My Mom Is Emotionally Abusive
- Hidden elements And What To Do

If you genuinely have the thought, "My mom is emotionally abusive" then chances are that there is something seriously wrong.

You may have known from a very young age that something was not right at home but, as a child with little life experience, you were unable to understand exactly what was happening. Or perhaps things seemed reasonable enough until you got to 10 or 12 years old and when you started to develop independent ideas, things took a turn for the worst in your relationship with your mother. For some people, it's not until they have children of their own, and they begin to reflect on how they were treated themselves as kids that they realize something is amiss. They realize that they could not do to their own kids what their mother did to them and they begin to question the relationship they had with their own mother.

In this article, I am not going to deal with mothers who do not realize they are emotionally abusive. Some mothers had strict upbringings and simply imitate how they were treated, believing what they are doing is ok. I am talking about mothers who are deliberately controlling and abusing their children. And yes, there are people like this on the planet. They are called psychopaths, sociopaths and narcissists and their relationships are based on coercion and domination, even with their own kids.

But first things first, let's have a quick look at the abusive behaviors that occur in mother-child situations...


My mom is emotionally abusive because...

The following behaviors indicate abuse when they occur frequently in family situations.

You mother lies a lot to you.

She says one thing and does another.

She belittles and humiliates you.

You are afraid of her.

She guilts you into doing what she wants.

You have no privacy.

You were made to feel worthless, less than others.

You try to get her approval but she never gives you what you want.

You were expected to tell her everything while she often kept you in the dark.

She keeps you dependent on her.

Ok, enough of that, you know all these things already, you have lived through them. If you want more details you can read more about such things in this quiz about emotionally abusive mothers...

I want to mention three other aspects that are not discussed very much.


My mom is emotionally abusive - double binds

A double bind is a situation where you are damned if you do and damned if you don't. The structure is that there are two rules and if you follow one, you break the other. The other factor necessary for a double bind is that the individual cannot leave the situation. Of course, children are dependent on their parents for years so simply leaving is not an option. They are particularly vulnerable from this point of view. However, even as adults, the nature of mind control is such that the victim is dependent on the manipulator. Leaving is never an easy option for adult victims either.

So, for example, a child is told in no uncertain terms that they must never criticize or answer back to their mother. One day, the mother does something that upsets the child. The mother then asks the child why they are upset. If the child answers, they are breaking the first rule. If the child does not answer, they are reprimanded for being insolent in not speaking up when spoken to. Damned if they do, damned if they don't!

Another classical situation is where the child is criticized for expressing their opinions of trying to make their own decisions. The child then starts makes decisions that are pleasing to the mother. If the child is asked, for example, what they want to eat and they hesitate (because the child does not know what is the 'right' choice), they are criticized for not being able to make decisions.

With controlling mothers, there are often many, many such double binds. So many in fact, that the child does not recognize them as abusive because they have been a 'normal' part of the child's life. The child may not recognize them as something abnormal or problematic. That's just the way life is.

These have profound effects on the child's learning, thinking, communication and relationships.

However, when the child does begin to see them, whether as a child or as an adult, they can begin to undo the effects and respond to them in a different way. They can learn new behaviors in their thinking patterns and in their relationships with others.


My mom is emotionally abusive - bonding

Normally a mother is a safe haven for her child. If the child is upset or afraid in some way, they attract the mother's attention, the mother soothes the child and the child once again moves away from the mother to explore the world.

An emotionally abusive mother is a source of distress for the child. They cause anxiety, fear and even terror in the child. This means that at one and the same time, the mother is the source of fear and the source of comfort for the child. This has very important repercussions. The child is often caught in situations where they simultaneously want to move towards and move away from the mother. In the end, moving towards usually wins out, but the child never quite gets the comfort they want and need. There may be confusion, fear, paralysis and even strange movements. In moments like this children often dissociate. They go to a safe place in their head. This becomes their survival mechanism.

Dissociating brings it's own problems, however. The thinking shuts down but the sensory system continues to function. The fear, anxiety and terror persist but the child, even into adulthood, is unable to think clearly about what is happening. It does not occur to the individual that they are in a dangerous situation and need to get out, for example. In the end, the child basically gives in and remains dependent on the abusive mother.

It is not difficult to see why such children often have difficulty regulating their emotions, problems in adolescence, fearful relationships with peers and intimacy issues as adults.

