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Types Of Abuse, And Coping Tips


Below are described several types of abusive mothers, links to some articles and coping tips for their specific way of hurting you. This list is certainly not all-inclusive, so if you have further suggestions on coping or other information, please feel free to contact me at CynthiaBaileyRug@aol.com

All victims of abuse need to remember the following:


Remember- the abuse was NOT your fault!   You never did anything to deserve what was done to you.   Your mother has problems, and that is why she abused you, period.  Most likely, she was abused herself, and did not have the inner strength to end the cycle, so she abused you.  It was not because you were a "bad" child, or you made her abuse you somehow.   It is all on HER!   You are good enough, smart enough, pretty enough!  God loves you, and so do I. :)

Also, you need to grieve- grieve the loss of your childhood, grieve what that poor little girl (you) went through, grieve that you never may have the loving, normal mother you want.  Grieving brings about acceptance of things that cannot be changed.   It also enables you to focus on healing yourself, rather than wishing she would get better, and continuing to be hurt.  Grieving also helps you have a healthy perspective on your situation, and to eventually forgive your mother.   You may not want to hear that right now, but you do need to forgive her- not because she deserves it, but because you deserve better than carrying around that anger and bitterness inside you. If you hang onto your anger, she still has control over you, and is still abusing you!

If your father stood by silently as your mother abused you, you need to come to the place of realizing that he is just as guilty of abuse as your mother . He was not an innocent victim, and he could have and should have done something to protect you.   You will need to realize that, get angry with him, and then forgive him as well for the sake of your own mental health.. It will be hard, and take time, but you can do it! For more information, please read this link: The Unavailable Father

If your mother has a personality disorder, such as Borderline Personality Disorder or Narcissistic Personality Disorder, before you decide that your mother is sick, and cannot control her actions, keep this in mind- personality disorders describe a way of thinking and behaving. They are NOT an illness, such as schizophrenia, PTSD or Bipolar Disorder. The difference is someone with an illness simply cannot control their actions, whereas someone with a personality disorder can. Some people with a personality disorder are very good at controlling their behavior, in fact.

As you are healing, you may have some very bad days sometimes.  Those days are a very normal part of the healing process, especially if you have C-PTSD.  I know it can be very hard, but try not to lose hope or beat yourself up when those days happen!

The information you just read may seem overwhelming to you at first, but if you take it one tiny step at a time, you can do this! You will be much healthier (emotionally and probably physically) for it, your relationships will be better, you will be a happier person, and you will naturally cope better with your mother. 


Type of Mother:

Signs & Symptoms:

Coping tips:

(drugs, alcohol, etc)

Often physically violent

Often shows inappropriate actions, such as arriving at a special event drunk or high

The addiction comes first, before the child, leading to neglect

The child often has problems in school and relating to authority figures due to witnessing the parent's addiction

Find a counselor or group therapy for adult children of addicts, such as Al-Anon

If the parent is still addicted, enforce healthy boundaries to protect yourself and your spouse and children

Remember- it is your parent's choice to stay on drugs or to get clean. You cannot force someone to clean up. It must be their choice.

For more information, click here: The Addicted Mother

Feigns ignorance, innocence (ex: "I can't do that.. you do it for me")

Pouts, cries, gets angry, lashes out or blames other people when she does not get her way

Depends greatly on others to take care of her

Can be very manipulative, but few see that about her, thinking she is "too naive to be like that"

Competitive with her daughter (or daughter in-law)

Must be the center of attention


Closed minded

Do not play her games. If she pouts, ignore her. If she hints for you to do something, ignore the hints. Ignore her competitive games.

Encourage her to do things she says she cannot do that you know she can.

You are not the parent- you have no obligation to indulge their childish behaviors.

For more information, click here: The Childish Mother



Shows conditional love, never unconditional (ex: you must do things her way or she withdraws her love)

Uses intimidation

Uses "leveling." In other words, acting as someone in authority or verbally tearing someone down (to their level)

Will gain the sympathy of others to use them to force you to do her will

She cries when all else fails

She uses money or flattery to get you to do what she wants

Tries turn your father against you

Set and enforce healthy boundaries.

Limit your time spent with her.

Do not give in "just this once," because if you give in once, she will push harder to get you to give in again and again

Use phrases like, "I'm not going to discuss this with you," or, "Well, that is your opinion, not mine."

Remember- YOU are in charge of your life, not your mother. You have to live as is pleasing to you, not her.

For more information, click here: The Controlling/Manipulative Mother

Emotionally Incestuous
Confides in child about intimate matters, such as details about parents' marriage

Treats child as a friend, not a daughter or son
Not there for her child, but expects the child to be there for her, no matter what

Makes her child responsible for her emotions
Set and enforce healthy boundaries

Realize you are NOT responsible for your mother's emotional well-being. She is

Change the topic of conversation when you begin to feel awkward

Distance may help. Talk to your mother only when you feel you are able to do so. Once a week or once a month or whatever works for you

For more information, click here: The Emotionally Incestuous Mother
Competitive with her daughter

Highly critical

Threatened by her daughter's successes
Keep topics of conversation superficial (the weather, local events, etc)

Reduce discussions of your life- the less she knows, the less she will criticize

For more information, click here: The Jealous Mother
Mentally Ill
The mother shows erratic behavior of mental illness- rage, mood swings, extreme sadness, hearing voices, delusions of grandeur, risky behaviors, etc.
Learn about the illness your mother has.

If she is undiagnosed, learn about her symptoms- talk to a mental health professional or research them on the internet. This will give you a good idea of what to expect from her behavior

Set and enforce healthy boundaries

For more information, click here: The Mentally Ill Mother

Must be the center of attention. When she is not, she becomes agitated or angry

Highly concerned with appearances more than character


Lacks empathy

Often married to a man who fails to protect his children from her. His is what is known as a covert narcissist.

Limit contact

Set and enforce healthy boundaries

Learn to recognize her manipulation tactics- do not play into them

For more information, click here: The Narcissistic Mother

For more information on the covert narcissistic father, click here: The Unavailable Father, aka The Covert Narcissist

Physically Abusive

Hits, slaps, punches

Distance! Stay away from anyone who physically hurts you!

Set and enforce healthy boundaries. Do not allow your mother to strike you

For more information, click here: The Physically Abusive Mother

Psychologically Abusive

(includes mental, verbal and emotional abuse)

"Messes with your head" by discussing altered versions of events.

Accuses you of being oversensitive, reading into things, etc.

Uses guilt, anger, etc. to manipulate you

Distorts reality to her daughter- reinvents the past. Known as "gaslighting"

Highly critical

Tells daughter she is overly sensitive

Daughter grows up unable to trust her own instincts and what she sees

Set and enforce healthy boundaries
Learn to recognize her games, and do not play them

Learn to trust yourself. When she says something is true, but you know it is not, believe yourself over her

Choose words wisely when talking to the verbally abusive person. You know what brings on a verbal attack

For more information, click here: The Psychologically Abusive Mother
Sexually Abusive

Inappropriate touching, fondling

Inappropriate comments about daughter's developing body as a child, changes in appearance as an adult

Forcing daughter to watch mother shower, change clothes, masturbate

Talk to someone who is not judgmental or critical. This type of abuse is not well accepted- you need to discuss it only with someone safe

Write in a diary, or write letters to your mother that you do NOT mail to cleanse yourself of the negative emotions

For more information, click here: The Sexually Abusive Mother




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