Was my Mother a Cougar? More on Toxic Mother Relationship Problems

my mother the cougar
I was innocent

I have written about how my mother accused me of flirting with her boyfriend’s when I was only a young teenage girl. I have expressed the pain of being accused of causing one of her boyfriends to come into my bedroom in the night and how it was communicated to me by my mother that I must have done something to send him the message that I wanted him to… and that I ‘invited him’ by some action that I wasn’t aware of. I have expressed the terror of “causing this to happen again” that I lived with for so long after that, because I was not protected or believed and instead I was blamed.  And soon after that it was as though my mother saw me as a threat to HER after her, which makes sense if she really believed that I HAD done something to attract him even though I was an innocent teenager and a victim of his assault. By the time I was 15 my mother was accusing me of acting inappropriately with her men.

But there was another consequence to that event that I have not written about; my mother flirted with my boyfriends. It was very confusing to me when my mother expressed inappropriate interest in some of the boys in my life. She said inappropriate things to them. She acted in a way that confused me, embarrassed me and hurt me. I felt powerless and stunned ~ I can’t even express everything about HOW it made me feel when my mother did this stuff. I still don’t have the words.

The first time I heard the expression ‘Cougar’ as a description for a mature woman who goes after young men, I cringed. The though repulsed me and I felt creeped out. In my mind’s eye I felt like I was physically trying to push something away from me. 

As is common for me when a new ‘reminder of the past pops up” I thought those feelings of disgust that I had had something to do with me…that perhaps I needed to check my actions in case I was acting like a cougar, but I quickly realized that if this expression had existed when I was a teenager, my mother may have been called a cougar. She certainly fit the description of one. That little fact was the actual trigger of my reaction to the word and concept of what a “Cougar” is. My mother may have been a cougar.

I started to recall the feelings that came up for me back then when my mother acted flirty towards my male friends. What a terrible feeling it was to feel ‘threatened’ by my own mother; to feel afraid that my own mother might try to get something going on with one of my boyfriends or with one of my friends that was 25 years younger than her.  I can’t even label the feelings in a way that sits right with me; I don’t know if I felt ‘jealous’ ~ but I suppose that whatever that feeling is, it is related to jealousy in the way that I was afraid that she was trying to take my romantic interest away from me or that she wanted to have a romance of her own with MY guy. I don’t think that type of jealously is something that is normal for a daughter to feel about her mother. I think it is caused by the actions of the mother.

I felt ‘uncertain’ about my own mother’s intentions towards my boyfriends. It’s so odd, and it isn’t easy to explain. I felt ‘powerless’ and perhaps that was her intent; to remind me that in all situations, and even when it comes to MY boyfriends, she wanted to remind me that I WAS powerless. She wanted to remind me that she is the queen, the god and that she is always in control of whatever was going on in my life. My mother seemed to have to remind me that she could make me or break me. She had to make sure that I always knew that I was not ever going to be as important as her and that no matter what, she could take whatever happiness that I had. She had to remind me that she owned me and that she held ALL the power.

My own mother was ‘competing with me’ in the dating arena to feel her own power.  What a sick way to feel better about herself and to build her own ego up. What a sick way for her to validate her own attractiveness.  At my expense; she invalidated me, she walked over me in order to feel better about herself. And that is not at all related to parental love. That kind of sick treatment towards a daughter is toxic.

I don’t know what was worse, the feeling of embarrassment, that my mother was flirting with my friends, or the awkward “not knowing how to respond or act” feeling.  I still remember not even knowing how to get my head around the idea that when I was 17 my mother was flirting with one of my 20 year old friends.  And he was awkward at first, but then he started flirting back. It was horrifying. I was so scared that they were going to hook up later.

When I was 18 years old my mother flirted with my boyfriend. She sat on his lap and put her arms around his neck and said some flirty stuff to him.  I remember how ‘helpless’ she made me feel. I felt frozen and powerless, unable to react, unable to STOP her or to stand up to her. I was unable to confront her. I was shut down and reminded that I didn’t matter.  Even my boyfriend was not ‘off limits’ when it came to her.

