicted that I would do it because I am a mean and spiteful daughter who has always done mean and spiteful things to her. And I set out to prove that I would never do something ‘like that’.

This is the brainwashing; this is what happened that caused me to try harder with her and to try so hard to ‘understand her.’ I tried to reassure her, to soothe her and to be the daughter she always wanted.

And when I started to look at the way SHE treated me in this profoundly dysfunctional mother daughter relationship we had, I became aware that now I was saying some of the same critical type things about her too.  When I started to look at the truth about how toxic our mother daughter relationship was, I felt guilty because I believed that I was being critical of my mother, and I had tried so hard all my life to prove her wrong about me! In the first couple years of my healing process I kept saying stuff like “well in all fairness to my mother, I was not the perfect daughter because of…. And I would list my faults. Just like I was trained to do; I was trained to look at me, always to look at me and my faults and to take the blame. Looking at my faults is not such a bad thing, but the lack of mutuality in our relationship is a ridiculous thing. This started when I was a kid and I had been convinced mostly through the actions and results of those actions at the hands of the adults in my life, that I was the failure and that if I could be different, THEN I would be loved. There was no accountability on the part of the adults!

Today I refer to that thought process as “the spin”. I would spin around and around in my mind about why my mother was justified in her criticisms and judgments of ME which I somehow believed nullified my judgments of her. I could never validate that something really was wrong with the way she treated me, because I was so convinced that I was at least as much of a problem for her as she was for me. I didn’t see how she was “the parent”, or how she expected me to be more responsible for the success of our relationship than she was. I didn’t look at HOW I learned to have a relationship in the first place. I didn’t realize that my self-esteem was never put in place because my parents didn’t put it in place. I didn’t consider for one minute that the truth was that it had been up to them to give me a healthy emotional foundation in the first place.  I had learned to LOOK at myself in a critical way and to never look at anyone else in a critical way. There is something really warped about that.

In the healing process, this is a huge stick point for many people.  In reading the quote I used above; “When someone is unrelentingly critical of you, always finds fault, can never be pleased, and blames you for everything that goes wrong, it is the insidious nature and cumulative effects of the abuse that do the damage. Over time, this type of abuse eats away at your self-confidence and sense of self-worth, undermining any good feelings you have about yourself and about your accomplishments.” The Emotionally Abusive Relationship by Beverly Engle ~ My first reaction was that I had been the one who was hurting my mother with MY criticism.  I had effectively been taught and groomed to turn the spotlight on myself.

Statements like the examples I used above and statements like “Oh you think you are so perfect” or “sorry I’m not perfect” are actually deflections meant to make me believe that the problem was my “unreasonable expectations” of her; I picture my mother as wearing wonder woman type shiny wrist cuffs to deflect the statements I made to her, BACK on to me. She didn’t hear me, she had no intention of listening to me, she just found a way to put the responsibility of our relationship back on me.

When I was around 33 years old, just after my second baby was born, my mother told me all the things that I had ever done that had ‘disappointed her’ and all of my faults and failures and when I wanted to say a few things about how she made me feel, she threatened to have a breakdown and reminded me that she was too fragile to listen to me. That was the first time I had ever really tried to stand up to her and when she threatened to go home, I said go and she did.  

There was NO communication when I tried to sort any of this out. She had no intention of actually discussing any of it with me. She used statements to deflect whatever it was that I had to say causing me to look at me again, instead of at her. She was very efficient at getting me to see how I caused the problem for her and never the other way around.

Sorting this out was really hard. It was extremely valuable for me to learn to examine the motives on both sides; My motive was not to hurt her. My motive was not to be right, but to be heard, to have a say, to have some impact on the relationship. My motive for approaching her with anything that was bothering me was to improve our relationship. My motive was loved based both for her and for me. Her motive was more about being right. Her motive was about being in control. She didn’t want to communicate with me, she didn’t allow me to have impact on her life, she didn’t see any need to look at HER part in the relationships or why it was so difficult between us. Her motive was ultimately NOT love based. Her motive was not what was best for me and ultimately not what was best for her either.

When I wanted to talk to my mother about our dysfunctional toxic mother daughter relationship it wasn’t to fight back or to fight to have a voice. It wasn’t so that I could have control over her. My motive was the desire for a BETTER relationship for both of us. A mutually respectful relationship. I told her that I could no longer accept the way she treated me. That was love for both of us; I had learned that self-love does not accept abusive disrespectful treatment. I had also learned that putting up with the way she treated me communicated to her that it was okay for her to do it, and letting her treat me like I didn’t matter was not loving for her either.  We don’t put up with that treatment out of LOVE for the people doing it; we put up with it out of fear of the consequences if we draw a boundary against it.

All I did was decide that our toxic mother daughter relationship problems were not MY fault.

Then I decided that since I realized it wasn’t my fault, I wasn’t taking the blame for it anymore.

Then I drew a boundary which bluntly stated was; “either you stop treating me in this disrespectful way or I will not have this relationship with you”.

