Imagine having an incredibly selfish, belittling and tantrum-throwing mother as you grew up? That would suck. I’m linked to a blog called Daughter of a Strange Mother. The blogs on there are worth a read. Fascinating, yet heart-breaking. The first blog I read entitled Memory #14 ended like this:
My Mother did not beat me or engage in clearly abusive acts. She did ongoing little things day in and day out all of my life. It never stops. Even today, when I call her, I have to tell her who I am on the phone first thing otherwise she will ask if it is so and so….a person she hates, a person she knows I know she hates, calling. She recognizes my voice but she finds a little way to let me know I am, in her mind, just like another person she hates.
I read that and wondered “what the hell is wrong with this woman?” Bingo. It occurred to me that this woman is truly disturbed, possibly, maybe, suffering from a personality disorder or who knows, an undiagnosed mental illness. Or maybe she’s juts a bitch. The blogger opines that her mother may be a narcissist and a Munchausen, having spent the author’s life dying of one mishap or another. Whether or not this does indeed amount to a mental disorder, the daughter grew up in a living hell.
The Narcissistic mother chooses one child as the special one, a child who is particularly attractive physically, highly intelligent, or displays artistic or musical talent. This child is worshipped by the mother.The chosen child is the perfect incarnation of the mother. The narcissistic mother chooses another child as the loser. This daughter becomes the target and reservoir for the narcissistic mother’s expression of her feelings of self-hatred and worthlessness. This child is a living disposal for the narcissistic mother’s toxic venom. Neither daughter is in a healthy relationship with the mother. The worshipped child is treated much better yet as soon as she tries to develop autonomy and independence, she is thwarted in this effort by her mother’s frosty silence and other subtle abuses. Neither child escapes her clutches healthy or happy.
There are different degrees and types of malicious, mindless mothers. One is the aforementioned narcissist. The blogger ponders whether or not her mother might have been emotionally abused by her mother. She also allows for the fact that many abused children do not become abusive adults. Her narcissistic mother didn’t raise a hand against her daughter but her emotional manipulations were just as bad, or worse. Every attempt the author made at anything, such as singing or playing in a concert band, her mother found a “subtle” way to laugh at her, just subtle enough that if the daughter responded to her mother’s criticism, I can imagine her mother telling her she was taking things the wrong way, or that she was being sensitive or silly. Imagine the rage. I don’t know offhand if this oddball mother manipulated the author with her own melodramatic behaviours, trying to make it appear that her daughter was unfairly persecuting her. I suspect that was the case.
Mean Mother, Devastating Daughter
Then there is the malicious, mindless mother who believes she is a victim of elder or parental abuse. Doubtless, elder abuse exists and it is a heart-breaking reality. One wonders where does it originate? Is it learned behaviour? Is it revenge for a nightmarish childhood? Or is the daughter simply cruel, pathological and selfish? Most adult children of women who claim to be victims of parental abuse, claim they were raised cruelly, and their mothers are maintaining the abusive cycle of their childhood. I’m not a fan of Dr. Phil, but I found this video (if it’s at all true), to be quite relevant. On the show, Amy and her mother Donna lived in a highly dysfunctional family under the same roof. She claimed Donna called her terrible names when she was a teenager and still does: “white trash” and “bitch“, among many others. She also claimed her mother was a “pathological liar.” Donna claimed Amy has kicked, hit and pushed her against a wall, as well as pushed her over the stairs when she was 16.
In fact, mother and daughter both were guilty of most of the accusations. Amy’s behaviour began when she was 16-years-old with the staircase incident. Her mother admitted she didn’t discipline Amy at that time, nor did she contact authorities although she didn’t know why she hadn’t done so. Ultimately Amy stormed off the show. Cool.
Punch and Judy
Teenage daughters who hit and abuse their mothers physically are not unheard of, although thankfully I’ve never been exposed to such a thing. God help the families who live this way. Here is an idealistic checklist for mothers who are getting abused by their teenage daughters:
- tell your daughter that hitting you is unacceptable. Well, there’s a revelation for you.
