Valued Contributor
Posts: 791
Registered: ‎08-24-2011

@noodleann I have a very big lump in my throat as I read what you endured. I am so, so sorry. Having been through violence the first 12 years of my life at my mother and stepfather's hands, I can truly relate. My stepfather died when I was 12, and then my mother began in earnest to increase the abuse, mental and emotional. I left home at 15, and now at 72, I am still dealing with it. Years of therapy never seemed to address the particular "axe to the heart" of a brutal mother. Our society hasn't allowed seeing mothers as anything other than saints. Look at the coffee cups, T shirts, etc. that praise a mother's love. But the dark underbelly of the truth, that an awful lot of women are bad mothers, is starting to emerge. And I hope it brings enlightenment to the children who suffer at their hands. God Bless You. 

Honored Contributor
Posts: 9,766
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Last night on the news I heard a pastor mentoring people with trauma say that

PTSD is with you for your whole life. It is not something you can bleach and clean away with clorox or anything.

To me that was comforting because there have been so many times the images and memories come up and I am sad again, crying again. And I think, I am sorry (God) that I am still sad about all this. Then it goes away and there is life for the day. But it is always there. We are told that yes we should get over it etc etc.

For me I was lucky.I learned how a human being should act and what love was from my mother but how a human being should not ever act from my father. 

And maybe knowing what a parent went thru themselves in childhood, I can feel sympathy for that child but it doesn't erase the trauma or painful memories of how they acted as an adult and parent, not only to the children but grandchildren as well. 

There are so many things in our lives that will always be there. I recognize now that they make up my whole life.

I also know that my children have said, I have been through a lot of trauma and I say no I haven't as if I was another personor trying to erase it all but then realize all the things come racing back and I wonder how I could have said that.

I guess that is the defense mechanism, trying to hope the memories don't come back, making it another part of our lives.And I do try to put it away like that was another life.

For me I don't know if I was born with empathy for others, or having lived through a lot of traumatic things

makes me even more empathetic to others who have suffered. Sometimes I even envy people who don't feel so much but that would take away all the love and closeness I have with my children and animals and people I love.

I am so sorry for all that everyone here has gone through but also amazed as others have said, of what incredible and giving people so many of you are here. And yes, that is a testiment to your own hearts.

"If you walk the footsteps of a stranger, you'll learn things you never knew. Can you sing with all the voices of the mountains? can you paint with all the colors of the wind?"
Honored Contributor
Posts: 19,578
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

It seems we're all in a club that we wish didn't exist.


One thing I recall lamenting for many years was that I always thought it must be so awesome to have a mother who loves you.   Aside from all the physical, mental, and emotional abuses, I saw other peoples' lives to the extent that I could see what it must have been like to have a mother who loved you and it seemed really great, just all on its own.


Instead of being called names and told how stupid and worthless you were, I always wondered how it could be to have her be proud of you.


It's too late for me.  I've just had to come to accept that my life, at this point, has no value and I'm mostly just taking up space and air.  I try to do little things to feel like I'm a part of something and maybe make something better for somebody else.  Even if I can make somebody smile I feel rich beyond belief because a smile and laughter is a special gift, IMO.


My thoughts and positive vibes go out to all of you who have suffered at the hands of a cruel and hateful so-called mother, or father figure.  At least we're not alone and that also means a lot, even though I wish nobody else had to be in this club.  When you're growing up with the cruelty you DO feel all alone.


I think I mentioned once or twice over the years that you couldn't go to anybody with it back when I was a kid. The one time that somebody at school noticed some things about me, including injuries, and brought me in to talk to me I thought maybe that would be my way out.  Maybe I could get adopted by somebody else and not live in that anymore.  So I talked a little bit, only about the beatings and such.  Well, what happened was that they went to my abuser and talked to her about it.  That did not end well for me.  I was just a little kid at the time and, that day, I learned to never open my trap again.  

