Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

My Mother

My mother continually tells me I’m wrong, I’m untidy, I’m no good at anything, I never do anything properly, my decisions are wrong, what I wear is wrong, my weight is wrong, I’m disgusting, I should take more care with my appearance, my hair is a mess, I give the wrong impression, how do I get employed, how does anyone listen to me?

My mother doesn’t acknowledge my achievements, she ignores them, my success is dismissed, there is no pride in anything I do, no matter how hard I work, no matter how hard I try, nothing will ever be acknowledged, any success is branded 'luck.'

My mother only asks questions that are designed to highlight how I got something wrong, when I talk about an important achievement, no one listens

My mother is verbally abusive. My childhood memories are of being shouted at, being threatened. I was told I am difficult, awkward, will never achieve anything worthwhile, every stage of adolescence is flattened, sneered at and repressed. When the sexual abuse I suffered resulted in extreme behaviour as a child, I was blamed, no one looked for reasons because no one wanted to know. I was sent to my room, banned from reading, banned from listening to music, punished excessively. I am fat, lazy, idle, selfish, thoughtless, inconsiderate, attention seeking, demanding, dramatic, always have to be the centre of attention, always have to make a fuss, always have to ruin things for everyone else, made to leave the room.

My mother does not respect my choices. My whole life is subject to her scrutiny, my house is criticised, the colours, furniture, style are criticised, my parenting is undermined and questioned, my choice of partner is always compared to other relationships to prove how bad my choices are. Decisions are questioned, experiences denied and I am told how I should live.

My mother tried to control everything. My friendships were affected as a teenager, I wasn’t allowed to stay over, I was told what to wear, what to look like, what to read. I was told what job I was going to do as an adult when I was 8 years old.  When I didn’t achieve well I was blamed and shouted at for failing. I was told I will fail at everything I do. I was forced to eat food I didn’t like, not allowed to help myself to food, food withheld.

The Legacy


My entire adult life is spent placating, calming, defending myself, defending my choices and decisions, explaining myself, withholding things to minimise criticism, hiding things, not telling, not sharing, not including.
Fearful, anxious, worried, always pre-empting someone's behaviour, always looking for signs that the mood has changed, unable to say what I want or what I think because I fear the reprisals, constantly trying to make people see that I’m not lazy, that I am a worthwhile person, that I do have something to offer.

When will it end?


Blaming yourself for everything that goes wrong, not being able to see the difference between personal responsibility and self hate. Blaming yourself for all the things that are thought about you, the opinions you think people have of you, believing that your achievements are worthless and that other people can do better. Other people ARE better. You are talentless, stupid and not good enough.



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3 thoughts on “My Mother

  • Alison says:

    This is very sad and a lot of it resonates with me. My mother has always been ultra critical of me (too thin/too fat/doesn’t like hair colour/too much make-up/zero interest in my life etc).

    However, she will use my achievements (such as they are) to blow her own trumpet with others but will never ever praise me to my face. Or at least she didn’t do until very recently when we were reconciled after a 5 year estrangement. I told her how I felt about her during an extremely emotionally row which is what resulted in our estrangement, so maybe, she has reflected upon her behaviour, which she blamed me for as I was a ‘difficult child’.

    I feel your pain. I read a book about having a mother as a narcissist and other self-help books on narcissitic parents which helped. I also had 6 months therapy after our last row 7 years ago, all of which helped. I also have a very supportive husband and friends who were able to see the relationship for what it was, who helped me recognise myself as others see me and not just through my mother’s eyes.

  • Anon says:

    Oh I could have written this OP So sorry that you and Alison have been through this.
    My mum brought me up to believe that all that matters with women and girls is what you look like.
    That if a man abuses or attacks you its your fault.
    That if your partner doesnt touch you for years and refuses counselling to help sort it out and then you crack and have an affair, she says the reason your partner wont touch you its because youve had an affair (gaslighting 101) Telling you that you WILL put your wedding ring back on and you WILL stay with your husband.
    I lost ten stone 11 years ago and all she could keep saying was “oh so and so celebrity has lost 3 stone” and refuse to acknowledge that i had lost ten of them.
    After moaning about my weight and saying i looked horrible. Dont mean to sound horrible but it would do well for abusive parents to acknowledge that its very likely that the child/adult they are emotionally abusing will be choosing their nursing home.

    EVB cross posted my post from The Womens Room a while ago.


  • Andrea Twist says:

    My mother was very similar, and I still am struggling with self-blame today. Like the poster above learning about Narcissistic Personality Disorder has answered a lot of questions, and there is a fantastic forum for daughters of narcissistic mothers – http://www.donmforum.com/ – that has brought me a lot of peace.

    Be kind to yourself x