When a Mother says She is the Victim of her Adult Children


book photo 16 robinI received the following request from a reader through the contact page here in the Emerging from Broken website.

“I was reading on your FB page about a post you had written about a year ago. It was about a “narcissistic mother” that demanded honor from her daughter. But I have a question for you; what about a mother that has truly been hurt by her children? I am one such mother. I have been “there” for my children countless times. I have emotionally, mentally, spiritually and financially supported them in anything they wanted and wanted to do in their lives. I have told them all of their lives that I love them and believe they have the power to do and be anything they set their minds to. As a result they have thrown insults back at me and called me names. To this end they have basically abandoned me telling me I am worthless and a burden. I am a little upset that you seem to take the side of the child in most of your posts without balance. I would like to see you post that there is balance in all things. Signed, Hurt Mother who loves her children endlessly and doesn’t understand.”

First of all, I would like to qualify that in my work here in Emerging from Broken I am not advocating or empowering grown children to rise up and abuse their parents. I am not in favor of abuse of any kind. I am not supporting revenge on parents and I am NOT advocating or recommending that grown children go ‘no contact’ with their parents which I believe is an individual choice that each person has the right to make. Emerging from Broken and my work here represents the concept of equal value for all human beings and it’s about learning what love is through the truth about equal value, which in dysfunctional families is grossly misunderstood. What I am trying to do with my articles, speaking etc. is EXPOSE the TRUTH about relationships that are out of balance such as where the entitlement of parents rules over everyone or where the rules in love and relationship that apply to the children (even grown children) are not the same for the children as they are for the parents. EVERYONE has a choice about continuing or discontinuing in relationship. I am advocating for and empowering people to make those choices through looking at the truth through understanding equal value and the true definition of love.   

The first part of her question is

what about a mother that has truly been hurt by her children?” and this is a valid question; I know that there are lots of grown up children out there that hurt and even abuse their parents and I am not an advocate for that treatment but my question is always “Where did it start? Did it start with the child, or did it start when the child was devalued in childhood?” So I look for what I call ‘the truth leaks.” In this case as in most cases of upset mothers who write to me, the writer goes on to reveal other things that reveal these “truth leaks”.

This writer mentions that there is ‘balance’ which in this case I read it as balance when it comes to the blame. The strange thing is though that in her email she herself is blameless; she presents the story in a ‘hard to believe’ way. She says that she has done nothing but LOVE, validate and empower her children and the result of that was that they insulted her, told her that she is worthless and that she is a burden. This sounds strange to me because I have never met a grown child that has walked away from a loving supportive empowering parent. I acknowledge that this is just my experience but this question was asked to me, and I can only share MY experience.

But then, finally the woman states her real issue; the real problem is that this woman is upset that I take the side of the child ‘without balance’.

Here is my response to the “Dear Darlene” letter.

Dear Hurt Mother who loves her children endlessly and doesn’t understand;

You asked me “what about a mother that has been truly hurt by her children?” and my answer is that the situation you are writing about is not in my experience. I don’t write about what isn’t or hasn’t been MY experience. I am a mother to 3 children, 2 of whom are adults but I am not a hurt mother. I stopped that cycle. My writing is about what happened to me, how I faced it, the truth about the way I have come to understand it, all the things I tried and how they didn’t work, and finally I write about what did work and how I healed and overcame the dysfunctional family system that had done so much damage to me in the first place.

You state that you are upset that I ‘seem’ to take the side of the child;

I AM on the side of the child. I DO take the side of the child because that is where I found healing for myself. I took MY side but more importantly I took the side of the truth. You can be upset all you want but that doesn’t change what happened in my life. A mother and child relationship or father and child relationship doesn’t depend on the child. The child (as long as they are children) doesn’t bear any responsibility or contribute to the success of that relationship. The foundation for success of the relationship is up to the parents. I am writing about the outcome of the parent child relationship when the parent (MY PARENTS) were not willing to be responsible for the outcome of the relationship when I was a child and that resulted in the lack of relationship that we have today. I am writing about the fact that although I am an adult today, THEY taught me how to have dysfunctional relationships and when I took my identity back I had to teach myself how to have functional relationships, even with my own children. My parents are not interested in looking at their part in any of this which is their choice but I decided that I also had a choice.

I don’t know your situation but in MY experience, children don’t grow up and cut contact with their parents when they have wonderful loving, supportive parents. At least not the readers and commenters of THIS blog and please understand that THIS blog is My blog, my story, my work, my website and my opinion.

You say; I have been “there” for my children countless times. I have emotionally, mentally, spiritually and financially supported them in anything they wanted and wanted to do in their lives. I have told them all of their lives that I love them and believe they have the power to do and be anything they set their minds to. As a result they have thrown insults back at me and called me names. To this end they have basically abandoned me telling me I am worthless and a burden.”

I just can’t get my head around this; you are saying that you have been this amazing mother, and as a result of your amazing love and support your children are insulting you, have called you names and basically abandoned you, telling you that you are worthless and a burden?

Perhaps your children can help you understand why they have withdrawn from you. Although I have no idea why this has happened to you, the thing is that this website isn’t about parents’ rights or parents feelings, it is about the children who grew up without knowing their own value because parents who believed that their rights as parents were all that mattered. It is about children and adult children validating that there WAS damage and that damage has had life-long effects. Validating that damage is the first step in overcoming the results of it.

Please understand that this is MY blog and it is about MY life and my experiences. Why do I have to write from the view point of the hurt mother? I am not a ‘hurt mother’. There is no healing or solution for me to appeal to my audience from the viewpoint of the hurt mother and MY website is about healing and solution. This website is about validating the child who grew up with invalidation. My website is obviously not for parents who feel that they were the ones who have been abused by their kids. I am sure that there is another website out there that will support your beliefs that this website isn’t fair to you as a mother. My parents also seem to believe that they are the victims in our situation too.

And finally, you ask me to post that there is a balance in all things. The truth is that there ISN’T balance in all things. The responsibility in relationship isn’t 50/50 when it comes to kids and parents. Parents are NOT blameless. Nobody is perfect but what does that have to do with anything we are talking about here? My mother was there for me sometimes. There were some good times, but the good doesn’t cancel the bad and the truth was pretty bad. The truth about the bad and how it wasn’t right, set me free to live. The fantasy that my mother couldn’t help it, and that she didn’t ‘mean any harm’ and that she didn’t know any better, is what kept me so depressed and struggling with my life. The thing is that even if she could not have done any better, I had a choice about how much I was willing to take. Setting boundaries with my parents (which means that I asked them for mutual respect and when they refused I realized there was no real relationship) was about validating and embracing MY worth. There is a balance in my life now, but not because I validate, accept and justify everything that they did anymore. If you want to read about enraged and unfairly treated parents of ungrateful, spoiled and entitled children, I know those sites are out there, but this isn’t one of them.

Sincerely and with love, Darlene Ouimet

I am not here to alter or sugar coat the truth for the sake of absolving parents of guilt but I am thrilled when parents are here to discover how to have better relationships with their children. My true purpose is about love and truth for everyone and I am here to validate the voice of the unheard child of dysfunctional family dynamics. I hope that this lost reader will find a website that helps her to understand her children instead of looking for one that helps her children understand her… but then again… maybe she just did.

Please share your thoughts!

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 through the upper right side bar or click this link~ Emerging from Broken The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing

Related Posts ~ “Victim Blaming ~ When you are Blamed for the Core of your pain” Also see the highlighted or coloured phrases in the body of the post.