Trusted Contributor
Posts: 1,216
Registered: ‎12-01-2012

These things can be so complicated.  My 5 siblings and I have tried through the years to piece together what went wrong with my dad, why he developed narcissistic personality disorder (NPD - for sure).  Apparently it does go back to a "bad mother" and attachment disorder, his mother, my grandmother, the one good thing in my life!


I guess I was "lucky" in some sense of the word, incredibly unlucky in others.


Aside from the fact that NPD has a 40-60% heritability factor, my grandmother became very ill shortly after the birth of my dad.  She contracted a venereal disease from her husband that left her sick in bed for months and left her sterile and addicted to doctor- prescribed morphine in 1935.


As evidenced by the prevalence of heroin addicts often turning to alcohol to get off heroin, she became an alcoholic.  Her own father, raised in an orphanage, was a classic alcoholic who would disappear for months at a time.  Her mother had lost a 4 year old girl, her sister, to scarlet fever a few months before my grandmother was born. 


Ironically, my grandmother had told me that she felt her own mother did not "bond properly" with her, due to the grief she was suffering when she,the new baby girl, was born, only 4 months after losing the other little girl.


A divorce followed when dad was 5.  My great-grandmother was dad's primary caretaker as his mother attempted another marriage that lasted another 5 years, then remarried a third time when he was 11. By this time he was a problem child, bouncing between living with his mother and stepfather for one school year, and his grandparents in another town within our county, the next. 


Mom was born on a farm, the youngest of 3 girls.  Happy, giggly, cute, and naive, she and dad married when she was 17 and he was 18.  I was born a little over a year later, and my grandmother, dad's mom, made a remark that I was "the baby she should have had, but never could", because of the gonorrhea that had left her sterile after the birth of her son.


I did not find out about this until after she died, but now realize why my dad had it in for me since day one.  I was the "scapegoat", my brother "the golden child" basketball star, the one put on display so that the family appears "normal" to the outside world.


Dad had had an affair with our neighbor, attractive and 10 years older than him, when I was 6 in 1961.  My mother was 25, dad was 26. 


It was a big blowup and I knew what was going on.  My mother was devastated and heart-broken.  She was never the same, and I knew in my heart I would never hurt another woman in such a manner, the way the neighbor woman had hurt my mother. I was already taking responsibility for how my mother felt.


The marriage survived, and by the time I was 13, there were 6 children.  We moved to a different house with only 2 actual bedrooms.  Dad had a carport built with a basement beneath it, and moved me and my 2 sisters, and 2 little brothers down to the basement.  My 2 sisters and I were crammed into one cubicle, with no doors and plain cement floors, my 2 "baby brothers" into another one.  All our personal items accumulated through the years (all our Christmases, birthdays, and school clothes bought by his mother, my grandma) had been taken to the dump when we moved. 


The oldest "golden child" son got a nice bedroom with windows and a door, to himself, upstairs, next to mom and dad's bedroom and the other separate room reserved for dad's gun collection.


I became "parentified" and wasn't allowed any social life or phone calls.  I had to stay home and babysit the little boys, so mom and dad could watch my brother play football and basketball.  I was expected to record the games on the radio so that he could re-listen to it play by play when they got home.


I was in the 7th grade when mom had a hysterectomy, then became a zombie prescribed every tranquilizer available, Valium and Miltown, I remember. She was flat, uncaring, unemotional, unavailable.


I had won the spelling bee in my class this year, won PTA carnival queen, and elected a to be representative at a girl scout camp - but by this time I was rarely let out of the house. A girlfriend and I overheard our troop leader whispering, "her dad won't let her do anything" and she gave the vote to her own daughter.


I began to feel very different from my peers, and soon the invitations ceased, because I could never go.  I was no longer the most popular girl at school. I felt odd and disoriented.  The abuse had begun.  It took me many years to realize, he didn't want me to have a boyfriend. He wanted to use me for himself.  And he was relentless.