I didn’t want to ‘feel’ as though I couldn’t ‘trust’ my own mother, it just felt so ‘wrong’ but what do you do when your mother does stuff like that? How was I supposed to feel? I couldn’t even put a name on those feelings. I was confused by her actions. I was shocked. I was uncomfortable and embarrassed. It was awkward.

But I didn’t have the words to confront her about it because she was my mother. How could my own mother be ‘a cougar’ when it came to MY boyfriend? My boyfriend and I didn’t even discuss it. It was one of those things that just got swept under the carpet where it grew and festered, destroying and corroding the already difficult and damaged toxic relationship that I had with my mother.

What kind of mother does that? What kind of mother has to send that kind of message to her own daughter? For years I asked myself what it was about me that caused my mother to treat me the way that she did. I wondered what it was about me that caused her to have so little regard for my feelings.

Today I realize that my mother’s feelings towards me were not about me; they were about her. The fact that she regarded me as competition when it came to her boyfriends was not about me, or anything that I did, it was about her.  The fact that my toxic mother accused me of attracting her boyfriend into my room was not about me, it was about her. The way that my sick mother saw me as a threat to her, was not about me it was about her. The way that she communicated to me that I could never measure up to her was not about me… It was always about her…

Today I realize that it wasn’t about me. And the bottom line is that was the problem in the first place… nothing was ever about me.

Please share your thoughts. This post relates to all actions that discount and disrespect the daughter or son in the parent/child relationship. These feelings and the message communicated by the parent can be communicated in many other ways besides the way that I have highlighted here.

Exposing Truth; one snapshot at a time,

Darlene Ouimet

NEW on EFB ~ GET THE GUIDE TO GETTING UNSTUCK ~ There are some very popular questions I get asked associated with the how part of recovery and I have written an 8 page special report answering those questions ~ you can download it by adding your first name and your email address in the form in the top right hand side bar above. Signing up for this free guide will also enable me to keep you posted on other news and updates for EFB. If you have already signed up for updates from me PRIOR to this guide being published, you will have to sign up again; that list will soon be deleted and will be replaced by this new one.

Related Posts ~ The artilce about the night my mothers boyfriend came into my bedroom

Dysfunctional Mother Daughter relationship Category

62 response to "Was my Mother a Cougar? More on Toxic Mother Relationship Problems"

  1. By: Mo Posted: 5th August

    I actually credit my mother for my marriage. When my boyfriend had to go back home and we were facing a trans-continental relationship, she said “so that’s that then”. Meaning our relationship must be over because we were going to be living so far apart – HA! It made me so determined to prove her wrong and make it work!! And we did 🙂 What kind of a thing was that to say to her daughter when her boyfriend was leaving and her grandpa had just died anyway??! That’s pretty much the only thing she has ever had to say about my relationship with my husband, because obviously talking about things in my life is just a waste of breath.

  2. By: Cathy Posted: 19th March

    My mom was and still is jealous of me and I am 50 years old. She practically salivates if anything negative happens in my life and if anything good happens she will find someone else to compare me to who is so much better than me. I’m never good enough for her, never. I’ve always gone out of my way for her and its never good enough. She twists everything I say so it is harmful and hurtful to me. And although, I try everything, I still get suing by her., over and over. Through my whole life. She is a high level narcissist. The only thing that works for me, is no contact, then after a couple months she will call, its like I forget and I go through the whole thing of being horrified the way she talks to me and treats me, like I forgot or something. Ive had signs on my wall, on steps to take to handle her, she is like a creepy witch

  3. By: H. B. Posted: 19th March

    The piece about none of this being about you, is so key. I remember the first time I read “The Four Agreements”, I was angry to think that none of the things people did to me were about me, even if directed at me. It took months for it to sink in, but once it did, it finally made sense. It has helped so much to realize this. Thank you for reiterating that point in your story!

