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: Joanne Posted: 16th December

    Hi Darlene, thanks for the welcome. I’ve been reading a book about manipulation. It’s suddenly today hit me how much my mum has been manipulating me. There are so many things I’ve been confused about, as it seems I’ve been trying to make excuses for her – but the thing is, she’s not stupid – she just is not that stupid – and I’m suddenly seeing how so much doesn’t make sense. I realise she wants a situation in which she is the adored martyr, being praised and rewarded for anything and everything she does, thinking herself perfect and superior, while her inappropriate controlling and passive aggressive attacks should be never questioned, defended or retaliated against. Unless she gets this, she is happy to use what she knows I want as a carrot – (currently, an involved grandmother for my child), while making every effort to ensure that I fall into traps where she ups my expectation that this is obvious I will get, and then moves the carrot just out of my reach, to my confusement. It suits her to have me isolated and my self-esteem as low as possible – part of my confusion was thinking there was no way she could want this, as surely she cares too much about me ?? Suddenly I see the supportive times as bait, positive reinforcement laid to draw me in to a place where she could then weald a level of power and control. I’m pretty shocked and really upset to suddenly realise that this is unfortunately true about my mother. I can understand that it is due to a sad little ego desperate for love and seeing the world as users or people who are used, and that she should have had more love as a child. But that is no excuse. She’s had 70 years to get help with her relationship abuses. What hit it home for me was the fact that she is not so unintelligent to be missing all the things she pretends to be missing, in order that her set-up reality in which she is just trying to do her best and being misunderstood, just doesn’t wash when so many things are so obvious – this is why it was such a confusing mind-spin – it didn’t make sense. But when I think about how it would be if she was trying to manipulate a situation where I am used to meet her needs, suddenly every little thing makes sense. So sad. So sad that people can’t love their children and that some people can’t understand that it could be a win/win situation in which everyone gains – they don’t have to be the ones to win at someone else’s expense, even if it is their own child. 🙁

  2. By: Joanne Posted: 7th December

    In my childhood life was always dependent on my mother’s mood. I grew up incredibly shy, always walking on eggshells worried I’d say the wrong thing, as it would always be the wrong thing if her mood wasn’t good. She never says sorry, other than in attack – “Sorry, but you’re totally wrong.” She’s never hugged me since I told her, aged 9, about years of abuse by a neighbour (which she made clear at the time was my fault because I didn’t tell her sooner and has never bothered to say otherwise), but still I feel nowadays if I don’t make the move to peck her on the cheek goodbye that I’m being unkind to her. It’s always been as if I’m the adult and she’s the child to have her feelings looked after. She has a lovely side that I always seem to be chasing after that comes out when things are perfect for her. I know she’s emotionally a little girl and had an unhappy childhood. I think her mother was narcissistic and played off her and her siblings against each other – my mum being the scapegoat, her younger sister the golden child (who lived with my grandmother and cared for her until she died), her brother third favourite and youngest brother was disabled and second favourite. When my mother’s mother died she dealt a final blow to show her favourites – not leaving anything to anyone but the golden child (including things the others had got her for presents over the years), and just leaving a note to my mum and her brother telling them to look after the younger brother. Even today my mum seems to blame her father for the bad childhood and doesn’t seem to see the part her mother obviously played. She even blames her sister for her mother’s behaviour at the end. I’m always thinking of my mum’s pain and loneliness and feeling sorry for her.

