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Mothers Do Envy Their Daughters

This is from a piece on a Psychology Today blog, that references Baby Loveand mothers who envy their daughters. It's good to see professionals who understand the subtext of complex relationships.   

"Half a century after Deutsche, Susie Orbach, Kim Chernin and others argued that young women's expanding career opportunities can (albeit not always) arouse a mother's envy. A daughter may hold herself back, terrified that, if she does surpass her mother, she will be forced to eat of those proverbial poisoned apples - in the form of maternal disapproval, disdain, guilt. Or, she may hope to win approval by her success, only to find that success does not give her mother pleasure; instead, her mother responds with envy, which a daughter experiences as disapproval."

This is a hotly debated subject, amd many experts deny and reframe what looks like maternal envy as maternal concern. And yet I hear from so many women who have felt undermined by their mothers. And mothers who have struggled with their jealousy of their daughters.

My feeling is not enough light has been shed on the subject, and, like mental illness, the kind of wounding that occurs in many mother daughter relationships is even more devastating because daughters are considered ungrateful for voicing their feelings, and punished accordingly. Especially in the black community, when so many mothers have had to work so hard for so long. The idea of expressing any kind of upset is  unthinkable. And yet, as Audre Lorde wrote, "Our silence will not protect us."

What about you? Have you experienced any of these kinds of maternal conflicts? Either as a mother yourself or as a daughter?

Time to talk, to open the doors. We all have something to gain.

 

December 16th, 2008

Comments:

Comment #1 by Super Amanda on December 17, 2008 - 12:53am

I see the very uncomfortable subject you raise and it's a really hard one to answer unless you lie to yourself! :o As an Italian our ebullient ways of interacting don't leave a lot simmering or any room for passive aggression and my mother was rarely if ever catty towards me about my blossoming looks the way I've seen so many other mom's me, yet what you write of still attaches itself to almost any woman's experience.

Ultimately my mother sacrificed a huge part of her life for my well being as a relatively young single white parent who divorced a white husband and was financially forced out of a VERY affluent mostly white city in the East Bay Area.
My mother's sacrifice was not taking the time to find out who SHE was and that lead to competition with me later in life. Being non-Black and non- Jewish etc there was no real sense of community that could have buoyed up my mother who suddenly had three teenagers to care for and limited job skills. I feel that for those in strong ethnic communities (African American, Hispanic, Jewish) mother daughter relationships are actually easier because no matter how tenuous and competitive things may become, a secure social and monetary framework seems to always exist be it in the church, synagogues or in networks of relatives. Perhaps I over romanticize put I did pick that up from your own great biography.
My Mom decided to go it alone without a man and without any help from social services this meant moving to a very inexpensive and extremely conservative rural part of Northern California where they still burn crosses, murder gays and the black part of town, literary on the other side of the tracks, is called "The Hole."

At that point we were at odds ("undermined by their mothers") because I was ripped away from the intellect and diversity that I had always depended on and the burgeoning creativity I'd developed not to mention all the friends were four hours away. While there was NO revolving door of boyfriends and transient father figures that I had to contend with (a common and often dangerous trend in many single mother households) I could not fathom that as each day went by my mother had chosen to isolate us from the intelligence and vast opportunities that we'd left behind in the Bay Area. Adapt, migrate or die and when I adapted to that not so Funkytown and started becoming an award winning student there was an attempt on her part (quickly squelched) to take credit! The whole experience definitly made me ambivalent about becoming a mother myself, most the time I would want 'a boy' if gave it any serious consideration other times I felt it was just 'not for me.'

Yet the fact that I am allowed to challenge my mother to this day is why we are best friends and have found forgiveness and let go of the past. On the bright side not many of my fellow Leftists can say they've lived in both multi-cultural and redneck California before they were 18 years old and my mom and I ended up working our stuff out. My husband and I are expecting our first child this summer and we could not be happier. Girl or boy we are just blessed all around.

If I could give advice to any young girl or woman in a similar situation it would be to never feel that someday you can't be a mother if you want to because you were at odds with your own. Stay physically healthy, take advantage of community counseling if you can't afford a private therapist and forgive- not just your mother but yourself.

Comment #2 by Super Amanda on December 17, 2008 - 2:10am

"I feel that for those in strong ethnic communities (African American, Hispanic, Jewish) mother daughter relationships are actually easier because no matter how tenuous and competitive things may become, a secure social and monetary framework seems to always exist be it in the church, synagogues or in networks of relatives. Perhaps I over romanticize put I did pick that up from your own great biography."

I actually had no idea until I was just reading my own aforementioned Mum your wikipedia page just now that you are estranged from your mother, I find this very sad and surprising given that I picked up nothing negative towards her in your auto-biography that wasn't said out of openness, truth and love. No one comes off flawless or even rosy in a good autobiography-especially a writers family!

A lot of the boomer parents need to "cop to it" preferably to there children (or at least to themselves) and then quietly pass the torch of ego to their kids before the grandkids wonder when it's their turn.
So I guess the above quote of mine is not only overly romantic but misguided.

I wish you nothing but happiness.

Comment #3 by BlackWomenBlowTheTrumpet on December 17, 2008 - 4:33am

Rebecca,

I agree with you that there is a rush to condemn any black women who shares the truthful history of her relationship with her mother. Black mothers, it seems, can only be mentioned in glowing and idealistic terms. Black fathers, however, can be bashed non-stop and no one starts saying they are "ungrateful" or "spoiled" or "disrespectful" for mentioning their father's shortcomings.

This protectiveness towards the black mother in the black community, I suspect, has a lot to do with the gradual extinction of black men from the black societal infrastructure. The black mother symbolizes the continuation of our people because she is the womb of the black community - in the minds of some.

I think it is dysfunctional when we can not talk honestly about our histories with our parents. My father was prominent and well known in his field as well...he was not a saint. I am not ungrateful or spoiled and am happy that I grew up privileged but THIS does not mean that I can not speak truthfully about my father's faults and also his greatness. People love to idealize those who are perceived as "great" and they lash out angrily against anyone who puts a smudge on the person they view as a "trophy" human being.