701 response to "When a Mother says She is the Victim of her Adult Children"

  1. By: A Disturbed Mom Posted: 1st November

    As I sit here , 9:25am , haven’t slept since I got up yesterday . I’ve cried all night, worried all night, looked back on our pictures trying to imagine or find that thing I did that must of been so horrible or horrific, that my daughter , my best friend until 8/17/16, decided to abandon me.
    I won’t sugar coat anything because even the nice letter you addressed from a hurting mother you criticized.
    I’m sorry you can’t wrap your head around a adult child abandoning their parents if they indeed came from a living home, I’m also sorry you don’t understand or ever see that happening, maybe your age or generation would help me know where you can’t see it happening everywhere in this day and age .
    I’m 38 yrs old, I know exactly what a bad mom is, I had one, it truly is traumatic in every way. I was never taught any perfect parenting classes , I just knew what never to do that had happen to me as a start. My two daughters are literally my best friends, 15 and 18 yrs old, they themselves would fuss now and then, rarely with me or I with them.
    My entire family on both sides have admired and cooed at my relationship with my children since day one, my daughter’s DISLIKE a big chunk of my family because they are drug addicts and are always using me for money .
    My daughters have told me for years to cut off a large portion of my own siblings because they only use me my girls would say, after 300 or more TOLD YA SO MA! I did end up keeping my own family at a long reach because I value my girls opinion and trust as my daughters they have my best interest at heart.
    I am a proud mother, my daughters are gorgeous, they are excellent students and not because they get pushed or punished for not being, my girls actually enjoy learning , they are aware of the power of knowledge.
    I count myself blessed to OF had the wonderful 18 years with my oldest, I count myself in shock right now.
    She worked hard in high school to get into a University, it is in a bad surrounding,area of our city, also to save in loans and debt she was going to go from home.
    I don’t charge my daughters anything, I don’t believe in that, doesn’t feel right to me, I’ll be the first to admit my girls are a bit , well some say spoiled but , I didn’t have much with a bad mom and I wanted my girls to never worry about fitting in or having a sense of identity if they chose to break away from trends so yes I work hard to make sure they want for nothing, it may not be the newest cars, but it’s nothing to be ashamed to drive, I did an DO spend a lot when they ask for high end Chanel eye liner or foundation or what ever is trending.
    My pain stems from confusion, shock and abrupt abandonment.
    I came home one day to find a weird energy in my home and then my 18yr old told me she put a deposit on a dorm room . I was in shock but she’s 18 I didn’t want to seem as if I was holding her home?
    Only a months notice and that month we shopped like we owned the stores, 🙂
    The first week of college she called daily, we have a traditional Sunday breakfast she insisted we keep and she’s only 15 minutes from home. By the 3rd week she missed a Sunday , no answer on her phone and no text back, 14hrs with nothing , I was in full blown panic!!! I drove to her dorm , I was scared to death it’s so out of charater?
    I realized where I moved her had been flooded so the university leased a dozen or so apartments complexes and filled 3 bedrm high end apartments with freshly turned 18 yr old co ed and all!
    When I pulled up to the new address she was frantic, I was trying to see what the matter is ? Did someone hurt my girl? What’s going on!!!!
    We are on 12 weeks, she’s wrecked her car, the police came to my home, she lied to me about the facts, i paid for everything and wrote it off as a new driver you know things happen, i didn’t want her thinking no one has accidents.
    Now she’s never texting back, I hVent seen her sense the police issue, she’s dating and flips out if I even ask where he’s from. She’s threatened to never speak to me again if I even try to look him up on Facebook? I have no idea where that even came from !! I miss her smile and laugh so much I cry and cry.
    I can’t talk about her to others without bursting out in tears, I’ll do what ever she wants ?
    Then the unthinkable happened, my 15 yr old said she’s not heard from sis in 4 days, no return text no calls taken, I tried texting and calling, I feared she’d lost her iPhone, my 15 yr old showed me how to look up on our ATT account to look for activities on her phone , we seen she’d texted and called others, just not us?
    I truly thought someone had her phone and beings we have contacts instead of numbers we rarely remember numbers for our contacts these days. At 9:30pm on day 6 I think, we decided to drive to the dorm /apartments to see she’s ok, my husband drove, we arrived and I’d texted her phone a message saying (I don’t know why your not contacting us? ( If you have stolen or found this phone please reply we are worried about our daughter!)
    We pulled in just as a text came through, I read it and was speechless . I don’t want to say what it said but my daughter never spoke that way , in my head ,some one has her phone.
    We walked up AN knocked on the door, the police showed up to my surprise, telling us we are not allowed to threaten my daughter and she wants us to leave!! I showed him the text, I showed him the texts from a month before to see it’s dramatically, different in every way! He agreed then did a well check , he came out apologizing saying she truly is fine, I got a text just then that said she felt threatened by us and wants us to leave? I showed the cop a picture from my phone of my daughter AN begged him to just confirm he spoke to her inside that apartment??
    He confirmed and asked why would I think it wasn’t her? So I told him, My daughter has only had one spanking in her entire 18yrs on this earth and it was at age 6, she’s just not a bad kid, therevwas never any reason to spank her?!
    I didn’t think my daughter wrote that text, the drive home was so quiet, we walked in and my youngest 15, rushed out her room, IS SIS OK IS SIS OK!!!? I just broke down and SOBBED, My husband had no way of consoling me nor my other daughter,, it is so hurtful, so Blindsided, so unlike her .
    I feel like she’s a stranger and I have no way to get to her or find out what’s going on . ?
    I have absolutely no clue , I had a breakdown or melt down I don’t know? I texted threats to make her come home! I accused her of doing drugs! Then it followed by apologies and begging to know what is going on!!!
    Nothing, there is a hole in my heart I can’t fill, a void in my home, we have her dog that she just loved so much , I sent a picture of her sister laying with him to try and trigger my real daughter to open up to me?
    I got a text back saying, if he’s stressing you guys out I’ll find him a home ?? .. at a loss,
    So again, I’m sorry you can’t wrap your head around it that a adult daughter will be best friends with her family them in 12,weeks not even answer calls or text, it does happen and what I’m so embarrassed about, I’m afraid to talk to anyone for support because I can’t define what’s brought it on? I don’t have many to talk to anymore because she didn’t like my family so I cut them off long ago. I’d never dreamed this would happen.
    Her dad I caught crying the other day, he hides it but I seen him wiping tears from under his glasses, it broke my heart
    Worst part now, i was diognosed with a possible fatal disease ,I can’t die not knowing why or what happened?
    I tried to reach out without coming across needy, (I’d been reading things) , to my surprise she texted back, my heart sang I cried but she doesn’t know, it was texting. She finally showed for a Sunday, I told her that Sunday I’d be having surgery but the Dr’s don’t think it’s going to help, she was texting and looked up saying, she’s sure I’ll be fine and she needed to go her roommates have plans. I gave her some money and waved her goodbye and it really felt like a forever goodbye. I have struggled with depression in life due to my mom and my own childhood. I never burdened my children with it. I have no more information other than, I am the mother of an estranged daughter, I beg you girls, talk to your moms, be open and at minimum, try to understand, we are not perfect, I’m sure I wasn’t no one is, but please I don’t know where my life will go from here. I don’t know how much time I have, I love my daughter’s unconditionally.
    I came across this searching for answers and I’m hurting for the mom who doesn’t know what went wrong , I’m one of those Moms. It’s so painful.

    • By: DaughterofBD Posted: 7th December

      Your daughter hasn’t abandoned you. She is growing and living her life. Give her space and time to do things on her own…date, be social, make mistakes, etc. her dating and mistakes might include late nights, alcohol, casual sex or whatever she chooses. She doesn’t want to share all these details with her mom nor have someone stopping by unexpectedly when she is a young adult! Please do some research about emotional abuse from mothers and realize if you are depending on her or guilting her to fulfill your needs, you will push her away. Children are supposed to spread their wings and go off on their own. Love from a distance and she will return. Push and push, control, manipulate, and guilt? That could set the precedence for her entire adult life where she tries to avoid you.

  2. By: Light Posted: 20th October

    I’m so sorry Joleen. What you and your brother are dealing with sounds frightening and disturbing and abusive. Do you have someone outside the family you could talk to, like a school counselor, or low cost/free therapist? Even calling the free anonymous National Domestic Violence Hotline would be a start: 1-800-799-7233. They also have a website if you google it. They could talk this through with you and help you figure out next steps. There is hope for a better way for you and your brother to live. If it were me I would probably reach for support without my mother’s knowledge because she very well could be worse once she knows. You and your brother deserve support and it’s out there for you. You took a positive step for your well-being by writing here. ((Hugs)) Light.