She picked “not having a relationship with me”. OUCH. But at least I knew the truth. It was easier to move forward when I knew the truth.  It wasn’t exactly the validation that I wanted but it was validating to know my suspicions were true.

At the end of the day I know that my mother is not a happy person. I also know now that it isn’t MY FAULT.

The hurt little girl part of me thinks that my mother must be happy now that “her problem’ which was me, is no longer in her life. But the healthy adult part of me thinks that my mother could have been much happier if she embraced the idea of having a ‘real relationship’ with me. A mutually respectful relationship based on equal value instead of rejecting me because I stood up to the existing toxic mother daughter relationship we had. But as she always said to me ~ she made her bed…..


Please share your thoughts about being taught that you were the one who failed and if you somehow believed it. Are you out of ‘the fog’ and ‘the spin’ or are you still coming out of them. It’s okay to be IN the process.  I had to be IN the process to get to the other side; Looking forward to your comments!

Exposing Truth; one snapshot at a time;

Darlene Ouimet

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

For more posts about Toxic Mother Daughter Relationships scroll through the mother daughter category, (button at the top of the page)

Related Post~ “Emotionally Unavailable Father and The message of Passive Abuse”

904 response to "Toxic Mother Daughter Relationships when Mom says You are the Problem"

  1. By: lucy Posted: 6th March

    Sorry…forgot to tick the notify me box, so adding this comment..also the fact that I was not allowed to have anything to do with my sister and was a danger to her.

  2. By: lucy Posted: 6th March

    This has been interesting for me. I have a step-mother who rejected me. Before that, my mother committed suicide and I lived with relatives, who then emigrated. My father remarried, but she could not accept me when my sister was born. Unfortunately she had this idea that I was bad and gave me 100’s of lines for not closing the door, not closing the bedroom curtains to an inch of their lives and other things. I was actually hideously shy, and once she had to go to the school, because they were concerned about my lack of confidence! Once she stripped me and hit me with a brush in front of my sister, because I had forgotten my coat and was caught in the rain. I was about 10. I was threatened with boarding school until eventually I was sent was like a prison. She came once, when the whole class decided to play truant, to visit me. Only then did she show any interest.There was complete hostility and disapproval, so I went out a lot and my father enabled that in the holidays. She refused to have me home at 16 and I stayed with some dubious characters..really there was not a lot of choice..but still going to boarding school. This has given her ammunition. The problem is that I got agoraphobia at 18 and it continued until my 30’s. I became a christian which helps a lot. But my sister was controlled from an early age and is still in her mindset. A lack of any interest or empathy has been hard yet there is something there. They are both very clever. My sisters children want little to do with me or their grandmother. For various reasons, I can see they seem to have a similar personality.They live abroad. I have decided that I don’t mind if they cut off from me, but my sister is holding on out of some kind of duty maybe. I have always thought it was circumstantial, but now I wonder if something of this character can be inherited. My cousin is completely narcissistic for instance, and also seems dangerous as not able to empathize/care about another person. My stepmother can be generous with money, but is determined that I have always been the problem and convinces those around her it is so. ( I could only see my father, who had a stroke and could not speak, once a year. I was encouraged by a counsellor to fight that. Because I tried to see him for longer on THAT day,she argued against it and pushed me out the door. She did not speak to me for 3 years. In that time I met my husband and got married..without being able to speak to either of them.she told a relative that I had pushed her out the door. !WHAT IS THAT?) She only sees me if my sister arranges something for a few hours. Recently she has been trying to convince me that I was rude to my nieces….actually they made it clear they did not want to be with me and I tried a bit of gentle teasing, to relieve the tense atmosphere. The nieces think I was rude. I feel like I can’t go through another generation of this. My sister now does not want me to visit, and apparently blames me for the fact that she was kept in during her teenage years. I know her mother would not have let her out!! I’m wondering whether to go to a psychiatrist to try to understand more, and am frightened of the future…I suppose that I will emotionally cope. My stepmother has always tried to prove that HER daughter is different, and that I am somehow umbelievably bad/well, just unbelievable. My sister is doing well in life and I have always tried to have the right attitude to that. However, this family has just caused me immense pain and I still fight against stress and anxiety which made me stop work. Well, obviously there is much more..but I try to understand. I cared for various relatives during the years, that she had nothing to do with. Now she has given power to one of my sister’s husbands relatives, in case of illness etc. What is this personality?

  3. By: Tundra Woman Posted: 8th February

    K, it sounds like you’re a prisoner or a POW rather than a 22 yr. old. If your “mother” is your representative payee, call your county’s Adult Services and request a Caseworker. They can become your representative payee-if you even need one. When your “mother” balks-and she will-my sense is not only is your SSI a Tool of Control but also subsidizing her income rather than your’s. If it’s an emergency, (I can’t make that determination-you can) you may be eligible to receive assistance from Adult Protective Services.
    In any event, contact Adult Services and at least get a Caseworker.
    No comment on your “therapist.”
    You can do this, ‘K? And if she becomes even more abusive during this process you can be moved to another residence post haste. Yes, you absolutely can leave and people will assist you-it’s their job.
    Anyone who leverages another’s disability to enslave them, infantalizie them and destroy all hope for a reasonable quality of life is abusive. Full stop. Frankly, given your living situation I can’t imagine not being depressed.
    Best wishes.