I respect you for being willing to speak honestly about your own mother and for sharing your truth. You do not have to defend a word of it. Your life is your life. Your story is your truth.

If we can not be truthful, we can not become self-actualized women. Blow your trumpet, girlfriend.

Comment #4 by Vanessa Nicole on December 18, 2008 - 5:04pm

Wow. I guess I have been very fortunate in this area, and I am really just learning about this as an issue through Rebecca. My mother was more of a "pass the torch" type. I don't know if it has to do with the fact that she is African American or not. I know she told me that when she was younger she wanted to be white, and that is why she had me by a white man. Hoping that would make her somehow more white (What a concept!) This was in '76, mind you, and to her delight I came out fair-skinned with almost blonde hair. So I am thinking that maybe she saw me as the manifestation of everything she wanted to be but could not. She was moreso living through me, as opposed to envying me.

As a mother, I simply cannot imagine being envious of my 3 beautiful daughters. My dream is for them to go further than I can even imagine. My prayer is that they dream big and create new horizons for the future. I am counting on them to carry me further than I can even conceive of right now. However, I am committed to being compassionate to everyone, so I feel that if there are mothers out there who envy the success of their daughters, then those mothers must be in pain too. So the goal would be to help the mothers and daughters heal.

I can't help but think that this must be a retched side effect of the oppression of the women during our mothers' generations. My shot in the dark prognosis is: that they are frustrated from being held back in their lives, not being able to acheive their own personal dreams, and then watching thier young, beautiful daughters have all of the opportunities that they did not have come so easily to them. Maybe it is psychologically too much for them to bear, and it comes out as envy. Just a thought....

Comment #5 by Maria on December 18, 2008 - 7:18pm

I have experienced a small amount of this in my own relationship with my mother. While I was quite close with her in high school, I have found that at age 22 we are much further apart. Because I am a first generation college student and my mom regrets her missed opportunity to further her education, I am constantly made - unintentionally - too feel guilty for having such opportunity (even though I have financed nearly the entire thing myself working three jobs for the past 5 years). My mother is always negatively pointing out the ways in which she is "not good enough" or "smart enough" and I feel awful about this. It halts our relationship from any further development because she places a system of hierarchy between us and I find it to be very sad. So basically, I am saying that I think this phenomenon might be worth delving into...

Comment #6 by M on December 20, 2008 - 7:53pm

This is a really interesting discussion that I've been struggling with..It was very helpful to hear others look at the contexts and resources (or lack of) that our mothers lived so as to aknowledgde it yet not dismiss experiences of daughters. Sometimes doing that can feel like an excusing past hurts. Relationships have the capacity to change and alter how we construct meaning of ourselves and the narratives can change with new insight so this is kind of reflaming is what I'm always after. It's especially interesting to think of the tradition of black mothers defying criticism that I have been stumped by with recent happenings with my mother and grandmother. Guilt and the threat of abandonment is a popular reaction to dissent in my family.

Maria, I particularly resonated with your comments. I sometimes feel like I'm on this great path but then I see how my mother is doing and it scares me a bit to think of eclipsing her somehow with all the good luck, scholarships and hard work I've put in to get through college, also something she was never able to afford completing. It makes it difficult to work through confidence issues in creative work because apart of me feels I should deserve/try to fail if she is still struggling and never have the mentors I've been gifted...Perhaps this is more an attribute of growing out of codependance in single parent families...But then sometimes I talk to my mother and hear how childlike she sounds and how hurt she is behind her lashing out at me and I wonder how much my own forgiveness of sad cycles can heal this chain for both of us -for all the women who came before...

Comment #7 by rebecca on December 21, 2008 - 12:29pm
Yes.
Comment #8 by Paardestaart on December 23, 2008 - 3:53am

My god - what self-absorbed, whining, insufferable wimmyn you all are..Well into your late thirties, mothers already, but still ever mindful of any nook or cranny on your holy ownsome that hasn't been 'worked-through' yet, never mind who you hurt or belittle in the process of baring what passes for your pathetic soul..
You are all laughable, silly and a shame for your sex - pardon: gender.. :-)

Comment #9 by Amy on December 29, 2008 - 12:39am

I don't know...if we are going to scrutinize our mothers, we should scrutinize ourselves. Yes, mothers are flawed people too, but are we really striving for understanding, or are we being resentful when we speak of jealous mothers? I am not saying that we should not criticize mothers, but I am saying that if mothers are jealous of their daughters then maybe they aren't bad, evil people, but human. Maybe this whole mother-daughter jealousy thing is a natural human reaction that some can hide better than others. I am saying that a lot of mothers try very hard to be perfect for their daughters, but are jealous of their daughters at the same time. Therefore, can we really fault or blame mothers for being jealous of their daughters? Then again, I'm not a mother, so maybe I'm being naive on this issue.

Comment #10 by rebecca on December 30, 2008 - 5:40am

Yes! I believe self-scrutiny is essential. It's a dance, no? When both are able to give and take, to acknowledge failings and strengths and move forward holding the whole with tenderness. And who can do that without owning one's own part? 

It is sad, isn't it, that so much of this work has gone undone for some--clearly not all bc so many mothers and daughters have GREAT relationships--and they carry such feelings of grief and sadness. I certainly don't know any daughters, or mothers who are daughters, who want to be working this stuff out in their thirties, forties, fifties, sixties or even seventies and yet they do.

Luck of the draw, I guess. Hopefully the discussion will help open things up a bit--make it easier to get on with it.

