How do you deal with daughters who blame their mothers for everything? First, we will discuss why daughters blame their mothers. Then we will provide tips how to deal with mother blaming.
Nobody leaves childhood unscathed, and it’s normal for adult children to blame their mothers for how they raised them. Maybe you sometimes blame your own mother for some of your baggage or issues.
All daughters have the right to feel how they feel. That applies regardless of their age and the circumstances.
But if your daughter blames you for everything- and seemingly refuses to take responsibility for her own mistakes or life plans- it’s probably a sign of a deeper issue. Here’s why it happens and how to cope.
Why Do Daughters Blame Their Mothers for Everything?
Mother blaming is nothing new. The mother-daughter bond is unlike any other relationship, and adult children don’t always take responsibility for their actions or emotional needs.
Here are the main reasons daughters project their own baggage onto mom.
#1 You and Your Daughter Have Enmeshed Boundaries
Whether you realize it or not, you and your daughter may lack a clear degree of individuality and separation.
This often happens when mothers feel responsible for their daughter’s behavior. They don’t just want to be a good role model- they want to solve their child’s problems and prevent them from feeling any pain.
Enmeshed boundaries can look like:
- taking over your daughter’s adult responsibilities
- undermining your daughter’s father because you assume you always know best
- ignoring or punishing your daughter’s unique and individual self
- taking on your daughter’s feelings
- inadvertently making your daughter parent you when you’re going through a hard time
- getting jealous of other relationships in your daughter’s life
Enmeshed boundaries often start when children are young but can persist throughout their lifespan. The mother feels responsible for ensuring that her daughter thrives.
At the same time, the daughter feels inadequate on her own. She often turns to her mother at the sign of any distress. As a result, she never really grows up- and she and mom don’t get to enjoy a healthy relationship.
#2 Your Daughter Has a Mental Illness
People with poor degrees of conscious awareness often struggle with blame. Mental illness often coincides with this problem. They lack insight into what they can (and cannot control).
So instead of looking inward or considering her own choices, your daughter might shift the blame onto you.
This can happen with:
- addictions and eating disorders
- personality disorders
- mood disorders
- psychotic disorders
#3 You’re Being a Victim of Gender Role Stereotypes
Mother blame sometimes comes from larger systemic issues. We live in a world that tends to oppress women and place unrealistic expectations on moms.
Mothers, in many ways, are expected to do it all. Sometimes, especially when you look at attachment theory or other psychological models, it can seem like the mother is the only factor predicting a child’s well-being.
However, this isn’t true. Mothers undoubtedly shape their children, but they are not solely responsible for everything a person does or doesn’t do.
#4 She’s Being Influenced By Someone Else
Some daughters turn against their mothers because someone else has convinced them to do so.
This can happen if they start dating someone new. A partner may be threatened by you or want to isolate your daughter from extended family.
It can also happen within divorced families. If you’re a single mother or dating someone else, your daughter’s father, may undermine you and try to have her pick sides.
Sometimes, it can even happen within mental health recovery. Your daughter may go to therapy and learn about how her childhood or family impacted her well-being.
And even though a qualified therapist won’t blame you for her pain, your daughter may take things the wrong way by assuming certain issues are your fault.
#5 She Has a History of Trauma
If your daughter experienced trauma, she might blame you for the negative feelings she continues to endure. This can happen whether or not the trauma was your fault.
Trauma, of course, can be tricky. As a loving mother, it’s hard knowing that you couldn’t protect your child from pain. You may feel responsible for what happened or feel guilty for how it impacted your kids. After all, most parents have good intentions and want the best for their children.
But regardless of the circumstances, your daughter is now an adult woman. She needs to take steps to heal- without assuming everything was mom’s fault.
How Do You Deal With Mother Blaming?
Being the victim of your daughter’s blame game can be devastating. You may feel angry and disrespected as if your efforts to raise her were futile.
You may also feel bad and ashamed, especially if you think you really are at fault for certain situations. But more than anything, it’s hard to feel like a good mother when your own child blames you for everything.
If you want her to stop blaming you, here are some tips.
Stop Trying to Defend Yourself
Even though it feels tempting, trying to prove your point is rarely effective.
Your daughter may already perceive you as hostile, reactive, or unreceptive to feedback. You only add more fuel to her emotional fire if you keep getting defensive. You two will keep fighting, and she’ll keep assuming her mother isn’t listening.
Instead, aim to remain neutral. Continuously validate her feelings and experiences with phrases like, I hear that you’re upset right now. I totally understand why you feel that way. I imagine that must be hard. Remind her that you love her.
But don’t keep trying to justify why you did what you did. Trying to prove you’re right doesn’t improve relationships- it only perpetuates more conflict.
Don’t Keep Apologizing
Some mothers feel guilty for their daughter’s blame. So, they keep apologizing over and over again to try to improve the relationship.
If a genuine apology is warranted, feel free to say sorry. But don’t just apologize because you want her to stop blaming you.