  4. By: Olivia Posted: 29th December

    First off – thank you so much.
    I’m a 17 y/o girl who just moved out of the house (early) to go to college, but each time i come home I find myself somehow in this toxic cycle with my mother again.
    It’s been so hard for me to find support online too because so many other mothers seem to say things that sound worse outright or physically harm their daughters, neither of which are relevant in my situation.
    In our case it’s all about sideways manipulation, being hypocritical, extreme guilt tripping, and other types of covert emotional abuse-like stuff. Since she’s a single mother too, I’ve never had anyone to check it from the outside (whenever we have an altercation in public the person who I’m with always expresses their extreme discomfort with how she treats me, but she usually does a pretty good job of confining it to our house).

    It’s been crazy moving out and seeing that I don’t have to end up crying and being made to feel weak at some point in nearly every day in the wider world. That’s not normal.

    But each time I’m home some part of me still sinks back into the mindset of just making sure she is happy, smoothing it over, and trying to let the things she says and does bounce off. Sometimes we end a screaming match with her ‘wilting’ and telling me she’s “not perfect” which only serves to make me feel about 100x worse for clearly inflicting so much damage on her well-being (by just trying to explain to her why I feel attacked) that she feels that low. I know she has struggled with depression. I know she has a hard time in the world sometimes, but it is still taking me everything I have to also recognize that that doesn’t give her an excuse to do this to me.

    I don’t think she’s a bad person. I don’t even think she’s necessarily always trying to hurt me when she intentionally mis-remembers things, making herself the victim, I just think we have some fundamental inability to communicate in a healthy way. Maybe that’s still not a good mindset. I don’t know. I just keep hoping desperately that if I ever have children, I do not act like my mother.

    Clearly this is all still very real and present for me. I’m still making my way through, but thank you so much for showing me a story so similar to my own. It makes a huge difference.

    • By: Lisa Posted: 4th January

      Thank you for this article. Since becoming a young girl until present. I’ve always been lead to believe that I’m always to blame for me and my mothers toxic relationship, which is even worse now that I have a son.: she is controlling and manipulative and unleashes on me when I go against her will or wishes.
      Everyone else sees her in a different light, so it makes me feel crazy, as if it’s all my fault that our relationship is the way it is.
      She talks bad about me or puts me down to my son, when angry with me. He loves her to death but is aware of her behavior as well. My father just died, so now I have three times the guilt with things not improving.
      Example: Her expectations are to ride with me every time I pick up my son at his dad’s after visitation. If I decline, which isn’t often, she becomes angry. I either get the silent treatment or my phone blowing up with texts telling me how selfish I am and how it’s going to come back to bite me in the butt one day with my son because of how I treat her. I invited her to stay overnight Christmas Eve to be here for my son seeing what Santa brought. Afterwards, He left for several days to be with his dad. So, being that we both missed my son while he was away, (8days) I asked her to stay the night, on the night I picked him up for his return home. I asked her to be at my house, a few minutes after we got home. She told me that she wanted to ride with me to pick him up, I told her that I would like a few minutes or the ride home alone with him. That causes an unleashing of texts telling me how selfish I am and Indo t care what my son wants. How I am making myself look bad…When she does go with me to pick up, it leads to her picking my son apart with who did what, said what, where he went, etc. It aggravates my son and me too. He tells her to stop. I tell her to stop and it lands us into an argument. you get the picture. My son witnesses our toxic relationship and it wears on him too. Example: After my son and I were shopping with her one day for hours, it was time for us to be dropped off at home. I was exhausted and wanted to rest. My son asked if when we got back to my house my mom could stay. I explained that I was tired and we’d hang out another time. My son and I had plans later that evening. I wanted rest. I’m middle aged. Live in a small duplex. This made my mom so mad that she parked her car and sat on the porch and wouldn’t leave but would call for my son to come outside and talk to her. She sat on porch for two hours filing mows and on her phone. My son got caught up in a video game, so then she tellls him that because he’s not “having anything to do with her” that she was going to leave if he didn’t come out there. So she didn’t come in the house because I said some other time but sat on my porch and yelling into the house while talking to my son and wouldn’t leave. Then she asks me if she is “allowed” to use my bathroom. She calls and texts me all day long, every day on most days. She helps us out a lot financially because I’m a single mom and my pay is very little, but her help comes with a price. she is overbearing, intrusive and has no respect or knows no boundaries. On the weekends my son is with his dad, if I forget to tell my mom immediately after my son calls to check in with me, she gets mad. So even when she not doing wrong, I harbor much anger and resentment. When I explain how I feel, when she does certain things. She basically tells me I am wrong for my feelings. I won’t go on and on, because what I have shared is just of recent days. I’ve dealt with this for years and my son is 10,. Sorry for the rambling but our last episode was last night and I’m hurt and frustrated and feeling blue about the entire ordeal

      • By: Auntgrace Posted: 13th January

        Oh Lisa,
        You have the real thing here. Your mother is abusive and way over the line. It sounds like you are pushing back appropriately, and that your self-respect is pretty robust. I think you need to push the boundaries back further. She does not respect your personal space. I have two mothers with whom I had some degree of abuse; one has become lovely in her empty nest years, and the other (my birth mother) not so much. After this weird, frustrating Christmas together I realize I need to get a grip on boundaries. I can’t get her to understand how invasive she is but I can set boundaries and get some control back. A book that has come highly recommended to me is Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend. Let’s read it and take back the trampled ground.

