Chart of Abuse in Mother-Daughter Relationships

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Behavioral Chart of Abuse in Mother—Daughter Relationships
Expecting daughters to endure lifelong abuse from their mothers is as damaging to women as expecting mothers to be perfect.

Possessiveness and Minimization & Blame
• Mother does not take responsibility for her actions • Says birth of daughter ruined her life
• Says daughter’s feelings are drama • Refuses to discuss or heal relationship issues
• Mother tells adult daughter how to think, dress & act • Condemns daughter for moving away or having a partner • Telephones excessively/demands details of daughter’s life • Accuses daughter of abandoning her if she has her own life  • Sabotages daughter’s relationships with others or with family members

Humiliation • Puts down daughter’s lifestyle, partner choice, body size, looks • Humiliates daughter in front of people • Makes daughter feel guilty • Shares sensitive details of daughter’s childhood with others and ignores daughter’s requests for mother to cease doing so.

• Mother treats daughter like a baby, a puppet, property or servant • Has expectations daughter can never meet • Sets all the rules in the relationship  • Allows a sibling to control family events • Expects daughter to host/clean up after all family events

Emotional Abuse  • Mother gives daughter silent treatment/distances /shuns her • Labels daughter with psychological diagnoses • Tells daughter she was unwanted/should have been aborted • Is affectionate to family members but cold to daughter • Visits siblings, ignores daughter/daughter’s family • Omits daughter / daughter’s partner from family photo displays • Blatantly favors siblings.

Threats & Intimidation
• Speaks to daughter in a threatening tone  • Threatens to disinherit • Yells and screams at
daughter • Tells daughter she will be left or returned to an abusive parent • Threatens suicide if daughter does not comply to demands • Says things like “I brought you into this world, I can take you out!”

Physical Abuse & Neglect
• Slapping, poking, pinching, shoving, kicking daughter • Throwing objects at daughter
• Pulling/aggressively brushing daughter’s hair  • Withholding financial support or not providing shelter, food, medical care in daughter’s childhood/teen years.

Sex—Related abuse

• Mother shares intimate details of sex life with daughter in childhood/teenaged years • Has sexual behavior in front of daughter • Allows partners to flirt with, grab, sexually joke with, molest or rape daughter • Minimizes/questions/mocks sexual assaults of daughter when daughter tells • Condemns daughter’s sexual orientation, gender identity, dating partners, dating behavior

Unlike intimate partnerships between two adults, mother and daughter relationships originate from unequal power.  No mother has the right to use that power to abuse her daughter.

Work Cited: Core concepts have been inspired by and modified from the “Power & Control and Equality Wheels” developed by Domestic Abuse Intervention Project, Duluth, MN: Category titles, except Sex-Related Abuse and Emotional Abuse, are directly quoted from the Wheel.

5 thoughts on “Chart of Abuse in Mother-Daughter Relationships

  1. I’m a step mother of two girls who are still victims of abuse from their mother. I support their father unconditionally in his efforts to continue involvement in their lives, despite it being traumatic for him as he has to come face to face with the woman who abused him, every time he has to advocate for his girls.
    Sadly like many male survivors of abuse there are no records about injuries, he just let them heal. He had no where to turn until me as a friend and colleague had enough insight to ask “Are you in an abusive relationship?” I’m grateful for that moment of intuition and regretful it took me so long to ask.
    By the story she tells, she is the victim and I’m a marriage wrecker. The way the family court functions holds us to silence until the girls are in their majority and we will have to decide afterwards when they are ready to hear the real story. It may not happen in their father’s lifetime – coming out of the FOG of abuse by mother seems to only happen when women are older. Fortunately I’m from long lived stock and I will honour my partner and their father by being there for his beloved daughters.

  2. I am 71 years old and have suffered a life time of family abuse that started with my mother. I was 68 before I knew the horrible lies she told all my aunts, uncles, and cousins about me. When my cousin told me I cried for two days. She was very physically abusive always, would have left me to die with sickness if neighbor had not stepped in. I was bed ridden for 11 months as a result. She used me as a slave to work all vacations, before and after school, and never allowed me to have friends or activities. I was took care of her and her home even when I had my own family and surgeries. My sister was the Queen and treated as such but never the helper or worker. I was her sole support and care giver until her death for five years. On her death bed I sat vigil for three weeks all day. She did not allow me to read or talk that whole time. She never spoke to me all those hours in bed with me sitting on the chair she assigned to me. The whole family and my husband watched this and did nothing. Now my husband treats me abusively just like she did. We married just months before she died. I see how my life was so messed up because of the hateful way I was treated. Unfortunately my father died when I was young. He protected me when he was around. I was never allowed to speak of my father after his death. I realize my mother was very mentally ill just like my husband. That information was late coming in my life. My oldest daughter began carrying on with this behavior as she hooked up with my sister after my mothers death. My daughter is sick also from extreme and long term drug use. She spread the lies and ruined my relationship with my other children and grandchildren when I was 65 years old. Now after raising my three children, 5 grandchildren as a single parent I am alone and hated. I home schooled my grandchildren and took care of their mothers during pregnancy and delivery and until the children were in middle school.
    This is a conversation I would love to have with others for greater understanding and mutual support. I did grow up to be a healer/Pagan and kind person. I worked with children for my 35 year profession which was very satisfying. I could provide for children what I would have benefited from. I was able to live in a children’s world that was healthy which helped to heal me.
    Thank you for this offering.

    • i understand how this happens. My mother’s blaming of me as the problem saying that I derserved abuse saying such stuff behind my back and even to my own child resulted in the situation of my own child also adopting such behaviours towards me. So from a history of child abuse orchastrated by my mother leading to my beliefs of my own low worth resultinig in choice of partners who treated me as such and to infection of such mindset from my mother directly to my daughter resulting in her abuse of me in fact im lucky to have not died from her attacks. My child and I survived this by a thread and are healing with outlook positive. My blood family they will never have me back again. It is their loss. Now i see it like this. I’m glad you have had opportunity to know your good worth via your work with children and you deserve to know this and know you are not alone in what has happened to you.

    • As well I should add the lies were also told to my sisters brothers nieces nephews not just to my daughter. It was a life long series of lies all behind my back and looking back i see how my mother systematically sabotaged all my family relationships starting with my father who she must of felt threatened that he loved me. similar as what you experienced by

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