Comment #11 by rebecca on December 30, 2008 - 5:42am
And goodness knows, there are plenty of daughters jealous of their mothers, too! The problem really, at its root, isn't mother and daughters as much as it is jealousy itself, and pride, and fear. The mother-daughter relationship is just one more place these human emotions take hold and wreak havoc.
Comment #12 by Anonymous on January 5, 2009 - 1:48am

I have experienced this. I have always been inferior to my mother as everybody is. MY father and I have a great relationship, we are best friends. My mother complains about everything I do, and since I have accomplished a lot and will be moving into my own apartment and getting a job while finishing up my bachelors, her jealousy/envy/hatred towards me has escalated. Every day I am accused of bieng ungrateful, selfish and full of attitude. I am told that I will not make it in the real world becuase of who I am and how I act/talk to other people. I do need help moving and with transportation so she holds that over my head minute by minute. If it was not for my father, I would be living on the streets.

Growing up my mother never showed emotion, only enought to hold on to my dad. She did what she had to do to save their relationship many times, at my expense. She mentally and physically abused me, although she denys it to this day. I have tried to run away before the age of 6, I used to pack my suitcase and try to leave before bieng dragged inside the house by my hair. Now I am 23 with some issues to be worked out, but have my career goals and am moving quickly towards them. Our relationship is the worst it ever has been, now that I voice my opinion and never back down. I do the grocery shopping, cook dinner, and she is as lazy as they come yet always asks me "since when have you become the wfie?" and when I talk about owning a business with my father she always reminds me that she is HIS WIFE and I need to learn my place. This makes me want to cry, becuase I don't understand why she chose to bring me in the world if this is the kind of person she is.

She is evil, and brings out my worst qualities. My Prof.'s and people I do business with love me, and think I am a good person, my mother does not see that person. She also blames me for her crappy marriage with my father, she sais he puts her on the back burner becuase of me. She thinks if I were gone her life would be peacful, full of joy, love and happiness.

I tell her all the time that she will die old and lonely becuase I will not be there for her, nor will my father if she keeps pushing. She is destined for a long sad life with out family and I will feel quilty in the end becuase I can never forgive her or love her the way I should.

It is truly sad.

Comment #13 by AnonymousAlabama on January 13, 2009 - 10:10am

I'm going threw the same thing my mom told me i act like i own her house and that i think she's jealous of me...my dad has my back b/c my mom acts mentally ill we don't understand her if it wasn't for my dad i would be out on the street.

Comment #14 by Anonymous on January 20, 2009 - 7:28am

As I walked past my mother to go to my brothers Graduation she said to me "You think you are so special, your not." My mothers face looked as though I greatly offended her, even though I have been trying to please her. Her anger flare up's seem to come from nowhere. In the car on the way back I saw the Art Institute. My eyes brighten, "What a neat place to go to college." I said. My mothers anger was evident as she gave out a cold, "NO!". The last couple years as I go through school, my mother finds ways to tell my father all the things I'm doing wrong. She wont let me talk to him if she is in the room. Her eyebrows go up and she either interrupts answering as if I were talking with her or tells me to go do the dishes. The other night she said to me as I walked through the room, "I think the problem is you have your dreams and I don't" I think back to how my mother treated me growing up. She attaches her self to me as being needy one one hand, and on the other cruel and cold.

Comment #15 by Nafeesah on February 18, 2009 - 3:47am

I really think black women envy their daughters because of the fact that they were from a time that didnt allow them many opportunities. Many of them were abandoned by partners and spouses and were left to raise children alone. Yet that doesnt excuse how many of these mothers treat their daughters and expect them to adhere to their poor choices.

My own mother has been one of those types of women who have been at times cruel and cold. It's like she's angry that she got left to raise two daughters alone without help. She says very little to my sister who she hypes up as the more successful one and she looks at me like I am the failure. She criticizes and ridicules me for stuff like telling me how I won't meet anyone if I don't fix myself up(to her liking and not my own).

She downplays my choices and decisions and even has belittled and humiliated me in private and sometimes in front of people. She has been verbally and emotionally abusive towards me especially when some things are not to her satisfaction, but when it comes to my sister she will say very little to her. To her whatever everyone else does is ok, but when it comes to me it's not ok and that she's got to say something about it. It's like my life is literally under a microscope with her and one infraction warrants endless ridicule, lecturing, and belittling.

It's like whatever I do is not good enough and never will be good enough, but I am to adhere to any and all poor choices that my mother has made past and present and to deal with them. For example she's involved with someone that clearly needs to be kicked to the curb and yet she expects me to tolerate him while she does things that are deemed inappropriate she's got the audacity to tell me that what I do isnt right....that's like calling the kettle black. How can you get your head around something like that when your own mother is doing what she taught you not to do.

Comment #16 by Anonymous on February 26, 2009 - 2:18am

It doesn't matter if other people cut you down because of your opinion about your mother. They have not lived in your shoes and don't know the hurt and pain that is felt by a mother that doesn't know how to love their own child. I have children and have shown no partialty to my boys, and I don't believe I would be any different if I had girls. I have learned from growing up with a verbal abusive mother that I will never treat my children like that and only want the best for them. I have tried over the years to go on and at times have been treated better as an adult by my Mom. But as soon as I let my guard down she has her ways of trying to put me down and make me feel like I will never be good enough. I is sad that mothers can not see what they are doing to their own daughters. The best advice that I can give someone is that it is the mothers problem and not yours. A daughter should not be punished for their mothers mistakes and have confidence because sometimes no matter what you do it will not change the situation. Just have a good positive outlook on life and no matter what your mother says or does, go on and be the best that you can be. Life is too short to be worrying about mothers that don't have enough sense to know how to be civilized and decent people. Have strength and know that there are plenty of people in this world that will love you for who you are and will praise you for your accomplishments and you don't need your mother's approval or compliments.