So I fought him and fought him, every morning, every night, for 3 solid years.  Over 1000 instances of sexual assault.  I finally did get a very cute and rather arrogant and brave boyfriend when I was 16 and was brave enough not even to ask if I could go out.  The assaults finally ceased.  I learned in my early 20s that he had then turned to my younger sister.  The third and youngest, he never touched.


I did not even have the words to describe what was happening to me in the late 60s, early 70s.  I was more upset about my sister than what had happened to me.  Felt I had failed her.


Around 30, I turned to a pastor at a church I was attending.  He told me this was "rare" as if I didn't already think that - more I thought it was very weird and sick, being told it was rare did not help me in the least.  


The other thing he said was "One thing I can tell you...your mother "knew" '.  Even then, I could not believe that, but all these years later realize "Of course. she knew!"  She knew, and the drugs were a denial and an escape from a trap from which there was no way out.   I should never have felt responsible for my mother, or my sister, but god!  I did. 


My grandmother, the original "bad mother" had tried so hard to make it up to her son.  She worked full time and spent all her money on us so that her son could buy guns, antique cars, and nice homes, "because he worked hard" and deserved it.  He never spent a nickel on us.  There would have been no Christmas or birthday presents, no nice school clothes, furniture and lamps, if not for her.  But she could never make up the very early years of emotional neglect. 


Each of us siblings have a different version of this, and my golden child brother still tries to blame shift from my dad to my grandmother.  My mother always tried to, too.  "Blame Wilma!" she would shout at me. "His childhood!" she would shout.  I asked her once, "What happened to him?"  She could not answer.


He was a "vulnerable" narcissist.  Always feeling sorry for himself.  And we kids and my mother were nothing but objects to be used by him.  He was spoiled in many ways, neglected in another. Felt abandoned by his own father, attracted and repelled by his mother.


Sorry for the book, folks. I am 66 years old today. I am still here.  My 3 children are kind, successful, and loving adults, because I knew what "not" to do.  Its complicated.





























Respected Contributor
Posts: 3,255
Registered: ‎04-04-2015

@suzyQ3 wrote:

@FancyPhillyshopper wrote:


Well, I hope those that feel they need the help are able to use the book for assistance.


I think it is very difficult to label a woman a "bad" mother if her children grow up healthy, educated, and able to fully function in society.  


I think many young women without good role models, a strong partner or a supportive family, or the financial or cultural assets may not even have known what it meant to be a "good" mother.  Additionally, expectations are constantly changing and what was done fifty years ago or more is not necessarily the same.  After all, Victorians used to say children should be seen but not heard.


I also think that people need to look at issues through the lense of time, and by trying to walk the experience of motherhood in their own mother's footsteps.  


Opportunities have vastly changed for women over the many past decades, and certainly sharing knowledge has improved and child-rearing information is more readily available.  


I also think patience, forgiveness and kindness are paramount when dealing with family, because all the relationships are so emotionally charged.


By the way, my mother and I love each other dearly, and we are very happy to be in each other's lives no matter the past.



@FancyPhillyshopper, it's not your fault, but your post is like a punch in the stomach to me, so much so that I can't really go through and explain each of your sentiments and how they hit me. Again, I know that you meant no harm.

Agree.  I would just say that it is very hard for someone who grew up in a happy family - wanted and loved by both parents (or heck even by one) - as my husband was, for example, to understand.  


My mother told me I ruined her life - causing my father (the love of her life) to leave us and divorce her when I was a baby because of my constant crying.  I won't go in to all the emotional abuse I took from her (fully believing that I deserved it).  Years later, after counseling I understood this was a major precipatator to my entering into my first marriage where I was regularly physically abused.  My mother said she was glad I was finally "getting what I deserved."


So yes, eventually, I became healthy, educated with a masters' degree, and fully functioning in society - and even found a wonderful man to marry, but i would still say my mother was a "bad" mother.