  4. By: Cristina Posted: 11th April

    Reading some of the articles and people’s comments has made me realise that even though I may have some dysfunctional tendencies, I am a good person and I was neglected and abused by my parents as a child and by continue to be emotionally abused by my mother. I have so much bottled up that I’d like to share with you all, but it will take some time. I just wanted to thank you all for sharing your stories. It makes me feel less hopeless.

    Regarding the topic of cougar mums, I realised when I became a mother myself that my mother was very weird. She was a beauty when she was young and I recall as a teenager she commented on my looks in a negative way and made me feel worthless all the time. She saw me as competition. How disgusting!! I would never see my daughter as competition..On the contrary, I want her to be better than I am in every way. I was and still am a very sensitive person so she inflicted much deep pain in my soul and my personality. I remember she flirted with a boyfriend I had and even though he was an arse-hole, I realise how selfish and self-centred she was…When people commented on my looks she would always later comment on how bad I looked or comment on how I talked…to make me feel bad. She had many men in her life, even married men…and she used to leave me with my grandmother all the time…I remember being so lonely as a child. Always craving for that motherly affection and acceptance. Unfortunately, due to my very sensitive personality, this has affected me severely. Even now as an adult I have very little self esteem when it comes to social interactions and connecting/trusting people. I was molested by my father and a neighbour …I’m sorry if this is all over the place…i’m just writing as stuff comes to my mind. Thanks for reading and much light and love to you all

  5. By: marquis (female) Posted: 10th May

    I said Happy Mom’s day to my sister who is a better mom than our mom will ever be. I went to the store today seeing all of these gifts for Mom’s day, I was like oh well, can’t wait for it to be over.

  6. By: Cori Posted: 10th May

    My mother ‘catfished’ my now husband, talking to him online pretending to be me. Your post helps me see the seriousness of how awful and powerless that made me feel.

  7. By: marquis (female) Posted: 17th March

    Very interesting topic. My hates how her daughters have relationships and she hated how her own sibling’s (her sisters and brother) marriages. She feels that I shouldn’t even have a relationship saying ‘I have plenty of time for one,’ what do you mean by plenty of time? What’s plenty of time? She always complained about her daughter’s men and my sister told my BIL that mom wants you and she screamed on the phone. The argument was accusing my sister of always doing her man and that her family is important to her. My sister told my mom ‘yes, my daughters and I are very important to me not you or pops!’

    She tells me I spend too much time with my boyfriend and not enough time at home. Why do I want to hear the same crap 24/7 about you, dad, and his illegal wife? heard it all since I was a kid and don’t care. Why do I wanna listen to her give a race debate speech/argument over something she saw on tv? Why does she care as to who I spend time with? She never wanted to spend time with me anyway what’s fair is fair!

    Women are sluts, hoes, whores, etc according to my mom that my sister and I came from a “generation of whores with no pride,” while her generation had a lot of pride.

    “She tries to engage me in conversations about her sexual relationships. It is embarrassing and I never respond to her when she gets this way.”

    Whoa, that got me thinking. My mom told me how her and my dad took a shower together (before I was born). She also told me how dad made sex nasty for her and every time they had sex, she would go wash as if he never touched her. I’m sorry, is this even normal to talk to your child about?!? She left it at that and said I haven’t slept with your dad in 10 years. I don’t recall them ever having sex when I was a kid when they slept in the same bedroom not that they wanted too.

    My brother can have sex yet he isn’t a whore – did I miss something? I told her if women are whores, that makes you one too and she screamed so loud. She acts like men have an interest in her as I have seen flirt with other men still married! She said it wasn’t flirting I took it the wrong way, I know what flirting is! She tells my mom how some black guy is better looking than him and said out loud how she would like to have him instead of my dad. Long ago, she told me how she told a guy in the store how he wasn’t her type yet some other guy came in saying how she wanted what was in his pants!!!