  5. By: erem Posted: 23rd December

    thank you for posting this darlene. I have always wanted to tell someone how i have been emotionally abused by my mother tothe point that now we are not in eachothers lives. I sometimes felt that i was adopted haha. i still have nightmares in which she is screaming at me and im trying to make her see me in a different way. She thinks i am the most horrible person in the world. i have never experienced a motherly touch. we are 4 brothrs and sisters and I am the only one who got singled out at a very early age God knows why. somedays i want to see her suffer and in extreme pain , other days i just want her to be dead so i can move on with my life. i have an amazing husband who knows what iv eben through and holds my hand everytime i go downhill, when the emotions get the best of me. i just wish i could talk to someone who would help me cme out of this blackhole i keep getting sucked into. i feel im the most worthless daughter eevr,that nomatter how accomplished i become( and i am ) ,its all a fluke.. Its a constant battle i fight every day..sleep comes with much difficulty to me :'(

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 23rd December

      Hi erem
      Welcome to EFB ~ so glad that you are here. I found a way to move on with my life while my mother is still alive and you can too. 🙂 This whole website is about how I came out of the fog and realized the truth. The way my mother treated me was never about me, it was always about her.

      AS for talking to someone about this, I am a certified professional coach and I work with people all over the world over phone in Canada and the USA or on Skype for other countries. Please see my coaching and consults page for info on this. I usually have a bit of a wait list but I have a few openings in the new year starting in February. Here is the link;

      Hugs, Darlene

  6. By: Ashley Posted: 6th December

    This could have been something I wrote. This past week my mother has exploded with blame and attacks and just abusive comments. My boyfriend has tried to help deal with her, my best friend has tried to help, both of them have resorted to shaking their heads and saying you can’t keep doing this with her. She sends me memes on facebook, “Kids who never have any accountability for their actions will continue through life thinking nothing is their fault, and everything is owed to them.” Messages like,”You are hurting me! Killing me!” and “We have done our best to help you and be their for you? It’s never made you happy, and we try over and over again.” and when try to stand up against her treatment I get “I’m sorry that is in no way correct Ashley you are the love of my life. I would give my life for you! It seams like I can’t do anything right with you?”

    The funny thing is that I still feel like I must be doing something wrong for her to be this upset with me. How could I possibly not have done something absolutely awful? There is no way she would be this upset over nothing.Yet, my partner was with me at every family event, I have shown him the text conversations, I even let him try to have one of the conversations and it exploded into me trying to hurt her. I logically know that it can’t all be me and yet, I keep thinking I must have done something wrong. She is my mom. She wouldn’t always be mad at me if I were doing the right things.

    What is killing me is that I just don’t know what to do to fix it. I want to fix it. I don’t want my mom to hate me. I would love to get her and my father (who just has refused to speak to me for months now) into a room with a therapist but I know in my heart they would never agree to go. My father is awful for many of his own reasons but that is much easier to just put out of my mind. I love my mom and want to make her happy.

  7. By: kamy Posted: 28th October

    My parents divorced when I was 8 and my mother re-married shortly after. Growing up my mother never had anything nice to say about my father. All I ever heard was how controlling he was and how he only thought about himself (she’s the one that filed for divorce). When I would make her angry she would tell me I was just like him. Since becoming a parent I now realize how damaging this was for me and I’ve been harboring a lot of anger and resentment for the way she handled their divorce.

    5 years ago my step-father passed away from liver cirrhosis. After retiring (and after my sister and I moved out) he had apparently become quite the heavy drinker. Something my mother chose to ignore/overlook and never share with anyone. He wasn’t a mean or violent drunk so I guess she didn’t see a problem with it. After he passed away my mother moved to my town to be close to my family and help with my oldest child (who was an infant at the time). We were very close. I saw or talked to her every day and checked in on her constantly because she was alone.

    Last year, a week before I gave birth to my second child, she met a man on the internet. She quickly became infatuated with him and had to spend all of her free time with him. She had been taking my oldest child a few hours a week (since I had a newborn at home) and started having her boyfriend at her house during this time. I told her I wasn’t comfortable having a man she had only known a few weeks around my child and asked her not to have him at her house when my son was there (4 hours/week). She immediately went on the defense and told me that I could not control her and if her boyfriend couldn’t be around my kids she was not going to help. She “couldn’t tell her boyfriend he was not allowed at her house”. No offer to help at my house, no attempt to meet in the middle. If her boyfriend wasn’t allowed free access to MY children she wanted nothing to do with us.

