5 HARMFUL MOTHERS (Part 1)

MOM WHY DID I HAVE TO
end up with a mother like that???

PREVIOUS:

 4 Parenting Styles (Part 5)

SITE: 4 kinds of Angry Moms

BOOKs:Difficult Mothers: Understanding & Overcoming Their Power” ~ Terri Apter (Comments)
The Emotionally Absent Mother” ~ Jasmin Lee Cori


These classic Abandoning / Abusive
parenting styles leave big scars. If you were raised by a mother who was mainly one of these types OR some combination, it’s important to recognize where we got our dysfunctional reactions from – as a way to minimize or eliminate our Self-Hate.  (from Daily Mail Reporter, U.K. 6/2012)

NOTE: Each of these types are variations of Narcissism – when it’s a severe & life-long pattern (Characteristics of Narcissistic Mothers).  Read rest of article for suggestions of how to deal with each type.

1. ANGRY
Although no child likes it when a parent is angry, an occasional outburst angry momdoes not create problems between them. What does cause harm is when a parent repeatedly uses anger to attack, shut up & control family members. When anger is always in the air, children live in a constant state of high alert, waiting for emotional explosions.

• As well as being psychologically damaging, this type of long-term stress is also toxic to the young brain. Flooding it with endless anxiety limits the formation of the mental circuitry needed to regulate emotional states.
Sad irony: these are the kids who most need to learn self-soothing & control their reaction – but are the least well equipped to do so

Continuing into adulthood, many such people say they still panic when around their angry mother, having grown up always feeling ‘wrong’. They’re most likely to become appeasers, programmed to please & placate others.
Sites: “My Mom Is Always Angry” / “My history of anger, 1-3″

2. CONTROLLING
This mother will try to run of every part of their child’s life, even to the extent of telling the child what to see, feel, think & want.controlling mom

Healthy parents use control to shape general values & set specific rules – but always temper it with careful listening, & respect of the growing child’s ability to have their own personality & their ability to make age-appropriate decisions for themselves.

Instead, day-by-day, a controlling mother says, acts & implies: “I know who you are & you don’t / I need you to be X, which is more important than what you want / I know you don’t like it my way but I don’t care…..”’  She sees herself as custodian & shaper of her child’s mind.
Having been told repeatedly that mother knows best, these children learn to completely distrust their own wants, needs and opinions. Even simple independent decisions can fill them with anxiety. They also learn to lie – to say whatever the controlling mother wants to hear, just to keep her off their back
SITEs: Signs you may have controlling parents’ +
The Psychological Effect of a Controlling Parent

3. EMOTIONALLY UNAVAILABLE
Sometimes the result of depression or chemical addiction, but most often because of narcissism, a mother’s emotional unavailability can be incredibly painful for a child, & leads to all kinds of upset & confusion.
This long-term emotional withholding effects the physical & chemical make-up of a child’s brain. neglectful momGrowing up, such children see their role as comforter & protector, instead of being comforted & protected.

They’ll feel guilty for feeling happy, cling to the parent, avoid emotions or throw tantrums, & often take on heavy responsibility to make up for mother’s ‘absence’.

As adults, ordinary emotions such as joy & sadness may seem extreme, self-indulgent, even dangerous to these people. They may also have deep-seated beliefs about their role in close relationships – that other people’s needs are more important than their own, always have to be mature and ‘grown up’, & can’t trust anyone to be there for them.

Healthy parents provide ‘Affective sharing’ (emotional exchanges between mother & baby), which increases brain growth & cortisol receptors that absorb and buffer stress hormones, as well as generating those crucial systems that help us manage our own emotions, organize our thoughts & plan our lives. Nurturing physical contact builds the brain’s ability bounce back from disappointment & failure.

NEXT: Harmful mothers #2

ABUSE of CHILDREN (Part 2)

I NEED SOMEONE TO PROTECT ME
but there’s no one around to do that!

SITE : ✓ ACAs ACOAs ACODF Blog, re. the effects of childhood abuse on the brain

How to Deal With Being Rejected by Your Parent


ABUSE STYLES
(cont)
1. REJECTING
2. NEGLECTING
3. EMOTIONAL Abuse

4. CONTROLLING
DEF: Over-firm or restrictive, where parents intrude into the child’s activities without regard to their emotional state, needs or current activity.
Tend to be motivated by parent’s own personal needs or wishes rather than a realistic need to monitor the child’s actions.
• Inappropriate control takes several forms :

Over-control – Robs child of opportunities for healthy self-assertion & self-development –  by preventing them from exploring the world around them.  Authoritarian parents (“My way or the highway”) are more likely to raise disrespectful, delinquent children who don’t see them as legitimate authority figures.
Can also cause child’s over-compliance, social anxiety & isolation

Lack of control – not proving the child with attention, boundaries, guidance & realistic information. Puts a child at risk for causing danger or harm to self, & robs them of the knowledge handed down generationally.
Can cause disobedience, fighting or being withdrawn & socially phobic

Inconsistent control – can cause children to feel anxiety, depression, confused self-identity & mental confusion, leading to a variety of inappropriate behaviors & impaired intellectual development

Over-protection – stunts a child’s growth as a person, & prevents them from learning to successfully deal with fear & life stresses. Makes the child unable to trust their own abilities – because they were never tested.

