When Mothers Blame Others for their own Disgraceful Behavior


Blog pic 1My Mother Blamed Me for her Disgraceful Behavior

I was lying in bed the other morning and this phrase “when mothers blame others” kept running through my mind as though some unknown source was whispering at me to write about it. I agreed that it would make a catchy title but I questioned why it was running through my head in the first place.

And then I laughed!

This idea is so prevalent that it’s a wonder it isn’t in my head all the time. Survivors of dysfunctional mother daughter relationships can’t escape the constant reminder that some mothers will blame anyone and everyone as long as they don’t have to look at their own actions. It is still frustrating to me that no matter what proof I had, no matter how many times I tried to explain the situation, no matter how much I defended myself, my mother blamed me OR she blamed something or someone else for HER decisions and behavior.

And although this problem is more widely discussed when it is the adult daughter who is targeted and blamed, this happens very often with adults sons as well. This isn’t exclusive to mothers who blame daughters, but very often fathers blame daughters and or sons as well. Sometimes ALL the children in the family are blamed and defined as “the problem” and sometimes only one or two of them are singled out and blamed and defined as “the problem” in the family.

Many adult children of Narcissistic mothers know this all too well and although my mother is not a true narcissist (because she has total control over her actions), she fits the narcissistic mother pattern of not taking responsibility for her own actions that have ultimately led to the failure of our relationship. Most importantly for the purpose of this article is the fact that the results have been the same with my mother and I as they are with others who do have more typically narcissistic mothers.

When children (of any age) are blamed and labeled as the problem, a burden or “less important’ than the parents, the damage to the self-esteem and overall emotional wellbeing of the child is substantial!

And the treatment and tactics used by the parents are so typical that it is almost as though there is secret manual that these mothers (parents) subscribe to. A manual endorsing that parents have the right to do this stuff and act this way with their children without any consequences to themselves! 

The children of these mothers, MEN and WOMAN who have been blamed as children for the ways in which we have been treated, are blamed as adults as well;

Our mother’s (and fathers) will defend themselves over and over again pointing fingers and spewing the venom that we have had to cope with for most of our lives that for some reason we are responsible for the way that they regard us.  And if ever you succeed in presenting so much truth that they can’t wiggle out of it, (which happens rarely) then suddenly the focus will switch and everyone else is responsible for the way that they treat us. Mothers will blame someone else but we are never allowed to place blame on anyone but ourselves. We are told to be accountable for the results in our lives without ever having been heard, helped or validated for the emotional difficulties that we have had and very often these emotional difficulties have been at the hands of our own parents.

I have been told of countless mothers who openly blame their children for ruining their lives just by being born. These children have been blamed for failed marriages and relationships between mothers and fathers, mothers and boyfriends, mothers and their sisters and mothers and their other children! These children have been blamed for headaches, bad moods, not enough money (because of YOU) and children who have been blamed for the emotional state of their mothers. And these children have grown up feeling guilty, feeling ashamed of themselves, feeling that they are not good enough, and not worthy of happiness ~ all because they have been blamed so much for the results in their mothers lives. They have been blamed so much and learned to try so hard that they don’t know the truth anymore. They have been steeped in lies; brainwashed to believe that the root of the problem is in them.

It’s like an epidemic in this world. ‘Mothers who Blame Others’ could be the name of a 12 step group ~ but sadly, not many mothers are interested in getting support for themselves AS a mother who blames her children ~ they are far more interested in garnering support from people who AGREE with them that their children are ungrateful, selfish etc. 

Looking at ourselves as the cause of the difficulties in our relationships with our mothers is the way we are groomed to stay in the ever dizzying constant spin designed to ensure that we NEVER look at them. Because after all, if we look at them, if we come out of that spin long enough to EVER see them and the way that THEY are, they know we might see the truth.

And the truth is that most of them know that they blame others and they know that they are mean and unfair, or they know that they are needy and that they are wrong but they can’t stand to see it, so they spend their time getting others to agree with them that someone else is the problem. They know, and the proof of that is in their actions; it is in the way we are raised not to tell, in the way that they act differently in front of different people and in the way that they lie when they are afraid to get caught.

