Chart of Abuse in Family-Daughter Relationships

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Behavioral Chart of Abuse in Family—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
• Family does not take responsibility for their actions • Mothers claim birth of daughters ruined her life • Family claims daughter’s feelings are drama • Refuses to discuss or heal relationship issues • 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 them if she has her own life  • Sabotages daughter’s relationships with others or with family members/turns younger family members against her.

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.

• Family 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  • Family members give daughter silent treatment/distance /shun 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

• Adult family members share 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, family and daughter relationships originate from unequal power.  No family member has the right to use that power to abuse her daughter. Intimate partner violence is condemned in most countries of the world, but family abuse of daughters is still acceptable. It’s not. Family Abuse of Daughters is Wrong!

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.

16 thoughts on “Chart of Abuse in Family-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

  3. I was also abused by my mother. I am 58 yrs old. We are six children. But, I was the only one she made work on school vacations and weekends. As a kid, I would go to bed physically exhausted from all the work. She was physically and psychologically abusive to me. She hated me, because my father loved me, and we got along well. She was jealous of her own daughter! She would lie to my father about me doing bad things (I overheard her once).
    Her favorite tool to use to hit me was a solid, heavy rod. I was a skinny kid, and I could feel the rod on my bones.
    I grew up believing I was ugly, stupid, and unlovable; and everyone deserved better than me. That led me to choose bad partners- abusive, losers, etc., because I didn’t think I deserved better.

    • Dear Laura, Thank you for your courage in sharing a bit of your story in this healing space. I can hear the loneliness of your early years echo in your words, and the fear you must have felt. I want to acknowledge your amazing strength to keep going: as a child and an adult. I want to witness the power of your bones holding you, and your life, together in the face of stunning abuse. Many daughters experience the wrath of mothers that are jealous of them. This is a mental disease. We believe your words and in YOU 100%. We welcome you to this community with open arms…continue to thrive, dear Laura! We’re behind you!!!! With Love, always, Sedna XO

  4. Last night I had the awakening. Everything starting to make sense. I’m 38 and just realized that my mother has been abusing me my whole life. It was physical at times when I was young but always verbal and emotional. Now that I’m older, it has been the emotional abuse for the past 20 years. I never realized how it was affecting me. Till now. I have 3 step daughters and recently realized I don’t know how to assert myself with them. I’ve been with them for 5 years. And recently my mom has had some very hateful outbursts directed at me. It’s like this perfect storm had to happen to wake me up. I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety my whole life. I hate that people blame their parents for their problems so I’m sort of stuck. Been having crazy dreams and crying a lot. Wondering what was real with my mom and what was a technique she was using to keep using me. It’s an emotional roller coaster. I appreciate reading others stories. I guess I just wanted to share mine. Plan to see counselor about coping with it and how to be a good parent for my own kids.

    • Thank you for sharing your story, especially this profound moment of awakening, with our community! Seeing and saying what is true about your relationship with a parent in childhood (and in the present) and how that knowledge affects your life is not “blaming your parents”, something I too find not only rampant in modern conversations about personal recovery, but repugnant. Unless adults can truthfully look at how growing up with the parents they had affects them in the NOW, we cannot grow-up and psychologically leave home. Lindsay, I think you have started to metaphorically “leave home”, or, in other words, claim/own/honor your experience as a daughter in all its pain, limits, joys, and lessons. Awesome! Something in your being knows you are strong enough now to look at it. Considering you are having dreams at night and grief bubbling up during the day means that this time is now ripe for healing and growth–a deep wisdom within YOU made that decision! How exciting, wonderful, painful, and difficult all this is….and that you are clearly ready to do this work in a more conscious way. I am glad you will be finding a nurturing, supportive counselor who validates your experiences…we are behind you, Lindsay! We believe in you. It’s OK to name what happened to you…the world is full of people who want you to step completely forward and own your life. Check in any time…Love always, Sedna

  5. Thank you so much. Believe it or not you’re only the 2nd person I’ve talked to about it all. Really appreciate your kind words.

    • That is exactly what this community is all about, Lindsay…being here across time and geography to say “we understand”, “we believe you”, and, most importantly I think, “you are not the only one”! Honored that you opened up….Big Hug, Sedna

  6. I am 44 and just now realizing that my mother has emotionally abusive and at times physically abusive for as long as I can remember. I feel shame and blame for everything that happens. She had me when she was 15 and somehow I have thought I was responsible for her happiness. She is hateful when she is drinking. She takes turns showing favoritism to me and my brothers in an effort to keep us around. In the past I would be crushed by her treatment but now I have become numb to it. I don’t even want a relationship with her at this point. I’m not angry I just feel sad, insecure and depressed.

    • Dear Tammy…it sounds like you have come a long way and gained insight about the very painful loss of your mother…as difficult as that wisdom about your life experience is, it is also necessary to get to that place of understanding. I know it doesn’t feel “good”, but it really is important and demonstrates your STRENGTH. Your mother’s treatment of you does NOT define “YOU”, but is only one relationship in the wide constellation of your beautiful human life. Yes, a key relationship, but one relationship among many, nevertheless. Tammy, you do not have to have a relationship with your mother or be responsible for her, no matter how much it breaks your heart to see her suffer. I want to publicly acknowledge that no child born to a teenaged mother is to blame for her emotional or economic suffering–this society does that to women, not their children. You have nothing to “prove”, “justify”, or repair for being born…you can do the deep work of mothering yourself now and allowing this community to support you in that work. We are here. We are daughters, sisters, and many mothers. That numb place in you can open in a safe, loving environment that you SO RICHLY deserve…stay close by, Tammy. We are championing your journey and believe in you COMPLETELY. Have you considered professional counseling? If so, make sure this person feels VERY comforting to you…or move on to someone else. Take care. Love, always, Sedna XO

  7. Hello, I am 44 and I was awakened when I was 40. After five years of Depression and anxiety as well as unstable relationships with others. I shuttered myself away from everyone. locked myself in my home and barely could go out or blend with people. That is why I started doing some searches, i always used to feel that there is something not right with my parents, but couldn’t figure it out till realized that they both suffer from NPD or Narcissism. Now I am suffering more can’t help myself to live a normal life or know how to deal with them. they are very old to abandon them. I simply can’t draw restricted boundaries, they have no one to take care of them. But deep inside I do suffer. I am still depressed and hold lots of rage and grudge, can’t live a normal social, physiological or mental life. It really hurts when one of my sons busts me talking loudly to my self or arguing with no one, my sons are worried about me losing my mind completely. I am very miserable and devastated, I just want to be happy, and enjoy inner peace.

    • Dearest Marwa,I am so glad you have found this website and wrote to our community about your experiences. Though you are taking care of your elderly parents, you can still do the inner work to heal. You have already begun the work by recognizing and honoring your feelings, talking about it openly in a safe woman’s community here, and had the courage to read about ways to care for yourself…that is most important right now–taking care of yourself. We are here to support you on this journey. Thank you, Marwa, for honoring your inner truth that “you always knew there was something wrong” and ACTING on that by reaching out for support. Keep believing in yourself and having compassion for yourself…stay in touch. Love, always, Sedna

      • Thank you so much Sedna, your words meant a lot to me. I will stay in touch and ask for your advice whenever I need. Really glad that I finally has found support. Thank you.

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