    Wow, ain’t that a whore! lmao No, she never cheated. As far as sleeping around when she was younger before she met my dad, I was told by my sister that grandma told her that mom would chase after boys who had girlfriends and she was so boy crazy. Every young chick is boy crazy, so what! I just know she “lost her virginity” to her old ex bf from high school. My ex therapist said may be she doesn’t want you to make the same mistakes as she did. I told her but do you call daughters whores just to get them to listen to you? That’s how you screw up someone’s self esteem duh!

  8. By: Will Posted: 17th March

    Sorry for the mistype. I was attempting to share about mother but I now don’t have the energy to even go there again.I will
    say that mother will be 75 this week and she still has a sick mind. I don’t trust her. Don’t like even touching her because of her sexual beliefs.She has a interest that is so far out there, sometimes I feel like this can’t be real. My heart aches for her at times and there’s times when I’m just numb.

  9. By: Will Posted: 17th March

    My mother has four daughters, two sons. I believe and so does my sisters, that our
    mother see us as her competition. She will say some cutting words to either of if she feels threaten as first attention. She will try to belittle. She has a problem with her daughters being complimented if she’s present and no one compliments her. My mother is strange and not in a good way. She tries to engage me in conversations about her sexual relationships. It is embarrassing and I never respond to her when she gets this way

  10. By: Kadeeja Posted: 9th February

    And Kimberly Clark, my experiences with my parents are so similar to yours that it makes me cringe. Sorry for all that you had to go through. It is covert incest in the very least. Hugs.

  11. By: Kadeeja Posted: 9th February

    Never had any boyfriends but my husband was picked for me by my mom. She thought she found somebody who would always suck up to her but now she feels that she made a big mistake because he has a mind of his own (thank God for that) and by God’s grace the whole situation helped me come out of her vice-like grip. Mom’s trick early on in our marriage was trying to convince my husband that he does not have to work hard, that she had enough money (all from my hard-working father) to support us all. Coming from a family who always demanded money from him, he initially fell for that and quit his high-paying job and settled in our hometown, living with my parents and we have been paying for that mistake ever since (I begged him not to). As soon as my mom moved in to our new home, her whole demeanour changed. From the person who would polish my husband’s shoes, she became a very demanding person, always in need of something. Ever since my father passed away, there has been no stopping her. She is the no.1 person for her and always has been. Everything else was an act. Whatever money that comes from the fixed-deposit in the bank from selling my parents’ apartment (again at the insistence of mom), mom takes it all and spends the way she wants it. I have no job. Am dependent on both my husband and mom and I have to literally beg for money for meeting the household expenses. I cannot work either because there is so much work at home and mom makes sure that she doubles my work with her constant demands. This makes it so hard for me to find some time for myself to grow and realize my potential. It would be so much better if we could move away from mom but she has painted such a lonely frail widow picture for all our relatives and friends that we would get absolutely no support to do this. My psych says it would be better to move out so that my husband can grab a high-paying job that he deserves. But I dont know how this can ever happen. I am trying to study so that I can get the job that I like but I am emotionally weak and have failed to sustain my motivation to study whenever she abuses (verbally) me. There are also a lot of demands on my time and energy which I am not saying no to even though I know I should and get on with what is most important – becoming financially independent. Papa died 9 months back after a long-drawn battle with Lewy Body Dementia. My studies suffered a lot during this time because I was always at her beck n call then. I was so motivated to study then but I would not get the time but now I can sort of manage to find some time but I dont seem to be motivated enough. There seems to be something that is keeping me back from totally going for it. I know my halfhearted attempts are not enough to get me through but I am unable to change. Is there something that I am missing out on, failing to face, some fear that is holding me back? Did you have this?

  12. By: Donna Posted: 13th January

    I am not sure this is the right place for this post…… I had a great loving bond with my mom. It is my 4 sisters who I have struggled with, always putting me down, letting me know I am not good enough etc. I have cut them all out of my life years ago but find they still blame me for any problems in their pathetic lives. Any insight or ideas?

