Q I feel rubbish. I’m lonely and deep down I feel really sad. I wish my mother would treat me better. She ignores anything that I do well, it doesn’t matter to her.
She cuts me short when I try to have a proper conversation, and talks over me and changes the subject. It’s like I’m a nuisance and an irritating burden to her.
If I try to tell her what she’s doing, she just says I’m over sensitive, or imagining things, or she laughs it off and makes fun of me. She uses this stupid baby voice to me as if I’m an idiot. She puts me down and is sarcastic to me in front of other people.
I’m 20 years old now and have never had a boyfriend. Who would want someone as pathetic as me anyway. I’ve also got into debt from buying stuff to make me feel better – it doesn’t last for long though.
Is this all my life is? I feel suffocated by her. Will it ever get better and when will she stop messing things up for me?
A I very much doubt that she will ever stop doing this. It would take a massive dose of self-awareness… the very thing she doesn’t have or seem to want.
You are describing a toxic mother, someone with a personality and character that are disordered and dysfunctional. She may have more severe mental heath issues too (but I don’t know enough about her to comment further on this).
She is transferring her pain onto you. Making you feel perhaps like she did herself as a child…you are being cast as her victim and she is the bully.
She may need you to carry her pain… but that doesn’t make it go away for her. So she has to keep doing it (instead of getting the help she needs to get to the bottom of it all).
She is also passive aggressive towards you… making out that you are the one with the problem!
The silly voices are meant to ‘infantilise’ you. To make it look as though you are somehow retarded for your age. She is attempting to shame you and cover up her own shame. That tactic never works properly either!
I hope that you will now see all of this behaviour objectively – and perhaps even pity her for needing to behave like this.
She is being an emotional bully to her own child…she’s the pathetic one, not you.
Her behaviour has shaped your self-concept over the years, and so it’s become twisted out of shape by her lies about who you really are. She can’t see the real you…her own wounds get in the way of that.
I can understand why you feel suffocated by her. She has hijacked your brain with her crazy behaviour towards you… so you have learnt to doubt your own perceptions and value.
Your perceptions are valid and your true value exists, it’s just been hidden away, because it’s not been safe to show it.
You can now choose to show up as yourself – a young woman with many opportunities, options and decisions ahead of her.
Not as a victim of a sick mother, but as a courageous woman who made a decision to do well in spite of her mother’s attempts to keep her small and scared. You owe her nothing… you owe yourself everything.
You can now decide what level of contact you have with her that will still allow you to grow beyond her emotionally abusive behaviour.
As for the financial debt you are in – it is paradoxically a good thing.
You have been treating your wounded and depleted inner child to ‘stuff’ to try to fill the gaping hole in her heart that should have been filled with her mother’s (and father’s) unconditional love.
When you stand tall and refuse to be her victim or emotional punch-bag any longer, you will be in a position to re-parent yourself… to give yourself the love you need and fully deserve.
Make an agreement with yourself that the sensible adult part of your psyche will get the debts paid off (create a payment plan).
The more nurturing parental part of you, and your inner child can then become free to live, love and prosper… away from the shadow of a toxic mother who doesn’t deserve you or your loyalty.
If you’d like some help to understand the effects of being brought up by a toxic parent – and what you can do about it – then please see the link below.
Maxine Harley (MSc Psychotherapy)
www.maxineharley.com – where you’ll find a page of FREE RESOURCES which may be of interest to you to understand and escape from your core childhood feelings which still have a hold over you.