Comment #17 by Anonymous on March 4, 2009 - 3:58pm

Yesterday, I decided that I had to let go. It is insanity, how she blatantly encourages my sister who is in the same field of work as me but belittles and discourages me. She lifts my sister up but cuts me down and does everything in her power to make sure that I do not succeed and in my position she has had a lot of power. I am 38 years old and work for her. My sister has this false sense of entitlement due to this treatment that has gone on our whole lives. After some cruel comments made to some people in front of me by my mother yesterday, I got very nervous and anxiety ridden. Later that day, in my car, I broke down and cried and cried and the words "It's over, It's over." kept running through my mind. I realized that nothing I can do is going to change her or make her stop. There is this part of her personality that is directed at me that I can really only describe as evil.
I realized that I will never be able to stop this because it is about her. I am done trying to please her. It's over.

Comment #18 by Sheila on April 30, 2009 - 2:08pm

I am so happy to find your website, where other women and I can express the pain that is felt when ones mother is jealous. A few years ago, I had to return to my mother's house; after a tough divorce. I knew I needed to go to college to earn a degree, so that I can care for my son and myself. So, I chose nursing. Now that I getting closer to graduation, I can feel my mother's anger rising, and her verbal abuse characterized by petty arguments are more frequent. Just the other day, she exploded because I used a cookie sheet to bake fish. Prior to this, other signs of envy were obvious, but being the positive person I am, I just threw them out of my mind and contributed her tantrums to the fact that she is 80 years old and still has to work. Ultimately, I never thought my own mother would become jealousy of my success. However, it is true. She even goes as far as making negative remarks about me to my sisters, making it seem that I am disrespecting her. I can't wait to get on my own again. I promised to pay her rent, when I get into the field of nursing, and I will keep my promise. Yet, I feel that our relationship has been severally damaged, and I no longer trust her.

Comment #19 by Anonymous on May 8, 2009 - 3:54am

My Mothers Mother sat me down one day and told me that my Mother had been jealous of me since the day I was born, because i got so much attention from my dad.

I called her today to tell her about my new job, and she picked it apart and said negative things for a good 20 minutes. I have definately experienced this. I am 37.

Comment #20 by Anonymous on June 4, 2009 - 5:00am

I think you may have misinterpreted what has gone on. I highly doubt envy is the issue. Envious of what? She has always been proud of you - but has enough of her own light. What is it worth, the loss of a mother? a daughter? You know resolution is possible and yet you just let it simmer. Is not this pride hurting you and your family in ways unthinkable? Isn't forgiveness possible? why hold this so long? were you beaten? abused? abandoned? there is no doubt, that mother daughter issues are some of the hardest, but there is another way. And I pray you find it before both of your hearts break in two.

Comment #21 by Anonymous on June 25, 2009 - 9:45pm

I can really relate to this blog;
it seemed like when i hit puberty and started developing everything changed between me and my mother its like she just did a whole 360;we use to have a good relationship;and then she just started treating me bad for nothing;she stopped celebrating my birthday,i cant even remember the last time she told me happy birthday;no matter how hard i try to make our relationship work she just shuts me down;it's like she regrets having a daughter;like she hates me;she brings a different man home every week;she even dated one of the teachers from my school;she does'nt spend no time with me nor my two brothers;she just treats us all like dirt;sometimes she hits me for nothing at all;or she just picks fights;i just sit and cry some nights because it just hurts so bad to get treated this way by the one who you're suppose to count on and not have done any thing to deserve it;;;i just hope that we can better our relationship before it's too late;

Comment #22 by Anonymous on July 11, 2009 - 4:43pm

ive felt the feeling, i agree with what you say. my mother was married at a very young age and was forced to grow up after that. she had the choice of marriage and gave up her childhood. back in those times it was normal to get married at such a young age, especially with a hispanic background. i dont think my mother ever worried about her studies or anything other than what was right in front of her. now that she sees me progressing myself and doing things that she never did, i feel that distance between us. i dont know if it is jealousy but i know there is something she holds against me. i am one out of 5 kids and she get along just well with the rest, but none of them have made accomplishments like i have. I believe that the close relationship that i have with my dad adds on to her jealousy as well. It hurts me to know that someone that is supposed to love me has these kind of feelings and pushes her daughter to the side because of envy. i know that she will never admit it though!

Comment #23 by Anonymous on August 23, 2009 - 3:45pm

OMG, I feel so much relief now that have read each and every post you ladies have shared with myself and others in the same predicament. I'm 22 years old and I live with my mother, 3 siblings and step father (who I never cared for since day 1)

I never knew my father, I've heard stories of my grandmother threatening him to leave the country because he was a 30 year old Jamaican immigrant who impregnated my mom at the age of 21. I don't know how much of it is true but to a certain extent I do believe it has truth to it.

A year later after I was born, she got knocked up again but this time giving birth to a light skin baby boy which she was her first choice overall. You see my mom is the youngest of 4 boys and she's light skin. My grandmother married a bi racial man to create light skin children, so my mother was the icing on the cake. My grandparents always spoiled her and brainwashed her as the most envied girl in the world.

So I happened to come out a Indian color not light skin but not dark skin just in between the two. I believe to this day she regrets having a light brown skin daughter which is sickening!!!

Now, I am currently 22 years old I'm studying for my bachelors and I work 2 jobs at a retail company and as a bartender overnight. I plan to move out next year after I receive my A.S.S June 2010. And the only reason she has not kicked me out on the streets because I'm on her budget towards monthly rent payments.

She never congratulates me on any of my accomplishments or pushes me towards any of my endeavors but she praises the ground my 2 youngest siblings who are twins walk on and they happen to be "light skin", when they were babies you would have thought they were Hispanic but they're not. They father is African! Black as charcoal. And she's miserable with his actions because shes a housewife with no degree and to top it off he also has another wife who is African like himself. Since he's Muslim so its okay for him to commit to polygamy.

She depends on him 110% and use the twins at her own expense. I'm afriad one day he will eventually leave her for his African wife in the future, and I will not be there for her because of the way she has treated me for all these years.

As for myself, I'm trying to keep my head above water but at times we all need a motherly figure to console us, keep us strong, and remind us of how beautiful we are when we go through our trails. But I've never experienced that kind of love and affection from her so deep down inside it makes me bitter and cold.