    But I’m 38 now and throughout my life (a mess) the times she’s stepped in and offered a helping hand – the nice, supportive mum I always loved so much – but it always ends up the same – once I’ve taken the helping hand and go to a position it’s not easy to run away from, before I know what’s hit me she gets a grudge about something or other and turns into an enemy. Stealthily she moves at first – anything I’m happy about she acts surprised and disapproving that I would be happy about such a little thing; anything I’m upset about she repaints as everything else being perfect and me the problem spoiling it, and slowly I start to doubt myself more and more. Then the first big row comes and I find to my shock (gets me every time) she’s been storing up everything as ammunition to use from things I’ve told her – “Remember what that boyfriend of yours said about you that time (before he got sent to prison for harassment) when you asked me if he was right, and I said no …” and so on, and I’m too confused by that time to see that she’s being out of line and it’s more complicated than she’s putting it, and I shrivel under all the shame and it does something to my head and makes me want to get far away but by that time I’m stuck. Recently when my toddler went up and hugged her round the legs, something she does loads to people to be affectionate or wanting to be picked up, my mother said to her, “Oh, no, I’m not doing that save-you-from-your-mother thing.” That really hit me in the guts – as if from nowhere she has created a reality in which I’m so damaged that my beloved, happy toddler in fact needs saving from me. But then another thought comes in – maybe that’s about my mother deep down being sad and guilty knowing that the case was that I’d needed saving from her, but she just can’t admit that directly. Always the ridiculous excuses. It’s like I’ve been trained to blame anyone but her, even in the face of her saying something directly hurtful to me. I don’t know anymore whether I’m being oversensitive or whether she’s being completely out of line. If I challenge her on anything at the time she says something like, “Oh, no, you’re not doing that”, indignantly as if I’ve taken something completely the wrong way and am attacking her out of the blue. She’s constantly getting digs in and escaping getting anything back. I’m left with my confidence in the gutter, but also confused as to whether what just happened was done on purpose, or could she be far less intelligent than I thought or going senile and not actually mean what she seems to mean – somehow doing it as innocently as her reaction to my challenging her on it suggests? It’s hard to blame a mother when you love her (or the part of her that isn’t a mass of defence mechanisms from her own childhood).

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 8th December

      Hi Joanne
      Welcome to EFB ~ I relate to almost everything you are saying. Thank you so much for sharing; I think you have found the right blog! I hope you will keep reading the posts here ~ there is so much clarity and I articulate all the ways that I realized that my mother (for the most part) was not innocent and that she was conscious of what she was doing. This isn’t about understanding them so much as it is about validating the damage that their treatment and attitudes towards us has caused and flipping the lies about how this has defined us, back to the truth about the lovely people we actually are.
      Thank you so much for sharing
      Hugs, Darlene

  3. By: DXS Posted: 6th December

    Hi Rishu.

    My mom is COVERT. She is so covert, she isn’t aware of herself. She manipulates covertly. I think it’s something she learned as a child. I am trying to uncover the truth, but I haven’t yet.

    When my mom gets her feelings hurt, WATCH OUT! But when MY feelings are hurt, I’m “too sensitive.” I don’t get it. Why is it wrong for HER feelings to get hurt, but I’m “too sensitive?” Part of what Darlene calls the “crazy making.”

    Sometimes I think she is jealous of me. I’m way more intelligent that she is. I’m not bragging, just stating a fact. I’m kind of one of those people who are way intelligent in the brain, but have a hard time reading other people. I have gotten better at it over the years.

  4. By: DXS Posted: 6th December

    Hadn’t seen any activity from Darlene in awhile, so came here to check. well, this post seems to have been resurrected from the dead, and it’s what I’m feeling now. My mom blames ME for her issues. She is the one who has issues, and I get blamed. I guess I get blamed for making her have to see her issues. My mom wears rose colored glasses and everything is what she thinks it is, whether it is or not.

    The only think I want for Christmas is for my mom to love me and value me. She did everything she was SUPPOSED to, but that is what it felt like. SUPPOSED TO. OBLIGATED TO. Those are the things I learned from her. Once during an argument, I got my mom to reveal (after I did a Law and Order SVU interrogation of her) that she had been “told” how to feel as a child. This explained a lot! Now I understand why she kept trying to MAKE me “feel” a “certain way.” And my belief that she only love me as long as I pretended to be what she wanted me to be. And I carried this belief into relationships. BE WHAT THEY WANT YOU TO BE OR YOU DON’T GET LOVED! That’s what I learned. That is what I am trying to break free from, and Mom refuses to discuss this. She keeps saying, “I have apologized, what more do you want?” Her apologies mean NOTHING! She is just saying, “I’m sorry” because she wants me to stop being angry with her, not because she is remorse for how she treated me. She still will not admit to any wrongdoing, instead, she just wants to “Sweep under the rug.” I wrote her a letter saying I wanted to see her and TALK. She emailed me and said, that I could come visit any time I wanted. I emailed back and said, I WANT TO BE INVITED! And it stopped there. Apparently she can’t bring herself to “invite” me. And that’s a “tell” to me. More proof of what I have known all along.

    A long time ago, I forced her to reveal something from her childhood. It was something pretty icky. I don’t want to mention it here. I feel that the childhood thing is related to why she lied to me when I needed an OB/GYN exam at the age of 12. (The “lie” was that she failed to tell me what was going to happen, and then scolded me for being “rude” to the doctor. HELL, I WAS TRAUMATIZED!) I want her to talk about that.