    She moved this man into her house and began financially supporting him after weeks of knowing him. From the beginning I had a very bad feeling about him. I met him at a cookout and was immediately put off. He was inappropraite and spoke of things he should not be talking about in front of young children. I have since learned information about him that confirmed my suspicions (he’s controlling and there is lots of alcohol abuse, frequent moves, financial problems, and domestic issues within his family). He can’t hold a steady job, he’s apparently “owed” by a lot of people, and I’ve been told that he has trashed the inside of her house (my sister and I have not been to her house since he moved in). I told my mother that she is welcome to spend time with my children, but I do not want her boyfriend around them so she has been spending all of her time with him and his family. Vacationing with them (on her dime) and hosting them at her house for holidays and special occasions.

    For the last year I’ve been seeking to resolve this conflict. I went to therapy last winter and asked her to come. She refused to admit that she had done anything wrong and didn’t understand why I was so hurt. During sessions she would roll her eyes and cross her arms and completely unwilling to hear my feelings. We weren’t getting anywhere so I stopped going. I encouraged her to continue therapy because I felt like some of this behavior was a result of her still grieving over her lost husband (they were married over 20 years).

    All I have wanted for the last year was a heartfelt apology. An acknowledgement that what she did was wrong and that she understood it hurt me. A few months ago I thought we were making progress. She came over and started to offer an apology… but then she blamed her behavior on MY FATHER. A man she’s been divorced from for over 20 years and only sees a few hours a year. She clearly wasn’t going to take accountability so I had to ask her to leave.

    My sister is in agreement with me and very uncomfortable around my mother’s boyfriend, but she also likes to keep peace so she remains pretty neutral and doesn’t tell my mother how she really feels. It’s frustrating, but I understand where she is coming from. She has a new baby at home as well and relies on my mother to help with childcare so she doesn’t want to upset her for fear of retaliation.

    My mother brought my grandparents into this mess and turned them against me (she’s an only child and can do no wrong). Everything is MY fault. It’s MY fault we can’t have big happy holidays and birthday celebrations because I don’t feel comfortable with her boyfriend around. It’s MY fault for causing all of the drama in our otherwise “happy” family. I should do what SHE wants because she is my mother and raised me (and paid for college, my wedding, etc – all of which were attached to predetermined conditions so she could control what I did). MY feelings don’t matter. My grandmother called the other day SCREAMING at me for not supporting my mother and for voicing concerns about her boyfriend’s troubled past. How dare I…she is my mother. I feel awful, but I had to hang up on her. How can you have a conversation with someone who is screaming at you and lecturing you like you’re a child?!?

    Unfortunately, I don’t see this ending anytime soon and it breaks my heart because she’s missing out on time with her children and grandchildren. My youngest, who is 15 months now, doesn’t even know her and she lives 10 minutes away.

  8. By: Kristin Posted: 26th October

    Are these comments still being read by the author? If so, I would love to talk with you. We have SO much in common. My mother chose to walk away after I had my 2nd baby as well. Blamed everything on me and said that I couldn’t be pleased. She keeps insisting that we go to therapy, but when I do go with her she sits there with her arms crossed and rolls her eyes insisting that I am the problem. It’s infuriating… so I told her I will no longer go unless she can act like an adult and be open to conversation.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 27th October

      Hi Kristin
      I am the author of this website. 🙂 Welcome to EFB ~ It’s crazy how many people have a similar story!
      If you would like to talk with me, please see the coaching and consults page through the menu. 🙂
      Hugs, Darlene

  9. By: Karren Posted: 16th September

    My Mother has cut me off until I apologize to her for telling her that my Grandmother, her Mother, is burning in Hell. My maternal Grandmother was a full on practicing Atheist. I’m a church going Christian. My mother does not believe in God yet she’s upset that I mentioned “Grandma” is in Hell? If someone doesn’t believe in God then they don’t believe in Heaven or Hell, right? Anyway, I am (50) yrs & was depending on my mother for help with a few hundred dollars per month so I could keep my house I got after my divorce. Now she has taken away the money until I drop to my knees & tell her that her mother, my DEAD ATHEIST Grandmother, is NOT burning in Hell. I told her, “I am not God, I have no idea where your mother is.” She wants me to bow down to her, as she has all my life, but this time I refuse. She needs therapy, my brothers hate her, cut her out of their lives many years ago. My Dad is passed away but he divorced her due to her heavy drinking & evil ways. All my life she has mentally abused me, controlled me, told me I’m a loser, never good enough. She “projects” her own inner demons onto me because she knows I am a gentle, loving, forgiving soul & she’s not. She holds no empathy for anyone but herself. She hates animals & says her favorite food is Cow milk even though she knows what happens to the mother cows & their babies. She just says things like that to destroy me. I literally hate her. I truly do. She’s nothing like me, no compassion, she’s blunt, mean, cruel, I’m none of those things. I am ashamed of her. As a Christian, I am suppose to forgive her trespasses but I just can’t this time. When I went through a terrible divorce, she made MY divorce about her!!! Seriously! She did not comfort me, she instead focused on her own issues, none of mine. I am willing to lose my house, live in the streets before I ever apologize to this evil, horrible woman who claims to be my mother. Anyway, I have cancelled my cell phone, cancelled credit cards, changed car ins, stop getting mani/pedi’s, no more waxing or salon hair coloring, all just so I can try to keep my home. I now shop at the cheaper grocery stores, not buying organic foods anymore either. My life has really changed all because she wants absolute control over me. I want her to die, I really do & I’m so afraid she’ll out live me. She has ruined my entire life, all of it. I divorced my husband because he cheated & she wasn’t even there for me through such a difficult, trying time. I have now blocked her on social media, email, text messages. But she is still going to win because I’m losing my beautiful home that I love so much. I truly hate her. 🙁