I would definitely encourage anyone who suffered from a bad mother to get counseling.  You didn't "deserve" it.  It's fine for people to rationalize that she "did the best she could" - and maybe she did - but she also did a terrible number on you and you were the innocent party.

Super Contributor
Posts: 351
Registered: ‎06-02-2010

To label my mom as a "bad mother" would be a compliment.  I am not a doctor but I believe she had Narcissist Personality Disorder.  But this does not make the fact she abused all 9 of her children ok.  


Because of her abuse I have siblings but no brothers and sisters.  


I didn't know about NPD until about 3 years ago.  And then my nephew died.  I saw my oldest sister become our mom.    

Honored Contributor
Posts: 24,178
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

@ECBG In a previous post you said:


One would think, that most teenage girls probably baby (child) sat which would expose them to dealing with children, but still, society pushed young women to "start a family".


Well, in my world my friends and I didn't do any baby sitting.  I disagree that "most" girls do also.  Plus, I am not sure that always applies to mothers and daughters.


It's a deep and complex subject, unique to each person and I doubt a little understanding and patience goes very far with many situations.


Even loving mothers are not always friends to their daughters, which is a whole different aspect of the situation.  You can love a daughter and that still doesn't mean you are a warm and supportive mother. 


Another issue could be how a mother might compete with her daughter for love, friends, praise and attention that colors a relationship--not always cruelty or lack of love. 


Trusted Contributor
Posts: 1,216
Registered: ‎12-01-2012

@Sooner wrote:

@ECBG In a previous post you said:


One would think, that most teenage girls probably baby (child) sat which would expose them to dealing with children, but still, society pushed young women to "start a family".


Well, in my world my friends and I didn't do any baby sitting.  I disagree that "most" girls do also.  Plus, I am not sure that always applies to mothers and daughters.


It's a deep and complex subject, unique to each person and I doubt a little understanding and patience goes very far with many situations.


Even loving mothers are not always friends to their daughters, which is a whole different aspect of the situation.  You can love a daughter and that still doesn't mean you are a warm and supportive mother. 


Another issue could be how a mother might compete with her daughter for love, friends, praise and attention that colors a relationship--not always cruelty or lack of love. 


I very definitely felt that my mother was jealous of me, for having a job.  She never held a job until I gave her one, a part-time job in the jewelry store I was managing.  I continued for years upon years trying to gain my mother's affection.


My sisters always used to borrow my clothes that I had paid for with my $2.00 an hour factory job.  One day, I wore a pair of their shoes, and mom was on me right away, "we had to pay for those!"  she said angrily.  I told her that I had to pay for my stuff, too. 


I turned to walk away and "thonk!", she hit me right between my shoulder blades, then said, "you had that coming!"  I was 20 years old and she was never physically violent with me as a child.


She was beginning to have major anger issues with me and others, highly jealous over the smallest of things.


I found two roommates and moved out shortly after that.  Well, it was time, but very difficult with what I earned.  I was again lucky to find a couple of other girls to share expenses with.



Trusted Contributor
Posts: 1,515
Registered: ‎06-26-2011


[ Edited ]

I dscovered Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers and it was such an affirming experience! There is a website (.com) and books by the site's author Danu Morrigan that FINALLY put my experience into perpective and validated it.


Edited to add:

And oh what fun it was to be the primary caregiver for her as she aged. Last year I moved her into a residential care home and it was something I should have done sooner. She performs well for others!

Honored Contributor
Posts: 32,404
Registered: ‎01-08-2011

@GrailSeeker @Sooner 


Thank you for the discussion.


@Sooner , Perhaps we southern girls were the "queens of baby sitting".  Although, I didn't like it particularly, it got me out from my stepmother.


@GrailSeeker My stepmother was jealous of my wardrobe.  My dad's mom dressed me.  I was the eldest granddaughter with long blonde hair.  She had two boys and always wanted a daughter, and in the end became my "mother" in many ways.


Ladies, both discussions remind me of the book "The Cinderella Complex".