    She can’t. So, I can’t love her back.

  5. By: Rishu Posted: 6th December

    I thought I was alone.

    We always hear about how unconditional a mother’s love is and always presume mom to be the most caring. Though that image didn’t suit mine, I use to believe others WERE like that.

    I’m 28 and my mother has a contact need to be reassured that she us right, she is valued and she is powerful. For this she lie, act, and even play politics. Me and my second oldest brother are her victims who are constantly being blamed for almost everything that goes around in the family. And dad too, is blamed for everything. She looks for allies who agrees with her in blaming dad, and it is me and my second oldest brother who doesn’t join the league. Hence she declares us both as enemies and always treat us like second class citizen.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 6th December

      Hi Rishu
      Welcome to Emerging from Broken!
      Sounds like you have found the right website! You are certainly NOT alone. 🙂
      Hugs, Darlene

  6. By: Jean Posted: 25th November

    Thank you for this article. It describes my relationship with my mother – both as a child and as an adult – quite accurately. It has been only after engaging in hard, humbling, and enlightening therapy that I have been able to understand my mother and myself, and to finally feel that I am a worthy person, flaws and all – as we all are! And here’s a personal observation about what happens when you are able to “prove” the truth: Yes, it then becomes everyone else’s fault, not the mother’s; and the now-adult child continues to be blamed; and the malice and vindictiveness escalate…which has been very sad and very shocking to me. I am now able to withstand this and move forward knowing that detaching is the best thing I can do for myself. I will always love my mother, but I must love my mother from afar.

  7. By: Jennifer Mallory Posted: 9th November

    I so get this and can’t believe there’s someone else out there that shares this plight with me. My mom is exactly this way and I’m 36 just now learning to recognize WHY I hate her and notice her manipulative tactics. I’ve recently started remembering things from early childhood, before sexual abuse started, like her jumping out of the car she was driving and leaving me in the backseat. She drug me along to several suicide attempts and treated me (us) like garbage the rest of the time. She’s always been more important than everyone else all the while voicing how selfish everyone else is. Like you I’ve always been told I am dramatic and exaggerattive and she doesn’t believe me about my abuse. The attention must always be on her and basically, if she isn’t ‘worshipped’ by us, she tells everyone how awful we are. People tend to think my rage and anxiety surrounding her is unfounded because they don’t see the real version of her very often. False guilt has entangled me my whole life but God is walking me through this journey of seeing the truth with books and blogs like this and an awesome therapist :). Memories started surfacing this year after I had surprise twins, a son leave for college and we moved houses. Lots of change and stress I suppose that squeezed it out in pieces. That’s why I’ve sought help finally. Thank you for your openess. I’m loving the book!

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 11th November

      Hi Jennifer
      Welcome to Emerging from Broken! My goodness, thank you for sharing your story. What a nightmare. I totally see where your rage was born.
      Please share often,
      hugs, Darlene

  8. By: steven Posted: 17th October

    My mother prioritises her own sisters feelings over mine or she prioritises her sisters image over mine. My aunt interfered in a private matter but probably on my mothers behalf. My mother simply refuses to accept any disagreement has happened. She has stated that ‘nothing happened’ and ‘nobody saw anything’. Its hurtful and it suggests madness on my part. I have witnesses but they are not counted. It is a strange thing to avoid a family row with her sister and to silence me. She has created a hell of a disagreement with me. I have forgiven it and she has made the false apology. She has when under pressure returned to her ‘nobody saw anything’ and suggesting madness on my part. I cannot now forgive it again. It is insulting. It shows a preference for her sister. I called my aunt to make things right and my mother even though I did this- insists I did not do so inviting my madness. Suggesting my imagination over contacting my aunt. It is all about pride and image. It really hurt at first now I just find it sad for her and for me. A mother always looking at her sisters life and comparing? I havent read much about this. Is it common?

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 19th October

      Hi Steven
      Welcome to EFB ~ Yes this is common. I was shocked to learn just how common!
      Thanks for sharing,
      hugs, Darlene

      • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 31st October

        After a pretty big break from writing on the blog I have published a new post!! Check it out on the home page or at this link ~https://emergingfrombroken.com/how-abusers-and-perpetrators-get-away-with-it/

        “How abusers and Perpetrators Get Away with It.”
        hugs, Darlene

  9. By: Mary-Grace Posted: 9th August


    I think the exact same thing: How could a parent DO this to their own kids??