In addition, I hate her for being this way towards me because she doesn't do it to my brother who is a year younger than I nor to the twins. So I believe she regret going through her pregnancy to give me life.

Comment #24 by Kim on September 8, 2009 - 5:29am

I am 40 years old, work full time, go to school full time (York University) and have a family, with three little ones.

Still, isn't enough!

Comment #25 by Anonymous on November 2, 2009 - 7:39pm

yours is the most parasitic writing it's ever been my misfortune to read, honestly lady, buy an original idea if you have, but you have sucked your mother's fame dry,

Comment #26 by LaMesa on November 17, 2009 - 6:56am

After reading all of the posts, I can empathize with many of the women on here. As a daughter, I too have been scorned by my mother. Loss custody of one of my children and left homeless by my mother. I am the outcast of my family and the most highly educated and sensible one of in it. I have four other siblings and my mother controls/manipulates them all except me. She does and has not managed her finances and leeches off of the other siblings. When she goes out of town, she doesn't let me know where she is at but will let my siblings know. She told me that she does not trust me, but will not curb her spending, borrows money, and lectures to us to not be like her. She blindly believes that God will send her a husband, but what man will marry a dependent woman who can not manage her finances,will not humble herself,and treat her grown children with respect? I have accomplished much in my life as a single never married parent and I realized that my mother will never approve of me and after asking for forgiveness, she continued to still berate and emotionally abusive me and began having temper tantrums that has negatively affected her relationship with her two small grandchildren. She has been throwing the grandchildren's things out on the street in retaliation against me and that was the final straw. "Anonymous" is right about how to deal with this "mothers envy/jealously" phenonmenon. I am 35 and have struggled with self worth and confidence for so many years. I don't spend anytime with my mother because of the gossiping and backbiting she does and I want no part of that lifestyle. Never have and never will. Live your life..2009 is not over yet..I say this to women, if your mother criticizes you for the life that she should have lead or makes excuses for not bettering herself and wants to leech off of you, I say..NOT MY PROBLEM!

Comment #27 by Anonymous on January 9, 2010 - 12:42am

My mother s the kind of mother who is abnormal. I never understood why when I was a teenager that what I was going through was her jealousy of my beauty. She would give me make up. But, later take it back and accuse me of stealing it. It came a time where I was able to fit into her clothes. Because she accused me of stealing her clothes, I asked if she stopped buying me girl clothes instead buy my boys clothes. Then my brother would steal my clothes. I know my mother was the oldest of three sisters. Now, that I am older and can see the motives behind her attempts to sabotage and demean me resulted to anything good happening in my life. If I was offered a better paying job she would come late on purpose and yell at me right before work everyday. It is something like me going back to school and buying a new large flat screen TV. She would go out and buy herself a new tv as well. When I made it to school she would talk about her going back. There are many days when I show how to get the SD card out of her phone she should tell me I am trying to show her up. No! I am trying to help her keep the pictures of her grandchildren in memory. Why would our conversations have to revolve around her? I would talk to her about how I showed my knowledge of the SD card and the memory of the card to my grandmother to inform her of the new technology today. She turns it around to some how "I was talking about how my mom didn't know how to use the SD card on a computer." I wasn't even talking about my mother during that conversation. I was showing my grandmother something, but she manages to ask me why am I talking about her? What kind of mother doesn't want her child to go to school? How come my mother is not supportive of my drive to become a better person. What will happen to me if she is all the family I have?

Comment #28 by Anonymous on February 12, 2010 - 8:57am

I never understood why my mother always treated me badly and said awful things to me. Many years ago a very good friend of mine suggested that it was jealousy on my mother's part but I did not believe her because I could not understand how that was possible. One day I eventually mentioned it to my mother but she denied it saying what would she jealous me for. It is only today, after many years of prayers asking God for the reason that it came out of her mouth. She said that people can be spiteful when they are jealous or envious of who you are. All through my life my siblings had great respect for me and in turn I made them have respect for her but she always fought me saying that I took away her children from her. Now I have become so fed up with the situation that I have withdrawn from everyone and in turn they have also withdrawn from her. She still continues to blame me and her life is miserable. The bad thing is that she is now very old and lives with me. I am the only one that is doing anything for her because I feel sorry for her, while the other 5 children just ignore her. I do not think that she would ever change especially at this age now. However, my only hope is in God and I certainly hope he changes her long before her death so I can enjoy some life with her.

Comment #29 by Anonymous on February 13, 2010 - 12:56am

I'm not a lone ......I spend 30 + years satisfing my Mother and never could she has cut me tooodeep this time to turn back to feeling sorry...

Shes dark and still bleaches her skin at 55+ I am light by her way of having babies by a light man....states he loves you BUT I HAD YOU AND HE DOESNT CARE FOR ME ...after being married to my step father for 25 + years ...Graduated fom college 3 times .... she did not attend one ... moved far away from her to someone who was just as manipulaing spirit of jezebeled as my mother had been controling emotional abusive that she supported whole hearted ...finally divorced him and her at the sake of my sanity. I ve never loved two people more before that hated my guts ..I have two loving children and at 37 learning what God 's love is about loving God , myself and my children. No example is better than the wrong example . Ladies God allowed you to have peace and will bring positive loving trustful people in your life to love you...I had to go to counseling which my mom loved to say she's sick in the head ...but really I've foregiven her and grow the little girl up to brake the chain of her sickness.

