Dealing with A Combative Mother: 3 Types of Emotional Damage

Our house was a war zone. My father lorded it over my mother and my mother dealt with us like a drill sergeant. It was her way or the highway. Each of us kids played a different role. My older brother was the enforcer—he talked to me and my sister the way my mother talked and bullied us both. He did everything she wanted and got lost in the process. I was the peacemaker—always trying to placate her. My baby sister was the rebel; she talked back and got punished often. My brother got involved with drugs. I suffered in silence and am still trying to dig my way out. And my sister is a successful attorney. She jokes that she learned how to litigate in childhood.

Anxious behavior

The Blame Game and A Daughter’s Trust in Herself

In a culture that accepts the pastel-tinted vision of the loving mother as a certainty, little makes people as uncomfortable as a discussion of how some mothers abuse the power they have over their children. Even though science shows that verbal abuse is every bit as damaging as physical abuse—and, in some important ways, more damaging—many people still prefer to stick to the old “they’re only words” defense as a way of protecting the mother myths.

Anxious behavior

Addicted to Lost Causes? 5 Reasons You’re Stuck

For all that the culture exhorts us to hang in and never quit, the truth is that human beings tend to be resistant to change and, additionally, tend to overstay in relationships, rather than leave the party early.

We applaud repeated efforts—even if they end in failure—because our cultural tropes tell us that trying is what matters, and that “winners never quit, and quitters never win.” But that’s actually not true.

Anxious behavior

Toxic Mom? Going No Contact? 5 Things You Must Realize

In cultural mythology—the bedrock of which is that all women are instinctively maternal, and that all mothers are loving—the daughter who goes no contact and cuts her mother out of her life is deemed selfish, immature, and ungrateful.

I know this firsthand, having divorced my mother at the age of 38; I did not see her again before she died, some thirteen years later.