EQI Home | Emotionally Abusive Mothers
Helen in Australia
(Some identifying details have been changed)
Helen is a first year university student studying psychology. Her parents are from the Philipenes. They are very traditional.
Helen wrote to me because she found my site on emotional abuse. She realizes now she has been emotionally and physically abused by her parents, especially her mother. She said a university counselor helped her realize this.
I've read most of your site, (there's so much to read!) and it's really awesome. Your website is really helpful and i see a lot of my problems have predominantly emotional beginnings (and the reasons for their continuation -.-).
You're definitely right about the issues over emotion and school, it seems in the eyes of the government (and thus the educational system) drones who they want to work for them to keep the economy running and healthy, emotion is the enemy (so it would be better out of school), rather than weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East (although the latter may occupy the public longer).
Its just become normal for teachers and students to mock their peers/students over their beliefs or emotions; it's so infuriating and the perfect evil cycle, its a loss of empathy (which happens to be an emotion *cough*) preventing the bullies seeing what their victims are going through and in turn destroying their emotional fulfilment. Some of these may then turn into bullies at some other stage in thier life and the cycle repeats.
Sorry, this is an incredibly random e-mail and i doubt it makes any sense, but thanks nonetheless for reading,
About her psychology classes
I haven't taken any courses with child psychology (which I
imagine would talk more about abuse), mostly social and criminal
psychology and behaviour. I have taken a prep for all the later
courses in psych, though that had very little on abuse. That
course is taken by many kids who don't end up in psych but it's
still a popular course to take. The ones I took were very
interesting classes but you know what? When we talked about
disorders (depression, schizophrenia, etc) it was often like an
"us and them" thing. Although we learn many times the
depression is everywhere and people are very likely to get it,
just for me I felt like I was the only person who ever had felt
depressed over a long period of time and everyone else was
<<How do you feel after reading all of that?? I am afraid you will feel defensive or discouraged perhaps, or maybe a bit disillusioned maybe? The illusion that students enter psych programs with, compared to the reality of them, is something else that bothers me. Many people I have talked to say they entered psychology to understand themselves and or their families, and to help people, but after 4 or 5 years they wont go far with either one of those I'm afraid. The longer they stay in "the system" the more they become part of it and "invested" in it. Not many want to risk all the hours and money they spent to get their degrees and their jobs by rocking the boat, blowing the whistle, etc.>>
I feel sick, discouraged too, but this is something we have to
work on no matter how hard it is, we need to do as much as we can
because it's the right thing to do. We've all gone through so
much crap but no one understands, no one wants to believe it and
everyone pretends it's not happening when in truth it's so
I also feel a little defensive, yeah but I see you're right. It's been psych that's made me think more logically so it helped me understand when my parents were b.s.ing me and now I believe that the reason I left and not the others is because I'm the brains of the family.
My courses teach about being thorough and rigourous and skeptical, so that helped me. But I am a colder person and tend to avoid and push away emotions. A thing I hate and love. If something bad happens I can swallow it until I'm behind a locked door and then I might be able to cry. Often I can't. I still feel numb, like nothing's happened. Or I feel numb for days when the upsetting thing has long since been resolved.
Actually the first time I spent a good chunk of time on your site (that insomniac night), it was the first time I can remember that I really was able to cry without trying or wanting to make my tears stop. It sounds sarcastic, but I'm not being so....Thanks a lot for making me cry!
Thanks for replying, it's good to know that someone
understands and reassuring too.
I'm only beginning to learn about being emotionally supportive instead of telling people to suck it up and move on.
I usually only hug my family and they're also the source of lots of my misery. I like hugging kids though (I work in a day care partime), it just feels natural and idk, I just feel like there's no strings attached, nothing perverted, and both of you are happy...if that makes sense. I like to hug my friends (I send you a big virtual hug!) but people hugging me makes me nervous and has always made me suspicious, who knows why.
I do hope on doing something about emotional intelligence and furthering education on it. I'm not even sure it should be called that, actually. I myself thought it had to only do with emotions, not things like thoughts, views, etc., and to be honest I didn't know how you can abuse someone with just feelings. I know now that it can be done and it's not limited to just emotions.
I'm due to see a psych prof to catch up on some things soon, and I if I'm able to get him alone in his office I'm going to ask him about emotional intelligence and kids learning it in schools.
Thanks again for being patient and replying, hope to catch you again soon!
Reading about teens who are much younger than me makes me feel horrible and sad...I remember age 12 being probably one of the worst years of my life and I how frustrated I felt and I how I knew that I'd get made fun by my parents if I talked to them about how awkward those days at school were. I also believed that I'd be ridiculed or lose the friendships of if I told my friends that family life wasn't all roses, and in fact I lied then to myself even more and believed I truly was the source of all the arguments and horrors in our family.
Actually those kids were downright vicious and ready to make fun of anything that even slightly stood out, so I'm sure things would go as I imagined. And I never felt safe to talk to teachers even the year before. I kept forgetting my homework and my teacher asked if there was anything wrong at home and I wanted to blurt out "my parents hit me. is that ok?" What if the police came to break us up? I wasn't beaten every day and I when I was hit it was my fault.
Looking back, if I would have reported something to my teachers, someone in the family would have made a fuss to get back together as a "family" and then I'd have the "cop-caller" label on me and would be abused even more. In fact this past year was the first time I ever called the cops on my family (my mom was terrorising me for not having my room spotless, wouldn't let me do school work and started hitting me. She sat on my bed and taunted me to call the cops and I did. And then it was exactly that, that I was bad among the family members for having called the cops.)