    I look at how I was raised and how we are raising our two daughters.
    I would never, not in a million YEARS, do what my mom or sibs have done.
    What I thought was normal and ok…just wasn’t…and never will be.

    To be IN contact means going back to abuse, and I won’t do that…not any more.

  10. By: jojo Posted: 9th August

    She doesn’t realize it, but she leaks truth and can’t seem to keep the original lie straight. I love this phrase it sums up my nm so well, I am beginning to find her lies (that I hear through relatives as I am now nc) hilarious now that I can see how they are changed each time, its like jackanory, bring a book children!!

  11. By: Unknown Posted: 18th July

    My mother is exactly like this she hurts me over and over again never admits to her wrong doing and I always forgive her and let it go but this time I forgave her but I just distance myself and my kids because I refused to keep letting this cycle happen and my kids don’t need to be around such an angery hateful person. She calls me all kinds of names said really bad things about my kids and still yet and all I forgave her??? But not from a distance it’s sad to say with out her around my life is just so much more calm peaceful and I’m much happier. I look at my children and wonder how can any mother treat there own children like my mother does to me. I would never bring harm to them it baffles me how there are people out there that truly need help but instead of seeking it they choose to play the victim and pointing finger game. Thanks for this post because I’ve come to realize it isn’t me it’s her and the up brining she had.

  12. By: S1988 Posted: 14th July

    I can understand that, d ch and Mary-Grace. (And I’m on what I call “Estrangement Round 2”.)

    During the first estrangement, I had a lot of conflicting feelings and guilt. Now during the second (and hopefully the last), I find that those feelings have lessened. This is the first time in my life that I felt so free. I’m currently staying in a small, old-fashioned studio apartment with my cat. (I stayed with roommates for a while, but that didn’t work out so well. I don’t want to go into details about it.) It’s nice to be where I can feel emotionally safe. No more living like I’m a prisoner. I’m pretty much of a homebody loner anyway, and except for my cat, I can’t imagine sharing living space with anyone else again. I never want to give up this freedom and hope that I’m never in a situation where I have little choice but to seek my mother for assistance again. (Shudder!)

  13. By: d ch Posted: 14th July

    It is a struggle. I’m having some guilty moments right now re: No Contact since March 2015.

  14. By: Mary-Grace Posted: 14th July

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience and recovery.
    I have struggled alone with the complex emotions which come with no contact with abusive family of origin. Your posts have affirmed for me that I AM on the right track and I AM healthy. It’s hard to overcome the “noise” of all my mind & hearts’ second guessing but the new, free life I am no leading is so worth the process. I’m happier, more content than I ever have been in my entire life. The questions that cycle (when I let them) is “why” and “how can people be so cold, blind AND just plain mean?” & and “how can witnesses just stand by?”
    If you have any insight on those questions I would be interested but my guess is “who really knows another man’s heart, but God?”
    I’m grateful to have learned, even at the relatively later age of 44 of just how broken my family is…I’ve had 4 yrs to heal and I feel better, SOOO much better, every day.
    Thank you for your encouraging words of sanity and hope.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 15th July

      Hi Mary Grace
      Welcome to EFB ~ in a nutshell, ~ for the controllers, they have their worth mixed up with power. (in other words they think power proves their worth) ~ For the witnesses, people will do whatever they believe will keep them the safest and side with whoever they are the most afraid of. I don’t focus on the answers to those questions here in this site because there is really no solution in trying to understand the sick behaviour of others. :/
      hugs, Darlene

  15. By: Julieanne Posted: 12th July

    I can relate to the statement you made about no matter how many times I tried to talk with her about it and explain how I felt, she never understood. I thought if I could only find the right words, the magic words, that surely it was my inability to communicate effectively…

    I now know that I was attempting to gain understanding from someone determined to misunderstand. It was not going to matter how many ways I said it, eventually I simply stopped talking.

    To this day, I have a need to believe that I am heard. If I don’t feel someone is willing to hear me, I begin to pull away. If they continue, the person will eventually lose me altogether, eventually I will stop talking and finally they will be removed from my life. I no longer have unhealthy relationships in my life (for long).

  16. By: Layla Posted: 19th June

    Thank you Darlene! This really is more helpful than I can express. It’s a very confusing thing to go though, especially when you keep trying to reach out and still set boundaries you know you deserve. I’m glad you have been able to not only learn from your experiences, but have been willing to share them too so that we can all heal and grow.