    • By: Joleen Posted: 21st October

      Its not possible she home schools us and we have nobody outside of family …her siblings have tried talking to her but its all futile…
      Thanks for your concern .

      • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 22nd October

        Hi Joleen
        Don’t lose hope! As Light said there are options. If there are witnesses (which there are if her siblings have spoken to her) you have a good chance of getting help if you call authorities. You should also be able to get help from your father if you go to him ~ especially with one of your mothers siblings of can affirm what you are telling us here.
        My heart is with you.

  3. By: Joleen Posted: 19th October

    I am an 18 year old who has been through hell in the hands of my mother …growing up there are days she would beat me up,pull my hair,insult me then leave me with bruises and force me to take a shower with cold water….every time I think about my childhood I cry and for a long time I have been feeling terrible inside.when I was 11 I tried killing myself but I stopped thanks to my little brother who sadly is going through the same thing….my mother is one person who takes the credit for every good performance in school and is such a loving person towards her friends and siblings but when it comes to us she’s someone else …..Our father on the other hand is unaware of what has been happening sinces he is away from home most of the time and I am scared he will not believe me and my brother or if I say the truth she’ll even be worse.

  4. By: Ana Posted: 16th October

    My mom… it’s complicated with her. When I was little, my parents left me everyday in the “care” of my grandmother from my dad’s side and she was a real mean bitch to me, abusing me verbally, emotionally, psychologically because she hated my mom… well, she hated everyone, she was one sad, mean bitch to me and anyone who did not do her bidding. For many years my parents never knew about it, I never told, I guess I felt they would not protect me. They found out accidentally one day when they came home from work earlier, I was a preteen by then. They heard how she screamed at me, WHAT she screamed at me and how she cursed me to be raped someday and many, many other things. They did not do anything really important. They told ME not to talk to my grandmother, to continue to care for herk since she was elderly, do what she told me to do, but reply only “yes, no and I don’t know”. I did what they told me, but as a result I developed further a very closed off personality, with an iron control over my emotions and words and that was NOT good for me. This is one of the things that even as an adult I can’t bring myself to forgive them for.
    Also, my father was a real mean man to my mother and a pretty indifferent father. Whatever I needed, I had to ask my mom. But my mom was so focused on survival, on providing financial support for us that she was always working or when she was home she was always stressed and tired (the mean grandmother who lived with us was also no help for anti-stress), so I rarely got any time with her. As a result when I did something wrong, she was screaming at me, preaching and telling me not only what I did wrong right then, but remembering also other wrong things I did, which at the time she did not seem that upset about. And that hurt me so much, because I could understand why she was so upset with me over one thing, but it always escalated to other things. Oh-h-h, but I could not even reply or try to explain myself, because she would tell me to shut up and listen, because SHE was stressed, she was upset, I was vulnerable, obligated to shut up and so she could unload on ME her stress. This I understood much later. So once again I learned not to reply when in a confrontation (which is a bad habit for an adult).
    I became the introvert of introverts, I had no one to rely on, no one to trust, everyone was the enemy and it remained so until now,although I tried working on my personality.
    The problem now is that my mother wants to have a relationship with her daughter, in a way that SHE needs. It’s like she wants us to suddenly skip from “little girl and mother” to “adult and her mother”, it’s like she wants to be my friend, but she goes about it the totally wrong way, without taking into consideration my personality or my needs. She wants me to recount every little detail I did in a day. I do NOT talk about my day with anyone, especially not with her, because she stresses me out majorly. She becomes upset and even hysterical if I do not contact her for over a week. If I try to point out the faults in our relationship, things that she could to to improve our relationship she replies that she is too old to change, so does it mean that once again I am the one that has to adapt to her? She suffocates me with her questions about silly, unimportant things, I became used to talk ONLY about important things, or she starts crying and blaming herself for the “childhood” she gave me and I suffer the more for it, so I can’t even bring up the past, cause she becomes depressed.
    Or in the rare case when I try to tell her about my life (only for the sake of telling) she immediately start giving me advice about every little thing, and that drives me mad, because who is she to give me advice NOW, when I do not need it. Where was the good advice when I DID need it? It’s like when she gives me unwanted advice – it’s like she calls me incompetent to figure it out on my own.
    One more thing that drives me crazy – she offers me money EVERY TIME I happen to mention that I need to save. I am very independent, she knows that, but she can’t accept it. She treats me like a 3-year old, and I can’t bear it, but I must, so I would not hurt her feelings too much.
    I honestly do not know if I love her, I do care about her. I sometimes feel that I can’t love, because of the way I grew up, I noticed it when my grandmother died, because I felt nothing when I came home and they told me, there was no pain, no glee, no sense of freedom, there was only… nothing…

  5. By: Sue Posted: 5th October

    Thanx Darlene,

    I am grateful for this site as well! I pulled the “no contact” with my narc mother last night. Now she is calling everyone and telling them I am leaving all kinds of messages. I left one. The difficult thing now is, she has put Dad in this retirement home and I have to drive 40 minutes to get there. Went up this morning and within 5 minutes, she reared her ugly face. She is doing this to all 3 of us kids when any of us visit. She is telling my dad all kinds of awe full lies about us. To try to solve this and have a private visit with him, I asked him to go for lunch with me. His response was, no I can’t because then she will think I am on your side. How sad is that? Dad has worked so hard for what they have and is talking about taking off. I told him to be careful as then she will have him put in long term where he is unable to leave at all. Never saw it all coming, especially now that she is pitting Dad against us.

  6. By: M Posted: 5th October

    The narcasitic actions and control never stop. I wrote my mother a letter last year explaining how she treated me and my husband were wrong in every sense of the word. Refusing to attend my graduation, bridal showers, baby showers, how she mistreated me and my husband. Talking about us behind and in front of us to other family members. Needless to say the letter got no response or reaction from her. Standin up for myself is a new venture for her, she doesn’t like when she lies and she is proven wrong or told NO. She lives in another state. She came to visit family in the state I live. We all went out to dinner (her and my family) which was actually pleasant. She only made a few negative remarks about my brothers, only because they were not there. After the dinner we went back to my house and of course here we go… she has a box full of pictures of me, my children that she had collected over the years. She gives them to me because she has no room for them. I know I over think things but it seemed she was dismissing me yet again. She did not want pictures of me or my family in her home? Perhaps this was not her intentions but every Christmas when asked what she wanted just pictures of you kids was her answer. An now she is giving them all back????

  7. By: Sue Posted: 4th October

    Good article Darlene!

    I am 58 years old and just realized how bad my mother really is! That was after she has used me all these years to “protect” her from my evil father, he husband after 59 years. Dad was diagnosed with dementia (mild) last year. She has now put him in a home after he paid off the mortgage and life was set for both of them. She has basically just gotten a divorce but instead of getting half, she has everything. I have tried to go for POA but now she is trying to turn my own Dad against me. Three kids in the family and we are all going no contact.

    I guess the sad part is, while trying to find help for Dad, I ended up fuelling her sick, twisted ways and she used 2 agencies to help her by playing the victim. If that wasn’t enough, I set her up with a psychotherapist to try to diagnose her and even went to the first session with her. And yes, she has her fooled as well. Sad part is, with Dad in a retirement home, she finds out whenever I am there and shows up. My poor Dad has enough problems as she is lying to him about the money she has not spent??? She didn’t get a phone in his room ,so I got one for him and she is now upset that he calls me but not her. I was told to send her the bill but I just want to do what is best for Dad. While doing what is best for him, it also helps her. in the past year, he has been in the hospital 4 times. Twice I called the ambulance because she twisted the story and made it sound like he was being aggressive towards her. After that I said I wouldn’t call again because she lied to me. The second last time, she got someone from the agency to call and the last time she just called the police…he was sitting outside on the swing and said he felt he was being arrested. He was in the hospital for 4 days and us 3 kids found out he had been transferred to the retirement home two hours prior to her telling us. She also told us that we could not go to see him for four weeks. I went up as soon as I found out. Even though I know, with a narcissist, you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t, I am feeling responsible because I helped her, by trying to help Dad and keep them in their home as long as possible. While Dad is not upset with me, it is a tough one to live with.