If they didn’t KNOW, they wouldn’t act differently in front of certain people, they would not teach children to cover up for them and they certainly wouldn’t have to lie. 

Deep down they know that they are pathetic. But as long as YOU don’t notice that, they feel safe. The more people that they can get to go against their target, (which in this case is you) the more they feel worth; it’s not REAL worth and it doesn’t actually make them feel better for long because it isn’t actually proof that they have worth. Deep down they KNOW that they are pathetic, but when mothers blame others, they can get their little fix with the drug of self-worth. If they can make you take the blame, then they believe that the blame belongs to you, or to the person they are blaming thus absolving them from having to carry it.

This is the cycle of abuse. Perhaps mothers who blame others have never been validated as having had worth. I more than suspect that their own mothers made them prove their worth and usually they were raised in the same dysfunctional family pecking order system BUT that doesn’t change or excuse the damage caused to the children born and raised by these mothers with low self-esteem and damaged self-worth, who blame their own children for the failure of the mother daughter or mother /son relationship.  I had to do the work to restore my self-esteem so that I could break this cycle of abuse in my own family. I did not require my children to prove my worth using these sick methods and my mother had the same choices I did.

Although there might be a personality disorder or psychosis behind the reason that causes mothers to blame others and to act in such mean and unloving ways, knowing that is only information. It may help us understand the why, and it may be comforting but it doesn’t help with the healing process. And there is never any excuse to have to put up with abuse. If a violent person has a true mental disorder or chemical imbalance, that person is not permitted to run around in society. The laws still apply to genuinely sick people.

These mothers might be seriously emotionally damaged themselves; most of them come from the same cycle of abuse that they inflicted on us, but that knowledge doesn’t stop the cycle of abuse. The cycle of abuse will only stop when we stand up to it. I feel sad for my mother because I know she learned this dysfunctional behavior and I know that she lives in a system where parents are ‘entitled’ to dish out whatever they wish to their kids but I had to draw a line and say enough is enough. Feeling sad for her was killing me. Always trying to make her feel better taught my kids to put up with mistreatment because they saw the way I put up with her treatment. And it also sent a strong message to my children about how I was willing to be treated!

When I dared to voice an objection, my mother would blame the fact that she was a single mother. (my parents separated just before I turned 13.) She justified her choices when it came to me with the fact that she didn’t ‘want’ to be a single mother and that she never expected to be a single mother and by the way, about that, as with everything else there is a truth leak there too; she had an affair after I was born ~ what did she think was going to happen? Whose fault was it that she became a single mother? Why did she constantly SAY things like that as though the fact that she was a single mother justified her actions and treatment of her children. 

So in order to take my life back, I embraced the truth; my mother blamed me instead of looking at HER own dysfunctional upbringing and working through it. My mother blamed me instead of looking at her own actions against me. My mother expected ME to save her, instead of making the decision to save herself.

Please share your thoughts.

Exposing Truth; one snapshot at a time

Darlene Ouimet

The Emerging from Broken bookThe Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing” 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

 See coloured links in bold print for related articles.

Other Related Articles ~ “Is there such a thing as Justifiable Anger for Victims of Child Abuse?”  


714 response to "When Mothers Blame Others for their own Disgraceful Behavior"

  1. By: Dalila Posted: 12th April

    Your post really hit home for me. I had a prideful mother and drug addict father who blamed me for not being able to “heal” myself from the trauma, neglect and abuse I suffered at their hands. Neither of them will admit that their decisions ruined my life. All of the things I should have been taught to guarantee the quality of my life were neglected. Replaced by fighting, judgement, sexual indiscretions, immorality, selfishness and inconsistency. Now they both shame and judge me regularly because I didn’t live up to their expectations. I don’t know how I am supposed to feel. To be judged as less than by the people who should be your encouragement breaks my heart. No child deserves to carry their parents sins their whole life. Some people just shouldn’t have kids.