  13. By: Eira Posted: 22nd December

    My mom was not a cougar. I could not imagine her flirting with or being inappropriate in any way with any of our romantic interests. However, her sexuality was really strange. She always told us to cover up, not to walk around without a bra, to cross our legs when we sat down with a skirt, and to be modest in our home. However, she often walked around nude or topless in front of us children. She sometimes crawled on my dad to flirt with him and grind him in front of us on the sofa, and when we protested, she said she was modeling affection to us children, how married people act. My dad was a bit unresponsive and annoyed. She told me later that fairly early on in their marriage, after 7 or 8 years, he rarely had sex with her as he was unable to perform, but we knew later he engaged in extramarital affairs. I was the second of three girls but was the first to develop. I had the most voluptuous figure, smaller waist, larger chest, and full hips and thighs, but at 5’4″ always weighed between 105-120 pounds while in high school, yet I was considered a fatty and was ridiculed for my figure both by her and my siblings. I developed an eating disorder, punge/purge and starvation tactics to try to keep my weight at the 105-110 pound mark. My sisters had more of an athletic build and I was a bit more curvy. My mom would say I had a low-slung butt, was high-waisted, needed to “watch” it and would refer to my “weight problems” and criticize me when I weighed 120 pounds that (she never weighed 120 pounds, too heavy) even though she was only 5 feet tall and given the height difference, we were about the same as far as ideal weights for heights. Later, as a woman in my early 20s, my weight went up slightly (130-135 pounds) and much of it settled in my chest (she had been flat chested her whole life, regardless of her weight) and my mom once walked in on me when I was dressing. She looked at my bare chest, with disgust, and said, “Oh Myyyyy” or something like that, like I was some kind of freak. When I was studying at school, my dad gave me a part-time job working at his office. He said nothing about my performance, but later she would tell me that he didn’t like it when I did this or did that, etc. Once when she was out of town, I suggested to my dad we take in a Johnny Cash concert because he was a fan and he was playing at an outdoor arena. So dad and I went. Big mistake! When he returned, she stepped up her mean aggression on me, and I had no idea why. Finally a sister, defending me, said that it was “wrong” that dad and I had gone to a concert together and mom was upset, because he would never have taken her. This was probably the only time in my life, and I am now 45 years old, that my dad and I did something recreational together.

    I won’t even bore you on the details of how weird my mom got when I was expecting my first child, and to some degree, with my sisters’ pregnancies. I figure it was evidence we were sexual beings and she could not handle it. She was the only female in the family who had a right to sexuality and probably it was partially jealousy since my dad cut her off sexually early in her marriage.

    I cannot imagine being so jealous of your own daughter(s). I love my kids and nieces and nephews and only feel extreme happiness when they accomplish things, have talents, or opportunities I never had!

    I’ll sign off now but I actually think in some ways my mother exhibited a lot of sexual jealousy toward me and perhaps my sisters. If she had been a single mom, she might have been a cougar. She, however, was very fixated/obsessed on my father. My father may have been a womanizer, but he was never inappropriately interested in his daughters or nieces or our friends. (Our friend’s single mothers, perhaps but that’s just one story I cannot confirm and the source is a bit unreliable).

  14. By: DarleneOuimet Posted: 9th October

    Hi Kimberly,
    What you describe here is sexual abuse. It was sick and wrong and legally liable. It is beyond sick!
    (sorry it took me so long to answer)
    hugs, Darlene

  15. By: Kimberly Clark Posted: 7th October

    At 15 I had a steady boyfriend after being together for sometime, my mother would tell me that I needed to learn how to “take care” of a man. She made sure we had private time each morning before school for an hour. She would tell me what I needed to do such as how to rub his genitals to make him aroused. She would provide Vaseline and condoms, told me how to give oral sex and in return I had to describe everything in detail to her. How sick is that?
    My father had a stroke and was left paralyzed and speechless for 6 and a half years until his death. His emotions were mixed up too. I remember at 15 before he died my mother took me to the door of his bedroom, apparently he had been masturbating. She told me to look at him, that was what sick men did when thinking of women.
    I remember also after I left home, my little sister married at 17 to get out of the house. One day my mother told me that she had just been at my sister’s house. She spent the afternoon taking nude pictures of sister so she could give them to her new husband.
    I knew this was all child abuse, but is not sexual abuse? all I know is it makes me sick to my stomach when I think about it.