    Thanks for letting me vent! Hugs and healing to all on here!
    P.S., a few months ago, I joined a support group on FB only to realized many people with NP hang out there…lol

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 5th October

      Hi Sue
      And thanks for sharing!
      And I have heard that about those groups!
      I have a rare space here and I am very grateful. I get some nasty comments from people with NP but I almost never publish them. 🙂
      Hugs, Darlene

  8. By: Dee Posted: 23rd September

    I have heard my Mother spit all this, and more at me, with weeping etc…the exact words…..all crap!!!

  9. By: Kathie Posted: 21st September

    The reason I read Darlene’s blog is because I had/have parents who physically, emotionally, and sexually abused me. I was unwanted (I was reminded of this my whole life), and I believe my mother’s abuse of me started when she found out she was pregnant with me. I must reply to the mother who wrote the letter and subject of this blog, and to the first commenter. I raised both my kids under very different conditions. I and my first child – now 37 – were abandoned by her father (my husband) when she was 6 months old. I was a single mother and my daughter was in daycare. I made no money as a secretary at a Fortune 500 company. I wasn’t a good mother to her. I was an alcoholic and physical abuser of my little girl. I got zero support from her father. I asked my parents for financial help. My mother said, “You made your bed, now you have to lie in it. That’s what happened to me. No one helped me.” When my daughter was 6, I stopped drinking and haven’t had a drink in 30 years. I started counseling that year. My daughter and I became very close; I stopped corporal punishment when she was 4. My daughter started “acting out” starting at the age of 11, and really never looked back. She drank, used drugs, was disobedient, and became pregnant at 19. Throughout this time, I remarried (when my daughter was 8) and had my second child when my daughter was 13. With my son I did everything 180 degrees differently than I did with my daughter. I was an at-home mother. There was zero physical discipline from either of my son’s parents (in other words, he was never hit). I continued therapy and practiced “attachment parenting” which was impossible for me to do for my daughter. I learned not to raise my voice at my children (I was raised in a house where no one ever discussed anything [alcoholic father, passive/aggressive mother]; it was always a screaming match and my parents never compromised). I learned how to sit down with my husband and children and talk things through, listening to and respecting each person’s point of view. My mindset as a parent was pretty much this: if I give my children what they want, they will think, “Wow, I have the best mom, she does everything for me, so I’m going to do everything she asks me to do and more to show her how much I love her and appreciate her.” In other words, magical thinking. I believe I was an ineffective parent (call me a bad mother). My daughter and I have a loving, communicative relationship today which is still difficult and emotional. We’ve honestly discussed my wrong behavior during her first 4-6 years of life. I’ve written her letters and apologized in person to her. I work every day to make amends to her. A problem I have with both my kids is that they always expect more, more, more from me. My son is 23 and has no thought of how he should treat me. Dad gets texts; Mom doesn’t. Mom was there for him 24/7; Dad worked long hours and his son saw him about 2 hours in the evenings and then on weekends. It was like Dad was a celebrity: “DADDY’S home! Yippee! Mom WHO?” As an adult living far from home, my son contacts me if he needs money; so do my daughter and 2 teenage grandchildren. My son and husband are close friends. They go to concerts and on trips together. It’s like I was always there for my son, sort of like the air; you just breathe and don’t realize the air is even there but you need it to survive. As an adult, I think he still perceives me like that. I’ve been marginalized. The first commenter on this post said that no genuinely good parent ever receives back a bad response from their children. I believe that’s not true. I believe I was – for the most part – a genuinely good parent for my son’s whole childhood, and for much of my daughter’s (perhaps the damage I did to my daughter could not be undone or atoned for). For what it’s worth, I believe I deserve to be marginalized, like I am doing penance for being a bad mother to my daughter. Paybacks. In my early 50s, I started to have memories of the sexual abuse that my father perpetrated on me in my childhood, abuse that was aided and abetted by my mother (she chose me of my 3 sisters to be sexually abused by my father). I’ve had a truly harrowing 6 years, with therapy, psychiatry, and a suicide attempt. That’s what led me to Darlene’s Emerging From Broken blog. I don’t believe in “balance” (that life is fair and that everything comes out even). I do believe that you’ll suffer – pay – for the abuse you perpetrate on others. I also think I shouldn’t have had kids, that I just didn’t know how to be a good parent. I had terrible role models, that’s one thing I know for sure. I also suspect that the woman who wrote the original letter to Darlene isn’t telling the whole story, tThe whole truth of how she treated her kids. But I also think some adult kids just take, take, take, and if Mom doesn’t give them exactly what they want, they will be insulted and marginalized. It goes both ways.

    • By: Gladys Posted: 29th September

      Thanks for sharing Kathie. I am going through a lot of emotional turmoil with my mom and am just reading anything that may help me. Your story did. Thank you.

  10. By: HJean Posted: 14th August

    I hope YOUR NPD MOM didn’t enlist the flying monkey & NPD SIBS INTO THAT “hack job!???”
    Thx for all you do, I’m caring for my very sick demented covert narcissist mom. I’ve struggled with TRD-depression, anxiety, PTSD, OCD, & Ehlers Danlos Hyper-mobility/CHRONIC PAIN-in too many systems, my whole life. I was anorexic in HS, WHILE MY NPD SIBS WERE ALL IN THE STATES, in college…I was 85 lbs, & a stellar student in Europe, as I grew up, w much drive and many extracurricular leadership activities also, an 85 lb cheerleader with no menstrual cycle, that never CONCERNED my parents, and THOROUGHLY DISGUSTED MY FORMER HIGHLY SPECIALIZED REPRODUCTIVE ENDOCRINOLOGIST MD EX SPOUSE! I NEVER felt I was a “worthy person,”never got a single word of praise, I ALWAYS felt I was undeserving of my mom’s” TRUE CHRISTIAN love(in my opinion Jesus was presented as the ultimate Martyr, His call was to love those who despise us, and His death to redeem our sins-epitomize this.”). & Mom was the “victim” of my dad & enlisted me as her marital advocate, and therapist, while I slowly disappeared in front of her. See, she’s a “suffering Calvinist,” her real religion. My dad was a very accomplished high level Lutheran clergy, head of all chaplains abroad, she taught me to hate my dad. I like your references to religion/CHRISTIANITY! I’m not able to lift myself from the spiritual quagmire of guilt I always live in, so, it’s very comforting, to read what you write. I’ve NEVER EVER UNDERSTOOD JESUS THOUGH. I WAS ACCEPTED TO SEMINARY, post receiving my Masters in Counseling, post my 1 and only painful/DIVORCE! Mom knew I was suicidal, but, she COULD NOT STOP BLAMING ME, for ALL THE MARITAL DYSFUNCTION(“if a marriage works, it’s bc the female made it, maybe you could make someone/spouse JAPPY, NEXT TIME!”) My therapist said it would be hard to survive the divorce if I continued to listen to her constant character assassination, as she felt I took TOO MUCH RESPONSIBILITY FOR ALL THE MARITAL PBS ANYWAY. And, IRONICALLY, MY DEAR HINDU friend has taught me MORE about Jesus, than I ever knew BF. And, I’m NOW taking care of mom, while receiving constant criticism for my performance(I’m down to 95 lbs from stress and pain, & bathing mom w my unstable joints while she is 137 lbs,) that got me the “trying to turn mom into an invalid label.” It’s been a few yr’s of broken back, lymphoma, heart issues for Mom, etc. In response, I’ve said MANY MANY TIMES, please, if you think I do a “crap job,” by all means, you take care of her! She won’t use a walker, so, I’ve got to lift her, which makes my pain 100xs worse. Oh, btw, NO ONE WANTED THIS CARETAKER JOB OF MINE! they all passed! They seem to want to rescue Mom from me frequently though! The physical pain and increased,stress make my health exponentially worse, mental health too. But, in her defense, I’m living in her home, so, there’s that. Again, my self esteem erodes daily! And, I’ve ZERO TIME FOR FRIENDS, OR ANY OF MY OWN MEDICAL APTS.