  17. By: d ch Posted: 18th June

    From Toxic Guilt. Danu Morrigan

    Rather, toxic shame is the shame we carry to our very core about who we are. And it’s not surprising that DONMs have a lot of that. We were taught to be deeply ashamed of ourselves. We were taught that we were flawed, shameful, born broken. We had to be seen to be so damaged so she could be seen (by herself at least, but also by others) to be so perfect.

    And we took that and carried it, because we knew no better. And we carry it still.

    Feeling, like I said, that we are innately broken and damaged and grotesque. That if others knew this truth about us they’d never want anything to do with us. And so, always hiding ourselves, portraying what feels like a false self. And so feeling (and in one way, being) inauthentic as we hide what we think is our true selves.

    Me – Guess what NM? Im not to blame, no shame for so many of your lies about me!

  18. By: Hobie Posted: 18th June

    Thank you Pam!

    There are things that I understand somewhere inside but struggle to articulate. This is a big one. It’s funny that most of the time I think about how hard it is to translate the things I understand in my head to things that I can know in my heart where they can become a part of my life. I never thought much about the reverse process also being difficult.

    What you’ve written here is helpful. I’ve got to print it out and put it somewhere that I can absorb it!


  19. By: Pam Posted: 17th June

    Hobie, I’m sure Darlene has more to add here but this is something I have to work on a lot too. It’s helpful for me to remind myself that love isn’t enabling. True love is expressed by doing what is good for the other person and enabling isn’t good for anyone. I grew up understanding love as an emotional bond, a fondness. That is part of love but love is also, the way in which I want to treat everyone. I also, want to be loved in this way. I want to be respected, I want to be told the truth, I want to be valued, I want to be appreciated for who I am without having to perform some service, I want to be regarded as an equal, I want to be treated with kindness and forgiveness. All these things are my definition of love.

    I used to think my love could change some of the people who were abusive to me. My definition of love was off because I thought a powerful emotional bond meant I had to take whatever they dished out and I was also, wrong about my love being able to change another person’s behavior. I now know it is loving behavior to respect myself and set boundaries because I can’t love others as I love myself if I don’t begin with loving myself. I also, know now that love can make a difference in a person’s life if they are open to love but there are people who’s hearts are so hardened to love that they don’t even recognize it or want it. They would much rather get their needs met through abuse because what they love is power. No matter how much love I pour out on them, it rolls off like water runs off of rock. You know, I still love these people but doing so from a distance is best for both of us because it is the only way I can maintain the love and respect that I have for myself and keep myself safe from them. I love them by wishing only good things for them and by hoping something happens in their lives that will bust up some of that rock so they are able to understand that mutual love is better than power over another. I could just as easily hate them from a distance but I choose to love them, not because it will change them but because by choosing love over hate, I maintain my own integrity.


  20. By: Hobie Posted: 17th June

    Hi Darlene,
    One of the most significant things that you say here is how continuing to put up with mistreatment and abuse is NOT love for us OR them. I understand it and I need to be reminded of it more often than I want to admit!

    I’ve been wondering if there’s corresponding statement about what love IS? I know you mention mutual respect, but can that be expanded?


  21. By: Molly Posted: 16th June

    Amazing Darlene, I swear we had the same mother. You have really opened my eyes within the last year. Seeing hugs from a different perspective. Thank you, I pray for you every night in the event it will be he only way to repay you and hopefully give it away one day. I have yet to meet another human being with the same relationship as I have with my mother. Detachment is the key phrase. What I’ve learned is that my mother hates herself sooo much. It makes me sad. In fact she doesn’t hate me at all. She can’t stand herself. She has so much guilt and shame. I took all this on myself I think. I don’t know if we will ever have a relationship again but I do know that the only way for me to move forward is to keep talking about it and practice love for myself. Embrace my own feelings and let them go. Working on letting go of the bad stuff is hard. I’d love to know your thoughts on that one. I’ve been so angry and hurt these past few months trying to figure it all out. Figure her out and I’ve missed out on all my good healthy relationships. I can’t blame anyone but myself. This for me is when I begin to heal. Moving forward for all the right reasons. I’m sorry you went through all you did but it’s all helping me. You are an inspiration Darlene. Keep this up.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 17th June

