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Surviving an abusive mother

Updated on July 20, 2012

Surviving Daily Abuse

In terms of dealing with daily abuse, the most terrible relationship I had to deal with was the one with my mother. Her abuse consisted of yelling, threatening suicide, threatening malicious acts against others, name calling, ridiculing and general obnoxious behavior.

It took me many years to wake up to the fact that the relationship was abusive. At first I thought I was being a “good daughter” by putting up with her abuse. I felt guilty when I stood up for myself or voiced my opinion. I was beat down emotionally. Guilt seemed to drive my relationship with her more than love.

Rather than give you the horror story of all the horrid things she did, I would rather share what I learned to do to regain my sanity, my life and my family.

First I woke up to the realization that I do have my own voice. I had to give myself permission to speak up. At first it started with small things. Each time I spoke up for myself, I gained more strength and confidence in myself. Somewhere along the way, I woke up to the possibility that my mother was wrong. I had known that some of what she was doing was not right in my head, but the emotional wrongness I had not awoken to.

Once my eyes were opened, and I began using my voice, I began setting boundaries. Once again, at first they were small steps. I began to no longer accept or tolerate her abuse. I quit being a victim. I refused accepting the role of victim any more. The boundaries became clearer. I set boundaries on my time and space. Once I set those boundaries, I began exercising them more. I took walks by myself, I created a space for myself. I began separating myself from her. For so many years I was known as HER daughter I was always introduced as HER daughter. I suspected her whole agenda for me was to be raised as her personal caretaker. Few people knew me for who I was.

When I no longer tolerated her abuse, she tested the boundaries with her bullying When I held firm, she eventually backed down after some high drama. I expanded my boundaries to protect myself concerning information, and even quit jumping to answer the phone, just because SHE was calling. Once I got past the guilt it felt good to be in control of my own schedule.

She did not give up her fight for me easily. Eventually, she used legal action against me and my family. Her suing us nearly tore my family apart. Dealing with the legal abuse from her and her lawyer would take a whole hub in itself. Even now she still tries to induce guilt. Rather than go through the emotional turmoil often stirred up by her letters, I refuse to even open them. It took a while to get to this point, but now I can breathe. I no longer feel compelled to answer phones or open letters just because someone sent them to me. I can choose not to play their game, and it feels good.

Abusive relationships often feel like a prison
Abusive relationships often feel like a prison


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    • Sue St. Clair profile imageAUTHOR

      Sue St. Clair 

      7 years ago from I would rather be in Paris

      Estranged Daughter,

      It feels good to breathe again. After gaining my physical freedom, I had to free my mind and realize that I was free of her clutches. It was truly a nightmare.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      This sounds a lot like my mom, minus the legal drama. I can relate so much to what you posted here, about all the induced guilt and being expected to immediately respond to her, give her attention, etc. I'm glad you can breath now.


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