    Jesus was PURE LOVE to me, he asked we NOT POINT OUT THE SPECK IN OUR BROTHERS EYES, WHEN THERES A BOARD IN OUR OWN; let the one who has NOT SINNED cast the 1st stone, etc! I know I’m FAR FROM PERFECT, & good friends(I’ve dropped almost all my friends through this whole dilemma, btw) some said I have “victim energy!” That hurt, I trust them tho; depression is insidiously self absorbed. I’m LITERALLY DYING, & I CANNOT FIGURE OUT WHAT JESUS WANTS FROM ME. ITS ALWAYS BENEFICIAL to look after the disenfranchised, when one is overwhelmed w depression and self absorption, that is so true. I know Jesus would have done ANYTHING TO HAVE HELPED JUDAS, AFTER HE was betrayed by Judas. I focus on the New Testament, Jesus seemed to ask we negate the legalism of the Old Testament, and embrace the love and emphasis on “GRACE,” of the New Testament, in my opinion. I get disgusted w myself, wishing I could do as HE DID, he loved all of us, w all our flaws, UNCONDITIONALLY! Isn’t that what a Christian should do? Try to be like Him? That’s where the boundary issues confuse me! Ever hit you like that? Plus, I question my own sanity. 45 yr’s of chronic pain makes me cranky at times, it makes me do and say things I feel are NOT RIGHT? I’ve worked full time my whole life, I’m 59 yr’s old, left my job as an advocate for people w disabilities, 2 yr’s ago-long term disability w the state. My sibs began hating me more-welfare to them, another sign of my many character flaws, weekness and laziness to them! I might have done part time work too, but, I’ve got 5-6 MD APTS for mom, + COOKING GROCERIES, wound care! driving her wherever she needs to go, ETC! These are such tough ethical and spiritual dilemmas. How do any of us know for sure, what’s happening, it’s too subjective. Frankly, getting to leave the earth now, never enduring more physical pain, or bullying, or other disenfranchising things would suit me fine, I’m ready to meet my maker! I’ve saved money, small pension too. This quality of life, isn’t worth it! Any suggestions?

    Thanks again for ALL YOU DO!

    God bless you!

    Struggling for answers!

  11. By: Lisa1950 Posted: 13th August

    I am a broken daughter. I am 60, been close to my mother all my life. My older brother talked my mother into moving in with him and his new wife recently. The saddest part is he is moving out of state next month, so presumably she’ll be going with him. Mom wasn’t given an ultimatum, she had no choice. A son who helped mom NOT during her lifetime, suddenly knows what’s best for her? Why he thought he needed her away from me with total control over her is beyond me. Mom’s in her 90’s, she is declining rapidly health wise. She’ll be put in a rest home (and not at HIS expense I can assure you that!)in another state with no family other than him who might visit when it’s convenient for him. She’ll die alone. It makes no sense. He said he wanted to help me because I took care of mom for a long time. He was not around. So now this is helping me by taking her to another state where I’ll never see her again?

    Needless to say, brother and I had a fallout and we’ve both turned our backs on each other. He’s got mom’s ear. He’s made me out as wicked to her. Brother and I had some good arguments lately. Then he gets upset at me and has to involve mom. She sees it as “I” upset him. No one has ever heard me out. She won’t call me anymore because he won’t let her, or she doesn’t want to because she’s convinced I’m a no good person, or maybe she does want to call, but is afraid he’ll find out and get mad at her. The way I see it, he had a hidden agenda. I am so distraught without communication with my mother. She had surgery and I don’t know how she is. Nothing. I can only see my brother as a really self centered person, who cares nothing about the feelings of anybody else. So, I guess I will have to accept my mother leaving this life wondering what happened to her daughter? I’ve always been there for mom. I think she believes I’ve “wronged” my brother. In her eyes, that may seem so. But there’s more to it.

  12. By: Karen Posted: 13th August

    My parents are now saying how they are the victims since I stepped up to speak for me and my sisters of all the years of abuse. I’m the baby of the family in my late 40s. I’ve been trying for many years to heal. My oldest sister of us 3 has passed on from cancer several years back. She was milested by our father when she was little and had epilepsy do to the beatings we would have to endure if we never made it to our hiding places. Our parents are mentally, physically abusive, great manipulators and liars.

    I had enough of the mental abuse that they still dish out so I went off on them the other night over the phone explaining to them how us kids have been trying all these years to mend/heal of what relationship we have with them to hopefully get along as a child/parent should in their adult/aging years. They spouted out that they did nothing wrong or bad to us and gave us all love and all what we wanted. How they are the victims of ungrateful kids.

    We never asked for those out of the blue beatings, a chronic drunk father trying to do sexual stuff to oldest of the bunch or trying to French kiss all us girls, we never asked to be called stupid all our lives growing up (we will never mount out to be anything), we never asked for our bruises, hurt feelings, and many other million things. All we asked for was protection and love that we never got.

    So the victim mother in this article, she must have done something as if I had a loving mother as she claims to be, I would be right by her side. All my life I have dreamed of a real Mom and Dad.

  13. By: CBR Posted: 9th June

    Hello Darlene,

    I don’t often comment on the things that I read but this post has touched me deeply, mostly by helping me to see that perhaps I am not alone. Without revealing too much, I will just say that it has taken me many years to overcome the guilt that I carried as a result of emotional and psychological manipulation and abuse throughout my childhood. As an adult, I shouldered the responsibility for trying to repair – or perhaps it would be more accurate to say birth – our relationship to no avail. After many years of growth, I was finally able to let go and walk away from the abuse, to allow myself the freedom to just be happy without always reaching out and getting slapped again. What makes it difficult still is that my walking away only made it easier for her to tell a story of victimization. For the last few years before walking away, I got it in my head that I could defend myself against the lies she would tell about how she was the victim but I finally accepted that trying to defend myself only made matters worse. I’m not sure why I am sharing this except to say thank you for what you are doing. I am truly grateful to have discovered this site and, in discovering it, reclaim a bit of my resolve to walk away and to know that sometimes that’s what you have to do and that’s okay. Sincere thanks, CBR

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 11th June

      Hi CBR
      Welcome to EFB ~ You are not alone! Something that happened for me as I went forward validating the actual truth about what happened and the ways that I had been disregarded and lied about is that I stopped caring about the lies they told. I thought about the people that believed them ~ and realized that they didn’t really want to know the truth either. My mother always said that I was a story teller and an exaggerator ~ but of course she did! She couldn’t BE the victim if I was right. And her being right was more important than I was. She can feel like the victim all she wants, and she can (and does) tell people that she is the victim here, but I found freedom and wholeness and I don’t miss all the crap that I used to have to fight against. I found me. I found peace. And I KNOW the truth. 🙂
      Thanks for sharing, glad you are here,
      Hugs, Darlene

      • By: Tiffany Posted: 1st July

        How can I ever say thank you enough for you blog and for your response to the mother that lost her way to your site. The fact that all of her children have walked away should be a sure fire sign that someone and something connect to all the kids is the true issue. I am in the beginning stages of walking way from. Toxic mother and my guilt is deep seeded that I have actuly stopped packing to move and found your blog online. Much of what the victim mother said is a lot like the statements I have heard all my life. How much she loved me, how much she has done for me and how I don’t appreciate her and the latweek stlcomments are that I don’t like her and I can never be the woman that she is…. I promise that my going without contacting her for three weeks she has no recollection of such statements. However, your blog proves that I am not alone and I cannot wait to get a copy of your book.