  2. By: Marianna Posted: 23rd September

    My experience is on par with all of the above with my mother in law. The self esteem, guilt, shame, blaming, all of it. My question is – how do we navigate this storm?

  3. By: Dee Posted: 17th September

    Thank goodness my mother isn’t as bad as some of these comments, I’m really sorry to hear what you all had to go/ are going through, but I looked up this article hoping to find something to show me I’m not alone and I’M not the crazy one. So thank you. I moved to another country last year and since then my mother and I have had a much better relationship, since our interaction is limited to maybe 2 x 30 minute calls a week where she doesn’t really let me talk, she just rambles on about herself. I can cope with it now, because I know I’ll be able to put the phone down after a few minutes. But this weekend she was caught in another lie (she’s been a pathological liar for as long as I can remember) and because she was caught and refuses to take responsibility, she turned to her usual tricks 1) blaming me, 2) making me feel guilty 3) crying uncontrollably and if she doesn’t get sympathy she turns into a nasty piece of work, shouting and screaming to get her point across. I’m emotionally done with her. She never has anything nice to say about me, but if she does it’s always a backhanded compliment. She also still blames my father for ruining her life, even though it came out after the divorce that she was the one who cheated and stole money from him. He is so much better off now and I’m so proud of him. I can talk to him on the phone for hours and actually have a conversation, she’s just hard work and always repeating the same mistakes over and over and then telling me to ‘learn from my mistakes’. I’m so sick of it and since our massive fight 3 days ago, I haven’t spoken to her again or even acknowledged her messages to me. I’m not sure what to do or where to go from here…

  4. By: MEL Posted: 9th August


  5. By: Estranged adult daughter Posted: 1st April

    What you wrote is what I wish my dad wrote. My mum uses the same phrases against him. For a moment I was hoping there was a chance you WERE him – having a good relationship with him now would be more possible if he could own up to things as you are. However, he’s not in therapy like you, and his kids aren’t kids any more. And things have been unsettling for my family for at least 4 years.

    If only my dad could do what you are doing. I would respect him so much more, because he would be respecting himself and me much more.

    I strongly hold it against my dad for staying silent and enabling my mother’s abuse. His fear of her anger and sulkiness was bigger than his desire to protect us.

    I wish you every success in your relationships with your children, and your relationship with yourself.

  6. By: Determined Daddy Posted: 27th January

    I am a father who has suddenly (finally?) discovered (faced?) a pattern of abusive treatment in my home. Our marriage has been strained for a while, and my wife has blamed my “lack of support” in her parenting, and “not being a partner” and enforcing her rules and her enforcements.

    Until recently, I’ve been having trouble finding a way to get on the same page about parenting that will work for both of us. My dilemma has been that I don’t agree with her on discipline, and I feel compelled to intervene when she takes it too far. I feel like I’m forced to struggle for power… either I let her have her way, which makes my conscience scream, or I override her (undermining her she calls it) which isn’t how I believe a marriage works.

    A series of very unsettling events happened over the past year, which led me to finally do my homework and learn about abuse. I felt so completely inadequate as a husband and father when I read all the different behaviors that are NOT normal reactions to a conflict, NOT just the way someone is, they are verbal and/or emotional abuse! Belittling, intensity, humiliation, domination, ignoring, interrupting, dismissing, unpredictable affection, and guilting all have happened in my family always. I don’t know what to call others that bothered me, like asking children questions to self incriminate, exclusion from family time together, the process of vague command –
    ask if complete – check and find flaw – check and find another flaw. And I don’t remember this stuff when I was growing up.

    As I become more confident in knowing what is and is not abuse, I am noticing it in myself, my wife, and my kids. I’m getting therapy and learning new habits to replace abusive ones. I won’t have too much trouble teaching my kids not to abuse, but I’m discouraged about my wife. She doesn’t want to talk about it. Any attempt to discuss abusive behavior is met with fierce denial, hostility, and an argument about blame.