You can read more of the specifics in this article about the effects of controlling mothers on their daughters.


My mom is emotionally abusive - identity issues

You've heard stories about people being recruited into cults and the personality changes they undergo. They start doing and saying different things, their beliefs have changed, they almost seem like different people. Their friends and family say that they hardly recognize the individual any longer.

What they are describing is the pseudopersonality, the false personality, that the cult imposes on the members of the group. This pseudopersonality is programmed to take care of the leader, to put their own wants and needs to one side, to trust and believe the leader and to defend the group at all costs.

The same thing happens in abusive families. The personalities of the children are molded and manipulated by the abusive mother to be the way she wants them to be. The same mind control tactics are used in cults as in abusive families.

The difference is that the child does not have any normal personality development before the pseudopersonality is imposed upon them while someone who is recruited into a cult at the age of 25 has 25 years of personality growth before they were manipulated. The child in an abusive family does not have a 'pre-cult' personality that they can look back on to see what the cult did to them.

This means that the recovery of a child with an abusive mother includes not only undoing the pseudopersonality but also allowing their real personality to develop and flourish. You can read more about the pseudopersonality in this article about toxic parents.


My mom is emotionally abusive - What can you do?

No matter what age you are, if you think that your mom is abusive the most important thing you can do is to learn about mind control, psychopathy and narcissism.

If your mom is a narcissist or a psychopath, it's fundamental that you recognize this. Why? Because the rules these people play by are different which means that the rules you have to go by are different, too.

Psychopathy is formally known as antisocial personality disorder. The antisocial part is significant. These people do not have an internal policeman that puts the brakes on their behavior. They will cross lines that many people will not. They will engage in behavior that is illegal or risky, without the least consideration for the safety of others or even their own safety. They do not consider future consequences in any meaningful way. It was initially thought that they were morally stupid but it now considered that they do understand the consequences but they just don't care. They are much more interested in instant gratification, the consequences be damned. This is why many psychopathic criminals re-offend soon after leaving prison, for example.

Nor do these people have any empathy. They are unable to put themselves in the shoes of others. They have a general lack of emotion (no guilt, remorse, fear, love, shame, embarrassment) which means that they never feel bad about anything they do. They can abuse, torment, steal, con and generally destroy other people's lives and it does not bother them.

The other area where you need information is the area of mind control. How did your mother create the pseudopersonality? What manipulative techniques was she using to control you? The difficulty is that if you are not aware of a technique being used against you, you cannot mentally resist it.

Therefore, learning the various techniques, how they work, how they were used against you as well as the effects of them on you, is fundamental to understanding why you are the way you are. Understanding these things will allow you to make sense of the problems and issues you have in your life. Just as importantly, this knowledge allows you to undo the detrimental beliefs and ideas that were implanted in your head and gives you the opportunity to replace them with ones of your choosing that are actually beneficial for you. This is basically how you get rid of that pseudopersonality that I mentioned above.

Getting rid of the pseudopersonality also means that you are no longer an easy target for other manipulators that you meet in the future. Children in abusive families often end up in abusive relationships as adults and they often feel like they attract narcissists. This is a mistake in thinking. It's not that the child attracts them, it's that the narcissists recognize someone who has been abused before and they will target them straight away.

My point here is that education is fundamental. However, trying to go it alone is a mistake. First of all, the pseudopersonality is programmed to defend the manipulator, so it's very difficult, without outside input, to see the true nature of the manipulator.

The second thing is that the pseudopersonality is programmed to believe that all sorts of things are it's own fault. The pseudopersonality has been led to believe that if anything goes wrong, it is responsible for this. Along with the idea that the pseudopersonality believes that it should be able to sort things out, this makes it very difficult for the pseudopersonality to ask for help.

And thirdly, speaking badly about the manipulator makes the pseudopersonality feel as if they are betraying the manipulator in some way. This makes it incredibly difficult for the pseudopersonality to heal itself. The tendency is to try and take the beliefs already in place and use them to make sense of things. Einstein said that you cannot solve a problem with the same level of thinking that created the problem. For this reason, professional help is invaluable, even though it goes against everything the pseudopersonality believes.


My mom is emotionally abusive - more reading

You can start your education with the following articles about things manipulative people say, profile of the sociopath, what makes someone a psychopath, psychological effects of controlling parents, dealing with a toxic family and healing from emotional abuse.

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Would you like to talk to someone about your situation?

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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