  14. By: MIFNP Posted: 5th June

    I am amazed by the lack of awareness from mothers like this. It’s always something like: “I have done so much for you and this is how you treat ME!” or “All you do is take, take, take.” Yet, common sense dictates if their relationship was as “loving and supportive” as she portrays it to be, she would enjoying a loving and supportive relationship with her children right now. People do not just abandon healthy, loving relationships!

    This mother is prideful. Any mother that claims to bear no responsibility for “no-contact” with her children is in major denial. All children desire to have a loving relationship with their parent, regardless of age. Had this mother fostered love, respect, acknowledgement, and most of all, safety in her childrens’ early developmental life those children would still be speaking to her today. Guaranteed.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 6th June

      Hi MIFNP
      Welcome to Emerging from Broken
      Thank you for adding your thoughts. Hugs, Darlene

  15. By: CHRIS Posted: 31st May

    I love your letter. I love how you swing and shift the conversation back to your values and beliefs when someone seeks to invalidate you. That, I believe, is the purpose of healing, and hearing you do it has healed me a little bit too.

  16. By: Terri Amos Posted: 25th May

    I have not read all of the comments but I suggest as a start the mother should do some self-reflection around her childhood and her relationship with her parents. She may find she has questions to ask you about her parent’s actions/family dynamics as a child that have negatively affected her as an adult and can shed light on the situation with her kids in a more honest….balanced, believable, albiet potentially painful, way.

  17. By: Lynne Posted: 5th May

    Hello Darlene,

    Thanks for your reply. You know, there was a lot of my own guilt involved in all this, too. I didn’t want her to have a horrible upbringing as I did. So, I saw to it she had what she needed and a lot of what she wanted. Then, she got very sick when she was 12 years old. She had a rare case of meningitis, flat-lined 3 times, and was in the hospital for 23 days. Yes, I did anything to make her happy. When she went into high-gear in her early teens, I thought it was teenage angst and would ride it through with her. It was rough – Believe me.

    Yes, I paid for her expense college. But, what parent wouldn’t have tried to have done that? Again, I had to do it on my own ( even thought the golden child got a free-ride) and didn’t want her to.

    I suppose I was treating her like the GC was in my family of origin. He was loved and I wasn’t.

    Wow! I finally got it sitting here writing to you. Yes! We live what we learn. I learned love was the GC getting it all. At least I thought that’s what it was. I know better now. But, I did love her – truly. It wasn’t for me. It was given to her freely and unconditionally and I loved being a mother – even when times got rough.

    Yes, her lies and manipulations worked. I’m sad about it.

  18. By: Lynne Posted: 5th May

    My only child/daughter abandoned me officially 7 years ago. She was 25 years old.

    I’m not going to say: I was a perfect parent. I made mistakes – probably more than a few. But, none of them where conscientiously directed towards her. No alcohol, drugs or abuse were involved. But, I did make some wrong decisions even though I thought them best at the time.Nothing earth-shattering though. Like I thought it would be fun for her to learn to ride a horse. I didn’t know she was deathly afraid of them – she never said anything- and she loved the “Little Ponies” thing. I heard about that for years and the “trauma I caused”.

    My husband emotionally abandoned us when she was an infant and physically abandoned us by the time she was 8 years old. Reason: He was a first-class mamas boy. I could go into sorted details here. But, it involved an unnatural involvement with his mother on all levels. Yes, incest was involved.

    Certainly, I knew the impact his abandonment would have on my little girl and tried, with the help of therapists guidance for myself, to get her through the ordeal of divorce and protect my child from this more than bizarre mother/son “thing” going on. I did my best to counteract it by not only being both mother and father, but giving her a “Disney childhood”. I had to work very hard to do that, and I did spend long hours working both at the business and at home.

    But, I always put her needs first and always put time aside for helping her with homework, projects,school and church activities, piano, art, dancing lessons. Each and every Friday, we had Girls Night Out which was anything from dinner and a movie to dinner and a Broadway show. Museums, educational outings, trips to the beach, Europe, cruises, week-end getaways or just hanging out were the norm.

    I was always there for her when she had problems at school, or friends and later boyfriends. I tired to guide her as best as I could and she thanked me for being there for her more than many times. But, I was her mother and that’s what I wanted to do. I loved her with all my heart and wanted her to be happy.

    But, there was a darker side, too. She began to lie almost constantly, was stealing from me and would tell me stories where she was the victim of others abuse. Of course, I followed up on this and found the stories to be untrue. Again, therapy was employed. She charmed the therapist into denying each and every occurrence and I became the bad guy for not believing her or accusing her of stealing. She couldn’t accept discipline and I would be punished in return by her. My things would go missing – jewelry, money, clothing and she would go to school and lie about abuse. Of course, the school took her side. This is what I got for taking TV away from her for a week for stealing from me.

    Fast forward to college: She insisted on going to a very expensive school that I couldn’t afford without breaking the bank. I gave in. As a result my retirement account is Zero. She was stealing and lying at college,too – this time from her roommates. Word got around and no one would room with her. She had boyfriends and she would lie about me and get them to give her money because I ” left her destitute” they got wise and left her, too.

    Just after she graduated, she told me she demanded I give her half the value of my home and half of anything I had left in the bank because, according to her,she was” there the entire time” I worked for it. I told her she had no right to even suggest such an outrageous thing. You mean to tell me she thought I should be put out on the street?

    Fast forward again to Grad School (she has a great Corporate job): I told her I couldn’t afford to pay for it. But, she knew that. She took out loans that she decided I should be responsible for “If I was a good mother”. I couldn’t. I lost my job and was at the breaking point. So, a new boyfriend appeared 16 years older than her. The lies about me began again to get into his apartment and have access to whatever he had. She told me he had a wonderful mother who buys him his clothing and his food. By comparison I “was Sh*t for a mother”.

    She told me she was marrying this man; she talked with me about the wedding – how she wanted me to be her matron of honor- and then…Nothing. Complete silence.

    I kept writing and calling her to no avail. She pushed me out of attending her graduation and was not invited to her wedding. I know, through the web, that she has at least one child.

    It’s a hard pill to swallow. But, I realized that because I wasn’t able to provide her with above and beyond financial support ( she still had a great job) AND I didn’t hand over my wellbeing to her ( a roof over my head) I was OUT! In addition, the lies she perpetrated about me would be exposed if I was around.

    In short, she’s living a lie. But, the pattern of punishment she employed when she was a little girl still continues when she doesn’t get her way.

    These were some of the same characteristics of her father ( as well) I tried so hard to dispel in her upbringing. I failed. Do I deserve to be abandoned? No…I don’t. But I do deserve some respect. If I can’t be given that, then I deserve Peace.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 5th May

      Hi Lynne
      The cycle of abuse is a real bitch. I remember what you have shared about your relationship with your mother. Our kids witness our own history, the ways we have been treated, the ways they are treated by the other parent etc. ~ If your daughter had a pattern of punishment she employed as a child, it must have worked for her if she is still doing it. Her demands were met (she got you to pay for whatever she insisted on). It’s horrible that this happens and that is what this whole site is about; stopping that cycle by honestly looking at how it all comes about and what it really is in the first place.
      Hugs, Darlene

  19. By: Ellie Posted: 19th March

    I’m LOVING your blog – so much common sense. I think it’s fantastic that you tackle this issue in such a forthright manner.

    One thing we ALL ought to remember is that abusers/bullies play games; games in which they want to absolve themselves of any guilt or responsibility. They like to pervert the facts, to distort the truth. I cannot help but wonder if this so-called “loving, caring mother” who wrote in to ask you what to do when she is so hurt by her children even though she has always given them everything… blah… blah… is not actually an abuser playing games. I do not doubt that abusers will read this blog, just as much as victims. I do not doubt that you may even get some abusers responding to your blog posts by “Trolling”.