Severely over-protected children eventually have a hard time going out into the world to finding a spouse, job or place to live, since they’re not used to having to do things on their own.  May find a controlling mate to replace parents
💔
5. COLDNESS
💠 Expressed in all 3 T.E.A. forms. Some parental characteristics:
act superior, angry, critical, distant, guarded, indifferent, little or no empathy or compassion, passively withdrawn, self-absorbed,

• When parents are consistently unavailable, emotionally cold & also don’t allow or ignore the child’s own emotions, they deprive them of the necessary ingredients for intellectual and social development. It can be giving a child the “silent treatment’, not being affection, leaving them with an unfamiliar, uncaring, or molesting caregiver….

Children subjected to consistent coldness grow to see the world as a ‘dangerous’ uninviting place, likely have seriously impaired relationships in the future, AND may never feel confident to explore learn or explore. They can become too independent & self-reliant, shut down, un-involved, un-trusting….

6. ISOLATING
a. Leaving young children alone to fend for themselves. NEGLECT – Part 1
b. DEF: “Separate or cut child off from normal social experiences (friends & family), resulting in extreme aloneness”.
Usually includes emotional & physical abuse:
🤍 done seductively (“Stay with me, I need you, you’re my special one”)
🤍 or brutally (“Everyone knows you’re bad. No one else wants you”)

EXPs
• keep C. away from one parent or other family, if parents are separated
• insist C. study, practice, do chores…. excessively or to exhaustion
• lock in closet, in their room, in basement…(especially for long periods)
• OR lock C. out of the house, especially when quite young
• make C. look & act differently from peers (weird or inappropriate clothes, not groomed….)
• prevent C. from having friends & participating in activities outside the home, while praising / rewarding C. for withdrawing from social contact

Purpose & Result:
• keeps child dependent on the caretaker, to the point of being afraid to interact socially, sometimes for the rest of its life
• limits child’s knowledge of the world & any healthy options it may have – depending on severity & duration
• prevents the child from forming its own identity
• serves to keep the child attached to the caretaker – used as a companion, spouse substitute, punching bag &/or slave
• equally important, it keeps the child from telling others about their abuse
Emotionally, the child is left confused, terrified, lonely, depressed & hopeless.

NEXT: Abuse of Children (Part 3)

“They Did the BEST They Could” (Part 1)

they did the best... 

YES, I WAS HURT BY MY FAMILY,
but they were hurting too, poor things!

PREVIOUS: Results of abuse – #2

REMINDER: See ACRONYM Page for abbrev.

 

1. GENERAL
This is a commonly used phrase – in & out of Program – mainly in the service of the speaker’s denial!
You may at first think this post is harsh or unfair, BUT please remember that everything our parents were  – WE internalized into our Negative Introject.
As long as we deny how harmful their actions were toward us – we will continue doing the same to ourselves, mistreat others AND let others mistreat us in many of the same ways! ( Self-hate’).

How is this phrase usually meant? That that no matter how cruelly, crazily…. our family may everything's OK ??have continually acted, to each other & us, even to this day – it was the ‘best’ they could manage.
It implies that they :
• used all possible resources to cope
• could NOT have done any better
• meant well, even if they didn’t show it
• really tried, in spite of falling short
• didn’t have any other options ….

In most of our families NONE of these are true – OR if true in part, it was a very small part – not enough to help us as kids!

2. DENIAL
a. THEM: This phrase is usually said by adults, about their parents – but only by people who had painful childhoods! You won’t hear a happy, well-adjusted person needing to even think this, much less say it!

The BEST they could? If our parents were verbally cold, controlling, cruel & insensitive, narcissistic, neglectful, not comforting, drunk, demanding, abusive, addicts, raging….  That was the BEST they could DO? Really?

NO. The most we could say is that they:
chose the ‘easiest way out’,  just didn’t care enough to bother, or were self-righteous about their parenting style (“Spare the rod, spoil the child”) – anything to not take to look at themselves & the effect they had on their children & others
did what any addict would (not just alcohol, but also food, shopping, raging, gambling, exercise, TV, sports, religion….) – everything possible to not deal with their responsibilities & emotions

did what was done to them. Yes, but most never bothered to change. One mother, when confronted, kept saying – “But there weren’t any books about this stuff when you were little”! Except the daughter knew mom never bothered with anything deep, ever. She only read ‘Readers Digest” & watched soap operas! AND, there were some books, & people she could have asked to help. But she ‘was never wrong’!

refused to get whatever help that was available to them at the time (AA & NO to helpAl-Anon have been around for over 50 yrs, psychologists even longer).  One mother admitted she wouldn’t be caught dead going to a therapist. Another was begged repeatedly by her daughter to go to Al-anon, but always blatantly refused

were neglectful – some of us had a parent with a genuine mental illness – but others in the family denied the problem & did little or nothing to seek out solutions that were possible at the time, if not for the sick adult, then at least for us kids
EXP: More than one CoA was left alone for years to deal with a drunk, suicidal or psychotic parent

b. US: On the surface, when ACoAs say this phrase we mean the ‘General’ qualities listed above (from denial).  Under that, we’re really saying that we :
• can’t afford, emotionally & mentally, to admit how badly we were treated
• still believe we caused or deserved the terrible things they did / didn’t do
• “understand” why they acted that way, intellectually – so we don’t have to FEEL the hurt, sadness, frustration, rage, disappointment….

—–> And here’s the kicker:  we’re saying that – since “they did the best they could” – we can’t possibly be angry at them! Saying that we forgive them is actually our way of exonerating them. – not holding them accountable.

OK, so what’s wrong with that? Yes, it is the ultimate goal of mental health to let go of our anger, detach with love – or indifference, to forgive, outgrow our need for them… BUT…… (cont. in #2)

NEXT: “They did the best they could” (Part 2)