You come across as submissive and weak, and allowing your adult daughter to insist that you did everything wrong doesn’t fix your dynamic.
Don’t Guilt Her
Don’t you see how much I’ve sacrificed for you? Don’t you see how much I care about you? Don’t you see how much you blaming me hurts me?
Guilt erodes relationships. It makes one person feel responsible over the other person’s feelings. And by guilting your daughter, you’re only playing a blame game with her. You’re trying to make her feel bad so you don’t have to hold that feeling yourself.
How Do You Deal With a Disrespectful Grown Daughter?
Is your daughter constantly blaming you? Does she accuse you of messing up her life?
It’s probably easy for your daughter to blame mom. But you don’t have to be passive to this emotional abuse. Here’s what you can do instead.
Give Her Space
If you hover, stop. Step back if you pay attention to every last detail in her life. One of the ways mothers can earn respect is by letting go of their adult daughters.
At first, this may seem hard. Maybe having close relationships is important to you, particularly when it comes to your family.
But if you keep things the way they are, you’ll feel the same way. And your daughter won’t change.
Stay Neutral and Detached
There’s a good chance your daughter blames you for problems because you unknowingly allow her to do that. Maybe you even let her get under your skin, disguised as pure mother love. Maybe you end up in constant shouting matches.
If this is the case, focus on staying calm. If anything, present as disinterested or ignore her altogether. And try to stay consistent- it’s like parenting a toddler throwing temper tantrums.
Blaming mom feels much less tempting once she really knows she won’t get an emotional reaction.
How Do I Deal With a Toxic Daughter?
If you feel like your daughter is toxic, it’s important to protect your own integrity. Constant blaming or insulting gets tiring. Over time, it can result in serious anger and significantly affect your self-esteem. Here’s how you can cope.
Set Healthy Boundaries
You don’t need to tolerate abuse or disrespect. If your daughter repeatedly hurts you, it’s time to reassess the limits you have with her.
These boundaries may include:
- telling her you will end the conversation or leave the room if she starts blaming you
- refusing to give her financial support
- avoiding any texts or messages that blame you or attack you
- requiring that she use respectful language in your presence
- refusing to bail her out of problematic situations
You should expect your daughter to become even more hysterical once you set these boundaries. But they aren’t for her. They are for you to maintain a sense of integrity and gain control over your life. You’re trying to maintain a mature relationship, and you deserve respect.
Maintain Realistic Expectations
You can’t control your daughter’s behavior. Similarly, you only represent 50% of your relationship with her.
Some children experience a developmental shift during adulthood. They come around and realize that they can’t blame their mothers for everything. They take the initiative and assume responsibility for their lives.
This may happen- but it may not. You mustn’t determine your worth based on your daughter’s decisions.
Let Go of Preconceived Notions of The Mother-Daughter Bond
A mother’s love knows no bounds. But if your daughter hurts you repeatedly, you may need to reevaluate the type of relationship you want with her.
Sometimes, you must stop comparing your daughter to your friends’ daughters. This isn’t easy, particularly if your friends have positive relationships with their kids.
But life is so fluid, and every dynamic is unique, and you shouldn’t let yourself be continuously treated with anger, hatred, or disrespect. Instead, it may be time to think about what kind of relationship seems feasible.
Can any reasonable compromise be made? After setting boundaries, are you able to feel less angry or codependent?
Get Your Own Support
Raising children is hard. It’s even harder when your adult child can’t show gratitude or recognition for your sacrifices.
Subsequently, Mothers often hold the pain for all their loved ones. They sacrifice their own needs to keep other people happy.
But it’s okay to feel angry or hurt by your daughter’s reaction. You have a right to express yourself and let go of the self-blame.
Therapy can help you process these uncomfortable feelings. It can also help you with setting boundaries and learning new techniques for managing your stress.
Consider Family Therapy (Cautiously)
In some cases, family therapy might benefit daughters who blame their mothers. Depending on the therapist’s style, this treatment may resemble a more sophisticated version of parent coaching.
But it’s important to remember that a therapist won’t necessarily discern who’s right or wrong in a given situation. Instead, they will show how both people play a role in sharing responsibility within the relationship.
With that, therapy is only as good as the changes you both implement. It may be a good idea if your daughter seems willing to change- and is motivated to work on your relationship. But if she only seems to want a space to blame you, you might want to reconsider.
Sometimes, the blaming mom game is simply a phase. This may be true if she’s undergoing a specific transitional stressor or if something recently impacted your relationship.
It’s a good idea to reflect on your own mistakes and think about what else might be happening. But if you genuinely know you’re a good mother, there’s still a chance she’ll come around. Patience may be the only virtue you need.
Final Thoughts When Your Daughter Blames You
There is no such thing as a perfect parent. But if you feel blamed for everything you do, it’s time to reassess the situation.
You aren’t the sole reason your daughter is in distress. And it’s not inherently your job to fix how she feels.