    Might this “caring mother” be an abuser who is “Trolling” this site? It makes me wonder! You see, it seems to me that you are correct to point out that NO child would choose to cease, or deliberately damage, a relationship with a genuinely loving, compassionate parent. I know from personal experience (I am currently no-contact with BOTH my own parents) that it is VERY painful to cut off contact with family, even though you know that when you DO see them, they are hurtful. The only reason I can give for ending a relationship with one’s own family member(s), is that the relationship was damaged in some way (by abuse, maybe?). Personally, I can say that you choose to cease contact when you realise that you cannot bear the hurt any more, and when you realise that the abusers will never change. Still it is painful, having to recognize that the relationship was so damaged.

    Abusers do not seem able to recognize, or acknowledge, damage in relationships. I reckon this is because they do not want to see their part in it. Parents who are abusive strike me as particularly ignorant, when later in life they cannot understand why their kids do not want to see them, or why the relationship is strained. I mean, WHO wants contact with a person that makes them feel like “rubbish”?

    I cannot help but think that a parent who refuses to acknowledge the damage they have done to a relationship with their child is a parent who has become very proficient at projecting blame. A parent who has spent a lifetime projecting blame onto the child. I agree with your belief that parent-child relationships are NOT about an equal balance of power – the parents hold the power, because the child is dependent upon, and forced to live with, the parents until of a legal age to leave home. This makes it hard for children to escape abusive parents… and so the damage is done. A negative parent-child relationship, or no-contact, in adulthood is a sure sign to me that child abuse took place. It is the adult child’s way of finally trying to draw a line under the abuse.

    In abusive households, it seems to me that there must be a lot of negative emotion flying about (I speak from personal experience). HOW can a relationship between a child and an abusive parent ever be happy? It strikes me that a child who is spoken to in a patronizing, demeaning and devaluing fashion may well come to fear, disrespect, or hate the parent. Even little children can recognize insults, and try to fight back. So, if a parent is telling the child that they are “worthless” or “stupid” or “ugly”, then why would the child not argue back, and try to prove that they are not? DO abusive parents just think that kids will sit there and take it?

    I believe that where a parent is saying that their adult children “abuse” or otherwise “hurt” them in some way (as in this example that you present), whilst trying to argue that they (the parent) are so kind and caring, this is a lie. Kids take the lead from their parents; their parents are supposed to be role-models. Thus, a child will learn the nature of relationships from a parent.

    Abusive parents may react to a child who fights back against the abuse, by trying to label the child as “naughty”, “rebellious”, “ungrateful”, “unruly”, or “abusive”. So, for example, imagine a parent is shouting at a child, telling the child that “You didn’t get all A grades at school. You only got a B in this subject. Why didn’t you try harder? Why didn’t you work harder? A B grade is not good enough.” The child, feeling hurt, might shout back “But I did work hard. I got A grades in everything else. You are being mean.” The abusive parent then sees an opportunity to blame the child, to put a new spin on the event, because a) the child had the cheek to raise his/her voice (even though the parent shouted at him/her first), and b) the child accused the parent of being mean (even though the parent WAS being mean). In the abusive parent’s head, the same rules DO NOT apply to parent and child. Thus, the parent will conveniently omit to acknowledge that fact that he/she was shouting at the child, and the fact that this could hurt the child, and the fact that a child who is shouted at may shout back, and the fact that the parent was being mean by overlooking the child’s hard work and good grades… In the abusive parent’s head, the child has now been re-framed as abusive of the parent, for shouting, and for accusing the parent of meanness!

    THIS is how the abuser’s self-serving script works. I saw it with my own parents, who shouted and yelled at me (even swore at me), but liked always to remind me that if I shouted I was being naughty, and that use of swear-words was wrong! The parent’s own hypocrisy allows them to get away with behaviours that they will blame or criticise the child for. Thus, if a child (or adult child) reacts to abuse by getting upset, angry, by pointing out the abuser’s abusive behaviour, or by refusing to remain in contact with the abuser… It is the CHILD’S fault! The CHILD is being “mean”, “abusive”, “rude”, “selfish, “unkind”… or whatever else… to the abusive parent by pointing out the parent’s abuse! This is little more than the abuser’s PROJECTION of his or her own faults!

    I wonder if the person who wrote to you is playing the above games. Abusers DO like to feel validated, to feel that they can get away with abuse. What better way of doing this, than to write a “pity poor me” letter to a website that deals with the issue of child abuse, complaining that it is unfair to take the child’s side, and arguing that children can actually abuse parents? What better than to ask that you – the author of this blog- take the parent’s side, and agree with what is written in the letter? I guess the writer of the letter was HOPING that you would say something along the lines of “Yes, it’s dreadful, kids abusing their innocent parents. Poor you. How awful, to give everything to your kids, and have them throw it so ungratefully in your face!” That way, the author of the letter would have forced you into making a public proclamation that
    a) Kids abuse parents
    b) You are wrong to take the side of abused kids
    c) You are wrong to write this blog

    So good you didn’t fall for it! It reminds me of an incident with my parents. One in which my father was screaming at me, berating me, and used the words “We gave you everything” (implying I was spoiled, indulged and ungrateful)! Now, I struggle with what this “everything” was… True, I had clothes, and went to school; but so did every other kid I met. True, my parents gave me food and drink; but every other kid I met got those. Yes, my family lived in a nice house, and my parents took me on holiday; all the other kids I met lived in similar houses, and had family holidays. So, I had nothing more that any of the kids I knew as friends, or went to school with. But…

    My parents DID NOT hug me, or tell me they loved me, or were proud of me. My parents compared me unfavourably to my cousins, and sibling, making me feel ugly and unwanted. My parents insisted on high grades at school, and took for granted that I would get them – they never acknowledged the hard work I put in. My parents told me that my hopes and dreams were silly, or useless – my father called my favourite subject at school “piss assed”. My parents screamed, shouted and swore at me. My parents ignored me – my father did not even ask how my day at school had been when I got home, he would simply turn the radio on and force me to leave the room. My parents lied, and kept secrets from me – I was never supposed to know about my mother’s mental health problems, even though I got bulled at school because other people knew. My parents bossed me about – my mother took for granted that I helped with housework like ironing and vacuuming. My parents threatened me – my father told me he would kick me out of the house without a penny if I refused to study what my parents wanted me to study at University. My parents falsely accused me – if I even so much as spoke to a boy on the telephone, my mother thought I was having sexual relations with him. My parents cut me off from the wider family, always controlling access to visits with grandparents, aunties, and uncles. My parents used me as a counsellor/therapist – always moaning about their own troubles to me (especially my mother).

    Yeah! Right! My parents “gave me everything”! Well, the sure DID give me a heck of a lot that other kids my age DIDN’T have – a lot of extra grief, a lot of extra pressure, a lot of extra unhappiness, a lot of extra stress, a lot of extra fear… I struggle to see how they imagine that I would be in any way grateful for that! Still, in their eyes, whenever I attempt to point out that THIS is why our parent-child relationship is now a complete mess, they DO NOT want to acknowledge what went on. They DO NOT want to see it, talk about it, or even consider it. If I try to point things out, then I am to blame, because I am making matters uncomfortable.

    Hence the abuser’s mantra, so oft-repeated by victims (including the ones who have written about their experiences on this website)… “WE DO NOT TALK ABOUT THE PAST. WHY CAN’T YOU JUST GET OVER IT? FORGET IT?”. Of course the abuser wants us to forget, to get over it and conveniently never speak of it again. The abuser wants to KEEP GETTING AWAY WITH THE ABUSE!

  20. By: Light Posted: 22nd February

    Annette, I can relate though I am an aunt, not a mother. I was very close to my niece, but her mother (my sister) said and did things to split us apart. I also made mistakes. I was willing to talk it over, explain, apologize but my niece didn’t want to talk. I suggesting counseling and she said no to that as well. We abruptly went from talking several times a week to every few months. She pulled away with very little meaningful conversation or explanation. I know she blamed me for my estranged relationship with my father (sexual abuser).

    I think about her often and feel so sad and angry. It feels so unjust.