      Hi Molly
      I was able to let go when I saw clearly the damage done to me and when I understood the real definition of love. I realized that it isn’t love for me to continue to put up with my mothers treatment of me. It isn’t love for me OR her. Accepting her treatment of me and continuing to strive to understand HER, was like I was ‘agreeing with her’ that the problem was ME, and I couldn’t do it anymore.
      I also had to put the blame where it belonged (as a stepping stone to freedom) because although I was an adult, I got where I was (broken) because of the way I had been regarded and disregarded. Seeing that made a huge difference. I talk about this stuff almost every day but I don’t live there anymore. I am free. I wake up excited about life and about all that my life is!
      hugs, Darlene

  22. By: Michelle Posted: 16th June

    My relation to this blog is generational. Not only does my mother blame me, but my Grandmother, once my Grandfather died, blamed all of her bad behaviors towards me on her deceased husband literally right after he died. Neither she nor my mother can take responsibility for their actions.

    When my son was 18-months-old, I saved my money and made the trip from California to Tennessee so that my grandparents could meet their great grandson. I felt like that was my responsibility as you never know how long they will be around. The trip there was challenging as my son had a melt down at O’Hare while we were waiting for our last flight, but when we finally got to Tennesse, he was calm. My grandparents picked us up and we drove another two hours to their house. In the last 10 – 15 minutes of the ride to their house, my son who had been traveling ALL DAY got fussy. OMG!

    Things were tense and awkward at my grandma’s house. I was unable to bring a pack-n-play or playpen so I had to lay down with him until he went to sleep for naps and bedtime. About our third or fourth night there, I was in putting my son to bed and I heard the phone ring. Shortly after the phone rang, my son was asleep and I snuck out of the room. As I walked down the hall to the living room, I could hear my grandmother telling my mother, who was on the phone, what a “spoiled brat” my son was and that he “screamed the whole way home” and that I had been in the room for “two hours” trying to put him to bed (try 30 minutes). I was PISSED! Treat me like shit, but DO NOT F**K with my kids!

    My grandmother got to a point in the conversation where she was going to see if I wanted to talk to my mom and started telling my mother that she didn’t know if I was done putting my son to bed. I spoke up and told her I had been standing behind her for the last 10 minutes. I took the call in the other room and told my mother that I was not going to stand for this and that I would be confronting her mother. She encouraged me not to do it.

    After I finished speaking to my mother, I went back to the living room and told my grandmother, point blank, “I was standing behind you while you were talking to my mother and I don’t appreciate you lying about my son and calling him a spoiled brat. We came a long way to see you and deserve to be treated better.” My grandmother replied, “You ought to be ASHAMED of . yourself!” I responded, “Of what, Grandma, telling the truth? You obviously can’t seem to do that.” We went round and round that night. It was me against her AND my grandfather. I had my first panic attack and almost had to go to the hospital due to the chest pains being so severe.

    Ultimately, I had my airline ticket changed and had them give me a ride to the airport the next day. They complained that my grandfather was missing work at his minimum wage job that day so I paid him for 8 hours and gas to take me to the airport. They took it. Later that year, my grandmother sent me a birthday card. I called her and told her that she didn’t need to send me anything if she couldn’t treat me with respect to my face. She told me that I needed a psychiatrist. She was the one that was on librium for 20+ years and had to have someone with her while she was jonesin’ comin’ off of it.

    My mother she pretends to take responsibility but plays smoke-n-mirrors while she’s really turning it around and blaming it back on me or minimizing what she did. I’ve learned though that I can’t have a relationship with her which is why I am NC, but in the event that I ever have to have contact with her again, it will be on paper. She doesn’t realize it, but she leaks truth and can’t seem to keep the original lie straight.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 17th June

      I loved reading your account of how you confronted! And even though she continued to point the finger of blame at you, and continued to say that the problem was you and YOU needed help, YOU stood strong on the actual truth about the situation!!!
      This story is exactly ~ EXACTLY~ what I am talking about!!
      Yay for you!
      Thanks for sharing!
      hugs, Darlene

  23. By: Jenn Posted: 16th June

    Yes it is best not to respond or answer personal questions. In the moment, I was actually eager to tell her where my glasses came from. She is always so proud of her thrift store ‘finds’, I thought she would be proud, or at least not nasty, about mine. I mean my goodness, I handed her the opportunity to say “Yep ! You have the gift! You are just like your Mother” Then I remembered…she hasn’t said that since I was 12. About the same time she started hateing me. Of course I know it is because that was also the age I wanted to become my own person. I know wjar she is, I know she will nor change. Which is why I must remember these things so I don’t slip up and expect anything different then what she is. I do not love my mother. Not because I hate, or Iam a bad person, but because she is not loveable.

