As part of our ongoing journal project at Toxic Mom Toolkit on Facebook, here is our next question.
How did your mother control you when you were a child? What doesn’t work anymore? What still works?
Children look to their mothers for clues on how to behave. Daughters of Toxic Moms often get confusing or hurtful messages about how to behave at home or in public.
It doesn’t make sense to act one way at home – to be as quiet or invisible as a little mouse – and then be expected to smile and be talkative outside of the home. But that’s what many daughters of toxic moms had to deal with growing up.
Our mothers teach us to ignore bad behavior of adults, to lie and keep secrets and to pretend to others. It’s the reason so many of us face life-long impulses NOT to ask for help or support. Everything is always wonderful, so who needs help?
In the Toxic Mom Toolkit questionnaires I’ve grimaced reading the types of things some mothers do to control their little girls. They can include constant demands for oaths of loyalty, sharing inappropriate adult information, lying, and pinky swears to keep awful things secrets. Rules of behavior are often enforced with delayed punishment, public embarrassment, pinches or slaps, neglect or physical abuse.
A mother’s eyes, a raised eyebrow, a curled lip, or a nervous laugh that telegraphs a threat can silence children.
What did your mother do to control you as a child? Does she still control you in these little ways? What doesn’t work any more? Why?