    Your article struck a chord with me because I’ve felt that disorientation when being dragged into a blame discussion. What matter does it make to correctly assign blame when something goes wrong?

  7. By: Kat Posted: 9th November

    I have lived my entire life with a mother …

    Well, that would take years to write.

    Now at age 78 she is quite ill. Also has dementia.

    I am the caregiver. I am the ultimate patsy, fool, idiot — sucker! I have been investigated by DCF prior to my even living with her as caregiver. She accused me of (along with venomous siblings) stealing money, taking her medications, going through her financial papers… ???

    So along came the DCF with the interrogation. They questioned me 2 times before dropping the charges that were bogus.

    Now, I am her caregiver-in-fear always because of my sister and also my mother and her mood swings, abuse and awful treatment of me. Dementia. I tend to get a bit skeptical about all of this BS. I have been arrested, re-arrested, was put in jail and now have a criminal record for an imaginary “battery of person over 65” charge – much credit to my lying sister.
    Anyway, I need to get out of here, fast. The caregiver seems to be auto-guilty when it is the other way around. It does not help when you have all of them plotting against you. What was I thinking? It would get better?

    • By: Rainey Posted: 5th February

      I know exactly how you feel. I too am the sucker, fool, idiot who agreed to be Mom’s caregiver. I could kick myself from here to eternity now. She has dementia too. The brother who abused me has since made my life a living hell and she (as usual) stands there silently. I am so over it. I am over my whole family. Now, I must bide my time and learn how to take my life back from them. They are just not worth taking away my life and happiness anymore. It has put a huge strain on my marriage over these years. What on earth was I thinking? She asked me to please care for her and like a dope, I could not tell her No because I knew what would happen to her under either of my brother’s care. So did she, hence why she wanted to be with me. I feel like an ass for thinking my brothers would behave like adults since they have families of their own now. HA! I have been accused of every awful thing you can imagine, however, no calls to authorities because they know it’s BS, no proof of their accusations but “ I do” have proof on paper from my abusive brother admitting what he did to me. Not accepting ownership of his actions but admits he abused me. Good enough if he ever does decide to pull anything. I saved every insane letter he wrote to Mom just in case. When Mom passes, I will dissapear without a trace and they will never hear from me again.
      Hang in there, you are not alone.

