The power imbalance between controlling mothers and their daughters is something that has to be understood in order to make sense of what happens in such situations. Being able to see how this imbalance plays out in your own case is important for the purpose of recognizing what is actually going on and to work out what you need to do to rectify the situation.
In normal relationships, the interactions between parent and child change as the child grows and matures. Initially the parent spends time encouraging the child to explore how the world works while providing guidance and advice along the way. The child learns how to assess situations, gather information, make decisions and act on these decisions in order to achieve particular outcomes. At some point the child moves from being dependent on the parents to becoming independent.
Parents allow their children to make mistakes and learn from them, the parents support the children in times of need (and dependency), getting them back on their feet again to carry on in their lives once more and the parents take pleasure in watching their children spread their wings and create lives for themselves.
Of course, none of this happens between controlling mothers and their daughters.
Instead of talking about the usual insults, self centeredness, lies and other obvious control techniques used by toxic parents, I want to examine here some of the less talked about aspects of psychologically abusive relationships.
Controlling mothers offer little or no encouragement but do give lots of criticism and humiliation. The daughter, as a child and even as an adult, can spend considerable time trying to do things to get the parent's approval. The child wants to be recognized, to be cared for, to be considered as special and different by the most important care giver in their lives. Unfortunately, it happens rarely, if at all.
This obviously has profound effects on the development of the personality of the abused child. It is one of the many things that keeps the child dependent on the parents, even well into adulthood.
A controlling mother will now allow her daughter to have her own wants, needs, desires, likes and dislikes.
She will basically impose her own ideas on the child from day one. The child is not allowed to make her own decisions. Whenever she tries, the child is made to feel stupid, ridiculous or worthless for doing so. At the age of 2 or 3, when a child is beginning to learn about mine and yours, there is often a lot of conflict. Similarly when the child is 12 or 13, when she normally would start making her own decisions, many people report that there were lots of arguments with their controlling mother with an increase in the amount of abusive, controlling behavior. Basically the mother is preventing the child from separating, from becoming independent. The mother will do whatever it takes to bend the child to their will, to force the child to think, feel and act the way the mother wants them to. The controlling mother is moulding the personality of the child, imposing a false personality, a pseudopersonality, on the child.
A daughter will have little or no private time or private thoughts. The controlling mother will walk into the bedroom any time they want, they will read diaries, look at phones, emails and so on.
Nor is the child allowed to think anything for themselves. They are programed to reveal everything to the controlling mother. The manipulator wants to know everything about what the child does, who they are with, what they do and what they talk about. All this information makes it easier for the manipulator to control and dominate.
The pseudopersonality is basically programmed to reveal everything about itself. This pattern spills over into other aspects fo the victim's life and the victim will often reveal a lot about themselves to others, often to the point of causing problems.
Children of controlling mothers, when they start having adult relationships themselves, may reveal too much about themselves to new potential partners. If this new partner is also controlling, then the victim is giving them all the information necessary for the controller to dominate and exploit all over again. This is one of the factors in children of abusive parents ending up in abusive relationships as adults.
The mother is supposed to be a safe haven for the child whenever the child is upset or distressed. In the case of a controlling mother, the mother is also the source of stress. So, at one and the same time, the child wants to move away from the abuser but is drawn towards the abuser to get comfort. For various reasons the child usually ends up moving towards, but ends up suffering abuse all over again.
This is obviously a very disordered situation and sets the child up to have disordered relationships in the future. The good news is that when the child learns about mind control and gets rid of the pseudopersonality, they can actually learn to have normal relationships where they can learn to depend on, and trust, those around them.
These are the damned-if-you-do-and-damned-if-you-don't situations and there are usually lots of them in the case of abusive parents.
"Answer me, tell me what you are thinking!" shouts the mother at the child, but if the child responds with the truth, that the child does not like what the mother is doing, the child is breaking another overarching rule of never criticizing the mother. Whether the child answers or not, they are in trouble.
A child may be criticized for making their own decisions. Over time, the child stops doing so. Then they are criticized for not being able to make a decision. So whether they decide something or not, they are made to feel bad.
One of the conditions for a double bind is that the victim cannot easily leave the situation and, of course, this perfectly describes the dependent position of a child in a family.
There are often so many double binds that the victim doesn't recognize them as a tactic of the manipulator. They are simply part of life. Such things in the life of a child are known to affect thinking and learning as well as relationships.
There are many other limiting beliefs that occur in the relationships between controlling mothers and their daughters.
If your mother was controlling you really need to learn about what was done to you. Is your mother a psychopath, sociopath or a narcissist? If so, it´s important to recognize and accept that, because the rules are different with these people.
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If you think you are or have been in a cult or a destructive relationship, or a friend or family member might be in a cult and you want to talk to someone, send me a message on the Contact page and we can arrange to talk. All communication will be treated in the strictest confidence.
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