Comment #30 by Anonymous on February 26, 2010 - 11:25pm

My mother wanted a boy. Unfortunatelly I was a second child that was a girl. She was beating the hell out of me, made me a obediant boy who was doing most of heavy jobs in and around the house. I was an excellent student, she has almost no education and has never worked. I have never been able to say No in my life. That represented major problem for me. Whoever asked me for a favour got it. My mother always says that other people are much better than me (altghough I have masters degree, very well paid job), she compares me with our neighbours or relatives who are always better than me in everything. I never stood up for myself. I am like a puppy. She calls me to do errands for her, to sit and listen to her preaching how my life is not proper. I usually leave and cry afterwards. But I never managed to stand up and tell her to stop. Even a slighest disagreemnt is making her furious and she says that she is sick and I will make her die. She also uses very rude language, but the worts part is when she pretends to care and give me advices how to be sucefull, which are totally denyuing me as a person. All of this had severe concequences for me. I cant say no to my coworkers, my work is often stolen and I never complain,I feel like a beaten puppy. My father adored me, but he couldnt really ptotect me from her, because when he was around she played a role of a saint. I must admit that I never complained to my father. I didnt want to hurt him and I was afraid of my mother. Mt father is now dead. I am economically independent, married, have two kids, but I feel completelly controlled by my mother. Whenever she calls I get very upset, but she always says that she is sick, old women and I have never done anything for her. Can someone help me with the issue. I am recently very depressed and even have suicidal thoughts. Altghough I am recognised in my own family, company and society as a smart, educated, very bright person, I always feel as a miserable pathetic worthless person.
Help

Comment #31 by Anonymous on March 6, 2010 - 6:48am

Reading these posts also makes me feel like I'm not alone in this. I also struggled with the fact that my mother could be jealous of me. Even my aunt (her sister) said she belives that my mother is jealous. Like most people stated, we were doing good until about my senior year in high school and its been hell since then. Overall, I have my moments where I may talk back, but its because she pushes me. Compared to my brother, I'm an angel, he's been to 3 different colleges and dropped out and been to jail twice. I'm in my junior year in college, have an excellent gpa, involved in many extracurricular activities, plan on going to grad school, never caused my parents any major trouble, but it seems like she argues and has an attitude about every little thing. The other day I told her to send me money for an important interview for an internship and she didn't send it. I also told her to send the tax stuff to fill out for fafsa and she had an attitude about that, which I also need to fill out a scholarship. I'm also being nominated for an award on campus by a professor and when I told her this, do you think I got a congratulations? I love my mother and all, but she really puts me through a lot of hell. I can understand her looking back and wishing she had lived her life differently, but why take it out on me, she had every opportunitiy to finish college. My grandmother was a housekeeper that made hardly any money, so my Mom received grants that paid for all of her school, and she chose to drop out, so I don't feel bad, she had a chance and she blew it. I'm really considering just cutting her off altogether, and my Dad's no help, he just goes along with whatever she says. Any advice or suggestions would be appreciated as to what I should do....

Comment #32 by Anonymous on May 5, 2010 - 2:18am

"Altghough I am recognised in my own family, company and society as a smart, educated, very bright person, I always feel as a miserable pathetic worthless person."

I am not sure I can help you other to say I've felt the same way. I'ts gotten worse lately, and I understand the suidical feelings. Each time I see her I feel worthless. I've been a very successful single mother, but have made my mistakes. My work mates and work life was wonderful and successful and I spent most of my life as a single mother. My help, when I needed it, other than once, was from them She never let me forget me that. Nor anyone else. She never NEVER tells me she loves me or cares, just that 'she cant' handle this'.

I recently had a surgery schedule and cancelled because they said I may not make it. She blamed it on me.

Cruel, Cold, Critical, all the rest. She says shes great and loves and cares, to other people. OH, controlling. I ask myself how did I manage such a great career and friends. I'm not sure. I just recently, instead of taking it out on myself, anorexia, I don't know if shel'll change, which is what I wanted. I doubt it. She left me twice quite ill, and told me to go to other people. Sounds like a strange situation at the least. (I used to be gorgeous). Perhaps part of it.

I'm actually afraid of her. My father used to stand up for me. He's too ill now.
God Bless Him. And, I still hope for miracles. Just not so much. I've kept from really doing myself in, by at least one or people who I can cry with.

Comment #33 by Anonymous on July 14, 2010 - 4:49pm

My mother was an envious spiteful jealous person. She was not capabable of accepting responsibility for her own emotions or actions. She could not understand the concept of self examination or introspection. She used God as her weapon to prove herself innocent and others guilty.

I think I became her main target the day I was born. Our stories are not a lifestory in which we were not loved my our mother, but a lifestory of how our mother exercised her hate against us.

She turned my own daughter against me and I have had to accept that my daughter is more like my mother than she is me. There are no words to express the distress I feel at never having had a mother's love and to loose the child I felt was my loving salvation.

I encourage each of you to feel pity for the mother that hates you and realize that you are the better higher freer image of your mother that she could never be.

It hurts deeply and hopelessly to be treated this way and while all our tears never can wash away the pain they do give us relief and keep us tender. Try to understand that God has made you better than her and her fury belongs to Him.

It is not your fault that your mother could not or would not love you. It is a malfunction of the human emotions just the same as if she had cancer or a defective kidney or if she had been born with one lung. Her emotions simply do not work right. Their emotions work wrong and that seems evil because their birth defect causes so much damage to others.

When that damage happens to a person through their mother or father, it really does seem like the devil is in control. And maybe he is. It takes years and complete removal from the mother's reach before any real healing can happen.

Don't be afraid. You can not please this person so stop trying. Be indifferent to everything they have to say. Let them see you not caring what they have to say. Be your loving self and love yourself by living the best life you can. Respect yourself and comfort yourself. Build wholesome relationships that don't reflect your mother's image.

You have to show these mothers a brave face without showing fear or hurt or disappointment. Their actions are designed to bring these feelings out in you for their pleasure. They feel powerful when they see the evidence of the pain they are trying to inflict. They are sick.

If you can, laugh at them. In their face but without being hateful or haughty. Laugh as though they have told you a funny joke and just keep moving away from them on your way to the bathroom or to your room or the kitchen or change the tv channel or pick up a book and look as though you have emotionally and physically moved on from the hurtful moment they tried to create.

You will be more and more empowered and in control of your own emotions the more that you channel your hurt and disappointment into a positive action or reaction.

