Archive | February, 2012

Toxic Mom Toolkit: Control Tools – What Did Your Mother Use? What Still Works?

11 Feb

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?

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Toxic Mom Toolkit Journal Project: Question #5 – Riding Shotgun

3 Feb

As part of our ongoing journal project, here is our next question.

Question #5

You’re in the car with your mom and ahead of you is an all-day road trip. What would you like to tell your mom about during that long, long drive? What would you like to hear from your mom? What would you say if you knew it was the very last time you’d speak to her?

A big part of the frustration with having a toxic mom is always feeling verbally shut down. As we mature, we test the waters by asking questions or demanding answers with mixed results.

If you have a family history filled with secrets, no doubt you have many questions only parents or grandparents can answer. And it’s not enough to ask. A direct question can be deflected, ignored or twisted into an emotional bat, which will be promptly swung in your direction.

Is anything more slippery than a toxic mom?

Are toxic moms the ninjas of none’ya business?

But what if you knew you had six or more hours locked into a rental car with your mother? What if life forced you two into red Buick and set you on a flat dull road? What if you had ALL DAY to sort it out; to ask questions; to listen and take mental notes? What if you COULD call bulls–t on her?

What if you could do all that with the knowledge that it was the very last day you could ask any and all questions that weigh heavily on your heart?

What would you ask?

What would you finally tell her?

And when you arrived at your destination and parted company do you think you would feel sad or satisfied as she shrunk smaller and smaller in your rearview mirror?