  8. By: Cassandra Posted: 12th June

    Dear friend, thank you for posting this blog. Someone finally and justly illustrated exactly what I had been suspecting with my own mother. I am going through the realization that I was not loved nor accepted. I felt guilty for even being born. I felt like I was a burden that people just passed around trying to get rid of of put up with because it was there. My grandfather(who committed suicide) called me a problem – I guess I m not the problem after all am I.
    I felt inadequate and always having to prove myself, my worth , by doing more , being more, saving and rescuing more. I used to pay mom compliments all the time and boost her ego, try to rescue her that way and hoping to win her love in return. I saw she was weak and needing self-esteem and tried boosting it, but now I dropped that. I don’t need her love anymore. I don’t need her affection anymore. I used to shudder whenever she got physically close to me. Now I kind of see why, my spirit knew that it wasn’t safe.
    So I was told that she was raped by the guy she was dating, my biological father. At age 30 I found that was a downright lie! She said she loved him and they made love. Then she said my biological father didn’t want me. In fact, he did. He didn’t want her because she was cheating on him while pregnant with me and before, so when she told him about being pregnant, he didn’t believe her and asked for a DNA test. When the test proved i was his child, he accepted to marry her. And she refused my real father. Oh she also told me she tried to abort me several times without any luck. And that while she was pregnant it was such a dreaded time in her life, because she had to hide it from her parents, from her employer, by wrapping her stomach so people would not see the bump. And that she didn’t have anything to eat, she was starving (God knows why since she had a full time job and her father worked in politics). So she had to go to my Godmother’s to feed her..and made me write a letter of thanks to the Godmother, as if it was my responsibility to feed my mother while I was in her womb.
    And to think of it, I thought it was in a way! I felt bad that I had put her through so much torture and screwed up her life by being conceived while she had sex with a man.
    Then she complained about how it was terrible giving birth, how it was so horrible because I was born on January 1st and people at the hospital were not on service because of the New Year’s holiday, so she had to suffer in pains for hours and hours with nobody there to help.
    Well, with such a bleak picture of maternity, its no wonder i did not want to have any children, I had a horrible picture painted for me, from conception to birth, and after. I felt like a burden.
    And after I was born, she said they thought about giving me up for adoption and found a family , but granny decided to keep me.
    At age 2-3 she married an abusive man and took me to live with her. I think she took me away to spite granny. She put me in a toxic environment with 2 alcoholics. When I asked her why did she marry such a man and gave me such a horrible childhood, she said “Well who else was doing to marry me with a child? (ie. me)”. Then I realized, 1. If you decided to keep me it was your responsibility to take care of me. If you chose to marry, it was your responsibility to find a man who would be a caring,loving father to me, not find a man who has the biggest di#@ for your pu$$y, is abusive and an addict. Then I asked: why didn’t you leave when you saw he was abusive. And she blamed it on kids again : ” I had two kids and I couldn’t leave” . Oh, dear, blaming the kids again. We kids are adults now and she still sees that abusive guy, even though she lives with another man. I asked her why she s not divorcing him ages ago and she said ” I don’t want to”. Well take back all your burdens dear, I am done saving you.
    I am living with her right now, and my stepdad and I do pay rent. I used to live far away from her because something inside of me told me to keep my distance. Now i see why. It wasn’t until I actually started living under her roof for a few years that I managed to see her true colors. And I m really sad, but convinced I need to see the truth, of where my feelings of abandonment, neglect, fear of being alone, feeling of being not good enough and not wanted came from.
    In the past, I put her first , now I am putting myself first and God. I realize she cannot save me, and that is sad too. I still feel like i need parents to take care of me. Maybe I’ll find some surrogate/spiritual ones, but I do have lots in my life already so it helps.
    As I give back her burdens , I am free. I feel so much more free.

  9. By: Jessie Posted: 12th May

    I just need to thank you for sharing your story. I’ve been growing up with this all my life. My mother is everything you described EXACTLY. Especially when you mentioned “getting others to agree with them”. I’m just so happy and relieved that I have a clearer understanding to why she acts this way and treats me the way she does. My mother’s father screwed up with raising them in several ways that I won’t go into detail about here, but I know that she is channeling that onto me now. It has come to the point where I am always on edge with her. I can’t predict her, because she may take something personally and flip a switch in less than 5 seconds. It has reached the point where my inner voice warns me not to trust her, and I can’t rely on her as much as other daughters can with their own mothers. It’s just awful. Don’t even get me started on how things take a turn for the worse when she drinks. It’s like the calm before the storm. She starts off as normal, then funny and laughing while becoming louder, and then she turns into a full blown mean drunk. She makes me her target along with my stepdad sometimes, and she rips into us. And one of the worst parts, she NEVER apologizes for it. No one in my family is brave enough to stand up to her, not my grandparents, aunt, or stepfather (dad is in another state away from issue). My father would verbally take her down instantly if he witnessed what she does to me,including my stepdad. My dad isn’t afraid of her, and he is the complete opposite when it comes to drinking. Thankfully I get that from him, the minimal interest in alcohol; just doesn’t appeal to me. I’m just filled with so much relief about finding this article. Thank you so much for being that light at then end of this tunnel, I’ve been desperately trying to find answers to her actions. She always blames everyone, never apologizes for what she says or does, and pretends nothing happened. So I ask you this now, How do I stand up to her and end the cycle? I’m currently living under her and my stepdad’s roof. I’m 22, but I currently don’t have the money to afford my own place yet, and I’m still in school. I’m supposed to finish this fall. I’m saving up for a new/used car right now, because the vehicle I have now is as old as me and will not make it if I go long distances with it. I need a car first and foremost to make a quick “get away” whenever I need to leave, and to go the distance regardless of how far the drive will be. I have family up North. Yes, it has gotten to that point…

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