8 thoughts on ““You Turned Out Fine:” How People Marginalize the Effects of a Toxic Childhood

  • February 5, 2018 at 10:30 am

    Yes, thank you! I’ve talked about this so many times. It’s one of those concepts that is fraught with frustrating human nature. Like our desire to eat chocolate over cauliflower. If a kid at 2 is a tyrant we are more than prepared to blame the parents and even give them “you should really…” advice. And often at that age the culprit is not parenting but a developing brain. But if someone is a total jerk at 20, you tend to hear, “I don’t know what could be going on with him. You were such a great Mom.” I’ve witnessed many kids interact with their parents and have thought to myself, you’re creating a monster!
    From a physical side, kind of tongue and cheek, my mother smoked while pregnant with me. At the time the dangers weren’t as widely known. I like to say that yes, perhaps “I turned out fine” physically. But just think of what might have been! 6’2” / 200lbs instead of 5’10” / 165lbs. 😉

  • February 6, 2018 at 4:20 am

    A very validating and interesting article.

    Do you think that society will ever accept that mothers can be very abusive to their children? I have gone through all the steps you discuss and have achieved a great deal of healing.

    But now I feel stuck. I know and understand exactly what happened to me and why. But because society as a whole and the people I come into contact with, do not accept the existence of this type of abuse, in any shape or form, I am left feeling that I do not belong to society. I have lost what family of origin I had, and with in-laws, neighbours, (very few) friends etc, I feel that I have to pretend to be someone and something that I am not. Consequently, I tend to avoid social situations because “playing along” doesn’t feel true to myself.

    I am so lucky to have a lovely husband and grown up children. They are the only people with whom I can truly be myself and be accepted.

    It would be so good if society as a whole could start to listen to our stories, even just a little.

    Thank you for all your writings on this topic. I have found so much support from them.

    • February 6, 2018 at 5:46 am

      Angie, My hope is that eventually we can start a better and different dialogue. The mother myths don’t just marginalize the unloved child; they stifle and shame the woman who is having trouble being a mother and prevent her from getting help and support.

    • March 17, 2018 at 11:19 am

      Angie, I agree with you. The loss of the family of origin, which is too often a consequence of setting limits with an abusive/unloving mother, does leave one feeling isolated. Not only have you lost that family support system, but you also cannot share the reason with others, because they can’t begin to understand unless they have experienced it, too. If the response is negative or skeptical, you feel it all over again, because the fault “must” be yours, because all mothers love their children, don’t they? Few people really know us, and see only the “turned out ok” self we try our best to present to them. It’s funny, our mothers have no problem sharing how horrible we are, and what things we have supposedly done, but let us say one word of what they actually did, and people have trouble believing it. I think things are getting slightly better, because the truth is finally being shared more often and with more people, with articles like this one.

      • March 17, 2018 at 5:46 pm

        How validating are your comments. If I hear the comments “but she’s your mother/sister” [my sister’s behaviour mirrored my mother’s] I will absolutely scream! I don’t discuss what’s happened with our family with other family members; there’s only a couple of people who I can really trust with this delicate issue. But I am learning to heal myself and that’s what it’s all about.

      • March 17, 2018 at 5:58 pm

        Yes, at the end of the day, healing is all that matters. All best, Peg

  • February 7, 2018 at 12:49 am

    Am currently reading your book and am having lots of aha moments. The only person I confide in is my husband who has seen my mother’s and sister’s behaviour to me over the decades and can really understand as he has witnessed it first hand. No contact with the sister, low contact with lots of boundaries with the mother and no emotional connection with other siblings whatsoever. My dad was the “appeaser”…peace at all costs, don’t rock the boat, and the best one of all “you know what your mother is like”. Any outsider would never guess our family is so dysfunctional. But what I really love about your book is that it is for me and my healing and am so grateful to you and others who are addressing these issues.

    • February 7, 2018 at 5:26 am

      Sue F, What a lovely thing to hear. I am so glad my work is of help to you. Of course, I will continue to address the issue in different Ways in future posts here. Best, Peg


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