Be brave. Be smart. Stop being her victim. Some of you are still trapped at home. You can survive this and be a beautiful person. You can and will be loved by the man of your dreams. You will be happy. You will overcome this. You will have beautiful children that you love and love you in return.

Build your life in a way that you are not dependant on her. That is what she most wants is for you to be dependant on her so that she won't be abandoned. What she is doing is mean and selfish and worst of all it is an infantile temper tamtrum that is designed to hold on to others by inflicting shame and guilt on them and this will continue throughout her whole life. She will never stop being a "monster".

They pick on us because we are the "weak" ones. But, my weakness is my strength made strong by never letting what she is be who I am.

I hope strength and courage to you all. Fortify your life with loving forgiveness and friends who give you the same. God Bless each of you.

Comment #34 by Anonymous on August 30, 2010 - 7:20pm

I never understood why my mother was always critical of me. Often she would undermine and make me feel negative. I would spend days analyzing each situation how I can be better child. One day I started to realize that maybe she is jeleaous of me. My husband is a nice person and I never complained about him. One day, my mother and me were sitting at the table and I had something negative to say about him since I did not feel right and I thought my mother would advise me. Instead she jumped off the chair like all happy and said: there you have problems just like me. She said it in such a liberating tone like I just said what she always wanted to hear. Almost never I had a trust in her but after this, I finally realized that she is jeleaos.

Comment #35 by Anonymous on October 14, 2010 - 8:10pm

I am 38 year old mother of four, two boys and two girls. I grew up in the south,my mother has always treated me like an outside child or a step child for as long as I can remember. I think my moms reason for treating me so hateful is due to the lack of relationship she had with my father not to mention I don't think she really wanted a daughter. I have a younger brother eight years younger than me and she praises everything he does and that's how it's always been. My grandmother passed away 5 years ago and she would tell me things about why my mother treated me the way she did, she would often say I don't understand why she is like that but you just need to ignore it and go on, but the attitude and hatefulness has only gotten worse the older I have become. I left my mothers house when I was 18 the same night I graduated from high school and vowed to never live with her again. I have since went to college earned to BA'S and started work on my Masters. My children are very smart and they also see what type of woman my parent is, my daughter understands better than my sons; because my mother treats her the same way she treated me growing up so I can't help but think she really didn't like me because she says my daughters remind her of me. I have concerns about her saying that, I have decided to move out of the town that we live in which is near my mother and try to raise my kids with more love and stop my mother from treating them like she treated and is treating me now.. I am glad to know that I am not alone in such hurt and that other women are feeling the same pain. I don't know when or where that lack of mothering begins but I pray I never become that way with my children.

Comment #36 by flour mills on March 10, 2011 - 1:12am

I have a younger brother eight years younger than me and she praises everything he does and that's how it's always been. My grandmother passed away 5 years ago and she would tell me things about why my mother treated me the way she did, she would often say I don't understand why she is like that but you just need to ignore it and go on, but the attitude and hatefulness has only gotten worse the older I have become.

Comment #37 by lili dauphin on June 7, 2011 - 8:05am

There are amazing mothers on this planet. However, there are also mothers who are not so perfect. Nobody wants to admit that a mother can be flawed. They're supposed to be perfect in the eyes of everyone. They are the portrait of love, respect, kindness and compassion. But, not all mothers are created equal. Some mothers do have emotional issues that can greatly impact a mother/daughter relationship. Nobody can ever understand or believe what some daughters go through unless they've had the experience.

Comment #38 by Rebounding Master on June 8, 2011 - 7:58pm

Mother's are great! They do so much for their children. I never knew love until I became a mother. I do what I do everyday because I care so deeply for my child and I want the very best life has to offer her.

Comment #39 by K, parsons on September 15, 2011 - 11:55pm

It's good to know others have had problems with their mothers. well not good that they are having but...not being alone. Its rather painful, I know so. trying to make a mother a pleased, but thinks everything you do is shit pretty much.... She compares me to ever one else(brother, and neighbors other daughters)....but I am not ever one else. I am me....

At lest I wont be under this roof for much longer. hoping getting out to college will be better for my mental and self health.

Comment #40 by Anonymous on October 28, 2011 - 4:23am

My mother is totally jealous of me. As a kid I was that smart well-behaved kid that all the teachers praised. My mom hated that. I got accepted to a top university and she was angry when she found out. I got accepted into a top law school and she was unhappy about that. I had one legal job that I hated but she kept telling me that I had to stay there and "pay me dues." I found a job where I could work from home and she was angry. The more success that I have in life, the angrier she becomes. I realize now that she will never be happy for my success but only pretend to be in front of family and friends. I just have to start disassociating myself from her because her toxic attitude is making me miserable. She never encourages me but rather has mean-spirited remarks to say about my achievements.

Comment #41 by road stud on November 15, 2011 - 2:55am

My mother is totally jealous of me. As a kid I was that smart well-behaved kid that all the teachers praised.I have a younger brother eight years younger than me and she praises everything he does and that's how it's always been. My grandmother passed away 5 years ago and she would tell me things about why my mother treated me the way she did,

Comment #42 by Anonymous on November 19, 2011 - 6:45pm

yes i have. my mother use to be a good mom when i was little but when i started developing into a young women she stopped being my mother and began competing with me. copying me, giving me dirty looks, calling me fat, (i am 5,5 and weight 135) spreading gossip about me in our family, telling me that many men leave their young wives for their mother inlaws (thats why i never introduced her to any of my boyfriends) she has told people not to hire me for a job, she has stolen money from me, snoops through my things, reads my diary, has been kicking me out of her house since i was 16 and hasn't wished me a happy birthday in 5 years. i am 23 now. i could go on and on but you get the point.