  10. By: Kim M. Posted: 24th August

    Just got off the phone with my mother….I’m 46 and STILL, she blames me for always hurting her, being critical of her, etc… She has been telling me this since I was 8 years old. About the same time my Dad walked out on us…. For me, healing continues to be a process… Thank you for being here!

  11. By: Tara Smith Posted: 5th August

    Survivor is what you seem to turn into, not what you initially start out to be. You, I don’t know it’s wrong through all those years of pointing the finger. Even when you think, believe that you had spent the time in the counseling chair believed had the courage to believe in another woman (counselor)even after trying to convince her how bad and deserving you might of been.. Then you have a break though, regardless of the absence of a healthy relationship with your mother,your determined to not repeat this with your own children you succeed. At 43 I some how forgot the lessons I was taught by the counselor when I was 18. I try very hard to remember, now that I am back in the pattern which has essentially taken my Brother (younger) well that is what was left when he returned back from Afghanistan. Systematically since my Father passed, it’s been 6 of the longest years of my life which has landed me smack back in the same albeit more hurtful,abusive patterns at the hands of my mother. I was raised to always love and respect no matter what your parents do. I learned that is off the table when the abusive words seethe out of her mouth.

  12. By: Susan Lee 61 Posted: 5th August

    DivaB, You are correct. Talking to these women is 100% pointless. They hear absolutely nothing. No matter how much pain they cause their daughters, they do not see it. All the daughters get is nasty repercussions and paying a high price for trying. (It is almost impossible to stop trying, though, because we love our mothers and have eternal hope that things can change.)

  13. By: Susan Lee 61 Posted: 5th August

    Corrinne, talk to your school counselor or school nurse. Talk to someone, if they don’t help, try someone else.

  14. By: Susan Lee 61 Posted: 5th August

    ‘Perpetrator by Omission”. A new term I learned. It is part of it.

  15. By: Susan Lee 61 Posted: 5th August

    I thought I was alone. I had no idea there were so many women like me. 98% of what is said here is my life. Even though I’m in therapy, yet again, I cannot understand why my mother, who I think has some small amount of love for me, is so dastardly nasty to me, and hurts me purposefully. I can’t understand how any mother can act this way. She let my stepfather abuse me and my sister emotionally. Everything was my fault. (My sister was 2 years younger and timid). The abuse started when we were 4 and 6, just little girls. To this day, everything is my fault. No matter what I do, it is wrong. My parents gave me $100 for my wedding, but my mother has gone out of her way paying all kinds of things for my daughter to have the wedding of her dreams. My mother goes behind my back every chance she gets and undermines me to my children. She tries to play the hero with my kids and make me out to be the bad guy. This hurts me more than anything. How can she love me, but do this to me? Of course I want my daughter to be happy, but my mother has completely torn my family apart, and my children aren’t even speaking to each other.

  16. By: Melinda Posted: 26th June

    My heart goes out to you, Toke. I can relate because I was treated the SAME way by my mother and stepfather when I lived with them.

    You are NOT a mistake. You are NOT to blame for whatever your mother did in her past.

  17. By: Corinne Wiedemann Posted: 26th June

    Hello everyone! As I looked over this artical and some of the comments I was happy to realize that I’m not alone! I am 16 with ADHD, high social anxiety, and MAJOR depression. My mom and I go through a cycle of abuse each month-few months (she makes me want to kill myself and acts like our unhealthy relationship is MY FAULT, apoligizes and acts like she won’t hurt me that bad again, calm period, tent ion builds when she showers me with negative comments about things I do, finally confrontation and back to her making me feel like crap). Of course she was emotionally abused by her father but there is at least SOME of our relationship she can control but CHOOSES not to! I am very sensitive and think about suicide every day. I wish I could just let it “roll of my back” like the rest of the family but she targets me the most. I’m stuck with her.