  16. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 25th March

    Hi Everyone,
    I just published a new post related to the content in this post. The question comes up a lot in this site ~ “what if my parents die”~ its natural to wonder about that when we are having issues with them, but it is a horrible thing when people make that statement against you as an accusation, as though you are such a terrible person for standing up for yourself ~ so I wrote about it. You can read it here: “What if my mother or father dies before we resolve our relationship?”

  17. By: Daisy Posted: 24th March

    Hi wendy am

    Thank you for your kindness.

    I’ve spoken to my brother several times over the intervening years, and he still denies it. This is despite acknowledged instances of incest between younger brothers and sisters. This brother is the oldest and golden child. About 20 years ago, in my mid 30’s, I confronted him about it for the first time. I also confronted my mother but took deliberately didn’t talk about the incest, my issues with her was about the neglect, abuse and an instance where she tried to gas me along with herself in a suicide attempt. My brother must have told my parents about my accusations, because my father rang me later that day in a rage. He called me crazy, and said that I was lying about the abuse and incest, and told me never to contact them again.

    I was devastated with this reaction, and had a nervous breakdown. My other siblings all eventually abandoned me. With hindsight, I guess I was the whistleblower of the family; I couldn’t just suck it up anymore and pretend that our childhood was normal. With the recent exception of my youngest sister, all of them have maintained contact with my parents over the years.

    I’ve been NC for over 20 years since then, with the exception of a 2-week period in 2011. In an attempt at healing, I did the whole “forgiveness” thing at the encouragement of a therapist. At first it was all loving and welcome back, but it didn’t take too long before the dysfunction to again became apparent. In response to me bringing up the subject of the incest, my parent’s response was shock and surprise. They said that believed me, but I could tell they didn’t want to deal with it, and said that I should “have it out with my brother” who was still denying anything happened. They were in fact lying that they didn’t know, because they’d called me crazy 20 years earlier when I first accused my brother. I later found out they checked with my other siblings, to see if it could be true, so they lied again by saying they believed me because “why would I make it up”. They were also still oblivious to their part in creating the environment where such rampant incest occurred. I was revolted by them, and walked away again. My mother phoned me a few times after that, but in the end I told them that I didn’t want them in my life anymore and not to call me.

    That was nearly 2 years ago. Reading all the posts and comments here on EFB has helped me enormously to recover. I’ve learnt so much and gained perspective from everyone’s stories. It feels great to be able to tell the truth here.

    XX Daisy

  18. By: wendy am Posted: 23rd March

    Hello Daisy,
    I have just read (29) and also sorry about what happened to you with your brother.Have you ever spoken to your brother about what happened.I am wondering what might be going on in his head.Are you in contact with him?I have not been here for some days and it takes some catching up.EFB is amazing.Reading others problems has helped me so much to stand up for myself against my abusive domineering parents who have blamed me whenever anything goes wrong or might go wrong.Rubbish parenting is so wide spread and this site helps us all.Today I met up with an old friend for coffee and was telling her that I had not spoken to my parents since 4th Feb and told her why and would you believe she also has had horror from her step father that she has never told to me before and not even her husband knows.She is 67yrs old and I am 63yrs.We look about 50!!!. LOL. I know my father will be blazing that I didnt visit my mother on Mothers Day and her birthday last week. But hey ho life goes on and I feel tons better.Incidentally he rang me on my mob this afternoon but I ignored it.My husband has LOL loads that at last I am being defiant and not in floods of tears.Keep reading and replying Daisy you will feel better for it.xx

Leave a Reply to marquis (female) Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.