Comment #43 by Anonymous on February 1, 2012 - 4:14am

This is a topic which really does need to be pushed into the awareness level of society to be dealt with. It really is a horrible thing that most definitely happens and distances mothers and daughters. For me as a daughter, I have experienced this to the point of denigration of our bond. It used to be confusing to me: why would she dislike my successes when she wanted them for me in the first place. Now I recognise it as her own feelings of inadequacy and so I just moved on.

Our family are simply people who physically bring us into this world and are overemphasised in this society as people who must be in our closest social network. Note: they do not have to be your buddies. Be with human beings who help you grow and who you can care about. On one hand it is good that this all happens; it prevents separation anxiety when moving into the great big world and creates independence of mind slowly over time. On the other hand, it is painful during the process and separates a bond that daughters have inevitably spent a lot of time investing in. Bottom line.. if something is toxic, it is toxic. Let it go.

If possible, mothers should be aware of the potential negative ramifications it can have if the daughter is not strong enough and buckles under the lack of love around her. Perhaps they may feel some twang of compassion. Daughters should likewise note that you can either let it break you or make you stronger.

Comment #44 by fedup on February 22, 2012 - 10:44am

I have been going through this for years. My husband/at the time boyfriend was the first to notice it. The night I met my husband she was giddy and flirty and kept sliding him (at the time)supposedly my phone number.hahaha!

The past few weeks has really shown me just how warped her thinking has been.

I spend tons of time with my nephews. They are 1 and 4 years old. Along with the kids comes my sister. My mom will continuously call her phone and if I dont answer the cel phone then she dials my house number and even then my husbands cell number. She says that she is concerned about me and asks my husband. Then onto my sisters phone. If we dont answer then it becomes even more intense with phone calls and then nasty texts. Just yesterday I was in a dentists chair and had my phone off. It ended up being an immediate fight. Right out of sedation and oral surgery she wanted to argue.

Yesterday I bought my nephew, the one year old a pair of shoes. His first real hard bottom pair. As well as a couple of nights ago I bought my neice a couple outfits. I have to keep the spending to the dollar amount otherwise she tells my brother that I love my nephew more.

She burst into my home last night and threw money at me insisting that she pay for the shoes! She screamed that I am not their grandmother and that I need to learn my place as an aunt. I dont see how shoes and clothes for my neice meant that I was taking over her role in the family.

As well as being jealous of my relationship with my nephews and neices she is really pissed off...sorry no other word for it...over my sister and I spending time with each other. She is much younger than I but she is 29 years old. Our ages have caught up as well as being a mom now as I am.

We constantly invite my mom to come out with us if we are going out to eat or shopping or just taking the kids to the park. Immediately, her answer is no..but she stirs at home and then makes the phone call to us that sarcastically says that all that matters is that her daughters are out and having fun.

As well as feeling as though I am the kids mom mom, she also sent me a text that stated that I am also being my sisters mom and that she believes that I am afraid of my sister becoming close to her. If anything I encourage my sister to go and visit our mother with the kids by herself and without me there.

She stormed into my home yesterday and screamed that her and I have things to hash out. My kids were there listening to her holler at me. My sister and I are at wits end. My kids no longer want to spend time with her because of how horribly she talks about me when they are with her and they lost all respect yesterday when she came into my home and told me off.

I feel very sorry for all of the daughters here going through this. Please keep in mind that it is not your fault.

Comment #45 by Olivia on March 17, 2012 - 4:18pm

Perhaps oddly, my mother is a white holy-rolling Catholic-turned Christian anti-feminist who hates me for my failure to be her; ultimately the dynamics described end up being very much the same. My good fortune came from my understanding, at a very young age, that she was a thing to be endured and that in the end I could move out--no longer be the her servant. My ill fortune comes from the fact that I have no idea how to give myself what I didn't get--because I have no idea what normal mothers are, or how to parent myself.

From the little bit I have read so far, Rebecca, you seem to have a sense of the healthy way to be; that is encouraging, and words of yours I have read so far have been invaluable. They provide a sense of direction that it seems much of the world is not willing to give--damaged children of such narcissistic mothers are not worthy of the time and care, it seems, to just stop criticizing long enough that they can see what "normal" looks like, what "self-esteem" looks like.

Thank you so much for sharing your experience, your words, your wisdom.

Comment #46 by Anonymous on April 14, 2012 - 3:22pm

Even more so, what about the mothers who are "sexually" jealous of their daughters? This has to be the worst part of jealousy a mother could express towards her daughter. How common is that, and how much research has gone into that?

Comment #47 by Anonymous on April 14, 2012 - 3:22pm

Even more so, what about the mothers who are "sexually" jealous of their daughters? This has to be the worst part of jealousy a mother could express towards her daughter. How common is that, and how much research has gone into that?

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Comment #50 by Anonymous on November 11, 2012 - 4:52pm

I thought I'd never feel validated but after reading this article I know it's true. I love my mother and she is toxic, I believe she has a personality disorder. She's lovely and manipulating, controlling, a liar and conveniently forgets how abusive she factually is...one thing she does and helps me admit to myself she is toxic for me and both my siblings is admit while we're alone to some of her wrong doings but later to "forget" admitting to it. I'm the middle of three siblings, we ALL feel the same way about our mother but my siblings were able to stamd up to her at a very young age. As for me, well, I'm just ashamed of myself for allowing her to groom me and get to me, keeping me down to never grow, she mostly praised me in public to the point where people would apologize to me for they felt like my mom exploited my talents. Yet at home, I was called horrible names and beat down for opposition. I learned that no one opposed me for having a job, so I became a workaholic and then criticized for bringing home work clothes I would buy for myself. And when I would even try to do anything that surpassed anything she has accomplished, she would guilt me with her disapproval by stating If only I would work as hard as I do worshipping God. That I don't even pick up my Bible. But I didn't see her do much reading either. Now, divorced, two kids, DV survivor, and she still does it to this shit til today. She's my personal "Crazymaker" and it stops here, with me. Now, that I'm opposing her, she's tearing me down to my siblings and they have comforted me because of it. That woman is crazy and I feel like I need to disown her.

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