  18. By: Toke Posted: 25th June

    Initially, I loved my mum and step dad. I could lay down my life for them. But then, my mum started this quit trip with me. She calls me a sorrowful child, useless and worthless. The only problem of her life. This caused me to lose my confidence, self esteem and I had inferiority complex. It started affecting my grades. I try to please her in any way I could, but she never relents in her abusive way. She never for a day forget to remind me of the fact that I am an illegitimate child and all through this, my step dad didn’t make it any easier. He also treats me like I’m not his child. Truth be told, he pays my school fees, feed and let me live with them, but that’s all about it.
    In time, I started talking back at them, hoping they would listen to my pains and not just my words, but they are set in their ways. I am a huge mistake to my mum, the child she was so generous to have kept. The child she should have disposed of or given away. They expect me to respect them and be incident and loving, but their words and actions tear me apart every waking day of my life.
    I’m just 24, currently in Nigerian Law School and I have immense hatred for my parents. I feel guilty, but I can’t take blame for her mistakes anymore.

    • By: Kesha H. Posted: 1st October

      I am so glad that I’m not the only one with a toxic mom. The only difference is she does it to my kids and now we don’t go around her. If we call her she curses us out. But I have to remind myself that after my first child she said (I birthed you so you can take care of me and you f…ed that up). So now I have 6 kids and she never said sorry for any of her bullying, I hope she will come out of her hate world some day.

  19. By: Jodie Posted: 14th June

    I am not alone? Can not believe all the posts? Wow.
    Have very little understanding how 53 years of loving my mom could turn so ugly when my beloved father passed away a year ago. I lent them a lot of money to move closer to family. Not my idea, older sister. She bailed night of closing. I had to borrow from husband at the time so I would not lose my deposit. Dad suddenly passes, family comes together. Packs up moms home, sell it then sister who is executor of will call 2 nights before funds are paid out and demands I prove I lent parents money? Called mom she said ” I don’t know I have no paper work”. Stunned I repeat 3 times, same answer. Made the horrible decision to ask ex for proof, he wrote both cheques, I had to sell stock, which I did and promptly paid him back. Bank have no record after 6 years in Canada. None ex is suing me claiming he lent the money. Fighting over this a year and in that year I have lost my family, and 6 months ago my mom over a lie. She promised she would not discuss my legal battle with sister she has 2 kids with my ex’s brother. It slipped she had been telling all and I broke down in tears. She said well I had no one to talk to!? Was not invited to my dads celebration of life, nor to the burial. I am shunned by all family and relatives. I have a costly legal battle as well as no support from family. Lawyer says without the support of family the abyss and battery charges are not a good alternative to sue ex with. How, why I am gob smacked every day I wake. I lost so much in a year, my dad, my dog ,y abusive ex, my siblings my mom. I have reached out to sister that control everyone, apologized want her in my life. I was told I sent email as I was going to loose my civil suit?? I sent it out of love and we are still fighting, so it is not clear who will win. How do you move past an entire family shunning me?

  20. By: Kristin Posted: 10th June

    I’m using an alternate name to my real one just in case my mom or brother were to ever stumble upon this site.

    I was born in 1968, my parents were not married, I was the great big surprise everyone cautions their college aged girls about avoiding. She kept me a secret for seven months, her family was not happy when they found out. She and my father, not married, nor would they be for another year or two. I was considered illegitimate. The ONLY reason I don’t have that word in red across my birth certificate is that my father lied to the hospital administration. The stamping of illegitimate on birth certificates was not does away with until 1970, the year my brother was born to our then married parents. I had epilepsy as a child, that I eventually grew out of. I was smart, got good grades, worked HARD to please my parents.

    To this day… I feel like I have never been able to do anything right. My brother, 18 months my junior, who barely finished high school, is the shining star and golden boy of the family. I, the child who finished a six year college degree in four, who has always excelled in school, am the black sheep. I can’t do ANYTHING right. There is always fault with my selection in men, jobs, groceries, anything you can think of. My son’s son, obese (pushing being a diabetic at this point) beyond words for a 9 year old can do no wrong. He won’t exercise, he only wants to play on his ipad, is incredibly fussy about what he eats is also golden… my children, who work hard, participate in the swim club my mother INSISTED I get them involved in, are full of faults that get pointed out to me on the regular.

    Things were better, for a time, when I’d moved away to a big city for the adventure of a lifetime with my children. We were able to live in that big city with a high cost of living for seven years before the economy tanked and sent me back home. Upon the death of my father, my mom asked if I would PLEASE help her with her business, promising that I could take it over in a few years…


    now she’s not planning on retiring and the criticism is daily, almost non-stop. If I receive more criticism than praise, despite working my butt off and doing a GOOD job. My clients are happy, but not my mother. no… never that.

    I reach out to share accomplishments, like a photo shoot that went exceptionally well… crickets.

    I feel like a shadow in my own family and I hate it. HATE it.

    thank you for your article. it helps to put things into perspective. i still wish she just loved me a little more though. 🙁

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 11th June

      Hi Kristin
      Welcome to EFB ~ I hear you! You are certainly not alone. Thank you for sharing and I hope you will find fellowship and comfort here in the pages of this website.
      Hugs, Darlene

  21. By: nazi Posted: 26th May

    I never had an emotional relationship with my mom
    I dont have a mom in my mind actually….
    It is like a death of my emotion
    I feel devastating
    when I dont have an attatchment with external world I rather to stay introvert
    I am very extrovert whoever
    try to pretend I am very powerfull
    but it is not whatI feel really..