- draw up a behavior contract for both you and your teen to sign. I love this one. It doesn’t work with students at school. It won’t work at home.
- withdraw your financial support and remove her from the household….this sends a clear message that you will not tolerate physical abuse. That oughta do it, especially if she stays out of the home and sues for child support. Oops.
- contact law enforcement, per your behavior contract. Meh, mothers never do.
- seek help for the stress and strain you experience after being abused. Don’t forget to ask yourself, “how did my kid end up willing to hurt me anyway?”
- my own personal suggestion: try to figure out if your daughter is using drugs
Freud was never my favourite psychiatrist for many reasons, but he got one thing right: mean mothers destroy their children’s lives. Put in different words: the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.
A young woman named Leslie recalled her personal childhood history: “She spanked us without warning and pitted my sister and I against each other, She was very clever at using emotional abuse to get my sister and I to do what she wanted. The two emotions I remember growing up were fear and obligation.” At the age of about 5, Leslie remembers watching her mother fold towels and jumping in to help, hoping she could “earn some attention. She placed the laundry basket next to me and said, ‘Fine, you want to fold them, here you go,’ and walked out of the room,” she said. “ I kept myself from crying and started folding towels thinking that maybe I could still salvage some attention by finishing folding the towels.” A minute later, still with no acknowledgement and a lump in her throat, Leslie found a way to do the job faster, folding two towels at once. But when her mother returned she slapped Leslie across her head and shoulder and undid all the towels.”The moment I was showing her my fancy new folding trick, when I saw her arm coming up out of the corner of my eye,” said Leslie. “I thought she was going to hug me for thinking of something so clever … I was wrong.”
- name calling;
- threatening to kill the victim’s family or pet;
- controlling access to finances;
- isolating the victim from family and friends;
- coercing the victim to perform degrading, humiliating or illegal acts;
- interfering with job, medical or educational opportunities;
- making the victim feel powerless and ashamed
Mothers tend to use psychological and emotional abuse more often than physical abuse, although the two often go hand-in-hand (pun). Mothers who do use physical discipline with their toddlers, such as spanking, tend to have aggressive children. That would make sense. Children learn what they live, or some such thing.
Little Liar, Liar
Abusive teenage daughters have been known to go to extremes to torment their mothers, or stepmothers. Destiny, the teenager in this video almost admits to lying that her stepmother pinched her, “I mean everybody lies once in their life, I’m not a liar.” riiiight. Everybody lies on occasion, true, and some more than others. but involving the law and children’s services takes a lie to a whole new, malicious level. Brat.
This video deviates (pun) somewhat from this blog in that it involves a dreadful mother of a 3-year-old son, rather than daughter. However, it certainly portrays the astounding physical and emotional abuse that are a focus of this blog. The child’s uncle contacted Children’s Services who did nothing to assist the little boy who was:
- left alone in the dark for days on end
- unfed for days
- left in a urine-soaked pyjama and diapers
- untreated for medical illness
- unable to speak
The Monstrous mother in this video claimed she “didn’t know what she was doing, but things have changed now.”As sick and pathological as this woman is, she had the courage to reveal herself on public television, presumably seeking help in raising her little boy (assuming the episode has any truth to it).
Lucille, was African-American, 69, with severe diabetes and nearly blind. She lived with her daughter. Lucille experienced 16 years of abuse by her ex-husband. Despite her knowledge of this history of abuse, Lucille’s daughter arranged for Lucille’s husband to stay with her mother during the day. A counselor visited Lucille and her daughter at home. The counselor informed the daughter that Lucille did not want her ex-husband alone with her during the day, while the daughter was at work. She stated that the stress would kill her. “I don’t want him around me,”Lucille said. The daughter responded, “There’s two sides to every story. She can’t be alone.” She refused to consider a nursing home as an option for her mother. Despite the counselor’s warning that Lucille was afraid that her ex-husband will continue to abuse her, the daughter refused to change the arrangement. “My mother is going to have to adjust. I understand my Mother. I know she’s not happy, but things are going to get better. She must be patient.” The counselor probed, “And if she can’t?” The daughter agreed that she would consider a different living arrangement. Whether or not this came about was unreported.