    I am so sorry about what happened with your daughters…I can’t imagine how painful that must be. Parental alienation should be a crime. I used to think that if a parent just plugged away and showed through actions that they were a good person, that the kids would see that. But life can be so unfair, and there can be negative influences, and it seems like it’s more like a crap shoot.

    • By: Dreet kishore Posted: 2nd March

      My mother in law who is a widow of loose character has a lover and lives with him. How do you expect the children to respect and love her?

  21. By: Annette Posted: 21st February

    I understand the hurt mom’s letter and while many picked her letter apart I think we may not have the full picture. I don’t think it is just the goodness of the parent that reflects in the child. There are other influences, divorce and a manipulative parent are very powerful in destroying the love a child have for the other parent.

    In my situation, my oldest daughter was 6 years old when her dad left with his affair lady. he told me not to worry about visitation, his new girlfriend was not interested in helping out with the kids. Basically my husband abandoned his two children, made no contact for 2 years. My oldest was extremely hurt. She loved her father dearly.

    The affair lady broke up with my ex and the new love interest in his life encouraged him to have a relationship with his children. When he came back in their lives they were excited. Unfortunately he started filling their heads with lies about me, about us. They would come back from visits asking me all kinds of questions, saying their dad told them I did this or that. I spoke with him about it, he claimed the children were lying. I think who was lying was him. Not only had he done this with my children but he also did this was friends and old school mates to try to win favor from them and make me look like the guilty party.

    Today, 28 years after the divorce, my daughters have continued to ask me if I did or said this, my oldest has made assumptions which she has told other family members, things that are not true. I have tried to be supportive and understanding, I have tried addressing the issue, I have spent much time in a counselor’s chair dealing with all of this. I am not perfect and yes, I admit my mistakes and at the same time I have not done what I have been accused of, relationships with both daughters are tense.

    Meantime, my destructive manipulative ex has continued to live a cheating life and he is the one that has a relationship with them.

    • By: Marsha Posted: 27th September

      I agree as the same happened to me. I didn’t understand that my ex was actually not anything he thought I was and his mistress, who he left me for, after 19 years of marriage (and yes, I take partial blame for the marriage not working, though I did not want a divorce), 2/3 of our kids have now pretty much no contact with me, they’ve told them “everything ” whatever that means, yet I’m not allowed to defend myself. However, I do hope one day the kids ask. I don’t want them to hate their Dad, but I don’t want to be hated either. A parent should NEVER put children in adult situations or make them choose between parents or alienate them in various ways. They now all have barely anything to do with their youngest brother, because he is still a minor, living with me, I don’t stop him from having a relationship with them at all. But they ask him, when they see him, if he will move in with them. I guess him saying, since he was 10, I want to live with Mom or I want to do every other week, for the past 4 years, has made them decide he is not worthy? I don’t know. They moved and he can’t do every other week now. Isn’t that sad and selfish? He takes care of her kids, though. I feel awful for our youngest. And I had and asked for joint physical custody.
      Not always the Mom’s or the Dad’s fault in these situations.
      And I love my adult daughter so much that I still provide her college $ and expect nothing in return (she refuses to contact me or answer any attempts, so I just have recently stopped trying). I know that we may never have a relationship, but I raised her and got her in college, I’m going to finish that. For HER. Not for me.
      But I can’t deny that my heart isn’t broken every single day.

      I love Emerging From Broken’s heart. I love the FB site.
      I wish we all knew how to make things better for everyone.

  22. By: Carlos Posted: 6th February

    Hey Darlene,

    That mother in the article, sounds a lot like some of the people within my family.

    I’m preparing myself for the worse from the minute that I decide to walk out of my toxic family members. I know that I’m instantly going to become a “celebrity” who will be talked about by the “victims” with their own versions of me. Of course there to will be the outrage that will come in the form of words like: “I financed this child’s needs for this long and he decides to give it all up just because I did something that I did that I know was beneficial to him.”
    What, are you expecting an award for all of that after all of the abuse that I should have just brushed because you looked after me? All right then I’ll see if I can arrange for some Best abusive yet caring grandmother and father of the century trophies to be built exclusively for you and I’ll have them personally delivered to your doorstep in the near future. I’ll even write with love from Carlos, just to show how much I care.

    Well they have done it to others so it’s only fitting that I will lne day become the latest addition to their collectible toys. Picture this situation. I mean heck I just happened to have sat and listened (survived as well, as I didn’t really contribute) to a conversation between my maternal grandmother, mother and father a couple of hours ago, where they were all grilling one of my aunts who decided to walk out of the family as she was called stupid for committing a terrible mistake with some raffle tickets (I don’t really care about what happened but to be called stupid for something that wasn’t intentionally done? Oh right the person who called her stupid (my grandma’s sister) was just trying to “build her character up” so it’s justified). She currently lives far far away from all of us, but that hasn’t stopped the gossip to spread like wildfire. Heck from the conversation, there were words like: “Imagine, she threw away 90% of her life (which refers to the help that she received from my grandma and grand aunt) for that 10%?” (referring to her reaction to being called stupid). There was also an altercation between my aunt and the aforementioned “victims” on social media where my grandmother reacted negatively when my aunt kindly asked her to stop sharing pictures on Facebook in which she and the “victims” were altogether in the one photo smiling. Of course my grandma exaggerated and made it seem as if my aunt lashed out on her when clearly (as I saw her post on Facebook) that there were no F-bombs thrown or exclamation marks or capitalisation that will make it seem as if anything like the story that she was trying to potray. Affected much grandma?

    It’ll eventually be my turn to be where my aunt is currently at, but at least I already first hand experience as to what will come and I know that whatever they dish out is just some twisted sick version of me that suddenly came out of the blue, due to my abandonment of the bullshit.

  23. By: Patricia flores Posted: 29th January

    Looking for a topic on right of a mother to let her grandaughter hear her anger to her daughter. Im thankful for your page. My mom always tells ua shes a good daughter but why were treating her bad. Wherein reality she always have the rules. Even if we have families of our own she gets jealous she thinks that we love our husbands than herself. Hays. Its totally unfair.

  24. By: Alethea Posted: 22nd January

    Hi I’m a 3rd generation Narc. I have the Empath side of narc 1st generation my mother just died mean controlling Narc. My daughter is very hurt by who I was being ineffective parent basically you describe me and how my child must feel. Sadly my mother won in alienating my daughter before her death and my daughter is sadly a mean spirited narc and I am in therapy trying to heal how do I help what can I do to secure the future emotionally for 4 yr old granddaughter. My daughter has cut off contact with her and during my moms funeral I had a four yr old say my mommy doest like you and it hurts my heart. Can you come to my house when can we play together. I love you Nanna and my heart is tearing apart because I struggle to see this child’s love and feel its unfair for her to have me here because she is hurting. I’m confused. A bad parent trying to stop the cycle

    • By: Dreet k Posted: 2nd March

      Children will definitely respect if the parents are not abusing the children. My mother and father in law were caught in the act in my bedroom.Ihate them since then.
      Dreet 17 sparrow drive Princeton NJ USA

  25. By: paula Posted: 15th January

    Sorry to everyone i offended, I wrote the thing i wrote in a positive tone, hoping to share positive feelings of understanding. It sounds to me by the response i got that at least two people here are filled with anger and it brims over. I also suffer from the things that have happened in my life, which neither of you know anything about. I am not signing in here again, because quite frankly angry people are not the company i seek and if i were to put energy into people it would be family and not complete strangers who are so angry. Good luck to all the people who suffer these kinds of family stresses they are very sensitive and a little extra luck to those blinded by anger. God Bless

    • By: Debbi Posted: 15th August

      Paula. I got what you meant. I also made mistakes w/my only child. Like you, no abuse, verbal or otherwise. I made some poor decisions that affected her life.
      These have all been discussed between the 2 of us.
      I would like to continue corresponding w/you if you are open to it.
      Please let me know & we could choose a private forum.
      Sincerely, Debbi

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