  22. By: Jennifer Posted: 25th May

    Thank you so much for this article! I can relate to a tee. My mother and stepfather are highly critical as well as mean with words. I feel I was never good enough, not being at their beckon call, not married the right person in their eyes. I have 3 girls and I use this as a teaching tool I would never treat my girls the way I was treated. I have been called names, cursed at, criticized, told I am on a death watch, I am waiting for them to die for their money. I am not your dad call me by my name was said. They are heavy drinkers and I feel most if this stems from this as well as them not being happy ever. I always have a ball of nerves in the pit of my stomach at all times because I never know what I am going to get. My husband is such a great emotional support for me. He has been dealing with this for 12 years. They feel I owe them something. Thsnk you again for this well written article!

  23. By: Jennifer Posted: 19th May

    Words are inadequate to express the gratitude I feel about what you wrote in this article. I don’t know where I am in the process exactly – I have tried for nearly 30 years to break the toxic relationship with my mother only I never trusted my naming it as toxic. She was, after all, the “good” parent in the house (my father was a raging alcoholic and classic narcissist) and from the time I was 9, I believed it was my duty to protect her. Some of the things you wrote used absolutely the right words for me to start admitting that my mother is toxic and very, very clever at the way she wields it. I recently set a boundary with her that she did not like and now I am shut out except for a few emails she sends to her group of friends. This, she says, is a good way for her and I to “stay in touch”. God … so many memories … how she would always call at 6 am when I was in college no matter how many times I asked her not to. It was my fault, she’d said, because I was so busy there was no other time for her to talk to me. All the ways she turned it back on me – I wasn’t grateful, I couldn’t be pleased, what did I want from her? (said as an accusation not a question). All the ways she’d undermine my attempts at independence, get angry when I didn’t ask her opinion about a decision I’d made, all the constant implications that I didn’t think things through if I made a decision she didn’t approve of. On and on and on. This is giving me so much to think about, to process, and the vocabulary to name it. I am facing the possibility of breast cancer and I know in my heart of hearts it has to do with my need to sever this relationship. It’s so difficult because my dad really was a horrible beast of a man, but even as I’m writing this, I’m starting to understand that we never exist in relationship alone. They brought out the worst in each other to be sure and my brother and I ended up in the crossfire. I’m hopeful that as I process all this, I can release my anger and frustration and resentment and I think an important first step is telling the truth: my mother is toxic. My breast is telling me it’s time to let go.

  24. By: Jessica Portnoy Posted: 12th May

    I agree with all the post especially the very first one which I relate to. NO one can understand this unless you have been through it or you come from a loving family and you know what real LOVE is like Darlene had stated its only then that you can truly get what this means.

  25. By: Joell Posted: 10th May

    I have distanced myself from my mother, my father, and my siblings because I have become the scapegoat of the family. Unfortunately, today I fell prey to my mother and her toxic ways. I stayed a bit too long at her home, and she ended up telling me that something in her home was missing. My Mom has accused me of stealing from her in the past. She always finds what she accuses me of, and never apologizes for implying that I am a thief. One time she said, “All you have to do is ask me for $ if you need it. You don’t have to steal from me.” I have never stolen from her in my life. I borrowed a t-shirt from her when I was in my twenties and forgot to return it. She brought it up a year later, and said that she loved that t-shirt and that I had stolen it. When I asked her why she didn’t ask me earlier, she had no explanation. Back to today… She mentioned that something was missing in her home. I said whatever it was that you are missing, I didn’t take it. Furthermore Mom, I have never stolen anything from you which you have always implied in the past. She then said that she had been meaning to ask me about a picture that she gave me years ago, and wanted to know where it was. I have told her about 5 times that I do not know where it is, and that I think it was damaged in our flooded basement several years ago. She then said that she had seen it in one of my bedrooms when she visited my home. Well, that is news to me, because I have no idea where it is. So I told her that I didn’t like how she was insinuating that I was lying, and that this was her problem and not mine. I said that I was tired of her always accusing me of things, and trying to make me look bad. Our voices were raised, but no yelling. I left and went home and cried like a baby. My daughter was very concerned, but I told her that her grandmother and I had a disagreement and it just hurt me. Later when she talked to her grandmother, her grandmother said that she had cried because I had hurt her. So crazy!!! I am cutting off my relationship with her. It is pointless. She seems to dislike me very much, and I always feel bad around her.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 11th May

      Hi Deborah
      Welcome to Emerging from Broken! Yay for a new chapter where you value yourself as much as you value others! We deserve it!
      hugs, Darlene

      Hi Joell
      Welcome to emerging from broken and thank you for sharing! Yes, what you have written is exactly what we are talking about! Feeling bad around someone is a pretty good indication that something isn’t right in the relationship!
      hugs, Darlene

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