Mother’s Misery Love Company
This sad blog begins: Several years ago during an innocent car ride, she sneered at me “You look just like those women your father cheats on me with… light skin and big boobs.” I subscribe to the basic idea that my mother is chronically and fundamentally unhappy, and punishes me like an out-of-line prisoner for attempting freedom.
Several paragraphs later, the author blogged: After bitter tears of hurt, I finally realized with amazing clarity that it JUST DOESN’T MATTER. It doesn’t matter if I don’t raise my voice. It doesn’t matter that I was too big when I carried weight and too small when I lost weight. It doesn’t matter if I use a plane or a train. If I’m not doing something that makes her the center of my world to soothe her emotional needs, then I’m doing something that deserves her verbal abuse.
Another blog the author wrote questioned how does “honour thy father and mother” translate in 21st century terms? As far as I’m concerned, respect has to be earned. Who can tolerate and respect any of the mothers (or daughters) profiled in this blog? Why would you want to waste your life trying to please someone who is incapable of love?There is a simple and poignant quote from Matthew 7:6, in the New Testament of the King James Bible, “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.“ Yes, you are the pearls. Yes your abusive mother is swine. If you had the misfortune to be born into a dysfunctional, abusive family, you have the right, and probably God’s (or whoever you believe in) permission to not honour thy mother, to turn your back and walk away. Mothers, the same is true of your and your abusive daughters. You too have the right to not cast pearls before swine. She’s only going to shit all over them anyway.
An abusive mother committed several sadistic acts against her son and daughter over seven years including:
- shaving her daughter’s head five times from the age of 6 until 11 to humiliate her at school.
- Putting her children into bedrooms that were so cold her son got frostbite.
- Both children were made to work long days at travellers’ market stall.
- Dunking her son’s heads into freezing cold water.
- Starving her daughter and her son.
- Fooling a social worker by giving her son toys to play with and feeding the children, then punishing them after the worker left.
Incredibly, Linda Clappison received only 18 months in a county jail, Keyingham, East Yorkshire. Clappison told the court that she was once a “caring mother” but her “character changed” after receiving a letter from a fortune-teller, Liz Smith. The judge stated “Something went very, very badly wrong in your life and in your mind.”
Mothers with the Cinderella complex are among the worst. This mother had two daughters, one who was “pretty” and the other who was “smart” (and fat and unfeminine). She abused the “smart” daughter in the extreme:
- ignored and neglected her during childhood
- blamed the daughter’s son’s bipolar disorder on the daughter
- refused to visit her daughter when her son attempted suicide
- blamed the suicide attempt on her daughter
- accused her of favoring one son over the other (that sounds familiar)
The one worrisome accusation in this summary was the possible cycle of favoritism among children. The mother may well have been projecting her own flawed mothering upon her adult daughter but abuse is also repeated among generations.
There is always an idealistic step-by-step program to heal an abusive relationship. Meh, better than none at all. The above article suggests:
- realize your mother’s abuse is not about you – it is about her and her issues. riiiight. How is a little girl supposed to figure that one out?
- Tell the people you are close to about your experiences. Voicing your pain will help you let go of it. Personally, I think that is bullcrap. But try it. What the heck?
Seek professional help. With a therapist or as part of a support group, you’ll have the opportunity to discuss the abuse you suffered in a safe, accepting environment. That one sounds reasonable.4. Work toward forgiving your mother. This is one of the most difficult aspects of overcoming an abusive relationship and probably the stupidest advice ever. If I was unlucky enough to have an abusive mother it would never happen. With my daughter, different story. She’s a teenager, not an adult and doesn’t owe me protection and security. Here’s how my forgiveness to a narcissistic mother would sound: I forgive you for being a lowlife who had no business having me or any of my siblings. Damn you. Freak. Amen.