  24. By: Layla Posted: 16th June

    Dear Darlene,
    I love your blog, mostly because it helps to know I’m not alone and I find it helpful to read through experiences and learn from how others are dealing with similar situations. I especially related to the article from “Hurt Mother.” I’m struggling with that boundary right now too, since I love and respect my mother, and try to remember her the way she was before.

    But recently I’ve realized I’m not the problem and trying to distance my relationship. For the last 16 years I’ve heard nothing but “You’re the cause of all the problems in this house,” “What did I do to deserve a daughter like you,” “I wish God would just take away the burden that is you,” and “You’re not finding a decent job because God is punishing you of how you talk to me, and unless you do what I say, God will keep punishing you, because Mother’s are the embodiment of God on earth.” It messed with my head. She’s called me a whore and a prostitute when I was younger cause I had guys that said they liked me and that she says no man would ever like me unless I did something first, but not consider myself a catch. It got worse as the years went on, but she doesn’t treat my brother that way. I just started to hide any an all emotions, feelings or opinions. I became skilled at walking without making sound just to avoid her in the house cause she’s usually muttering something bad about me even if I’m not in the room. One incident: she tried to fix me up online, and I told her I wasn’t comfortable meeting a guy that way even though it may work for some people. She later sends an email saying she found a girl who was willing to take her advice and agreed to be set up and that was the moment when she finally felt like a mother.

    I actually used to shake just thinking about talking to her, and I’m till full of anxiety just thinking about having to talk to her. There’s no break though because she makes me call her every night and if I don’t she’ll call incessantly until i pick up. But it always ends with her telling me she doesnt know why she talks to me. So i tried calling my dad instead. She picked up the phone and just yelled about why I was calling my father instead of her. I’m 30. And I just got yelled at for calling my own father. I’m still trying to make sense of this.

    I’m not even sure how to make this relationship better. I try to tell her I’d like to be able to talk to her as a friend since I’m older now, and it lasts for a day, before she reverts back to being mean. I’m reading all your comments and stories, which helps. I feel so guilty cause she’s still my mom and I do love her, but she just doesn’t respect me as a person, let alone as a her daughter.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 17th June

      Hi Layla
      Welcome to EFB ~ I am glad that you are here. I understand what you are going through in all this. Keep reading the articles for clarity. With clarity about my own value and a new understanding of what love is, I was able to stand up to this treatment and find my freedom from disrespectful people who had no regard for me. Love is not a one way street. (and love is not putting up with insults and nasty actions) ~ the fear comes from the childhood belief system that is developed in order to cope as a child. EFB is about how I found a new way to look at the truth about what was happening and realized that I deserved better. Love and respect in healthy relationship, are mutual.
      Thank you so much for sharing. There is a ton of info in this website!
      hugs, Darlene

  25. By: S1988 Posted: 15th June


    Maybe it’s best that you don’t answer her if she asks personal questions. Besides, it’s none of her business where you got the sunglasses. I can’t stand it when people ask nosy questions. I should know because that’s something my mother does, and if I give her an answer she doesn’t like, she scolds me like a naughty child, as if I need permission to be an adult. I took care of that by having very little to do with her. She leaves messages and texts me at times, but I give her the silent treatment. I’m not sure why she likes to pretend that we have a relationship when we really don’t.

    Here are some things you can say the next time she’s nosy: “Why do you ask?” “That is none of your business.” “I rather not discuss this.” “That’s between that person and me.” I admit I slip up sometimes since it’s hard to “de-program” the way one was raised, but I believe it improves with practice.

    It’s funny since she doesn’t like it when people are in her business (especially if it’s related to how she treated me), but feels entitled to pry into my personal life just because she’s my mother. Why is she entitled to privacy, but I’m not? I also had a roommate like this a few weeks ago. Even if I’m going out or heating up something in the microwave, I was asked “Where are you going?” “What are you eating?” I thought, why constantly bombard me with personal questions when I never did that to him? I felt like I was with my mother all over again. Thankfully because of other chaos that happened there which I prefer not to mention, I now live in a studio apartment with my cat. The perks about living alone is that I can do what I want without judgement from nosy, control freaks. In my opinion, people who constantly wonder what one’s up to have too much time on their hands.

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