I've read in some places on your site how these kids would've left if only the legal age for emancipation were younger. It should be so. Or at least there should be no fixed age on emancipation but a way to assess the situation (like retirement at a fixed age, I don't believe in that either), the parents and all, and child services shouldn't have to be the only option to them. I thought if the emancipation age is younger then maybe it'll be easier for younger kids who shouldn't, just run away. But then again exactly how wonderful can it be with your parents for you to want to run away?!
From your site, written by the girl who was 13 at the time of the writing: "So for the first time a little while ago I realized suicide is pretty much the only way out. But I hesitate to kill myself, because then I fear the guilt my parents will put on me again even when I'm dead. (They've told me before that they'd "just die if something happened to you [me].") I can't believe that not that long ago have I just realized how messed up a way of thinking that is."
That's the way I thought when I was the same age and years after, until I just began hating my parents. But then my idea changed, that if I killed myself no one on the planet would have understood why and my parents would have cried at my funeral but not have understood that they had a big hand in my suicide. I hope we're able to hear from this girl again soon. That father sounds like mine. People on the outside see them as "protective" but they're actually nothing but controlling.
I noticed this girl doesn't believe in her father's religion.
I'm sure religion helps. I remember somewhere you were
questioning of religion so I won't feel like I'm going to be
hurting your feelings by saying this. I'm an atheist now after
many confused years of being very religious. I think religion is
truly "the opiate of the people". If you beat your kids
senseless, you can point to the Bible and say "spare the
rod, spoil the child". If you sin you can go ask for
forgiveness. If you aren't religious, you go and make yourself,
and yourself alone do the fixing for your mistakes. But if you
want to do something that the Bible disagrees with you can say
that "oh, it was written millenia ago and that aspect
doesn't apply to modern society" Also since the religious
have to believe in things that are inconsistent I believe that
their questioning, reasoning minds go to sleep and they don't
understand anything and in the end you can pretty much defend
anything with the Bible in hand.
Chat about her mother being emotionally needy and abusive
here is something to look at...
can u look at that table and give me ur thoughts
it's cruel but it makes me feel better thinking that my mom
seems more emotionally abusive than emotionally needy. but i
still feel sad cause i'm sure she has emotional needs that
can u go down the list and tell me where ur mother fits in
bit off on the first. sometimes when nothings wrong my mom
might ask what's eating me. but when we're arguing she won't
hear how i feel and will just say "what about how *I* feel?"
sometimes she apologizes but only for obvious accidents like
falling into me
she's a super defensive person
repeats the same abusive things a lot and will repeat them
each time we argue or seem to go down a list in her mind of
things that are wrong with me
sometimes i get "I" messages from her,like "what about how I
feel" or "what you do makes me sad, sick or depressed"
i don't know if she's aware of her emotional needs at all. i
doubt it. she sometimes says how she doesn't want to do
housework for a bit, just watch a movie and relax and we might
say "why don't you do it then? take a day off. we can handle
the housework. just let us know and we'll help you relax" and
she will say "no, no, i can't do that" and she changes the
she blames her bad feelings on everyone else
she sounds impossible to please
even when someone has made her happy with a good grade or
perfect cleaning job, it's kinda wrecked when she says that
she needs us to continue this work. i don't know about the
others but it makes me feel like she can't like me during a
u said she repeats the same abusive things... can u make a
list for me....
uhhh can i finish the table first?
then i was gonna ask if u could give examples of how she
ok...so....she continues to invalidate when i say my feelings
or ask her to back off yelling at me till we're both cooled
but she persists
and will say i'm trying to be smart but i'm not so if i try to
act smart (??)
there was a link on your site to an abusive mom yelling at her
son about $50. i've done that once, been super calm and
enjoying how much she freaked over it
btw the uploader said that "you'll kiss your mom after you
watch this" and i thought, "no, i'll be happy i left cause
she's had episodes like this with me!"
i don't know about hugging. i like hugs but some hugs from her
come after i've backed down and agreed with her to get her off
yelling at me
and she'll try to hug me and I'll either not hug or Ill hug
and once she gave me a long hug after we argued for a long
and it's like "i give up" kind of hug...dunno how to describe
when I cry when were arguing she gets angrier
ok...the list of things she says...
- you need to change (thinking, behaviour or both)
- you need to keep the room clean because it makes people feel
depressed when your rooms messy
-need to get a different job because she thinks my current
ones environment is what makes me sick (physically or
mentally? I never know what she means)
- what if i pay for some courses at the secretarial school instead
of you doing this university stuff?
she'll start with one thing. if that thing seems exhausted
she'll choose another topic to bug about
- do more housework
- stop snacking/eating junk
- take more care about your appearance, make better
impressions on people
- stop sleeping in so much
- stop listening to music and downloading it (i don't download
so often, just have crazy sprees sometimes in my free time)
- keep your bathroom clean and room too and why I can't have a
neat room like everyone else (actually i'm sure many people
just clean before we come over just like we do)
hug thats really a lot helen...
it seems non stop
really? i don't think i've said everything.... *hug**
cuz ur used to it
yeah there's lots. and she says there's lots i have to change
its a little overwhelming for me on this end
id feel better the less time u spend with her
im sorry to say that...
cuz i know ur still partly emotionally dependent on her
but really id feel better too. I just feel...u know...tradition says you should be with your
family and work out your differences no
and im worried about her well being too. i just try to remember myself in all this.
that even though she needs plenty of help and i might have to take care of her,
that they're not healthy people and they make me unhealthy and sick and depressed
ok...her style of defense? i can tell you her argument style.
she'll repeat till you are worn down and give up so she finally lays the issue to rest, then go on
to the next thing. if you catch her with something she'll repeat what you said with
a question mark as though it was the most ridiculous thing ever